Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear

Monday, May 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Not the productive weekend I’d hoped for, unfortunately.

The stress of the personal issues I’m dealing with hit like a hammer, and it was difficult for me to get anything else done. I managed a little yard work, but not like the marathon hours that my neighbors did. Their lawns are pristine; my mower still isn’t working. I’m hoping the replacement of a simple part or two will do the trick.

I got a little work done on the play proposal, and some plotting work done on the radio play. I need to gear up and get those out the door this week.

On the upside, I re-read Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons mysteries, and enjoyed them. I drafted up some reviews I’ll leave for them. I also read a couple of her earlier books, one-offs, which were also fun.

STILL waiting for my first assignment from that editor who, weeks ago, said I was hired. I could have done THREE assignments (and been paid) in this time frame. I’m irritated. Perhaps it’s time to move on and take other work instead. IF I’m ever contacted, I’ll see what my schedule is, or I’ll bow out. If you’re “constantly” adding people to the team and promising “steady” work, it doesn’t take three weeks to make the first assignment.

Drafting a short article and an article pitch that need to go out today. Also want to tackle the short story — I’d like to get that out by the end of this week. I need to do some reformatting on the Topic Workbooks for an additional release venue, and get back to work on the next Topic Workbook. I’m going to try to release one every three months.

I re-read TIE CUTTER, which needs to get back into the writing mix in the next few months, and also did some more research for the next section of FIX IT GIRL revisions. The revision process on this novel is different than my usual, but it’s working for the particular novel, so I’m going with it.

Managed to get in a bit of yard work this morning before the rain started, although I was bitten several times. I hate ants. I’m in full out war with the ants. I know, I should appreciate them and all they stand for, but they’re not keeping their part of the bargain.

I have errands to run this morning, some things to do at the library, and then, hopefully, I can get back to the page. This week will be very stressful, on multiple fronts, and I’m trying to prepare myself, both mentally and physically.

Mon. May 8, 2017: The Reading Groove Leads to the Writing Groove

Monday, May 8, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I gave myself the weekend off from writing, after revising another three chapters on THE FIX-IT GIRL. I’ve got just over 15K done on the second draft. I’m going along more slowly than I would like, but, at least, it’s going. It’s necessary, in order for the piece to be the best it can be.

Worked on outlines for the pseudo-Gothic and for the literary fiction novels.

But, for the most part, this weekend, I went on a reading marathon, reading only what I wanted to, nothing that I had to. I re-read TC Boyle’s EAST IS EAST. I forgot how brutal it was, especially the ending. I read the first Veronica Speedwell mystery by Deanna Rayburn, A CURIOUS BEGINNING, which I loved. That is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. Read two of Shelley Freydont’s Newport Gilded Age mysteries, A GILDED GRAVE and a GILDED CAGE. I like them, and I like her writing. They’re very different from Alyssa Maxwell’s mysteries set around the same time, also in Newport, and both series are well worth it.

On the non-fiction side, I read GHOSTING by Jennie Erdal, a memoir of her twenty plus years as a ghost writer for a particular individual. Interesting and somewhat depressing. I also re-read A BOOK AND A LOVE AFFAIR, by Helen Bevington. I’d read four of Bevington’s volumes of diaries/memoirs back in Rye. At some point, I bought a copy of this. I wanted to order the other three from the CLAMS libraries here and re-read them, too, but none of them are in the system, which is frustrating. I’ll have to go on Commonwealth Catalog, or, if that doesn’t work, go on ILL to get them.

Was berated by a so-called “publisher” who advertised for freelance contributors, but didn’t list rates. When I queried the rate, I was told that they don’t discuss money with new contributors; they want proof of “commitment” and “passion” first. Well, honey, I have a commitment and a passion for keeping a roof over my head, and I do so with my writing. If you aren’t up front about your rates, I can only assume that you either don’t pay at all, or you pay a pittance; professionals aren’t squeamish about stating what they pay. Cross that one off the list and move on. Another publication wants me to be a contributor –at 1/20th of my normal rate. I don’t think so. Next!

On a more positive note, I got a lovely letter from a company interested in one of my radio plays. The reader (who is also one of the company’s actors) loved the piece and will recommend it for next season. So, fingers crossed. There are still plenty of steps between interest and production, but it’s one of the nicest letters about my work I’ve ever received.

I have some pitches to write and send out this morning (to publications who pay appropriately and are open about their rates). Bills to pay — never fun, but always a relief when paid.

I hope I can get the mowing working again, because there’s grass that needs to be cut, and I can’t afford to buy a new mower if this one has bitten the dust permanently. I’ve gone back to using my Melita filter pot because my coffee pot died! A lawn mower is much more expensive.

Later on, I have to revise the next chapters of FIX-IT GIRL. WINNER TAKE ALL has had its percolation week; I’ll re-read that this afternoon and start my 20 pages-per-day revision on it tomorrow.

Working on an outline for an idea for a piece set in the 1890s that could be kind of fun, and hoping to write my way a bit into the literary fiction. I’m still trying to make some structural decisions on it; I hope that by writing my way into it for a bit, that will give me some answers.

I’d like to get back to NOT BY THE BOOK one of these days. I’m still on the fence about the radio adaptations — I’m not sure the time necessary to do the adaptation properly balances the money. Maybe it’s because I’m not excited enough about the material. Still debating.

Trying to get a few other things into motion, hoping they pay off (in every sense of the word) in the next few months.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

Thurs. April 27, 2017: Getting Back on the Query Wagon

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday, I wrote three pitches and submitted them, and submitted a radio play. The play was acknowledged, and two of the three pitches got a positive response. Not a bad day’s work! That cheered me up — I was feeling rather down the past few days, between having a cold and everything else.

Admin work, and then I spent the afternoon making my final decisions on the contest entries. I send those off today — the contest will announce the winners on Monday.

Getting ready to start the next draft of the FIX-IT GIRL next week. I’m giving myself six weeks for it. Hopefully, I’ll have the first draft of WINNER TAKE ALL done over the weekend, or early next week.

Enjoying re-reading the Trollope biography. I’ve read some of his books; I’m debating whether I should re-read and go beyond what I’ve read.

I’m enjoying reading what I WANT to read for the moment, instead of what I HAVE to read. Important to keep that balance.

Balancing creating new fiction with revisions and writing/researching nonfiction is always a challenge. Each type of work takes a different thought process and different skills. The wonderful part is that it keeps one active and engaged, and it’s interesting to keep expanding one’s repertoire. But sometimes, one project pulls hard, while the others also demand attention, due to deadline.

Re-watched two of the DOCTOR WHO Christmas specials — THE DOCTOR, THE WIDOW, AND THE WARDROBE, and THE SNOWMEN — both from the reign of Matt Smith. They rank among my favorite episodes.

I wrote three more article pitches this morning, which go out today. I need to rework some requested samples this afternoon, do a few more script pages, and also dig in to the Venice section of POWER OF WORDS.

Never a dull moment, which is wonderful!

Published in: on April 27, 2017 at 9:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. Jan. 28, 2016: Prep Work and an Aha! Moment

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Most of the snow’s melted, thank goodness, but my front yard looks like a mud flat. Oh, well.

Yesterday was a long day, up and down. Lots of good ideas brainstormed, some good writing for work-related projects done, invitations issued, etc. Interspersed with the other stuff.

The short radio play is out, and was acknowledged by an actual individual just a few minutes after it was sent. Always nice.

Very tired when I got home. I had to do some work on my friend’s manuscript, and watched some TV, but mostly, I tried to get my energy back. I had a migraine, which didn’t help, either. The migraine made it hard to get to sleep, and then I overslept this morning, and couldn’t get done as much as I wanted to, writing-wise. The migraine is still there, unfortunately, so that will make for a difficult day.

There was a contest, with a decent cash prize and a big name, that came to my attention. I have a piece that would work for it, but ended up not sending it. Once I hit the 27th point in the submission guidelines, my eyes crossed and it wasn’t worth reading the rest of them. Not to mention that the tone of the guidelines was downright nasty, and some of the demands were insulting. Decided to pass on it.

That’s a big mistake many writers make early in their careers — they submit, regardless of the guidelines, thinking their piece is so good, it won’t matter. What they refuse to recognize is that if they don’t follow the guidelines, the piece will never be read; it will simply be discarded. And then the guidelines will get even nastier, because the people who get all these disrespectful submissions get angrier.

In my case, I read the guidelines, I disagreed with them, and therefore, I did not submit. We all win. Winning doesn’t always mean the submission or the publication — it’s finding the right match.

I’m putting together the project bin I’m going to take on retreat. I decided not to take any “have to” reading — in other words, no contest entries. I’m taking some background reading on a few projects, and some pleasure reading. And plenty of pen and paper.

I want to get started on the next play this weekend, and do work on both DEATH OF A CHOLERIC and TIE-CUTTER. I won’t have the play completely adapted into radio format before I go, but that’s okay. I can work on it during February, and get it out at the end of the month. I’m still waiting to hear back on a few things before I can make those submissions anyway.

I also had an “aha!” moment on a project. It’s an idea I’ve been playing with, on and off, for several years. I finally realized I’d approached it from the entirely wrong angle! Now that I have a good idea about how I want to do it, I think it will fly. I’m still trying to decide if I want to set it in the earlier part of the 20th century or the latter — I have to do some background reading — which means re-reading one of my favorite books. So yes, that book went into the project bin.

I also had an idea that I think might fit in to a friend’s exciting new project, so I’m going to share it with her, put a bug in her ear, so to speak.

I’m excited about the creative opportunities this year, and, once again, getting more ruthless about my time.

Devon

Published in: on January 28, 2016 at 9:27 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 28, 2016: Prep Work and an Aha! Moment  
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Jan. 27, 2016: Creative Flow

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Mercury Direct (as of the 25th)
Rainy and mild

We had a nice big snowstorm on Saturday into Sunday — 15 inches. So much for the idiots who said it would be 3-5. We dug out with the help of our neighbor, but stayed tucked inside for most of the day.

I mostly read, working my way through contest entries, reading my friend’s manuscript, doing research. I outlined a new book, and wrote 11 pages on it, so the characters would stop bugging me.

I re-read the work I’ve done on RED WIDOW, and really like it. I need to find a way to work that piece back into the queue.

I worked on the short radio play. Tried a bunch of things that didn’t work, and finally found what did. The play is finished, polished, proofed, and will go out today. The deadline is Monday, so I’m happy to get it in a bit early. It’s a lot of fun. I’ll have to convert it to BBC format, and get back to converting “Confidence Confidant” into both BBC and US format for radio.

I came across GLAMOROUS HEARTS — that’s a lot of fun, and I think I’ll do something with that in the coming months. I’m finding all kinds of interesting stuff as I go through my boxes.

I did some work on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, but not as much as I’d like. I feel like I’m behind where I should be, to meet the mid-February deadline for a first draft.

Last night, just moments after I finished the play, I attended the monthly HobNob. It was lots of fun, nice crowd at the Cotuit Center for the Arts. Carl Lopes was our speaker — his work is wonderful. We had a lovely conversation. I also met actor Neil McGarry — I like his one man CHRISTMAS CAROL, and we talked about all kinds of theatre stuff, and the possibility that he’ll do some Shakespeare for the library in April. All in all, a creative evening.

Picked up my mother at knitting. Only got about two rows done, but that’s life.

The radio play goes out today. I turn my main focus back to DEATH OF A CHOLERIC then, and I think, this weekend, I’ll also have the chance to start working on the next play, set in 17th Century Italy.

I will have a long day at work, but I want to get a couple of panels finalized, and get us into ArtsWeek Boston before the deadline.

I can’t believe January is almost done!

I have an article on answering when opportunity knocks over on the GDR site. I hope you check it out.

Devon

Published in: on January 27, 2016 at 10:32 am  Comments Off on Jan. 27, 2016: Creative Flow  
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Wed. Jan. 20, 2016: AAA Fail

Wed. January 20, 2016
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. I was exhausted when I got home from work on Saturday. Was not very productive. I’ve started on the books entered in the contest. The ones that are good are quite good; the ones that miss the mark do so in similar ways. They have too much unnecessary information dumped into scenes instead of integrated into them, lack logic, are poorly edited and/or copyedited. In a couple of cases, they are merely a re-telling of stories that hit the bestseller lists, with a few name and location changes, but trying to fit the formula so closely they don’t bring anything unique to the table. Those are simply poorly executed, pale imitations of books that worked. There are a few that have unique and interesting premises, but the writing is so awkward that they wind up not working. But I learn a lot from each book i read.

I’m also reading my friend’s manuscript. I’ve got some notes for her — this is her first foray into writing a novel. She usually writes biography.

Got a nice chunk of work done on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. It’s not chugging along as quickly as I would like, but I like what I’m doing, if that makes any sense.

Tried several ways to fix the short radio play. Finally found something that worked, and did a nice chunk of that on Tuesday morning. I’m close to finishing, and will be able to get it out on deadline.

Watched the second season of BROADCHURCH, which was well done, and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, which is one of those movies that, in my opinion, was probably more fun to make than to watch. It’s a great tribute to the stunt choreographers, it’s beautifully shot, but I didn’t really care about anything.

Did a lot of laundry — it was New Year’s Eve the last time I did laundry, so it stacked up.

We had snow Sunday into Monday — not much, but just enough so I didn’t feel like running around on Monday. Tuesday morning, I was up early, and hit Country Gardens to get a load of wood. The car coughed when it started, but start it did, and I got there, loaded up, got home, unloaded.

We then loaded the garbage to take it to the dump — and the car wouldn’t start. I’ve suspected for awhile that a new battery was in my immediate future — this is still the original battery, and the car turns nine years old this year. It’s done very well.

So I call AAA, give them all the information, tell them I need a new battery (one of the services they now provide). The guy shows up pretty fast, but he won’t change the battery. He gives me a song and dance about how the car can’t be turned off once he’s jump started me, it’s something much more serious, and I have to take it straight to the dealer. I know my car — I know it’s the battery. But he’s insistent I need a complete electrical diagnostic and a whole bunch of other stuff. He said I didn’t want to “try” a new battery because it was $170 dollars at least — interesting, since the battery replacement service AAA claims to provide promises only $130.

I grab the Kindle and get in the now-running car and drive to the local dealer, rather than going to my regular mechanic in Plymouth (because I wasn’t sure I’d make it to Plymouth and didn’t want to break down on the way). I apologized at the dealership for coming in without an appointment and explained the situation. They figured I was right, and that we should try a new battery first. The diagnostic is an overnight thing, and let’s try the simple solution first.

It didn’t take them long to replace the battery and run a quick system check (without the elaborate overnight). Yeah, it was the battery. Of course, since I went to the dealer, it was MUCH more expensive than if the AAA guy had simply replaced it per my contract with AAA. But he didn’t want to bother, so he gave me sturm & drang and sent me to the dealer. The dealer was very nice and gave me a discount, but it was still more than I expected to have to shell out during these weeks. The dealer also told me that they’ve been getting a lot of these cases lately, where the tow driver gives them a story, jumps them, and sends them in, rather than actually doing what they were sent out to do.

Why am I paying for AAA again? I rejoined them a couple of years ago because the car is getting older and I wanted to feel secure in case something happened. This does not make me feel secure. If anything, it reminds me why I left AAA when I was a teenager, I broke down on the NY Thruway during July 4th, I had drunks shooting over the top of the car, I called them, they said there was nothing they could do, and they left me there. Not acceptable. You can bet they’re going to hear from me about it.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s an element of sexism involved — woman doesn’t know what’s wrong with the car, I can spin a story. I may not be a mechanic, but I know my car. It’s one of the reason I always go to Plymouth — because they don’t assume I’m an idiot.

So, not only did I have to pay more than I should have, but I lost a day set aside for getting things done. It didn’t take that long at the dealer (they were very nice to take me quickly), but it still added several hours to something that should have been a quick swap out of dead battery for new battery, and I was so exhausted by the time I got back, I couldn’t even think about driving over the bridge and dealing with errands.

Instead I spent the afternoon working on contest entries. So i didn’t completely lose the day, but what I hoped to get done will have to wait until next week, weather permitting.

We’re supposed to get slammed with a big storm next weekend. So I’ve got supplies set in, and we’ll see.

Today, I have a meeting for work in the morning, and then a long afternoon. There’s supposed to be a major upgrade on the software we use to check out and catalog, so we’ll see what fresh hell tomorrow brings.

More Mercury Retrograde — I heard back on a submission I’d made to a magazine. The story was rejected. Fine, it happens. However, it wasn’t the story that I sent. In fact, looking through my files (just to be sure), I don’t have any story with that name on my computer or flash drive. I remember sending a different story to that publication, and that’s the story that’s in the Submission log. So I’m seriously confused. I don’t know whether to say something or just write off the publication and not submit again.

I’m ready for Mercury to go direct!

I’m also deeply thankful to the car for getting me home safely with a load of wood in it, and not conking out until we were back in the garage!

Have a wonderful week, people!

Devon

Published in: on January 20, 2016 at 1:23 pm  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 20, 2016: AAA Fail  
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Thurs. April 30, 2015: Deadlines Met

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy, but good day yesterday. Got a lot done.

Came home, worked on the contest entries and the short story. I feel confident about my choices for the Awards. These are the books that stand out from the pack.

At 5 AM this morning, I bolted up and rewrote the short story. I decided that I wasn’t being true to my characters, and trying to force them into a physical, violent solution instead of a more intellectual one that was more in alignment with who they are. So I rewrote it, I’m much happier with it, and it’s off. On time.

So, both short stories and contest materials are done on time. Now, my focus changes to the contemporary play due on June 1, the historical play I want to finish by July first, and the next radio play.

Tonight, I’m going to the Grant Reception for the new recipients of the Mid-Cape Cultural Grants (since I got one last year, they invited me to this year’s reception). Then, I’ll swing by Liberty Hall to help clean up after tango (I won’t be able to participate this week). I’ve got some more research to do tonight for books that are due back into the ComCat system tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be busy, as will the weekend, but I’m looking forward to reading whatever catches my fancy this weekend.

Have a great day!

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2015 at 9:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 30, 2015: Deadlines Met  
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Fri. March 6, 2015: Recovering from Yet Another Foot of Snow

Friday, March 6, 2015
Last Day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Went home Wednesday night, tired, but looking forward to more WEST WING and dreading the snow.

Woke up to quite a bit of snow on Thursday morning. The library was closed, thank goodness, and Tango cancelled. It snowed all day long. We got another foot.

On the one hand, we’re all so sick of snow, we could hardly stand it.

On the positive side, it meant I could work on the book. I did 178 pages of serious revisions, and finished the first book of the serial, behind-the-scenes novel. 366 pages total on this draft, with Book 1 now being called INSPIRED INCUBATION (yeah, that title will probably be changed).

Overnight, Wednesday into Thursday, I’d come up with ideas for the revision, and I was grateful to be able to implement them. I hadn’t planned on completing the draft of the whole book, but I was on a roll. I kept saying, “Oh, just one more chapter” and then I was out of chapters.

The arcs are stronger, the anecdotes funnier. There are times when the POV is close, and times when it’s a little farther, where it feels as though the camera is filming the process. I tried to stay away from head-hopping, just, in some scenes, keep the focus tighter, and some broader. Hopefully, it works.

Since the novels in this series don’t really stand alone, I want to finish them and then submit them all at once. I still have to position myself and get a few more credits under my belt so that I can fulfill my vision of these books. Revising them along traditional lines won’t work, nor would letting a lot of time elapse in between books. They need to be read as a piece. Basically, it’s one long novel, broken down into manageable bits. Few publishers would be willing to take the risk. When all the novels are prepped, we’ll see where I am and what my options are.

More WEST WING Season 6 last night.

Up early this morning. Shoveled. The library is opening at noon, which gives everyone a chance to dig out and catch breaths. The snow piles at the end of my driveway are as tall as I am, and the level of the snow tunnels along the driveway are chest high.

I need to update my tracking sheets for the serial novel, to make sure I’m all caught up. I’m going to let this draft rest, and work on both the radio play LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES this weekend and BALTHAZAAR.

I hope to get some work done on the microfilm reels this coming week. I have both Saturday and Sunday off, so I want to write a lot, and then research Monday and run errands, get myself together for the week on Tuesday.

Hope you are all safe and warm.

If I could figure out a way to melt the snow and store it, I wouldn’t have to use the garden hose all summer.

The ebooks I’m judging for the Indie Next Generation Contest are starting to come in. The print copies will arrive when the UPS truck can actually drive up my street, poor things. I’m also supposed to get an Amazon delivery today, but I’d be very surprised if they could get through.

Devon

Published in: on March 6, 2015 at 12:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Feb. 20, 2015: Last Day Before the (Stormy) Weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and very cold

My renewed driver’s license arrived yesterday – took just over a week to get it, after renewing online. Pretty slick! 😉

Work was busy. Good busy, but busy. Did a lot of research on a couple of things, and some press and programming stuff, and hopped on and off the desk as needed.

Home for a snack and to change, and then to tango. This was “milonga night”, so we newcomers could learn the milonga etiquette. It’s more for the experienced dancers than beginners, although two experienced dancers kindly took me on the floor to practice. Had an interesting conversation with many people, including another newcomer, a few people who’ve been coming on and off for years, the sister of someone I knew well from the library, a friend who works at another library, and a professional musician who’s part of a group and we might brainstorm on a collaboration.

Home, a couple of episodes of WEST WING, a late dinner.

Last night gave me some great ideas for the radio play.

Up early this morning; some work on the radio play and the hour-long pilot. I have to get out some press releases today and do a submission, in and around the work here at the library. We’re planning some really fun stuff for next week, in and around the book sale – author Kevin Parham will be here next Wednesday, talking about his book THE VINEYARD WE KNEW (weather-permitting, of course). And we’re doing something fun all day Wednesday, too – which I’ll reveal closer to the date! 😉

I’m looking forward to having a whole weekend off. I’ll be writing – and buying cat food before the next storm hits – but it’ll be nice to have the whole weekend on MY schedule. We’re supposed to get more snow on Saturday night into Sunday, rain all day Sunday, hard freeze on Monday, and more snow Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hopefully, that will mean a solid weekend of reading, writing, research, and student work.

Stay safe and warm!

Devon

Published in: on February 20, 2015 at 9:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Feb. 18, 2015: Sneaking Between Storms

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, snowy, cold
Snow Fatigue

I don’t see how we’ll get the snow melted and gone until sometime in July.

Saturday was fine. It was my Saturday “on” at the library. It wasn’t as hectic as I expected, although it was busy enough for me to spend the bulk of my time on the desk.

Read a couple of books, which were a disappointment, including one highly regarded one which I put down by page 2, because it’s written in the present tense, and I felt like the author kept yelling, “Look at ME! Look at ME!” instead of telling me the story.

Started snowing in the evening, so I tucked in and watched more of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. So much I like about that show, but it did dip and get uneven there for awhile.

Had stopped snowing on Sunday when I woke up at 5:30, and it was that lovely quiet. By 6:30, it started again.

Read Norman Lear’s autobiography, which was interesting. I worked with his daughter Maggie at MCC in the late 80s/early 90s, and we had a retreat up at the place in Vermont. I have very fond memories of it. I was disturbed by the fact that 9/11 was not mentioned in the book at all. He lived through it; he’s a social activist. How could it not even get a mention? Especially when it affected us so deeply?

I finished the galleys for KILLER QUINTET and reformatted the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE to the specific guidelines to which I’m submitting.

Started shovelling; got about 3/4 of the driveway done. Got the rest done on Monday morning — about 8 more inches, total, had fallen over the weekend. Of course, as soon as I jumped in the shower, the plow came by and blocked the bottom of my cleared driveway again. At least the plows showed up this time, and they’ve scraped the ruts down in the street, so it’s about 5 inches of pure ice, with just a little bit of ruttage, and easier to get traction.

Headed to the library. Although we were closed for President’s Day, some of us came in to set up for the book sale. I could only stay for about two hours, because I had a meeting on a potential project. THAT was a total waste of time — the person I met with basically likes to hear himself talk, and it won’t go anywhere. I repeated several times that when there’s money on the table and a contract, we can get into specifics, but this is my business, not my hobby, and I’m not working for free, especially not on something that doesn’t have the pieces in place. I’ve learned the hard way from blowhards like this — you get the pieces in play and THEN I will write something beyond a one-page synopsis.

Ron Perlman’s memoir was a lot of fun. I’ve always liked his work. Tried to read a novel, and it was awful, so I put it down.

Got an idea for an hour-long pilot. Wrote a few opening scenes, and I like it. I have to do some research for it, but I think it will make a solid sample.

Not happy with where I am in the radio play. I have to rethink some of it. I might over-write and then cut — usually that works better than under-writing and then padding.

Watching Season 4 of WEST WING.

Had hoped I could do some errands on Tuesday morning before the snow started, but it started at 8 AM and everything I needed to reach didn’t open until 9, so I stayed home. Did some more tweaking to THE BROWNSTONE pilot — there was one character I’d sorely underwritten, and I added a quick scene that makes it more balanced. Now I have to stop fiddling with it, or I’ll hit the point of diminishing return.

Wrote up the minutes from the last Writers’ Center board meeting, and a press release and a set of guidelines I promised them. I’m missing some information, and the press release has to go out this week, so if the person who is supposed to supply to me doesn’t, we don’t get the information into the magazines. Deadlines are deadlines. It’s very tough to do what I’m assigned to do on time, and then not get the rest. But my term is up in October.

Read a couple of mediocre novels and was disappointed. Got an idea for a screenplay — I’ve been playing with the premise for awhile, but suddenly the missing piece clicked into place. so I can write a synopsis, and then do the script — after I finish the radio plays for Ireland and Paris. The one I want to do for Paris is percolating.

Had a false start on a chapter for BALTHAZAAR. Need to get back to that. I have to get that done and out before doing another pass on CLEAR THE SLOT and getting THAT done and out.

Nice fire in the fireplace last night, and a good glass of wine. Of course, it was wine o’clock by 2:30 — either that or sob into the ice melt.

Today will be a long day at the library, but, hopefully a good one. I’ve got a couple of press releases to write, and some finagling to do on March programs. I’ve got more research books coming in.

The microfiche/film that I thought I was getting from Harvard that was shipped on January 21 and still hasn’t shown up — turns out Harvard didn’t send it after all. They wanted to charge a lot of money — not that money ever came up into the multiple emails going back and forth when I asked if they’d do an interlibrary loan in the first place. Turns out it’s coming in from the University of Indiana — bless ’em! They sent it to the distribution center in Quincy, rather than directly to our library, so it’s in snowbank somewhere. But they’re cool about it, and will give me a month with it once it arrives.

So here’s Harvard only, about 70 miles away, and they’re less cooperative with a fellow citizen of the Commonwealth than both the Library of Congress and a midwestern university. Go figure. Seriously, it would have taken less time and been less frustrating to go to DC for a week.

Hop on over to the GDR site, and see my updates for mid-February. Stay safe and warm — we’re supposed to get more snow today.

Devon

Thurs. Feb. 12, 2015: Here Comes Another One

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Supposed to get more snow today. I salted the street at the bottom of my driveway so I could actually get out onto the street (with my own personal salt), but then fishtailed all the way down the street, because it’s so gutted and slippery my tires can’t get any traction.

Yet the plows keep driving up and down the streets – not plowing. Haven’t seen a sand truck since two days after the initial blizzard.

Yesterday was busy at work. We used eight bags of rock salt on our parking lot first thing in the morning, then had to go out and get more, while also buying salt (separately) for ourselves. One town over says they’re out of salt and sand and the state won’t give them any more.

I’m wondering how many people have to die in crashes because of roads that still haven’t been cleared before anyone does anything. The town’s sending a very clear message to those of us who live on tertiary streets: “You don’t matter.”

Meetings yesterday, and cozy mystery book club. I have to write some material for the library. Got a freelance request from someone to whom I’d pitched over a year ago. We’ll see how that goes, but I have a feeling that my rates – even at the non-profit discount – are too high. Oh, well, then I’m not doing it. I’m sick and tired of the attitude around here that I should do what I do FOR A LIVING for nothing. Um, no.

I have to read over the two television pilots this weekend and decide which one to submit for something – will have to come up with a season synopsis, too. I’m leaning more towards THE BROWNSTONE than to TALENT, because I think the place to which I’m submitting is more likely to respond to THE BROWNSTONE. But I’ll read over both and see which is stronger.

Got the final galleys back for KILLER QUINTET. Managed to proof “Personal Revolution” this morning. One down, four to go.

Watching STUDIO 60 FROM THE SUNSET STRIP on DVD. Forgot how much I enjoyed the show, and how much I related to it.

I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the radio play done this weekend, along with the galleys. Fingers crossed.

I have a feeling tango will be cancelled tonight – it’s such a mess that even a little bit more snow will make it dangerous.

Stay safe.

Devon

Wed. Feb. 11, 2015: Writing on Snow Days

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Direct
Snowy and cold

Snowy bunch of days since I last wrote. We’re all suffering from snow fatigue. I keep reminding myself at least it started in late January and not in October.

Mercury goes direct today, thank goodness.

I’m getting a little sick of the so-called DPW Updates, where they say how hard they’re working. You want to know my experience? They’re sure as hell not working on my street. Yes, the plows drive back and forth. Most of the time, the plow is up, not actually plowing — and it’s not like I’m on a through street. The few times the plow deigns to have the blade DOWN, all they do is scrape the surface and shove it into people’s driveways. No sand trucks have gone through since the first blizzard two weeks ago. The rutted snow in the street melts a bit, freezes over at night, melts a bit, freezes over at night. It gets worse every day and is almost impossible on which to drive. There are two more storms coming in the next week. The main roads have been pristine since two days after the blizzard two weeks ago. Come on, people! Actually CLEAR the side streets. And stop piling it in my damn driveway — which, by the way, I’ve repeatedly cleared all the way down to pavement, far more than the plow trucks have done. Enough already!

I see plenty of the “heavy equipment” they talk about driving on the already cleared roads. I haven’t seen ANY of it actually clearing any of the streets that need it.

Saturday’s Courtship Tea was lovely. I’m glad I brought my china cups. It was lots of fun. It was snowing again by the time I got home.

Sunday was outside a gloomy day. Inside, I read, a couple of Ellen Pall’s Nine Muses Mysteries, which were pretty good, set in New York. I started another mystery, by another author, and put it down by page 7 because it was so poorly done.

Finished watching Season 3 of THE WEST WING and started watching STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. Love both shows.

I’ve been listening to Argentine Tango music since Saturday — have it on almost all the time, trying to get it into my body, and been working on some of the steps. Last week, I concentrated on steps and trying to communicate with m partner, but didn’t actually get to feel the music. I prefer to work from music, so I figure if I immerse myself in the music for the next few weeks, that will help me get the steps and communicate with my partner better.

The music is also helping me with ideas for the radio play.

I have to go another pass at one of the TV pilots and send it off next week — that will be interesting. I have to decide which one to submit. I think the pilot for THE BROWNSTONE might work better for this particular venue than TALENT, which is the pilot for the Sparkle & Tarnish series, but I need to re-read both of them and see.

I did a lot of research for the historical play over the past few days, especially since Monday we were pretty much snowed in again and yesterday I only went out to pick up a new prescription for my mother and get some more ice melt). The play itself will only focus on one case in this individual’s life — it’s got a limit of 60 pages, and I can do one episode well or do an overview poorly. I’d rather focus on one episode and do it well. But I’m gathering a wealth of material, and will either do a novel, or I’ll take some of the most interesting incidents in her life and do an historical novel on each.

I’m about ready to really dive in to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE again, and get serious about it. I did a lot of percolating about it the past few days. I can’t find the original outline I wrote for it, so I’m just going to rethink the whole piece. I know the basic themes I’m going to explore, it’s just plot and story points that need modification. They already needed some because the character of Alec sauntered in.

Anyway, I have a long day at the library today, with meetings and the cozy mystery book group. I have to talk to Tango’s organizer — we’re supposed to get slammed again tomorrow night, and we have to decide when to call it tomorrow or go ahead and meet.

I have press releases to write for the library, for NMLC, and for the Writers Center this week. I’d like to finish a draft of the radio play by the end of next weekend.

I scored some terrific equipment that will help me enormously in my research, but I have to drive two hours upstate to pick it up. Obviously, that’s not going to happen for awhile! We’re supposed to get another storm tomorrow, and then another one on Sunday into Monday. Fortunately, Monday is President’s Day, so most people were planning to stay home or to escape. I have a feeling staying home might be in the mix for a lot of us.

The power went out briefly, but only for a couple of minutes, so it wasn’t a big deal. We’ve been very, very lucky so far through all these storms.

I’m rationing the firewood, because pretty much every vendor is completely out of firewood. If the power goes off, I want to make sure I have enough. If it stays on, I can have fires through spring and summer. So it all works out.

Stay safe and warm, all! I’ll have an update on the GDR site either at the end of the week (since the 15th is a Sunday) or next week sometme.

Devon

Fri. Feb. 6, 2015: Dancing in the Snow

Friday, February 6, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

A little tired and a little sore this morning, but last night I took my first Tango class and it was fun! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Investing in the shoes was worth it. I’m still thinking too much, and I was focused more on trying to figure out what my partner was doing (although some partners I clicked with very quickly) rather than really connecting to the music. Hopefully, I can meld the two over the coming weeks. There are steps and music and etiquette. Everyone’s really friendly and from very different backgrounds, so it’s nice to meet a whole different group of people than I’ve met since I’ve moved here.

A friend of mine from all the way down in P-town drives up for Tango on Thursdays, and she’d like me to come and speak about my work to a group down there, which will be fun.

A poet walked into the library yesterday, and I wound up booking her for two programs. I like her work, and she’s seems like she’ll be a lot of fun to work with.

It was a busy day yesterday, but a good one, with lots of laughter, which is always good.

So, Harper Lee is going to release the book she wrote BEFORE she wrote TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I love her writing, I’m interested to read it, but I hope people don’t try to hurt her, either because it’s actually the first novel, or because they’re upset she hasn’t released anything in 55 years. I hope the book is allowed to stand on its merits, but I doubt that will be the case.

The Metro North crash in Valhalla a few days ago was horrible. I’m so grateful none of my friends were on the train. I saw some photos – the front of the train was melted from the fire. Truly awful.

Watching the third season of WEST WING. I loved that show, and re-watching it all together just reminds me how good it was.

Some of the scenes in the radio play will be set against a tango background – last night gave me lots of ideas. I have all kinds of ideas for another piece, too, but it has to wait its turn.

Tomorrow, there’s a “Courtship Tea” at the library. Tomorrow night is the Ham and Bean supper at Liberty Hall (thanks to the Village Association). I promised to bake, so I’ll be making batches of lemon cupcakes and batches of fudge brownies tonight. I’m also supplying some of the china for the tea tomorrow. I have to take my mom over to Mashpee for some medical tests in the morning, get in some cat food and wine, and a couple of Argentine Tango CDs – and then I’m in for the next few snowy days.

Have a great weekend!

Devon