Mon. Sept. 23, 2013: Hitting the Characters’ Emotional Truths

Monday, September 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Roller coaster weekend. I was very discouraged by Friday afternoon. Just felt like I was going in circles and not getting anywhere.

But then, I logged in Saturday morning and found some exciting news. Nothing’s set until there’s a contract in place, so I don’t want to get my hopes up — especially after I was screwed on the contract at the beginning of the month — but I hope this works out.

Wrote two reviews this weekend, worked with students, caught up on movies, started re-watching the second season of TORCHWOOD, worked in the garden, cooked, baked, cleaned the house, did laundry, wrote. Worked on a couple of articles, but am not satisfied with them, so I’m going to keep working before I send them out. Plus, I had a horrible migraine, which slowed me down.

I did some work on Project D, and have to figure out a few things, then backtracked to Project B, where, yesterday, finally, I hit my protagonists’ emotional truths — a scary moment, but an important place on which to build. Project B is turning into a very different novel than I originally imagined, but I like it much better.

Watched the Emmys last night. Wasn’t thrilled with the show. They tried too hard and fell short. They rushed the winners and had too much silly filler. The only number I liked was the one done by the choreographers.

I have a busy, hectic day, which is why I’m at my desk early.

Hope everyone has a great start to the week.

Devon

Published in: on September 23, 2013 at 6:03 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. March 19, 2012: Start of a New Work Week

Monday, March 19, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It’s been so busy that I can’t even remember back to Friday! 😉 Anyway, I know I spent a lot of time with students both Friday and Saturday, because, by dinnertime Saturday, I was caught up on everything that had been posted to that time, and I could take yesterday off with a clear conscience.

I finished the materials for Confidential Job #1, and this morning I send off the report. The next assignment will probably come while I’m out on assignment this week, so I won’t be able to start it until next week, but that’s okay. I like what I’ve been sent, lately, which makes it more fun.

Got out some proposals, dropped off a press packet on ASSUMPTION, got a few more leads on potential new clients that I need to follow up on. Considered a blogging job, but, really, there were so many red flags in the ad, I decided to pass. When the employer says that a low price is a “high” price paid for top-quality content and then says it’s an “easy” job for the right person — run like hell. I would have liked to write about the topic — I know it well — but not at those prices.

Killion Slade brought up a good point in the comments to Friday’s post — bartering. I’m a huge fan of bartering. When I lived in Seattle, the arts community survived a lot by bartering with each other. Here on the Cape, it happens, too, and it’s a lot of fun as well as being useful. The thing about bartering is — you get an even exchange between two individuals, each with a skill the other needs. So the energy/karmic exchange is balanced. And I also have a couple of pro bono clients on the roster, and will, once or twice a year, contribute to an anthology that gives its proceeds to a charity I care about. That’s all part of the flow of the work. What gets my goat (and all the other animals in the barn) is when someone who claims to be a legitimate employer wants my skills for nothing, giving nothing in return, but “exposure”. Generally, these are the same “employers” who say the work is “easy” (yet, somehow, they can’t do it themselves) or ask for unpaid, project-specific “samples” (which means everyone gets a piece of the project, does it for free, gets told they weren’t hired, the “employer” absconds with all the unpaid elements, changes the company name and has unpaid labor for a finished product). The lines are different for everyone, but this is how I pay the bills. I’m perfectly happy to barter, if the other half of the equation has something that I need. But I’m not just throwing my work out for “exposure.”

We never made it out of the house for the art opening on Friday night — it was raw and rainy. We’ve been catching up (or, for me, re-watching) the first season of TORCHWOOD, which has been a lot of fun, from a structural, writer’s perspective as much as from a viewing perspective.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday. I should have been out doing yard work. Instead, we went over to a friend’s house (an artist who moved up here from New York last year and now just lives a few blocks away), catching up around the fire pit. It was good.

This week is busy — finishing up a few things around here, including the edits for HEX BREAKER, which have to go out in a couple of days, working with students, etc. I have a site job for the last half of the week, and then, when I get back, it’s time to start working on the taxes! My payment came through, along with the “official notification” of the change in payment terms (biting my tongue), and some other issues that I’m just not getting into here. I’ve also got to set up a possible project for mid-April — if that works, I will post about it here shortly. If that goes well, there will be more along that vein. I also have to update my workshop page on the website, and some of my other pages. Lots to do!

I played with some short story ideas over the weekend. They’re still a little vague — almost like dream images, or just snippets of a scene. They need more development before I can figure out what they are. Two submission calls hit my desk to which I’d like to respond, so I hope the stories hurry up and starting forming!

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 7:46 am  Comments (4)  
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Fri. March 16, 2012: Looking Forward to the Weekend (of Edits)


Crocus

Friday, March 16, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I overslept yesterday.

I MEANT to get up early and get some work done before leaving for Boston, but the alarm didn’t go off, and I overslept. But I still managed to get the coffee on before Costume Imp got up! 😉

Yesterday was the big field trip to the Boston Flower Show. Fourteen of us rented a van and were driven in. Coffee and cake set up on a table (with cloth) in the parking lot before we left — yeah, this group does it up right! 😉 We had enough time to wander around and “ooh” and “aah” over things, do some shopping, and go out for lunch. I’d remembered the pub as the Drunken Monk, but it’s the Whiskey Priest (yeah, I made the jokes, too), but we hopped one pub over to American Beer Company. Good food, good company, tons of fun. Back to do more shopping, vanned home (with treats in the van), home before dinner time.

I’ll have a full write-up on Gratitude and Growth tomorrow.

Imp Dog came by to visit and wanted to play. I actually played with him for awhile, and then tossed him an organic dog treat. He caught it, trotted over to the japonica bush, delicately dug a hole, dropped it in, and covered it up. Too funny!

Did some work with my students and some other work; caught up on more TORCHWOOD. There’s no doubt –it’s my favorite show.

Wednesday wound up being very busy — worked with students in the morning; seem to have a payment problem solved, but now there’s a new admin problem. I’ve got some other things in the works, so I have to buckle down to them over the weekend.

Costume Imp and I also found a magnificent grocery store in Mashpee called Roche Brothers. We were in heaven. And then we nipped over to Market Street Books, where we found some good stuff and had a lovely chat with Cynthia. I’m putting together a packet for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT and dropping it off today. We had a quick lunch at Siena (which is quickly becoming a favorite place of mine on the Cape) and then back to work.

The second round of edits for HEX BREAKER came through, and I’ve got a little less than a week to do them. I’m excited to get back to it, and get the marketing ball rolling for it. I expect it will come out in May, although I haven’t yet been given a firm date.

I’ve got some other writing to attend to, and need to figure out, over the weekend, how to recalculate my hours in a business-minded way to get it all done and make the money I not only need, but deserve and EARN, for my work. I’m about to turn down an invite from a magazine editor with whom I’ve worked for in the past (for a fee) who wants me to do something for free — that will, at the same time, make a profit for the company, but not for the writers involved. That would be a negative. Bad business decision, and it wouldn’t be a big enough “good will” gesture to make it worth while.

Gotta take a stand on these things, or I’ll keep winding up in the mess I was earlier in the week. I have a couple of carefully chosen pro bono clients, and that’s the extent of my unpaid work. When the plumber, the accountant, and the doctor work for “exposure” — so will I.

Devon

Wed. March 14, 2012: Company in town!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Still not paid by the errant client. Part of me wants to be petty enough to refuse to work on the current project until paid for the previous one; however, in the long run, it would hurt me more. Therefore, I grit my teeth and continue — but I’m cutting the hours way back and putting other things into motion. Somehow, I will get through this mess — but I will not be put in this position again. When I logged on this morning, I found an email stating they’d changed the payment model last year, everyone had been notified, etc., etc. Um, no, I had NOT been notified, or there would have been discussion. I was told an exception would be made, and payment put through last night (it’s not there). At least I know how the payments have changed — I can adjust my budget to it now, but I still need to cut back my hours and projects for this client moving on. This new business model may work for them; it does not work for me.

Did my background for some proposals yesterday; will mail them out today. Helped a friend with a couple of press releases. Meditation group was great.

Drove to Providence. Managed to find the bus stop this time and got Costume Imp, although I took a wrong turn getting back on the highway. He got there early — good trip from NY. I got there late — typical Mercury Retrograde! But we found each other, and had a good trip back. It was sunny and gorgeous in Providence; foggy and much cooler here on the Cape.

Came home, had dinner, got Imp settled. He’s glad to be back. The cats are getting bolder around him, which is pretty funny. We caught up on the first few episodes of season one of TORCHWOOD (one of my favorite shows, with which he’s not familiar), and David Tennant’s final episodes of DOCTOR WHO. I know I needed the break!

Up early this morning to get some work done and go to yoga. The rest of the day, we’ll play by ear (but I have student work to deal with). Tomorrow — it’s the Boston Horticulture Show! Looking forward to it.

Need to settle back in to the writing. The rhythm’s gotten erratic.

Devon

Published in: on March 14, 2012 at 5:57 am  Comments (4)  
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Monday, August 22, 2011


Tessa’s imitation of a supine Halloween kitty

Monday, August 22, 2011
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Saturday was a good day. I finished and got out the door two articles. I have a few days’ breather before I start on the next round of articles due in September. I finished reading an autobiography of a writer whose work and political activity I’m mildly acquainted with. Always interesting to read someone’s account of the same events I lived through, but through a very different lens. We have similar experience of some things, such as the country’s current economic collapse seeded in the Reagan years, where he took off the regulations so his rich friends could do whatever they want, and look where that’s gotten us — and entirely different experiences on many other fronts. Very interesting.

The party was a lot of fun, although I got terribly lost trying to get there. Thank goodness for locals who give good directions! Google Maps was sooo wrong! But it was lovely to kick back and relax with my colleagues for a couple of hours.

I forgot to mention that last Friday’s episode of TORCHWOOD was superb. The writing, the acting, the pace, the way the storylines paralleled and then met. I got a little ahead of it at one point, but didn’t mind, because it felt like I was meant to hit the realization a few scenes before the characters. I also like the way the series deals with power, corruption, greed, and cowardice.

Sunday was reasonably quiet. I read the papers, dashed home to pay a bill and do some refereeing. Worked here on site a lot, and got some writing done. I read over a couple of projects I’ve been playing with. They have solid potential. I just have to figure out how to slot them in, and do some outlining. The premises are unique, and the type of thing I want to read and can’t find. So I’m writing it. I got some work done on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Today, I need to write the most complicated scene in the book, so it better be quiet. And then, we’re galloping towards the end.

Did the work here on site. The client doesn’t trust me and constantly sends people to “check up” on me and “help.” Either you want me to do the job or you don’t — this constant interruption and mistrust is not acceptable.

Add to that, a coyote showed up right across the street, bold as brass, not in the least bit intimidated at being in the middle of a residential area. Whatever he’s doing on a coyote level, I recognized his message on a broader level, and I consider myself warned. Physical coyotes have crossed my paths at very specific times, with very specific meanings. I have a great deal of respect for them on every level.

It’s challenging to keep up my yoga/meditation practices in this environment, but this is when I really need them, so going to the mat regularly is helpful.
Onward. This week will be challenging, and then, the Mermaid Ball is next weekend, which should be a lot of fun!

As long as I can get pockets of uninterrupted writing time in, it will be fine.

Devon


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

Published in: on August 22, 2011 at 7:25 am  Comments (2)  
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and warm

Yesterday was a good workday. I didn’t get everything I wanted to get done done, but I made a lot of progress, especially on administrative work with Savvy Authors. A colleague sent me some good listings, and I got out a couple of good article pitches and another submission out. I got the information for the state grants — by the end of November, I’ll be here a year, and be able to look at guidelines and possibly apply. Got out the materials for Confidential Job #1.

Tessa’s cheerful and playful and very smart, although I think she’s getting tired of being hissed at. I got some kitten food in, and a couple of new scratching posts and toys, so there’s plenty to keep everyone occupied. No one is eating very much; I hope it’s just adjustment stress, and it works itself out in a few days. This morning, the neighbor’s black Maine coon — who’s got to weigh nearly 30 pounds — sauntered over to sit under our rosebushes. Violet is furious. Tessa is fascinated. Iris hasn’t noticed. As long as kitty doesn’t have kittens under there, I’m fine with it!

Missed Elsa a lot yesterday. She would have loved Tessa. She was great with kittens. Unlike my two drama queens! 😉

Recent reading includes Nicole Peeler’s newest, EYE OF THE TEMPEST, taking the series in an interesting direction, and one of Ed McBain’s books. I forgot how much I enjoy his writing. I’m also reading the anthology MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON, a mix of some familiar and new-to-me authors.

My best pumpkin vine snapped, and I’m afraid it will die. I dipped it in rooting hormone and am hoping for the best. Darn it. The green peppers are small, but at least they’re growing.

TORCHWOOD was terrifying last night. Really well-made piece.

Going to see how much I can clear off my desk today. I keep hoping it will rain, so that I don’t have to mow! 😉

And off we go.

Devon

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

Yesterday would probably have been a good day to have the air conditioner in, but we had fans, so oh well.

I had power and connectivity issues, which kept me out of the workshop forums, so I’m behind in that, which is frustrating.

On the up side, I wrote a lot, close to thirty pages, and then wrote more in longhand when I went to the site job in the evening. It wasn’t what I was supposed to work on, but that’s what pulled me most strongly, so I did. The New Mexico chapters are going really well, which points out the weakness in the Prague chapters, so, at some point, I will have to go back and rethink those. This book (or, I should say, series, in which the first draft is one big mess) has an unusual process, but I have to just roll with it. Because that’s what “process” is — an active journey to get somewhere creatively.

TORCHWOOD was very good last night — Jane Espenson wrote the episode, so it’s no surprise. I like where it’s going, and, especially, what it has to say about pharmaceutical companies. I don’t think they’re all that far off the mark, when it comes to that theme! The ensemble scenes were paced wonderfully, and there were a couple of really great scenes between the characters of Gwen and Esther that were great. And there was a great phone scene between Jack and Gwen (although, generally, I’m not a fan of phone scenes). I watched it to enjoy it last night, but I’ll watch it a few more times to break it down and learn from it.

I’ve got a bunch of errands to run today, including heading up to Plymouth for one last blowout at the sole Borders store in the area, which is about to close. The mismanagement has been so appalling. I hope the executives who made all these bad decisions will have to face consequences. They won’t; corporate executives never do, just hide behind “company policy” which is something that has to change.

I am very fortunate to live in an area with many thriving independent bookstores that get excited about books and the people who write them, and aren’t just interested in cycling as many titles through as quickly as possible.

I thought my hair was getting sun-streaked from all the beach yoga, but I got a good look at it in the light yesterday and it’s not “sun-streaked”, it’s gray! Out comes the hair dye. Got a few more years before I’m willing to go that route. I’ve picked when I choose to do so, for a pivotal date. But it’s not here yet!

Have a great weekend!

Devon


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

Published in: on July 23, 2011 at 7:15 am  Comments (1)  
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Wrote quite a bit yesterday, and did work for the Mermaid Ball. Took my mother to the doctor. There are a few things where we need to be cautious, and I’m worried.

I’m deep in the writing, and it’s always a little disorienting to look up and realize I’m sitting in my office and not the world of the book. I added some material to the Prague section, but the details of what makes Prague PRAGUE need to be layered in. I did add in a comic scene about the statues on the tops of the buildings, which helps but I need more sensory detail. Each location has to be very rich in what makes it unique. Each location has to work like an additional character, because that’s why one shoots on location — for that additional something. And, when one location is substituted for another, due to budget or contract constraints, it doesn’t always work.

Got some good news — a producer is interested in doing another production of one of my plays. Once all the details are ironed out, I will post the information. It was produced in New York last spring; it will be nice to have another production.

Watched TORCHWOOD last night — liked this episode better than last week’s, but it’s still a little heavy-handed for me this season. It brings up some interesting issues, though. Dichen Lachman was on it (love her work), and there was one small featured role, David, that brought some good comic relief in the midst of it all. Unfortunately, every time Barrowman and Myles aren’t on screen, I’m impatient for them to get back, which is unfortunate. But I’m interested to see how these episodes unroll.

I need to do some work in the garden today, do more work for the Ball, and write.

Devon


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

Published in: on July 16, 2011 at 6:26 am  Comments (3)  
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

I actually figured out what day it was yesterday, finally! Sorry for the glitch.

Yoga was on yesterday. Lovely and misty and windy when we started; windy and sunny by the time we stopped. I felt like crap when I got in the car to drive there, and so much better on the way home, in spite of the fact that my shoe broke and I had to drive with only one shoe! No stopping for coffee on the way home for me! 😉

Grocery shopping and errands, then research and other work for the various galas on which I’m working in the afternoon. Some story ideas are spinning, but I’m not sure where any of them lead.

Wrote my post for tomorrow’s Writers’ Vineyard installment and edited it this morning. Trying to work my way through a tricky section of SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Spent time with my students.

Finally caught up with the premiere of TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY last night. Mixed feelings. I only saw the first two seasons, and not the season directly preceding this one, so I’m a little behind on the overall arc. I just kind of feel as though the show’s lost some of its dark, twisted humor, which was always one of its strengths. It’s more straight-forward speculative now.

I love John Barrowman as Capt. Jack Harkness — he’s one of those performers who lights up whatever he’s in, and even when perfectly still, he has more presence than most other actors. We share a birthday — although he’s younger! 😉 And he’s taken a character who could be either a stereotypical anti-hero or so needlessly complex as to be confusing, and made him fun and fascinating — along with smart and resourceful and all those other things we want in our protagonists. He takes what’s on the page and makes it better. Good writing can make a mediocre actor look good. Weak writing can be saved, to some extent, by a charismatic actor. But meld a good actor with strong writing, and you have something worth watching. Eve Myles is great as Gwen, and the way they play off each other is wonderful. It’s nice to see Bill Pullman get to sink his teeth into an antagonist with such glee. But I felt they spent so much time in set-up, they weren’t really getting on with the story, until about the last ten minutes, when Jack showed up in Wales. I kept wanting to say, “Yeah, I got the idea the first time you hit me over the head with that plot device.” The writing’s good, but the pace felt a little off to me, and I felt the first episode should have been two hours, not one, if they were going to unfold in that particular fashion. I’m interested to see where it goes from here, mostly to watch Barrowman and Myles.

I’ve got to catch Iris and stuff her in the carrier now — off we go to the vet. Her turn. Let’s see what Big Drama she comes up with.

Devon

Published in: on July 13, 2011 at 6:29 am  Comments (4)  
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