Thurs. Jan. 10: Time Wasted Due to Coporate BS

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

I actually had a positive experience with Comcast yesterday. I’ve bashed them frequently over the years here, especially with problems in the Philadelphia area, but yesterday, we were able to have positive contact, intelligent discussion, and able to SOLVE the problem in a way that benefit both of us. In other words, actual customer service and negotiation. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised. I thought it was worth a public mention, and I thanked the person who was so helpful.

Verizon, on the other hand — well, we won’t even get started there! They really need to be slapped around by the regulators, because they treat their customers like dog poo. I have a neighbor who works for them, and they pretty much treat their employees just as badly, but someone needs to get them in line. Hopefully, I can wrap everything up with them soon and not have to deal with them anymore. You’d think, after being a customer for a dozen years, they’d give a damn. But what do you expect from a company that funds crazy, right-wing political candidates and finds it acceptable for employees to THROW THE PHONE at customers who come in to ask questions?

Still feeling under the weather. Boston has declared a health emergency, due to the flu. I’m one of the small percentage allergic to the flu shot, so I can’t get it — the shot could kill me. The flu itself just makes me feel like crap for a week.

Worked with students, wrote a pitch, got some writing done, but not enough. Never enough, which is discouraging. I had to waste far too much time and energy fighting with Verizon when I should have been doing income-earning work.

Spent some time on school work, too. I’m trying to catch up in the Astronomy class — the sheer volume of lectures each week makes it tough. There are fewer lectures in the Galaxies and Cosmology class, which started this week, so I’m in pretty good shape on that. The math is far beyond me, but the quizzes on theory I’m doing quite well in (even though I don’t have the science background).

Struggling to finish the proposal for my agent. I haven’t hit quite the right tone for the sample. The proposal itself is very strong, but the writing that the proposal is ABOUT has to sing, and there’s a metaphorical frog in its throat right now.

Also, on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE, I’m over 80 pages in and have to stop and write the outline. I’m getting unfocused.

Have to put some material together for a meeting this afternoon at the Marine Life Center. Also have to remember to take my camera to do some promo shots of Townsend and Major Margaret. MM is healthy enough to be released this weekend!

It looks like the only class I’m teaching in February is going to be a three-day seminar called “The Graveyard of Unfinished Projects.” More details to follow. Should be fun.

So much to do, hard to focus. But, somehow, it will all get done.

Devon

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Mon. Dec. 10, 2012: Rainy Start and Lots of Writing

Monday, December 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Rainy and raw

Busy times!

Friday was about the roofers. Really, they aren’t anywhere near as noisy as I expected. I’m quite grateful for that.

Flash 7 class started. Quiet day on Friday. They had a whole day to read and digest material before the first story was due.

Most of Friday, I spent working on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE. I’m happy with the way it’s going. Switching into first person made all the difference in the world. I typed up the first and part of the second chapter, while continuing to work on the fourth chapter in longhand. I’ve started my character charts and the other charts I need to track arcs and other elements that will need to remain consistent, especially from book to book (the seeds of what will grow into the Series Bible).

I also caught up on my World History homework. I thought this was the last week, but the class has been extended for two weeks. I enjoy it, but need to wrap my head around it.

Cleaned and prepped the various altars in the house for Yule. Got a little bit (but not enough) of decorating done.

Saturday morning, I wrote my 1K on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE, got the laundry done, ran the dishwasher, got the groceries in. Sat online most of the day on the class forum, but there wasn’t much activity.

Caught up on the Astronomy coursework. The physics of it, light, sound, wavelength, atoms, molecules, radiation, gravity — no problem. The mathematical equations – not so much. Much of that is my own fault — I am not willing to put in the time to break down the equations so I understand them and then put them back together. I want to know why everything has to be squared and then divided, or multiplied, squared, divided — it seems like there’s got to be a simpler way to set up the equations. It’s my usual resistance to math, believing these equations are created not to solve things, but because someone had too much time on his hands and likes to play with this shit. This is an unfair judgment on my part, but that’s my gut response to much of it. Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad that creating and using these equations makes people happy. More power to them! I am simply not one of them, and am glad they do it, so I don’t have to fret about it.

However, the demos are great, and seeing parts of these theories in practice makes a ll the difference.

Was feeling a little under the weather Saturday night, and by Sunday morning, had a full-blown migraine. Worst I’ve had in awhile. However, I worked with students and pushed through some more of the decorating. It’s still not done, but much more is up. The tree is pretty.

I like that we can decorate differently in the house each year. In the apartment, everything fit only one way. Here, we can try new things.

Polished a short story. Had to put aside a second one, because it didn’t fit the guidelines. I like it, and will continue with it, but guidelines are guidelines. Sent out two other stories that had stockpiled.

Have to do some business admin today, work with students, and get more writing done. I’m waiting on a few checks, which I hope arrive sooner rather than later. Also hope to start the history homework today, if there’s time. It all depends on the migraine, and how badly that affects me today.

Good first writing session on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE.

I have to say something about that dumb-ass prank phone call and those stupid Australian DJs who helped contribute to that British nurse’s suicide. Those two better start taking responsibility for their part in it. They feel bad? They should. They contributed to another human being’s death. To say there was “no malicious intent” is ridiculous. A prank call’s very nature is all about malicious intent. It’s about making fun of someone by humiliating them. When it’s done publicly, on a live show, even worse. The male DJ’s backpedaling of “every radio station in every country does it” — that’s the kind of lemming-like thinking that allows genocide. They’re in “hiding” and in “counseling” — yeah, probably paying someone to tell them what they did was okay. What they did was NOT okay, and instead of being cowards and trying to justify it, they should be looking for ways to make things right. Publicly crying about “how bad they feel” is a self-centered cop out. It’s not about them, and they SHOULD feel bad, if they have any pretensions at being ethical human beings. You fucked up big time, someone died, own it and now do something to make the world a better place. Stop the pity party. Actions have consequences, and they need to face the consequences for their actions. If there was no malicious intent, there wouldn’t have been a prank call. Everything they’ve said and done since this incident only fills me with more contempt. You did something stupid. Now do something positive to help get things in balance.

Devon

Two exciting classes coming up in January of 2013!

“When Words Align” — if you’re stuck in your manuscript or your edit, take this seven-day intensive to get back on track. Jan. 2-9.

“Sensory Perceptions”
— this popular class is back — in one month, learn how to use all the senses to make your writing more dynamic and engaging. You will work on stories specific to each sense, and one long, ever-evolving piece adding in sense-by-sense. January 2-Feb. 3.

Mon. Dec. 3, 2012: In NYC for Costume Imp’s B-day Bash!

Monday, December 3, 2012
Waning Moo
n

Can you believe it’s December already?

I’m the featured artist over on Weekly Artist — check it out! Drop a comment, so they know you stopped by.

I am in NY today, for Costume Imp’s birthday. Left yesterday, will be home tomorrow night.

Friday was busy and stressful. Had to do some errands, fretted a lot.

Started doing my coursework for the Introduction to Astronomy. I’m not going for certification, just auditing. I like the class a lot, but the math is beyond me. If I was willing to put in about 30-40 hours at the outset catching up, I could learn it and do it, but I don’t have those hours and the access to a tutor, so I’m just auditing, taking notes, etc. I’m still getting a lot out of it, and I’m not sucking away time from anyone who is going for certification.

This class will be a huge help in the aviation mystery, since, especially at that time (late 1940’s) a lot of night navigation was still done by stars.

Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

After watching some of the lectures, I went out to “look up” and put what we discussed into practice — but since it was getting ready to snow, I didn’t see much!

Will have to remedy that later this week.

Saturday was better, although I’m just so fatigued all the time lately. There was a line at the post office — looks like everyone’s got their cards done and their decorations up already. And it’s only December 1! I always felt so organized in NY, and I feel so behind here!

Finished making Costume Imp’s present. It was lots of fun. Hopefully, he’ll gt a kick out of it.

Sunday morning, the newsletter went out for December, and then, off I went!

I’m looking forward to celebrating Imp’s mega-birthday!

Devon

You can still sign up for the Flash 7 Workshop — write, revise, submit 7 Flash Fiction pieces in 10 Days, Dec. 7-16. Info and registration here.

Thurs. Nov. 29, 2012: Writing, Decorating, Coursework


Tessa and Violet enjoy the sun

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

I’m over at The Writers Vineyard in my Annabel Aidan persona, talking about “Always Learning.”

Busy day yesterday. Writing, errands, libraries. Got the lights on the tree (my least favorite part of decorating). Got the lights up around the windows. I don’t want to start decorating outside until I know when the roofers are coming — and going. Got some of the ribbons up around the windows and doorways. I don’t understand why the decorating is taking so darned long this year. Usually, it took a day. Although decorating a house takes longer than an apartment.

Tessa helps.

I swear, that cat could pass the SATs. She understands every word I say.

I’ve got to get out a couple of press releases today, and set up the accounts at Smashwords, so I can upload my stories there. I still want to re-do the cover for “Mistletoe”, but didn’t manage to get my hands on any real mistletoe yesterday (and it was rainy and awful out, so ick).

I’m almost packed for the trip to NY. I’m working on a little something special for Costume Imp, and that has to be finished today.

Almost done with the Greek/Roman Mythology Course — finished the lectures and the quiz. Today, I have to evaluate five student papers, and, then — done! Started the Astronomy class — it looks wonderful, but I’m auditing, not going for certification. The math required is beyond me. But today, I’ll tackle the history course.

And, hopefully, get some more decorating done, and some more work on prepping “That Man in Tights” for upload.

Good writing session this morning, but missed yoga. 😦

Devon

Don’t forget to sign up for Flash 7 Workshop, running from Dec. 7-16. Write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days. Info and registration here.

Tues. Nov. 27, 2012: Two Nina Bell stories out: “Too Much Mistletoe” and “Tumble”!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

We’re going to get snow today!

Okay, there are TWO Nina Bell short pieces available now! The holiday-themed novella Too Much Mistletoe, where Nina’s complicated love life both helps and hinders her search for a missing college friend. Excerpt and buy link here.

AND

there’s the shorter piece, “Tumble”, taking place around New Year’s, when Nina discovers the body of a co-worker in the theatre’s dryer and realizes the murderer has to be someone in their theatre. As usual, she gets herself into all kinds of trouble and has a complicated love life. Excerpt and buy links here, below the excerpt for Too Much Mistletoe.

If you like Stephanie Plum, you’ll love Nina Bell! A little humor, a little mystery, a little romance. These two pieces are a lot of fun. I love Nina, and people keep asking when she’s coming back. So, she’ll be around a lot more! I never thought I’d be old enough to write a “period piece”.

I’ve added a page to the blog with blurbs and information on the stories, too.

For the most part, I’m happy with the covers, although when I uploaded them into the Payloadz site, they got warped on the store page. It was a lot of fun to set up the shoot for “Tumble” and stage the bloody hand print on the dryer. Fortunately, my basement looks an awful lot like the theatre basement in the story. 😉 I wish I could have filled the background with a color, but I love the font. I would have liked to do a photo shoot for Mistletoe, staging a spring of mistletoe into the Scotch, but I wasn’t able to get my hands on a reasonable piece of mistletoe. If I can, I’ll redo the cover. I really need to get a good cover design program. The lack of manipulation my programs give me with images is appalling. What is so fucking hard about just letting me re-size? I downloaded the Gimp software, that’s supposed to allow image manipulation and layering, but haven’t figured it out yet. In iWeb, I could fill background — why can’t I do that on a regular page? Very frustrating. And none of the Canon programs that are supposed to let me do whatever I want with a JPG actually DO anything worthwhile.

What was even worse was that 1and1.com’s servers were down, and I couldn’t access my email most of the day, nor could I update the websites. Cyber Monday, busiest online shopping day of the year, and they couldn’t be bothered. Unacceptable. And when I complain, they do the usual — shrug and say THEY have no problem.

So, cover kerflamma took longer than it should have. I’m almost done editing “Just Jump in and Fly”, a re-working of a lot of familiar holiday myths, and I hope to have that ready later today.

Worked in the garden — got the terraced border raked out and cut back, and got a section of the meadow raked. I’m going out to do some more in a few minutes — trying to get as much done as possible before the snow starts later. And I’ve GOT to get cat food in. It won’t be a bad snow, just . . . snow, which means the leaves left will be wet and icky, but there’s no way I can get the whole meadow done today, not with everything else going on.

Meeting tonight, and have to do the minutes for it. The Astronomy class starts today — looking forward to that. Greek & Roman Mythology wraps up this week, and World History next week. Then, I’ll have about two or three weeks where I’m only taking ONE class! 😉

Managed to get a few more decorations up yesterday, and found the lights. The lights have to go on the tree before we can go any further.

Onward!

Devon

Don’t forget the Flash 7 Workshop from Dec. 7-16. Write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days. Information and registration here.

Tues. Nov. 20, 2012: Pushing Through

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

A good writing session yesterday kicked off a busy day. Worked with students, took the garbage to the dump, tried to get something signed off on that should have gone out last week, but until the top gun signs off, I can’t do anything — I’ve done my bit, now it’s in their court.

Did my week’s coursework for the World History class, so that wasn’t hanging over my head. Worked on developing some ideas. Today, I’ll focus on the Mythology class. The Astronomy class starts next week — we heard from the instructor, and it sounds pretty exciting.

Have to wrap up a lot of stuff before the holiday weekend starts. Remember, the deadline for the Playwright application is on Sunday — you can get it here. And the Flash 7 Workshop information (it runs from Dec. 7-16) is here.

Not a lot of exciting stuff to say — a lot of writing is percolating, but it’s that delicate stage where it can’t yet be discussed. I’m trying to get back on track with a few deadlined projects that have stalled — I just have to push through. I’m juggling too many balls, and I’m afraid of dropping any of them, mostly because I have to keep a certain amount of money coming in.

Off we go — I hope the rest of this week goes smoothly!

Devon