Thurs. Jan. 26, 2012: The Teaching Juggling Act


Tessa checks out the buffet table, the morning after the party

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Still dark out

I’ve got a piece on “Fuel for a Weary Soul” over on Writers Vineyard (as Annabel). Go check it out!

Busy day yesterday. Read as much student work as I could before my eyes gave out. Got irritated because a student who wastes a lot of time expects ME to organize threads to HER convenience and keep HER organized, instead of taking responsibility for herself, and wants me to “add extra slots” in classes. First of all, I am not her personal assistant; second, every extra student adds at least 40 minutes to an hour to my work day; more if they have questions (which they’re encouraged to ask — you learn by asking questions and DOING). There are only twenty four hours in a day. I put limits on classes FOR A REASON. I’m not going to work 24/7 — not for these prices anyway — and too many students in a class means I can’t give the individual attention to each piece that it needs. I allowed two extra students in the current class, and I’m stretched beyond my limit, even though the class is lively and active and working their butts off and it’s all positive. The lack of respect some people have is just appalling. I’m sure all teachers go through it. Goes with the gig. People who don’t teach don’t understand the time OUTSIDE of direct interaction it takes to do the job effectively.

The wall is painted and looks lovely. Got a bunch of work done on Confidential Job #1,and will start the second part of the two-part project today, getting the write up of the first part out. Yoga this morning, then I have to take my mom to the eye doctor to get measured for her eye operation. That’s supposed to take three hours, so I will take a notebook and the materials for Confidential Job #1 with me.

I’m happy with the progress on HEART BINDER. I just have to get a few other of my own projects back on track, and I won’t feel so pressured and resentful. I need to remember to focus on and be grateful for all that is wonderful in the class situation and let the irritations slide off more. Everyone’s working hard AND doing good work. The year-longs are required to have their drafts finished by the 31st or they’re out of the class — 50% of them are done. Not too shabby. Most of the 5 in 10s are staying on schedule, and the work is terrific. Really impressive, and the range of topics and how they’re handled is wonderful. I ENJOY going to the page and reading the material each day — I’ve just got only X amount of time to get it all done! Being interested in the world helps make them better writers.

Not loving the Mars retrograde, I have to say. Struggling with the personal crap it brings up, and trying to handle it with a modicum of grace! It will be good to be in yoga class this morning, for some kick-booty Om! 😉 That’s part of the retrograde — gaining skills to help you deal with it positively. Saying “I am positively OVER this retrograde” probably isn’t what “they” had in mind! 😉

I was assigned my new editor for the reboot of HEX BREAKER, so let’s hope that’s going to be a good partnership. I need to start pulling together my press kit for that. Once I get my edits, they’re going to have to turn around pretty fast, I’d think — two weeks or so. So the more I can get cleared off my plate ahead of time, the less pressure.

To yoga, to medical appointments (scribbling in the waiting room), and then back to the page.

I’m reading the seed catalogs and dreaming of this year’s garden. Let’s hope I’ve learned something from both what did and did not work last year!

Devon

Fri. Jan. 20, 2012: Talking to Wallpaper


Tessa likes the toaster cover

Friday, January 20, 2012
Waning Moon
Snowy and cold

Most of yesterday was spent with students, commenting on work. I’m getting a little tired of feeling like I’m talking to wallpaper. If someone has taken classes with me for months, and I’ve given, repeatedly, the same comment on comma placement, I expect them to actually take the comments and do something about it. This refusal certain students have to learn the fundamentals of the craft is beyond irritating. When I say STRUNK & WHITE’S ELEMENTS OF STYLE is a required text, I mean it.

I discussed it with a writer acquaintance who shrugged and said, “Culls the herd. Dipshit can’t be bothered to learn craft, more open slots for those of use who do.”

Which made me laugh, but . . .as a teacher, I want my students to succeed. I want them to go off and live independent, successful, happy lives as writers. If I do my job properly, they’ll outgrow me, and good for them. So when they’re given the tools and REFUSE to use them, I get frustrated.

On the flip side of that, one of my best, most productive students has a new book out (she started working with me while she was writing it) and it’s getting great reviews. She deserves them — she’s talented AND works her butt off. And I’m happy in the wide range of topics that the 5 in 10 students are tackling. They’re taking some interesting chances, and some of them aren’t limiting themselves to a single genre. They truly are taking advantage of this opportunity to play and experiment out of their comfort zones.

Yoga was great yesterday, and then, in the evening, I went to a lecture on women’s health issues, was was both interesting and lots of fun. Lots of laughter AND lots of information, which is a good way to go. It’s also amazing how much misinformation is out there, especially as peddled by both insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies — for their own profit, of course.

It also confirmed something I know — I have to up my exercise ante at this stage of my life. I’ve been leaning entirely on yoga the last few months. I have to add the weight training back in, and, if I don’t run, I should at least walk. My mind doesn’t want to run, but my body’s craving it. I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country. I can get out and walk a few miles a few times a week.

We had a little bit of snow — not much, just a bit. The owner’s coming to prime the fixed wall today. I’ve got a busy (and hopefully productive) weekend ahead of me. I’m spinning my wheels on a couple of projects, and I need to pull myself out of the muck and get down to it. A new client project comes in on Monday with a two-week turnaround, so there’s no room for any self-indulgence on my part.

I’m pretty happy with this batch of short stories I’m writing. They have a verve, an energy to them, that a lot of earlier work lacked. So at least I’m going in the right direction in some of my own work. Now, to get the novels back up to speed . . .

Devon

Published in: on January 20, 2012 at 8:31 am  Comments (3)  
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yoga was awesome yesterday, but it kicked my ass! Small class, lots of individual attention, different style than the yoga on the beach, but I learned a lot and was challenged in a good way. Definitely going back. I’m sore, but in a good way.

Spent most of the day with my students. Got the next assignment from Confidential Job #1, which looks good. Went grocery shopping.

Basic, simple stuff.

Good morning’s work on the book today. I’m in the flow, but I have too much story for one book, so I’m going to break it down into a trilogy, most likely. The way I broke my outline into thirds serves to make each third a book, with some minor modifications so there is some satisfaction at the end of each of the first two books, while still leaving the reader to want more. Otherwise, I have to strip 2/3 of my plot and turn into a typical genre piece, instead of the book I want to read. One of the reasons I’m writing this is because I’ve been looking for something like this in the urban fantasy genre and haven’t yet found it. So I’m writing it, and I hope others will want to read it, too.

At the same time, I have to keep an eye on the realities of the business. I’d rather have a trilogy that makes business sense than an unwieldy book no one will take a chance on, or a piece so stripped to fit word count that it’s no longer the story I want to explore.

Can I tell it in 55-90K? I could tell the bones of it. Once the whole thing is written, I can probably strip 10-30K with just internal cuts and more specific language choices, but will that be enough? It’s too early to know yet.

Lots to do today, and, as usual, only 24 hours in which to do it. Tomorrow morning, I have my first public ceremony as an officer of the local garden association, the time capsule honoring mothers in a local park.

Midnight Enchantments will also start tomorrow, over on A BIBLIO PARADISE, a mix of essays, interviews, etc. on authors and characters who use magic.

Devon

Today’s word count: 2198
Total word count: 25,960

Published in: on October 14, 2011 at 8:14 am  Comments (4)  
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cool

We went to Martha’s Vineyard yesterday, which was great. The picture above is from June’s trip, because I haven’t downloaded the photos from my camera yet.

Up at 5:30, out the door before 7, we arrived at the ferry early. Instead of waiting for the Tourist Ferry, they let us on the “Real People ferry” with early morning trucks and commuters. No fancy seats or coffee shop — just laminate benches over metal lockers on either side of the flat, open area for the cars and trucks. This ferry takes only a half hour, not 45 minutes. Loved it, in spite of the noise and the smell of oil. Felt much more connected to the water.

We disembarked in Vineyard Haven. It was just after 8 in the morning, so not much was open. We had coffee and a muffin at Beetlebung’s, which was great. Really nice place.

Stopped at the Chamber of Commerce for some information, and hopped onto the tour that was leaving. We had about an hour in Oak Bluffs, waiting for the next ferry boat to come in, and then the bus filled up and off we were.

It hit all the towns, which my friend took me through when I visited in June, but in a different order. The history was great, but our tourguide talked really fast and mumbled, so I only got about 1/3 of it. However, I remembered a lot of what my friend told me and what I’d read in the interim, so it worked out.

I was amazed by how different Aquinah looked in the different season. I’ll have to post the photos beside each other — the coloration is quite different. It was much quieter, too, which was nice.

We wound up in Oak Bluffs again, and went to have a late lunch at Offshore Ale, where I’d eaten with my friend in June. I made sure to order something different this time — I have the habit of having a “favorite thing” at a restaurant and always ordering it. So I made sure to try something else. And it was really good!

The ferry back was full of busloads of tourists — it was the big tourist ferry out of Oak Bluffs, last day for the ferries out of OB. The bus pulls into the car port and burps out the passengers upstairs. We got a good seat by the window, though, so it was fine. Just seemed to take forever after the other ferry in the morning! Lots of traffic coming home, and then had to deal with the stuff that happened while we were gone.

The tulip bulbs arrived, and I want to get them into the ground today before the storm, if possible. I’m way behind on everything. And yet, by Monday night, I was caught up. Yesterday was my first day off in a month, maybe two. I thought I was really organized and caught up, but I feel ridiculously far behind today and discouraged. I need to reconfigure things so I work smarter. I have the right to take off a day here and there, and I have to find a better way so it doesn’t all stack up in such an out of control way when I’m gone.

Another teacher advised me to stop investing so much in my students, that “it” isn’t worth it. Well, I happen to think most of them are worth it. I just have to come up with a smarter way to work, so I’m not pulling 16-20 hour days/7 days a week without relief. Financially and energetically, it doesn’t work out. So I have to find a better way to work, and I have to hold firm when students make demands beyond what I can meet. Even though Saturn isn’t retrograde right now, its position in my chart is STILL kicking my ass! 😉

Fortunately, I have a new Sharon Shinn novel waiting for me as a reward when I do catch up.

And I had a great morning’s work on the book.

Devon

Today’s word count: 2362
Total word count: 21,704

Published in: on October 12, 2011 at 9:13 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Can you say “overbooked much”? I have one class winding up today, the intensive continuing, two classes starting today (one of which I had in my calendar as starting next month), and an in-person class starting on Wednesday.

I’m looking forward to November.

The migraine’s not helping, either.

I have to take my dialogue packets to a copy place instead of trying to do them here. It’s just too much.

AND the energy assessment happens today, so I had to run around trying to prep the house and pretending we are more unpacked than we really are.

I’m keeping up with the new book, though, writing along with my class. I got a little bit of Halloween decorating done, and that will just have to be a work in progress over the next few weeks. This week is intense, with four classes going. One only runs a week, so it will be a little better next week, but this week will simply be 18-20 hour days. No way around it, since I’ve got freelance work to do along with the four classes. I’m really not sure how I could have gotten off by a month, but I managed it.

And taking lots of Excedrin!

Devon

Harpy book daily word count: 1232
Total word count: 5439

Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 7:01 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Sunshine-kissed kitty

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

More retrogrades, people! And, technically, the summer vacation-that-wasn’t for me is over, and this gig is nearly over. I needed to write 15K in these past two weeks, here on site. I got 500 done, due to interruptions and the amount of stuff piled onto me that had nothing to do with my job. I can’t write a single sentence without a massive interruption, and I cannot be in that situation. Even if I tried to stay up all night, after I was drained of every ounce of life force from this place, I’m interrupted constantly. Just not acceptable, and I can’t put myself in this situation again. The daily micromanaging has abated, slightly, but now I find out the client’s given out my cell phone number to this one and that one without permission — and I am extremely fierce about who gets that number. Again, not acceptable. Well, Friday, I’m gone.

I got the following sent to me about my former building in NY. Read the article here.

If I still lived there, I’d be in a hotel somewhere — and what would have happened to the cats? I moved at the right time. My heart breaks for my former neighbors. I talked to a couple of them yesterday — they are in shock, dazed, and angry. One expects something like this from the scumbag landlords, but the City is also liable, morally if not legally, for continuing to allow those basement apartments to be rented when they are regularly flooded out and the residents lose everything. WHEN someone dies — and, eventually, someone will — these scumbags will still feel nothing. Because both the landlords and the current City Council there don’t consider the tenants are worthwhile citizens. The landlords consider them an ATM machine, and the City Council doesn’t think they are “good enough” to live in that pretentious Westchester town because they’re renters instead of owners, so the Council doesn’t care

Yesterday was practically productive, if not creatively productive. I got out some questions for a press release I’m working on, to wrap up the Mermaid Ball, four sets of interview questions, and got the last details worked out for the Year-Long Intensive, which starts tomorrow. I got in two good sessions of yoga, and a good meditation sit, which helped a lot.

I thought about what book I want to start working on tomorrow (while I finish SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which I simply can’t work on here, because I can’t get enough time in to write more than a line at a time without interruption, and then I lose my train of creativity). I circled back to the yoga mystery, reconnected a bit with it, and wondered if, maybe, that’s what I should work on. I’d be challenging myself within the formula, but not setting up so huge a challenge that I can’t meet it. In other words, it’s a pretty safe choice, which means I’m not sure I should do it. I’m trying to decide if I should do one of the two urban fantasy ideas I was playing with. Both are unique, stories I haven’t seen before, and I’m writing them because they are something I’d like to read. One rotates through three POVs — initially, it only rotated through two, but a character who was supposed to just be in a couple of scenes stepped up and said, “Hey, I’m important to this process!” The other one has a strong base in mythology and an intense central relationship, but never quite handled in this particular way. Then, of course, there’s the urban fantasy comic noir, which I originally envisioned as a series of linked short stories or novellas, but I could turn into a novel. And I need to make a decision — soon.

Today, I have to write the press release, work on the newsletter, and see if maybe I can possibly get any writing done. There will be a cleaning crew in here on site, so, again — constant interruptions.

Two more days. I just have to keep it together for two more days.

I feel very, very lucky and have enormous gratitude for the fact that I am HERE and not where I used to live, and that we had little storm damage and kept the power on. So many are so much worse off than I am, that, in perspective, these irritants are just that — irritants. They are something that I can,ultimately, not let happen again. But you can’t control a hurricane.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available in print and digital versions from Champagne Books, and digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Both cats

Monday, August 1, 2011
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and humid
Lammas

Lammas, the first harvest and an important day in my personal calendar. I’m looking forward to a good and sacred day.

It was a busy weekend. On Sunday, I had to drive my mom to CT. What should have been a simple, four and a half hour drive took seven hours. due to traffic. We finally pulled off to eat and visit the Book Barn in Niantic, where we found a few things, one of which was an arc of Jane Smiley’s THIRTEEN WAYS TO LOOK AT A NOVEL. Outstanding book on the history of the novel, and on writing and editing. I found some good passages to share with my students.

Arrived in CT, hadn’t even unpacked, and there was a major storm with a power outage. Go figure!

To bed early, up early on Saturday to head back. Smooth sailing until Bourne. From Bourne to the Sagamore Bridge, which is about six miles, it took two hours because of the traffic. I was NOT a happy camper. And there was no reason for it, except people were being stupid. If everyone kept moving and was considerate, we would have all gotten where we needed to go on time. On top of that, some dickheads were using rest areas and lookouts to simply drive through and skip a few cars. You think you’re that important? Bite me, I’m not letting you cut in front of me! Rt. 6 was packed in both directions, so I nipped off as soon as I got over the bridge and took 6A home instead. Much better.

I don’t want to hear any crap from local businesses that they aren’t doing well. When there’s a 22 mile backup in both directions to get over the bridge, people are coming to the Cape. It’s on the vendor to make the sales. The people are definitely here.

Exhausted when I got home. Unpacked, dealt with the cats (who were not amused), opened the windows, and took a nap. Woke up, finished Jim Butcher’s FOOL MOON, which was interesting, and wound up my two classes.

Watched THE TOURIST, which wasn’t quite as bad as the reviews claimed. The Venice setting was worth it. The dialogue could have been better — with those two actors, some witty exchanges would have made it worthwhile, instead of just taking a pause and looking at each other between each sentence. And I figured out the twist about ten minutes into it (although Rufus Sewell’s cameo was fun).

Up early on Sunday, worked in the garden, and then to Osterville for the meditation walk, which was wonderful. Truly a joyful morning. Some of us are going to meet next week to continue.

Got the papers, came home, and relaxed on the deck. It was a gorgeous morning. Lovely to be out. I got the fall catalog for the local place where I interviewed to teach in person and I’m in it, so I guess I passed The Man’s background check. I wish they’d actually confirmed it all. But it’s a month of Wednesday nights in October, which should be fun. I returned books to the library in Sandwich, and stopped by both the Sandwich Herb Shoppe and Lavender Moon for a couple of treats.

Read Jeri Ready-Smith’s WICKED GAME in the afternoon — clever urban fantasy. I liked it a lot.

Did some editing in the evening, watched a little TV. Did an interview for the book. Up early today and decided to go to yoga, although I don’t usually go on Mondays. But what better way to treat myself on this special day than attending a special class?

Then, it’s back to my desk — I have a lot of serious work that needs to get done today. I got behind last week, juggling all the classes. I’ve got an edit to finish, a review to write, lots of work for the Mermaid Ball.

But now — to yoga.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Fountain, Heritage Museum and Gardens

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

I got a good writing day in yesterday, and cleaned up my computer a bit. I’ve been having trouble with Safari, and now Firefox is giving me headaches, so I’ve downloaded Google Chrome just in case. And yeah, I’ll be giving Apple Care a yelp soon!

Worked on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Once I can get through these two mucky chapters, I think I can hurtle to the end pretty well. Did some good planning work on the new book, and got an idea for a steampunk. Ideas tend to come in batches.

Am being encouraged in the direction of a non-fiction book. I may try an outline and the first three chapters to see if it’s worth pursuing. If I like it, I’ll make a list and start submitting.

I recently read a wonderful anthology called A SENSE OF PLACE, which was written by Cape Cod women writers. Definitely want to use it in any further Setting as Character workshops. Sent a quick note to the publisher, who responded and suggested I write for the site, so I’ll put together some article ideas and see if they fly.

Finished the biography of Joseph Campbell, which makes me want to go back and re-read him with a new sense of context. When I read him originally, years ago, the fact that he was revered as a demi-god made me deeply suspicious and interfered with my ability to read the actual material. I’m glad to know he was a scholar who did actual research instead of someone who made stuff up to boost his theories.

Watched the NY fireworks, then the Boston — nice to see how different they are. Some idiots in the neighborhood set off fireworks they weren’t able to handle and nearly set some roofs on fire. Not mine — they just curved away from the property! 😉

Up early this morning. Meant to work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, but wound up started my Reading and Reviewing for Craft class instead.

Yoga on the Beach was great, in spite of the sand flies. We absolutely slathered each other in bug repellent or we couldn’t have survived. Today’s class was quite challenging, which was good. Next year, I’ll budget so I can take it 3-4 times/a week, both on a financial level and a time level — it’s a 4 hour commitment in the morning, my prime writing time, since it’s an hour and a half in each direction and an hour fifteen class, and then all the incidental traffic, et al things one doesn’t count on.

Stopped to grab an ice coffee on the way home, and thought I was being very smart by taking 137 up to 6 (6 is the Mid-Cape Highway). 6 was backed up from P-Town to the bridges, so I slid off the next exit and took 124 north to 6A and headed back along the bay side. Yes, it’s through the towns, but there wasn’t much traffic and it actually moved, so it was faster.

Watered, vacuumed out the car (I brought half the beach with me), ate a bowl of berries. Now, I’m settling in for a few hours of work before I go out and do things like buy cat food! I have a meeting in the late afternoon for a potential job in August. Yeah, I know, I wasn’t supposed to work in August, but this sounds too good to pass up.

Back to the page!

Devon

Monday, June 27, 2011


Rosecliff

Monday, June 27, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday, we went to the Newport Flower Show, held at Rosecliff in Newport, RI. Rosecliff was designed by Stanford White and bought by a Nevada silver heiress. This year’s theme was “The Blue Garden” and it was gorgeous!


Theme of “the Blue Garden”

There were nine individuals gardens tied by theme leading to the mansion, which was filled with award-winning displays related to entertaining.


Table display inside mansion

Outside, the gardens opened out to the vendors, a tent with children’s activities, music, and a lunch tent. It was all beautifully done, and, in spite of bus after bus pulling up to disgorge people, it was run beautifully.

The day was rather misty, but lovely. I wasn’t really in the mood to shop, but I looked at everything, and wound up buying one small china piece and a package of potpourri from The Herb Lady which currently scents the whole house.

The only glitch was when we arrived back at the Casino, where we had to park our cars. I was in a double row, with car noses pointed at each other. The lines were faded, but visible. And a bunch of dingbats had started a THIRD row, boxing in the middle cars, of which I was one. How effing stupid can you be? It’s a parking lot that can handle several THOUSAND cars. The rows are clearly marked as double rows. Why would you make up your own row when there’s an empty one on the other side of the aisle?

The idiots were damn lucky that, in my particular case, there was an open spot diagonally from me, and my car was just small enough to fit between the two noses (with a cat’s whisker width on either side) so I could get out, after some backing up and angling. Or someone’s damn car would have been trashed or towed!

Wrapped up my class last night. They were an extraordinarily wonderful group, and I was lucky to have them.

This week, I have to focus on getting as much work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY done as possible, do the work for Confidential Job #1, and work on stuff for the Mermaid Ball and the Centerville Beautification Committee. My next class starts July 5.

I also have to weed — some of the beds need a bit of attention!

Back to the page.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 6:50 am  Comments (7)  
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I answered the interview questions for the Christmas In July promotion first thing yesterday morning. My day is July 18 – -don’t worry, I’ll remind you! I also set up a meeting next week about teaching in person here on the Cape this fall, and discussed the possibility of another promotion via an “Author Roast” in October. So things are busy!

I felt like I was setting a bad example for my students because it was all before writing my first 1K of the day, but it had to be done as soon as it came in! And then, when I finally wrote my daily quota, it all sucked and I’m going to have to throw it out. We all have those days.

So the RADIO spot is actually a TELEVISION spot, which I almost had to refuse because of the whole no-photographs thing. But I got special permission because it’s community TV and students learning how to shoot, etc., etc. Of course, this means I better do my own make-up and hair . . .

I got a bunch of work done for the Mermaid Ball and for the Centerville Beautification projects. I fiddled with the sidebar and got the ball into it, and the press release is here.

Went to the Centerville Library to return books and get more out; went over to the HUGE library in Mashpee and found some interesting stuff. We got stuck in traffic coming back because of yet another accident (three major ones in the past three days), so I took a back way and didn’t get lost.

Tried to get some more work done. Had a simple dinner, and then got back to work. Didn’t do much commenting because I swear, by late afternoon, someone had scooped out my brains and replaced them with mashed potatoes!

Finished SACRED GROUND by Mercedes Lackey. Excellent. I don’t know if she has any other Jennifer Talldeer books out, but I’d love to see more with that character. There’s a novella in TRIO OF SORCERY, along with the Diana Tregarde novella, where I first was introduced to the character.

Costume Imp and I sorted out what I’ll wear to the Mermaid Ball (a navy velvet evening gown rather than a costume) and on camera on Friday. — which also means I have to come home after the breakfast, change, and do hair and make-up. But at least that’s all figured out.

Today, I settled into the writing immediately. I’ve got to do more work on just about damn everything, knock out an article, and make the deviled eggs for tonight’s meeting. Imp leaves this afternoon (Waaaah). And I have student exercises on which to comment.

I also got an invitation to join a really cool collaborative group. I need to think about it. It’s headed by someone whose work I really like and respect, but, as I reminded him, I’m probably older than his mother. I don’t want to spread myself too thin, and, honestly, I was so tired at the time he shot me the invite that I felt about as creative as wilted lettuce. I’d love to be part of something like this, but don’t know if it’s the right time. At the same time, I don’t want to miss out on a really unique and wonderful experience. So, I’ve got some thinking to do!

I’m going to fix Imp a nice eggs benedict brunch for Imp before he heads back to the city, and then try to knock out as much of my work as possible before tonight’s meeting.

I hope we have good weather next week — there’s a beach yoga class I want to check out!

Back to the page.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books and Amazon Kindle Edition.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Iris rests up for Costume Imp’s visit

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
FULL Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’m a guest over on Curling Up By the Fire (as Annabel), talking about character evolution. Come visit and drop a comment.

Hit the ground running yesterday, doing my work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, spending time with my students (who are really cool, by the way), changing the beds, dealing with the yard (in spite of drizzle), working on articles, working on stuff for the Mermaid Ball, dealing with more promo for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, forgetting to do my health care paperwork (I’m almost there, just gotta fill out the last bit), grocery shopping, more laundry, vacuuming, last-minute tidying, etc.

I plated the various cookies and lemon bars, wrapped them, loaded them all on a massive tray, covered them in foil, taped the note to the top, and dropped it off at the library. When I walked in, looking like I was carrying the Christmas Turkey, the whole library fell silent.

Then, one of the librarians darted forward and said, “This is AWESOME!”

The rest of the drop offs were one little plate each. Well, how the hell did I know? I had no information! All I knew was there were six houses on the tour. So I baked for six tables! 😉

Costume Imp got here safely — I pulled in just behind the bus. We came home, did a round in the yard, had a glass of wine on the chilly deck, got him settled in the room. I’d made potato salad, and then cooked some battered chicken (as in, dipped in batter, I didn’t beat it up or anything) and steamed green beans with butter.

Had a lot of email to deal with in the evening. Finished my first Writers Vineyard piece and scheduled it to post– let’s hope it does. Was invited to contribute an article to an interesting-sound mag for August that will also help promote ASSUMPTION. Still working on some other articles that need to get out the damn door.

The cats woke me at 4:30 this morning. I told them no one was paying me to be up that early, and I wasn’t gonna! Finally got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, garden, and 1,212 words on SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

I’m really proud of the Write in Company class. They are sticking to it and brainstorming and chatting about ideas. It’s a good start, let’s hope we all build on the momentum.

I’ve got a lot of work to do in the morning while Imp sleeps in; then we are dashing around to farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Imp wants to cook while he’s here, which is fine with me! 😉

Tonight is Game 7 between Boston and Vancouver, and I’m gonna watch!

I finished the material for Confidential Job #1 and have to write it up, do some more work for the Mermaid Ball, and get a couple of other things out the door.

Onwards!

Devon

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available from Champagne Books.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I finished the first round of edits and got them out to my editor by the end of the day. I think I’ve hit and fixed all the places she pointed out, and I cleaned up some messy writing, unnecessary repetitions, and things that should have been caught first time out. So that’s a relief. There’s got to be at least one more round of revisions, to clean up proofreading stuff I missed, and to hone some of the new material.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth and see the progress!

Found some Adirondack chairs that are comfortable AND within the budget, so grabbed them. Didn’t realize I have to put them together. Since it’s raining today and they’re too big to do inside and then get through the door, I’ll wait and put them together in a day or two when the weather’s nicer.

But at least we have all the furniture we need, it works together, and it’s comfortable.
Gotta love the shopping aspect of Mercury retrograde!

My mom’s medical appointment went well. Everyone at the medical facilities here is really pleasant, no one rushes, yet everything gets done much more efficiently than down in Westchester. At her previous doctor’s office, the front desk staff was beyond rude and unhelpful, they were always dashing around getting nothing done, paperwork and lab results were never where they were supposed to be in time for the appointment, and, if you were lucky, they might spend 3 1/2 minutes with a patient. Plus, whenever she went for a blood test, it would hurt and she’d have bruises for weeks. This technician was so skilled my mom barely felt the needle, and there’s no bruising. And she waited less than five minutes to be seen, even though there was a full waiting room. She always had to wait at least forty-five minutes to an hour past her appointed time in NY. The facility was very busy, but it ran calmly and smoothly, and everyone was seen in a reasonable time, but no one was tossed in and out of the room. It’s run much more humanely and efficiently, even though they’ve got just as high a caseload.

It was mild enough to eat on the porch yesterday afternoon (with a coat on). Iris stood at the door, peering out at us, feeling excluded. It was very funny. Next time I hit Target, I have to look for leashes and harnesses for them. Elsa used to come to the theatre with me in a harness and leash, but the twins have never had them on. That will be interesting!

Caught up with the workshop last night. There should be a lot new pieces posted today, although there are some students falling behind. I sent a bunch of pieces back for revision — I bet several students will simply ignore it. Or, they won’t get the request until after they’ve already posted the next exercise, because of the delay in the loop. Live and learn. I won’t agree to teach on a loop again. It doesn’t work for the structure of my classes, and to change the structure means to dilute the writing, which I’m not willing to do.

It is official, though. I’m teaching in person at the WriteAngles Writers’ Conference at Mt. Holyoke, MA on October 22. That should be a ton of fun, and I’m looking forward to it.

In either January or early February, I’d asked if I could restructure what I was going to teach this year for the another conference where I’ve taught for the last six years, and never received a response. A week or so ago, I withdrew from that conference, because fall has gotten so overbooked, I couldn’t give the conference the attention it needs without said restructuring — restructuring that might not work in that environment, which is why I wanted to discuss it and not just declare it. And, even with the restructuring, I had my doubts it would work this particular year. Of course, no response. It was definitely the right decision not to do it this year. I would have put myself in a situation where I was frustrated and unhappy, and that does not serve either me or the students well.

I’m tired of people not responding because they’re “too busy”. If you run a business, part of the responsibility is communicating with clients, potential clients, vendors, etc., even if the answer is “no.” We all get busy, we all fall behind, but communication is key to keeping positive business relationships working. And, by telling someone “I’m too busy”, you are letting the person know he is not worth the time it takes to respond. So why should the person want to do business with you?

We’re having a lovely thunderstorm here and a lot of rain. I waited to turn on the computer until the worst of it was past so nothing would go boom! It is, after all, Mercury retrograde.

Now, back to work. I’ve got to finish my taxes, a new local writing buddy asked me to be a first reader for her new book, and, tomorrow, I need to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I need to update the media kit for ASSUMPTION before it goes out — we’ve rewritten the material I’m using as excerpts, making it stronger, and the kit needs to reflect the updated copy.

I was invited to help plant the Butterfly Mosaic garden at Long Pasture at the end of the month. I said yes. I think it’ll be fun!

Devon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

There’s a new, short post up on Gratitude and Growth.

I’m angry that Borders is closing the two stores within a decent driving distance from me. As much as I prefer spending my money at independent bookstores, there are times when Borders came in handy, and the two stores they’re closing were packed ALL THE TIME. As in, six check out people and a line winding back and forth no matter what day of the week or time or day I was there. There is no reason to close those stores other than Borders Corporate Management is greedy and bad at what they do (hence having to file for bankruptcy). They keep touting the website, but it sucks, and they’ve never gotten a single order correct for me, so I stopped using them. I’ll close out my gift cards and then, to hell with them. I feel bad for the wonderful people in my area who worked for them and were helpful, friendly, and supported local authors. But management in the head office? Deserve to be kicked to the curb. Corporate office management has sucked for at least the past five years, probably longer.

It’s not the death knell for bookstores. What this does is open slots for more independent bookstores (I’m so lucky that the Cape is full of them), and also, make room for a hopefully more successful, literate, book-friendly (meaning both digital and print) model. The death of the Corporate Bookstore is only going to help actual individual booksellers, authors, and readers. There are other business models where everyone wins. I’m not going to bore you with them here, but I’ve researched and written about those possibilities elsewhere, and how to make them work. Unfortunately, because so many publishers are now corporations, too, it makes it harder to convince the big houses there’s a better way to do things.

Someone stopped following me on Twitter because that “person” — I think it was a fake name — kept sending me links to write for content mills & I asked the person to stop, saying I don’t write for content mills and they couldn’t afford me. So I’m “dropped”. So sad. Not. 😉

Working on a set of proposals for some for-hire work. Tight turnaround time, clean copy, write fast and well, mimic the style previously set up. I can do all that. An assignment from a one of these establishments wouldn’t be easy, but I think it would be good experience, so I’m going to toss my hat into a couple of rings and see what comes up. If they like me, they’ll keep me on file and contact me whenever it seems there’s a good fit. It could be intermittent, short-term work that pays decently, and I can manage it with my teaching schedule and my own writing. And I’ve got some more teaching proposals to get out, for in-person, local workshops.

It’s all about time management. We all have 24 hours in every day. It’s how we choose to use them that defines us.

And my work is not separate from my life — few fiction writers’ work is. It is INTEGRATED into my life.

I finalized another deconstruction workshop for May — someone dropped out and they asked me to take over, so I have to get up to speed on the books — they’re on my To Be Read list, but now I have to sit down, read them back-to-back, taking notes, and read them for an entirely different perspective than to read it just to read it. Should be fun.

The work on the book went slowly, but pretty well yesterday. I need to get some more done this morning before I pack up and head up to Site #2, where I’ll be for the rest of the week.

Devon

Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 9:44 am  Comments (7)  
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