Tues. April 30, 2019: Conference Wrap-up and New Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ever so much to talk about, and some things about which I’m not yet ready to talk about, because I’m still mulling them over.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the April wrap-up. It should be up within a half hour of this post.

This past weekend, I was a presenter at the #NECRWA conference in Burlington, MA. It’s one of my favorite conferences, because it’s relaxed and upbeat. It always gives me a lot to think about.

I re-connected with some people I knew from before, met new people, met some people I knew from online and this was the first time we’d met in person.

The weather was awful on Friday. I had the car packed early, and left a little before noon. Usually, it takes me about 3 hours to get there (and it’s only outside of Boston) because of traffic. I’d managed to time it so it only took two hours.

My room was ready; I checked in and it took 2 luggage cart trips from car to room to get everything up. Made me think maybe I brought too much stuff.

The hotel had a renovation. It’s very upscale business traveler with dark wood and shiny counters and a huge TV. My room had a kingsized bed AND a chaise longue, with which I immediately fell in love. The bathroom was all shiny counters and frosted glass.

I unpacked, tried to rest up a bit, looked through the conference materials. I also worked ona book I have to review.

Freshened up and went downstairs for the cocktail hour. They served us a buffet dinner, too, courtesy of Red Feather Romance. That definitely got our attention — feed us! 😉

I had some interesting conversations. One with a writers’ group who’d travelled here together to attend — their members were from Western MA and upstate NY. I had another conversation with some early career writers who didn’t even try to hide their contempt that I’m with a small publisher and that I talked about craft and the importance of a good editor, and how much I value both my editor and my copy editor. They plan to self publish, and, according to them, “craft doesn’t matter, because Kindle readers don’t care.”

I beg to differ.

I found that arrogance rather off-putting, and wondered if that would be the tone of the conference.

The Literacy signing was after the dinner. I prefer it when it’s at the end of the weekend, when I’ve gotten to know some of the authors and have an idea of their books. I felt like I “should” buy a lot of books, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and I felt guilty when I browsed a table without buying.

I went back upstairs to decompress a little and read more of the book for review.

I also set up my rolling rack for tomorrow, went over the presentation again. Second-guessed myself on every item I brought and every slide I chosen; wondered if I should revise the presentation. But that way madness lies.

Tried to watch television, but it was lousy. I’m not missing anything by giving up cable.

Got an email from that new-to-me editor who wanted yet more information about why the topic — an underused resource that can generate more income for freelancers — is relevant to his site, which is supposed to be about generating income for freelancers. I have now written more than twice the word count ABOUT what the actual article would run. For a publication for which I’ve written a half a dozen times, and where I never had to jump through all these hoops for the other editor.

Makes me think we are no longer a good fit, and perhaps it’s time to move on to another dance partner.

The bed had one of those pillow top or memory foam things. I felt like I sank so far down it would cover me and smother me. It was comfortable; I’m just used to a much firmer mattress.

I woke up once at 4 AM with a horrible headache, but got back to sleep, and got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. I like writing in hotel rooms. There aren’t many distractions.

On my way to the first session, I stepped outside for a few minutes — and the headache went away. I realized that I can’t open the windows in my room, and I always sleep with my window cracked. I’m not used to recycled air.

A few minutes outside, even in the rain, helped.

Before the first session, I talked to some people who live in Central MA about the benefits of living there. They love it, because one can get to anywhere from there. It was great to hear them talk about what they loved about the area, how it’s changing, what frustrated them. The arts community seems much more vibrant and able to earn a living than it is here.

The first session was great, about burnout. Emily Nagoski was the presenter. Her handouts and worksheets were great. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the crossroads I’m facing right now. I also want to get a quote from her for an article I’m writing.

Went outside for a few minutes in between sessions, then went to a panel discussion where the participants frankly discussed money. We all agreed not to share these authors’ actual financial details outside of the room. But some of their approaches and concepts were interesting.

I was surprised — at this panel and elsewhere in the conference — by how large a percentage of the incomes are via Amazon’s Kindle direct. I’ve always avoided them because I don’t like the contract. My small publisher distributes digitally through Amazon, but my contract is not directly with Amazon, but via my publisher.

Also, the volume at which some of these authors are turning out books. There’s one full-time author who has published 70 books in the last 11 years. She’s earning money, she’s winning awards. She’s turning out quality work. She’s got audio books and translations out.

I always thought I wrote reasonably fast, but I couldn’t keep up that pace, unless I had a full staff to run the rest of my life.

I’m wondering if I should run an experiment, and have something that is more typically genre run through KDP/Unlimited to see how the returns differ.

The downside to that (apart from the qualms I have about the KDP contract) is that having only one book in that pipeline isn’t going to do much. I’d need at least three.

Three books that are separate from anything I currently have on contract, when I’m already on a brutal contract schedule.

Of course, a new pseudonym and a new idea for a series, even its title, came bursting forth almost immediately.

Whether I choose to go KDP or not, I’m kind of in love with this idea. It fuses with a couple of other ideas I’ve been playing with, and mixes the mystery and romance genres in a beautiful location.

I even have the opening line, which is a kicker.

The problem is — when will I be able to write it? We’ve already rescheduled THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m on track for GRAVE REACH, but I can’t let the other two fall by the wayside.

I have to get back into the Jain Lazarus Adventures later this year, revising CRAVE THE HUNT, and my editor and I have to go over the first two, seeing if we need to make any changes.

I have to get back on track with the JUSTICE BY HARPY books. The first book is in great shape; the second two, not so much. Since all three have to release close together, that’s a challenge.

I want to get THE FIX-IT GIRL out on traditional submission, and work on THE TIE-CUTTER.

And, of course, there’s always GAMBIT COLONY that pulls whenever I’m stressed to blow off steam.

I have a radio play going live in May. I have another radio play due in Florida in the next couple of weeks, and requests for more; I have ANOTHER radio play to send to MN as soon as I’m done with it.

I have a play due in NY at the end of May for a contest.

I have to get into the MFA to research Canaletto and the Bibiana families so I can start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters that’s due at the end of the year.

I have to finish the anti-gun violence play (because it’s not like that issue will be solved any time soon).

I have to keep working on WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, and test the monologues.

I have to write the play about the two infamous women authors.

I have articles to pitch and write, and other marketing writing that keeps a roof over my head. I have contest entries to finish, books to review, a couple of speaking engagements coming up.

I have to come up with a new marketing strategy for my books.

How do I make it all work? Especially when, right now, I’m exhausted? And deal with the garden? And I probably have to face some major life changes in the upcoming months.

I’m not sure. I have to take some time to sit and think. To prioritize. To push myself to get it all done.

To do it without killing myself.

Hence why the burnout workshop was so relevant.

Outside, took a few breaths of fresh air, then back in for a seminar on ebook pricing. Some of which directly contradicted what worked for some of the authors in the last seminar.

One interesting thing that came up was to set the first book in a series perpetually at 99 cents. I’ve played with that idea. I don’t want the people who are excited by a new release to feel screwed if I lower the price of the first book to 99 cents and keep it there. My publisher is open to discussing pricing changes, but is more in favor of limited-time discounts than a permanent change.

A few months ago, I was advised that I should lower the price of ALL the earlier books whenever I have a new release out. I balked at that idea, as did the publisher. Because then why should people order the book when it first comes out? They know it’ll come down in price a year later when the next one comes out. In the interim, I might lose them anyway.

It was also brought up that $1.99 is an awful price. I put my Delectable Digital delight shorts at 99 cents (making sure people understand they are SHORT). My publisher usually has novellas or short novels at $1.99 or $2.99 if they’re almost up to category length. Now I’m wondering if we should go up to some funky price like $2.09 or $2.49?

Yeah, this is just what my publisher wants. Me to come back from a conference full of ideas that aren’t new books! 😉

The lunch buffet was fun. I got to catch up with a friend who has nine books out under one of her names, and is about to launch a cozy mystery series under another. Can’t wait to read all of them!

Met another author, Jillian David, whose presentation I missed (and I felt guilty for so doing, because I really liked her). I now can’t wait to read her books, either.

The lunchtime keynote was Penny Reid, who was funny and heartfelt, and now I have another new-to-me author to read. That’s one of my favorite things about conferences — finding new-to-me authors whose work I can gobble up.

I found Kilby Blades, who was presenting the two sessions before mine in the salon we would all share, to ask if she minded that I brought my rack down and stashed it before her session started. She was cool with it. I didn’t want to just show up with a bunch of stuff and presume I could take up space.

I attended both of her marketing sessions which was useful. She navigates how to use best business practices in marketing and then morph them for the weirdness that is the book business. It helped me rethink some strategies, and I will have a lot to discuss with my publisher’s new marketing director soon!

There were some elements that gave me a headache. Charting daily sales–I know it’s useful, but I’d much rather look at weekly or monthly breakdowns. But as we work on new marketing strategies, the daily fluctuations and the importance of serious testing matters. The same way it does when I do it for other people.

I wish it wasn’t so much easier to market for someone else than to market myself!

Then, it was my turn.

My audience was great, but I was not happy with my performance. I talked too quickly. I didn’t share enough anecdotes from the set (only two or three). I meant to talk about heirloom pieces that are passed down and how they have meaning, and didn’t. I meant to tie in to some of the other sessions, and it flew right out of my mind.

I was frustrated with myself because it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the only one to blame was me.

I shouldn’t have cut reading the passage from a friend’s book about how a couple of characters cleaned up for a funeral. That would have been a good addition. But when I timed a rehearsal, it made the session run long without time for questions.

As I said, my audience was great. I could have been better. I did not live up to my own expectations.

I packed up, took everything back up to the room, and changed for dinner. I wore Cupcake International pieces all weekend — I was a walking advertisement for them. But the pieces were fun and comfortable and flattering.

Dinner was good. I sat with some people who’d been in my session, and another woman from NH who was lovely. We had a great talk about life in New Hampshire and a whole lot of other things.

Sonali Dev was our Keynote, and she was wonderful. She said something that resonated. “We write because we refuse to be silent.”

Again, gave me a lot to think about.

I was exhausted and my mind going a mile a minute after dinner. I didn’t join the debrief sessions; I went upstairs. I finished reading the book for review, and made notes.

I made some notes on some new ideas. I tried watching TV, but there was nothing I wanted to see. Packed everything up.

I pondered all the information I’d gathered. It will take me awhile to sort it all out and decide how best to put it to use.

Woke up at 1 AM and got back to sleep. Woke up a little after six. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. Breakfast.

Had the car loaded and was gone a little after 8. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was home by 10:30.

Unloaded. Put stuff away. Unpacked. Sorted laundry. Unpacked the handouts and bookmarks and other things I picked up at the conference. It will take me a few days to go through them.

I usually go through them the day of or the day after. But I was too tired.

I don’t get why — I hardly drank at all. I usually spend more time at the bar at conferences, and I didn’t this time around. But I feel more worn out than when I spend most of my free time in the bar. Here I tried to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I’m still wiped out.

Probably because this was at the end of a long, stressful month.

Tried to rest on Sunday. Wrote the review. Read some other books. I gave myself the day off from contest entries.

Monday was back to the normal routine, although I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

Got some writing done in the morning, although it wasn’t very good. Played with my new idea. That world is coming into focus surprisingly clearly. Although I don’t want to be arrogant about it, so I ordered a bunch of research books from the library.

Returned what I’d borrowed for the conference. Spent time onsite with a client. Turned in my review.

Cancelled out of my mid-afternoon appointment because my brain was mush and I was making stupid mistakes.

I’d walked out of the house without my phone. Meant to pick it up after the session with my client and before leaving for meditation group. But, of course, I walked out without it — mostly because the cats caught a little, tiny mouse, and I felt horribly guilty about her demise. I mean, I don’t want mice in the house, and I’m glad the cats did their feline job — but I still felt awful about that poor little mouse, and buried her in the yard.

Meditation was good. I felt better and more focused after, although still tired.

Read a couple of Tracy Kiely’s Nic and Nigel Martini books over the past two days. They’re a lot of fun.

Went to bed early; overslept this morning.

Got some writing done, but not enough. Still mulling things over in my head.

Onsite with a client most of the day, then I have to get some work done at the library.

More contest entries to work on tonight, and I’m starting to enter the scores into the digital sheets.

Was assigned my next book for review.

I have to get going on the thank yous and follow ups from the conference today and tomorrow. I don’t want to let that slide.

And I have to get on a more productive writing schedule. I think I have to add a second writing session into the evening for the next few months. The morning at 1.5-2K is okay (although it makes me feel very slow). But if I can add in another 1K session in the evening, I should be able to get back on track. Maybe I can up it a little on weekends.

Mostly, though, I’m so, so tired. My body is tired and my brain is tired. I’m seriously thinking of taking a few days off this weekend, except for contest entries, and then starting up again with the new moon.

But the conference was great, and it gave me a lot to think about. Now, I have to sort through it, and, most importantly, APPLY WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

Because otherwise, it’s just time spent without gain.

Back to the page.

 

Wed. Dec. 5, 2018: Mercury Retrograde Strikes

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Day before dark moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
St. Nicholas Night

Yesterday sucked. Big time.

I was up a little after 2, fretting about a situation that I have to deal with and that screws up my timeline for things over the next few months.

I had trouble getting back to sleep; once I did, I was disoriented when the alarm went off.

I went to my mom’s bank to handle some banking for her. The ATM ate the card; I went in to get it back and was told I couldn’t. I’d have to bring her in to do paperwork, and maybe 7-10 days until a new card. I said, no, you advertise one can get a same-day card. But I had to go home, get her out of the house, down to the bank, and get the new card done.

Then I had to spend a couple of hours changing the card in all the relevant places. She doesn’t keep it on file with too many places, for security – although this damn bank will let any random person pull from the account, but heaven forbid the account holder have access.

On site with the client was okay. We got a few things worked out; we have a few more things to work out. It’s exhausting.

I got a little bit of writing done in the morning, and a couple of articles. I finished the review and got it out. I worked on the update for “Too Much Mistletoe” — I do love Nina. I love her passion and the fact that she’s a romantic wrapped up in cynicism.

Finally got some more work done on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I didn’t want to ruin the momentum I got going last weekend.

I have a stack of books on Degas. It’s a single reference in the scavenger hunt for DAVY JONES DHARMA, but if I don’t get it right, the murder won’t be right.

Tonight is St. Nicholas night – one of my favorite family traditions. We’ll have lovely chocolate tomorrow.

Today will be another challenging day with a client.

All I wanted was a few smooth weeks so we could enjoy the holidays.

I’m exhausted.

 

Published in: on December 5, 2018 at 6:17 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 5, 2018: Mercury Retrograde Strikes  
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Wed. Nov. 4, 2015: Dealing with Loss, Pushing the Writing

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015
Waning Moon
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was busy. The Come Write In! session at the library was a lot of fun. Really nice group. I got a little over 1700 words written in longhand. Between the two projects, it brings my nano word count to just over 13K, which isn’t bad. It will drop substantially during the second part of the week because of my schedule, but that’s life. As long as I show up every day to the page, it will work.

When that was done, I helped set up the test run of the Christmas tree as a dry run for Spectacle of the Trees. We wanted to see what we still need, and we also wanted to have it up for tonight’s donor event. It looks really nice.

Iris and Tessa are renegotiating their relationship. They also both still search for Violet. Iris and Violet were litter mates and have never been apart in their entire lives. Iris howled and howled yesterday, completely grief-stricken. It’s heartbreaking.

Even though I got home mid-afternoon, I was exhausted. I’m exhausted all the time lately. I got some reading and research done, and we started raking leaves. Of course, by this morning, it doesn’t look like we raked at all.

One of the biggest challenges between switching back and forth between the two novels is that they’re both written in the first person, but the protagonists are very different from each other. It takes me awhile to drop back into the voice of one or the other.

This morning’s work on CHOLERIC is difficult. I wonder if I should have pushed through yesterday, because I was on fire and ready to start at the argument scene in the restaurant. Today, when I worked on it, it felt flat. Very frustrating. Hemingway (I think) always said to stop in the middle of something vital so you can pick up with energy; that doesn’t work for me. I need to finish the beat or I lose it.

So, today, I’m a little tired and discouraged. It doesn’t help that it will be a long day at work with an event after that should be uplifting and lovely, but I don’t feel up to it. And tomorrow morning is a meeting I’m dreading, because I always wind up feeling frustrated and discouraged when I come out of that particular committee’s meeting.

I can’t wait until the weekend. I want to get some serious sleep, if I don’t get off the waiting list and into Crimebake.

Devon

Published in: on November 4, 2015 at 10:34 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Sept. 11, 2015: 14 Years — Change and Changes

Friday, September 11, 2015
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

The 14th Anniversary of 9/11. There’s always a struggle to balance the need to build new memories connected to the day and to keep it sacred – at least for me. At this point, I still don’t want to do anything other than be in quiet remembrance. I have no problem with other people doing whatever it is they need to do in their lives. What I do have a problem with is people trying to make ME do what THEY think I should do.

The weather took a turn for the worse yesterday, but it was actually a good thing, because we needed the rain.

Home, tried to rest up. Part 1 of the Sept. 11 honoring ceremonies was last night. Most of us didn’t know each other when it happened, but have met since, and thought it might make more sense to try remembrance together instead of separately.

Up early, finished cleaning. We have company visiting for just a couple of hours early this evening from CT, and then the second of the ceremonies.

The levels of exhaustion I’m fighting are immense. I need next week to figure out what I need to adjust so I don’t feel so beaten down all the time. I left New York for a slower pace and a better quality of life. The people around me live at a slower pace, but expect me to pick up the slack, and, um, no. Not unless you’re paying me a boatload of money.

There are involvements I need to leave behind; the thought of separation with some of them makes me sad, but, in the long run, for my own well-being, it’s necessary.

Dearly looking forward to next week’s vacation. I need it even more desperately now than I did in May. May didn’t wind up being what I needed, so I need to make sure this coming week is.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Devon

Published in: on September 11, 2015 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 11, 2015: 14 Years — Change and Changes  
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Wed. Nov. 13, 2013: Submission Catch-Up

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

It snowed most of the day yesterday, so I stayed home and worked. Glad I got so much yard work done the previous day!

Didn’t get enough of my own work done, although I did some work in the development notebook, got out a few submissions, and found a few interesting submission calls. I’ve been focused so much on other people’s work that I feel drained when it comes to my own, and that has to change. My own work must always come first.

Got paid for a piece by someone I’d written off; always a good thing. Still waiting for a project that was promised nearly a month ago — no communication, no project. This is why I’ve started to ask for a non-refundable booking deposit.

Errands to run today, and tomorrow I’m out the door very early for an NMLC Board meeting.

I need a vacation, but there’s no chance of one anytime soon.

Devon

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 8:26 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Aug. 30, 2013: Brain Fatigue

Friday, August 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and warmer

Not very productive yesterday, although I got some stuff done in the morning. Suffering from brain fatigue, I think. Worked with students, got a few things cleared out of the way, went grocery shopping.

Read a terrific book, DEATH OF AN AMBITIOUS WOMAN by Barbara Ross. Really well-written.

Cooked a pork roast in a spice marinade, roasted fingerling potatoes, red cabbage, for dinner.

Giving myself the weekend off, my houseguest leaves Monday, and then it’s back into the writing routine. My brain needs the break right now, and I need to refill the creative well. I’m waiting to hear back on a few projects, and I can’t set my schedule until I know what’s coming through and what isn’t.

Thinking about applying for a residency for next spring. Not sure what to do. Tired of feeling like I’m on other people’s schedules all the time.

Devon

Published in: on August 30, 2013 at 6:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 30, 2013: Brain Fatigue  
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Mon. March 25, 2013: Sprouting Seeds and Scheduling Dilemmas

Monday, March 25, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Friday was a difficult day, and, frankly, there were times when I just wanted to give up. But I made it through. This week will be tough, but, hopefully, I will get through this, too.

I don’t remember much about Friday, except it was a blur of stress and pain.

Friday night’s rehearsal was a nice break, though. The actors are doing well, although they still have work to do. Friday was the painful rehearsal for them, where they realized that, in spite of all the good work they’ve done, there’s still more to do.

Came home late, exhausted.

Up early on Saturday. I filled in as the set-up person for the Tomorrow’s Writers Today program for teens at Barnstable Intermediate School, set up by The Cape Cod Writers Center. The people at the school were great, the teachers were great, and the kids were great. Terrific all around. At 10 AM, I handed off the program to the Executive Director.

The only thing about the experience that sent a chill through me was the postings, in every classroom, on “lockdown procedures” and “safe spots” set aside in every room. This is what it’s come to? It’s heartbreaking.

Came home, set up for the online Query Clinic, ran that.

Dealt with scheduling issues for the show. MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL is sold out, and we want to add a second show, but it’s getting it scheduled with the company that’s a challenge.

Received the grant money for SEVEN OF SWORDS, my other play, which just made me feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s not the amount (which was small, but fair), it’s the fact that we were respected enough, as playwrights, to be awarded money for our work.

Sunday was supposed to be my day off, and one that was badly needed, but it didn’t work out that way. Dealt with show stuff nearly all day, searched for stuff I needed for various projects, which led to reorganizing the storage unit over the garage. It looks great and I can get at everything, but I still didn’t get my hands on what I needed. So tired, I was shaking and dizzy.

The mesclun greens, bok choy, buttercrunch lettuce, speckled lettuce, and radish seeds all sprouted over the weekend. Very exciting! The tulips I planted in pots and overwintered in the garage are also blooming — lovely!

I have a meeting in Brewster this morning, and then have to deal with show stuff and the book. I’m supposed to have another meeting this evening, but there’s no way I can do all of it.

Didn’t get enough work on the book done, which upsets me. Worked with students, sent out a lot of pitches.

Have a blasting migraine, but have to work through it.

Devon

Published in: on March 25, 2013 at 7:12 am  Comments (3)  
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Thurs. March 14, 2013: Running on Empty

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I wasn’t feeling well, so yesterday wasn’t as productive as I hoped. I got some pitches out, worked on the synopsis for the new book for my agent, did some marketing, etc. I had a meeting about dealing with the trespasser — and he’s either being more careful or has backed off for the past two days. Got the batteries changed in the thermostat – -who knew it needed batteries?

Finished material for Confidential Job #1, and will write it up this morning and turn in the invoice — although the check hasn’t arrived from the last batch of work, which is unusual, and they’re “checking on it”. This client is very good about paying on time, so this is weird.

Watched the coverage of the new Pope. As someone who is not Catholic, the tradition, pageantry, and theatre of it all are fascinating.

Read a page-turner — THE ELDRITCH CONSPIRACY, by Cat Adams. I liked it a lot, and look forward to the other books in the series. I needed a break from reading what I HAVE to read, and read something I WANT to read.

As far as my own creative work, I feel drained and flat. I have to get past it, because I have deadlines, but the tank is empty. Still, I show up every day and push through, because that’s how it gets done, and sometimes the work that comes through on the hard days is what triggers a better flow.

The cats are being very clingy lately. I don’t know if it’s because they sense how much pressure and stress I’m under, or if something else is going on. I was so exhausted yesterday that I was shaking, so I made sure, after the meeting, I had a quiet afternoon and evening.

Today is meetings, back-to-back, all over the darned place, so off I go.

Devon

You can still sign up for March 23rd’s Query Clinic and get line-by-line support on multiple query letters.

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Tues. Jan. 10, 2012: Recovering from the Party

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Last Day of Full Moon
Cloudy and cold

I’m back! Good to be home! I’m fighting a cold, but, that’s the way it goes.

Got a lot of work done on Friday, and then it was party prep.

Friday night’s party was a ton of fun. Eighteen people in the little house, lots of food, drink, and laughter. Everyone talked to everyone, and got along. The food was good, the decorations looked good, we’d set up the buffet tables to work with the natural flow of the house — one could basically graze one’s way through the house. Turns out one of my colleagues at the Marine Life Center is the niece of the owner of the house!

Tessa Houdini slipped her harness twenty minutes in, but was much happier roaming and playing extra hostess. She never tried to dash out the door as people came and went. She had a blast, because everyone adored her. The other two hid.

We cleaned up after it was over and pulled down the boxes for the holiday decorations before going to bed.

I woke up feeling like I could sleep for a week. But we started taking down the decorations. It took all day, but they’re packed and put away. And a trip to the dump to get all the party debris out.

Then it was packing for the trip and leftovers, which was all we had the energy to heat up.

Up early Sunday morning, loaded the car, on the road a little after eight. Stopped in Niantic for some books (always a treat) and in Old Saybrook, where I found a few little things, then on to Greenwich. Dropped Costume Imp off at the train and my mom at her site.

Found out I the site has now locked wireless access, so I couldn’t use my own computer. I HAD to get online, so I borrowed a computer and caught up with students. Some of them are pushing boundaries — I am not on call 24/7, nor am I required to explain where I am, AND I’m allowed to take off a day here and there, just like anyone else. At the same time, I appreciate that they want to make sure I’m not lying in a ditch somewhere. One of the students, however, pulled an absolutely unacceptable manipulation move. To say I hit the roof is an understatement. The passive aggression and constant turmoil this individual causes must stop NOW. Line crossed. Unacceptable.

I thought I was shaking because I was so angry — turns out I was also running a fever and had chills. Broke it with good, ole-fashioned aspirin.

Up early on Sunday, back in the car. Drove straight through to the Cape — well, I had to stop for gas, but that’s it. The cats were glad I was home — it looks so bare without all the decorations! I have to do laundry and convert the big buffet table in my office back into the low workspace table and get back to the routine.

I was congested and feeling icky. Broke down and took a Sudafed, which has always been my go-to. Nothing but an upset stomach from it. So, when its term was done, I fired up the oil burner and mixed eucalyptus, tangerine, and pine oils, letting it burn for a few hours. I could breathe all night without distress.

My throat is a little scratchy, but, other than that, I seem in decent shape. Will hit the page for a few hours. I’ve also got to finish a review and type up the minutes for tonight’s meeting. Then, it’s checking in with the students in both classes. The Year-Longs are soldiering along (5 out of 12 have completed the first draft that has to be done by the end of the month). The 5-in 10-ers have their first flash fiction piece due today. Of the four pieces I’ve read so far, all four are excellent. They took the found inspiration and ran with it, kept their unique voices, and kept within the word count limits. The stories are lively and pack a punch. Good stuff! My new private student’s doing really, really well, too. I’ve got some polishing to do for tomorrow’s Webinar — I hope some of you will join me. It’ll be fun.

I’ve got a busy week ahead of me. It’ll be fun, but demanding. I’m also looking forward to next week, which I’m trying to keep very quiet.

Devon

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and bitterly cold

Okay, I’m officially tired. The Holiday Season officially caught up with me and kicked my ass. Hell, the whole damned decade caught up with me and kicked my ass.

For some reason, I have internet access this morning, so I’m posting from the site.

The cats were pretty angry when I got home yesterday to feed them. I dashed home to bring a bunch of stuff home yesterday and today, and will return from the job late tonight.

I was only home for two hours (can you say “even more pissed felines” when I left?) I’m having trouble finding the champagne I need for New Year’s. I need half splits, and can’t find the kind I like.

I worked on the GDR wrap-up for the year, which will post on New Year’s Eve. I’m pretty hard on myself, and blunt about where I failed — which is, basically, everywhere except that I managed to earn a living by my pen all year. But the “how” frustrates me. I thought I was getting all this great work done, and . . .I didn’t. And it’s my own damned fault, most of it due to time mismanagement. Really, I thought I did better than the GDRs reflect. I THOUGHT I was being very productive. Wrong! “Treading water” is just about it. And that’s just not good enough.

Hopefully, I can take what I learned and apply it moving forward. The GDRs for the New Year will post on January 1. January’s To-Do list will post on January 2. The next newsletter SHOULD (famous last words) go out on Twelfth Night. At least I found the cause for the past weeks of restlessness and frustration. Now, let’s hope I can come up with a cure.

I finished the Apocalypse story, and I hope to send it off today. I want to rework the ending a bit — it doesn’t quite have enough punch — but the rest of it, I really love. I kept the original premise, threw out what I’d written, and wrote nearly 5K of new material — ever so much better.

I’ve been having the oddest, most bizarre dreams. Since what you dream during the Twelve Days of Christmas is supposed to come true — let’s say that if I see any of this manifesting, I’m heading the other way!

Lots of work to do, must hop to it!

Devon

Published in: on December 29, 2009 at 9:35 am  Comments (4)  
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

I can’t believe it’s March 1! February will be known as “The Lost Month of 2009.”

Later today, or maybe tomorrow morning, I’ll post my To-Do List for March on the GDR site. March will be about a lot of catch-up from January and February.

We had a dusting of snow last night, like someone sifted powdered sugar over us all. It’s pretty, but we’re supposed to get a foot of snow tonight.

I’m kind of glad I’m not driving out to Long Island to see my show tonight – it would be rough getting home! Instead, I’m going out in a couple of weeks. I do want to see the production and meet everyone.

Elsa is pretty much the same – paying attention to everything, snuffily, taking her medicine like a good girl, eating everything she can get her paws on, opening the cat food cupboard and pulling out more cans, then getting frustrated because she can’t open them. I’m glad she’s not lying in a heap in the corner, but the respiratory stuff doesn’t seem to clear up at all. And I keep saying it – the Rescue Remedy seems to give her the most relief. When I give it to her in tandem with the antibiotics, she’s much better than with just the antibiotics.

I’m being careful to give all three lots of individual attention. They always get lots of individual attention, but they know something’s different, and I’m checking on Elsa every two minutes, so I have to give EVERYBODY extra attention.

I put up a “Buy My Books, Help My Cat” page on my website. If you know of anyone who might be interested in the fiction or the writing ebooklets (and are cat people), they can click on the link and it’s got all the information. Once Elsa’s all healthy again and the vet bills are paid, I’ll take down the page (after leaving a “thank you” up for a few days).

I got some work done yesterday, but, honestly, I felt quite under the weather, so I called it an early day. The first Bedtime Louie story, tentatively entitled “Death by Ice Cube” is going to be a heck of a lot of fun, but will need more research. I did some research on the subways and Jamaica racetrack in 1933, when I plan to set it, but wound up sending out quite a few emails to check historical details. When I first envisioned the story, who knew I’d have to find out whether or not the stop at Jamaica was an elevated subway or a trolley? Or that I needed to know if there was an admission fee at Jamaica racetrack in 1933 and how much it was? Yet, all those things come into play. I might have to make a trip in the next few weeks and go digging in some archives (one of my favorite things to do).

I went to bed at 7:30 last night and slept for 11 hours. Needless to say, I feel much better, revived and focused, ready to work on some fiction this morning, and then do some work for a client with energy and clear focus, which is what it deserves.

I made my infamous turkey chili last night – each time I make the recipe, it gets better. I like using actual chunks of turkey in it rather than ground turkey, and I’ve upped the cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder a bit to give it extra kick. And, instead of green peppers, I find celery tastes better in this particular concoction, especially since I upped the spices.

I might have to trudge out and get some more milk in before the storm really hits. But, other than that, it’s a day tucked home and working.

Hope the rest of your weekend’s great.

Devon

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 8:29 am  Comments (6)  
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