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. July 12, 2018: Clown Semen & Other Creative Adventures

Thursday, July 12, 2018
New moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see why loving your job does not forfeit your right to earn a living at it.

The impromptu artists’ retreat with my friends last week gave me a lot to think about, and it will take me some time to work through it all. While I didn’t get a lot of words on paper during that time, I refilled the creative well, as we all helped each other refill our creative wells.

I helped brainstorm their creative projects; because that work is not mine, I can’t discuss it here, in a public space. The results of the brainstorming are theirs to use or not use, discuss or not discuss as they see fit. But I find helping others sort their way out of creative obstacles always teaches me a lot about my own work.

As far as my work, I now have:

— a clearer idea of how to proceed on the anti-gun violence play;

–a stronger thread for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (breaking MYTH & INTERPRETATION out of it helped, but now it’s even more focused);

–a clearer idea of CRAVE THE HUNT, which needs to go back into the queue in late summer;

–how to incorporate the editorial notes I received recently on the two manuscripts in a way that solves the problems the editors pointed out without diluting my vision for the books. The only way I could see on one of them was to dumb it down, but now I know how to make what the editor feels is missing work while still driving the book’s unique edge, the thing that makes it different from other books in the genre;

–a new determination to work, in and around other projects on what I’ve called THE POWER OF WORDS, so the first six books will be ready to release one-a-month next spring or summer;

–a new determination to get back to THE FIX-IT GIRL edits (the book set in 1930s Hollywood), so that can go out on submission;

–the problem that had me stuck on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is untangled, and I can fix that; when, I’m not sure, but the “how” is handled;

–the outline for the first book in a more traditional mystery series that has a good chance of finding a home in a more traditional venue — if I can work in the time to do a good job on it;

–ideas for a couple of radio plays, and new venues to send existing radio plays;

So I would say it was a productive few days.

I went to Falmouth Art Center to the opening of an exhibit where a friend of mine had a couple of pieces. The drive was a nightmare, but the exhibit was lovely. Her pieces (ceramics) had a wonderful sense of fun. Of the other pieces, I found myself especially drawn to the oils. I loved their depth. It reminds me of the difference between film and video.

Came home to discover other family friends had stopped by, although they hadn’t been able to stay.

Once the last of the guests left. I did laundry and some tidying up, but cut myself a break to process ideas and read and rest. I felt a huge need to rest.

Part of me worried that I’m getting too far behind on the word count for RELICS; more of me felt I couldn’t put words of any value down, and it was better to rest.

One of the books I read was THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis, which I really liked.

I tried to read some books by an author whose latest book I loved, but they were written in present tense, and I couldn’t. I loathe novels written in present tense. I don’t care how much praise they get. I find them unreadable. It’s the author getting between me and the story, screaming in my face about what a cool stylist the author is, instead of letting me experience the story.

A writer friend is coming to the Cape to teach at the Conference next month and wants to get together. I’m delighted.

Monday morning, I woke up early with a blasting headache. I ended up drafting most of a flash fiction piece — I still have to figure out how to end it. That alleviated the headache somewhat.

Client work, prepping and getting out a marketing campaign for an event the client has in August.

Steady work on RELICS, getting back into the groove with DHARMA. Researching my almanac articles. Getting ready to re-read HEADLONG this weekend so I can write the foreword. I’m so thrilled my friend asked me to write the foreword. What an honor. It remains one of my favorite books ever. I have to put some material together for a couple of proposals in the next few days, too.

I’d sent a pitch to a potential client through a recruiter — who sent it to THE WRONG COMPANY. My pitch was to join the marketing team for a company that promotes wellness in the workplace. Instead, the recruiter sent the pitch to a different company with the same first initials/acronym located in a different town. This one is a fast-paced, very corporate organization. I was puzzled at first, when the corporation contacted me to set up a meeting. Because I knew I hadn’t sent them anything. Then I did some research and realized what had happened. Then I did some research on the company and — no. Just no. We are not a good fit. The “leaders” stay in the shadows and the double-speak made me question their ethics. Plus, they’re looking for entry level to groom. I’m not entry level. Too many decades of work under my belt for that. I sent a polite email thanking them for their interest, explaining the mix-up, and withdrawing from consideration.

Savasana/sukasana/reiki was great. I love spending an hour a week lying in a quiet room with no expectations.

Then, Wednesday, there was some unpleasantness at one of the client sites. Unnecessary, manipulative unpleasantness. I was onsite, working on the client’s campaign for an upcoming event. However, another person in the workplace specifically sparked an incident that she knew would set off my client to go on a rant to which I would have to respond or be the type of compliant spineless moron I despise.This individual did it because she thought it was “funny.”Now, my client and I wound up being fine by remaining cordial and listening to each other, and giving each other respect for our differing views.

My fury (and believe me, it was fury) was at the person who sparked the incident, who threw me under the bus because she thought it was “funny.” My client left and I was finishing up what I needed to get done until I go back onsite next week. I was seething, but I figured I’d let myself cool down and then, if it was relevant, have a quiet word with the instigator next week.

But no, this one had to start joking about how funny it was. I told her to never put me in that situation again, and that I was angry, and didn’t appreciate she threw me under the bus. I have covered her ass plenty of times in that place. Then she denied that she “knew” it would cause a problem which either a flat out lie or she has cognitive issues, because we’ve discussed this more than once. Then she started the whole thing about how my anger “hurt her feelings.”

Too bad, bubbelah, maybe you should have considered that before deliberately stirring the pot. Her actions and her words are too far apart for me to believe her words. Anyone with a grain of common sense, consideration for someone else, and basic reasoning skills could have predicted what would happen.

Walk your fucking talk or get out of my life.

Of course, this is the same person who, last week, during a discussion about human rights violations, said she “doesn’t do politics. Besides, none of this affects me because I have white skin.”

Which just tells all of us all we need to know, right?

I’d much rather know someone’s true colors sooner rather than later. Now I know what I’m dealing with.

Fortunately, I got to have fun on Wednesday night, which is where the clown semen comes in.

My friend, author Ray Bartlett, did an event with another author, Mary Hart. I saw his post on Facebook about it, and hadn’t seen him in ages, so I figured it was a good time to get together, come out and support his book (I’d put together the launch party for it when it originally came out), and meet a new-to-me author. All good.

It was at Hyannis library, and tons of fun. Ray read from SUNSETS OF TULUM, and Mary read from SOME HORRIFIC EVENING. The audience was engaged, there was a great talk/question & answer session, and, best for them, the audience members bought books. It was lively and fun and creative.

I’m also looking forward to both of their next books.

After, we went to a nearby bar to chat and catch up. We ordered our various drinks. Mary ordered an IPA called something like “Clown Shoes”. It was clown something. Well, when it arrived at the table, it looked kind of like milky orange juice.

You get where I’m going with this, right?

We asked the waitress if it was supposed to look like that; she didn’t know, but suggested an app that has pictures and info on different beers. Mary pulled it up on her phone.

Uh, no, it wasn’t supposed to look like that. All the pictures were very different than what was in the glass in front of us. In the photos, it looked like beer.

What was in the glass didn’t look like beer.

Which is when the comment came up about it looking like “clown semen.”

Which quieted the men at the table into shocked silence for about 20 seconds.

Anyway, she sent it back and got something drinkable. But we started doing jokes about clown semen. Because it was just that kind of night.

We decided that it should be the title of her third book (because the title of her upcoming second book is already really cool). And if she doesn’t use it by her third book, I will.

I promised her I’d write about this today, so Mary, this one’s for you! 😉

And there was other laughter interspersed with the creative conversation, and it was fun. Also, when you go to one of Mary’s readings, ask about the story of how her parents met, because it’s really lovely.

Came home later than expected and puttered around.

This morning, it’s yard work, some remote client work. I need to up my game on RELICS & REQUIEM to make deadline, and I have to make sure I don’t drop the ball on DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Plus, you know, the novella, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, releases on Tuesday, so I better up the PR.

I need to prepare an international proposal for a play that needs to go out tomorrow, and two radio drama pitches to go out next week. I also want to get out some more LOIs this week.

Tomorrow, I’ll share some Adventures in Wildlife we’re having around the yard.

Back to the page!

 

Tues. July 3, 2018: Writing, Marching, Company

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Packed few days.

Friday, I gave myself the day off. Even from writing. We got out of the house early and drove out to Truro, to the Atlantic Spice Company. I was out of a few things, and, since the local natural market closed, I needed to restock. It was a nice drive on a lovely day, and a good trip.

On the way back, we had a quick stop at the National Seashore in Eastham, stopped at Great Cape Herbs in Brewster, and had lunch at  Captain Frosty’s in Dennis. Then, a quick stop at Trader Joe’s. At 1 PM on a Friday, the place looked like it had been stripped by locusts. I couldn’t believe how many shelves were bare.

I also picked up some globe solar lights and put them into the garden. Between the lights and the fireflies, it was beautiful.

We have a mother and baby bunny in the garden, too. I have enough dandelions for them to eat, so they leave our lettuce alone!

I read a lovely book by Catherine Isaac called YOU ME EVERYTHING. Really well done.

I received the most wonderful request from my colleague Ron MacLean to write the foreword for the re-release of his novel HEADLONG. It remains one of my ten favorite novels I’ve read in the past decade or so, and probably on my top 20 books of all time. I’m so honored.

Between that and the almanac articles and the monologue for my friend’s benefit and the material I’m sending for a potential reading slot in fall, I have quite the schedule. But it’s wonderful.

I’m going to re-read HEADLONG before I write the foreword. Fall in love with the book all over again.

My lunch at Frosty’s had been a much anticipated platter of fried seafood, and I spent the rest of the day and night regretting it. But it was wonderful while I ate it.

Saturday morning, I woke up at 4 AM. I felt better, but Iris (aka Princess Hellion) scared me nearly to death. She was lying in the hallway, not moving. I was afraid she was dead. It was only a deep sleep, thank goodness. She was quite annoyed that I woke her up. She was hot, and could get a breeze by lying in the hall.

Early grocery shopping before heading out to the march.

Each march has its own distinct atmosphere. This, #FamiliesBelongTogether was of grim determination. Although Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy III worked hard to make us optimistic in our fight.

I am sick and tired of Republicans denying human beings basic human dignity and calling it “religion” and “safety.” My mother is terrified — she survived a regime like this during WWII.

I did not do well in the heat and had to be treated for heat exhaustion.

On the bus back, and later in the evening, I read Hannu Rajaniemi’s new book SUMMERLAND. Wow. Just wow. The type of book that’s a page turner while you read it and keeps you thinking after you put it down. Really excellent.

Watched STATE OF PLAY (the one with Bill Nighy, the BBC mini-series). Very good. Also started watching the second season of HUSTLE, which is fun.

Sunday was hot, hot, hot. We got the garbage to the dump (not fun). Read and wrote a little during the day. I’m playing with an idea that’s a variation on something I’ve played with on and off for years and never quite made work. Also pondered this, that, and the other on RELICS & worked out ideas on calendar articles.

We went to MSPCA for a senior cat adoption. The new facility was beautiful, but there weren’t many cats (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong). Tessa needs a friend, and I don’t think the right one was there for her in this batch. I feel so guilty every time I walk out of a place without adopting.

When we came home — the power was out in this neighborhood. I was worried we’d lose everything in the fridge, but it came back on after a couple of hours without damage.

Monday, I did client work and had some meetings and did some work at the library.
Worked on a marketing campaign for a client and got part of it out. The rest has to be handled today.

Had an excellent writing day on Monday for RELICS. Finished a Phineas chapter, wrote an entire Amanda chapter.

Have to get going with DHARMA this week, too. I look forward to being back on the cruise ship with Sophie, Sebastian, Roz, and the gang.

Today, more client work, and then Reiki tonight. Company arriving late tonight — they might stay until the end of the week, they might leave after a few days. We’re playing it by ear.

No post tomorrow — Just a holiday greeting. I’ll be back online on Thursday. Have a great weekend. And I hope my Canadian friends had a wonderful Canada Day on Sunday.

 

Thurs. June 19: Inspiration and Choice

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy

Yesterday was a busy, busy day. I was up by 5:30 and at my desk to work on script episodes, then headed over to the library an hour before my “start” time to get a few things done in peace and quiet before setting up for the author event.

We did the set up — we know how to feed people. Not only are we “the fun library”, we know how to feed people at events.

Our author this morning was Ron MacLean, who wrote HEADLONG. I absolutely love this book. It’s technically shelved as a “mystery”, but it’s so much more — it deals with the complex lives we have, trying to juggle and made decisions and walk our talk on a daily basis in a complicated world.

Ron is one of the best speakers I’ve heard in a long time — maybe ever. He’s funny, articulate, intelligent, and thoughtful. He gave me a lot to think about, both as a writer and as a human being. Since writing and reading are about exploring experience and viewpoints, it was the best type of take-away from an event — not just agreeing with what he said, but “oh, I didn’t think of it in those terms before. I need to spend some more time thinking about it now.”

On a personal level, it was hugely satisfying. On behalf of the Writers Center (as a board member, and with authorization from the Executive Director), I invited him to present at a WNO next season and at the 2015 Conference. Hopefully, that will all work out.

I was a little disappointed at the low turnout, in spite of the publicity that had gone out about it. The people that were there were delightful, lively, and engaged, which made it interactive and fun, which was great. Trust in the adage that we were all where we were meant to be in the moment.

A few people came in and were surprised we were having an event. Now — it was clearly posted on flyers IN the library; there was a sign OUTSIDE the library; fliers went out two weeks ago to ALL the libraries in the CLAMS network; it went out to newspapers, blogs, events calendars, radio stations. It was in our monthly newsletter. It was on the landing page of the website. If you are a library patron and STILL don’t know about it — that’s CHOOSING not to pay attention to anything around you, and I can’t help you. I’m tired of people making excuses for remaining oblivious. If I remained oblivious when I worked backstage, I would have been taken out by a two-ton moving pylon in a set change twenty years ago. Or shot on a NYC subway platform. I realize that I’m somewhat hyper-aware at times — I couldn’t have lived on the Deuce in NYC otherwise — and it literally saved my life on more than one occasion.

After we cleaned up, I was happy to have several boxes of books to unpack. I’m so excited about the new titles I’ve ordered. I’m in the process of the administrative work to get them on the shelves and out to patrons as soon as possible. I hope the people who come in to the library and scour our shelves for “new” books and “new-to-them” authors are excited, too.

We had a communications glitch about something for today, but I think it’s all straightened out. Mercury Retrograde — we need to all have a little extra patience and compassion, which is often hard.

Came home, cooked dinner (I could keep food down! I was very excited). Sat on the deck as the sun set with Tessa, reading. Went to bed pretty early.

Up early this morning to get some writing done before heading back in to the library.
I’ve got the episode due for delivery today done, and I wanted to have the final episode done, too, but it needs a bit more work. So hopefully, I can polish it this morning and tomorrow morning, and send it off tomorrow, and then focus on revisions for all the episodes next week. And then, the Big Script Project is done.

Onward, and to the page.

Devon

Published in: on June 19, 2014 at 8:11 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 19: Inspiration and Choice  
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Wed. June 18, 2014: Ron MacLean, Josh Radnor, Writing, Reading

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Busy day yesterday. Wrote in the morning. Went to the library to check email, send email, send out my episode due, and go down the list of things that needed to get done online.

Came back. Baked banana mini-muffins and orange-cranberry mini-muffins. Wrote. Put together the dishes, the books, and all the rest I need for this morning’s program.

Sorted through some research books. Pulled what I need; will take the rest back.

Cooked dinner — slowly, slowly, I’m getting back on solid food again. I still feel awful most of the time, but at least I’m eating.

The NMLC press conference started to pay off — THE CAPE COD TIMES ran a nice article on the Marine Life Center, in both the print and online editions. Hopefully, that will get us some attention and some public support. With pictures of adorable Belmont, Barclay, and Rose, how could it not? They’re just precious. The three remaining Kemp’s Ridley turtles are also well enough to be released in Maryland this weekend.

I got my cover for ELUSIVE PRAYERS. It’s good, but it’s very different than I imagined, so I have to get used to it. Will do a cover reveal soon. I’m putting together a sell sheet for the event on the 28th, and in general.

Today, author Ron MacLean will be at the library, talking about his book HEADLONG. I loved the book — it’s a spectacular contemporary social justice thriller. If you get a chance to read it, do so.

In the meantime, I still need to write for at least an hour before I eat and haul my bags and bags of stuff to the library.

I have some ideas to market TRACKING MEDUSA — I need to get those sorted out, along with marketing for the digital shorts. The press release on the summer releases is here.

I have to get the galleys for “Severance” turned around tonight, and the first round of edits for “Elusive Prayers” is also on my desk.

I finished reading a terrific science fiction novel last night, too: FORTUNE’S PAWN, by Rachel Bach. Absolutely loved it. Original, fast-paced, terrific characters. I can’t wait to read the rest of her work, and what she writes under Rachel Aaron.

I watched happythankyoumoreplease, another film by Josh Radnor, last night and really liked it. He’s such a confident filmmaker, and I admire that.

Lots to do, but it’s good, happy stuff. Still haven’t finished mowing my lawn — maybe I can get a few rows done on the meadow when I come home tonight. Although, knowing me, all I’ll want to do is relax with a nice glass of wine!

Have a great day, people!

Devon