Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Have you see the “Simon’s Cat” animation pieces on You Tube? Someone tweeted about them yesterday, and I spent way too much time watching them and howling with laughter. “Cat Man Do” is one of my favorites, although I love them all.

The scumbags actually gave us heat yesterday, without me having to call the Health Department first. I’m not sure if they just did it because they got a clue that we won’t back down, or if someone else called the Health Department. It was only a puff, in mid-afternoon, but it made a big difference.

My editor sent back the essay with some suggestions for cuts — I’m curious to see if her cuts are the same as my first cut instincts. The other editor was pleased with the cuts in the short story, which I thought was interesting, since I felt those cuts took all the detail and charm away, but whatever.

I’m doing the final prep for the workshop, so I can post the first exercise tomorrow. I’ve decided to rearrange the exercises a bit. The conference officially starts on Monday — it will be a busy week. I may stop into a couple of workshops — last year I took a couple of writing workshops — I world-built again in Karina Fabian’s wonderful class, and I took both Kim Smith’s cozy workshop and Jamieson Wolfe’s short story workshop. I developed a new book in Karina’s workshop, which is in the To Be Written Queue; Kim’s workshop was the start of the first Helena Francis mystery, which is nearly done; and the short stories I started work on in Jamieson’s workshop are making the rounds — one of them was published in THE RANFURLY REVIEW, and the others are on submission, and there are more to go to create a volume of linked short stories. This year, I don’t really want to create new material — I’m up to my eyeballs in partials that need sorting and completion. So I’m looking into workshops dealing more with business and practicality. There’s also a research workshop that looks wonderful, especially since I’m about to start digging in the National Archives.

I read most of the material for Confidential Job #1. I will finish it write up what I have to either today or tomorrow.

I was supposed to go to a Morgan Horse event tomorrow, but, honestly, I don’t know if I’m up to it after this week.

Plus, I need to get back to the Prague essays.

I’m delighted that the President was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. When you travel outside of the United States and get away from the viewpoints of the liars and the hypocrites, the only people who come across on the world stage as fools are the obstructionists and screamers who are scared that an educated, rational viewpoint might hold some sway in the world, and that their own personal pockets will be lightened when the special interests no longer own the country. It’s going to take a long time to cut out the cancer that is comprised of corporate interests, but, hopefully, the people will continue to demand it. Our President is trying to do it peacefully and legally, and that is the way most people want it done, which is why he was elected.

And Representative Alan Graysin rocks — good for him, not kowtowing to the morons and telling it like it is.

Devon

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and warm

My story “The Peace of the Night” is in the June issue of the RANFURLY REVIEW. You can download the issue here (my story’s on p. 17).

This is one of the stories I developed in Jamieson Wolfe’s short story workshop last fall during The Muse Online Conference. It’s one of several linked stories in the same town.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read my interview with Jo Linsdell on her new release, ITALIAN FOR TOURISTS (Costume Imp, I think this would be great for your trip this summer).

Yesterday was full of Drama. Around lunchtime, I get a message from Metro North that train service has been suspended due to police activity at the station across the street from the apartment. Suddenly, there are sirens everywhere, and at least four helicopters flying around, the streets are cordoned off and even the highway — I-95, a major artery for the Eastern seaboard — is shut down.

There was a “suspicious package”. The dogs were called in, the bomb squad was called in, the helicopters hovered. (Note to self: It’s really not the best choice to wave at a hovering helicopter when it’s carrying a sniper).

There was a brief sigh of relief when it was discovered that the package contained car parts, although that was a bit of a puzzle.

However, then an odd smell permeated the place, and it was shut down for another while.

A couple of hours later, it was cleared up. I ventured to the bank and the post office, both of which are near the train station. There was some left over crime scene tape and it smelled weird — like burned fertilizer with an aftertaste of chlorine. Instant headache.

I’d rather the authorities were that cautious than for something to go “boom.”

The mystery of Air France flight 447 is truly heartbreaking. It’s like something out of LOST. I hope they find out what really happened someday.

Spent the afternoon and evening on a client project that’s taking more time than I expected. I will spend the bulk of the day on it today, because I want/need to get it out the door before I head off, this afternoon, to another computer workshop. I’m looking forward to it. And I need to go grocery shopping.

Good morning’s work on the Matty book. I hope to get back to the serial tomorrow. I also have to get started on a proposal for a residency I’d like to land next year.

Back to the page.

Devon

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! May a wave of love, friendship, and general good will envelop the world today! You don’t HAVE to spend a fortune – a smile to a stranger in the street costs nothing. And there are all kinds of inventive ways to show your loved ones how much they mean to you.

My story “The Peace of the Night” was accepted for the June issue of THE RANFURLY REVIEW. I’m very excited, for a number of reasons. This is one of a set of loosely connected stories I started writing in Jamieson Wolf’s workshop last October, and I’ve been working to polish and hone them over a period of months. Something about these stories and characters feels very different from anything I’ve previously written and very right. Also, I’ve wanted to be a part of THE RANFURLY REVIEW since it launched, but, until now, haven’t felt I had a piece that suited the particular publication’s vision. Once I started polishing this story, it felt like the right fit. I’m glad the editor agreed!

PJ – the automatic update WON’T turn off on the McAfee. That’s part of the problem. And uninstalling and re-installing didn’t fix the problem. Gives a whole new meaning to “The Ghost in the Machine”, right? 😉

If you haven’t checked out my debut on Sole Struck Fashions, please hop on over and leave a comment!

Nursed my poor little computer through the day, having to turn it off several times. Pitched for nearly a half a dozen jobs. Worked on the proposals. Worked on the brochures. Played with the cats – who were annoyed because they’ve barely seen me for a week. Unpacked and repacked for the weekend gig.

Read a bit in I, TOO, AM HERE, which is a compilation of excerpts from the letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle. I first came into contact with this book as a weekend guest at a family friend’s. Cold winter night by the fire, etc., etc. I searched for my own copy for over 20 years. Recently, I thought about it again and tried to track it down. Then, I opened a box in storage and discovered Strand Books tracked it down for me several years ago, and I own a copy!

I also realize that, although I know of Thomas Carlyle’s work, I’ve never actually ever READ it, a hole in my literary education that needs filling. We stopped at the house on the way to Culzean several years ago, in Scotland. It wasn’t open that day.

Reading Virginia Woolf’s diary yesterday, I came across a passage where she talks about visiting Zennor, in Cornwall. That was one of the places we visited, when we were in Cornwall. I never associated it with Virginia Woolf – I always think of St. Ives in connection with her. Zennor is tiny and somehow mysterious. I wish I could have spent more time there.

Of course, this morning, the McAfee has hijacked my computer yet again. It “updated” for over four hours yesterday – WTF is going on? And why won’t customer service fix it? And what part of “it is unacceptable to freeze, crash, and hijack my computer” is incomprehensible to them?

In any event, I started the revisions on ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. I didn’t get very far, because, already in Chapter One, there’s huge change necessary. I don’t want it, but in order to fit the genre guidelines of the markets I’m eyeing for this particular piece, I have to make this change.

I also realized, reading over another piece of mine that’s supposed to be an historical, that I either have to radically change the characters and some of the plot to make it true to the time period, or I have to shift it into a parallel universe in order to stay true to my characters. The piece just won’t hold up as a piece of historical fiction. And the changes necessary to make it true to the period gut the heart and soul of the piece. By shifting genres, and picking it up and sticking it into a world specifically built for it, I can solve the problems.

My poor computer needed a rest, so I shut it down. Then, I lay down, planning about a twenty minute nap. However, I woke up completely groggy and disoriented two and a half hours later. Guess I was more tired than I realized!

The fantastic thing was that I woke up with the plot of a comic novel complete in my head. I’ve jotted down most of it. It’s kind of a SCARLET PIMPERNEL-COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO spoof, but with my own odd spin to it. And it’s very different from Lauren Willig’s novels. Don’t get me wrong, I love what she’s done—but this book is very different. It’s definitely something to appear under the “Ava Dunne” name – it’s got that edgy, odd humor, in spite of the historical context – to which I can be true, in this case, because it feeds into the satire of the book.

So I guess the nap was worth it.

Great yoga session earlier than usual last night, gave the cats lots of attention. They are not amused that there are suitcases and bags again in the hall. I’ve got to wind up a few more things online before I leave at 10 AM, and then it’s off to work for the weekend. I won’t be back online until sometime on Monday, which I just realized is a holiday for most people, so I hope I can get a lot done in peace and quiet. I’m hoping that Monday brings a lot of good work on the two plays looming over me and the Billy Root story.

Valentine’s Nights Part One was a lot of fun, thank you very much, and I’m looking forward to Parts Two and Three! 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and back to the page!

Devon