Tues. Aug. 8, 2017: Small Victories Pave the Way

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Got out a short story and a couple of pitches yesterday. The medium-sized late payment (not the big one that’s nearly two months late) arrived, so yesterday afternoon and today is a flurry of catching up on bills. Also had a small victory with one of the insurance companies.  One down, three to go!

My web host is placating me for the moment — I now have the ability to build more subdomains, and I can still pay quarterly. I’m going to see how it goes for the next three months (since I’m paying this week). I’m still interviewing other hosts, But it also means I can build the subdomains for the Coventina Circle Paranormal Romantic Suspense books and for the Nautical Namaste books.

I came up with some fun stuff for the websites, and a couple of good things for the tour giveaway.

I worked on the final piece of back matter for PLAYING THE ANGLES, so I can get that darned thing out the door, but it needs some more work. I’m hoping if I dig in today, I can get the manuscript out to the publisher by tomorrow or Thursday, and then, once I clear it with them, book the release tour.

The paperwork arrived for my mother’s upcoming surgery. There’s a lot of it, unfortunately. Not too happy about that. The surgery itself will take five to six hours. Not happy about that, either. But it is what it is.

This morning is all about errands and starting the new series websites. This afternoon is about finishing the back matter for PLAYING THE ANGLES and doing yet another proofread so it can go out; if I can, I need to do more work on an essay, work on a pitch package that needs to go out by mail, and do work on both THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and THE FIX-IT GIRL. AND “Labor Intensive”. However, I have the feeling some of that will wind up bumped over to tomorrow.

I think I’ve figured out how to get “Labor Intensive” back on track. I’m lightening the plot a bit, and getting the tone right, but not losing some of the social prejudices I had in the darker version.

The cover is a problem, though. Fireworks seem more like July 4th, but there are fireworks in the story. I don’t have much time to come up with the cover — or finish and edit the story. It needs to drop at the end of the month. But I’ll figure it out. Somehow, I always do.

I also have to get the big fall cleaning started — yes, even though it’s only August. I’m trying to do it in little bits every day, once I finish my writing quota, rather than putting aside days to do big bits. We’ll see how that works.

It’s raining, so no yard work today. I can practically watch the grass growing. As soon as the weather clears up, there will be yet more mowing in my future.

Second day of a migraine, but at least I can fit into my favorite pair of jeans again. I’ve lost weight, which is a good thing. I’m not completely down to what I consider my ideal weight — I may never reach it again, but I look and feel better. And my clothes fit again.

Which is why I think those “organizers” who tell you to purge everything the minute you need a different size are full of crap. I’m convinced that most “professional” organizers are in league with stores to try to get their clients to spend as much money as possible, instead of making use of what they have.

Anyway, there’s a lot on the agenda today, so I better get moving! Trader Joe’s grocery run starts the day, along with putting some gas in the tank.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


ice-encrusted light fixture by the front door

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Stayed in all day yesterday, except for the few times I went out to brush the snow that fell from the roof right onto the front step (would be good to have a little awning over the door, but that’s not my call). Wrote, read, enjoyed the season.

I’m thoroughly enjoying Alan Bennett’s UNTOLD STORIES. I’m a big fan of his writing anyway, and this book of diaries and essays is fascinating.

Designed, wrote, and delivered the thank you notes to the neighbors for helping me out by digging me out.

Had to redesign the party invite, because the template didn’t work with the notecards I have, but managed to do it. I had to wrestle the printer, though. I love Canon printers, and want to stay with them, but the MX860 is a piece of crap, especially the bottom tray, which is plastic painted to look like metal, and messes up special papers. I’d use the top tray exclusively for special papers, but you can’t always convince the printer to pull from it. I’ve complained to Canon about this model ever since I bought it, and get no solutions. I want my old multi-pass to get fixed and use that again, because it was a warhorse and a workhorse, and maybe just keep this for photo work, but I don’t know if I can still get the ink. I’ve got a stockpile, but still . . .

Anyway, the invitations are very pretty and will go out today.

Didn’t get much writing done, unfortunately.

Tried to light a fire in the fireplace for Yule. The smoke’s going up the chimney, so the flue’s properly open, but it’s also going in the house. Not badly enough to set off the smoke alarms, thank goodness, but enough to notice. I’m not sure if it’s my fire-building skills (probably) or what — the owner said the chimney was cleaned and inspected right before we rented. Costume Imp will have to figure it out when he gets here.

Speaking of Costume Imp, we are finalizing the plans for his week up here, and he’s already packed. We are very much alike in those types of aspects!

I looked at snowblowers online. I may get a small, electric one — yes, I know if the power goes out I’m back to using the shovel. But I need one that fits in the car and that I feel comfortable handling, and a lot of the bigger ones (besides being out of my price range) don’t seem comfortable for me to handle. I’ll have to play with a few today in the store and see what happens.

I also have to stop by my insurance agent’s to drop off the Allstate policy so she can do the official State of MA paperwork telling them to shove it, we’re covered with a better agency. I love that the state has official paperwork for that!

I contacted the Senators and my new Representative to introduce myself and voice a few opinions. Because how can they represent me if they don’t know where I stand on issues? I can’t expect them to be psychic. Anyway, within 24 hours, I heard back from everyone’s offices, very nice, offering to meet and talk to me about anything that’s on my mind, and giving actual responses to the content of my messages, so it wasn’t just robo-response. I was particularly blunt with Senator Brown’s office, saying I expected him to actually listen to his constituency, not goose-step the Republican Party line. He’s stepped out of the box a few times now to vote for things with which I agree, so it gives me some cautious optimism. I’m an independent — I’m an example of the type of voter both parties need to listen to, or they won’t keep their jobs.

MA will lose one congressperson in 2010, and NY two. I hope it’s none of mine! I was counted in NY, because that’s where I lived in April. And now I’m here, where they’re saying population has dropped (which, on levels outside of Federal funding, is just fine with me).

ALICE was rebroadcast last night, and I watched the last two hours. I enjoy that production so much, especially Andrew Lee Potts and Caterina Scorsone. Lots of really good work there. Makes me miss my actors (but not enough to go back).

The Hounds of the Baskervilles woke me up early this morning, baying at who-knows-what. Probably the moon. The full moon was gorgeous over the yard. There are also all kinds of tracks in the yard, including a set that come right up to the windows, skirt the house, and go to the back deck, but not on it. I’m not well versed enough in tracks to know what it is. It might be Imp Dog, it might be a small coyote, it might be a fisher. And there was something in the yard with hooves rather than paws, but I don’t know what. I haven’t seen any deer in the area since I arrived — they mostly stay on conservation land. Maybe a reindeer took a break on a training run! 😉

So, today is about writing, errands, and maybe getting some more unpacking done. We’re supposed to get more snow tonight, and they’re wavering as to whether the weekend’s big storm hits on Saturday or Sunday, so I don’t know if we’ll risk going to Maine. We might be better off tucked in here at home.

Back to the page. I want to play with a few ideas.

Devon

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Imp Dog tootled down the street yesterday as I worked. I went outside to try to call him to me, for fear he’d get hit by a car, but he just shot through the yard to wherever it is he comes from. I’m really worried about him being out on his own, even though he’s a little dickens.

Wrote in the morning and then ran some errands — last of the packages and cards out, bank business handled, checked out the natural foods store near the yoga center. It’s excellent Picked up a few things.

Went to Country Garden in Hyannis, which is just an enchanted place. Lovely, lovely, lovely, and everyone is very nice. Even though one of our Christmas cacti has started to bloom, the ones they have were so pretty, we bought a small one,filled with blossoms. It’s in the window of my office now, ready to go. We also picked up some lovely ornaments for the big tree. They’ve got some gazing balls and garden statuary there, and the prices are better than some of the other places around, so I will go back in spring. I want a gazing ball, a Buddha, and a gargoyle for the back, at least to start, and I’m not yet sure what for the front. The twin oaks in front need some ornamentation.

Had lunch, read the papers. In the afternoon, we had an appointment with a local insurance person (not sure if her designation is “broker” or “agent” — Lori would know). Anyway, within an hour, we had the car insurance and the renters’ insurance sorted out. We took the paperwork to the RMV, and walked out, ten minutes later, with our new registration and new plates. Now, I’ve got to go to the place I picked out for the inspection and plate swap and get that done in the next couple of days, and I am legal in the state of MA. Bite me, Allstate. She agreed it was vital to file with the Commissioner of Insurance here in MA and the Attorney General in NY, because almost everything every person I spoke with at Allstate during this debacle is both incorrect and illegal. Since MA is very strict about what companies can and can’t get away with, they’ve got to know to make sure it doesn’t happen again. She said the three big companies who were recently granted rights to operate in the state have done nothing but ignore the law and get their customers into trouble, so it’s important to keep filing. Our new car insurance is with a company based in NH who covers New England and has a great reputation. I’m still not sure, exactly, about where the renters’ insurance is based.

The registration document stays in the car, and we don’t need an insurance card in the car, because all cars are required to have insurance (the health care law in MA was based on the auto insurance law). In NY, one had to keep the insurance card in the glove compartment, but the actual driver had to carry the registration card on his person. For instance, if I was travelling with my friend Joe, and we switched off driving in the state of NY because I was tired or whatever, I’d have to hand him the registration card. If we got stopped, he couldn’t turn to me and ask for it without getting a fine or a warning (if the cop was in a generous mood). In MA, the registration is kept in the glove compartment, because you can’t get a registration without insurance. So one doesn’t have to carry it on one’s person.

Anyway, enough about all that. I feel like a huge burden’s been lifted. Now, I just have to tell Allstate where to stick the phantom policy they were supposed to Fed Ex me ten days ago and never did and get my money back (which I am sure will be another fight).

On today’s agenda — stopping by the garage to make the appointment for inspection/plate change, at least three trips to the dump to get rid of the rest of the leaves and the recycling that’s built up, unpack some more kitchen boxes, vaccuum everything (a friend of my mom’s said she’d be in town today, but hasn’t given us an ETA, and we can’t sit around and wait all day).

I want to finish the article and let it sit for a few hours, then go over it one last time tomorrow before sending it off. I also want to get going on the mystery due in February.

And unpacking some more boxes in my office and bedroom would be nice, too. Never ends, does it?

Devon

Published in: on December 18, 2010 at 8:32 am  Comments (4)  
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I forgot to mention that on Tuesday, I bought and read the first book of Juliet Blackwell’s new series, entitled IF WALLS COULD TALK. Like the Witchcraft mysteries, it takes place in San Francisco, but this one involves home renovations and the protagonist’s burgeoning ability to sense spirits. I enjoyed it, but Lily Ivory is still one of my favorite protagonists.

Checking my online banking stuff, it seems I have a credit card payment due on the 20th, although I have yet to receive a statement and there’s no minimum payment listed. Why am I not surprised? Anyway, I shot them an on-line bill pay for what I’m sure is far more than the minimum, but at least they get a wad of cash before the due date. And I still don’t have a valid pin number. Not happy with Citizens Bank at all.

The owner stopped by with an additional CO detector that does digital readings, and we’ve put it in my room. As long as it keeps reading 0, I remain a happy camper. He’s also delighted with the way we’ve furnished and decorated, and says it feels like a happy house again. It is (except for the whole poisoning thing).

There was some kerflamma with the stove repair place, but the guy showed up, took the stove apart, tested everything, and swears it’s working perfectly.

So the cause of the CO is still a mystery. The owner is going to get someone to come and check the furnace and clean it out (even though it’s clean), just to make sure.

Worked on my article. The draft meanders quite a bit, and tries to cover a lot of ground, so now it’s about focus, focus, focus. Winnowing down all the great information from my sources while still keeping the context true to the sources’ answers.

Violet likes to sit on my lap and edit while I work, so I’m constantly having to remove her “changes” to the manuscript. For someone with paws, she’s pretty agile when it comes to typing.

Ran some errands, including going to Lavender Moon to pick up a few things (l always walk out with more than I intended, but the quality if lovely). I can’t wait to take Costume Imp there! Drove to Brewster to the museum to see if we could find some stuff to bring the kids when we go to Maine on Christmas Day, but we arrived fifteen minutes before the store shut, and I couldn’t really SEE anything in that time pressure.

Home, eggnog around the tree, tested the stove, nothing went off, so I guess it’s all good, but it’ll take me awhile to feel comfortable with it again. Wrapped presents in the evening — I need a couple more padded envelopes for the last two gifts, but the rest can go out today.

Got a call back from the recommended insurance broker, but, of course, I’d left my phone on the desk while I was running errands. i will call her back today and try to get an appointment sorted out. Also got more information on the doctors for my mom, so I’ve got to see if I can get her in for an appointment in the next few weeks.

My MA driver’s license arrived! Okay, so it’s the worst photo I’ve ever taken in my life, but still, I don’t have to worry about ripping the temporary license, I have the real one. I’m now legitimate in the state. And registered to vote. Guarantee I’m called for jury duty by February.

Smudged the whole house with a combination of sage, clove, and peppermint, to get the last of the icky crap out after the CO scare. The whole house smells yummy. Forgot to mention on that on Sunday, I put together the sachets for the closet — rose, cedar, rosemary, lavender, and jasmine flower. I had enough for the interior closets; I’ll have to get more herbs and make some more for the four large closets in the storage room.

Trying to sort out the writing projects and prioritize them for next year. Spoke to my administrator about putting up the first lectures/exercises for my two January workshops early because I’m on the road on Jan. 2 & 3, and the workshops both start on the 3rd. I want to make sure I have the Welcome message and first lectures/assignments up earlier rather than later. I also have to get my new brochures done, and probably get a PO box in the area as my official business address for Fearless Ink.

Today contains more work on the article, gently reminding anyone who hasn’t returned the questionnaires (the business freelancers all returned theirs early; some of the novelists need prodding. Interesting). I need to take care of some unpleasant correspondence dealing with lingering issues from the previous home base, set up appointments here and yes, there are yet more errands. I realized I’d totally forgotten about the two prints I bought for my mom and have to get frames, and I want to get hurricane sleeves for some of the candles here before the party so no one catches any fabric as they brush past. I’m also going to continue preparing the workshops.

I sent Costume Imp the invitation, and, if he likes it,I’ll print them and get them out. I’m going to add an additional line stating that there are cats in the house, so if you’re allergic — take Sudafed. Because that’s the reality.

Read through a publication I’m considering pitching to, but I don’t think I’m quite the right fit for it. I wrote for similar publications for this company for many years, but this seems very simplistic, almost by-the-numbers, and it feels wrong. Of course, considering the many frustrations I went through with the company over the years and my concern about some of the directions they’re taking, I shouldn’t be surprised. I have to think about it. I wrote for them for so many years, it’s more of feeling secure with the devil you know than anything else, I think. Which is not the best choice for a career.

I really want to try a class at the yoga center nearby, but haven’t had the chance so to do. I don’t want to just sign up for a 20-class pass without actually experiencing a class.

Back to the page.

Devon