Friday, November 13, 2009

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Friday, November 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, raw, cold
Friday the 13th!

Woo-hoo! It’s Friday the 13th, always a good luck day for me.

I’ve got a post up on Sole Struck Fashions about “Holiday Prep Work” and a post up on Kemmyrk about “Daily Chakra Cleansing”. Stop by and drop a comment!

Do I even remember what I did yesterday? Hmm, I wrote, always a good thing. The Christmas story is coming along very well. I have to keep stopping to research, since, although it’s set in a fictional town (inspired by Saratoga and the Adelphi Hotel), it’s in a real time period.

I dashed to Greenwich to put something into my safe deposit box. I stopped at the library sale on the way back and picked up some interesting books. One, that I got on a whim, is a biography of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Her father, CW Post, was the cereal giant and invented things like Postum (shout out to Lara). Not only is the book exceptionally well written, it contains social history of the period in which I’m writing, and even mentions Saratoga!

Seshat, the goddess of libraries and scribes, was certainly looking out for me!

Back to the page for a couple of hours, and then I head to the site job. it’s my favorite site, so I’m really looking forward to it. The work there is fun, and I also have quiet time to work on my own writing and reading.

I probably won’t blog tomorrow, but I’ll check in on Sunday, and then, while I’m in DC, there will be various this-and-that posts — I’ve got articles going up at various sites while I’m gone. I’m supposed to have wi-fi in the hotel room, and I’m lugging the laptop with me, so I’ll try to blog from DC.

My goal this weekend is to finish the first draft of the Christmas story so I can edit in on the bus to and from DC and then finish the design and get it to the printer before I leave for Maine. I also want to do some more work on “Digging” — it’s coming along decently. I’m thrilled that so many of you are enjoying it!

I’ve got some business correspondence to get out today before I leave for the site, and a trip to the post office — hopefully it will be open; otherwise, I’ll have to make a detour to another town on the way to site.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Thursday, November 5, 2009

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View of Adelphi Hotel, Saratoga Springs, NY

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune DIRECT
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I’ve got a detailed piece up on the SDR blog about how I use anthology calls as inspiration, breaking down the process. You might find it interesting. I wrote it as I worked on the stories mentioned over the course of the last few weeks — and forgot to schedule it to post while I was away yesterday. Ooops.

So, the Yankees won a World Series on their first year in the stadium. Good for them, fans are happy, I don’t follow baseball, so I can enjoy as a disinterested observer.

Not happy at all with the local election results. The town is moving back towards the petty small-mindedness that caused me to leave in the first place, years ago. Some elections were pretty galvanized, but around here — when you live in a town of somewhere between 15-20,000 and less than 4000 people vote, it’s a problem. So now I have to look at my overall life plan and switch a few things around, and then, as of tomorrow, put my head down and get back to some serious work.

I take away a few things about overall election results. First of all, these were local elections, and people dealt with the issues that affect their overall, every day lives Second, when you look at how many incumbents got a boot up the ass, people made it clear, “You had a chance. You didn’t listen. Buh-bye.” Which is the way it should be. It’s usually pretty hard to remove incumbents, and this time, it wasn’t. Whether I personally agree or disagree with an election result (unless it’s the one that affects my daily life), I do think it’s good that people are removing those they feel do not represent them. That’s why we have a voting process in place. I also have zero respect for people who can’t be bothered to vote. It takes five minutes.

I really don’t feel only two parties can represent the variety of viewpoints we have across the country. We truly need five or six legitimate parties, as they do in Britain and in other countries, so people aren’t forced to accept package deals and can really put individuals in place with more focused positions. You can’t please everyone and you shouldn’t. But voters shouldn’t be limited by having to pick from one or two individuals who have to bundle policy positions to try to fit a wide range.

On to other things. Yesterday, we were out of the house by 6 AM. The drive up to Saratoga was nice — great, crisp autumn weather. We hit Mrs. London’s a little after 9 for a snack. We went to the bookstore and picked up a few things, walked around a bit, and I dealt with some business. We drove past the college — Skidmore is a beautiful campus, and I use it and the town of Saratoga as the inspiration for the location in the Casherick Drualtys stories (SHALLID, et al). We stopped to pick up a few things at the store, and then headed west out of town to a small town called Galway, which isn’t too far away.

An artist friend of mine had an exhibit up in the Town Hall there, where she photographed people in town and asked them who they were — not just surface, but who they really ARE. Fascinating piece. She originally had artwork in MOONTRIBE TALES — The International Women’s Day Project that I co-created and co-produced several years ago, and we’ve kept in touch. I’m so thrilled that I was able to see her exhibit. Because she’s such a warm individual, people open up to her easily, and she’s got such a great eye and knows how to capture, in a photograph, more than just what’s on the surface.

Got back on the road heading South, turned East at Albany, and took I-90 into MA, and then up to Lenox. We had lunch at The Haven, which was great, as always, walked around a bit, I got some business done, picked up a great bottle of Burgundy, got invited to a party on Saturday (I am so tempted to drive back up for it), and headed back.

I was in bed ridiculously early.

I’ve got to get out the assignment for Confidential Job #1 and finish up a short story, but other than that, I’m giving myself the day off to reassess and reconfigure a few things.

Then, it’s back to work tomorrow with a vengeance.

And I mean “vengeance.”

Devon

Monday, August 31, 2009

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The statue in front of the National Museum of Dance, Saratoga Springs, NY

Monday, August 31, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, muggy, cooler

I can’t believe it’s nearly September. Two weeks from today, I’m headed to Prague. Language-wise, I am so not ready, but everything else seems pretty organized.

Yesterday was mostly a writing day. AMENDS has a good natural writing rhythm. I write a few pages, I wander off and do something else, I write a few pages, I wander off and do something else. All good.

I did the write-up for Confidential Job #1. I’m going to proof it and add the page numbers for fact-checking, and then send it off. Then I have to bundle up the invoice information and find a computer with IE on it so I can invoice, probably at the Greenwich Library. Pain in the —-.

And Apple better cough up a solution today. My patience has ended.

There’s a very important article on Shiloh Walker’s site about piracy and ebooks. I hope you check it out. The article articulates the problem very well.

Brandy, you are incredibly talented in so many areas — and not just household management and child-rearing, which are pretty impressive skills in themselves. You’re well-read and articulate, you can do all kinds of crafts, and you have a way with animals, especially cats. You have a wealth of kindness and compassion, and you’re not afraid to share it. All of those are rare and wonderful traits in this day and age.

I found a residency for which I want to apply for next summer, thanks to Hope Clark’s site. It’s an island off the coast of Maine, not a fancy, resort-style retreat, but something where I can actually get a lot of uninterrupted work time in a natural setting. I’m going to apply when I get back from Prague.

I decided I’m going to get my hair cut sometime this week instead of waiting until next week and letting everything pile up just before I leave. I’ve let it grown for seven or eight months now — I haven’t had hair this long in about 15 years. And it’s all coming off, back to my usual short hair, which will be easier to deal with when traveling.

My phone’s not holding a charge for more than a minute (okay, I’m exaggerating, a couple of hours), and I can’t get another battery for it, but it’s a waste of time and money to get it upgraded before I head to Prague. I’ll switch out the phones when I get back.

I have a few pitches to get out to magazines this week, and I want to get a draft of an article done and out to an editor before I leave, so she can look at it and consider changes while I’m gone. I need to do some follow-up on some information for which I asked in order to write it all up.

I’ve got another short article to tweak and get off, hopefully with some photos. I’m hesitant to pitch for any freelance jobs before I go, because the turnaround time will be while I’m gone.

Planning continues for the DC trip in November, and, in and among the various gigs in October, I want to squeeze in another overnight to Saratoga and Lenox.

I have to stay very calm and organized over the next few weeks, and my tolerance for crap is at zero. Should be interesting.

Good morning’s work on AMENDS. The characters are far more complex than I originally envisioned, which is a good thing. I’m going to start typing up the chapters as I write them, and save them on the flash drive, in case this computer goes kaplooey again. I’m tired of being treated like the dumb little errand girl by Apple. I am the customer and they need to fix the problem they caused.

Devon

AMENDS: first draft: 15,812 words out of est. 75,000
21%
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A lovely place to watch the world go by in Saratoga Springs, NY

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

I didn’t blog yesterday. Oh, well. I only had the computer on for a few minutes in the evening to shoot out a client project. Since I’m working out of town tomorrow and Wednesday, I wanted to make sure everything was off my desk before I left.

Of course, more came in last night, but that has to wait until Thursday or Friday. I am fully booked today.

Most of yesterday was spent in the car, dashing around. We went to Target, in search of more bins. They’re sold out of the ones I like, but I got one of the faux leather totes to stick in the corner by my desk for important stuff, and a few small, flat bins for small items that will fit under the bookcase. The cats are not amused — they consider the tote their new cat lounging area, and the newly cleaned up area under the bookcase a hidey-hole. They keep pushing/pulling the bins out. I wanted to get some fabric bins to set in a row in front of the bookcase, with different projects in different bins. That way, everything is all together, and when I’m done with a project and it goes to press, I can file the bin and use it for something new. But everything Target had was fuschia, and that’s not really me. The faux leather milk crate-types are okay, but too expensive. I’m also worried that any of these bins aren’t sturdy enough to hold the amount of research books I use for different projects. The plastic crates are sturdy enough, but, design-wise, don’t look good. The steel mesh crates are great, but only for files, not for books. I can’t just keep stacking stuff all over the floor, and there’s not room for hollow ottomans — which would be a good design choice, but I can’t spend that kind of money to have an ottoman for every project I’m juggling, nor do I have the room!

So I’ll keep looking.

We also looked at a couch that looked good in the photos, but in person, there are design elements you don’t see which make it too unwieldy and take up too much room in the space available.

I re-measured the front door. With the new frame, it’s now FOUR INCHES narrower than before, so pretty much any furniture can’t go through it any more. Very frustrating. Even if you take off the door, there’s a narrow metal inset — at least one of the dimensions on a piece has to be less than 30 inches in order to wrestle it through.

We also went to Barnes & Noble, where I got the travel mat I wanted — sticky on one side, soft on the other, folds up small enough to fit into my carry-on. Because if the Merc Ret hits us full force and we are stuck somewhere for more hours than we’re supposed to, I am rolling out the yoga mat in the airport lounge. Don’t think I won’t! And Costume Imp can hide in the bar, pretending he doesn’t know me!

Also picked up a journal book for the Prague trip.

Got some groceries, came back, messed around with rearranging stuff. Got frustrared, so got back in the car, and we headed back to White Plains, to a plaza to which we’d never been. There’s a Home Goods there. I’ve never been to Home Goods — the commercials are so tacky, I avoided the place. Yet the actual merchandise isn’t bad, and the prices are pretty good. I got some ideas for future stuff — yeah, it might not be there then, but I’ll deal. They didn’t have what I needed/wanted today. They had some nice bins, but not enough of the same pattern for me to invest. But I got some ideas.

We visited a huge outlet shoe store — some cute stuff, but nothing I couldn’t live without right now, although I’ll definitely go back. And another B&N, where I got Karen Marie Moning’s DARKFEVER as the third of my plane books. It came highly recommended by people I trust. I wanted more of a mix of genres, but everything I’ve got so far is dark/urban fantasy. Maybe I can pick up something at the airport that’s different. I’ll definitely grab stuff at Heathrow in either direction that I can’t get in the US.

Went to K-Mart to see if they had any decent bins. I rarely shop at K-Mart, although the one in Hyannis is huge, neat, clean,and friendly. This one was not, and I won’t go back. Plus, they didn’t have anything I wanted or needed, and everyone was in a bad mood, with far too many screaming/badly behaved children. Uh, no.

Stopped in at Pier 1. They have some gorgeous reading chairs, but until I do the furniture swap and have the room, I can’t buy anything. I also really like their painted cabinets, but the truth is that I can pick up something at a thrift shop, strip it down, and, using stencils, paint it myself, and then it will truly be one-of-a-kind.

In other words, not a good shopping day!

Came back, got started on the assignment for Confidential Job #1 — which is awesome, this time around, and finished up some client work to send off.

It was so ookey and rainy and awful. But it didn’t flood, thank goodness. Today seems a little better, and since I’m headed to Saratoga tomorrow, it should be beautiful.

I had a GREAT morning’s work on AMENDS, and can’t wait to get back to do some more later in the day. I’ve got to get to Trader Joe’s to restock the cat food and a few other things, get in some more of Elsa’s special food so she can be properly fed while I’m away (the change in diet would horrify many “experts”, but she has improved enormously in just a few days and a real old-school vet thinks I’m doing absolutely the right thing).

I still have to pack for Saratoga — I can’t believe that I’m waiting until the day before! Instead of getting caught up in the whole changing-clothes-six-times-a-day, I’m bringng a single small duffle, my mat bag, and some writing.

I’m wearing the clothes in which to help set up, I have a dress and cute shoes that will have to take me through dinner and whatever we wind up doing after. I’m taking something in which to sleep, and then, the next day’s clothes have to work for the morning works at the track (at 5:30 AM!), set-up , and the other couple of things I have to do before I head back downstate. I keep debating if I should toss in a few more pairs of cute shoes, but really, I think my Timberland sneakers for running around (they look good as well as being comfortable) and the one pair of cute turquoise shoes to go with the turquoise dress are just going to have to do.

I hope to take some notes for DEAD MAN’S STALL. I also used bits of Saratoga to inspire the setting for SHALLID. I’ll probably run around a bit and take some more photographs.

If I can steal some time between events to write a page here and there, at a cafe, or on the grounds of the Gideon Putnam between setting up for the gala and dinner, I will do so. So I’m taking a small writing bag with my notebook, my journal, and AMENDS.

I’m not taking the computer because, until I get things sorted with Apple, I don’t know if I can trust it; plus, there’ll be no time to hook up. I’m better off with notebook and pen. I AM taking the iPod, so if I can tweet along the journey, I will. I’ll probably tuck in a book, just in case.

Off to Trader Joe’s, and then back to spend some more time on the assignment for Confidential Job #1, and AMENDS. The death row animal shelter scene was hard to write, but important for the overall course of the story, and tells us a lot about the main character.

Devon

Published in: on August 24, 2009 at 7:53 am  Comments (3)  
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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