Wed. Dec. 20, 2017: Almost Solstice! Writerly Preparations

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

We’re having a mini-thaw, which means it feels colder, because it’s the wet cold instead of the dry cold. I hope we have just a dusting of snow this weekend, for the holiday.

I was saddened by the Amtrak accident in Washington State. When I moved back east from Seattle, back in the mid-80s, I took the train from Seattle to New York. It was an amazing journey.

Of course the Narcisstic Sociopath tried to make it all about him. What a waste of food that moron is.

Cookie platter deliveries are going out; I’m trying to get my e-cards out; I’m working with one particular client on site most of this week, and then my full focus goes back to SERENE AND DETERMINED. It’s chugging along, just more slowly than I’d like, and it’s due at the theatre next week.

Doing another pass on the TRACKING MEDUSA proofs. When those go out, and SERENE AND DETERMINED is out, I have to look at two other manuscripts (should just be a proof-read). I have to finish FIX-IT GIRL, so it can go out on submission early next year; I have to prepare workshop proposals for a couple of places that are interested; I have to ramp up the submission of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC; I have to get both THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and NOT BY THE BOOK back into the daily work queue. THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY is due in February to my editor; NOT BY THE BOOK doesn’t have a hard deadline, but I want to finish it and get it out the door by spring.

Next week, I have to sit down and figure out the manuscript schedule for 2018, both hard and soft deadlines. Yeah, because THAT was so successful last year! But with some contracts settled and the promise of a new webhost who actually gives me what I pay for, maybe I can get back on track.

I have to build in time for new ideas that are worked on in tandem with what I have scheduled. It means being even better at time management. I’m decent at time management now, but I need to be brilliant.

I also have to remember to build in time for what looks like “doing nothing”, but is actually the creative process at work.

Tomorrow is the Solstice. I’m looking forward to celebrating!

Published in: on December 20, 2017 at 3:07 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 20, 2017: Almost Solstice! Writerly Preparations  
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Tues. Dec. 19, 2017: Holiday Hamster Wheel

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not as productive, writing-wise, as I wanted.

I wasn’t able to get the rest of the cookie platter deliveries done on Friday, due to weather. I knew most people wouldn’t be around over the weekend, so they’ve been bumped to this week.

I was exhausted by the car repairs Friday, even though it went well. I find it stressful. But the car purrs like a tiger, and is happy.

I turned around the proofs for TRACKING MEDUSA, and have the next set to proof. Hopefully, we’ve caught everything. I should have done them this weekend, but I wanted to come back to the text with fresh eyes. Yeah, right. I needed a break and procrastinated!

Continued decorating Friday, Saturday, and it was Sunday by the time the decorations were all up and the boxes put away. Took me a month to decorate the house, but it looks great! It feels good, too, and that’s so important. For all I love to travel, I’m very much hearth and home.

Friday afternoon, I finished the gifts that had to be mailed and got them to the post office. We are so lucky — the people who work at Centerville Post Office are amazing!

Saturday, I sat my butt in the chair and wrote the holiday cards. Once I actually sit down, I enjoy the process. I love to reconnect with people; while I send cards to many of those with whom I interact regularly, there are also those where we only connect that once a year.

I realized I should do a direct mail piece, once the two novels move distributors and the new websites are up, about my books to this targeted list. They know I write, but I haven’t given them enough information.

Because my webhost, 1and1.com, is so slimy — I mean, have you ever heard of a webhost that won’t allow simple jpgs to go up on a site without additional charge? Anyway, it’s put the kybosh on the holiday promotions I’d planned. I lost the holiday market this year, because I couldn’t properly promote. Because of the distribution move, I need to be able to have the information, along with the covers and media kits, ON MY WEBSITES. And my host won’t allow it. The repeal of net neutrality early for their customers, I guess.

I didn’t expect to make a gazillion dollars on holiday sales, but I usually make a reasonable amount that helps push me through January and February. Not this year.

I’m going to demand my money back for this final quarter. They did not deliver the services promised in the contract.

Anyway, once everything is moved, I’m going to do a direct mail promotion to my holiday list, and then I’m also working on some other cool promotions winter going into spring, with a nice big one for the Coventina titles while THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY releases, joining PLAYING THE ANGLES on the shelf.

I ran out of stamps on Saturday — I’d miscalculated. Well, math has never been my best subject. The post office was open an extra hour and I ran down to re-stock. Well, the line was out both doors into the parking lot! I couldn’t believe how many people were mailing stacks and stacks of packages! Most people mailed at least five; many mailed at least ten! Everyone was in a good mood, though, and we were laughing and joking and talking about how great our post office is, and how we love supporting them.

Came back, finished the cards. One mail carrier took the first batch when he dropped off a package; our regular guy arrived just a few minutes after I finished the last card. All good!

Did some work on the aging novel. I’m going to add menopause into that. Too often, it’s depicted as cute and funny when, in reality, it’s miserable and interferes with life.

Sunday, we finished decorating and put things away –which took nearly all damn day.

In and around that, I wrote the first chapter and a half of a piece I’m playing with — it could be a valid novel in its own right, but it also serves a more personal purpose, as in trying to figure a few things out.

Yes, I SHOULD have worked on other things, but I needed the break.

Monday, was back to work on SERENE AND DETERMINED — I’ve figured out at least part of the second act, and where I want to go with it, but I need a good ending. I have to trust that, as I write, I’ll get there. This play has been quite a challenge. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s amazing how every play, every script, every novel, takes on its own life and demands its own process. If I tried to force everything into the same process (which I have tried — and it’s failed), it takes the life out of the work.

I needed an infusion of Janet Malcolm’s writing. I like her work. Over the weekend, I re-read THE JOURNALIST AND THE MURDERER, and am reading THE SILENT WOMAN. Both fascinating, and both bring up issues about journalist and subject that are more relevant today than ever.

I’m about two issues behind on my NEW YORKERS, but I’m hoping to catch up next weekend! (When I’ll be three issues behind).

One client meeting was cancelled yesterday, so I was on site with another client, and then has some other meetings.

I’m working on a proposal for a workshop — they might have their full roster, but just in case, I’m going to pitch to this organization.

This is a busy week, especially with the Solstice on Thursday, and Christmas next weekend into early next week!

 

Wed. Dec. 9, 2015: Fun All Around

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Waning Moon
Cloudy and mild

I’m grateful we don’t have snow yet, but I’m a little worried that we’re supposed to hit 60 this weekend. A little too warm for this time of year!

I’ve been going flat out all week. Friday and Saturday I zombie’d through work – barely made it through, but I did. I had plenty to do at home around work. Sunday I baked, and then attended the Marstons Mills Stroll.

The Stroll was fun – it was simple – start at the Community Church, pick up the brown bag with the list of places participating, and follow it around town. It was just enough, not too much, and I didn’t know several of the businesses before – but I will certainly go back to them and shop!

The Church rang their bell, we gathered around the tree for the lighting and to sing carols. It was nice. Simple in the right way, and a lot of fun.

After, I took my mom for a drive along 6A, so that we could enjoy the large light sculptures that various businesses have commissioned. They were beautiful. In previous years, they’d only used white lights – now there are a combination, and it is wonderful!

Home, some more baking, and even a bit of writing.

Monday, I was up at 4:30, so I could get my yoga and meditation practice done before I had to leave for the NMLC Board Meeting. Had the Board meeting, came back, and headed over to Titcomb’s Bookshop for the Ann Hood event. She’s promoting her newest book, KNITTING PEARLS. Several knitting groups attended – there were about 60 people there! I brought my mom along, and both of us knitted along. Yes, even I knitted – my mystery project – -and it was fun.

I was wearing one of the sweaters my mom knitted, and she got many compliments –and an invitation to join the Titcomb Bookshop knitters! It’s good for her to get out and do stuff like that.

Ann’s presentation was lovely and fun, and I got a chance to chat with her for a bit at the signing.

We came home, and I started baking again. I didn’t finish baking until after 11 at night – but – the holiday baking is done – at least, for the cookie platters.

Yesterday morning, we took a carload of leaves to the dump – and gave the guys their cookie platter – and delivered some of the other cookie platters, to the firehouse, etc. Home, early lunch, and then over to the JFK Museum, because it was my NMLC shift for Spectacle of Trees. The trees are all so beautiful and unique. It was a joy to spend time with them. We had more people come through in the first hour than in my entire shift last year. People were nice, they were excited, and, importantly, they bought Tree Bucks and put them in boxes. Which is great, because each organization gets 100% of their Tree Bucks.

So tired when I got home that I barely made it through dinner and couldn’t even read.

Up early this morning to do some more cookie platter deliveries. Long day at work, and then I have to do the platters for the neighbors.

I’m at a conference tomorrow (local, but still a conference), then working Friday, then doing Spectacle on Saturday, and Saturday night is the drawing.

Sunday, I may help with the trees, and I have to spend most of the day writing. Monday and Tuesday are errands and writing, because my play needs to go out on Thursday – so next week is shaping up to be busy.

And Solstice and Christmas are in, what, two weeks? Hannukah is already happening.

I want to keep the holidays simple – of course, I still have to write my cards! I’d rather it was about food and friends than stuff.

I haven’t put many words on paper, but I’m doing a lot of “writing in my head” as I run around, which, when I actually do sit down, makes it flow more smoothly.

Devon

Published in: on December 9, 2015 at 11:16 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 9, 2015: Fun All Around  
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Wed. December 19, 2012: Cookie platter deliveries

IMG_0732

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.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Iris likes to be under the blankets

Monday, December 14, 2009
Waning Moon
Cloudy and mild

I have a post up at Sole Struck Fashions (up yesterday, actually), about quick gift ideas.

My eye hurt like crazy yesterday, but it seems better today. I just kept using drops, and chamomile tea bags on it. The vision’s no worse than usual — it’s just the movement that hurts.

They know me at Michael’s, because I’ve been in there every day for the past week! Sigh! Of course they didn’t have the garland I wanted, but they did have one left of a really lovely one — green with silver and blue accents — it works perfecatly over the ktichen, and I have my cat ornaments hanging from it — it’s the “cat garland”. It took two hours to do the other garland — I realized, once I was done, that I should probably do all the fastening BEFORE I put it up, instead of standing on a chair! What I usually do is fasten the blank garland and then decide where I want to place the elements I add.

Anyway, they both look really good. The coffee table’s done with the centerpiece and a slew of nutcrackers, another surface has most of my Santas (although there are Santas and angels and elves and snowmen peering at one from every shelf and surface in the house — it’s sort of like being back in Prague, with all the statues on the buildings staring down at you). The faux mantel is done. The tree is 2/3 done — I have one more box of ornaments to hang. The ribbons are up around the doorways — I put red ribbons on either side of the doorways, with pine cones or ornaments at the top, and that’s where I hang the cards. I have some ornaments that need to go to Ornament Hospital, which I will set up probably tomorrow. The Advent Table’s not yet finished (and there’s only one more Advent left!), and the kitchen table (the only table where we can eat) isn’t done, because I still need it for baking and Ornament Hospital. It’s the only working surface other than the living room floor that I have.

The little live tree looks cute — I have most of the Solstice ornaments on it, and it will be the centerpiece for the Solstice Ceremony next Monday. I’ve been trying to name the tree something meaningful and the tree keeps going, “Uh, no, that’s not my name”, but I don’t yet know what the name IS yet.

All six hours of TIN MAN ran, followed by all four hours of ALICE yesterday. I watched favorite bits of both in between the decorating (I never just have the TV on as background — it drives me nuts. I’d stop and watch and bit, then go back to decorating, then go back and watch a bit, and so on). SyFy’s going to have to cut some serious residual checks for yesterday! 😉

I’ve been having really odd, busy dreams the past week. Last night’s may turn out into the good foundation for a story. Here’s hoping.

The weather was dreadful yesterday. Although we didn’t get snow, the temperature fluctuated enough so there were patches of ice with rain on top of them. And lots of fog. I had to pick up my mom at night (she can’t drive at night anymore). With all the accidents on the highways (there was a 50-car pileup in CT), I took backroads. Very little traffic, and easier to see.

I’ve got butter softening in the kitchen. I’m back into baking mode today. I need to frost the cookies that need it and take inventory, and bake some more. I can’t store the cookie platters once they’re made — I have to prepare them, load them, and deliver them in one fell swoop — so I’ve got to make sure I have enough of everything. I may test some new recipes on family for the New Year.

I also have to sit down with the recipes, copy them out and put them in the protective sleeves, and make notes on what did and didn’t work, so I have a jump on future years.

I retrieved my coats from the cleaners. They look fabulous. I just have to put new buttons on them, and I’m all set.

Good writing session this morning, thank goodness, and now it’s off to baking. I’ll do another push on the cards tonight, once the baking is sorted.

Devon

Published in: on December 14, 2009 at 8:46 am  Comments (8)  
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