Wed. Sept. 18, 2019: Saturn Finally Goes Direct

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Direct (Today)
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

I hope that Saturn going direct takes some pressure off.

I talk about Saturn going direct over on Kemmyrk. There’s also the latest chapter of “Fred Needs a Writer” up on Ink-Dipped Advice. We’re nearing the end of that little parable. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more about which to write!

Meditation was good on Monday afternoon, although there were heart openers, and that’s still tough. I’m still too deep in grief to want to open my heart; it still needs protection. But it reinforced that not going last week was the right decision — I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes without breaking down.

Going along with GRAVE REACH edits. I’m happy with them, I just wish I could make them happen faster. We’re getting down to the wire. Plus, I immediately have to dive into revisions for BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and then DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m wondering if I’ll have to work on one of the books in the morning and the other in the evening. I’ll do what I have to do in order to get it done.

I’m scrolling past a lot of the stupid on Twitter, because people get to say what they want, and I don’t have to respond. Quietly unfollowing some, blocking others. I don’t have to make big public drama about it. We follow each other on recommendations or follow hashtags; as we get to know each other, we’re going to decide we don’t want to interact. That’s life.

I’m unfollowing several traditionally published, so-called “best selling” authors because they’re whining about their careers. Careers other people would kill for. Careers other people would handle with grace (even when tired and frustrated) and for which they’d have gratitude. We all get tired. We all get frustrated. We all need support. So many of us are generous with our support in this community. That’s a good thing. When one of us does well, it’s good for everyone. But a constant pattern of whining and ingratitude turns me away from both the person and the writing.

Again, there’s no need to get into a big public spectacle about it. I’m a Pisces; I quietly swim away and go on with my life.

And don’t waste any more of my money on that author’s books.

Hey, plenty of people don’t want to read my books because of my political activism, and the fact that I walk my talk. That’s their choice. That’s the positive about having the freedom to make that choice. It doesn’t have to be a debate or a public shouting match.

I’ve been a conscientious consumer for years (now called “hold your wallet” among other things). If I feel a company supports something unethical, I stop buying their product/spending my money with them. I’ve done that with Wal-Mart for decades. I will (and have) drive 150 miles out of my way to avoid spending even a penny there. When I see lists demanding boycotts of businesses that support the far right — I stopped wasting my money on them years ago.

I feel badly for my elderly mother, who’s now lost her favorite show, DANCING WITH THE STARS, because they hired that lying idiot Sean Spicer. She won’t watch it anymore. And she won’t start watching again, even after he’s voted off; even in subsequent seasons, because they’ve broken her trust and proven they have no ethics. I’m not the one who told her she “can’t” or “shouldn’t.” She made that choice on her own. She doesn’t like many of the current shows, but that was one she usually liked (she had plenty of problems with a lot of the fools they’ve hired over the seasons). I ignored the social media posts about him. He doesn’t get any more real estate in my life. It was bad enough when he had a job where I had to pay attention to him.

Onsite with a client yesterday. In early today, for a meeting about reconfiguring one of the client’s websites. I have most of the content; we just have to keep up with something she likes for the visuals with the web designer, something that also meets our needs.

Other than that, it’s back to the page on GRAVE REACH, “Pier-less Crime”, ELLA BY THE BAY, and a couple of things with which I’m playing. I’m trying to come up with a title for the play about Canaletto’s sisters; I think I have to cut some characters. But that’s starting to come together.

I shouldn’t work on GAMBIT COLONY, but that’s the best stress release valve I have, so I am.

As always, it’s back to the page.

Published in: on September 18, 2019 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 18, 2019: Saturn Finally Goes Direct  
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Tues. Sept. 17, 2019: Trying To Smooth Out Difficult Times

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Difficult weekend. Everything worked my last nerve. I’m angry and hurting and unhappy and nothing works to lessen it. It’s a bad patch. I’ll get through it, but it’s not fun while it lasts.

Hop on to see the mid-month check in over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions; some musings about reciprocal and non-reciprocal spirituality on Kemmyrk; today’s post for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge over on A Biblio Paradise. That catches us up, at least for the moment.

We still miss Lucy terribly. It’s tough on Tessa, being the only cat. She’s with us all the time, but she misses having another cat in the house. Without Lucy to sleep on the bed, my elderly mother started having nightmares again.

Friday night, I gussied up and attended the opening reception to the new exhibit at the Cahoon Museum. I almost didn’t manage it, because, in spite of their expanded parking, it was packed. Great for the support of the museum, but frustrating. I cheated and parked at a business next store that was already closed for the night.

The reception was lovely. I have to say that I found the “pre-mortem” daguerreotypes disturbing. Photos taken just before the moment of death. Creepy. And the hunters with their trophies were gross. But there was also an exhibit called Look This Way which included “Unidentified Women” with artist Jodi Colella that was quite wonderful. She combines film and fiber in a unique and wonderful way. She created the giant scorpion out of black doilies for the fiber art exhibit last autumn. I had the chance to talk with her for a bit. I didn’t want to hog her time, because the reception was packed. But we had a lovely conversation. She brings such insight and imagination to her work.

I ran into a couple of people I knew, which was nice. I eavesdropped on several conversations (as writers do). Mostly old rich white people moaning about their privileges and criticizing anyone who didn’t grovel before them. Several of them deserved a good slap upside the head.

Worked on GRAVE REACH, but not enough. When I’m actually into it, it flows well, but sitting myself down and doing it is a struggle. For no good reason. This book is leaner and more tightly plotted than the last two, and, in many ways, I think it works better. So I don’t understand why I’m struggling with these revisions.

Worked on ELLA. Worked on another idea I’ve been spinning, that looks like it might turn into something worthwhile. Played with some short story ideas. Worked on some article pitches.

Did some revisions on the first volume of GAMBIT COLONY, which I shouldn’t have, but working on that book soothes me when I’m stressed, so I did it.

Had sent an LOI to a company that looked like it would be a good match for some marketing work, pairing writing with my film/theatre expertise. Their response? Demanding a timed on-line assessment. No. Not doing those. If you’re too lazy and stupid to read my cover letter, resume, and samples to figure whether or not I’m right for the job, that’s on you. We are not a good match. Do not waste my time for what you’re claiming is a top-level assignment by sending me something an hourly minimum-wage employee would have to fill out. I have three decades of credits behind me. You know where you can put your “timed assessment.”

Another response to an LOI was a request for additional information, via an online form. It arrived on Saturday afternoon, outside of business hours. Fine. I figured I’d do it on Monday, DURING business hours, as any legitimate business expects. Only they nagged me ALL WEEKEND. I ignored them. They’re not paying me. I’m not giving up my weekend to fill out a form. It can wait until Monday. I suspect part of this “next step” will be a demand for an unpaid project-specific sample, in which case I will tell them where they can put it. I’m supposed to be panicked and jump through hoops because they claim they had 400 applicants? First, I don’t believe they did; second, part of the introduction/interview process is to see if we are a good fit FOR EACH OTHER. So far? Not liking what I see.

It’s a complete lie that there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill top-level jobs. The problem is that the companies outsource EVERYTHING to unskilled recruiters who are working part-time in between their college classes (because yes, I know how to get them to tell me everything about themselves and they’re not skilled enough to avoid the questions or dig into MY background) and HR people who don’t know anything about the job or the company, and do everything by form and algorithm. You’re not going to find the strongest skilled, creative person for the job that way. Genuinely skilled people with solid credentials aren’t going to play that game.

Saturday was all about laundry. Nine loads of laundry. We changed over from the summer cotton sheets to the flannel fall/early winter sheets. We took the summer covers off the chairs and sofa and put on the fleece for the sofa and the autumn on the big chair. The lace curtain panels came down in my room and the red-and-gold three season curtains went up. Some of the plants came in. Some are getting cut back. Things are being washed, dried, ironed/folded, and packed until next summer. Leaves are falling, and I’ll have to start raking soon.

I read a book by a writer who was trying to write blue collar, rough characters from her point of white privilege. It didn’t work. She didn’t understand what drove the characters, and they weren’t dimensional enough. I’ve read some of her other work and enjoyed it, for the most part. This was a disappointment.

Worked on the books for review. One blurb will go out today; will send the other tomorrow or Thursday.

I’m reading the entire Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald in order. I’d read several of them a long, long time ago. It’s interesting to re-read them all, with fresh perspective of life experience. They are very of their time and timeless. It’s interesting. There’s some beautiful, concise descriptive writing. I didn’t like any of the female characters in THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY. I’m hoping I will like them better in NIGHTMARE IN PINK. But so, far, not liking the women in that book either.

It’s also interesting to re-watch the entire MARY TYLER MOORE series in order. It’s very much of its time, too. I wasn’t too excited about the first half of the first season, but then it started having a little more bite. I remember it being more ground-breaking than I’ve seen so far, but maybe it grew into it. Or maybe it was ground-breaking at the time and seems less so now, because of the ground it broke.

THE NEW YORK TIMES is being stupid and pandering again, as usual. Calling a sexual assault “harmless fun” is not “poor phrasing.” It’s trivializing sexual assault, which is something the media –and the justice department does. Brett Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed, and he needs to be impeached.

The whole bru-ha-ha over Felicity Huffman serving 14 days for bribing someone to fix her kid’s test scores irritates me, too. I am furious at her for doing that. First of all, it’s an insult to her kid. If my parents had so little faith that I could get into the school of my choice that they felt they had to bribe someone, I would have been devastated. And yes, I got in to every school to which I applied, including top-level Ivy League schools. On. My. Own. Merit. I’d always admired Huffman’s work and she presented herself as an ethical person. So I am angry that she’d stoop to something like this.

Do I think it’s fair that she serves only 14 days when a black woman got 5 years for trying to vote? No. Those sentences have no parity. I believe both racism and economic segregation played a part. But I also disagree with John Legend’s comments that there shouldn’t be any jail time. For the black woman who was arrested for trying to vote? Zero time, I believe, a class in political science, and community service. But rich people trading on white privilege need to have serious consequences. Is jail the best solution? Probably not. But community service isn’t enough either. Using the same amount of money she paid or more to pay toward the tuition of someone smarter than her kid who can’t afford college? Maybe that would help.

Yesterday was a long but productive day at my client’s, then work at the library, then Meditation. I desperately needed it.

Today will be another long day with my client and then who knows what else. I’m trying to tackle everything that needs to be done and struggling.

For the moment, though, it’s back to the page. The consistency gets results.

 

Fri. Aug. 30, 2019: Here Comes the Holiday!

wine-1761613_1920
Image courtesy of PhotoMIX Company via pixabay

Friday, August 30, 2019
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got some work done yesterday. Told the “potential” client that was trying to get me to jump through a bunch of hoops before I actually talked to anyone involved in the project that wasn’t the environment for me. I’m glad I did. I was polite, firm, and direct.

Got ahead on some blog posts. I’m starting Kemmyrk again, now that the 2020 Almanacs are out, and I just submitted my article for the 2021 piece. Here’s an article yesterday on the Dark Moon. And today, there’s an article on the New Moon. The blog won’t have a designated day, but it will go by the phases of the moon, and talk about tarot, etc. I hope you enjoy it.

Gratitude and Growth and Ink-Dipped Advice will both be back next week.

I’m going to start up the blog under the Ava Dunne name, too, where I talk about the Nautical Namaste Mysteries. It’s called Affairs of the Pen, and the first post, on how I decided to write SAVASANA AT SEA is here.

I got some good work done on ELLA BY THE BAY. I got an idea for another stand-alone suspense novel, and did a rough outline. I’m behind where I want to be on GRAVE REACH, but I’m doing a big push this weekend, no matter how much I want time off. I can see the end of this draft, I can almost taste it. And I’m running out of time.

Participated in a fun freelance chat yesterday, which reminded me it’s time to prep my autumn postcard mailing. I land more work from the postcard mailing than any other form of marketing.

I also need to finish “Pier-less Crime” and draft the first scene of the Canaletto Sisters play. Coming up with a title for the latter would be great.

Have a lovely Labor Day Weekend, and we’ll check back in on Tuesday, although the blog might go up late.

Take some time to enjoy!

Published in: on August 30, 2019 at 8:54 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 30, 2019: Here Comes the Holiday!  
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Tues. Dec. 5, 2017: And We’re Definitely in Mercury Retrograde

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Yeah, Mercury’s Retrograde — AGAIN, and it looks like it’ll be a rough one.

Hop over to the GDR site for the November wrap-up.

Hop on over to the Kemmyrk site for some background on today, one of my favorite days, St. Nicholas Day.

I’m still recovering from the events of Friday and the car. I contacted my regular garage, and they’re putting together an estimate for me. I contacted a friend who knows the best places to get tires around here, and he gave me some suggestions.

Got a bunch of admin stuff done Friday, and then I went off to Nirvana in Barnstable to meet a friend for coffee. And was stood up. I had to dig deep — I don’t like that type of disrespect, and it’s a pattern between this individual and me.

But instead of sitting there feeling angry and hurt, I acknowledged I was both of those things, and I sat and enjoyed my mocha latte for a half hour. It was quiet, it was pretty, it was a nice atmosphere. Why shouldn’t I enjoy myself, since I was there? So I did.

Then, I went next door to Barnstable Market, and I found the plum pudding, Dresden stollen, and leibkuchen I wanted for the holidays.

I let the person know I’d waited for a half hour and then left. I didn’t hear anything until mid-morning on Saturday (since I know this person is intimately connected to mobile devices at all times, that didn’t help my attitude). She claimed she’d sent me an email, because a crisis at work came up, and she hopes to reschedule. Well, I never got it (Mercury Retrograde), and it is what it is. These things happen, and things get mixed up. Later in the afternoon, she forwarded the missing email — it had never left the Inbox. If she’s serious, she can contact me after the holidays.

This is huge progress for me, acting like a grown-up in this situation. I’m not striking out in anger. I’m also not committing to putting myself into a situation again that’s bad for me. I’m being polite, and giving the benefit of the doubt to a point, adding it to the balance sheet.

It builds on removing myself from a work relationship that had been toxic last year, where I’d done the equivalent of $150,000 of pro bono work over several years for an organization that repeatedly refused my professional suggestions because they were “too New York” (um, no, they’re “professional” which is why they WORK in New York) and then turned around and paid someone else to do the exact same thing I’d been doing for free. Truly a case of “why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” And yet, without that client, my life contains much less stress and unhappiness, although there are aspects of the work with them that I miss.

But aren’t balance sheets in relationships always uneven? To a point, yes. Relationships, friendships, the like, all go through cycles where one party tends to do more of the heavy lifting. If and when it gets out of balance, that’s when the relationship has to be reassessed. Either there are ways to get it back in balance, or it needs to end. And only the individuals within the relationship understand its unique balance.

In January of 2016, my promise to myself was “reciprocity” — because I feel that in this area of the country, most interactions lack reciprocity. One party demands everything and gives nothing in return. In New York, believe it or not, there was far more reciprocity, especially among professionals. Cape Cod is the epitome of how and why the “Trickle Down” fantasy the GOP keeps pushing DOESN’T WORK. It doesn’t let people break the cycle of poverty (on either financial or emotional levels), and, after awhile, people start living a “gimme” life. What the GOP claims is created by social services (such as SNAP and Medicare) — laziness, refusal to work, grabbiness, expecting handouts — is actually CREATED by THEIR policies when they remove those safety nets. But, because they’re being paid off to push the policies, they don’t care.

It’s been hard work these last two years to put the Reciprocity Model into action in my life. I often fail. But I’m more aware of it now, I’m better at saying “no” upfront when an unequal demand is made, or, once I realize it’s getting way out of whack, trying to rebalance and/or make the decision that is best for ME and walk away.

There’s definitely more work to do, but I’m making progress. Not the least of that progress is not letting the hurts and anger fester and dwell on them, rather than letting go and moving on. I remember, and I use what I’ve learned to make better choices.

Anyway, Saturday was about finishing up both a review and an article. I also raked another 270 gallons of leaves — still in the front. I haven’t made any progress anywhere else yet! Got a bit of decorating done, but there’s still so much more to do.

Thought about SERENE AND DETERMINED, but didn’t get anything written on it. I tried to make up for it yesterday and today. I don’t know why I’ve had such a difficult time getting the play on paper this year.

Thought about a few other things I want to create next year — long-term business plans.

I sent out a bunch of questionnaires to potential web hosts. My current web host 1&1, did nothing but insult me and give me the runaround instead of taking 15 minutes to answer my questions. I need a new web host!

Behind on TRACKING MEDUSA, too. Behind on “Miss Winston Apologizes” — release date moved back on that. Although the new cover is pretty cool.

My mom’s foot is taking a long time to heal. We still have a lot of post-op care.

Outlined two new ideas. Don’t know when I’ll get a chance to work on them, but the premises intrigue me.

Over the past month, my mom and I have read all of Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop Mysteries and her Cupcake Bakery Mysteries. They’re fun, and I like the way she grows the character relationships from book to book, so they’re all of a piece. That’s what I’m trying to do in the Nautical Namaste and the Picaroon Island mysteries.

Tessa loves the Christmas Tree. She’s very gentle with it, but she loves to spend time under it — especially when it’s lit.

Session with the client went well yesterday. Hopefully today will also be great, and forward progress.

A lot of deal with this week. During Mercury Retrograde. I’d rather hide in my bed, but I guess that’s not an option!

 

Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Wed. Nov. 8, 2017: Everything Changes When You Wish It Wouldn’t

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Just when you think you have everything figured out, it all changes.

I got some news that shocked, then angered, then disappointed me late on Monday. I can’t discuss it fully yet; I’m not trying to be cryptic, but I need to order my thoughts and come up with potential solutions. Otherwise, the blog entry will be a single wail of despair, and that’s just boring.

It makes me feel as though the whole past year, where I felt I was gaining some real ground, was for naught.

On the other hand, the time wasn’t wasted, because I learned a lot.

But I have to talk to the other people immediately affected, and we have to come to decisions.

I hope you enjoyed Rhonda Pollero’s piece over on A Biblio Paradise. If you didn’t get the chance to read it yet, please hop on over now and do.

Also, click on over to Kemmyrk, where there’s a piece up about Kami of the Hearth, and some musings about the Two of Pentacles in the Tarot.

I’m amazed I didn’t wake up with a massive hangover yesterday morning. After Monday night, all I wanted to do was to curl up and stay in bed, oh, I don’t know, until the end of the year!

But Tuesday is the day of Mars, of Tyr, a time to get out there and get things done. So I did.

I voted yesterday. We had some local election stuff to deal with around here. Frankly, I didn’t want to vote for either candidate for Town Council. Neither of them bothered to get to know their constituents. They consider themselves “well known” in the area. All that happened was that a bunch of lawn signs went up last week. I have no idea where they stand on anything that affects me. But I went and voted anyway, for the candidate with alliances most likely to align with what I want. And you can damn well bet I’m going to be a huge pain in the winner’s neck with demands that I’m represented. There were also votes on ballot questions that had gotten very little attention. Fortunately, someone in the parking lot handed out information that was useful.

I’m sure turnout will be low; but I didn’t care. It’s my responsibility to vote. Those who ignore said responsibility need to STFU. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve forfeited their right to complain. As flawed as our system is, especially the way the right is trying to move us back before the 1860s, it’s what we have, and it’s our responsibility to do things like vote and serve on jury duty.

I’m trying to reframe Monday’s news and turn it into something positive. It’s an obstacle, but a new direction might be a better one, although I wish it had waited until AFTER the holiday season.

It throws off my schedule for the next couple of years, but, if I make the right decision moving forward, it will pay off. I have to remember the sage advice — don’t make decisions when you’re upset. I need to gather my information, look at my options, and make the most informed decision I can.

Of course, that little voice tells me that’s what I did in the first place, and look where it got me.

It got me some confidence, in spite of the disappointment.

Spent the bulk of the day onsite with a client.

 

Published in: on November 8, 2017 at 3:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 8, 2017: Everything Changes When You Wish It Wouldn’t  
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Tues. Oct. 31, 2017: Samhain

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Samhain/Halloween

Pretty intense few days.

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to see its new look and please, drop a commment!

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the October wrap-up.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, the blog tied to the Cerridwen Iris Shea work, to read a few ruminations.

The bulk of the weekend was the aftermath of my mom’s surgery. She’s doing really well, don’t get me wrong. She only took the Tylenol the first day — says she doesn’t need it now. But there’s a lot of post-op care to make sure the foot and the place under her collarbone where the skin was grafted heal properly. Plus, she’s exhausted, which makes sense, since surgery is a big trauma on the body.

Then, I’m exhausted, and I feel guilty about it, because I didn’t go through surgery.

But I feel what I feel, so I acknowledge it and try to let it go, while continuing on.

Friday I was wiped out. I did some research for yesterday’s meeting. I sent off my next review. But that was the extent of getting any writing done. I couldn’t focus.

I also have notes on multiple projects that I have to sort out and put into folders, or I’ll lose them and not have them when I need them.

There was a glitch with the car insurance, but it turned out the agent gave me the wrong information, and we got it all sorted out, thank goodness.

We watched season 3 of BROADCHURCH the past few days. Wow. Just wow.

Saturday, I had to run more errands, and then, finally, that check I’ve been waiting for arrived. That was a big relief. So, on that level, things are sorted out.

Started reading Hillary Clinton’s WHAT HAPPENED. It’s an exceptionally well-written book. I don’t know why that surprised me. Maybe because Tony Blair’s memoir, and so man other political tomes I’ve read weren’t? Over the decades, there have been times when I’ve disagreed with her, but so far, I agree with most of what she says in the book. And it would have been so nice to have a qualified, intelligent human being in the office instead of a narcissistic sociopath.
Also read a translation of Marc Levy’s PS FROM PARIS. I hadn’t read any of his work before. It’s joyful and surprising and wonderful. Loved the book, and am now eager to read more. It also makes me want to get my French back up to speed so that I could read it in its original language (although Sam Taylor’s translation was excellent).

ALSO read Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES. The Gamache series is intriguing. Penny is one of the few authors who I feel can pull off third person omniscient, although there was too much head-hopping in this book, and it wasn’t as smooth as usual. But her explorations into people and their motivations interest me.

One of my rocking horse statues broke while I was using the central vaccuum. It got caught in the hose — very frustrating. It will take me several weeks to put it back together properly — filling the cracks, getting the pieces to fit just right, layering it back on, then sanding down the fixative and doing some paint touch-ups.

Tessa is far too curious, and I’m worried she’ll get glue all over her.

We had quite the storm Sunday night into Monday. Lots of people without power, still, even. We were lucky — it flickered at 4 in the morning, but then came back on.

Yesterday was spent with clients — one for the bulk of the day, then came home to change my mother’s wound dressings, and then the other for a couple of hours. Two very different projects, but both terrific, engaging, and let me be creative. I’m very grateful.

Today is Samhain, a big day on my personal calendar. I have lots of running around in the morning (buying things like candy and cat food). Hopefully, we’ll have some trick or treaters tonight — the house is all dolled up!

Then, of course, the big ritual. Today is the end of the agricultural year, and tomorrow starts the new one. We’ve harvested the last of the tomatoes and herbs. Now, I still have to finish putting the yard to bed, and soon, we’ll take in the rest of the plants that overwinter inside or in the garage, and the deck furniture. And rake leaves forever, and cut back the beds.

Next spring, I either have to buy a new mower or hire someone in.

Lots and lots and LOTS of errands, et al to do today, then handing out candy tonight and then . . .ritual. The next few nights will be taken up with ceremonies for the dead — there’s an article about that over on Cerridwen’s Cottage.

I won’t post here tomorrow, but the November To-Do list will be up over on the GDR site.

I keep promising myself that I will NOT do Nano because of my deadlines, only stand at the sidelines, cheering others on. We’ll see what happens when November 1 hits. I’m definitely wavering. My ego is at war with my practicality. Because that’s what it is for me this year — ego. I want the satisfaction of another Nano win. It has nothing to do with the realities of what I HAVE to get done this month. And there’s no room for that type of ego in my life right now.

I got a little bit of MARRIAGE GARDEN done yesterday and today. I need to do a big push on THE FIX IT GIRL the rest of this week.

Back to the page.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and COLD!

I’ve got this lovely white rag doll angel that I keep wrapped up all year round in acid-free paper to keep her clean and safe. I put her out for the holidays, and Elsa and Violet INSIST on sleeping on top of her.

Sigh.

I polished the Apocalypse story and sent it off, so, fingers crossed. I think I hit the right balance of fun/creepy/fractured fairy tale at which I aimed. I worked on the other story, due tomorrow. We’ll see what happens with that. I completed the assignment for Confidential Job #1, but lost internet access, so I had to send it from the home office this morning.

I’ve got a piece up on Kemmyrk about the Blue Moon, which is tomorrow night, if you’re interested.

Ideas come in batches, and I’ve been scrambling to scribble down the batch that burst through my brain the past few days. When I’ll actually get to write them completely, who knows, but at least I’m capturing the essence. Change of place is always good to get the creative juices going again.

Must dash — I have to pick up a few things at the various stores for tomorrow and New Year’s Day — both for the food and for the rituals (full/blue moon tomorrow night and the traditional New Year’s Day dawn ritual). I’ve also got to run a few errands for my mom.

Then, it’s back to the page and the other story.

Later!

Devon

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 8:41 am  Comments (4)  
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Thursday, November 19, 2009


Interior, Library of Congress

Thursday, November 19, 2009
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

I’m on the road all day, headed back to NY. I’ve got a post up on Kemmryk about loss, since this is the first anniversary of my grandmother’s death.

I am so sore that I’m almost looking forward to the long bus trip back home!

Hit the ground running early — breakfast at the same great cafe as yesterday. Again, here are the highlights — I’ll be doing some essays to go into more detail in a few days:

Ford’s Theatre — where Abraham Lincoln was shot. Didn’t go in — too many noisy kids. Loved the real gas lights outside. The Petersen House — where Lincoln died — was closed today because it’s getting re-roofed.


Library of Congress — I had no idea that it’s just about the most beautiful building in America. And Jefferson’s “starter collection” library practically made me weep with joy — especially since he read novels as well as Aristotle!


Supreme Court — they were busy and working and tons of security.

Folger Shakespeare Library — lovely, unusual exhibition on the way Elizabethans imagined China.


US Botanic Garden — can you imagine, there are roses still in bloom outside in mid-November?

Museum of the American Indian — stunning and amazing and fascinating and wonderful and somewhat sad. I found some wonderful books and also joined the Smithsonian Institute as a member. It’s worth it — there’s no admission in any of the museums, and I’ve gotten far more out of them than membership cost.


National Gallery of Art — lovely galleries, one of the worst meals in recent memory.

Visits with politicos — very quick and friendly; Capitol HIll was VERY busy today. Good. That’s why we pay ‘em. Unfortunately, I think I’ve developed an allergy to politicians — I start sneezing around them.

Hirschorn Museum — I ducked in to see the Anne Truitt exhibit because I love her TURN so much. And found a book I really, really needed in the store.


“The Castle” — the original Smithsonian building — absolutely gorgeous.

Hit the Macy’s sale on the way back, since the sale was about 75% off. No skirts. Too hot. I lasted 12 minutes, and remembered why I hate shopping in department stores so much, and, until the recent skirt kerflamma, I hadn’t been in a department store other than Target in years.

Back to the hotel, really sore and hurting. Downed a couple of Advil, read the paper (I LOVE the print version of the WASHINGTON POST), and went to a local Italian place for dinner, which was excellent, although I’m not sure why they were playing Spanish guitar music in an Italian restaurant.

Back to the hotel, soaked (this time in bath salts). Tried to figure out how I wound up with so many books to haul back — I thought I was SO careful. Thank goodness I made them ship up all those government reports.

Packed, typed up notes, worked on some writing.

Tomorrow, I have to hit the ground running yet again in preparation for Maine next week and getting the Christmas story finished so it can get out to the printer.

Devon

Monday, November 16, 2009

IMG_0301

Monday, November 16, 2009
New Moon
Uranus Retrograde
No idea the weather — hoping it’s good.

I headed off to DC before the break of dawn. Will try to blog from there, so keep checking in. Plus, I have links to all sorts of post scheduled throughout the week.

In the meantime, I’ve got a post up on Kemmyrk, called “Tapped on the Shoulder”.

I’m sure many of you will relate.

Yesterday wasn’t as productive as I wanted. The Christmas story isn’t finished, which means I’ll be sitting up late at night in DC hotel rooms working on it.

Errands done – cats have a new water jug, although it was a challenge to find a good one. Nearly came home with a five foot tall kitty condo as well, but I think that’ll be their Yule gift.

No luck with movers, dang it. I’m not confident enough in Craigslist ads to go looking there.

Cat slave, er sitter, and neighbor will both be on the lookout for the shipments of books that should have arrived Saturday and have yet to arrive.

Plan to read NEVER AFTER on the trip down and listen to music on the iPod. I’m trying to pack about three weeks’ worth of work into just a couple of days, and, frankly, the pace doesn’t let up until mid-January. I’m flat out until at least then. It’s all good, I just have to keep my head screwed on straight and be really, really organized so as not to let any of the balls drop. Because too much is at stake to let anything slide.

Devon

Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 3:15 am  Comments (3)  
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Friday, November 13, 2009

IMG_0542

Friday, November 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, raw, cold
Friday the 13th!

Woo-hoo! It’s Friday the 13th, always a good luck day for me.

I’ve got a post up on Sole Struck Fashions about “Holiday Prep Work” and a post up on Kemmyrk about “Daily Chakra Cleansing”. Stop by and drop a comment!

Do I even remember what I did yesterday? Hmm, I wrote, always a good thing. The Christmas story is coming along very well. I have to keep stopping to research, since, although it’s set in a fictional town (inspired by Saratoga and the Adelphi Hotel), it’s in a real time period.

I dashed to Greenwich to put something into my safe deposit box. I stopped at the library sale on the way back and picked up some interesting books. One, that I got on a whim, is a biography of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Her father, CW Post, was the cereal giant and invented things like Postum (shout out to Lara). Not only is the book exceptionally well written, it contains social history of the period in which I’m writing, and even mentions Saratoga!

Seshat, the goddess of libraries and scribes, was certainly looking out for me!

Back to the page for a couple of hours, and then I head to the site job. it’s my favorite site, so I’m really looking forward to it. The work there is fun, and I also have quiet time to work on my own writing and reading.

I probably won’t blog tomorrow, but I’ll check in on Sunday, and then, while I’m in DC, there will be various this-and-that posts — I’ve got articles going up at various sites while I’m gone. I’m supposed to have wi-fi in the hotel room, and I’m lugging the laptop with me, so I’ll try to blog from DC.

My goal this weekend is to finish the first draft of the Christmas story so I can edit in on the bus to and from DC and then finish the design and get it to the printer before I leave for Maine. I also want to do some more work on “Digging” — it’s coming along decently. I’m thrilled that so many of you are enjoying it!

I’ve got some business correspondence to get out today before I leave for the site, and a trip to the post office — hopefully it will be open; otherwise, I’ll have to make a detour to another town on the way to site.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Monday, November 9, 2009

IMG_0439

Monday, November 9, 2009
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Today is a huge, emotional day for my family: The 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Having had family on both sides of the wall — and knowing what it actually MEANS to live under such oppression, unlike the GOP wingnuts in this country who don’t know what they’re talking about in their overprotected circumstances — this is a big day. Tom Brokaw had some wonderful insights, especially on the emotional divides between what used to be East and West Germany.

I feel guilty about not being over there today, but I have cousins who are celebrating in my name!

And Zenyetta won the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday — the first mare so to do under the brilliant rider Mike Smith. Woo-hoo!

Yesterday was a pretty productive day. I had a good writing session in the morning. I also managed to get through the final copy edits of the Anita Blake essay for the anthology and get it off to my editor. I am truly grateful to have such a good editor who knew what I was trying to get it and helped me sort through the muck to get there.

After that, I got a bunch of conference paperwork off to where I’m teaching in February.

I finished the newsletter and it’s out. Now I can reveal information on “Digging”. It’s a serial story that’s just for the newsletter. Originally, it was meant to be short — 5 installments of 500 words each. Let’s just say — it’s longer. I plan to write the rest of it before December’s newsletter comes out, and then just put in each installment as each month rolls around. I don’t think I’ll do anything that would change the beginning significantly. It’s a ghost story — fewer paranormal elements than some of my other stuff (in spite of being a ghost story). So we’ll see, and it’s a bit of playtime for me. I missed writing a serial. This has deadline pressure and the type of pressure in that I want my subscribers to enjoy it, but no publisher pressure.

If you don’t subscribe to the newsletter, unfortunately, you don’t get to read it. If you want to subscribe, just send an email to newsletter-at-devonellingtonwork.com with “subscribe” in the subject line. I’ll put you on the list, and send out this newsletter.

I’m getting better at the graphic element, too. It’s much easier on the Mac.

The questions for 2010 are up at the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. If you’re having trouble figuring out your priorities for next year – even if they have nothing to do with writing — these questions might help.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a new post up on Kemmyrk.

I had a good second writing session on The Untitled Blair Holland Project. I’d planned some back stories for the characters, but it turns out that their actual back stories are quite different. Sigh. And I need to work out some more about the antagonists and the why of the antagonists. I have a lot of strong thematic material, but I need to layer some additional plot structure involving the antagonists over it.

So it’s writing, percolating, writing, percolating. I know scenes I want to write, but I have to figure out plot stuff so I can GET to those scenes.

Unless I decide to write this piece out of order. That’s an option. The more I think about it, the more I may do that.

Right now, I feel the plot has expanded so it’s bigger than the story/themes I want to tell. Certain revelations have to happen in the first chapter to set up what’s going on, but my sense is that they’re not the right revelations. So I may write scenes from different parts of the book, put them together like jigsaw puzzles, and then see where I need to create bridges and re-think plot points.

I’ve never worked like that before and it’s a little scary, but that’s the point — to keep challenging myself. Otherwise, I might as well be in 9-5 land.

Up early to watch a colleague on a show at 7:30 in the morning — and then he was bumped back to 6:30, so I missed him anyway. So my morning routine is screwed up. Writing to do, errands to run, but I’m hoping for a good, productive day.

Devon

Monday, October 26, 2009

IMG_0673
Autumn in CT

Monday, October 26, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Still Dark Outside — hopefully good weather

I’m off on a commitment upstate today, so I’m scheduling this to post and hoping for the best.

I’ve got a piece up on Kemmyrk about the importance of careful notation as you work.

If you didn’t read my encounter about the guy freaked out about my car full of brooms, hop on over here — it’s pretty funny.

The weekend was pretty good, albeit rainy and raw. I was out of the house early on Saturday, complete with luggage, writing bag, yoga bag, food bag, and arrived at the site just after 7 AM. The drive through the foggy morning was delightfully, appropriately, seasonally spooky.

Got in, got set up, got to work (after reading the newspapers).

I had a hard time concentrating. The goal was to focus the bulk of the weekend on “Lake Justice”, but a bunch of other stories kept leaking in. And, I was worried about the word count for LJ, so that got in my way. I figured out a way to stop worrying about it — if I can’t keep the word count in check, then “Lake Justice” won’t go to the anthology either, and I thought of a half a dozen other potential markets for it, and used the experience as the basis for my next SDR blog post the first Wednesday of November. Take away that pressure, and “Lake Justice” started to flow again. I’m still not where I want to be with it, and now I have to figure out yet a third possible story for the anthology — and get it out this week.

I also realized something else. I was constantly trying to keep on a normal/theatre (which is different from most people’s “normal”) schedule, just in case I got called for a show. Now that I’ve taken the honorable withdrawal, my body is urging me to move back into its natural rhythm, which is more nocturnal. In other words, I’d stay up all night into the morning (because morning is always my most productive time), go to bed in the late morning, sleep all afternoon, get up in the early evening and start over. I wasn’t planning on reverting to this until after I relocated, but I can feel my body moving towards that now. Unfortunately, that makes the business writing more difficult because a lot of those deadlines and meetings need to happen within regular business hours.

So, while I’m not making that schedule switch yet, at least I’m aware of it.

I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD: A WRITER ON WRITING. It’s fabulous. It’s not a how-to book; it’s a why-do book. She brings up very interesting points about internal splits, responsibility, society, and the writer-reader symbiotic. Absolutely fascinating. Atwood’s perceptions of humanity in general are always fascinating. Her conversation with Bill Moyers in his series FAITH AND REASON is one of the main reasons I joined PEN.

I did a lot of work on my NYFA samples. The playwrighting samples are almost set (I need to find the flash drive with GLAMOROUS HEARTS in it and add that) and just need to be printed. I need to do a final polish on all my “statements” that go along with the work, file the application online, and then get my number to enclose with the hard copies that must be mailed this week. I have to check one piece of information for the fiction samples, and then that’s the same. The chances of getting awarded either grant are infinitesimal, but, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I think it’s been about ten years since I even considered applying, and my work has certainly matured during that time. It’s wroth a shot, and it may well be the last time I can apply for a state grant in New York – once I relocate, I’ll have to fulfill whatever residency requirements those states have for grants.

When I woke up on Sunday, I realized that I’d woken up at the same time I arrived the day before! I don’t know why I found that amusing, but I did. Sunday was a cold, crisp autumn day, lovely after the rain and tumult of the previous one.

Due to the weather, I might go off on my adventure tomorrow rather than on Wednesday. That means two truncated writing days in a row with deadlines coming up, but I’ll just have to somehow make it all work. I’ve got two short story deadlines (one the elusive anthology) and the NYFA applications to get out by the end of the week. Plus, Confidential Jobs #1 & 3 need some attention. And I’m basically away from my desk for two days. AND it’s Samhain on Saturday, which knocks that day out completely.

I might need to pack everything up and head to the library for a day or two, if it’s too noisy here.

I read an absolutely delightful mystery yesterday called HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER, the first of a new series by Kate Carlisle. It’s really delightful — melds the intricacies of book restoration with a lively mystery featuring a smart, engaging heroine and develops fantastic relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and handsome men! The title worried me a bit –the alliteration made me worry it would be one of those gimmick mysteries, where a single trait is substituted for a well-rounded character, but that was not the case at all. I highly recommend it. DruAnn, Lara, and Brandy — I thought of all three of you immediately as I read it.

Hopefully, I can track down the author and feature her on A BIBLIO PARADISE.

Got home early enough Sunday to do four loads of laundry and puzzle out the next Merry’s Dalliance story — this one damn well better be the right one for the anthology. Worked on it (and “Lake Justice”) a bit before I left this morning.

Yeah, I was up early.

Devon