Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Just a quick check in. I have many opinions about the debacle in MA yesterday, which denies me health care for the rest of my life and has the Republicans circling around me, clapping and singing, “Die fast.” However, right now, there is far too much rude language in what I have to say, and there’s a more elegant and stronger way to say it, so I’ll wait, and I’ll revise it into a paid opinion piece (yes, people do pay me for my opinions) instead of simply ranting on the blog. I’m not surprised the Democrats lost the seat — the day Vicki Kennedy sneered that she “wasn’t interested” in running, as though it was beneath her, was the day she slapped everyone in the state in the face and guaranteed Republican victory. She didn’t have to run; what she had to do was phrase her choice it in a less insulting manner, and the family needed to be active in the campaign, instead of washing their hands of it because none of them were running.

On a happier note, I had a great writing day yesterday. I wrote about 20 pages in longhand (yes, my hand hurts) on the project that’s currently on fire, while percolating the next section of the steampunk, which will get the bulk of my attention this weekend.

I never made it to meditation — the writing was going well, and I was not about to stop.

I nearly forgot that I have a piece up on the SDR blog. That’s what I get for being organized and writing all my articles for the publication and blog at the top of the month! 😉 It’s called “Setting Up a Successful 2010”, and it’s about setting up systems to make your submission/pitch/query process easier.

I’m going back to the page for about an hour, and then I’m headed up-county to have lunch with a friend in a small town on the Hudson River. It’s a lovely day — perfect to get outside for a bit, though well-bundled.

And then it will be back to the page. I’ve got some straightening up to do, and tomorrow’s my last day of prep before the trip. The final proofs of the anthology essay came through yesterday, so I have to take a look at that and turn it around before I leave on Friday morning. I think the book itself drops in early April.

If you haven’t read my kids’ story, “Mina’s Test”, it’s in the current issue of STORIES FOR CHILDREN magazine, under the Jenny Storm name. It’s my first shot at a piece for 7-9 year olds, and it’s kind of cute.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ceiling detail from the Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Twelfth Day of Christmas
Epiphany/First Night of Carnivale
Sunny and frigid

I wrote “fridge” the first time. Is my Freudian slip showing? 😉

Yes, the Twelve Days of Christmas are over (for some reason, they felt more like twenty this year), and Carnivale season begins down New Orleans way with the Three Kings Parade. I meant to bake a Three Kings Cake, but time got away from me, and we still have so many sweets left over from the holiday that I could not, in good conscience, bake more

Still sore from Monday night’s excellent work out.

I’ve got a post up over on the SDR Blog called “Plodding and Spurting.” Don’t worry, it’s about writing! 😉

Today, I also get to take down all the holiday decorations. That will probably take the bulk of the day. I have to really check all the shelves and the corners and all and make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. And I have to find boxes for the new decorations that joined the family this past season.

Dealing with has gone from the ridiculous to the absurd. First they’re telling me everything works with Firefox. It doesn’t. Then they tell me that THEY don’t have a problem. So nice for them, but it doesn’t help me. Then they tell me that the other customers who use Firefox don’t have problems with the upgrade. Names and numbers, folks, I want to contact them myself. No suggestions of anything helpful, just arguing that I’m not having the problems I’m having.

Completely unacceptable.

I’m in discussion with what I hope will be my new host to find the best way to get everything downloaded and moved without losing it all. We’ll figure out the steps and I’ll get going on them. I can’t afford the time or the frustration, and when the tech non-support starts arguing with me and telling me there isn’t a problem when I can’t do anything but read the mail (I couldn’t even send anything yesterday that was a reply), the problem goes deeper than poor service.

I don’t want to do the physical move while Mercury is in Retrograde, because that’s just asking for trouble.

Elsa and I headed off to the vet. I loathe driving on the Long Island Expressway (LIE), especially when the 18 wheel trucks try to crunch a VW Rabbit because they think it’s funny. Fortunately, I’m a better driver than they are, and well-versed in evasive course driving. Even more fortunately, Elsa thinks a ride in the car is fun, even when I have to perform evasive maneuvers. Where are the state troopers when you need ‘em?

Elsa, of course, didn’t display a single symptom at the vet. Funny how that always happens. She was happy and friendly and engaged. Her vital signs are good. In fact, overall, she’s in exceptionally good shape for a cat her age. They took blood and gave me antibiotics for her, Clavamix this time. Basically, they don’t know what’s wrong.. It could be an infection. It could be allergies. It could be asthma. It could be a nasal tumor. They just don’t know. So we’re trying to eliminate stuff. And her teeth are better, so the dental stuff, what I call “Scope for cats” is doing some good. We were talking about her neurological problems and what does she do? Dance off the table and land on her feet — for the first time in her ENTIRE life. The vet figures she outgrew whatever neurological problem she had. In other words, when she goes around acting vague next time, I’m going to tell her she’s busted! 😉

Easier ride back. Ww weren’t nearly killed by manic truck drivers, just one Lexus SUV whose driver was texting instead of driving. In this neck of the woods, if the driver is lousy or rude careless or drunk or texting, chances are said SOB is driving a Lexus. Because that’s what Lexus owners around here do — drive with a sense of entitlement that, since they could afford a Lexus, none of the rules of the road apply to them, and they treat every other driver they meet with contempt.

Elsa didn’t have a single sniffle until well into the evening, which makes me think there’s something in the apartment that irritates her, and it’s allergies. Now, if I could just figure out WHAT the allergy is, I could deal with it.

I’m supposed to get the results of the blood work today.

My mom hurt her back, so I had to hunt down some medication for her and hope that helps. If not, I’ll give her my acupuncture appointment next week and reschedule for myself.

Will spend some time at the page this morning (I’ve got a window of all of 15 minutes — I really need to start getting up at 6 AM again instead of 7) before heading off to get my Mom, see what I can do to help her back. She was going to help me take the decorations down, but I’ll perch her in a chair with Elsa or Iris (she’s Iris’s personal slave) on her lap and she’ll just keep me company while I take everything down and then I’ll drop her off when I take it back to storage. We WERE going to go shoe shopping today, too. I gave her a gift card for DSW and a brand new shoe bag that’s got a few empty spots. But she’s not feeling up to it.

The medicine makes Elsa groggy, but, other than that, she’s a little better. Still sniffly, but not sneezing as much, and her breathing is quieter and less labored.

Back to the page, even if it’s only for a few minutes.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

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.”


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Violet loves Samhain

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s the third Wednesday of the month, which means my next SDR blog post is up. This one is about “Reading To Write.”
Note: I just realized it’s TUESDAY, not Wednesday, so this post is up a day early. headdesk.

I got up at 6 and was at my desk at 7 this morning. That hour makes all the difference, mentally and creatively. For once, the cats weren’t rummaging at 4 AM, so when the alarm went off, they were like, “What? it’s dark outside!”

But I’m so much more productive if I get up at 6 than if I get up at 7, that it’s worth it.

I had a great session on “Lake Justice.” It’s weird, because I feel like I’m doing so much work and covering so much ground, but the word count doesn’t seem to rise very quickly. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since this is a short story. But I look down and go, “I’ve covered all this ground and I’m only 300 words ahead?”

Good news: One of my children’s stories, under the Jenny Storm name, has been accepted for publication in January. When it comes out, I’ll point you all towards it. I’m delighted. Jenny needs a few more credits!

I’m booked to teach both the Dialogue Workshop and a Story Building Workshop at the 2010 Muse Online Conference, next October. AND, I’ve been invited back to the Catholic Writers Online Conference in February to teach the Dialogue Workshop and the One Story, Many Voices Workshop.

I think I’ve found my new web host. I’m pretty excited. So I’m trying to move forward a little more quickly on the website redesigns so I can move before the end of the year.

More legal paperwork to do today — it’s taking longer than I’d like because, the deeper we dig, the more points need to be articulated. But it will all be good when it’s done.

Good progress on BE THE MONSTER and a novella. I’ve got to read through another set of edits for the essay and then, hopefully, we’re done.

So I better get back to work!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and mild


I put this photo in just because I could. It’s the beach/boardwalk about a mile from my apartment.

Books for Monsters released ahead of schedule. They’ve run my action/adventure tale “The Retriever”, set in London. You can read it here.

Hop on over to the SDR blog and check out my piece “Revision is More Than Spell Check.” It points out some of the most common mistakes writers miss when they do what they call “revision”, which, more often than not, is just running a piece through spell check.

Went to Costco to pick up a few things, did the grocery shopping, worked on client projects yesterday.

I left early for White Plains to sign up for Apple’s One-on-One program — only to discover that I’m not eligible! You have to purchase it WITH the computer, or within a fourteen day window. I blew it. It’s only my fault — I remember the guy who sold me the computer telling me about it, but I was on information overload at that point and it didn’t sink in. Plus, being used to the tactics of Dell and Microsoft, where they’re constantly trying to get as much money out of you as possible without giving you what you actually want and need — I was suspicious. I was heart-broken when I found out I couldn’t sign up. The poor guy who broke the news to me was afraid I’d weep all over his shoes. But I didn’t. Further discussion indicates that the program is too structured to fit my needs anyway, and not as individualized as i want, plus you can’t make up lessons. So, if I was away for a week, too bad for me. You can’t really complain, at that price point, but I need something more individualized. So I have to find someone I can hire outside of one of the programs whenever I need to learn something, and I’ll take as many of the free workshops at the store as I can.

The iPages workshop was FANTASTIC. There were only two of us, so we managed to get in-depth, and I learned so much. I’m delightfully shocked by the versatility of iPages. It makes Word look like a behemoth dinosaur dying in the tar pits. When I came home, I designed the postcard for DIXIE DUST RUMORS, taking what I learned from the iPhoto workshop and the iPages workshop, and got it done in TEN MINUTES. It’s never taken me less than several hours in Microsoft, mostly because the various programs didn’t do what I needed and wouldn’t talk to each other. I’m astonished. The “Inspector” function lets me do and integrate just about anything. I still really don’t understand “Alpha”, but the teacher swore by it, and I’ll figure it out.

I want to tweak the text a bit, but that has nothing to do with the programs.

We worked on newsletters — Devon’s Random Newsletter will be even better next month. And envelopes. And a whole bunch of other stuff.

I started the Jain Lazarus brochure, and i’ll work on the Fearless Ink brochure today — I need to import some graphics from the PC, because I want to use the old graphics, but they’re from XP and not in Word for Mac. So I guess I’ll learn how to do that today.

When I got home, I played with MobileMe. I still don’t really get it, but at least I can use it better.

I also designed a proposal for something I call Apple Flex, an individual lesson program on several tiers, and pitched it to Apple’s corporate office. Nothing may come of it, but at least I was pro-active.

I can’t take any workshops this weekend, because of the Belmont Stakes and the Tony Awards, but maybe next week, I’ll do some more. The basic Mac workshop would be a huge help, I think. I still only know about 5% of what this system can do. And I don’t understand the Safari browser AT ALL. I use Firefox — especially since I can’t get into my websites via Safari.

I had a great morning’s work on the Matty book, and I’m getting ready to work on a pitch, a proposal, and get back to the serial.

Back to the page.