Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

First of all, some awesome news: The second Jain Lazarus book, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, went to contract last night. Woo-hoo! The editor asked me to make a few changes, which actually mean expanding on a few things, which makes me happy – I was trying to keep it lean, and she wants more, so that will be a pleasure.

Woo-hoo!

If you’d like to read the blurb, hop onto the Jain Lazarus website. It should be on the “home” page – if not, hit “refresh” and it comes up!

That means I darned well better get “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” up and soon, and get back to work on the third novel, from Billy’s POV! (But I’ll wait until I’ve done the next pass on OFDW so I don’t muddy the voices).

The Western has to take priority over the next couple of weeks, because the first draft needs to be done before Nano (if I’d stayed on track, the first draft would have been finished today) and the Big Project also has to stay in the forefront.

I did a lot of work on the cozy outline last night, which now has a working title of DEAD WELL DREAMS. Sounds a bit like a Western instead of a cozy, but I’ll start with that title and see what it evolves into.

I got a rejection from a magazine that kind of makes me shrug. The last piece they took from me I didn’t think suited them, but they liked it. This I thought was right up their alley and they didn’t. Whatever. Move to the next on the list.

I have to get out the work for Confidential Job #1 today, and take care of a bunch of business.

Drafted a press release last night that will go out today and throughout the week, as I develop my media list a bit more. I also have to update the websites with the new information.

Spent a lot of time online doing the final exercise critiques for my students. If I do the conference again next year, I’m going to have a posting cutoff for mid-afternoon my time for the last day. I was still up at 11 PM doing critiques. I’m sure after a few hours, I will fill the lack-of-conference void today. Or maybe I’ll just have post-conference hangover!

I had an anxiety dream about the show Saturday into Sunday – that I couldn’t get back to the theatre after dinner break. Ridiculous.

Okay, fingers crossed that the next few weeks will be as LUCRATIVE as they are busy.

Decent morning’s work on The Big Project. The work I did on this chapter is more for me than material that will stay in the final draft, but I needed it in order to get to the next section. It’s not as strong as I’d like, so in the next draft, I’ll have to fix it. But I needed it in there for now. And I forgot to add a scene that I need to go back and insert tomorrow.

I wish I’d really written out the outline for this instead of just spinning it out in my head. I think I have to make some notes, or I’ll lose my way in between juggling all these projects, and there’s too much at stake with this one for that to happen.

I have to post on the Nano board that all my N3 slots are full. I accepted a couple more than I planned to this year, but it’s still a tight, workable, carefully chosen group. I hate to exclude anyone, but I need to protect the work and those who are already slotted in first.

Devon

The Big Project – 17,694 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17 / 75
(22.7%)

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:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Can you say “brain ache”? ‘Cause that’s what I have! Not to mention eye strain.

I wrote three stories for the short story workshop yesterday, to catch up. I’m holding off on the final exercise, because I feel like there will be more than seven stories in this particular collection which is a cross between literary urban fantasy and magical realism. I think thirteen would be a good number, don’t you?

The third I wrote shows some fatigue, and worry that it grew too long, so I’ll go back and work on it in a few days.

Sent out a couple more submissions.

Worked on the cozy’s plot, which needs to percolate. A nice, catchy title would be good, too. I’m trying to follow the exercises and shake up my process, but I tend to need to write my way in a bit before I know what the gosh-darned plot it. I have the beginning and the ending – I just have to figure out how to get from one to the other. Oy! But it’s helpful. I know the who, where, why. I have to figure out the steps of the “how”. I know how the murder victim was murdered, but I need the nuts and bolts of getting from the murder to the Big Reveal. And I’ve got B lines figured out that, if I do my job properly, feed into the A lines while still strengthening the overall arc of the series, if this is to become a series. I’ve got a bunch of red herrings prepped, and I better figure out where to put them before they start to smell. Because, trust me, rotting herring can reek! I’m getting more of a sense of the characters and a sense of the character of the setting, which is helpful. But I need to figure out more plot details.

One of the instructors who “didn’t have time” for the students (unless privately hired) actually had the cojones to email me to ask for a testimonial! I am going to take the high road in this case, and not respond. Because if I open my mouth . . .

I need to do research on the Carthinogens (doesn’t that sound like something you get from smoking?) I mooched two books on ancient history over on BookMooch, so I’m hoping that will give me what I need. It’s a short story, so I need enough sensory details to make it work, but I don’t need to go into the extended scenic description splattered in a novel.

The N3 email went out yesterday.

I’ll miss the conference, but 9-11 hours/day, most of it responding to exercises, was a bit much. I’m grateful that I had such an active room (one of the busiest in the conference, she says with pride), but it was exhausting. Exhilarating and worthwhile, I’m not complaining – I just don’t think I could keep up this type of pace with this many students indefinitely. Which is why real-time workshops have registration limits, I’m sure! 😉 I’m glad I was off from the show all week. I couldn’t have done it otherwise.

Worked on “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” this morning, the Jain Lazarus ghost story. I plan to get it up this week.

Back to the final day of the conference . . .

Devon

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Well, I have a migraine, so not a great start to the day. Get through, it right? There’s way too much that needs to get done.

Chase Bank bites. Yesterday, I got pulled out of line by an Account Exec who made all these promises about these great changes in my account to reduce fees. Yeah, but they haven’t cleared my payroll check – which, I might add, is from another Chase account and has always cleared from Friday to Saturday – because I deposited several checks together, so they hold them ALL. I swear, they charge you every time you breathe, and every promise they make is a bait-and-switch to more fees they “forgot” to tell you about.

Chase Bank gets the Middle Finger Award for the week.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to move banks right now, because if you’re not throwing a ton of cash at them to open the account, they don’t want you.

The chat went really well last night. Lots of people, a lot of good questions.

Caught up on commenting on everyone’s exercises this morning. I’m way behind on my exercises for other workshops, so I want to get that done, and I have an idea for a couple more ebooks. Now, I just have to figure out when to slot them in!

Most of the conference has been great. Two of the instructors annoy me, because I get the feeling that they “don’t want to give it away for free.” In one, the exercises have been frustrating, but I figured I could learn something, that whole “work past your resistance/try something new”. However, the instructor doesn’t give individual feedback on how to APPLY what we do in the exercises, or why something works or doesn’t work. Just makes it clear she is available for private hire. The other instructor claims she didn’t know she was signed up to give a week long workshop – which is bullpucky, because we were sent emails over a course of many weeks with links to check our information, our virtual room, etc. and instructions on what to do if something was wrong or listed in the wrong spot or whatever. We had WEEKS to make sure it was accurate. There is no way this chick could “not know” unless she didn’t bother to check her information, and that is HER fault, no one else’s. In addition, she says she’s “too busy” to interact (which is a real slap in the face to conference goers, in my opinion), but again, available for private hire.

I tried the old “oh, there are different ways of teaching” philosophy. It doesn’t wash in this case, in my opinion. I’m sorry, but WHY would I spend money on either of those two when I’ve gotten NOTHING from them in their workshops but the hand out? And neither handout gave me any new or intriguing information? I can spend my money better elsewhere, on instructors who actually step up to the plate and to their jobs. Oh, and when you download the handout, you automatically are signed up for their email blasts. Guess who’s going to opt out first thing Monday morning?

And then there are the great workshops, like the short story one and the cozy workshop, and a couple of others where I just wandered in off the virtual street, so to speak, and ended up staying. Where the instructors interact, share information, encourage, point out where things could be stronger, are open to discussion and new ideas, ask interesting questions, and, in general, actually TEACH A WORKSHOP. I’ve developed material for two very different collections of short stories in the short story workshop. I’m developing material for the first book of what could be a series in the cozy workshop. I’ve gotten fresh ideas about website media rooms from another workshop, and gotten into interesting discussions about writing groups in yet another workshop.

And I’m so proud of many of my own students, who show progress over the course of the week. Several of them have ended up with a near-complete short story in the scene building optional exercises, and there have been some fascinating scenes posted in the daily exercises which I hope they take farther.

So there’s a lot of diversity here, which is part of what I think makes it such a good conference, and, in spite of some of the frustrating elements, a great overall experience.

I have so much writing to catch up on today, so I have to push past the headache and get to it. I have a feeling I will sleep in on Monday morning.

I lost hours of potential work time again yesterday due to computer kerflamma. And then, my Firefox decided to dump all my Favorites. Colin told me where to look for them, so, hopefully, I can restore them. Both Dell and Microsoft also receive Middle Finger Awards this week, although I’ve run out of hands and need to borrow someone else’s! 😉

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:

Great Chat!

Thanks to all — and there were a lot — who showed up!

I had a really good time, there were fascinating questions, and it was a blast. I was lucky to have a great moderator, too.

I managed, in spite of computer problems and being under the weather . . urgh.

Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 7:08 pm  Comments (1)  

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Conference fatigue has set in. I feel it; there’s less activity on the board, and people are getting tetchier. Those of us who are taking workshops where the instructors aren’t showing up are cranky. And I blew a gasket because several people have sent private messages, I’ve taken time to write detailed responses (and I mean, like twenty, thirty minutes), only to hit “send” and get the message that the individual doesn’t accept private messages.

Then don’t send ME one with QUESTIONS in it, you dumbass!

When someone wastes my time and/or takes advantage of my willingness to help and share resources, it pisses me off!

I’m having a blast in both the short story workshop and the cozy workshop, though. I’m learning lots of new things and getting to try stuff and play, so that’s all good.

I’m also pleased because quite a few students in my workshop are showing genuine improvement from day to day, exercise to exercise.

And some ideas are churning for other stuff which needs to get into the roster. Some of them are very, very funny, and offer new directions for me.

Submitted a few short stories. Wanted to submit more, but one place changed their guidelines, so what I thought was relevant no longer is, and the other no longer pays its writers, so, sorry, going elsewhere. I’m getting a nice batch of stories whipped into shape, though, so I’ll be able to up the submission ante before Nano.

There’s something satisfying about writing a short story. You can FINISH it in a finite amount of time, get that sense of accomplishment, instead of days when you don’t feel like you’re making progress, which often happens with a novel.

I have to dash into the city this morning, come back, catch up on the workshops, and then prepare for the live chat tonight. Busy day, but, hopefully, a happy one. Oh, yeah, and I have to finish the assignment for Confidential Job #1 which I barely started. Ooops.

I have ideas for the next stories for the workshops I’m taking, and ideas for some other things with which I’ve been playing that are ready to ripen.

I have to do some continuity checking before I can write the next part of the Big Project, and I won’t get a chance so to do until tomorrow. I hate losing day on it, but I don’t see how I’m going to get it done today, realistically.

Got out the guest blog post yesterday and roughed out the two articles. If I can do one tomorrow and one on Sunday, I can submit both Monday and not worry about the deadline question they couldn’t be bothered to answer. I have to say, it made warning bells go off in my head. They’re not paying me enough for me to cut them slack or take any crap from them.

I have a question for you — I’d really like to learn how to put my Bookstore info into my sidebar, using this template, but I’m not sure how that works — I’m not sure which widget to add — any ideas?

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 17, 2008 at 8:19 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , ,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

I wrote three short stories yesterday to get caught up in the workshop where I decided the first ones I presented were chapters of a novel, not short stories. They all run in the 12-1500 word range, so it was quite a day’s work.

Hopped on and off to critique what was posted. There are still a few people who don’t feel the exercise specifics pertain to them, and, as I told them, I simply state that fact and don’t comment on the work. It’s not fair to the people who are participating and following the guidelines.

And, come on, people, if you can’t follow a one paragraph exercise guideline, how the hell are you going to follow submission guidelines? And these people wonder why they’re not published?

I wish there was a thread for Working Writers, the way there’s one for aspiring writers. Working writers face a completely different set of challenges.

Did the work for some of the workshops I’m taking. One that I was worried about turns out to be a lot more fun that I thought; the one I’ve been complaining about as frustrating remains so.

Didn’t get some of the other stuff done that I needed to get done, so that falls to today. Which is fine.

I got a little bit of work done on The Big Project this morning. The word count has dropped drastically this week, due to all the other writing pressures, but I figure even a few pages a day will prevent me from losing all of the momentum, even if it’s slowed down.

I’m sure there’s more to say, but I can’t remember, and I need to get back to the conference and comment on the latest work. I found a way to write up my critiques more efficiently, which helps – duh, I can have a window open as I read instead of scrawling handwritten notes I can’t decipher, then typing them in, then cutting and pasting. Some times, I behave in a ridiculously neo-Luddite fashion!

Back to the page. Hope a lot of you buy and use the new ebooklet, SENSORY PERCEPTIONS. (Shameless plug) 😉

Devon

The Big Project – 15,811 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15 / 75
(20.0%)

b>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 16, 2008 at 8:17 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT this afternoon
Sunny and pleasant

Thank goodness Mercury goes direct this afternoon, because then I’ll know it’s people not paying attention rather than influenced by Mercury! 😉

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to learn about the site Writers and Authors, and then give the site a visit! You may find it interesting.

Busy day yesterday, most of it spent on the conference. I’m excited at the quality of the writing by most of the students; however, they aren’t posting material relevant to the exercises, and I had to get all over some of them. I don’t post parameters for my own amusement. Each exercise is created to teach them something specific. And some of them are slapping up scenes from WIPs they’ve written to get critiqued rather than following the instructions in the exercises. So I told them I won’t comment on anything that doesn’t fit the exercises any more. I have a thread where they can post snippets from WIPs for comments, but that’s not the purpose of the exercises.

If I do this again next year, the rule will be all material must be created within the context of the class.

More people are coming in and working on exercises as the week progresses, which is great, and everyone is welcome as long as they do the work. I think some students are frustrated because some of the workshops aren’t particularly interactive and mine is, so they’re winding up with me. Which is fine, but I need to take more breaks during the day as I read the work. My eyes are tired.

I posted to the short story workshop, and realized the short stories I posted don’t have enough conflict and read more like chapters of a novel. Urgh. So I don’t know whether to come up with new short stories or try to fix the chapters and force what should be a novel into short stories.

I posted my hook and a quick character bio (because long character bios cause me to lose the character) in another workshop and then realized I don’t really want to do this piece! Oh well, I’ll learn something by doing the exercises with something where there’s nothing at stake for me, right?

Wandered into a workshop taught by someone who was a great teacher last year – different topic, but still great, so I might stick around.

Frustrated in another workshop because the instructor isn’t there much, hasn’t bothered to read the info on the students’ backgrounds and needs, and proclaims at us instead of working with us. Another student in a similar position to mine emailed me separately because we are in the same boat and not getting what we need from the workshop, so we’re supporting each other! So something good came out of it. My dilemma now is do I quit or see it through? I want to see it through because I want to see if I can get ANYTHING out of it to apply to my work, but I do think it’s geared towards aspirants who aren’t writing and have other sources of income rather than people who write for a living and I, well, WRITE.

I have my 5th Nano mentee, so I’m full up now. And it’s a guy. So there are four women and a man as my N3s this year. This is a case where I wish we were all geographically closer because I think we’d all have a good time together in person.

Got some work done on The Big Project this morning. Now it’s back to the conference, and then I need to get a guest blog out and at least one article.

Devon

The Big Project – 15,172 out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15 / 75
(20.0%)

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:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Exhausted and frustrated. It should have taken me 45 minutes to convert the ebook, upload it to Payloadz and list it.

It took seven hours.

Because both NitroPDF and Microsoft suck.

I designed a gorgeous cover for the ebook, and was thrilled with it. And that’s thanks to the readers like Kalem who taught me how to create it in Word. Only, NitroPDF won’t hold it when it converts the file. Even though the sales fuck who sold it to me swore it did. Because, believe me, I had a LONG list of questions before I bought it and I made it very clear that if the answer to ANY of them was no, this product was not worth my time or money. And the sales staff lied. Gee, what a surprise. Not only that, unless you pay them more money for them to tell you that no, the program doesn’t REALLY do what the sales team promised, you can’t even ask questions past the first thirty days. They can bite me. So not only do they make false promises to get you to buy it, customer service is non-existent.

In other words, if you’re looking for a conversion program, I suggest you take your business to a company that actually gives a damn about its customers once they’ve parted them from the money. There must be one out there somewhere.

It wouldn’t let me import images, it wouldn’t let me set new backgrounds, it wouldn’t let me do any damn thing. It took me a few hours, but I finally managed to underlay a photo as a watermark that’s still not exactly what I wanted, it’s not the photo I wanted, but that was that.

Only then Microsoft failed and the whole system crashed and then Nitro wouldn’t open again. It seems it only opens ONCE PER DAY. Um, excuse me, but when I’ve BOUGHT the program, shouldn’t it open whenever I need it to?

I finally tricked it into opening, planning to keep it open for the rest of the day, because I had to do the newsletter and all that other stuff that needed to get done in and around the conference.

But Microsoft kept failing, freezing, then crashing. Over and over and over again. And I had to keep finding new ways to trick Nitro PDF into opening, which it only did about every third time Microsoft crashed.

I’m telling you, I’d be better off hacking this Dell piece of crap into tiny pieces and then driving back and forth over it with a Hummer. It would work better. NitroPDF, Microsoft, and Dell – useless.

Seven effing hours. For something I knew how to do, which should have taken 45 minutes.

But the ebook is up, called SENSORY PERCEPTIONS, and it’s a seven week course based on sense-specific exercises and layering them. At the end of seven weeks, you have seven short stories. I’ve been working with these exercises with students for several years, developing them, and then did another test run on all of them last week, which is why I’ve ended up with a batch of new stories. I hope you check it out. I kept the price point low enough to make sense in these economic times, but high enough so that PayPal doesn’t keep 90% of it, which is what they do with Writing Rituals.

The newsletter came out, finally. If you haven’t gotten your copy, or haven’t yet signed up, you can do so here.

I wrote a short story for the short story workshop I’m taking. It surprised me in a good way, but the ending needs some more oomph, a kind of a button. The very last sentence is weak, and that ruins the impact of the piece as a whole

I commented on all the exercises I’d missed while fighting with the computer, and they’d stacked up. The majority of the students are really into it and there to learn. You always have one or two who pull something out of their drawer and slap it up there, whether it fits the exercise or not, or the ones who do the bare minimum, but for the most part, they’re an exceptionally lively, creative bunch.

I checked in to the workshops I’m taking, making sure I did the assignments and had the next and kept up my part of the conversation. I have to say, when the instructor can’t be bothered to respond to any of the assignments . . .it annoys me. We’re there for interaction, not to be lectured and then, when we do the work, be met with silence. The point of a workshop, in my mind, is to WORK, and to me, that means something that’s interactive. But, everyone’s got their own way. I’m meeting a lot of great people, and I’m also meeting some people whose methods just don’t jive with mine, and that’s fine – we can be pleasant colleagues and then go our separate ways. I’m learning a lot, both in where I can grow, and what doesn’t work, which is good. And I’m challenging some of my processes, which is also good. Uncomfortable at times, but good.

I should do some work on The Big Project. I’m feeling a little scattered now, so I’ll probably spend time on the conference board and try to get back to it later.

I STILL haven’t heard from the editor about the deadline for the two articles I’m supposed to write, and I asked about a week ago. Well, without a firm deadline, I’ll do them when I get around to them. I asked THE DAY I was hired. It takes 60 seconds to write a response.

Urgh.

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 14, 2008 at 8:22 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , , ,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008
Almost full moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and icky

I’m going to rant about television for a bit, and then get to the important stuff:

I forgot to mention all weekend how annoyed I was with last Friday’s episode of SANCTUARY. I want to like that show, I really do. But Friday’s episode annoyed me. I disagreed with the way they twisted and diluted the legend of the Morrigan (not to mention the way they costumed them). I could understand if the villains had captured three powerful women of their time and manipulated them because they had the potential to be LIKE the Morrigan, but the Morrigan themselves were goddesses, and not under the power of these fruit loops. And they each had individual names, none of which were “Danu”, “Tatha” and “Caird.” The “Tuatha De Danann” is very specific to the Celtic Pantheon, but not part of this myth. There is an Irish goddess “Dana’ sometimes written “Danu”, but she is connected to Brigid and healing, not the Morrigan and war. There is an Irish goddess named “Caireen” – protective of children. Again, no association to the Morrigan or war. There is an Irish goddess “Taillte’, also spelled “Telta” – closest I could find to “Tatha” — who is a goddess of the harvest, not connected to the Morrigan or war. And they were Irish, when according to the show storyline, this trio was discovered in a crypt in Scotland. Which looked like Vancouver.

Um, hate to break it to you, writers and producers, but Irish culture/myth and Scottish culture/myth are DIFFERENT. Just because they fall under the loose “Celt” banner doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable.

What, do the writers think none of us have any knowledge of Celtic myth?

I understand using mythology as a jumping off point for imagination, but this didn’t work for me. There’s nothing wrong with using “found goddesses” or morphing a myth in a way that’s believable, but don’t just ignore what’s already out there or get it wrong. It was beyond not working for me, I found it insulting.

And I keep getting ahead of the storylines, which annoys me. I liked the whole “freedom of choice” theme, but felt it could have been developed in a more believable fashion.

I lasted ten minutes into ELEVENTH HOUR and won’t be back. I love Rufus Sewell’s stage work, but in this, as good as he looks, as many interesting mannerisms as he comes up with, he’s always looking just past his fellow performers and it drives me insane. I find myself shouting at the television, “Look at the people you’re talking with! At least occasionally!!!! Connect!!!!” I can’t stand it when actors don’t look at each other when they work together. He connects with his fellow performers onstage, so I can only assume it’s some creative choice on someone’s part, and I hope it’s not his, because it sure as hell doesn’t work.

At least CHUCK is still funny, and LIFE is better than ever.

Muse Online Conference starts today. I hung out on the boards for a bit yesterday and posted the exercises for my workshops, so that anyone in international time zones apart from mine could start at THEIR midnight. I visited the forums of the courses I want to take; did some homework. In homework for one class, I had HUGE resistance – it’s a little psychobabble for me. Yet, BECAUSE I’m having huge resistance, I’m doing it, because I want to see where it takes me. I think I can get something good out of it by getting out my own way, and learn something new. I’m excited to visit some of the “rooms” run by the publishers and meet some new-to-me publishers. I checked the first batch of assignments, posted my assignments on the workshops I’m taking, asked some questions, etc. I’ll hop back on later in the day.

Wrote some short stories. One was over 2500 words, longer than I planned, but that’s how long it took to get it done. It had its own rhythm, and I had to respect that.

Pushed hard on the new ebook. Today, I need to proof it and finish the cover, then convert and lock the file, and I can upload it for sale. Don’t worry, it’s a low price point, only $1.29.

Even better, because I wanted to do another test run for the exercises, I have drafts of seven new stories. They need some revision, but I should be able to start submitting them by the end of the month. Of course, I’m taking a short story workshop this week, so I have to figure if there’s anything left in that creative well. Stores tend to come in bunches, and I thought I’d bunched out. I’d hoped the test stories for the ebook would run between 500-1000 words, but that rarely happened.

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the free Nano handbook, is again available for download. I’ll add it back to the bookshelf in the next few days.

I had a good morning’s work on The Big Project. Now, I’m off to the conference, then finish the cover and the publication of the ebook, then work on some articles. Busy day.

Devon

The Big Project – 14,617 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
14 / 75
(18.7%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


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:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday, October 12
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Well, yesterday turned out to be a day of unexpected pleasures!

Got some writing done in the morning, including another short story, with two more percolating away. Which is good, because I need them as examples for the ebook I want to get up and market in the next few days! Plus, then I have a new batch of short stories for submission.

Caught the 12:46 into the city. It was filled with annoying people, but oh, well. Climbed through the SFTs (stupid fucking tourists) in Times Square and then through a street fair to get to 44 ½ over on Tenth Avenue, where I met Costume Imp. It’s a lovely place, and we had a grand time. He heads off tomorrow morning back out on tour and I won’t see him again until I go up to Montreal to visit in February. But we had a good catch up.

While we were “brunching”, I got a phone call from the show. Someone had an emergency and needed to be out for the evening show, so they wondered if I could fill in. So I said yes – I mean, I’m in the city anyway, why not? I warned I was in a skirt and heels, without my kit, but I don’t need much for that track, so they outfitted me with the rest, including finding me flat shoes!

Costume Imp and I traversed the street fair to go to Borders up at the Time Warner Center to buy books. We couldn’t find the ones he wanted and I wasn’t sure what I wanted, so I picked up an anthology edited by Denise Little entitled ENCHANTMENT PLACE, about a magical mall. It is wonderful! So far, I’ve enjoyed each and every story, and, again, it introduced me to new-to-me writers whose work I will now hunt down.

I grabbed a quick snack, went to the show. Everyone was glad to see me, it was great to see everyone. One of my actresses got sick right before the places call, so we put on the understudy and sent the unwell actress home to rest, poor thing. But after that bit of scramble, it was all good.

Came home late, puttered around.

Thank you so much, everyone, for the advice about the photographs! I can’t wait to try all that out. I don’t have Photoshop – I’m in Microsoft Word, and, while eventually I’ll invest in the whole Adobe Creative Whatever, it’s out of my price range right now, I really can’t justify it yet until I’m doing more graphic-type work, so I’m trying to learn different ways of doing things. I invested in a few photo editing software programs before my last computer crash, but they didn’t let me layer, so I haven’t loaded them back in.

Today, I have to write a lot and put the finishing touches on my workshop. The Muse Online Conference starts tomorrow, and I’m excited to spend time with my students.

Today, I want to get some work done on The Big Project and the ebook. I’d like to have it up in the next day or two. That means a few more short stories to write, but it’s all good.

Devon

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 7:34 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Not a great writing day yesterday. I had a bad headache, and I was trying to hustle work to make up for the lost gigs. Never fun, especially when you’re not in the mood for it.

Thanks, Avid Writer, for your kind words of encouragement. Sometimes people who don’t do what we do and don’t get it just work my last nerve.

PJ, you can prep as much for Nano as you want, as long as you don’t start writing the actual book until November 1. Outlines, character studies, scene work, snippets of dialogue, whatever you want. I usually have a pretty good idea of my characters and then do a scene-by-scene outline before I start. Last year, during the Muse Online Conference, I developed two novels in two different world-building workshops, and one pulled more strongly than the other, so that’s the one I went with for Nano, and boy, it just flew. I had to stop myself from writing every day because I could have easily spent 12-14 hours just on the book. It was a great feeling, but there were other things that had to be dealt with throughout the month, so I had to make myself stop at specific points each day, and sometimes it was from sheer physical exhaustion.

I enjoyed the photo shoot. I took one set of pictures at the local nature center and some additional photos at the beach and town park. Of course, the photo I took on the spur of the moment will most likely be the cover for “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” – provided I can figure out how to layer text over the photo, since I don’t have Photoshop. Does anyone know if I can make the photo the “background” of the page and then add the text over it? Techno-phobes like me want to know!

I worked on the ebook, which I really need to finish and get up this weekend, before the conference starts.

I pitched for a job, but they went with someone else. At least they had the courtesy to let me know!

I put together the email for my N3s, which goes out as soon as I post this.

I’m getting together with Costume Imp this afternoon, for a quick few hours of fun before he heads back out on tour. That will be fun. Always good to scatter in some playtime with the serious worktime.

I had a good morning’s session on The Big Project. I was afraid I’d lose my rhythm with it, but I haven’t.

Thought a lot about ANGEL HUNT, and am doing my research for the western.

You won’t believe this: Elsa figured out how to work the pedal trashcan. I got one with a foot pedal because she likes to hunt through the garbage for things like pork bones and bring them into the bed. So, for the past few years, she’s been stymied. Last night, I heard rummaging in the kitchen. She had both of her back feet on the pedal, the top was up, and she leaned over the can . . .rummaging for pork bones, since we had pork chops last night. I had to weigh down the lid with a heavy cooking pot!

Back to the page for a couple more hours before I leave for the city.

Devon

The Big Project – 12,880 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
12 / 75
(16.0%)
Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 8:51 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and warm

We’re having a bit of Indian Summer here, which is lovely. Temperatures up in the mid-70s, and sunny. I’m doing a photo shoot for the cover of the ghost story later today, and I’m glad there’s good weather.

I didn’t do much yesterday, other than work on the Big Project and prep for the conference and Nano. A couple of jobs cancelled, so I have to hustle additional work to make up the shortfall. Bills need to be paid, after all. The “workmen” were using high-pitched power tools all day yesterday right outside the door. The noise –even with headphones – and the black dust were horrible. That made it even more difficult to write. It’s frustrating because they make noise and create dust, but nothing is ever actually DONE. They’re vamping. They’ve spent three weeks scraping down the edges of a banister that descends from a ceiling and no one sees anyway! It’s a about a foot long – I’m sorry, that does not take three weeks to scrape down, and they haven’t even started painting it. They have “wet paint” signs everywhere, but they haven’t actually painted anything.

I appreciate your concern that I’m pushing myself, but, people, how hard is it for you to realize that THIS IS HOW I MAKE MY LIVING? I don’t have a spouse’s income to rely on. I don’t get to work only when I feel like it. This is my job and I have to do what needs to be done in order to stay afloat. There is no day job – thank God! THIS is my career. I don’t have a regular paycheck coming in. Money comes in staggered depending on the individual contracts and the amount fluctuates week to week. And I have to pay the bills at the same dates every time, so I have to do whatever needs to be done to keep the money flowing. While I have the freedom to work my own hours, take time off, etc., it also means that there are periods of time when I have to push hard.

I don’t have much to say. Actually, I have plenty to say, but it’s inappropriate to say it here, so I’m taking it to the appropriate venue!

I brought some more books out of storage, including some research books I need for the Western. I also received two more books I’d ordered via Bookmooch for it, so I’m all set. And I have a new assignment from Confidential Job #1 that I need to knock out this weekend, before the conference starts.

I also brought back Deidre Bair’s biography of Anais Nin (yes, I know I’m missing the umlaut, can’t get it to work). I’m re-reading it. It’s quite well done. Nin was interesting in the fact that she was thoroughly messed up, thoroughly self-delusional, and yet she did some ground-breaking work in making the diary a recognized form of literature. Her work is something that fascinated me when I was younger and angered me in my thirties. I’m more circumspect about it now, and don’t take her delusions quite so personally. The Myth of the Self was really her area of expertise, whether she was willing to admit it or not. Bair’s books is excellent.

Busy day – have to make up the writing I didn’t get done, do some job hustling, the photo shoot, and a few other things. Oh, well, that’s the way it goes.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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 10, 2008 at 8:35 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , ,

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I was hired to write two short articles by a new-to-me publication yesterday, so that will be fun.

Worked on the exercises for the Dialogue Workshop. I’m creating them from scratch this year so they’re different from last year’s, although there will be some overlap.

I have four definite N3s. I said I’d mentor only 3-5 this year (unlike 34 last year), so I feel like I’m set. I’m really excited about this trio. I feel as though they’re committed and really want to get the most they can out of Nano.

PJ, I doubt you’ll find “N3” on Google. It’s my term for “Nano Newbies for November.”

I worked on The Big Project off and on, making notes for some non-sequential stuff, and I outlined the first third of another project. No idea where that will fit into the roster, but it’s something that’s fun and saleable, so I’d like to get it started before the end of this year.

I’d figured out an intense sequence for The Big Project, and decided to rearrange a bunch of sequencing. But, when I went to write it this morning, I realized the sequencing didn’t make sense, so I had to go back to my original plan.

Live and learn, right?

The live chat was sparsely attended, but Costume Imp was there, helping to drive it, and we had a good time. This morning, I discovered that a chat announcement had been sent out stating the time was 7 PM EST – the time we had originally agreed to, but then it was changed to 9 PM, I agreed to roll with that, but another announcement was sent out stating it was back to 7 PM – only no one bothered to let me know. Part of me is annoyed at the disorganization. Part of me shrugs and goes, “typical Mercury retrograde.”

The really cool part of the chat was that, not only did Costume Imp and I have a blast, we created a rough outline for a new Jain Lazarus adventure, which might end up being Book 4 instead of what I planned as book 4, which means there will be six Jain Lazarus adventures instead of five.

And, of course, this one will be dedicated to Costume Imp!

I had a bit of brain fatigue yesterday. I’m pushing myself hard on the writing front, but hey, there are bills to pay. I can’t afford, in any sense of the word, to let up right now. And a lot of the longer projects take more time, more thought, which means a longer time until I see a financial return.

Devon

Angel Hunt — 110,361words out of est. 125,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
110 / 125
(88.0%)

The Big Project – 10,810 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10 / 75
(13.3%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


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 9, 2008 at 9:40 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: ,