Fri. July 20, 2012: Steampunk & Retrogrades

Friday, July 20, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I’m having a bad Mercury Retrograde time. I’m not going to whine about it (well, not too much), just state it. Sorry I haven’t been around much. I set things up so the next six or so weeks would be organized and relatively stress-free, and it all blew up in my face. And not because of me, but because of entities which should not have any right to make decisions that affect me AT ALL. So I’m having to deal with that.

On a happier note, I’m working on my business plan for the coming year, preparing for Costume Imp’s arrival, and working on research for a quartet of very different projects that all have a lot of promise. I’m also working on some small writing guidebooks, both generalist, and a series of “Topic Workbooks” that I think people will enjoy. They’ll be affordable, but still chock-full of resources and links. The ghost writing project is going well.

I managed to fit in Juliet Blackwell’s latest Lily Ivory mystery, IN A WITCH’S WARDROBE, which I really liked, and I’m sneaking off for fifteen minutes here and there to read a few pages of SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second in Deborah Harkness’s trilogy that started with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. The workload’s been heavy, so I haven’t been able to read as much as I’d like. Now, if some of these people would cough up the cash on time for work done, all would be good.

THE STEAMPUNK TAROT arrived, by Barbara Moore, with art by Ally Fell. Wow. Just magnificent. The interpretations are layered and inspired, and the art work is spectacular. Not only is it gorgeous, it reads superbly. I’m going to use it for the three-month tarot intensive I’m teaching in the fall, and it’s already one of my favorite decks.

I’m determined to have a good weekend, and have some time for fun (with Costume Imp here, how could I not?).

Have a great time, people. It was a tough week, but the great thing is that I never have to live it exactly the same way again.

See you on the other side!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Autumn in Western Mass

Monday, October 24, 2011
Day before Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and crisp

Playing catch-up on oh-so-many levels. Friday, I was sick and frustrated and just over it all. I left after lunch and hit Sturbridge around 3-ish. I checked in to the Publick House Inn — I had a deal to get a good rate. Unfortunately, I could only get one night, because the next day, they had a wedding and the entire place was booked. But one night was better than nothing, so I took it.

I wasn’t in the main, historic building. I was in the outbuildings, more like Catskill motel rooms than anything else. My room was fine, although have you ever seen so much toile in your life? And I’m not a fan of toile. Fortunately, I thought it was hilarious, and the tiny balcony was nice, too.

I settled in, ran some errands, had someone come up to fix the heat which wouldn’t turn on. I had dinner in the tavern, enjoying myself and eavesdropping shamelessly. I even jotted down some notes on a cocktail napkin to use in the presentation the next day. I had the roast duck in a cranberry glaze with sausage stuffing and sweet potatoes, paired with a wonderful Argentinean wine. Very good.

I worked on my presentation a bit, but went to bed early, because I felt like crap. Someone from the conference had called while I was on the road, but the message felt more like they were worried I’d make a scene, rather than trying to make things right.

Up at 5:30 the next morning, yoga, shower, ran through the presentation again, packed the car, checked out, had breakfast at the inn. A group of people were whining about the very good coffee — I walked out before I bitch-slapped the whole group silly. These people were idiots. They didn’t seen the coffee made in front of them; therefore, because it came out of an urn, they were going to bitch about it.

I’d woken up with a hacking cough and NO voice — was a little worried, but some slippery elm at least got me croaking again.

It took me a little less than an hour to drive to the conference. The color’s more advanced in Western Mass than there on the Cape. It was lovely. There were people to help me unload, which was great. I parked ‘round the back, close to where my actual presentation room was, which later made re-loading the car much easier.

Met Corrina Lawson, with whom I’ve been tweeting for months. She is SO wonderful. I mean, she’s always been wonderful on Twitter, but she’s even more fun in person. Terrific person. Unfortunately, we were presenting at the same time, so we couldn’t attend each other’s sessions!

Keynote speaker was great, again emphasizing the need to sit down and do the work. First session was good, but I had to excuse myself a couple of times when I felt a coughing fit come on. I didn’t want to be distracting, and it was less distracting to slip out of the room and cough up a lung in the ladies’ room than do it in session.

My own session was fun. I barely sat down — I was walking around, using the props. I hadn’t trusted them to supply me with the easel and the pad of paper, so I got my own pad of paper and pre-wrote bits I wanted to display. They did come through (I know, I was shocked, too), but I already had my stuff, so that’s what we used. They got their handouts, I made them WRITE in class. And what they wrote was good. They embraced the exercises and the energy of the presentation. And bore with my failing voice, which lasted for the session, and then got weaker and weaker. Sold some books, answered a lot of questions. Had help reloading the car.

I think people had a good time — most of the presentations were panels with Q&A. They were great, but mine was really different, which I think was a good contrast. This was more interactive and made them apply what we discussed in the moment, rather than them thinking about it and maybe using it “someday.”

Lunch was fun — buffet style, soups and salads (good quality), small tables, real linens and silverware. Very nice spread. We had lots of fun, lively discussion at the table.

I managed to connect with the student who’d brought me into the conference and we got some of the frustrations sorted. I still think they should have come up with a SOLUTION instead of just shrugging when they found out about the series of fuck-ups, but whatever. I HAVE a solution for next year, which I will send them, and I’m resentful because it’s not my job. It’s my job to provide what is asked and do a kick-ass presentation, not fix THEIR fuck-ups. But, as a B’way pal said, “We’re in production. That’s what we DO. Solve problems. People who aren’t in production can’t see that there’s more than one possibility. That’s why they’re NOT in production.” Well, putting on a conference is being in production, as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, I lasted through one more speaker, and then I knew I was fading fast, hacking up not just lungs but all kinds of additional organs, and just miserable. I excused myself, got in the car, and drove all the way back to the Cape.

I was in my own bed before 8 PM.

Granted, I caught myself going 90 mph. I was thinking, “Wow, people are really slow today” and then looked at the speedometer. Oops. I’m usually more careful than that.

I stayed pretty quiet, yesterday, although I observed an hilarious exchange between two guys, probably in their fifties, in the parking lot, when I went out to get the Sunday papers:

Guy 1: I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m the guy who runs past your house every morning.

Guy 2: Yeah, I’m standing there smoking a cigarette and you’re running. Don’t think I don’t get the irony.

Now that’s the seed of another short story!

Also, as I was resting in bed, got a couple of scenes flashing through my head. Scribbled them down and wound up with an outline. Will have to put it in the queue. Also ordered some books, including Corinna’s DINAH OF SENECA. Because that’s by a small publisher, too, and heaven forbid the conference’s “bookstore manager” bother to carry it for the conference. The bookstore manager who was “too sick” to attend. Riiiight. She’d have been a lot sicker if I’d gotten my hands on her, that’s for sure.

Struggled to get back into the harpy book this morning, but I finally got there.

They’re working on the roof again, I have to catch up with students, work on Confidential Job #1, and the tulip bulbs HAVE to go in today.

In the meantime, check out the essay on Nicole Peeler’s Jane True, and the one on Diana Bishop of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.



Today’s word count: 1,180
Total word count: 37,228

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hey, it’s supposed to hit 30 degrees today! Positively balmy! (Yeah, I’m being sarcastic).

Got some good, practical work done yesterday, got the lectures to my partner, started reading through the material for the class.

Ran my errands in Plymouth — they didn’t have the final book I needed for my class, but I did finally manage to get my hands on a copy of Deborah Harkness’s novel A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, which I’ve been trying to get since it was released.

Everything went by the wayside for the rest of the day and well into the night, because once I started reading it, I only put it down when I was too tired to see straight. It’s terrific — beautifully researched with ancient texts, the interdependence of magic and science, a good dose of evolution and species extinction, beautifully integrated settings rendered so well you are living every moment of the book. Absolutely fantastic. I have about another 100 pages or so to go (it’s a big book) and I’ve put it away so I’m not tempted to go back to it until I’ve done my work for the day. It’s that damn good

I have a raging headache today, but it was worth it.

Launched into the play today (new moon, new project) and I love working on it. It’s fun, and the characters are coming beautifully to life.

In addition to the writing, I have to do some practical things today like laundry and vacuuming, and a bunch of administrative stuff. I have a couple of submissions that need to get out today, and start working on polishing the lectures for the RWA workshop I’m teaching the first two weeks of April. It’s one an email loop instead of a board, which will be good for the students, but a nightmare for me, and I have to figure out how to work in that format without wanting to tear my hair out. It was booked over a year ago, before I changed the contract and class requirements, so I just kind of have to roll with it.

I’m hoping it won’t be as much of a wet, miserable weekend as predicted, because I’d like to get out and clean up the yard a bit.

But for now — a couple of Advil and back to the page.