Thurs. Nov. 13, 2014: Working in All Directions

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Waning Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Busy few days. Can I even remember back that far?

Been busy at work, been busy at home. Doing a lot of research; working on RED WIDOW. Also went back to a couple of other projects that are in various stages, went over the material, and I’m re-sorting those priorities. Not getting enough yard work done. Getting paperwork done, especially on the home front, contracts, and the like, and preparing submissions.

Got another small royalty check and the payment for the anthology that’s about to release. I’m excited – my first steampunk story in print! That will drop at the end of next week.

Doing my wreck diving homework for the background on BALTHAZAAR – behind where I’d like to be, but it’s getting done, and a lot of it is creative work, sitting on the floor with a large piece of paper, trying to visualize things. Putting together lots of questions.

A project in DC I thought was dead due to the change in Congress is still on the burner – it may be another six months to a year before it’s up and running, but there’s grant writing and proposal writing to be done in the meantime, interviews to be conducted, etc. If it happens (and there are so many “ifs” involved), it will mean going to DC on some of the days I’m not scheduled to work elsewhere. Not that I mind, especially if someone else is making the arrangements and paying for it! It’s a project I really want to be involved with, although I’m a way out of the box choice – which is exactly why the person heading the project, a former professor of mine, is bound and determined that I remain a part of it.

Got a request for a play of mine – a company in Florida is interested in it. That might be kind of fun, adding it to the resume. I’d just license it, not go down and work on it.

Went to see a facility here on the Cape in connection with another project, earlier this week. I was disappointed. I expected more from the location. I’m still glad I saw it, and it made the creative wheels turn, but I don’t see how we can work out the practicalities in the near future.

Yesterday, Talin Bookbindery did a program at the library. It was magnificent, one of the best programs I’ve attended anywhere. I was even more enchanted with the bookbinding process by the end of it than at the beginning. And the process of making marbled papers! A true art. Wonderful.

Spending lots of time on student work. Hopefully, the students are getting something positive out of it. It was the right route to go for the past few months, only working with private students, and teaching groups in one-shot deals, not long-term classes. I’m under too much deadline pressure right now for anything else.

Even though I was “on” last Saturday here, I switched with a colleague for this weekend, who has a commitment. Not a problem at all. And I have to participate in “Taste of the Mills” this weekend, and write up some proposals for new programs. Monday, I’m in the writing cave; Tuesday, I’m spending the day on Martha’s Vineyard. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate!

The webs in RED WIDOW and the novellas connected to it intrigue me. I’m wondering just how far I can push certain elements in this series. Guess I’ll find out soon, huh?

Devon

Tues. Dec. 10, 2013: Connection Frustratons

Tuesday, December, 2013
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
About to storm

More problems with Comcast — no internet, phone, or TV at home, and no timeline when it will be fixed. Typical. They are such fuckheads (no apologies for language). Unfortunately, they have a monopoly on the Cape — I thought that’s why Ma Bell (which was actually a GOOD company) was broken up. Yet, I guess Comcast bribed the right politicians to get away with it. Tried to get things sorted out in person, and all they do is make new shit up and lie. Time for the appropriate authorities to step in –but that takes time.

So, I’m working at home offline, and then going a couple of times a day somewhere so I can work online. I’m making it work, and trying not to let the frustration factor sabotage me.

I reworked my resume, and really like the new format. I’ve also updated various sample packages. I’m in negotiations for a couple of freelance gigs that sound really interesting. I’m still trying to choreograph that climactic sequence in the one screenplay, and, no matter how I move around the pieces, I haven’t found the right way to make it work.

I’m typing up some of the chapters from the development notebook for the steampunk series. I love writing from Jem’s POV. He’s one of the favorite characters I’ve ever developed. A special guy.

I’m trying to do the end-of-year purge and clear-out, but it’s slow going. I have to be more efficient about that during the year, building in purge or file time weekly or at least monthly.

Even without cable, the monitor works and we can watch DVDs. We watched NO RESERVATIONS last night, which was better than I thought, although pretty unrealistic in terms of huge NYC apartments and how much time off chefs get. But it was still fun.

A plus on all this disconnect is that I’m more focused when I’m writing AND that high-pitched sound that is incredibly painful that I complained about for four years and Comcast swears doesn’t exist — isn’t whining anymore, so I’m not in constant pain.

That’s a good thing.

Keep a good thought for me.

Devon

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Mon. Oct. 7, 2013: The Left Coast Irritation Factor

Monday, October 7, 2013
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Most important info of the day: Vote for the NMLC, a finalist in Toyota’s 100 Cars for good between 10 AM and 11:59 PM. Please vote for us on Facebook here.

Busy weekend. Got some work done Friday morning, including a couple of pitches. Then, my friend and I went to Cape Cod Beer for a tour (tons of fun) and up to Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary for a walk.

Back for a phone conversation on a project. I had emphasized “short” conversation — which to me is 10 minutes or less, and it still took me nearly an hour to get off the phone. Now the contract negotiations are pushed back to January. Went from “the money IS in place” to “the money WILL BE in place by the end of the year.” When this is a real project, go talk to my agent. Don’t waste any more of my time, or I start charging for phone calls, like I do with the rest of my freelance clients.

Another potential client got all upset because I didn’t instantly respond to emails sent at 10:30 PM west coast time — it’s 1:30 in the morning for me, on a weekend, and I WON’T respond, even if I was still online at the time, nor would I if we were on contract. Boundaries. Again, wants to waste my time on the phone. I don’t do business on the phone, and if you want phone time, you’re going to cough up cash first. And then be billed for phone calls in 15-minute increments. Like a lawyer. Also, before we set up a phone meeting, I want you to answer my questions about contract and payment. I don’t work on spec and I don’t work for free. If the financials don’t work out, there’s no point in having the phone conversation. I’m not 22 years old, trying to break into Left Coast Show business. I HAVE a career. Negotiations, contract, initial payment, and THEN we talk about the details of the actual project.

I don’t work in pipe dreams. I work on contract.

Another potential client is interested in further negotiations this weekend — it would be a long-term steady gig doing something I enjoy, so we’ll see if the financials work out.

The nightmare interview subject finally got information to me at 4:18 on Friday afternoon , after trying to wiggle out of the deadline and I refused to let NIS off the hook(my deadline was 5 PM). I got an extension from my ever-loving editor, and it went out yesterday, along with another review and everything invoiced.

Found out that the steampunk short story I thought was due October 15 is actually due on JANUARY 15 — phew! Now I can make it sparkle. Had a great exchange with the editor.

Did some research for a couple of projects that are very different from each other, but seem to be set in the same created world. Not sure how that’s going to work yet, and I’m sure there will be some cross-pollination at some point, but it’s still in such an early stage, I’m not sure how. The research is an awful lot of fun, though!

Good first writing session — just over 1K. I’m going to try to keep the momentum on this going for a few more hours.

Have to work on an article today, and hope some of those pitches go through.

Devon

Wed. December 26, 2012: Holiday Writing Blitz

IMG_0757

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold
Boxing Day
Second Day of Christmas

So what did you dream last night? That’s what January will be about!

My dreams were very confusing, between watching DR. WHO and reading most of Brandon Sanderson’s MISTBORN yesterday. Hopefully, the dream itself denotes creativity, not chaos!

I had a quiet Christmas Eve and Day. I’d offered to be on call for the Marine Life Center in case someone couldn’t come in, but didn’t hear from them, so I’m assuming they were covered.

I did some work on the Eve, wrapped packages, and wrote about 2700 words on the Dickensian Steampunk. This gives me the shape of it. Some of the characters are surprising me, in a good way. Now I can figure out where I want to go with it, and do a rough outline. I’m not yet sure where it fits in to the schedule, but I like what I’m doing with it, and where I’m going.

Worked on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. Didn’t realize, until I worked on them, how angry I am about a few things that happened last year. Full out fury and resentment. I’m glad I wrote what I did, but I’ll post something a lot more diplomatic! 😉 It helped to purge it and figure out what I can do differently and more positively next year, and made me realize I was right to cut ties with someone who’d been a major client last year, but whose business model and payment arrangements caused me a great deal of stress and pain. The client is not worth it. I am done. Although I prefer to transition between clients, easing out one as I take in new assignments, in practice, I find that I must take a leap and clear out the old in order to make room for the new, even when I don’t always know what that new is.

Dug out some of my old cookbooks that I hadn’t unpacked and re-acquainted myself with a lot of great stuff. Also, found some recipes I used to be very fond of and thought, “how could I have ever served THAT?”

Worked on the list and the menu for the Twelfth Night party. I have to design and start sending out invitations today.

Christmas Eve dinner was roast pork with a spice marinade, green beans in hollandaise sauce, mashed potatoes, and corn. All good.

We open our presents on Christmas Eve — a wealth of books made me happy. The cats LOVE opening presents — they help! I was up with the burning bayberry candle until after 2 AM (it has to burn all the way out on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve — can’t be extinguished and re-lit). Fortunately, I had the new Juliet Blackwell to keep me entertained — and the cats.

Up early on the Day for stockings and pancakes. Spent most of the rainy day reading, playing with the cats, and cooking the turkey. Yup, roast turkey, cranberry dressing, sweet potatoes, peas, and corn for dinner. We were too full to eat the plum pudding.

Costume Imp gave me a Brandon Sanderson trilogy for Yule, and I read most of MISTBORN yesterday. Love how he creates magical systems, and the detail in his world-building. I can learn a lot from him.

Wrote the first of the Twelve Days stories, which will need to be retitled, but uses the partridge in a pear tree theme. It was supposed to be four pages, and wound up being eleven. But it’s fun. I’ve got about half way through the second story this morning, writing four pages, and I think it will be eight. Will go back to that, once I’ve posted here and prepped tomorrow’s post for Writers Vineyard.

Will see how much I can get done on my list, but only planning to work a half day today. I want to finish that book and get some more writing done!

Have the self-clean function on for the oven — it was time. But it makes the house smell AWFUL.

I’m clearing up my desk, prepping folders for 2013, and, generally, trying to catch up on admin work over the last few days. I let the admin slide terribly last year, and now I have to make up for it.

Don’t forget to sign up before December 30 for “When Words Align” to get your WIP or revision back on track, and “Sensory Perceptions”, for a month of learning how to layer sensory detail into your work, taking it to the next level.

Devon

“First Feet”, the Jain Lazarus New Year’s tie-in is available as a free download here until Jan. 2.

Two holiday Nina Bell tales available via Payloadz! Read excerpts and find buy links here.

Even though Christmas is past, you can still enjoy “Just Jump in and Fly”, a comic/romantic/fantasy twist on Yuletide myths here.

Monday, December 24, 2012: Christmas Eve & Plenty of Stirring (Bowls, Pots, etc.)

IMG_0738

Monday, December 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Christmas Eve
Sunny and cold

Merry Christmas! It’s a frosty morning here, but beautiful.

Billy Root’s got some info on the free Jain Lazarus holiday story now available — for a limited time. Go visit him here.

Busy, busy weekend. Lots of food and fun. Caught up with schoolwork on Saturday, finishing off my World History course. Jeremy Adelman, the professor, truly opened my eyes and got me looking at the world and how and why patterns appear and continue in new ways, and I’m grateful to him for that. This class will stay with me, support, and influence my work for years.

I’m behind in the Astronomy course, but will catch up this week. Since I’m auditing it, rather than going for certification, I’m not under the same kind of deadline pressure.

Decorating is done, food shopping is done, cards are done. There are a few e-cards that have to go out today, but the rest is done. I also have to wrap presents.

MURDER’S INTOLERANCE is coming along well. I have the new manuscript deadline for CRAVE THE HUNT, which means that goes back into the roster as of January 1. I’m prepping the classes and the private student segments for the beginning of the year, and working on the new brochure. I’m working on my questions for Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions — and getting some surprising answers.

The Twelve Days of Christmas stories are coming along — they are pretty funny. Kurt and Daisy, my two protagonists, are pretty wacky. I am, however, glad I didn’t put the pressure on myself to write, revise, and upload them for THIS year — I think that would have taken the fun out of it. As it is, I can WRITE them over this year, then put them away, look at them over the summer, and offer them next year — which should be a ton of fun.

Got an idea for a pseudo-Dickensian steampunk — I’m making notes for it, so I can figure out how and when to add it to the queue.

I’m easing up on hustling work for the next couple of days, but by Thursday, I need to get back into the swing of it. I need substantially more dollars coming in for January than are currently booked. Part of that is extricating myself from some slow-paying and low-paying clients (a recurring theme for this year).

I have some articles to write over the next ten days — looking forward to that.

I’d offered to be the on-call backup for the Marine Life Center these next few days, but haven’t heard, so I’m assuming they’re covered.

The Solstice ceremony itself was lovely. I added in a remembrance for those in Newtown, CT.

I had to cut a whole section out of the post, because it overlapped too much with material from an upcoming article.

In any case, I intend to read a lot, write a lot, and cook a lot over the next few days.

I wish you a lovely, peaceful, and safe holiday!

Devon

Two Nina Bell comic mysteries available for the holidays! Excerpts and buy links here.

A romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide myths by Ava Dunne here!

Wed. April 11, 2012: Revisions and Writing

Don’t forget the 1-Day Dialogue Seminars & Solutions Seminar on April 14! Info here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy day yesterday, but a good one. Worked with students. Ran errands, took books back to Sandwich, got out some others, including an amazing new release I’m going to have to track down and buy. It’s called NEW YORK DIARIES: 1609-2009, edited by Teresa Carpenter, containing diary excerpts from various individuals, organized by day (Jan. 1, Jan. 2, etc.) from those 400 years. Amazing stuff.

The recommendation is going into the resource list for the digital handbook going along with the course.

I saw a kid waiting for the school bus, with a worried expression on his face, on my way to meditation yesterday. Gave me an idea for a short story, but I’m not sure where it’s going yet.

Revised the first four chapters of HEART SNATCHER. Decided I want the opening scene (now called “Chapter 1”) to be a prologue, in spite of some agents and editors currently cranky with prologues. I love ‘em, and it serves this particular book. Moved the first section of Chapter 5 as the new Chapter 1 — the timeline works better, and the overall flow is much stronger. Developed Chapter 2 — Max’s first chapter — and worked on the caseload timeline/assignments within the squadroom so it’s truer to NYPD procedure, but still makes sense to the reader. Added in the Sex Crimes detective who needs to be in there, reshuffled the squadroom a bit, still have to add a small scene between Max and this new guy towards the end of Chapter 2. Chapters 3 & 4 mostly needed tightening in language choices and flow — cutting more than anything else. I’m going to re-read them for flow again this morning, before printing them out.

I’ve got a variety of tracking sheets — Day/Night timelines (since I’m moving between multiple points of view and sometimes the action overlaps — but it’s got to overlap on the right day), Character tracking sheets, the squadroom case tracking sheet. I probably need to set up a tracking sheet for Valerie’s caseload, too, so I don’t drop anything I started (unless I choose to cut a subplot). Since this is part of a trilogy, and I envision a couple of books taking place several years after the trilogy ends, I’m also starting a Series Bible. The multi-colored draft, original notes, and the Scene Purpose and Character Purpose sheets are all a big help.

I also write 928 words, in the sprint with the students, on HEART BINDER, the second book. Managed to do some re-envisioning of what’s not working for me in “Town Crier”, jot down some notes on some of the other arcs I want to happen in the Jain Lazarus short stories, so I can feed them into the series properly, polished the lectures and resources for Saturday’s workshop.

It looks like I’ll get the same editor and cover artist for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so I’m happy about that.

Today’s the first due date for One Story, Many Voices. Most of the students have taken the previous two short story workshops this year, so they’re used to the drill. I think some of the newcomers are a bit nervous. If they show up and actually write, they’ll get a lot out of it. If they don’t — well, that’s on them. My classes are geared for those who want to challenge themselves as writers by writing in the moment, not think about doing it someday in the future.

We should have a new lecture in the Steampunk class. I’m getting a lot of ideas.

Also have a bunch of paperwork to get done, and must make a dump run — both garbage bins in the garage are getting rather full! Time to empty out and not have to think about it for awhile!

This week is busy/crazy, but I’m hoping next week will settle down a bit. Back to the page.

Devon

Tues. April 10, 2012: Good News to Share!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday, worked flat out all day. Worked with my students on the revision process, got out a requested partial, got out a couple of short stories, worked on some marketing and proposal stuff. Someone who wanted a manuscript by June 1 now wants to take a look at the opening chapters earlier, so I need to figure out how to fit that in. Got some good work done on HEART BINDER in the sprint with students. Did my work in the Steampunk class and started One Story, Many Voices.

Went to use the library’s computer to put in a “tweet this” button on my website for the workshops, but the website won’t hold the code. Typical. Next week, I need to meet with the Mac people and set up time to learn how to pull the materials the web host is holding hostage, so I can get the website move DONE. I should probably wait until some of the Fast & Funs are done, but I think my current host is interfering so much with my ability to earn a living that I should risk the move sooner rather than later.

The great news is that OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus book, was accepted by Solstice. I’ll send back the contract today, and off we go. I need to have the third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, done and out to them early in June.

Family’s coming down in May, and I had to get my Fast & Fun dates sorted for May and June. Looks like those are going to work out, so the pages and registration information will go up soon.

Overslept this morning, but still managed to get to meditation on time. We had a good session and an interesting discussion. Stopped at Nirvana on the way back for coffee and chocolate croissants. A couple very impressed with their own importance was in the place, talking to make sure they were overheard. Nothing they had to say was worth hearing. Geez, the only way I could use characters inspired by them is in a dark comedy, where a boulder falls on them or something after a snippet of their vapid exchange.

I’ve got a busy day stretching in front of me, and a migraine with which to contend. I better get to it — got to take back a stack of books to the Sandwich Library and see what else they’ve got waiting for me! And I’ve got an article to finish up. Plus all the writing.

Fingers crossed that submitted material just keeps hitting the target!

Devon

Don’t forget — Dialogue Dilemmas & Solutions, a one-day online seminar to help you create unique and sparkling dialogue. This is the only time I’ll be teaching a dialogue workshop online this year. Information and sign-up here.

Mon. April 9, 2012: Dialogue and Tulips and Taxes

Monday, April 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Billy Root’s blogging over on his site about auditions and how he wound up on the film that’s the backdrop for HEX BREAKER. Check it out here, and drop a comment so I know you visited!

Things are going well for the Dialogue Dilemmas and Solutions Seminar on Saturday, April 14. At this point, it looks like it’s the only dialogue workshop I’ll be teaching all year online. So if you missed the others, or if you want some new information, make sure to sign up here.

The dates for the next Fast and Fun workshops will be finalized in the next couple of days, and then pages will go up with the registration information. Unfortunately, 1and1, yet again, won’t let me put buttons on my site via Mac, so I’m going to go to the library and use a PC every time I need to put in a button. Definitely time to move hosts, once I get the webmail they’re holding hostage away from them. I was lucky last time, because I was working somewhere where I had access to a PC. The webhost shouldn’t dictate what type of computer I can use. I can’t even put in a “tweet this” button!

My “One Story, Many Voices” class starts today, and I continue as a student in the steampunk class.

I don’t know if I remember all the way back to Friday — I know I didn’t feel well, and that I did a lot around the house in preparation for the weekend’s company — tidying, washing floors, vacuuming, rearranging, that kind of thing. The house looked great, but I still want to do more with the front yard. However, it has to be inexpensive, whatever I do.

Had a good writing sprint with the students — it’s working better, on this book, to write in company.

Saturday was fun — long-time friends from CT came by for a visit and lunch. I hadn’t seen them in years, so it was good to catch up. I actually fell asleep in the late afternoon for awhile, while doing some research for a project.

Sunday, I slept in, then spent most of the day catching up on the computer with what I hadn’t gotten done on Saturday. I like Sunday to be my day offline, but, oh, well. The work has to get done, and I wasn’t up to it on Saturday after company left. I worked with students, did some research for some proposals that will go out this week, got out some interview questions for a piece, and did some promo work. I had a weird dream about an old friend on Saturday night into Sunday, and woke up with an idea for a tweak on a piece I’m getting ready to send out.

I’m glad Mercury went direct, and I’ll be glad when Mars goes direct at the end of the week. However, Pluto goes retrograde tomorrow. THAT always brings some interesting revelations!

Lots to do today, both writing and administrative, so I better get to work. This will be a busy week – but then, lately, every week is busy. Fortunately, it’s “good busy”. But I’ve got to deal with the taxes this week — ick. Not so bad because I do quarterlies, but still, gathering all the paperwork (I was bad about keeping up all year) is a pain in the butt, and I just don’t feel like it. Too bad for me! 😉

Some of my tulips are already blooming — isn’t it a bit early?

Devon

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I was such an effing waste of food on Saturday, it wasn’t even funny. Felt unfocused, had the blues (for no good reason; with all the chaos out there in the world, I REALLY have no reason to be personally glum, only existentially so), couldn’t settle into a writing rhythm.

Worried about the weather, so I took the loaner car (now nicknamed the BlueJ, for Blue Jetta) over the Sagamore Bridge to my favorite gas station in Bourne, filled up (bigger gas tank than mine, and they gave it to me with only 1/4 tank of gas), then drove back along the Bourne Bridge and Rt. 28 to see how long it would take. Taking 6 and the Sagamore, it takes 20 minutes to hit the station; it took 50 minutes to get home, and that’s with barely any traffic. Rt. 28 is just bendier.

Took care of a bunch of business/admin stuff, did three loads of laundry, unpacked a couple of boxes, contacted a local writing organization I found via an ad in POETS AND WRITERS — hopefully listing my credentials didn’t come across as egotistical — saw a call for writing teachers in Boston — the proposal will be a pain to put together, but it would be a good gig to land, and fortunately, if you don’t have an MFA in Creative Writing, you can use your track record. They prefer MFAs in writing, but since I earn my living doing this and most MFAs don’t, it should be a point or two in my favor. So that’s on the To Do List for next week.

The essay is almost written in my head (now to get it on paper), and the two reviews I have to write are starting to make sense. Again, next step it to get them on paper and out the door.

More Tower of London research, which, unfortunately, is fuelling the world-building for the serial rather than the book that’s on deadline. And then I got some more information on the serial — the guidelines mean I’d have to do some massive character changes, which won’t work for this piece. So it’ll be a novel, not a serial. The two anthologies by this particular company are still possibilities, if I want to try a different type of writing (and a new pseudonym). I have to look at the schedule, the dollars, and see if the challenge balances it all out. I like to stretch, but I also don’t want to stretch so far in so many directions that it dilutes the work.

We had a cracking good thunderstorm on Saturday night, my first since we moved in. I enjoy thunderstorms when I’m safely tucked away, and the summer storms should be pretty awesome. The cats didn’t like it, though; they burrowed under the covers and stayed there.

The storm woke me around midnight and I had trouble getting back to sleep — mostly the wind. Sat up and read for awhile, cats huddled next to me, went back to sleep around 2.

Sunny and warmer on Sunday morning. Not too much damage — front yard slushy and re-frozen, looking like a poor excuse for a hockey rink. Back yard had a few tree limbs down and the tarp over the bulkhead torn, but still there. Newspapers, etc.

Jeez. Nothing like someone claiming to be an “editor” who can’t comprehend what she reads. Fortunately, I encountered her in a social situation, not a professional one, so all I need to do is remember her name and refuse her if she’s ever assigned to me. It’s highly unlikely, because she doesn’t “edit” for places to which I submit, so hopefully it will never be an issue.

Reminds of the time I was turned down for a teaching job for a fiction workshop. The workshop went to someone who couldn’t get published (not even a letter to the editor) and had zero credentials, because she was sleeping with the President of the Board of Directors for that particular nonprofit. In those cases, you just have to shrug and move on.

Of course, I could create characters based on all three of the above, put them in a story, and kill ‘em all off! I’ve got a mystery short story due in a couple of months. 😉

The play is starting to percolate in my brain — I think it will be fun, a real brain teaser.

And an interesting steampunk opportunity landed in my lap — if I can get it done within a week.

Started work on the instructor proposal. I’m going to have to rewrite it –I sound like a dominatrix.

Struggled with the book, although I’m making progress. It reads well, I know what I want to do with it. Don’t quite understand why I’m having trouble DOING it. When I actually sit down and do it, it goes well. But I have resistance to doing it, which is silly, because it’s a perfectly good story in great locations.

Didn’t care about either of the teams in the SuperBowl, so I figured I could enjoy the game, since I had nothing at stake. However, since I don’t particularly enjoy football, it mattered even less. I didn’t even watch the whole game. I watched part of the Puppy Bowl, though, which always makes me laugh. The kittens in the half time show were too small — they were scared. They need to be just a little older to make the format work. Most of them still had their baby fuzz.

Finished Antonia Frasier’s beautiful memoir MUST YOU GO? Truly lovely. One of life’s funny synchronicities — she speaks warmly of Indira Varma in one of Pinter’s plays. Varma is now valiantly struggling with the less-than-stellar writing she’s given on HUMAN TARGET. I wish I’d seen her in the Pinter.

Reading A NOVEL BOOKSTORE, by Laurence Cosse (should be an accent on that final e), translated by Alison Anderson. Fascinating satire on the hatred of good books & terrorism towards those who write them — the Tea Party would probably love it, not realizing it’s satire. Really well done novel, very European mindset in the way it’s structured, fascinating, horrifying, and funny all at once.

Did not celebrate Reagan’s 100th birthday because I loathed him and thought he was a lousy president. He set into motion what eventually blossomed into the financial meltdown. This revisionist history about how great he was — he wasn’t. I lived through his regime, and it was awful unless you were already rich, and he helped you get richer.

Had weird dreams last night, “working dreams” (in which I was working, on play this time, and on a revival of WOMEN WITH AN EDGE. I was Busy). Meant I woke up feeling like I’d already put in a full day!

Back to the page — lots to do this week to prep for CT and meet a bunch of deadlines that have to be cleared off before I go.

Back to the page.

Devon

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant
Ostara

I adapted my tipsheet as an article. When it goes up, I’ll post the link. I also researched, wrote, and sent the questions for my next Biblio Paradise guest. That should be fun. I did some email admin, cleaning up accounts, catching up on old mail that fell through the cracks or needed follow-up, and making sure that things were properly entered into the Submission and Pitch Logs. I wrote a guest blog post as promised.

I had problems with a client trying to pull a manipulative power play. I dug in, although it stressed me out and pretty much ruined the afternoon’s work. I had a lousy session on POWER OF WORDS, I beat back the Doubt Demons with the Karma Fairy Wand (a prop from a show I co-wrote a few years ago — it’s out of foam, one end spiked, the other end with a star and glitter), and I did a dream analysis as a favor for an acquaintance of a colleague.

No wonder I’ve been feeling resistance on finishing the plays! My producer contacted me and told me that, after FEMME FATALE closes, she and her husband and closing up shop and moving to Florida. They hope to start another company there. If it happens, and she wants more from me, great. If not, that’s life. But somehow, somewhere, I knew, and that’s why I was struggling. At least she told me before I nearly killed myself trying to finish two plays for her next week while I’m teaching. It’s a big hit to my income as of next season — but it also gives me time to find something that hopefully pays better to replace them. I can put aside these partial plays for the moment, concentrate on other work, and even the drama, VINDICATION. I can still market the plays whose rights reverted back to me — and now I can market them in this area as well, since there won’t be any conflict of interest. In the short term, it’s a disappointment; in the long-term, it will all be good. After a few months, I can go back to the partials and write them with more freedom, since I”m not bound by the interactive and flexible staging elements I’ve had to use when writing for her.

I’m starting to get into CAPRICA and enjoy it more. I love the way they’ve built the world. Tamara and Sam are my favorite characters (and actors) in it. However, if Zoe actually killed the dog in last night’s episode, I would have turned it off permanently. I don’t care how many people are killed in a piece, but you start murdering pets and I’m gone. That’s my line, and once it’s crossed, that’s it for me.

I came up with some good ideas for POWER OF WORDS in the shower this morning, had a great morning’s work on the short story, and am eager to get back to the steampunk, since I can now put aside the stress of the plays.

Today, it’s about getting out some queries, working on POWER OF WORDS and the steampunk, and doing some more admin work. Already this morning, I wrote about 1500 words on the short story, tweaked an author bio for a friend, and answered some questions about the workshop that starts on Monday.

Today will be a GOOD day.

And happy Ostara!

Devon

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Just another quick checkin, because the writing is going very well and I want to keep as much momentum going as possible. I’m eating, sleeping, dreaming this WIP. It’s put the steampunk behind a bit, but, fortunately, I’ve got time and space before that deadline, and can roll with this piece, since it’s on fire. I had to work out the logic of the piece within the WIP, but now that that’s figured out, the characters are chattering, several unexpected ones have come forward to demand attention, and they’re all surprising me in the best possible way. So I’m running with it. I’ve used up two entire ink pens in two days.

I need to accept that fact that most first drafts still work better for me in longhand.

Yesterday was good. I drove up county, picked up my friend. We visited a disappointing store, but had lunch at a great little restaurant, and caught up on life, the universe, and everything. It was good to see each other again.

Came home, took a nap, did some more writing. Didn’t watch much TV — I want to like HUMAN TARGET (I have a weakness for a good action show, my guilty pleasure) but, in both episodes that aired so far, I’ve gotten ahead of the story far too early, and spotted the villain in the character’s first shot. It’s a little heavy-handed for me. I keep watching because I like Jackie Earle Haley’s work in it. He’s taken what could easily be a two-dimensional cardboard cutout character, and given him detail and elegance. The costume designer also served him very well — the elegantly, expensive casual costume choices perfectly ironed, the matte shine on the boots, etc., support the character. But the writing and the direction is off for me, especially the pace of the direction. There’s a heaviness and too many pauses in the dialogue scenes (except for Haley’s work — he stays true to his own character’s rhythms). They don’t need that much weight to counter the action.

The final proofs for the anthology essay arrived — I’ll try to turn them around today, so it’s not hanging over me this weekend. They’re due Tuesday, but I’d rather get them finished earlier rather than later.

Although pulling myself out of my own WIP to proof an essay on someone else’s work will be difficult. I’m in the headspace of only being passionate about my own work at the moment.

But a deadline is a deadline, so I better get over it.

The weekend’s work is cut out for me — I’ve got the work that needs to get done on site in Philly, I”m taking the WIP, the steampunk, and the notes for the new play. I’ve got to get started on that. It’ll be interesting to see if I can switch between contemporary realism to steampunk to comic noir mystery over the course of the weekend.

Or maybe my head will just explode and the cat will lick my brains off the floor.

Going to CT this afternoon to take care of the laundry, throw the last few things in my suitcase. The backpack will be easier to take than the big writing bag, so I have to pack the backpack this evening with the computer, the iPod, the writing files, the book for the bus, and I have to throw the travel yoga mat into the suitcase. I’ve got my bus ticket, and I’ll pick up my train ticket this morning. I’ve got to travel into the city during rush hour, which means I’ll have to stand in the vestibule with my luggage for the nearly-hour long train ride in. Ick. But then I sit on the bus for a few hours, so it all works out.

The books from Strand arrived: FRANCIS BACON: THE TEMPER OF A MAN (about Shakespeare’s contemporary, not the painter), and SHAKESPEARE AND CO.: CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, THOMAS DEKKER, BEN JONSON, THOMAS MIDDLETON, JOHN FLETCHER, AND OTHER PLAYERS IN HIS STORY. Yes, I’m back to feeding my Shakespeare obsession, even though I doubt I’ll actually get to write that book this year.

The Deanna Rabyourn books have not yet arrived; I was hoping to read them on the trip. Oh, well. Time to pull some others from the TBR pile.

Got to get some housework done before I head out to do laundry. I’m sure my head will remain filled with the WIP. What’s that expresson? “Chop wood, carry water.” It’s amazing how the mundane tasks feed the creative juices.

Back to the page.

Devon

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Okay, I’m getting a little tired of people saying how women in their forties are “invisible” as in not only are they not noticed or acknowledged as attractive, but not noticed at all, as though they’re wallpaper or scenery. Uh, no. I’m in my forties, and I’ve never been more visible — when I choose. Yesterday, I chose — I was casually but WELL dressed in grays and navys with red shoes and a red jasper necklace, and I had people falling all over themselves being “helpful” and complimentary. I definitely know how to be invisible when I choose, but it’s a choice. It has NOTHING to do with age!

Red shoes definitely help. Maybe that’s why I have several pairs in various styles.

It takes the same amount of time to put together a look with a bit of panache as it does to throw on sweats and a stained t-shirt, so you might as well go out looking good!

Appropriate attire got me what I wanted faster and with less hassle on my errands, so hoorah for that. AND I hauled the Christmas tree to storage. AND I took my mother shoe shopping. She got a beautiful pair of blue-grey loafers, and I got a fantastic pair of Elie Tahari black stacked heels with gold chains that will go with absolutely everything. Plus, they’re astonishingly comfortable.

Went to the bookstore-which -was-supposed-to-close-but-didn’t to look for the other Deanna Raybourn books. Of course, they didn’t have them, the store is useless (and yet I’m glad it didn’t close), so I’ve ordered them via Amazon. I hardly ever use Amazon anymore — they’ve grown into a behemoth that advocates and kowtows to censorship, in my opinion — but, occasionally, they’re useful, when I need something in a a hurry. I only do 1% of my book shopping through them now. This may well have been it for the year.

Really loved SILENT IN THE GRAVE. I did figure out the villain before the protag did, but not so far ahead that I got frustrated, and the story still managed to have some surprises in it at the end. The writing’s gorgeous, and, again, it’s a case where the author doesn’t allow the genre to confine her, but uses a mixture of genre protocols to her advantage. So I’ve ordered SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY AND SILENT ON THE MOOR. I plan to gobble them up just as soon as they arrive, and then I’ll be ready for the book she’s got coming out at the end of February, THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST.

Got some of my own writing done, always a good thing, and plan to work on the first act of the new play today. The steampunk’s going well, and I hope to keep up a steady pace in the coming week. Elsa and my mom’s improving health makes that easier. I have a couple of article queries to work on this weekend, too. And I’ve got two short stories to edit next week, in addition to everything else I’m juggling, because they need to get out the door. And there’s another idea just starting to buzz right behind my third eye, but I haven’t gotten enough of a grasp on it yet to write down any notes.

I had strange dreams last night. Trying to grasp enough to get down — they mean something, but whether it’s relevant to life or fiction, I haven’t quite figured out yet.

Great morning’s work on the steampunk. Finished Chapter 5, started Chapter 6.

I’m off to spend the day at my friend’s in CT, doing laundry, reading, writing, hanging out and cooking. I’m ready!

Devon

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Museum of American History, Smithsonian, Washington, DC

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Zero degrees in my neck of the woods today. At least I don’t have the 52 inches of snow they have upstate, or the 3 feet of snow the family in Maine’s dealing with.

I’m going to swaddle Elsa’s carrier in a blanket when I carry her to the car.

The webhost problems with 1and1.com had me in tears. Basically, with the inability to do my work and the billable hours I lose trying to salvage what I can quickly to do a host move — since everything has to be done by hand, nothing can be copied or moved electronically — I lose my entire income for January. Because of a fucking webhost who refuses to fix the problems they created with an “upgrade” that’s made it impossible to do anything.

Believe me, there will be consequences.

If you are looking for a reliable webhost, 1and1.com is not it. I’ve had almost daily problems with them for over a year. Not only is the lack of service appalling, the refusal to fix the problems is even more so. They know they’ve got me trapped. What’s involved in moving three domains, two subdomains, and tens of thousands of emails is massive. It can’t be done in an instant. They can just sit there and laugh at me and keep taking my money. And send me the same instructions, time and time again, that I’ve already told them DO NOT WORK.

I was in tears for a good part of the day yesterday. I shouldn’t pay to be upset.

I finally have a reliable computer, but I have an unreliable web host, and, since I’m a freelancer, I need BOTH to be reliable. I understand the occasional problem, but almost every day for over a year? Outrageous.

I need to keep track of the time spent on this, and then invoice them for it. At my normal rate.

I still managed to get my column polished and out to my editor, and write, polish, and schedule the SDR blog post for Wednesday. I wrote, polished, and uploaded the post for Jan. 20, too. I updated my software. I backed everything up on Time Machine. I set up the Submission and Pitch Logs for 2010. I followed up on some pitches from 2009, and did some check-ins with maybe-someday potential clients with whom I promised to keep in touch. I got to storage and brought back the ornament boxes, so I can pack up the decorations on Wednesday (in our family, it’s bad luck to take down the decorations before the Twelfth Day of Christmas. It’s considered a sign of disrespect).

Planning to spend some time at the page this morning, before bundling Elsa off to the vet. It’s at least an hour’s drive each way and who knows how long we wait before we’re seen, and probably 30-45 minutes in the office, so I’ve pretty much lost the whole day.

I planned for it, so I’m not behind in the writing. But I hate being away from the steampunk when it’s going so well. I don’t want to lose momentum.

I think I’m getting headaches because I need to get new glasses. Won’t be able to get to the eye doctor for at least two weeks. Sigh.

Tired, tired, tired. Would like to spend a day in bed, but don’t have that option for awhile.

Off to the vet.

Devon