Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

First order of business: If you haven’t, go buy/rent/watch the movie A Dog’s Breakfast. RIGHT NOW. Cut out of work early, drop what you’re doing. Watch it. The writing, acting, direction, production values – excellent. I have not laughed that much with pure enjoyment for a long, long time. It’s the type of humor I love, and is just witty and silly and fun and somewhat dark and twisted and lovely and charming all at once. It’s a delightful film in the truest sense of the word.

Going into it in detail gives too much away. GO WATCH IT. NOW.

And yes, although I found the copy I own (and will watch until it falls to pieces) in Philly, I did order another copy, which I gave to the local video store so they could rent it out. In fact, I handed it to the dumbass who gave me a hard time about wanting to BUY a copy and told him to put it into circulation, and yes, I would be back to check on him, and no, he really didn’t want to piss me off any more than he already had.

Because I am just THAT much of a bitch. 😉

Wrote two more chapters on the adaptation. Passed 11K. I figure this draft will run around 90K. Someday, it’ll even have a title. But it works well as a novel, and it makes me think that adapting the thriller from script to novel will be an excellent choice, too. The flow’s there, the structure’s there, but I can open it out and fill in what I wouldn’t insult a potential director by writing numerous stage directions in a script! I’d planned to give myself a change of pace by writing a comic/erotic mystery, but we’ll roll with this first and let everything else fall into place as it does. I’ve got the notes on the comic/erotic mystery, it’s not going anywhere, the characters will just continue to um, enjoy and experiment until I get around to putting it on paper!

Red Wings are going to the next round of the playoffs! Woo-hoo! The Rangers are, too, for the first time in I don’t remember how long. Looks like there’s going to be some good hockey in the next few weeks, and I am pleased.

Even enjoying a great movie couldn’t assuage all the worry about my grandmother, though. I found out more details – she actually fell down an ENTIRE FLIGHT of stairs (she’s in her nineties and has Parkinson’s). Fortunately, she didn’t break anything, but she’s very shaken. She’s back from the hospital, and the therapist is coming a few times a week. We’ll see how that goes for a few days before we figure out when we’re going up to Maine to see her. We’ll go up as soon as she’s strong enough, and then I can see for myself what’s going on and what needs to be done.

Skipped going to storage yesterday because I just didn’t feel like it. Ate warm chocolate pudding with fresh strawberries instead.

Today, I guess I’ll have to pitch a massive fit to get those air conditioners out. I mean, come on, I’ve been calling for over a week and we pay building maintenance because . . .? I may hire Rent-a-Husband to move the air conditioners first and then give them a little extra to kick management’s ass. If I could even roll the air conditioner, I’d roll it through the apartment and send it down the stairs, but I can’t even budge it. And I’m used to lifting in the 40-50 pound range, and I can usually life up to 100 pounds. That gives you an idea of how unwieldy and heavy this retro window refrigerator is.

I’m working two shows this week (same production, two performances), so I’ll have to figure everything else around it. Fortunately, Monday is dark.

Oh, and one of my other Derby picks, War Pass, is out with an injury. So I’ve lost Georgie Boy and War Pass. I’m left with Pyro and Big Brown, and I want to pick a really wacky longshot and also a medium shot. There’s a Coal-something or other who’s a beaut – I’ll read up on the numbers and look at the pedigree and see if he should be one of “mine”. And I have to get that article done this week in order for it to be up in the issue before Derby Day. Then, I’ll do what I always do here, handicap the entire card as “Racing Ink” either Friday night or early Saturday morning and we’ll see how I do!

There’s a variety of writing that needs my attention today, so I better get to it.

Have a great start to a great week. And go watch A Dog’s Breakfast! You’ll be glad you did.


Adaptation: 11,386 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
11 / 90

Devon’s Bookstore:

5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.

Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The trip down to Philly was so smooth. Up at 5 (okay, not so much fun), on a 7 AM train to the city (late as usual), cruised smoothly across the Deuce. Kind of gross when a dead pigeon fell from the sky and landed on the sidewalk next to me, but it would have been worse if it landed ON me.

Got to Port Authority; saw the building in which I used to live, which is in terrible shape. Got on the bus, we left on time, and we made it down to Philly in an hour and a half. I’ve never travelled down that smoothly.

Needless to say, I did not take The Demon Bus from Hell this time. I stuck to Greyhound.

Grabbed a cab, got to where I’m staying, unpacked, went grocery shopping. Decided to go to the bookstore. Grabbed the Sharon Shinn novel I wanted, and, on impulse, went upstairs to the DVD section, and there it was: A Dog’s Breakfast. Can’t get it in NY, but it’s here in Philly. So I grabbed it. Can’t figure out how to use the DVD player in this place (why do there have to be SEVEN remotes and one needs a different configuration for everything?), so I’ll watch it when I get home. But I have it.

It was sunny and I spent some time in Rittenhouse Square, playing with other people’s dogs. I am a puppy magnet. I used to go to Central Park to read and write, and within five minutes, I was covered in dogs. I don’t mind at all.

I spent most of the day reading Sharon Shinn’s MYSTIC AND RIDER, which has joined my list of favorite books. I know I’ll re-read it often.

Worked on the screenplay. I hit 60 pages, the halfway point, this morning, and hope to get a lot of writing done on several different projects today.

Stacia, just because you haven’t received advances in the past doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, or that any of us shouldn’t. I emphasize again: Publishers have no reason to exist without writers. And writers deserve to be paid for their work. Paid a fair, living wage, and THEN a share of continuing profits. Not pie-in-the-sky, maybe you’ll get paid someday. Accounting numbers are moved around all the time to say what companies want them to say. Bet you most of those people never get a penny EVER. And yet the publisher will show a profit. That’s why we have unions — so we get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work with a finite amount of time.

Will this experiment destroy publishing? No. Does it chip away at the few rights writers retain? Of course. It’s what happens at every negotiation, because publishers/producers/etc. have no respect for what creative people do. And unless the writers and their agents take a stand, pretty soon the only kind of publishing that exits will be POD. A line needs to be drawn, and this is a good place to start.

I have no problems with advances that aren’t in the six figures, but have more parity spread among the authors on the list. As long as it’s a reasonable amount. And as long as the lack of a large advance doesn’t cause the publisher to ignore the promotional needs of the book. What I’m against is NO advance, with the promise that “maybe” in the future you’ll get a larger share of royalties. I’m telling you right now there will be clauses in the contract declaring royalites won’t even start being considered until all production, shipping, editing, etc. costs are recouped, so most writers will NEVER see a penny. They won’t start calculating royalites with the sale of the first book. I’ve worked on contracts departments — I know how they do this.


Published in: on April 6, 2008 at 8:14 am  Comments (9)  

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

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

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

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

Can you tell I REALLY need a vacation? 😉

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, March 30, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Devon’s Bookstore:

5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.

Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here: