Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
Samhain/Halloween

I can’t believe it’s the end of October already! My goodness.

And tomorrow, Nano begins.

I may already give the boot to one of the N3s, who seemed to fit the criteria at the beginning, and suddenly is non-responsive. I sent a last-chance mail today – I’ve got a waiting list for slots, and if this one’s not going to meet the requirements of the group (write every day, don’t whine, and communicate), I’ve got a whole long waiting list of those who will. Next!

Hey, the kind of mentoring this group gets usually goes for $100/hour in this neck of the woods, and, considering how much time I devote to them gratis in November, they’re getting between $700-$1000/week worth of mentoring. So when I ask for a response on something, they can give it!

Yesterday was reasonably productive. I spent a lot of time working on the Helena Francis mystery outline. I think it’s in pretty decent shape. There were some huge holes when I started; I think I’ve come up with some solution. I do think, however, that I’ll end up cutting a good portion of the first draft and rewriting with more exciting scenes. But I need to set it all out chronologically, step-by-step, before I know where to tweak. The first two thirds and the end are pretty strong; it’s the part leading up to the end that needs work, and I hope it will strengthen as I keep working.

I completed the work for Confidential Job #1, and I posted some writing services ads on Craigslist – we’ll see how those work. Probably the silliest thing I could do is post ads going into Nano, but I’d like to pick up some quick turnaround, decently paying assignments (which I doubt I can cull from Craigslist) during Nano. We’ll see, though. Maybe I’ll get a pleasant surprise.

I have to dash into the city for a few hours. Hopefully, it will be a quick turnaround. I’ve got a good bit of writing to get done, and I have to prepare for tonight!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Devon

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Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 7:48 am  Comments (8)  
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I survived a case of mis-match with a publisher yesterday. I’d carefully read the submission guidelines. My gut told me not to submit, because the guidelines were long, convoluted, and contradicted themselves several times, plus I had to reformat out of Standard Manuscript Format, which I think is ridiculous. Hey, they can ask for whatever they want, but there’s a reason Standard Manuscript Format was created. I’d spoken to someone who had good things about this publisher (although what I’ve read of theirs I didn’t particularly like), so I figured a query package along their submission guidelines might be worth the hour-plus time to reformat.

As far as I could tell, I followed everything in the guidelines. I sent it off – and yesterday I get a return email with the submission guidelines in it. Huh?

So I’ve crossed them off the list. It’s their company, they can ask for anything they want, and I can choose not to be associated with them. They don’t pay enough to make the hoop jumping worthwhile. And it’s better to find out we’re not a good match early in the process rather than later.

The longer I do this, the more I discover that the less they pay you, the more they expect YOU to jump through hoops and do work that, technically, is on their side of the table.

I’d already crossed a half a dozen potential publishers off the submission list for this particular project for the simple fact that they each wanted query package material submitted in wildly different formats, completely removed from Standard Manuscript Format, and, frankly, they don’t offer enough money to make it worth my time. I’ve got enough credits under my belt and publish frequently enough to stick to the publishers who use SMF and pay decently.

Next.

(Note: This is much more diplomatic than what I originally wrote about this situation).

I completely understand that publishers want and need writers to follow guidelines. That’s reasonable. What IS unreasonable is when the publishers deviate so far from Standard Manuscript Format and expect writers – whose time is AS VALUABLE as the publisher’s, at least for those of us who do this for a living – to keep reformatting the work. There’s a difference between an unpublished writer who can’t be bothered to learn the craft and a publisher who demands a wacky format. I’m going to steer clear of the latter from now on, unless there’s a contract with a lot of money upfront signed BEFORE I’m expected to do the reformatting. We’ll all be happier. Nor do I turn over the PR contacts that I’ve laboriously built over the years to a publisher in a SUBMISSION PACKAGE. Why should they be able to cull my hard-won contacts? I’ll do whatever I can to help promote the book – once it’s under contract. But I’m not turning over everything pertaining to relationships I’ve cultivated for years with a query.

Chase gets yet another Middle Finger Award. There was a discrepancy on my mother’s bank statement. Two hours and six different people later on the phone, no one wanted to deal with it. They’d say they were “looking into it” and put us on hold, which meant back into the automated system, where we had to start from square one all over again. After two hours of this bullshit, we walked into the local bank branch, where our “personal banker” had the exact same problem. We finally resolved it, after another hour – Chase changed the way they handled something but never bothered to either let us know or ask for authorization. They just did it because they’re Chase and they do any fucking thing they want if it means charging you to, oh, I don’t know, BREATHE.

We’d planned to switch to WaMu, but since they tanked . . .

So I lost a lot of writing time.

On the up side, I had a blast over at Wild On Books, and thanks so much to Jennifer Ray for inviting me to participate.

The Nano site is already driving me nuts and it’s not even November yet. Argh. I have a feeling I’ll be sending quite a few of the early days’ encouragement emails via email, rather than Nanomail. All but one N3 complied with my request for email, and if I don’t get anything from that person and can’t access the site for the first few days – well, that person misses out.

A few people have asked me why I don’t write about the election, since I have very strong opinions on it. It’s because, in order to write in a public forum such as this, I believe strongly that rather than just venting, it is my responsibility to track down sources and cross check information MYSELF. Not just repeat what “I’ve heard” from either side. And, frankly, I’d rather spend the time writing than chase sources eight to ten hours a day, unless I’m being paid so to do. That is why I’ve been quiet. My life will take enormously different trajectories depending upon who gets into office. I’m setting my plans for either possibility, and next week, I’ll know what needs to be done next. Unlike many people, who don’t believe the election directly affects them, the last few elections have had an enormous impact on my daily life, and this will have a bigger impact than any previous election. I’m not enjoying the limbo, but until I know the outcome, I can’t make solid plans for anything beyond the end of this year.

As someone who likes to plan a couple of years in advance, and then adjust the plan as needed, it’s kind of getting to me! 😉

Back to the page. Cornelia True and Roman Gray have a murderer to catch. Cornelia’s sister Arabella isn’t much help, because she’s reading Hortense Cavier’s latest best seller. I bet you can’t wait for “The Ramsey Chase” to be finished so you can read it, huh? 😉

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.

Free limited download
“The Possession of Nattie Filmore: A Jain Lazarus Adventure” by Devon Ellington. If you loved HEX BREAKER, you’ll love spending time with Jain and Wyatt as they try to solve a haunted house mystery. Read an excerpt of the story and download it free here


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

Back By Popular Demand!
30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
Limited time offer


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

Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 7:31 am  Comments (8)  
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

They had a foot of snow up in the Catskills yesterday, and we might get some today.

I’m a guest on Wild on Books today. Please stop by and leave a comment!

Today is my mother’s 84th birthday. Happy birthday to her! If I ever turn out to be one-twentieth of the person she is, I will have done well.

Yesterday was an icky day, with snow in the surrounding areas, but just cold, driving rain here.

I had errands to run, of course. And, in general, I was battling a case of the blues. So that wasn’t fun. Sometimes you get those days, the frustrating, blue ones. You push through and it gets better. Having hellish computer problems all day (thank you so much, damned Microsoft) didn’t help.

I joined a new group, Infinite Worlds of Fantasy, and spent a long time uploading information to their site. I’ll post their banner, etc., on my sites soon. It seems like they offer a lot of fun opportunities for both writers and readers.

I ‘m starting my day similar to a Nano day – first writing session of the day, then I sent out a Nano-mail to the N3s, now I’m blogging. Might as well get back into the rhythm.

I’m working on “The Ramsey Chase”, the Cornelia True/Roman Gray story that I hope to have ready by next week. These characters make me laugh.

And I’ve got a stack of other things to get done today, including an interview with Writing the Dark.

Three days until Nano. I can hardly believe it. I’m kind of excited, if I do say so myself.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.

Free limited download
“The Possession of Nattie Filmore: A Jain Lazarus Adventure” by Devon Ellington. If you loved HEX BREAKER, you’ll love spending time with Jain and Wyatt as they try to solve a haunted house mystery. Read an excerpt of the story and download it free here


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

Back By Popular Demand!
30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
Limited time offer


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:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cold, rainy, raw

Lots of stuff to talk about today.

First:
HEX BREAKER got another good review, this one from Bitten By Books here.

Second, building on that good review, the Jain Lazarus ghost story is finally available for free download! You can read an excerpt of “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” and then download it as a PDF here.

Third, I’ve got the website up for the new project launching next month, a line of short fiction called Penny’s Dreadfuls, in homage to the penny dreadful tales. The website’s still rough and will get worked on over the next few weeks, but come and visit the Penny’s Dreadfuls site to get an idea of the types of stories we will feature.

Okay, that’s the big stuff.

I got my Breeders’ Cup article out in the morning, and I’ll let you know when it publishes. I spent most of the rest of the day building the Penny’s Dreadfuls site, which didn’t take all that long because, for once, my webhost worked properly most of the time, and I understood what I was doing.

I lost far too much time prepping the Jain Lazarus story. I designed several really cool covers, but if they worked in Word, they didn’t convert properly in NitroPDF. NitroPDF does not have the versatility they promised when I bought it, and was not worth the price. It’s a huge, huge, huge disappointment. I’ll have to limp along with it for now, but once I get the new computer system, I’m getting the full Adobe Creative Suite package. That will do what I need it to do (although learning it will be a challenge, I’m sure). Until I can afford that purchase, all of my covers, etc., have to remain very simple and very geometric. Hopefully, I can grow from cover to cover, as far as scanning and maybe getting more color in (the Nitro conversion refuses to hold either background color or photographs as background, even though I can layer, and watermarking doesn’t really work, either). I can’t hold headers and footers with my cute little page designs, nothing. And, of course, I’m angry, because before I bought the program, I asked all these questions and was PROMISED it could do all these things that it can’t. So, don’t waste your money on NitroPDF. Perhaps somewhere out there is a product that actually does what it advertises.

And, of course, Microsoft just sucks, and I’m tired of the computer taking up to 22 minutes to boot up and then sticking, freezing, and giving me that fucking little hourglass all the time before I have to shut it down and start over.

Thank you, Colin, for all your time and patience helping me figure it out and helping me with the download glitch.

Heaven forbid I should be able to capture the cover out of Adobe and convert it to a jpg so I could do a thumbnail of the cover. No, tomorrow I have to go out and get more color ink. Then I have to print the cover, then scan it into the computer and then mess with it until I have a thumbnail. Which is ridiculous. I should be able to open the fucking document, copy the cover page into whatever format I want, and then manipulate it, not do 16 steps for something that should take 2.

Eventually, I’ll be able to post the damned cover!

Of course, it’s much simpler than the really cool covers I designed, with the photograph as the background and the text overlay, or the two column design with the current cover photograph on one side and the text on the other with a pumpkin-colored background, but again, fucking Microsoft won’t let me do that for the very first page, you have to have columns either for the whole document or “from this point forward”. How about “this page only” you dumbasses? I HATE MICROSOFT.

And, of course, I’m totally stressed out and behind on everything else because I had to waste so much fucking time AGAIN on programs that don’t do what they promise. Seriously, I’m ready to start invoicing NitroPDF and Microsoft for wasting my time.

On a happier note, I’m humming along with my N3s, all of whom seem committed and eager to get going, and I’m putting the work into my own outline. Yeah, I’m nuts, but let’s face it, I’m not going to be happy sitting on the sidelines. I still don’t have a title, so for now, it’s the Untitled Helena Francis Mystery. I think that’s what I’m doing – I might change my mind on November 1.

I’m happy with the site for Penny’s Dreadfuls, and working away on “The Ramsey Chase”, which is a ton of fun. Cornelia and Roman are quite an interesting pair.

Today is the worst weather day of the week; of course, I have to go out in it. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

Sigh.

Back to the page.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

Back By Popular Demand!
30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
Limited time offer


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:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Weary. Two shows yesterday. An actress got sick during the first act of the second show, so I had to take care of her and get the understudy on in intermission. That was a bit of a scramble. Other than that, it was pretty smooth.

Had trouble with a drunk at Grand Central. God forbid the conductors bother to open the train at a reasonable time. They just leave us standing on the platform with the rats running around us. So this drunk starts hassling me, and I wasn’t having it. I was even angrier because THREE conductors for the train on the other side of the platform just stood around and watched. They did NOTHING. Finally, a cop walking past intervened, managed to chase off the guy before someone (well, the guy) got hurt, and then reamed the three conductors for not doing anything. I was so angry I wanted to smack the conductors even more than the drunk. Metro North has the worst staff of any trains I’ve ridden anywhere in the world.

But I got home, in one piece, so ended up being fine.

I have so much to do this week to clear the decks for Nano. I’ve accepted more N3s than I meant to, but there were so many who wanted to participate, and I picked those I felt were most in alignment with my working methods and the most serious about seeing this through to the end. I’m excited to work with them, and I think I’ve set it up so none of us burn out.

I have to finish the Breeders’ Cup article this morning and get it to my editor. I completed the reading for Confidential Job #1 over the weekend, and will write it up today. Then, it’s back to everything else that’s on my plate.

Thanks for the header tips. I will try them and see what I can make work.

Back to the page.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

Back By Popular Demand!
30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Dowload it here.
Limited time offer


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 October 27, 2008 at 8:05 am  Comments (6)  
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Short post today, because I have to finish my Breeders’ Cup article and get it out before I leave for the theatre at 10 AM – and I won’t be back until 11:30 tonight.

BC Day was great yesterday. Exhausting, but great. For me, one of the biggest joys was that, on the synthetic surface NOT ONE horse was injured and had to be euthanized during the course of the race day. That’s the first time since I started covering the BC that this has happened. Right there, the synthetic track’s got my support. It’s safer, even though this generation of horses has quite a few that don’t like the surface yet.

At the last minute, I fell in love with a filly named Goldikova, who ran against the boys in the BC Mile. She strutted into the paddock full of attitude – and she was the smallest horse in the race. She wiped the track with all of them. It was amazing. And her trainer is the jockey who won on another filly, Miesque, several years ago, back to back in the same race two years in a row.

I’ve got some work to do on the Cozy outline. Some ideas have been swirling, and I need to get them down on paper before they’re gone. I don’t have enough yet on my scene list to feel comfortable jumping in to Nano. I’ve only got enough down to cover the first few days’ worth. And, with everything I’m juggling, I don’t have the time to stop to figure things out.

I hope to finish the edits on “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” today during my dinner break, so I can merge the edited text with the page and cover design, convert it, and upload it.

Anyone know how I get rid of a header on a first page? I’m having a problem with that. I want it on all the other pages, but I can’t get it off the first page. And if I put it in manually on the second page, it goes back on the first page. The “help” function on Microsoft is, of course, useless.

I was about to make a manuscript submission, and I have second thoughts about the publisher. My gut’s telling me not to submit it there; I’ve got to go with my gut, so it’s back to the market list to figure out other possibilities.

This week, the western has to be the primary focus, or I’m never going to get it done, edited, and out in time for its deadline. I have a feeling I’m going to rewrite Chapter Two for the umpteenth time, because I want to introduce the antagonist there, too. I’m not sure if it works if we don’t meet him until Chapter Five. Maybe it does. We see the results of his handiwork in the opening. I have to play with it some more.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on October 26, 2008 at 7:35 am  Comments (2)  
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Racing Ink — Breeders’ Cup Day 2

Picks subject to change at the paddock!

Regular Ink in My Coffee Post below.

Race 1:
Sixties Icon across the board
Zappa and Big Booster to place
Cedar Mountain to show
Booyah – longshot bet to show.

Race 2: Turf Sprint:
Diabolical across the board
Get Funky and Idiot Proof to place
Storm Treasure to show

Race 3: Dirt Mile
Well Armed and Pyro (in spite of his longshot status) across the board
Albertus Maximus to place
Well Armed to place and show
Mast Track to show
Longshot bets on show on Slew’s Tizzy and Slew’s Tiznow because I always bet on Tiznow’s offspring.

Race 4: BC Mile
Precious Kitten and Kip Deville across the board
Whatsthescript to Place
Show bets on Shakis, War Monger, Thorn Song

Race5: BC Juvenile
With any sense, I’d sit this one out. But who said I had sense?
I like Silent Valor, in spite of long odds.
I’ll bet Silent Valor, Midshipman, Street Hero, and Munnings across the board. I want to take a look at Bushranger, but not sure I’ll bet him.

Race 6: Juvenile Turf
I don’t think I’ll bet this one. I want to take a look at Westphalia, Donativum, and Coronet of a Baron, but don’t think I want to put money on any of them.

Race 7: Sprint
Sitting it out, with an eye on Street Boss and Midnight Lute.

Race 8: Turf
I’m betting Better Talk Now across the board because I always bet Better Talk Now, and the few times I haven’t, I’ve regretted it.
Conduit and Soldier of Fortune are strong possibilities, but I need to see them in the paddock before making a decision.
I might throw some longshot show money at Red Rock Canyon.

Race 9: Classic
Curlin across the board. I’ve never been a particular fan of this horse, but I appreciate his work ethic, and he deserves a spot in equine history for his grit.
Tiago across the board. I love this horse.
I want to take a look at Raven’s Pass.
I will probably bet Colonel John to show, although I think, on this track, he can do a lot better than that. If he looks as good as usual, I may bet him across the board.

Race 10: Damascus Stakes
Gayego across the board. Again, I really like this horse.
I’ll take a look at Georgie Boy and Kool Comic.
Blue Chagall will probably be my longshot show bet, with maybe another one on Leonides.

Race 11: Oak Tree Derby
Madeo across the board.
Nownownow across the board.
Blue Exit and Dixie Chatter to show.
Longshot show bets on Moral Compass and Woodland Flood.

Published in: on October 25, 2008 at 11:19 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was not as productive as I wanted or needed. I had a raging headache, borderline migraine, all day.

I managed to get out the two articles due. One is weak, in my opinion, but the other’s pretty darned good, if I say so myself.

Worked on the N3 email yesterday, finished it this morning, and out it went.

None of the job posts excited me enough to pitch.

Couldn’t focus on either the Big Project or the western, and I’m waaaay behind on the western.

Got up Racing Ink for yesterday’s race day, and am about to handicap today’s card. I wish I’d done more homework for yesterday, because the majority of filly and mare races were on Friday, and they’re my favorite. But I just ran out of time, and had to make my picks with the minimum of preparation.

Show was fine. It seemed to race by quickly. I got to work with one of my favorite actors these past two days, so that was fun. We’re really in sync, completely understand each other, and can be completely up front with each other about anything. I’m fond of everyone on the show, and it will be hard to let it go in January. But it opens up new creative opportunities for everyone.

I have to do some errands this morning, handicap the race card, get some writing done, and cover the Breeders’ Cup later today and write the article tonight. Tomorrow is another 14-hour day at the theatre.

One week from today, we will be Nano-ing.

Devon

Published in: on October 25, 2008 at 8:20 am  Comments (2)  
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Racing Ink — Breeders’ Cup Day 1

All picks subject to change at the paddock, depending on how well or poor the horse looks! 😉

Regular “Ink in My Coffee” post below.

I’m interested to see how the international horses run on the synthetic surface here. Often, the international horses wipe up the track with the American horses, but the synthetic surface could change the odds.

Today features the fillies and mares, my favorites. But they’re much harder to handicap!

Race 1
Guns on the Table (jockey John Velazquez) across the board
Gandalf (jockey Aaron Gryder) and Dark Nose (jockey Jon Court) to show

Race 2:
Silk Thunder to win, Surfer Girl to place, Rollerskates to show

Race 3—Filly and Mare Sprint
Indian Blessing across the board.
Zaftig across the board
Intangaroo across the board
Long shot show bets on Miraculous Miss and Dearest Tricksi

Race 4 – Juvenile Fillies Turf
Laragh and Saucey Evening are the two favorites, but to me the race looks wide open. I’m going to sit on the sidelines and watch, but not bet here. I’m hoping for a long shot upset.

Race 5 – Juvenile Fillies:
Sky Diva and Stardom Bound across the board.
Dream Empress to show.
Black Magic as the longshot show bet.

Race 6 – Filly and Mare Turf
Wait A While and Dynaforce across the board.
Halfway to Heaven – place
Longshot show bet – Folk Opera

Race 7 – Ladies Classic
Hardest to handicap of the day, because the horses are all so great.
Ginger Punch, Zenyatta, and Cocoa Beach across the board
Music Note to place
Hystericalady to show

Race 8 — Las Palmas Handicap
Tempted to sit this one out, but I might go with Lemon Chiffon to show.

Race 9
Siren Lure to place

Race 10
Vulcan to place.
There’s a horse named Headache in this race. How could I resist? Headache to show.

Published in: on October 24, 2008 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Racing Ink — Breeders’ Cup Day 1  

Friday, October 24, 2008

Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

If you want to read an excerpt from “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the new Jain Lazarus story, visit the Excerpts page on the Jain Lazarus website.

If you’d like to read some of my exploits, there are press releases making the rounds here and here.

Good news: My play with the Cloverleaf Theatre opens on January 17, 2009.

Sad news: The Broadway show on which I’m working closes January 18, 2009.

Yeah, I got to be there last night, after the closing announcement was made. Gee, I get all the fun nights, y’know? 😉 Yes, it’s sad, but, at the same time, every show closes sometimes, and I’m glad they told us three months ahead of time. They’re only required to let us know a week or two in advance. I’ve been on some shows where it was week-to-week. So, for the cast members, it’ll be a roller coaster, but it’s also an opportunity for new creative risks.

Worked on the rewrite for “The Possession of Nattie Filmore’.

Had to do a website dance, because my host wants to charge me double for the additional sites (yeah, I can have 200 subdomains, but I can only build 5 sites without additional charge). So, instead of having its own subdomain, “The Merry’s Dalliance”, for now, will just have its own page on Cerridwen’s Cottage (when I get the chance to design it), and a new project has its own subdomain. I even designed the logo for it – a very rough drawing. I wanted it to be very rough, so I could use something I actually sketched myself (because sketching is not my strong point).

The one and only photo editing program that’s ever worked on this frigging computer has vanished from the program list. And the disk is missing from the disk box, too. So I had to figure out how to outsmart the programs I have.

Why can’t the basic photo program just let you crop and change size or do other edits? It’s ridiculous. Oh, wait, because it’s Microsoft, and their policy is to bleed their customers dry.

I figured out a round about way to do it, but it took awhile.

Got my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, so I’ll get started on that today. Still haven’t written those two articles, but hey, they still haven’t answered my question about deadlines.

Another show tonight.

And I want to do another revision on “Nattie Filmore” and work on the cover. And hope it converts properly.

I also have to prep for tomorrow’s Breeders’ Cup. I’m way behind.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 October 24, 2008 at 8:15 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , ,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I finished “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the Jain Lazarus short story, which isn’t anywhere near as short as I hoped. I wanted it to be 1500 words; it’s over 6000. But I promised you a free download in time for Halloween, and so you shall have it. I hope to have it designed and uploaded within the next few days. It’s a ghost story, it’s got Jain and Wyatt. There are also some new smart women in the piece, including medical examiner Diane Baker, who’s got her eye on Wyatt, and fellow detective Patty Brayne. I like surrounding Wyatt with strong women – he can hold his own!

My guest blog post will be up on Wild on Books on October 29, next Wednesday. I hope you’ll hop over and visit. They’re doing a month-long promotion.

Chase Bank gets yet another Middle Finger Award. Remember last week, when they pulled me out of line for all that personal attention and hand-carried my deposit to the teller, etc.? They never credited it to the account. I had to go into my local branch and request a trace. I had the receipt – but it was never posted. Not only do the majority of people who work in the NYC offices as “executives” spew misinformation every time they open their mouths, the tellers are sloppy. Hate them, hate them, hate them!

Worked on a story yesterday, but the Jain Lazarus piece wore me out. I’m also doing some website design (don’t faint now) for a new project which should launch in early November, amidst all the Nano insanity.

Got a press release out yesterday; have a few more to do. Got to get those e-books moving!

Not a word from the bums in the freelancer group who didn’t show up for the event, or from the office so eager to know how it went. One would think someone somewhere would at least send an apology or pretend to have an explanation. I’m well rid of them, that’s for sure.

I’ve got a couple of articles to write, some business correspondence to get out, and a lot of writing/editing/design work to handle today – AND I have a show tonight.

Better get to it.

Devon

The Big Project – 20,006 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 75
(26.7%)

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 October 23, 2008 at 7:41 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

So, I bet you all want to know about the Freelancers’ Luncheon, don’t you?

I was the only one who showed up.

Yep. Not one of the other people who RSVP’d in the positive was there. Nor was there a representative from the Freelancers’ Union to talk to us about insurance. Nor did the restaurant have any idea we were meeting there.

Before you ask, yes, I checked all the details before I left, and I checked to see if there was a message canceling it. There was not – just a reminder as to time and place.

I lost 3 hours of my writing day, 2 of it driving, for a non-existent event.

It won’t happen again.

And, when I got home to see if I’d somehow missed the cancellation message – the head office had sent me a message asking me how it went.

I had a few choice words. They all had more than four letters, don’t worry.

And I withdrew from the group, letting the regional head know in no uncertain terms why. I’m sorry, for the rest of the group (albeit a small one) to suddenly have emergencies so close to the lunch that they can’t send out word they’ve cancelled? I don’t buy it. To me it speaks of the following: disorganization, disrespect, lack of time management skills.

As a freelancer, first impressions are important. My first impressions of these people is so low, I wouldn’t do business with them, and, should one wish to become a client I’d charge 100% up front, because I don’t trust them to ever pay otherwise!

You better believe I stayed and had a delicious lunch. I wasn’t about to turn around and drive back another hour on an empty stomach! The food was great, the restaurant very gracious. No, the rest of the group wasn’t elsewhere in the restaurant – I was the very first customer to arrive in the entire building, and the manager asked every person who entered if they were there for the luncheon. The only other group booked was a group of seventy-year-old women who played tennis all their lives. They’d met as young marrieds in their thirties, playing together regularly for years, and now, scattered throughout the counties as they are, they meet every few months for lunch. I also met an aristocratic woman who’d been released from jury duty in White Plains early and drove up to Yorktown Heights to treat herself to lunch!

The foliage along the river drive is beautiful, so I enjoyed that. I got a good lunch and a bit of a break, so it wasn’t a total loss, but I won’t be dealing with these people again. I don’t care what the excuses are. The bottom line is that they’re unreliable, discourteous, and not worth my time.

You KNOW how I am about wasted time! Especially when I’ve spent it in heels!

I figured out some more plot stuff for the Cozy Which Must Be Renamed. And yes, I got out my late assignment before I left for lunch, with apologies to my editor, who was very understanding.

Iris and Violet, my two Russian Blues, are more demanding than usual, now that a Russian Blue was named Best in Show at Madison Square Garden last weekend. They watch the news – they keep up!

Shout out to PJ Hoover! Her book THE EMERALD TABLET released yesterday. I look forward to reading it!

I’m participating in the event over on Wild on Books next week – stay tuned.

And, hopefully, in a few more days, I’ll have another fun announcement!

Took the rest of yesterday off, once I returned from the non-lunch. Figured some stuff out, did a little research, did a little reading – all good. I’m glad I’m not the only one who hit the wall this week. Part of it is definitely exhaustion from the conference.

Had a great morning’s work on The Big Project and baked apple muffins for breakfast.

Now, it’s on to a hopefully productive writing day.

Devon

The Big Project – 19,069 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
19 / 75
(25.4%)

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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 October 22, 2008 at 7:57 am  Comments (11)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I’m very disappointed in myself. I only got about half done yesterday that needed to get done. I’m actually behind on a deadline, which never happens. I hit a wall.

Before anyone goes, “well, take time for yourself” – normally, as a freelancer, I’d just give myself the day off to recharge. Unfortunately, today, I can’t, because I’ve fallen behind on a deadline. I’m going to have to find a way to push through it.

I had a good start to the day: Worked on the Big Project, redrafted a press release, searched the job boards (some decent stuff, but nothing for me), wrote and sent out thank yous and testimonials for the conference, got out the contract for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and worked on the author information sheets (gee, wouldn’t it be nice if the cover artist actually read it this time?), and wrote an article for a colleague’s newsletter. I even got some work done, in the evening, on the DEAD WELL DREAMS outline – I really hate the title. I like the cadence, but not the image – again, too much of a western. DEAD DREAMS WELL maybe? In case you didn’t figure it out, there’s a well involved.

One item on the list had to be pushed aside, because I had to ask the publisher a question, and wait for the answer, so I don’t feel bad about that, but the above was less than half of what was on the to-do list.

I hit a wall. Couldn’t string together a coherent sentence.

I used the ultimate avoidance mechanism – I started to clean my desk. I have three huge piles on my desk. The farthest left is letters, correspondence, and bills. Hate keeping bills on the desk, it interferes creatively, but if it’s not in front of me, it doesn’t get done. If I put them in a pretty little holder – or even folder – that’s where they stay. In my subconscious, if it’s put away, it’s done. If it’s on the desk, it’s pending. If it’s in something pretty on the desk and not waving at me – it’s not a priority. The middle pile is writing stuff I need to get to, or research I’m using, or sources, etc. That pile had grown far too large, and that’s what I tackled. I actually could put most of it in files and put it away – near by, so I can reach over and reference, but only about a half a dozen pages needed to stay there for daily use. The pile on the right is stuff I pull from the printer to file and that’s huge, because I haven’t gotten around to filing for far too long.

I only tackled the middle pile. I’m glad I did, but it makes the two side piles look even worse, and it didn’t help me get anything done from the list. My desk will never be completely clean, because I can’t work on a pristine desk – it’s sterile and stalls my thinking – but I’d like it to be in better shape than it’s been for the past few months. I’m getting there – but yesterday was not necessarily the best day to start!

The Nano site’s already crashed, which is frustrating. It usually doesn’t crash until the just before the first day. I’m glad I get to write with 100,000 of my closest friends, most of which I’ll never see or hear from again after December 1, but the technical glitches do get annoying, even though it’s free. One of the good things is that I’m getting emails from former N3s and other people with whom I exchanged information on previous Nanos who tell me how helpful my advice was in getting their books finished and edited past Nano, and thanking me – some of them apologizing for being defensive and not wanting to try my tips early on! Glad I can help. We’re all in this together.

An actor with whom I worked closely this past summer turned to me once and sighed, “I might as well do what you suggest the first time; you’re always right, and it saves a lot of grief.”

If only I was ALWAYS right! 😉

I’m going to take it easy on myself today, only push on the most pressing work and not stress about the rest. I’m scheduled to attend a local freelancers’ luncheon farther up the Hudson River, so that should be fun. I don’t know any of the people attending, so it will be a good chance to meet new people. Let’s hope I’m not too shy to say a word! And that the food is good.

I’m going to get the late assignment out before I go. That’s got to be my first priority. And then make sure I have enough and the correct business cards for this luncheon!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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: