Saturday, January 1, 2011 — Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and mild

First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope this year brings us all an abundance of health, joy, and the stamina to make our dreams come true.

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog so you can see how I’ve retooled my wishes for the coming year. And hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to read my “Wish for the Garden.”

I’ve put together my To-Do list for January (daily to-do lists get in my way, but a monthly helps keep me on track). In addition to all the short turnaround, quick-pay jobs to make sure I stay on top of bills, and waiting to hear from my editor so I can actually do the edits on the book that’s slated for July release and all the new ideas that are pulling at me, I want to finish stuff and get it out.

I have way too much of a back log. Some of it is work that’s finished, polished, and is either waiting to go out, or came back and needs another look before it heads out again. I have one novel out on the submission process (it should be a lot more than that). I have a series that needs to change publishers, which means retooling that and rethinking the overall arc of the series. I have to make sure the second book is ready to go when the first book launches for a particular publisher, and I’ve only done a single chapter (I’d hoped to have a whole draft done by today). I have a great opportunity to do a YA book for a contest, provided I set it in one of my favorite places in the world, and I don’t want to drop the ball on that.

And then there’s ANGEL HUNT. It started as a series several years ago, evolved into a novel when the publisher went belly up, and I did some major reworking over the last two years. It moved from occult to paranormal to urban fantasy. The problem is that, when I work on it, I’m completely consumed and obsessed by it, and nothing else gets done. What I have to do is carve out that patch of time so I can obsess about it, finish the new ending, rewrite the query, and start getting it out there. I think about it constantly, but I haven’t done any actual physical work on it in months.

That has to change.

Because I’m so obsessed with it, there’s an element of fear involved in actually getting it finished and out the door. Not because I’m worried about rejection — either it gets rejected or it doesn’t, until I find the match, big whoop — but because I don’t want to let go of it and not obsess about it anymore.

I know, it doesn’t make any sense, but there are times when a writer’s psyche doesn’t make sense.

What I need to do with this book is get out of my own way, give it the finish it deserves, and get it out the door so it can live its life.

I know what I have to do; now it’s just about the doing.

The owner stopped by to give me a choice of fire extinguishers. He wants to make sure we have no more emergencies and is trying to think of every possibility. I actually have a pair of extinguishers I brought up in the move, but I don’t know if they’re still good — might be too old.

Repairman showed up and put in the new hose. In and out in ten minutes. Fingers crossed it actually works!

Still getting the annoying texts. Verizon is bound and determined to extort more money out of me. Guess it’s time to file a formal complaint. And now I start billing both Verizon and the point of origin of the annoying texts. Although, I tried a little something-something and managed to get a confirmation that the texts would stop. So far, so good. No thanks to Verizon!

Off to Harwich for the rocking chair. I got lost — because the owner gave me the wrong directions. I kind of don’t understand how you don’t know where you’ve lived for 30 years, but whatever; he realized it, we connected, he gave me directions to a Dunkin Donuts, from where I followed him to the house. It’s a lovely house overlooking a lake with two lovely rescued dachshunds. Of course, I had to play with them for awhile.

The rocking chair is gorgeous, the proper money changed hands, it fit into the VW, and off I came home, stopping on the way to pick up a few things at the store.

Once I got the chair situated, I did my hair, scrubbed the bathrooms, washed the floors, and vacuumed the whole house. Can’t go into a New Year with last year’s dirt on any level, now can we?

Got up some of the first lectures for both workshops — I’m doing some rewriting on the Plum ones, so the first of those will go up later today, although the Welcome is up.

Cooked salmon fillets in a cumin glaze for supper, played with the cats, enjoyed seeing out the old year quietly with a glass of champagne. Just before midnight, opened the back door to let the old year out; just after the midnight toast, opened the front door to welcome to the New Year, and, much to my surprised, get first-footed! Don’t know who the lovely dark-haired gentleman was, but it was much appreciated.

Times Square looked like an even worse zoo than usual, and I was glad to be away from New York. The celebration in Boston looked like a ton of fun, though — lots of creative performances by people and local groups, kinetic artwork and ice sculpture, not just bringing in a bunch of wanna-be and/or washed up pop stars like they do now in Times Square.

Well, it was quiet until the drunken dumbasses around the corner set off fireworks next to their garage, which is directly opposite my front window and doors. They weren’t the pretty kind that do anything — basically, it was just canisters of blasting powder that made a big noise. The first time it went off, I thought one of the houses on the street had exploded. But it was just the drunken jerks. I may not have kept up my pyro license from my special effects days, but at least I’m properly trained. They keep machinery filled with gasoline and cans of gas in that garage — how stupid do you have to be to set off explosives next to it? The ground is all black over there this morning.

It was nearly 2 AM before the bayberry candle “burned to the sprocket” for prosperity in the year –even though I’d started it at 4 PM! We were at the point where I sat on the couch with Iris on one side and Violet on the other and just stared at it, willing it to burn down!

Up early, great yoga and meditation session, lovely Greeting-the-Dawn New Year’s Day ritual, good first writing session. How goeth the writing goeth the year, and I don’t like to take New Year’s Day off from writing, although I sometimes take off other holidays.

Packed to drive my mom to CT and then pick up Costume Imp. Still not organized enough for the party, but that’ll happen.

The Christmas Cactus is in full bloom. When I bought it, I thought the blossoms would white, but they’re actually a very pale pink.

Will watch the Tournament of Roses parade this morning, cook a lot, eat a lot, play with the cats, do some more last minute tidying up for Costume Imp’s visit, polish the Plum lectures one final time.

And the New Year starts!

Happy New Year, all!

Devon

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy weekend, but first of all, hop on over to the Savvy Authors’ Blog and read my piece on “Character, not Caricature”.

I hope you sign up for the deconstruction workshop on Stephanie Plum in January, the One Story, Many Voices workshop in January, and then, from mid-April to Mid-May, the Setting as Character Workshop. The latter two have limited enrollment, because of the intensity of assignments. The Plum workshop can fit in as many as want to take it.

The weekend — Saturday was busy. The breakfast at the National Marine Life Center was a lot of fun, I met a lot of great people, and the progress they’ve made in the past real is truly wonderful! They’re doing an amazing job, and once the center is complete and fully functional, it will make a huge positive difference in marine wildlife around here. They’re up for a $250,000 Pepsi Challenge grant, so if you could vote for them as often as possible (you can only vote once a day, but you can vote every day in the calendar month), it would help them get the grant and hook up the next part of the facility.

Came back, did some unpacking in the afternoon. It seems no matter how much I unpack, there’s no change, and it gets discouraging.

Decided, on Friday night, that I didn’t like where my bed was situated, behind the door. I started to feel claustrophobic. However, my head is in the North, (northeast, actually) which is the best way for me to sleep. But I moved it to the opposite site of the room, so my head is northwest now. The cats like it better, the room feels overall better, but I didn’t sleep well on Friday night into Saturday at all.

Read the papers Sunday morning, then planned to spend a couple of hours working on my room, which turned out to be the bulk of the day. Of course, a lot of it was spent rearranging the closets, so you can’t really see much impact on the room itself. However, I couldn’t unpack boxes in my room until I took out and unpacked the boxes in my closet which didn’t belong in the closet, but were stashed in there because I was afraid they’d go astray during the moving process.

Also managed to get a few loads of laundry done.

Got dressed up, went to the neighbor’s open house across the street. The little Westie no longer lives there — had to go to another home because of separation anxiety, poor thing! The Scottie is still there, and very cute. Met a bunch of the neighbors, who are all very nice, and each has their own unique qualities. They seemed relieved when I said we planned to be here for at least two years — I wonder if other renters moved in and out quickly? Anyway, I met the two women who live in the house on the corner, with the absolutely amazing yard, and they are happy to give me advice come summer. They also recommended a vet, and there’s a no-kill shelter close by they work with, and I may get my next cat there instead of the other shelter. We’ll see — it’ll be at least mid-January, to give these two a chance to settle in more, and for me to put away the decorations. New cat + many decorations is just an accident waiting to happen.

There’s a serial arsonist on the loose in the area. He (assuming it’s male) seems to be targeting people he thinks are rich, so we should be okay. This house is really cute, sweet, and loved, but it’s hardly a McMansion or in the throes of a multi-million dollar renovation. Still, it’s disturbing — a house in Sandwich was torched, a house in Barnstable was torched, and, last night, a lovely historic inn in Yarmouth that just went under renovation. I’ll have to be vigilant and set up some extra protections.

There’s an enormous black something sitting on the shed at the far end of the yard across the street. It’s much too big to be a cat (unless it’s like, a panther, and I doubt there’s be a panther sitting on someone’s shed washing its face), so I’m assuming it’s yet another Very Large Dog. It’s too far for me to see, but whatever it is, it’s calm and feels it’s on its home turf.

No one knows who owns Imp-dog. I told them my sense is he sneaks out without his owner’s knowledge. I’m hoping I can get close enough, eventually, to read his tags.

They told me, however, who’s most likely to be tossing the beer cans on the lawn. It seems there are some renters around the corner who think, because they’re renting, it doesn’t matter what they do in the neighborhood. They give renters a bad name.

Bad storm last night, but I slept better anyway, and the basement remains dry, so that’s good. The house definitely passed the “squishy test.”

Weird dreams last night (head in the West), but they might turn into an interesting story.

I want to spend some time on the page before I go back to the Search for an Ethical Insurance Broker so I can get these plates switched out and be in compliance with the law. In addition to just being angry at Allstate for not knowing the regulations in the state and not caring to find out, I have no confidence that, if, heaven forbid, anything happened, they would make good on the policy. Yes, they have in the past, but we had an individual dealing with it, not an outsourced 800 number where the person on the other end has no reason to care. (An Allstate commercial came on last night when we were watching TV and we started yelling at it).

Had a lovely conversation with someone for whom I worked who booked me for a week in February and another week in May. That will be fun. There will be some organization necessary on the cat front here, but we’ll figure it out, and it’s one of my favorite gigs, so I’m happy they still want me.

Also got a call from the family in Maine –we’re going to nip up for the big Christmas Day dinner. We’ve never been able to spend Christmas with them, because of distance and I was usually working on either Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both, depending upon the show schedule. We do our big celebration on Christmas Eve anyway, and then just stockings on Christmas Day morning. We’ll nip up for the meal and come back the same day.

And the neighbors are all good about keeping an eye on each other’s houses without getting into each other’s business, so we just tell each other our schedules and keep an eye out. A utility truck and a jumpsuit do not credentials make! Not in this neighborhood! 😉

Watched Carrie Fisher’s WISHFUL DRINKING on HBO last night. It’s well done, very well done, in fact, but more bitter than I expected.

Off I go. Maybe I can get some of the kitchen boxes in the garage unpacked today, so that I have everything I need for the party. And I have to finish writing cards and packing gifts. I kind of got stuck mid-N.

Devon