Thurs. February 26, 2015: KILLER QUINTET released and First Draft of radio play done!

med_KillerQuintet

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

KILLER QUINTET released in digital format. You can purchase it from Amber Quill Press here.

Most of last weekend, I was immersed in the writing cave. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to finally have a Saturday off.

I finished the first draft of the first of the radio plays by Tuesday morning. I’d almost finished it on Monday night, but wrote myself out and just had no more creativity left. So, Tuesday morning, I attacked it and finished it. What a great feeling!

I started typing it that afternoon – which basically means starting the second draft. Looking at the difference in formatting between the various U.S. Radio Formats and BBC Radio Format, they didn’t look very different – but when I was actually keying it in, it makes a huge difference. This company is very specific about wanting to hit the number of pages in BBC Radio Format, and I’m worried that LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES will run long. So be it; then I’ll cut in the third draft. It’s got at least those two drafts to get through before I send it off. Plus, I have to register it with WGA East.

Did some percolating on the second radio play (found a title for that, a quote out of PERICLES, of all things). Did some percolation on the hour-long pilot, too.

More snow over the weekend, which meant more shoveling, and more snow Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, which meant I was out there at 6:15 AM shoveling again. Of course, not a plow in sight. Eight inches of rutted ice on the street, so even though our driveway and path is fine, the road gets more treacherous every day. Why does Bureaucracy have to wait until somebody dies before they take anything seriously? The Town Council has certainly failed the residents, sending a message that’s loud and clear – “You don’t matter, only the businesses do.” Well, bubbelah, if we can’t get out of our houses to patronize the businesses, they’re fucked, too. Unacceptable. I also don’t like the fact that none of the Councilors are actually out there on the streets finding out what needs to be done. Or is it only in my precinct? One thing about Rye, for all its faults – the city councilors and the mayor were out and about every single time there was a problem, finding out what needed to be done, and then finding solutions. If I find out my precinct representative is wintering in Florida while we’re all up here struggling, I’m going to be really upset.

Luau
Yesterday, we cancelled the author who was scheduled to speak, because the roads were so bad, no one could come. We had our Luau – which was fun, we decorated the place to beat the band. We didn’t have a lot of people – again, it’s so hard to get from the residential roads onto the main roads, people are afraid to go out. But the ones we had really liked it. And we had fun.

Came home, exhausted. Watching WEST WING SEASON 5.

Today is busy, and I’ve got Tango tonight. It was supposed to snow again last night and it didn’t, but it looks like it will start again any minute.

On a happier note, a friend sent me horse racing books – she’s cleaning out. So pleased!

I’m suffering from some serious snow fatigue. And it’s snowing again.

Devon

Published in: on February 26, 2015 at 11:33 am  Comments (3)  
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Fri. Feb. 20, 2015: Last Day Before the (Stormy) Weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and very cold

My renewed driver’s license arrived yesterday – took just over a week to get it, after renewing online. Pretty slick! ;)

Work was busy. Good busy, but busy. Did a lot of research on a couple of things, and some press and programming stuff, and hopped on and off the desk as needed.

Home for a snack and to change, and then to tango. This was “milonga night”, so we newcomers could learn the milonga etiquette. It’s more for the experienced dancers than beginners, although two experienced dancers kindly took me on the floor to practice. Had an interesting conversation with many people, including another newcomer, a few people who’ve been coming on and off for years, the sister of someone I knew well from the library, a friend who works at another library, and a professional musician who’s part of a group and we might brainstorm on a collaboration.

Home, a couple of episodes of WEST WING, a late dinner.

Last night gave me some great ideas for the radio play.

Up early this morning; some work on the radio play and the hour-long pilot. I have to get out some press releases today and do a submission, in and around the work here at the library. We’re planning some really fun stuff for next week, in and around the book sale – author Kevin Parham will be here next Wednesday, talking about his book THE VINEYARD WE KNEW (weather-permitting, of course). And we’re doing something fun all day Wednesday, too – which I’ll reveal closer to the date! ;)

I’m looking forward to having a whole weekend off. I’ll be writing – and buying cat food before the next storm hits – but it’ll be nice to have the whole weekend on MY schedule. We’re supposed to get more snow on Saturday night into Sunday, rain all day Sunday, hard freeze on Monday, and more snow Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hopefully, that will mean a solid weekend of reading, writing, research, and student work.

Stay safe and warm!

Devon

Published in: on February 20, 2015 at 9:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Feb. 13, 2015: Love the 13th, But not the Black Eye

Friday, February 13, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was busy. I wrenched my ankle. I didn’t remember hitting my face, but by the afternoon, the left side around the eye was swollen and looked like someone hit me. Not my best look.

I set up for Tango, but had to pull out of actually attending it. I lay on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my face and a bag of frozen spinach on my ankle, feeling like an idiot. I have a whole new respect for the tube of concealer I carry in my purse.

Wrote a kick ass “ask” letter for the library yesterday, and we had a good meeting on a potential upcoming project. Afternoon was mostly spent at the desk, since both our volunteers for the day couldn’t come in.

My street is worse than ever. The town says they’re out of sand, yet they sanded a completely clean road I take to work. Yesterday, one of the frontloaders was taking snow from a mound of snow that was already out of the way and moving it from one side to the other. Because, you know, actually clearing a street that needs it would be too much to hope for.

Couldn’t work on my galleys last night because I couldn’t see well enough to work on them.

Down from pain to discomfort this morning. Swelling’s down, and a trip to urgent care averted.

Ordered some fun stuff for the Luau that will happen the last week of the month, and renewed my driver’s license online.

The wellies I ordered from the Animal Rescue Site arrived yesterday – so cute, black with multi-colored dogs on them! They will be well used.

Busy day today, and then I’m going home to work on my galleys and rest up. We’re getting hit with another blizzard tomorrow night. I have to get the garbage and recycling to the dump in the morning and do some last-minute shopping before work. Once I leave work at 2 PM, I am going home and not emerging until the storm is done!

I have a feeling Sunday and Monday will require a lot of shoveling.

May do a radio play for a company in Paris after I finish the one for the company in Ireland. That will be fun.

Re-read the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE. It holds up well. I’m going to tweak it a bit and write the season synopsis for it and send it out next week.

Also plan to get a good chunk of the radio play done, and work on BALTHAZAAR – once the galleys are done, of course.

Monday is a holiday, and the library is closed, but we’re setting up for the book sale; if I get the writing done, I’ll come in and help for a couple of hours.

In the meantime, stay safe!

Devon

Published in: on February 13, 2015 at 11:15 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Feb. 12, 2015: Here Comes Another One

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Supposed to get more snow today. I salted the street at the bottom of my driveway so I could actually get out onto the street (with my own personal salt), but then fishtailed all the way down the street, because it’s so gutted and slippery my tires can’t get any traction.

Yet the plows keep driving up and down the streets – not plowing. Haven’t seen a sand truck since two days after the initial blizzard.

Yesterday was busy at work. We used eight bags of rock salt on our parking lot first thing in the morning, then had to go out and get more, while also buying salt (separately) for ourselves. One town over says they’re out of salt and sand and the state won’t give them any more.

I’m wondering how many people have to die in crashes because of roads that still haven’t been cleared before anyone does anything. The town’s sending a very clear message to those of us who live on tertiary streets: “You don’t matter.”

Meetings yesterday, and cozy mystery book club. I have to write some material for the library. Got a freelance request from someone to whom I’d pitched over a year ago. We’ll see how that goes, but I have a feeling that my rates – even at the non-profit discount – are too high. Oh, well, then I’m not doing it. I’m sick and tired of the attitude around here that I should do what I do FOR A LIVING for nothing. Um, no.

I have to read over the two television pilots this weekend and decide which one to submit for something – will have to come up with a season synopsis, too. I’m leaning more towards THE BROWNSTONE than to TALENT, because I think the place to which I’m submitting is more likely to respond to THE BROWNSTONE. But I’ll read over both and see which is stronger.

Got the final galleys back for KILLER QUINTET. Managed to proof “Personal Revolution” this morning. One down, four to go.

Watching STUDIO 60 FROM THE SUNSET STRIP on DVD. Forgot how much I enjoyed the show, and how much I related to it.

I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the radio play done this weekend, along with the galleys. Fingers crossed.

I have a feeling tango will be cancelled tonight – it’s such a mess that even a little bit more snow will make it dangerous.

Stay safe.

Devon

Fri. Feb. 6, 2015: Dancing in the Snow

Friday, February 6, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

A little tired and a little sore this morning, but last night I took my first Tango class and it was fun! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Investing in the shoes was worth it. I’m still thinking too much, and I was focused more on trying to figure out what my partner was doing (although some partners I clicked with very quickly) rather than really connecting to the music. Hopefully, I can meld the two over the coming weeks. There are steps and music and etiquette. Everyone’s really friendly and from very different backgrounds, so it’s nice to meet a whole different group of people than I’ve met since I’ve moved here.

A friend of mine from all the way down in P-town drives up for Tango on Thursdays, and she’d like me to come and speak about my work to a group down there, which will be fun.

A poet walked into the library yesterday, and I wound up booking her for two programs. I like her work, and she’s seems like she’ll be a lot of fun to work with.

It was a busy day yesterday, but a good one, with lots of laughter, which is always good.

So, Harper Lee is going to release the book she wrote BEFORE she wrote TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I love her writing, I’m interested to read it, but I hope people don’t try to hurt her, either because it’s actually the first novel, or because they’re upset she hasn’t released anything in 55 years. I hope the book is allowed to stand on its merits, but I doubt that will be the case.

The Metro North crash in Valhalla a few days ago was horrible. I’m so grateful none of my friends were on the train. I saw some photos – the front of the train was melted from the fire. Truly awful.

Watching the third season of WEST WING. I loved that show, and re-watching it all together just reminds me how good it was.

Some of the scenes in the radio play will be set against a tango background – last night gave me lots of ideas. I have all kinds of ideas for another piece, too, but it has to wait its turn.

Tomorrow, there’s a “Courtship Tea” at the library. Tomorrow night is the Ham and Bean supper at Liberty Hall (thanks to the Village Association). I promised to bake, so I’ll be making batches of lemon cupcakes and batches of fudge brownies tonight. I’m also supplying some of the china for the tea tomorrow. I have to take my mom over to Mashpee for some medical tests in the morning, get in some cat food and wine, and a couple of Argentine Tango CDs – and then I’m in for the next few snowy days.

Have a great weekend!

Devon

Wed. Jan. 14, 2015: The Joy of the Process

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. Most of it was spent writing. I wrote nearly three chapters and did a rough outline of a book so the characters would stop yapping at me; now, that book has to find a place in the queue. There are other books which take precedence.

Most of the weekend was spent on the Burns/Woolf tribute. I tore it apart and re-structured it, and I’m finally content with it. There are piles of books with bookmarks and papers in them, marking quotes I wanted to use, and pages of notes scattered around. It was very satisfying. I love to research and find connections and put things together. Finding the connection from Burns to Emerson and then from Emerson to Woolf delighted me.

I had to cut a lot of material — it simply can’t all fit into a single, short presentation. It’s structured like a conversation; hopefully, I’ve now gotten the flow right.

I got cranky on Friday because someone nagged me. I’m writing a piece — for free — for the site. I was booked months ago. I’m working on the piece. It’s due next week. No problem. Getting an email whining that you haven’t heard from me and you need the materials is not going to get them to you faster. Instead, it puts you at the bottom of the list. I have the deadline. You’ll have the material by the deadline. I’d planned to get it in a few days earlier, but guess what? Not happening now, because you treated me like an incompetent flake. I’m a professional and a grown up. (Even though digging in my heels is an adolescent response — yes, I’m aware of the irony). I don’t need babysitting. Don’t call it “follow up” when it’s nagging. If you wanted it before the deadline, you should have given me an earlier deadline. BACK OFF. Especially since I’m not being paid. Last time I’ll be dealing with those people.

It snowed yesterday. The forecast was for flurries. It flurried all day. I had to rush out to Sturgis library to pick up two Virginia Woolf books. I know I’ve got them packed away somewhere, but couldn’t easily put my hands on them. I figured Sturgis was the most likely to have them on the shelf, and they did, exactly where I needed them. In and out in a few minutes. Love that!

In spite of not having those two particular books, I managed to use quite a few books I’ve picked up over the years — the ones that people always say, “Why did you buy those? You’ll never use them!” Well, I used 17 of them. So there! The fact that I didn’t need them for a dozen years is beside the point.

The whole concept of “if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it out” is a bullshit promotion advertisers and “life coaches” use to get people to get rid of things so that they have to buy more. Yes, you should clean out clutter, stuff that’s broken, that you’re SURE you’ll never use again. But when you’re a writer and you accumulate a lot of books — especially non-fiction — almost every nonfiction book I’ve ever bought has served more than one project. It may be years between those projects — and no, you CAN’T find “everything” on the internet or even in libraries. My personal library is worthwhile.

I have to go back and finish the edits on KILLER QUINTET today and tomorrow and get that back to my editor. I have to rewrite a few passages, and I’ve been percolating on them as I do things like dishes and laundry.

Then, I start the radio drama, while I’m researching the historical play and getting back into the groove on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

I’ve started the research on the historical. I read what I could about my main character — not much information. I found out she’s buried in her former employer’s family plot near Chicago, and that the base of operations for the company was in Chicago. The email I sent to the cemetery bounced back, so I’ll have to try again. Maybe I’ll do an old-fashioned letter!

But, I found out that the company’s papers were donated to the Library of Congress. So I dug around on the Library’s website, and found the catalog of what I need. I contacted the reference librarian to see if I could get permission to come down and access the files on site. I can (which means a trip down there in the near future); however, some of what I need can be accessed through Interlibrary Loan and some of the micofiche has copies at Harvard Library. I don’t know if any of the Cape libraries even HAVE microfiche readers any more, but if they do, I can get the materials through ILL and use them here. That will make my time in the actual Library of Congress more efficient.

Additionally, I found some books that might be helpful, and the Circulation Director and I are using them to test out the state’s updated interlibrary loan system. AND I found some books on the subject at my beloved Strand Bookstore, ordered them, and they’ve shipped. I’ m very excited!!!

I’ll detail the experience of discovering and gathering the information and how I’m using it in the play over the next few months. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I’m looking forward to it.

Devon

Fri. Jan. 2, 2015: Starting the New Year

Friday, January 2, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Can you believe it’s 2015? It better be a damn good year, that’s all I have to say!

Wednesday was busy at work, with a special flurry towards the end as we were trying to lock up. Oh, well, that’s the way it goes.

Tired in the afternoon, trying to get everything sorted out for the turn of the year, including three loads of laundry. Can’t go into the new year with dirty clothes!

Salmon for dinner — didn’t think it was as good a piece as it could have been. Read and wrote a little, listened to music. Couldn’t get the live stream for the ball drop to work properly — first time I’ve missed it in my life that I remember. Read a lot — I’m reading and re-reading one author in particular right now, focusing on her structure so I can learn from it. Finished re-reading Thomas Mallon’s A BOOK OF ONE’S OWN, which I try to re-read every few years, just to get back into its rhythm. I always find something new in it.

But it was a nice, quiet way to see in the New Year, complete with a bayberry candle for prosperity.

Up early New Year’s morning, the fire/ice ritual, plenty of yoga and meditation. The answers to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Questions are here. They got me thinking in some interesting directions.

Eggs Benedict for breakfast (one of my favorites and I make it well. Roasted a ham for dinner, and am boiling the bone down for soup (with white beans and kale).

Wrote about 30 pages on POWER OF WORDS — not the piece I thought I was going to work on, but there you go. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it. Fortunately, my notes for it are very organized.

Did some organizing and some research. A full day at the library today, and then I focus on the Burns/Woolf script over the weekend. I’ve got some press releases to write for the library, and then one, over the weekend, for the writing contest.

Playing with a new series title that RED WIDOW will launch. It’s moving in the right direction, but I still haven’t hit just the right one yet. Not to mention that I need to re-title POWER OF WORDS, which is actually a serial novel — technically, I’m writing either book 2 or book 3 (depending on if I put the rehearsal process in with shooting the mini-series). The first season will be Book 4 and the second season Book 5. Once I’ve gotten through all of that, we’ll see where we are, but all of that needs to be contracted together and released quite close together. It’s a challenging project, and it will be interesting to see where it lands. I toyed with some ideas for titles — some of them work, some of them still need work.

When I stay in a steady writing groove, everything else in life feels better and makes sense.

Devon

Published in: on January 2, 2015 at 9:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Dec. 31, 2014: Out with the Old Year, in With the New

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I took the last few days OFF, really off, just doing what I wanted to, and not worrying about “have to”. I worked Saturday, then came home and relaxed. Read a lot. Percolated on a few things, but it was because I wanted to, not because I had to. Had nothing left in the tank, and felt like I had to replenish a bit, especially before the turn of the year.

Did some work on POWER OF WORDS (which will be retitled before it ventures out into the world). It holds up better than I expected, and there’s some really good stuff in it. I’d like to finish it and get it out there (under a better title).

Yesterday, I got the car inspected for 2015, and then ran errands: CVS, Petsmart, Stop N Shop, then over to Wareham. Got a new globe for the little red lamp — finally found one that fits it. I was looking for some dress pants and dress skirts, for work. Hated everything — the drape and measurements don’t work for me, I don’t like most of the fabrics and patterns. I have a feeling that I’ll wind up making a muslin mock-up of my “perfect” pants, and then use it as the master pattern to make a few pairs of my own — once I find a store from where I can get good fabric. Let’s face it, JoAnn’s doesn’t cut it (no pun intended). I’ve got several good skirt patterns and some nice fabric for those, so I’ll get to it on those soon. If I don’t rush, and really take time with the workmanship and the details, I’ll be able to concoct some classic pieces that will work for years.

I did find two dresses I really liked, and two sweaters. They look good on me, were on sale, and I bought them. I haven’t bought any clothes in ages, so I didn’t feel guilty.

The restaurants in Wareham all smelled of grilling hamburgers; stopped on the way home at Market Basket to pick up a few outstanding items, and also grabbed a couple of hamburger patties. Had a late lunch/early dinner. My cooking is better than a lot of restaurants (except some of the really fancy ones), so it made more sense to just get the ingredients and eat at home.

Finished watching the second season of HOUSE OF CARDS. The production is brilliantly done, but it’s still a depressing look at politics. Yes, it’s fiction, but there’s a lot of emotional truth in it.

Got everything prepared for tonight. Beds changed, food in, will do laundry as soon as I get back from work, bayberry candle for tonight, jasmine candle for tomorrow at dawn. Quiet night at home, lots of yoga, meditation, planning for the New Year, and good food. 2014 was definitely better than 2013, but it had more than its share of ups and downs. I want 2015 to be more focused and productive, on many levels.

I wish you a joyful start to the New Year, and I’ll see you in the next cycle!

Blessings,

Devon

Published in: on December 31, 2014 at 9:08 am  Comments (3)  
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Fri. Dec. 26, 2014: Preparing to Clean, to Make Room for the New

Friday, December 26, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day
First Day of Christmas

I hope you all had a joyful holiday. Ours was about cooking, eating, being with family, books, cats. The good stuff.

Read a lot, including devouring two of Joanne Dobson’s Karen Pelletier mysteries. They are excellent. I’m surprised she’s a new-to-me author. It was great to read them, because a stack of books I read over the past few days were deeply disappointing.

I have to sit down this coming week and outline the first few novellas with the RED WIDOW characters. Without the outline, it’s not going to work. The stories feature a different set of connected protagonists in each, but I need an idea of the overall shape before any of them will work properly. I also need to dive back into BALTHAZAAR, and INITIATE needs attention.

I’m working on the Burns/Woolf piece, and percolating ideas for a radio drama for an overseas production company with whom I’m in negotiation.

I hopped on and off social media occasionally during the holiday, and, honestly, was rather frustrated with all the desperate self-promotion. I understand our books and goods make good holiday gifts, but, please! Some of the pushing put me completely off those authors.

Working on my Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions questions and my new five-year-plan. Need to get back behind the wheel and steer where I want and need to be, and aim for something specific on the horizon.

Work today and tomorrow, then off until Wednesday morning. Still have a lot to get done before the end of the year, but at least I can clear off a bunch of stuff and get going on the new year. One of the things I want to do is purge a bunch of stuff from the basement – -things I don’t want or need, that are holding me back. It’ll be a cycle of “cutting deadwood” over the next few months, something deeply necessary. Cut away the old to make room for the new, keeping only what has genuine meaning.

Have a wonderful time moving out of the old year and into the new!

Devon

Published in: on December 26, 2014 at 10:29 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Dec. 12, 2014: Preparing for the Weekend

Friday, December 12, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was a solid work day, although I wasn’t feeling well. Managed to land some good people for our upcoming programs. I was up at 5 AM, making deviled eggs, but that’s fine.

Raced home when the library closed, picked up the eggs, platter, and gift for the grab bag, and headed over the bridge to Buzzards Bay. Very little traffic, and the weather cleared up, so I made good time.

Fun seeing everyone and catching up. The food was great. The eggs were gone in about three minutes – it was like the locusts descended! ;) But in a good way. The gift-giving was “Yankee Swap Style” – something I’d never done before. I wound up with an adorable ceramic turtle tea light, and the gift I contributed also found a good home.

Went home, watched more of DOWNTON ABBEY – I have to say, Season 4 is a disappointment so far.

Tumbled into bed, absolutely exhausted. Had weird dreams – not anxiety dreams, just odd. Overslept by a half hour, but got everything done this morning, including a trip to the post office and a swing by Stop N Shop to get more cups for the library.

I’ll have another busy day here, and then I can GO HOME. I’m exhausted, and fighting something – I suspect it’s a cold, so I’ll dose myself all weekend with my herbal concoctions and get as much rest as possible. I’ve got student work to finish up, my own work to do, and cards to write. Decorating to finish. Baking to begin.

I’m simplifying the baking this year. I just can’t make six different things. I’ll make two, and balance them nicely, present them well, and, hopefully, everyone will be happy.

I do rather feel run over by a bus, so sleeping in for a couple of days, or taking the time to nap in the afternoons is probably all I need to get back on track. Next week will be flat out all week, as will most of the days leading up to Christmas itself. I AM looking forward to the Solstice – got a nice celebration planned.

Have a lovely weekend, all, and I’ll check back next week!

Devon

Published in: on December 12, 2014 at 9:51 am  Comments Off  
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Wed. Dec. 3, 2014: Hitting the Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

So the do-nothing obstructionist Republicans in Congress are threatening another government shut down if they don’t get their way? They continue to act like spoiled children, holding their breaths? If they do shut the government down again, the American people should file a class action suit — not against the amorphous “Congress”, but against the INDIVIDUALS who vote to shut it down. Don’t let them hide behind the office. Make them personally accountable. It’s a matter of record who votes for what, available on the government web site.

Busy few days. Friday was hectic at the library — the server was down, which mean everything was done on manual circulation. Time consuming, and we couldn’t process the books from delivery. I spent the entire day on the circulation desk, although I managed to get some memos written and materials done for this morning’s programming meeting. The server came back up at 3 PM, and the volunteer on duty and I processed the entire day’s work AND I entered all the manual circulation, all by the time we closed at 5. I was exhausted. I’m glad we got it all done, but I was exhausted. Especially since the Circulation Director was out sick.

Saturday, I got some writing done, we did errands like grocery shopping, and got the tree into the stand and the lights on, and the Advent table set up. Sunday was the First of Advent, and most of the day was spent decorating, although I got some reading and writing done. And some laundry done.

Monday, more decorating, more writing. In the afternoon, I helped decorate the National Marine Life Center Tree for Spectacle of the Trees at the JFK Museum, which opens later this week. Our tree’s theme is “Joy to the Whales”. It’s part of a big fundraiser in the area, with fourteen local non-profits participating. People buy “tree bucks” and put them in a box at the tree or trees of their choice. 100% of the donations go directly to each charity, and one person wins each tree, all its decorations, and the gifts under the tree (usually around $10K worth of stuff). The creativity that goes into the trees is wonderful.

Monday night I had a Harry Potter dream, which is new for me. Never dreamed anything from the books or movies. I was riding a train and it was attacked by Dementors. I recognized one of them — someone I know who has been actively sabotaging me. Pretty damn straightforward dream, if you ask me. It didn’t offer a solution, but it set out the situation very, very clearly.

Tuesday was supposed to be another decorating day at the museum, but things went awry, so I was basically on hold all day for no good reason. Which was fine, because I wasn’t feeling well anyway. On the other hand, it was a shame, because I’d originally planned to go to Newport, and then cancelled in order to help with the tree. Well, these days happen, and it’s certainly not going to change the course of the universe. Had extension cord kerflamma for the outdoor trees, but finally got it sorted out, and got the blue lights I’m using this year for the outdoor trees and everything all set up. They look pretty. But something that should have taken a half hour took nearly three.

Read JANE AUSTEN AND THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, which I enjoyed. Did a bunch of research that serves both RED WIDOW and the Sparkle & Tarnish series. Got an offer for one of the submissions I sent out last week, and accepted. Will reveal details when the contract is signed.

Tried watching AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. I knew most of the music, but had only seen bits of the movie, never the whole thing at once. I was disappointed. There’s no plot to speak of, and the characters are rude and unlikable. I only saw about half — the DVD not only got stuck, it nearly broke my player. Not happy about that at all. Managed to fix the player.

Which was a good thing, because my mom and I then watched the first season of DOWNTON ABBEY. I’d seen bits and pieces of it through the years, but never paid too much attention, mostly because there was so much fuss over it. I was surprised by how much we both enjoyed it. I like Julian Fellowes’s writing anyway, so it was nice to see the growth of the characters and the plot over an entire season. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of it.

Had a computer glitch with some student work and lost the notes on it — this is the second time it’s happened on this particular piece, which is irritating. And I’ve got other pieces booked, one this week and two next week, so I have to get caught up.

Started reading a mystery set in Greenwich Village in the late 1950s and saw that an old friend of mine from off Broadway days was thanked in the acknowledgements. What fun!

Up early this morning. Got some writing done, but not enough. Frustrated with the slow progress. I’m not getting enough uninterrupted quiet time to percolate. I’m not getting enough uninterrupted time to do ANY of my work, which is frustrating. But, somehow, I will sort it all out.

Didn’t get the overseas cards done this weekend, which puts me behind. They have to go out ASAP, and I have to get started on the baking.

Got a lovely post-Thanksgiving day card signed by the family in Maine who was at the dinner we usually go to and couldn’t this year, because of weather and scheduling. We were missed (which is nice), and they realized just how much work I do on the event when I AM there (which is also nice). I’m usually delirious with exhaustion by the end of it. It was good to have some rest and quiet this year, much as I enjoy seeing everyone and being up in Maine.

The next four days will be very busy for me at work, plus my own writing, student work, and getting ready for the holidays. Fingers crossed.

Have a good week!

Devon

Fri. Sept. 19, 2014: The Longing to Write

Friday, September 19, 2014
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I was discouraged about a variety of things when I got back home on Wednesday afternoon, along with just being damn tired. Did some work on INITIATE, read VIRTU. Went to bed early.

Up early yesterday, wrote a bit on INITIATE. Headed to work. Busy day. Got 40 books processed; the woman who covers them was in, so we got them either onto the shelves or out to fulfill holds. I still have a stack of DVDs to process. Wrote a proposal for the small library conference at the end of October. Did some promotion for our upcoming programs, including the Rights Roundtable on Monday night that kicks off Banned Books Week.

Yup, Banned Books week is next week, and this year’s focus is graphic novels. So grab a banned graphic novel and dig in! ;)

Updated the library website, contacted some people about programs. Busy day.

My editor wants another book as soon as I can write it. I still have some research for BALTHAZAAR before I can get back into it, and, of course, am consumed by INITIATE. But I have to give them something soon.

I also found out that I have a 5-cup Review of TRACKING MEDUSA over on Coffee Time Romance, and a 5-star review of the same book on Amazon. I loved and believed in the book for a long time before I found the right publisher, so I’m glad others are enjoying it, too. “Lake Justice” got a 3.5 out of 5, which is good, with the main criticism being it was too short – which is helpful! ;) Maybe the next Bronwyn adventure will be longer. Maybe I should cough up a Bronwyn adventure soon while I’m working on the other books for my editor!

Home, very tired, glass of wine on the deck, then grocery and cat food shopping. Dinner, some work on INITIATE, then finished VIRTU. I’ve ordered the two remaining books in the quartet and should have them by next week. Can’t wait to dive into them. I just love this series. It’s very unique, lots of gorgeous writing. At times, I wonder why one choice or another was made, but then it all ties together. The world-building is spectacular. Not only am I enjoying them, I am learning from them.

Up early today. Worked on INITIATE. Tomorrow will be my first full day off in quite awhile, and I’m going to focus on INITIATE and on the garden. I’m supposed to read to kids at the Town Picnic on Sunday, but all I know is the time. I have no idea where I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to read. I’m half tempted to make something the hell up.

I have a proposal and a couple of reports to write today, along with everything else. Better get going. I’ll check in next week – there should be lots to tell from Banned Books Week!

And, of course, the Equinox is on Monday, so I’m in preparations for that.

A student who booked an editing intensive sent the materials in some weird format (I only accept .doc) and not in Standard Manuscript Format, and then wanted me to explain what that is. No. Don’t call yourself a writer if you don’t know SMF. Go look it the fuck up. I was very, VERY clear when we discussed the possibility of taking her on this semester that I ONLY accept SMF in .doc file format and anything else would remain unread. This has been an ongoing problem with this particular individual. I will not work on something that is not correctly formatted. Period. And if you’ve been in ANY of my classes, there is NO excuse not to know what SMF is, or to show the initiative to go look it up your damn self.

Devon

Published in: on September 19, 2014 at 9:05 am  Comments (3)  
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Mon. Aug. 11, 2014: Excited by The Wonderful Conference!

Monday, August 11, 2014
Last Day of Full Moon
Sunny and cool

Wow. The last few days have been intense.

Thursday, I worked at the library until 2 PM. It was busy — I wanted to make sure I got everything done (since I’m not back “in the office” until this Wed.) and not leave anyone holding the bag or cleaning up a mess I left. So I worked ahead on anything that I could think of being needed, such as the report for tonight’s Board meeting. I also processed a big stack of books that arrived from Ingram. Another box from Ingram arrived as soon as I was done, but I pretended it wasn’t there — and it might not have been mine, anyway. I also processed some videos that arrived from Amazon. I wanted to make sure as much as possible could get on the shelves while I was gone.

I left at 2 PM and headed for the Conference center. I checked in and found out that a fellow board member had a family emergency, so I agreed to cover the things he was supposed to take care of. I unloaded the car, got the library exhibit table set up, then got my own books checked in to the bookshop, then helped out at the cocktail reception.

As usual, we started at a table with two people and kept expanding. My rule of thumb is, “pull up a chair, join us; there’s always room for one more.” That way, no one feels left out, excluded, and people who are there for the first time and don’t know anyone get to meet people, and people who know other people get to meet new people. So that was fun.

My boss from the library joined us for the introduction ceremony upstairs. I announced the writing contest winners (one of them was even there, which was great), and all the instructors were introduced. We ran into someone with whom we’re going to put together a great panel for the library, and a group of us headed downstairs to the bar to catch up. It was fun and noisy, and we got out of there late.

Up early on Friday. Wrote a bit of 1000 words on INITIATE. Cooked for the incoming guests. Finished cleaning up. Ran to the store for the last few things.

Did a roundtable with my friend, Kevin Symmons, at the conference on inspiration –we had a good time with it, and the participants seemed to enjoy it, too. Then came the class I was taking, a screenwriting class. Since it covered the basics, I was worried that I might not be pushed hard enough. But the teacher was good (Chantalle Aimee Osman — if you ever get a chance to study with her, jump at it) and I found points where, because I move from format to format, I’ve gotten sloppy. There are certain areas where I need to sharpen what I do when I’m in screenplay format, in order to take it to the next level.

I’m also going to have to bite the bullet and invest in either Final Draft or Movie Magic, once I have the new Macbook. I’m very anti-formatting software, because I think it makes people rely on the software instead of learning the craft, but it is now the industry standard, and if I want to work in the industry, I need to suck up and deal.

Ran home after class to deal with a few things and get my company settled. Part of the company is a very old yellow lab that my Mom has taken care of since he was a puppy. He’s sweet, but not very bright.

The cats are horrified.

Raced back to the conference. Had rehearsal with the executive director for a skit I stepped into. Had a drink in the bar with some fellow panelists and the terrific novelist Gary Braver. I was on a panel moderated by Arlene Kay, along with Kevin Symmons and David Litwack. What a pleasure! We were talking about our journeys and how we keep writing on tough days, and things like that. It was a lot of fun. We then kicked off the reading sessions.

I knew about two paragraphs in that I picked the wrong scene — you can feel the energy in the room. But I was stuck by then, so I pushed through. Live and learn, right? Should have stuck to the scenes in the media kit! The readings were good — quite varied, and a better quality, overall, than some of the other years.

Went back down to the bar, had a drink with friends and colleagues, got in a bit after midnight. Chatted with the company. Fell into bed, trying to learn lines. Got a text from an actor for whom I just wrote a monologue — he’s on set for a new film and was in between set-ups.

Actor: What are you doing?
Me: Learning lines for Gutenberg.
Actor: Who’s Gutenberg?
Me: Use Google.
Few minutes silence, then another text.
Actor: How are you going to play a guy from the 1400s?
Me: I have no fucking idea.

Up early on Saturday. Wrote about 1100 words on INITIATE. Tessa is still furious with me because there’s a DOG in the house. Got the company safely off to the Nantucket ferry — although the dog stays with us. Tessa puffed up so big that she couldn’t dive under the bed, and had to deflate before she could fit. The cats were just starting to calm down, and then my neighbor decided to cut down a tree next door. Of course, that was my fault, too, as far as the cats were concerned. A DOG and all that NOISE. I’m unhappy, because I don’t think perfectly healthy trees should be cut down, but it’s not on my property, so I have no say in the matter.

Called the joke shop, talked to Chris –sounded like they had what I needed. Drove in to Hyannis, Chris got me all set up with the beard.

Back to the conference. Picked up my costume. Another excellent screenwriting session. Home. Tried on the costume, complete with beard. Cats took one look and dived under the bed. Ran lines a few times. Got out of costume. Took a nap.

Woke up, showered, dressed in a killer blue silk sheath dress, fishnets, and heels, pinning up my hair. If I’m going to play I bearded guy from the fifteenth century in an academic robe, I am going to look HOT for the banquet!

Got caught in Craigville beach traffic on the way back to the conference. Had my window down, had the music on. This shirtless surfer dude leans into the open window, sees the fishnets and says, “So, what’re you doin’ tonight?”

Me: Playing Gutenberg.
Dude: Huh?
Me: What, you don’t get into a little role playing sometime?

He had no idea how to respond to that!

The keynote was a roundtable with author Rishi Reddi and Alicia Anstead, who’s the editor of THE WRITER magazine. We all read Rishi’s story “Karma” and it was a discussion, led by Alicia. It was interesting, and a lot of fun. At times, I worried that over-analyzing it might take away some of the power and emotional beauty of the story, but Alicia is very good at what she does and knew how to keep it from getting pretentious or ponderous. Rishi’s writing is just gorgeous. The piece was the “One Story” that was read last year by the entire city of Boston as part of the Boston Book Festival.

Then, we paraded into dinner. I was lucky enough to be at the table with Rishi, Alicia, Michelle Hoover, and Karen Day (two more wonderful authors), along with others. We had a lively, fun discussion that ran the gamut of topics. I can’t wait for the new novels by Rishi, Michelle, and Karen.

Between the main course and dessert, I disappeared, and, with the help of Matthew, one of our scholarship students (whose work I really liked, and who already knew, from the previous days, that I am completely out of my mind), got into costume. Nancy and I did the skit. I couldn’t let my dislike of performance inhibit me. Nancy wrote an arrogant, self-assured character, and I had to go with it and over it — so I went for it, over the top, high camp. The audience loved it. I still wish Jim had been able to do it — he’s such a good actor, he would have brought a lot to the role. But I managed to get away with it. However, it was a prime example of why I spent my life BACKstage, instead of ONstage.

Scrambled out of costume, let my hair down (literally this time, not just figuratively), and had dessert. Stopped at the beach on the way home because it was such a beautiful night, hung out with some people playing music and dancing. Got home about one.

From silk sheath to panda pajamas in a matter of minutes.

Up early on Sunday, wrote about 1100 words on INITIATE. At the conference a little before 10 AM to help at the desk. At noon, I broke down the library exhibit table, loaded the car. As classes ended, I loaded the easels into the car, since we will use them for Mermaid Ball. Got the unsold books back from the bookstore — I sold some, and people kept asking me to sign copies, which was nice. Had a rash from the fake beard around my nose and my upper lip, though.

Took my final screenwriting session. We wrote tag lines and log lines. I created a tagline and used the logline from STALEMATE DEATH. Fortunately, the teacher liked both, although she thought I should put back a line I’d cut from the logline, so I did. If I hadn’t been able to walk my talk, in the experiences I’d shared in class, it would have been bad!

Bolted down a tuna melt in the bar, and came back to help break down the rest of the conference and load it into the truck. They had enough people to unload, so I got to go straight home. Drinks on the deck, dinner. Repacked the books that will go to Books by the Sea today, read a bit, but was too tired to concentrate, so I went to bed early.

Up early this morning. Wrote 1000 words on INITIATE. Tessa is getting braver, and even coming downstairs to be with me when I write, but she is still not happy there’s a dog in the house. Violet just stares at the dog, and he stares back, totally intimidated. Iris sidles by him. It’s funny.

Long day today — have to go in to the library to settle some dates; have to drop stuff off at Cotuit Library. Have to get my books to Books By the Sea. Have an appointment in Hyannis with a new student (we’re meeting at Uncommon Ground). Have a Mermaid Ball meeting tonight. Need to do follow-up on the conference (already had to do some business this morning). Need to finish two book reviews, and prep the cozy mystery group and do more research for BALTHAZAAR.

Busy day much?

All I want to do is sleep! No chance for that, not until tonight.

It was a great week. I’m glad I stuck to my guns and wrote every day, or I’d be feeling lousy today.

I hope the momentum carries the students into new work. Too often, the members are all excited during the conference, and by the time the Writers Night Out sessions start again, most of them sit around the table making excuses about why they’re not writing.

Which just drives me nuts. Which, I realize, is often a very short drive.

Back to the book reviews, and then I’m on the road for pretty much the rest of the day. I’ve already drunk a whole pot of coffee. It’s not helping.

But it was a great conference. In spite of the exhaustion, I want to use the energy and the momentum positively into the coming months, on a writing level, on a Board-Member-of-the-Center level, and on a programming level for the library.

After today, however, full focus MUST shift to the Mermaid Ball, which is at the end of next week.

Devon

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