Thurs. May 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 362: Loving the Lilacs

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I have a post over on Gratitude and Growth about the lilacs. More photos, too.

Yesterday was a little all over the place. I was up half the night, worrying. Worked on cleaning out the garage early in the morning. I got out some LOIs and some rental information requests. Heard back from some of the rental possibilities, and am waiting to hear back from another one that sounds fantastic and is in a place we love.

Went to the client’s. She was fine today, acting like Monday’s outbursts never happened. We got a lot done. She interviewed someone to replace me, who would be good. The second interview of the day didn’t show up. Two more are being set up for early next week.

I’m under no illusion of not being replaceable. I know I am; in fact, they need someone with different skills to replace me, because the focus of the business, for the next few months, is not on what I’ve been doing, but on other stuff I don’t do and don’t want to do. So it’s all good. I’m wrapping things up and writing up notes and cheat sheets. And, I’ve always believed that it’s important to set things up so it can run without a particular individual, because one never knows what life brings. Hoarding information and knowledge sets a bad tone.

I was exhausted by the time I left; picked up a prescription for my mom. Got home, had a few exchanges about rentals, joined Remote Chat, which was fun.

I was wrecked after chat. I rested for a bit (reading the latest Donna Leon Brunetti mystery). Then, we took the cats out on the deck in their playpens while I watered the grass, and I read another script. I’ll write up the coverage today.

Collapsed into bed early, which meant that I was up by 1 AM again, worrying. Charlotte started fussing around 4, as usual. I got up and fed everyone, then settled on the couch for about 45 minutes, which calmed Charlotte down, and I got a bit of a doze.

Getting ready to do some more work in the garage. Then, I’ll get out some LOIs, join the online meditation group, and I have a few errands to run this morning, before getting back to the script coverage job, articles, LOIs, packing, and house hunting.

To say I’m exhausted is an understatement.

Published in: on May 20, 2021 at 4:36 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 20, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 362: Loving the Lilacs  
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Fri. Feb. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 275/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 23 — Baker Blows It Again

image courtesy of Hermann Schmider via

Friday, February 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Stormy and cold

After meditation, I headed out to my client’s for a couple of hours to get done some things that hadn’t gotten done the day before because so much of the day was about my mother’s vaccine appointment. As I suspected, there was NO reason for me to be there on site at the same time as anyone else. The client could have emailed or texted me the information, and I could have gone in with no one else in the office and taken care of it.

Instead of redirecting vaccine doses to areas that need them, Baker opened up eligibility to a million more residents – without, of course, checking with anyone to see if the website could handle it. Naturally, it couldn’t, and was down for most of the day. He was ranting and raving in interviews. Hey, bucko, try talking to the people doing the work BEFORE you make your random announcements, and then this won’t happen.

There’s a good reason this state is given an F in the vaccine rollout report card. And the reason starts with a B – Baker. His refusal to coordinate and communicate and give the people doing the work any support or resources before he goes out and announces things are some of the big reasons we’re having these problems.

But what do you expect from someone who refused to have any workers on the advisory committee to reopen businesses? He has a huge disconnect about how work is accomplished. He seems to think magic elves come in while he’s asleep, instead of actual people working as hard as they can in impossible situations – putting their lives at risk.

While in the office, a friend of the client’s called with a “special” number for the client to call to get a vaccine appointment that day. Which just seems weird, since supposedly, the only clinic giving vaccines all week in this region was the one I took my mom to on Wednesday.

White elitist vaccine appointments, based on who you know, would be totally on brand for Cape Cod.

She texted me after I left, saying she had an appointment. Good for her, because she’s definitely eligible, and we should all have an appointment, but if an Elitist Vaccine Appointment Line exists, that’s disturbing on multiple levels.

I’m sure I’ll hear all about it next week.

I managed to get home just as the snow started. Decontaminated, and got back to the work I should have been doing that morning.

The latest IPSY bag arrived, and is absolutely delightful. I’m so much happier with IPSY than I was with Sephora Play, and Birchbox was a total nightmare.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, I received my first Tamed Wild box. Totally different vibe than Goddess Provisions, but also really interesting and well done.

Had to order a new waste toner cartridge for the big laser printer (something else to learn to fix), and ordered more file folders, too. I need them for the cleaning out I’m doing.

Snowed pretty hard all day into the night, although this morning, it doesn’t look like a lot of accumulation, except where the plow pushed it into the bottom of the driveway, where it’s at least a foot. Hopefully, it won’t freeze down before I shovel.

Packed up another bookcase in my room. Tessa was not amused.

Got some, but not all, the quotes for my first article, and the bulk of today will be spent on that and the second grant proposal. The budget is what’s really slowing me down on that. I want it to be realistic, and the samples I’ve seen just aren’t.

Got some quotes for the second article, and will also spend time working on that. I’ve written the opening in my head, and really like it.

I have a little more research to do this weekend, and, on Monday, I will send out interview requests for the third article.

Need to get some LOIs out, and need to purge boxes from the basement. I haven’t met my quota this week so far, and I have a high quota for the weekend, so I need to get back on track. However, I did pack quite a few boxes of books upstairs, which wasn’t on the week’s list!

Yesterday, my mom’s arm was really sore. It lessened as the day wore on, but then she was very fatigued, and slept on and off all afternoon. Hopefully, today she feels better.

Called my mom’s doctor to let her know about the first dose. Supposedly, the system forwards the vaccine information, but the office said it hasn’t gotten anything, so once she has both doses, I’ll scan the vaccine record card and send it over to them.

I was so worn out, I went to bed ridiculously early last night, and woke up just after midnight, thinking it was 5 AM. Managed to get back to sleep, until the plows woke me, a little after 4.

Got a lot of work on GAMBIT COLONY done yesterday. I need to find my notes on the next section, set in Venice.

I’m not even going to comment on the whole Ted Cruz thing here, which is wrong on so many levels, it would take its own white paper to dissect.

Have a great weekend, friends, and see you on the other side.

Published in: on February 19, 2021 at 6:35 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 275/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 23 — Baker Blows It Again  
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Tues. March 4, 2014: Good Clients are Gems; Bad Get Tossed Off

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I know I worked yesterday, all day, but wound up feeling unsatisfied anyway.

Shoveled the snow — only a couple of inches, light and fluffy, not bad at all. Working my way through the contest materials. The first batch was innovative and well-edited. This next group of books, not so much. But this category is very competitive, so it’s good that I can weed some of them out early on.

Finished the next book my editor sent for review. Difficult material, beautifully done, but writing the review will be a challenge.

Interview questions out for an article, and my delightful subject already sent them back. This individual is truly lovely to work with, and I feel lucky that I landed the assignment.

Contract arrived for a gig starting mid-April (short one, until mid-May). Signed, and will pop in the mail today. Should be fun.

Worked on the play, did some plotting for BALTHAZAAR. Sent out some pitches. Dealt with some wearying demands from wanna-bes. I don’t jump through hoops — this is what I do, here are my credentials, here are my rates, these are the terms, this is the contract. Either you want to be a client, or you don’t. I’m not turning around a 100K edit in 24 hours for $20. Not happening. Even if you paid market rate (which is about 100 times that), I couldn’t turn around a 100K line edit in 24 hours and do a good job. If you don’t work with contracts or “believe in” deposits, we are not a good fit. Buh-bye. Sending me nasty, ranting emails demanding that I change my business to suit you isn’t going to work. Sometimes there’s room to negotiate, on certain projects with the right circumstances. But I charge professional fees and provide professional services. If that doesn’t fit with your “business model”, go hire a content-mill-level person and you’ll get content-mill-level service. Don’t tell me I “have to” work for less than my fees at an unreasonable turnaround time, because you “chose” me and I should feel “privileged”. That’s not how professional business relationships work.

If we’re a good fit, we will both feel the time/money/service ratio is fair, and we will feel “privileged” to work WITH EACH OTHER.

Lots of writing to get done today, so I better get to work.


Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 9:14 am  Comments (4)  
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Fri. Jan. 10, 2014: More Meetings and Snow

Friday, January 10, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

It’s supposed to be “flurries”, but it’s coming down pretty steadily.

I was under the weather yesterday, migraine and stomach problems. Pulled myself together for a fun meeting with a potential client in the morning. If that comes through, it will be an intriguing gig that would last for about a year or so, with highly, highly intelligent people, so that would be fun. We’ll see — either I fit what they want or I don’t. It depends if they can accept someone who is versatile, or if they want someone who only does what they do.

Tried to read a book with an interesting premise and wickedly manipulative protagonist, but it was written in the present tense, and was too frustrating. If I’m not paid to read it, I put down books written in the present tense, because I just LOATHE them. No, I am NOT there in the moment, and the use of present tense reminds me, verb by verb, that I am outside the story, not inside it. Where the fuck are the editors on these books? Why aren’t editors editing for structure that supports story anymore? Especially with debut novelists?

Read a different book instead, AN UNEXPECTED GUEST by Anne Korkeakivi, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

My stomach felt better as the day progressed, but the migraine did not let up and then I got sniffly. I don’t have time to be sick.

Another client meeting for Monday, this time with a potential client in Brockton, so I have to make the hour drive there and back. Good for me to go over the bridge occasionally!

Busy day and busy weekend — because I have meetings EVERY day next week, and I have a lot to get done. I have to write the synopses for four scripts this weekend, and finish a longish short story.

Back to the page. Have a great weekend!


Published in: on January 10, 2014 at 8:10 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Jan. 3, 2013: Writing, writing, writing, writing . . . .


Thursday, January 3, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and c-c-cold!

Good morning! A little late getting online today, because I was at yoga.

I’m so delighted by the enthusiasm and thoughtful posts over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions — it’s always such fun to work towards goals together in company!

I wrote 1K on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE yesterday and 1K on LEADING OPPORTUNITIES — good day for both books. I caught up on a lot of email, and I’m getting through the backlog, too — seeing what needs to be filed, what can be dumped, if there’s stuff I never dealt with, and organizing market listings so I can attack them methodically for either queries or submissions. Swapped interviews for slots on blogs — my guest will be here at the end of January, and she’ll host me on the release day of OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

Spent most of the afternoon re-formatting “Too Much Mistletoe”, “Tumble”, and “Just Jump in and Fly” and getting them up on Smashwords. I’ll add the links to the appropriate pages on the website. I still have to tweak the covers some more — where Payloadz distorted the covers and said they were too big, Smashwords is saying they’re too small.

It’s made me realize that Nina Bell was really, in a lot of ways, a character ahead of her time. I’m looking forward to working with her more NOW, although, initially, the stories will be set back in the 1990s. I will move them forward — eventually, she’ll have to face 9/11. It will be interesting to see how she and her career evolve. I’m going to fix the parts of TAPESTRY that don’t work — since I know a lot more about structure than when I wrote it — while still keeping her character, well, Nina, because that’s what makes her memorable. The characters in “Just Jump in and Fly” and the energy in that piece just delights me — I look forward to working on the piece for Imbolc. I’ll probably release another Nina short in the next few weeks, and I also have to turn my attention to the re-release of “The Ramsey Chase” — now that I know I was writing time travel/steampunk/fantasy, I can actually use the expectations of each genre to support the structure better.

I’ll get those links up on the website later today — but I hope people find the stories and fall in love with the characters. Nina has always been a fan favorite — maybe, with my maturing a bit in terms of craft, now she can find her audience.

I’m also considering putting together a media kit that covers multiple books, etc., that I can use as a catch-all, in addition to having the more focused kits for the individual books.

I did a chunk of work on Confidential Job #1, and will be able to complete that assignment and get it out by tomorrow.

Still working on the proposal for my agent, and still working on the Twelve Days of Christmas stories — I have a feeling I’ll be working on those well into the month! But they’re fun, and I think, when they release during the holiday season at the end of this year, people will enjoy them.

Yoga was great — now, it’s digging in to work. Got some student assignments to check up on!


Fri. July 13, 2012: Linky, Linky, Zombie Disco Party

Friday, July 13, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Happy Friday the 13th! Always one of my favorite days on the calendar.

Have I got links for you! 😉

First of all, I hope you’ll come join me today in a virtual Disco Zombie Party to celebrate the release of HEX BREAKER, over on Author Roast and Toast, later today, going well into the night. Attendees have the chance to get the new Billy Root story before it goes live!

Second, my article on “Smart Gardening” is up on Fifty is the New Fifty. I’m doing six articles for them (I sent off my fourth last night).

Third, I’ve got a piece up on the Writers Vineyard (as Annabel Aidan) about the pleasures of discovering a short story is the seed for something bigger.

Before I could even post this, I conducted an interview for another client. It went very well — I really, really like her and think we can work well together.

Yesterday was crazy busy. I kept thinking, “I can blog in the next hour” and then I couldn’t. My apologies.

Yoga was fantastic. I had to do some errands, including a stop at Country Gardens to pick up some petunias (the pansies in the urn are fading), and get more bamboo hoops, this time for the wisteria. I worked with students, worked on articles and short stories, and considered how to rework my resume geared to a specific Boston facility.

I’ve got a lot of writing and teaching to do today, along with errands, so I better get going. Tessa is grumpy this morning, because she can’t be outside as much as she’d like. She learned pouting and sulking from her big sister, Iris. Can’t the twins teach her any GOOD habits? 😉

Have a great weekend, everyone! It’s supposed to get hotter over the next few days — we’ve been so lucky, weather-wise.


Registration closes tonight for the Series Bible Seminar, tomorrow! If your story encompasses more than one book, this online seminar will help you keep it all organized! More information and registration here.

Thurs. June 7, 2012: Grumpy & Off to Yoga

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Between too much admin work, PR work, and chasing down payments, it was a discouraging day. Also, I lost HALF my workday taking my mom to the doctor, especially since there were some concerns, and then we had to go hithering and yonning for a bit. Hopefully, everything will all sort out.

I finished the draft of the sci-fi story and am letting it sit for a few days before revision. I started reading the next manuscript for swap, and am enjoying it. Stared at my own manuscript and couldn’t focus. Got a little bit more done on CRAVE THE HUNT; trying to get back into the groove with that. Playing with an idea for some non-fiction writing workbook-type things. Am in negotiations for a ghost-writing job.

Spent a few hours answering questions for a long interview for the HEX BREAKER release, and answered some questions this morning for another interview. Worked on getting the new workshops up on the website. Have to go to the library to work in IE, because heaven forbid piece of crap 1and1 lets me put in my coding in anything else. Not only that, they’ve designed a “webdesk”, which means, instead of just signing in to work on my website, I now have to jump through a series of hoops to make it “easier.” Not. What a crap host. I’m hoping GeekGirls can help me wrestle away the webfiles 1and1 holds hostage so that I can move hosts.

Couldn’t raise my mowing mojo, so didn’t. May need to to that today. Got a “reminder” about a meeting tonight — one that no one ever bothered to inform me about in the first place, which irritated me, not to mention how it screws up my work day.

Off to yoga now — that will set me to rights! And then, get in as much work as possible before this danged meeting over the bridge! 😉

To the page, to get some writing in before yoga.


HEX BREAKER, the first Jain Lazarus Adventure, available from Amazon Kindle and Solstice Publishing. $2.99

Thursday, November 17, 2011: Writers’ Night Out = Awesome!

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Probably still raining

I’ve scheduled this to post, because I’ll hit the page at 5:30 this morning to get my 1000 words in on the book before heading to yoga at 7:30.

Writers’ Night Out was so much fun last night! Great food, great company. Some good networking — caught up with people I’d met a few weeks ago, met some new ones. I have A LOT of follow up to do today when I get back from yoga, but it will be worth it. Some great opportunities. AND . . .I’ll get to host some great authors on A BIBLIO PARADISE as their books come out. So you guys benefit, too! 😉

What I love about this group is that they are enthusiastic and supportive. They work on the principle I fully believe in — as writers, we are all in this together, not in competition. Whenever one of us succeeds, it helps all of us. And when we help each other succeed, it’s even better!

My students are working hard; I’m proud of them, even as I crack the whip.

It’s official: I’m only allowed adult sippy cups (AKA travel mugs) when I write. I spilled coffee over 92 manuscript pages of the Harpy book yesterday in a moment of stupidity. They are set out all over the house on towels, and the cats are rearranging them. Hey, they might have some editing tips, and it’s better than getting it over the computer, right?

When I get home, I’ll do follow-up from last night, get some media kits out to book groups, and work on one of the short stories (I’ve got four queued up to be written this weekend, in addition to the work on the novel), before heading out to an event in Falmouth.

Gotta love it!


Word count as of yesterday: Just over 79K

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tessa likes the eggplant

Friday, August 19, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

The WATCHMEN, HOGFATHER, and Donna Leon Mystery Deconstruction Workshops have been cancelled by Savvy Authors. I’m glad they let me know far enough in advance so I hadn’t yet put in the 60+ hours I put in preparing them. I was going to re-watch WATCHMEN this weekend and finish the lectures. It’s a big weight off my shoulders, and the Donna Leon was going to be my last deconstruction workshop for awhile anyway. Most of the students can’t be bothered to read the books or watch the movie before class starts, even though it’s clearly stated in the requirements they’re supposed to read/watch before they sign up. When I remind them of it, most of them don’t bother to do it over the course of the class. Now, if you misunderstood the requirements of class, wouldn’t you try to catch up? Most of them can’t be bothered. And they wonder why their writing gets rejected for not following submission guidelines! It’s been frustrating, and the time and work invested on my part doesn’t balance out with the money or what many of the students put in, so I’d already announced that the Donna Leon would be my last for awhile. The Anita Blake and Harry Potter deconstructions are still on for later in the fall, and it gives me more time to prepare for them. And I wouldn’t have been paid enough for the workshops for the cancellation to affect my bottom line negatively. So it all worked out.

Steady work day yesterday, although not as productive as I would have liked, mostly because I was mentally exhausted. And, this site job is more complex than most other similar jobs, so I have to spend a larger portion of the day on the reason I’m here! The windows don’t open here (central air) and it’s driving me nuts (yeah, I know, short drive). I’ve revelled in the quality of air and the scent of the sea since I moved here, and I miss having the windows and doors open all the time. And, of course, I miss the cats terribly.

I re-read part of a piece I’m playing with. I was happily surprised by its quality and focus. The characters are unique, and the relationships I set up are dynamic. I need to sort out what still needs to happen, plot and story-wise, so that I don’t lose the thread and the voice. I like it a lot and think it has huge potential, but I’ve got to finish SPIRIT REPOSITORY first. I’ve got a big two-day event over at Long & Short Romance next week – an interview on Tuesday, and I’m answering questions all day on the chat loop on Wednesday. I’ll post the links on the relevant days. This is in the Annabel persona, promoting ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT.

I’ve got an errand or two to run later this morning, and I have to clear a few projects off my desk before the weekend. Busy is good!


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available in print and digital versions from Champagne Books, and digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 6:32 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Detail of lobelia planter, Rosecliff

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Day before Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and humid

I dashed outside yesterday before my first cup of coffee because the Squirrel was digging in my vegetable bed. Excuse me, I did not give you permission to harvest the radishes! Actually, he was burying something, not digging it up, but I chased him anyway. By the time I’d finished the watering, I’d been bitten in three places on my legs — large welts. These aren’t spider bites, so they’re only itchy and uncomfortable and swollen, not making me sick. I poulticed the worst one, but again, it didn’t need a venom draw, even though it felt better. I think I have to adjust the formula slightly for mosquitos. I’m poulticing them all this afternoon, just to make sure.

Phone interview went well, in person interview went well. On the latter, my application has to be signed off by “The Man”, and I can’t see that happening, not with my history of activism, so we’ll see. Either it happens or it doesn’t. I have an in-person follow-up to the phone interview next week for the other job, and I think that will work out.

Stopped at the Sandwich Library to switch out some books — hard to find a parking space. But I used Ye Olde Parking Karma and got one anyway. So hard that one woman handed me books in the parking lot, asking if I’d take them in because she couldn’t park! Since they weren’t overdue, I said sure.

Spent the afternoon on paperwork and research.

Up early this morning. It was raining, so I didn’t have to water. It’s the little things in life, y’know? 😉 Took my mom to a medical appointment, and then we did all the week’s errands on the way back, which took most of the morning, so I’m late getting online. Got more paperwork to do, and I’ve started the next assignment for Confidential Job #1.

I need to do some plotting on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, because I re-arranged a few things, and then I want to spend some time with that.

I’ll be late getting online tomorrow, too, because I’m going out early for a yoga on the beach session. Then, in addition to the writing, etc., I’m going to have to get gas for the mower, mow at least the front, and maybe start painting the bureau.

I’m trying to keep it a quiet weekend for the holiday — doing stuff around the house, writing, maybe attending the Wampanoag Pow Wow on Sunday. I need to get some “home front” stuff done before my next class starts on Tuesday.


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

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Quite the weekend. I am exhausted, even though I was supposedly spending it getting better.

Bad night Friday night into Saturday. I don’t think I turned on the computer at all on Saturday — I gave it to myself as a tech-free day, which I needed.

Saturday was a bright, reasonably mild day. We went to several garden centers to look at things, get ideas, and stock up on items like saucers, Ozmocote, etc., and found some lovely pots on sale at Home Goods. When we came back, we repotted the plants that arrived on Thursday, who were still traumatized by a trip from Oregon, and some other plants who’ve outgrown their pots, and then had to rearrange everything. The avocado is nearly as tall as I am, with the pot now on the floor. The Black King eggplant grows as you watch it – it’s like time-lapse photography, only happening right in front of you. It doubles in size every day. It was repotted on Saturday and may need yet another pot by tomorrow. I can’t put it in the ground for another six weeks. Too cold.

By early afternoon, we were done, and I was coughing myself nearly inside out. I asked the pharmacist what to do, and he suggested a very strong OC medicine, but warned me I couldn’t have anything else in my system — no vitamins, no supplements, no ibuprofen, nothing. It reacts with EVERYTHING.

Everything was long gone from my system by then, so I took it. And it knocked me on my ass. Good thing I didn’t have to drive or do anything else. I couldn’t formulate a coherent sentence, much less do anything useful. I lay on the couch, dozing and reading. It stopped the cough, though, and gave me a chance to heal a bit.

Sunday was a quiet, but busy day with newspapers, final prep for the class that starts today, and wound up the class I was taking. I was sick for half of it, but it was mostly lectures and not actual application of the lectures. It gave me some ideas, but not the means to actually apply them. To be fair, I don’t know if I’d have been able to do the work, had it been assigned. But I’m still a little frustrated, and I need to stop worrying that, if my posts for class aren’t up exactly at midnight when a class starts, that I”m cheating the students. Because, in so many of the classes I’ve taken, the teacher shows up when the teacher shows up. And certainly not every day, giving students individual attention. Oh, well, different styles.

I’ve been booked for several more workshops over the next few months, and I’ve booked post-release interviews for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT in August with both Long and Short Reviews and Coffee Time Romance. I completed one of the interviews, and the other will happen in June. This morning, I regretfully withdrew from this year’s Muse Conference — October is already insane, and I just can’t give it the time it deserves to be done properly. There are months in the fall where I’m teaching four workshops at once, along with my regular writing, so I’ve got to put the brakes on somewhere.

By evening, I was coughing again. I took the medicine, hoping to knock myself out for the night.


I finally managed to quiet down with a combination of slippery elm and licorice. I can’t stand licorice, much less the extract, but it shut down the cough. Unfortunately, by then, most of the night was gone and my back was a mess.

I posted my Welcome & Expectations, Tip sheets, and first exercise on the Dialogue Workshop loop this morning. I’m a little worried because it clearly states that it is an Advanced Workshop, and, except for a few familiar faces, it seems that most of these people are new to all aspects of the craft. Well, we’ll see who rises to the challenge, and who falls by the wayside.

I started the assignment for confidential job #1 — it lost me in the first paragraph, and I’ve got over 300 pages to go. Sigh. I’ve almost got the April newsletter ready, and hope to get it out in the next few days. I’ve updated the Workshop page on the Devon Ellington site (after much fighting with 1and1 because, suddenly, it wouldn’t let me change font size), adding the Steig Larsson deconstruction in May, the Write in Company in June, the Revise in Company in July, and another round of Scaling the Wall: Unsticking Your Book in October. I’ve got one more workshop that will go up in July.

I’ve got to start the taxes today. Ick. I’m going to start with the SE for 2011 and get my quarterlies out, and then work backwards from there.

The Elsa Memorial Orchid is blooming again and looks lovely!


Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 9:17 am  Comments (4)  
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, stormy

My father died on this date in 1972. One never gets over it; one learns to live with it.

On a happier note, yesterday was just about the freelancer’s perfect day. Shot out of the house early to get on the road and drive about 45 minutes up-county to do my interview. The drive wasn’t bad — on a road I don’t usually like because it’s a pain. The cops were out in force — probably because of the woman who got on the Taconic Parkway a few days ago and drove TWO MILES the wrong way on the parkway before slamming into an SUV. Eight people were killed, four of them children, and included her. They still don’t know why — she wasn’t drunk and she had no underlying medical conditions, according to reports.

Anyway, the cops were out in force. They caught six speeders on the way up and one on the way back. I was grateful to them for grabbing one guy, in particular, in a white van. I saw the cops out, so I held to the top of the speed limit. This guy in a white van tries to crawl up my tail pipe. He’s flashing his lights and waving his fist at me. Whatever. I keep to the speed limit. He’s got plenty of lanes in which to pass me. So he goes onto the shoulder, passes me on the right, screaming and swearing at me as he passes, then cuts in front of me and slams on the brakes.

Fortunately, I was expecting it and managed to get out of the way. Even more fortunately, the whole thing went down in front of the State Police and they were all over his ass in seconds. Buh-bye. Enjoy your fine.

Like I said, the interview went very well. I like my interview subject a lot, and the interview gave me a slew of ideas for which I could use him as a source, so I’ll make notes on them and start pitching them to other markets, too.

I drove back down, had to stop at home because I forgot to mail the bills, drove to the Purchase post office to mail everything, and continued on to the gig in CT. Had a quick lunch and went to work. Their internet was down, which sort of slowed down the afternoon, but I managed to get everything done for them and get over to my friend’s place for dinner early.

I got a nice chunk of a big client project done at my friend’s place, wrote up notes for a story, and got an idea for a new series. Ideas tend to come in clusters for me, so I jot them all down, and then they take a spot in the queue.

I had dinner with my friend, came home, did five loads of laundry, and headed off to meditation. There was one guy thee who immediately starting questioning my training, my methods, etc. I was like, “Dude, this is meditation and you’re totally stressing me out!”

Once the meditation session started, it was fine. There were four of us and the leader. We did a sitting meditation, a walking meditation, and a sitting meditation. I was “the new person”, but I also had the least problem staying still. My mind may wander a bit here and there, but keeping my body still has never been an issue. Each of the three sessions felt like it went by like lightening. I loved it — and I loved the cushion I used. I don’t have a cushion when I sit at home, because I haven’t found one I like, but this was perfect. I’ll have to find out where they get them. I did walk into the wall at one point during the walking meditation. As the leader said, “It was bound to happen sooner or later; thank you for being the first.” Especially since I thought it was funny, and didn’t get upset. Hey, if we’re going to be one, we might as well include the wall, you know?

And when we discussed the day’s reading, I realized the aggressive guy really wasn’t that bad; he was just trying too hard. So, I think as long as I set boundaries, it won’t be a problem.

One thing the past set of workshops — whether they’re computer workshops or holistic workshops — has taught me over the past few months is that my life in the arts means I either don’t have or quickly dealt with a lot of these issues and obstacles that many of my fellow students have. I just plunge ahead, guided by passion and common sense, and don’t let other people dictate rules. I try to be considerate (I don’t always succeed there, I’m afraid), but I don’t let others define me. I wouldn’t have been able to spend my entire working life in the arts if I hadn’t been that stubborn and independent. I think it’s much harder for actors — they’re constantly defined by their roles, and have to constantly fight that.

It’ll be three weeks before I can go back — the leader’s out of town next week, and I’m working out of town the following week — but I’ll definitely be back.

The two people who talked me into going last night never showed up! Oh, well. I’ve even looked up and printed out some information we’d talked about. Either I see them again, or I don’t. Can’t get too worked up about it.

Came home, did my evening yoga session. Was too tired to type up my notes from the interview, so I’ll have to do it today, while it’s all still fresh.

I’ve got to take a load of stuff to storage before the bad storms break, take some paperwork over to CT for signatures, work on the big client project, and get in another writing session. I might take my writing with me when I go to storage and go to the library from there. I also want to type up my notes from the interview, and send some email questions to some sources. I also want to work on the magazine pitch and do some more work on a long-term proposal.

I had a decent writing session this morning — not great, but decent. I figured out the odd word backwards and forwards — it’s not the same thing in either direction, it just has to have a very specific meaning when it’s spelled forward and seem kind of odd, but still possible backwards.

I decided that, when I work out of town in an upcoming week, I’m going to take ANGEL HUNT with me, and that will be my main focus from the week. I think some uninterrupted work time on it without distractions, and I can get it out the door.

We’re supposed to get severe storms later in the day and, yet again, are on floodwatch, which means once the storms start, I’ll be dashing down to check the brook every hour or so, and trying to figure out when to move the car.

Gotta be productive until then.

Devon is having its daily problem — I can’t get into my email AT ALL. How am I supposed to run my business? I’ve had problems almost every day since MARCH. This is NOT acceptable. They used to be a reliable host with a good reputation, but the past year and change — forget it.

I think, when I have the new sites designed, I’ll use that opportunity to move hosts. It will probably be post-Prague, but there’s no reason for me to keep paying these guys when they don’t deliver.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, humid, hot

Yesterday morning absolutely flew past — I got out a bunch of submissions that stacked up (I’m finally getting out the backlog of projects), I got out a bunch of queries, I dealt with some business-y stuff. It was very productive, but definitely a case of “noon aleady?”

I found a great market to pitch an article about a local historical site about which I’m passionate, so I’m getting to work on that, and working on a long-term proposal for an exciting project. The chances of me being chosen are about the same as when pigs fly, but with the way scientists make break-throughs nowadays, maybe the pigs and I will both get the chance!

Made a quick run to Costco, to pick up a few things. I’m taking advantage of the fact that it’s only about a mile from me, because when I move — the nearest Costco is 45 minutes to an hour away, which means I have to be very organized, have lots of lists, and make a day of it — Costco, lunch, return. Thank goodness for insulated food bags, right? Sort of like when I go to Niantic now — it turns into a day trip.

Now, I have the luxury of being able to dash over and pick up one or two things and dash out — provided I don’t get distracted!

Prepared for today’s interviews. Got the bag packed — camera, tape recorder, notebook. I’m going up county to conduct the interviews, working in CT this afternoon, and then going to a meditation session tonight, at the same place I attended the Herbal Hour last night.

Parking was hell, but the facility is terrific, and maybe I’ll even try a yoga class or two. The session was fantastic — there were six of us, and we all instantly connected. Three of us are coming back for the meditation tonight. The workshop leader was fantastic — I definitely want to work with her again. It was great to get out there and meet a bunch of people in very different lines of work — it’s rare that I’m the only person who works in the arts in a room, but, actually, out here in the ‘burbs, it’s more the norm. When you attend workshops in the city, about 70% of those attending will be somehow connected to the arts community. And yet, workshops like this bring us together because of what unites us, not because we’re so different, and we can use our differences as frames of references to help and support each other. So that was all very cool. There was one woman who’s what I call a professional workshop attendee, but she’s very funny.

Not going to get my morning 1K I think, because I have to leave so early to drive up county. I’ve set aside time in the afternoon instead. I don’t usually write much in the afternoon, but today I’m going to have to!

I’m curious about the meditation session tonight — I’ve also been invited to one on Friday at another location. So, we’ll see.

Off to eat a hearty breakfast and then to do my interviews!


Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 6:15 am  Comments (3)  
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