Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and warm

I don’t know how I’m ever going to get my act together today. I’m overtired and unfocused. But I have to — lots to do.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the praise you’ve showered on me for “The Retriever” in Books for Monsters. And for the suggestions to expand it into a book. I just may do that. If you want to see more of my work there, let the editor know!

Friday was reasonably productive. I cleared a bunch of stuff off my desk, got some writing done, worked on redesigning the ebooks — there are two possible ways to do it, and I’m going to see which one is more efficient and use that method. I finally got to start my friend Kim Smith’s book AVENGING ANGEL, which is a really fun mystery.

There were actually a half a dozen jobs on the boards Friday that I thought were worth pitching. And I’m working on a residency proposal. I don’t think I’m quite “literary” enough a writer for them, so I’m trying to play my other strengths. There’s also a contest I might enter — it seems fun.

Not much sleep Friday night into Saturday morning. A domestic disturbance in another apartment woke me around 1 AM — it settled down quickly; I don’t know if someone called the cops or what. Then, around 4:30, the cats and I were woken up by snarling and growling, but it sure didn’t sound like anything we’d ever heard before. The creature was in the tree outside the window — I couldn’t see what it was, but the cats believed it was a threat. Their eyes were enormous, the fur bristled, backs arched, tails low and waving, and they were growling and hissing right back. I shut the window, because a screen felt way too flimsy between us. It wasn’t a cat, it wasn’t a dog (obviously — it was in a tree), it wasn’t a skunk or a raccoon. I don’t know if possums make noise — we occasionally have them around here. I HOPE it’s not a fisher. If fishers have invaded the neighborhood, we’re all screwed. If I can get a good look at it and it IS a fisher, I’ll have to call some nature authority to come and deal with it, or no cat, small dog, squirrel, chipmunk, skunk, or small child is safe. The ones in Maine are VICIOUS. I didn’t smell the odor I normally associate with fishers, so I hope it’s not one of those.

But then, the cats decided that, since we were up anyway, it must be time for breakfast. Uh, no. But they are extraordinarily persistent, and it was well before six when they won. I’m seriously outnumbered.

I was in NO mood for a big day of racing. I managed to get a polish done on a submission and got it off before I had to turn my attention to the horses. The weather was gorgeous — low seventies with a breeze, unlike last year, when it was in the 90’s and disgustingly humid. It was a hit and miss day for me in my picks. I’m not quite sure how I wound up ahead by a little, but I did. I did not pick Summer Bird, the winner. He ran a great race, but I’m still not getting on his band wagon. What interests me in the whole thing is how this year’s Triple Crown affects the trainers of Mine That Bird and Summer Bird (half-brothers, sired by Birdstone). Both trainers weren’t well-known outside of their home tracks, and I’m interested in following their careers.

I also got a ton of inspiration for DEAD MAN’S STALL.

Sunday, I gave myself most of the day off. Did some catch-up. I have to make a decision about 1 and 1 before the end of the summer. They gave me a credit for the problems, as I asked, but the problem isn’t being solved. I missed a job opportunity yesterday because it was time sensitive, created in the email (because I didn’t have time to do it elsewhere and cut and paste), and the server error not only didn’t send it, but dumped the email without saving it as a draft or anything else. I now have a reliable computer. I need to expand that to a reliable web host. I understand that there are sometimes problems, but every day for the past two months and change? And at least three times a week for the four to five months prior. I love the components in the package and the price point, but if it doesn’t work when I need it to, it’s useless.

I finished some half-read books that needed attention — two that were quite disappointing — but learned from both of them. I finished my friend Kim’s book and sent off the interview questions for her appearance on A BIBLIO PARADISE. I bought my friend Colin’s book STELLA, and spent some time congratulating him on the Eternal Press loop.

Some new client projects came in, which I will start today.

I went to the Tony Award viewing party in the evening and it was great. I thought Neil Patrick Harris did a good job as a host, although they had the announcer on the God mike too often at times where he should have handled duties. I’m thrilled that HAIR won Best Revival, although I expected WEST SIDE STORY to win. The three “Billys” in Billy Elliot shared the award, which was great, and, in general, it was a delightful evening. I thought they showcased some great numbers, although the sound problems and the sound mix drove me nuts. In the course of a live show, everyone deals with each other much more constantly and intimately than in film or television, so everyone who works on a production is much more fully and emotionally invested. I think last night’s production communicated that investment better than many prior years. Tony Award night always makes me remember why I got into the business in the first place, and grateful for the long career I’ve had there. I don’t miss being backstage every night anymore, but I’m very grateful for the years I had back there.

The cats got me up early (big surprise). Nice morning’s work on the Matty book. Need to get back to the serial and to DEAD MAN’S STALL, and to finish, polish, and send the Belmont wrap-up article. Must do some stuff for my mom, design another postcard for a giveaway, do some work for the Prague trip, and the client work.

Busy day — better get to it!

Devon

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and mild

IMG_0006

I put this photo in just because I could. It’s the beach/boardwalk about a mile from my apartment.

Books for Monsters released ahead of schedule. They’ve run my action/adventure tale “The Retriever”, set in London. You can read it here.

Hop on over to the SDR blog and check out my piece “Revision is More Than Spell Check.” It points out some of the most common mistakes writers miss when they do what they call “revision”, which, more often than not, is just running a piece through spell check.

Went to Costco to pick up a few things, did the grocery shopping, worked on client projects yesterday.

I left early for White Plains to sign up for Apple’s One-on-One program — only to discover that I’m not eligible! You have to purchase it WITH the computer, or within a fourteen day window. I blew it. It’s only my fault — I remember the guy who sold me the computer telling me about it, but I was on information overload at that point and it didn’t sink in. Plus, being used to the tactics of Dell and Microsoft, where they’re constantly trying to get as much money out of you as possible without giving you what you actually want and need — I was suspicious. I was heart-broken when I found out I couldn’t sign up. The poor guy who broke the news to me was afraid I’d weep all over his shoes. But I didn’t. Further discussion indicates that the program is too structured to fit my needs anyway, and not as individualized as i want, plus you can’t make up lessons. So, if I was away for a week, too bad for me. You can’t really complain, at that price point, but I need something more individualized. So I have to find someone I can hire outside of one of the programs whenever I need to learn something, and I’ll take as many of the free workshops at the store as I can.

The iPages workshop was FANTASTIC. There were only two of us, so we managed to get in-depth, and I learned so much. I’m delightfully shocked by the versatility of iPages. It makes Word look like a behemoth dinosaur dying in the tar pits. When I came home, I designed the postcard for DIXIE DUST RUMORS, taking what I learned from the iPhoto workshop and the iPages workshop, and got it done in TEN MINUTES. It’s never taken me less than several hours in Microsoft, mostly because the various programs didn’t do what I needed and wouldn’t talk to each other. I’m astonished. The “Inspector” function lets me do and integrate just about anything. I still really don’t understand “Alpha”, but the teacher swore by it, and I’ll figure it out.

I want to tweak the text a bit, but that has nothing to do with the programs.

We worked on newsletters — Devon’s Random Newsletter will be even better next month. And envelopes. And a whole bunch of other stuff.

I started the Jain Lazarus brochure, and i’ll work on the Fearless Ink brochure today — I need to import some graphics from the PC, because I want to use the old graphics, but they’re from XP and not in Word for Mac. So I guess I’ll learn how to do that today.

When I got home, I played with MobileMe. I still don’t really get it, but at least I can use it better.

I also designed a proposal for something I call Apple Flex, an individual lesson program on several tiers, and pitched it to Apple’s corporate office. Nothing may come of it, but at least I was pro-active.

I can’t take any workshops this weekend, because of the Belmont Stakes and the Tony Awards, but maybe next week, I’ll do some more. The basic Mac workshop would be a huge help, I think. I still only know about 5% of what this system can do. And I don’t understand the Safari browser AT ALL. I use Firefox — especially since I can’t get into my websites via Safari.

I had a great morning’s work on the Matty book, and I’m getting ready to work on a pitch, a proposal, and get back to the serial.

Back to the page.

Devon

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Kentucky Derby Day

My picks for the full race card are in the post below this one, so scroll down if you’re interested.

With the poor weather, it gives my top pick, Friesan Fire, a better shot at the win. Friesan Fire and Pioneer of the Nile are still my top picks. And Dunkirk’s moved up from a “maybe” to a “definite.” He’s gorgeous, tons of personality, and, if his mental focus is there tonight, I think he can do it. I’m betting all three across the board and boxing a trifecta. One of my longshots will be Chocolate Candy, for a show spot, and I’ll probably toss in another, perhaps Flying Private or Hold Me Back.

My publisher already paid me for “The Retriever”. Pretty psyched. Will post the link to the story as soon as I’ve got it. I’m thrilled they took the piece, and I hope to work more with them in the coming months.

An interview with me is going up on Tuesday over at Long and Short Reviews. I’ll schedule the link, since I’ll be out of town — I hope you stop by.

Got to visit the chat room where I’m giving the workshop next week. We’ve got a test run today. I can only stop in for a minute, due to the Derby, but it’ll be worth it.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time handicapping today’s race card and running errands. Took some time off in the afternoon to read a cosy, getting me back in the headspace to go back to work on the Helena Francis mystery. The book was okay. There were some lapses of logic that bothered me. But the characters are fun and the writing’s fine. I just didn’t find it all that memorable.

Got to dash out for an errand and then get back and get ready for Derby coverage. This will be the first year I can use my own laptop to write my wrap up article as the races are happening instead of scribbling notes and then trying to decipher them later. I probably can’t Tweet as it’s happening, but, oh well. Besides, I need to be WATCHING the races.

The Red Wings vs. Anaheim hockey game was really good last night. Red Wings won, 3-2, as I hoped they would. They are one of the best-run teams in the league.

Off to a busy day.

Devon

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 8:24 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , , ,