Thurs. March 20: Spring Equinox! Spring? Calling Spring!

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold
Spring Equinox

Yesterday was a completely intense day, but a great one. Up and out the door early. Two fantastic meetings in the morning — I was just over the moon about both of them. Completely exciting possibilities, if one or both of them work out. And, both are completely supportive of the play.

Did some work in the afternoon — worked with students, got out an NDA to a potential new client, worked with another client, worked on contest entries. The next batch of books from my editor arrived, and they look good.

Prepped for rehearsal – got all the paperwork sorted out, did my homework for the evening’s rehearsal, etc. We still need to add a stage manager/understudy to the mix, and a front of house person.

The reading went well. Hopefully, as we dive into rehearsal, it will continue to get better. I see several points where I need to clean things up.

I had trouble getting to sleep last night, even though I was completely exhausted. Still tired this morning, but jumping into script changes, setting up rehearsal schedule, and all the rest. Possibly have a quick client meeting this afternoon.

Check out my post in the Annabel Aidan persona on the Spring Equinox and Saturn Retrograde here.

Busy, but good busy.

Devon

Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 8:10 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. March 11, 2014: La, La, La, Today’s My Birthday!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Today’s my birthday! Fuck Comcast, I’m gonna have fun!

Yesterday morning, I headed to the library. Of course, it was the day everyone needed to reach me and was getting back to me with information, etc. Which was great and very productive. I just had a limited time in which to get everything done.

A lot of it was for NMLC, and we managed to get it done, going back and forth quickly. The casting has begun for the play, the press releases are going out. I’m doing some more revisions, based on the scientific feedback Kathy gave me.

Worked with students. Worked on contest entries. I mean, I’m doing that every day — so many entrants, and I want to make sure each one gets a fair share of attention. It is painfully obvious who bothered to hire a professional editor, who went with cheap because it was cheap, and who couldn’t be bothered to work with an editor. Since part of the judging criteria has to do with grammar, punctuation, etc., that all feeds into the final score, and what makes it into the finalist category or not. As it should be.

Sent out the first script packets. Always scary. Have to finish revisions on several scripts in the next few weeks — while in rehearsal for the play. While working on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and the Ferry Girl novel. Should be an interesting juggling act.

Home, took care of some stuff that was home-based. Waiting for a check that should have been here last week; very frustrating that it’s not. Shaking my head in disgust at the so-called “writer” who pursued me because he was so eager to work with me and impressed with my work, but disappeared the minute I gave him a quote for editing work. Typical. I don’t work for flattery. My work pays the bills.

On a further positive note, one of my plays is being taught at the local community college, and I will be a guest lecturer there at the end of April. I’m looking forward to it.

Read a book on wine as research for Adventures in Vineland that just made me roll my eyes. Every other paragraph was about the author’s ego. Every chapter had a photo focusing on the author, tilting her head at the camera (who told her to do that in EVERY SHOT?), with the emphasis on her rather than the wine. If I reviewed it for the blog, I’d be snarky, so I’ll just pass.

I have a lot I want to clear off my desk today, and then I want some playtime, too, because, hey, it’s my birthday and I’ve earned it!

Devon

Published in: on March 11, 2014 at 9:25 am  Comments (8)  
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Wed. Feb. 19: Errands and Storms and Low-Quality Writing

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold with yet another storm coming

I realized I didn’t blog yesterday. Oops. Not much worth saying, so neither one of us missed much.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for seedling progress and the February Mid-Month Check-in for other progress, if you’re interested.

I had to run some errands before yesterday’s storm hit. The roads were awful. But I got in and out safely and then tucked in for the storm – plenty of snow, then switching over to rain, and we’re supposed to get another storm later today. I’m storm-weary at this point.

I lost all of Monday having to work on a particular document, but it’s done and out and let’s hope for the best.

Tuesday, I worked with students, got some pitches done, did some rewrites. I’m not happy with the quantity or the quality of my writing these past few weeks, and that’s very frustrating. I could live with a lower quantity if I was happy with the quality.

Did a bit of work on TRUE HOME and had to order a bunch of research books through the library to find out yet more stuff before I can write the current chapter. That’s why I usually prefer to research BEFORE I draft, but this is an entirely different process. Don’t get me wrong, though, I do love the research process.

Had errands to run this morning, as well. The driveway froze over and was a sheet of ice, in spite of shoveling, sanding, salting. Seriously, we could have run a few competitive events.

But I drive a VW, and the car handled it well. I ran my errands and then took the garbage to the dump. I only have to go every few months with household garbage. We recycle about 80% of what we create, so while we take recycling and yard waste about every ten days, the household garbage bins in the garage take a long time to fill and we don’t need many of those trips. Still, it always feels good to get it out of the house.

So, I’m late getting to the desk and getting the day underway.

I want to take my yoga practice deeper and more challenging. In these winter months, I tend to sleep in, but I’m going to start getting up earlier so that I can spend a longer time in my morning yoga and meditation practice.

My knee is healing well, but my back is still in bad shape, unfortunately. I hope the yoga can help with that, too.

Read a very disappointing novel. Great premise, but when your protag is an editor, the book damn well better be edited properly, and not full of structural, grammatical, and punctuation errors. Plus, the central love relationship had an undercurrent of nastiness to it (that was supposed to be humor) that made me uncomfortable. Add the lack of logic and plausibility, and not having the protagonist participate in the climax, and it was a disappointment.

Now, time to focus and get something worthwhile on the page. I’m feeling discouraged, and the only way to get out of the downward spiral is to do some good work.

Devon

Published in: on February 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Feb. 5, 2014: Ideas Come From Everything

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

Update on all the teeny little plants we’ve got going here, over on Gratitude and Growth.

Worked yesterday, pitching jobs, working with students, etc. Did the week’s work for my Environmental Law and Policy class. Totally love that class.

Worked on the play — still not happy with it.

Finished reading Jake Arnott’s THE HOUSE OF RUMOURS. I liked it, especially structurally, although some of the chapters felt as though they meandered a bit too much before all tying back together. It was an interesting conceit, though. I’ve played with the idea of structuring something along the Major Arcana, but haven’t found what works for me, yet. I think I’d approach it differently, so it was interesting to read this approach.

Started another book, a thriller by a well-known author, and it just didn’t work for me. So I put it down. I’ve hit the point where I only push through on a book that doesn’t engage me if I’m paid to read and review it.

Played with some characters and ideas. Would like to do another serial, but not sure which outlet I’d pitch to. I’m not interested in one of the sites where you only get paid if you get enough votes. This is my business, not my hobby. I get paid for the WORK, not a popularity contest.

One story idea came because of a job pitch. I made the first cut (it’s a very, very competitively sought position and I’m the “out there” choice), and if I get it, I’d have to spend a certain amount of time each month out of town. That could align with another project in which one of my former professors wants me to work with him on, in the same area. I was idly looking at shares in the area (it’s too far to commute, and doesn’t make sense to stay in a hotel), and found a dream share — not that I could contact them until the details on the job were finalized. The photos and the tone of the ad gave me an idea for a story. So, you see, ideas are everywhere, and even if these projects don’t work out as jobs, they’ve served a purpose!

Plenty to do today. The snowstorm is worse than predicted; not sure I can get my mom to her doctor’s appointment this afternoon. I’m getting sick of shoveling — ready to hibernate and come out when it all melts!

Making some decisions on some changes I want to make, both personally and professionally. Feels good.

A-writing we will go!

Devon

Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 8:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 5, 2014: Ideas Come From Everything  
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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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Mon. Feb. 3, 2014: Snowing and Starting

Monday, February 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

I’ve got an article up on how to get out of a blogging rut over on Learn To Blog. Stop by, drop a comment, maybe they’ll ask me back!

Busy weekend. Flat out on Friday, along with celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Felt great to get into the Year of the Horse.

Saturday was all about Imbolc, cooking, and launching two new blogs. I cooked for twelve hours, and you can see the details in my new blog on cooking, Comfort and Contradiction: Food as Muse. I also have an introductory post over on Adventures in Vineland.

Recently, I re-read Beverly Nichols’s book, MERRY HALL, a “creative nonfiction” — or maybe it’s fiction based in some fact — about buying his home and starting to revive the garden right after WWII. This weekend, I read the other two books in the trilogy, LAUGHTER ON THE STAIRS and SUNLIGHT ON THE LAWN. While there’s a funny, rather arch Noel Coward-esque tone to the books, he’s downright mean sometimes, and very condescending towards women, which I didn’t like. There’s some wonderful garden and house information, and he writes warmly and well about cats, but I finished the trilogy with mixed feelings.

Did some work on the play, but, for the most part, other than the new blogs, I gave myself a break from writing. I need to dig back in today, revising the novella and finishing a book proposal I want to send out tomorrow.

I will miss the year-long student who finished her work on the 31st. She was outstanding, and I’m looking forward to cheering her on during a long and productive writing career. I’ve still got my terrific editing intensive students, but this year, I really need — and want — to cut back on teaching. My focus needs to be elsewhere for the coming months, and I have to be very careful where I spread that energy when it comes to teaching.

Caught up on my Environmental Law and Policy class, wrote and submitted my paper. Still have two other classes to catch up on and then get going on this week’s assignments. I LOVE the law class — really terrific.

Got an interesting bite from a gig I’d pitched, not thinking in a million years they’d be interested — but they are. It’s the other side of the table from where I usually sit on this issue, so it would be an interesting challenge.

It’s snowing, and I have books due that can’t be renewed anymore, so, as soon as the library opens, I will pop down and take care of it, then stop by the post office to get a few things out.

And then, it’s all about digging in for the new week.

Devon

Mon. Jan. 20, 2014: Opportunities — Some Grabbed, Some Not

Monday, January 20, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold
Martin Luther King Day

Busy weekend. Friday, I dug in and did a lot of work for my new editing client, prepped for my new article gig (we’re trying each other out on a paid assignment), finished the revisions on the second teleplay, worked with students, and roughed out a couple of press releases. I also did some work on the novella, falling in love with it again.

A potential new client who’d been at me about a big “emergency” project that I HAD to start immediately has been dragging his feet about a deposit and a contract. I stood firm in refusing to do the work until both were in place, in spite of the continuous whine of “but it’s an emergency!” If it’s so important, put the deposit in my Paypal account, sign the contract, scan it, email it back, and I’ll get started. But I am NOT doing the work for someone I know nothing about and have no reason to trust without all that in place. Back and forth all day. Finally, I told them to talk to someone else; I have too much on my plate right now to play this game. I told you repeatedly what needed to happen for the work to get done within the time frame you claim to need it; if you’re not willing to do that, I am not the person for the assignment.

I have no doubt they were hoping to get me to do the work, and then find a reason not to pay me. I didn’t just fall of the turnip truck. Professionals work with deposits and contracts, and professional clients understand and respect that. Buh-bye.

Disorganization on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Especially when you haven’t shown any inclination to pay me to fix the emergency.

There’s a new post up on Gratitude and Growth about the too-early planting I’m doing, which I hope won’t come back around and bite me in the butt.

I read two very well-written books over the weekend, DELIA’S SHADOW by Jaime Lee Moyer, and THE BONES OF PARIS by Laurie R. King.

Saturday, I was out of words. I was tired and unable to really focus. I did some work in the morning, but then gave myself the rest of the day off. I did things like grocery shop. I managed to do some research for the Eliot-Stowe-Bronte project.

Sunday was better. Got the changes into the teleplay, worked on the novella a bit, did some more work for the editing client. A company I’d pitched to about a month ago contacted me in a frenzy, wanting 10 press releases by this morning. TEN. Of course they balked at the rate, the deposit, and the rush fee. Sweetie, if you need TEN press releases by Monday, why are you waiting to contact someone on Sunday and then expect the releases to cost no more that $15 each? Without deposit or rush fee? Oh, right, you must be used to working with content-mill-level writers. Sorry, not me. You want my time and level of experience, you pay my rates.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, then cooked down the bones to make soup. Yum! Labor-intensive, but yum!

I’ve got the article to prep, work to do for my editing client, work with students, press releases (for a regular client and on some of my own upcoming events) to draft. I signed some exciting contracts this morning and am sending them back — will be able to make an official announcement soon!

Had to turn down a theatre opportunity because it conflicts with the new play, the NECRWA conference, and the two projects whose contracts I signed this morning. Maybe some other year I’ll be under consideration again and can go for it.

Two screenplay ideas are swirling in my head (loglines already done; they’re for the packet going out March 4), and I’ve got a LOT to get done today, along with picking up a few things before tomorrow’s snowstorm hits — we’re supposed to get eight inches.

To the page!

Devon

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 8:33 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. Jan. 13, 2014: Writing, Clients, Research, Award Shows

Monday, January 13, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy weekend. Still annoyed with two clients. One is now three weeks late in paying me — and this is our first project together. It may well be our last. Being “on vacation” and “out of town on business” is not an excuse. The payment date was not a surprise. It was in our written agreement. Make arrangements for the check to be mailed while you’re gone, or pay me electronically. I fulfilled my part of the contract — now you fulfill yours. The other client, the perpetual random payer — is now over a week late. I’m not delivering the final two articles on the contract until I’m paid, and, once I’m paid for those — I’m done. There’s a reason both these clients have a high writer turnover — they’re unreliable. You want to keep good people? Show them respect, and part of that is paying on time per the contract.

On a happier note, I finished the airship steampunk, revised it, and sent it out. I had enough material for a novel and had to strip/throw out a lot of ideas. I kept notes, in case I ever want to expand it. Hopefully the story doesn’t read as compressed. I’m worried that there’s not enough conflict in the climax, although I invented some interesting gear used in it.

Totally cooked by Friday night — I wrote synopses for three different scripts. And another teleplay comes up in the editing/revision queue today. Gotta get that packet ready for February!

Had a meeting with a fellow writer and friend –we’re going to encourage each other along writing our novels. She’s outlined what she wants to work on — I have to decide which of three possibilities I want to work on with her.

I also have to get back to work on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which I hope my new publisher will like. I have to find the full writer’s rough I did a few years ago.

I have some admin work to do today, and I also have a client meeting about an hour off-Cape. My materials are all together for that; I just have to give myself enough time to find the place and feel settled before the meeting starts.

Read a supposed thriller over the weekend which did not thrill me. Started another novel, whose premise excited me, but the author was one of those pretentious ones who uses dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue AND writes in present tense. I lasted for ten pages and had to put it down. The structure did not support the novel. Since I wasn’t being paid to read it, I didn’t have to fight my way through it.

Found the letters from George Eliot to Harriet Beecher Stowe that I looked for in reference to the Charlotte Bronte conversation in a collection of Eliot’s letters. Copied out the relevant passages. Now, I want to read Harriet’s letters to see her side of it. So that project is developing.

Worked with students — I’m lucky to have a dedicated, committed batch this semester. They want it, and they’re willing to work for it, rather than making excuses.

Watched the Golden Globes last night, both for fun, and as background for a couple of projects that use award show scenes. Glad AMERICAN HUSTLE did well, but I feel that Jeremy Renner’s work is being unfairly overlooked. He went in a completely new direction for him, and I don’t feel the work is being properly appreciated.

Really pleased by the positive response to my short story “Catch Your Breath”. It encourages me to play more with contemporary literary fiction.

Off to get some writing done and then to the meeting.

Devon

Thurs. Jan. 9, 2014: Meetings and Writings

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. Worked with students, accepted contract offer, revised a half hour teleplay, pitched for some jobs, wrote/polished/submitted a review. Had some interesting interactions with some potential new clients.

Early dinner, and then off to Sandwich Library. I left early enough to give me a chance to pick up some books before my meeting, and then there was a lively Board meeting for the Writers Center. We are lucky to have such an energetic board.

Not feeling well this morning — my stomach’s upset again. Not sure why. Probably connected to the migraine. Busy day ahead of me, including an interview, and trying to reconfigure the schedule to get the new writing and editing commitments into it, while still staying on top of the scriptwriting materials that have to go out in mid-February.

If I can, I may take a nap later this afternoon, and I have to run down to Centerville Library to pick up some books they’re holding from me, AND type up the minutes from last night’s meeting.

Onward!

Devon

Published in: on January 9, 2014 at 8:48 am  Comments (2)  
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014: Yes on the Offers

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Worked with students, did some admin, pitched for jobs, finished the next book I have to review, and had yet more trouble with Comcast believing that both federal and state telecommunications laws don’t apply to them. A trying day.

However, on the positive side, I’ve been offered two contracts by a publishing company — it’s a company I’ve wanted to join for awhile, and they LOVE my work, and they agreed to the two small changes I asked for on the contract. Once everything is signed, sealed, and delivered, I will make the formal announcement. But they’ve already assigned me an editor and release dates for both projects.

A grant and two prose contracts — nice way to start the new year!

It also means the second book in the four-book cycle needs to go back into the writing rotation — I need to get it to them soon.

I’ve got a lot of writing to get done today, to make up for the writing I didn’t get done yesterday, and then I have a Board meeting tonight.

I’m excited!

Devon

Published in: on January 8, 2014 at 7:45 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. Jan. 7, 2014: Working and Offers

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and c-c-cold

I’ve got an essay on choosing the first and last books of the year over on A Biblio Paradise. Check it out!

Yesterday, I worked flat out. I caught up on admin, pitched for some jobs, worked with students, wrote a book review, polished a feature article pitch and queried it, did some background for the new play, and for a feature article. Also mailed a package, did a library run, got in some cat food, and baked a cake for the neighbor who dug me out in the snowstorm last week.

This morning, I found an interesting offer in my inbox, and have started negotiations. If we can work out a few details, I’ll have some good news soon. If not, I’ll be disappointed, but move on.

I need to work on the airship steampunk story today, and get going on the revisions for the half hour teleplay, work with students, etc.

Hopefully, I won’t have to go out — it’s bitterly cold, and I’d rather stay safe inside.

Devon

Published in: on January 7, 2014 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 7, 2014: Working and Offers  
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Fri. Nov. 8: Reassurance and Need For a Weekend

Friday, November 8, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Come join us to Organize Your Writing Life in 2014. Spend a day, stay on track for a year. Information on how to sign up here.

Frustrating day yesterday. I finally had to go to the lawyer and a union rep, as well as seeking advice from trusted colleagues in the field, because the soon-to-be-ex client crossed a line. I was assured that I am in the right, well within the terms of the contract, and advised to cut ties as soon as possible. I’d prefer to be paid first for the work done, but I don’t know if that will happen.

The whole thing just threw of the day’s rhythm and got me off my game. It shouldn’t, but it did. I worked on the big editing project, worked with students, got out a press release, and got some other stuff done, but it wasn’t enough. I have to finish up two other articles today and get them out, and I’d like to get out the big editing project (a week early).

Not much work done on my own stuff, but got some research done. And, I’m reading novelist Eloisa James’s memoir PARIS IN LOVE, which is delightful. I’m laughing out loud a lot, and I certainly need to laugh this week.

I’m having trouble staying connected to the internet today, which is yet another headache.

I’m looking forward to the weekend!

Published in: on November 8, 2013 at 8:10 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 8: Reassurance and Need For a Weekend  
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Wed. Nov. 6: Juggling Writing and Reading

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Just realized I didn’t blog yesterday. I went to vote instead. It was local election time, town council and the like. It was amazing how long the lines were. People take their voting very seriously here.

Got out some pitches, worked with students, continued with an editing project, negotiated for a big editing project that should start in two weeks (I won’t count on it until the deposit arrives), worked on adapting a prose piece for television, and continued working on typing up and fleshing out material from the development notebook.

Getting some work done on the novella this morning before tackling some articles and getting back on the other stuff.

I’ve got a lot of reading to do in the next few days, some for reviews, some for research, and some because I’m deconstructing a series of books by one particular author to learn why she’s so popular.

Have a meeting tonight of the Writers Center Board. Which means I have to be very, very focused today!

Devon

Published in: on November 6, 2013 at 7:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 6: Juggling Writing and Reading  
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