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

Advertisements

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  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

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)  
Tags: , , , , ,

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)  
Tags: , , ,

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

Thursday, October 22, 2009

IMG_0664
Violet and Elsa

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Still dark out — can’t tell the weather

I’ve got a new post up on Kemmyrk on “Fashioning Ritual”, in case you’re interested. The photograph at the top of that post is one I took in Montreal one fall.

I’m booked at one of my favorite site jobs (the job to which I’m going this weekend and for a weekend in November) for about a half a week early in December. That’s going to be such fun.

I’ve been having a series of odd, sequential dreams the last few days. Although I can’t remember enough of them to write them down and try to figure them out.

I didn’t get much done on “Lake Justice” unfortunately. I wound up doing a long post for a friend’s site regarding fair pay for fair work, which ate up most of the morning. I managed to get to the grocery store to get in a few things. I headed to White Plains and picked up some books — I was looking for an issue of a magazine where I’m interviewed as part of an article, but I think I missed the issue. I’ll have to hunt it down in Greenwich Library and copy it. I tried on a bunch of shoes and boots at Nordstrom Rack — nothing I really liked. They’ve got a bunch of shoes where the heel is placed all the way at the back of the shoe instead of the slight curve that places it about 1/4” inch in and directly under the middle of the heel — so in those shoes, I felt as thought I was listing backwards all the time. I still haven’t found the gray boots o’my dreams!

Bounced down to Target, but they didn’t have what I needed. Well, they had one thing — exactly the type of new writing bag I’m looking for — a square carry-on with multiple sections for computer, cords, books, flashdrives, files, books, the travel yoga mat. But it was double what I was willing to pay for it, so I passed! I want to get the new bag before i head to DC next month, but we’ll see. Me and new luggage, right? A bag for every occasion.

Went to a dinner party last night, where we discussed a wide range of issues, including the whole writing-for-mill-content site issue and what it means. I’m the only one of the group who makes my living in the arts. Some of the others are in academia, some of them are in the corporate world, and some are now unemployed.

One of the interesting things about the discussion was how harsh the corporate types are about people who work for jobs (even beyond content mills) that pay crap. There’s a real sense of contempt for people who don’t negotiate or even attempt to negotiate. While a lot of writers in the community advise against it and warn how it can harm not only one’s bank account, but one’s future prospects (I belong to that group, although I’ve lost patience with those who insist that the crap wages are worth it, and my position is moving towards, “if you were good enough and motivated enough, you’d be earning a living wage”).

It was pointed out to me that businesses exist to make a profit, not provide for employees. Employees are a “necessary evil” and are to be cut loose as soon as feasible. Sure, some are using a more employee-friendly model, and those businesses tend to do well and hold on to their employees. But many businesses don’t care about turnover beyond their own bottom line. If they can get someone for a low price — and that person delivers — that’s what they’ll do. If the cheap ass can’t do the job, they’ll move on to someone else. They’ll wrangle for as low a rate as possible, because it benefits THEM, and they constantly have to figure if paying a rate quoted is worth it. If there’s quality involved that will build their business and raise their profit line, and if the person hired is reliable and not trouble to work with, then it is. But if they can get quality for less, they do. That’s why business always fights unions. The union position is “ a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work”, whereas management’s response is, “Why?” (Having sat at plenty of negotiation tables, I know from experience that that is true in many cases).

If employee-friendly policies result in a higher profit margin for a company, then they’ll do it. But few will actually volunteer to “do the right thing” unless forced to do so by regulations. Companies that do right by their employees from the get go are generally started up by one or two individuals with a vision that’s considered naive by the larger business community; and, on the occasions when it works and the company grows into a huge success, it’s shrugged off as an anomaly.

It was pointed out to me that, as long as employees are willing to be paid like crap and treated like crap (in any line of work), they will be so paid and so treated. Unions (especially early in the labor movement) managed to curtail a lot of that, but many of them are imploding because they began to fashion themselves on regular corporate models and have grown more interested in their own bottom line than the good of the membership, although that’s the phrase they use to shove something unpalatable down membership’s throat. As long as workers agree to be exploited and only look at the small picture instead of the big picture, that’s what many corporations will do, because that’s how they increase profits and reward the ones at the top who keep figuring out ways to cut salaries and benefits by giving the top execs huge bonuses. Current regulations are considered a joke, a slap on the wrist, and law suits take so long and have so many loopholes that it’s more cost efficient to draw them out, exhausting the other side’s resources and, if they lose, find ways to delay pay outs.

It was interesting to hear it from the corporate point of view. Depressing, but interesting.

Today will be busy — I’ve got some paperwork and correspondence to get out in the morning, a ton of errands to do, polish up one of the rituals and get it out, pack my writing bag for the weekend (my duffle is already packed and I’ve got the food sorted), and do two tarot readings. And I’m supposed to go out with a friend tonight.

Weather-permitting, I might have the opportunity for a really fun adventure at the midpoint of next week. Fingers crossed!

Devon