Writers Worth Day

What Are You Worth?

Today is the Second Annual Writers’ Worth Day, thanks to Lori Widmer of Pennsylvania. Hopefully, this grass roots movement will grow over the years. Until writers take control of their own worth, their own finances, and their own lives, they will continue to earn slave wages.

What we do consists of a specific set of skills, skills that we have learned and honed over time, in much the same way as a doctor or a lawyer. We take skill a step further, though,and meld it with creativity and imagination. It’s difficult to put a price on it, but it’s worth a living wage.

Yes, anyone can put words on paper. But not everyone can arrange those words to seduce, entice, teach, engage and make someone see the world differently. It’s not all about selling something. It’s about sharing a different view of the world, helping people see and feel.

What is that worth?

Hard to say. But it’s worth a living wage.

Ask yourself why you write. Hopefully, you love it. Hopefully, it’s your vocation and your passion, as well as your business. But never forget that it’s your business.

Because so many people hate their jobs and their lives and are too cowardly to change them, they promote the myth that you can’t love your job AND earn a decent wage. It gives them a feeling of power to keep others as miserable as they are. This IS a myth, and the best way you can bust it up is to earn a good living via writing. You won’t without skill, talent, imagination, and a heck of a lot of hard work. If you’re not willing to put all of that into your writing, keep the day job. But don’t hurt the rest of us who DO write to pay the bills by letting employers get away with paying substandard wages, and training them that this is acceptable. It is not. Every time you accept a crap wage for your work, you don’t just hurt yourself, you hurt others. You cause harm. Even worse, you make the CHOICE to cause harm.

What we do is unique. How we do it is unique to each of us. A hundred of us can write good copy for a website. And it will be a hundred different viewpoints. One of those will be that special, charismatic work that leaps off the page or screen and makes a positive difference in the world. That writer deserves to be paid WELL for the skill, the passion, and the creativity. YOU deserve to be paid well for your skill, your passion,and your creativity.

You know when I’ll write for a “maybe someday” fee or a fraction of a penny-per-page-view wage? When my landlord, credit card companies, and utilities accept the same way of paying bills. I need to know what I’m paid for my work, and then, in cases of the fiction and the plays, the royalties are the gravy. I’ve been lucky that the gravy’s been able to fill in during fallow periods, but royalties can’t be depended on for a living until one hits a couple of best seller lists. Janet Evanovich and Nora Roberts can count on royalties to pay the bills. I’m not there. Yet. And when someone hires me to do a piece of writing that generates income for his business, I deserve a fixed, solid rate that reflects my skills, my time, and the continuing income I generate for that business. If my creditors except to be paid the rates they set and on time, then so do I.

Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 1:55 am  Comments (6)  
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On the Road

I’m driving as we speak (well, okay, as you read).

So stop by Sole Struck Fashions for far too much information on lingerie!

If I have internet service, I’ll blog from the motel tomorrow.

In any case, come back on Friday to celebrate Writers’ Worth Day!


Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 1:26 am  Comments (9)  
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

So, 1and1 Hosting is driving me crazy, as usual. They’re quick to take the automatic payment from my account; slow to give me the service for which I pay. I’m looking at other hosts — the very thought of moving all my crap and having to redesign all my sites makes me nauseous. I love the package I have at 1and1, it’s perfect for me — it would be nice if it wouldn’t go down every day between 11 AM and 4 PM EST with server errors.

Got the articles scheduled for when I’m gone this week. Make sure you visit Sole Struck tomorrow for more than you ever wanted to know about lingerie, and come back here on Friday for Writers’ Worth Day.

Knocked out some correspondence, in spite of the cats deciding to: Chase each other across the keyboard, changing the content of the letters quite a bit; yell and scream in front of the food bowls, in spite of the fact they all ate their breakfast this morning; Iris nearly got stuck in the slinky when she was playing with it (after getting it out of what I thought was a “secure location”. Yeah, that cat needs a diet, and I’ve put the slinky away in a drawer. One of the ones they can’t open.

I tackled the proofs for most of the day. If I wrote the book now, I’d make some different choices, but we’re in proofs, which means i can smooth things out, but not do a substantial rewrite. I had a massive insecurity attack about it in general,but managed to get over myself, for the most part. The story and characters are strong, there’s some good dialogue, insight into horse care, and some odd little jokes and asides. I made a stylistic choice in tense shifts, and I’m not sure it entirely works. There are some spots where it definitely doesn’t work, and I smoothed them out. I reworked a couple of very awkwardly written sentences. I still feel I used adverbs too often instead of descriptive paragraphs — something that happens in that age range because there’s a need to keep it within a specific page/word count. I left the adverbs — can’t go replacing them with descriptive paragraphs this late in the game — but I’ll take what I learned in this book and apply it to the next one. I caught some annoying uses of passive, and fixed them, and found spots where the passive needs to stay, because there are sections where characters and horses have stuff done TO them instead of doing it themselves. I want to take one more pass at everything, and then get the requested corrections back to my editor before I hit the road.

I also have to get a full of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT out the door, which is exciting and scary. I want to take another pass at the synopsis before it goes and tweak a few things.

In addition to all that, I’ve got to run some errands. If I can get everything done, in spite of the Mercury Retrograde, I may hit the road around noon. Otherwise, I’ll leave in the morning. I usually prefer to hit the road early, but I really want to get going. I’ve got a lot to do this week in a wide variety of locations.

I’ll check in if I can from the road, and I’ve scheduled some material for the week. I’ll be back as usual probably next week, and Racing Ink, handicapping the Preakness card will be up on Saturday morning, not on Friday, the way it usually is — both because I’m on the road Friday and because I’m using the space for Writers’ Worth Day.



Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 8:53 am  Comments (5)  

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

So, Mercury’s retrograde and I’ve got a lot of travelling to do. That should be interesting.

I remained unplugged yesterday. Never turned on the computer. Never got online. Just enjoyed celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom. It was fun, it was a necessary break.

I got a little bit of writing done, mostly outlining on a couple of projects, including a serial I’m developing. I had a good writing session this morning. And, I’m polishing the articles that I’m scheduling to post while I’m gone.

I plan to finish the final proofs of DIXIE DUST RUMORS before I leave on Wednesday morning.

I’m taking the laptop, but am not sure whether or not I’ll have internet access. We’ll see. In any case, I’ll have a post up on Sole Struck Fashions on Wednesday, my usual day, and a post up here on Friday to celebrate Writer’s Worth Day. So keep stopping by!

The blogging workshop on International Promo Day went very well. I always worry, but the workshops tend to be quite fun.

I’ve got a lot to do before I leave on Wednesday morning, so I’d better get back to it!


Published in: on May 11, 2009 at 7:53 am  Comments (4)  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and warm

It’s raining. again.

Come play with me at 4 PM EST on my Blog Workshop, over on International Promo Day. It will be fun. There are promos going on all day long.

And, I have a guest post up at Procrastinating Writers about Staying on Track for Non-Deadlined Projects.

Wrote a lot yesterday, worked on proofs Got in a good rewrite of FEMME FATALE. It’s almost ready to go the producer. I want to send it with BLOOD SOUP, so I have to finish BLOOD SOUP and rewrite it, and get both of them out the door by Tuesday.

Got a stack of stuff for my Mom. Gave some of it to her today, and am saving some of it for tomorrow.

Have a couple of ideas percolating around and am making notes. One, I think, will make a good YA for about 12-16 year olds, hard sci-fi.

Iris and Violet got into a big fight this morning, wrestling, rolling on the ground, screaming at each other. Iris, of course, started it. She always does. Sisters!

Will be on and off line most of the day doing Promo Day. Had a good writing session this morning.

Back to the page. Percolation mode is always hard because it’s bubbling, I can feel the story in my body, but it’s not ready to go down on the page yet. It’s kind of like Restless Brain Syndrome or growing pains.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Finally! A bit of sun. I can’t believe it. Much-desired.

I’m teaching a free workshop on blogging during International Promo Day tomorrow at 4 PM EST.

My article “Eye Inspires Hand” is in the current issue of Coffee Break for Writers. Check it out if you get a chance.

Decently productive day yesterday. Worked on articles, worked on proofs, worked on a couple of media kits and press releases, got my errands done, had a big Stapes run and used my Rewards check, even got some reading in. Answered some intervie questions for a Twitter colleague who’s doing an article for WRITERS DIGEST. Decent writing session this morning, so far.

As usual, have a ton of stuff to do today. I want to get the articles finished and scheduled to post while I’m gone. I need to get a couple of press releases out today.

I need to keep working on the proofs, and I need to work on both FEMME FATALE and BLOOD SOUP today.

Lyncee, I’ll check the LASR loop today and answer your question.

So, I better get to it.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Yeah. Mercury’s retrograde. Again. Remember my mantra: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.

Hop on over to the SDR blog to read my thoughts on Career Trajectory.

And HEX BREAKER got a very nice review over on Soul Echoes!

Wrote a couple of articles and got them out the door yesterday. Started my Sole Struck Fashions article and my Writers’ Worth Day article, both of which have to be ready and scheduled to post while I’m out of town next week. Worked on a press release, the media kit for DIXIE DUST, the proofs for DIXIE DUST.

Spent quite a bit of time on the LASR loop, answering questions. The questions were pretty great. I had a wonderful time with them.

I’m behind on business correspondence, so I have to make up for that today. I also have to get to the post office and stock up on “Forever” stamps before the postage goes up next week, and load in some office supplies from Staples.

I’m working on the postcard for DIXIE DUST and the brochure for Fearless Ink. I REALLY have to get the newsletter out in the next couple of days. Now that I’ve figured out how to put together a good media kit for a book, I can also get started on a kit for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

“The Retriever” will appear in the premiere issue of BOOKS FOR MONSTERS, set to release June 12. Working with them has been one of the pleasantest experiences of my life. I thoroughly enjoy them.

I’m weary, but there are a lot of deadlines that all mushed together in the coming weeks, and I just have to deal. Please don’t tell me to “take time for myself.” I appreciate the thought, I appreciate your concern for my well-being, but sometimes, the time simply doesn’t exist. I’m sticking to my yoga and exercise schedules, eating, and sleeping properly. But everything that needs to get done HAS to get done. There’s not an option to let things slide. This is my business, not my hobby, and if it doesn’t get done, I can’t pay the bills. I am the breadwinner. I’m grateful for the feast period, I can’t afford (on any level) to drop any of the balls I’m juggling, and I have to make it work. Period.

I hope to mix some pleasure with next week’s research trip, but the truth is from now until the second week in June will be overly busy. Once I come to terms with it mentally, I’ll be able to fulfill the physical requirements. It’s the mental demands that I’m finding particularly difficult right now; once I figure that out, I can sort out the rest. My brain is tired, and that makes my body tired. So I’m working to find a solid, steady pace that doesn’t kill me, but also allows me to get everything done. I already had to ditch one potential assignment because I can’t physically be in New York and Boston at the same time. I knew I should have paid more attention during those bi-location lessons! 😉

On the animal front, a big, fat squirrel was perched on a teeny, tiny branch last night, gobbling up the brand new leaves! I’m on the third floor and he was even higher. I was terrified he’d lose his balance or the branch would break or something, and he’d go splat on the pavement. But he didn’t. Greedy Gus. Elsa is following me around like a dog. Iris is on a diet — when the cat’s nickname becomes “the little meatloaf” it’s time for a change. I’m also giving her extra exercise every day. And Violet figured out how to work the trackpad on the Macbook. I’m hoping I can convince her to write some of the articles, but she’s more interested in moving things around than developing content!

Decent writing session this morning, and now it’s back to the page.


Published in: on May 7, 2009 at 8:54 am  Comments (5)  

May 6, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

My Kentucky Derby wrap-up, “Never Underestimate the Small Horse”, is up on FEMMEFAN.

The to-do list for May is up on the GDR site.

Getting a little tired of the dark, dreary days, but we need the rain.

Busy day yesterday. The media kit for DIXIE DUST is almost done. I backed up a few boxes’ worth of disks. I got out two pitches. I went grocery shopping. I started the work on the proofs. I’m tired.

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, which I SO do not need right now, especially with all the travel I have to do next week.

Laura, the marshes are beautiful in the rain, but the work I have to do on the Cape means hours outside and then coming back to a damp, cold motel room. I’d have been miserable. And probably would have gotten sick, which I can’t afford right now. So, I’m going next week, because it has to get done before Memorial Day.

Lara, I set part of REAL in Prague, and I won’t do the rewrite until I’ve walked the streets myself. I’d talked to some actors who filmed there (because REAL takes place on a film set), and studied maps, books, etc. But it’s never as good or as real (pardon the pun) if you’ve never actually walked the streets yourself. You are then able to bring in sensory details that can’t be captured in travel guides, because they’re immediate and specific to your own perceptions. Another piece will have a couple of scenes in Prague, and, probably, when I’m there, I will get inspired for more.

Lori, yes, this “industry professional” was serious. In fiction, we’re supposed to be so grateful anytime someone shows interest in “maybe someday” publishing a piece, they can get an exclusive and tie it up indefinitely, and still say no. I DO say no to that, and rarely give exclusives. If I do, they are for a very finite amount of time. Exclusives are bad business for me, and delays income. If someone is THAT interested in my work, the person can sit down, read it in a short period of time, and make a decision. My writing needs to be out there, earning its keep, not sitting on a shelf somewhere until someone gets around to it.

I’ve got a bunch of letters to get out today, three articles to write, the media kit to finish, and more work on the DIXIE DUST proofs. I’m also hopping on and off LASR loop all day to answer questions.

And, I overslept, in spite of the fact that Iris ran back and forth under the bed, playing with a ball with a bell in it, and I woke up thinking it was the phone.


Back to the page.


Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 7:47 am  Comments (6)  

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold


First, I want to congratulate my friend Michelle Miles on the release of her new novel, TAKE ME, I’M YOURS, published by Cobblestone Press. Way to go, Michelle! Check out her blog and her website for excerpts, purchase links, and more. She will be featured on A BIBLIO PARADISE at some point in the future.

Yesterday was an up-and-down day. I feel a bit overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. On the positive: My computer works beautifully and I can get it all done. On the negative: I’m burning out and have to pace myself better.

On Sunday, I re-read the first twelve chapters of the Helena Francis mystery and made some notes. Yesterday, I ran off Chapters 13-23 (there’s only about two pages of Chapter 23, so it doesn’t really count) and re-read those. The piece has good bones, I made good notes, I want to finish it, think about the overall series, and then go back and do a serious rewrite so I can get the book out the door sometime this summer.

By the end of the day, my publisher had the proofs of DIXIE DUST RUMORS back to me. I will start them today, with a clear head.

I did a big chunk of the media kit for DIXIE DUST RUMORS. I hope to finish it in the next few days and start getting it out there. When reviews for the book come in (if they’re good), I’ll add a reviews page. The media kit will be available on the website, once it’s done. I would have uploaded the excerpt onto the site, but 1and1’s server was down AGAIN. Every day, from 11 AM to 4 PM, EST, I get server errors when I try to access my email. This is not acceptable. I’ve complained for over a year, and they don’t fix the problem. Host moving is a nightmare, plus I’d lose everything I built on their templates, but I’m beginning to think that’s the only option.

I love the package I have with 1and1. I’m hosting three full sites plus numerous subdomains, and I can customize their website builder with my own designs. I have all the email addresses I need. But, at least 50% of the time, there are server problems and I can’t access either my email or my site. Don’t charge me if you’re not going to fulfill the contract. The price is great, what I get is great — but it doesn’t work when I need it to work.

Don’t suggest Go Daddy. Their commercials are enough to make me refuse to do business with them, and they don’t have the capacity for what I need.

Fat Cow Hosting looks really good, and someone called Pinch Hosting contacted me via Twitter when I bitched and moaned, so I’m going to do some looking.

It would need to be a midsummer move, where I could devote an entire week to site move and redesign. I can’t do it when I’m on crazy deadlines, and May/June will be nuts.

I dashed out and got ink for the manuscript printer (the Pixma 1800 is my “manuscript printer” and also some new flashdrives. I booted up the old PC after a week — what a nightmare. 22 minutes for the initial boot and three crashes before I even got the flashdrive in. I spent two hours transferring a lot of material from floppies to just one flashdrive. This is the one with drafts of novels on it. Who knew I’d done so much and so many drafts of some of them? I realized that I’ve got a big slew of projects that aren’t just being archived. Some need to be finished; some need to be retired; some need a simple polish and sent out into the world. I’ve got quite a backlog, and it’s time it went out and earned its keep!

It’s going to take months to back up over 500 floppies. A single exterior hard drive backup won’t work because I need to sort them properly, not just send them all somewhere in a lump. So, this is housecleaning. But, if I do a little bit every day, eventually, it will get done. And I’ve found some quicker ways to do it.

I’ve got a stack of articles to get done in the next couple of days, a media kit to finish, and proofs to do. Busy, busy, busy.

And next week will be just insane. Good insane, but insane.

They closed the swanky private school up the road from me due to swine flu concerns. There’s a part of me that rolls my eyes at all this swine flu stuff, and then there’s a part of me that wonders if the reason the outbreak isn’t worse than it’s been is because of those precautions. Parents are being forced to keep their kids home from school when they’re sick, and that’s a good thing. Far too often, around here, kids are sent to school sick. Part of that is because parents have to go to work, affordable child care is practically non-existent (and, let’s face it, you send a sick kid to day care and every one there gets sick, too), and bosses get mad if you’re constantly taking time off because of a sick kid. Which is understandable — the work still needs to get done. The boss is paying you to work, not to parent, and it’s a delicate balance. However, in this techno age, many jobs can be done from home, and, while the sick kid is sleeping, the parent can catch up on work from the office.

The newest salary survey showed that if stay-at-home moms were paid for what they do, they’d ear nearly $123,000/year. Frankly, they should be paid for their work. It has value, and far too often the partner that works outside of the home uses the paycheck as manipulation. And most stay-at-home moms don’t have a staff AND work 24/7, where as most people who work office jobs outside the house do (or they ARE the staff).
Anyway, I’ve got a lot to do, on DIXIE DUST RUMORS, have some pitches to get out, and i’ve got to get back to the plays. FEMME FATALE and BLOOD SOUP need to go out the door this week.

I got a rejection letter on a project that wasn’t unexpected, so it’s off to the next on the list I was also called “unprofessional” for refusing to give someone an “at least” nine-month exclusive on a different project. I said that writing is how I make my living, how I pay the bills. I can’t afford to tie something up on a “maybe” for nine months. Besides, everything I write eventually finds a home, so I need to keep it out there. The person faltered and said, “Everything?” “Yes, everything. Sometimes it takes awhile, but it all finds a home, and finished projects need to be out there earning their keep, not languishing on someone’s shelf. Thank you for your time and goodbye.” Obviously, this person and I are not a good match. And I don’t work on principles of intimidation and desperation. Next!

Decent writing session this morning. The Matty book needs a slower pace than some of the other stuff. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done, and most of it needed to get done yesterday, so I have to break it down by deadline and priority and just work on it one piece at a time.

Back to the page. And to pulling more stuff of the PC later today.

Oh, did I mention I’m going to Prague in September? Costume Imp convinced me to join him on some international travel!


Monday, May 4, 2009


Monday, May 4, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Well, I was just a little cranky pants yesterday. Part of it was post-race let-down. Part of it is that I’m angry that I had to cancel my trip for these three days. But, everything I need to research is outside — seashore, nature, turtles, shipwrecks, etc. — and it can’t be done in the pouring rain. No point driving 300 miles to watch the rain from a hotel window. But it made me cranky.

Got off the post-Derby article — FEMME FAN’S going through a re-design. According to my editor, it will go up anyway this week. I will keep you posted.

Got a note from my publisher asking where the materials for DIXIE DUST RUMORS were. — materials I sent out last Thursday. So that was a little frustrating. I re-sent everything, and asked several times if it went through. Don’t know what to think now. I busted my ass to turn around the material quickly. I don’t want it floating around in the ether somewhere.

And, when I tried to reheat the rest of the ravioli, it fell apart. A mess of boiled water, ricotta and spinach in the pot. Inedible.

It was not a good day.

On a better note, I started printing out the draft of the Helena Francis mystery I started last year, to see what I have. I thought I’d written eight chapters. Turns out I’ve written 23, so I’m farther along than I thought. Which is good, but now I need to get it finished. It definitely needs some shaping, and, since it’s the first of a series, I need to think about the overall arc of the series and feed some of that into the revision while making sure one doesn’t need to read the series in order. If it was a house, I’d say its bones were good. There’s definitely some good stuff there; it definitely needs work.

Scumbag landlords are turning off the water toda — again. It wasn’t supposed to affect me because I wasn’t supposed to be here. Bitter much? Uh, yeah. But, hopefully, I can get a productive writing day in anyway.

I have to re-learn pacing. Because my computer now works properly, I’m pushing myself at a rate where I’m feeling burned out. I need to find a good pace again. Part of the adjustment process.


But in the Great News Category: DIXIE DUST RUMORS could release as early as next week!

Hey? Anyone want to host me on my blog tour? Anyone know anyone who hosts YA authors?


Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 7:35 am  Comments (7)  
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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cold

What a great Derby! I love a huge upset, even if it was by a horse on my “maybe’ list.

I wasn’t that excited about the race this year, so something like these results made it worth the day.

Most of my energy today is focused on finishing the post-Derby article and getting it out. I did pretty well with most of my race card, and won on a few last-minute choices. All in all, a decent day, in spite of the weather.

I’ve got a couple of other articles to get out today as well, in addition to getting started on the Media Kit for DIXIE DUST RUMORS.

It looks like tomorrow’s trip has to be postponed due to weather. It’s scheduled to rain almost all week (let’s hope there’s no flooding). Because a lot of what i need to do is outdoor research, I have to go when the weather’s good.


I was really looking forward to getting out of Dodge for a few days.

I wonder if I can just leave everything packed for a week?


Published in: on May 3, 2009 at 8:22 am  Comments (3)  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Kentucky Derby Day

My picks for the full race card are in the post below this one, so scroll down if you’re interested.

With the poor weather, it gives my top pick, Friesan Fire, a better shot at the win. Friesan Fire and Pioneer of the Nile are still my top picks. And Dunkirk’s moved up from a “maybe” to a “definite.” He’s gorgeous, tons of personality, and, if his mental focus is there tonight, I think he can do it. I’m betting all three across the board and boxing a trifecta. One of my longshots will be Chocolate Candy, for a show spot, and I’ll probably toss in another, perhaps Flying Private or Hold Me Back.

My publisher already paid me for “The Retriever”. Pretty psyched. Will post the link to the story as soon as I’ve got it. I’m thrilled they took the piece, and I hope to work more with them in the coming months.

An interview with me is going up on Tuesday over at Long and Short Reviews. I’ll schedule the link, since I’ll be out of town — I hope you stop by.

Got to visit the chat room where I’m giving the workshop next week. We’ve got a test run today. I can only stop in for a minute, due to the Derby, but it’ll be worth it.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time handicapping today’s race card and running errands. Took some time off in the afternoon to read a cosy, getting me back in the headspace to go back to work on the Helena Francis mystery. The book was okay. There were some lapses of logic that bothered me. But the characters are fun and the writing’s fine. I just didn’t find it all that memorable.

Got to dash out for an errand and then get back and get ready for Derby coverage. This will be the first year I can use my own laptop to write my wrap up article as the races are happening instead of scribbling notes and then trying to decipher them later. I probably can’t Tweet as it’s happening, but, oh well. Besides, I need to be WATCHING the races.

The Red Wings vs. Anaheim hockey game was really good last night. Red Wings won, 3-2, as I hoped they would. They are one of the best-run teams in the league.

Off to a busy day.


Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 8:24 am  Comments (4)  
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Racing Ink — Kentucky Derby Predictions 2009

I can’t believe we’re already at the Kentucky Derby weekend. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were on the Triple Crown Trail.

The wrap-up for the Derby will appear in next week’s issue of FEMME FAN.

We’re back again, and I’ve got some thoughts on tomorrow’s race card:

1st Race
I’ll probably sit this one out, betting-wise, so that I get an idea of how the surface plays. I’m going to watch RIPOSA, SECRET HUMOR, and BRITANNIA ROSE, using them to get a feel for the day.

2nd Race
RILEY TUCKER across the board. He’s a really nice colt, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Garret Gomez. HIs odds are too short to make it worth much, financially, but it’ll be great to watch him run.

3rd Race
Not betting on this one, although I’m going to keep an eye on Wesley Ward’s gelding, Big Flirt, for a show spot.

4th Race
I’m going to take Northern Prince and Glenwood Canyon as a boxed exacta. I might also place a separate bet on Northern Prince. I’m going to take a look at the other horses in the paddock and play a longshot, but, on paper, so far, none of them jump off the page to entice me.

5th Race
WHY TONTO (jockey Johnny Velazaquez, trainer Todd Pletcher, need I say more?) and Artic Cry (trained by Eddie Kenneally and ridden by Julian Leparoux) both across the board and as a boxed exacta. I’ll probably also toss a few dollars at LEADING ON (ridden by Mike Smith) and JAZZ IN THE PARK (ridden by Calvin Borel) for show spots, if either one of them look good. I’m on the fence about DESERT WHEAT. He’s trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Ramon Dominguez, which is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll make a paddock-side decision. It’s a mile race on the turf, so endurance is key.

6th Race – Churchill Downs Stakes
On paper, the only horse I like is THE ROUNDHOUSE, trained by Pletcher, ridden by Edgar Prado. HIs odds stand at 12-1 right now, which is a nice price if he has a good day.

7th Race — Eight Belles Stakes
This race was named for the wonderful Eight Belles, who died so tragically last year. I really like WARRIOR MAID, a Larry Jones-trained filly ridden by Johnny V, and Laragh, trained by John Terranova, ridden by Edgar Prado. I expect I’ll bet both across the board, and probably toss in a couple more choices at the last minute. I always believe you have to see the horse right before the race to predict properly, but it’s especially true, in my experience, with fillies and mares. That’s what makes their races so much fun. Plus, it’s great to watch so many handicappers pull out their hair because the fillies and mares don’t run according to plan.

8th Race — Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Stakes
Mike Smith’s riding LEMON CHIFFON. I REALLY like this mare, so I’ll bet her across the board. TIZAQUEENA is a Tiz Now filly, and I always bet on Tiz Now’s progeny. Jamie Theriot’s her rider. I also want to take a look at the Irish horse SUGAR MINT, and I may check out Kimmel’s ELUSIVE LADY. This should be a really great race, fairly evenly matched, where anything can happen.

9th Race — Humana Distaff Stakes
Another race for the girls. TIZ TO DREAM (yes, another TIZ NOW daughter) is 20-1, so I’ll probably toss some show money at her. I’m very fond of the Pletcher-trained GAME FACE, ridden by Calvin Borel, so I’ll bet her across the board. I’m interested in SECRET GYPSY, ridden today by Robby Albarado. I’ll take a look at her right before the race, and, if I like her, probably throw her into the mix.

10th Race — Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes
This is a mile and an eighth, so endurance and rating will be key elements to winning this race. There’s a kick-ass horse in here named EINSTEIN. He’s seven years old, and I’ve won quite a bit of money on him over the years. Trained by Helen Pitts, ridden by Julien Leparoux, right now he’s at 2-1, shorter odds than I like to bet, but I really like this horse, so I’m betting him across the board. I like the Bobby Frankel-trained Proudinksy, although I don’t know that much about him. If he looks good, I’ll take a chance on tossing him into the mix for a place spot. The William Mott-trained COURT VISION is a nice horse, and another possibility, and my longshot pick will probably be THORN SONG in the show spot.

11th Race — Kentucky Derby
I feel guilty because I’m not all that excited about this year’s field for the Derby. The current favorite is I WANT REVENGE, trained by Jeff Mullins, ridden by Joseph Talamo. He’s a good horse, but I haven’t yet fallen in love with him. That could still happen paddock-side, if he’s got the right attitude right before the race. HIs sire is Stephen Got Even, a darned good horse that I liked but didn’t love during his big race days. He’s versatile and won some of the biggest prep races coming in to the Derby. All positives. We’ll see. My two favorites are FRIESAN FIRE , trained by Larry Jones, and PIONEER OF THE NILE, trained by Bob Baffert. PIONEER OF THE NILE was sired by Empire Maker, a damned good horse who won the Belmont Stakes in 2003. He’s got the endurance, and he’s shown a lot of poise in the road to the Derby thus far. And I just really like FRIESAN FIRE. The seven week layoff between races makes some people nervous; I’ll risk it. I like his personality. I like his poise. He’s sired by AP Indy, and I tend to have good luck when I bet on AP Indy’s descendents. There’s something about that horse with which I connect. I’ll bet both of those across the board. I’m on the fence about DUNKIRK — I will make my decision right before the race. Unbridled Song is his sire and I love the look of him. But I think his racing style is a bit green, and I don’t know if he’s ready, mentally, yet, for a race of this magnitude. I’ll toss a few bucks at the longshot CHOCOLATE CANDY, because he’s ridden by Mike Smith. Birdstone, who snatched away Smarty Jones’s Triple crown dreams sired MINE THAT BIRD, who looks a lot like his dad and has surprisingly long odds in this race. I’m going to give him a look. There’s another Birdstone baby named SUMMER BIRD in the race, but sprinting seems to be more Summer Bird’s style. I’ll take a look. Street Cry sired DESERT PARTY — not sure if that’s enough to make him worth a chance. FLYING PRIVATE was sired by one of my all time favorite horses, Fusaichi Pegasus. On loyalty grounds, I feel I should toss him some cash. However, FP’s daughters tend to run better than his sons, especially out of good dams — they get Daddy’s attitude and Mom’s poise. If this horse was a filly, I’d bet her. As a colt, not convinced. HOLD ME BACK was sired by Giant’s Causeway, but I have better luck betting his descendants on grass than dirt. MR. HOT STUFF was sired by another of my all time favorites, Tiz Now. He’s got the stamina — and if he sticks around until Belmont, I’ll probably bet him in the Belmont. Again, I’m not sure he’s ready mentally for this kind of pressure. PAPA CLEM has personality to spare; however, he strikes me as more of a Preakness horse than a Derby horse. I like both his dam, Miss Houdini, and his second dam, Magical Maiden. There are so many 50-1 shots in this field that I’ll probably throw some money at a horse for the show spot at the last minute, just because I always believe in placing a couple of bucks on the longest shot on the board. This year’s field seems somewhat uneven to me. The positive is that there’s room for a huge upset, and those are my favorite.

12th Race
I always like the race right after the Derby, because no one’s paying much attention and you can get some good value for money. It’s fillies and mares again, which always makes me happy. My picks are PASSION DU COEUR, LUSTER, and LACIE SLEW, although I’m not sure of the order yet. And I’ll probably put in PEARL OF VALOR as my longshot.

13th Race
Another good value for money race, because most people are too drunk to bet properly. I’m going to go with JUST RIGHT, CULLIMAN, and URBAN LEGEND, probably in that order. I may toss in AMBERGIS CAVE as my longshot extra show bet.

Let’s hope no one gets killed or injured this year, and that we have a safe and exciting race day.

Published in: on May 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm  Comments (2)