Jan. 2, 2013: Racing into 2013!

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The winter doormat

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

2013 and here we are! Yippee!

Since I’m rather fond of anything with the number “13” in it, I’m a happy camper about the coming year.

First of all, today is the last day “First Feet”, the Jain Lazarus tie-in story, is available. So download it before the link is cut. 😉

If you didn’t get a chance to read my first recommendation of a book for the new year, Shirley Wells’s DYING ART, please hop over to A Biblio Paradise and check it out.

The GDRS are up — the answers to my questions (and those were hard to answer both honestly and compassionately) are here and my To-Do list for January is here. I’ve even managed to knock a few things off the list!

I worked more than I expected to yesterday — I meant to just hop on “for a minute”, but then got tied up in stuff. Which is fine; it needed to get done.

Both “When Words Align” and “Sensory Perceptions” start today, along with a private student, so I’ll have my hands full for the next chunk of time. I’m almost finished with the wacky proposal for my agent, I’ve been working on the next assignment from Confidential Job #1, I got a few pitches out yesterday, and am still working on the Twelve Days of Christmas stories. Glad I didn’t commit to writing, editing, and POSTING them for this cycle! I like the challenge of doing them, but some need to be circled back to for some additional work.

I need to spend time on the Astronomy assignments today — I’m falling farther and farther behind. The lectures are long — there are about 15 of them per week, instead of the usual 6-8 I had in other classes, and a lot of them are double the length. However, I’m not holding anyone else up, since I’m auditing, and I’ll just keep working. The next science class starts on Monday, so I don’t want to fall too far behind on this one.

Of course, I’ve got a bunch of other work to do today, too, trying to secure some income-generating work immediately for the New Year! Lots to do, but I’m excited for the New Year!

Baked scones this morning (test driving the recipe for Sunday). It’s fine. Not brilliant, but it will work. Wrote my 1K on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE.

And off we go!

Devon

Mon. Dec. 31, 2012: New Year’s Eve & Pens are Hopping!

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Iris investigates the centerpiece, a gift from Lori! Thanks!

Monday, December 31, 2012
Waning Moon
New Year’s Eve

I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s!

Better hurry and download the free Jain Lazarus tale, “First Feet” — it’s only available until January 2!

Busy weekend. Worked a lot on Friday, wrote a lot on Friday. Worked up the rough of my wacky proposal for the agent. I love it. I let it rest over the weekend, and will tweak it over the next few days to send to her later this week. Ran errands on Saturday, and did a little raking, since the storm was coming. Worked on getting out party invites all weekend.

We got about 4 inches of snow on Saturday night — not bad, considering. Did some party planning, did some cleaning up and re-arranging. Was highly irritated at the snow plow guy. As usual, he shoved snow INTO everyone’s driveways. To a point, that’s understandable, but he left a boulder-sized snowball in the elderly neighbor’s driveway. There’s no reason he couldn’t have pushed it another foot out of the way, except this guy was either inexperienced, incompetent, a dickhead, or a combination. I went over to help the neighbor.

Got my own driveway and walkway shovelled — it wasn’t too bad, except for the stuff shoved into the driveway by the plow. AND the fact that the plow destroyed the whole bottom of the front yard — again, it’s marked, there’s no reason he couldn’t have paid attention and stayed in the road. If the boulders hadn’t been there protecting the rest of the yard, he would have torn it up halfway to the house. Unacceptable. Yes, I took photos, and yes, I will be making noise to the town!

It looks really pretty, though, except for the damaged area.

Found Rosemary Edghill’s SPEAK DAGGERS TO HER, the first Bast mystery, and re-read it. Now I have the whole set to lend to Costume Imp when he comes up in spring. I have the materials prepped for tonight’s ritual, for tomorrow morning’s ritual, have to pick up a few things for the NYDay breakfast. I’m doing laundry (because I have this thing about going into the New Year with clean clothes), and will vaccuum and mop this afternoon. Changed all the beds this morning.

We lit a fire in the fireplace last night, the first successful attempt since we moved it. It was wonderful! So much fun, worked so well. We’ll be doing that a lot more all winter.

I’m still having fun with the Twelfth Night stories, although I’m a bit behind. The story on the Five Gold Rings was more complicated than I expected. Not longer – just more complicated.

I realized the idea I’ve been playing with for a few days is actually an Ivy de le Livre piece (she’s my horse-playng tarot reader character) that is BEFORE the pieces I’ve been working on. That opens all kinds of exciting possibilities.

Bill Moyers interviewed a fascinating writer named Junot Diaz — now I’m eager to read his books. What a thoughtful, articulate, intelligent man.

The president of the Writers’ Center shot me a few ideas, and I shot back a response this morning. This year will be exciting!

I’m very excited that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is circulating in the CLAMS library network! So, if you’re on Cape Cod — you can check it out of the library. What fun!

Lots to do to prep for the New Year. Have a safe and joyful holiday!

Stop by Biblio Paradise tomorrow — we’re starting the year with Shirley Wells’s latest! AND, stop by Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions tomorrow, where we start working on our New Year’s goals!

Devon

Wed. December 26, 2012: Holiday Writing Blitz

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold
Boxing Day
Second Day of Christmas

So what did you dream last night? That’s what January will be about!

My dreams were very confusing, between watching DR. WHO and reading most of Brandon Sanderson’s MISTBORN yesterday. Hopefully, the dream itself denotes creativity, not chaos!

I had a quiet Christmas Eve and Day. I’d offered to be on call for the Marine Life Center in case someone couldn’t come in, but didn’t hear from them, so I’m assuming they were covered.

I did some work on the Eve, wrapped packages, and wrote about 2700 words on the Dickensian Steampunk. This gives me the shape of it. Some of the characters are surprising me, in a good way. Now I can figure out where I want to go with it, and do a rough outline. I’m not yet sure where it fits in to the schedule, but I like what I’m doing with it, and where I’m going.

Worked on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. Didn’t realize, until I worked on them, how angry I am about a few things that happened last year. Full out fury and resentment. I’m glad I wrote what I did, but I’ll post something a lot more diplomatic! 😉 It helped to purge it and figure out what I can do differently and more positively next year, and made me realize I was right to cut ties with someone who’d been a major client last year, but whose business model and payment arrangements caused me a great deal of stress and pain. The client is not worth it. I am done. Although I prefer to transition between clients, easing out one as I take in new assignments, in practice, I find that I must take a leap and clear out the old in order to make room for the new, even when I don’t always know what that new is.

Dug out some of my old cookbooks that I hadn’t unpacked and re-acquainted myself with a lot of great stuff. Also, found some recipes I used to be very fond of and thought, “how could I have ever served THAT?”

Worked on the list and the menu for the Twelfth Night party. I have to design and start sending out invitations today.

Christmas Eve dinner was roast pork with a spice marinade, green beans in hollandaise sauce, mashed potatoes, and corn. All good.

We open our presents on Christmas Eve — a wealth of books made me happy. The cats LOVE opening presents — they help! I was up with the burning bayberry candle until after 2 AM (it has to burn all the way out on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve — can’t be extinguished and re-lit). Fortunately, I had the new Juliet Blackwell to keep me entertained — and the cats.

Up early on the Day for stockings and pancakes. Spent most of the rainy day reading, playing with the cats, and cooking the turkey. Yup, roast turkey, cranberry dressing, sweet potatoes, peas, and corn for dinner. We were too full to eat the plum pudding.

Costume Imp gave me a Brandon Sanderson trilogy for Yule, and I read most of MISTBORN yesterday. Love how he creates magical systems, and the detail in his world-building. I can learn a lot from him.

Wrote the first of the Twelve Days stories, which will need to be retitled, but uses the partridge in a pear tree theme. It was supposed to be four pages, and wound up being eleven. But it’s fun. I’ve got about half way through the second story this morning, writing four pages, and I think it will be eight. Will go back to that, once I’ve posted here and prepped tomorrow’s post for Writers Vineyard.

Will see how much I can get done on my list, but only planning to work a half day today. I want to finish that book and get some more writing done!

Have the self-clean function on for the oven — it was time. But it makes the house smell AWFUL.

I’m clearing up my desk, prepping folders for 2013, and, generally, trying to catch up on admin work over the last few days. I let the admin slide terribly last year, and now I have to make up for it.

Don’t forget to sign up before December 30 for “When Words Align” to get your WIP or revision back on track, and “Sensory Perceptions”, for a month of learning how to layer sensory detail into your work, taking it to the next level.

Devon

“First Feet”, the Jain Lazarus New Year’s tie-in is available as a free download here until Jan. 2.

Two holiday Nina Bell tales available via Payloadz! Read excerpts and find buy links here.

Even though Christmas is past, you can still enjoy “Just Jump in and Fly”, a comic/romantic/fantasy twist on Yuletide myths here.

Monday, December 24, 2012: Christmas Eve & Plenty of Stirring (Bowls, Pots, etc.)

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Monday, December 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Christmas Eve
Sunny and cold

Merry Christmas! It’s a frosty morning here, but beautiful.

Billy Root’s got some info on the free Jain Lazarus holiday story now available — for a limited time. Go visit him here.

Busy, busy weekend. Lots of food and fun. Caught up with schoolwork on Saturday, finishing off my World History course. Jeremy Adelman, the professor, truly opened my eyes and got me looking at the world and how and why patterns appear and continue in new ways, and I’m grateful to him for that. This class will stay with me, support, and influence my work for years.

I’m behind in the Astronomy course, but will catch up this week. Since I’m auditing it, rather than going for certification, I’m not under the same kind of deadline pressure.

Decorating is done, food shopping is done, cards are done. There are a few e-cards that have to go out today, but the rest is done. I also have to wrap presents.

MURDER’S INTOLERANCE is coming along well. I have the new manuscript deadline for CRAVE THE HUNT, which means that goes back into the roster as of January 1. I’m prepping the classes and the private student segments for the beginning of the year, and working on the new brochure. I’m working on my questions for Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions — and getting some surprising answers.

The Twelve Days of Christmas stories are coming along — they are pretty funny. Kurt and Daisy, my two protagonists, are pretty wacky. I am, however, glad I didn’t put the pressure on myself to write, revise, and upload them for THIS year — I think that would have taken the fun out of it. As it is, I can WRITE them over this year, then put them away, look at them over the summer, and offer them next year — which should be a ton of fun.

Got an idea for a pseudo-Dickensian steampunk — I’m making notes for it, so I can figure out how and when to add it to the queue.

I’m easing up on hustling work for the next couple of days, but by Thursday, I need to get back into the swing of it. I need substantially more dollars coming in for January than are currently booked. Part of that is extricating myself from some slow-paying and low-paying clients (a recurring theme for this year).

I have some articles to write over the next ten days — looking forward to that.

I’d offered to be the on-call backup for the Marine Life Center these next few days, but haven’t heard, so I’m assuming they’re covered.

The Solstice ceremony itself was lovely. I added in a remembrance for those in Newtown, CT.

I had to cut a whole section out of the post, because it overlapped too much with material from an upcoming article.

In any case, I intend to read a lot, write a lot, and cook a lot over the next few days.

I wish you a lovely, peaceful, and safe holiday!

Devon

Two Nina Bell comic mysteries available for the holidays! Excerpts and buy links here.

A romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide myths by Ava Dunne here!

New Year’s Day — First Day of the New Decade!

Friday, January 1, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold
New Year’s Day

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

I hope you all had fun entering it.

My Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for the coming year are up on the GDR site. Hop over, take a look, add your own if you like, or just use the questions for your own musings.

I had a pretty quiet day, reading and writing. Elsa’s not well again, so I was worried. I made an appointment with the vet for Tuesday morning, and am hoping that she won’t need to be rushed to emergency services before then. She was better in the afternoon, then had another bad bout in the evening, then got better during the night and into the morning.

I’m reading the biography of Emily Post that I bought at the Riverrun Bookstore in Portsmouth, ME right before Thanksgiving. It’s very good.

Burned bayberry incense and part of a bayberry candle for incoming prosperity and good health. Will burn more incense today and burn down the rest of the candle.

Started work on Universal Principles. Good start, but the scenes aren’t taking as many pages/words to write as I expected. Since this is a fairly fast-paced piece, I think that’s probably a good thing.

Lovely dinner of salmon in a garlic teriyaki sauce, sweet potatoes, leek-and-potatoes in mushroom sauce, and the rest of the green beans in hollandaise. Small group of friends made for a calm celebration, but full of laughter.

Blue Moon/Full Moon/Year End ritual went well. All of the cats participated, of course. They have to be right in the middle of EVERYTHING. Besides, they love ritual.

Set the herring over the “saintly” eggs and ate them before midnight, so long-standing family tradition fulfilled. Not a huge fan of herring. I really like smoked eel, but herring, not so much.

H’ors d’ouevres and champagne leading up to midnight. The general consensus is that my deviled eggs, which evolved from the SILVER PALATE recipe, are better than the “saintly” egg recipe I tried this year. Fortunately, I made both, so we could chow down.

The cats don’t usually pay any attention to alcohol, but, for some reason, champagne fascinates them — the bottle, the cork, the noise, the bubbles, all of it. It’s really funny.

So we had our toast to the New Year at midnight, threw open the windows (brr) to let out the old energy from last year and welcome in the new energy from the new decade. I opened the front door, took the big besom and swept out the old luck, making room for the new (and welcoming a lovely First Footer).

If you aren’t familiar with the custom of First Footing, download my Jain Lazarus adventure “First Feet” which weaves the custom into the story! 😉

People in the building started returning from their various parties aroudn 1 or 2 in the morning. Some numbnut slammed the door so hard that one of my display tables toppled over and about a half a dozen ornaments broke. So, later this afternoon, I will set up Ornament Hospital to fix them.

I’m not sticking to strict writing schedule today, since it is a holiday, but I do want to spend some time at the page. There was a very relevant line for today’s card in THE MEDICINE WOMAN INNER GUIDEBOOK: “The strands of life continually pull you from all directions until you take command of the reins of power within your being.” That’s a very kind, supportive way of saying, “No more excuses for not leading the life you want to lead.”

Off to make eggs benedict (another tradition: pork before noon on New Year’s Day), burn the incense, burn the candle, watch the Rose Parade. New Year’s morning ritual was lovely. Cornish hen for dinner with potatoes, carrot-and-parsnip, and I’m not sure what green vegetable yet. There are plenty of sweets for dessert, including a wonderful box of cookies from Costume Imp.

Today I will take as a holiday, a time of rest and renewal. Tomorrow I begin implementing the new GDRs. We had a lovely dusting of snow — it looks gorgeous around here.

Happy New Year!

Devon

New Year’s Eve!

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Full Moon
BLUE MOON
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowing!!!
New Year’s Eve

Holy crap, another year, another decade gone. Well, I’m ready for the next one. Oh, and by the way, I don’t have time for the world to end in 2012. I have too much to do, and the Apocalypse will have to make an appointment with me like everyone else! It’s really not going to work out until like 2075 or something, so just chill Horsemen, chill. 😉

I would not want to be in Times Square for anything – can you imagine, no toilets? And they don’t let you out once you’re in? Ick. When I had the apartment a block away and could see the ball drop from my window, it was really cool, but as the years progressed, I couldn’t even give a party, much less get home after my show because the whole Square is in lock-down. I’d have to go OUT — which I hated — until 1 AM. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that any more.

It’s snowing like crasy — looks like someone dumped a truck of powdered sugar all over everything. Lovely, especially since I don’t have to go out in it!

Dashed out early to the grocery store, came back, cooked like a mad woman all morning (hush, I can hear the comments all the way over here), packed things up, and delivered where they needed to be delivered, packed in the fridge what’s needed for today and tomorrow, did the errands for my mom, picked up the rest of the ritual stuff, and was home by about 3 PM. Poured a glass of wine and just could NOT face going in to the kitchen to even heat anything up for dinner. I’d had a huge lunch — because I needed the space in the fridge!

I’ve posted my year-end wrap up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. Not happy with my progress, but I feel I learned a lot, and if I apply it moving forward, it will have been worth it.

Forgot to mention I watched the Louisa May Alcott documentary/recreation on PBS the other night. Since Louisa is one of my heroines, and one of the reasons I’m a writer, I had to sit down and watch it. I enjoyed most of it, loved Elizabeth Marvel in it, but felt bad because it was obvious they were on a small budget, and those paper animation thingys just didn’t work for me. I feel bad about not loving the whole thing; after all, I know what it’s like to work on a shoestring production budget.

I ran into one of my best friend at, of all places, the gas station, on my way home from errands. Too funny! We both wanted to top off the tanks to start the new decade with full tanks.

My plans today are to stay home and read and write and do exactly as I please. Ritual tonight (blue moon/full moon, after all). Everything’s ready for that, food just has to be popped into the oven. We’ll toast in the New Year with some champagne, and I have to force down some herring before midnight (not fond of herring, but it’s a family tradition for good luck). Lots of yoga, too. I want it to be a peaceful crossing into the new decade!

If you haven’t downloaded “Just Jump in and Fly”, you only have a few more days. It won’t be available after January 6. If you didn’t get to read “First Feet” last year, it’s still available — a Jain Lazarus Adventure influenced by the first footing custom. It’s below the excerpt from OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so scroll down a bit. Enjoy!

Have a happy and safe New Year!

Devon

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I managed to get some errands done (everything in White Plains, which was great, so I didn’t have to criss-cross the county a half a dozen times), worked on the Billy Root story, worked on the article until the file went kaplooey (again), but that was about it. Oh, yeah, I got the January newsletter out. If you didn’t get your copy, drop me a line and I’ll send it to you; if you want to sign up, the link is in the sidebar.

Today, I’m hoping to coax the file back out and finish the article, which is already late, so I can get it to my patient editor. And I have a very long list of other things to get done as well.

I’ll post my January To-Do list up on the GDR site this afternoon.

Reminder: “Holiday Wish List” comes down on January 6 (tomorrow), so if you don’t have it yet and want it, visit the Ava Dunne page for the free download.

And if you haven’t downloaded the free Jain Lazarus story “First Feet”, you can do so here.

I had a good morning’s work on the Billy Root story, just over 1400 words. Nice way to start the day and week. I like viewing the world through his eyes. He’s much more scattered that Wyatt, and his emotions are much closer to the surface, but he’s a lot of fun. I’m about halfway through Chapter Two. By the end of Chapter Two, or, by the latest, the end of Chapter Three, I’ll be able to stop and outline the whole story, because I’ll have a strong enough idea of where I’m going.

I also have to update the Jain Lazarus character/continuity notebook soon – there’s a lot I need to look up, and it’s much easier if it’s all in the book, a single spot, instead of having to go back through the two books and the short story.

Now, if I can just get everything else properly organized, I’ll have a shot at getting things done this week, this month, this year. I’ve got three pitches to get out today, and at least one submission, along with all the rest.

To answer a couple of questions:
–I’m not an experienced astrologer, although I keep track of the moon cycles and the planets because I’ve found they impact my daily life and when I’m aware of what’s going on, it’s a good heads-up.
–Laura, I get the word bar at Zokutou. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get any of the Writertopia stuff to work for me.

Back to the page.

Devon

Billy Root story – 4,262 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4 / 60
(6.7%)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I just realized that I hadn’t yet posted today. I’ve been so caught up in the unusual quiet and the writing that I completely forgot.

If you haven’t downloaded the free Jain Lazarus story, “First Feet”, about my take on the tradition of first footing, you can do so here. Also, if you haven’t downloaded the free mushy holiday story “Holiday Wish List” (under the Ava Dunne name), you can do so here. The latter will only be available until Twelfth Night, and then it comes down.

I’m still having computer problems, but I’m trying to deal and not get frustrated in the same way I usually do. I’m limited in how much I can do; what I can do is prepare as much as possible so that when the computer goes on, it’s more about revision and getting the file ready for the editor than doing all the work on the computer. Less efficient, but I’ll get there in the end.

And I’m dreaming of my new computer.

I had a great yoga session this morning and did not want to get off the mat.

I had a quiet evening yesterday, getting some work done, but, mostly, resting. This morning, I started the next Jain Lazarus novel, the one from Billy Root’s POV. I don’t have a title yet, but I wrote 1547 words, which isn’t a bad start.

I also wrote nearly thirteen pages on The Lucy Gothic – once I tumble into that world, it’s very difficult to leave. If I’m clever enough to pull this story off, it will be something.

I’ve got two pitches to finish putting together and a short story submission to get out tomorrow – it needs one more read-through before I’m completely ready to hit the “send” button. I also need to set up the new pitch and submission logs for 2009 and do follow-up on anything outstanding from 2008 to which editors haven’t yet responded. I’m knocking one publication off my list completely – they don’t pay very well, they send me constant emails about the editor’s reading schedule, but don’t respond to my submissions or to my follow-ups asking (after eight months and more) the status of my submissions. So I’ve pulled everything, told them to delete me from the email list, and I’m done. I’m just not putting up with this unprofessional behavior anymore.

The answers to questions 13-25 for the 2009 GRDS are up on the site. Go on over to read them or comment or put up your own answers. Tomorrow, I’ll put up my To-Do List for the month.

Back to the page.

Devon

Billy Root’s story – 1547 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1 / 60
(1.7%)
Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 2:59 pm  Comments (4)  
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January 2, 2009

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Friday, January 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

The Jain Lazarus short story, “First Feet” is available as a free download. You can read an excerpt and then download it here.

I’m sorry it took me so long to get it up. I’m having horrible computer problems. It’s the same old refrain: Dell, Microsoft, and NitroPDF all suck, and I lose half my working day because these dishonorable companies, who are quick to take consumer money, do not honor their side of the contract, which is to supply products that WORK.

It will be good to get my new computer, and to hell with all of them.

Anyway, I’m happy with “First Feet”. It much more light-hearted than some of the other Jain Lazarus stories, yet gives more about everyone’s background, and when you read OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and the Billy Root story (that I begin tomorrow), you’ll go, “Oh, yeah, that goes back to ‘First Feet’.” At the same time, you don’t NEED to read any of them to enjoy each one separately.

I had a good couple of days, in spite of losing more than half my workday yet again today due to computer problems.

The weather was pretty bad on New Year’s Eve – a twenty minute drive took me an hour and a half. I was kind of shocked at how bad the roads were once I crossed the border into Connecticut. But I got there, unloaded the food, and prepared the h’ors d’oeuvres. (Five bags of food). Good thing I did, because the power went out. Fortunately, the fireplace is gas (wood-burning is better in my opinion, but beggars can’t be choosers) and the gas stove still worked, so we weren’t completely lost.

The power came back on a few hours later, which was a relief. It would have been a cold, dark night otherwise. They’re not big on candles or flashlights at this house. Good thing I always keep my Mag light in my bag.

We enjoyed a good chat by the fire with wine and cheese mid-afternoon. We had a fairly early supper (the salmon in mustard-wine sauce with spinach and mashed potatoes). And wine. Buche de Noel for dessert. At 8:30, we had the traditional herring salad – only, because I can’t stand herring, I mixed it with chopped egg, scallion, and sour cream. If I say so myself, it wasn’t bad. With more wine, of course.

We brought out the devilled eggs and the smoked salmon/spinach appetizers around 11, along with the champagne and happily kicked 2008 out the door, welcoming in 2009. I am so READY for a new year.

I was up early the next morning, grateful for a few minutes of peace and quiet to do my yoga. The past few years, I’ve been so used to going on yoga retreats that a grown-up house party weekend felt odd. I’m not used to being around people for such a stretch, even people I like.

Anyway, we had a big bacon-and-eggs breakfast, complete with more champagne (either with orange juice or cranberry, depending on what people wanted). We watched The Tournament of Roses Parade, always one of my favorites, while I prepared the duck.

I roasted the duck with a combination of fennel, shallot, and rosemary – quite good. The mashed potatoes were such a hit it was requested to have mashed potatoes again instead of roasted potatoes – no problem. And steamed green beans with hollandaise. And, of course, more wine. And more of the Buche de Noel for dessert.

It quickly came back to me how much I hate taking the remainder of the duck off the bone; next time, I may go to the butcher and ask just for duck breasts and duck legs instead of the whole duck.

Some of the rest of them stayed to watch football, but I packed up and came home in the late afternoon. The cats had plenty to tell me, and, frankly, I was tired. I had a good workout session at night and just took it easy. I don’t have an alcohol-related hangover, because I drank very little over long stretches of time; but I’ve got a food hangover. Thirty-six hours focused on food and drink.

In spite of everything, I managed over a thousand words on the Lucy Gothic project while I was gone.

Had a slow start this morning, but did my yoga and set back to work getting “First Feet” up. It was ready to go, it was just a case of the computer freezing, locking files, refusing to upload, Nitro PDF refusing to open, etc., etc., etc. for about six hours.

Oy.

But the story’s up. I think I’m going to take a break before I tackle another file, an article file that’s on deadline and with which I’m also having trouble, due to technical difficulties beyond my control.

I’ll make it an early night tonight, I think. It’s snowing again, which is fine with me, since I don’t have to go anywhere. I have a long weekend of writing ahead of me, but I have every intention of pacing myself.

The first set of answers to GDR questions will go up either later today or first thing tomorrow. Make sure you hop on over to the GDR site to take a look and post your answers to the questions, should you wish.

Devon