Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Scheduled to post

Roller coaster of a weekend. Packed Saturday morning, went over to the site job for a few hours, came back, packed some more, was in absolute despair by the time I left, wondering how it will all get done. We’re at the point where it’s the weird-sized stuff, that doesn’t really fit into boxes, but the movers don’t want bags, they want BOXES, and large boxes are damn expensive. So it’s sorting what we take in the last carload today and what we can leave for the movers. I feel like I should put a sticker on the car staying “Weird shit” – only, I don’t put stickers on my car.

Went back to the site job, finished the assignment for Confidential Job #1, and also read Yasmine Galenorn’s HARVEST HUNTING. Loved it. Delilah is my favorite of the three Otherworld sisters anyway, and she just grows and learns so much in this book. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Plus, it was nice to read something just because I wanted to.

To bed early, lots of weird dreams, mostly involving actors (which means they must be anxiety dreams about leaving the NY area and Broadway). Up early Sunday, got some writing done (which felt GREAT, I miss my daily writing). After breakfast, headed back to the apartment.

Finished pulling stuff off the PC, was ready to pull the hard drive and dump the PC, then realized I don’t know what the hard drive looks like. So that had to wait. Packed some more, in absolute despair. Bought a bunch more boxes, mailed some stuff, returned library books, announced to the neighbors and a few local friends who know my neighbors that I’m leaving. We’ll see how that goes over. Can’t say as I care all that much — my friends are happy for me, and those who aren’t — I don’t have to deal with them any more.

Back to the site job. Looked up what the hard drive looked like, so I could pull it when I got home. Took care of some other stuff online.

I’m so sad to be leaving this job. It’s one of the few things I will miss.

Worked on the write up for Confidential Job #1 and emailed it when I got back.

Had to go back to the site because I left my cell phone there. Freudian slip much?

Returned a key to another job. Picked up my mom and returned a key to yet another job.

Packed some more when I got home. Cleaned the oven. Played with the cats, who are beside themselves with stress. Stacked the stuff that somehow HAS to get squished into the car today.

Eddie McClintock’s tweets on the Jets/Browns game were so hilarious I got distracted from my packing. Better than the game! Always nice to know that an actor whose work you admire is also funny and smart without a script!

Pulled the hard drive and dumped the old PC. I am now officially PC-free and totally Mac-converted. As my friend Barb says, “I am of the Cult of Mac, and it is good.”

Up to the house early this morning, with the last carload of stuff before the Carload of Cats. Errands, raking, and I bet I’ll be in bed very early. Everything hurts. I can’t wait to take a long, hot soak in Epsom salts on Friday night, with a great glass of wine, some scented candles, and Valerian root before bedtime. Because I”m taking waaaaay too many over-the-counter painkillers, and, in just two weeks, I’ve built up a tolerance. So, after Friday — no more for a few months — just massage, yoga, and my special stress-release bath salts.

Three days, people. Three days.

Devon

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and COLD

Happy Chinese New Year (yesterday). We are now in the Year of the Tiger, and I am a tiger, so watch out!

Got out my deadlined piece by 3:30 on Friday afternoon. I was at a location with a great wireless connection. Even managed to pitch two jobs. Got a response from one almost immediately, and it’s a case where I tripped over my naivete and stubbed my soul. The fact that this ad circulates regularly should have tipped me off. When I got more details — let’s just say it would blow the credibility I’ve built in my review work, and I’ve refused it. I was very diplomatic (hey, I’ve got a learning curve), but firm in the refusal.

Got settled in to the site job, where I don’t have a wireless connection, and have to use their PC — which is fine, it’s just I’m totally spoiled now by the versatility of Mac. So I only use the PC if I have to go online,and I limit my online time — hop on to check messages and that’s about it. The PC is just very unwieldy and difficult for me compared to my Mac. How did I ever get anything done before the switch?

Technically, I had the Olympics on, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about the opening ceremonies. I was putting in the changes to the early chapters of ANGEL HUNT, comparing draft lengths and contents. It was technical work — I’d done the creative work — so I could have the TV on, but I might as well not have. I think I looked up once in four hours. In spite of all the major cuts I’ve made, I also wrote new chunks for the direction the piece took away from its serial plotlines. So I haven’t really cut that much. Re-reading some of the edits, I feel that I take awhile to get to the meat of the scene in some respect, and, in the next pass, I’ll have to strip each scene to its essence. As I worked on the climactic sequence (my first draft of that section), I realized that there’s a huge throughline I’ve ignored and will have to weave in — which means I’ll have to go back and create new sections — which also means cutting even more.

I want the book textured. I do not want it unwieldy.

I spent Saturday working on ANGEL HUNT. The first third of the book is in good shape now, although, in the next draft, I’m still going to go back and make cuts. They will be mostly internal cuts within the scenes — I think there are still a few places where they take too long to get to the point. While, in the original vision, one of the themes was Lianna taking awhile to catch on to certain things and wrestling with her values, there’s way to much going on now for us to see every moment of that struggle. We only need the highlights and lowlights, so to speak,and then we need to keep driving forward. There are sections where it bogs down, and I need to express the same information and emotion, but more succinctly.

I gutted most of Chapters Ten and Eleven, which bridge the first section into the second section, but I think they need more work. In the serial, the scenes in that section raised more questions. In the book, they need to provide revelations. Different formats, which is why adaptation is a challenge.

The second section of the book is pretty tight, and there was only room for some internal cuts. I need to make a few more, but it holds together pretty well. Gaston takes his place of importance, the relationship with Lachlan takes the unexpected turn, Zeke becomes both antagonist and addiction. I remember when I first wrote that pivotal Lianna-Lachlan scene — I was so surprised. I never saw it coming before the scene rolled onto the page, and there are editors who will have fits about it. But it’s integral to the characters and story. And the scenes between them are damned good, if I say so myself! 😉 (My crit partner agrees, although the big scene with Zeke in the climactic sequence is the favorite — my partner said it took a good 30 minutes to recover from that one, in the best possible way, so I figure I’m doing something right).

I also discovered why I’ve struggled with the climactic sequence moving forward. I was untrue to one of the antagonists — my choices for his choices in these scenes made him weak and cliched. I figured out how to fix it, which means pushing back the Lianna-Zeke scene by about ten or fifteen pages, but the payoff is worth it.

It also means I’ll have to find material to cut earlier in the book to make room for this sequence. But every other possibility I’ve explored for this antagonist winds up unfulfilling and leaving too many loose ends. I have to stay true to ALL the characters, not just my main and/or favorite ones!

I’m also frustrated because the rights reversion for the first two Jain Lazarus books are taking longer than they should, because the former publisher can’t be bothered to supply the correct legal paperwork. It makes the whole situation uglier, and necessitates me filing breach of contract documentation (I think, at last count, my lawyer and I counted 18 actual breaches), but I can’t offer the books to anyone for reprint rights without proper reversion documentation. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes it harder to move forward with the series. And it hurts the momentum for CRAVE THE HUNT, although I have a publisher who’s interested in taking a look at it, once the damn thing is finished.

On the Olympic front, I was saddened by the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the luge athlete, and angered by the way the Olympic Committee was quick to blame the athlete and act like it was more of an inconvenience than anything else. It could have been handled with much more class. I thought Sven Kramer, from the Netherlands, was poetry in motion in long-track speed skating, and was delighted by Apolo Anton Ohno’s silver in the 1500m short track speed skating — I’ve been watching his work since his first Olympics. It’s been wonderful to watch him grow into himself as a person and an athlete. JR Celski’s bronze was pretty great, too. I’m disappointed that they didn’t show the Canadian women’s hockey, which started on Saturday night. Had it worked out for me to attend the games (as in the publications with whom I’d negotiated not gone under), I’d have covered Women’s Hockey and Men’s Hockey, with forays when I could over to snowboarding (which may have been too far away) and speed skating. I enjoy the alpine ski events, too, but they were too far from the rest of the events for me to cover; at least I can watch some of it on TV. The lack of coverage of women’s hockey, in general, frustrates me, which is why I’d so hoped to get to attend and cover these games with a lot of focus on women’s hockey.

At least they showed the USA Women’s Hockey on Sunday afternoon, in their 12-1 victory over China. I felt sorry for the Chinese goalie — she was out there without help, and she did a damn good job.

I also got to see Nordic Combined, one of my favorite events — and kudos to Johnny Spillane for making that beautiful move near the end to get silver.

I wish they’d cover more of the international athletes. I’d like to see an interview with someone like the Italian Nordic Combined athlete Guiseppe Michelli. They mention the names, but, I remember when I watched the Olympics growing up, the broadcasters actually covered the games, not just the US athletes. And would the commentators shut up and let us enjoy the sport, already? The way they drone on about nothing all the time gets really annoying. I want to see the beauty of each sport and get to know the individuals behind them.

By Sunday afternoon, I was really tired and needed a break from Lianna, Zeke, Lachlan, et al. I considered going back to Eddie, but he’s sulking because I’m not giving in and making things easy for him, and I don’t have the patience to deal with him right now.

I was edgy and restless, lots of wandering and muttering. I worked on the essay that’s due today. I want to keep it around 800 words, but I’ve had to write about 3500 to find the right 800. I’ll finish, polish, and send that out today.

It kind of felt like I was waking up after an illness, with the past couple of — I don’t even know if it’s been days or weeks — focused on ANGEL HUNT and REDEMPTION KILL.

Then, there was the Cat Sitter Trauma. I went back home unexpectedly on Saturday to drop off some stuff I finished and didn’t want to have to haul back with me on Sunday. It was obvious the cat sitter hadn’t been there — the apartment was trashed, the food bowls empty, and the litter boxes hadn’t been cleaned. There were no calls from her, and she didn’t answer her cell. I was worried –at first. I fed them, cleaned up, left extra dry food in the self-feeder just in case. When I got back Sunday, it was still obvious she had never been there. Finally, I get a message on Sunday night, “Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t there this weekend. My boyfriend and I are going through a rough patch; he surprised me with a trip for Valentine’s day to work things out and I went. I hope it wasn’t a problem.”

Um, YES, it was a problem, especially since she didn’t call. I understand that stuff comes up and sometimes one has to cancel, although, in my Lexicon of Responsibility, her excuse doesn’t cut it. A fight with the boyfriend doesn’t constitute “family emergency.” But whether I agree with the why or not, at least call and tell me, so I can make other arrangements. Not showing up is unacceptable — both for the worry caused and for the fact that there were three little beings who needed care. Fortunately, they were cats, not dogs, and have litter boxes and have self-feeders and waterers. But it’s still not acceptable.

I just called back and left a message on her cell saying,” Yes, it is a problem” and cancelling her for the next two weekends. I’ve already made other arrangements.

I was fortunate enough to wind up the gig mid-afternoon on Sunday, which meant I could go back early enough to put the apartment back to rights and also enjoy a nice, romantic Valentine’s evening. All good.

Eddie and I made up this morning, and I’m spending some time in his world today, and finishing the essay for my publisher. It will go up on that site on Thursday — I’ll make sure to post the link before I take off again. I’m unpacked and repacked for this coming weekend’s gig, and I have to go to Costco to pick up some stuff before the next snowstorm hits tonight.

Then, it’s back to the page, the essay and Eddie’s world. I’ll give myself a break on ANGEL HUNT until tomorrow or Wednesday, and then tackle the climactic sequence of the book.

Devon

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Dreary and cool

Stop by Diane Parkin’s blog today and read her interview with me (“The Evolution of Dixie and Jenny”), and visit Hywela Lyn’s blog for another stop on the DIXIE DUST tour!

Thanks to both of you for being such lovely and gracious hosts.

There was so much hail in New Jersey yesterday that people were out (in their shorts) with snow shovels!

For some reason, I couldn’t shake off my fatigue and lethargy yesterday. I scanned the job boards. There was some good material, but it was site work, and too far away for me. Still, it was nice to see a better quality of work up there.

Worked on the DIXIE DUST postcard mailing. The first list is almost complete and ready. As soon as I’ve got the second wave compiled, that should go out in a week or so.

Designed the postcard for Fearless Ink. It’s a first wave post-card, going out as part of a mass-mailing, different than the targeted list with the brochure. I also have to design a second card, that’s the follow-up card to the targeted mailing. I need to find scored, colored postcard stock. Any ideas? All the colored stock I’ve found is unscored. Me with a paper cutter and three curious cats? Now that’s an accident waiting to happen. I’d rather used scored cards.

Struggled with the write up for Confidential Job #1. I know what I want to say, but I’m not saying it well.

Worked on client projects, but it was slower going than I expected, and not because of the projects, but because my brain felt unfocused, so eventually I put it aside. My clients deserve SHARP focus.

I’m getting caught up on my filing and excavating my desk. Once the PC is done, I’ll have a desk back so I can work — right now, I use the Macbok on the part of the desk that used to house the PC keyboard, while the old monitor dominates the desk. I think I’ll put the monitor up on Freecycle eventually, with a bunch of other things, remove the hard drive, and then take the tower to the next county electronics recycling day. My old PC in storage also needs to go. Now that I know HOW to remove a hard drive, it’s not such a big deal. Plus, since I won’t need the damned thing once the transfer is complete, I don’t have to stress about screwing something up.

Pulled off a bunch more stuff from the PC, converted short stories from floppies, etc. The PC crashed every 6 or 7 minutes and took approx. 18-22 minutes to reboot. I HATE it. I can’t wait to be done with Dell for good. What a piece of crap. Not to mention that the older Microsoft programs can’t even be read by the newer ones. If I thought about all the lost time and productivity over the past years, because I never bit the bullet and got a Mac before this year, I could just kill myself. It’s amazing I ever managed to get ANYTHING out to a publisher or an editor.

By 3:30, I was feeling pretty lousy, and cancelled out of that evening’s workshop. It’ll come around again in a month or so, so I haven’t lost my opportunity forever. I had a quiet night, eating lots of vegetables, drinking juice, going to bed early. I feel a little better this morning, but still not all that sharp. I figure if I don’t push too hard for the next few days, I should get my feet back under me and be fine. Everything really starts to accelerate next week, so slowing down a bit this week and building up my reserves makes sense.

I have a big grocery shopping trip today (possibly to Trader Joe’s as well as to the usual store. I’m trying some great recipes this week, and I’m very excited.

I plan to clear some client projects off my desk this afternoon, and then spend a few days this week focused primarily on my fiction.

I worry that I’m spending so much time on re-organization and admin and workshops and all that, but, if I do it now, and reconfigure my workspace and my files and everything, it will streamline the rest of the year and help me be more productive.

Oh, and Chase Bank gets yet another Middle Finger Award. Yeah, like that’s a surprise.

Anyway, I better get going. I want to get a lot done early in the day and then rest. in spite of feeling under the weather last night, I pushed through my workout, and, once I was done, I was glad I did. During it, I wasn’t so sure, but it was the right choice.

Before I go to DC next week, I’m going to upload all the photos on the camera so far to the computer, just in case something goes wonky through one of the security areas. i fI lose the photos from the day, I’ll be sad, but I’ll deal. But if I lose everything I’ve put on the card so far, I’ll be very upset. So I’ll back it up first.

I’m going to Target in the next week or so. I need more bins, and, as I finish with the boxes of floppies, I’ll stash them in a bin and take them to storage. More room for the stuff I actually use! There’s going to be a lot of cleaning out of things over the next few months!

The fix Canon sent me for the little printer worked, and I printed out what I have of CRAVE THE HUNT, the Billy Root piece, so I can get back to it this week. I hadn’t realized how much I’d written. This will be the biggest book of the series so far. It’s kind of a turning point for several characters, so it makes sense.

Back to the page.

Devon

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and HOT!

It’s supposed to be 90 degrees today. Ick!

So, yesterday I had the best day because I only worked on the Mac. Today, I had to turn on the PC, and it was a nightmare. Two hours to boot up, three computer crashes and two keyboard failures all before 9 AM. I can’t wait until I’ve pulled everything I need off that hunk of junk and only work on the Mac.

Yesterday morning, what usually takes me two hours to accomplish took a mere 40 minutes — because I’m on a computer that actually works. Today, I’m back in nightmare land (I’m typing this on the Mac on my lap while waiting for the PC to pretend to boot up for the fourth time now).

I went back to the Apple store to invest in Office. I have to be able to work in Word, both on some of my own stuff and on material that’s sent for editing. It was worth the price. I also got questions answered about some stuff I need the programs to do, and I knew the computer has the ability, but don’t know how to ask it to do it. Some of the questions the techs didn’t know, either, so at one point, I had three techs with me and we figured it out. It was like going on a technological treasure hunt together. It was fun.

Popped over to Target to pick up a few things. Headed to Costco. Got a card and brought back my first haul. It was all stuff we use all the time. I sat down and compared expenses. I want to make sure it’s actually worth the price, and I also want to make sure I don’t buy stuff just because it’s there. So far, on my first day, I saved $117, including the price of the card. Not bad.

My only indulgence as a case of Izze water (I love Izze water and it’s hard to find around here) and an enormous lemon blueberry coffee cake.

Today, I have to catch up on practicalities, run a few more errands, and get some writing done. I had a great writing session this morning though.

It will be a nightmare, pulling everything off the old computer and moving all the floppy files to flash drives. In the end, it will be worth it, but every time I have to turn on the old computer, I should probably take a tranquilizer.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on April 26, 2009 at 8:05 am  Comments (2)  
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