Friday, July 13, 2018: Wildlife Adventures and Proposal Writing

Friday, July 13, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I love Friday the 13th. It’s usually a good luck day for me.

It’s amazing how reader stats jump up if you title a post “Clown Semen.”

Feeling weary on many fronts. But, hey, deadlines and work that needs to get done.

Got out some LOIs yesterday, posted some copy, did some follow-up and scheduling. Didn’t get as much work done on RELICS or DHARMA as I needed to do, so have to make up for that today.

Mowed the terraced back area of the yard. Need to do the side front and no man’s land today. I like working with the push mower much better than the gas mower. Once the first long cut is done, it’s easier and the lawn looks better.

I still don’t like mowing, though.

I promised wildlife anecdotes, and therefore, you will have some. We don’t use chemicals in the yard and neighbors do; also, our yard is wilder and not as typically suburban as our neighbors’ yards. So the local wildlife hangs out here.

I haven’t seen much of the coyotes this year. Those of you who’ve known me for awhile remember a few years ago, when the coyote pair raised their pups in the yard. I saw a pair early in the season, but haven’t seen them (or any pups) since.

But we do have Bratty Bird, a nuthatch that comes on the deck and teases Tessa terribly. I think Bratty Bird’s wife made a nest in the hanging impatiens. It’s too high to see, but it looks like they built something in that pot. Bratty Bird bounces around, making demands on the deck, roaming around the tops of the chairs, laughing at us, complaining. Yesterday, I didn’t wash out the birdbath and put fresh water in fast enough to suit him (I change it every day to prevent standing water/mosquitos). Then, there’s a family of chipmunks living under a bush. The little ones chase each other along the terraced wall, and sometimes come up on the deck. Bratty Bird dive bombed them this morning. Then, there’s a family of bunnies living under the forsythia. They are really cute. They come out and munch on the dandelions.

It’s interesting to watch them do their thing.

Received my first Goddess Provisions box yesterday and it is wonderful. I’m having so much fun with the contents!

Worked on the international proposal for the play. I need to do some more work on it before it goes out today. I’ve been honing it this morning. I want to sound committed and focused. I keep cutting out qualifiers. I don’t want to sound egotistical, but I have to sound assertive and professional.

One of the radio play proposals can go out today, but I need to do some work on the other one.

Trying to finish reading a book that I don’t find tightly written and I don’t like the protagonist. I find her pretty stupid and lose patience with her every couple of pages. I’d put it down, but I like the puzzle aspect and the international locations. I’m also reading it to analyze WHY what doesn’t work for me doesn’t work and what I can learn from it.

It will be a pleasure to then re-read Ron MacLean’s HEADLONG this weekend, a book that excels in plot, character, and the beauty of the writing.

The weekend will be split between writing and yard work. Lots to do, and not a lot of time to get it done.

On Monday, I’ll have the mid-month check-in up at the GDR site, and, later in the week, the mid-year evaluation.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on July 13, 2018 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Friday, July 13, 2018: Wildlife Adventures and Proposal Writing  
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Fri. Oct. 13, 2017: Lucky Friday & Trying to Make Sense of Things

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles available now!

Friday, October 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I love Friday the 13th!

Yesterday was difficult, but ultimately worked out. I realize yesterday’s blog was focused on the feigned outrage in the entertainment industry rather than on the writing life, but it affects my writing life, and affected my work life for decades.

Difficult few days; not happy with the writing progress. Plenty of pitching. Frustrated at the usual lack of professionalism here in this area.

Absolutely horrified by the wildfires in California. I spent a great deal of time in Santa Rosa and Calistoga and Sonoma when I lived in San Francisco. How can we help? Not just with the physical rebuilding, but how can we help the trauma of those who’ve lost everything? For the lives, both human and animal, that are being consumed?

And what’s this about giving Puerto Rico “loans” to rebuild while awarding “grants” to Florida and Texas? Oh, yeah, Puerto Rico isn’t white. I’m tired of this racist government.

The world is falling apart, and those in DC just laugh and grift more to line their own pockets. It’s disgusting.

Sold an article yesterday on the basis of its pitch. Wrote it, will give it a polish, and it goes out today. Waiting to hear back on a couple of other things.

Fighting with the insurance company again about my mother’s upcoming surgery. I sent a fax from the library. The machine at the library had the wrong date, so the insurance company THREW THE FAX AWAY. Didn’t look at the contents or the signature or the fact that it came out of their fax machine on the right date. Not only that, they couldn’t be bothered to let me know, so if I hadn’t nagged them about where the answer was, I wouldn’t have known, the paperwork wouldn’t have been done, and we would have been screwed when we showed up for the surgery.

The insurance industry is the biggest fucking scam in this country. Again, let me re-iterate that one of my first temp jobs, many years ago, was typing jewelry policies for an insurance company. They were delivered to my desk via handtruck, several hundred at a time. This was in the days before computers, when I used an IBM Selectric.

The agents who worked around me had, posted above each desk, the direction, “Always Say No the First Time.” They were instructed to refuse EVERY claim the first time it was sent in. They were told not even to read it, just to say no. The theory behind it was that 75% of the people refused wouldn’t fight it, and the company would save millions of dollars a year. Only if a claimant challenged the refusal would anyone bother to read it. How is that legal or ethical? It’s not. That’s yet another reason why all insurance companies should be non-profits. CEOs of insurance companies should not be making millions of dollars a year and bonuses off of other people’s misfortunes, especially when their sole purpose is to refuse claims.

The entire industry needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

That won’t happen in this corrupt administration.

Pleased that this next book I’m reading for review is very, very good. Probably the best I’ve had to review from this publication since I started working for them.

Got my next round of proofs back on SAVASANA AT SEA. Will have to go over them again this weekend. I’m so grateful to my copy editor!

Need to do more promo on PLAYING THE ANGLES and start the promo for SAVASANA. Have a very long list of other things that “have” to be done as well.

Playing with a story idea that’s more blowing off steam than anything else. But, if it releases stress, it’s worth taking some time over. I like the idea and the characters and situation — it makes me feel like there ARE solutions to all the horrible things happening in the world. Solutions that don’t just benefit the corrupt, racist grifters at the top.

I’m feeling a little more optimistic today than I have the past few days. Hope I can ride the wave and make some good things happen.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Fri. April 13, 2012: Last Chance to Sign Up!

Last chance to sign up for Dialogue Dilemmas and Solutions, the 1-day online Seminar. This is the only time it will be offered in 2012! Registration closes tonight — class is tomorrow, April 14. Sign up here.

Friday, April 13, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Direct (thank goodness)
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was just a tough day. We all have them; we get through them the best we can and move on. I have some things I need to take care of in the coming weeks, so I have to adjust my schedule slightly, and then make sure I don’t get into this situation again.

Worked a lot, but it didn’t feel like I got anything done. Again, we all have those days. You do the best you can to get through it.

I’m looking forward to the afternoon — some friends and I are going over to Heritage Museum & Gardens for a talk on Eudora Welty and the garden. Should be amazing!

In the meantime, I’m putting my head down to meet a deadline before I go, and then I’ve got another one to meet when I return. Plus, in One Story, Many Voices, the next story is due today., so I’ll have to check in there. I’m having a lot of trouble with that site — the browsers claim it’s an “attack site”, I keep getting locked out, kicked off, etc. I feel bad for them — they’ve had trouble for the last few months. It’s hard to balance that compassion for their struggles with the frustration of not being able to get into the site and deal with the student work — I have a finite amount of time and if I can’t get in, it throws everything off. But really, it’s not their fault, so I’m trying to keep it in perspective, and we’re all doing the best we can and muddling through.

I’m hoping to get a good chunk of writing done on Sunday on “Town Crier” with my new direction for it.

Deep breath, step by step, that’s all we can do, right?

Have a great weekend. At least it’s Friday the 13th. I LOVE Friday the 13th!

Devon

Fri. Jan. 13, 2012: Day of Luck and Fun!

Friday, January 13, 2012
Waning Moon
Friday the 13th — a wonderful day!
Cloudy and cold — bits of rain and sleet

I love Friday the 13th! It’s a day when the ignorant hide, due to their own fears and guilt, and leaves open space for the rest of us to come out and play!

Yesterday was a good day, even if it turned out unexpectedly. Worked early, early in the morning. Went to yoga. Dashed back, changed for acupuncture. Ran some errands on the way to acupuncture.

Acupuncture was great. My bad shoulder’s been squawky and my hip was bothering me, and I have all that neck and shoulder tension from hours on the computer. So we worked on that, and I was told to rest for the remainder of the day to let the treatment set.

I felt giddy with energy when I got out, like I could run a marathon (provided it was a spiral course). By the time I got home, I was ready to lie on the couch –and woke up up in time for dinner! Guess I needed some deep relaxation!

Made ham soup for dinner. Which sounds weird, but . . .we had a ham bone left over from the party. I cooked the meat off it, tossed in some herbs and carrots and celery and kale and white beans — yummy! And very filling on a cold, raw January night!

Took it easy in the evening and went to bed early.

Feel better for it this morning. I’ve got work to do, including dealing with my students. I have lunch with a writer friend,and then some more work. I’m looking forward to a focused writing weekend coming up. I want to work on my new brochure, in addition to working on fiction pieces, and I need to update my business writing portfolio. People around here like to meet in person and see physical samples. Fine with me — I just want to make sure I’ve got the best possible ones out there.

Devon

Published in: on January 13, 2012 at 8:14 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Scheduled to post

I LOVE Friday the 13th!!! One of my favorite days in the calendar!

Yeah, I’m scheduling it to post, since I’m on the road again, headed back to CT. Wednesday was busy. And Thursday was busy and I didn’t manage my time properly, so by the time I could sit down at the computer, it was kind of pointless to post.

We went to Wareham to hit a bunch of the box stores. Not much worthwhile — that’s what you get when you’re doing that kind of shopping when Mercury is NOT retrograde! 😉 But I found good buckets at Lowe’s for a good price. And some spring cosmetics. And a shopping bag full of chocolate from the new Lindt factory outlet!

Managed to get some of the plants in the ground — hope they like it there! There were about 45 minutes of sun, and I took advantage of it to plant.

Caught up with my students, worked on prep for the lecture class starting May 23, fielded offers to write some articles for a couple of publications I like a lot and read regularly, but have to figure out if it will work on both creative and financial levels in this time frame.

Anyway, I’m on the road, and I have an intense weekend of work ahead of me. I’m already looking forward to heading back home on Monday night!

Devon

Published in: on May 13, 2011 at 1:19 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, rainy, cooler

Is is really Friday the 13th? Awesome! That means it will be a very, very good day. Those who have bad Friday the 13ths are generally those who have good reason to feel guilty and their Karma Dogs come to get a big bite out of their butts for good reasons!

Yesterday, I did a lot and felt as though I accomplished nothing.

Great writing session on the first Willowspring Grove novel. Yeah, one of these days, it will actually have a name.

Run-in with someone who was once a student, whining because her “historical fiction” piece kept getting rejected. I read a few pages and told her that yes, I could see why it was rejected, her characters spoke in modern speech rhythms and slang, the clothing and food details were from some bad movies, not accurate to the time period (I even accurately named the movies), and she set it in a real place while obviously knowing NOTHING about it. This was in addition to grammar and spelling errors that would have made any submissions editor hit the “delete” button and a lack of paragraph structure that meant you never knew who was talking and who was taking an action. Her response was that she’d spent, like, two hours looking at books in the library, and if the movies could get away with this, she should be able to, and why did it matter if she’d never visited the place or learned anything about the clothing or the food? She was writing fiction.

See, this is where the lazy writers get weeded out. The good, successful writers of historical fiction take time to do the research. Sometimes months, sometimes years. And I’m talking about eight to ten hour days, six days a week, for as long as it takes to know your historical time period inside out. Not just on weekends or when you’re not tired. There’s a reason they thank their families in the acknowledgements — their families don’t see them during that time. And love them anyway. There’s a reason they usually take several YEARS before the first book and then only do one book a year — about four months of those subsequent years are spent during RESEARCH. Not hours. MONTHS.

And if you can’t afford to visit the site, you damn well better have a contact who can walk the streets for you and give you a footstep-by-footstep description.

Dealt with paperwork and other crap. Dealt with upset neighbors. Hello, the head of the Tenants’ Organization is supposed to be dealing with this, not me. Not my problem he never answers phone calls or emails. Heaven forbid he do anything but posture to reporters.

The cats were upset about whatever happened while I was gone yesterday. First of all, that night, they were all piled on top of me. And yesterday, they all stuck close by. Elsa and Iris are having a dispute. Elsa’s stones keep vanishing, and she blames Iris. Iris won’t admit it. I had to separate them several times yesterday.

Started reading Jennifer Reif’s MYSTERIES OF DEMETER, which I found in storage. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the Eleusian Mysteries (if you don’t know what they are, look ‘em up). There have been some interesting speculations over the years, and some books that claim to have discovered them — without an ounce of historical fact, of course. This book has some very interesting, reliable sources, as well as growth and conjecture and imagination. It’s well researched and thoughtfully presented.

The comfrey is speeding the foot’s healing. I came up with a nice blend of eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender to cut the worst of the awful crap floating around in the air. Put it in the oil burner, and everything clears up. I tried using a cedar smudge I bought in Philadelphia, but it won’t stay lit. I may burn some sage on a charcoal block (no, not the kind you use on the grill) to get rid of any bacteria or germs floating around. I drank an icky concoction to flush out the rest of the toxins I inhaled yesterday — it tasted disgusting, but it certainly did the trick after about twenty or thirty minutes. The anvil was gone from my chest, and I wasn’t coughing up black goo any more. Really, resembling something out of a D-level horror flick isn’t my idea of a good time.

Finished up the marketing and cover art sheets for my publisher and sent them back. Will update the Annabel Aidan page with one of the excerpts soon. I have a lot of notes for revision to discuss with my editor, and notes for the next book. I’ll let that percolate over the weekend, and start it on Monday.

Did some research last night.

Had a good writing session this morning — I’m averaging about 1500 words a morning, hand-written, on this. Next week, I’ll have to up it to 1500 on this book and 1500 on the new Annabel Aidan, so that will be a busy day’s work, but necessary to stay on contract tract — and remember to keep pitching for quick-turnaround/payment projects as well, so the bills stay paid. I’ve got another stack of queries I hope to get out today, and a backlog of short stories has built up again that needs to get out the door over the weekend.

I’ve booked a couple of quick jobs out of town for September that overlap with the teaching, but I have good internet connection, so I can do both.

I’m going to write and deal with paperwork this morning, then work for a few hours at the storage unit, and maybe hang out with friends tonight. I think I’ve rigged the screen so that, if someone who does not wish us well attempts access from the fire escape, they will have, shall we say an unpleasant experience. But if we need to get out and down the fire escape due to an emergency, we are unimpeded.

Happy Friday the 13th and have a great weekend!

Devon

Friday, November 13, 2009

IMG_0542

Friday, November 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, raw, cold
Friday the 13th!

Woo-hoo! It’s Friday the 13th, always a good luck day for me.

I’ve got a post up on Sole Struck Fashions about “Holiday Prep Work” and a post up on Kemmyrk about “Daily Chakra Cleansing”. Stop by and drop a comment!

Do I even remember what I did yesterday? Hmm, I wrote, always a good thing. The Christmas story is coming along very well. I have to keep stopping to research, since, although it’s set in a fictional town (inspired by Saratoga and the Adelphi Hotel), it’s in a real time period.

I dashed to Greenwich to put something into my safe deposit box. I stopped at the library sale on the way back and picked up some interesting books. One, that I got on a whim, is a biography of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Her father, CW Post, was the cereal giant and invented things like Postum (shout out to Lara). Not only is the book exceptionally well written, it contains social history of the period in which I’m writing, and even mentions Saratoga!

Seshat, the goddess of libraries and scribes, was certainly looking out for me!

Back to the page for a couple of hours, and then I head to the site job. it’s my favorite site, so I’m really looking forward to it. The work there is fun, and I also have quiet time to work on my own writing and reading.

I probably won’t blog tomorrow, but I’ll check in on Sunday, and then, while I’m in DC, there will be various this-and-that posts — I’ve got articles going up at various sites while I’m gone. I’m supposed to have wi-fi in the hotel room, and I’m lugging the laptop with me, so I’ll try to blog from DC.

My goal this weekend is to finish the first draft of the Christmas story so I can edit in on the bus to and from DC and then finish the design and get it to the printer before I leave for Maine. I also want to do some more work on “Digging” — it’s coming along decently. I’m thrilled that so many of you are enjoying it!

I’ve got some business correspondence to get out today before I leave for the site, and a trip to the post office — hopefully it will be open; otherwise, I’ll have to make a detour to another town on the way to site.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

So, yesterday was the celebration of the 200th birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Both men were typical Aquarians – independent thinkers.

Today is my debut as a contributor on Sole Struck Fashions. Unfortunately, I couldn’t post because of some sort of error, but I sent the post to my editor, so hopefully she can get it up soon. It’s a piece called “Don’t Throw That Out!”

Woke up this morning to the news of that horrible plane crash into a house outside of Buffalo. Everyone on board the plane is reported dead, as well as one person on the ground, in the house into which the plane hit. Those poor people, those poor families, and that neighborhood! What bothers me about the coverage, on every single station around here is they all refer to the “female pilot”. The pilot is the PILOT – stop making an issue of gender. The plane didn’t crash because the pilot was female. We don’t yet know why the plane crashed, but I seriously doubt it had anything to do with the pilot’s gender. We’re supposed to have evolved beyond that kind of casual sexism.

I expect more from people who have the reputation for being journalists with integrity. I guess I shouldn’t.

Brenda, to answer your question, I got my information from The Senator I Trust. New York has two senators, One I Trust and One I Do Not Trust. I had questions for the Senator I Trust and got response. I still want to read the bill in total and make my own decisions and ask more questions. (Gee, you think I’ll have questions or disagreements with pieces of it? ;)) As of last night, when I had to get off line (in the middle of something, no less), it was not yet posted because they’re still working on language. I believe it will be up on the White House Site, but if not, the bills eventually end up on the Government Printing Office site. There are a lot of excerpts that have been circulating and misquoted. When I do have a legitimate link to an unvarnished copy of the legislation, I will post it.

What’s frustrating is that I want to read legislation BEFORE it’s passed, so I can make my opinions known to those I pay to represent me. Sometimes, that means poking around the Congressional Site, especially the pages for my representatives. There must be a site that simply posts bills that are in legislation, before passage, but I’m not sure what it is. YET.

Today, unfortunately, is not the day I have to track it down.

Living in the Land of Just Not Getting It: Someone on one of the boards I frequent mentioned disappointment that her blog wasn’t getting lots of traffic and wanted people to stop by. I clicked over, only to see it posted that this person “doesn’t have time” to blog until April. Um, so why should we come by NOW? And keep coming by if there isn’t any new content until April? Honey, you claim to be a writer who uses your blog as a marketing tool. That means MAKING time to regularly update the blog as part of your JOB if you expect to build and hold an audience.

Work was fine yesterday. Got a lot done on The Lucy Gothic. Had a lot of interruptions all day, as I expected, but it was fine and all worked out.

The wind storms around here were terrible, and resulted in several fatalities. In my location, there was a partially glassed in ceiling, and it was rather frightening to watch the trees bend as far as they did and sway. At one point, I had to drive about fifteen minutes to pick up something and bring it back. The drive took nearly an hour because I had to keep stopping the car to drag tree limbs out of the road. Fortunately, it was all stuff I could move.

For awhile, the sky took on that greenish-gray-yellow tinge that does not bode well, and I wondered if we’d have to scamper into the cellar for awhile. It’s not usually tornado country around here, but the way the air and clouds were moving, it looked like a possibility. Fortunately, it all smoothed out. But it was scary driving home late last night. It also didn’t help that the majority of drivers around here (mostly in SUVs, I might add), in this densely populated area, seem to think it’s fine to use their fog lights in traffic. Uh, no, it’s against the law, and it causes accidents. So that made the drive back even more challenging.

Got home later than I expected, and was too tired to do much except unpack the food that needed to go back into the refrigerator and get to bed.

I have a lot to do today, since it’s my one day at the home computer for the next several days, and, of course, the computer is not cooperating. Typical. The McAfee is the biggest problem – again – hijacking, freezing, and crashing the computer while it “updates” – for about four hours. That’s been the average daily update lately – four hours, with no way to override it. And heaven forbid that McAfee actually provides the customer service to fix it. After all, who am I? Only a customer who PAYS for their service. I’m looking into some of the other virus protectors that readers have suggested – thank you. I’m hoping that, when I get my new computer, it will be close to the end of the McAfee subscription anyway, and I can just dump it. Meanwhile, I’m tracking the time and money they cost me every day.

I’ve got a bunch of correspondence to get out, some pitches to send, and some proposals for workshops to prepare, all of which need to go out today. Then I have to unpack and repack for the weekend. I thought I was leaving at noon tomorrow, but now it looks more like around 10 AM – and no computer/internet access until I get back, so I’ve got to get a lot done.

I hoped to get some work done on the Billy Root story, but didn’t this morning, so I doubt it will happen. I’m having a relationship dilemma about him – he’s supposed to be torn between two women, but I’m not sure how far to take the relationship with each of them – and a completely different woman, who is a fairly important character, seems to emerge as a better choice for him. The only way I’m going to figure this out is to write my way through it and worry about what the editor will think later. The editor’s not every going to see it until a few drafts in, when it will be quite different from anything I’m currently thinking.

I’ve already got the title for the fourth book, and a rough outline. It will focus on Jain and Wyatt, tying up some unfinished business begun in the book about to release and taking their relationship to a whole new level.

With any luck, I can be focused this morning and get some work done on the revisions for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT this afternoon.

I’m back into the groove with The Lucy Gothic, I think, which is good. I was worried I’d lost the thread, there, for awhile. I’m behind in the typing – I’ve got over 110 pages in longhand, I’m well into Chapter Seven, but only have the first two chapters typed.

And somewhere in all of this, the plays need attention.

I really want a day off, but that’s not going to happen for awhile. This is one of those cases where, in spite of being a freelancer, I don’t get to take a day off because I want to. Things need to get done first and THEN, maybe some time next week, I’ll take a day and just BE. I prefer doing that during the week, because everyone’s trapped in their cubicles, and it’s easier to hang out. Then I can stay in and write while everyone else frantically rushes around all weekend getting caught up on everything they couldn’t do all week.

Today, for your amusement, I do my imitation of a Hamster on a Treadmill. Wish me luck!

Fortunately, I LOVE Friday the 13th, I think it’s a fun, wonderful, positive day, so in spite of all the “have to’s”, I intend to have some fun this evening. And how great is it that there’s a Friday leading into Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day, to me, is more than just commercialized push at romance. It’s a chance to say to people that they matter.

So, in case you feel I haven’t appreciated you lately – Hey, You Matter!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Back to the page.

Devon