Thurs. March 30, 2017: Preparing for Yet More Snow (and Writing)

March 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy day yesterday, but it didn’t feel particularly productive. Worked on NOT BY THE BOOK (not as much as I wanted to). Worked on POWER OF WORDS.

I may have to divide up the latter into even more volumes, to make them manageable. The unifying theme is the expansion of creativity, so expansion is a big part of the series. However, there also have to be cuts in order to keep the pace, but I won’t know what to cut until I over-expand a bit more.

Worked on contest entries. Worked on some admin that needed attention. Promotion the Topic Workbooks and “Plot Bunnies.” As always, daily working with senators and representatives, trying to get to the bottom of the corruption.

I had hoped for a good weekend, so I could get started on yard work, but we’re supposed to get yet more snow. Ick.

So, it’s back to the page, and maybe, just maybe, doing my taxes.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of March.

I loathe April Fool’s Day. In addition to the snow, I’ll probably use it as my offline day for the week.

Back to the page.

Published in: on March 30, 2017 at 9:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow

Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Waxing Moon
Rainy and warm

Yesterday’s choice to rent office space was a good one. First of all, Cape Space is great. Second of all, I got a lot done. I’ll definitely use them again.

Came home to power outages off and on all afternoon. As usual, Eversource sucks. Plus, my phone is dying. I’m so sick of these phones that only last a year.

Got some excellent work done on a project yesterday – nearly 30 pages. Not what I should be working on, but it has a future, so it’s about reshuffling. I have that luxury right now, about being able to flow with projects that pull strongly. I’ll keep in that groove, while also doing some work on SYMPATHETIC MAGIC, for which I had some ideas as I was running errands this morning.

Out and about early this morning, because we’re supposed to get hit with another foot of snow tomorrow. Groceries, cat food, wood, firestarters, liquor. We’re all good.

I’ll either spend the day alternating between studying Constitutional Law and researching Italian Renaissance paintings, or writing in longhand.

Because you KNOW the power’s gonna go out! 😉

I’ll build a fire first thing, so I can light it as soon as the power goes.

Putting together some additional material from yesterday’s meeting, and doing further research. Hoping I can get it all out on Friday.

Looking forward to a snow day!

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 10:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow  
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Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

We had snow yesterday! Enough to cancel my evening plans, although not so much we were stuck and had to be rescued. Again.

Busy day yesterday. Short story out to the anthology, the Constitutional Law textbook arrived and I can dig in. Worked on contest entries. Worked with my elected officials.

Not enough writing done, which is something that has to be remedied this month.

Contract negotiations that were seemingly settled blew up last night on the ghostwriting project– after I’d sent out the paperwork at the author’s request. The other side came at me with new terms — even worse than the terms to which I’d agreed. Not only that, but I was accused of “imaginary research” — for a non-fiction project. We’d talked about research — the author wanted me to do research, handle photo permissions, and all that — and then decided she didn’t want to pay for it. Um, no. I put in the work, you pay for the work, and for any permissions fees. So we agreed to a provision where I wouldn’t put in any time or incur any costs without prior written permission from her on specific parameters. So she comes back with capping “imaginary research” at a specific fee.

I don’t know of a single professional working in non-fiction who doesn’t research the topic in question. I can understand if she was talking to advisors and that term was bandied about in conversation — but to try to put that language into a contract?

I wrote a rebuttal and formally withdrew from the project. She’d already kept scaling back and scaling back — trying to get out of a fair rate. No. Line. Crossed it. Done. Find someone on craigslist who’s going to do substandard work and screw you six ways from Sunday. Because it sure as heck won’t be me working on this.

My lawyer warned me it would come to this, back when she negotiated back the fee the first time. He gets to do the “I Told You So” song, and I’m going to have to acknowledge that, as usual, he was right.

This is the second referral from the same person who tried to screw me on money. I’m going to tell this individual to not give out my name and information any more.

I’ve got my To-Do list for February up on the GDR site. Let’s hope I’m more productive in February than I was in January!

Back to the page — and to the Constitutional Law textbook!

Published in: on February 1, 2017 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song  
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Tues. Jan. 31, 2017: January’s a Snowy Wrap

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re going to have another snowstorm today. I can feel the pressure building in my head.

GDR wrap-up for January here.

Yesterday was another depressing and discouraging day, thanks to the Faux Emperor and his Puppet Masters. I’d accuse the GOP of being spineless, but it’s not that they’re spineless, it’s that they agree, which is even worse.

It looks like the contract for one project is going to go through, on terms that will work for both parties. We each gave, we each got, which is as it should be. That goes off today. That project should take me up through the spring.

Got some writing done. Started the Constitutional Law class. Worked on contest entries.

This morning, I did the final pass on the anthology story, and off it goes. I have class work and errands and writing all to do before the storm hits, so I better get going.

Hopefully, I’ll get some more writing done this afternoon. Writing-wise, February has to get back on track.

Onward.

Published in: on January 31, 2017 at 11:36 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 31, 2017: January’s a Snowy Wrap  
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Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art

Monday, January 9, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cold

Mercury is finally direct, thank goodness! This was a tough one.

It started snowing on Friday; I’d planned ahead, so I didn’t go out. We got about 4-6 inches of heavy, wet snow on Friday, which was a pain in the butt to shovel, but knowing another storm was on the way, we did it anyway.

Saturday, the snow started in the morning, and it snowed until well into the evening. Blizzard conditions, white-outs, instructions to stay off the road.

I had to give up my reading slot in the MOBY DICK MARATHON at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, because I couldn’t get there. Disappointing, but not worth risking my life over.

Instead, I stayed home and read and we took down the holiday decorations. It took most of the day Friday and most of the day Saturday. We’d taken in the outdoor decorations on Thursday, before the first storm hit.

I still have to fluff bows before packing them, switch out and wash/iron/fold fabric. I shouldn’t be surprised it took several days to take down — after all, it took a month to put up!

I had a lousy writing week. Last week started like gangbusters, with about half the short story due at the end of the month, and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK, and some other stuff. But every word, later in the week, was a fight, and the ones I wrestled, I don’t like very much.

I’m hoping for a better writing week this week. I NEED a better writing week this week.

It’s tough, because I have no energy. At all.

I had some promising news from my agent over the weekend, which is nice, but nothing is settled until contracts are signed, so I’m not jumping up and down yet. If negotiations work out, great; if not, on to the next.

I also have to do some negotiating on a potential freelance job. We’ll see how that works. Again, until there’s a signed contract and the deposit clears, I’m not counting on anything.

I’ve been re-watching all of M*A*S*H lately, and I’m reminded how wonderful Alan Alda’s work is. I remember, during my theatre days, when he was the ultimate intelligent woman’s sex symbol: in addition to looks, he has intelligence, wit, humor, compassion, and courage. Then, I was lucky to work with him on some benefits, and he’s even better in person — interested and engaged, and KIND. His wife, Arlene, is amazing, too, and they’re wonderful together. He continues to be active, writing and advocating for science. We need more Alan Alda and less reality celebutard.

Adding to that, was Meryl Streep’s beautiful speech last night at the Golden Globes. As usual, she was intelligent, thoughtful, precise, insightful, and truthful.

Narcissistic Sociopath is having a hissy fit, but there again, you see the contrast between a genuine talent and a reality celebutard.

And hey, if the Duck Dynasty Dickheads have a right to spout politics — and they do, no matter how much I might disagree with them — then intelligent, talented artists have that same right.

For those who say actors/artists don’t have the right to speak about politics — ALL art is political. Some is overt, some is not. Great art makes the audience better, even for a few moments. Great art inspires us not to stand by and let people stomp on us. The incoming fascist regime is counting on squashing our spirit, by taking away everything that makes it possible to have a dignified life. We have to fight that, and one of the most effective ways so to do is through art.

You want to write narrow-minded formula pieces just to make money? Go ahead. That is your right. Even in those, though, isn’t there a happy ending? Doesn’t LOVE triumph over scheming and hate? That’s a form of political discourse. The most popular YA books in recent years — Hunger Games, Testing, et al — are political. Harry Potter is about overcoming a dictator. In Nora Roberts’s books, love and good overcome evil and destruction. That is political. Instead of just burrowing into these books (and we all need that escape), it’s time to take the principles that touch our souls in art and bring them forward into life. It is time for US to overcome those who want to break our spirits, take away love and hope, and control every aspect of OUR lives for THEIR profit.

We need to start creating the reality we want, both in our art, and then take it forward to turn it into our reality. It is time to defeat those who would crush our hearts, so they can line their own pockets.

Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 11:01 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art  
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Thurs. April 7, 2016: Entries & Covers & Incoming Snow

Thursday, April 07, 2016
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and milder

They’re saying we will get snow again on Saturday. I really need good weather on my days off so that I can do yard work!

Yesterday was a long day, but fine. I did PR for upcoming programs, and put out feelers for some programs I’d like to book. I did my reports.

The version of MOBY DICK from which we are doing readings at the end of the month came in. I copied out my pages. I thought there would be a kazillion holds on it, but there aren’t, so I’ll hang onto it for a few days and do some background reading around my assigned pages. It’s been years since I read MOBY DICK.

Worked on contest entries, and did some work on Nonfiction #1. Did some work this morning updating some Topic Workbook covers and on upcoming Topic Workbooks, so I can get those out.

I need to sit down with a calendar and come up with a realistic re-release schedule for the short pieces. I also need to get new cover designs for some of them, and a new cover design for “Too Much Mistletoe”.

I’m on the fence about whether I want to do the two short stories that would need to be finished by the end of the month. I have to weigh the time necessary to add them in to the potential payout (which encompasses both financial and career placement). Something to think about this weekend.

Long day today, and then back to the contest entries. Every time I pick up an entry, I want it to be wonderful. And then we go from there.

I also have to do some replanting. Some of my seedlings need more room, and I need to start the next batch.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Devon

Published in: on April 7, 2016 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 7, 2016: Entries & Covers & Incoming Snow  
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Wed. March 25, 2015: Coming Off a Good Writing Weekend

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and a little warmer

Busy times. I went flat out on Friday, working on ComCat practice in the morning, and writing press releases and PSAs all afternoon. I had a raging migraine by the time I got home.

Saturday was my Saturday “off” from work. I tried to get the headache under control, and I worked on contest entries. There was some good stuff in there.

On Sunday, I finished the student manuscript that’s taken me so long. It’s a relief to get it off my desk, and now the student needs to understand and apply the edits.

I didn’t mean to, but got caught up in the serial novel, what used to be THE POWER OF WORDS. I wrote a new opening for the first book, INSPIRED INCUBATION (yeah, that title’s got to go, even though it’s better than the original title). I like it better.

The advice is to start as far in to the story as possible. I actually backed up a couple of scenes from where I started the book originally, BUT (and the “but” is important), even though it’s chronologically earlier, it’s a more active point in the story, on both physical and emotional levels. That lets me slide into the material that was the original opening (with some cuts) in a way that makes more sense.

I started working on the rewrites for what used to be the second section of the first book, but is now the second book, COLLABORATIVE BIRTH. I still kind of like that title — it fits what the book is about. There are some pretty extensive rewrites, as there were in the first book, but it pulls together much better.

All of Monday was about COLLABORATIVE BIRTH, except for a quick trip to send off the student’s manuscript, turn down a job that was flattering, but I knew in my gut was not the right choice for me, and take the recycling to the dump. Yes, I lead a glamorous life! 😉

I finished the section set on Cape Cod, which only needed some minor tweaking, and then started the section set in Prague — which needed to be ripped apart and rebuilt.

Yesterday, I did a little bit of work on COLLABORATIVE BIRTH, then turned on the Dukane (which is the microfilm machine), and started on the Pinkerton Detective reels borrowed from the University of Indiana for the historical play. Wow. Just wow.

It took me six hours to read one reel, and I got 16 pages’ worth of notes out of it. Some are relevant to the historical play. Some will go into the novel that will cover more than the play possibly could.

It’s also awesome to have the machine at home, and be able to take my time with it, instead of worrying that I’ll overrun whatever time I booked in someone else’s facility.

I also finished rewriting the Prague section of the book, which means I’ve done a serious 165 pages of revisions in the past few days.

I also baked for Thursday’s Pub Serve meeting. Feeding representatives from all the libraries, so it better be good! 😉

Watched NOW YOU SEE ME last night. I’ve watched it probably a dozen times before, and I always find something new to enjoy. It’s a clever, well-done, smart movie with a great cast. I don’t think people really knew what to do with it when it first came out, but I love it.

I’m in at work a little early today, because I have to leave at 5 instead of 6 to head to the National Marine Life Center for their annual meeting. A gasoline truck crashed at the Bourne Rotary this morning, dumping 12,000 gallons into the road, some of which got into the canal. Hopefully, the Bourne Bridge will be accessible by evening. Right now it’s closed for the clean-up. Hopefully, the ecological impact can be somewhat contained.

Tomorrow is PubServe in the morning, then I’m at work in the afternoon, and have Tango at night. Friday and Saturday are at work; probably busy.

The snow packs are shrinking. I’d like to start cleaning up the yard. Although there are big, melted patches out there, there are still snow banks that prevent me from getting from the house to the sections of the yard that need cleaning up.

But the four o’clocks are starting to come up inside. I have to do some more planting early next week, or nothing will come up until Christmas.

Have a great week!

Devon

Published in: on March 25, 2015 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 25, 2015: Coming Off a Good Writing Weekend  
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Friday, March 13, 2015: This N That

Friday, March 13, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy, trying to get posters done and all kinds of other stuff out.

We had a wonderful genealogy program in the afternoon – small turnout, but wow. Hopefully, it will be scheduled again for a larger audience.

Rushed home, bolted some food, changed for tango. Good lesson. I’m always so sore by the end of the class – I need to get in better shape! Also found a lovely gift from a friend.

Up early, paid bills, wrote thank yous, did paperwork. I’ve sent off the deposit for the hotel for vacation.

Already have a migraine.

Will be a busy day here today, but that’s okay.

But that’s okay, because it’s Friday – which means Osterville Fish Market on the way home!

Tomorrow is my Saturday “on” and there’s a program. I also have to run some errands, because, yippy skippy, there’s more snow coming in on Sunday.

Frustrating, since today is the first day my street has been driveable since late January.

Monday, I’m headed north of Boston to pick up the microfilm and microfiche machines. Tuesday, I have two board meetings, and will have to do serious work on the microfilm reels.

Around all of that, I have to work on a screenplay, on Balthazaar, and get the next radio play percolating. And do some promotion for KILLER QUINTET. AND finish a review of a friend’s book (which I loved) and a student manuscript.

I better get busy.

Reading William Goldman’s THE SEASON about a season on Broadway in the late 1960s. I don’t know if the industry’s changed that much, or if, as an outsider writing about it, his experience was so different than mine living it, but his experience and the conclusions he draws are very different than my experience living Broadway. I guess that’s always the difference between watching and doing, and something I have to be aware of when I research my books on subjects about which I know nothing.

Got an idea for a play that won’t work, and another idea for a play that might work if I get cooperation from an organization that is highly unlikely to cooperate.

Off to the trenches.

Devon

Published in: on March 13, 2015 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Friday, March 13, 2015: This N That  
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Thurs. March 12, 2015: Post-Birthday Adjustments

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild
Will

Busy few days, but good ones. I had Saturday off, so we ran errands. Those included going to Country Gardens and buying a primrose, a hyacinth, and a new aloe plant. And a yoga frog.

The books arrived for judging. I’m judging three categories: mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, and novella. Most of them came in print, but nearly a dozen of them, this year, came as digital files. I sorted them, double checked them against the submission sheet, and have questions on the whereabouts of a few. I got started on them.

Here are a few tips: If your title runs 17 words, it’s a blurb, not a title. They serve very different functions. No one’s going to remember an overly long title, and you won’t be able to hold their attention long enough to care.

Get a professional to edit, or, at the very least, proofread. When there are a dozen typos in the first five pages and the sentence structure makes no sense, you’re putting up a barrier between the reader and the story.

I realize we all have pieces we’d like to do “in our vision” based on someone else’s world, but if you’re going to do that, at least make it original enough so it doesn’t scream “fan fiction”. Changing names is not enough.

Start at the beginning of what’s interesting to the reader, not where you had to write your way in. You needed to write it. Your readers don’t need it. Learn about structure, so that when you deviate, it’s clear that it’s a choice that strengthens your work, not just ignorance or laziness.

Read William Goldman’s WHICH LIE DID I TELL? and ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE, both of as much or more value than attending film school. He talks about the realities of screenwriting. Although the industry is changing, many of the caveats are the same. And a well-written screenplay still requires the same structure and commitment. Film is a visual medium. Yes, you drive it with dialogue and character, but the visuals are important. That doesn’t mean a ton of description and camera angles — you don’t do the director’s and DP’s jobs for them. But it means thinking in terms of action as well as dialogue.

The more I work across formats, the more I realize the importance of understanding the format in which you’re telling your story. Prose is vitally different from stage play which is different from screenplay which is different from hour-long TV format which is different from half hour. Each has different needs. If you can’t meet those needs as a writer, you don’t get hired (or at least hired often).

Had lunch with a friend at the Dolphin in Barnstable on Monday, which was a lot of fun. We always have plenty to talk about. Ran into someone with whom I work at the library.

Finished watching Season 6 of WEST WING and started SEASON 7. Watched AUSTENLAND, which was a lot of fun, and PAGE EIGHT, the first Johnny Worricker (David Hare wrote and directed the whole trilogy), which I think is my favorite of the three.

Did the second and third drafts of the radio play, LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES. I still have to cut a page and a half. My instinct is to cut it out of the dance lesson scene and lose a beat where he talks about church. It worked the way I had the scene before, but with the beats I cut from the scene, I feel it weighs the scene down.

It goes off to readers today and sits for two weeks, then I do another pass, register it with the Guild, and send it off. It’s in BBC format, which takes up more room on the page than any of the US formats, hence the extra cuts, since the place to which I’m sending has strict page requirements.

I have to finish a student manuscript this weekend and tackle both the screenplay and BALTHAZAAR. I pick up the microfilm and microfiche machines on Monday, and then I’ll spend a good portion of next week with the Pinkerton case file films, researching the history play.

I have two Board meetings next week, library meetings, and a training session. It will be busy.

The snow is shrinking, which is better than melting into a big puddle of goop. The skylights on the deck are clear, and the street is almost down to asphalt. The town finally sent a truck to do some scraping on the ice ruts yesterday.

Yesterday was my birthday. I had the day off and was very self-indulgent, although the cats woke me early. I read a lot and ate too much. We had lunch at Siena, one of my favorite places, and then steak dinner. And, of course, chocolate mousse birthday cake. I’m in a much better place this year than I was last year, and I’m grateful. But there’s still a lot to do.

I have to get back into library mode for the rest of the week. Lots to do, and programs to promote, and the like.

It’s been warm enough to sit on the deck and read in the afternoons, which I love. We’re supposed to get another cold snap next week, but then, I hope we’re done with winter.

Devon

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. March 14, 2014: Stress and Work

Friday, March 14, 2014
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop over to Adventures in Vineland to read about one of my favorite bottles of wine thus far.

Yesterday, it snowed far more than predicted. I was glad I could work from home.

One role is cast in the play; I’m waiting to hear back on another; and I’m setting auditions up for the third. We have to dive in to rehearsals next week.

Saturn is kicking my ass right now. I am listening, believe me!

Reworked the NMLC Media Kit yesterday and sent it off for the next round of feedback.

Finished another really good book for my editor. Will do the review today. Worked on contest entries. Worked with students (they frustrated the hell out of me yesterday, but we all have those days).

Started the next round of revisions on the play. Hope to have them finished by tonight.

Got a lovely note from a UK book packager who liked my proposal. He doesn’t need additional writers at the moment, but promised to keep me in the mix for future projects. It was a really lovely letter, with specific information that’s helpful to me on several levels, and we hope we’ll be able to meet at one of the upcoming conferences. These are the kinds of people with whom one hopes to do business. Plus, I really like what they do.

Tomorrow, I’m helping out with the Tomorrows Writers Today at the middle school, and, hopefully, finalizing casting, and getting a few other things out of the way.

Stressful stuff going on. But, somehow, I’ll get through it.

Onward.

Devon

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