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!

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Thurs. June 28, 2018: Creativity Must Win

Thursday, June 28, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Rainy and humid

I went to the savasana/sukasana/reiki session Tuesday night, and it removed my migraine. First time it’s happened that way. We used the chakras to drain the pain. Interesting technique. Hard to verbalize, because it was so experiential. But it worked, and that’s what matters.

Worried that putting a between-the-books novella in the Gwen Finnegan series between BALTHAZAAR and SANDOVAHL will dilute the power of what’s happened between those two books and take away from the opening of SANDOVAHL. Is it more interesting to have them working on separate teams toward the same goal when they are tight as a couple, or when they are having problems? Each introduces a different dynamic. I don’t know which is more effective. A friend who’s a fan of the series says she would like to see one of each, to see the contrast in how they deal with each other.

This is where discussions with one’s editor are so important. There are always editors who shrug and say, “whatever you think is best” and then there are those who point out how the different dynamics affect the overall series.

MYTH & INTERPRETATION is up for pre-order on several channels. The link is here. It won’t be available on Amazon until several days after its release, because that’s what they do with some distribution. Since Amazon is not the publisher, but the distributor, they can make certain arbitrary decisions on how they will distribute from particular publishers. I don’t really care — the universal buy link gives the reader the choice of channel, and waiting a few days is no big deal. Yes, it affects pre-sales (because Amazon won’t allow them via this publisher), but I would rather be with my publisher and distributed via Amazon than be published by Amazon. I don’t like Amazon’s author contract. I’m fine with this compromise.

Pushing through a tough part of RELICS. Mentally, I’m several chapters ahead, but I have to get there. I also have to make some decisions on timeline. because arbitrary days of the week are not working for this.

Working on calendar articles. It’s slower than I expected, because I’m testing what I write about, to make sure it works. But the testing process is fun. Kind of like recipe development.

On Wednesday, one of my clients treated us all to lunch at the local Beach Club, an old-fashioned establishment on the water, which was nice, and then took us to her house to walk around the garden and show us her unique house, that was a labor of love. It’s a gorgeous place, curated with well-loved objects from a lifetime of travel. It was lovely, and very kind of her to share it with us.

I came home and worked on the front beds. They’d gotten kind of wild, and I had to weed and cut back a lot of invasives. An ongoing process.

I will be offline most of tomorrow (no blog post). I’m having adventures. Saturday are the protests against the government’s human rights violations. Sunday, I’ve got a couple of other things to do (including write and work in the garden).

Needless to say, I’m furious that Justice Kennedy is retiring. Another instance of a Republican putting party over country. In the interim, he is determined to do as much damage as possible. Traitor.

Next week is Independence Day. I’ll be offline that day, taking a break (and, of course, writing). Ink-Dipped Advice will also take a break. I considered scheduling an informational post, but taking breaks is just as important as getting people in the habit of a weekly visit. So it is a celebration post.

The June wrap-up with go live on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions tomorrow, and the July To Do List will go live on the same site on Monday.

Have a great weekend.!

Fri. June 14, 2018: Cover Reveal & Writing Plans

 

MYTH&INTERPRETATION Cover

Myth & Interpretation

Stuck in NYC when plans for their next expedition fall through, Gwen and Justin accept teaching jobs at different local universities. Adjusting to their day-to-day  relationship, and juggling the academic and emotional demands of their students, they are embroiled in two different, disturbing, paranormal situations that have more than one unusual crossing point. Can they work together to find the answers? Or are new temptations too much to resist? For whom are they willing to put their lives on the line?

Friday, June 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Above is the cover for MYTH & INTERPRETATION, the between-the-books Gwen Finnegan novella, releasing digitally on July 17, from Bluestockings and Gentlemen Press.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the mid-month check-in. I can’t believe we’re already in June. Pretty soon, it will be time for the mid-year assessment!

Feeling a little under the weather today.

Worked on articles yesterday, got out some LOIs, on the revisions of MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’d hoped to get it to my editor today, but it looks like I need the weekend to work out some problems. But that means going into galleys early next week, which will still be fine. I’m finally getting used to the fact that digital releases work on a faster scale than print. When we move to the print releases, we’ll be back at molasses, which is why they are staggered so differently.

I’m a little behind on RELICS & REQUIEM, and don’t want to lose momentum. RELICS will have the main drafting focus up through the end of next week; the following week, I will be in writing mode for both RELICS and DAVY JONES DHARMA.

The publisher is waiting for one more piece of information before making the Jain Lazarus announcement. The wait is to accommodate someone I want to include –who hasn’t gotten back to me yet, and the publisher is getting impatient. Now, this individual might be on vacation – it’s someone trustworthy. But, if we don’t hear back, one way or another, SOON, the publisher will need to move on.

I planned to do yard work today, but it’s not very nice out. Plus, I’m not feeling well. So we’ll see.

An organization I used to work with sent a condescending email on how I could “help” them, acting as if I’d never shared a post or posted a Tweet. It was demeaning, considering how much of my business is in social media. I need to let it go, but I’m angry.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and all is well, at least for the moment. So all was well.

The weekend will focus on MYTH, RELICS, the play, and maybe a little work on either THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS or POWER OF WORDS.

Good times!

Monday’s post for Upbeat Authors is a very personal essay on my journey.

I hope you’ll read it.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on June 15, 2018 at 9:05 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 14, 2018: Cover Reveal & Writing Plans  
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Thursday, May 31: Multi-Level Creativity

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Foggy and muggy and full of pollen

Sorry this is up late. I had to get the weed whacker fixed.

Hop on over to Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions to see the May Wrap-Up. I didn’t post a To-Do list for May, because I had those extra projects come up, and any list would have been tossed out the window. But I’m happy with what got done.

Yesterday’s work with the client was tiring. I came home and read on the deck for a bit. I was also disappointed, at that particular site, about several ignorant comments from people who should know better.

I was going to skip going to Green Drinks, but I have to make an effort to get out and participate more. I put on make-up, I made an effort, and hauled myself out the door. I’m glad I did.

The space was beautiful, and focused on the Love Live Local businesses in Hyannis. Little Beach Gallery, Shift Eco Boutique, and DeVinto Designs. I really like what they do, what they create themselves, and the artwork featured. I met a host of interesting people, including a cadre of New Yorkers who also live and work here. Almost everyone I met is involved in textile or fiber arts, which was also interesting. As an ex-wardrobe person, I’m still fascinated by anything to do with textiles or fiber. I also met the new owner of Salt Yarn Studio, in Dennis. What used to be Yarn Hound, and, before that, Ladybug. I planned to go there tomorrow anyway to check it out; we had a great talk and I’m more eager than ever to go over there.

I’m glad I forced myself out of my introvert hut. The individuals I met were all interesting, all had good stories and unique passions. I’m not a fan of “people” in the general sense, but I find that, when you take the time to talk to an individual, they’re usually pretty interesting.

Little Beach Gallery had some great organic soaps, so I bought a bunch of them.

I feel good about the work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’m deeply grateful that I could send the outline for the novella to my editor before I’d written much (back when we decided that the section that’s grown into MYTH didn’t fit in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE). We decided to break that section out into its own novella, because it was a tangent from BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, but the readers needed to know how the relationship between Gwen and Justin evolved between TRACKING MEDUSA and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

So, I wrote an outline and sent it to my editor. She read it through and sent it back with comments, and ideas on how to keep it from sprawling into too much. She had suggestions on how to pare down the ideas to get to the essence of the piece, which keeps the focus of the series, and also shows how Gwen and Justin navigate their new status as a couple, while trying to juggle their lives. Each of them had a life before the other; their relationship changed their lives, but didn’t negate them. Gwen is older than Justin both emotionally and chronologically — he’s starting to come into his own and grow up.

The short conclusion to all this is that listening to my editor worked. Even from the outline, I’m paring a few things down, rearranging them, streamlining them, and the piece works better in pace and content. I’m going to do a big push on it this weekend.

I’m a little behind where I want to be on RELICS & REQUIEM, so I’m also going to do a push on that this weekend. And I’m nearly at the point where I can put the opening of the anti-gun violence play down on paper.

My reward for this is, once I finish my quota each day, working on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I picked up the oversized sketchbook yesterday, so I can work on the maps I need for the project. I’m using the smaller sketchbook for floor plans and buildings, and the large one for sections of the city and the city itself. Eventually, I’ll be able to scan in the large maps and I hope to put them into a program to animate them when I’m ready to do the website to go with this project. That’s months down the road, maybe a year or two, but I’m looking into software that’s similar to gaming software for it.

Auditing the class on International Tribunals in the Hague is fascinating. I’m glad I’m auditing and not taking it for credit, because it’s in French. While I can understand enough to get a lot out of the class (as long as I don’t try to translate every word as I hear it), my French isn’t strong enough to write the papers or take the exams. But I get a lot out of auditing.

Hopefully, there will be some good weather this weekend, so I can get yard work done.

If you haven’t read “My Deal with the Muse” over on Ink-Dipped Advice, go on over.

Today is the final day that PLAYING THE ANGLES, the first Coventina Circle book (set backstage on a Broadway show) is 99 cents. You can buy it here. Tomorrow, it goes back up to its normal price of $3.99.

Still hearing good things in response to LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, the radio play that was broadcast last week. HEX BREAKER also got some good compliments. I’m glad people enjoy the work.

Back to the page.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States — or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP? Buy it for only 99 cents here (through May 31).

 

Fri. Nov. 17, 2017: Writing, Errands, and Amazon Delivery Fail

Friday, November 17, 2017
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a busy day. That seems to be the mantra, isn’t it? The Books and the Bear promotion went out for SA.VASANA AT SEA

Day before dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month. Dark moon, I start feeling better again.

I had to contact my webhost — the book covers aren’t showing up on my website for SAVASANA, nor is the Media Kit downloadable. That’s not acceptable. The host switched over to a Microsoft Server, and, Microsoft is claiming my uploads are “double escapes” and they are forbidden for “security”. Which is complete and utter crap.

So, again, just when I have a release, and it’s vital everything work, my host lets me down. Because 1and 1 sucks.

Moving everything and/or rebuilding the websites from scratch will be a nightmare, but I really don’t see what else I can do. 1and1 doesn’t deliver on the package for which I’m paying. Every “improvement” makes it more and more impossible for me to do what I need to do, and everything that’s supposed to be included then suddenly becomes an additional monthly fee.

I need a stable webhost that lets me do what I need to do. I need to be able to run multiple domains at a reasonable price, along with multiple subdomains.

So, I’m on the webhost hunt again.

Caught up on a lot of web and admin stuff yesterday, and uploaded next Tuesday’s post to A Biblio Paradise. My guest is Patsy Collins, whose newest book is set in both South Wales and Capri, which sounds interesting. Anyway, on Tuesday, I hope you’ll hop over. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you! 😉

I set up the Questions for 2018 on a separate page on the GDR site. I figured that makes more sense than having to constantly scroll down and look for it. The questions have shifted a bit from the past few years, because, well, people change. Life changes. Things evolve.

I’m having a series of interesting small “aha” moments lately. They are adding up to the major shift that will happen next spring. Clues along the trail. I still don’t know what the ultimate outcome of it all will be, but the journey is intriguing.

Did some client work. I’ve kind of done all I can on a couple of projects for this client until they get back to me with the information I requested in order to go further.

Yoga mid-day yesterday. It was a good class. I was achy and tight all over. It made me realize that, on days when I’m working onsite with my clients, I have to come home, immediately change into yoga clothes, and do a solid, forty minutes or so of yoga or I get out of alignment and tangled up. I can’t sit for so long, especially since the desk and chair are the wrong heights for me on one particular site.

My mom’s medical appointment was moved a few hours earlier, so I dashed home from yoga, packed her into the car, drove her over in the pouring rain. While she was in there, I ran a couple of errands nearby, then picked her up, and off we went home. She’s healing well. It’s slower than she would like, and she can’t do much, which frustrates her, but the nurses assure her she’s doing well and is right on track.

By the time we got back, I was done for the day!

I’ve been expecting a book I ordered from an Amazon-connected vendor. It was ordered on Oct. 31, and supposedly shipped on Nov. 1. The delivery was marked between Nov. 8-15. Now, since I paid full price for the shipping, that seemed a bit long. But, most of the time, the stuff arrives on the front end of the estimate. I’d ordered two other books from different vendors the same day. At cheaper shipping, I might add. One arrived THE NEXT DAY with a nice note — you know I’ll be doing business with them again), and the other arrived less than a week later.

I’m still waiting for this book. The tracking said it would be delivered by 8 PM on the 15th. Well, the mailman was there around 3:30, and, no package. Then, yesterday, it’s marked “delivered.” Where? Sure as hell not to me. I was home when the mail was delivered, so it’s not like anyone had time to steal it off the doorstep. I walked around and don’t see it anywhere. If it was misdelivered to a neighbor, the neighbor would have brought it over. We run back and forth a few times a week with misdelivered mail. So where is it? And why the hell would it be my job to walk the neighborhood to try to figure out where it was misdelivered? I paid for it to be delivered in a timely fashion TO MY HOUSE.

I contacted the seller when it didn’t arrive the first time, and then again last night. I’m going to the post office with the tracking number today. Hopefully, the seller will put some pressure on it from that end, and we can figure out where the heck it is.

Not happy about it at all. On the one hand, I don’t want to blame the seller for something that happened on this end. On the other hand, I paid full price for shipping, so why wasn’t it sent via first class mail? And what good is the tracking number if it doesn’t accurately track?

Time to visit the post office. My post office people are very nice, so I know they will at least TRY to figure it out. But it’s frustrating. And it makes me not want to order again.

It’s not even holiday madness. If it was holiday madness, I’d give it more leeway, but this is basic mail delivery.

And, of course, crickets from the seller. Not even an acknowledgement that I contacted with a problem. However, it might be overzealous to expect a response in less than 48 hours. That IS the standard business response time. So I really don’t have a right to be annoyed with the seller until, like, Monday.

Enough of the cranky today, right?

I ran a ton of errands this morning. By accident, I found the turkey of my dreams on sale at a great price, so I hauled that home and it’s waiting patiently for Thanksgiving. Found the cookie tray packaging I need for my annual cookie tray event, and a couple of small gifts for my mom. And I have almost everything I need for the dinner next week – just have to pick up some fresh vegetables and the pie the day before. Picked up some yarn my mom needed, and a few other things.

Yard work after lunch, although it’s windy, and I hope my piles of leaves don’t blow into my neighbors’ pristine yards before I can bag them!

Only then will I be able to dig back into SERENE AND DETERMINED. I am determined — pun intended — to finish the first act this weekend.

A friend sent me some raw material that he’s wondering how he can shape, so I’m going to give him some advice, too.

I’m going to try to stay offline all weekend, and that includes social media, in order to really dig in to SERENE AND DETERMINED, and also, hopefully into a few other projects.

And get yard work done on any day that isn’t raining!

I won’t be able to post about the weekend’s writing until Tuesday’s post. Monday will, again, be an “intent” post.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on November 17, 2017 at 11:43 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 17, 2017: Writing, Errands, and Amazon Delivery Fail  
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Wed. Jan. 6, 2016: Starting Out the New Year Right!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Because, really, what better what to start off the New Year than with a Mercury Retrograde? Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

The holidays were good. Busy, busy, but good. I’m exhausted. I feel like I need about a month to sleep and do nothing.

That’s not an option, of course.

Ran around a bit when work closed at noon on New Year’s Eve. But, once settled at home, it was all good. Saw in the New Year with a good meal and prosecco. Up early on the Day for the Fire & Ice ritual, eggs benedict, more prosecco, and some good writing on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Made the dips for the party.

Worked on Saturday, ran some errands, got in the liquor for the party, made more food. Also, rearranging the house. It looked really pretty. I’m going to sort and purge as I bring stuff back, so that the year doesn’t clutter again.

The party was Sunday afternoon. The right mix of people showed up. It was fun, and I’m glad that I did the party again — although it was a “Nine Ladies Dancing Party” instead of a “Twelfth Night” party. After two years of being snowed out, it was nice to have it again.

When people left, did a pile of dishes, put away as much as possible from the party. Collapsed into bed early. Woke up at 4 AM on Monday, and started taking down the holiday decorations. Twelve hours later, most of it was done. Not all, but most. There are still a few dribs and drabs to finish. But most of it is put away safely in the Christmas closet. I have to do the laundry and put away the fabric, and do a few more little things.

It snowed on Monday night into Tuesday. Not much, just enough to be pretty and slippery. I went over to a friend’s on Tuesday morning — a group of us gathered to help with a contest where the ball was dropped, and get it back on track. Although the people were great and I got a lot done, it reminded me why I am no longer a part of that group.

Knitting was fun last night. Turns out one of the women in the group lived near us in Westchester, and her mother-in-law is best friends with the mother of an actor I worked with both on and off-Broadway. Small world!

365 Women is pleased with “Confidence Confidant” and would like me to do another play this year. I sent them a pitch, so we’ll see. I have two unique women about whom I’d really like to write, so we’ll see what we come up with.

I also have to get back on track with BALTHAZAAR, CHOLERIC, TIE-CUTTER, and finish the short radio play.

The Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site will have more going on this year. Instead of just sharing lists, there will also be posts on getting and staying organized, and on motivation. So I hope you visit the site a few times a month, or set it so you get notifications when new posts come up.

I’m already starting to plan the garden for the coming spring. I am determined not to suffer from blossom rot again with my tomatoes!

This year, I’m trying to figure out how different parts of my creativity feed each other, and encourage that integration.

Hope you’re setting yourself up for a wonderful new year!

Devon

Published in: on January 6, 2016 at 11:00 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Aug. 12, 2015: Cape Cod Writers Conference Wrap-UP & Other Life Stuff

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Day before Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and damp

I had contradictory information about the retrogrades, but I think I’ve got it sorted. Saturn is direct, thank goodness, because I don’t think I can take any more life lessons for awhile. Venus is still retrograde, which explains several things!

So the Cape Cod Writers Conference ran the past few days. It was the happiest I’ve been in months. What a great conference!

I spent most of Friday trying to get the wine tasting ball rolling for our next NMLC special event. I’m supposed to be “helping”, but it’s pretty much all been dumped into my lap. Therefore, I am assigning tasks and expecting them done. Because I CANNOT and WILL NOT do an entire event on my own. Been there, done that, not doing it again.

Raced to the conference in the evening, got situated, caught up with some people. Marge Piercy was the keynote speaker. I love that she won’t compromise her beliefs for fear of “annoying” potential readers. Everyone is told to be so careful and apolitical on social media — no, we have to stand for what we believe in it, work for it, and actually make change! So, I totally admire that about her. Her keynote was rich, almost too rich. There were so many sections, without transition, that one or two sections would have given us plenty to think about, and also given us a foundation to change our lives. Five sections was a little much. I felt like I missed a lot I could have otherwise absorbed and benefitted from, because I was trying to keep up.

Sat with poet Charles Coe, whom I adore, both as a poet and person. We had a good time. And, because I was going to the prose reading instead of the poetry reading, he recited the poem he planned to open with, just for me. What an honor, especially to hear something so beautiful.

After, there were readings. I had a friend reading in the prose section, which was run by another friend, so that’s where I ducked in. This year’s batch of readings were very, very good, and everyone had the chance to comment on them. It was a good evening.

Several of us repaired to the bar after, for a couple of drinks and a good chat. I was the only woman in the group (not planned), and we all had very different backgrounds, so it was an interesting and long-ranging conversation. It was also interesting that the men wanted harsher criticism. I think you can offer constructive criticism without being hurtful in a personal way.

We were there until after midnight, and, on my way home, I stopped at Covell’s beach to do my homework for the settings class.

Saturday morning, I was up early. I wanted to bring something in to the fantasy workshop. However, INITIATE is in a delicate stage where only someone with whom I’ve built trust can help, and the THREE ROADS is structured tightly in a way that didn’t just let me pull a couple of pages out of context.

So I sat down and wrote something new. It was like the piece was forming for me out of the mist. A pair of sisters is central, as is the idea that art is a threat to the throne. Wrote four pages, rushing a couple of scenes a bit because I wanted to get the twist into the page count. But it felt right — that tuning fork of resonance hit the note. So I printed up copies, and there we were.

Worked the registration desk from 10-1, talking to people, helping them find things, etc. At 1, I had the fantasy workshop, with Carol Buggé, who, in addition to being one of my favorite people in the world, is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had the luck to study with. The class was great — a small, but lively group, supportive and interested in each other without getting cloying. People distributed their pieces, we learned a lot, and it was over far too quickly.

Chantelle Osman was also there — I took her wonderful screenwriting class last year, and was sorry I couldn’t take her class this year, but at least we got to chat here and there for a few minutes over the course of the weekend.

I ran into Indira Ganesan at the cabana window, and we sat together “just being” (quiet) for awhile. She’s a good one to be with in companionable silence.

She had a 3 PM appointment, and I stayed outside in the beautiful weather a little longer to write, then went in a bought books by both Indira and Claire Cook, the night’s keynote. Claire arrived, and got settled, and then I went in to Indira’s setting class — about a dozen people. We rearranged the room to be more of a circle, and wrote in class, then each read our scenes. There was a lot of good writing in the class, and I was also delighted that my scene, which was both painful and funny, hit home and got a lot of laughs.

That made me realize how much confidence I’ve lost in my work over the past few months, and made me start thinking about where I need to go from here, and what decisions to make.

Immediately over to the ballroom to hear Claire Cook — what a nice person, and what a terrific inspiration. She’s learned how to make the best of everything, and how to enjoy the journey. I can learn a lot from her.

If I ever reach the point where I think I can’t learn from others, I hope someone wallops me upside the head with a cast iron skillet!

Didn’t go to the banquet, because I had a previous commitment. Took care of that, then settled in to do my homework for class, commenting on my fellow students’ work for the fantasy class. I like the fact, this year, so many people are working on things that are different, not just mimicking already published work.

Up early on Sunday, baked cinnamon rolls, tried to relax before going in. We got some sad news about a family member with a long-term illness — hospice is in there now, so it’s a matter of days. That will change many things for a lot of us.

Worked the registration desk again in the morning. I’m happy that the entire Board stepped up for the conference and was a presence, much more so than last year. It makes a huge difference in the energy and morale of the conference.

Carol’s workshop was, of course, fabulous, and the four pages I’d written in an hour went over very well. The feedback was VERY helpful (which isn’t always the case in workshops), and people are eager to read more. So, more there will be. The piece goes into the queue.

Helped clean up post-conference, loaded all the easels into the car for Mermaid Ball, and the big posters for the conference — they wouldn’t fit in Sara’s car and people just stood around like the office was in Puerto Rico instead of Osterville. Puh-leeze. Stick ’em in my car and I’ll get ’em back.

Collapsed at home — no voice, absolutely exhausted. Read a bit and early to bed.

Sad news on Monday morning — my mom’s best friend died unexpectedly over the weekend. They were both in their 90s, and had been best friends since they were 14. It’s tough on my mom. I wish I could do more for her.

Had to go on vocal rest on Monday because of the voice problems. Could feel the bleeding, and it was painful. Carrying around a pad to write everything down, trying not to act like a bad Central Park Mime. Did some work on the wine event, dropped off a note for Mezza Luna to get the ball rolling on our NYU Alumni Event, dropped off the easels at NMLC, put gas in the car, came home and rested.

Let the fantasy piece I worked on in the workshop percolate. I know my anchoring protagonists and have a working title. I know how I’d like to expand the pages I wrote for class into a legitimate opening chapter.

Watched the last two episodes of season 1 of LINE OF DUTY on Monday night. It’s so well done, and, ultimately, so depressing!

Wanted to sleep in on Tuesday, but the cats weren’t having it. Managed to get the posters back to the writers’ center office before the rain started, then came back home to write and sleep.

It amazes me how much I’ve lost in the past months, especially when it comes to my work. The best way I can put it as that my writing has been out of tune, and when the writing isn’t working, nothing else works, either. I know WHY and I have a good idea of WHAT changes need to be made, but the details of the changes are something else altogether. The weekend gave me confidence and perspective, and it’s the first time I’ve been happy in months. Decisions need to be made from there.

Rested a lot, trying to get my feet back under me for a busy week at work, and then the Mermaid Ball. Worked on the world-building for the writing, enriching the environment, because that’s such a huge part of the characters and their conflicts — and their secrets.

Violet, my oldest and smallest cat, was sick yesterday afternoon, so I went out in the monsoon to get her organic baby food. That seems to have settled her stomach, and she’s much better today, thank goodness. I think it was a reaction to the flea and tick medicine.

Started watching the first season of PIE IN THE SKY, which is charming. Thoroughly enjoying it. Lots of gentle wit in the dialogue, yet it’s still a cop show. The structure is amazing.

Also enjoying Claire Cook’s NEVER TOO LATE, her non-fiction book on reinvention. To cheer up my mom during this difficult time, I’ve gotten her a stack of Claire Cook’s novels and a stack of Barbara Delinsky’s novels. There’s a warmth to both of their writing that’s necessary right now.

Mezza Luna is excited to have the NYU Alumni do their meet-and-greet., so that will get sorted, and there’s more work to do on the wine event.

This morning, the family in Maine said our relative wasn’t supposed to last the night, but sat up and asked for breakfast this morning! 😉

Some writing this morning (back on track with my first 1K of the day), then a long day at work. It’s too hard to have the conference and the Ball so close together. If it’s scheduled that way again next year, I’ll have to only do one. Today is always my lowest energy day of the month anyway (being the day before the dark moon), but now, all I REALLY want to do is sleep.

Also working on the questions for the GOALS, DREAMS AND RESOLUTIONS site for 2016. I want to post them in September, or, latest, October, so that we all have time to think about them. I think I might tweak the site a bit, too, with more suggestions and resources instead of everyone just working so much alone.

I need to update my websites, too.

I had a great idea for a short story, a comic science fiction that anyone who knows me well will get a good laugh out of! I’m figuring 1500 words or less, comic, with the last beat being a little disturbing. Got several of the characters and the setting, so it should flow pretty quickly.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying summer, and that this week is even better!

Devon

Published in: on August 12, 2015 at 9:15 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 12, 2015: Cape Cod Writers Conference Wrap-UP & Other Life Stuff  
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Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles

Friday, October 10, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold

Yesterday was busy. Got in early, processed all the check-ins that couldn’t be handled the previous day due to the computer being down; got the holds and other books processed; hand-entered the manual checkouts into the system. Thank goodness we had volunteers at the desk to handle the patrons coming in and out that day needing check-ins and check-outs, so that I could catch up on the previous afternoon’s system work.

It all got done, and that’s what counts.

Home, tired. Dinner, some reading, worked on a student manuscript.

Watched STILL LIFE, the film version of Louise Penny’s book. Nathaniel Parker played Gamache; Kate Hewlett (whose work I really enjoy) was Clara. One of the biggest delights was Anthony Lemke as Jean-Guy. I knew his work from LOST GIRL – he was terrific in this. I like the character of Jean-Guy in the books, but this was definitely a case of the actor raising it to an even better, deeper level. I hope they film more of the books in the series. I can’t wait to see what he does with Jean-Guy’s journey. I was disappointed that they pushed the character of Myrna aside, and they didn’t start the development of the wonderful relationship between Jean-Guy and Ruth. To me, the odd affection between those two is one of the best cornerstones in the series, and I hope it develops in future films.

Bad dreams last night. Truly disturbing, and when I woke from them, I remembered that they’ve been progressive. I have to stop them before they progress any farther, or I will be in trouble, so that’s on my agenda for tonight.

I have two books and a novella screaming for writing time. I managed to untangle a problem in INITIATE that prevented me from moving forward in the fight sequence. Something that happens post-sequence needs to be set up properly here, and because I’d tried to force one of the characters in a wrong direction, it wasn’t working. But we’re back on track, so that sequence should start flowing. I have to do the opening of RED WIDOW (the novella), because the characters are getting very impatient, and BALTHAZAAR is starting to percolate properly again.

I was going to submit a couple of pieces, and then realized it’s Mercury Retrograde, so there’s no damned point. I will prep them, and then send them when everything goes direct.

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I can write all day on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Wednesday, we have a staff day out in P-town, so, after tomorrow, I won’t be back on line until Thursday, which is great. I LOVE being offline at least half the week. The improvement to my work is tremendous.

I also have to do some yard work any time it’s not raining. Time to put the garden to bed for the winter.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 10, 2014 at 8:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles  
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Fri. Feb. 28, 2014: Contest Judging and Mercury Direct

Friday, February 28, 2014
Dark Moon
Mercury Direct as of 9 AM EST (but can still wonk things until tomorrow)
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Decent work day yesterday. I’m very close on the play, which is a relief. I think I finally found the key to making it work.

Stop by Adventures in Vineland to see what I’ve been drinking, and what did and did not get done in February on the GDR site.

Ran some errands, dropped off books, picked up books, did some research, got some more work done on TRUE HOME and adapting the second episode of TALENT.

Wrote a kick-ass LOI that will go out with the script packets next week.

Did a bunch of pitches and LOIs; got some good responses immediately. Looking back at my pitch log, February’s responses were much higher than January’s, and the places to which I sent LOIs because I was interested had a much higher rate of positive response than any job postings. On the downside, as usual, there were still too many “writers” looking for “editors” who expect professional level work done for free. No. This is my business, not my hobby.

Happy that I have two more acceptances from my publisher; now that Mercury is going direct, I can actually sign the contracts.

Wrote, edited, polished, and submitted a review for a book I really enjoyed. My editor’s already shipped out my next batch.

Also, the books arrived via UPS for the first of the three contests I’m judging this spring. He had to use the dolly to get them to the house. One box was 50 lbs, the other 32 lbs. So exciting to open them!

The cover designs ALL look good this year. Really nice work.

Once the boxes were opened, I sorted the books into categories (I’m judging three categories for this contest). Then, I took the packing list to cross check what I’m supposed to have with what was actually in the box. Some of the missing ones are still to ship; some will be submitted electronically. I wrote up the list and sent it to Contest Central, to make sure our lists matched. Contest Central sent me the ebooks last night, and we matched lists again. The other books will be shipped shortly, and then we’ll finalize lists. The books are boxed in categories, with their judging sheets, ready to read.

I started in on the reading last night. Every time I pick up an entrant’s book, I want to fall in love with it. It doesn’t always happen, but I always start filled with optimism. I WANT these writers to succeed.

As I finish each book, I put it in one of three piles for its category: The Yes Pile, The No Pile, The Maybe Pile. If it’s submitted electronically, I put my notes for that book in the particular pile, so it gets the same amount of attention as the print books. Once I’ve completed the category, I go through each pile again, re-reading the notes, seeing how I still feel about each book, now that I’ve read everything in that category. As I read them, each book must stand or fall on its own. Once they’ve all been read, I have to weigh them against each other. Sometimes it means re-reading sections. Then, I go through The Maybe Pile yet again, making a final decision as to whether a book in it goes into Yes or No. The Maybe Pile is now empty.

Then, I go through The Yes Pile as many times as I need to, deciding which I think is the strongest book in the category, and which I feel are the four runners-up. That’s the list I submit.

I do this for each category. The writers poured their hearts and souls into their books, and I want every book to have a fair shot.

Busy weekend, lots of writing to get done, so I better get moving. We are going to be slammed with another major storm Sunday/Monday. Enough already!

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on February 28, 2014 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 28, 2014: Contest Judging and Mercury Direct  
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Wed. Jan. 15, 2014: Brain Work

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Mid-month check-in over on the GDR site, and an update on the garden site.

Busy day yesterday. Lots of it was admin work and prep work for meetings. Worked with students. Pitched for some jobs.

My computational neuroscience class started. Turns out my neurons fire differently than most people’s. I kind of knew that, but the professor finds it interesting. My fellow students, however, do not. There’s resentment that even though I don’t have the math background, I’m capable of figuring out the equations in my own, off-the-wall way. I don’t believe algebra exists, I don’t do calculus, and, to me, “probability” is how I pick a winning horse. Oh, and my brain responds receptively the same way as a cat’s.

My question to that is: is that BECAUSE I live with cats, or do I live with cats BECAUSE of the way my brain works?

It’s all very interesting.

The Environmental Law & Policy class has also started; I need to get up to speed on that. That should be quite fascinating.

Driving to the meeting last night was a nightmare in the storm. I didn’t think I was going to make it. Hydroplaning all over the place.

Meeting was lively, with some surprises.

Client STILL hasn’t paid me. Client will shortly be ex-client.

I have to finish up the last set of articles for the other slow-paying client today (the one who actually paid, albeit late) and that finishes out our contract.

I have some admin to do and some errands to run. I’m supposed to be in four different places tonight; I’m not going to be in any of them. I need some rest. I’ve got a migraine again, and it’s not going to get any better.

One of the interesting things about these neuroscience classes is that I’m starting to understand the physical components underlying the psychological components of how the brain works, and how that is tied to an individual’s value systems. What we remember and what we forget isn’t just about the amount of information we have — it’s tied to what and who we value and how we assign those values in relation to our own agendas. It’s easy to say “I forgot” or “that was careless”, but there is an underlying reason that works on both mechanical AND psychological levels on what we forget and why. As people around me make decisions that, ultimately, affect me, having this additional layer of information is useful as I make decisions on my responses, and can separate the platitudes spoken to ass-cover from the scientific reality of how the brain works.

Haven’t been in much of a writing groove this week — need to get back into it.

Devon

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 15, 2014: Brain Work  
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Tues. Feb. 5, 2013: The Minimum Doesn’t Cut It

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Marian Lanouette is my guest over on A Biblio Paradise, interviewed about her Jake Carrington series. Stop on by and drop a comment!

The February To-Do List is up on the GDR site. Short month, a lot to do.

I’m frustrated with a few people today, but venting isn’t going to do any good. Let’s just say I hate it when they waste my time, and I’m going to have to make changes to make sure that they don’t in the future.

Worked with students, finished an editing job, got out some pitches, ran errands, went grocery shopping, worked on SEVEN OF SWORDS. I’m almost there, I’ve almost unlocked what I want to fix in it. I’m hoping to get it finished and out the door this morning before my lunch meeting.

Finished Louise Penny’s BURY YOUR DEAD yesterday, and it was so well done and so tragic (in the large sense), that I was in tears by the end of it. The way she had characters re-live a traumatic event, through flashbacks throughout, is not something most people could pull off. But she did it effectively. Part of that is because she is a master of her craft. She understands structure, and therefore, when she goes against the expectations, she has the craft behind her to pull it off. Writers earlier in their careers, who can’t be bothered to learn structure, try this same type of maneuver, and most of them fail miserably. And it’s because they can’t be bothered to learn structure. It’s blatantly obvious when a skilled writer deviates from tradition and pulls it off, and an unskilled writer can’t be bothered.

It always amazes me when people say they want to learn how to do something– be it writing or anything else — and then can’t be bothered to learn the skills required for it. And then they’re surprised when they don’t succeed. If all you ever put in to something is the minimum, you won’t get more out of it.

Better get back to work — I need to clear a lot off my desk before I leave.

Devon

You can still sign up for “Journal into Fiction”, from Feb. 11-15. Transform journal entries into viable fiction. Registration and information here.

If you’re based on the Cape and/or South Shore, come try out of MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, Feb. 11 & 13, with callbacks the 15th. Detailed information here.

Jan. 2, 2013: Racing into 2013!

IMG_0786
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

Jan. 1, 2013: Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful time greeting it last night.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about my first recommendation for 2013: DYING ART by Shirley Wells. It’s terrific!

And then, join me over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions, where I have the answers to the questions I posed back in August. I have no doubt it will ruffle some feathers, when individuals mis-read certain paragraphs as blaming others, when I’m actually blaming myself. But that’s it — I’ve already rewritten it to be much more diplomatic than it was, and if I watered it down any more, I would be dishonest.

I plan to have a lovely holiday today, and hit the ground running tomorrow.

Devon

Published in: on January 1, 2013 at 9:25 am  Comments (4)  
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