Mon. Feb. 6: I Still Prefer the Puppy Bowl

Monday, February 6, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Still dark out

Quick check-in, because I’m on my way to get my car serviced this morning. Busy, busy, busy weekend. I never made it to the yoga open house — I got caught up in work and went flat out all day. Friday was a busy day, too. Didn’t sleep well either Friday or last night, so I’m kind of dragging.

I stayed true to not getting online yesterday. I need to do that, at least one day a week. I re-read THE AGE OF INNOCENTS, which I needed to do in connection with the current project for Confidential Job #1. Liked it better this time — with twenty years’ more life experience through which to view it!

Once I get back from the mechanic, I hit the ground running — students have deadlines — more than half of the 5 in 10 are late with their last story — not only did they have a whole week to do it, it was their ONLY assignment all week — so tired of the lack of commitment bullshit. There’s no such thing as “no time to write.” There’s only “choose NOT to write.” And, if you choose not to write, you’re not a writer, because writers write. Period. No excuses, sometimes whining.

I’ve got to get the write-up out to Confidential Job #1, spend time with students, do some more work on a client project, get out some interview questions, get out some pitches, and get some of my own writing done. I’m taking some of it with me to the mechanic, and hope I can get some work done in the waiting room, , but it’s small and usually crowded, so I don’t know how useful that will be.

I was disappointed that the Patriots lost to the Giants. It’s not that big deal to me, since I’m not invested in football, particularly, but it was the home team, and it is one of the few games I watch all year. It was more important to me that the Patriots crushed Colorado a few weeks back, proving that skill triumphs over gimmick.

I was pleased that Madonna went there for her finale in the half-time show, although I bet a lot of people didn’t get it. A little disappointed that she slowed down the tempo on some of the pieces, such as “Vogue”, but hey, I couldn’t do what she does, so what the hell do I know?

Watched a bit of the Puppy Bowl, but, for the most part, had a quiet night. Tessa was fascinated by the Puppy Bowl and by the football game. I wonder if she’ll take the watching hockey, the way Violet does?

Repotted a bunch of stuff that needed attention. If it’s nice enough this week, maybe I can spend some time cleaning up the yard. Might as well make use of the mild winter.

Off to get the car serviced.


Monday, November 14, 2011

The tree in Mother’s Park before the storm

Monday, November 14, 2011
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I think my Mercury went retrograde a week and a half early! 😉

Busy weekend. Worked a lot on Friday, had a good day at the page. On an impulse, went to the yarn store and bought yarn for two projects. I want to crochet a chakra blanket (the chakra colors in order) for meditation. Found cotton yarn for that, so I can use it year-round. Also found a lovely blue alpaca yarn for a sweater my mom will knit for me. Started the blanket.

Saturday was busy – writing, then going to help clean up Mother’s Park. It was a lot of fun. We had a great group of people. Sadly, the enormous white pine that will be 100 years old had a section sheared off in the last storm — more than 20 feel lying on the ground. Heartbreaking.

One of the women I worked with is in a book group, so I gave her information, in case the group is interested in ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT and having me come and speak.

I took lots of pictures of the day to document it, since that’s now my job as Secretary of the organization. When I went home to upload them, I found out that there’s a CCD problem with my camera, and it won’t take pictures in daylight anymore. With low light and no flash, I can kinda sorta get some pictures, but the quality is rapidly deteriorating.

We headed off to the stores in Wareham. Found some additional alpaca in the same dye lot and also some yarn for another project I’d like to do. I looked at other cameras in Staples and Best Buy. Honestly, between the camera and the printer, I’m wondering if I should re-think my twenty plus years of loyalty to Canon. The Nikons are very tempting. I can’t spend much, and I don’t need anything too fancy. But I need to carry a camera around with me all the time. That’s part of the gig.

I was frustrated, so I bought the shoes: a lovely pair of Anne Klein navy pumps. They’re gorgeous and go with just about everything.

Swung by the park on the way home. The angle of the sun had changed and I was able to get photos that, with enhancement, are somewhat usable, although not great. You can see the poor tree’s plight. As you see, the photo’s not great, even with enhancement, but it’s better than nothing, and at least it’s not all white light space.

injured tree after storm

Worked with the students, did some more work on the blanket. Even though I’m going all the way to the end and chaining up, I’m decreasing. I don’t understand why. Emailed Canon to find out my options.

Sunday, woke up early, got the papers, gave myself the day off writing. Wound up the Harry Potter class, did some work around the house. Canon got back to me — they gave me one trouble-shooting option I can try (but the light sensors are probably shot, so it may not work). My other options are to send it in for a refurbished one “at a customer loyalty discount” or get it repaired, which will cost more than a new one. Since soon I won’t be able to get the memory cards for this camera anyway, I think I should probably get a new one. While their camera customer service is definitely better than the printer customer service, I’m still on the fence about staying with them. Asked advice and was told that both Sony and Kodak are unreliable, so that narrows it down to saying with Canon or switching to Nikon. I usually avoid anything with a celebrity spokesperson on principle, but I played with some Nikons on Sunday and kind of liked them. We’ll see.

I’m going to see if there’s such a thing as a “disposable digital” — remember those disposable cameras a few years ago? — to tide me over. I have an older Canon digital that I had to stop using because the film sets couldn’t use the memory cards, which is why I bought this one for my kit in the first place. It’s still packed — somewhere. If I can find it and it works, maybe it will tide me over. I probably will wait until Mercury goes direct in mid-December. Even though it doesn’t turn retrograde until Thanksgiving Day (lucky me, on the road all day — yes, that was sarcasm), I’m already having so many technical difficulties that I want to be cautious. All I need is to buy something during the retrograde and have it implode as soon as Mercury goes direct. I’m doing an extra Time Machine backup on the computer later today, just to be sure.

Then, this morning, my mother’s bed frame collapsed — we’ve had problems since the movers put it together — they did a lousy job. So we took apart the frame and her bed is now on the floor like a college student’s. And the cable TV crapped out — AGAIN. Called Comcast, they “fixed” it — and twenty minutes later, it was out again. I am so sick of them, and so sick of them being the only option on the Cape. Their customer service people are perfectly pleasant, which is a point in their favor, but the company does not resolve problems. They use band-aids on amputations. One thousand points detracted.

I have SO much to get done today AND I have to clean the house top to toe because we have company coming tomorrow (at least they called first — and we really want to see them) for lunch, so I have to figure out what to serve.

I still have to put the garden to bed, but it’s been so windy, I haven’t had the chance to go out and do much.

Back to the page.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The days are flying by so fast! Part of that is because the writing is going really well, which is a good thing. I still have to rearrange my schedule to bring in some more short turn-around paying projects, but I don’t want to tip the strong writing rhythm that I’ve got right now.

Someone else dropped out of the year-long, and I had to hear about it third hand, which annoyed me more than the actual quitting. Acting with professionalism and grace costs nothing. Slinking away like a coward does not serve anyone. The expectations were set out at the beginning of class, and even earlier, during the application process. If anything, I scaled back some of the requirements and there are STILL people who thought it was too much work? What did they think writing a novel in a year-long INTENSIVE is? A vacation? A fluffy-bunny-white-light-kumbaya?

Well, that’s life. People never stop surprising you, and it keeps things interesting, right?

I’m glad I went to the meditation workshop on Friday night, although it was very different from the way I prefer to practice. It’s good to try new techniques, because until you try it, you can’t know whether or not it works. It was a little too much “guided” and not enough “mediation” for me. It’s hard to be “one with the silence” when you’re being yapped at all the time. And the leader had us OPEN our chakras, but not CLOSE them again, which I find dangerous. I closed mine, as is my practice when I do chakra cleansings or balancings, but it should have been part of the guidance. It’s unhealthy to walk around with totally open chakras. You’ll get whomped.

Wrote a lot, spent time with students, worked on the Harry Potter lectures. The class starts today and runs for the week. It should be really, really fun. I bet most of the people who signed up even read the books! It’s my last deconstruction class for the foreseeable future, and I think it’s a good one to wind things up with.

Put together the hard copies of media kits that have to go out in the coming weeks. I’m sending out some today, and dropping off several at local places that have interest in my work later today. I’m researching local book groups and putting together a proposal for them, too.

It’s supposed to be warmer today, which means I’ll get to work in the yard. I want to get most of the front mowed and tidied up. If everything work out, this will be the last mowing I need to do until spring. It will take me four or five sessions to get it all done, especially if the mower continues its wonkiness, But then, I’ll just need to keep up with the raking.

Re-read the ENCHANTMENT PLACE anthology edited by Denise Little. It’s a lot of fun. I was laughing out loud as I read some of the stories.

Put together another bookcase that will live in my room and hold urban fantasy, etc. There’s just enough room for it. Now, I think I’ve run out of space for bookcases in that room, as big as it is!

We’re still getting tomatoes and eggplants and strawberries from the plants under the grow lights, so all is good.

Should be a busy hearth-and-home week this week. I’ve also got to try a couple of lasagna recipes. I’m always responsible for the meal for the family in Maine on the night before Thanksgiving, and this year they’ve requested lasagna. Which I’ve never made before. So I want to do a couple of test runs!

I turned down a book contract this morning. I’ve been worrying over it for awhile now. It’s simply not the right fit. There were some red flags, and I ran it past my lawyer, who flat out said, “No way.” I’d done research on the company before I submitted, but once I looked at the paperwork they sent me, the warning bells sounded, and my gut told me it wasn’t the right fit. Better to bow out now gracefully than to get frustrated and miserable during the process. It’s always a risk to say no, but in this case, I think it serves everyone — including that publisher — the best. Scary, risky, but I want to re-think the approach on this series and try something else.


Today’s word count: 2985
Total word count: 64,684

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days, and didn’t realize most of the morning was gone.

The weekend was all about getting the plants in and settled, getting up the grow light, enjoying the eggplants and the strawberries which are still coming fast and furiously, and trying to save the tomatoes. The patio furniture is in, but I still have to put teak oil on it before it’s completely done for the winter. The rest of the plants are adjusting to being inside.

The azalea, heather, mums, lilac, holly trees, and little oak are staying out, although the lilac will go into the garage soon to go dormant for winter.

I went out on Saturday to pick up wine before the storm hit. Seems like everyone else had the same idea — grocery stores weren’t too busy, but everyone’s cars were filled with rock salt and cases of liquor! Too funny.

The storm didn’t hit the Cape too badly — lots of rain and wind, but that’s it. My mom had a great birthday, I cooked her a good dinner, she’s enjoying the books. We lost power for a few minutes in the middle of the night, but that was all. The rest of the state was hammered — some places got 30 inches of snow. We were lucky

Sunday was a quiet day, for me, mostly catching up on stuff and winding up the Scaling the Wall class. I was afraid it hadn’t gone well, but the students who didn’t quit the first week were really happy with the new perspectives on their novels, and most of them have signed up for the short story class in January. So that’s all good.

I have a feeling a few more will drop out of the year-long shortly. On the one hand, it annoys me that everyone in the class has been investing time and energy in each other, and some of them can’t cut it. I don’t care what they claim as the reason — either you keep a commitment or you don’t. Books don’t write themselves, especially not 200 words once every six weeks. If you want to be a writer, you write. Period. If you don’t want to do the work and make the commitment, go do something else. On the other hand, I have to trust that this group will wind up being what it needs to be to do its best work.

Some people say things like, “oh, when you give this again, I’ll take it.” Um, first of all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even if I did this again, the group dynamic would be different. Second, it’s highly unlikely I will do it again, not because I don’t enjoy it, but because of the amount of time and energy it takes in proportion to the rest of my work. I definitely wouldn’t offer it for several years. Third, why would they think they’d be accepted again, if they already proved they weren’t able to fulfill the commitment now? “De Nile” may be more than a river in Egypt, so what does that make “De Lusion”?

Whatever. I have my own writing to focus on.

I finally cracked the bar scene (thanks to the feedback from the class). It’s not perfect, but it works and makes sense, and I could move forward.

I also had batches of ideas for the short story segment. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do an adult contemporary for my first short story. If I can work in some of the other stories around my other work, I will also do that. But that’s the way it is — ideas come in batches.

Yesterday, I jumped at the opportunity to go on a cemetery tour in Marstons Mills. It wasn’t about ghosts or hooky-spookies. It was about the town founders and interesting graves in a cemetery whose early graves are pre-Revolutionary war and I even saw a grave as recent as 2008. Lots of great stories. And an absolutely gorgeous horse-drawn hearse from the 1880’s, originally made in New Bedford. It had a space for ice to keep the body cool, adjustable pegs for coffin length, velvet curtains, and beautiful finials on the top. The maker stopped building hearses to build unicycles, which were a big business as indoor racing — because the outdoor roads were too bad to race on!

Anyway, I got a few great ideas, and some of them I can combine into a single fantasy tale.

The grow light fell apart — the glass separated from the filament — so I have to take it back.

We had a good turnout of Trick or Treaters last night, in full costume. I had Tessa in her harness and leash, and she came to the door with me. She was a the Belle of Halloween! She was really good about it, too. She enjoyed the attention, unlike the twins, who hid the whole time.

Samhain ceremonies went well. Today is Day of the Dead, and the next few nights are the Tending the Dead ceremonies. Tomorrow, the Samhain decor is packed, and the Thanksgiving goes up. The tween girls last night were funny — they were excited to meet the person who lived in “the house with all the cool decorations.” And a group of my adult neighbors went around in costume, just saying hi — hilarious! Good times, all the way around.

And so, the wheel turns again, and I’m looking forward to the coming winter.


PS Best wishes to those of you doing Nano this year. Go forth and write!

Today’s word count: 1205
Total word count: 45,834

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 9:35 am  Comments (5)  
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Saturday, Octoer 29, 2011

The tree in Mother’s Park that’s nearly 100 years old

Saturday, October 29, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We’re battening down for our first Nor’easter of the season. I’m glad we’re safely tucked in here, and not in the process of moving, like we were at this time last year!

Today is my mother’s 87th birthday! Happy birthday! She had a BAG of books waiting for her on the table this morning. Yup — I went to the bookstore yesterday, bought a bag, and filled it with books! That and the cheesecake she requested are her favorite birthday treats.

In honor of her birthday, today’s essay on A BIBLIO PARADISE celebrates Sharon Shinn, one of our favorite authors. And, if you haven’t left a comment to welcome Mary Abshire, I hope you’ll do so, scrolling down to the previous day’s post.

Yesterday was busy, and this morning was busy. I keep rewriting the pivotal scene in the harpy book. Just going to keep hacking at it until I get it right. I’m closer, I’m almost close enough where I’ll have enough sorted out so I can move on without seriously tripping myself up further down the line. I wrote between 3-4,000 words. And tossed them all out. All of them, including “and” and “the.”

We went to Falmouth yesterday — got some of the ornaments I’m donating to a charity tree, bought new pillows for my bed, got some long-sleeved shirts for winter yoga! Set up the grow light and the tomatoes, et al, are happy. The Big King eggplant is practically spitting a harvest of eggplants at us. I’m not complaining.

This morning, since we’re supposed to have horribly strong storm winds, I hosed down the patio furniture (instead of the thorough scrubbing I planned to do next week), took in the rest of the pots I’d washed and the iron plant stand, pulled back the potted plants that will stay out all winter (the hollies, the tiny oak, the witch hazel, the lilac which will stay through the first big frost and then get moved to the garage to go dormant. As soon as the furniture dries, I’ll take it in, rub it with teak oil, and put it where it’s going for the winter. The bench is going at the end of my mom’s bed, the tables will hold flowers, and the chairs will be folded up and stored in the garage. I’d hoped to do part of the Samhain celebration on the deck, but I don’t think that’s going to work this year.

Baked banana bread. Will spend time with my students. I have a class to wrap up this weekend.

Am getting a little restless with an organization with whom I have a fairly good and long-term relationship. I feel that, for the percentage of the fee they keep to administrate, they should be problem-solving, not expecting ME to problem solve for them. I”m there to show up and do my job, NOT administrate. I was moaning to a friend who said, “You’re outgrowing them, that’s all. They run things the way they run them, and you keep evolving, as you should.”

That was a good perspective and a good articulation to hear. It fits in with the restlessness I feel, only I hadn’t looked at it from that perspective –a perspective that will help me make decisions without getting frustrated.

My buddy Costume Imp had to cancel his trip to London this week and pack up and move his stuff and his cats quickly because of an ongoing mold problem in the apartment that his scumbag landlords simply ignored. Poor thing! But he’s in a better situation, and I’m sure he will have a great holiday season now.

Because, yeah, the “Holiday Season” has begun — from now through Twelfth Night, we’re all going full out!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I had to re-title my essay on Sir Terry Pratchett’s popular character of Death for A Biblio Paradise — my original title might have hit the internet as an incorrect report on the man’s condition. Anyway, I hope you’ll hop on over and give it a read. Another example for the need to use specific, clear language when one writes.

Worked hard to catch up with my students. Had to crack the whip over some of them in the year long, because they’re starting to drift and get behind. January 31, when they have to have their first draft DONE, isn’t all that far away.

The owner’s still working on the roof. Hey, I’m happy to have it fixed, and he’s not using power tools, so the sounds of the work don’t bother me at all. Got all 125 tulip bulbs in yesterday afternoon. My fantasy of a bed of tulips far in the back remains a fantasy — I’d need heavy machinery to dig. The spade hits too much rock. Oh, well. They’re in the terraced bed, and a strip down the side of the house in No Man’s Land, and two beds near the bottom of the driveway (high enough so Idiot Boy doesn’t drive over them when he maneuvers in and out of his garage and onto my yard — that’s why the owner’s daughter sunk a boulder at the bottom of the driveway — she was sick and tired of him not respecting the yard), and two patches of tulips in the beds across the front of the house. We’ll see what comes up. If most of them come up, it should be quite pretty.

The eggplants and green peppers are still doing well, so I transplanted them to pots and will bring them inside. The six foot tall eggplant inside (our Big King) is producing more eggplants, so who am I to tell it that growing season’s past? And our tomatoes are doing well. I may have to get a grow light and move them inside to mature.

Deadheaded the mums — the ones we put in the ground have all faded, which is a disappointment. I’d hoped they would last through Samhain. But that’s the way it goes. We’ll see what happens next year.

I’m sore from all the digging, and the TV is out today. Comcast, in all its “wisdom” (there, now, don’t choke) made an “upgrade” that knocked out service. Typical of those morons. As long as the internet keeps working, though, right? I don’t watch that much TV anyway.

I watched the premiere of ONCE UPON A TIME on Sunday night, though, and liked it better than I expected. I’m interested to see how they develop it. The actors are having fun, and that comes across nicely.

Decent morning’s work on the book. Re-shaping the outline as the book’s thematic structure becomes clearer. I’m pretty sure it’s a trilogy, and will move the end of book 1 a little further into the story instead of where I ended the first third of the outline. Will run some errands, do some more work with students, work on the assignment for Confidential Job #1, and then see if I can get some more writing in later. Maybe not on this book, maybe on something else, but I’m not spending enough of each day actually WRITING, and the whole point of doing this is to WRITE.


Today’s word count: 1081
Total word count: 38,309

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

We’re on frost warning for tonight, so I’ll have to bring in some plants.

Busy day yesterday, working on classes. The in-person class that was supposed to run this month is being moved to January, thank goodness. It makes more sense to do it when things are a little quieter than in the midst of autumn insanity.

I have family coming down later in the month — which means I have to drive up to Maine, fetch ‘em, and return ‘em. Don’t mind, love ‘em, can’t wait to show them around, but it’s hours on the road instead of on the computer, so I will have to be very organized.

Grocery shopping, and, after lunch, the migraine was so bad I had to lie down. I fell asleep, which helped a lot, and I woke up feeling almost human again.

Continuing to work on the classes today, get some other freelance work cleared off the desk, and to prep the materials for my conference appearance later in the month. I’d like to get bookmarks made up, but I just don’t know if I’ll be able to get to a printer, and I can’t do them on my own computer. I’ve also got to finish an assignment for Confidential Job #1, and it’s a slog.

Excellent day on the Harpy book this morning, got Chapter 5 under my belt. So that’s good. I’m itching to keep going on it — I might do a few more scenes before turning my attention to everything else.


Today’s word count: 3074
Total word count: 10,538

Published in: on October 5, 2011 at 8:04 am  Comments (6)  
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was spent on student work quite a bit, and running around doing more errands than I realized I had! So many errands we had to stop at Cook’s for lunch, rather than faint from hunger! 😉

As I worked on the outline for the Harpy book, and posted my first third (per the Year-Long), I realized that something that was supposed to be a B plotline threatened to take over the book. I’m going to have to simplify it – can’t be cut, because it’s part of what brings the antagonist down, but I can modify it so it doesn’t take over the book. Gotta love process.

We start writing in three days, which is pretty damned exciting!

Had a meeting for a local gardening organization last night and they voted me in as Secretary! Nothing like jumping in, right? I’m good at note-taking and brainstorming and communications, so it should all be good.

Came home, watched some acquaintances’ latest TV episode, got some other work done.

I’ve got a lot to do with the students today, some freelance work for a client, and a trip to Wareham to get a bunch done, and then start tackling the storage room.

I found a new blooming bush in the backyard — I think it’s a hibiscus. Who knew?

I’ve got photos to upload into the computer for various and sundry, so I need to do that, too, and get things moving!


Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 7:54 am  Comments (1)  
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool.

If you didn’t get a chance to read the review with the wonderful, talented, and successful Linda Rettstatt on Saturday, it’s the post below this one, and well worth reading, for both readers and writers. She has some wonderful insights. Drop her a comment and let her know you stopped by! It SHOULD have been up on Friday, but I somehow got dates mixed up, and I offer her my deepest apologies.

Saturday was busy. Ran errands, mowed the terraced back section of the lawn (it looks awesome), did some pruning and cutting back in the beds. The tomatoes are just starting to bloom, but I’m pretty sure it’s too late in the season to get much. However, I’m still getting a handful of ripe strawberries every morning with my breakfast (second crop, who knew?), and there are some cucumbers and green peppers struggling to mature.

Spent time with my students. Worked on the Harpy book. There’s a writer named Mackenzie who has a series featuring a Fury as her main character, set in Boston. I want to read them, but I’ll wait until this book is written, edited, and on submission. Plus, mine is set in NY! Well, kind of an Alt-NY! 😉

Sunday, I was out early to get the newspapers. Read the papers (with the cats). Tidied up the living room and cleaned off the coffee table to decorate it for autumn. Amazing how stuff accumulates on it! But now it looks really nice. Washed the slipcovers, put on the ones for autumn, rearranged the pillows so the cats can curl up on cushions and look out of windows.

Spent the rest of the day either on student work, but most of it working on the outline of the Harpy book. I’ve got it roughed out; there are still some holes, but I’ve got enough of a foundation so writing the book should go pretty logically. The first draft will inform a lot of the plot, and it’s interesting to see how certain characters became more important and certain ones less so as the book develops.

Emmys were fun last night. Jane Lynch was good as host, but I thought, overall, sometimes they were just trying too hard to be hip and funny. I was thrilled that Peter Dinklage won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for GAME OF THRONES. His work in that is fantastic.

Today, I’ve got yet more errands — some books to return to the library and some other running around. The bulk of the day is spent with students, and, hopefully, getting some other writing done. I’m also in deep prep mode for next month’s class and for the Write Angles Conference. I look forward to being a presenter!


Published in: on September 19, 2011 at 7:30 am  Comments (4)  
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Scheduled to post

I’m on the road early this morning, so I scheduled this to post last night.

Hop on over to A BIBLIO PARADISE to read the interview with Jane Toombs, who has had a long and varied career! Her process is also very interesting.

Spent time with my students. Hopefully put out fire while it’s still a spark and not a big problem. I’m giving the person the benefit of the doubt — again. We’ll see. There’s only so much slack one can cut before it becomes unfair to the rest of the class.

Went to the dump, handled the recycling, ran errands, paid bills, finally mowed the gosh-darned front of the lawn. Baked another apple spice bread and a coffee cake. Did my banking, paid my quarterly taxes.

Most of the day was spent dealing with student work. Which is great. I’m pleased with the quality.

I have a long drive today, and probably no internet access at the other end, but I’ll be back home — HOME! I love home! — by mid-day Wednesday, so it’s all good.

The garden will need a lot of attention in the next few weeks — time to start putting it to bed!

And time to gear up for the new book.


Published in: on September 13, 2011 at 1:09 am  Comments (3)  
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

The last two days of yoga on the beach kicked my ass. In the best possible way, of course, but man, am I sore!

My friends cancelled out this weekend; unfortunate, but it happens sometimes. Instead of entertaining, I spent Saturday outside, working in the front yard. I tidied up the beds in front of the house, and we went to Hyannis Country Gardens for pots of mums. I’ve got yellow and that lovely burnt orange color in front of the house, yellow and red in the urn, and a pinkish red in one of the pots flanking the driveway.

I still haven’t mowed! 😉

Caught up on my students’ work Saturday night. Went to bed early.

Up early Sunday, after dreams about My Very First Boyfriend — odd ones, and why would I think of him after all these years? And not him as he was, but as he is (at least, in the dream. I have no idea how he really is).

On the drive to yoga, I swerved to avoid hitting every confused squirrel on Cape Cod. They were all running in circles on Rt. 28. Seriously, I counted thirteen. Just barely made it to yoga on time. Class was challenging, keeping us focused on heart opening and compassion, while moving along at a challenging pace so we couldn’t wallow in the 9/11 sadness. There was also music — several participants sang at specific points in the poses. It was lovely. And it was sad to say goodbye for the season. Our teacher gave us a beautiful gift this summer. May we all continue it off the mat and in our lives.

Picked up the papers and doughnuts on the way home. Read the papers, played with the cats, did my own remembrances. Felt guilty that, by the end of the day, I felt more relief than anything else at getting through another 9/11 anniversary. Spent time with my students, and developing the two book ideas that compete for my attention.

Also did four loads of laundry.

Tired, but it’s more emotional exhaustion than physical exhaustion.

Up early this morning. It looks and smells like it wants to rain. Hopefully, it won’t. I really do need to mow today! And get a lot done, since I’m tied up with another assignment Tuesday and Wednesday.

Had an epiphany about a plot point in one of the urban fantasy books I’m developing. Always a good thing!


Published in: on September 12, 2011 at 6:36 am  Comments (5)  
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011
Day before full moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yoga on the beach was fabulous yesterday. I didn’t want class to end! On top of it, I managed a full camel for the first time! Woo-hoo! Very exciting.

Nice drive back, got out the mower, and did the front and “no man’s land” between my house and one of my neighbors’ — it’s a weird little patch of land. No man’s land was looking like a vacant lot, but the lawn directly in front of the house didn’t really need cutting, although it looks a bit neater. Everything’s watered, I did some deadheading, I have to cut back the faded flowered stalks on the hostas. Both neighbors were puttering on their lawns and they were happy to see me on mine!

Got a bunch of work done, although it never feels like enough. Did three loads of laundry, so I have plenty of clothes and clean “delicates” for the upcoming job. Played with the cats. I’m trying to pet Iris and Violet a lot when they’re near Tessa. If they don’t hiss, I tell them how good they are. If they do, I stop petting them and walk away. I’m trying to get them to associate seeing Tessa and being around Tessa with getting petted. And, since Violet won’t let Tessa sit on my lap when I work (because that is Violet’s domain), Tessa sits UNDER the desk, in a box. Iris is getting a little aggressive towards Tessa, and she had enough this morning and smacked her right back down!

I’ve been saving this freelancing anecdote until Lori got back. I came across a listing for a Big Company, who has a pretty decent reputation. Normally, I wouldn’t go for that type of job, but it was a short-term, write-for-a-marketing campaign. It was on Craigslist, which seemed weird to me, considering the company, and I had some questions about the wording of the assignment and the pay. So I hopped onto the Big Company’s website. I didn’t see the job listed on their opportunities page, so I emailed the HR Director asking about it.

She emailed me back almost immediately — BC has no such job open. In fact, they just hired someone for a new marketing campaign, and she didn’t authorize any ad on Craigslist. She asked me for the link to the ad; I sent it to her. She was not amused.

She sent a fake packet to the address on the ad. Turns out the guy she hired to do this marketing campaign was subcontracting it, without permission, for 1/3 of what she was paying him. She confronted him, saying HE had been hired, on the strength of his portfolio, and this was a short-term assignment with no reason for subcontracting; besides, any subcontracting has to go through an approval process per company policy, complete with non-disclosure agreements, detailed in the employee handbook and they had discussed it in the interviews. Whatever he said to her didn’t cut it with her, and he was fired and escorted off the premises immediately. She suspects now that nothing in his portfolio is his actual work.

No, she didn’t hire me! The job really takes more time than I can give it in the coming months, and I’m simply not up for 90 hour work weeks right now. But she thanked me for bringing this to her attention. She’s going to the candidate that almost got the job originally, on the basis of the portfolio, but who didn’t come across as well in person. But at least she’s relatively sure the work in the portfolio is his own. And next time she’s on a business trip out this way, we are going to meet in person!

Subcontracting is an ongoing conversation among freelancers. I am opposed to it — if someone hires me, they are hiring ME — my unique voice. If the work is too much, I might ask to bring in another writer or writers, but I think it’s sleazy and dishonest to subcontract without being upfront with the employer that that’s what you’re doing, and the above anecdote, I feel, supports this position. On the flip side, if I employ a writer, I employed that particular voice, not a person who’s going to pass it off to someone I’ve never met and haven’t approved. If I’d wanted a different person, I would have hired that person. Plenty of other freelancers don’t see anything wrong with anonymous subcontracting. Collecting money, or the difference in money for work I was hired to do but passed off to someone else is, to me, dishonest. It’s one thing if I’m hired to head or manage a writing team, and I get to hire the team; it’s another to present someone else’s work as mine. I don’t need or want to be a middle man. Ultimately, I think, it’s the client’s policy — if the client doesn’t care, it doesn’t really matter (except, to me, on a personal level). But, as in the example above, when there’s a policy in place and the employee ignores it — there’s a problem.

Another job that tempted me is something I could definitely do — course development for a motivational speaker. However, the time frame is too tight in my fall schedule. If I had nothing else going (it would take about 60 hours per week for 6 weeks), I’d do it. The money is fantastic, and the person is definitely paying with an eye to both volume and time crunch. However, the client is also saying he’s providing 2/3 of the material. For those of us who regularly deal with client-speak, that means about 1/10th. Even though the money is high enough to cover the additional work, the time frame is so tight, I can’t responsibly pitch for the job and meet my other responsibilities. Oh, well, it happens.

One of my interviewees already turned around the article questions. Yay! And she enjoyed them, which is also great.

I’ve got to get out some deadlined stuff this morning and run a couple of errands. A friend from NY is in town –she’s going to come see the house, we’re going to lunch, and then off to see another NY artist friend in town for the summer. I cut back the faded stalks on the hostas this morning. All good. I really love sitting on the deck with my morning coffee and evening glass of wine.

Back to the page, and then for some fun.


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on August 12, 2011 at 7:00 am  Comments (6)  
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Monday, July 4, 2011

A cork tree, Heritage Museum and Gardens

Monday, July 4, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid
American Independence Day

As you can see, I’ve tweaked the sidebar. The small writing booklets are gone — Payloadz is more trouble than its worth; in addition to poor or no customer service, they wound up keeping 80% or more of each booklet. Not an acceptable arrangement. I’m combining the booklets into a new book and adding some additional material. I plan to have it ready for purchase, probably via Amazon Kindle, in the fall, and am researching the cost of spiral-bound copies to bring to conferences and classes. I’ll keep you posted.

I cleaned up some of the blog links — got rid of ones where people have stopped posting, stopped by and said hello on a bunch I hadn’t visited in awhile. Nice to catch up. I added The Writers Vineyard, where I now post monthly, and I hope that will be one of your regular stops.

I’ve also taken down the Nina Bell story. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do with the Nina Bell stories — she’s got a lot to say, but how best to get the stories out there? And do I want to write FINDING JAKE, setting it fifteen or twenty years after TAPESTRY? I have to think about it.

I wound up not going to the Powwow, unfortunately– I’ll put it on my “must do” list for next year. 30,000 other people managed to get there, so I doubt they missed me! I ran some errands on Saturday, including getting another cubic foot of potting soil and picking up a pie. Got more gas for the mower, and mowed the front. Costume Imp’s right — it runs much easier without the death grip on it, but it’s still difficult to maneuver on the uneven ground. I did a lot of deadheading and weeding, all around the house, and cut back stuff that’s popped and faded. Planted zinnias and, because I think Bessie’s brood ate the flowers on the pumpkins and zucchini, planted some more pumpkins — this time in a pot. Put the teeny, tiny tomato plants in the big pots outside with the basil and the marigolds. We’ll see what happens.

I did a bunch of research and worked on the lectures for the upcoming classes. I finished the July newsletter and got that out on Sunday morning.

The line at Dunkin’ Donuts on Sunday was right out the door. Yeah, it’s summer on the Cape.

There are all kinds of fireworks going off, some legit, some morons who don’t know their asses from their elbows and may lose both if they’re not careful. Having trained in pyrotechnics during my time in theatre, I have only contempt for people who act like setting off a firecracker is the same as lighting a candle. If you don’t have the knowledge, and, more important, the RESPECT for the piece, it will take no prisoners.

Violet is absolutely turning herself inside out with terror from the noise and the vibrations. Iris just puts her paws over her ears and goes back to sleep. The Hounds of the Baskervilles are very upset — it hurts their sensitive ears.

We got to eat the first strawberries from our hanging baskets — the Seascape variety, no less! They are delicious, so full of flavor. I don’t think we’ll get 25-50 quarts this summer, but we will enjoy whatever ones we have!

Got out a couple of short stories on submission, and got some other work done. Got some decent work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and simply don’t understand why the progress is so slow. It’s not a bad book, the pace is decent, and I’m struggling to sit down every morning and get my minimum done on it. But it needs to get out the door, so butt goes in seat, until it gets done.

Did some work on the outline of the new book, and then realized that I have to rename the character, because she doesn’t like her first name, and her last name is the same as a character in a book that will go out on submission in fall. Since the books are both set on the Cape, unless I plan to have them related to each other, this isn’t going to work. I want this book to have a rather wry, light tone, with a hint of brittle humor without breaking, but it seems to want to go in another direction. I hope I can set up character and situation so humor emerges organically; if I try to “write funny”, it will be leaden and awful. I planned out how I want the bitchy manger to meet her untimely end, and why, and tied it to a murder at the same location in the 1950’s, in the earlier history of the same complex, so we’ve got the whole generational thing going on. I’ll have to work with some timeline stuff, but it gives me the chance to play with summer stock on the Cape in the 1950’s. Originally, I’d wanted to do a series about a summer stock theatre, starting it in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, bringing it forward to contemporary times. But this way, I get to put that and the contemporary times side-by-side. I think the contrasts and compliments will be interesting, instead of breaking each thing into its own book. Bitchy Manager actually gets a nicer end than what I originally envisioned, but it serves the book better and hey, she’s still dead! 😉 I think I’ll actually title the chapters with when they take place, so that I can write scenes set in the 1950’s as well as in contemporary times. I know I’ve got books about the straw hat circuit that I haven’t unpacked yet, and I have two whole shelves in the storage room just waiting for them . . .

Yes, I’m writing about theatre again. What can I say? Backstage is ripe for stories, and writing them is easier than going back and keeping those hours! 😉

Had a breakthrough on the adaptation of GLAMOROUS HEARTS, which is back on the schedule. I think it can do very well as darkly comic novel. I’ll need to do research, but I’ve got most of the research on the 1920’s New York part, and I’m close enough to Newport, with enough resources, to be able to fill that in. WHEN that will get done, I’m not quite sure — maybe allow myself to do a scene at a time as a reward whenever I get a good, solid chunk done of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Today, I have quite a bit to do, writing-wise, and I want to make sure I complete the material for Confidential Job #1. I get to go back to yoga tomorrow morning — I’m absolutely hungry for it.

But today, holiday or not, I have to put my head down and get some work done.


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.