Tues. April 10, 2012: Good News to Share!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday, worked flat out all day. Worked with my students on the revision process, got out a requested partial, got out a couple of short stories, worked on some marketing and proposal stuff. Someone who wanted a manuscript by June 1 now wants to take a look at the opening chapters earlier, so I need to figure out how to fit that in. Got some good work done on HEART BINDER in the sprint with students. Did my work in the Steampunk class and started One Story, Many Voices.

Went to use the library’s computer to put in a “tweet this” button on my website for the workshops, but the website won’t hold the code. Typical. Next week, I need to meet with the Mac people and set up time to learn how to pull the materials the web host is holding hostage, so I can get the website move DONE. I should probably wait until some of the Fast & Funs are done, but I think my current host is interfering so much with my ability to earn a living that I should risk the move sooner rather than later.

The great news is that OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus book, was accepted by Solstice. I’ll send back the contract today, and off we go. I need to have the third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, done and out to them early in June.

Family’s coming down in May, and I had to get my Fast & Fun dates sorted for May and June. Looks like those are going to work out, so the pages and registration information will go up soon.

Overslept this morning, but still managed to get to meditation on time. We had a good session and an interesting discussion. Stopped at Nirvana on the way back for coffee and chocolate croissants. A couple very impressed with their own importance was in the place, talking to make sure they were overheard. Nothing they had to say was worth hearing. Geez, the only way I could use characters inspired by them is in a dark comedy, where a boulder falls on them or something after a snippet of their vapid exchange.

I’ve got a busy day stretching in front of me, and a migraine with which to contend. I better get to it — got to take back a stack of books to the Sandwich Library and see what else they’ve got waiting for me! And I’ve got an article to finish up. Plus all the writing.

Fingers crossed that submitted material just keeps hitting the target!

Devon

Don’t forget — Dialogue Dilemmas & Solutions, a one-day online seminar to help you create unique and sparkling dialogue. This is the only time I’ll be teaching a dialogue workshop online this year. Information and sign-up here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011
Waxing Moon
It’s snowing

OK, no one said anything else about more snow. At least not until tomorrow night. It’s not bad at all — just flurries — but a lot of them. I guess I better get my act together and get my errands done early in the day, rather than later.

The cats broke my Green Man plaque while they were playing, and then managed to turn a light switch on with a tail as they raced to get away. They are having fun doing laps around the house, though. It’s nice to see them settling in a bit.

Yesterday was a good day, all the way around. Shoveled the snow (okay, that wasn’t that much fun), headed out to Dennis to the library for the herb seminar. The Google Map directions were useless and I found the place by accident, but I found it and I found it on time, which is what counts.

The seminar was GREAT. It was given by the folks at Great Cape Herbs in Brewster — a store I can’t wait to check out. Some of the information was familiar, but there was also enough that was new to me that I took several pages of notes. Now, I’m going to study and memorize the notes.

I also realized that some of the things I crossed off my garden list need to go back on.

Drove home, my head stuffed so full of great information I thought it would pop off. Stopped for take-out Chinese food on the way. I haven’t had Chinese food since the day before the big move. I’m used to always living close to a Chinatown or an Asian market, and either getting take out or cooking Asian at home. I miss it.

As soon as the cats smelled the Chinese take-out, they both came running. It’s not that they get to eat any of it — but the scent is familiar to them.

Booked the car into the garage in Plymouth on Monday for its “spa day” and caught up on some other calls before I had to head back out again to the library.

The library in my little town is just as cute as can be, and much bigger than it looks from the outside! The owner’s wife met me there, introduced me to the library director (who is lovely), and she got me set up with my library card. Now I feel like I really live here. Everyone was highly amused that I was so excited about getting a library card. I took out three books — one about gardening on Cape Cod, a mystery that looked good, and a biography I’ve wanted to read for at least ten years and never got around to reading.

I’ve also been invited to spend whatever time I can with the horticultural group that does the upkeep on the local parks, etc. They’re perfectly happy to teach me stuff, and I think it would be good training. I need to learn all this stuff, and what better way to learn than by doing?

Ordered some garden pieces that are kind of cool from an interesting store I found online — the pieces are both inexpensive and unusual.

I have to do my quarterly taxes, which will be depressing. Not because I owe that much, but because I was hemorrhaging money last quarter due to the move. But I have to say, I enormously prefer paying quarterly taxes and just adjusting the paperwork in April.

Today is about writing, cleaning the house, and commenting on the exercises due in the workshop. First writing session of the morning did not go well. The piece isn’t flowing, I haven’t quite found the voice of it, but I’m behind on it, and, if it’s going to make the end of February deadline, I need to step up. No excuses; butt in chair, words on page.

Devon

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Waxing Moon
Sunny and Cold

I’m falling into the Cape pattern of being Very Busy all the time. Granted, I get an awful lot done — but I’m still Very Busy.

After catching up with online business, I headed over to Osterville. I put the car title in the safety deposit box and ran into the owner of the hardware store there. I met him back at his store — he got me set up with a year’s worth of filters for the furnace, and we talked lawn mowers. He showed me one that’s the right size, weight, and price for me. It’s a heck of a lot less expensive than anything I’ve seen yet, a reliable brand, and he’ll deliver it. Not only will it cost me less, I get to support a local business. I’m waiting until he gets a few shiny new ones in at the beginning of spring, and we’ll sort out the details. Load off my mind, and I don’t have to try to fit a lawnmower into a Volkswagen. This is one of the great things about living in the area — people remember you and are actually interested in trying to get you what you need, not just part you from your money.

Ran some other errands, spec’d out some large plant pots at good prices (and they’re pretty) and some garden decor at good prices at three different places, so I have options. Picked up cat food, so now it can snow! And some milk for my coffee and my hot cocoa.

Bought some more scratching boards so now there’s one in every room of the house except for the kitchen. They’ve never been furniture scratchers, except they are now scratching the new wingback chairs. No. So I’ve put catnip-scented scratch boards beside each chair, and that seems to be catching their interest when they wander over to be naughty. And, on the times they take that minute to think and make the conscious CHOICE to choose “Scratchy-Scratchy” over the chair, they get a treat.

Iris is coming downstairs to explore on her own like she’s never seen the house before. And she’s got her little panic room set up under my bed, complete with toys, a sock, and an old slipper. Violet is very confident that this is HER house. At least they’re playing now, rushing around the house having fun, instead of hissing at each other. Iris came with me when I opened the living room drapes this morning. She was on a side table beside one of the windows, I pulled the drape — and Imp Dog was out there, paws on the outer sill, looking in! They were both shocked, nearly nose-to-nose, just separated by window glass, yelped and ran as fast as they could in opposite directions. It was hilarious.

Thanks for the tip on the outdoor furniture, by the way. I’ll keep my eye on both KMart and Target — and I’m trolling Craigslist every day, just in case.

Paid the cell phone bill (which I forgot to do while Costume Imp was here). Picked up some things at Border’s — was disappointed when they didn’t have two books about which I’m excited in stock. But picked up a notebook I need for the herbal seminars, et al, and some magazines.

Back home, unloaded, took care of some other business stuff, handled some stuff for my mother in her absence, and started taking down the decorations. I thought I could just pull boxes (since all of them are marked with what’s supposed to go into them), fill them, store them (made room — I have a whole “Christmas closet” in the storage area), pull some more, etc. Of course, that would be too easy, and too organized. I have to rearrange some stuff, so I’ve pulled the boxes into the back bedroom, spread them out, so I can arrange and re-arrange as I pack. And now I also have to find other cloths for some of the tables (digging through the linens bins in storage) and rearrange a few other things — sort of a domino effect.

In other words, I’m not done yet. 😉

Made good progress, but not done yet.

I took down the evergreen wreath, which is only starting to dry out now (not bad, considering I got it right after Thanksgiving) and put up the grapevine snowflake wreath. I have to remove all the evergreens from the wire frame before I can take them to the dump. Now I REALLY need to get that door knocker! I think I’ll get a pineapple one. The gothic knockers are have too dark a vibe, the Victorian ones are too frouffy, and we all know I’m on the Cape — I don’t need a starfish or a seashell or a mermaid — it’s too cutesy for the architecture. A nice, simple pineapple says “welcome” and will still be pretty, provided I keep polishing it.

Won a pretty zodiac tile on eBay for the garden. I’ve got my eye on one or two other pieces, too, but found the same bits at an online store that will give me free shipping, so . . .

The sun melted the snow on almost the entire back yard — good to know, good to grow.

Getting some good groundwork done on the new piece. SHOULD be working on a few other pieces, too, but this one’s pulling at me, and I want to get it sorted out before I go back to anything else. Now that most of the moving and holiday chaos is over, I should be able to spend a good chunk of the day writing and another chunk of the day unpacking and organizing. I need to figure out what sort of structure to give my day, with the flexibility to change as things come up.

One Story, Many Voices is going well. We’ve settled into a nice rhythm, although some students are getting into the pattern of post their previous exercise the day before before the next one is due instead of the day it’s actually due, which means they’re 3-4 days behind.

Booked a lot of work for February and a lot of work for May, most of it in CT, so I’ll be on the road a lot of those two months. Gotta love wireless, laptops, and the fact that I stacked up on so many books in Niantic — I’ll have plenty to read. I’m worried about leaving the garden in May, but I’ll leave careful instructions.

Deadheaded the indoor roses this morning, watered the plants that needed it. About to settle in for some quality writing time before I start commenting on the exercises due today.

Later this morning, I’m taking the garbage and recycling to the dump, so it’s all out of here before the storm.

I’m drinking soda. I have left over soda from the party, and I’m drinking the bottles that are open. The closed ones I can leave in the garage until whenever. I don’t have a moral position on soda or anything — I just rarely have it in the house, so I rarely drink it. And I kind of love those Shirley Temples . .

We’re set to have quite the storm. Hopefully, it won’t interfere with the live chat I’m doing for Savvy Authors tomorrow night. Depending upon which forecast you listen to, we’re getting anywhere from 7-20 inches overnight and well into tomorrow. We’ll see.

Back to the page.

Devon

Saturday, January 1, 2011 — Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and mild

First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope this year brings us all an abundance of health, joy, and the stamina to make our dreams come true.

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog so you can see how I’ve retooled my wishes for the coming year. And hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to read my “Wish for the Garden.”

I’ve put together my To-Do list for January (daily to-do lists get in my way, but a monthly helps keep me on track). In addition to all the short turnaround, quick-pay jobs to make sure I stay on top of bills, and waiting to hear from my editor so I can actually do the edits on the book that’s slated for July release and all the new ideas that are pulling at me, I want to finish stuff and get it out.

I have way too much of a back log. Some of it is work that’s finished, polished, and is either waiting to go out, or came back and needs another look before it heads out again. I have one novel out on the submission process (it should be a lot more than that). I have a series that needs to change publishers, which means retooling that and rethinking the overall arc of the series. I have to make sure the second book is ready to go when the first book launches for a particular publisher, and I’ve only done a single chapter (I’d hoped to have a whole draft done by today). I have a great opportunity to do a YA book for a contest, provided I set it in one of my favorite places in the world, and I don’t want to drop the ball on that.

And then there’s ANGEL HUNT. It started as a series several years ago, evolved into a novel when the publisher went belly up, and I did some major reworking over the last two years. It moved from occult to paranormal to urban fantasy. The problem is that, when I work on it, I’m completely consumed and obsessed by it, and nothing else gets done. What I have to do is carve out that patch of time so I can obsess about it, finish the new ending, rewrite the query, and start getting it out there. I think about it constantly, but I haven’t done any actual physical work on it in months.

That has to change.

Because I’m so obsessed with it, there’s an element of fear involved in actually getting it finished and out the door. Not because I’m worried about rejection — either it gets rejected or it doesn’t, until I find the match, big whoop — but because I don’t want to let go of it and not obsess about it anymore.

I know, it doesn’t make any sense, but there are times when a writer’s psyche doesn’t make sense.

What I need to do with this book is get out of my own way, give it the finish it deserves, and get it out the door so it can live its life.

I know what I have to do; now it’s just about the doing.

The owner stopped by to give me a choice of fire extinguishers. He wants to make sure we have no more emergencies and is trying to think of every possibility. I actually have a pair of extinguishers I brought up in the move, but I don’t know if they’re still good — might be too old.

Repairman showed up and put in the new hose. In and out in ten minutes. Fingers crossed it actually works!

Still getting the annoying texts. Verizon is bound and determined to extort more money out of me. Guess it’s time to file a formal complaint. And now I start billing both Verizon and the point of origin of the annoying texts. Although, I tried a little something-something and managed to get a confirmation that the texts would stop. So far, so good. No thanks to Verizon!

Off to Harwich for the rocking chair. I got lost — because the owner gave me the wrong directions. I kind of don’t understand how you don’t know where you’ve lived for 30 years, but whatever; he realized it, we connected, he gave me directions to a Dunkin Donuts, from where I followed him to the house. It’s a lovely house overlooking a lake with two lovely rescued dachshunds. Of course, I had to play with them for awhile.

The rocking chair is gorgeous, the proper money changed hands, it fit into the VW, and off I came home, stopping on the way to pick up a few things at the store.

Once I got the chair situated, I did my hair, scrubbed the bathrooms, washed the floors, and vacuumed the whole house. Can’t go into a New Year with last year’s dirt on any level, now can we?

Got up some of the first lectures for both workshops — I’m doing some rewriting on the Plum ones, so the first of those will go up later today, although the Welcome is up.

Cooked salmon fillets in a cumin glaze for supper, played with the cats, enjoyed seeing out the old year quietly with a glass of champagne. Just before midnight, opened the back door to let the old year out; just after the midnight toast, opened the front door to welcome to the New Year, and, much to my surprised, get first-footed! Don’t know who the lovely dark-haired gentleman was, but it was much appreciated.

Times Square looked like an even worse zoo than usual, and I was glad to be away from New York. The celebration in Boston looked like a ton of fun, though — lots of creative performances by people and local groups, kinetic artwork and ice sculpture, not just bringing in a bunch of wanna-be and/or washed up pop stars like they do now in Times Square.

Well, it was quiet until the drunken dumbasses around the corner set off fireworks next to their garage, which is directly opposite my front window and doors. They weren’t the pretty kind that do anything — basically, it was just canisters of blasting powder that made a big noise. The first time it went off, I thought one of the houses on the street had exploded. But it was just the drunken jerks. I may not have kept up my pyro license from my special effects days, but at least I’m properly trained. They keep machinery filled with gasoline and cans of gas in that garage — how stupid do you have to be to set off explosives next to it? The ground is all black over there this morning.

It was nearly 2 AM before the bayberry candle “burned to the sprocket” for prosperity in the year –even though I’d started it at 4 PM! We were at the point where I sat on the couch with Iris on one side and Violet on the other and just stared at it, willing it to burn down!

Up early, great yoga and meditation session, lovely Greeting-the-Dawn New Year’s Day ritual, good first writing session. How goeth the writing goeth the year, and I don’t like to take New Year’s Day off from writing, although I sometimes take off other holidays.

Packed to drive my mom to CT and then pick up Costume Imp. Still not organized enough for the party, but that’ll happen.

The Christmas Cactus is in full bloom. When I bought it, I thought the blossoms would white, but they’re actually a very pale pink.

Will watch the Tournament of Roses parade this morning, cook a lot, eat a lot, play with the cats, do some more last minute tidying up for Costume Imp’s visit, polish the Plum lectures one final time.

And the New Year starts!

Happy New Year, all!

Devon

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy weekend, but first of all, hop on over to the Savvy Authors’ Blog and read my piece on “Character, not Caricature”.

I hope you sign up for the deconstruction workshop on Stephanie Plum in January, the One Story, Many Voices workshop in January, and then, from mid-April to Mid-May, the Setting as Character Workshop. The latter two have limited enrollment, because of the intensity of assignments. The Plum workshop can fit in as many as want to take it.

The weekend — Saturday was busy. The breakfast at the National Marine Life Center was a lot of fun, I met a lot of great people, and the progress they’ve made in the past real is truly wonderful! They’re doing an amazing job, and once the center is complete and fully functional, it will make a huge positive difference in marine wildlife around here. They’re up for a $250,000 Pepsi Challenge grant, so if you could vote for them as often as possible (you can only vote once a day, but you can vote every day in the calendar month), it would help them get the grant and hook up the next part of the facility.

Came back, did some unpacking in the afternoon. It seems no matter how much I unpack, there’s no change, and it gets discouraging.

Decided, on Friday night, that I didn’t like where my bed was situated, behind the door. I started to feel claustrophobic. However, my head is in the North, (northeast, actually) which is the best way for me to sleep. But I moved it to the opposite site of the room, so my head is northwest now. The cats like it better, the room feels overall better, but I didn’t sleep well on Friday night into Saturday at all.

Read the papers Sunday morning, then planned to spend a couple of hours working on my room, which turned out to be the bulk of the day. Of course, a lot of it was spent rearranging the closets, so you can’t really see much impact on the room itself. However, I couldn’t unpack boxes in my room until I took out and unpacked the boxes in my closet which didn’t belong in the closet, but were stashed in there because I was afraid they’d go astray during the moving process.

Also managed to get a few loads of laundry done.

Got dressed up, went to the neighbor’s open house across the street. The little Westie no longer lives there — had to go to another home because of separation anxiety, poor thing! The Scottie is still there, and very cute. Met a bunch of the neighbors, who are all very nice, and each has their own unique qualities. They seemed relieved when I said we planned to be here for at least two years — I wonder if other renters moved in and out quickly? Anyway, I met the two women who live in the house on the corner, with the absolutely amazing yard, and they are happy to give me advice come summer. They also recommended a vet, and there’s a no-kill shelter close by they work with, and I may get my next cat there instead of the other shelter. We’ll see — it’ll be at least mid-January, to give these two a chance to settle in more, and for me to put away the decorations. New cat + many decorations is just an accident waiting to happen.

There’s a serial arsonist on the loose in the area. He (assuming it’s male) seems to be targeting people he thinks are rich, so we should be okay. This house is really cute, sweet, and loved, but it’s hardly a McMansion or in the throes of a multi-million dollar renovation. Still, it’s disturbing — a house in Sandwich was torched, a house in Barnstable was torched, and, last night, a lovely historic inn in Yarmouth that just went under renovation. I’ll have to be vigilant and set up some extra protections.

There’s an enormous black something sitting on the shed at the far end of the yard across the street. It’s much too big to be a cat (unless it’s like, a panther, and I doubt there’s be a panther sitting on someone’s shed washing its face), so I’m assuming it’s yet another Very Large Dog. It’s too far for me to see, but whatever it is, it’s calm and feels it’s on its home turf.

No one knows who owns Imp-dog. I told them my sense is he sneaks out without his owner’s knowledge. I’m hoping I can get close enough, eventually, to read his tags.

They told me, however, who’s most likely to be tossing the beer cans on the lawn. It seems there are some renters around the corner who think, because they’re renting, it doesn’t matter what they do in the neighborhood. They give renters a bad name.

Bad storm last night, but I slept better anyway, and the basement remains dry, so that’s good. The house definitely passed the “squishy test.”

Weird dreams last night (head in the West), but they might turn into an interesting story.

I want to spend some time on the page before I go back to the Search for an Ethical Insurance Broker so I can get these plates switched out and be in compliance with the law. In addition to just being angry at Allstate for not knowing the regulations in the state and not caring to find out, I have no confidence that, if, heaven forbid, anything happened, they would make good on the policy. Yes, they have in the past, but we had an individual dealing with it, not an outsourced 800 number where the person on the other end has no reason to care. (An Allstate commercial came on last night when we were watching TV and we started yelling at it).

Had a lovely conversation with someone for whom I worked who booked me for a week in February and another week in May. That will be fun. There will be some organization necessary on the cat front here, but we’ll figure it out, and it’s one of my favorite gigs, so I’m happy they still want me.

Also got a call from the family in Maine –we’re going to nip up for the big Christmas Day dinner. We’ve never been able to spend Christmas with them, because of distance and I was usually working on either Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both, depending upon the show schedule. We do our big celebration on Christmas Eve anyway, and then just stockings on Christmas Day morning. We’ll nip up for the meal and come back the same day.

And the neighbors are all good about keeping an eye on each other’s houses without getting into each other’s business, so we just tell each other our schedules and keep an eye out. A utility truck and a jumpsuit do not credentials make! Not in this neighborhood! 😉

Watched Carrie Fisher’s WISHFUL DRINKING on HBO last night. It’s well done, very well done, in fact, but more bitter than I expected.

Off I go. Maybe I can get some of the kitchen boxes in the garage unpacked today, so that I have everything I need for the party. And I have to finish writing cards and packing gifts. I kind of got stuck mid-N.

Devon