Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

My final post on Sole Struck Fashions is up. The blog is ending its run at the end of the month — which means I better get busy pulling my clips!

Yesterday was pretty quiet. Lots of percolating, some writing. Ran my errands, checked on my mom, got stuff to storage — I just have the tree to get in this morning, and the hallway is clear. I’ve still got more to pack up as I sort out some more stuff like wrapping paper and ribbons — I’ve hoarded stuff that really can go — and find a box for a rather large piece — but the bulk of it is done.

Finished that dreadful book yesterday. I was so angry when I was done. Yes, I should have probably put it aside, but I wanted to see, structurally, what was going on, and see if I could figure out why an editor, agent, and publisher would think this was a good, marketable commodity. I figured out the villain — I figured it would be the least logical, most two-dimensional, most peripheral person connected to the story, and it was. Hate that. I disliked the small-mindedness of both the author and the characters. I disliked the way the author denigrated or trivialized several religions that weren’t mainstream Christianity in a piece marketed as mainstream. The author had a Wiccan character do a walk-through simply to insult her (and then, in the chapter at the back, I find the character is central to the next book in the series — how much do you want to bet that character is killed off, punished for her religious choices? I won’t be reading it to find out). AND the author got the color correspondences wrong on what the Wiccan walked into a shop to purchase, after making a big deal about the color. Again, lack of research. There was such a lack of respect for so many people and ideas in the book that it made me want, as my grandmother used to say, spit nails.

I’m going to try to get some writing done in the morning and then take my mom to acupuncture. Tomorrow, I probably won’t get to blog until late in the day, if at all (I might just wait until Friday). I have to leave very early to drive Elsa to the vet. The medicine’s helped some of her symptoms, but not all.

Good yoga session both last night and this morning.

Now, back to the page. I’m trying to decide if it makes sense to work on and submit an essay on a topic I know well. I’m getting warier and warier of new publications, which is not necessarily a good thing. I have to see how I think my time will work out. I sort of feel that I should be focusing on the webhost move first.

Devon

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 8:28 am  Comments (10)  
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Friday, November 13, 2009

IMG_0542

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

37 degrees F this morning. And no heat. Yeah, it’s illegal, but they don’t give a damn.

I have a piece over on Sole Struck Fashions about shoes in Prague.

I had to scold a few students, reminding them they don’t get to choose which elements of the exercise they use in their work — they have to integrate ALL of them. And they wonder why editors send them back material for not following guidelines — if you don’t learn how to read and follow guidelines, you’re not going to get published. So don’t give me a song and dance about “organic process” — organic your process all you want on YOUR time — follow the directions when it’s MY time.

Got an incredibly boneheaded email from someone — with next to no credentials — telling me how to write. It was so moronic I had to laugh. Got another email from a lit mag asking for a donation — a lit mag who can’t be bothered to acknowledge or respond to submissions or follow-ups. And I should support you because . . .? I’m sorry, I’m just not that nice. Deal with me in a professional way, and we’ve got a starting point. Act like a spoiled, entitled child, and I’ll do what I do with all spoiled children — ignore you.

Got out the work for Confidential Job #1. Smoothed out the essay and got it to that editor. Stayed on top of the workshop exercises and even got to participate in some of the other workshops.

Froze my little tootsies off — no heat until after 5 PM — so am breaking out the fleece-lined slippers! The cats are well-wrapped in fleece nests and hot water bottles.

Accepted the fact, this morning, that “Be the Monster” is the beginning of a bigger piece and not going to fit into the 5K word limit. Set up the folder, the character charts, the terminology charts so, as I create the world, I can track it instead of having to flip back and forth through pages to see what I meant. The writing went well — about 1500 words a day seems to be its natural pace. The last thing I need is another project, but Catriona is very stubborn and my metaphorical ass is sore from the kicking she gave it when I didn’t pay attention to her enough yesterday. It also needs a new title — this one was adequate for the section I hoped would be the bulk of the short story, but not for the larger piece.

Every piece has its own shape and rhythm and you’ve got to trust it.

It also means I have to come up with another story for the anthology — and fast.

I’ve got to keep up with assignments today, take the fans to storage and retrieve my cappuccino maker, and work on the grant applications.

Better bundle up and get to it.

Devon

Sunday, September 13, 2009

IMG_0313
Maine

Sunday, September 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I’m over at Sole Struck Fashions today, talking about Fashion Night Out.

I was completely useless yesterday. I ran some errands, got the groceries in, tried to get my mom settled in her new medications, fiddled more with packing, got my watch fixed.

It was rainy and icky, so the cats and I napped in the afternoon (they are such a bad influence on me), and I worked on the proposals. I’m seriously considering sending out at least one tomorrow morning, the one I really, really want. Nothing like last minute, right?

I can’t believe I’m leaving for Prague tomorrow. In addition, I’m planning for the gig on the Cape that will happen 36 hours after I return, the trip to Washington DC in November, and a trip next summer to the Bay of Fundy (since New Brunswick is quickly rising on the list of possible relocation sites).

Thank goodness I cleared off my deadlines early, because I am just a waste of food.

As soon as I get through security at the airport tomorrow, I can relax. But hauling the luggage onto the train and the bus and then, the worst, standing in line at the check-in counter, is what stresses me out.

Well, I’ve got to do the last-minute things to get ready, and make sure I leave everything here as organized as possible.

And I want to get that proposal out.

Devon
IMG_0015
Eastham, MA

Published in: on September 13, 2009 at 8:43 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I’m over at Sole Struck Fashions with my second installment of “Signature Scents” — this month, I talk about how I blend oils to make my own. I hope you stop by.

Brandy, I’ve heard good things about NewEgg. I’ll check them out. Thank you!

I’ve been alternating doses of Elsa’s regular medicine with Rescue Remedy. She seems a little better. I’m going to keep it up and maybe take her to the vet next week, if she needs it. She got a lot of sleep yesterday, and she slept through the night better than I did — I woke up at 1:30 AM for some reason, and had a heck of a time getting back to sleep. Elsa just rolled over and put her paw over her face.

Got some work cleared off the desk yesterday morning. Took a nap in the afternoon, to make up for the previous night. Did some hand washing — which means I’ll have to do some ironing in the next few days, but I like to iron, so it’s no big deal. I cooked a lot yesterday afternoon when I woke up — since I’ll be gone for the second half of the week, I wanted to cook anything that could get bad in the fridge. We’ll eat from those dishes until we go, and freeze the rest. I hate to waste food!

Read a bit, wrote a bit, basically had a restorative day. I’m packed for the trip. Yes, I’m a freak — I pack way in advance. I’m surprised I haven’t started packing for Prague! I’ve got some errands to run this morning, and then I’m off to the acupuncturist this afternoon. Traffic will be a nightmare, due to bridge problems — hopefully it won’t undo all the good the acupuncture does!

I had a good writing session this morning (whew). I’m getting back into the groove. I’m writing about Scotland, which always makes me happy.

Somehow, my iPod turned itself on in my purse and ran down its battery, so I’m recharging it. I guess that’s why they recommend the hard case, huh?

Iris and Violet are very busy this morning, so I better see what they’re up to. And then it’s off to start the day.

Have a good week, all!

Devon

Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 7:45 am  Comments (4)  
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Supposed to be sunny, but who knows?

I’m typing this Saturday night and scheduling it to post Sunday morning, because, you guessed it, I’m at yet another Mac workshop this morning, this one in White Plains.

I hit the ground running early yesterday — checked to make sure the article posted on Sole Struck, worked on a refusal letter to a client — the terms aren’t acceptable, and I’m trying to say so politely.

I made the 9AM meeting with the Congresswoman. It was great to meet her, her staff was great, and I think I was the only person who was there to do more than simply howl. I thanked her for the help her office gave me on something awhile back, asked her to keep the screws on the banking industry (because the Big Banks are still determined to screw the customers), and we had a brief discussion on health care. When I mentioned I was coming down to the rally, she suggested I stop by her office, I’ll clear it with the staff, let the union people I’m travelling with know, and peel off from our other lobbyng duties in the afternoon so to do.

Since the meeting was right near D’Agostino’s, Ipopped into to pick up my favorite Silver Palate dressing. I’d hoped they had my favorite Scottish smoked salmon pate, but no such luck. Hoped to stop at a small, local sewing store to pick up bobbins and thread, but they weren’t open. Continued to a library sale, where I picked up some books for my mom and a research book I need for a gig I’m pitching. I also picked up some background research for a column I pitched yesterday about eco-friendly living, and for a column I’m about to pitch about holistic life choices for artists.

Continued on to check out a yoga studio I’d heard about — the website looks good, the prices are scale for this area. I came in to find a disgruntled staff, no easily accesable information about class schedules, etc. (I’m sorry but a frustrated sigh with an eye roll and “You can’t look it up on the web?” is NOT the kind of response that’s going to entice me to become a customer), and it was filled with small, screaming, sticky toddlers, all of whom took one look at me and Knew Better. They may have been small and sticky, but they were smarter than their parents. I turned to leave and Ms. Eye Roll-Sigher said, “You’re just walking out?” I turned and said, “I”m looking for a sanctuary, not Gymboree.”

So, that’s two local yoga studios on my “When Pigs Fly” list. The other one wouldn’t let me take a drop-in class, even paying cash — although that’s listed on their schedule, without me giving them my credit card info for “monthly billing.” When I explained that there would be months where I’m travelling and wouldn’t be taking classes, and only wanted to be charged for classes I actually took, I was told, “That’s not how we do things.” Well, guess what, bubblelah? I’m not going to be one of your customers, so at this point, it’s moot. In Massachussetts,they’re actually happy to see you and they want to show you around and have you take time to get to know the studio. Here in Westchester, they act like they’re doing you a favor by allowing you to take a paid class.

Anyway, after that debacle, I headed back home, hoping again to stop at the sewing store, but there was a Lexus SUV trying to crawl up my tail pipe, and I couldn’t pull over to park. Sigh. I’ll probably just drive to Hartsdale sometime next week to the place where I bought the machine to get the bobbins, bring the skirt, and match the thread properly.

Back home, spent about two hours doing receipts. I’m usually good about keeping receipts logged and current, but I haven’t done ANY this year. Two hours got a lot of it done, and now I have a bunch of stuff to file today, so it’s all good.

Off to Stamford in bad traffic and rain for the workshop. Traffic was a nightmare and it started to rain again (note to self: begin Ark construction; design invites). I got there early because I had questions about the iPod Touch, which were answered in a minute, because the people who work at Apple are actually helpful and tell you the truth. Then I wandered around the mall (I’m allergic to them — they give me headaches and make me sneeze). I stopped in at Brookstone to look for international power adaptors/convertors. Heaven forbid the Czech Republic be on the same type of current as anyone else — they’re on 230 (WTF?????). Anyway, when I buy the iPod Touch, I’ll meander two doors down and the guy there will outfit me with the correct adaptor so I can take it to Prague and synch with Mobile Me and online and photos and all the rest. I’ll probably just buy the whole international adaptor pack and ask for a cheat sheet, so no matter where I go, I can take my Stuff.

Anyway, the workshop was great, although I’ll have to play with the stuff we learned about Leopard, and Snow Damn Leopard’s already been released. Now, come on, people, I JUST bought my Mac and there’s already a new system? I’ll go see the snow leopards at the Bronx Zoo, but do I really need them in my computer? And I learned how to clean up what’s become a very cluttered desktop. There were only two of us, so we got to ask lots of questions, and Rebecca’s a great teacher, so it was a terrific class.

I am so getting an external hard drive so I can use Time Machine every week.

Came home, turned on MacGeorge, started to apply some of what I learned in class. It’s so nice to have things actually WORK. I’m still getting used to it.

Received a DVD in the mail of my play (TILL DEATH DO THEY PART), so I can watch that sometime in the next week or so. This was shot when the original cast was still together, before the performance I saw. I’m nervous, but excited to watch it.

Wrote some thank you notes, did some follow-up, ordered some books, and hung out in the evening

As I mentioned earlier, while you read this, i’ll be at yet another Mac workshop in White Plains. Eventually, I will have taken every imaginable workshop and know how to use CORRECTLY what’s in my computer, instead of puling out stuff and trying to learn it as I need it.

Worked out. I’m going to intensify my workouts to gain stamina for the next couple of months and get myself a good headspace.

When I get back from the workshop, I have to do a pile of ironing, catch up on receipts, work on the DIXIE DUST mailing, and spend most of the day on Confidential Job #1.

Have a good one!

Devon

On the Road

I’m driving as we speak (well, okay, as you read).

So stop by Sole Struck Fashions for far too much information on lingerie!

If I have internet service, I’ll blog from the motel tomorrow.

In any case, come back on Friday to celebrate Writers’ Worth Day!

Devon

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 1:26 am  Comments (9)  
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Stop by Sole Struck Fashions for my article on “Freshen Your Wardrobe”.

It’s still below freezing here, and it’s half-way through April. Hope that means the serious heat doesn’t arrive until well into June.

Never got around to blogging yesterday because I was too busy writing. Saturday was a cold, rainy day. I took it easy, alternating between leisurely-paced writing and reading. Part of the reading was some hard science research for a project, and the reading got the cogs of it unstuck, so I got several chapters of it written on Sunday. I had also had to do things like research a driving route between Detroit, Michigan and Santa Fe, NM and then rewrite a section of the chapter, because my protagonist came across like a moron. The first time around, I took the easy way to make happen what I needed to happen, and it made my protag come across as incompetent. So, I had to re-think it and find a more clever way to portray the circumstances, so the same chain of events I needed to happen happened, but without losing respect for the character. Always an interesting challenge. I got there, eventually.

Wound up writing a little over 30 pages on the project, which is a pretty good day’s work. Again, it didn’t feel frantic, and I didn’t feel wrung out by the end. It was simply a good, steady pace.

I’m doing one more proofread on the full of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. The submission package material is all fine, but I want to do one more pass on the full. So I’m working on it in short spurts – about three chapters per day, reading slowly, to make sure I catch everything. If I get a request for the full quickly, I’ll have to ramp it up, but for now, I think I can accomplish it via slow, steady & very, very careful.

Did a little reading in the evening, talked to friends, watched some television. Couldn’t tell you what. Reviewing tape of Derby contenders – the Kentucky Derby is in a few weeks, and there are articles to write.

Finished my taxes.

Had a decent, but not great writing session this morning. Need to get out some business correspondence, make the copies and mail out the tax returns, and get back to work on some of the deadlined writing, as well as get out some more pitches today. Gotta keep up the momentum.

Hope you had a great holiday weekend and will have a great week!

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 7:41 am  Comments (8)  
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

So, yesterday was the celebration of the 200th birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Both men were typical Aquarians – independent thinkers.

Today is my debut as a contributor on Sole Struck Fashions. Unfortunately, I couldn’t post because of some sort of error, but I sent the post to my editor, so hopefully she can get it up soon. It’s a piece called “Don’t Throw That Out!”

Woke up this morning to the news of that horrible plane crash into a house outside of Buffalo. Everyone on board the plane is reported dead, as well as one person on the ground, in the house into which the plane hit. Those poor people, those poor families, and that neighborhood! What bothers me about the coverage, on every single station around here is they all refer to the “female pilot”. The pilot is the PILOT – stop making an issue of gender. The plane didn’t crash because the pilot was female. We don’t yet know why the plane crashed, but I seriously doubt it had anything to do with the pilot’s gender. We’re supposed to have evolved beyond that kind of casual sexism.

I expect more from people who have the reputation for being journalists with integrity. I guess I shouldn’t.

Brenda, to answer your question, I got my information from The Senator I Trust. New York has two senators, One I Trust and One I Do Not Trust. I had questions for the Senator I Trust and got response. I still want to read the bill in total and make my own decisions and ask more questions. (Gee, you think I’ll have questions or disagreements with pieces of it? ;)) As of last night, when I had to get off line (in the middle of something, no less), it was not yet posted because they’re still working on language. I believe it will be up on the White House Site, but if not, the bills eventually end up on the Government Printing Office site. There are a lot of excerpts that have been circulating and misquoted. When I do have a legitimate link to an unvarnished copy of the legislation, I will post it.

What’s frustrating is that I want to read legislation BEFORE it’s passed, so I can make my opinions known to those I pay to represent me. Sometimes, that means poking around the Congressional Site, especially the pages for my representatives. There must be a site that simply posts bills that are in legislation, before passage, but I’m not sure what it is. YET.

Today, unfortunately, is not the day I have to track it down.

Living in the Land of Just Not Getting It: Someone on one of the boards I frequent mentioned disappointment that her blog wasn’t getting lots of traffic and wanted people to stop by. I clicked over, only to see it posted that this person “doesn’t have time” to blog until April. Um, so why should we come by NOW? And keep coming by if there isn’t any new content until April? Honey, you claim to be a writer who uses your blog as a marketing tool. That means MAKING time to regularly update the blog as part of your JOB if you expect to build and hold an audience.

Work was fine yesterday. Got a lot done on The Lucy Gothic. Had a lot of interruptions all day, as I expected, but it was fine and all worked out.

The wind storms around here were terrible, and resulted in several fatalities. In my location, there was a partially glassed in ceiling, and it was rather frightening to watch the trees bend as far as they did and sway. At one point, I had to drive about fifteen minutes to pick up something and bring it back. The drive took nearly an hour because I had to keep stopping the car to drag tree limbs out of the road. Fortunately, it was all stuff I could move.

For awhile, the sky took on that greenish-gray-yellow tinge that does not bode well, and I wondered if we’d have to scamper into the cellar for awhile. It’s not usually tornado country around here, but the way the air and clouds were moving, it looked like a possibility. Fortunately, it all smoothed out. But it was scary driving home late last night. It also didn’t help that the majority of drivers around here (mostly in SUVs, I might add), in this densely populated area, seem to think it’s fine to use their fog lights in traffic. Uh, no, it’s against the law, and it causes accidents. So that made the drive back even more challenging.

Got home later than I expected, and was too tired to do much except unpack the food that needed to go back into the refrigerator and get to bed.

I have a lot to do today, since it’s my one day at the home computer for the next several days, and, of course, the computer is not cooperating. Typical. The McAfee is the biggest problem – again – hijacking, freezing, and crashing the computer while it “updates” – for about four hours. That’s been the average daily update lately – four hours, with no way to override it. And heaven forbid that McAfee actually provides the customer service to fix it. After all, who am I? Only a customer who PAYS for their service. I’m looking into some of the other virus protectors that readers have suggested – thank you. I’m hoping that, when I get my new computer, it will be close to the end of the McAfee subscription anyway, and I can just dump it. Meanwhile, I’m tracking the time and money they cost me every day.

I’ve got a bunch of correspondence to get out, some pitches to send, and some proposals for workshops to prepare, all of which need to go out today. Then I have to unpack and repack for the weekend. I thought I was leaving at noon tomorrow, but now it looks more like around 10 AM – and no computer/internet access until I get back, so I’ve got to get a lot done.

I hoped to get some work done on the Billy Root story, but didn’t this morning, so I doubt it will happen. I’m having a relationship dilemma about him – he’s supposed to be torn between two women, but I’m not sure how far to take the relationship with each of them – and a completely different woman, who is a fairly important character, seems to emerge as a better choice for him. The only way I’m going to figure this out is to write my way through it and worry about what the editor will think later. The editor’s not every going to see it until a few drafts in, when it will be quite different from anything I’m currently thinking.

I’ve already got the title for the fourth book, and a rough outline. It will focus on Jain and Wyatt, tying up some unfinished business begun in the book about to release and taking their relationship to a whole new level.

With any luck, I can be focused this morning and get some work done on the revisions for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT this afternoon.

I’m back into the groove with The Lucy Gothic, I think, which is good. I was worried I’d lost the thread, there, for awhile. I’m behind in the typing – I’ve got over 110 pages in longhand, I’m well into Chapter Seven, but only have the first two chapters typed.

And somewhere in all of this, the plays need attention.

I really want a day off, but that’s not going to happen for awhile. This is one of those cases where, in spite of being a freelancer, I don’t get to take a day off because I want to. Things need to get done first and THEN, maybe some time next week, I’ll take a day and just BE. I prefer doing that during the week, because everyone’s trapped in their cubicles, and it’s easier to hang out. Then I can stay in and write while everyone else frantically rushes around all weekend getting caught up on everything they couldn’t do all week.

Today, for your amusement, I do my imitation of a Hamster on a Treadmill. Wish me luck!

Fortunately, I LOVE Friday the 13th, I think it’s a fun, wonderful, positive day, so in spite of all the “have to’s”, I intend to have some fun this evening. And how great is it that there’s a Friday leading into Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day, to me, is more than just commercialized push at romance. It’s a chance to say to people that they matter.

So, in case you feel I haven’t appreciated you lately – Hey, You Matter!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Back to the page.

Devon