Thurs. Oct. 5, 2017: The Good Kind of Busy

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny/mild

Yesterday seems so long ago, somehow!

Got out a few pitches, prepared for today’s meeting. Polished the short story, and it goes out today. Worked on promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Worked on the galleys of SAVASANA AT SEA — about halfway through. Again, I’m mortified by the copy editing errors. And deeply grateful for my copy editor.

Finished reading John Scalzi’s COLLAPSING EMPIRE. I liked it a lot, but felt it ended on a cliffhanger. Not sure if this is part of a series? Anyway, in the acknowledgements, he talks about the stress of the 2016 election. Amazing how things have gone downhill from there.

As usual, I get most of my best gig leads from Twitter — two were sent on to me by contacts that look really, really cool; one of them I already pitched to; the other, I need to read the guidelines thoroughly, but I think I have something that might fit. Very exciting.

The opening of the Lavinia Fontana play is taking shape in my head. Soon, I’ll be ready to put it on the page.

I’m late posting today; went grocery shopping early this morning, the rounds of the four stores I frequent, all in one swoop. I keep the prices and quality for each in my head, and then can juggle and create recipes and menus by what looks good and what’s at a good price.

I LOVE grocery shopping.

I also love cooking and creating menus with what I buy.

I’m at the library later this morning working, because I want to stay for the yoga class. Then, I’ll just have time to run home, shower, change, and make my meeting.

Today is one of those busy days, but I love it!

Back to the page.

Don’t forget to get your copy of PLAYING THE ANGLES!

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

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Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was busy, but, ultimately productive. I skipped the mowing (I’m going to pay for skipping so much mowing soon).

But I got a stack of books back to the library, and returned with another stack.

I submitted a short story and got out a couple of pitches. I got some necessary research done, and caught up on the correspondence that had come in yesterday.

I sorted out the information when I got home, so it’s where I need it when I need it, and I don’t have to go hunting it down.

I got some weeding done in the terraced bed, and then some writing, before the morons with power tools destroyed my afternoon.

I managed to get to work on an essay that needs to go out today. I finished another essay and a short story, which also have to go out today. On one essay, I had to cut over 300 words (I’d mis-remembered the word count limit as 800 when it was 600; my draft had 927 words, so there was some seriously red pen action). On the other essay, I had to come up with an additional 100+ words to meet the lower end of the limit. Two different topics, so I couldn’t take the cut words from one and rework them into the other.

The short story (actually flash fiction) is a fun, weird little piece. I hope it hits. The first line of it came to me while I was doing something else. It was so weird, I jotted it down and then off we went.

I should have completed the copy edits on “Ramsey Chase”, but my eyes were too tired. I’ll have to get back to it today. I also have to complete an assignment for the editor and get it out the door tomorrow, so he can tell me what he hates over the weekend.

I’ll be offline from about mid-day tomorrow until Wednesday morning. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the break. I’ll be writing of course — that’s part of the reason I’m disconnecting. I want to finish the FIX IT GIRL edits. I’d like to write another essay and finish the short story that’s giving me trouble, too, but that might be too ambitious.

Plus, I need to finish “Ramsey Chase” edits and get the back matter into the manuscript.

Plus, there’s a big fat book I really want to read as a reward for all this hard work.

And the yoga. And the meditation. And the garden.

So I’d better get to work and get it all done, hadn’t I?

Published in: on June 29, 2017 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend  
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Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

It still goes down into the 30s at night. We had to bring the tomato plants in.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise. Jamieson Wolf is a guest, and he talks about his new release LUST & LEMONADE.

Yesterday was kind of all over the place; grocery shopping; trying to get some work done at the library, but it was both noisy and full of the crazies.

I did some research for a handful of projects; figured out that an article I was working on actually needs to be broken down into two articles in order to keep a solid focus; wrote most of an outline for a new piece and the first ten pages of it, so I can figure out what it is and if it will work (so far, so good). I’m working on a proposal packet for a slot with a producer who wants to develop a new play. It’s a different way of working — I’m trying to develop enough of the idea to create an exciting package, while, at the same time, leaving enough room for collaboration. I usually put the proposal together with a finished, polished script, but that’s not what this theatre wants. Good to work differently. Keeps one from getting stale.

It was interesting reading the research book I’ve been reading the past few days. It feeds into three different projects, and I’d read a passage and think, “that will work with X” and a few pages later, “That will work for Y” and a few pages later, “I can use variants of that for X AND for Z.” Then, of course, I had to jot down notes in the various outlines referring to the research notes so I wouldn’t forget!

I’m in article mode now, and I had an idea for another spate of articles. Unfortunately, so far, the research I’ve done into the markets — the publications most geared to the topic — not only refuse to pay, they want their contributors to write numerous articles per month FOR FREE. I’m getting a little tired of the “Gimme Culture” instead of a sustainable Reciprocal Culture. Nope. Next. Bye. If I was starting out and looking to build my portfolio, maybe. But not at this stage in the game. So I have to dig a little deeper into other markets, and see what’s what.

I’ve been asked by two organizations I used to be associated with for marketing advice. I don’t mind throwing them a few ideas, but I’m not working for either one for free anymore. I put in my time. No matter how much I did or how much of my own work suffered, it was never enough; in fact, my thanks from one organization was metaphorical multiple slaps in the face, so, no. You get a short email with some ideas, and then it’s up to you, unless you plan on hiring me as a marketing consultant at my regular rate. In fact, I’m writing an article on just that topic. 😉

I’m working on a couple of other pitches to send out. I’m in negotiations for one particular gig which I think would be fun, and I have a meeting tomorrow about another one.

I’ve been working on FIX IT GIRL rewrites. Unlike some rewrites, I’m not putting all the changes into chapters every day. I find, with this, as I work on the hard copy of the first draft, I need to stop and research this detail and that detail and the other detail; expand, contract, restructure; get rid of sloppy writing. About every three chapters, I pull up the document and put in the new material. On the one hand, it’s slower; on the other hand, it means more goes into this draft, which means fewer drafts, because I’m not doing separate passes for separate elements.

I’ve done my prep to dig into the revisions of WINNER TAKE ALL. I’m hoping I can read through it this afternoon and get started. I already know one character/subplot I need to cut, and there are some other cuts, along with a new scene I need to add to have it make sense. As long as I can keep the script 120 pages (I’d like to get it down to 112-115), I’m okay. But 120 pages — where it is now — is the top of the limit. I want some more room in the draft, so I have to see what I can cut. There are a few scenes that could use some trimming. I want to raise the sense of danger for my protagonist in a couple of scenes, too. She sails through it all with a bit too much serenity. Yes, she’s smarter than most of those around her, but, as we all know, stupid people can be dangerous. Look at what’s going on in the country right now.

Speaking of which, Sally Yates was amazing in her testimony. Talk about someone with ethics, intelligence, and integrity. She put Ted Cruz in his place, that slimy piece of corrupt garbage. Then the Narcissistic Sociopath fires the FBI Director — on the advice of the corrupt, racist AG who supposedly had recused himself from the situation because he’s involved. Granted, Comey needed to go. There were two major conflicts/investigations going on with the elections last fall, one with each party. He made a partisan choice that affected the outcome. For that, he should have been sacked by November 10, and then prosecuted. For far too much of his recent testimony recently before Congress, he sounded like a whiny moron, not the head of a legitimate intelligence agency. But to be fired by the people he was investigating AT THIS POINT, is also suspicious. Nor should the people under investigation be allowed to appoint his successor until the investigation is complete. The level of corruption in this administration is astonishing.

It reminds me of the research material I’ve been reading, about the 1920s. Harding’s administration was pretty damn corrupt, too, and that ended in the Crash of 1929.

Re-reading Elizabeth George’s WRITE AWAY!, which is a book I assign to my writing students. The more I write, the more my process evolves away from hers. I don’t do the detailed character profiles she does — if I write down too much ABOUT a character before I write a piece, my subconscious believes I’ve already written the book and moves on. All I do is stare at a blank page. You can ask me anything about a character, any detail, and I know it, but I can’t write it all down. By trying her method, I lost what could have been a good book. Maybe someday, I’ll get it back, but so far, no luck. However, she has good points about knowing one’s setting and putting butt in chair and getting it done. I’ve always been on the fence about her books — some work for me better than others. I always loathed the character of Helen.

A little over a year ago, when I tried to book her as a speaker at the library for which I then worked, the person who handles her bookings quoted me a rate that would have wiped us out for nearly three years, and then was rude about us not booking her, although I politely explained the “why”. The booker berated us for having a small budget, for thinking a “name” author could be bothered with us, and for not being willing to go into debt to pay her anyway. By the way, we had plenty of name authors come in within our budget. Yes, have your “team” play the bad guys, but when they behave that way, don’t be surprised when it touches how people respond to your work. Now, every time I see a new release of hers, I remember how nasty her booker was, and, since I was already on the fence about the book, I pass. I respect what she’s achieved, but she is no longer on my “must read” pile. That could change, with time and distance, but that’s where I am right now. I do, however, respect and admire her work ethic. She gets things done. She does them well, and she makes a living from it. Good for her!

Tried re-reading a memoir of Paris, which is well done, but I wasn’t in the mood for the exploits of a young, drunken, male Aussie. So I went back to re-read Claire Cook’s IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. I met Claire two years ago at the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and we had some great chats. In fact, I’m going to dedicate TIE CUTTER to her. Her novels are a good pick-me-up when things look bleak. I also respect the way she gets things done, like Elizabeth George and Jayne Ann Krentz and just about every other writer making a go of it. She doesn’t whine or waste time in negativity. She writes her books, she respects her readers, she doesn’t bow to the changing winds. She’s comfortable in her own skin, and that’s always something to admire.

Tonight, I’m going to a reading in which my friend’s daughter has a part. I’m looking forward to it. I missed the last production she was in, and I want to support her and her mom.

At least there’s a lot of creativity going on!

Published in: on May 10, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling  
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Fri. March 27, 2015: Inspiration and World Theatre Day

Friday, March 27, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold
WORLD THEATRE DAY

Busy day yesterday, with PubServe meeting in the morning. Everyone liked the baked goods, which is always satisfying!

Busy afternoon at the library, trying to catch up on everything on the desk that didn’t get done in the morning! Also, prepping for World Theatre Day – getting posters made, doing a display, etc. Interacting with international theatres – who seem more involved than US theatres. Good thing I can get by even in my ill-used, high school French! 😉 Seriously, it’s been a joy to interact with other theatres all over the world, who have a passion through creating positive change in performance. Theatre is given a much higher purpose of place in other countries.

Why do we need theatre? Why is it so different from prose or film? Because nothing can replace the live experience, the exchange of energy between performer and audience. You can do a show eight times a week for years, but every single performance is different and can never be exactly replicated because it is LIVE. There is a deep satisfaction, from the soul, in a good piece of theatre, both on a performance and an audience level. Nothing else comes close. I

Ran home, ate too much, and then headed back for Tango. I had fun, but I also had trouble catching on during the lesson. I don’t know why I was having trouble – I overcomplicated things, and I was fighting years of dance training. Instead of a simple pivot, my legs wanted to go into fourth position. It was hard to listen to the leader’s body, rather than relying on a count. I have to think of this as a different style rather than thinking of it as “unlearning” and relearning”.

Came home, and had an idea, inspired by World Theatre Day, to rewrite one of the Prague chapters in COLLABORATIVE BIRTH. Up too late, but it was worth it.

Dreamed additional rewrites (hopefully, I won’t lose the thread). Overslept, and had to scramble to get ready for work.

Today will be busy at the library. I’m going to write tonight. Tomorrow’s my day “on”, so I’ll be working in the mid-day.

The rest of the days will be tied up in writing, doing the last pass on the radio play (which goes out next week), and do the microfilm research. I also have to do some basic things, like laundry and getting in cat food and cat litter.

Today, during World Theatre Day, we’ve got radio plays running all day (I brought in my CDs). Hoping that having the radio play rhythms running in the background will keep me on track for the next radio plays coming up.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on March 27, 2015 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 27, 2015: Inspiration and World Theatre Day  
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Wed. March 4, 2015: And We Keep Getting Pounded By The Weather (So I Write)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy weekend. Saturday was my Saturday “on” at work — had to go in there early for a meeting, we had a program, it was busy.

Ran as many errands as possible on Saturday, since another storm was expected on Sunday. Came back home, exhausted.

Sunday, ran a couple of final errands, and then got to work on revisions for INSPIRED INVENTION, the renamed first book of the behind-the-scenes series I’ve been working on sporadically for the past few years.

Also made beef stroganoff for dinner — played with the recipe and liked it.

It snowed again, Sunday night, about three more inches. I was up early Monday shoveling. Then, I attended a reception at the Barnstable Law Library for the 200th anniversary of signing legislation for the law libraries. It was lovely. I met the new head librarian, and re-acquainted myself with the other librarian. People don’t realize how important these law libraries are — not just for lawyers and paralegals doing research on cases, but for regular people to research aspects of the law, and for writers to do background work for pieces. They’re vital to our information accessibility.

Home and more revisions on INSPIRED INVENTION. Managed to get 145 pages total, revised.

Tuesday, made it as far as the post office. The side roads still suck. Came back, worked on revisions, and read through the 500+ pages I have for the series, which has to be broken down into manageable, book-length parts.

Revised up to page 188 of INSPIRED INVENTION. I’m also working on the tracking sheets, to keep things consistent. These chapters, that talk about casting discussion and the casting shuffles, are going to be the most difficult to track. This series is not for people who only like four characters in their stories — this has a huge ensemble and it’s a show-within-a-show, so the actors are also themselves and the character they play. These books break a lot of rules, and I have to stick to my guns about my vision for them. Which is why I haven’t yet submitted them — not just because I believe they need more work to be as entertaining as possible, but because it’s going to take a unique publisher to position them, and I need to make sure I’m positioned in a way to call the shots. There’s no rush; it will happen when it’s the right time.

Watching WEST WING episodes through all of this. Finished Season 5 and started Season 6.

More snow last night — when I went to bed, I was depressed, because about three more inches had fallen. But it turned to rain overnight, so the driveway and the path are fine. Some of the snowbanks in the yard are shrinking a bit.

Some more work on INSPIRED INVENTION. I need to get back to the second draft of the radio play, too, because once that’s done, I’ll have to let it sit for a few weeks, so I can make the necessary cuts with an unjaded eye.

Long day today, and then I have to bake tonight for tomorrow morning’s meeting. Read some books over the weekend — some about the business, getting me back into the right frame of reference for INSPIRED INVENTION, and others, novels, were just disappointing. Not even worth mentioning. I’ve had a run of reading disappointing novels lately; hope that shifts soon. I want to read something very good.

Off to work and back into programming head rather than writing head for a few days. I’m quite weather-weary, and it’s hard to stay optimistic when we keep getting pounded by storms. I keep telling myself that it could be a lot worse, and at least it started in late January, rather than last October. Be grateful for the good portions, right? But everyone is tired, and nerves are frayed.

Hope you’re having a great week.

Devon

Published in: on March 4, 2015 at 10:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Feb. 11, 2015: Writing on Snow Days

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Direct
Snowy and cold

Snowy bunch of days since I last wrote. We’re all suffering from snow fatigue. I keep reminding myself at least it started in late January and not in October.

Mercury goes direct today, thank goodness.

I’m getting a little sick of the so-called DPW Updates, where they say how hard they’re working. You want to know my experience? They’re sure as hell not working on my street. Yes, the plows drive back and forth. Most of the time, the plow is up, not actually plowing — and it’s not like I’m on a through street. The few times the plow deigns to have the blade DOWN, all they do is scrape the surface and shove it into people’s driveways. No sand trucks have gone through since the first blizzard two weeks ago. The rutted snow in the street melts a bit, freezes over at night, melts a bit, freezes over at night. It gets worse every day and is almost impossible on which to drive. There are two more storms coming in the next week. The main roads have been pristine since two days after the blizzard two weeks ago. Come on, people! Actually CLEAR the side streets. And stop piling it in my damn driveway — which, by the way, I’ve repeatedly cleared all the way down to pavement, far more than the plow trucks have done. Enough already!

I see plenty of the “heavy equipment” they talk about driving on the already cleared roads. I haven’t seen ANY of it actually clearing any of the streets that need it.

Saturday’s Courtship Tea was lovely. I’m glad I brought my china cups. It was lots of fun. It was snowing again by the time I got home.

Sunday was outside a gloomy day. Inside, I read, a couple of Ellen Pall’s Nine Muses Mysteries, which were pretty good, set in New York. I started another mystery, by another author, and put it down by page 7 because it was so poorly done.

Finished watching Season 3 of THE WEST WING and started watching STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. Love both shows.

I’ve been listening to Argentine Tango music since Saturday — have it on almost all the time, trying to get it into my body, and been working on some of the steps. Last week, I concentrated on steps and trying to communicate with m partner, but didn’t actually get to feel the music. I prefer to work from music, so I figure if I immerse myself in the music for the next few weeks, that will help me get the steps and communicate with my partner better.

The music is also helping me with ideas for the radio play.

I have to go another pass at one of the TV pilots and send it off next week — that will be interesting. I have to decide which one to submit. I think the pilot for THE BROWNSTONE might work better for this particular venue than TALENT, which is the pilot for the Sparkle & Tarnish series, but I need to re-read both of them and see.

I did a lot of research for the historical play over the past few days, especially since Monday we were pretty much snowed in again and yesterday I only went out to pick up a new prescription for my mother and get some more ice melt). The play itself will only focus on one case in this individual’s life — it’s got a limit of 60 pages, and I can do one episode well or do an overview poorly. I’d rather focus on one episode and do it well. But I’m gathering a wealth of material, and will either do a novel, or I’ll take some of the most interesting incidents in her life and do an historical novel on each.

I’m about ready to really dive in to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE again, and get serious about it. I did a lot of percolating about it the past few days. I can’t find the original outline I wrote for it, so I’m just going to rethink the whole piece. I know the basic themes I’m going to explore, it’s just plot and story points that need modification. They already needed some because the character of Alec sauntered in.

Anyway, I have a long day at the library today, with meetings and the cozy mystery book group. I have to talk to Tango’s organizer — we’re supposed to get slammed again tomorrow night, and we have to decide when to call it tomorrow or go ahead and meet.

I have press releases to write for the library, for NMLC, and for the Writers Center this week. I’d like to finish a draft of the radio play by the end of next weekend.

I scored some terrific equipment that will help me enormously in my research, but I have to drive two hours upstate to pick it up. Obviously, that’s not going to happen for awhile! We’re supposed to get another storm tomorrow, and then another one on Sunday into Monday. Fortunately, Monday is President’s Day, so most people were planning to stay home or to escape. I have a feeling staying home might be in the mix for a lot of us.

The power went out briefly, but only for a couple of minutes, so it wasn’t a big deal. We’ve been very, very lucky so far through all these storms.

I’m rationing the firewood, because pretty much every vendor is completely out of firewood. If the power goes off, I want to make sure I have enough. If it stays on, I can have fires through spring and summer. So it all works out.

Stay safe and warm, all! I’ll have an update on the GDR site either at the end of the week (since the 15th is a Sunday) or next week sometme.

Devon

Fri. Dec. 12, 2014: Preparing for the Weekend

Friday, December 12, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was a solid work day, although I wasn’t feeling well. Managed to land some good people for our upcoming programs. I was up at 5 AM, making deviled eggs, but that’s fine.

Raced home when the library closed, picked up the eggs, platter, and gift for the grab bag, and headed over the bridge to Buzzards Bay. Very little traffic, and the weather cleared up, so I made good time.

Fun seeing everyone and catching up. The food was great. The eggs were gone in about three minutes – it was like the locusts descended! 😉 But in a good way. The gift-giving was “Yankee Swap Style” – something I’d never done before. I wound up with an adorable ceramic turtle tea light, and the gift I contributed also found a good home.

Went home, watched more of DOWNTON ABBEY – I have to say, Season 4 is a disappointment so far.

Tumbled into bed, absolutely exhausted. Had weird dreams – not anxiety dreams, just odd. Overslept by a half hour, but got everything done this morning, including a trip to the post office and a swing by Stop N Shop to get more cups for the library.

I’ll have another busy day here, and then I can GO HOME. I’m exhausted, and fighting something – I suspect it’s a cold, so I’ll dose myself all weekend with my herbal concoctions and get as much rest as possible. I’ve got student work to finish up, my own work to do, and cards to write. Decorating to finish. Baking to begin.

I’m simplifying the baking this year. I just can’t make six different things. I’ll make two, and balance them nicely, present them well, and, hopefully, everyone will be happy.

I do rather feel run over by a bus, so sleeping in for a couple of days, or taking the time to nap in the afternoons is probably all I need to get back on track. Next week will be flat out all week, as will most of the days leading up to Christmas itself. I AM looking forward to the Solstice – got a nice celebration planned.

Have a lovely weekend, all, and I’ll check back next week!

Devon

Published in: on December 12, 2014 at 9:51 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 12, 2014: Preparing for the Weekend  
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Wed. Dec. 3, 2014: Hitting the Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

So the do-nothing obstructionist Republicans in Congress are threatening another government shut down if they don’t get their way? They continue to act like spoiled children, holding their breaths? If they do shut the government down again, the American people should file a class action suit — not against the amorphous “Congress”, but against the INDIVIDUALS who vote to shut it down. Don’t let them hide behind the office. Make them personally accountable. It’s a matter of record who votes for what, available on the government web site.

Busy few days. Friday was hectic at the library — the server was down, which mean everything was done on manual circulation. Time consuming, and we couldn’t process the books from delivery. I spent the entire day on the circulation desk, although I managed to get some memos written and materials done for this morning’s programming meeting. The server came back up at 3 PM, and the volunteer on duty and I processed the entire day’s work AND I entered all the manual circulation, all by the time we closed at 5. I was exhausted. I’m glad we got it all done, but I was exhausted. Especially since the Circulation Director was out sick.

Saturday, I got some writing done, we did errands like grocery shopping, and got the tree into the stand and the lights on, and the Advent table set up. Sunday was the First of Advent, and most of the day was spent decorating, although I got some reading and writing done. And some laundry done.

Monday, more decorating, more writing. In the afternoon, I helped decorate the National Marine Life Center Tree for Spectacle of the Trees at the JFK Museum, which opens later this week. Our tree’s theme is “Joy to the Whales”. It’s part of a big fundraiser in the area, with fourteen local non-profits participating. People buy “tree bucks” and put them in a box at the tree or trees of their choice. 100% of the donations go directly to each charity, and one person wins each tree, all its decorations, and the gifts under the tree (usually around $10K worth of stuff). The creativity that goes into the trees is wonderful.

Monday night I had a Harry Potter dream, which is new for me. Never dreamed anything from the books or movies. I was riding a train and it was attacked by Dementors. I recognized one of them — someone I know who has been actively sabotaging me. Pretty damn straightforward dream, if you ask me. It didn’t offer a solution, but it set out the situation very, very clearly.

Tuesday was supposed to be another decorating day at the museum, but things went awry, so I was basically on hold all day for no good reason. Which was fine, because I wasn’t feeling well anyway. On the other hand, it was a shame, because I’d originally planned to go to Newport, and then cancelled in order to help with the tree. Well, these days happen, and it’s certainly not going to change the course of the universe. Had extension cord kerflamma for the outdoor trees, but finally got it sorted out, and got the blue lights I’m using this year for the outdoor trees and everything all set up. They look pretty. But something that should have taken a half hour took nearly three.

Read JANE AUSTEN AND THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, which I enjoyed. Did a bunch of research that serves both RED WIDOW and the Sparkle & Tarnish series. Got an offer for one of the submissions I sent out last week, and accepted. Will reveal details when the contract is signed.

Tried watching AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. I knew most of the music, but had only seen bits of the movie, never the whole thing at once. I was disappointed. There’s no plot to speak of, and the characters are rude and unlikable. I only saw about half — the DVD not only got stuck, it nearly broke my player. Not happy about that at all. Managed to fix the player.

Which was a good thing, because my mom and I then watched the first season of DOWNTON ABBEY. I’d seen bits and pieces of it through the years, but never paid too much attention, mostly because there was so much fuss over it. I was surprised by how much we both enjoyed it. I like Julian Fellowes’s writing anyway, so it was nice to see the growth of the characters and the plot over an entire season. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of it.

Had a computer glitch with some student work and lost the notes on it — this is the second time it’s happened on this particular piece, which is irritating. And I’ve got other pieces booked, one this week and two next week, so I have to get caught up.

Started reading a mystery set in Greenwich Village in the late 1950s and saw that an old friend of mine from off Broadway days was thanked in the acknowledgements. What fun!

Up early this morning. Got some writing done, but not enough. Frustrated with the slow progress. I’m not getting enough uninterrupted quiet time to percolate. I’m not getting enough uninterrupted time to do ANY of my work, which is frustrating. But, somehow, I will sort it all out.

Didn’t get the overseas cards done this weekend, which puts me behind. They have to go out ASAP, and I have to get started on the baking.

Got a lovely post-Thanksgiving day card signed by the family in Maine who was at the dinner we usually go to and couldn’t this year, because of weather and scheduling. We were missed (which is nice), and they realized just how much work I do on the event when I AM there (which is also nice). I’m usually delirious with exhaustion by the end of it. It was good to have some rest and quiet this year, much as I enjoy seeing everyone and being up in Maine.

The next four days will be very busy for me at work, plus my own writing, student work, and getting ready for the holidays. Fingers crossed.

Have a good week!

Devon

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014: The Good Busy

Friday, October 24, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy, busy times. Wednesday was a busy day at the library, and then I scooched out at 5 to go down to the Conference Center for the CCWC Annual Meeting. We had a great turkey dinner, took care of business. Some good conversations, but far too many people come to these dinners and spend their time making excuses for not writing. I don’t care why you’re not writing, and I’m not interested in the whining. There’s no such thing as “no time to write”. There’s not managing your time and CHOOSING not to write. I want and need to be around people who are actually writing.

Home in a bad storm. My 90 year old mother was already pulling furniture and plants in off the deck. We finished doing that, and then I had to bake. The inside of the house looks like a conservatory at this point.

Then, of course, the damn storm wasn’t anywhere near as bad as predicted.

Up early on Thursday, packed the muffins, in the car and out the door by 7 AM. To Buzzards Bay for a board meeting at NMLC, which was pretty good, and then hurried to the library.

Busy day at the library – finished processing books, got about 60 or 70 out on the shelves and/or out to patrons. Helped a patron find a book he wanted, and introduced him to one of my favorite authors. Introduced another patron to the same author, when she expressed interest in the genre. Helped a college student find materials for a project she had due (the next day, of course) on etymology.

Off to Michael’s to look for foam core, but they no longer have it, so went to Staples and found it instead.

Picked up Chinese food for dinner, and then watched RUBY IN THE SMOKE, my “homework” for Masterpiece Theatre Book and Film Group. Matt Smith – who was the Dr. Who before this one – was in it, and was terrific.

I’m reading a biography of Thackeray that’s very entertaining. Published in 1947, the tone is as arch as some of Thackeray’s work is oddly amusing.

Not enough writing getting done, especially not on THE RED WIDOW. I will make up for it this weekend. I’m behind where I want to be on the diving homework, but I’ll catch up.

Next week will be flat out – Chamber meeting Tuesday evening, all-day conference in Sturbridge on Wednesday, an author event with the charismatic Kevin Symmons at the Stonebridge Club, Pinehills, Plymouth, on Thursday, and Samhain on Friday.

Saturday evening, all day Sunday, all day Monday, and most of Tuesday will be writing days. Tomorrow is my Saturday “on” at the library, and then I have a fundraising workshop in the afternoon.

Busy, busy, fun, fun.

Check in next week! Have a great one, all!

Devon

Wed. Oct. 22, 2014: Writing Immersion and Diving Class

Wednesday, October 22, 2104
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Raining

Busy, busy time.

Friday morning, I was up at 4:30 AM and out the door around 5:45 AM, heading for Woods Hole. I couldn’t quite remember how to get to the Palmer Ave. lot for ferry parking, and, of course, Google Maps, Mapquest, AND GPS on the phone were wrong. Gee, there’s a surprise.

I found it anyway, but sort of remembering where to go when I got there, and made the 7 AM ferry. It was cold and wet outside, so I rode inside, and was able to do my 1K on INITIATE.

I had time, when I reached Vineyard Haven, to have a quick snack – coffee and chocolate croissant at Nat’s Nook, on Main Street. Very good, and it seems like a fun place to hang out. That’s one thing I miss about the area where I live now on Cape – a lack of coffee shops where I can hang out.

Arrived at the library. The workshop was GREAT. We had such fun, and it was very relevant to what I’m doing. I love spending time with the Vineyard Librarians, and I love that Martha’s Vineyard has SIX very distinct libraries, all on one island. I keep threatening to make a day trip and visit all of them!

Lunch at the Black Dog, near the water, burger and a beer. Caught an earlier ferry back than I expected, and it was so beautiful I rode outside the whole way. What a gorgeous day. Hard to come back.

Returned to the library/office for the last couple of hours of the day and tried to catch up. Some books came in that I knew had holds on them, so I went back on Saturday (my Saturday “off”) for about an hour to do processing, etc.

Watched PENNY DREADFUL all weekend. Had really mixed feelings about it. There may be spoilers in here, so read on at your own risk. Loved the production design. Would have been nice if they’d use an occasional key light here and there so we could actually see it. There’s dim lighting for mood effect and then there are scenes that are so poorly lit you can’t tell what’s going on, and this series has too much of the latter. And I started in lighting, and have lit theatre, film, and television, so yes, I know of what I speak. I had problems with the final confrontation with the vampires taking place in a theatre where a different storyline focused. It didn’t make sense, and felt like they’d run out of money for locations. If the vampires had nested in the theatre, the Creature (being not entirely human himself) would have known. And the vampires would have attacked the actors and the audience AND the Creature, so the logic set up in the world didn’t make sense. My biggest problem was, yet again, another male creator depicts negative female sexuality. The lead females were a consumptive whore and a woman possessed when she enjoys sex. Yes, those are common tropes of the era; however, when you’re going to take a genre to new heights, explore it in new ways – I expect better. By the time we got to the madhouse episode, I was irritated – yeah, let’s have an hour-long episode JUST about torturing the lead female character and call it “backstory” and “motivation”. And then the possession episode – right, because if a woman appears strong and in control and then loses control in a passionate encounter and wants/likes sex, she MUST be possessed by a demon. I was outright angry by the end of it. I thought there was a lot of depth and humanity in the other storyline, about Frankenstein and the Creature, but suddenly they have Victor as a morphine addict, several episodes in, without giving us an indication of it before? He wouldn’t be able to think, be as precise or as creative if he was an addict addled by drugs. I thought Harry Treadawell, Rory Kinnear, and Josh Hartnett were all very good. I’m interested in seeing what they do with the next season, but if they continue this negative portrayal of female sexuality (no matter how they pretend to justify it), I’ll stop watching. This is an outdated, overworn cliché that, if you’re going to break new ground with the genre, you have to go beyond “women who enjoy sex are possessed”. I realize that there are plenty of religious fundamentalists who still believe that, but the rest of us have moved beyond it.

The rest of the weekend was about writing INITIATE. Wrote a LOT. Typed up several earlier chapters, because I had to make fixes in a few things that needed to be set up in order for the chapters I’m doing now to work. Didn’t do enough work on RED WIDOW – will have to make up for that this week. I was as surprised as my character when he got unexpectedly seduced by a minor character.

Sent of the writers’ center board minutes on Monday. Spent most of Monday and Tuesday writing. Well, Sunday, too. In fact, I was up until midnight on Monday writing. Tuesday afternoon I had diving class in Onset – learning a lot that will help in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I have homework, which I’m sure will spur more questions. I put on some of the equipment. It’s damn heavy. Good to get my hands on things.

To the library early this morning; have the annual meeting for the Writers Center, and then I have to bake, because tomorrow morning, I have a board meeting at the Marine Life Center.

Never a dull moment, and that’s a good thing.

Devon

Published in: on October 22, 2014 at 9:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles

Friday, October 10, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold

Yesterday was busy. Got in early, processed all the check-ins that couldn’t be handled the previous day due to the computer being down; got the holds and other books processed; hand-entered the manual checkouts into the system. Thank goodness we had volunteers at the desk to handle the patrons coming in and out that day needing check-ins and check-outs, so that I could catch up on the previous afternoon’s system work.

It all got done, and that’s what counts.

Home, tired. Dinner, some reading, worked on a student manuscript.

Watched STILL LIFE, the film version of Louise Penny’s book. Nathaniel Parker played Gamache; Kate Hewlett (whose work I really enjoy) was Clara. One of the biggest delights was Anthony Lemke as Jean-Guy. I knew his work from LOST GIRL – he was terrific in this. I like the character of Jean-Guy in the books, but this was definitely a case of the actor raising it to an even better, deeper level. I hope they film more of the books in the series. I can’t wait to see what he does with Jean-Guy’s journey. I was disappointed that they pushed the character of Myrna aside, and they didn’t start the development of the wonderful relationship between Jean-Guy and Ruth. To me, the odd affection between those two is one of the best cornerstones in the series, and I hope it develops in future films.

Bad dreams last night. Truly disturbing, and when I woke from them, I remembered that they’ve been progressive. I have to stop them before they progress any farther, or I will be in trouble, so that’s on my agenda for tonight.

I have two books and a novella screaming for writing time. I managed to untangle a problem in INITIATE that prevented me from moving forward in the fight sequence. Something that happens post-sequence needs to be set up properly here, and because I’d tried to force one of the characters in a wrong direction, it wasn’t working. But we’re back on track, so that sequence should start flowing. I have to do the opening of RED WIDOW (the novella), because the characters are getting very impatient, and BALTHAZAAR is starting to percolate properly again.

I was going to submit a couple of pieces, and then realized it’s Mercury Retrograde, so there’s no damned point. I will prep them, and then send them when everything goes direct.

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I can write all day on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Wednesday, we have a staff day out in P-town, so, after tomorrow, I won’t be back on line until Thursday, which is great. I LOVE being offline at least half the week. The improvement to my work is tremendous.

I also have to do some yard work any time it’s not raining. Time to put the garden to bed for the winter.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Published in: on October 10, 2014 at 8:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: Character Juggles  
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Fri. Aug. 1, 2014: Lammas, Power, Creativity

Friday, August 1, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day at the library yesterday. My boss had to leave early on a family issue, but we had enough staff to make it all work. The computers and printers are all cattywumpus again, and the new computers aren’t yet in, so I’m still floating around from terminal to terminal to get things done. But they’re getting done, and that’s what counts in the long run.

One of the doors in the library wasn’t properly shut on lock up and the alarm went off. I coded in and called the alarm company, who told me I’d caught it before any damage had been done, but, had the alarm made it all the way to the center, I would need to give a specific word in order for them not to call the police! Of course, I couldn’t remember the word or where to find it, but she said it was fine (since the alarm was stopped by an authorized code before it made it to the call center), and now I knew for next time! Glad the cops didn’t have to come out on a nothing call, and I’ve since hunted down and memorized the proper word. In other words, I didn’t have to call anyone to get bailed out! 😉

Headed to Stop N Shop for some groceries, dropped them off home, off to PetSmart to get cat food and cat litter. Swung by Cape Cod Beer one minute before closing — told them I totally understood if it was too late to get a refill, but they were gracious and lovely, filling my growler with Cape Cod Blonde. I love Cape Cod Beer – they’re so supportive of local organizations like the library and the Marine Life Center. So whenever I can spend some money there or bring people to the place to have them spend money, I do. Then off to Cape Cod Package store, to pick up another bottle of raspberry vodka, and some wine. Cape Cod Package Store is also very supportive of the community.

Home, drinks on the deck, cooked dinner. Updated the websites (Devon Ellington, Hex Breaker, Gwen Finnegan Mysteries, Delectable Digital Delights page on Facebook). That was it. Could not get anything else done. Was completely wiped out. In bed before 9.

Overslept this morning, which meant I didn’t get to bake the traditional cornbread I always do on Lammas morning. Did the morning ritual. The cards that came up are all about fire, creativity, long-term commitments, etc., which is interesting.

Only got 750 words done on INITIATE, which made me cranky. I think this is still part of Chapter one, and these chapters will be closer to 20 pages each than 10. I really want to spend some quality time on this manuscript this weekend, along with knocking out a few more chapters of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I have a lead on someone who can help me with the wreck diving info, which is very exciting.

Came into work to some annoyances, but, ultimately, they’re not my problem or decision, so I just do what I do and stay out of it, trying not to get too frustrated. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the Writers Conference next week — it’s going to be difficult to get into such a public frame of mind when all I want to do is delve down into the books. Somehow, I’ll figure out a way to navigate it.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Fri. July 25, 2014: Trundling Along With Work and Writing

Friday, July 25, 2014
Dark Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day at the library yesterday. Patrons came in waves — sometimes there were a lot of them, sometimes it quieted down. The internet system crashed — gotta love how the anti-net neutrality rulings affects libraries. Thank you, FCC, for selling us out and not doing your job.

We worked a lot on promotions for upcoming programs, and I did a solid bit of work developing the Cozy Mystery group that will start in September. I’ve named it “Muffins, Mittens, and Murder”. I’ll announce the first book early in August, and get that all sorted out. I’ve read several books in preparation, taken extensive notes, and planned the first meeting. I have to work on handouts, once I get a better idea of how many are coming.

I also created web pages for the Book Clubs, so people can keep track of when meetings are and what’s being read when. I hope that will also get more people interested in the clubs and attending the various gatherings. I got a bit of work done on the page for the Nancy Reardon Theatre Collection, and updated my Adult Services page (that sounds fairly naughty, but it’s really not). What I did was congratulate the winners of Thrillerfest.

There was a glass-blowing program for Young Adults, where they got to etch glass — really cool. I pulled some books in connection with that. Set up for Tango, stuff like that.

I’m happy to see that the books from the last order that came in this week went out to readers as soon as they were processed. Makes me feel good, knowing that people are eager to read the books I pick.

Came home, worked on research most of the evening after supper. Coyotes woke me up again, so I overslept, and didn’t get the writing done this morning that I wanted to.

I have A LOT to get done today at the library. I’m borrowing my boss’s computer to work — I might get mine back in about ten days or so.

My registration is through for the conference, and I’ve even been invited to speak at a panel on the conference’s Friday night.

Some characters are swirling around in my brain, but nothing concrete. I wish they’d take a number — I have enough to worry about, without new characters.

Someone’s interested in re-releasing one of the books on my backlist that recently went out of print. I want to make some changes in the manuscript, but I may well submit it early in the fall. Would save me quite a bit of work from commissioning a new cover and researching printers and formatting and all of that. I want to do some more research on how much they promote their authors, however. If they don’t give any promotional support and it’s all on me (again), then I might as well do it all myself and be responsible for all the incoming and outgoing finances, instead of involving a third party. Lots to weigh.

Still trying to figure out if I want to accept a freelance gig. It would have to meet certain criteria, and I have a feeling it won’t.

I need to get a LOT of writing done this weekend, no matter how tired I am or how much lawn needs mowing. I have to just buckle down and do it.

Have a great weekend.

Devon