Mon. July 9, 2018: Say “Yes” — #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, July 9, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

 

There’s a saying I’ve heard about both opportunity and the Muse: that when it knocks, you better answer or it will move on to someone else.

I believe that.

Of course, there are those who will insist they are “offering” you an “opportunity” to try to get them to work for free while they do nothing. Laugh and walk away. That is not something you to which you want to say “yes.”

But say “yes” to new experiences that are out of your comfort zone, but that you might enjoy. I did that with Argentine Tango – I said “yes” to taking classes for a few months. Not only did I have the chance to do something I hadn’t done in years – dance – I met new people, learned about a world-wide community, and gathered material for at least three new books. I even put a tango scene into my radio play “Light Behind the Eyes” which was produced this past March.

I said “yes” to attending my very first Bouchercon way back in the mid-1990s, and that was the catalyst to writing novels again. I said “yes” to my very first Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which led me to an invitation to participate in the Adelaide Festival Fringe, which meant I got to go to Australia, something I’d always wanted to do. And I got to go there as a working artist.

In Australia, I said “yes” to a local networking meeting someone I’d met in passing invited me to, which led me to saying “yes” to a curator for the library, who invited me to see an illuminated manuscript, one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen in my life. I said “yes” to doing a promo on a local radio show – which got such a positive response that I wound up co-hosting the show while we were at festival. I said “yes” to an invitation to an art gallery opening, where I was exposed to stunning work by Aboriginal artists depicting the sections in Australia where the ozone layers are burned all the way through. I said “yes” to an invitation to join a group of Aborginal women artists for their morning coffee – a rare honor, since they didn’t mingle with the other festival participants often – and learned a whole new way of communicating and relating.

I said “yes” the first time I was invited, in my first theatre lighting class in college, to working on the crew of a show – and that, eventually, led me to my career on Broadway.

I said “yes” in high school, when I was starting to learn cello, but they needed more viola players and asked me to switch. And I learned the viola (not that I remember it after all these years, but still . . .)

I said “yes” when I was just getting back into thoroughbred racing to work on a benefit to help racetrack workers have access to childcare and ended up with lifelong friends among trainers, jockeys, backstretch workers, which led me to pitch (and accept) a job covering the Triple Crown for thirteen years, and go to races in England and Scotland.

I said “yes” when given the opportunity to write about ice hockey and spent months with a minor league time; I said “yes” when given the opportunity to cover America’s Cup and learned about sailing and those beautiful old Newport yachts (even though I can’t swim). I said “yes” to covering Highland Games and local sports and lighthouses and restaurants and anything else that sounded interesting.

I can’t even count the times I’ve said “yes” – because I say “yes” more than I say “no” – especially if it means a new experience. I trust my gut – if something seems off about the offer, or I figure it’s dangerous in the wrong way, I decline.

But I trust my gut, and saying “yes” means I had opportunities and experiences many others around me haven’t. I ask questions. I’m interested in the world. So when someone offers me a chance to do something unique, especially by someone who is passionate about their interests, I try to say “yes” and then enjoy it!

 

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT releases in 4 days from Champagne Books!

Thursday, June 2, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde

Pluto Retrograde

No idea what the weather is, because I’ve scheduled this to post. I’m headed for Martha’s Vineyard today, way earlier than I would have liked. Since the garden needs 1 hour of attention before I leave, I need 1 hour for yoga/meditation and 1 hour for writing — I’m up three hours earlier than normal.

Got some work done yesterday. Decided I wanted to mow the terraced back before it got too hot, so around 9:30, off I went. Just as I finished, thunderstorms broke out. Talk about timing! Took grass clippings to the dump, going a different way due to paving on Rt. 28. I found my way there and back without getting lost.

Hit the post office, hit Verizon, went to Home Goods and found three awesome planters in which to transplant the witch hazel, the Big King Eggplant, and the lilac. All one sale, for about 70% off. Also found a Ganesh-type statue for the deck. Looked at a couple of leaf-shaped birdbaths — that might be a better choice than the traditional basin-type. I have to think about it.

Stopped at Shaw’s to get in some supplies for tomorrow’s breakfast, since I have friends stopping by on their way further into the Cape. It also meant I had to dash around cleaning. I mean, I’ve been keeping up with the basics, but because of the unpacking and projects, I’ve scattered stuff around. So it was about tidying, wiping off the counters, etc. I’ll vacuum quickly tomorrow morning, clean the bathroom and the litter boxes shortly before they come, and it’s all good.

I was advised to take an overnight bag to the Vineyard in case there’s ferry trouble. Let’s hope there’s not, and I can get back this afternoon and do a few last-minute things for tomorrow!

Got out another article. Didn’t spend enough time on SPIRIT REPOSITORY or the article meant to start.

I’d pitched to be a guest poster, as Annabel Aidan, on The Writers Vineyard (which features Champagne authors) and . . . a slot opened up and I’ll be blogging there about once a month. My first post is on June 16. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you!

Good meeting for NMLC’s Mermaid Ball. Interesting mix of characters on the committee. We’ve all got different strengths, so as long as we let people do what they’re good at and not try to force them where they’re not, I think we’ll be in great shape. The chair of the committee and the head of the publicity committee are excellent, and I’m excited to work with them. I’m going to rough out some of the ideas over the weekend about what we discussed, in time for next week’s meeting.

Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final! Game still going on when I set this to post. Of course, one of the guys most vital to the evolution of CLEAR THE SLOT (the hockey novel) now plays for Vancouver and is in the playoffs. How can I not want him to do well, even though I’ve got to root for Boston?

Tornadoes did a good bit of damage in central MA. On the radio, driving back over the bridge, we were warned about severe weather and maybe even hail. I stacked the deck furniture and protected the plants as best I could. Fingers crossed it didn’t come to pass.

Lots to do when I came home. There’s no way I’ll get to bed early, but I still had to get up at 5 AM on Thursday! I’m looking forward to a meditation session before bed. I need to sit and just BE.

Iris keeps trying to dig open the door to the basement. I hope she’s not telling us we have to go down due to an incoming funnel!

I’ll have lots to tell you tomorrow, and lots to blog about!

Devon

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday, May 17 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn DIRECT (as of yesterday)
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Wasn’t the Preakness great? Go, Rachel Alexandra! And Mine That Bird ran a great race, too.

I had a great few days out of town, on the Cape. Unfortunately, even though I dragged around the laptop, the internet access promised in the room didn’t work properly, so I was disconnected for those days — which was fine with me

We hit the road around noon on Tuesday, deciding to leave a half a day early. The weather looked great, and it seemed like it would be a great day. And then we hit a bad storm around New London. But we drove through it, and by the time we hit Rhode Island, it was gone. The storm moved west to east, and we drove south to north.

We chose a motel in the middle of Hyannis — we got a great deal on the room, and it was simple, no frills, but fine. I probably wouldn’t choose to stay there again, unless I had no other choice, but, for what I needed for research purposes, it was fine. It was clean and plenty of hot water, which are two of my top needs. We walked around town for a bit. For an affluent, rather famous community, I found it disturbing that there were so many homeless, mentally disturbed people wandering around,, and so many bored teens looking around for trouble. I immediately went into my I-Lived-on-the-Deuce-and-you-didn’t-so-don’t-even-think-of-messing-with-me mode. They didn’t. These kids may be bored, but they’re not stupid.

We had a fabulous dinner at a restaurant called Alberto’s — I had amazing mussels, and when THIS restaurant makes a house salad, it’s an assortment of greens, blood orange slices, walnuts, shredded carrots and prunes with a homemade vinagrette — wonderful. Quite different from the supposedly excellent Italian restaurant on the night I went out to Long Island to see my play, who considered their house salad iceberg lettuce with Thousand Island dressing. The wine, a California pinot noir, was okay, but not brilliant. The chocolate mousse, however, was sublime.

Got some work done in the evening. It helps, bringing the laptop, although I couldn’t get the wi-fi hook up to work. Oh, well. I had the yoga mat, so I could stay on schedule with the yoga.

Up early the next morning — coffee, yoga, but not much writing. I was in reasearch/experiential head, not writing head. We had a great breakfast at La Petite France Cafe — the food’s very good, the service is good, and the guy behind the counter is very nice. He’s there if you want something, but doesn’t try to be best friends just because you walked in the door.

Hit the road early, travelling East. I’ve been to the end of the Cape’s seashore, The Province Lands, ever since I was a little, little kid. But I never investigated the other end, the Eastham end of the shorelands. So, we went to the National Seashore and walked the trails for several hours. I took a lot of photos. It was thrilling to see so many red-winged blackbirds so close, and to hear the frogs chatter, and the ospreys and swans and all the rest. Truly gorgeous. It was a wonderful day, and plenty of benches. We could just sit and BE. The beach plums were in full bloom — gorgeous white flowers. One of the rangers told me I hit it just right – they weren’t in bloom last week and wouldn’t be in bloom next week. Good timing!

I picked up some materials in the bookshop, including a volume of letters from whalers to their families, put out by Descendants of the Whaling Masters. How’s that for a name?

On the spur of the moment, we turned to Nauset and went down to the beach and the lighthouse. I have a fondness for lighthouses anyway. This one was gorgeous, and, yes, still working. We went down to the beach — gorgeous light green water close to the beach, deepening to cobalt blue farther out. We sat on the beach for awhile, watching dogs play and someone try to surf. I gathered up stones. And then we headed back to the lighthouse.

It was still too early for the lighthouse to be open to the public during the week, but one of the workers was there to do something inside and asked if I wanted to come in. Yes! While she did what she needed to do, I got to climb around and explore the lighthouse on my own. It was fabulous! It’s a small house, without living quarters attached, but still a working light. It’s just beautiful. And it was so generous to let me in.

Lunch at a great, family-run fish shack called JT’s — terrific cod burgers with wonderful fries and coleslaw.

Then, it was back towards Brewster, to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural HIstory, one of my favorite places on the cape, to walk the trails on Wing Island. They have an “osprey cam” set up — a camera on an osprey nest, so you can watch the young osprey develop. I didn’t go inside to watch this year — last year’s batch where quite the little hams! The trail was lovely, and the wildflower garden was also beautiful.

I would say we walked at least ten miles over the course of the day. And we were in serious need of salad for dinner, so it was chicken caesar salad for dinner, and a quiet evening reading the materials I collected and typing up notes. The Helena Francis books are set on the bay side of midcape, and parts of the Matty book take place at the Natural History Museum and the shorelands, plus I’m thinking of setting a YA in the area.

Thursday was cloudier and windier. We ate at La Petite Francaise again, and headed out the door early. This time, we headed back over the Sagamore Bridge, off the Cape, to Plymouth. The Matty book is set along the coast just below Plymouth, and I wanted to get some geographical details and some photographs of the stretch where I want to place the house. We did all that, made a wrong turn and wound up in the center of Plymouth, which was okay, because I could grab some more pictures of where I want to set one of the confrontations.

Then, it was over to Buzzards Bay. There’s a marine life rescue center. I wanted to visit and maybe pick up a book on turtles, since turtle rescue is part of what they do. One of the characters in the Matty book loves turtles. I’d hoped to find one at the Natural History Museum, but the only one I found was large, unwieldy, and didn’t focus on Cape area turtles, which is what I need.

On the way to the center, we stopped to stare at the Railroad Bridge. It moves. In other words, the center span is stored in the “up” position, allowing boats to travel the canal freely. When a train comes across, it lowers so the train can actually cross the Canal. We happened to be there as they lowered and then raised the span. Fascinating. And yes, I will post photos.

Unfortunately, the Marine Life Center is both under renovation and not open for the season. I’m going to contact them about visiting in the fall. There’s an event I hope to cover in the area in September — just a few days after I get back from Prague. Maybe I can come out a day or so early or stay a day late and visit the center.

We headed back over the Sagamore Bridge and over to the Canal Visitors’ Center in Sandwich. They did a fantastic job — the museum is wonderful, and the educational DVD about this history and building of the Canal is one of the best of its kind. What I found interesting was that August Belmont — think Belmont Park Race Track here in New York — was the one who built the first canal as a toll thoroughfare. However, it was too shallow, and, due to the amount of accidents, failed. The Army Corps of Engineers took over, redug it during the Depression (in an example of an original stimulus plan), and now it’s a very active channel — and Cape Cod is an island, not a peninsula! We walked to the point where the canal ends and the bay begins. Turning back, I saw that they use actual traffic lights — the yellow metal lights, like they do on the street corners — for the channel. It was pretty funny.

Next stop, Sandwich, just about my favorite town on the Cape. Dashed into their wonderful library, checked email, got a few responses out, Twittered quickly, and was done They use Windows Vista — what a nightmare — everything was so slow and had to be done twice. Typical Dell/Windows!

Then, it was over to the Sandwich Glass Museum. The work there is fantastic, and I learned a lot about glassmaking. The demonstration was fantastic, and the woman who gave it was terrific. I wanted to slap the man sitting in front of me upside the head — instead of appreciating the delicacy required in rolling and pulling the glass, he wanted to see her make a show of the blowing — which, it turns out, is a very small part of actually working the glass. Instead of being excited to learn the intricacies and delicacies of how it’s actually done, he wanted to see what he expected. Moron.

In the gift shop, I found a history of the Orleans Inn at such a good price I was afraid it was a misprint. But it wasn’t, and I snatched it up. Can’t wait to read it.

We drove to Barnstable and the Sandy Neck beach. By now, it was cloudy and very, very windy. The beach is lovely, and this is the area where I’ll stick Collier’s Cove, the setting for the Helena Francis mysteries.

We had lunch at the Beehive Tavern in Sandwich — fantastic! I had some locally brewed Cape Cod Summer Ale. I’m very fussy about beer and ale, preferring wine, but this was terrific. And I had a wonderful sole stuffed with lobster, vegetables, and rice. Really, an excellent meal, great service, great atmosphere. Definitely a place I’d go again.

We headed down to Chatham for a look around, and then picked up some food from a local, mom-and-pop deli on the way back — a chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts, which was great.

Another quiet night full of typing up notes and reading. And watching playoff hockey, Boston vs. Carolina — heartbreaking loss for Boston in overtime.

Friday morning was rainy, so we headed back right after breakfast (again, at the cafe). A big bus nearly crushed me twice near the canal. I got its information and plan to complain to the company. I’m sorry, you don’t come to a dead stop in the middle of a roundabout and then suddenly swerve to a turnoff you’ve already missed, ignoring the cars around you — after you already nearly forced me into construction nearly a half a mile back. Not acceptable. Traffic was an absolute nightmare around Providence. I swear, Rhode Island has some of the worst drivers I’ve encountered anywhere in the world — and I’ve driven many places in the world. They’re even worse than New Jersey drivers.

Couldn’t make good time coming back from the Cape — combination of weather and traffic. Managed to stop in Niantic at the Book Barn, where I played with the cats and got a stack of books, including several on the Cape and several books I’ve wanted for years! Lunch in Niantic, and then continued back. Stopped at the apartment to switch out some stuff and then continued down for the Preakness. Horrible traffic, early night.

The races started really early Preakness Day. And the temperature was a good twenty degrees higher than it was on the Cape and muggy. I expected a deluge any minute, but the rain held off until there was a light shower just as the horses went to the post for the Preakness itself.

As thrilled as I was by Rachel Alexandra’s win, I just wanted to be home by the end of it all. I was supposed to leave revoltingly early this am to head back up to MA for the US Olympic Women’s Hockey Team tryouts, but that fell through. As annoyed as I am with USA Hockey right now, I’m also relieved not to spend six hours on the road today and six hours watching tryouts at a hockey ring.

I’ve got to finish my post-Preakness article and get if off to FemmeFan, and then take a final look at the DIXIE DUST proofs — the last round of corrections arrived while I was gone. The next assignment for Confidential Job #1 came in, I have client projects to work on tomorrow, and some reviews to do this week for A BIBLIO PARADISE. UHaul again made me livid, and it’s time to file charges with the appropriate authorities. Enough already.

Read one of the books I bought in Niantic already — THESE RUINS ARE INHABITED by Muriel Beadle, about her family’s year at Oxford University. It was published in 1961, and it’s funny how little has changed, and, of the changes that have taken place, which ones.

I hope to take it a little bit easy today, but I’d like to get a jump on all the work stacked up for the coming week.

Cape photos to follow.

Devon

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Kentucky Derby Day

My picks for the full race card are in the post below this one, so scroll down if you’re interested.

With the poor weather, it gives my top pick, Friesan Fire, a better shot at the win. Friesan Fire and Pioneer of the Nile are still my top picks. And Dunkirk’s moved up from a “maybe” to a “definite.” He’s gorgeous, tons of personality, and, if his mental focus is there tonight, I think he can do it. I’m betting all three across the board and boxing a trifecta. One of my longshots will be Chocolate Candy, for a show spot, and I’ll probably toss in another, perhaps Flying Private or Hold Me Back.

My publisher already paid me for “The Retriever”. Pretty psyched. Will post the link to the story as soon as I’ve got it. I’m thrilled they took the piece, and I hope to work more with them in the coming months.

An interview with me is going up on Tuesday over at Long and Short Reviews. I’ll schedule the link, since I’ll be out of town — I hope you stop by.

Got to visit the chat room where I’m giving the workshop next week. We’ve got a test run today. I can only stop in for a minute, due to the Derby, but it’ll be worth it.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time handicapping today’s race card and running errands. Took some time off in the afternoon to read a cosy, getting me back in the headspace to go back to work on the Helena Francis mystery. The book was okay. There were some lapses of logic that bothered me. But the characters are fun and the writing’s fine. I just didn’t find it all that memorable.

Got to dash out for an errand and then get back and get ready for Derby coverage. This will be the first year I can use my own laptop to write my wrap up article as the races are happening instead of scribbling notes and then trying to decipher them later. I probably can’t Tweet as it’s happening, but, oh well. Besides, I need to be WATCHING the races.

The Red Wings vs. Anaheim hockey game was really good last night. Red Wings won, 3-2, as I hoped they would. They are one of the best-run teams in the league.

Off to a busy day.

Devon

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 8:24 am  Comments (4)  
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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and warm

I’ll attempt to make this a short post, so if you haven’t had time to read yesterday’s marathon-length post, you can finish!

I’m putting together my press list for HEX BREAKER, and looking at “stuff” – because, once there’s cover art, there will be “stuff” to give away, and yes, dear hearts, you’ll all get the chance at some. I want to find some fun stuff that’s also relevant to the story. Thanks, Jackie – I’m looking at the company you recommended. And I’m working on permutations of an overall press release that can be sent hither and yon, depending upon the needed angle.

I’m also working on my new Fearless Ink brochure – between the trip to Maine and the trip to the Cape, I have, probably close to 250 new prospects that need a brochure, business cards, and a kick ass letter for a direct mail.

I looked back at the job listings put up while I was gone. 95% are simply insulting. Therefore, it is time for me to do a direct mail piece targeted towards places for whom I really want to work, and convincing them that their business will grow oh-so-much better with me.

This all helps fight the inevitable crash of coming back from an excellent trip. Bad case of the blues. The cats were happy I was home, but I wanted to be back on the Cape. Preferably, moving my belongings into my new home.

One of my editors at Confidential Job #1 was fired – this is the same company that recently cut our rates. If they fire the other editor, I’m giving my notice. It’s unacceptable to start treating people the way they are. I may leave anyway, if it becomes too much work for too little money. You can bet the top-level executives didn’t take a pay cut – why should we? We’re the ones doing the actual work. I’m devastated – these are two of the best editors with whom I’ve ever worked.

Got some work done on the adaptation this morning, and am getting ready to dive into the rest.

Amy, I’ve written for the Llewellyn calendars and almanacs for nearly 13 years now, and I learned most of the retrograde information from the other authors there. The almanacs and the calendars have great information. For general astrology information, I found the best-written book THE ONLY ASTROLOGY BOOK YOU’LL EVER NEED by Joanne Martine Woolfolk. I also have a book called RETROGRADE PLANETS; TRAVERSING THE INNER LANDSCAPE by Erin Sullivan. It’s very good, but my personal experience with tracking how retrogrades manifest in my life is a little more wide-ranging and not as absolute as the book indicates. Sullivan also wrote another interesting book called THE ASTROLOGY OF FAMILY DYNAMICS. Weiser Books published both.

Okay, must dash out and buy cat food, and then get back to work. I got an interesting nibble from a prospective employer in Canada – we need to talk further. It sounds a little too good to be true, but I don’t want to assume anything without a complete picture. I don’t want to get so jaded I never give anyone the benefit of the doubt. I’ll talk further before making any decisions.

Belmont Stakes coming up Saturday. Tomorrow I’ll have the entire race card handicapped. It’s going to be a hot, humid day on Saturday, which means I am going to be CRANKY. 😉 I’m a snow and ice girl, not a heat and humidity girl.

Detroit won the Stanley Cup last night — Yee-hah! Mike Babcock, their coach is both an amazing coach and a terrific human being. I was thrilled when Detroit hired him, and I’m even more thrilled that they won the Cup. It was a great game. The Pittsburgh Penguins have come so far this year — I know they’re hurting today because they lost, but when they look back over the entire season, they should be so proud. The team was in trouble for a long time, and this year was a wonderful comeback.

Oh, and I dreamed the show did a photo call on Martha’s Vineyard and we hit a storm on the ferry over . . .

Devon

Screenplay adaptation: 46,113 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
46 / 90
(51.1%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on June 5, 2008 at 8:02 am  Comments (5)  
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