Mon. Sept. 18, 2017: A Successful Writing Weekend & Preparing for Jose

Monday, September 18, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

We’re battening down for the outer fringes of Hurricane Jose to hit tomorrow and Wednesday. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad. The lack of specific information, as usual, is infuriating.

Tough weekend of writing. The revisions on THE FIX IT GIRL are stalled. I need to check some research information and the books I need haven’t arrived yet. Just when I felt it was getting back on track.

THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is going well, though, with 1600 words on Friday, 2500 words on Saturday, and 5500 words on Sunday. All in longhand! I’m in the groove of it now. Making it more active, along with the introspective sections.

Outlined an idea that I like a lot, but don’t know when I can get to; started a short story that will be sad. “Tragic” might be pushing it, but it will be sad. It deals with spousal abuse. It must stay short, under 1000 words.

So I met Lissa Matthews’s #10KWeekendWriters Challenge, with a total of 13,500 words. 3500 over goal. Which is funny, because by Saturday night, even though I hit 8K of the 10K, I was pretty sure I’d have to cut myself a break for not meeting the goal.

Re-read Steven Axelrod’s NANTUCKET GRAND, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I wanted to read a well-known author’s new release, but it’s in present tense. As much as I like and respect her writing most of the time, I can’t read this. The present tense pushes me away from the story and the characters. Disappointed, but I’m not going to struggle with it. I’ll just pass. The only time a novel written in present tense works for me is if it’s structured as epistolary (letters) or in diary format. Otherwise, it’s the author screaming at me for attention instead of letting me experience the book.

I’m re-reading John Steinbeck’s JOURNAL OF A NOVEL: THE EAST OF EDEN LETTERS. The way he has to coach himself and the repetitive nature of some of his struggles is interesting.

Did eight loads of laundry on Sunday, in and around the writing. Caught up. Now, when the days are sunnier, I’ll have to catch up on mending. I’ve accumulated quite a pile.

My To Do List for this week is overwhelming. So I just have to attack it one item at a time, and hope for the best.

Mabon/Autumn Equinox this week, along with the new moon. And Rosh Hashanah. Days are getting shorter. Although it’s been hot and humid this week, it smells like fall, especially in the evening and early morning.

We’ll put away some of the lighter things from the deck/yard in preparation for the hurricane. They might not come back out until next spring.

 

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Mon. June 26, 2017: Traction to Getting Back on Track

Personal Revolution Cover

“Personal Revolution” — A Cabot’s Crossing Mystery — Independence-Day theme.

99 cents on Smashwords here.

Monday, June 26, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

A slower-paced weekend than I probably should have had, but I needed it. My brain is tired, my soul is tired.

Saturday morning, I took a wrong step down the stairs and wrenched my knee. The good knee, not the Broadway knee. The outer tendon. My poor hockey players had that often enough, although not from going down a flight of steps. I treated it with arnica and gentle yoga. As long as I keep the leg in alignment, from hip to foot, it’s okay. The minute I go out of alignment, I’m in pain. That certainly slowed me down, because I need to move with more care.

I managed eight loads of laundry over the course of the day. A lot of it consisted of the blankets and fleece covers on the furniture for the winter. They’re now washed and ready to be packed away, with lighter cotton covers on everything. It’s finally warm enough to put the winter things away. Also in the process of washing, blocking, drying, and then putting the winter sweaters away with cedar shavings.

In between the laundry, I’ve been clearing out things that have accumulated — the big stack around my big reading chair, where I tend to nest; starting to go through drawers and boxes. I’m weighed down by too much stuff I don’t need; we haven’t even unpacked everything since we moved here. I wanted to get through everything in the winter and didn’t; so I better buckle down and do it now. A little bit at a time eventually adds up to big bits.

In and around that, I also wrote nearly 2500 words on the piece with the two older protagonists. I’m writing my way in, to see if I have something viable. I like the characters a lot, especially how they’re trying to heal from their damage. It’s naturally set itself in Ayrshire, Scotland, near Culzean, where I’ve stretched the geography a bit to add a small, fictional village between the villages I spent time in when I was there.

I’ll set something else in Cornwall, eventually!

I’m reading Alix Kate Shulman’s DRINKING THE RAIN. It’s a wonderful exploration of a writer’s need to balance solitude and companionship. I’m not as adventurous as she is, as far as where she chooses to stay. I’m a modern woman who appreciates indoor plumbing, and I’m no longer willing to stay in places without it. That doesn’t feed my soul; it merely irritates me. My soul is fed when I’m comfortable.

The book is from the library, but I’m going to hunt down a copy to buy; it’s something I will re-read.

I’m also reading Helen Bevington’s The Journey is Everything: A Journal of the Seventies. I love her writing, and it’s interesting to see her perspective on historical events we both lived through (although I was much younger, just a kid).
I originally read her books shortly after 9/11. I was staying with my mother, in the NYC suburb in which I’d grown up. I got a new library card at the library I’d practically lived in growing up. Wandering the stacks, I found Helen Bevington’s memoirs and journals, and loved them. A few years later, I found A Book and a Love Affair in Niantic and bought it; I keep an eye out for her other books, so I can add them to my personal library. I re-read Book recently, when I came across it, unpacking a box, looking for something else. I wanted to re-read the rest. The Cape Cod libraries don’t carry her books, so I had to order it through the Commonwealth Catalog. This volume is from U Mass-Amherst.

Sunday, I didn’t feel much like doing anything. I read a bit, and then went to S. Yarmouth library, where my friend and fellow writer Arlene Kay gave a program as part of their Author Series. It was wonderful, but then her programs always are. She had a nice turnout (thank goodness, it’s always hit and miss around here), including some mutual friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was nice to catch up.

Came home, read on the deck, cooked dinner. I’d created a new-to-me salsa recipe on Friday, and combined two recipes from one of Barbara Ross’s mysteries (and then added some bits of my own) on Saturday, so Sunday was mostly leftovers.

I think I’ve got the opening of “Miss Winston Apologizes” in my head. Now, to write it down, so it’s ready to add when I’m done with the proofread of “Ramsey.”

I also have to write down the opening of “Labor Intensive” — and then write the rest of it.

Did some work on the Devon Ellington media kit. Did another 1000 words on the older protagonist piece. I think it’s viable. As I’ve been writing my way in, the plot is getting clearer. Pretty soon, I will stop and outline it. I worried the premise was a little too close to Death of a Choleric, but this morning, I figured out how to fix it.

I have a long list of things to do today, both fiction and non-fiction and pitching, and administrative work, and catching up on some correspondence. And, of course, mowing. I have to pause in my work on the meadow, because the damn front needs to be mowed again!

The roses are magnificent this year. We have vases of them all over the house and they smell lovely.

Back to the page.

Wed. April 30, 2014: Conference & Lecture Prep

tnLakeJustice
“Lake Justice” available here from Amber Quill Press for only a dollar!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
New Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and raw
Beltane Eve

I can’t believe tomorrow is May and I’ve still got flannel sheets on the bed and am wearing winter clothes!

Yesterday was busy. All my materials are prepped and packed for the conference. I had to run to Staples (again) in the middle of it for more ink. I’d just changed over the ink tanks yesterday, and I wasn’t printing THAT much! Something’s up with the Canon ink tanks for this printer. I used to be able to get 400 or more pages out of one ink tank. Yesterday, I BARELY got 200 pages. Also, the first time it beeps and says the ink is running out, I could override it and get an additional 50 pages out. Now, it’s only 10. It’s the same printer, the same paper — Canon downgraded the ink tanks. I do not appreciate that. I guess I’m doing printer research again. Plus, I want to get a new toner cartridge for my laser printer. Although it only prints B&W, it’s great for manuscripts.

Just shot a question over to the Cultural Council — although we have one more performance of SEAL TIDES, I’m prepping the reports for the Council and need to know if they want a copy of the final script.

Did laundry, baked the several dozen cupcakes for Welcome Spring, finished a draft of a client project and sent it out (took much longer than expected, but at least it’s out for notes), and worked on TRACKING MEDUSA edits. I’ve had a special place in my heart for this book since I wrote it, and I’m falling in love with the characters all over again — in spite of finding several places that need some serious work! 😉 I’m lucky to have such a good editor.

Prepped for today’s guest lecture. I have almost a full workday, and then I head off to the college. Then it’s time to frost cupcakes, work on edits, and pack clothes for the conference — I have all my materials, but I still have to wear something when I teach!

Having serious problems with my right hand and arm — tendon problems. Ouch! Will have to get a session with the acupuncturist.

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2014 at 6:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 30, 2014: Conference & Lecture Prep  
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Thurs. Aug. 15, 2013: Writing Hangover

Thursday, August 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was an outstanding writing day, at least for the fantasy novel. Nearly 7K. I have one or two more chapters and this section is done. Then, I skip ahead in the chronology of the piece to what will be the final third of this middle volume, then it’s off to the last volume, which seems to come full circle to where the book started, but actually goes beyond.

It meant I didn’t get much else done, but the novel burned, and it’s at a delicate, critical stage, which means it had to take first priority, and everything else had to work around it.

Six loads of laundry in the new machines. Nice to catch up.

Add to that, a former flame/old friend showed up. Fortunately, he’s very supportive of the writing, and made sure I had the cocoon in which to work. He read the mystery novel that’s going out on submission and loves it; read the draft material of the fantasy novel and was thrilled with it. This is someone who always tells me when I’ve gone off the rails on a project, so it was nice to get the positive feedback.

Did some pick ups for the Mermaid Ball and some drop offs at the libraries. Headed to the meeting, but only stayed an hour. Mermaid Ball is sold out, and things are on track. I think it will be a lovely evening.

Came back to a great dinner cooked by my friend, and we caught up. I hadn’t seen him in five years, so there was quite a bit of catching up to do!

This morning, I have to get the work done that wasn’t done yesterday, and then head East to do more Mermaid Ball pick-ups. Also going to work on the tail for my costume.

I’m going to do some work on the novel, although I’m worried I’ll get caught up in it again and everything else will fall by the wayside. Next week, that can happen, but not this week. At the same time, I can’t risk losing the momentum. My friend is here until tomorrow, so we’ll have a good chance to catch up, and he’s good about letting me work when I need to.

I’ve refused several potential students for the upcoming private student slots. If they can’t follow the instructions on the application, they are certainly not going to survive the pace, intensity, and expectations of the program. My work with private students is not a service; it’s an apprenticeship program. You meet the standards, or you’re gone. I do not lower/change the requirements. You have to rise to them. Or you are refused. Every moment spent on student work is a moment not spent on my own. I only want to spend time with students who are serious and committed to their writing.

Moment by moment. Best I can do.

Devon

Published in: on August 15, 2013 at 8:29 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. June 3, 2013: Intense Ending in NY and Coming Home

IMG_1254
The Hatshepsut Sphinx next to the Temple of Dendur

Monday, June 3, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Friday was yet another intense NY day. It started on a sad note — my hosts had to take their sick, elderly dog to the vet for the last time. I cancelled my morning appointments so I could be there when they got back, and make sure they were as okay as they could be under the circumstances before heading out.

I went up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I gorged myself on beauty — visited my favorite Hatshepsut in the Egyptian wing, wandered through the Sculpture Garden, the Greek and Roman galleries, European painting, Contemporary painting (saw some Hoppers — nothing compares to seeing the actual painting in person), some of the furniture and design, the Armory, a wonderful exhibit on musical instruments. It was wonderful. I didn’t realize how much I missed that museum — I went there regularly when I lived in the city.

IMG_1278
This is a musical instrument, a Javanese piece called a “slento”.

Walked down along Central Park. Stopped in at the Plaza Hotel and was horrified by their renovations. They’ve rearranged the lobby, stripped it of its classic elegance, and put in a food court downstairs, which looks like a tacky, overpriced New Jersey mall. Horrible. Tacky. Revolting. Not at all in keeping with the history of the place. Made me sick.

Didn’t have time to swatch in the garment district, which was disappointing. Went to the Algonquin — their drinks are now outrageously priced and they’ve come up with gimmick drinks instead of keeping the classics, like their amazing Sidecar, on the menu. Big disappointment. I met Teri Brown there, and her cousin, and a couple of blogging friends. We quickly ditched the place (so disappointing, it used to be THE place to go if you were a writer) and went to my favorite Scottish bar, The St. Andrew’s Pub, for some Belhaven lager and tasty appetizers. And, of course, great conversation, amongst all of us. Great fun.

Headed back to Brooklyn and my friends. We sat out in the garden, chatting and catching up. I went upstairs to pack and get things sorted for the trip home.

IMG_1283
Manhattan skyline from the rooftop garden at the Met

Saturday morning, up early. Packed the last few things, rearranged the luggage a few times. Said goodbye to all the animals and my friends. One of them, a caterer, packed me a lunch.

Getting to the bus wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. We were right across from the Javits, so I watched people stagger out with bags full of books — some people had four or five tote bags overflowing. Wow. What was great about this year’s BEA was that the publishers really made their AUTHORS feel appreciated, along with the readers. It’s so important to know one’s publisher gives a damn, and understands and appreciates the work that writers put in. It’s also important for publishers to do their part in promoting the list and the authors, something which a lot of publishers can’t be bothered with anymore — and then wonder, when EVERYTHING is put on the author, why the numbers aren’t high. When it’s a partnership, everyone benefits. When it becomes an attitude-laden pissing contest, everyone loses.

I’m really happy for my author pals who were celebrated by their publishers here at BEA. They’ve earned the right to feel special and treasured.

Got settled on the bus. Everyone was jealous of my lunch! Steak sandwich on toasted baguette, rice and beans, salad. I wished I had business cards with my friend’s info to give out.

Trip back up to Providence was fine, although traffic was heavy and I was too tired to read or do much of anything.

My mom picked me up and we drove home, stopping to do a few errands on the way. The cats were happy to see me.
IMG_1298

By 6:30, I had a load of laundry in the washer, was showered, barefoot, and out on the deck with the cats and a very dry martini. Heaven!

Sunday, I was exhausted. Couldn’t light much of a fire under myself. I have a respiratory irritation — too many bus fumes, probably, and had headache, muscle aches, overall ick feeling. Dug into the still room and have solved everything except the lingering effect of the respiratory irritation, which I hope to fix by the end of the day.

Three loads of laundry. Took down the winter drapes. Put up the lace panels for summer. Took off the fleece chair covers. Put on the cotton summer covers. Mowed the terraced back area. Tended the flowers. Played with the cats. Tried to read a bit. Worked on some notes from the meetings and runnings-around. Watched GAME OF THRONES.

Slow start this morning. I have to get back in the saddle today, do all the follow-up from last week, and get going on some fresh assignments. Lots of meetings this week, and I have to make sure I’m properly prepared.

I had a great time in NY. I’m so glad I went. It was a good business move. It was a good personal move. I could genuinely enjoy the city and my time spent there, while knowing I made the right decision to leave. The best of both worlds.

Devon

Wed. May 22, 2013: Trying to Clear the Desk

IMG_1101
The beach down the street

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Want to see how my garden grows? Hop over to Gratitude and Growth to check out the new photos.

Monday, I worked flat out, and was exhausted. Part of that is a new playwrighting opportunity dropped into my lap, and I worked on the proposal. I have to proofread and tweak it today, and get it out. Then, I have to massage a different playwrighting proposal and get that off my desk, too.

Got material out for Confidential Job #1, and got my next assignments. Working on my appointments for the trip next week. Having trouble settling back into the Cape Cod theatre novel. Did some work on the adaptation. Roughed out a few articles, a couple of which I need to get off my desk this week. Pitched. Followed up. Worked with students. Got some reading done. Sketched out ideas for a couple of short stories. Did five loads of laundry. Worked in the yard — the meadow is finally mowed.

My heart hurts for the people in Oklahoma devastated by the tornado. I remember, back in the 70s, they talked about coming up with chemicals that planes could spray into hurricanes and tornados to make them dissipate (something that was being worked on). Whatever happened to that? Did it not work? Did it lose funding? Did they realize the chemicals would kill more people than the weather?

Started my schoolwork for the Climate Literacy class I’m taking over the next ten weeks, from two professors at the University of British Columbia. A LOT of information (and maybe they can answer some of the above questions). But I think it will be a fascinating class, and certification in this and the one I got in Sustainability last fall certainly make me more hire-able in the eco-friendly fields.

Meeting last night was good. I have work to do in connection with that — again, most of which has to get done before I leave on my trip next week. I have a feeling I’ll be working flat out all weekend. I’ll sleep on the bus, right?

Lots to do and not a lot of hours — Mermaid Ball meeting in Buzzards Bay late this afternoon.

Better hop to it.

Devon

Mon. Nov. 5, 2012: Getting Organized

Monday, November 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend. On Friday, Costume Imp made a run for home, and got there. The trip down was smooth, and he “only” had to wait an hour for a bus to get over to Brooklyn. He’s relieved to be home.

We got home in one piece, changed the beds, did loads of laundry, took down the Samhain decorations, and put everything away. For some reason, it always takes longer to put things away than get them out, doesn’t it?

I was glad to hear the NYC Marathon was cancelled this weekend, and even more heartened by the many kindnesses marathoners showed to the city, volunteering in badly-stricken areas. One-to-one humanism always works better than organizations full of red tape.

I did the schoolwork for my Greek & Roman Mythology class, and I started work on the paper for the World History class, but had nothing in the tank for it. Fortunately, the deadline’s been extended until tomorrow at 6 PM — I’ll finish it and submit it today.

I worked with tarot students, I taught the “Dissecting Submission Guidelines” class. It was very quiet. No one said peep all day. Hopefully, they still got something out of it.

Sunday, I got the last of the bulbs into the ground — hyacinth, daffodil, tulip, crocus, glory-of-the-snow. Also got most of the front lawn put to bed. I can’t complete the side yard because the damn “landscaper” who was supposed to move the forsythias (and still hasn’t) and clear away the brush LEFT any brush under 3 feet. That whole side yard is a mess. I stacked as much of the debris he couldn’t be bothered with under the forsythia bushes, so if and when he ever bothers to show up to move them, he’ll have to deal with the brush first. How much you want to bet he just tosses it on the lawn and leaves it?

Also used the stinky fish fertilizer on the front beds — phew! But it’s supposed to be great, and last year’s tulips needed re-fertilizing.

I went to a rally last night to hear Elizabeth Warren speak. She helped me several years ago in a difficult situation, helped me navigate the complexities and fight the dickheads trying to take advantage of my elderly mother (we won). I’d forgotten how funny and witty she is in person, in addition to being incredibly intelligent and committed to justice.
The space the rally was held was too small, in my opinion, and people kept coming and coming and coming — which is great — but I stayed on the fringes, not wanting to get stuck in the middle of a crowd. I got the best of both worlds — good view, could hear everything, and also not get claustrophobic.

I finished the edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and got them back to my editor. I go back to work on the next book in the series, CRAVE THE HUNT, today. I need to finish a couple of short stories this week, too. Everything I sent one of my other editors last week bounced back (due to the Hurricane), so I’m waiting to hear back from him before I send my next review. However, I have to get interview questions out to someone he assigned me, or that article will be late.

I downloaded the MIT Opencourseware class on Medieval Women Writers I wanted to start today, but it makes no sense. There’s a calendar of assignments and a reading list, but no lectures. Coursera makes much more sense.

I got out a press release for the extended deadline for the application for the Playwriting Intensive. More information here. I got quite a few requests from people who meant to get it in just under the wire on the 1st, but couldn’t because of Sandy.

I had an idea for a book I can put together and pitch to the agent (once I’m sure she’s got her power back). I basically have all the material, it’s just a case of organizing it. I’ll organize it for the proposal, and then, basically, it will be done. I also have another idea that’s been swirling around. I took some notes on it, but it has to wait its turn. There are too many deadlined projects stacked up in front of it.

I need to do some yard work later today — the terraced back area, and part of the meadow. I need to hack back the dead hostas, too. Tomorrow will be busy — I’m out of the house doing research all day, after I vote — so Wednesday morning, I’ll have to finish the yard work, ahead of the expected snow.

Snow! Christmas! Not ready to deal with any of it.

Devon

Tues. Oct. 23, 2012: Good Meetings & Busy Times

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Morning meeting yesterday was at The Bay Pointe Club, and it was good. I like the facility — the space has a lot of natural light, it’s beautiful without being pretentious, it’s flexible, and the people running it listen and respond to what one says and help come up with ideas so it works for everybody. That’s the experience I’ve always had working with the Gideon Putnam in Saratoga, but has been the exception, rather than the norm in many other venues over the years, including here on the Cape. So, to find a venue where they both get it (in terms of an individual organization and what they do) and offer ideas that are better than what one thinks one needs to fix a concern — that, to me, is a good place to be. They’re also interested in participating in the community, rather than being separate from it, which gains them big points from me.

I’m glad that it looks like two organizations with whom I work like the venue as much as I do, and we’ll do events there.

Came back, did some follow-up, caught up on what came in while I was gone. Deadbeat client finally paid, so did that paperwork. That’s over and done, we parted civilly and I can take a deep breath and move on.

Three loads of laundry, cleaning the house for Costume Imp’s arrival, grocery shopping, checking to see if any notes came back from the agent re: the proposal that had to be turned around instantly. Didn’t hear, so I’m hoping that means the revision works. Spoke to my other editor, and I need to get on the ball with the book edits — I’m behind.

The owner came by with his wife to stake where the forsythias will move, and what else needs to be cut back and done. Flowering daphne will replace the forsythia in front of the garage — once it’s painted. Someday, the landscaper will deign to show up and it will actually get done! 😉

I’ve got a lot to finish up this morning, before heading to Providence to pick up Costume Imp from the Megabus. I’m going to have some long-ass days this week, but it will be worth it!

Iris is almost back to normal. We’re keeping close watch on her, and probably taking her in for a blood test soon. If she needs anti-seizure medication, I’d rather she had it sooner rather than later.

Devon

Fri. Sept. 28, 2012: Organization and Freelance Roller Coaster

Friday, September 28, 2012
Waxing Moon (nearly full)
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Managed to get some good work done yesterday afternoon, but, alas, not enough. I’ve really got to focus today to get a lot cleared off before I leave tomorrow. At least I had a good start to the day — I have a spice cake in the oven and the first load of laundry in, and it’s not even 8 AM!

Also, found out that a grant deadline is Monday. Turns out there are two separate grant councils in the area — one has a deadline of Monday, the other the 15th. I thought they were one and the same. I’m going to pull together a proposal because I’ll regret it if I don’t at least give it a shot. Plus, you usually have to go through several proposal cycles before you’ve actually got a shot at landing a grant. Meanwhile, while I’m out of town next week, I’ll put together the proposal for the other grant. The last time I applied for a grant in NY, I was one of over 690,000 people applying. I think the application pool is probably a little smaller here. It also means putting together a new version of the resume for the grant.

I am teaching a three-day Supporting Characters workshop at the Muse Online Conference Oct. 9, 10 & 11. There’s more information here. (You have to scroll down pretty far to get to it). The Muse Conference, in general, is a great experience. I’ve developed several novels and had the chance to test drive some fun classes there.

I need to finish an article and schedule a blog post for next week while I’m gone. I got an idea for a new article that I’ll pitch to a publication, and I owe another publication (who, thankfully, finally got around to paying me) another batch of ideas. I’ve still got one outstanding client payment — the final ghostwriting payment, which is not at all a surprise, but a disappointment. Another client is being dithery, and I just don’t have time for it — will be easing away from that one. I’ve said, bluntly, that the dithering has to stop, especially at the distance that separates us. If i have to travel several hundred miles, the dates have to be set and fixed. Got out another project early, that I wanted to clear off before I left, and will finish that client’s batch of work today. Pitched yesterday for a job way out of my wheelhouse, but I’m just different from the people who’d apply for it to be the right choice. One of my editors has also asked me to do an interview with someone (as the interviewer), which will be fun, although her publicist is about 12 and needs to learn how to check her facts.

The reading of my play is tonight. I’m interested to see how it goes. My notebook is ready.

I’m packed for tomorrow’s trip, except for the stuff that’s still in the laundry, and the food that has to go in the cooler in the morning. This time tomorrow, I will be on the road.

Lots to do between now and then!

Devon

Thurs. Jan. 12: Webinar Works and Healing Day

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

Worked hard yesterday, revelling in the quiet. The neighborhood was really QUIET. I got a lot of work done. In addition to dealing with my students, I polished a 500-word flash fiction piece. I’m really excited about it. First of all, I don’t usually work that short, so it was a good challenge. Second, I thought it was one thing, and it took a very exciting direction elsewhere. The found inspiration was the dead blackbirds falling out of the sky in Arkansas, and the story ended up being about the secret life of besoms. I think I may write more with this character, picking up after the stopping point of this piece. There’s also kind of a dark humor, so that may serve me well.

I sketched out another piece, the first line coming to me over dinner, and, earlier, I’d figured out the next piece to write for class. I’m not posting my stories in the class, but I’m writing along with them.

Not happy with where I am in either of the novels, but at least I got the other requested novel out, and I’m hoping the short stories motivate me back into the novels.

I did about four loads of laundry — still have some more holiday fabric to do — and changed all the bed linens but mine (which will happen today or tomorrow). I kept getting caught up in what I was doing and forgetting the laundry was down there — thank goodness it’s in the house and I didn’t wander off somewhere and forget it.

I looked at some job listings — considered one, but the time/money ratio wasn’t enough to warrant putting together a package. They want so many hours for so little money that I couldn’t do anything else.

Got some reading done in the afternoon, and rested a bit, in preparation for the evening’s webinar. It went pretty well. We moved through the material a little faster than I expected — the students got to work on 9 short pieces over the course of the class, which is pretty decent. They’ve got material to work from. What they do with it and whether they do anything is something else, although this batch seemed pretty motivated. Having this scheduled when some of them came off the flash fiction assignment got them juiced for more work along those lines. The mix of talk and type was interesting. I think some people were intimidated. It was a little bizarre at first, but then it was like being in the classroom together.

The cats, however, were impossible. I’d played with them earlier; I’d settled them with snacks and toys in the other room. Ha! Racing through the house at top speed, screaming, hissing, spitting, jumping on the keyboard, howling, the whole thing. Screeching into the mic for all the hear their shenanigans. I don’t have doors to shut in the office, so I was at their mercy. Badly behaved little ones!

And then, as soon as the computer was shut down, they readjusted their tarnished halos and slept!

I’m getting some writing done this morning, then it’s off to yoga, and, after that, off to acupuncture. I’m not going to be able to eat until after noon, which will make me one cranky little person! But the rest of me will feel better, even if the tummy’s rumbling.

To the page, and then out into the rain. Funnily enough, today is Ganga’s day (the goddess for which the Ganges River is named, a day to wear yellow and wash away the detrius of the year. I’m sure I have a yellow candle somewhere, and the rain’s certainly washing!

Devon

Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 6:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Jan. 11, 2012: Prompt Playground Webinar Tonight!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Tonight is the Prompt Playground Webinar, from 8-10 pm. I hope you’ll join us — we’re going to play, writing 2 and 3 minute exercises, and then seeing where to take them from there. It’ll be fun!

Yesterday was not fun. Comcast screwed me big time, and it took six hours to sort it out. It doesn’t help that they have offshore call centers, and the “representatives” believe since they’re in other countries, they can do whatever they want, and are not answerable to US law. Imagine my surprise (yes, that’s sarcasm), when I checked with the MA Department of Telecommunications and Cable and discovered how many laws Comcast is breaking. It means two weeks’ worth of gathering 14 months’ of documentation, but it’s worth filing with the half dozen agencies that need to know about this crap. Good thing I write everything down. By the time I get all the info sorted, I’ll be sending a binder to each of the agencies with the relevant documentation. Seriously, it’s that bad.

I didn’t think Mitt Romney was all that bad until his “victory speech” last night in New Hampshire, where he promised to protect corporate special interests and turn us into a fascist military dictatorship. I stand corrected — he’s as bad as the rest of that batshit crazy field.

Very excited by the quality of work in the 5 in 10 class. The first pieces are really good. Let’s hope it sets the bar high for the rest of the class, and that they continue to meet the challenges. Got cat food and cat litter in, too, yesterday, and had a decent meeting last night — I want to type up the notes while they’re still fresh and then get going on some stuff I’ve got to get done before next month’s meeting.

This morning, I’m doing post-holiday loads of laundry — holiday fabric, the guest sheets and towels, etc. I finally converted the buffet table back down to the work table and am slowing moving the stuff that had to be stashed in my room to make space for partygoers back to where it needs to be.

I feel better, but my voice is still not where it should be. I’m putting myself on “vocal rest” all day so I’ve got something for the webinar tonight.

Back to the page — in addition to classwork, I’ve got two novels I have to move back and forth between, due to deadlines, and a novella. Plus, I’ve got to prepare some marketing materials to get out next week, and some more packets for reading groups.

The cats are having trouble adjusting to just one human to do their bidding, down from the amount of people in and out during the holidays. Oh, well.

Never a dull moment. And that’s a good thing!

Devon Ellington

Jan. 2, 2012: Hit the Ground Running in the New Year


The twins recovering from the holidays

Monday, January 2, 2012
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

I hope everyone had a lovely New Year celebration!

Friday was an exercise in frustration, running from pillar to post trying to get what I needed. Target was such a huge disappointment — the bins were overpriced, no decent toasters, nothing else on the list. I managed to get some bins at Home Goods, bought some clothes (I wanted something sparkly to ring in the new year), and then found a toaster that nearly matches the new red microwave at Sears. On sale. Up in the top corner, so I got someone to help me get it down — rather than try climbing up the shelf unit myself. New toaster, new microwave — I think we’re okay, appliance-wise, for awhile.

Got some work done on Saturday, and worked on cleaning up the place, because Costume Imp arrives. Got out the last of the party invites. For some reason, one person who turned down the invite thought it was tonight. Um, if you read the date it says “Friday, January 6th, 2012” not Saturday, December 31, 2011” and “Twelfth Night” is not the same as “New Year’s Eve.”

At least no one showed up at the door on New Year’s, expecting a party! 😉

The landlord came over to check the damaged wall, and we ended up talking about this, that, the other for most of the afternoon. It’s nice when you can have actual conversations with people, not just small talk.

Did a few loads of laundry, to go into the New Year with clean clothes!

Did a lot of work on HEART-SNATCHER — I’d written myself into a corner and had to find a way out. Made some notes for a few other things. Rang in the New Year with some good cheer, and kept right on working until about 1:30.

Up early Sunday morning, for the Fire-and-Ice ritual I do every New Year’s Day. Went to yoga — the teacher had a special class to ring in the New Year. it was great. Always helps to start the year right!

Cleaned the house, got my mom set up in the downstairs bedroom, got the upstairs bedroom set up for Costume Imp, scrubbed some shelves in the basement, took a quick walk on the beach, roasted a duck for the New Year’s Day dinner, and prepared the shepherd’s pies that are tonight’s dinner.

Worked on the book this morning. Today is also the first day of the 5 in 10 workshop and a new private student begins today. So there’s a lot to do. My office is a disaster area, but it will be fine in time for the party (we have to set up one of the buffet tables here).

Just after lunch, I’m driving to Providence to pick up Costume Imp, who’s taking the Mega Bus there from NY. So all the class stuff and last-minute tidying has to happen before I leave.

This will be a busy week, but I’m optimistic about 2012. I’ll have some materials up on the GDR site in a day or two, and I’m going to work smarter, not harder this year, and take more time for myself.

Devon

Published in: on January 2, 2012 at 7:24 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Veterans’ Day

Already have one load in the dryer and one in the washer of the four loads that need to get done today. I have to vacuum. I have to tidy up the living room and my office. I need to get some housework done today. I’ve been working so hard that it’s fallen by the wayside.

Yoga was great yesterday morning. Big class — nearly double the size as usual, but lots of fun. The teacher helped me with a problem I’ve been having with my left hip — which is usually the good hip. It’s much better and I’m going to keep doing those poses daily to keep it that way!

Pretty much just flat out worked yesterday. Just a couple more days on the Harry Potter workshop, and I’m done with deconstructions. I’m ready. They’re starting to interact on this one, and at least they really KNOW the material, but the ratio of prep time to payment just doesn’t make sense.

Knocked out an article due for Savvy Authors and have to change the date for a live chat, because it conflicts with something I’m doing with Cape Cod Writers’ Association.
I need to do some edits in a book before I send it out — I’ve decided that the prologue isn’t really a prologue, it’s the first chapter, so that means re-jiggling everything. Time-consuming, but necessary for it to go out. I’ve also got to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which is the big plan for next week.

Everything had to stop mid-afternoon, because I did a test run of the lasagna I need to take to Maine in two weeks. There are usually about 60 people for Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone helps out. I always make a desert for the main dinner, but the last few years, it’s become my job to make the dinner for 6-12 people on Wednesday night. They’re the ones most involved in the planning and set-up of the space, and it takes some of the pressure off them. The request, this year, was for lasagna. I’ve only made it once before, about six years ago, and it was a disaster.

I tried it again, this time from a recipe in NEW BASICS. It was awesome! Truly, a wonderful recipe. So, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I’ll cook all day — I’ve got two cakes to make (lemon for the Thanksgiving dinner, a pound cake for the Wednesday night dinner) and the lasagna. The latter is time intensive and labor intensive, but it’s worth it. I’ll prepare the elements for a salad and bring them up with me in separate bags, and mix the salad just before dinner.

This morning, I make an apple spice cake (different from the bread I often make). It turned out really well, but it would be too heavy paired with the lasagna.

If the weather dries up and I can get the lawnmower to cooperate, I need to get started on the back. The front is full of leaves again (they rained down more heavily than yesterday’s rain), but the front has had its last mow of the season, so it’s only raking from here on in.

The book is going well. A sequence I thought might be a tangent is turning out to be essential to the book. However, that means I have to end the first book of the trilogy earlier than I planned, or cut a few subplots that have become very important to the main plot.

I probably need to write the first draft of all three books and then see where it makes sense to end each one. I’m just over 70K, so I’m running out of words for book 1. For once, I’m happy with the job I did in complex plotting, but I still have to keep a reasonable word count.

Onward.

And don’t forget to take a few moments to give thanks to our Veterans.

Devon