Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian pals!

This weekend was just an exercise in frustration. And possibly futility.

Saturday morning, the second energy assessment was done on the house. It was supposed to take an hour and a half and be much simpler than the one done the previous Monday. Of course, it didn’t and it wasn’t, and there went the morning. Not only that, my perfect, beloved hot water heater was messed with, and I haven’t had hot water since — which really gets my goat. I put in a message to the owner, but haven’t heard back. He might be out of town — he’s really good about stuff like this. It’s not an emergency, the way the broken washer hose in the basement was. It’s just irritating.

Worked with my students, tried to push through on the assignment for Confidential Job #1.

Had a slow start Sunday morning, and read the papers before I sat down for my morning writing session, which got everything out of whack, and I had trouble getting back on track. Slogged on the assignment for Confidential Job #1 — even with the extension, it’s due today, and I’m having a problem getting through it. Paid a bunch of bills.

Had to go back to Staples for more supplies. The Canon printer is just not working well. It hasn’t worked well since I got it, I am NOT shelling out for yet another printer, and I’m sick of it destroying a good percentage of anything I have to print. So I’m saving the wrecked pages, mailing them to Canon’s exec office, and billing them for the materials. I have complained about the problems with this printer for the last several years, and they can’t even be bothered to answer. This from a company whose products used to be top of the line, and whose customer service was impeccable. How the mighty have fallen! HP printers can’t do the volume I need, so I have to start seeing what my other options are.

In spite of the Canon not working well, I got about half the postcards for the book done, all of the new Ink in My Coffee cards printed up, and designed and printed most of the new Devon Ellington business cards.

I also found out that the conference bookstore, for whatever reason, didn’t order my book. So I’ve been asked to bring copies. Not only do I have to find out if the publisher can get them shipped to me in time, I have to shell out the money for them up front. I am NOT happy about this. I’ve also got to start printing the 150 packets of conference handouts, get the hard copies of the ASSUMPTION press kit done, and I realized I should probably have a more general Devon Ellington kit ready to go. And I’ve got a press release to get out for the conference.

With no hot water, so I can’t even take a hot shower to get my head clear.

And I made the mistake of reading the horoscope for the month, which just makes me wonder why I even bother to get out of bed until October 27! However, it’s information that should help me navigate obstacles, not something that should paralyze me and allow me to make excuses.

I’m a bit of a Grumpy Gus today! 😉

The cable guy’s already come and gone — imagine, he called to ask if he could show up EARLY. Has that ever happened? Of course, Comcast was supposed to send someone to fix the problem back in February, so, in the bigger picture, he was kinda late! 😉

Technically, it’s a holiday, but no holiday for me. However, tomorrow I plan to be out of town and offline for the day, so that should be big help in regaining perspective and positivity!

Yesterday sucked. Today will be better, no matter what. And, although the preparation for tomorrow is exhausting, once I actually sink into the day, it will be a ton of fun. I need to take a page out of the kitten’s book — that everything is new and fascinating.

Onward.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1035
Total word count: 19,342

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy, busy, busy, but in a good way. Lots of errands yesterday, which wound up with me buying more yoga pants, more bamboo pants that can go from yoga to real life, and a pair of Michael Kors black stovepipe pants that look like they were personally fitted. A spangly shirt and some cute heels, and I’m set for the holidays. And I have plenty of festive shirts and sweaters and nice heels.

Went to Staples, hoping they could undercut the printing prices. Nope. Nearly $500 to print the packets for the conference. And that’s not even bound. I can do it at home for less than $100, not counting time. As it was, my grand total for the purchases made me want to throw up. But it was necessary for my work.

Grabbed a nice lunch on the go from a place in Hyannis, ate, and continued the errands. Didn’t find everything I needed, but found plenty I wasn’t looking for. Isn’t that always the way?

Spent time with students. Tomorrow I wind up one of the workshops, which will be good. The people who had something to say were lively and articulate. It was fun, I appreciated their contributions and points of view. I suspect there were lurkers who, as usual, hadn’t bothered to read the material and therefore didn’t say a word. Whatever. The Harry Potter, next month, is my final deconstruction workshop for the forseeable future. It should be fun and I expect people well-versed in Potter to show up. And then I don’t have to fight with those who take these workshops, but can’t be bothered to read the material ahead of time. It’s in the blurb, so why do they act surprised when we dive right in? The amount of time I put in versus the amount of money are out of balance, so I’m glad to be done with them for awhile.

I’m really proud of the group in Scaling the Wall — they embraced the exercise, even though it was both short and difficult, and came up with creative solutions.

The Year-Long is chugging away. Most of them are in good shape. A few are falling behind a little, and I’m worried that if they start falling behind so early, they will never catch up.

I’m feeling pretty good about the Harpy book, although I may wind up with too much book and it may need to be split in two. The plot is pretty tight, but the threads that feed into it cover a lot of ground. I’ll write the whole thing and then see what I have to do with it. I can’t worry about final word count this early in the process. The characters and situations are rich. I need to layer in some more setting and sensory detail in the rewrite, but that’s part of why we have revisions.

The second round of Energy Assessment happens in a few minutes, so that will tear a chunk out of the day. Pet Smart has cat toys on sale, so I might go over and get the girls some new toys (like they don’t have 847 toys already) to keep them busy.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1321
Total word count: 17,148

Published in: on October 8, 2011 at 7:36 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Someday it will stop snowing. Someday.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Imbolc
Snowing, sleeting, raining

So far, one groundhog “claims” spring is coming. I’ll believe it when the crocuses bloom! And I don’t have to shovel any more.

I had serious concentration problems yesterday. I was procrastinating, with no good reason. I wound up ordering two of Susan Wittig Albert memoirs and Yasmine Galenorn’s newest, BLOOD WYNE. Yeah, I’m on a book-buying moratorium EXCEPT for Yasmine’s new book until my birthday, and I cheated by adding the Albert memoirs to it. That’s on me.

I was also concerned, because, according to the tracking, a book that hadn’t been delivered was marked as delivered a few days ago. After some backing-and-forthing, I found out that it had been delivered elsewhere on the street; a kind neighbor returned it. Last week, there was a different carrier on the route for only a day, but everyone’s mail got mixed up, and we’re still going from house to house sorting things out. I think he just put all the mail for the street together, shuffled it like a deck of cards, and delivered a handful to each house. Because I know I had at least one, sometimes more, pieces of mail for each person on the street. And they had mine.

Not going to Staples before the storm bit me in the ass. I needed to print out a full novel manuscript and send it out (they want a hard copy, not as a PDF or RTF), and then later got a request from someone else for the first fifty pages of a manuscript, again, hard copy. Have the paper; don’t have enough ink. Not going to be able to get the ink until at least tomorrow. So they will go out on Friday, which is fine. Since they are just as snowed in as I am, it’s all good. But I’d like to get it out the door sooner rather than later.

Terrible time concentrating on actual writing. I need to focus, because I’m negotiating what will be a long-term contract with a client, and that will reshuffle my writing time. It’s all good, but it will mean I either need to focus more when I put butt in chair, or butt in chair will regularly stay there past midnight. What has to get done has to get done, whether I’m in the mood to do it or not. Since I haven’t heard back on the questions I had about another potential job with in the requisite 48 hours to answer business correspondence, I’m assuming it’s a no-go, at least from my end. The red flags I questioned were obviously justified.

All the dicks and ignoramuses who are anti-health care should go though something like this type of experience and/or loss personally, so they can experience how much they hurt people.

It hits close to home, because this could just as easily be me as this lovely writer.

The ONLY reason the health care reform sucks as badly as it does is because the cowardly Democrats compromised with the Republicans on over 160 amendments, all in favor of the insurance companies who perform economic rape and violence on a daily basis, with full permission from the GOP, who are on the special interest payrolls. It is a Republican amendment, not the original bill (the good one) that’s allowed insurance companies to hike their rates this year. The original bill prevented that. I worked on it with my representatives; unlike most of the media and most of the public who only listen to the sound bite crap, I know what was actually in it.

The unpublicized call that came right after the House voted to “repeal” the current health care reforms was one put forward that, until there is real health care reform in this country, Congress should give up THEIR health care — which is among one of the best plans in the world and works similar to single-payer system the Republicans are paid to hate. Fourteen Republicans, the few who are not complete and utter hypocrites, said fine. The rest, of course, did not, because it’s not about health care at all, it’s about pleasing the people who fund their campaigns, who are making money off of the general population like vultures.

You can check any of the votes in the House or Senate at the Government Printing Office site. It’s a good resource to follow what’s not getting coverage in the media, and also via the Library of Congress, which keeps tabs on Roll Call votes. The local papers here are also very good at keeping track of how various MA state and federal politicians vote on different issues, so you can keep track of who’s actually representing you and who’s only representing special interests.

It really doesn’t matter what any of these individuals says during a campaign — it matters how they actually vote (providing they show up to vote at all).

Speaking of which, on Friday, I have to sit down with the agency that helps MA residents find affordable heath care and sign up with someone, or I’ll be hit with a fine. I’m glad that states are challenging the ruling and saying that you are forced to BUY healthcare — what we need is a single-payer system that covers everyone. Insurance companies used to be non-profits — that is what they need to return to. No one, certainly not some damned executive, should be getting millions of dollars in salaries and perks because his company leaves people to die, and his board pats him on the paycheck for saving them the money they are supposed to use for CARE.

Shoveling wasn’t too bad, but still created a problem in the back healing. Not looking forward to today, either, although I think it’ll be more ice than anything else, which means more chance of power loss. So I’m trying to get as much done as possible before it goes out.

Had to take something for the back pain (pretty soon my liver won’t be speaking to me) so I’m hoping it kicks in soon and I can get some writing done.

I managed to get most of the work on Confidential Job #1 done yesterday — the assignment is just as cool as I hoped it would be, and I was so thrilled to be chosen for this particular one. I’m going to wind up getting it in over a week early. Which means I can invoice.

I hear that an article of mine goes live today — will post the link tomorrow for you all and will prepare the PDFs for people who were kind enough to be interviewed for the article.

Back to the page (ow — sitting still hurts).

Devon

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Bad storms yesterday into today. The beaches are closed, due to the rip currents connected with Hurricane Bill. And we’re on flood watch. I’ve got some errands to run this morning, and then I’m moving the car to higher ground.

Yesterday was busy — multiple trips to Staples, picking up more ink at Costco, session with Canon Tech support because the big printer and the computer weren’t speaking to each other properly to print postcards. The Staples closest to me is now officially sold out of glossy postcard stock. Designed postcards and business cards for the blog — yes, it’s useful to have business cards for this blog. I haven’t yet redesigned my personal business cards, because I like my previous design, only it’s in a program that’s incompatible with the Mac and I haven’t yet been able to import the graphic properly in order to tweak if for the card. But I will.

I got nearly 400 postcards printed, several hundred cards, a series of certificates, and signed some copies of the HEX BREAKER CD. And packed the envelopes. I’m on my way to the post office this morning to get them out.

I also turned around an emergency rush job for the client — he offered, without prompting, to triple my usual rush free (anything that has to be turned around in less than three business days gets a rush fee tacked on to it). He needed it done in a matter of hours, and therefore tripled the fee. He was especially desperate because he’d gone with a cheaper-priced writer (who works for mill content sites) who mucked it up royally, and he had tens of thousands of dollars on the line. I let the fee say, “I told you so” rather than saying it myself. If you hire someone who writes for mill content sites or bidding sites, that’s the quality you’re going to get. You get what you pay for. He was ecstatic with the copy I came up with. We’ll see if he’s learned.

I got a royalty check from a special performance of one of the plays. Royalties make me all warm and fuzzy.

I’m working a benefit in Saratoga for part of next week, so most of my focus turns to that. I’ve got a client project to get done, and then I can’t do any work for this client next week. The arrangements fell into place pretty nicely this year — I’m packing a lot into one single trip. I’ve also got to finish up a feature article for a publication.

And spend more time on my own writing.

And do some more prep for Prague — that’s coming up in just a few short weeks.

The next assignment came in for Confidential Job #1 and it looks awesome. Can’t wait to dive into it. I have to do a quick turnaround on that. I want to be able to invoice them and receive the check before Prague.

Great morning’s work on AMENDS. Yes, it’s too long to fit in quotes anymore. I’m about to write a scene about an animal shelter’s Death Row, which is as upsetting to write as it is to read, but it’s vital to the story.

Driving back from my final trip to Staples yesterday, I turned a corner and it was as though someone threw a blanket over the sun. In an instant, it went from bright sunshine to a deluge.

Off to do my errands and get back to the page.

Devon