Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thursday, August 9, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny, less humid, pleasant

As usual, I packed too many pairs of shoes.

In my own defense, they are for the umpteen changes of clothes I always have to make buzzing around Saratoga. At least it’s summer and those little dresses roll up to next to nothing. I’ve packed sensible clothes for the Scottish Games in Syracuse. I’ve never been to Syracuse. I’m looking forward to it.

So much to do yesterday, so little focus.

Worked on some other articles, worked on some pitches, printed out the directions for my trip, made mega-dinner plans for Sunday with friends, found a bunch of upcoming anthology deadlines (thanks to the anthology newsletter).

Packed, prepared the receipt envelopes, the mileage book and all the frigging paperwork that goes along with writing trips.

And, even with the air on, it was unbearably hot and sticky, which is why every other word off my keyboard is a swear!

Researched a bunch of topics for The Big Project. Researched some other stuff so I can move forward with Good Names.

Prepared the writing bag, the camera bag. Yoga mat’s going along too, but not the weights.

Weight training couldn’t happen last night due to wrist pain, but this morning’s yoga session was good.

Unfortunately, I woke up with a migraine. I fed the cats, did my yoga, tried to write, but felt so horrible that I went back to bed for another hour or so. That’s the point of freelancing – a flexible schedule. I felt better when I woke up, took something to take the edge off, and will try to finish up as much as I can.

Yesterday’s tornado was categorized as an FE2 – cut a 9 mile path of destruction through Brooklyn. I’m not sure if it touched down in Queens, or if they thought it was a tornado and it wasn’t, or if the only actual tornado was in Brooklyn, but there was a lot of damage everywhere.

Tomorrow is supposed to be vile; I hope I can get on the road early and safely.

No word bar updates yet – I’m going to try to get some work done when the migraine lifts a bit more.

I’m offline until the middle of next week. Everyone – enjoy!


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
A dark and stormy morning (hot, humid, and sticky, too)

Bad storms. Lots of flooding (not here yet, thank goodness). The Lincoln Tunnel is closed due to flooding; Metro North and Long Island Railroad are down; a tornado touched down in Queens.

Check out the latest installment of “Crafting Your Literary Life” on The Scruffy Dog Review Blog.

Other than that, I was one cranky bitch when I got home yesterday. 1 and 1 still has not fixed the server problem, and I’m having problems getting my business done. And then, they had the –is it balls or stupidity? – to send me a survey asking what I thought of their customer service. Use your imagination, I dare you, to guess what I told them!

Yesterday was a day of running into people, which I’m sure is better than running over them. Ran into a colleague on the train going in and we had a good chat. Caught up with everyone at the show. Am booked for 3 shows next week. Ran into another friend as I was leaving, who was visiting, and we made dinner plans for next week. Went to meet a friend for coffee and cupcakes, and we ran into another friend who joined us. Quite the social day! It was all lots of fun, and it’s always good to catch up with people.

Didn’t feel like eating when I got home – it was too hot.

Since it doesn’t look like the workmen are ever going to show up again to finish the mess they started in the front hall – let’s see, is it six weeks, now? — I decided to put the hallway back together myself. Get my little bits and pieces back where I want them. And now I’m going to get a picture to hang in front of the hole they were supposed to cover when they ripped the buzzer box out of the hall and added the new one in the kitchen – which, by the way, doesn’t work.

Oh, and the city council of one town upriver has approved the condo development guaranteed to worsen our flooding (even though they pretend it won’t). It’s about more than property damage – these dickheads are putting people’s lives in danger, and all so they can get a few more cents on property taxes. Of course, this is the community that created itself twenty years back or so because the town to which they belonged wasn’t a “prestigious” enough zip code, so what do you expect? That they’d give a shit about anyone but themselves? If our so-called “Flood Action Committee” had any balls, they’d start a class action suit for reckless endangerment, but they don’t.

A good long core workout and meditation helped last night, as did a good yoga session this morning.

Spent some time working on a business plan for a new, large project. The planning has to be meticulous in order for it to work. It could be fun, and, while it won’t be huge money, I think I could at least bring in enough to make it worthwhile. That was a big thing – to price it correctly. My original idea had a good advertising platform, but the price was so low I resented it. I short-changed myself. I upped the price to something that was still low enough to be attractive to a wide audience, but high enough so I wouldn’t get in a snit, and came up with a new ad campaign that I think works even better.

One of the pitchees came back and wants to me to write a test article, without guaranteed pay. And they haven’t answered any of my questions. Ding, ding, ding go the warning bells. I will re-send the questions and politely ask them to respond. However, unless they guarantee payment , there’s no reason I should write for strangers on spec.


Good session on Good Names –we’re still at the racetrack. Decent day’s morning’s work on ”Revenge Tangents”. The next section needs a lot of description – I have to sit down and really think about it as I’m writing, visualize it, because the sense of place, the actual house in the piece is a character.

Lots to do today. Confidential Job #1 sent the next assignment. It looks good. I have to finish the critique on a colleague’s synopsis, work on a short article for a mag on which I’m a bit behind, pitch an idea to another mag that wants material from me, do a short article for someone else’s newsletter, work on the profiles/interview requests, and get to work on another article due at the end of the month, but if I don’t finish it by next week, when all hell breaks loose, it will be late.

I’d like to get some work done on Tracking Medusa, but I have to clear this other stuff off my desk first.

Better hop to it.

Someday, the humidity will lessen and I will be so much pleasanter!


Good Names – 56,882 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
56 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” — 5,624 words out of est. 7,500

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5 / 7

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky, disgusting

I cannot wait to cover the Central New York Scottish Games this weekend. In addition to covering the actual sporting events (trust me, there are a few people I’d like to whack with a caber right now), I’m excited because I bet I’ll be exposed to some new (to me) music. I feel like I’ve hit a musical rut lately.

Some of that rut’s been helped by finding bands on My Space (I know, I know, how could I not know?), but nothing beats live performance.

I hate working all day and feeling as though I got nothing done.

I had problems with the email accounts all day, and felt that the tech support asked for inappropriate information. Sorry, bubbelah, not giving you the passwords. I am paying this host enough to actually get the service for which I pay; I shouldn’t have to spend an entire day arguing with them about a SERVER error. What can I say? 1 and 1 sucks. Unfortunately, it took me over a year to get my sites up and running once I switched over from Yahoo Small Business Hosting (which sucked even worse), and, at this moment, I can’t face switching everything again. However, within the next year or so, I expect I’ll redesign everything and then leap.

I managed to polish a press release and get it to the person who had to distribute it. I got some pitches out. I plowed through paperwork and email, but my inboxes are still filled to bursting, and the piles of paper don’t look any smaller.

Hate that!

Off to the theatre today; hopefully, I don’t have to stay for the show. I’ve got articles to get out this week before I leave; second requests to put out for some interview material, and writing to get done. And I’d kind of like to leave my desk looking a bit better than as though a shredder threw up all over it.

I wish I could train the cats to file. I mean, they’re sitting around all day sleeping. Why can’t they alphabetize? When I presented this to Iris, her look of disdain said it all, “We’re cats. We don’t have to work for a living. We just have to be – be adored.”

They certainly do that part well.

Several days ago, I watched a series of episodes back-to-back for a limited production. I won’t give details, because what I have to say is uncomplimentary, and I don’t want to be cruel to the people who put a lot of time and effort into it. It had religious overtones, to say the least, but the presentation was one of the best parts of it – it made sense, and wasn’t shoved down the viewers’ throats. Even though my point of view on the issues is quite different, I could appreciate the point of view presented. The themes were interesting, the writing was uneven – and it contained some of the WORST acting I’ve seen in a long time. Just dreadful. There was one actor, a second lead, who managed to pull off most of it because he relied on physical tricks. But then the writers gave him a character inconsistency near the end and he broke character because the writing gave him nowhere to go. Everyone else in the piece was unremittingly AWFUL. And I know some of these people’s work – some of them are decent at their craft. It was a terrific lesson in writing and production – I just felt bad for those involved that the outcome was so below par. (No, it’s not SAVING GRACE – I’ve mentioned in detail how much I flat out loathe that show and why).

Decent night’s weight training; good yoga session this morning.

I did some logo design work and some page design work for a gift I’m putting together for registerees for The Muse Online Conference.

Good morning’s work on Good Names. I’m having fun with the racetrack sequence.

Good morning’s work on “Revenge Tangents”. Although I’ve had to accept the fact that this is not going to be a typical short, and I’ve bumped up the estimated word count. Sigh. But it’s the introduction to a bigger project, and I have to get it right.

Now, if I could only make this next chapter of Tracking Medusa work . . .

Off to Manhattan, in this disgusting weather. Metro North better have the air conditioning on for once, instead of the heat, the way they usually do in summer. I had to turn the air on by 7:30 this morning. Ick.


Good Names – 55,382 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” – 5,125 words out of est. 7,500

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5 / 7

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter DIRECT
Venus Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

I hope the barometric pressure shifts soon – my head’s about to pop off.

I gave up any hope of creativity by 8 AM, when constant interruptions just made me give up and go ahead to get the errands run and bills paid before this mega storm that’s already fourteen hours late hits.

Hotel is booked for the Scottish games – they wanted to know how many hounds I’m bringing! Um . . . okay. Can I borrow some?

Trouble with the business email accounts – they’re being wonky. Put in an amazingly restrained and polite request for service with the host, when really, I’d like to smack ‘em upside the head.

Managed to get three pitches out, though, and receive a colleague’s synopsis that I agreed to critique. Caught up on some email. Finally downloaded my own copy of FULL CIRCLE (took me damn long enough)

I have a stack of paperwork to get through this afternoon – it’s been sitting on the floor next to the kitchen table for several days, and needs to get DONE.

Got the groceries in from Trader Joe’s – had to stock up on the cat food!

I’m having trouble with the current Tracking Medusa chapter. I know what needs to happen, but I’m having a hard time making/letting/convincing it to happen.

Half-packed for the trip already.

Couldn’t find the mobile phone, so I called myself with the landline. Turned out Elsa was sleeping on the phone – she was quite perplexed when her tummy began to ring! For a second, I was afraid she’d eaten the phone, but it’s too big and she’s not that dumb.

Good yoga session this morning. Last night was a night off from training, but tonight, it’s back to weights.

As if the paperwork wasn’t weighty enough!

No word bar updates today – sorry.


Published in: on August 6, 2007 at 11:24 am  Comments (3)  

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sunday, August 5, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny, less humid, cooler

I gave myself the day off from studio work yesterday. I repaired one pair of pants, and that’s it.

I did break in the new bathing suit and even spent some time in the pool, trying to get more comfortable in the water as a prelude to maybe, someday, learning how to swim.

Found a town/area I really like and want to look at some property in – provided that it doesn’t flood. Good ole FEMA charges $195 dollars for each flood map – not one dollar and ninety-five cents, but one hundred and ninety-five dollars – for information you can get for free at a town hall. Bastards. Typical. So I’m going to talk to the Town Clerk of this community and get some information. I sure don’t want to be in the same flood situation I’ve been dealing with over the last few months. It’s a little west of my target area, but still close to everything I want and need. Plus, I think I can get more land for less money in that area, and I want as much land as I can afford.

Wrote two chapter of Tracking Medusa last night – a little raw, but a decent skeleton.

Had a good core workout last night. Good yoga session this morning.

Decent morning’s work on Good Names. Even better morning’s work on “Revenge Tangents.” Venice kicked the ass of a local who made unfriendly assumptions about them, and Posey just met the guy who’s going to play a huge part in her life.

Back to the studio again for the day.


Good Names – 54,132 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
54 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 40,053 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
40 / 90

“Revenge Tangents” – 4,125 words out of est. 5,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4 / 5
Published in: on August 5, 2007 at 8:09 am  Comments (8)  

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky, rainy

It’s confirmed! I’m covering the Central New York Scottish Games next Saturday, up near Syracuse! I’m very excited. And then, I’ll be heading to Saratoga for a few days to cover horse racing.

Today, however, in the Haskell over at Monmouth, I’m rooting for Hard Spun.

The cats demanded attention yesterday. Violet is tired of being the smallest and the most pushed around, so she’s fighting back. Iris demanded attention and finally sat her butt on the keyboard, causing all sorts of chaos on the screen. Elsa was merely pathetic for a few hours, then climbed on the kitchen table (which is not allowed) to watch my neighbor’s television through the window (he has a big screen television). When he pulled down the shades, she had a fit!

Bad storms last night, with lots of thunder, lightening, and rain.

Driving to CT, I stopped at a traffic light. The guy behind me’s honking his horn, waving his arms, motioning me to the right. The right was a turn-only lane. I got out of the car and asked him what’s the problem?

“Get in the right lane.”

“It’s a turn only lane and I’m not turning.”

“I like to be the front car at a light.”


I got in the car and took my own sweet time pulling out when the light changed to green. Tough luck, buddy, you don’t always get to be first, and I’m sick and tired of always being expected to accommodate everyone else’s neuroses.

Got most of the first dress done in the studio yesterday, although I’m unhappy with the zipper. I think I’m going to replace it with a shorter one. Thanks for the advice, Costume Imp! I may have to wait and get in the city – I can’t believe how difficult it is to get zippers out here in Westchester!!!

Got to tend to my personal life, too, which was a nice change. Sometimes, it just needs a bit of caretaking to keep on track.

Sat down to work on Good Names this morning and realized I hadn’t done the research I needed for the next section. Did enough to get the scene complete, but have to do more to finish the sequence. Sigh. I need more hours in the day.

Nice morning’s work on “Revenge Tangents.” The world of Posey Penrith, her friends Venice and Niktoria, the orange tabby cat Pickles and now the dog rescued from death row, Marvin, gets wackier and wackier. I’m starting to worry that it’s too large for what I originally envisioned for the project. But I need to see what it is, then figure out its venue.

Decent evening’s weight training in spite of the shoulder; good morning’s yoga session.

Off to finally do some work on Tracking Medusa, and then head back to CT.


Good Names – 53,382 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
53 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” –2.625 words out of est. 5,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2 / 5

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday, August 3, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Hot, humid, icky sticky

I’ve heard from all but one of my contacts in the Minneapolis area, and I might have a bad email address for her. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Our state is re-inspecting all the bridges now to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen here anytime soon. There are two overpasses in our town that I think have worsened over the past months. Maybe now they’ll actually take the complaints I filed seriously.

Got some paperwork out of the way in the morning, but not enough. Typed the first chapter of Good Names, so I don’t fall so far behind.

Had a good afternoon in the studio, although I didn’t get as much done as I hoped – but isn’t that always the way? I’m going back today.

One thing I like about the studio work is that, in and around the measuring, cutting, etc., I can also think about the stories and work out plotlines and scenes.

Also got two loads of laundry done.

Today is about errands, studio work, finishing an article and sending it off, doing follow-ups on some interview material, sending out some more interview requests, and dealing with idiot PR people on two events that I’m ready to bag because they’re so useless. There are so many good PR people out there – companies/events need to stop hiring people and calling them PR because: 1) they’re sleeping with someone connected to the event and/or 2) they’re cheap.

Decent core workout last night, and then added in a slightly more challenging yoga sequence, which made a big difference. Good yoga session this morning.

Reasonable morning’s work on Good Names, but I have to do some research before I can write the next section. Good morning’s work on “Revenge Tangents”. It’s surprising me, but in a good way.

Better get going – I have a lot to do this morning, and I want to leave for the studio by 11. It took me an hour to drive 12 miles yesterday because of all the construction. I’m going to try to find a different way today.

Hey, Brandy: Genuine classic styles are consistently turned out by: Ann Taylor, Talbot’s, Banana Republic, LL Bean, some of Land’s End, some of J Crew (although their stuff gets a little preppy for me), Liz Claiborne, St. John’s Bay, the older Burberry, and, of course, Chanel. That list has a variety of price points, but I find that their clothing stays in style, season after season.

If I have to read one more chick-lit that copies reality television instead of doing something creative with the premise, I am going to scream.  From now on, I’m putting down the book.  And, if it’s one of the ones I’m being paid to review — watch out.  If you’re going to create a reality show within your novel, be creative.  DON’T COPY AND BE DERIVATIVE!  Yes, that’s redundant, but I’m trying to drive home the point.  If you’re going to tread over the same territory, do it better and more creatively than those who’ve come before.  Argh.


Good Names 52,882 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

52 / 100

Good Names Typed Draft 1A – 2,566 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

2 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” – 1,875 words out of est. 5,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

1 / 5

Published in: on August 3, 2007 at 7:35 am  Comments (9)  

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thursday, August 2, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

That bridge collapse in Minneapolis is horrifying. My thoughts are with everyone there – and I hope all my readers from that area are safe. Pandora, Andrea – I’m trying to reach you. And I’m trying to reach my editors from that area.

My computer’s being crabby again. Sigh.

My article on the Empire State Games is here – along with my photographs. The top photo is of the archer in her 70s who won the Gold Medal in the Masters’ Division.

I hope you downloaded your free copy of Full Circle. And I’d love to know if you’d like to see more of my characters from “Pauvre Bob”. Should I write more stories about them?

Got out some more interview questions. Caught up on emails. Got out the FULL CIRCLE bulletin to MySpace. Worked on Devon’s Random Newsletter. If you haven’t signed up for it, you can do so here.

Worked on some article stuff. Checked the job boards; saw one thing for myself and a couple of things I sent off to friends.

I was in serious need of some retail therapy. Usually, unless it’s a bookstore, I don’t find shopping relaxing. If I go shopping, I have a purpose – it’s something for an event. I was in the mood for shoes, though, and I buzzed through some clothing stores while I was at it.

The fabrics, patterns, and cuts of most of it were awful. What is with this resurgence of polyester? And not even the modern blends, but the 70s faux disco kind? And that so-called “vintage” pattern? Looks like kitchen curtains from the 1970s, and they weren’t cute then! I shake my head – they paste beads and rhinestones onto things and call it “embellishment” when what it looks is cheap! There’s a way to do detailing and use trim, embroidery, even glittery stuff – but not when there are blobs of glue showing!

And these were at stores which consider themselves upscale.

I managed to buy one pair of shoes – peep toe, gray plaid ballet with slight wedge – very comfortable, cute, will go with pants, skirt, or dress. And I bought a blue and darker blue striped Henley shirt (love henleys), and a shirt for someone else.

But I can make better stuff . . .and I will.

Put together my sewing/studio bag because I have a chance to get some sewing done at a friend’s studio this week, and I want to grab it. There’s just no room to spread out here, but I can do so at my friend’s place, so that’s where I’ll head.

Worked on a new short story – it’ll be somewhere between 10-25 pages, interesting characters, as part of a bigger overall project. I struggled at the beginning; then I switched to first person, and it’s flowing. Amazing what a tweak will do.

Did a lot of planning on Tracking Medusa – tweaking the current outline, working on the outlines for the next two, seeing how that affects this book – although I’m completely committed to making all three stand-alones. Characters will grow through the three books, but they won’t have unfinished story arcs and can be read in any order. Mik, I’m warning you – the end of Book 2’s gonna break your heart.

My injured shoulder’s bothering me, so I had to be careful with the weight training, but I didn’t want to bag it completely. We’ll see how it feels today. It rotates forward in the socket and gets all out of whack. Hate it.

Good yoga session this morning, decent but not great session on Good Names. I need to push hard this morning so I can work in the studio this afternoon with a clear conscience.


Good Names — 52,382 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
52 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” – 1,000 words out of est. 5,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1 / 5

Last Day To Register!

Today is the last day to register for The Muse Online Writers’ Conference:

That’s where I’m giving my Dialogue Workshop, from Oct. 8-14, and then the live chat on Sun. Oct 14 at 4 PM EST.

Hope to see you there!

Best of all — it’s FREE.

(Regular entry below)

Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 11:26 am  Comments (2)  

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

August 1, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Lammas is always an important day for me, so here’s to the holiday!

Today is the launch of FULL CIRCLE, the anthology by the Ars Concordia Writers’ Group, of which I am a member. I have a short story in it, one of my favorites, a horse story called “Pauvre Bob”. You can download the entire anthology for free here.


Later today, my weekly (hiccup) entry on the Scruffy Dog Review Blog about crafting your literary life will be here.

Worked on the clip file. Got through a couple of hundred emails. Hoped to get some schedule stuff nailed down, but that didn’t happen. Except to discover at the show that, although I was told I was needed to cover for someone, they put a different swing into the spot. Whether it’s conscious or not, it’s “punishment” because I wasn’t available last week. Guess what? I’m not available next weekend either, and they’re just gonna have to deal. And, I found out from the person who was booked, not from the scheduling person, which always pisses me off.

Train was late (as usual), semi-ventilated, and some stupid chick was talking loudly on her cell phone the entire time. Why is it always the ones with the most boring lives who are most determined to “share” it with the rest of us?

Theatre was fine; caught up with people; did the call; got out before they could decide to keep me. Caught an earlier train home.

For some reason, I was just beat – I think the heat’s a big part of it, and moving from hot to cold to hot to cold.

Did core work (ow).

Regarding My Space – I’m not thrilled with the whole thing, but I set up an address specifically for that account, and I’m determined to use its networking capabilities to my advantage, not let it run me. One cool thing is I’m getting introduced to lots of new (to me) music. I’m not interested in “hanging out” on it. It’s a networking tool, and it will help my writing reach a wider audience than it might otherwise do.

Decided to change Justin’s last name to “Yates” in Tracking Medusa. His last name is currently “Bartholomew”, which can be used as a first name (and I’m infamous for making jokes about guys with two first names, especially in pieces like Women With an Edge), plus there’s a character hovering around the fringes who may be crucial to the rest of this book and to the next two who insists his first name is “Bartholomew” – so I changed Justin’s last name. He likes “Yates” better too, and it goes well with Gwen Finnegan’s name, so it’s all good.

Now, if I could just get back to writing the story . . .

I want to be productive today so I can give myself a day off at some point this week. Just to play, and just because.

Good morning’s yoga session.

Decent morning on Good Names.


Good Names – 51,632 out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

51 / 100

Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 7:54 am  Comments (2)