Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013: After the Holidays . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to Writers Vineyard, where in in Annabel Aidan persona, I talk about the blessings of the season.

Terrific couple of days off. I got a good bit of work done on Wednesday, especially on two novellas. Did the last-minute grocery shopping.

Christmas Eve dinner was pork loin with herbs and thyme gravy, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, green beans, and cranberry horseradish sauce. Very good! With traditional stollen for dessert.

Christmas Day, we did the stockings and then had a big breakfast before stuffing the turkey and wrestling it into the oven. Yes, I cook my stuffing IN the turkey and have never had a problem. I know how to cook thing so they don’t make people sick!

Roast turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, corn for Christmas dinner, and for dessert, pears in warm chocolate sauce.

Then, we divvied up the food, boiled down the bones, strained them and made a lovely turkey soup!

In other words, I spent the day either cooking or doing dishes, but it was fine.

I did a lot of reading, too. Also watched the farewell tribute to Matt Smith on BBC America and his final DR. WHO episode. I wish they hadn’t hyped it so much — I thought most of the episode itself was a hot mess, trying to be too much in too many directions. Matt Smith was fun in the role, I still adore David Tennant, and I’m looking forward to Philip Capaldi. The beauty of the show is that each actor who plays the doctor has room to be unique.

Back to the grindstone today, although I’d love to have an actual vacation. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

I did some work earlier this week with a lovely new client, and I hope we get a chance to do more work together.

Devon

Published in: on December 26, 2013 at 8:05 am  Comments (3)  
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Mon. May 6, 2013: Recoving From the 5th, and Moving Forward on Manuscripts

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Monday, May 6, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Misty and cold

It amazes me that, by Monday, Friday seems so far away I can’t remember what I was doing.

I know I was pounding forward on the book. I know I did some work with students. I know I sent out the May Manuscript Prep Tip.

I wrote a review due to my editor.

I can’t remember if I mowed the terraced back section of the lawn on Friday or Saturday.

I saw an anthology call, and submitted one of the Merry’s Dalliance pirate stories. Fingers crossed it’s accepted.

We got a birdbath on Saturday — finally found one we like. It’s out in the back bed, with lilies and hostas springing up around it, and the birds are happy.

I’ve started re-reading Susan Wittig Albert’s AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS in the mornings, after I’ve done the first walk around the yard (pulling up a weed here and there), while I sit on the deck and drink my first cup of coffee. I find that book an immense restorative.

Saturday morning, the Beautification Committee headed out to Mother’s Park, pruning and weeding, and generally getting the park ready for spring. It was a lot of fun and full of lively conversation to go along with the work.

In the afternoon, I puzzled over the book’s ending, because it was pulling me away from the original outline.

Later in the afternoon, I watched the Kentucky Derby. A friend was riding, but I didn’t have a favorite horse this year, so I didn’t feel I had as much of a personal stake in things.

Diana Rigg and her daughter guest-starred together on DR. WHO — always interesting to see that type of dynamic. Between this and GAME OF THRONES, Dame Rigg keeps busy. She will also be Emma Peel in the AVENGERS to me, though. The ultimate kick-ass heroine.

Sunday morning, I sucked it up and finished the book. The draft is DONE. Now, I put it aside for a few days and, on Wednesday, dig into revisions. I have about ten days for the revisions. Less time in between and to revise than I’d like, but that’s the reality of this particular situation, so I must step up.

Wrote a little book illustrated with photos for my friends, whose son turned one yesterday. They had a Cinquo de Mayo party in his honor over in Sandwich. Great food, margaritas and fun. I ate too much — which was good, since it was the first time I’d had tequila in quite awhile!

This morning, the Manuscript Prep Tip is already out, and I have to work with students, do some freelance work, and decide which drafts to work on. I need to get back to the non-fiction book today — it’s behind where I’d like it to be. I’m going back to the adaptation, and I think LEADING OPPORTUNITIES is next up in the drafting queue. I’ve also got a short story to finish and get out this week, and another one tugging at me. I also have to follow up on the February pitches and land a few more short-term gigs for the month.

Back to the page!

Devon

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Partly sunny and warmer

The weather was gloomy much of the weekend, and I just didn’t feel like doing ANYTHING. I gave myself Saturday off– just read, played with the cats, fussed at the plants, that type of thing.

Read some gardening books and a mystery that was decent, but not brilliant. I liked it well enough to stay up Saturday night until I was finished with it, but it’s not making my top ten list.

Saw the premiere episode for the new season of DR. WHO, which was pretty entertaining. I like the show anyway. I missed Matt Smith’s first season as the Doctor, because I didn’t have BBC America in New York, so his performance was new to me, and quite fun. Alex Kingston is in it, and I really like her work. There’s a great sense of play between the cast, a sense of fun, which comes across. I always adored David Tennant’s work in the role (but then, I’ve never seen him in a role where I didn’t like his work), but it’s nice to see how each actor can really jump in and make it unique.

Still having trouble with Safari, which is not acceptable. I’ll have to call Apple Care to figure out what’s going on. I’m getting into everything through Firefox, but it doesn’t give me the flexibility I’m used to with Safari.

Still waiting to be paid for the last workshop. I wonder what the next excuse will be. Not acceptable.

Sunday started gloomy, but the sun came out in the afternoon and it got warmer. We put up most of the storm windows, put down the screens, and opened the windows. The cats were fascinated. In the apartment in NYC, we were on the 8th floor and in Rye, the 3rd floor, so being close to the grass and the birds and the squirrels is new. There was one bird in a very crochety mood, stomping around the yard. He tried to eat an oak leaf, spit it out, and complained. It was so funny!

When I sat outside reading a book for a bit, a spider was very busy around the Adirondack chairs (In my belief system, one does not kill a spider unless it’s poisonous and attacking you). When I went back out later, for my evening glass of wine, she’d spun her web tying both chairs to the side rail of the porch. She was busy! It was funny.

I did my write-up for Confidential Job #1 and sent it off, so, hopefully, they’ll send my next assignment this week.

I re-read Madeleine L’Engle’s A CIRCLE OF QUIET, the first of her four Crosswicks Journals. Very soul-refreshing. I love what she says about writing and parenting, and many other things. I disagree with her on spiritual issues, but that’s okay — it’s still interesting to read about how and why she gets there.

Yes, I should have worked in the yard, but I was tired and needed a break. And it was nice to read a book in the sun with a warm breeze wafting past.

Today, the next workshop starts — with a different organization than the last one (who still hasn’t paid me). I posted everything they need to get started, and off we go. I’m excited about this class, it’s “Setting as Character”, and it was developed specifically from requests from students in other classes. I’m making a real effort not to let any bad energy from the last class affect this one.

I hope that this week will be productive as far as THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY goes. I need to get back on track with that. I know what I want to say, I know the direction in which I want to go but I’m having trouble getting there. I hope if I push through the current problematical section, the next bit will flow better. I may cut this section in the revision, but unfortunately, I need to write it in this draft, in order to GET to the next bit. Last night, as I fell asleep, a piece I’d put aside during the move started tugging at me again, but it has to wait its turn.

I’m hoping this will be a quiet week at home, with lots of writing and maybe some gardening done.

Devon

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 7:15 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Sunny and warm

Woke up at four, but that was too early to get up. Went back to sleep, slept through the alarm, and was late going for the run. It was so light, and I felt so exposed. But I did my double circuit anyway. I prefer to go just as dawn breaks, experiencing the changeover from dark to morning. And there are fewer people and cars out, too. Although the guy running with his golden retriever on my last circuit was pretty funny. The dog. The guy was fine, but the dog, in typical golden retriever fashion, came over and was all, “You wanna run, right, right, right? Play? Play? Pet me, pet me, pet me? ‘Cause you wanna play, right, right, right?”

One of the struggles I have with POWER OF WORDS is that, no matter how strongly its story wants to be told, I don’t see where it will slot once it’s completed and polished. It’s going to be a damned hard sell, and I worry about spending time on it when there are other projects in the queue that are more likely to sell. Since this is how I make my living, I don’t just get to write whatever I feel like writing. I have to balance it with what brings in the money in a timely fashion. It’s finding a way to juggle the multiple projects without anything getting dropped that’s always the challenge, charting out the individual day to get it all in, and make sure there are enough short turn-around, quick-pay projects to keep the bills paid. If I try to ignore the project that’s calling loudest in order to work on something that’s ahead of it in line, the creativity freezes, the muse turns her back, and that’s it. NOTHING gets done. But unfinished projects drain creative energy, so putting something aside to work on something else is also counter-productive. They have to be worked on in tandem, and that becomes a challenge. Someday, I hope to get advances large enough to cover a few months’ bills and royalties coming in that are large enough and regular enough so I don’t have to worry about short-turn-around, quick-pay projects. If I want to take on something like that, I can. Frankly, working on a short story in the middle of a novel gives me energy, because I’ve got the momentum of completion on my side and I can funnel that back into the novel.

So I hear Matt Smith is awesome as the new Dr. Who. I loved David Tennant’s work — but then, I love most of his work. When we get the new DW episodes over here, I look forward to seeing what they do with it. Those of you in the UK, what do you think?

All kinds of technical difficulties on the workshop forum made the weekend particularly frustrating.

I need to take a breath this week and really think about whether or not I want to teach another workshop for this group again. I truly appreciate the students. I pushed them very hard, didn’t cut slack, and most of them rose to the challenge; but, overall, it has not been a positive experience, and cost me far too much in time, lost income, and creativity. Because the lost income influences the other two enormously, that’s been the biggest issue. What I was paid was out of proportion to the amount of time and energy necessary to make the workshop valuable. I’m not going to punish the students because of the situation and give them less than they signed up for because I made a mistake in the negotiation. Live and learn, right? Honestly, at this point, I’m ready to say I’m done with teaching ANYWHERE, but that’s not a rational decision, it’s coming out of a huge place of frustration and anger, much of which is my own fault. So, I’ll take a breath, try to negotiate some more safeguards, and make choices from there.

This past week in general was a test on several fronts. On two occasions, I chose to be gracious instead of confrontational. Not because I wanted to be a hypocrite, but because I felt erring on the side of politeness would get us all farther in the long run. I nearly bit my tongue bloody, but I got through it. Hopefully, the gamble will pay off.

I am just tired, tired, tired. It doesn’t matter how many hours I sleep, I’m still exhausted, because it’s about so much more than actual sleep.

I read Book 3 of CE Murphy’s Walker Papers series, COYOTE DREAMS. Again, I really liked it. Normally, the amount of narration she uses would drive me away from the books and make me cross my eyes and put it down. But she uses narration actively and specifically, even when there’s a lot of it. And, let’s face it, it’s the best way to communicate the shamanic journeys. She’s chosen the best and clearest way to tell her very interesting stories, and it works. I’m learning as much about craft as I am enjoying the books just to enjoy them. I also recommended them to the class. I want to track down books 2 & 4 now, and her other series.

The writing has not gone well these past two weeks, and that has to change. I’ve got deadlines coming up, and if the work I submit is crap, it won’t matter that I met the deadline. If I miss the deadline, I miss my shot. So, not only do I have to hit the deadline, it has to be GOOD.

On an up note, I got a request for a partial from an agent. I’m pleased, and I’d like to find a partner in the business aspect of all of this, but agents have to be so specialized nowadays that I despair on finding someone who will represent the whole package of the writing, not just a piece of it. I’m simply not going to stop writing in different genres. I’ll write in whatever genre serves a particular set of characters best. Nor do I want to stop writing plays — I love them too much. The theatre is my home, on many levels. I don’t want multiple agents — I want one person who believes in my work and my worth. That’s why, to this point, I’ve only worked with a lawyer. But I’ve got too much going on to deal with every nut and bolt myself — I need someone used to kicking in the doors and doing the negotiations so that I can get my work done.

Can I just say this is all way too much like dating until you find The One?

Because, really, I’d rather not be a Literary Polygamist (which is what I call having multiple agents). And, as in dating, there are plenty of agents with whom I interact regularly whom I really like and respect, and yet who I know are not the right match.

This week, I’ve got to deal with the scumbag landlords.

AND, my new play opens this week, which I kind of keep forgetting, because of everything else that comes up. I know, how could I possibly forget something like that? Just shows how much is going on. I hear it’s going well, although they had to cancel a preview because they “weren’t ready”, which concerns me. Yes, that’s common in production, to push back a preview, but it still always worries me.

Elsa felt well enough to play with the Easter eggs I brought back from Prague (those intricately decorated ones), so that’s a good sign. Of course, then I had to dig Easter eggs out from under all the furniture. But, if she’s getting better, it’s all worth it.

A batch of ideas hit me all at once, and I scribbled some notes. A few of them are, I think, short projects, and I can get them out relatively quickly. One of them is longer, and I’ve started a notebook for the research and the situations and the details I need to figure out before I can even start a Writer’s Rough, much less any pages. Gotta love Strand Books — they get something in that ties in with a current project, they get it out to me. I love them madly, and they are the Bookstore O’ My Dreams. I’m so lucky that I can spend time there, or, at the very least, order from them when I can’t get there in person!

Finished the material for Confidential Job #1. Will send off the notes today.

I am so looking forward to having tomorrow and Wednesday off!

I had a GREAT writing session this morning, set in Jain Lazarus’s world, but with a different set of characters (not Hillary, from the story that moved from San Antonio to Bath, ME, but really wants to be set in San Antonio). Obviously, I’m missing Jain’s world, but this book, although there’s a loose tie to the same organization, definitely stands on its own. The entire story came to me yesterday, after I overheard a remark spoken in an interview by an actor whose work I admire. I was going to write an article in response, supporting the information in the interview and going further, but It got me thinking. Instead of treating it in its original realm of non-fiction, why not push the possibilities into fiction? I did some research, Edwina started kicking my ass and telling me I damn well better pay attention, and the whole structure of the piece revealed itself. I made a lot of notes, and the first 1600 or so words flowed easily this morning.

I’ll go back to finish the work for Confidential Job #1 and then do some work on the novella. I’ve also got to finish prepping an interview that goes up on BIBLIO PARADISE tomorrow. And wind up the workshop.

It’s the first really good day of writing I’ve had in far too long. If I get everything done that I need to (which includes some errands), I’ll treat myself with another session on the Edwina piece.

Back to the page.

Devon