Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging

photo by Devon Ellington

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Rainy and cool

I’m in a rocky period, and that’s the way it’s going to be for this next stretch. I have to figure out how to navigate it without killing myself.

Friday was a mix of frustrations. I managed to get some client work done really, really early to hand it off to the person who needed it, getting in early rather than waiting until this week. And then THAT person went and took credit for the work I’d done both Thursday and Friday. So there’s some clarification that needs to happen next week.

Friday was a bit of a fractured workday, although I managed to do a curbside pickup at the library. I’m stressed with most of my cookbooks packed, so I ordered more cookbooks from the library as a soothing agent.

Got a stack of LOIs out. Prepped for a late afternoon meeting. It was a video call, so that meant choosing the wardrobe, doing the makeup, fixing the lighting, checking to make sure the background wasn’t full of boxes.

I woke up on Saturday morning, filled to the brim with stress and rage.

I worked hard to let go of it – it was a gorgeous day outside. I did an early morning grocery run, got the laundry and the housework done, worked on the paperwork for the contest (I finished the third category), and then decided to give myself a day off. I’m completely cooked, and I am making myself ill. I read a book, I played with the cats, I sat outside on the deck and enjoyed myself.

It was Beltane, and I did a ritual. Let’s hope things are moving in the right direction.

The Kentucky Derby was in the evening. I was disgusted to see how many flouted the masking protocols and ignored social distancing. They should have all been removed.

King Fury was scratched, so he wasn’t part of my picks, poor baby. I didn’t actually bet this year, even online. With the move coming up, betting is an unnecessary expense, and, frankly, I didn’t put in enough work to make it worthwhile. Plus, it’s not the Derby where one makes money; it’s the undercard, and I certainly didn’t put in the work to bet on that.

I stuck with my choices of Midnight Bourbon as my first choice, then Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie, and Soup and Sandwich as my long shot. Had I bet, I would have put the first three across the board and Soup and Sandwich to Show.

The winner was Medina Spirit, who ran a beautiful, wire to wire race. Mandaloun came in second, very close, with Hot Rod Charlie third and Essential Quality fourth. Midnight Bourbon was sixth – I don’t know what was wrong with him today, he just didn’t show up. Soup and Sandwich has a good start, but faded to finish last, poor thing.

So I’m glad I didn’t bet! I would have only won a few bucks on Hot Rod Charlie.

I had good early morning writing sessions Saturday and Sunday. Sticking to writing first thing in the morning helps keep the rest of the day grounded. I’m going to work hard not to self-sabotage on that front.

Finished the decisions on the winners and the finalists for the contest on Saturday and sent them off. On Sunday, I received invoicing instructions, sent off the invoice first thing Monday and was paid immediately.

Sunday, I also read a book for review, sent off the review and the invoice from the last batch. Again, first thing Monday, I was paid. That’s how it should be!

Found some interesting listings for rentals on Sunday, and sent off a few emails. Heard back yesterday morning from the one I really, really liked, so I’m hoping we can set up a time for me to head up there to see it, although it’s a bit of a hike.

Got a little bit of packing done, but not enough. If we knew where we were going, it would be easier.

photo by Devon Ellington

Monday morning, we were up early to eat, do the dishes, clean the litter boxes, etc., before the septic people arrived. They were here on time, and very, very nice. And efficient.

I managed to get some LOIs out before I headed to the client’s. Unfortunately, the water needed to be turned off at the house while I was gone, and the landlord came in to do it. I was embarrassed that he came in among the moving chaos. I’ve got things spread out and boxes everywhere and it’s a mess.

My client figured out that I’m having a moving situation going on, and immediately started giving me advice – that serves her, not me. This is one reason I didn’t want to discuss it with her until I had more tangibles. It’s going to be a nightmare for the next few weeks until things get sorted out, with her trying to “fix” things so it suits her, and not what we need. I should have just lied, but I didn’t.

Got an interview request from another LOI. At first, I set it up for later this week, but then I moved it to this afternoon – another end of day interview, which I’m not thrilled about, but if we’re going to look at rentals toward the end of the week, before my vaccine on Saturday, I needed it to happen sooner rather than later.

Turned around a script coverage piece. If this company likes me, they might throw me some more work here and there. I loved the piece I read; if that’s an indication of the quality they get in, it will be a joyful job. But what I have to say might not be what they want to hear. Still, I had to give notes that I felt best fit the piece.

The backyard is quite in tumult. The septic guys will be back today, and maybe finish by Thursday. Che Guevara Chipmunk sat on the deck steps in the late afternoon, looking absolutely devasted (although his actual home, in the bushes, is fine). I felt awful for upsetting the chipmunk.

Absolutely shattered by the end of the day. Fish and chips were as fancy as I could manage.

We watched some more of WILLIAM AND MARY, which is so well-written. Martin Clunes and Julie Graham are wonderful, and the supporting cast is great, too.

The June issue of THE WRITER arrived on Saturday, with my article in it on “Food Sensuality in Fiction.” I scanned the pages (although I had computer issues – my curser and trackpad aren’t always working properly and letting me use the keyboard). But I got it scanned, and I sent the PDFs out to the authors who were included. They were all really pleased with the way the article came out, and I’m so grateful to them for their quotes.

I love writing pieces like this, and I hope I get to do more.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing sessions yesterday and today.  Today, I’ve got some remote client work, an article to finish, a short story to work on, and a book to turn around fast for review. My editor’s been so great since I started working for the publication; no one wanted to read/review this book, and it needs to be done quickly, so I said sure. It’s definitely got some challenges. But I want to be fair and give it a helpful, not a harmful review, while still being honest.

CAPE COD TIMES ran an article about how Cape Cod businesses can’t find enough workers for summer tourism season. Hmm, let’s see, people are refusing to work in dangerous conditions for crap wages? Good. Of course, the paper frames it as “lazy people making more on unemployment.” Hey, assholes, if they’re making more on unemployment, the job was crap anyway. They did point out that there aren’t enough of the visa workers who come in from other countries for the summer season. Again, these are people who work for subpar wages. They compete for housing with people who live here year-round. And the article barely touched on the fact that the lack of housing is a crisis. The ratio of actual pay to the cost of housing is completely out of whack. As usual, it was right-leaning whining, instead of actual journalism. Typical of this area.

It rained overnight, so the backyard is now a mud bath.

Should be interesting.

photo by Devon Ellington

Published in: on May 4, 2021 at 5:38 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 4, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 346 — Digging  
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Fri. April 30, 2021: It Keeps Piling On

photo by Devon Ellington

Friday, April 30, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Foggy and cool

Beltane Eve

Yesterday was a frustrating day, but it all worked out, somehow.

Dealing with a boundary issue with a client, which is frustrating.

At least I got out some LOIs and got some work done. The property manager missed the two potential phone appointments with no contact, and then sent me the rental application late last night, along with a time to drive a long way up and see the place that I already said wouldn’t work.  So, that place is out. Plus, my questions haven’t been answered on the lack of washer/dryer, the monthly fee for the garage, etc. I don’t think this is going to work. If we’re having this much difficulty communicating in getting basic information on the property, it’s a red flag to what it would be like if we actually moved in. It’s already near the top of my price range, and then with all these extras? I don’t see how it can work.

Heard back from a company to whom I’d sent an LOI months ago, and they want to talk today, so we have a video interview set up late this afternoon (my worst time of day, but so what). I have to bring up the rolling rack from the basement and drape fabric over it so act as a screen to hide all the packing going on in the office. It also means I’ll have to dress up and put on makeup.

Contacted another property, that’s also quite far away, but looks and sounds fantastic, and the price is good, too. It’s a little small, but workable, and in a place I hadn’t considered, but that would work.

Had a series of exchanges with a fairly local realtor, who contacted me after I told her that a property she represents showed up as a scam rental on craigslist. She’s been in touch a few times. I explained the situation, and she suggested some resources (all of which I’ve already contacted), but also admitted that there isn’t anything in the area to rent (that’s not a kazillion dollars and a short-term rental) and very little to buy. I mean, she was nice and all, but it didn’t get me any closer to solving the problem.

The stress continues to build.

photo by Devon Ellington

The septic company dropped off the digger yesterday afternoon. It’s a big old thing, stashed in the backyard, until they start up, first thing Monday morning.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re all ready for this school year to be over.

Worked on contest entries. I should be finished by today, and can send off my choices tomorrow.

I had a horrible, horrible cramp in the arch of my foot last night, like a Charley horse in the arch. I don’t want to experience that again any time soon.

I have a lot of work and a lot of packing to do today, along with a grocery run. At least I had a good first writing session, although I didn’t get enough work done on the article or the story yesterday. Hopefully, I can make up for that today.

And tomorrow, the Kentucky Derby! AND Beltane!

Catch you on the other side. Hopefully, next week will look up as far as house hunting.

Published in: on April 30, 2021 at 5:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 30, 2021: It Keeps Piling On  
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Tues. April 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 339 — And the Retrogrades Begin

image courtesy of Kerbstone via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cool

The Retrogrades are starting, which worries me. I’d hoped to get the house hunting resolved before that happened, but no luck.

I had a good, solid writing weekend, which was necessary. I wrote an entire chapter on Sunday morning.

It took me all morning on Friday to complete the paperwork for the second category of the contest, but I did it and sent it off. I made good progress on the final category (I’d already completed about half the entries for this one, too). So I’m on track with that.

Saturday, I was up early, wrote, did laundry and housework. I’ve been craving fast food like crazy the past few weeks. I haven’t eaten beef for months, because it always made me sick. I haven’t ordered/eaten fast food in about two years. But I decided to go up to Burger King, which is about three miles from here, just off the Rt. 6 exit, and hit the drive through. I haven’t eaten from Burger King in at least 3-4 years, maybe longer. I ate at McDonald’s about two years ago, and was as sick as could be after.

But I risked it anyway. I had a Whopper, my mom had a bacon cheeseburger, we split an order of onion rings and an order of French fries, and had chocolate shakes.

I haven’t drunk cow’s milk in nearly a year, either, because it was making me sick.

Basically, I craved things that were bad for me, and I decided to take the risk.

Did the drive-through window – and realized that, in the 10 years we’ve lived here, it was the first time I’d done that. And yes, of course I wore my mask at the window, and the workers were all masked, too.

Got everything home, and we ate. And ate. It was good, hit the spot, filled the craving.

I didn’t feel as bad as I expected after, although I felt full and heavy. Everything was much saltier than when I cook, so I was thirsty as all get out, and drank a lot of tea and juice all afternoon.

Neither of us was hungry by dinner time, so we didn’t eat.

It was pretty nice outside, albeit a bit windy, so we took Willa and Charlotte out in their playpens. However, because that idiot a few streets over continues to run the woodchipper and chain saws all day every day from 7 AM to 9 PM, it was impossible to actually enjoy sitting outside. Or get much done inside, that required concentration. If you need to run a woodchipper that much, you’re either a serial killer or incompetent, and it shouldn’t be allowed.

I didn’t feel great at night, but at least I got some sleep. I felt okay Sunday morning, although it will probably be a few years before I do that again.

Baked biscuits for Sunday morning breakfast. It was rainy and raw.

I got some paperwork done, got out a few information requests on rentals, got out some LOIs. Got some writing done.

I felt pretty discouraged, all the way around.

Spent most of the day on contest entries.

Monday morning, I was up early and wrote, in spite of feeling resistance to it. Once I started, it was fine.

My mother had terrible nightmares. I realized she’d packed her dreamcatcher over the bed; I unpacked another one, hung it up, and she slept well last night.

I headed onsite to the client’s extra early, since the landlord said he and the septic people would be over to go over the plan for the replacement, which starts next week. I got everything done that needed to be done onsite in a jiffy, dropped things off at the post office, got back to the house – and they never showed up and never contacted me. Frustrating.

Got some more packing done, although I’m behind where I wanted to be at this point. I need to pack faster, purge more, and get stuff up on craigslist this week.

But I did the rest of the work I needed to do for the client remotely, so it worked out. I got out a stack of LOIs. I heard back from a couple of rentals – two very nice, one in particular is a house that might work, although it’s small. The other is bigger, but means moving back to NY State, just outside of Syracuse, to a town that has a rather high crime rate. The cost of the move itself might put it out of reach, although the space is terrific, with a garage and a deck. There was one rental, though, for a loft – they want copies of birth certificates for every member of the household. How is that even legal?

I complained to the AG’s office, and I’m having a conversation with my state senator about it. That is wrong. It also opens the door to identity theft. A landlord does not have the right to birth certificates.  That opens the door to all kinds of discrimination and identity theft.

A recruiter wanted to talk to me about an LOI I’d sent. But the “application” demanded dates of high school and college graduation, which is a workaround on the age discrimination laws, so I called him out on it and refused. I got a very nice apology from him, and that he’s taken up the issue with IT to fix it, and asked to have a conversation anyway, so I agreed to have a short one this morning.

Will probably talk to the property manager for the small house this afternoon.

Put together a LOI package for a potential local client who used to work in theatre, and was email introduced by a mutual friend. So we’ll see if that’s something we can work out. I’m always leery of local clients, because they never want to pay, but she’s a washashore and from professional theatre, and understands that work is paid.

Decent first writing session this morning, although it was hard to get started. Will do some client work, get out some more LOIs, have the talk with the recruiter. I expect it will be a waste of time. I haven’t spoken to a single recruiter in the past ten years that wasn’t a complete and utter waste of my time and energy. My experience is that they don’t actually give a damn about any potential employees. They just want names on their sheet to meet quotas. However, this guy responded and claimed he was dealing with a problem, so I feel like I should give him the benefit of the doubt.

The retrogrades have me even more on edge than I already was. I’m ready to fall off the edge.

Deep breath. Keep going. Because there’s no other choice.

By the way, my first choice for the Kentucky Derby this weekend is Midnight Bourbon. I love him. I love his personality. I still have to do some more research on the rest of the field. I think all the horses are more relaxed and have progressed better without fans in the stands.

Published in: on April 27, 2021 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 339 — And the Retrogrades Begin  
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Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It was a busy weekend. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and none of the busy-ness could be in the yard. I really have to mow on the next sunny day, no matter what else is going on in my schedule.

Along with errands like grocery shopping and filling the car with gas, and taking my mom to get her blood pressure checked, I got out some LOIs and wrote.

I didn’t spend much time on social media, and it was a nice break.

But the bulk of the time was spent finishing up the contest entries. Going back over my top choices, and making decisions. One category is done. All the scoring sheets are entered. The winner and five finalists chosen. I still have to write the review, but it’s percolating in my head. The second category’s choices will be made today, and the final category no later than Thursday. The quality of entrants improves every year, and it’s exciting.

I did a lot of work on the new idea, which I’m calling, at least for the moment, ELLA BY THE BAY. It will need cutting in some parts, expansion (especially sensory) in others. But I like what I’m dealing with in it, and how the characters are expanding.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like, but it’s going, and that’s always a good thing. Once the contest score sheets are all entered, I can pick up the pace on it.

I’m feeling a little better, overall, although still feeling overall burned out. Only I can’t take the time off I need. So I’m trying to find packets of restorative time, so that things don’t come to a nasty breaking point.

The Kentucky Derby was on Saturday. Omaha Beach was scratched due to breathing issues. Maximum Security was by far the best horse in the field, but he was disqualified, and Country House, the 65-1 shot who came in second, named the winner. It was a crap decision and has tainted this race forever. I’m saying that as someone who put money on Country House as my longshot pick. He did better than I expected, but he wasn’t the best horse on the field that day.

The stock market crashed yesterday morning, because the Narcissistic Sociopath threatens more tariffs on goods from China. Hmm, shortly after boasting about a phone conversation with Putin. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Was with a client yesterday. Had to skip meditation group because I had to be in Bourne for their Town Meeting. But car trouble derailed it all.

Came back later than I would have liked, and worked on the contest entries some more.

Today, I’m with a client, then at the library, then I make my decisions on the second category. I need to get some more LOIs out.

I’m deeply disappointed the Vermont gig didn’t work out, but I have to keep it in perspective in the bigger picture. It will make sense in the long run, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I need to keep my head in the game and get focused.

Of course, that meant my engine coolant light went off and I’m totally freaking out.

Left the car at the mechanic this morning. Scared to death it’s something serious. If it happened next week, no worries. I’ll have a big freelance check coming in. This week? It’s an issue. Thus goes the life of a freelancer.

Back to the page.

Published in: on May 7, 2019 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant  
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Tues. May 8, 2018: Release Day for SPIRIT REPOSITORY!

The Spirit Repository.6

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Today is the release day for THE SPIRIT REPOSTIORY!

The book is $3.99 available on digital channels here.

There’s a post about the book and an excerpt over on A Biblio Paradise.

If you’d like to read excerpts and have more information, visit THE SPIRIT REPSOITORY page and the Media Page on the Coventina Circle website. Articles tied to the book will go up soon.

The blurb is also up for RELICS & REQUEIM, the third Coventina Circle novel, which will release in October of this year.

It was a busy weekend. We had guests. Friday night, we had a good dinner and catch up. Saturday was spent on Martha’s Vineyard, with dinner ready in the slow cooker when we got home. Sunday, we slept in, then trundled around the Cape doing fun staff, and had a nice dinner, and then started binge-watching VICTORIA. Yesterday morning, I took them to the airport bus on the way to work. It was nice to spend time together.

I was delighted that Justify won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and that my longshot pick, Good Magic, came in second.

I was also thrilled, on Saturday, to find out that the Radio Theatre Players in St. Petersburg, Florida, will produce my comic noir mystery LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES later this month. I’m very excited.

Yesterday, I was pretty tired. I dug back in to working on HEART THEFT and on the contest entries. They are due next week. There are some terrific books in contention, and all the categories are very competitive.

I know I’m behind on the GDR stuff of the end of April and early May, but I’ll catch up, I promise!

I hope you enjoy SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and I’m digging in for the rest of the things on deadline.

Published in: on May 8, 2018 at 1:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 8, 2018: Release Day for SPIRIT REPOSITORY!  
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Kentucky Derby Day!

action-athlete-competition-158976

Image courtesy of Pexels, in the public domain.

Quick picks for me today:

I wasn’t going to bet on the favorite, Justify, but with Mike Smith on him, yeah, I’ll bet him at least across the board, possibly in exotics.

I want to take another look at Mendelssohn. I’m on the fence about him, but liking him more and more.

Bolt D’oro and Magnum Moon are my favorites. Definitely doing an exacta with them, and probably mixing them in a trifecta. I may do one Trifecta with Justify and one with Good Magic.

My medium long shot is Good Magic, a horse I like and hope is around for awhile.

My longest shot is Enticed.

Published in: on May 5, 2018 at 4:27 am  Comments Off on Kentucky Derby Day!  
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Mon. May 5, 2014: Conference Wrap-up and Hotel Choices

Monday, May 5, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Intense, busy, rather wonderful weekend. I had a late start getting out of here on Friday — I had to get some stuff done before I could leave. Thank goodness that I had packed and prepared earlier, or I would have been scrambling.

When I finally got on the road, I had to run some errands in Falmouth before even getting over the bridge. Traffic coming on-Cape was already backed up — looks like we’ll have a prosperous summer!

The drive to Burlington, MA was awful. Traffic was terrible, too many crazy drivers, too many texting while driving. What should have been a quick run up there took nearly three hours. Checked in to the Marriott (I’d prepaid). My rooms was on the second floor, in the back — quieter than some of the other locations, and for that, I was grateful.

I had really mixed feelings about the Marriott, and it’s unlikely that I would choose to stay at a Marriott again. This should actually matter to them, as my business travel is going to ramp up over the next couple of years. The staff was lovely — something very important in my book. Well-trained, polite, friendly. I had no problem with the room, although it looked like an 80’s bachelor pad, with all the dark wood and mirrors. The king-sized bed was fun (although a bit soft). The towels were about the size and consistency of dinner napkins, which was annoying. I expect small, thin, scratchy towels at a budget hotel, not a Marriott. There’s no fan in the bathroom, which means it steams up and stays damp all day. I liked that my particular room was oriented towards the East — I got beautiful sunrises and could do yoga in front of the enormous windows, screened by the trees and the sheer drapes. The in-room coffee was dreadful, and the coffee downstairs was overpriced and not any better, and there was no way I was going to pay $6 for room service coffee.

But, for me, the deal breaker was charging $12.95/day for internet access in the room. Um, no. The last dozen budget hotels I stayed at had free wi-fi in the room. When I’m paying scale at a supposedly “prestigious” hotel, I expect free damn wi-fi in the room. Supposedly, one could get it for free in the lobby or the bar, but I couldn’t get the laptop to connect, and why should I have to haul my laptop into the bar? There was a public computer in the business center, and I hopped on there for a hot minute on Saturday evening, but still . . .Further, it should be clearly stated on the site BEFORE one books that wi-fi in the room is both a separate charge and the detail of the charge. According to fellow conference go-ers, every Marriott charges differently. So? Put it on the individual sites anyway.

Marriott is off my list for go-to hotels. If I’m invited back to the conference next year, there’s another “name” hotel a couple of miles down the road that offers a better room rate, breakfast, AND free in-room wi-fi.

It’s pretty amazing that budget hotels not only charge less for the rooms themselves, but offer more amenities.

There were no phone books in the room, and I couldn’t use the wi-fi without paying the ridiculous rates, AND there was no information about nearby restaurants or anything else — again, something that most other hotels I stay in offer. Most hotels have a folder in the room with nearby sights, restaurants, etc. This one had a guide about what’s going on in Boston, but nothing about local businesses, not even sights in Concord and Lexington, which is only a few miles away.

Which meant I was trapped at the hotel for my meals. Fortunately, the food was good, although the prices were more New York than not-New York.

Friday night, I went down to the bar and had a burger and a glass of wine. They had a bunch of fancy burgers on the menu, but I just wanted something simple, typical pub burger, and they were kind enough to accommodate me. I started reading Neil Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, which is a beautiful book. I also got an idea for a short story, which I hope to draft later this week, once I’ve got some deadlined work out of the way.

Went back up to the room, did some work on contest entries (I took a bunch of them with me for this second contest I’m working on), and re-watched THOR on TV. Liked it better this time around. Ran through my notes for the next day’s presentation. Toyed with the idea of putting together a Power Point for it, but was too darned tired.

Up early the next morning (love that Eastern-facing room). Bad coffee, yoga, meditation. The shower was decent, although the supposedly organic bath products provided by the hotel made me itch. No matter, I bring my own tried-and-true.

Dressed and in full make-up in time to go to the 7:30 buffet breakfast provided by the Conference. That was excellent, and I met some lovely people, including a writer who has experience similar to mine in marketing writer AND who is a costumer. We had a LOT to talk about.

I went back to the room, picked up my Bin O’Stuff, and headed back to Salon G, where my workshop would be held, and where the morning session I wanted to attend was held. It was great fun, about voice. Powerpoint, which made me wonder if I was doing a disservice by not have a Powerpoint presentation, but it was too late by then!

We had fun doing the turnover between the two workshops — the previous presenters were lovely and very aware of time and space. Last year, that was a problem. Last year’s presenter before me in the same space ran over by fifteen minutes and then stayed and chatted with people in the room while I was trying to set up because, “oh, I don’t pay attention to the clock.” Fortunately, this year’s predecessors were much more mutually supportive and respectful.

I even had a moderator to keep me on track with time, and some people were there who’d taken other workshops of mine. The handouts were a hit — there were a LOT of them. We got through all the relevant material, had time for questions, and even had time to discuss aspects of craft that weren’t strictly serials. So it was tons of fun.

We moved additional questions out into the hallway, so that my successor could set up for HER workshop, and then I took my bin back to the room and managed to catch the end of another workshop.

Lunch was fun — another buffet lunch provided by the Conference, which was really, really good. Along with fun conversation at the table, and a terrific speaker, a writer named Cara McKenna, who was a lot of fun.

I went to an afternoon session, which gave me devleopment ideas for the mystery series set at a marine life hospital. At lunch, an announcement was made asking for help to set up for the literacy signing, so that’s what I did — helped haul in books and set up tables, which is always fun. And then I bought some books at the literacy signing — four of my mom’s favorite authors put together a book, and I had all four of them sign a copy to her.

Dropped off the books in my room, went back down to help clean up, but the signing ran over. Had to head back to the room because the Kentucky Derby was on. Even though I’m not technically covering it this year (since, hey, I’m at a writers’ conference and not sitting in a press box at a race track), I didn’t want to miss it.

My pick, California Chrome, won! This is a horse whose sire cost $2500 and whose dam cost only $8000. He beat all the million dollar babies with both finesse and heart. For a three-year-old, he was remarkably together. Trusted his jockey completely, didn’t use himself up too early in the race, and, when the turn for home came, he poured it on and won by something like five lengths. He knew he won, too — he danced happily around after he crossed the finish line. Great personality, along with great skill. I was delighted. A truly great race. Usually, I don’t bet the favorite, but I loved this horse, and I’m glad he won. It wasn’t a money-making race for me, but it was a heart-warming race.

Had dinner in the room (overpriced Asian fusion — good, but small portion). There was supposedly a post-conference party for those of us still around, but a location hadn’t been set mid-afternoon and I was told, “oh, just come down, you’ll see us.”

I did some work on the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, and went downstairs a little after 8:30 to look for the party, but didn’t find it. So I went back to the room and worked on edits until 11, when I was too tired to do anything more.

Up early on Sunday. Beautiful sunrise. Yoga, meditation, shower. Bad hotel room coffee. I was not about to pay $13 for a continental breakfast or $15.50 for Eggs Benedict (although I wanted the latter). I stayed in the room and finished the edits on TRACKING MEDUSA until an hour before checkout time, then loaded the car and checked out. Since I’d paid in advance and paid cash for room service and the meals, I had no extra charges on my card. Yet, this morning, I see they still put through a $50 charge. When I complained, I was told that it would be reversed “in a few days”. It should have been reversed up on check-out, when there were no charges on the room. Another strike against the Marriott.

Drive home was fine. It was raining in Burlington, but lovely on the Cape. Since I hadn’t eaten before I left, I was ready to chew the steering wheel by the time I got home, and I took my mother out to lunch at her favorite place, Cook’s.

Sent the completed edits to my editor and did some reading on the deck in the afternoon. I was too tired to do much else. Tessa got into trouble because she chased a chipmunk into a bush, instead of staying on the deck, so she’s losing her out-of-the-enclosure deck privileges and has to stay in the enclosure.

Watched some TV last night — as good as GAME OF THRONES is in so many ways, I find the unrelenting cruelty exhausting, and I’m kind of going off that show.

I’ve got two script episodes to write this week, work on the series bible for TRACKING MEDUSA, the short story I want to draft, and contest entries to work on. I also have to do things like laundry and library work and put in the understudy this evening for Wednesday’s final performance, and finish the reports for the Arts Councils. I also have some correspondence to deal with.

Onward!

tnLakeJustice

If you haven’t bought “Lake Justice” yet, I hope you do. It’s a fun read, and it’s only a dollar here.

Mon. May 6, 2013: Recoving From the 5th, and Moving Forward on Manuscripts

IMG_1080

Monday, May 6, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Misty and cold

It amazes me that, by Monday, Friday seems so far away I can’t remember what I was doing.

I know I was pounding forward on the book. I know I did some work with students. I know I sent out the May Manuscript Prep Tip.

I wrote a review due to my editor.

I can’t remember if I mowed the terraced back section of the lawn on Friday or Saturday.

I saw an anthology call, and submitted one of the Merry’s Dalliance pirate stories. Fingers crossed it’s accepted.

We got a birdbath on Saturday — finally found one we like. It’s out in the back bed, with lilies and hostas springing up around it, and the birds are happy.

I’ve started re-reading Susan Wittig Albert’s AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS in the mornings, after I’ve done the first walk around the yard (pulling up a weed here and there), while I sit on the deck and drink my first cup of coffee. I find that book an immense restorative.

Saturday morning, the Beautification Committee headed out to Mother’s Park, pruning and weeding, and generally getting the park ready for spring. It was a lot of fun and full of lively conversation to go along with the work.

In the afternoon, I puzzled over the book’s ending, because it was pulling me away from the original outline.

Later in the afternoon, I watched the Kentucky Derby. A friend was riding, but I didn’t have a favorite horse this year, so I didn’t feel I had as much of a personal stake in things.

Diana Rigg and her daughter guest-starred together on DR. WHO — always interesting to see that type of dynamic. Between this and GAME OF THRONES, Dame Rigg keeps busy. She will also be Emma Peel in the AVENGERS to me, though. The ultimate kick-ass heroine.

Sunday morning, I sucked it up and finished the book. The draft is DONE. Now, I put it aside for a few days and, on Wednesday, dig into revisions. I have about ten days for the revisions. Less time in between and to revise than I’d like, but that’s the reality of this particular situation, so I must step up.

Wrote a little book illustrated with photos for my friends, whose son turned one yesterday. They had a Cinquo de Mayo party in his honor over in Sandwich. Great food, margaritas and fun. I ate too much — which was good, since it was the first time I’d had tequila in quite awhile!

This morning, the Manuscript Prep Tip is already out, and I have to work with students, do some freelance work, and decide which drafts to work on. I need to get back to the non-fiction book today — it’s behind where I’d like it to be. I’m going back to the adaptation, and I think LEADING OPPORTUNITIES is next up in the drafting queue. I’ve also got a short story to finish and get out this week, and another one tugging at me. I also have to follow up on the February pitches and land a few more short-term gigs for the month.

Back to the page!

Devon

Monday, May 9, 2011


Heather in front of the house

Monday, May 9, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I’m still in CT. It’s so green and bloom-y here! So much farther along than the Cape. Quite beautiful.

Saturday was a damned long day. Up at 4, out the door a little after 5. Traffic wasn’t too bad most of the way down (except around Providence, as usual). I was glad to hop on the Merritt around New Haven, because a section of I-95 was closed due to an accident, and, at the time I was in the area, people had been stuck behind it for over three hours.

Arrived a little after 9, took care of a few things, ran some errands in my former hometown, which meant dealing with the over-indulged suburbanites. Don’t miss them at all.

Spent the afternoon covering the Kentucky Derby via live stream. Had a decent, but not brilliant betting day, but not overstudying brought back some of the enjoyment. I think I’ll study a little for the Preakness, but not overly much. My favorite horse did not do well in the Derby itself, but one of my other choices came in third, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Roughed out the article, sent out a few questions on some injuries that occurred during the course of the day, hoping none of them are life-threatening.

Went to bed EARLY. Had lots of weird, disturbing dreams.

It amazes me that, after being here just a couple of hours, I was fighting a migraine again. Although I’ve had a few headaches since the move (on several different levels), they are nowhere near the frequency and severity that I have down here. I wonder how much is physical environment and how much is emotional? And how does one separate them out?

Sunday was a gorgeous day. My mom found the card I’d hidden for her for Mother’s Day– with a little coaching. I’d hidden it a bit too well. Violet cried the first three hours I was gone,and wouldn’t have anything to do with anyone for the rest of the day.

Had a good morning yoga session.

I read the papers, worked on my article, caught up on email, caught up on student comments. I’ve been having trouble finding a couple of things in my new home region, so I thought I’d check “old, familiar places.” No luck here, either (sigh).

Picked up a book by an author whose work I’ve read before and enjoyed. But (probably because I’m teaching a course on setting), I’m finding her setting so vague and “Castle Anywhere” that I get frustrated. And the depiction of the relationship between the two protagonists is annoying. Yes, it get it that they’re fascinated with each other — you don’t have to beat me over the head with it in every scene. I’m paying attention! 😉

Got a little bit of writing done, a scene on Yet-Something-Else-I-Shouldn’t-Be-Working-on-Right-Now. But had a HUGE breakthrough on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so not feeling so guilty.

Got to brainstorm with two writing pals (separately) about new career trajectories for them. Love that! Love to help talented friends look at new possibilities.

The images from my dreams were so disturbing that I was afraid to go to sleep on Saturday night. I HAVE to figure out a way to incorporate them into a piece. I don’t usually write horror, but these would be appropriate for a horror story.

Lots of writing on the agenda today, and then packing in preparation to GO HOME. Now that I have a home I love, I hate to be away from it, even for good things.

Saw a very pretty fountain — not cheap, but a fair price, considering materials and workmanship. However, the description said, “Avoid extreme temperatures.” Considering what a harsh winter we had, I thought I should check. So I called the store and asked them for the temperature range I should avoid.

Clerk: Y’know, extreme temperature. Like, too hot or too cold.

Me: I know the definition. I need the temperature range.

Clerk: I dunno.

Me: Could you find out?

Clerk: No. You’d have to ask the manufacturer.

Me: Who’s the manufacturer?

Clerk: I dunno. It’s on the box.

Me: Could you take a look at the box and tell me, please?

Clerk: You’ll read it on the box when it arrives.

Me: Since I’m not going to order it unless I know it can take the temperatures, that’s not going to happen.

Needless to say, the store lost the sale. Talk about totally different than the local Cape stores, where I was looking, in general, and asked about temperature concerns. I was told, “If we carry it, we’ve tested it. We brought in a bunch of these planters last fall and over-wintered them outside to make sure the manufacturer was telling the truth.” Now THAT’s customer service! 😉

I’m leaving early tomorrow to head back to the Cape, so Lori Widmer has graciously agreed to guest-post, in preparation for Writers Worth Day on the 15th. This week, I have to catch up on the garden, get out a few proposals to convince a couple of companies which fascinate me that they can’t possibly live without hiring me part-time, write a lot, and prepare to head, on Friday morning, the the next site job.

Devon

Published in: on May 9, 2011 at 6:09 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, May 7, 2011


Woods Hole, MA

Saturday, May 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Kentucky Derby Day
Scheduled to Post

If you’re looking for Racing Ink, there isn’t one this year. I’m not handicapping the races ahead of time. I’m choosing my horses before each race as they happen. I feel that, the past few years, I over-researched and lost a lot of the sense of fun and excitement I have on the day.

I’m scheduling this to post because I’m on the road Very Early, since I have to arrive at the site before 10 AM. Let’s hope it’s clear driving.

So not looking forward to this month’s gasoline bill.

Hate leaving the garden, even for a few days. But that’s the gig. Gotta earn a living so I can have a garden! 😉

Took garbage and recycling to the dump, picked up some wine for my trip, made sure my mom and the cats have enough food in the cupboards and refrigerator while I’m gone (those cats will be so spoiled). I’m going to have to mow the damn lawn again as soon as I get back! Got my site dates squared away for the rest of the month. To-ing and fro-ing more than I’d like, but it will all be good.

Caught up with the students. They are a committed, enthusiastic group, and a total pleasure. We had a couple of people join late, but they are working their butts off to catch up and keep up, so it’s all good.

Chapter Four of the WIP-I-Shouldn’t-Be-Working-On turned out very intense, and exposed the themes of the book. I usually don’t figure those out until about the third draft, but they’re pretty clear here in the first and will help shape the book. And then I ran out of ink. And then the ball bearings fell out of the desk.

Yeah, time to go! 😉

Will check in Monday.

Devon

Published in: on May 7, 2011 at 1:11 am  Comments (3)  
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

My post-Derby article is up on FemmeFan here. My editor loved it, even though I felt it lacked sparkle. Motivates me to make the Preakness article this week twice as good!

Exceptionally cold all weekend, frost on the ground this morning, and the scumbag landlords had the heat off until 6 AM today. Typical.

The alarm didn’t go off this morning, but Elsa is better than any alarm clock, so I went out for my run by 5:15. It’s quite light out, with just a sliver of waning moon, singing birds, corporate types scurrying to the train station . . .

So, where do I start? Didn’t write on Saturday at all — on purpose. Needed to refill creative well. Did my errands, sorted, purged a bunch of junk, took stuff to storage. Read. Cooked.

Got some good ideas for the next section of the urban fantasy.

Was about to order a great futon couch. It looks good, the price is good, and it will fit through the doorway — since they put in the new doors, I can’t bring in my sofabed. the doorway is now too narrow. Not to mention the doors suck. Anyway, I was trying to figure out the shipping costs, and, when I read the fine print, it clearly states that they don’t deliver the couch to the house. They deliver it TO THE CURB. If you want it taken into the house (or, in my case, the third floor apartment), you negotiate with the delivery guy when he arrives and you pay him cash on the spot. Sounds like extortion to me — no price quotes, no regulations. So I’m not ordering the futon. Bite me, assholes. You think I’m really that stupid? I wonder how many people were stuck with furniture left on the curb and wound up paying a couple of times more than they paid for the pieces themselves just to get them inside the house?

Elsa was up and down on Saturday — much better than she was on Friday, but still not doing as well as last week. I got up early on Sunday to give her the medicine, went back to bed, and had a weird dream.

In the dream, I was brought in to script doctor some piece or other rehearsing in Greenwich Village. I’m assuming it was a film, but maybe it was a play. That was unclear. It starred an actor who tops the list of people I still want to work with. He looked completely dazed at the disorganized chaos. No one seemed to be in charge. There were far too many producers floating around (as usual), saying, “I’ll take care of it” when something was brought to their attention and then doing nothing (as usual). We had to fill out huge packets of information we were told were “for tax purposes” but read like psych evaluations. I told the actor I was excited to work with him, just not sure it should be on this. He laughed. Some other guy asked me to watch his stuff because “You’re the amateur.” I said, “No, I’m the writer” and he replied, “Same thing.” I did NOT watch his stuff. I knew a lot of the actors in the project in the dream and had worked with them before, although in life, I’d only worked with one actress in a big musical. She kept trying to match-make me with this one and that one, whether I was interested or not (which she tried when we worked together). I was about to pitch a fit and either take over or walk out (in spite of the actor I really, really wanted to work with) when Elsa sneezed in my face and woke me up.

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about production a lot lately, since POWER OF WORDS takes place behind-the-scenes on one. This dream is a warning, the the specific actor representing not just himself, but everyone that’s still on that list of people I hope to work with (poor guy). Knowing how my dreams work, it may also be a caution– an opportunity may present itself and it may not be what it initially seems. I shouldn’t accept simply because there’s someone involved who’s on my list. So I stand warned. The nasty comment from the guy who wanted me to do PA duties represents the way writers are often treated in this business.

Made some cuts in SETTLING THE SCORE on Sunday, wrote twenty more pages, made more cuts, wrote eight more pages. Printed it all out (now that I have ink and paper again) and saw a huge, huge, HUGE logistics gap. There’s no way that character could have that piece of information vital to the plot machinations at that point in time the way I’ve got it laid out. I wrote some notes — I want to complete the draft before making any more fixes and running any more copies — and will move forward. Also, in the final draft, I’ll have to fix some formatting things. When I write scripts, I triple space between dialogue bits instead of double space. And the default font on this machine is Helvetica, which is fabulous to work in, but for script purposes, I have to change it to Courier (I loathe Courier). That will also drop the page count, which is good, because I’m up there now, and there’s still another good third of the movie to go. My goal is to have it run just over 2 hours, but feel like about 85 minutes.

On today’s agenda: pack more stuff for storage, work on SETTLING THE SCORE, maybe work on the adaptation of BEHIND THE MAN. I need to get my scripts sorted and synopsised and loglined over the next few weeks for some upcoming meetings. I may take WOMEN WITH AN EDGE out of retirement briefly just for the meetings, even. I should also take a look at my spec TV scripts — I don’t even know what one is “supposed” to have in one’s portfolio this season. I don’t know if I can still even use the BUFFY sample or the STARGATE ATLANTIS sample. If I need to come up with new ones, it would make sense to do one for HUMAN TARGET, since I spent so much time dissecting the show, but I don’t think that’s on “the list.” Of course, I might do one anyway, just to prove to myself that I can.

I’ll check with some acquaintances and find out what this season’s “list” is, and then figure out if I should even do a set of specs, or just stick to the plays for the moment, and this next round of meetings. I’m not angling for a series slot anyway — there are, literally, thousands of scriptwriters more qualified, in line ahead of me, and in LA so to do. But sometimes, even if you’re not up for the job, that’s the kind of sample someone wants to see in a meeting.

I’ll pack extra Excedrin, too. The meetings aren’t for a few months, but it takes time to put everything together, write any new material necessary, and have it be good, so I’m looking ahead. That way, instead of scrambling, everything is ready, I can just pull what i need for that meeting out of the file, and it’s much less stressful.

I’d like to get back to the urban fantasy this week, since I figured out how to overcome it’s obstacle, and, of course, ANGEL HUNT. My worry with ANGEL HUNT is that, once I go down the rabbit hole with that, I won’t come out for weeks, because of the intensity of the project. With the Preakness AND a pottery workshop this week, AND paperwork to complete for next year’s teaching schedule (yes, I’ve already got some major bookings for 2011), I don’t know if I can go down that rabbit hole right now. However, I want to get the book out on submission by the end of the month, so I need to get cracking.

Hard to sort out when so much has equal value and equal importance. But, I’ll figure it out. And I have to talk to the vet. Elsa is steadying again, but it doesn’t look like we can wean her off the steroid just yet. So we need to discuss next steps.

Back to the page.

Devon

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday, May 3
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and warm

It’s not even 6 AM, and I’m posting! That’s wrong on so many levels! 😉

Got out the door before 5 for my run. It was raining too hard for me to see, so I only did one circuit.

Busy weekend. I wrote a little over 3K on Saturday morning, and spent the rest of the day watching Derby races. I had something hit the board in almost every race, and had picks come in 1,2,3 in the Derby itself (I had Super Saver across the board, and he won; Ice Box to place, which he did, and Paddy O’Prado across the board, and he hit the show spot). I’m skeptical that Super Saver will win the Triple Crown, but hope I’m proved wrong. My actual favorite in the race was the filly, Devil May Care, who ran a great race but wore down towards the end.

Thank goodness for the person (or people, depending upon your news source) who said something about the suspicious car and the fantastic NYPD for diffusing the car bomb in Times Square on Saturday night. Depending on the force and circumference of the explosion, based on the block where it was placed, at the very least a few hundred people would have been hurt or killed, at the very most a couple of thousand. Not to mention damage done to the subway, theatres, and hotels. According to the information we’ve been given, which isn’t much, since they need time to sift through everything, it wasn’t enough to take down any buildings, but it was enough to do some serious damage. In Times Square. On a Saturday night. Times Square on a Saturday night has more people in it than many towns in other parts of the country. Makes you wonder how many lives would have been saved, had the Bush Administration acted on/shared the information received on August 6, 2001, a full month prior to 9/11. No, that’s not some wild conspiracy theory. Go read the documentation. It’s all a matter of public record.

I admit, I’m glad I no longer live just off Times Square, and I’m glad I don’t have to cross through it 2x/day on my way to and from the theatre.

Between Boston’s water rupture, the Gulf Coast oil spill, and the floods in Tennessee, there’s a lot going on. I want to know why these dicks in the oil business were allowed to drill in the first place when they didn’t have a way to turn off the well if something went wrong? Oh, yeah, because they bought themselves enough politicians to do whatever they want.

I wrote a lot yesterday, too, and I’m at a sticky section now, where I need to sort some stuff out and do some plotting before I can move on. I plan to do some work on the urban fantasy today and on ANGEL HUNT. (I worked on POWER OF WORDS most of the weekend). I’m not happy with my post-Derby article, so I’m going to strip it down and rebuild it. I need to get it to my editor today. I’ve also got to pack more boxes to take to storage tomorrow.

Actually, I’m ready to just go back to bed, but that’s not an option.

Elsa seemed a little worse over the weekend, but a little better today. The supplement I had to special order arrived on Saturday, and I think it’s doing her some good. She’s off the antibiotics, and the steriod dose is cut in half, so we’ll see. By tomorrow, I should know the results from the radiology consult and the sneezing swab cultures, so maybe we’ll have some ideas on moving forward, poor little thing.

I screwed up my schedule — the pottery workshop is on Preakness Day, which means I can’t go down to Maryland (boo — it’s my favorite of the three because it’s more laid back). I’ll miss seeing the first few races live and then, after the workshop, watch the live feed from the other races. A big field is expected, because a lot of people want to prevent Super Saver from winning the Triple Crown. Which is a shame, because we need such a winner.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 5:03 am  Comments (5)  
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Saturday, May 1, 2010


Cover for my YA DIXIE DUST RUMORS. Since it’s set against horse racing, it makes sense to have it today’s picture

Saturday, May 1, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

I got a little bit of writing done yesterday, but not much. I did handicap the entire Derby Day race card — the post is below this one, if you’re interested.

The only change to the Derby picks I may do is move Super Saver in there, even if it doesn’t rain. If it rains, he definitely becomes an across-the-board bet.

Ran some errands, paid some bills. Read A YEAR OF FOG by Michelle Richmond. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking book. I felt the end was a bit abrupt, but I think that was part of the point she was making. Started re-reading MOCKINGBIRD, the Harper Lee portrait, by Charles Shields, which is just wonderfully written.

This morning, I got up and ran — out of the house by about 5:30. It was pretty light, the moon was still up, and no one was around, just the way I like it.

Did some work on the urban fantasy. Hoping I can get a bit done on the novella and on ANGEL HUNT before I turn my full attention to the Derby. I wish I was more excited about it this year, but with all my favorites out, the horses I’ve followed for months, well, we’ll see. Watch — this will be a Race for the Ages simply because no one’s that excited.

Devon

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 6:17 am  Comments (2)  
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