Tues. Aug. 27, 2013: Workday

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Waning Moon
Rainy and warm

I had a good workday yesterday. I got a lot of admin done, did a wrap-up document for the Mermaid Ball, got permission to post the Casting Notice for NMLC productions, got out two conference proposals for next spring, resigned from the Centerville Beautification Committee, and un-enrolled from two Coursera courses. They’re good courses, but I’m not putting in the time to do well and enjoy them, so they had to go. It’s not fair to anyone to sit in a class and not fully participate. I don’t allow it in my classes; I won’t disrespect someone else’s class by doing the same thing.

I got some character work done on the book-specific characters for the next book in the mystery series, and some plot and character work done on another piece, while also working out some plot details for the comic ghost story.

Worked with students. I’ve accepted a new year-long student starting in January — I’m excited about her potential. After all the rejections I’ve sent out in the past few weeks, and the arguments from students who don’t want to do the work and can’t be bothered to follow application instructions, it’s great to find someone with whom I’m excited to be working.

Worked on grant proposal stuff for the next NMLC play. I’m putting together those figures at the same time I’m getting the re-casting sorted out for the re-mounting of the play, because grant and play all happen the same week, and I want the grant out the door before things get too crazy with rehearsals.

Read in the afternoon a bit, both for fun and for Confidential Job #1.

Unwrapped the chair decorations from the Mermaid Ball. I have to iron all the navy blue satin sashes today and roll them, but I want to bring everything back tomorrow.

Up at 4 AM because Violet was howling; it was raining, so I put out the buckets to catch rainwater for the garden.

I want to get some work done on articles due next week, and clear off some work for Confidential Job #1 this week, so I can invoice by the end of the week.

Need to do some work on the fantasy novel and the shorter pieces.

To work!



Mon. Aug. 26, 2013: Stressful weekend

Monday, August 26, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cool

Quite a weekend. I left early on Friday morning to drive to CT. Obviously, not early enough, because I was stuck in traffic for the entire length of the state of CT. What a nightmare. And there was no good reason for it, other than most of the people driving were idiots. It’s a highWAY, not a highSTAND, so keep moving and stay off your frigging cell phones, because you’re not smart enough to talk and drive at the same time!

I was an exhausted wreck by the time I arrived, hours later than I should have.

Didn’t get much done, other than checking on a few things and doing some work on Confidential Job #1. I managed to plot out a suspense novel in the car — not sure how or where I’ll fit it in, but I like the premise. It would be a quick, down and dirty 50-60K thriller. Lean writing, tight plotting.

Didn’t sleep particularly well–the dog kept waking me up.

Up early Saturday morning, got some work done. Costume Imp was heading out from Brooklyn, and he ran into a few obstacles — he was a bit later than hoped, but not as late as he feared, so it all worked out. He had a swim in the pool, we had lunch, packed the car, and headed back.

Into another nightmare across the state of CT. It took longer to get from Greenwich to Niantic (1/3 of the way) than the entire rest of the way up. Unacceptable.

The Book Barn in Niantic was a great place of refuge. And, once we got past Mystic, it was pretty smooth sailing all the way back to the Cape.

We stopped at KFC and had a very late dinner (the trip took twice as long as it should have), along with some prosecco. The cats were delighted to see us — Iris, in particular, was very feisty and playful, and wrestled with Imp for his chicken.

I was up early yesterday, puttered around on the deck, did the laundry, got a bit of grocery shopping done, and read CARNIEPUNK, the anthology. Liked most of the stories in it. Unfortunately, two of them were in present tense — I LOATHE prose in present tense. To me, it the author going, “Look at ME!!!! Look at what a cool stylist I am!!!” instead of letting the story speak. I’d flip through longer works by both these authors, but put them down if they were in present tense. Unless I am paid so to do, I will not read prose in present tense. I hate it, it irritates me, it completely destroys my suspension of disbelief and pushes me irrevocably out of the story.

However, some of my favorite authors (Kevin Hearne and Nicole Peeler) were in the anthology, and so were some new-to-me authors whose work I will now track down and read.

Speaking of Kevin Hearne, he posted a list of titles that were rejected by his editor for a new piece. I fell in love with one of the titles. First, begging his pardon, I asked him to write a story that goes with one of the titles (I apologized, because I know how much I hate it when someone tells me what I “should” write). Then, I asked him if I could take the title and run with it. He said yes. I promised that if the piece turned out well, I would dedicate it to him, and if it didn’t work, I’d keep my mouth shut!

I’m playing with it and having fun. It’s a comic ghost story.

I have another idea that’s getting ready to manifest. It’s just out of reach. It’s been hovering on the fringes for awhile. I have the opening paragraph, and a strong image from about 2/3 of the way through it. Now, I have to figure out the rest.

Have to get a lot of work done today, including composing a sending a letter of resignation to an organization I’m leaving. It’s just not working out — too much work is being dumped on me (without pay), and I spend all my time being angry and resentful. We are not a good fit, and it’s time to part ways. It’s good for them to have me clean up the mess, but detrimental to me on many levels to remain. So, I won’t.

Time to see how much I can get done today! Especially on the fantasy trilogy.


Mon. June 17, 2013: More on the Cape Coastal Conference & a Day Unplugged


Monday, June 17, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and chilly

Interesting weekend, in a good way.

Friday was the second half day of the Cape Coastal Conference. Nice to see that so many people stayed for the whole conference, and that many of the presenters didn’t just come for their own presentations, but stayed for other people’s presentations.

The Universe had a good laugh at my expense — although I found it highly amusing, too. The two individuals who inspired characters I plan to kill off in one of the Sustainability mysteries both wound up in the climate change session with me! I figured maybe I’d given them a bum rap, but they were even more annoying and desperate for attention (in the wrong way) in a smaller session than they had in the larger session. One of the things I found interesting was that physically they were very similar, and energetically, they were very similar. In the book, I’m going to make them sisters! I think that will be in the second book in the series.

Apart from that, the climate change seminar was pretty interesting. I think I have enough information to write several of the semester’s papers for the Climate Literacy class, between that and the information my friend provided. Great information and interesting people. The woman sitting in front of me was from the Town of Barnstable, and knew about me coming to tomorrow’s meeting on the climate change project. And I was surprised by how many people knew about the play I’d written for NMLC or had seen it or knew someone who’d seen it.

Back into plenary session. I took umbrage from a few things the head of the Cape Cod Commission said, in relation to writers — if you want your message spread effectively, don’t condescendingly tell us we should work for “exposure” when the special interest side is willing to pay us more than a living wage — and then whine that you’re not getting your message out. Value the people who can get the message out and pay them appropriately. You’re talking about the grants and funding you have for the coming year — if some of that doesn’t go to skilled people ABLE to communicate the message effectively, the project will fail. Period. You can be sure I’m going to speak up! 😉

Came home, caught up on a few things, but was utterly exhausted.

Saturday wound up being an unexpected day of internet disconnection. It wasn’t intentional — when I came out for my morning coffee, I decided I couldn’t live with the deck the way it was one more minute. Last year, we created an enchanted garden on the deck — so far, this year, it’s been a hodgepodge. We keep having to move stuff because of bad weather.

So, I got to work rearranging the deck and cleaning stuff and tidying and arranging. Then, I noticed the terraced area was in Vacant-lot syndrome, so I had to mow that (although the meadow’s getting a little scary, too). No Man’s Land was looking like No Man Will Ever Walk Here Again Land, so I had to mow that. Then, the bags were disintegrating — the biodegradable lawn waste bags were biodegrading — so I had to line the car in tarp and haul everything to the dump.

I sat down to take a rest, make some notes on a project, and read a bit — and suddenly the day was done.

I needed it, and Tessa had a blast being outside with me for most of the day, but I was also a bit worried falling even further behind.

Sunday, I caught up with private students and the RWA students — really happy with the growth the students are showing in the Supporting Characters workshop. Caught up on my own classwork. The Archaeology stuff was exciting — caught up on work, some of which is helping me with the BLOOD AND BONE adaptation, did well on the quiz, evaluated other students’ papers, etc. The Climate Literacy class is frustrating. Plus, I’ve been really good about staying on top of deadlines and they claim I never took the third week’s quiz — um, yes, and I did decently on it, I have the note of my score — and wont’ let me retake it. I also don’t find that the quizzes are reflecting the material we’re going over, which is an additional frustration.

Had a good breakthrough on an upcoming project, though, and started putting together a list of potential sponsors for the Mermaid Ball.

Up early this morning, walking the property. Found I left my notepad with my upcoming projects out on the deck — it was a little damp, but not ruined. I HAVE to get some mowing done today. One of the cats from across the street, a sweet tabby, keeps coming over, but she’s very shy and runs away every time I try to approach her. She’s welcome, as long as she doesn’t have kittens under the rosebush or something.

Note to self: when researching material from library books, notate from which library it came, in case you need to get it out again.

I have articles to get out today, tomorrow morning’s meeting to prep for, tomorrow night’s meeting to prep for, material for the Wed. meeting I can’t attend to prep for, and my presentation on the panel I’m going to be on Wed. night to prep for. Plus teaching and the other stuff.

Better get to it.


Wed. Jan. 25, 2012: What Day Is It, Again?

Weekend snowfall on the Cape

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday completely got away from me, blogging-wise — interruptions all morning — planned, but still made it more difficult to get things done efficiently. Monday, I was on the road most of the day.

Busy weekend. Saturday, we got about a foot of snow. I made use of the time, writing, reading, working with students. Friday and Saturday, I wrote like crazy. I did about 6K on the harpy book — and moved the first ten chapters of what was Book 2 of the trilogy back into Book 1. That brings the first draft of HEART SNATCHER to 130K, which won’t work, so I have some serious cuts to make in revisions. That’s okay, it’s worth it. THIS is where the book is supposed to end. It feels much better than the previous end point, which was really the Black Moment, not the ending.

It gave me the momentum to vault immediately into Book 2, tentatively called HEART BINDER, and that is going very well.

Still working on short stories in and around that, and other client work. A new critique client dropped off a job yesterday, so I’m doing that. I have a review to write today, and another book to start, and I have to stay current with my students. I’m rearranging the lectures for Holiday Hocus Pocus a bit — it’s going to be a fun week, and I want to make sure I have as thorough a range of information as possible. I’m also taking another look at the material for Sensory Perceptions — that workshop starts the day 5 in 10 ends in March. I’ve got to get the application materials ready for the three month tarot intensive — people already want to start applying.

Sunday, I drove to CT. I re-plotted Books 2 & 3 of the trilogy as I drove. I also looked ahead — where do I see the characters’ lives in 15 years? In 20 years? There are possibilities that one of the daughters will wind up in her own adventure. The knowledge of how I see the characters maturing over the years helps inform the trilogy, whether or not I write any books with these characters beyond the trilogy. Monday, I drove back from CT, still spinning stories. Makes the drive go much faster, but I have to be even more aware of my surroundings, so it’s not “distracted driving.”

Today will be busy — including a few errands. The owner’s coming to put the final coat of paint on the repaired wall — it looks good.

Just keep working, dreaming about spring planting, and enjoying every day as much as possible!


Published in: on January 25, 2012 at 9:14 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and HOT

First of all, my wrap-up article on Belmont Stakes day is here. Enjoy.

Second, I have some teaching gigs I’m going to mention now, and then remind you about as they draw closer.

In fall and into winter, I’m doing three deconstruction seminars. Each runs for a week, analyzing structure and character development.

September 13-19: Fantasy/romance

September 20-26: Steampunk film

November 29-December 5: Paranormal mystery

These are all online through Savvy Authors, and I will direct you to the blurb and registration and fees once that’s all sorted.

I’m also teaching two workshops at The Muse Online Conference this year: My ever-popular Dialogue Workshop and also a Story-Building Workshop. Registration is limited and will close on August 15 for the conference in general. More importantly, my workshop is limited to the first 30 people who sign up; in previous years, something like 150 people have signed up, with 50+ posting each day, and it’s just too much for me to give feedback as intensively as is necessary for the workshop to a large group of students, especially those who ignore the directions in the exercise or who take on too much and don’t keep up with the work. If I can make the commitment of time and energy, I expect the same from the students.

The Muse Conference is free. If you’ve never participated, I suggest that you try it this year. It’s terrific. I’ve developed three novels and a collection of short stories in it over the years. There are some really great teachers this year. If either Karina Fabian or Christine Amsden are teaching world-building workshops, take them. They are amazing.

The conference runs from October 11-17, but, as I said, registration closes on August 15.

I’m also teaching One Story, Many Voices online over the month of January 2011 at Savvy Authors, and several workshops for the RWA in 2011, but I’ll post information closer to registration dates.

Yesterday was a pretty good, calm day. I spent time in the morning hanging out with the nieighbor’s cat, who first pinned me against the door when I came in, and, once he’d eaten, sat in my lap for the rest of the time. He’s 16 pounds, so that’s a lot of cat in the lap!

Drove to LI for my acupuncture appointment. Lots of traffic, but it moved and I gave myself plenty of time so I wouldn’t stress out. Started plotting the story that the “spiritual” center inspired while I drove. Acupuncture was great. Turns out the painful hip was a half inch out of alignment. She was surprised I could even walk around from the pain. I guess I just sort of got used to it. Anyway, she untangled me, got my neck back in the right spot, too, and unwound my back. Wow. What a difference.

But I had to rest for the remainder of the day (once I drove home). I can do most yoga, except for one sequence, but no running or weight training for two weeks, to make sure the body gets used to being in proper alignment. I’m definitely a little sore today, but always checking to make sure I’m not askew.

On the way home, I stopped at the wine store. Two older “businessmen” in cheap suits were hanging out in the store. One of them said to me, “Don’t you think it’s time you got a boob job?” And I said, “Don’t you think it’s time you got a personality job?” The proprietor was mortified — I go there a lot, and people there are always nice. Figures. The old, out-of-work, down-at-heel drunks are true gentlemen, and the older white guy in the business suit is the sleaze bag.

Anyway, hung out with the cat some more, wrote up the notes I’d come up with as I drove (always interesting to see how far a piece evolves from the original kernel of the idea — it’s already mutated a lot). Rested the hip.

The night was terrifying — bad thunder storms and a bolt of lightening struck right outside the bedroom window. It came down white, hit the asphalt and turned into an orange fire ball that sounded like an explosion. Cats flew in all directions, and I could feel the tingle of the electricity.

No running this morning, just some light stretching. Will do yoga later. It’s hot and humid. Will hang out with the neighbor’s cat early, then check in the afternoon to see if he needs the air on. Plan to write, read, and generally take it easier.

Sorted things out with my editor. I think we’ll be okay for the next few months. We’ll see how it works out. I have a loyalty to my editor, but there will come a point where I have to say, “enough.”

I’m invited to the opening of my pottery teacher’s new exhibit in two weeks. I’m looking forward to it. The pottery class I’m taking (with a different instructor) starts next week, and I’m looking forward to it.

Elsa is worse, unfortunately, and I am very worried.

Back to the page.