Jan. 2, 2013: Racing into 2013!

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The winter doormat

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

2013 and here we are! Yippee!

Since I’m rather fond of anything with the number “13” in it, I’m a happy camper about the coming year.

First of all, today is the last day “First Feet”, the Jain Lazarus tie-in story, is available. So download it before the link is cut. 😉

If you didn’t get a chance to read my first recommendation of a book for the new year, Shirley Wells’s DYING ART, please hop over to A Biblio Paradise and check it out.

The GDRS are up — the answers to my questions (and those were hard to answer both honestly and compassionately) are here and my To-Do list for January is here. I’ve even managed to knock a few things off the list!

I worked more than I expected to yesterday — I meant to just hop on “for a minute”, but then got tied up in stuff. Which is fine; it needed to get done.

Both “When Words Align” and “Sensory Perceptions” start today, along with a private student, so I’ll have my hands full for the next chunk of time. I’m almost finished with the wacky proposal for my agent, I’ve been working on the next assignment from Confidential Job #1, I got a few pitches out yesterday, and am still working on the Twelve Days of Christmas stories. Glad I didn’t commit to writing, editing, and POSTING them for this cycle! I like the challenge of doing them, but some need to be circled back to for some additional work.

I need to spend time on the Astronomy assignments today — I’m falling farther and farther behind. The lectures are long — there are about 15 of them per week, instead of the usual 6-8 I had in other classes, and a lot of them are double the length. However, I’m not holding anyone else up, since I’m auditing, and I’ll just keep working. The next science class starts on Monday, so I don’t want to fall too far behind on this one.

Of course, I’ve got a bunch of other work to do today, too, trying to secure some income-generating work immediately for the New Year! Lots to do, but I’m excited for the New Year!

Baked scones this morning (test driving the recipe for Sunday). It’s fine. Not brilliant, but it will work. Wrote my 1K on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE.

And off we go!

Devon

Thurs. Dec. 20: I Impersonate the Cookie Elf and Other Tales

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Advent Table

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was about packing and delivering more cookie platters. Yup, that was pretty much the entire day. Several libraries, the business center, the vet, the fire department, the dump, Country Gardens, The Writers Center, Long Pasture, etc. — all the places I spend a lot of time and where they’re always good to me. Everyone seemed really pleased.

Yes, the platters take time and energy, but it’s also a way of letting these people I deal with all year know that they matter.

Check out this article by Frank Mulligan on the National Marine Life Center — not only is it a good piece to get more attention to the Center, but it’s exceptionally well-written!

I spoke with my friend over at Long Pasture about partnering with the Marine Life Center on a few things in the coming year — he’s open to it. I think it would be tons of fun, and that way, all of us could utilize our membership lists and expand coverage.

Still haven’t finished the holiday cards!

The plan was to get the cards done today and take the last platters Over the Bridge tomorrow — however, the weather today is great, and tomorrow is supposed to be disgusting, so I got up early, baked the last batch of red velvet cupcakes, and will do it this afternoon. I did get some more of the decorating done yesterday, and am starting to clear away the boxes.

Yoga was great this morning. And I stopped at the beach on the way home.

Tomorrow’s Yule — the Winter Solstice. I’m excited — I’m looking forward to the ceremony.

Devon

Enjoy some Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays — two Nina Bell comic mysteries, and an Ava Dunne-penned romantic comedy/fantasy twist on Yuletide Myths. All under $2!

“When Words Align” — get your WIP or revision back on track in this week-long intensive, Jan. 2-9, 2013. Information and registration here.

“Sensory Perceptions” — take your writing to the next level, layering in sensory description, creating six flash fiction and one longer story from Jan. 2-Feb. 3, 2013. Information and Registration here.

Wed. December 19, 2012: Cookie platter deliveries

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was about writing cards (I’m still not done), baking, and delivering cookie platters in the neighborhood. I tweaked the recipe for the lemon cookies, and now, it is AWESOME. It is still, however, a pain in the butt, because of the lemon-zesting. I found my oversize cheese grater is the best device to zest a large amount of lemons. And, although I’ve been desensitizing myself to my citrus allergy (for instance, I can now eat lemon cookies and have lemon dressing on my salad), handling large quantities of fresh lemons made my hands look like I’d dipped them in acid. Well, I had — citric acid!
Soothed them with a chamomile soak.

Frosted the red velvet cupcakes. This frosting recipe is a little too sweet, and I HATE using pastry bags. Especially when they decide to spring a leak in the center.

But it got done, and the neighborhood platters went out last night. Today, I’m prepping the larger circle of platters, and then, on Thursday and Friday, I’m taking the ones that go (oh, horrors) Over The Bridge.

Packages started coming in yesterday — including a lovely fresh wreath from LL Bean that friends in Kentucky sent. I hadn’t had a chance to get one since the work was done on the house (didn’t want to do any external decorating until that was done), so the timing was perfect. It is lovely.

We also took a night drive around the light sculptures in Sandwich, along Rt. 6A and through the middle of town. They are so lovely! My favorite is the guy with the book in front of the library, the pizza, and the huge sand dollar. Lovely!

Okay writing session this morning. I’m worried that I have too much narrative in this section. I need to write it, but may cut it and integrate it into dialogue in the revisions. However, it has to be written before it can be revised.

I also wished I had thought of it sooner — offering a free short story every day for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas — a comic something related to the holiday. Now, the First Day of Christmas is a week from today — but I don’t see how I can get it together fast enough. What I may do is WRITE the relevant tale on each of these twelve days, and offer them next year — that gives me time to revise them, do decent design work for the covers, and do a good job making them available next year. Each one will only be available for 24 hours. Maybe, the following year, I’ll sell them as a collection.

I already jotted a few notes on the first one, and have the opening lines!

Have to finish up the PDF for the Flash 7 class to get that out. I am seriously behind in my schoolwork — good thing I’m not going for certification in either of these classes!

Onward!

Devon

Enjoy the Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays! Two holiday-themed Nina Bell comic mysteries, and a fantasy/comic/romantic twist on Yuletide myths!

“When Words Align” — Jan. 2-9. Get your WIP or revision back on track with focused, individualized exercises and critiques. More info and registration here.

“Sensory Perceptions” — this popular workshop is back ONCE in 2013, and it’s happening from January 2-February 3. Learn how to use the senses to boost your fiction to its highest level, creating six sense-driven short pieces, while layering sensory detail into a longer piece. More info and registration here.

Tuesday, Dec. 18: Baking Exhaustion & Sugar Overload

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All three can finally share the same chair

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Yup, I thought yesterday was December 15 -hence the mistake in the Blog Post title. I truly thought it was the 15th, not the 17th, which meant I missed a live video chat last night I wanted to attend. Fortunately, I wasn’t the presenter!

Yesterday I buckled down to holiday cards. My disorganization from last year bit me in the butt, because I spent more time hunting down changes of address than I spent on cards, and only made it through the J’s. That’s for domestic — all the overseas went out last week, thank goodness.

I also baked the molasses spice cookies I’d prepped on Sunday — three batches of them. They came out very well. I baked one batch of the lemon sugar cookies. They taste great, but the batch doesn’t make as many as I hoped, and I discovered it takes two lemons to create 1/3 of a cup of zest. So I’ll be buying more lemons today. The cookies are good, but they are a pain to prep, so this will probably be the only year I do them. Instead of two more batches of those, I have to do three.

This morning, I baked two batches of red velvet cupcakes. I’ll have to do at least one batch more. I also designed and printed the tags for the cookie platters. I don’t know what happened to the gift tags I’ve made in other years — disappeared into the Gift Tag Vortex, I guess. I combined what’s on the platter onto the tag, so I don’t have to prep the sheets of photographs.

The batter for red velvet cupcakes looks like blood — they’d be good for a Halloween party!

My hip flexors are giving me a lot of problems. I took valerian last night, to relax it enough to get some sleep, but I’m groggy this morning — which I shouldn’t be, from valerian. Too much raw cookie dough, probably — sugar crash.

Lousy first morning writing session, but I’ve got to get all this other stuff done, and I want to start moving the cookie platters out either later today or tomorrow. Anything with red velvet in it can’t sit around. I realized I need to yank some of the subplots from this book and save them for one further in the series. I can plant the seeds for those arcs now, but otherwise, too much gets too sprawly too fast.

I started planning the food for the Twelfth Night party — that’s not too far away, and I have to start thinking about invites, etc. But first, I need to get the cards and cookies out!

I’d love an extended nap, but that’s not on the agenda right now!

Pat, to answer your question about swapping out a revised piece for a contest entry — no, that’s not usually allowed. I’m trading on the relationship I have with this particular production company IF this draft is strong enough to land me a slot. What you send is what you’re judged on — if you get in, then, there is often a revision process. Before something is published, it’s going to get an edit (one hopes). But once it’s in the pipeline, you don’t get to swap it out. That’s where careful copy editing and proof-reading is so important. If a mistake hits someone in the pipeline on a bad day and that individual finds it particularly grating, you’re out. My revision for this play — should I land the slot — is more than just typos. I want to do a structural change, and hope that the seven pages it takes me to accomplish that will be allowed. I won’t know until mid-January, but I want to have the next draft in good shape, and then, if this draft gets me in, I’ll request the swap. If the draft doesn’t get me in, if I blew it, that’s on me, but at least I tried. I’ll still have a rewritten draft to submit elsewhere.

Back to baking. I may have to take a nap for an hour or so this afternoon.

Devon

Nibble on the Delectable Digital Delights for the holidays! Two Nina Bell shorts (read excerpts here) and an Ava Dunne romantic comedy/fantasy twist on traditional Yuletide myths (read excerpt here).

When Words Align is a one-week intensive to get you back on track with either your WIP or your revision, January 2-9.

Sensory Perceptions teaches you, story-by-story to focus on each of the senses, while layering them into a longer piece. January 2-February 3.

Mon. Dec. 10, 2012: Rainy Start and Lots of Writing

Monday, December 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Rainy and raw

Busy times!

Friday was about the roofers. Really, they aren’t anywhere near as noisy as I expected. I’m quite grateful for that.

Flash 7 class started. Quiet day on Friday. They had a whole day to read and digest material before the first story was due.

Most of Friday, I spent working on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE. I’m happy with the way it’s going. Switching into first person made all the difference in the world. I typed up the first and part of the second chapter, while continuing to work on the fourth chapter in longhand. I’ve started my character charts and the other charts I need to track arcs and other elements that will need to remain consistent, especially from book to book (the seeds of what will grow into the Series Bible).

I also caught up on my World History homework. I thought this was the last week, but the class has been extended for two weeks. I enjoy it, but need to wrap my head around it.

Cleaned and prepped the various altars in the house for Yule. Got a little bit (but not enough) of decorating done.

Saturday morning, I wrote my 1K on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE, got the laundry done, ran the dishwasher, got the groceries in. Sat online most of the day on the class forum, but there wasn’t much activity.

Caught up on the Astronomy coursework. The physics of it, light, sound, wavelength, atoms, molecules, radiation, gravity — no problem. The mathematical equations – not so much. Much of that is my own fault — I am not willing to put in the time to break down the equations so I understand them and then put them back together. I want to know why everything has to be squared and then divided, or multiplied, squared, divided — it seems like there’s got to be a simpler way to set up the equations. It’s my usual resistance to math, believing these equations are created not to solve things, but because someone had too much time on his hands and likes to play with this shit. This is an unfair judgment on my part, but that’s my gut response to much of it. Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad that creating and using these equations makes people happy. More power to them! I am simply not one of them, and am glad they do it, so I don’t have to fret about it.

However, the demos are great, and seeing parts of these theories in practice makes a ll the difference.

Was feeling a little under the weather Saturday night, and by Sunday morning, had a full-blown migraine. Worst I’ve had in awhile. However, I worked with students and pushed through some more of the decorating. It’s still not done, but much more is up. The tree is pretty.

I like that we can decorate differently in the house each year. In the apartment, everything fit only one way. Here, we can try new things.

Polished a short story. Had to put aside a second one, because it didn’t fit the guidelines. I like it, and will continue with it, but guidelines are guidelines. Sent out two other stories that had stockpiled.

Have to do some business admin today, work with students, and get more writing done. I’m waiting on a few checks, which I hope arrive sooner rather than later. Also hope to start the history homework today, if there’s time. It all depends on the migraine, and how badly that affects me today.

Good first writing session on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE.

I have to say something about that dumb-ass prank phone call and those stupid Australian DJs who helped contribute to that British nurse’s suicide. Those two better start taking responsibility for their part in it. They feel bad? They should. They contributed to another human being’s death. To say there was “no malicious intent” is ridiculous. A prank call’s very nature is all about malicious intent. It’s about making fun of someone by humiliating them. When it’s done publicly, on a live show, even worse. The male DJ’s backpedaling of “every radio station in every country does it” — that’s the kind of lemming-like thinking that allows genocide. They’re in “hiding” and in “counseling” — yeah, probably paying someone to tell them what they did was okay. What they did was NOT okay, and instead of being cowards and trying to justify it, they should be looking for ways to make things right. Publicly crying about “how bad they feel” is a self-centered cop out. It’s not about them, and they SHOULD feel bad, if they have any pretensions at being ethical human beings. You fucked up big time, someone died, own it and now do something to make the world a better place. Stop the pity party. Actions have consequences, and they need to face the consequences for their actions. If there was no malicious intent, there wouldn’t have been a prank call. Everything they’ve said and done since this incident only fills me with more contempt. You did something stupid. Now do something positive to help get things in balance.

Devon

Two exciting classes coming up in January of 2013!

“When Words Align” — if you’re stuck in your manuscript or your edit, take this seven-day intensive to get back on track. Jan. 2-9.

“Sensory Perceptions”
— this popular class is back — in one month, learn how to use all the senses to make your writing more dynamic and engaging. You will work on stories specific to each sense, and one long, ever-evolving piece adding in sense-by-sense. January 2-Feb. 3.