Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

There’s a new post on Affairs of the Pen, under the Ava Dunne name, about how we’re all kids eager to look for lost treasure.

Yesterday really felt like a lost day, work-wise. It was frustrating.

I got a little bit of writing done before the rental inspection. The inspection itself takes only a few minutes, especially since everything’s okay and we have an ethical landlord. But the timing of it means I couldn’t really start anything until it was over.

I managed to get to the library and get a few things done, but I was under time constraints. Couldn’t get anywhere near done what I needed to.

Dashed back, bolted down a quick lunch, and then took my mother to the doctor. Where we waited for an hour and a half for a five-minute appointment. So, basically, the afternoon was lost, too.

I got in some reading, and finished the book for review, and started reading a fascinating book on the literary world in 1922, where this author believes everything changed.

Had planned to take a walk on the beach, but by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, it had clouded up and gotten too windy.

Leftovers for dinner, and reading. I’m still working my way through my re-reads of Donna Leon’s Brunetti series.

I have to do some research on Chicago in 1856 to get the correct names of a few things for “A Woman for the Job.”

Started “A Rare Medium” — the next Kate Warne play, about a case of hers where she posed as a medium. I have to dig up my notes on names, but it’s percolating along nicely.

Working on revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Some of it is sticky work, but once I fix the first half, where I got off track (again), the rest should fall into place pretty nicely.

Unpacked and purged a few boxes, and sorted out some clothes. Figuring out what to donate, what to get rid of, what to pack away as stock, and what to keep in the closet.

Yesterday was the first day of full peaceful co-existence for all three cats since Willa and Charlotte came to live here. Even Tessa and Charlotte ignored each other, while being in the same room, which is huge progress.

If Charlotte had ended up in a shelter, she would have been marked unadoptable. Fortunately, MA has only no-kill shelters, or she would have ended up on death row. She can’t stand confinement or closed doors or chaos and doesn’t do well with strangers. I’m glad she’s here and I figured out how to work with her to make her feel safe. The sunnier, sweeter side of her personality is starting to come out.

Willa just kind of does her own thing. She likes company, but refuses to engage when Charlotte has a tantrum. She’s very, very smart, and keeps at something until she figures it out. And friendly. She’s a friendly, easy-going cat most of the time.

Tessa is getting used to them. She doesn’t assert herself enough with them, but there’s peaceful co-existence. As my vet in NY said, it’s healthier for them to be together in the same room and ignore each other than be alone. After all, we took in these cats because Tessa hates being an only cat.

We’re getting there. I hope we’ve turned a corner. There will be some regression here and there, I’m sure, but consistency, boundaries, and lots and lots of affection have brought them a long way.

I had a meeting with a potential client late in the morning, which is why this is posting so late. The conversation was fine, but we are not what each other needs right now.

Now, I’m off to the grocery store, and then back to write the review and start the next book for review.

The weather’s supposed to be bad this weekend, so I’ll stay in to write, read, and purge boxes from the basement. Maybe run the leaves to the dump tomorrow morning, if the weather’s okay.

With a new moon, Burns Night, Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and Chinese Lunar New Year all hitting this weekend, I will be exhausted.

Received the second invitation to work without pay this week, this time a speaking engagement. I gracefully declined. What gets me about both invitations was that it comes from people who are paid and who don’t work without pay — yet they want me so to do.

Put in my share of that.

I looked over my clips and what I use where. I realized that my unpaid clips for “exposure” only resulted in requests for more unpaid work. Clips from paid gigs led to more paid gigs. That’s important information. I will sit down and figure out the exact stats, but it was an important realization.

How did I do with my intent to listen this week? I definitely listened. I definitely did not like a lot of what I heard. The Senate Trial is enraging and disheartening. The Republican Senators are a disgrace.

I listened to a lot of incidental conversations around me. As a writer, I do periodic eavesdropping anyway, as part of my process to catch cadence. But I was discouraged by the amount of intentional stupidity going around.

So, yes, I achieved my “intent” for the week, but the consequences were not what I foresaw. I still have a couple of days to go on the week, but I think I will focus on listening to music!

 

Thurs. Jan. 26, 2016: Contracts, Decisions, Opportunities

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Dark Moon
Rainy and cold

At least it’s not snow, although I’m getting a little tired of rain. And it’s been so mild that the shrubs aren’t sure whether to stay dormant or to bud.

Got some work done on the short story yesterday, and on two proposals. Had a nice lunch at Captain Parker’s in Yarmouth, which is a fun restaurant with good food. Worked on contest entries.

Worked with my elected officials. We are differing on a couple of things, but are keeping it a civil discussion. Working with my elected officials, I don’t expect to get everything I want just because I ask for it; but they can’t represent me unless they know where I stand on things. When they make decisions counter to what I believe is the right choice, we discuss it. If their decisions are counter too often, I vote for someone else in the next election. But a good channel of communication is helpful. Even when I disagree, at least I know I’m being heard and not just ignored, especially when discussions hit specifics. And that’s the point of public services — you are representing many individuals, trying to make decisions that benefit as many as possible, within the value system of those who want you to represent them.

Walked away from a bad contract offer yesterday with the full support of my agent and lawyer. The offer was unacceptable as presented. Our side suggested changes, as one does. The other side said they don’t make any changes. Well, then, I’m not working with you. The first offer is where negotiations START, at least in the professional world. These smaller publishers who expect authors to sign boilerplates are delusional, and the authors so desperate they’re willing to give everything away just to get their names in print usually wind up regretting it.

A second contract negotiation on a different project walked back the money a LOT. We’re talking about walking back the workload to match. Otherwise, I won’t be doing that project, either. Which is fine, since I’d only even agreed to talk to the person as a favor to a friend. You’re not paying? I’m not working. This isn’t my cute lil hobby on the side.

Worked on a couple of proposals last night and this morning, and feel pretty good about them. We’ll see where they end up. This is in follow-up to Tuesday’s meeting.

Writing to do today, and research. The play I’ve been outlining gnaws at me. The last few scenes are very, very clear in my head. I may have to write them down so I don’t lose them.

I’d like to have the short story ready to submit by tomorrow or Saturday so that I can write a bit of the play and get it out of my head — and my heart. This one will be a gut-wrencher to write, which means I’m probably on the right track.

I forgot yesterday that it was both Burns Night and Virginia Woolf’s birthday. Salutes to both of them!

Back to the page.

Published in: on January 26, 2017 at 11:25 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 26, 2016: Contracts, Decisions, Opportunities  
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! May a wave of love, friendship, and general good will envelop the world today! You don’t HAVE to spend a fortune – a smile to a stranger in the street costs nothing. And there are all kinds of inventive ways to show your loved ones how much they mean to you.

My story “The Peace of the Night” was accepted for the June issue of THE RANFURLY REVIEW. I’m very excited, for a number of reasons. This is one of a set of loosely connected stories I started writing in Jamieson Wolf’s workshop last October, and I’ve been working to polish and hone them over a period of months. Something about these stories and characters feels very different from anything I’ve previously written and very right. Also, I’ve wanted to be a part of THE RANFURLY REVIEW since it launched, but, until now, haven’t felt I had a piece that suited the particular publication’s vision. Once I started polishing this story, it felt like the right fit. I’m glad the editor agreed!

PJ – the automatic update WON’T turn off on the McAfee. That’s part of the problem. And uninstalling and re-installing didn’t fix the problem. Gives a whole new meaning to “The Ghost in the Machine”, right? 😉

If you haven’t checked out my debut on Sole Struck Fashions, please hop on over and leave a comment!

Nursed my poor little computer through the day, having to turn it off several times. Pitched for nearly a half a dozen jobs. Worked on the proposals. Worked on the brochures. Played with the cats – who were annoyed because they’ve barely seen me for a week. Unpacked and repacked for the weekend gig.

Read a bit in I, TOO, AM HERE, which is a compilation of excerpts from the letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle. I first came into contact with this book as a weekend guest at a family friend’s. Cold winter night by the fire, etc., etc. I searched for my own copy for over 20 years. Recently, I thought about it again and tried to track it down. Then, I opened a box in storage and discovered Strand Books tracked it down for me several years ago, and I own a copy!

I also realize that, although I know of Thomas Carlyle’s work, I’ve never actually ever READ it, a hole in my literary education that needs filling. We stopped at the house on the way to Culzean several years ago, in Scotland. It wasn’t open that day.

Reading Virginia Woolf’s diary yesterday, I came across a passage where she talks about visiting Zennor, in Cornwall. That was one of the places we visited, when we were in Cornwall. I never associated it with Virginia Woolf – I always think of St. Ives in connection with her. Zennor is tiny and somehow mysterious. I wish I could have spent more time there.

Of course, this morning, the McAfee has hijacked my computer yet again. It “updated” for over four hours yesterday – WTF is going on? And why won’t customer service fix it? And what part of “it is unacceptable to freeze, crash, and hijack my computer” is incomprehensible to them?

In any event, I started the revisions on ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. I didn’t get very far, because, already in Chapter One, there’s huge change necessary. I don’t want it, but in order to fit the genre guidelines of the markets I’m eyeing for this particular piece, I have to make this change.

I also realized, reading over another piece of mine that’s supposed to be an historical, that I either have to radically change the characters and some of the plot to make it true to the time period, or I have to shift it into a parallel universe in order to stay true to my characters. The piece just won’t hold up as a piece of historical fiction. And the changes necessary to make it true to the period gut the heart and soul of the piece. By shifting genres, and picking it up and sticking it into a world specifically built for it, I can solve the problems.

My poor computer needed a rest, so I shut it down. Then, I lay down, planning about a twenty minute nap. However, I woke up completely groggy and disoriented two and a half hours later. Guess I was more tired than I realized!

The fantastic thing was that I woke up with the plot of a comic novel complete in my head. I’ve jotted down most of it. It’s kind of a SCARLET PIMPERNEL-COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO spoof, but with my own odd spin to it. And it’s very different from Lauren Willig’s novels. Don’t get me wrong, I love what she’s done—but this book is very different. It’s definitely something to appear under the “Ava Dunne” name – it’s got that edgy, odd humor, in spite of the historical context – to which I can be true, in this case, because it feeds into the satire of the book.

So I guess the nap was worth it.

Great yoga session earlier than usual last night, gave the cats lots of attention. They are not amused that there are suitcases and bags again in the hall. I’ve got to wind up a few more things online before I leave at 10 AM, and then it’s off to work for the weekend. I won’t be back online until sometime on Monday, which I just realized is a holiday for most people, so I hope I can get a lot done in peace and quiet. I’m hoping that Monday brings a lot of good work on the two plays looming over me and the Billy Root story.

Valentine’s Nights Part One was a lot of fun, thank you very much, and I’m looking forward to Parts Two and Three! 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and back to the page!

Devon

Monday, December 15, 2008

2stacys-christmas-blogfest-0811

Monday, December 15, 2008
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cool

Today’s featured author is Gloria Oliver, who uses fascinating premises for her young adult fiction. Brenda, Susan and PJ, I specifically thought you would enjoy the interview. Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to learn about her work.

It was difficult to get going yesterday, but I finally managed it. I worked on the Christmas cards. I finished all the overseas cards, and then made it to the “S” list before running out of cards. Since I’d lent my car to my mom for the weekend, it wasn’t as though I could dash out and get more! So I’ll do that today and finish up the cards.

I didn’t get much work done on the gifts, so I have to concentrate on those today, too. I’d hoped the packages could go out today, but they have to go out tomorrow. Oh, well.

Finished the assignment for Confidential Job #2. Sent it off with the invoice.

Did some work for another client that was so irritating that the only antidote was so spend time reading Virginia Woolf’s journal.

That took up the whole day.

I’ve been working steadily on the Maine project, and I’ve got some work done on the Aunt Doris/Cassio Christmas story. In addition to the holiday stuff that needs to get done, I also have to get back to the OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK revisions.

In other words, a busy day. Let’s hope it’s also a happy one.

The newsletter should go out at some point today, so watch your box for it. If you’re not signed up for the newsletter, you can sign up here.

Devon

christmas-2008-007

Violet and Elsa

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 8:19 am  Comments (9)  
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