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

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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. 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

Published in: on March 14, 2014 at 7:40 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. Feb. 4, 2014: Crusty Snow and School Work

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

We had snow most of yesterday, the wet, icky kind. It didn’t stop until after dark, which means I got to shovel wet, crusty snow this morning. And that Toro Power Shovel? Piece of crap. I thought Toro products were good and reliable, but both the design on this and its unreliability make it a huge disappointment. Save your money and and buy a product that actually WORKS.

If you haven’t dropped a comment on my blogging article, please do so. I’d love to be asked back for a regular gig.

Finished up a book proposal yesterday, printed it out, and realized that there were font and formatting problems, so I had to go back, fix it, and reprint. It looked good on screen, but I hadn’t checked the details, and it wasn’t right, so . . .had to make it right. That will go into the mail today, when I get to the post office. I fell in love with the book all over again, working on the proposal.

Polished the sci-fi/horror/western novella and submitted it to Amber Quill, who let me know, a few hours later, that they accepted it! That was quick! We’re going to find a new title — which makes perfect sense — but they definitely want it. Nice, quick sale! Now, I need to polish another novella for them and get back to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Did some work on the new play, but it still isn’t where I want it.

Made a quick library run to return some books and get out some novels for the snowstorm. Reading Jake Arnott’s THE HOUSE OF RUMOUR, whose chapters are structured on the Major Arcana of the tarot.

Trying to catch up on computational neuroscience work, but it’s giving me a headache (no pun intended). Catching up on Astrobiology — fascinating class, out of University of Edinburgh, and did the peer evaluations on the Environmental Law papers.

Did some thinking on an untitled novella (which seems to be expanding into a novel) and on the Sparkle and Tarnish project. Caught up on some correspondence.

I need to get a lot of writing done and work with students. I’ve got a new student, a guy whose college papers I proofread, who’s hired me to give him some grammar lessons along the way. So that’s all good.

Got paid for my last two articles on the random-date-paying market — earlier than I expected, which is nice.

I’ve got some wine research to do for Adventures in Vineland, and some other research on a couple of articles I’m interesting in pitching to markets that are a bit of a stretch for me.

I was invited to participate in an eco-festival this spring out in Provincetown. I’d wanted to do it last year, but didn’t find out about it until too late. This year, unfortunately, it conflict with the dates for the new play. Oh, well. It’ll happen when it’s time, I guess.

Back to the page, and to the school work.

Devon

Published in: on February 4, 2014 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 4, 2014: Crusty Snow and School Work  
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Wed. Jan. 29, 2014: Snowing and Writing

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Day Before Dark Moon
Snowy and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to see what’s new in the garden.

Snowing! We’re really getting hammered here on the Cape this year.

Yesterday was a good day, albeit a busy one. Out the door by 8 AM, over to the Marine LIfe Center. I followed on rounds, taking all kinds of notes — you never know what weird little detail is going to be just the thing in the play. Figured out the murder weapon, too — an interesting instrument.

Spent the rest of the day working from the office, researching and putting together the information I need for the organization’s media kit. I have a very rough draft put together. I need to get scans of some articles to pop in, and then I can send it off for comments.

Caught up on email, pitched for a few jobs, played with the plot for the play.

Home by dinner time, a little tired, but happy with a good day’s work. Finished a book I was reading, did some research.

I’m reading Sharon Olds’s poems, THE UNSWEPT ROOM. I’ve always loved her work — the intensity of image, the succinct language.

To the page.

Devon

Published in: on January 29, 2014 at 7:38 am  Comments (2)  
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Thurs. Jan. 23, 2014: Post-Storm Writing

Thursday, January 23, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy few days. Comcast is back to their old, extortionist tricks. They truly believe they are above the law. They are not.

In any case, on Monday, I got some good writing done, including a nice section at night on TRUE HOME. Tuesday, I wrote more on TRUE HOME before discovering that Comcast fucked me. Again.

Then, it was off to Centerville Library, to deal with what I had to deal with online — checking email, working with students, sorting out answers to interview questions for the test article that this new market and I are working on together. I’m actually pretty efficient with limited online time.

I knew that the storm would start early, no matter what the weather folk said. By the time I left the library, a little after noon, it was already snowing (they said it would start around seven p.m.). I picked up more batteries, and headed home.

In the afternoon, I worked on the big editing project for my client, and read some more of the Ben Franklin biography. I think I would have liked him. He was interested in just about everything, which made him interesting.

Also worked adapting some prose to script format.

Wrote more on TRUE HOME, finishing up Chapter Six, from Garrett’s point of view, and starting Chapter Seven, from Jem’s. I love writing from Jem’s point of view. I feel very connected to him.

I also unpacked a box from the many boxes still waiting to be unpacked in the basement and found a lot of really cool and useful stuff. I also found things I could purge. The purging feels good.

We had a blizzard all night, and it continued well into Wednesday. I already knew the libraries would be closed, and I’d be cut off, so I could prepare. I wrote ten pages in longhand on TRUE HOME, first thing in the morning, finishing Jem’s chapter, and getting ready to start Chapter Eight, from Antoinette’s point of view.

Still trying to decide how to get THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE back into the queue, and if I should buckle down and write the whole book, or if I should dig out the outline, polish it up, and submit the outline and the first few chapters. I could also ask the publisher — he said he wanted to see more from me. The question is, would I be able to make the deadlines set if I sold it on outline, with the new play coming up, the screenplay packets prepped, and the edits on both books coming out this spring? I need to think about it for a few days.

Wednesday, I completed the big editing project for my client, wrote four press releases, finished Jem’s Chapter Seven of TRUE HOME and made solid progress on the next Antoinette chapter, Chapter Eight.

I hunted for my outline notes for BALTHAZAAR and can’t find them, so I’ll have to re-read the fifty or so pages I wrote on the book and go from there. However, I found a lot of other useful material. Now, I have to decide what to do with it — it needs to get out into the world and earn its keep.

Took about two hours to dig out from the storm. Not as much as the storm early in the year — about 12 inches instead of two feet. It was fluffy, so easy to shovel.

I used the electric snowblower, which is a major pain in the ass and doesn’t work well. I bought it to be more eco-friendly than using a gas-powered one. If “they” want us to be eco-minded and give up fossil-fuel-powered tools, then design alternate energy tools that both work and are affordable. Without both of those factors, people cannot and will not change.

This morning, I polished up some exercises for my students and roughed out an article. I’m at the library, catching up. I also had to shovel out the driveway again, since the plow for the street just shoved all the snow back into the driveway.

And then, it’s back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 10:52 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 23, 2014: Post-Storm Writing  
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Thurs. Feb. 7, 2013: Projects, Escalating Stress, & Snow

Thursday, February 7, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

So we’re prepping for this big storm and are all in a tizzy. I hope it won’t be anywhere near as bad as they’re saying.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day editing and working with students. I have an awful lot to get done today, because I have to get things cleared off before the storm and potential power outages and meetings and auditions coming up, etc. I’m feeling stressed out and overwhelmed out of proportion to what is actually going on.

Last night was a board meeting for the Writers’ Center, and I have follow-up and additional information to work on there, too.

I managed to fall in love all over again with one of my projects, which is always a good thing, but it’s a tricky one to pull off and I’m feeling so much pressure from so many different factions right now that I’m not sure what to do with the piece.

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for “Journal into Fiction”, which runs next Mon.-Fri. Information here.

I have a new workshop, the only one I’m teaching in March, running March 4-8, called “Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series”. Information here.

HEX BREAKER just came out in print — woo-hoo!

Auditions for MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL start next Monday — if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come by. Details here.

Have a safe weekend!

Devon

Mon. Dec. 31, 2012: New Year’s Eve & Pens are Hopping!

IMG_0784
Iris investigates the centerpiece, a gift from Lori! Thanks!

Monday, December 31, 2012
Waning Moon
New Year’s Eve

I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s!

Better hurry and download the free Jain Lazarus tale, “First Feet” — it’s only available until January 2!

Busy weekend. Worked a lot on Friday, wrote a lot on Friday. Worked up the rough of my wacky proposal for the agent. I love it. I let it rest over the weekend, and will tweak it over the next few days to send to her later this week. Ran errands on Saturday, and did a little raking, since the storm was coming. Worked on getting out party invites all weekend.

We got about 4 inches of snow on Saturday night — not bad, considering. Did some party planning, did some cleaning up and re-arranging. Was highly irritated at the snow plow guy. As usual, he shoved snow INTO everyone’s driveways. To a point, that’s understandable, but he left a boulder-sized snowball in the elderly neighbor’s driveway. There’s no reason he couldn’t have pushed it another foot out of the way, except this guy was either inexperienced, incompetent, a dickhead, or a combination. I went over to help the neighbor.

Got my own driveway and walkway shovelled — it wasn’t too bad, except for the stuff shoved into the driveway by the plow. AND the fact that the plow destroyed the whole bottom of the front yard — again, it’s marked, there’s no reason he couldn’t have paid attention and stayed in the road. If the boulders hadn’t been there protecting the rest of the yard, he would have torn it up halfway to the house. Unacceptable. Yes, I took photos, and yes, I will be making noise to the town!

It looks really pretty, though, except for the damaged area.

Found Rosemary Edghill’s SPEAK DAGGERS TO HER, the first Bast mystery, and re-read it. Now I have the whole set to lend to Costume Imp when he comes up in spring. I have the materials prepped for tonight’s ritual, for tomorrow morning’s ritual, have to pick up a few things for the NYDay breakfast. I’m doing laundry (because I have this thing about going into the New Year with clean clothes), and will vaccuum and mop this afternoon. Changed all the beds this morning.

We lit a fire in the fireplace last night, the first successful attempt since we moved it. It was wonderful! So much fun, worked so well. We’ll be doing that a lot more all winter.

I’m still having fun with the Twelfth Night stories, although I’m a bit behind. The story on the Five Gold Rings was more complicated than I expected. Not longer – just more complicated.

I realized the idea I’ve been playing with for a few days is actually an Ivy de le Livre piece (she’s my horse-playng tarot reader character) that is BEFORE the pieces I’ve been working on. That opens all kinds of exciting possibilities.

Bill Moyers interviewed a fascinating writer named Junot Diaz — now I’m eager to read his books. What a thoughtful, articulate, intelligent man.

The president of the Writers’ Center shot me a few ideas, and I shot back a response this morning. This year will be exciting!

I’m very excited that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is circulating in the CLAMS library network! So, if you’re on Cape Cod — you can check it out of the library. What fun!

Lots to do to prep for the New Year. Have a safe and joyful holiday!

Stop by Biblio Paradise tomorrow — we’re starting the year with Shirley Wells’s latest! AND, stop by Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions tomorrow, where we start working on our New Year’s goals!

Devon

Mon. Nov. 5, 2012: Getting Organized

Monday, November 5, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend. On Friday, Costume Imp made a run for home, and got there. The trip down was smooth, and he “only” had to wait an hour for a bus to get over to Brooklyn. He’s relieved to be home.

We got home in one piece, changed the beds, did loads of laundry, took down the Samhain decorations, and put everything away. For some reason, it always takes longer to put things away than get them out, doesn’t it?

I was glad to hear the NYC Marathon was cancelled this weekend, and even more heartened by the many kindnesses marathoners showed to the city, volunteering in badly-stricken areas. One-to-one humanism always works better than organizations full of red tape.

I did the schoolwork for my Greek & Roman Mythology class, and I started work on the paper for the World History class, but had nothing in the tank for it. Fortunately, the deadline’s been extended until tomorrow at 6 PM — I’ll finish it and submit it today.

I worked with tarot students, I taught the “Dissecting Submission Guidelines” class. It was very quiet. No one said peep all day. Hopefully, they still got something out of it.

Sunday, I got the last of the bulbs into the ground — hyacinth, daffodil, tulip, crocus, glory-of-the-snow. Also got most of the front lawn put to bed. I can’t complete the side yard because the damn “landscaper” who was supposed to move the forsythias (and still hasn’t) and clear away the brush LEFT any brush under 3 feet. That whole side yard is a mess. I stacked as much of the debris he couldn’t be bothered with under the forsythia bushes, so if and when he ever bothers to show up to move them, he’ll have to deal with the brush first. How much you want to bet he just tosses it on the lawn and leaves it?

Also used the stinky fish fertilizer on the front beds — phew! But it’s supposed to be great, and last year’s tulips needed re-fertilizing.

I went to a rally last night to hear Elizabeth Warren speak. She helped me several years ago in a difficult situation, helped me navigate the complexities and fight the dickheads trying to take advantage of my elderly mother (we won). I’d forgotten how funny and witty she is in person, in addition to being incredibly intelligent and committed to justice.
The space the rally was held was too small, in my opinion, and people kept coming and coming and coming — which is great — but I stayed on the fringes, not wanting to get stuck in the middle of a crowd. I got the best of both worlds — good view, could hear everything, and also not get claustrophobic.

I finished the edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and got them back to my editor. I go back to work on the next book in the series, CRAVE THE HUNT, today. I need to finish a couple of short stories this week, too. Everything I sent one of my other editors last week bounced back (due to the Hurricane), so I’m waiting to hear back from him before I send my next review. However, I have to get interview questions out to someone he assigned me, or that article will be late.

I downloaded the MIT Opencourseware class on Medieval Women Writers I wanted to start today, but it makes no sense. There’s a calendar of assignments and a reading list, but no lectures. Coursera makes much more sense.

I got out a press release for the extended deadline for the application for the Playwriting Intensive. More information here. I got quite a few requests from people who meant to get it in just under the wire on the 1st, but couldn’t because of Sandy.

I had an idea for a book I can put together and pitch to the agent (once I’m sure she’s got her power back). I basically have all the material, it’s just a case of organizing it. I’ll organize it for the proposal, and then, basically, it will be done. I also have another idea that’s been swirling around. I took some notes on it, but it has to wait its turn. There are too many deadlined projects stacked up in front of it.

I need to do some yard work later today — the terraced back area, and part of the meadow. I need to hack back the dead hostas, too. Tomorrow will be busy — I’m out of the house doing research all day, after I vote — so Wednesday morning, I’ll have to finish the yard work, ahead of the expected snow.

Snow! Christmas! Not ready to deal with any of it.

Devon

Mon. Dec. 19: Time Flies When You’re Decorating

Monday, December 19, 2011
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

We had a lovely dusting of snow yesterday. Things look lovely. But it’s cold.

Friday was busy. Finally got things to the dump — two trips, one for garbage and recycling, one for bags of leaves. Still have a couple of bags in the garage, but, for the most part — done. Still have some leaves to tidy up in the meadow, but can’t do it if they’re under snow.

Working on the domestic cards. Plan to get them out today.

The job I pitched for on Tuesday asked for more info by Wednesday, and I worked it up and sent it on Friday. Either they hire me, or they don’t. I’d love to add them to my roster as a regular gig, but I can’t tie myself in knots about it. They have a specific tone — either I managed to mimic it, or I didn’t. But the quick response was good for my morale!

The yoga party on Friday was fun. The yoga part was hard, much more challenging than I’m used to, but I’m glad I did it.

Saturday was about running errands and getting the rest of the house decorated. I didn’t even turn on the computer, and it was nice to be away from it for a day.

Yesterday was about newspapers, catching up with students, writing cards, and going to a neighbor’s party, which was fun. Tonight, I have a meeting on a possible theatre collaboration.

Violet is a little under the weather today. I’m hoping she just feels the need for a day off, too. I’m keeping an eye on her; hopefully, she’ll be fine and we won’t have to take a trip to the vet later this week.

I’m finally back on track with Book 2 of the trilogy. I’ve written and discarded about 6K over the past few days, but today’s words can stay (in this draft, anyway).

Devon

Today’s word count: 1789
Total word count: 14,162

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 9:45 am  Comments (5)  
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Mon. Nov. 28: Ewwwww! Creepy-Crawly Chaos

Monday, November 28, 2011
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

It’s been quite a week!

Wednesday morning, our departure was delayed due to weather. We didn’t get on the road until nearly 10 AM. Fortunately, we missed the worst of the rain and didn’t hit snow until we were past Portland. Not a bad drive, and we managed a few stops on the way at “usual” places on our route. Eight inches of snow where we were staying. Talk about a winter wonderland!

My great uncle is very frail. He’s walking with a cane, thanks to a nasty spill a few weeks ago. He’ll be 95 next month, so, all told, he’s doing pretty well, and he was glad to see us.

The lasagna pan barely fit into the oven, but it did, and the lasagna was a bit hit, as were the salad and cake.

Up early on Thanksgiving. Managed to write 3K of a long short story that’s been percolating for nearly ten years now. It’s finally coming together, and I’m very excited about it.

Thanksgiving Dinner was great — good food, good company. Only 42 people this year, a little smaller than some of the previous years. But good fun. Lots of interesting social dynamics, in spite of everyone sticking to the “leave your egos and arguments at the door” rule. Came away with a stuffed belly and a head equally stuffed with ideas.

Quiet evening, with some visiting, and some packing. Up early on Friday, back on the road by 8. Stopped in Ongonquit for breakfast at Bessie’s. I’ve wanted to eat there for years, but this was the first time I figured out where to park. It was excellent.

Also stopped at a great thrift store at the York/Kittery line and got some wonderful deals, including a pair of metal deer that were obviously hand-crafted and bolted in a unique manner — I’ll have to photograph them at some point.

Home in the afternoon, unpacking, sorting out the cats. Exhausted.

Saturday, worked on the short story, ran around and did some errands. Started cleaning and straightening the place for the holidays. Wondered why the six-foot eggplant in the living rooms was so dusty — and realized it was MOVING! BUGS! The entire plant was infested. The other plants nearby were infested. The curtains were infested. Things were crawling up the walls.

Took the plant out, disposed of it responsibly and sterilized the pot. Washed the other plants to try to save them. Stripped the room and scrubbed it, sterilized it top to toe, vacuumed and laundered the curtains, washed the walls, vacuumed everything remotely vacuum-able, scrubbed everything scrubbable. Stripped down and scrubbed myself in the shower with castile soap (ow) and immediately washed all my clothes in hot water. It took hours. Sprinkled mint everywhere.

Tessa and the twins brawled. There was literally fur flying, but the twins have stopped picking on her.

The next morning, the mint worked and overcame anything left in the windows, but I found some other plants infested in two other rooms. We’ve lost all the eggplants (which were still giving us eggplants) and the green peppers. One of the strawberries was infested, and all the foxgloves.

Headed to Country Gardens. They told me it was spider mites, and what I thought were bites all over my hands, arms, and torso was an allergic reaction to their sticky secretions. Ginger (an anti-inflammatory) offset that. Anyway, they gave me a spray for the plants. I soaked whatever was salvageable, wiped off the dead things once the leaves were dry, and have those plants in quarantine. And scrubbed everything again.

The spray worked. And now I know how to deal with it the next time it happens.

Fourteen hours on it yesterday. The house looks like a tornado hit it. But it’s clean enough to use as an operating room.

I’m sure spider mites exist in NYC, but they tend to choke on the bus fumes, like the rest of us. I never had them in the apartment. I’d never seen the larvae, and didn’t know what it was. It looked like dust. Until it hatched and started moving. Ewwww. And they had to work fast, because we checked all the plants on Wednesday morning and they were fine.

Also managed to put together the Christmas tree and put up the Advent Table (it was the First of Advent yesterday). Deocration boxes are now also all over the place.

If I’m lucky, I’ll get it cleaned up by Christmas. 😦

Good morning writing session. Headed off-Cape for a meeting this morning, then back to try to get some yard work done (the neighbors spent all weekend making their lawns pristine and have ALL their decorations up — I feel so disorganized) and comment on the short story assignment for my class.

I’d love to have a mini-melt-down, but, honesty, there’s just no time.

Devon
Today’s word count: 1357
Total word count: 92,360

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 9:45 am  Comments (4)  
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