A Word on Interviews, as I’m Running Out the Door . . .

Talked to an acquaintance of mine, a freelance writer, who’s really bummed about the lack of response on a bunch of interview requests sent out. I told her to just shrug it off. I send out a few interview requests a month to people who are better known than I am. They’re pretty straight-forward – I want to interview you, this is why, this is what, here are my credentials, this is why I think it would work, this is the time frame, let me know. Some say yes, some say no, and it’s up to them.

Sometimes it’s because someone is busy or overwhelmed or doesn’t want to discuss the topic, or even because the person doesn’t think being interviewed in the publication I work for is “important” enough or that I’m important enough to take the time. That’s fine. We all have way too many demands on us, and we all have to prioritize. What’s important to me, exciting to me, may be too much for someone else, or even someone else right now. I’ve had people contact me as much as two years after my original request, asking if I still want to do it, and we take it from there. Sometimes, I can’t do it for the original publication, but then we discuss the possibilities of a different one. We know the work of the person we want to interview; they know us only from the letter or the clips. It’s not personal because we don’t know each other. Sure, sometimes you get a really nasty response – usually from the potential interviewee’s handlers. Just shrug it off and move on.

I love interviewing people because I’m genuinely interested in them and their work, but it’s not my be-all and end all. And, as someone who’s been interviewed quite often, nothing is worse than an unprepared interviewer. I just sent out a couple of requests recently where I had to say something along the lines of, “look, I’m early in the research. I need a few weeks to be well prepared and ask interesting questions, so any time that’s good for you in the next few months is fine.” And then I go ahead and do the research, so I’m prepared. If it’s a yes, great – I can shoot off the questions. If it’s a no – well, I’ve got a batch of research done and maybe I’ll write an essay or a critique or fold it into some other type of article.

The great thing about being a writer is that nothing is ever wasted. EVERYTHING comes in useful somewhere down the line.

Devon

Advertisements
Published in: on March 31, 2008 at 12:06 pm  Comments (4)  

Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Warm and rainy

The third of my three-part series on writing and research is up on Mystic Lit. Stop on by! And thanks so much to Billie Hinton for inviting me to guest blog.

Ann and Stacia, I’m working with a realtor in the area I plan to relocate, which is nowhere NEAR here, but in another state. It takes anywhere from 4-6 hours to get up there, so I have to look at possibilities online and when I go up, I have to physically look at places in bulk. I can’t just hop out to look at a place on my lunch hour. There’s not a realtor in 100 miles I’d trust – they don’t even tell the truth about the flood plain we live on. On top of that, the biggest realtor in this area was in league with the first set of evil developers, trying to help everyone get kicked out of the building. I wouldn’t give them a penny of commission, and I can’t wait until the Karma Dogs show up to extract their revenge. I’ll probably have dead realtors in quite a bit of fiction over the next few years!

I don’t want to move twice – I want to find the place I plan to live in for the next X amount of years, and then I’m moving once and STAYING. Unfortunately, if I can’t leave the premises to house hunt, it doesn’t matter if I’m working with sixty realtors – until I can actually get a chunk of time where I can be away from here without worrying about the next volley the scumbags throw at us, I can’t get anything done. We are under siege here, and I’m trying to pull off a major relocation while still holding the fort on the home front. It’s taking more time than I’d like – but I also don’t want to just move into the first available place. It has to be MY HOME. I’m not going to buy it sight unseen, and certainly not vibe unfelt. I don’t want to do an interim move and then another move in six months to a year. There’s way too much going on in too many areas of my life for that to work.

I can’t believe Script Frenzy is starting tomorrow! I made the difficult decision not to mentor this time around. For National Novel Writing Month, I “adopt” first years and send out encouraging messages with writing tips every day, as well answering individual questions. I mentored thirty-six writers last November. This year, there are three friends doing Script Frenzy – two other full-time writer friends and another friend in the UK who also did Nano – and I think the four of us in a “Circle of Encouragement” towards each other is going to work better. If I do Nano again in fall, I’ll probably mentor, although I’m going to change a few things this year. But this April – I’d be doing all of us a disservice. The home-and-hearth stuff needs too much attention.

My goal is 5 pages per day, which will easily get me to the 120 page limit by the end of the month. However, I usually work in beats and scenes, so we’ll see what happens. Tonight, I’ll go over my outline again, so I’ll be ready in the morning.

I have to repack my writing bag because I can’t even lift it. Which makes no sense, since my flash drive is smaller than my lipstick. So, I’ll take it all out and start over . . .

My onsite assignment was cancelled, so I’ll make another trip to storage, but the rest of the day is dedicated to the essay and the fairy tale. I gained a writing day! Woo-hoo!

Better go and make good use of it, right? 😉

Oh, crap, there go the table saws. Time to turn up the B-52s . . .

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 March 31, 2008 at 8:08 am  Comments (5)  

Additional Post, because my mind is racing in circles and I’m procrastinating instead of writing . . .

I’m disturbed by all the sniping and snarky comments directed towards the big book deal Christian Lander received from Random House based on his blog. Why can’t we be happy for him? One of us landed a good deal – that’s cause for celebration, not snide comments!

Jeannette Winterston’s newest novel, The Stone Gods, sounds both terrifying and wonderful, so it’s going on my “must read” list.

Got a load of stuff to storage in the morning. Had a close encounter of the Pigeon kind in the Stop and Shop parking lot on the way back. He was sunning himself and wouldn’t move. I honked the horn, I rolled the window down and yelled at him – nothing. So I very carefully parked next to him (the lot was full, my options limited), which meant I took up one and a half parking spots. I’m not a big bird fan, except for owls, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to run over a pigeon. And then in the store, the song “Walking on Sunshine” came on, and this guy next to me and I looked at each other and broke into an impromptu dance routine because, yes, we’re both that weird.

Can you tell I REALLY need a vacation? 😉

I’m packing my writing bag for the trip at the end of the week. I’m going to take the thriller (working title Modern Creation Myths), the teleplay for Script Frenzy (as yet untitled), and maybe Earth Bride, because that needs to be finished. I’ve got to say, I love the flash drive! I’m trying to decide if I want to take Assumption of Right down to start the edits, but I’m not sure. Book-wise, I’ll take two of Sharon Shinn’s novels, and, if I read them both, well, there are bookstores in Philadelphia, and some of them are only a few blocks from where I’m staying. Confidential Job #1 will probably send my next assignment before I leave, so I’ll take that down, too. Hopefully, Old-Fashioned Detective Work will be done, and I’ll be in edits, but that’s only around 30K, so it’s not a big edit job. Assumption, on the other hand, is a genre out of my comfort zone and I have a feeling it is a big, fat mess! Hopefully, it’s a salvageable one.

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t hire movers to haul all this stuff to storage: cost. When I costed it out and got several quotes, hauling 1/3 of the apartment to storage (which is what needs to be moved to clear the workspace for the windows) costs 2/3 of what it will cost to move everything out here AND my two units in NYC out of state. Plus, I need to pack and haul, pack and haul, pack and haul because there’s no room to pack and stack until a move. I’m finally seeing some progress – I concentrated on just one area, rather than doing everything partially and not seeing any progress. The living room’s almost done, the bedroom will be next, the kitchen last. Most of the kitchen stuff will just be moved to another area of the apartment; very little is going to storage.

I decided I’m ordering two copies of the DVD of A Dog’s Breakfast. One is for me. The other, I’m taking to the argumentative video rental place and telling them to put it in circulation.

I did have an “aha” moment with Tracking Medusa – it’ll continue out under the “Devon Ellington” name, not the “Ava Dunne” – it’s not light enough for that one. If anyone who’s currently looking at it wants it, I can always change the name in the contract. But it’s definitely in the Devon Ellington voice.

Devon

Published in: on March 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm  Comments (3)  

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

“Racing Ink”, the results of yesterday’s picks, is towards the end of this post.

Not much on the writing front today; mostly home-and-hearth kerflamma. A few writing bits sprinkled in, but if you’re here to read about writing process – not much was processing today. Sorry.

My apartment looks like a bookstore after an earthquake. I mean it. I even got three carloads of stuff into storage yesterday, and I’m not seeing a whole lot of headway here. Other than putting books into stacks so that when I get my hands on more book boxes, I can pack by project and actually get at them.

The kitchen altar and main altar area packed, the crystals and prayer flags and all that stuff are packed. That makes me feel very exposed. Oh, horrors, I have to count on my own energy and not external symbols, imagine that. I can hear my friend Gayle right now, “Buck up, bunny!” Okay, okay, I’m bucking up. Plus, it’s not going into storage, jut stacked on top of bookcases away from the windows so I can put it all back as soon as the new windows are in.

So, I’m looking for this DVD of a movie called A Dog’s Breakfast I figured I’d have to order it, but hoped maybe it would be at one of the video stores around here, so on my return trips from the forays to storage, I investigated places in Westchester where one can purchase DVDs. Not such a good selection. At one place, the guy was arguing with me that he’d order it for me if I agreed to purchase a membership and rent it. I said, no, I need to BUY it. He wanted to know why I’d buy a DVD. Not that it was any of his business but: A) I want to support someone whose work I like and respect, so dammit, I’m buying the effing DVD (sort of like buying my friends’ books as they come out in hardcover instead of waiting for the paperback), and B) I know I’m going to have to watch it multiple times for research. A return date is not going to work. I reminded this guy, hello, I’m the CUSTOMER, you’re supposed to SERVE me, not ARGUE with me.

Struggled to get some writing done in the evening; kept getting distracted by research. And pleased because this time next week, I am working onsite, out of town, for a few days, and I can’t wait to get away from the stress for even a short time. I’m putting as many safety mechanisms in place before I go as possible. I’m seriously thinking about using the time to go to ground and just write, read, do yoga, do the work that’s paying me to go out of town and onsite, and not deal with human beings any more than absolutely necessary.

I visited a friend, kind of sprawling on the couch for awhile, and he’s giving me a hard time – in fun, but still a hard time – about something, and I finally said, “If I had the energy, I’d get up and kick your ass”, to which he responded, “Why do you think I picked now to bust your chops about this?” And he wonders why I won’t date him! 😉

I felt I made progress in a different situation with a different person today, when, instead of reacting to something that provoked me, I realized, hey, that’s not this person’s problem, it’s MY problem, and it doesn’t have to be a big deal if I don’t let it. Not only that, if I wasn’t under so much house-and-home stress, it’s not something that would normally bother me. So I let it go, and avoided what could have blown into unnecessary drama. Pick the battle, know when to hold the line or give ground, don’t be a doormat, but don’t look for trouble, either. Because there are just times it’s better to keep one’s mouth shut. This was one of them.

I got a bit of work done on the erotic fairy tale – not easy when I, personally, feel about as sexy as wilted lettuce, and I’m at a point of fatigue where it’s hard to throw the switch into the genre part of my writing brain. I’m sure there are many erotic possibilities in wilted lettuce, but right now, I really don’t want to hear about them. Good thing the men in my life are out of town this week – I’m not a fun date!

I had a few moments of panic when I realized the research books I need for the next two Gwen/Justin adventures (The Balthazaar Treasure and Sandoval’s Secret) went to storage, but they’re in the box marked “priority books”, so they’ll come back the day after the windows go in. I kept telling myself, it’s only for a few weeks, and if I need them THAT badly before, I can open the box and bring them back early. It’s not like the storage units in the city, where I can’t actually GET at anything. In case you’re wondering why I haven’t talked about Tracking Medusa lately, that’s because it’s out in the world, and once I have a signed contract, there will be something to say.

Oh, someone asked what the price was for the new windows – our sanity, of course! What we NEED is flood mitigation. What the scumbags are doing is putting in a few cosmetic touches (and handling them in a way to guarantee the most disruption in our lives as possible) – so that they can flip the building. They have no intention of being around long enough to pay up when the wheels of justice roll in our favor (and they will).

I hope I can resume the house hunting soon. Brandy’s right: I am frustrated; I am angry; I’ve been living under siege for three years, and I’m sick of it. What they want is for us to be scared; I won’t give them that. I’m angry, and I’ll use that anger as a weapon. If it was as simple as renting a truck, packing up and taking off, that’s what I’d do. Unfortunately, this time around, it’s more complicated.

Today’s agenda: more packing and hauling stuff to storage; work on the essay and on the erotic fairy tale. Maybe, just maybe, finish the outline for the piece that has to be started April 1.

My grandmother’s worse again, so somewhere in all of this, I have to figure out a time to get to Maine.

Here’s some Racing Ink:
Eva Maria let me down in Race 2—she came in 5th. But that was nowhere near as disappointing as Moon Catcher in the 5th race, who came in last. Made me glad I tossed some money at Baroness Thatcher just because of Johnny V—they came in 2nd, that’s what I wanted, good for us.

Highest Class came in third and Backseat Rhythm came in fourth in the Bonnie Miss S, so that was also a disappointment.

However, I more than made up for all of it in the Florida Derby. In the post parade, I reshuffled my deck. I liked BB Frank, didn’t think he had it in him today – out. I was on the fence with Face the Cat, in spite of Johnny, so – out. I tossed Fierce Wind, much to the dismay of several colleagues. I liked Elysium Fields and wanted to see Majestic Warrior do well, so I waved some show money at them. That didn’t work so well – Elysium Fields came in second to last, which makes me thinks there’s an injury, and Majestic Warrior was a disappointing sixth.

BUT – Big Brown looked great in the paddock, so I tossed money at him. I got worried in the post parade, because I was afraid he used himself up, but wow! With a great break from the gate, he took control of the race, and never let go. I feared he’d wear down, especially since he did the first quarter in 22 seconds and change, but no – this big brown boy won by 4 ½ lengths. Very impressive.

He’s not yet my top pick for the Derby – he tends towards foot problems, and Churchill’s track is less forgiving than Gulfstream’s. (But then, Point Given also had foot problems, and he was a fantastic horse). War Pass, Pyro, and Georgie Boy still top my list. But he’s worth another look. We’ll see how he comes out of this – and he is 3 for 3.

Arkansas Derby is April 12 – it’ll be interesting to see which, if any horses in that have an impact on the Derby.

I caught up pretty well today for someone who hasn’t been paying attention since November! 😉

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:

Florida Derby — woo-hoo!

I DID fall in love with Big Brown in the post-parade; I did bet on him at the last minute — and WOW — what a awin!

I still have War Pass, Pyro, and Georgie Boy up there as horses to watch for the Derby, but Big Brown’s now in there, too!

Yee-hah!

Kent — great job on that horse!!!

Published in: on March 29, 2008 at 4:51 pm  Comments (1)  

Florida Derby Day Quick Picks

The regular writing-related “Ink” post is under this one.   If you don’t play the ponies, keep scrolling down.

Okay, I did a quick skim of the day’s race card at Gulfstream, and let’s see how I do here:

Race 2 — I’m going with Eva Maria not because I know anything about the horse, but because that’s my mom’s name. Nothing like a professional reason to bet a horse!

Race 5 — The Shirley Jones: Moon Catcher is my top choice. I might toss in Baroness Thatcher because Johnny V.’s the jockey.

Race 9 — Bonnie Miss S: Backseat Rhythm (yes, I went there, too) and Highest Class (again, because JV’s the pilot). Probably bet ’em separately and then do a boxed exacta.

Race 10 — the Florida Derby — none of these horses are thrilling me. I’d like to take a look at Fierce Wind and Elysium Fields — the latter because Barclay Tagg’s the trainer. I hope Majestic Warrior’s got more in him than the odds show. JV is on Face the Cat, so I’ll look. Big Brown has low odds, but unless I fall in love at the paddock, I will pass. Amy Tarrant’s training BB Frank, and I’d like to see her barn get a Big Horse. Those are the ones I’m going to look at right before the race — I might not bet at all, but just sit back and see what they do.

Update on the races tomorrow.

(Hey, it was time to get back to track, right)?

Published in: on March 29, 2008 at 8:03 am  Comments (1)  

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I am a member of the tribe called Fucking Deal. That’s why I was able to sustain a solid career in production for all those years – a problem comes up backstage or on set, I deal. There’s more of a hierarchy on set (which is why I ended up as production manager/line producer on some indies – because I solve problems), whereas backstage, you have to be able to think on your feet or the show grinds to a halt, and that’s no good. It’s much better when the audience has no CLUE as to what just happened and how close they were to having to exchange tickets for another performance. I loathe people who don’t cope because I’m jealous and angry that they just get to throw up their hands and someone else has to clean up the mess – and I usually end up being one of the cleaners. But, the unfortunate truth is that that’s the way I’m wired. Which is why, in spite of the physical and psychological torture we’ve undergone in this three year siege, I’m still dug in and still standing. Someday, all of the material experienced and gathered during this will turn up in the fiction; right now, I’m simply trying to live through it and come out the other side reasonably intact.

Brenda, thanks for the tip on St. Anthony. I hadn’t thought about saint-aid, although probably St. Jude (patron saint of lost causes) might be worth a nod! My favorite, though, is the New Orleanian patron, St. Expedite, the patron saint of needing something to happen fast!

Two carloads of stuff to storage yesterday (had to pack ‘em before I could haul ‘em).

Did another revision on the sci-fi horror western – it’s under 15K now, and it reads well. I’m happy with it.

Cleaned up a treatment for a friend who’s trying to sell a teleplay. If the agent sells the story idea and the person actually gets to write the first pass, I may go on as co-writer, or at least brush up the dialogue, since I know the characters’ cadences pretty well and I’m better at keeping them consistent. We’ll see. If it sells, I’m happy to come in, do some work, collect the check and see what happens. I don’t really care if my name is on it or not, as long as the price is right. If it doesn’t sell, I got to exercise those muscles again and will just move on to the next thing.

(Yes, Imp, I see you from here, making the smoke-ring gesture)! I really am getting that blasé about some of the aspects of the biz. It’s not real until the contract’s signed and the first check clears.

Polished and sent the assignment to Confidential Job #1. Not happy with my work this time around, but, at an assignment every two weeks, I’m not always going to be brilliant. As long as my editor’s happy, I will deal.

Three different types of drilling going on all around me yesterday. Absolutely horrible. 14 trips up and down the stairs hauling boxes was almost a relief, to get away from the noise. But I’m sore. I’m not doing any weight training on top of all the box lifting.

Worked on some research for upcoming interviews. Found a lead on an interview I hadn’t thought of until I came across this piece of information, but if I could land it – it would be one of the most interesting to do, and I think it would be a great one for the readers. It means a lot of research done quickly, but I should be able to pull it off in the next few weeks, and come up with some questions that I hope are as interesting for the interviewee as for the reader.

Did a final polish on the sci-fi horror western – found a few typos, some of which I know I corrected at least three previous times, and they did not hold in the document, which gets on my last nerve. But it’s done, polished until it gleams, has a good cover letter, and it’s out. Oh, yeah, and it has a title: The Annym Roosteyr’s Return. “Annym Roosteyr” is my mangled Manx version of a soul dispatcher, who sends the souls to judgment after death. Eidolinn Sheekagh is my Annym Roosteyr, Riker Cain my detective, and their world is full of Freak Pretties, skin eaters, and crooked politicians. This draft feels right. I could tweak forever, but it’s good enough to send. And it comes in at 14,908 words – just under the limit.

So tired, I was ready to fall over by 10:30. So I did.

Today’s agenda: Work on the erotic fairy tale that’s due Monday, work on the essay due Tuesday, and get two more carloads of stuff into storage.

I’m eager to get back to the thriller, polish the teleplay, and finish Old-Fashioned Detective Work, but the contracted, deadlined work must come first.

I know I’ve gone over 75K for the March 50K word challenge, but I don’t have a complete word count. Oh, well. The fact that I could count combined projects put me over the top (and writing a one hour teleplay, working on the thriller, which I didn’t expect to do, and finishing the sci-fi horror western – yeah, that had something to do with it).

Off to load the car for the first trip to storage. I packed more boxes last night before I went to bed. The sad thing is that I’ve barely made a dent. Sigh.

And I so have to catch up on the prep races for the Kentucky Derby. The race isn’t that far away, I haven’t been paying attention since Breeders’ Cup, and, of course, I’m covering the Triple Crown again. This will be my eighth consecutive year.

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 March 29, 2008 at 7:38 am  Comments (1)  

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008
Waning moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Somewhere in the chaos, I’ve lost my house keys. Yes, I realize the psychological implications of that, in the current landlord/tenant chaos. But I’m not usually a person who misplaces keys. Thank goodness the car keys, the job keys, and the new storage unit key aren’t on that ring. Or I’d be more screwed than I am now. I’m using the spare set, but still . . .I need the regular keys, eventually. Psychologically, it makes perfect sense, to lose the keys to this place. I mean, come on: This Freudian slip reaches all the way to my ankles!

Got out of work early in CT; got another carload of stuff to storage. Everything aches and I’m exhausted.

I’d cry, but I’m too tired.

The sad truth is that there won’t be any break from the stress and the things I have to deal with until I move. And right now, my hands are tied regarding moving, because when I try to gear up, another building hassle comes that has to be handled in the short term, so it’s a downward spiral that I haven’t been able to break out of it. I will, but it’s taking longer and the price is much higher, in every sense of the word, than I would like.

I did get to finish my friend’s manuscript, type up the notes and send them to him, which was good. I enjoyed it very much — he handles some very difficult material, and handles it well. I was honored to be one of his Trusted Readers.

I did another draft of the sci-fi horror western. This one comes in at 15,094 words, so I only have a bit more to cut. And I’m happy with it. Now, it feels good.

I have to polish and send the assignment for Confidential Job #1, do another draft of the sci-fi horror western, do more work on the essay and on the fairy tale (both due in the next few days. And get two more carloads of stuff into storage.

So I better get moving. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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 March 28, 2008 at 6:52 am  Comments (5)  

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and warm

Well, I got a lot done, but it wasn’t necessarily what I hoped.

Got the car inspected – found a great new mechanic, very nice, reasonably priced, quick. Yay. I paid one third of what I usually pay around here for the inspection, stickers, etc. Got depressed in the bookstore because the stuff they’re pushing on the dumps and facing out on the shelves is not the stuff I read OR write. A trend starts, and suddenly, it’s overkill. There’s not enough variety. Everything has to fit a box quote. And some of the books I looked at and put back are probably really good – but they didn’t grab me in the ten seconds they had to get me because it was all “focus-speak” buzzwords that totally turned me off.

So I didn’t buy anything. I didn’t get the great recommendations in yesterday’s comments until I got back.

Found a family-run storage place in the next town; rented a space for a few months so I can shovel out some stuff from here in preparation for the new windows being forced on us. Yep, we’re supposed to be excited that they’re ripping out our windows, leaving gaping holes, and smacking in new ones, and we’re supposed to move everything five feet back from the windows. And put it where? These are NY-sized apartments, not much more than shoebox sized. And who’s providing the tarps and the plastic for the rest of the apartment so things aren’t swept out by wind? The higher you get, the more wind velocity. Granted, I’m only on the third floor, but all you need is a good gust of wind and a room full of manuscripts . . .And they’re barely giving us any notice – I don’t think so. I’m working out of town at the end of next week and guess what? They don’t get to come in here while I’m gone. Someone’s got to keep track of the cats if there are gaping holes in the apartment for hours at a time.

Got the first carload of stuff into storage. Pain in the ass getting it down three flights of stairs (no elevators) and climbing over the construction guys. But hey, one of them is a cute and friendly Irish guy, so I may have to do some fraternizing with the enemy.

The window guys are working much faster than expected, though, so it looks like once they get in, they’re in and out quickly and efficiently. But they did not give us enough notice, and they’re just going to have to wait until I’m ready.

Packed a carload’s worth of boxes at night instead of working out. I guess it counts as weight lifting, right?

I’ve developed a twitch in my left eyelid from the stress, which totally sucks, but I’m hoping lavender and chamomile compress tonight, when I get home, will take care of it.

My paper and ink arrived, so I could print out the rest of my friend’s manuscript, and now I can finish reading and commenting on it.

I caffeinated myself to the hilt at 11 PM last night, turned up Pat Benatar, B-52s, Elvendrums, Texas, Tubthumper, and even some Madonna to dig in and get that draft of the sci-fi horror western done. If I’d continued much longer, I’d have had to move into death metal. The more tired I get, the harsher the music to drive me. Upped the Ick Factor on it one of the chapters, too. Tubthumper’s “Creepy Crawling” was especially appropriate.

I finished it just before 2 AM.

I have to cut at least 351 words; problem is, second draft is usually longer than the first. So I have to do at least two more drafts in the next couple of days.

I’ll get there.

And I think I might revisit this world. I think Eidolinn the Soul Dispatcher and Riker Cain, detective, have a few more adventures in store for them.

Unfortunately, this one needs to be 351 words shorter.

I’m working onsite today in CT, so I won’t be online much.

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 March 27, 2008 at 7:01 am  Comments (4)  

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

A DAY, let me tell you . . .

Found out the publisher for the time travel novella thingy is shutting down, so one less deadline to worry about. I’ll probably still write it sometime, but at least I don’t have to do it right now.

Sent a few pages of the teleplay for my portfolio to an old contact from the days when I was active in that area; he loved it, said I should expand it to a two-parter, not a one episode stand-alone, because I was trying to cover too much ground in 47 minutes (which is how much script time a one hour show gets), and there was enough to make the core cast of the show shine and still have the guest roles really strong and complex. So I’m going to keep working on it. Reworked all of part one, and now have to figure out the top of part two, change a few things, and then get back on track for the rest of the material.

Sent a few pages of the sci-fi horror western to a friend who loves the sci-fi horror genre. He was totally grossed out, in the best possible way, by my world of Freak Pretties and Skin Eaters, so I’m on the right track. Hey, I get squeamish writing it; good thing the reader gets squeamish, that’s the point. I got a good chunk of it done, and I can smell the end.

Someone asked me, a few days ago, via email, why I’m veering so much into the science fiction/fantasy realm with writing, reading, viewing, etc. Well, there are several reasons for it, and I think it’s an interesting question.

Currently, I think some of our best social commentary is being done in that genre. There’s a lot of material that has social, historical, and political relevance that falls under the sci-fi/fantasy genre, and there always has been. We spent a few years in the Femmebot phase, but we seem to be moving out of it into territory where gender, equality, and intelligence are factors in the storytelling, which I happen to think is a good thing. If you look in film and television work lately, where are the strong female characters? Not a whole lot out there in feature film land. Helen Mirren and Cate Blanchett are doing pretty well, but there’s not much left for anyone else. In fact, one of the trades ran an article a few weeks ago about how movies with female leads aren’t being green-lighted because they don’t make enough money. There’s more room for genuinely strong, complex female (and male) characters in television, especially in science fiction and fantasy: Rachel Luttrell’s Teyla in Stargate Atlantis immediately comes to mind –in fact, most of the core female characters in that show are smart, resourceful, and interesting. I want to smack some of the guest stars upside the head sometimes, but that’s the way it goes in guest spots. Their purpose is to make the core leads look better, which is a point I could debate for days, preferring to see the guest stars be genuine sparring partners with the core, but that’s a tangent. The “Sanctuary” episode of Stargate Atlantis is one of those – good concept, lousy execution; I was yelling at the screen at some of the bad writing – and usually, that show’s writing is pretty good. Battlestar Galactica is reputed to have strong, intelligent characters on it – especially the re-imagining of the character of Starbuck. I haven’t watched the show, only clips, but what I’ve seen looks fairly good, and several people whose opinions I respect say BG is one of the best dramas on TV.

Far too often, “strong” female characters are portrayed as simply wearing tight clothes and behaving exactly as men, or trying to out-tough the boys, and there is so much more to being a strong woman than that. And, very often, if the female characters are out-manning the men, the male characters get shortchanged, too. Can it happen in sci-fi? All the time. Doom immediately comes to mind, and some of the sillier Saturday night at 9 PM crap movies that are on Sci-Fi Channel. And a lot of the derivative sci-fi fantasy that’s published quickly and sinks because it’s not memorable or different. But there’s also a lot of ground-breaking character work and many interesting characters being created for both men and women, along with interesting social and political commentary that’s especially relevant right now.

I know Desperate Housewives gets high ratings and the leads are female, but none of them are women I want to spend time with (which is why I don’t watch the show). There are some interesting female characters in Lost (which is on the speculative fiction line), but even a lot of them are constantly shuffled back and forth between the Whore and Madonna categories, which is rather limiting. Lipstick Jungle? Sex in the City? Most of the New York women I know don’t have the time to be that shallow. They’re working too hard trying to make a living and survive in New York. Now, those shows are genuinely fantasy and definitely fiction, but there’s not much science involved OR realistic portrayals of, well, anyone. Boomtown matched the men and women well, but didn’t last long, unfortunately. I still think it’s one of the best shows that’s ever been on television. And, much as I love a lot of the issues dealt with in Rescue Me, I hate the way most of the women are portrayed. They’re not strong; they’re shrill, manipulative, and crazy.

I also think that a lot of what early science fiction writers projected has come to pass, and it’s time for the next wave of futurists to rise. The future looks pretty grim to me right now. If you look at the projected trajectory of the planet – well, we’re going to look like Mars in a few hundred years. Earlier, if the dumbasses keep putting Republicans into office. Life as we know it will cease to exist. Yes, new life forms will probably evolve, but the transition is really going to suck for whomever/whatever’s left. I’m sure the dinosaurs didn’t have much fun dying out, either.

I mentioned, a few weeks ago, that my dad was a scientist, chemist, specifically. He wanted me to be a nuclear physicist, because he felt someone with some common sense should be working in the field (and he believed, rightly or wrongly, that I have some common sense), and not just people who got so buried in the science they forgot about the reality and contexts in which that science is used or abused.

Needless to say, I didn’t become a scientist. I’m in the arts, have been all my life. But now that I’m doing the science research to make the thriller make sense, so that the theories behind some of the entertainment I’m watching can be addressed in future articles, and simply to explore some of my own ideas. . ..I’m finding the science comes very easily. Not only that, the reading I’m doing is giving me a lot of “What if . . .?”, which to me is the basis of imaginative writing, and sets me off on new roads. And I’m as shocked as anyone.

I’m spending more time writing, reading, and viewing in the genre because I think there’s more genuinely imaginative and creative work going on in it than in most other areas right now.

I mean, come on: I’ve had to read ARCs, over the last few months, for NINE different books by different authors of both genders that are coming out this summer. All of them are based on the theme, “My life is a mess because I had a crazy mother” and not one of them is, in my opinion, compelling. I sure wouldn’t plunk down $15-26 dollars for any of them. Once in awhile, there’s a clever paragraph or two, but, for the most part, it’s 200+ pages of self-indulgent excuses and I simply don’t care.

But then I pick up something by Sharon Shinn or Terry Pratchett, and I’m completely transported. I can’t put it down. Theme, character, story, plot, imagination – they refract our world through their worlds and make me look at what’s around me in a new exciting way and really make me THINK.

So that’s my opinion on the current state of the genre.

Oh, yeah, and I’m researching shows like Stargate Atlantis, SG1, BG, etc. for series of articles. Hey, if I’m putting in the time, there should be a pay-off, right?

Thank goodness for Pat Benatar. Crank her music high enough and SOME of the drills can’t get through!!! She’s one of my favorites anyway. Pat Benatar, Joan Jett – give me the women of Rock any day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love jazz. blues, Celtic, alternative, Nordic – tons of different music.

But there’s nothing like good rock and roll.

And if you like a great bass line – listen to “Beliefs” on the CD Mother’s Heaven by the Scottish band Texas. Fantastic!

I usually don’t write to rock and roll – I need music without vocals – but with all the noise and chaos, I am putting on the anthems of my favorite ladies (and Springsteen – he ALWAYS works) and letting it rip. And then, of course, there are the B-52s, who can overcome almost anything.

Because yesterday, they were using SLEDGEHAMMERS in the hallway. Now, the hallway has walls, doors, and stairs. Why do you need a sledgehammer to do a renovation? They’re supposed to be PAINTING. Oh, and nail-gunning who-knows-what and who-knows-why into the concrete floors, so it sounds like gunshots every minute and a half. Yeah, it’s fun.

‘Cause I’m such a delicate flower. Don’t all die laughing now. 😉

However, I still think I need to try a few days of writing all night. And I don’t mean an hour or two. I’m talking about sitting down at the desk at 10 or 11 PM and writing through until 5 or 6 in the morning, and then maybe catching a couple hours’ of sleep before the building noise grows yet again unbearable.

Far too much time spent on building crap today. Again.

I still haven’t kicked this flu – I think the stress aggravates it. One of these days, I’ll feel better again, right? I’m not contagious or anything, so it might not even be a virus. It’s just ICK. I even had to ask for an extension on a deadline (which my editor was lovely and gave me) for one project.

Helped an elderly, injured neighbor whose phone was out and she couldn’t call to get it fixed because she had no phone. It took us 45 minutes to get through to a Verizon repair person. Ridiculous. But we got through. Because I am a stubborn bitch when necessary.

So, one of the reasons the MTA fare hike was granted was for the major capital improvements. When I go in to the city now to work a show, 25% of that day’s salary now goes to train fare, which is just ridiculous. And now the MTA says they’re canceling a lot of the promised projects due to lack of money. Right, because it’s going into pockets instead of projects, and I don’t mean the people on the rails doing the work! Hey, they break their promise, the fares should be rolled back.

I’m taking the car in for inspection and running some errands, then it’s back to the page. I want to get the sci-fi horror western draft done so I can let it sit for a day or two before edits, and then . . .off it goes. I’m so close I can taste it, but by 11 PM, I ached so much I had to stop typing. So the writing all night thing didn’t happen.

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 March 26, 2008 at 7:35 am  Comments (6)  

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I was completely out of sorts and with frayed nerves yesterday. It was a hard row to hoe to get anything done at all. I’m really going to have to figure out a way to sleep during the day, in spite of the chaos, and work at night, because I CANNOT concentrate with all the banging, whistling, scraping, drilling, dust, and all the rest.

How I think I’m going to sleep – not sure yet. Ear plugs don’t work, because there’s also the vibration of the equipment.

They’re still not giving us the information we need to actually coordinate with all this crap, and there is no end in sight, because they never actually FINISH anything.

At least they spent the day working on the boiler. It was dirty; it was noisy; but they did it.

In spite of everything, I got more polish on the teleplay and wrote a nice chunk of the sci-fi horror western. I’m even close to having a title. I’m headed back there now, to see how much I can get done before the chaos begins.

If my deliveries arrive early enough, I’ll take my car in for inspection today; otherwise, I’ll do it tomorrow morning.

Pitched for a couple of interesting jobs yesterday; let’s see if any of them respond. I think one of them wants someone with a far lower rate, but it’s a darned lot of work, and I’m value for money.

We’ll see if they think so.

If you didn’t read my guest blog yesterday on research in writing over at Mystic Lit, um, why not? Go there now! 😉

Devon

March Literary Challenge: 68,234 words out of 50,000

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 March 25, 2008 at 7:17 am  Comments (9)  

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Mystic Lit to read my second of three guest blog posts on research in one’s writing.

It’s pretty sad that, on Saturday, I was so sick and still more productive, writing-wise, than I’d been in about two weeks.

That’s how much the noise, stress, and construction vibration have set me off my game.

So much so, I noticed in the BCC to myself of an article I submitted, a really stupid mistake which will probably cost me the sale. It’s absolutely inexcusable. And I made the mistake anyway. And I’ll pay for it, I’m sure. I was so careful on the article, on the cover letter, and then there’s a typo in the subject line. Next! It will serve me right to be rejected for simply that. And I thought I’d been very careful. I could just kick myself around the block.

Heaven forbid we have a QUIET weekend when it comes to dealing with the landlord scumbags. I’m in the kitchen, making the devilled eggs to take to the dinner, when fire engines pull up and firemen start gearing up and running towards the building. I go to the hall, touch the door. It’s cool, so I open it (been in enough fires to know the protocol at this point). There’s an acrid smell in the hallway, and a fireman in the courtyard going, “We can’t get in.” Yeah, because we have no super on the premises (illegal under ETPA), no emergency numbers, the buzzers don’t work, nothing. So I grabbed my keys, ran down the stairs, let them in front and back so they could go to the basement. One of the other tenants who’s done a great deal of tenant advocacy also came down, so at least there were two of us, trying to help the firemen get where they need to go. It turned out to be a boiler problem, and, of course, there was no one to let them in the boiler room. They found an alternate way, without taking out the door (they should have, that’s what these guys deserve). So, the boiler’s shut down, and no one involved in building management is answering any of the phone messages left all over creation. No idea when we’ll have heat again, or even when anyone in management will pick up the messages that we had a serious situation here. Fortunately, the other guy kept after every phone number ever connected to the company until someone turned up and the heat was turned back on. On top of that, the smoke alarms were taken out for the renovations and not put back in again. Can you say, “Danger, Will Robinson?” And for this we pay rent. Ridiculous. I was scared as much as angry. We were lucky it wasn’t a serious fire –there would have been fatalities.

So much for the afternoon.

I used my discount card and ordered more ink and paper from Staples, so that should keep me going for the next few weeks. Ink tank wise, a few months – this Canon is super with the ink. Now, I need to find a place that gives discounts on binders. I print out my work on 3-hole punch paper and store it in binders – it’s easier for me to work from shelves than file boxes. Of course, I have the other paper to send out final hard copies, but for my own drafts and, of course, for scripts, the 3-hole punch paper is the way to go. Yeah, I know. Fascinating.

Still kind of feel like crap, but have to keep moving forward.

Dinner was lovely and fun. I ate cautiously, enjoyed myself, but was glad to be home. I must be feeling worse than I thought, because three hours out and I was wiped out.

Couldn’t concentrate on any work at night, so I’ll have to make up for it today – noise or no noise. I need to spit out at least 5K on one project, and 1K each on two others. Plus, I need to finish the work for Confidential Job #1, since it’s due tomorrow. And I’m not enjoying this one.

I did manage to do a polish on the teleplay. It’s much better, and almost there. Made some cuts, some adds, strengthened some of the scene work. Caught a few lapses in logic.

Oh, well. Suck it up and get it done. Then I can send the invoice.

Devon

March Literary Challenge: 66,433 words out of 50,000

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 March 24, 2008 at 8:20 am  Comments (6)  

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday, Mach 23, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold
Easter Sunday

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it! May you have a family-filled day of joy and renewed hope.

I’m feeling a little better. I have to get my act together because I’m invited to dinner tonight and can’t cancel. I’ll just eat, um, cautiously.

Slept until nearly 2:30 in the afternoon yesterday after a rough night. Once I got up, my head hurt terribly, but was also buzzing. Once I had a bit of soup, I sat down and wrote a spec one-hour teleplay for my portfolio, based on a current show. I wouldn’t actually sell this script – it’s a way for producers and show runners to see that I’m capable of coming up with fresh ideas while still being true to established characters. Besides, if you want to write for a specific show, you don’t send them a spec for that show – you send them a spec of a different, well-established show in the genre. Because the show runners/creators have already set the story bible for the season, and it’s not protocol. IE, if I wanted to write for Battlestar Galactica, I’d write a script for Stargate Atalntis, but if I wanted to write for Stargate Atlantis, I’d send them a sample of a Battlestar Galactica script. For years, in comedy, it was always, “write a Frasier script; a good one of those will get you in the door.”

I’m not even sure I want to go through any of those doors, but you have to exercise the muscles every so often, and I want to get my portfolio updated and ready, which means retiring some older samples and coming up with some new ones.

So I wrote the draft of the teleplay. Will polish it over the next few weeks, do some cuts. It runs a little long page-wise, but since my work tends to have a lot of quick dialogue that plays fast, I can run over page-wise. I’ll have it in my hip pocket if I need it.

And the idea was interfering in the other work I needed to get done.

Too bad Script Frenzy hasn’t started yet!

Couldn’t even read for most of the day, but I have to pull it together and finish the assignment for Confidential Job #1 – not enjoying this one at all.

On Friday, before I got sick, I finally started reading my friend’s manuscript. I planned to just read a bit, but, before I knew it, I’d completed 15 chapters! I’m enjoying it. He’s handling some difficult material in a truly unique way. But I do have to be pretty coherent, because I’m taking notes as I read, not just reading for enjoyment.

The construction guys weren’t working Friday or Saturday because of the holiday, and that was heaven.

Unfortunately, I have several HUGE deadlines to meet this week, and I’m far behind on all of them. So I have to get well, buckle down, and get it done.

I missed a call for a job next weekend, and therefore missed the job. I guess I should be upset, but hey, I was sick and not up to answering the phone. Such is life.

Have a lovely end to the weekend.

Devon

March Literary Challenge: 65,697 words out of 50,000.

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 March 23, 2008 at 8:55 am  Comments (6)