Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I forgot to mention my disappointment with REAPER the other night. The show still made me laugh, but there was a lapse of logic (what? There’s logic in the show?) that I couldn’t get past with the bugs. The type of bug changed from shot to shot – close shots were some gross coackroachy-beetle things while the flying shots and other close-ups were bees. Without explanation or reference. Looked to me like someone skipped doing the symbolism research. And when you’re dealing with paranormal elements, it matters. Even fictional worlds need to have internal logic, and when the logic is breached, it needs to be dealt with, not “oh, no one will notice.”

I’ve mentioned, a few times in the past weeks, my frustrations with the job listings. I decided to stop visiting some of my regular stops on the job hunt trail because, while the host of the site is making a buck running the freelance site and purports to champion the rights of freelancers to earn a decent living – the jobs listed are still for piddly-ass pay. To me, that’s hypocritical. If you’re telling writers not to work for peanuts, stop listing the $20 jobs.

Buh-bye.

It’s easy to get into the habit of visiting the sites instead of trolling around doing one’s own research, but when the sites are listing the low-pay jobs, you start thinking that’s all that’s out there. And it’s not.

So, it’s a little more leg work up front, but a heftier paycheck.

It’s like anything – the amount of effort you put in is proportionate to what you get out. Or, at least, it should be. If you’re putting a lot of effort in and getting pennies, you need to step back and re-think your strategy.

Yes, we ARE in a recession. Sometimes you need to take a job you don’t really want to make some quick cash. But don’t settle. Always strive to use each gig as a building block towards a better and better-paying one.

I continue to have problems with the email accounts connected to the websites on the 1and1 host. So, if you’ve sent me mail and I haven’t answered, it’s because I haven’t been able to get into the account. Almost all week, I’ve gotten the “Server Error 500” again. And when I report it, Customer Un-support ignores me. This has now gone on regularly for months. They’re charging for full service, even though they’re not providing it.

I did some research on other hosts, and found a few more possibilities. I want to put the new websites on one particular host, and then I’ll probably slowly switch the Devon Ellington, Cerridwen’s Cottage, and Fearless Ink sites to a different host over time. I hate giving up the template for the Cerridwen site – I think it’s magnificent – but maybe by then I’ll have figured out how to design one of my own.

Because you see, when the server error comes up, it’s not like the mail stacks up and waits – it vanishes. And then, when I can finally get in, especially to Fearless Ink, I receive angry emails from potential clients wondering why I didn’t get back to them. So 1and1’s ineptness (not to mention rudeness) is costing me money. And that can’t happen. They came highly recommended, their customer service was supposed to be superb, and it’s been big fat pain since Day 2. Day 1 was good, but from Day 2 on, they’ve been a nightmare. I mean, it took a year from the time I switched the domains over from Yahoo (whose hosting is also run pretty badly) to get the information I needed to rebuild the sites. So, I’m doing a lot of consumer research before I make the next move, because it will be a damned nightmare, between all the address books and email accounts and everything else that need to be moved.

And I’m adding an alternate gmail address to the business emails going in and out of Fearless Ink.

And I’m certainly not stupid enough to try to make a move during a Mercury Retrograde! 😉

Spent a good portion of the day in bed, trying to coax away the migraine. Wasn’t particularly successful. I couldn’t switch off the brain, and was in the half-dozing, half-dream state. Some of it was good, working out plot whatevers on projects; some of it wasn’t so good, fretting about things beyond my control.

Started work on the material for Confidential Job #2.

Trying to sort out what needs to be written/polished/submitted when, so that it all gets done, I don’t drop the ball on any opportunities, but I’m also not spreading myself too thin. It’s a challenge. Too many possibilities; too few definites. And the definites MUST get priority.

Booked some for next week which pays quickly – always a good thing.

Back to work on Wyatt this morning. I had an excellent morning’s work, dived right back in. Then I’ve got a long list of errands all over the map (although I’m trying to plot a logical course); then a couple of hours for Confidential Job #2, and back to the polish of Tracking Medusa.

Because the focus tomorrow needs to be on the sci-fi horror western.

Devon

Wyatt — 12,290 words out of est. 20,000 (61.4%)

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Published in: on January 31, 2008 at 9:51 am  Comments (8)  

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars DIRECT
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Well, the good news is that Mars goes direct today, and while I’m a bit bloodied on the ground from the conflict, at least that retrograde’s done! The bad news is that Saturn and Mercury are still retrograde.

Sigh.

Hop on over to The Scruffy Dog Review blog and read about the importance of Gatekeepers in publishing, and why a good submission packet is so important. Also, scroll down beyond my article and read about Patry Francis’s The Liar’s Diary. The paperback version of this novel is now available. Yesterday, many bloggers all over the world got together to promote and celebrate the paperback’s release, a show of support while she battles cancer.

I’m late to the dance with this because I’m taking a forum break and only found out about it when I visited various blogs yesterday. Day late, but hopefully, not a dollar short. If you’re looking for a powerful, beautiful book by a lovely, incandescent writer, pick up a copy of The Liar’s Diary.

Errands, building kerflamma, and things that needed to be dealt with on the home front took up the bulk of the day and my energy. I didn’t get back to the Tracking Medusa revision until nearly three in the afternoon.

I am good for very little in the afternoon. Yes, go there, because you’re probably right.

I’m actually turning back to my old nocturnal self, staying up later and later, and I have a feeling that eventually, post-relocation, I will go back to my ideal schedule of writing all night, dealing with the world in the morning and then sleeping all afternoon. I’m a morning person; I’m a night person. I am NOT an afternoon person.

However, Medusa needed me, so I dove back in. I’m so close to the end I can taste it. And then I’ll put it away for a day before going back for the final polish, do the outline and synopsis, tweak the logline and one paragraph summary, polish the query letter. It goes out as promised with the new moon next week, so it damn well better be ready. I kept pushing and kept pushing and kept pushing and finished the draft around 10:30 last night. I’ll work on the last ten chapters first, then go back and do another buff, writing the draft of the chapter-by-chapter outline as I go. I’ll hone the outline and then pull material for that for the two page synopsis.

I added a really important scene towards the end between Gwen and Karl, which gives them a positive resolution, and also sets the foundation for their interaction in books two and three, although you won’t need to read the books in any specific order, since each will stand alone. But I want to work on polishing the end first, because if one always starts at the beginning, the beginning winds up with more polish than the end. I want the book to start strong and grow stronger over its course. I fixed the weak middle from the previous draft, and the climactic chapters were good the first time, and just needed a bit of tweaking. But I want to make sure the end (which has a bit of a surprise, just when you think there aren’t any more surprises) is strong, too. The last chapter is very simple, but it lets us all breathe. I hate books that suddenly stop right after the climactic scene. I feel cheated. I want aftermath, afterglow, call it whatever you like.

I’m going back and forth with an assignment from LA. Dealing with LA on a normal day is enough of a pain in the —, but when Mercury’s Retrograde . . . we’ll get it sorted, we always do. It’ll just take six days when it should take six minutes, because that’s the game in LA.

That’s why I factor in the aggravation pay for LA-based gigs into the original quote.

I have a massive migraine today, so I’m going to take it easy. Part of it is overwork; but it was triggered because I brought in flowers yesterday with a heavy, too-sweet-for-me fragrance that overpowered the entire apartment, and I woke up in the middle of the night with a searing headache. I didn’t realize until this morning what caused it.

So I think today will be my floating day off for the week.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 30, 2008 at 10:14 am  Comments (9)  

Tracking Medusa Revision

I finished this revision tonight, around 10:30 PM.

It came in at 96,617 words, so I’m still okay.

I’m going to let it rest for a day or two and then do the polish.

Woo-hoo!

Published in: on January 29, 2008 at 10:25 pm  Comments (6)  

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I got out the work for Confidential Job #1. I had trouble getting into my 1and1 webmail suddenly at mid-day, but, before I throw another fit at them, I’ll take the Mercury Retrograde into account and give them 24 hours. It sort of worked a few hours later, so I could pull some stuff off, but I’m starting to track the problem and then I’ll invoice them back. Why should I pay for service they’re not providing? The server’s been going down at least once every two weeks for the past four or five months.

Back to work on the Tracking Medusa revisions. I think I need to introduce Lyle-the-henchman at the house party rather than just having him show up on the yacht. I found a subtle way to do it, but I had to revise the chapters I wrote on Sunday. What? Me, find a subtle way to do something? Don’t faint now, everyone.

The listings on the job boards truly sucked yesterday. The stuff I could do paid insultingly low amounts, and the rest was for stuff that I’m either not qualified to write (and don’t want to take the time to learn) or that I’m not interested in writing. One of the sites that carries what I call “The Good Jobs” had some good stuff on it, but it was all full-time or in areas of the country in which I have no interest in living, so that was that. I might go back in a few days and do further research to see if any of those companies are the type that can be talked into freelance off-site gigs, but yesterday, I was trying to deal with building crap and work on Medusa.

Confidential Job #2 has another assignment for me that sounds really fun, so I’ve got something good to sink my teeth into this week. And I’ve got a Super Bowl gig (remote, not on-site) that should be pretty fun, too.

GO PATRIOTS!

Just a little biased, you think? 😉

The building crap appointment was for 11 AM, but no one showed up. Gee, what a surprise. And not just because Mercury’s Retrograde. But I lived on the knife-edge of adrenalin all day, and felt like my ass was thoroughly kicked by the end of it. I didn’t get deeply back in to my revisions until late at night, which meant I worked well past midnight, and that set me back this morning.

So, back to Tracking Medusa. Rewrote the three chapters I did on Sunday. Created a new chapter twenty-three, with a good scene late at night in an old church. I based the chapel on a cross between the one on the Felbrigg property in Norfolk and one I came across in Northumberland years ago, and the Italianate garden on a combination of the gardens at Blickling Hall (also in Norfolk) and my imagination. I used some of the material from the old chapter twenty-two in chapter twenty-four. Rewrote the new chapters twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, and twenty-seven. They’re back on the yacht now, so it’s mostly getting the story straight and revealing who betrayed whom and why. The section where Gwen wonders if maybe Justin was setting her up the whole time works, and it led to an additional confrontation in the cave between them when they find the statue that works really well right before they’re captured and taken on the yacht. It raises the stakes between them in a way that adds to the tension.

Now, of course, I’m worried that I’ve added too much and will run over 100K. Story-wise, I needed the plot machinations I added, but as I go back over it again, I may need to do some cutting. I’ll worry about that once I’ve got everything in, although I am getting a bit more ruthless about cutting some of the dialogue as we go. If this was spoken (as a play or screenplay) instead of a novel, there are a few places where I’d keep certain speech repetitions for character rhythms or quirks, but in this case, I’m going to have to eliminate some of that in order to keep all the story points I need kept in and still have it come in at a reasonable length.

Oh, Sunny, no, I didn’t name it “Damn House” – I gave it a proper name for the area! 😉

Devon

Tracking Medusa
revision – 78,645 words out of 90,000 words (87.3%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 29, 2008 at 8:48 am  Comments (3)  

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yes, darlings, are you ready for this? Mercury goes Retrograde today, combined with the Mars and Saturn Retrogrades. So in addition to conflicts and life lessons, for the next three weeks no one is going to understand properly a word you say and look at you as though you’re speaking in tongues, any major purchases are a bad idea, don’t sign any contracts, expect travel delays, and back up everything on your computer at least 47 times.

But go antique shopping – you’ll find some great deals! 😉

My mantra: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.

So, this Merc Ret, you won’t see much of me on forums or message boards. That’s when the most misunderstandings occur, so I’m keeping away from potential powder kegs, especially as the parasites and bullies are trolling several of the sites in full force lately.

I need to focus on my work and have as little contact with the rest of the human race as possible.

Of course, today is one of the days when I have to deal with building crap, but at least I had a few days to prepare on a psychological level.

Got an email early this morning from the person to whom I promised first look at Tracking Medusa asking me to send it a few days later, because the person will be away and doesn’t want to risk it sitting an inbox and something happening to it with the Retrograde. No problem. I still plant to finish it by deadline, but it gives me a few extra days to polish the synopsis, outline, et al. I did double check with this person to make sure I understood the request properly (Mercury Retrograde) and I did, so it’s all good.

And I need to buckle down and get the first draft of the sci-fi western horror novella done, so I can put it aside for a few weeks before revision, and while it’s resting, write the time travel novella.

Got a rejection I expected, and have to tweak the cover letter and get the piece to the next market. Why send it to the first place if I expected rejection, do you ask? Because, after the research, when we first started our dance, we seemed like a good fit. As we continued in the process, we discovered we weren’t. No big deal; it happens. Best to disengage before serious trouble and move on to hopefully a better partner.

On Saturday, I rewrote 19 chapters of Tracking Medusa in a single day. Yesterday, I struggled to rewrite ONE. I gutted Chapter 20 – what I set up in the previous revisions necessitated a total gut, and I think I have to restructure/rearrange a good bit of the next few chapters. Except for character names and the words “the” and “and”, there are only about 3 words left from the original chapter.

In fact, I’m gutting the entire series of chapters that take place at the house party. Jonathan’s in them, slimy bastard, and, surprise of surprise, Gwen actually hits a point where she wishes KARL was with them! So I wrote chapters twenty, twenty-one and twenty-two, which is almost entirely new material. I named the damn house, which is a step in the right direction. There wasn’t a sense of place about the house before, it was more like a set piece Gwen and Justin dashed around to get somewhere else, and what happens during the house party needs to be important. I’m also going to have the afternoon horseback ride Gwen and Vladimir take together happen on the page instead of Justin just worrying about it later and hearing about it second-hand. Vladimir needs to reveal a bit more of his true colors when he’s alone with Gwen. He needs to shake her up badly enough so she wonders if Justin’s been conspiring with him behind her back – especially since Justin was his research assistant before he met Gwen. This will add more to the discomfort growing between Justin and Gwen, and his worries that Vladimir’s hitting on Gwen and maybe she’s responding when he’s not around, and his guilt when Kitty comes on to him and he hesitates before refusing.

I’m doing more of this section from Gwen’s POV – there was too much Justin, and not enough Gwen here. And I don’t want to alternate POV from chapter to chapter. I want us to live inside one of them for a chunk of time, then in the other.

I wrote over 8K of new material, which will need to be honed and tweaked, but, again, I feel as though I’m on the right track.

Had to shoot off some emails to double-check some information – I’ve got to make sure I have the geography and the protocols correct.

Have to run an errand this morning, and then deal with building crap. Will do the write-up for Confidential Job #1 and get that invoice out, do some more work on another piece that I’d like to get out by Wednesday or Thursday, latest, and then back to the Tracking Medusa revision.

Devon

Tracking Medusa revision – 64,534 words out of 90,000 (71%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 28, 2008 at 8:37 am  Comments (9)  

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

Revisions on Tracking Medusa came to a screeching halt yesterday. The major plot surprise MUST be father/son and mother/son to have the correct emotional impact. Grandfather/grandson and grandmother/grandson simply do not work in this particular set of circumstances.

So I had to go back and adjust, all the way through the draft, what happened in relation to what other historical events.

Which took hours.

But the further I plowed into those revisions, the more I felt I got off-track with the grandfather/grandson, which was only switched to that from father/son because of the dates. And the farther I felt I got off-track, the harder every page, every sentence became.

It was time to cut my losses.

I couldn’t lose that emotional wallop because I wanted something that happens off the page to happen in a particular time period. I had to find something equally interesting to put in context with it in a chronology that made sense AND kept the emotional impact.

I rewrote all the nineteen chapters I’d already rewritten. I’m not talking about minor tweaks. I REWROTE the whole damn book up to this point. 56,253 words.

I’m exhausted, but I feel as though I’m on track again.

I had to undo all the stuff I added when I put in the extra generation – that took some sorting, with drawing paper and charts and the calculator.

I rewrote the first sex scene between Justin and Gwen for the umpteenth time. The more I work on it, the more I realize how spare, simple, and organic it needs to be. It’s so significant to the book that it happens at this particular point, where they both are in relation to this quest and each other. If it happened earlier, one would have been taking advantage of the other (depending upon when it happened) and they would have had to walk away from each other. If it happened during the Earl’s house party, it would have been a contrived literary cliché. It had to happen at this time, in this nameless little town, not as an explosion of passion or out of fear or desperation, but because this is simply what they’ve grown into now. I’d overwritten it several times, and I pared it down, down, down, simplified, simplified, simplified, and now it’s where I want it. It’s different from the way most of this type of scene is handled, but it’s exactly right for them at this time. And I know I’m going to have to fight for it, because it’s not the “usual.” But the way it’s “usually” done doesn’t work for these two people at this particular moment in their lives.

And I just realized a mistake I missed back in Chapter 17, an historical reference I forgot to change, so I better go back and do that.

My only interruption was some more building crap. Time to file some more paperwork with the state. And perhaps a police report or two.

Now, it’s on to the rest of Tracking Medusa. I’m tired from the physical and mental work, but it also feels good to be this deep into the novel and back on track.

Devon

Tracking Medusa revision – 56,253 words out of est. 90,000 (62.5%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 27, 2008 at 8:52 am  Comments (5)  

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

The errands turned out to be Fool’s Errands – I’m trying to track down some material for a project, but no luck yet. I haven’t exhausted all my resources yet, so it’s no big deal, and it was good to be out and around.

I had a relaxing afternoon at my friend’s place in CT, reading, doing laundry, etc.

Returned home to more building crap. This is halfway civilized building crap, which will take place on Monday – when Mercury turns retrograde, with Mars and Saturn still retrograde – just shoot me now, okay? ‘Cause if the gun’s still loaded by Monday, I might just use it on someone else. Metaphorically speaking.

The whole thing flattened me with a migraine of the jabbing-the-icepick-through-my-eye variety.

Forgot to mention yesterday that I watched both episodes of Chuck the other and thought, for the most part, they were clever. They made me laugh a bunch of times, and that’s always a good thing.

I have to finish the material for Confidential Job #1 today – I forgot that it’s due on Monday. I wrote about 2K this morning on a fun little project that’s just for me, to blow off some steam, and now I’m ready to get back to Tracking Medusa. I’ve come up with a possible log line — in the shower, where some of my best material emerges. Either there or in Corpse Position after yoga. Because if I try to turn my brain into a void, it fills with stories.

The comment from the guy who says I watch too much TV made me laugh. I spent over twenty years on an eight show/week schedule and maybe got to watch 1-2 hours of television a week. So now, I actually watched about fifteen or twenty hours in the past month — and for once, I’m just flipping around channels instead of trying to catch up frantically on my own or my colleagues’ work — and some stranger’s telling me I watch too much TV! Too funny. (Eye roll).

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 26, 2008 at 10:27 am  Comments (3)  

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and Very cold

One of the Well-Known Actors with whom I’ve worked over the years once gave me this piece of advice: “Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking a celebrity reporter is your friend. It doesn’t matter how often you do interviews together; it doesn’t matter how well you seem to get along. They’re being paid to find a way to destroy you. They’ll sell you out for a byline, a cocktail, an
invitation to a hot party. Be charming, be cordial; but never, ever forget this person is not a friend.”

Words to live by.

As a writer, when I interview colleagues in my field, I try to be respectful of boundaries and not get into territory that’s too personal. When I’m interviewed, I’ve learned when to politely but firmly decline to talk about a topic.

Rough morning yesterday due to more problems in the building. Didn’t get much done on Wyatt and was just getting back into Tracking Medusa when I was thrown off-track by the blood suckers.

All I want to do is to be left alone to write my books. I resent that I keep being forced into a position where I have to constantly fight. But the repercussions of rolling over instead of fighting are worse.

I’m a Pisces. I’m supposed to waft around in a gauzy dress scattering rose petals and then roll around in them with a good-looking guy. I’m not supposed to be opening and delivering cans of Whup Ass on a regular basis.

It would have been great to use the trauma (and believe me, it was trauma – next time I’m calling the cops) as an excuse not to write.

However, curling up in a fetal position doesn’t get anything done except leave you with a crick in your neck.

And it would be repeating a pattern, and this is Saturn Retrograde, and it’s time to straighten out some life lessons and stop the self-sabotage.

So, after a pity party of about 45 minutes (I usually allow myself 15), I got back to work.

I got out the Tracking Medusa revision and went back to it. The capture/torture/rescue sequence in Chapter 15 was pretty good, but I added some detailing, some shading, and tightened it. The aftermath of the rescue in Chapter 16 needed some cutting and tightening, especially where the vampire Irina sets her sights on Justin. Chapter 17, where we’re with Gwen in her astral projection needed some work, too. The scenes with the spirit guide and the gargoyle are darkly funny, and I left them as is; the scene with the Medusa fountain running blood needed a bit more shading, but I ended up cutting some of what I added because it was too much; the scenes with Custis and Harry needed some tweaking. The sequence in the astral hedge maze is much darker and spookier, but works better. Chapter 18, the escape from the Hunters, needed a bit of tweaking and tightening.

The next section will be the most difficult. Gwen and Justin take the next steps in their relationship, and they’re at the House Party – which has to be completely gutted and rewritten. I am NOT looking forward to that. I have to work Jonathan back in there. I want the revelation of the extent of Jonathan’s relationship to Gwen to come as a chapter-ending blow, but I’m not sure where to put it. And I have to add in the section where they find Custis’s alternate diary . . .and the math is screwing me up. I think there’s more emotional impact in a particular plot twist if it’s between father and son instead of grandfather and grandson, but I can’t make the math work. And if I shift the dates to MAKE it father/son, then another whole historical house of cards comes tumbling down.

This is the most difficult revision I’ve ever done.

In spite of a detailed outline.

That repetitive noise you hear is me banging my head against the wall.

I’m trying to get some work done on Wyatt this morning, and then I’ve got a carload full of errands, and I’ll be out all day. Maybe being out of this environment for a few hours will make me feel less like a hamster on a treadmill whose cage is collapsing.

Devon

Tracking Medusa Revision – 52,166 words out of est. 90,000 (57.9%)

PS “Hamster on a treadmill” is deliberate. That’s what I feel like, a hamster on a human-sized treadmill. Which means, technically, I’m out of my cage, so it must be the walls falling down around me!

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 25, 2008 at 9:11 am  Comments (6)  

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I’ve actually watched a bit of TV the past few weeks. I watched REAPER the other night, and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. Clever writing, great casting, a sense of humor about itself. Really great.

Unfortunately, THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES is on my drop list. I tried watching a couple of episodes. However, the pattern of destroying someone’s life’s work in each episode because, supposedly, it’ll become this evil machine out to destroy the world – sorry, not buying it. They don’t have the right to make those decisions and cause that kind of destruction, both on physical and psychic levels, even if they claim they can time travel and are destroying now to save a later future. The bad karma they’re setting up with their choices of destruction at all costs rather than finding a creative way to destroy the machines – that’s where they’ve doomed the human race.

The Karma Dogs always win. Beyond machines, beyond everything else. It might take centuries, but Karma always has the last word.

I had a brilliant morning’s work on Wyatt yesterday. Just awesome. The story’s flying, Wyatt’s even smarter than I suspected, and it’s surprising me in the best possible way. I need to find a pithy title for it, but that’ll come.

Banging my head against the wall with the Tracking Medusa rewrites. I’m really struggling here. But I just keep pushing. I’ve got just over a week to get at least another draft done (because this one isn’t entirely there), the logline, one paragraph, outline, synopsis, and query ready. Well, that’s part of being a pro. Coughing it up on deadline.

So, Problem Client admitted they haven’t sent payment yet, for any of the outstanding invoices. They claim my invoice “confuses” them. Let’s see – it has the invoice number, the date, the publication, the contact information, my contact information, the name of the article, the byline of the article, the issue for which the article was contracted, and the agreed upon payment. At the bottom is a “total”. I think that’s pretty clear-cut, don’t you? And if they were “confused”, what kept them from ASKING ME about it? Can you say, “liar, liar, pants on FIRE?” We seem to have sorted it out, but I’m ready to take book on whether the check clears or not. Takers?

On a happier note, I’ve been invited to guest blog on a lovely site. I’m working on the posts this week (it’s a three-part series), and I’ll let you know when it’s up and post the link.

On an even happier note: Books. On Tuesday, a book I mooched at BookMooch arrived: Was This Camelot? Excavations at Cadbury Castle 1966-1970 by Leslie Alcock. Yesterday, Strand sent me Arthur’s Britain – also by Leslie Alcock, which I hadn’t realized when I ordered it, and which talks about the documentation that supports the finds in the other book, and The Picts and Their Symbols by WA Cummins. Add to that the book I picked up in Philly at the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology: Fieldwork and Families: Constructing New Models for Ethnographic Research edited by Julianna Finn, Leslie Marshall, and Jocelyn Armstrong.

These are research materials for the next two Gwen/Justin books, since we’re spending more time in the field doing actual research than with them chasing around cross-checking other people’s research. The Balthazaar Treasure takes place in the same area where I set Cutthroat Charlotte, so I’m using a lot of the research I did for that in the back story, setting it in the Bahamas, and re-reading the book on the excavation of a pirate ship that I read a few years ago. The bulk of Sandoval’s Secret, once Gwen and Justin are in the same place at the same time, is set at Pict archaeological site, so the methods used both at Cadbury Castle and the info from the Pict book will come in handy. The beginning of Sandoval, the Justin chapters, anyway, mostly take place in Rome, Venice, and New York, with a slight foray to Geneva. I’m so tempted to put an inside joke about Charlotte into Balthazaar, but since the books are under different pseudonyms, I’m not sure if I could get away with it. I can always put it in and cut it, right? 😉

So, a bunch of po-faced, self-righteous ignoramuses were talking sanctimoniously about how they “live within their means” and that the recession should happen because the people who are struggling deserve it. I wanted to puke, and believe me, the Karma dogs will come right on their doorsteps and take a nice, big, steamy dump. The majority of people I know who are struggling during the economic rape Bush’s buddies have performed on the country for the past eight years have worked their ASSES off to live in their means. What’s killing them is the unexpected – the medical emergency, the natural disasters, the tree falling on their roof, Con Ed causing a blackout via human error that causes tens of thousands of dollars of loss in a mom-and-pop shop and insurance companies refusing to cough up on the policy, identity theft — where they have to borrow, and then the interest rates go up every month. You can bet that none of our credit card interest is going down, in spite of the Federal Reserve’s cut. We won’t see that ¾ of a point drop on any of our bills. If anything, they’ll keep going up 3 percentage points per month, like they have for the past year and change, so even if you pay double your monthly minimum, you can never climb out. These are not people who go to Starbucks every day or buy new tech toys all the time or wander around in designer clothes. Don’t worry – the self-righteous assholes who sit around and pontificate will pay. It’s a shame I can’t be the one to make them pay, but you can believe the Universe will come up with a far more interesting way to teach them a lesson (especially in Saturn Retrograde) than I ever could. So I’m going to let the Universe handle it, and, other than writing about my disgust at their false piety and my contempt for them, I’m going to let it go.

Okay, so maybe I’ll knock a few of them off in a novel, but . . .;)

Colin, I think “The Ink Tank Chronicles” sounds wonderful. Of course, we also have to reveal “The Tale of the Possessed Printers”. The HP is getting a mind of its own. It popped its cover and actually SPIT OUT an ink tank yesterday. I practically had to burp it to convince it to accept another one. And the MultiPass, which isn’t even connected to the computer anymore – TURNED ITSELF ON and had a hissy fit. It started color printing some stuff I’d scanned a couple of weeks ago. (the printer’s not hooked to the computer, but the scanner/copier/photoprinter/fax still works).

Well, we did find out that the new scumbag owners hired unlicensed electricians to work on the building . . .

Of course, having Possessed Printers is just so much more interesting! 😉

It never ceases to amaze me how wanna-be writers turn up on forums every few weeks, begging for tips on how to get published (in badly written and spelled posts), and then, when you tell them they actually have to work at it, they’re horrified. “The joy would be gone” if they did any work. Fine. Don’t work. Don’t get published. Don’t have a career. I don’t care. But don’t expect me to help you if you’re not going to put any work into it. Just because I’m published and make my living writing doesn’t mean I “owe” you help when you’re not willing to put in the work.

Virtual Finger.

I think the graphic would be a bit offensive, so I’m just putting in the words “virtual finger” because, well, you know, all of you have imaginations and know what I mean. 😉

Flipping through channels last night, I was shocked by how the so-called “entertainment news” shows are intentionally misrepresenting information given out by the NYPD about Heath Ledger’s death. The way they’re editing clips of the live interviews so that what they broadcast taken out of context and quite different from the actual factual information, the insinuations, the sensationalistic “reporting” making it sound like he had a $20 bill with drug residue in it, when it was tested long before and the tests were NEGATIVE. But then, these shows don’t care about the truth. They care about hurting people, because that’s how they get attention. It makes me sick.

I had to read a stack of those hideous celebrity lie-sheets for a section of Real, when Callie and Sam are hounded by the press, and they literally made me throw up. Not only is the writing some of the worst I’ve ever seen in my life – I know first graders who can write more creatively than that – but it’s all badly created fiction parading as material from “sources.” Lies, lies, lies.

Or when these shows put up a scan of an autopsy report, enough so you can read it, and then willfully misinterpret it. Now, I learned how to read and properly interpret autopsy reports years ago when a someone I met at a conference who was a medical examiner taught me. The way these shows crib from it – well, they’re not doing it to promote truth.

And it doesn’t say a whole lot about the intelligence factor of those who believe it just because it’s on TV or in print. Well, what do you expect from a culture who spends most of its time watching so-called “Reality” TV, where people are rewarded for being their worst selves.

I’m telling you, exile in Iceland looks better every day!

At least they have 100% literacy rate, genuine health care, a high quality of life, and most of them are capable of independent thought!

A little grumpy today, are we? 😉

Keep your fingers crossed – I might have some good news on a fun project soon. I’m still in negotiations, but, if it comes through, I will let you know.

I’ve got some article pitches and other job pitches to get out today (hey, it’s Thursday, Jupiter’s Day, good time for all that).

Right now, though, it’s back to Wyatt, which makes me feel better. And then, because I gave myself the day off from it yesterday and I really can’t afford to do that, it’s back to tackling Tracking Medusa.

Devon

Wyatt – 10,516 words out of est. 20,000 (52.58%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 24, 2008 at 9:13 am  Comments (10)  

I’ve tried to publish today’s post three times and it won’t.

Not happy.

Published in: on January 24, 2008 at 9:12 am  Comments (1)  

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Congratulations to Viggo Mortensen for the Oscar nomination for his work in Eastern Promises, and to Tilda Swinton for her work in Michael Clayton. Both of them are performers whose work is detailed, exquisite, and fascinating. They can lift up a mediocre piece of work and take an excellent piece of work to new heights. About damn time their work is noticed in a way that can open even more doors for them. The Art Direction category is one of the most interesting this year, with American Gangster, Atonement, The Golden Compass, Sweeney Todd, and There Will Be Blood in the running, each of which creates an extraordinary visual world. My pick for best editing is Bourne Ultamatum, whose editing I thought was astonishingly good.

On the flip side of that, I was shocked and saddened by Heath Ledgar’s death yesterday, here in NY. I never worked with him, so there’s that degree of separation from it, but he was on the list of people I hoped to work with someday. It’s a huge loss to the creative community, in addition to the sorrow it brings his family. I know that building in Soho well – I’ve been to parties there over the years. The situation is just . . .sad.

I forgot to mention that the new issue of The Scruffy Dog Review is out, which means a new installment of “The Literary Athlete” is included. It’s still in the “To Market, To Market” series, but this time, it talks about the importance of researching your markets BEFORE you send them. You can find the article here:

I spent far too much time on the computer yesterday, floating around, and off the computer, dithering. It’s one thing to need percolation time; it’s another to dither. And I was dithering.

I did manage to start the next assignment for Confidential Job #1, though. Sooner I do it, sooner I can send the invoice!

I’m also tracking down some other owed money. Problem Client still hasn’t paid (gee, what a surprise), and two other publications owe me money for material, one from last October and one from last AUGUST. I’ve already put in requests; time to put in a less diplomatic one. If a publications’s in financial difficulty and they need to work something out, it’s fine. We’ll discuss it and work it out. But to publish the work and then ignore the invoices and follow-ups – uh, no. Not cool at all. And typical of the life of a freelancer. While most business writing does pay a portion upfront, most magazines that take articles do not. They pay according to their contract (which is usually on acceptance or on publication) and/or a kill fee.

Worked on chapters 12, 13 & 14 of Tracking Medusa. Cut the references to The Thistle Chapel in St. Giles Cathedral – it’s not relevant to the story and bogged it down. Re-structured the scene inside The Oxford Bar. Did some work on the confrontation with Karl outside the Oxford Bar, but I’m not satisfied with it. Re-worked it some more, and it’s better. Cut repetitive references to previous conversations stuck in because there was a time lapse in the writing of the draft and I forgot I already said it. The hardest was re-structuring the information they discover at the Scottish War Memorial, why it’s such a shock to Gwen, and the chronology of information. I have to remind myself we’re not in the 1980s, so I need an extra familial generation for the physicality of what happens where and who does what to whom to make sense. I had to do math, for crying out loud – how old was this one or that one in which year, and what could he have physically done? I also have to go back and tweak something in the Lindisfarne section that affects this section.

It’s an interesting contrast here, how Justin handles a situation according to his conscience and integrity, balancing what he knows is right with what he wants, compared to how he’ll deal with a similar situation in Book 3, with a very different result.

Hopefully, the creation and explanation of the amulets section doesn’t sound like “Gems and Crystals 101.” It’s very interactive, there’s humor, and also Justin’s growing concern that Gwen’s lost it.

And, of course, the warring voices saying, “You can’t fix this; it’s a mess” to “Just go ahead and fix it already!”, “Who do you think you are, trying to write?” to “I’m a writer, dammit, I’m writing.”

All you can do is keep at it, right?

But I felt like I was banging my head on the desk to no avail yesterday.

Hey, guess what? I had to put in a new ink tank. Are you surprised? Not!

Off to work on Wyatt, and then I have errands to run and practical stuff to handle. I also have to sit down and sort through some offers to figure out which make the best sense, both financially and creatively. Of course, the ones I find most attractive are the ones it makes the least business sense to accept, so I’m trying to find a balance.

Devon

Tracking Medusa revision – 42,014 words out of est. 90,000 (46.7%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on January 23, 2008 at 9:01 am  Comments (8)  

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Thanks for the jump rope suggestions. I never thought about Toys R Us – maybe because all the ones around here closed. And the sports stores only carry equipment in the five figures and up. I don’t want to order it online, because I need to see how it feels before I buy it.

I’ll probably get it on my next out of town trip. Where the local stores actually carry what people need, not just try to get as many high-end buys as possible out of people.

Oh, and don’t worry about the cats – I won’t use it inside, at least while I’m still living in the apartment. I’m not THAT bad a neighbor! 😉 I’ll take it outside for use.

Tori and Brandy, the new owners don’t give a flying f—k about the law. They’ve made it very clear. They’ve made it so clear that their antics made the front page of the local newspaper this week.

I was about as creative as wilted lettuce yesterday. I just could not get it together, after the frustrations of the ballet site and the errands – don’t ask, not worth the rant. On a psychic level, I was smashed by whatever the esoteric equivalent is of a Mac truck by noon.

So I battled Tracking Medusa revisions. Revising chapters 6-8 nearly killed me. I have spent A LOT of time in Northumberland – Berwick-on-Tweed, Alnwick, Alnmouth-by-Sea, and, especially, Lindisfarne. I have taken, literally, hundreds of pictures. I probably have almost every inch of Holy Island on film.

None of which I can get at now, when I need it.

Thank goodness for the internet. I managed to find some maps and photographs. I found a disk where I’d scanned some of my photos for a travel article I did several years ago. I had to email English Heritage about the St. Aidan statue, which I remember standing at a crossroads, but which looks now in photographs like it’s in the Priory property. I had to look at the geography of St. Mary’s Parish in context with the Priory, and the kilns – I don’t think I ever photographed the inside of the kilns, but a major sequence takes place there. I’ve walked every inch of that island for days, and I still feel the geography, as I wrote it, is shaky. I feel as though I need to walk it with this book in mind for it to make sense, but I’m counting on research to at least make it plausible enough so it doesn’t make any reader roll his or her eyes.

Torture.

Especially since I know I have the information I need . . . .in storage.

Boxes of it.

I can’t wait until I’m in my house, with my office set up, and all my files and photographs where I can actually get at them when I need them.

And the next time I go back to Lindisfarne, I will re-photograph every inch of it digitally.

The good part is that the sequence with the ghost dog outside the Priory and the sequence in the kilns work much better, so I guess it was worth it!

I also worked on Chapters 9, 10, and 11. I added a bit more description to them walking around Edinburgh, while making sure it didn’t sound like a walking trail tour. The first scene in The Last Drop was pretty good, but I needed to deepen the second scene, when they meet Edward (the vampire) there, and the scene on Candlemaker Road near the fence to the Greyfriars’ graveyard where Edward gets rid of their attackers.

Wanted to keep going, but now I’m getting to a section that needs massive re-structuring, and I have to get out the calculator and figured out how old certain characters were in relation to the original discovery and which generation was responsible for which incidents in the backstory. Pain in the a–, but necessary.

I’m still not happy with the section on Lindisfarne, and, of course, since this is the Most Depressing Day of the Year according to PsychoBabblogists, I spent a good deal worrying, “What if this sucks?”

But it doesn’t, although plenty can be improved, and I’m on a deadline, so Suck It Up (no vampire puns intended) and Get It Done!!!

Good morning’s work on Wyatt, although it’s unfolding more slowly than I expected. But then, each piece has its own innate rhythm, and I have to respect it. Wyatt himself is more thorough, cautious, and precise than Jain, so it makes sense that a story told from his POV would have that sort of pace.

Good weight training session last night. Let’s hope I can maintain the progress.

Devon

Tracking Medusa
Revision – 34,099 words out of est. 90,000 (37.8%)

Wyatt – 7,442 words out of est. 20,000 (37.2%)

Published in: on January 22, 2008 at 9:21 am  Comments (5)  

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Martin Luther King Day
Sunny and cold

Let us take time today to remember that each of us is personally responsible for turning Martin Luther King’s dream into a reality.

I was looking at job listings yesterday on a site that carries high-paying jobs. One, located not to far from me, made me burst out laughing. It’s a job writing reports on how the company can write better reports. Is that a waste of everybody’s time or what? I’m not applying for it because the temptation to write smart-ass reports on the reports would be too much for me. I couldn’t keep a straight face, much less a diplomatic pen.

I found a couple of interesting-sounding jobs and will put together proposal packages. They require more thought than the regular pitch w/samples – their needs are more intricate, and I need to figure out a unique position for myself in each. Should I land any of them, even on an intermittent basis, the money would be great, and I think the work would be both interesting and challenging. In any case, I’m opening more contacts, and, if I follow up properly, work will come along in the next few months. One job is in MA,. one in VT, and one in RI, so it would be interesting.

I turn on the HP and there’s a message from the company, wanting me to agree to participate in a program where some office overseas monitors my printer use. I don’t think so. “Decline”. If I could have given them the virtual finger, I would have. If they want me to fill out a survey, that’s one thing – but to hook into my computer/printer and MONITOR my use? No way! Especially if they’re not giving me something like 600 free ink tanks!

Yes, I had to put in a new ink tank AGAIN.

Had a quiet day in the cold. For once, the building kept on the heat all day; usually, they shut it off between 9 AM – 4 PM because “no one’s home then.” In other words, children, the elderly, and anyone who might work at home doesn’t matter. They even kept the heat on overnight. Will wonders never cease? The state must have threatened them with a fine.

Finished the manuscript I had to critique for a colleague. It’s really quite wonderful, extraordinary, and unique. I hope it finds a home SOON – it’s terrific. I caught a few inconsistencies, and there are a few places where I think it might receive criticism, but I think the author should hold his ground. What a joy to read something that good!

Read the very first of Donna Leon’s mysteries set in Venice. I love them – the writing’s wonderful, the atmosphere is great, and they always surprise me. They’re also always eating and drinking, which means I’m starving when I read them! 😉

I’m currently annoyed at the NYC Ballet. Tickets for a dress rehearsal were offered starting at 9 AM. I put in my request for the 31st and cannot get a confirmation – all I get are site errors. In other words, the site can’t handle the traffic. So I blew my morning writing – because I got on the site BEFORE I did my first words of the day – and can’t even get the frigging tickets. If your site can’t handle the traffic, don’t advertise in the NY TIMES! And then the site crashed completely, so forget it.

Tried to watch the Jane Austen thing last night, but they all whined too much, so I turned it off.

Okay, now that the ballet site crashed completely, maybe I can go back to work and get something done.

Erin, thanks for that lead. I’ll contact the mag today.

I started seeing some interesting connections in the third Gwen/Justin – patterns in the characters’ behaviour. I’m not going to plant flags over it, but it’ll be there, and it’ll be interesting to see how much people pick up on. Most readers, I find, pick up on quite a bit, sometimes even more than the writer realized was going on during the writing process.

It’s a holiday for many, but I need to get going. I’ve got to go out into the cold today to Staples (AGAIN) – I’m out of paper and need more binders and another crate. And I might bake a chocolate sour cream cake.

But first – to write.

Devon

Published in: on January 21, 2008 at 9:39 am  Comments (11)