Inauguration Day — Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and snowy
Inauguration Day

Today is an exciting day on so many levels. Finally, we have someone with intelligence and integrity who actually plans to LEAD the country, honor the Constitution, and listen to its citizens. Do I unilaterally agree with him all the time? Of course not. No one will. But I respect his intelligence, his commitment, and the fact that he will listen to multiple points of view and make an informed decision. The greed and ignorance and corruption can’t be flushed out in a day, but it will happen. Even better, there are millions of people willing to do their part, because he believes that the country as a whole will benefit. This is in direct contrast to the past eight years, where people were punished for working hard, and the only reason to work hard was for the benefit of a few, imitating the feudal system of the Middle Ages. I think Obama’s way forward is much more positive than the only other choice open to the people, should the previous regime’s stance have continued, which was revolution in the streets.

It’s interesting that this happens during a Saturn Retrograde, which is about learning life lessons and implementing the new knowledge. I wish it wasn’t happening during a fourth quarter moon, but perhaps it symbolizes all that still needs to be banished in Washington by this new administration.

I’m one of the people hosting a Watching Party for the inauguration. Of course, I’m in charge of the food! 😉 It’s all very simple: beef empanadas with sour cream and salsa as an appetizer; chicken tortellini in a homemade alfredo sauce with spinach on the side (now that I’ve learned how to make alfredo sauce, which takes very little time and so much better than jar sauce I don’t know if I can ever go back), and cheesecake for dessert.

So how about those folks at Spirit Airlines, huh? They cancel a group of passengers from one of their flights, put them on US Air flight 1549, and then, when the plane goes down and the passengers need to change their return flights, TRY TO CHARGE THEM FOR THE CHANGE. To call them buttheads is an understatement. However, it is typical of that airline. I used to fly frequently. I flew Spirit Air exactly ONCE. I’d use any other form of transportation, including walking, rather than set foot on one of their planes again. It was the worst flying experience of my life, and every single employee I encountered along the way was both rude and incompetent.

Just for the record, Air France is my favorite airline. Every experience I’ve had with them has been great. Icelandair is great once you’re ON the plane, but the whole getting on it is a bit of a pain.

Sunday was a writing day. I’m frustrated on THE MATILDA MURDERS, because it’s not working. I’m writing plenty – but what I’m writing isn’t working. So I’ve put it aside for a few days and hopefully can attack it with fresh eyes.

I spent most of Sunday working on The Lucy Gothic. I finished chapter three, wrote chapter four, and started chapter five. I have to type chapters three and four, but at least they’re written. I will try to put an hour or so into that this morning before finishing the lunch preparations.

Let’s face it, there’s too much to celebrate, and not much writing will get done today!

Yesterday, I was up at 4:30 (I bet some of the cast members from the previous night’s show weren’t even home yet), on a 6:19 train to the city. Because it was a holiday Monday, the streets were relatively quiet when I got in; I love the city like that. The sense of calm, of stillness, of potential. I trudged across to the theatre, with a Very Large Cup of Coffee, and joined the rest of the wardrobe crew to pack out the show. The stage crew has the bulk of the week to strip the theatre, but we had to get everything done in one day. We did, of course, because our supervisor organized us well, and we’re a good team. On top of that, we managed to have a lot of fun together, our last time together on this show in this configuration.

It was an odd sensation, walking out of the stage door at the end of the day and realizing it could well be the last time I walk through a Broadway stage door as a member of a crew. If this was my last Broadway show as a crew member, it was a good way to leave.

My friend and I walked back to Grand Central through the falling snow and took our respective trains home. I poured a nice glass of wine and took a long, hot soak in my infamous bath salts designed to help muscle fatigue. Hey, if I’m going to make them, I should use some for myself occasionally and not just give them all away, right?

I had a quiet evening. Because the day was filled with physical activity, I skipped my evening weight training session – I was afraid that was putting too much strain on already tired muscles. I did a yoga sequence to boost immunity instead (since I’d been on the train with a slew of sneezing, coughing individuals) and my usual nightly calming sequence.

Back to the page for a little while today, and then I’m going to revel in the possibility that this country is headed back towards the actions and ideals on which is was built.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing and cold

It’s really coming down this morning! It’s very pretty, but I’d rather stay home than have to go in to the city to work. I won’t know for sure what my schedule is until about 11 AM. The snowflakes are fat and fluffy. The cats sit in the window watching, fascinated.

I did a big grocery shopping trip yesterday, all stocked up, thank goodness. I dealt with some business stuff, did some work on the DIXIE DUST RUMORS marketing plan, tried and failed to do some work on The Lucy Gothic, and did a little bit of work on THE MATILDA MURDERS. I also got an idea for a romantic comedy – I jotted down a rough outline for the first third of the book, which unfolded in my head intact, and it will have to take its turn in the queue.

If I don’t get called in to the show’s final day today, I will do some more work on The Lucy Gothic and hopefully really focus on THE MATILDA MURDERS. I hope I have a breakthrough on the latter soon – there’s some stuff that’s still not working, I’m on a tight deadline for it, and I just need to figure it out.

I fleshed out the new first chapter of the Billy Root story a bit this morning – now I have to figure out if I’m going to alternate chapter POVS, or do chunks of chapters. Although the first chapter is Jain’s and the second is Billy’s, I think I’ll have chunks of Billy chapters with only the occasional Jain chapter so we know what she’s up to while Billy is involved in his stuff, and then bring them together in the section set at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We’ll see, it’s a first draft, that’s why it exists – so I can get the story out and then rearrange it later.

I won’t blog tomorrow – I have to be up around 4:30 in the morning to get into the city for an 8 AM load-out call at the theatre, and I don’t know when I’ll be home.

I’ll probably blog again on Tuesday – which will be, at least for me, a very happy Inauguration Day, when Intelligence and Integrity return to the White House.


Billy Root story – 9,454 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
9 / 60
Published in: on January 18, 2009 at 8:39 am  Comments (5)  
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What’s going on?

I’m not sure what’s going on — when I publish the post, the template’s not taking properly, the links aren’t showing up in the sidebar — hopefully you’re not getting these problems as you try to read this.


update: Fixed. Thank you, Colin! You were right (of course) — it was the Zokutu!

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 8:34 am  Comments (3)  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

It’s official: DIXE DUST RUMORS, the YA horse racing mystery, has been accepted by eTreasures Publishing. I signed the contract and sent it off. I am so happy! I’ve been talking about DIXIE DUST RUMORS on and off for several years, rewriting it, putting it away, rewriting it. I did another rewrite last spring, and it hit the first time out. I’m thrilled.

Oh, yeah, yesterday was c-c-c-cold, no doubt about it! I took the train in, walked across from Grand Central to the theatre, took care of a few things there, stopped at the bank, then continued east to Madison. I took the bus up Madison to the 90’s for my appointment. I wound up being early; I called and we managed to move the appointment up so I didn’t have to wander around in the cold for an hour.

That went well, although I wasn’t able to go to Vosges for my drinking chocolate. For some insane reason, I decided to walk the 50 blocks back to Grand Central (approximately 5 miles), working my way down Park Avenue. Actually, I was bundled up well enough so it wasn’t that cold, and I made a quick stop in a bookstore at 57th Street to warm up.

I had my exercise for the day – I seriously considered skipping last night’s work out. But then I got antsy, so I worked out anyway.

Anyway, the train ride back was worse than the 50 blocks of walking because stupid Metro North had THE AIR CONDITIONER on. I kid you not. I was turning all kinds of interesting shades of blue and shaking by the time I got off at my stop an hour later. The stock answer from the conductors when they pump the heat through in the summer and turn the air conditioning on in the winter is that “there’s nothing we can do”, which, as we all know is complete and utter bull-pucky. The truth is that they CHOOSE not to do anything. And for this, they want a rate hike of 23% on the trains and 50% on busses and subways.

I had a breakthrough on the Billy Root story. I’m writing a new chapter one, which is kind of a prologue and then a couple of Jain/Wyatt scenes. And THEN I’m starting with Billy in Scotland. I think the overall book will hold together better if it’s not all from Billy’s POV – not that Billy can’t shoulder a whole book, but I think it will serve the story better to have the track Jain and Wyatt are on and the track Billy’s on run parallel for awhile until they merge.

So that’s exciting.

And, best of all, I get to open the book with the murder of a banking CEO who abused his power, destroyed lives, and got TARP money.

I did not attend the play’s opening night last night. That was not a change of plan – I knew I couldn’t, because it’s too far out for me to get there and back easily, and it’s one of those things that has to be planned out and coordinated, etc., etc., and, since I wasn’t involved in the day-to-day rehearsals, it’s not a big deal. I sent over greetings to be read before curtain, I heard the final dress in front of an audience was awesome and the opening night was sold out. I heard it went really well and everybody’s thrilled. I’ll get to see it myself in late February.

Some unpleasant correspondence to get out (I am so TIRED of fighting with unethical and immoral business people, but that’s the atmosphere created by the Bush Administration), a large grocery shop to accomplish (more snow expected tonight), a contract to mail out, and a play to revise.

Back to the page.


Billy Root story – 9,059 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
9 / 60
Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 8:30 am  Comments (8)  

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Coldest Day So Far

The US Air “emergency landing” into the Hudson River yesterday afternoon was terrifying. Kudos to the pilots for getting the plane down into a flat landing, a “ditch” instead of a crash, in the Hudson River, instead of hitting buildings or cars or anything else. Kudos to the various water taxis and other craft out on the river who raced across to the plane when it hit and started pulling people out. Some people didn’t even get wet. Kudos to the FDNY, NYPD and all the first responders. As of this writing NO ONE was killed; everyone got out of the plane alive, all passengers and crew. New York definitely has the greatest police and fire departments in the world. Not every individual is perfect, but as a team, the departments are unbeatable.

An example of the Universe answering when you need it to: I had a bad case of the blues on Wednesday. BAD. I functioned, because there was a lot to do, but everything started to pile up: emotions about my play opening; emotions about the show closing, nerves about the manuscript submissions, concern that I’m losing the thread of the Billy Root piece, frustration with the job boards, overall exhaustion, worry about the bills chasing down late payments . . .on and on and on. We all have those days.

I’m clicking around, looking for a few minutes of distraction, and an email pops up from YOGA JOURNAL. I’m on their newsletter list, in addition to subscribing to the actual magazine, and it was one of those updates about new material on the site. I liked the headline, and clicked.

It was exactly what I needed to tap into for what I felt. Just reading the article made me feel better; implementing its suggestions took it even farther. Not everything is resolved, but my approach to it has vastly improved.

So Fed Ex leaves a “sorry we missed you” note on the front door of the apartment section – without any indication for who it is. Yeah, that’s a help. So typical. Morons. They’re better than UPS, but still . . .

I got up yesterday at 5:30 (without the alarm, I might add) to get everything I needed to get done before leaving for the site job. It was snowing quite heavily, and, thankfully, shortly after 7:30, I got the cancellation call. Sure, I could have used the money (no money when they cancel, unfortunately, not an option with this gig), but the roads were already horrible in good weather, so it would have been a nightmare to drive to CT yesterday.

That gave me the gift of a day. I wanted to simply crawl back into bed, but that’s not very productive now, is it? So I took the work out of the writing bag I packed and got started on that.

I wound up having to go out in the afternoon. I dug my car out and drove it to my friend’s place, who had room for it in his garage. As he said, he’s got the room, why should the car be outside in minus 20 weather? It’s better for my baby to be safely tucked away from the elements. He drove me home, and I’m sans car for a few days, but maybe by then the parking lot won’t be such an ice rink (I know, dream on), and I don’t really need it until Saturday anyway. I’d rather have it safely tucked away.

I didn’t get everything done that I hoped, due to some unpleasant business that had to be dealt with. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. I can’t wait until Obama is inaugurated, and we have some integrity at the top to set a positive example.

I’m telling you, though, that transition team’s kept me busy. I’m on the email list, and they really do want regular citizens to be active. I’m constantly responding to materials about one issue or another, or clarifying points and ideas I’ve forwarded. I’m not complaining, mind you – it’s the first time in years I’ve felt listened to by my government. It’s a couple of times a week, though, and I’m wondering if that’s what I’m in for over the next four years! 😉 Oh, well, they wanted opinions, and, as you all know, I’m VERY opinionated!

I got quite a bit of work done on The Lucy Gothic, and I’m pleased with it. It’s taking a lovely shape, part Dickens, part Frances Hodgson Burnett, part something I’ve never read before.

Chase gets yet another middle finger award – I don’t know how the CEO can look himself in the mirror every morning. It is disgusting.

McAfee continues to be out of control. Someone mentioned that they re-set it not to automatically update – how? I’ve gone through all my McAfee screens, and can’t find that option. The computer continues to run poorly, taking up to 40 minutes to boot up, freezing, crashing, and, as I’m typing this, hiccupping during the typing process. I’m having trouble getting online. It’s disgusting.

Off to the city today. I have to pick up a check at the theatre, then I have a meeting on the Upper East Side, then I’m going to stop at Vosges for another flute of hot chocolate. Because, of course, on the coldest day of the year, where else would I be except traipsing around in concrete canyons? Ick.

And I’m really, really, really trying not to stress that this is my OPENING NIGHT.

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed – I hope to have some good news to share with you in a few days.


Published in: on January 16, 2009 at 6:58 am  Comments (17)  

Tips for the Cold

With these frigid temperatures, I thought I’d share a few tips with you that I learned from working outside on location shoots during bad weather.

WARMERS. The bags are yellow, red, and orange. They’ve got toe warmers, foot warmers (for the whole foot), hand warmers, and my favorite, body warmers. They cannot be placed on the skin directly, but break open the outer red and yellow cellophane bag and shake the warmer, then place it against the layer of fabric closest to your body. The small hand and foot warmers last a couple of hours. The body warmers last 8-10 hours. I usually put a body warmer in the small of my back, on the thermal shirt layer but under the next sweater or shirt. By keeping that part of my body warm with a steady heat, I’m fine. The heat is more concentrated and intense than those Therma-care wraps, so I also use them for muscle pain. I know Home Depot carries them, and I’ve seen them in several other hardware stores and even at Costco. They will change your life. I’ve even worn them indoors, when the boss dialed down the thermostat, rather than sit there and shiver. I can’t concentrate when I’m cold.

LAYERS. Try to keep breathable layers next to your skin. The best is silk (and now there are lots of washable silks at reasonable prices, thank goodness). Silk thermals, silk socks, silk glove liners will earn their price the first time you wear them. Then layer on the wools, etc. If you wear a synthetic against your skin that traps the sweat rather than wicks it or breathes the way a natural fabric does, you’ll wind up in alternating hot and cold sweats, which is unhealthy. When I’ve been caught without silk, I’ve put on thin cotton socks under my wool socks, and that works, too. Mittens retain heat better than gloves, but often gloves are necessary in order to function, so a pair of silk glove liners make a huge difference. And, of course, hats and scarves. Both Winter Silks and LL Bean have good silk layers, and, especially when they have sales, the prices are reasonable. They’re fantastic, if you go to LL Bean’s outlets rather than the main store. My silk thermals are about twelve or thirteen years old at this point, and they’re still in great condition.

HOT WATER BOTTLES. These are safer than space heaters or heating pads (and DO NOT use them together with anything electrical). I always travel with a hot water bottle. If I’m in a cold place, I just heat some water, pour it in, and I’m toasty warm for hours. If you have pets, they WILL wrestle you for the hot water bottle. So get them their own, especially for older animals.

If you have to go out, make sure you’re well wrapped with as little skin as possible exposed, and re-warm it every 2-3 minutes, even if it means stopping what you’re doing. If you have the option to stay in, do so, even if you’re worried about cabin fever.

Stay warm, stay safe!

Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 7:18 am  Comments (7)  
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January 14, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

The new issue of The Scruffy Dog Review is up. I’ve got two pieces in it. One is an interview with one of my favorite people in the world, Gerard Canonico – great performer and awesome human being. You can read that here.

And then, of course, there’s my regular column, “The Literary Athlete.” This segment talks about what you should do while your book is in production, here.

I hope you’ll read them both.

I managed to get to my friend’s place yesterday morning, in spite of the ice, and did five loads of laundry. Like I said, it was getting scary. I didn’t get anything done while the laundry was in, although I’d brought plenty of work with me; we just hung out and talked by the fire, with classical music on, while the laundry went through. It was a good break.

Lots to do today; business correspondence to get out, pitches to pitch, polishes on the synopsis and outline to complete. I’m trying to keep my mind off the fact that my show opens on Friday.

I got about 1000 words done on The Lucy Gothic this morning. I still have some figuring to do on the Billy Root piece before I can get back to it, and I need to focus on the rewrite of THE MATILDA MURDERS this weekend. Also, got an idea for a new play; I have to figure out which of the two places most interested in my work right now should get first shot at it.

A scene came to me yesterday for Shakespeare’s Bacon, the prequel to Tracking Medusa that focuses on Gwen and Karl. I scribbled it down and gave it a file – it’ll be awhile before I write that one, but it’s a really funny scene between Gwen and Karl and gives a lot of information about the characters in what they aren’t saying.

To answer Colin’s question, I think you mean the character of Irina. I don’t think Edward, Irina, and Bartholomew will feature heavily in The Balthazaar Treasure, although Edward might make an appearance, and I might bring Irina in for a scene or two, although I’d rather leave it for Book 3. They all feature heavily in Book 3, Sandoval’s Secret, especially Irina. So, Colin, you’ve got something to look forward to!

I might not blog tomorrow. I’m on standby for a site job that would start early, and I won’t know until about 9 PM tonight whether or not I’m going. If I go, I’m not blogging; if they cancel, I’ll be here as usual.

Back to the page.


Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 9:41 am  Comments (8)  
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I got over myself yesterday after awhile and went back to work.

Yesterday was spent putting the changes into the final polish of the manuscript. Since it’s only about 30 words shy of 100K, it took all day. The chapters for the submission package are in their file. I’ll do a polish on the outline, synopsis, one paragraph summary and logline today and it’s ready to go.

To answer Chad’s question, yes, it’s a manuscript that I’ve discussed here a lot, especially in the writing process. I’ve got interest in it now, even before the official query process has begun, and didn’t want to sit on it any longer, so I just sat down and did the final polish. Now, no matter what combination of submission materials any of the interested parties ask for (should the initial submission package not hit its mark), all I have to do is attach the correct file and hit “send”, which is the professional way to submit. You query, they ask for materials, you send it in the return mail. Don’t start querying until everything is DONE, or it will bite you in the butt. I don’t want to discuss it too much, because I don’t want to jinx it – so keep your fingers crossed.

However, spending a few days on a 100K manuscript is not something I’d avoid mentioning, since it took the bulk of those days!

It took all damned day, but it feels good to really have this piece in submission shape. I’m very enthusiastic about this piece, and hope it finds a home soon. The only real break was when U-Haul started their monthly harassment yet again – before eight o’clock in the morning, which is totally inappropriate – and I had to take a couple of hours in the afternoon to file some paperwork so that this will stop. As soon as I can afford to move everything out of my remaining unit I will, but right now, it costs just as much to move it to another unit in the good place, near me, as it does to move it to another state. And, since there’s furniture involved, I can’t do it myself or fit it all in my car. I’m looking for financially viable ways to get it done, but so far the expense is too high.

And that was my day, that and working out last night to get the kinks out from being huddled over the computer for most of the day, with the computer getting crankier and crankier as the day wore on. I was ridiculously paranoid about backing up.

This morning, I wrote an article and did a final cross-check on two articles about to go live.

If I can get to my friend’s place (the ice is really, really, REALLY bad), I’m going to go over and do laundry – let’s just say we’ve hit the point where it’s quite necessary. Can’t wait to have my own washer and dryer when I have a house!

I’ll pack a writing bag and maybe do some work on The Lucy Gothic while I’m there.

I did some overall plotting for the Jain Lazarus books – I’ve got an idea of the trajectory of the next four books, although I don’t have all the plot details down, and, while each will stand alone, they feed into the overall arc.

I re-read what I’ve got for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE last night (the second Gwen/Justin book). I’m throwing it out and starting over. It’s got some good ideas, but it’s reading more like a treatment or outline than an actual manuscript. There are ideas and situations, but no spark. One thing the Gwen/Justin books are good at is the whole spark effect. So, when I go back to it, at some point later this year, I’ll start over. It’s darker than the first one, with the third book being the darkest, and then the prequel (Gwen/Karl) is much more light-hearted, but you still see what caused the breach between them that’s discussed so much in TRACKING MEDUSA. Again, all four books will stand alone, but they feed into an overall arc.

Got to pack my writing bag and play with the cats for a bit before I attempt the ice-slicked roads of CT.


Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 9:44 am  Comments (7)  
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Monday, Janaury 12, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

So, the production problem has a solution, the solution’s been written and worried over during the weekend, and sent off first thing this morning. Is it my first choice of a way to deal with this? No. But it’s a transitional solution until a more permanent one is put into place. I should feel happy (well, okay, not happy, but calm) and relieved; instead, I feel annoyed and a little depressed. So I just need to get over myself.

I did a tiny bit of work on The Lucy Gothic yesterday, finishing Chapter Three and starting Chapter Four, but didn’t type Chapter Three yet. Instead, I spend the bulk of the day on a novel manuscript that needs to go out this week – I wanted to do one final polish and tweak the outline and synopsis a bit before I send it out. I’ll put in the changes today, re-do the outline and synopsis, and we’re good to go.

And that was my day.

I have all kinds of business to handle today. I was going to go to my friend’s place later to do laundry, but I think I’ll wait and do that tomorrow, trying to clean a few more things off my desk today.

This will be a weird week – I have a play opening and the Broadway show on which I’ve worked for the past year is closing. It will be a bit of a roller coaster.

Back to the page – lots to do and limited time.


Published in: on January 12, 2009 at 8:19 am  Comments (8)  
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Sunday, January 11,2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Most of yesterday was spent on the play that opens this week; there’s a situation that “might” come up, which would not be an issue if this was a larger company or one based in Manhattan. However, it’s a possibility, and I’ve created an alternate scene for the play should it come up. I would prefer it not to be used, but if it has to, it can be inserted at a moment’s notice. After thinking about it, playing with it, and overwriting it, I’ve cut it down to about a page, and will send it off tomorrow.

So much for getting everything else done that I hoped to get done.

It snowed steadily, but we only had about an inch’s worth of accumulation, not the 6-10 inches about which we’d been warned. In between sessions working on the play, I finished reading Terry Pratchett’s MAKING MONEY, a social satire which is almost frighteningly relevant to our current economic crisis. If you want an extraordinarily clever book that will make you laugh, read it. Of course, my two favorite Pratchett novels are HOGFATHER and MASQUERADE, with GOING POSTAL, WYRD SISTERS, and MORT coming in close behind – but this one makes my list of top ten Pratchett novels.

I did a little bit of work on The Lucy Gothic. I’m trying to finish the handwritten chapter three, so I can type it.

It was an icy, treacherous walk to the bagel store this morning to get THE NEW YORK TIMES and a bagel. But the LL Bean boots and remembering to keep the weight on the ball of the foot and place it down flat instead of heel-first keep one from slipping, so it was all good.

I watched HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX again last night on DVD. That book is my favorite in the series, and I was terribly disappointed with the movie the first time I saw it, mostly because, had I written the script, I would have chosen different scenes to bring forward and to cut. Some of the stuff they cut is going to come back and bite them in the butt when they try to wrap things up in later films. And there wasn’t enough of either Lupin or Neville in the movie, who are my two favorite supporting characters in the books. AND they only used part of the prophecy, which cuts Neville out of the loop in which he was in for book 6, and I could just go on and on. But watching the movie again, I enjoyed it more, because I’d had enough time to get over my initial disappointment, and I could enjoy what actually was there.

Anyway, I’m off to rework the scene for the play a few more times, finish chapter 3 of The Lucy Gothic, do some outlining on the Billy Root story so I can get back to it tomorrow, and then tackle another project that’s come in and needs to get turned around quickly.

Busy day – fingers crossed the show doesn’t need me. I really need today to be a focused writing day.


Sautrday, January 10, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing and cold

Check out the latest Jain Lazarus Adventures press release here.

The McAfee “update” – the second one of the day – began at 7:55 AM yesterday, refusing to allow me to work in any word files and only giving me limited internet access. Again, I lost a portion of my working day, this time due to McAfee. And I pay them why? By 11:33, it was still going and I had to shut the computer down to run errands.

Speaking of errands, what should have taken 20 minutes took nearly two hours because something happened to back up I-95 in both directions, which in turn backed up 287 in both directions, which in turn spilled the excess out into the three towns in which I had to travel. Sigh.

I also wrote a press release for the play – which is opening a day earlier than originally expected, on the 16th, which is exciting. I hope to see it at some point in mid to late February. So that will probably go out either Sunday or Monday.

Only now I get a message from the producer that there’s some sort of “emergency” and she wants to discuss it with me on the phone. That sounds ominous.

I checked the calendar about four times today – it feels like Mercury’s gone retrograde, but according to the calendar, it hasn’t.

Did a tiny bit of work on The Lucy Gothic, since I’m writing the first draft in longhand. Hopefully, the computer will cooperate today so I can attack THE MATILDA MURDERS this weekend and get that done, and start CHANNELING JIM MORRISON.
(Which needs to be started before I can tackle FEMME FATALE).

I forgot to mention that Thursday night I created a fake Asian recipe using the leftover duck from New Year’s, which actually turned out quite well. It was kind of, sort of a lo mein. And last night, before I left for the theatre, I made the Fettucine Carbonera from the January issue of BON APPETIT.

Seven days/week of yoga and six nights/week of working out have dropped the few pounds I wanted to lose and rearranged what I wanted to rearrange. I eat pretty healthily anyway, but I am completely obsessed with food and cooking and experimenting with recipes lately. I’m not all that obsessed with the eating part, but I am with the planning/shopping/preparing.

The show last night went well. There’s a good chance this is the last time I’ll get to work with everyone (I’m working the load out after it closes, but not scheduled for any shows during the final week). So that was a little strange. I got to work with the boys, which was great, said my possible goodbyes. This show is a difficult one to let go, in many ways, because it drew a lot of extraordinary people.

Twelve Broadway shows are closing this month, and very little is coming in. Our industry’s been hit hard by the recession. There just isn’t any work.

I better go call my producer to find out what the heck is wrong now.

So much for a good writing day. It’s already out the window, and it’s barely ten a.m.


Published in: on January 10, 2009 at 10:04 am  Comments (4)  

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Don’t you DARE drag your feet on this economic stimulus package to help actual human beings after you let Hank Paulson stand on the street corner handing out billions of our tax dollars to his buddies with little debate and no oversight., and which has done NOTHING for the failing economy, only encouraged the corrupt executives who helped create this mess. There is no excuse not to have the package ready and on Obama’s desk on inauguration day. If it means you work around the clock for the next eleven days, then so be it. We pay you enough. And we’ll kick your butts out the door in the next election if you keep behaving like idiots, no matter to which party you belong. We started cleaning house this past November and will continue. Stop acting like bratty, spoiled teenagers, halt the narcissistic, self-indulgent partisan politics, and DO YOUR DAMNED JOBS. The newly sworn-in Congress has been there for a week and has already failed the American people. GET TO WORK OR ELSE.

Back to regular blogging:

Kind of had the blues yesterday, about one thing and another. Sometimes, that happens.

Took most of the Christmas decorations back to storage (the good storage, out here by me). Had to get out one bin to pack up the rest – I have an assortment of Santas and Nutcrackers who need to still get packed away. I keep finding them in different places all over the living room. Either they’re coming to life when I’m not looking, or the cats are dragging them around. Either way, they need to get boxed up.

Spent far too much time on the Lucy Gothic. I meant to write about 4 pages, but got caught up into it, and spent most of the day on it. I think I wrote ten or twelve pages on it.

Baked two loaves of orange rye bread, a recipe I wanted to try. It’s okay. I’m not that thrilled with it, and don’t know if I’d make it again.

Worked on a couple of press releases.

Accepted a fun new gig on Michelle Miles’s fashion blog, Sole Struck Fashions. I’ll start soon – and, don’t worry, I’ll let you know when the post is up. My day each month is the 13th. Might as well put all those years of wardrobe experience into use, right? Besides, I’ve been looking for a way to fulfill the GDR about stretching in a new genre – writing about fashion fits that bill! Thanks, Michelle!

Thanks to good ole McAfee hijacking my computer twice so far this morning and freezing and dumping files, I couldn’t open the Billy Root story in order to work on it. Brandy, thanks for the tip on the other virus protection. I’ll look into it. Since I paid a big chunk of change for McAfee, I’ll see the subscription through, but I am not going to renew it. Although, when I switch to MAC, I can probably dump it them.

I have a truncated writing day today because I have to go into the city later and work the show, which means I leave around 4:30 and get back around midnight.

I’m still doing a lot of figuring out about what comes next in the Billy Root story, especially character-wise. I’ve got a character, Mimi, who is a good contrast to Isobel, one of the main characters in this book. Their difference is part of what makes Billy’s emotional age catch up to his chronological age, along with the adventures on which he joins Jain and Wyatt later in the book. I’m a little hesitant to follow this personal dynamic because it’s a departure from the other two books in many ways, yet it’s true to Billy’s character, and this book is from Billy’s POV, after all. I’m mulling it all over.

Oh, and I never heard from the potential employer I questioned after the materials set off my warning bells. Guess my instincts were right – it was a scam. Glad I dodged that bullet.

Back to the page.


Published in: on January 9, 2009 at 9:11 am  Comments (9)  

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Abby, thanks so much for the magazine subscription sites.

Well, yesterday was discouraging on the job negotiation front. The job that offered a pay rate too good to be true – I suspect it’s a scam. I looked at the materials which I’m supposed to work with and the warning bells went off. I sent more questions to the supposed employer; we’ll see what is said. Since they’ve yet to respond, I have a feeling that my gut instincts were correct. Another set of job negotiations turns out to be revenue share, not pay-per-article, so I’m not taking it. I am paid a set rate for the work I do, not a “maybe” rate that’s dependent on other people. This is my business, not my hobby.

And, of course, computer problems don’t help. One of the ongoing problems I’ve had with this machine since the first 30 days when it actually worked properly is that, when I hit “save”, either to do the original save or a back-up, it often dumps. And not hiding it somewhere for document recovery – it dumps. That’s why, even though I attempt to back-up frequently, very often the attempt to back-up causes me to lose everything. This has been a constant problem with the machine, and Dell has consistently refused to do anything (much less honor the 3-year at-home service agreement for which I paid). And the McAfee’s constant hijacking, dumping, and freezing of what I’m working on has gotten out of control. It shouldn’t take two to three hours to put in an “update” that freezes my computer and doesn’t let me work EVERY DAY. I’ve complained to them; we’ll see if they do anything about it.

No, I am not re-installing the operating system. I think that’s ridiculous, and that, instead of actually fixing problems, that’s always the solution techs shrug and do – wipe the drive and start over. NO. I paid for an operating system – I expect it to OPERATE. I finally have everything (well, most things) arranged the way I want them. I am NOT wiping the drive and putting it all back and starting from scratch. First of all, I’m not qualified. Second, the last time I paid someone to fix the computer – Geek Squad, which cost, I think, in the neighborhood of $500 – they wiped the drive when I specifically told them it was not an option, because the problems for which I called them meant I couldn’t back things up before they came – and I lost my writing samples, my portfolio, etc., etc.. It took probably a year to get things back to where I needed and wanted them. I couldn’t figure out how stuff was reloaded, and where it was hidden. The “Start” Menu didn’t have what I needed on it. It was a nightmare.

This hard drive is at the end of its life span anyway – if I don’t wind up getting my MAC in February or March, at the very least, I’ll have to buy a new hard drive for this machine and hire someone to install it. Believe me, it won’t be Geek Squad. And it won’t be Staples, who doesn’t load things onto hard drives unless you provide written proof it’s your program, according to the tech guy with whom I spoke. WTF? It’s all a racquet, built to screw the consumer every which way possible. If I’m forced to do the latter instead of purchasing the Mac O’My Dreams, I’ll hire an individual with good references.

Managed about a thousand words on the Lucy Gothic. I’ve started the third chapter in the handwritten draft, and I’m typing the chapters as I complete them, which means I’ve typed chapters 1 and 2. The word meter reflects the typed version (what I call “Draft 1A”). The problem with the Lucy Gothic is that once I enter its world, I am reluctant to leave.

Drafted a Jain Lazarus press release. It needs some work, but should be ready to go out in a day or two.

Did some work on the Billy Root piece, the plotting and figuring that needs to happen before I can write more. To answer Chad’s question, he’s about to turn thirty, but his emotional age is more like seventeen or eighteen. I could make the “well, he’s an actor” joke, but that’s unfair to the actors who actually have a reasonable emotional age, no matter what their chronological age — some of whom I’ve worked with. I’m a little stuck. I need to get to know some of the other characters a little better, and figure out why they’re here. The theme is clear to me, and there are two main sections of the book – the first is at the school during summer term in Scotland, and the second is during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where both Billy and Jain get to use their theatrical expertise again. And Jain receives another shock pertaining to her past, building on what she learned during OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. I need to tie the two sections together, and I’m not sure I’ll find a way to do that until I’ve completed the first draft. This morning’s work was slow going – I need to make a floor plan of the house in which they’re living for the summer, because it’s relevant to the plot. I’ll look back at the floor plans from houses such as Felbrigg and Craigside to get ideas (their floor plans are also helpful in The Lucy Gothic).

I also started sketching out a direct mail piece I’m going to put together for my fiction, in addition to the business writing brochure I’m putting together. Those are two separate lists, with little cross-over, at least for now. Closer to the release date of OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, I think I’ll do a postcard for it. I’m considering a post card for HEX BREAKER, to do another marketing push for it, but I doubt I can coax this hunk of junk to do what I need in order to create the postcard. And I can’t afford to hire it out right now. So we’ll have to see what kind of jobs I land this month, and that will dictate what I can afford to do, marketing-wise.

Did some loose plotting on the Mick Feeney story. I’ve got about a page of it handwritten, to get me into the character’s voice. The first story, at least, is told from Mick’s POV. I might alternate stories, one from Mick’s POV, one from Eliza Valentine’s. The inspiration for these tales are the penny dreadful river tales that were popular in the mid-1800’s, full of colorful river characters and a deep love for the Mississippi River. My characters and settings are fictional, in an alternate universe, but the inspiration goes back to those Mississippi Tall Tales I came across while researching THE WIDOW’S CHAMBER.

See—every piece of research comes into use, eventually, even if it’s not in the piece for which you originally researched.

I’ve put my notes on THE MATILDA MURDERS in A Very Safe Place. I either have to find that Very Safe Place, or go back and do my revisions without my notes. Sigh.

Back to the page.


Billy Root piece – 6,899 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6 / 60

The Lucy Gothic, Draft 1A –8,605 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
8 / 75
Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 8:51 am  Comments (13)