Thurs. Feb. 2, 2017: The Relief of Release from a Bad Situ

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold
Imbolc

I sent off my letter of withdrawal from the ghost writing project. The author apologized, saying she hadn’t meant to insult me. What did she think the response would be to “imaginary research”? She also seemed to think that I would say all was forgiven and I’d work for her substandard rate that would work out as cents per hour, instead of a fair rate. That would be “no.” So we have officially parted ways. What a relief.

I discussed it with my one of my freelancers’ groups — professionals, not wannabes — and almost every single one of them has stopped working with individual authors for similar reasons: the arrogance and the reluctance to pay a fair rate. They want professional work for nothing. Why? This is a profession, not a hobby.

At this point, I have one long-term author client with whom I’m working to finish a project, and that’s it. Only accepting contracts to work with authors through publishers beyond that. Work that the publisher has contracted, and where I know I’ll get paid fairly and on time. Not worth the hell these unprofessional dilettantes put us through.

Worked on contest entries yesterday and made good progress. Re-read some work on a piece I’d put aside. It’s better than I remembered it.

The Constitutional Law class is a challenge, but a good one. I hope I can keep up! Things are so chaotic in the world, it’s hard to start at the beginning in order to learn the foundation, but it’s so, so important.

Today’s interview was moved to next week. I think I’ll get my hair cut, instead. It’s been months, and it needs it, especially since I’m out and about in the world interviewing and working. I hate getting my hair cut. I find it stressful to sit in the chair during the process. I never know if it’ll come out, and I’m not interested in confiding in the hair dresser.

I’m really tired of Congress selling this country down the river. Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State? Spare me.

Last night, I dreamed I was walking down a crowded street, and someone shoved a leash in my hand and walked away. And that’s how I got a dog named Molly. She was very sweet, a corgi mix. I do want a dog, although I can’t adopt one right now. I wonder what else the dream means? It was very clear.

The cats were both staring at me when I woke up, like they knew.

Hope to get some writing done before I head for the hair dresser, and then, when I get back from the library.

I hate the fact that there’s no collaborative office space available around here. They have it in Boston; they had it in New York; heck, they even had it in White Plains. I expected the Cape to be progressive, but I swear, I often think it’s stuck in 1956.

Today is Imbolc, so I’ve got a celebration and the first planting to do. In spite of the snow on the ground.

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 10:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 2, 2017: The Relief of Release from a Bad Situ  
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Thurs. May 9, 2013: The Damp and Cranky Day

Thursday, May 9, 2013
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Yesterday was quite the experience!

Got some work done in the morning, on the blogs, with students, pitching, etc. Decided I had to get out into the yard before the rain started. Mowed the front, set down some grass seed.

Went downstairs to turn on the garden faucets so I could hook up the hoses. A new turny-thing (yeah, I’m a college graduate, can you tell by the vocabulary?) was put in last fall, when I couldn’t get the water to turn off. Anyway, I turn it on and . . .get soaked. So does a corner of the basement. Water gushing everywhere except out through the spigot into the garden.

I shut it off, called the landlord, called the plumber. Went back out and hauled buckets of water to saturate the new grass seed (felt like a pioneer woman — hey, they had to do this every day without running water), and then replanted the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the kale, and put some kale and lettuce into the veggie bed. Planted some cosmos in about three or four beds, where I thought they’d look pretty.

Also went to war on those icky little bugs. They tried to go after the tomatoes, cucumbers, and sage. I wasn’t having it.

Plumber arrived. Turns out a pipe had split and needed to be replaced. These guys are great — they have everything in the truck. It’s not like in NY, where they don’t show up for a week, shake their heads and talk about ordering a part, and then you’re lucky to ever see them again. This company gets in there and fixes the problem.

And then I had to mop up, set up fans, run the dehumidifier, etc.

I couldn’t go to the Mermaid Ball meeting after all, so I made pizza instead and attacked the revision of CHARISMA KILLINGS. Made some good progress. The pass is about catching errors and inconsistencies, tying plot elements together, making sure I have enough mystery and revelation, and developing subplots.

This morning’s yoga class was great. Stopped at the beach and the library on the way home, and now, I’m attacking my work for a few hours, because I’m going to help a friend in the afternoon. Then, it’ll be back to more revisions. I also finished material for Confidential Job #1 and have to write it up.

To the page!

Devon

Published in: on May 9, 2013 at 9:58 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. March 26, 2012: Home to Trees and Updates and Facebook

Monday, March 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I am home!

So glad!

First of all, I updated my Workshop page, so it actually has relevant information on upcoming workshops. I’d like you to pay special attention to a one-day online seminar I’m doing, called “Dialogue Dilemmas and Solutions”. If you’re just stepping your toe into dialogue, or you want some fresh perspectives, I hope you’ll join us — it’s a bargain at $20 AND you get an ebook of the lectures after. There’s more information here.

For all the complaining I’ve done about 1and1 over the years, I actually landed a couple of techs this time that gave me the help I needed to sort out kinks. It was much appreciated.

The Hex Breaker site has also been updated — check it out when you get a chance. I’ve put the books on a separate page from the short stories, and I think it’s cleaner.

I even (take a deep breath) put up a Facebook page for Annabel Aidan.

Still not sure how it works — I’m having trouble responding to people’s comments and going back to their pages and finding the “like” button or any button that lets me interact and thank them for stopping by. Obviously, I’ve got some learning to do. I will probably put up a page for the Jain Lazarus Adventures, too, at some point.

Worked on HEX BREAKER press stuff, worked on the short story that needs to be ready to go with the relaunch, dealt with student work, did some reading, did the work I was actually paid to do on the site, worked on the novel(s), worked on the new business plan — it was quite the weekend.

Today, I have to interview someone for an article, talk to an editor about another article, get out three proposals, finish a critique for a private student — oh, and 11 trees and 6 bushes showed up while I was away, so girl’s got some plantin’ to do! 😉

My eyes are really bothering me from all the computer work, but, oh well. This is the last week of Sensory Perceptions, and then I have a week before One Story, Many Voices starts, which is good, because the first week of April is where we set up the revision systems for the year-long intensive, and that’s going to be a damn intense week over there. I also start (as a student) a steampunk workshop on the 2nd.

Billy Root’s blog starts on April 1 — which should be a ton of fun, but also some work. I do love writing in his voice, though, so I think that will be a fun way to spread the work about HEX BREAKER.

I’ve also got a handful of short stories to polish and get out the door this week. Busy, busy!

But it’s a good busy.

I’m so happy to be home. I enjoyed my time in CT, but I missed the house, the cats, the yard. The magenta azalea is in bloom, the witch hazel is almost done (and therefore ready to repot), the lilacs are starting to get leaves and buds. The heather is just gorgeous, and soon it will be pansy time!

Meanwhile, I have 11 trees and 6 bushes that need some dirt . . .

Devon

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

There’s a picture of the witch hazel over on Gratitude and Growth. I can’t find one of the huckleberry, so I have to take another one, and put it up next week.

I fixed the lawnmower. My own little self. With some advice from a neighbor, but I did the work. I ran into my neighbor, who’s a professional landscaper. He agreed that this brand totally sucks. He told me that the company used to be fantastic, absolute top-of-the line quality, but the last three years, it’s gone way downhill, for whatever reason. Customer service is awful, and they often don’t stand by their warranties (a check on the consumer affairs website confirmed that). He suggested a few things I could try, because it seems that a lot of these machines are rolling out without some of the adjustments that used to be automatically set, and if I needed him to, he’d take a look at the end of his workday. He used to use this brand for years until last year, when he replaced all his equipment of that brand because he got sick of the company’s b.s. So he gave me a list of tricks and adjustments he developed over the last few years when there were problems and he didn’t have time to fight with customer service. He said I should try one at a time, because the next time something goes wrong, I can try one of the others. And that I was lucky the bolts weren’t falling off (which, according to him, has been happening a lot on several of their products over the last year).

My choices were to pay someone to haul the lawnmower to the service place and back and pay for the adjustment, or learn how to do the adjustment myself.

So I tried the first adjustment, plus a little of “I wonder what would happen if I do THIS” of my own, the mower started right up, and then I was afraid if I let go of the lever that makes it stop, I’d never get it started again, so I did the whole front yard. It did start again, so I did the terraced back, and I’ll do the meadow over the weekend, if the weather holds.

I’d driven over to Wareham to get more buckets and some spray paint, and also gotten a great pair of edging grass shears from Target, so I edged the front beds, too. I pulled some of the big pots to the front (the echinacea and the yarrow), and planted the urn with lobelia seeds. Hopefully, they’ll come up. If not, I’ll get a bunch of annuals & stick ‘em in. I put some poppies in the terraced bed.

That was all I could do. I was worn out. Because even the bits of the property that look flat aren’t, it’s physically difficult for me to maneuver the mower, especially in the back, where there’s a lot of weird slopage going on. It’s not a big mower, but I’m not physically used to it yet, and I have to develop the strength to handle it properly. I’m still missing a lot of the strength I lost during the back injury time. But at least it waits for me, instead of running off without me, so I’ll be grateful for whatever I can. The landscaper neighbor told me that if I hired someone to do this property, they’d have to bring in three guys. Well, it’s all up to me, so I just have to spread the work over three DAYS! 😉

I’ve got three 30 gallon bags of grass clippings just from the day’s mow. Yes, I’m careful to check and empty the bag regularly, so it doesn’t get all clogged. And I clean all the bits and bobs on the list after every usage. But 90 gallons of grass clippings? That’s how big the damn yard is. And I’ve got more than that in the meadow. I wish I knew how much acreage it is. I mean, it’s certainly not farm-sized or huge-huge, but it’s a good-sized lot for the house (thank goodness).

I’m also grateful not to suffer from grass or pollen allergies.

I doubt I’ll ever find my mowing Zen, but as long as I can get it done with minimal damage, I’ll be content. And, I managed to avoid a clump of buttercups and the little rose that’s valiantly trying to survive all on its own.

Before all that, I’d driven over to the next town and wrestled the bookcases into the car. I managed to get three bookcases in two trips. The two big ones are the same size as my big oak bookcases in the writing room(six feet tall, about 2 feet wide), but a darker stain. I was grateful to have one of the bulkhead things that opens out, so I could get them into the basement easily. Of course, I had to drag them all the way around the house to get them to the bulkhead, but they slid well on the grass, they fit, and they’re in much better shape than I expected. The small white bookcase will be repainted blue (hence the trip to Wareham) and eventually go on the deck for plants and stuff I don’t want to keep hauling in and out of the house all the time. It’s not in very good shape, and has lived a lot outside, but a fresh coat of paint will make it fine for what I need. And the whole “free” part worked really well.

Today is the Preakness. This race has grown into my favorite of the three Triple Crown races because at this point, there’s still so much possibility. And the undercard is very good. I’m hoping that Animal Kingdom hits it again, so there’s a shot at a Triple Crown, but I’m going back to Dialed In again and Mucho Macho Man. I’ll probably toss some money on Midnight Interlude because his sire is War Chant, one of my favorites. There’s a horse called Astrology ridden by Mike Smith that I’m looking at, and Dance City is such a gorgeous horse that if he looks good, I might just have to toss a few bucks at him.

Tomorrow, I wind up one workshop, and Monday, I start teaching another.

Oh, and get this: I was working away on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and went back to check on something in a previous chapter, because I couldn’t remember what triggered the event later. Turns out I haven’t written the chapter yet! I have the chapter title, the page number, etc., all saved in a document, when I was rearranging the chapters and adding in those from Rufus’s POV, but I never actually wrote that one chapter. I skipped it to work on other stuff. No wonder what I tried to write now didn’t make ANY sense!

Groan.

Got a nice email from my new editor at Confidential Job #1. So that’s on its way to being sorted out.

I got to use the first thyme from my garden in my cooking last night. What a difference it makes — not just in taste, but in enjoyment of “I grew this.”

Have a great weekend, all!

Devon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The close-up of the heather is for you, Lara!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Tried to catch up on things yesterday — three loads of laundry, getting things straightened up, going through mail, getting stuff sorted with the publisher.

My new, pushed-up release date for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is June 6. Gulp! So I’ve got a lot of promo work to do in the coming weeks. It’s coming out digitally first, with the possibility (if it does well) of a print run 3 or 4 months later. I’ve also been chosen for the publisher’s Author Spotlight for June, so I have to get all that info out today.

According to the calendar, yesterday was a planting day, so I got some repotting done (thing are growing fast) and started two kinds of tomatoes, the echinacea, the yarrow, the soapwort, and the Love-in-a-Mist. I’m looking forward to getting some work done outside towards the end of the week, when it’s supposed to stop raining. It stopped for about ten minutes yesterday afternoon, and people were out mowing their lawns! I thought the grass had to be DRY — my manual is very clear about that.

Not enough writing or reading done yesterday, so I have to make up for that today. Got HEART OF STONE finished, and really liked it, so I’m looking forward to the next one, hOUSE OF CARDS. However, I have 2 1/2 books I have to read before I can start that, all within the next few days.

Caught up with my class. There’s been a lot of good work this month, and I’m glad.

I’ve got to prep for the Preakness this weekend, too. I’m doing a little bit of prep, not much.

I unpacked three more kitchen boxes from the garage, and found some wonderful stuff I forgot I had. Lots of washing and drying and oohing and aaahing. Now, to figure out where to put it!

Not sure where to start with the work today, so I’m just going to pick one thing and get going. There’s a lot of hiring going on in the area, not just the Cape, but in Boston — nearly 6000 jobs in health care alone. And all sorts of other jobs, too. I’ve got to get my proposals finished and out the door, and the brochures redone, too. Strike while the iron is hot, right? There’s a lot of work. I may push a little harder for the next few months so that I really can sit back in August with a clear conscience. Several people are mad at me for taking the month off. “Why can’t you just do X for me?” “Because I’m not available.” “But you can make the time.” “No, I can’t.” I’m tired of going for years without a real vacation because other people are disorganized. Part of this Saturn return lesson — taking a reasonable amount of time off to recharge every year!

Of course, August seems VERY far away right now! 😉

Devon

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011
Dark of the Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

A busy weekend, but, ultimately, a good one. I was out the door early on Saturday morning, for the drive up to Long Pasture Sanctuary. Forty of us gathered to work on the butterfly mosaic trail, which is a network of ten plots geared to please different types of butterflies. It was a great group of people, lots of fun. I learned a lot. Most of them know a lot more about gardening than I do (not too hard) and were happy to teach me.

We finished our plot quickly (weeding and mulching), and then built a mud hole, AKA “imbibing station”, or, as I called it, “The Butterfly Spa”. We dug out a stretch of the loamy soil (cows used to graze there), set a length of special tarp down (left over from the new vernal pool built at Ashumet earlier this week), and covered it in earth. We set a few stones in there, so the butterflies have spots on which to rest. Water will collect, and they’ll have a place to “imbibe.”

Needless to say, we’re all excited to keep visiting all summer to see how things continue to grow and change!

Back home, ate lunch, and then I had to use the lawnmower for the first time. I only managed to cut the front lawn and the terraced section in the back. I still have to do what I’m starting to call “the meadow.” I was simply too exhausted, especially with the weird slopy thing the land does, to do the whole property.

Hopefully, I will develop mowing skills over the summer and start to enjoy it, because right now? Not so much.

Caught up with my students, studied in the evening, but went to bed early. Ran my eye over the galleys again.

On Sunday, we read the papers. The neighbors were all busy in their yards. I felt guilty. Again, no one’s ever been less than lovely, but I feel like I’m constantly behind. But weekends are my busiest time; I don’t have eight hours on ANY day to spend in the yard. I have, tops, two. So, I just do as much as I can.

Yesterday was about going to nurseries for me, though. The pansies have all died in these places — they were left outside unprotected in the series of frosts, and haven’t recovered. So I think I missed the pansy window this year.

However, I bought heather, silver mound artemesia, red salvia, bugleweed, Scotch moss, stonecrop, catmint, and an absolutely gorgeous red Stewarstonian Azalea. Got more soil, a barrel for the heather, etc.

The plants are sitting on the deck, and I’m hardening off the lilac, the iris, and the borage. I had to bring all the small plants in last night, because it went down to almost freezing. And brought them all out this morning.

Spent time with the student work last night, and finished reading the assignment for Confidential Job #1. Must do the write up for it today. Must also send some more information to set up my insurance, and hit the final “send” on the galleys for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. For me, final galleys are the most frightening part of any book production process. My editor helped me strengthen the scenes I’m using in the marketing materials, so I have to update all of those.

I also need to go and pick up mulch, more soil, and another barrel (for the azalea). I’m going to work on the front of the property today, cleaning up a section between my place and one neighbor’s, that’s kind of a mess, do some mulching (which will make everything look neater), and some planting in the front, at one side, and in the back — some of these small plants need to go in.

Just the thought of everything that needs to get done overwhelms me.

The tornadoes in the South are just heartbreaking. I’m doing what I can from here, but everything feels like it’s not enough.

I’m waking up to news that Osama bin Laden is finally dead. I haven’t heard/read the news reports in full yet, but I keep thinking that, especially since I knew so many people who died on 9/11, I should feel more than weary relief, and wonder how bad the retaliation will be. Makes kind of sense that it would happen on Dark of the Moon — bringing closure to many of the 9/11 families.

Devon