Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and hazy

Checklist for the bag carried to cover The Empire State Games:

Lipgloss
Notebook
Pen
Digital Camera w/extra batteries
Press pass
Venue list/directions/schedule
Sunscreen
Bottled water

Let’s face it, when it’s ninety plus degrees out there, anything more than tinted moisturizer and lipgloss is a waste.

And, yes, lipgloss as the first listed item is on purpose. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I can be totally naked, but if I’m wearing my lipstick, I feel dressed.

Got my media pass for the games. They don’t do any sort of parking pass and I refuse to pay for parking when I’m covering this stuff, so we’ll see what I can come up with. Thus far, I am so unimpressed with the media center it’s not even funny. I asked about setting up interviews – they don’t do that. I have to try to catch athletes during the events. Excuse me? First of all, why are you there if you’re not coordinating press? Second of all, many of these athletes are underage, and it’s completely inappropriate to have complete strangers walking up to them asking for interviews. They locked down the Kensico Dam in Valhalla yesterday evening because they’re afraid someone’s going to blow it up or contaminate the water supply, but they’re leaving their athletes unprotected. Anyone can SAY they’re press, and let’s face it, these media passes are not high tech. It’s one thing when you’re dealing with adults, who have some life experience – but these are teenagers.

Although some of the ones I’ve had contact with thus far are smarter than many of the adults surrounding the event.

Covering sports takes a whole different set of creative muscles than working on fiction, or even working on other types of articles. I’m having difficulty shifting focus.

Managed to get back in time for the America’s Cup Press Conference (which was late, by the way, which pissed me off because I nearly broke the land speed record for VWs to get back in time). Frankly, for me, I ended up with more questions at the end of it than at the beginning. I’ll be writing an article on it that will go up in probably 2-3 weeks, giving me a chance to do some more research and hopefully answer some questions, but I walked away from the live feed quite disturbed. Money and ego are the two biggest obstacles to a level playing field for the next Challenge – especially since those two things are being used to make sure the playing field is NOT level.

My belief is that if you have a good team and a good boat or design for a good-boat-to-be-built and you’re secure in your choices, you want to level the playing field as much as possible because it makes the victory all the more earned and sweeter. But, to my view, that’s not at all what’s happening here.

And I predict that, if it continues the way it’s going as of the press conference, the US won’t have a team in at all – either by force or choice, that’s still open for debate, but it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

We’ll see what the next two weeks bring to light in time for the article.

I’m sore from the walking and workouts on Tuesday, but hung tough and did the weight training. Yoga was great, but the weight training kicked my ass. In the right way, but boy, oh boy, am I sore this morning. Triceps, thighs, abs – but it’s all good. Glad to have a good yoga session this morning to pull it all out.

Also washed the rug and pitched for some more writing jobs. Higher-paying jobs this time around.

Had to get up at 5 AM this morning in order to get everything done I needed to do and now I’m on my way to Manhattanville College to cover Fencing. Then it’s off to Archery in Valhalla, and women’s ice hockey at Playland Ice Casino.

Tough slog on Good Names this morning, but it got done.

Devon

Good Names — 46,132 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
46 / 100
(46.0%)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Foggy and hot

These construction/asbestos guys are getting on my last nerve. We were not relocated for this process; that means they need to take into consideration that people live here, and behave accordingly. Of course, the way they argue down there, I don’t have to go down to inflict grievous bodily harm; they’ll do it to each other. I also don’t see any certification or permits for this work – why am I not surprised?

One of the things I hope is coming across as Tracking Medusa unfolds is Justin gaining self-esteem and how that’s changed the way he reacts in the various situations/dangers/crisises they keep finding themselves in. He’s used to being with women who treat him badly, and he’s come to think that’s what he deserves – that he’s not all that smart, that he’s not all the resourceful, that his decisions are likely to be incorrect. Gwen treats him as an equal – she’s aware that he’s emotionally immature for someone his age, and takes that into account for certain things. But, as far as their working partnership, she approaches it from the standpoint of “you’re smart, you’re resourceful, you’re a professional, what’s your take on this?” and he’s growing and changing for the better for it. Of course, at the end of the second book and into the third one, he’ll take it a bit too far, with consequences, but for now, it’s a real blossoming of his spirit. And, when she revealed more vulnerability in the scene at The World’s End than she had before, he was faced with a choice to behave like the emotionally immature person he was when he started – and like the people he was used to being around – or make the choice not to deliberately hurt her in a way that would make her behave the way he wanted her to. It was a spur-of-the-moment scene, not in the outline, but I think it shows a great deal about the growth of his character.

I’m starting to realize how much the time I spent interviewing some of the younger hockey players is influencing these characters – there’s a lot of several of them in Justin, even though the only Justin would know what to do with a hockey stick is carbon-test it for age.

Train in to the city was a nightmare. I decided to take a train two trains earlier than usual, so I’d get in early and be able to leave early for the party. Usually, I take the 10:26 and arrive at the theatre at 11:45. Yesterday, I tried for the 9:32 to get there by 10:30 – and I got there at 11:15. And the train had the heat on. Ridiculous.

Pushed through the call as fast as I could, hauled ass from 51st St. up to Alice’s Tea Cup on 73rd and Columbus. It was a great party, and my boss was happy, so that’s always nice. She’s a terrific person, and deserves to know how much she means to us all.

Walked all the way back to Grand Central (and realized I walked the equivalent of five miles today, not counting all the running up and down the stairs required in the work call – no wonder everything hurt) and caught the 5:30 train back out. It was semi-ventilated, so it wasn’t as uncomfortable as the ride in.

Came home, peeled down and stood under the shower until I started to feel human again.

Was a waste of food most of the evening – got some paperwork done, and percolated on the Gwen/Justin stuff some more, but didn’t actually write. However, I did start up the evening workouts again – three times a week core exercises, three times a week weight training. When I don’t do 8 shows/week, I need to work out more, and I noticed that I’m using my body incorrectly with the heavy costumes lately, because the core is weakening. Have to fix that. My strength and stamina have always been important – now that I’m no longer 20, I need to work harder to not only keep them, but improve them. Last night was the core work, and I was a puddle of jelly on the floor by the time I was done.

Up early this morning – I’ve extended my morning yoga sessions for the past month, and it’s helped a lot.

Instead of working on Good Names, I had an idea for a press release that’s given me trouble, so I worked on that. It’s in decent shape, and I ought to be able to get it out by the end of the week.

But I missed having the session on Good Names. Now that the first murder’s happened (a third of the way in), the pace is picking up, the interwoven character lines are making sense, and it’s more fun to write.

I have to dash off to pick up my press credentials for The Empire States Games and then try to make it back for a live stream from Europe regarding the next America’s Cup Challenge.

And then finish up some articles that need to go out this week – but because of the games the rest of the week, if I don’t get a solid start today, they’ll be late.

Got an email from a new editor with whom I’m working – looking forward to working with her.

My presence will probably be sporadic here over the next few days, as the focus of my life is the Empire States Games.

Have a good one!

Devon

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Hot, humid, cloudy

My article on the Alinghi victory in the America’s Cup is here.

My articles on some of the summer racing, including my questions about the use of cobra venom is here.

I’ve been terribly unproductive this morning, and I have to fix that before I leave for acupuncture. I have a lot that needs to get done before I head out, a lot that needs to get once I get back.

I’ll be offline for the next few days while I head to Maine. I’m purposely staying disconnected while I’m there. And I hope to get some work done.

Day work was okay yesterday. At least the theatre was air conditioned. They had a put-in for a new cast member, so things were a little busier than on a usual Tuesday.

I finished reading The Girl Next Door. It was fun, for the most part. The whole catching-the-stalker thing happened off-stage, told in a couple of paragraphs in narration, which didn’t work for me, especially since I never felt the protagonist was in any actual danger. And the whys of the stalking were never addressed. The actual stalker never had any scenes with anyone or any dialogue, so he didn’t seem real, and, as a reader, I neither believed in him nor cared. So that was unsatisfying. But the bulk of the book was lots of fun, and I liked the characters a lot.

Other than that, nothing interesting to say: working on the deadlined articles; pitching so I’ll have enough money coming in for the rest of the summer; working in the fiction here and there.

Annoyed by two potential clients, who have definitely been bumped off the list. One of them is “hiring” someone to review products and websites. They want a signed contract from me in order to consider me for the job – I think not. Plus, my “pay” is 70% of the final bid of any price of a product I review that I decide to sell on eBay or Amazon.

No.

The other place said they’d review my samples and credentials, but, in the meantime, urged me to BUY a publication that appears to be their guidelines that “was a great help to their contributors”. Uh, no. YOU pay ME. You want me to conform to guidelines, you send them to me. You don’t expect me to buy them.

Another no.

The sad thing is, there will be people dumb enough to agree to the conditions both these so-called “employers” set.

Got to get going. Clock’s ticking away, and I have deadlines to meet, before I head out.

I have a chance to work on what could be an exciting project, but I have to weigh the pros and cons. It could take awhile to get off the ground, and I’m not sure that “while” fits in with my schedule right now. But it would be fun, and very different from anything I currently do. I’ll think about it this weekend.

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Devon

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky

The Summer issue of The Scruffy Dog Review is up, and yours truly’s column, The Literary Athlete, continues with “Now What? Tips for Thorough and Sensible Revision, Without Losing Your Sanity”, here.

So here’s my idea for campaign finance reform – since the millions of dollars wasted on campaigns can be better spent on services like health care and rebuilding New Orleans:

Each candidate gets one million dollars, total, with which to campaign. That includes dinners and events thrown/financed by others “for” the candidate, etc. They have to do it all with a single million. If people particularly support a candidate, they are allowed to make a campaign contribution, in any amount allowed by law, to honor the candidate, to the nonprofit service organization of their choice (such as cancer funding, ASPCA, educational programs, programs that send city kids to camps, programs that send anyone who earns good grades to college, etc.).

Because if a candidate can’t be fiscally responsible enough and creative enough to run a campaign on one million dollars, why should we trust that person with our nation’s treasury?

The country should not be run by those with the biggest “war chests”, but those who demonstrate the most creativity and compassion.

Many thanks to all of you who’ve let me know how much you enjoy my essay in Perfectly Plum. It was fun and sometimes challenging to work on, and I’m glad the result is good.

Made it to Staples, got my supplies, and another crate. I’ll crate all the sailing tomes I’m accumulating, since I’ll be writing about the Cup up to and through the next Challenge – whenever they decide to decide when to hold it. I’ll clean out my Evanovich crate (put together during the work for the essay for Perfectly Plum) and put in the turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York and Chicago books for Good Names.

Found nine books for my grandmother – that should keep her busy for a few weeks!

Heard from the restaurant owner – so I could finish the article. I’ll give it a polish before I leave for the theatre this morning and send it off.

I’ve been thinking, and I’m interested in your responses. Those of you who are familiar with my popular character Nina Bell (Tapestry, Tumble, But Is She a Betting Man? and the forthcoming Finding Jake) – instead of writing all her stories chronologically, I’m thinking of jumping ahead to modern day (the early stories are set from 1994 on) and doing a piece with her now. Thoughts? Ideas? I’ll go back and do some of the stuff in between, but I was just thinking . . .

Mark Chisnell, who wrote the wonderful blog Tack by Tack during the Cup, mentioned to me that, in the past three months while covering the races, he’s written approximately a quarter of a million words – that’s the equivalent of two very large novels! I wish I was that productive! 😉 Seriously, he’s earned a bit of a rest before tackling his next novel.

I decided I needed a break from all the “have-to’s”, so I’m reading a fun book by Roberta Gayle called The Girl Next Door. Even though it deals with reality television (a form I loathe), it handles it in a clever and funny way (unlike several of the other books who jumped on the chick-lit/reality television bandwagon by simply copying what’s on the little box). I don’t know whether Gayle has actual production experience or simply did her research thoroughly, but she captures backstage pretty accurately – which is unusual. Most writers without production experience seem to take their backstage material from watching movies or television shows which portray it inaccurately, thereby continuing the incorrect stereotypes. Or, they spend a single day on a set somewhere, and everyone’s on good behaviour.

Having trouble concentrating on Good Names. I need to get some more article stuff done and out today and tomorrow. I’m already packed for the trip to Maine on Thursday, and I have to see what writing I’ll take with me. I have three or four ideas dancing around in my head – I want to find out if they’re all separate, or if I can link them somehow.

Off to the theatre. We’ve been lucky so far – it’s not been as hot as they warned. I’m just hoping the power stays on so that I can get back home tonight.

I hope none of you are wearing polyester or poly-blends in this weather. Stick to 100% cotton and/or linen – you’ll feel much better!

Devon

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (woo-hoo!)
Venus Retrograde
Hazy, hot, humid

Short story polished and out. Racing articles (horse and yacht) polished and out. Headache back – I think I need to go to the eye doctor and get my prescription changed.

I still have to muck through 25 pages of protocol for the NEXT America’s Cup Challenge. I skimmed it for the article – now I need to read it and understand it.

Tweaked the Fearless Ink website a bit to make the article markets list easier to read.

Finally put aside the dully written journal of a mediocre writer that I’ve attempted to read over the past few weeks. I’m not being paid to read it; I don’t enjoy reading it; so why bother?

Now I can get back to Hermione Lee’s excellent biography of Edith Wharton.

Speaking of paid to read, the material for Confidential Job #1 is a bit of uphill work this time around. I’m surprised – it seemed so promising at the beginning of it. But I’m having trouble getting through more than 50 pages at a time, and I have the deadline looming . . .

I have to rewrite the end of Chapter 10 of Tracking Medusa. I have it happen too quickly, and the action has too much impact on both characters to be simply glossed over. But I gave myself the night off last night. I’ll attack it all today.

Today’s agenda is to finish the restaurant article (I’ll contact the owner one last time – he doesn’t get back to me today, I’m not quoting him. I can’t blow the deadline because he “doesn’t have time” to respond to questions). I want to give a final polish to three short-short pieces and get them off, and then possibly get out a flash fiction submission – I think I’ve found a market for it, and it should take about ten minutes to prepare the submission, in spite of the hoops the publication wants contributors to jump through.

That’s one of the things I started doing: If the ad makes my eyes cross or gets on my last nerve, I skip it. Tell me what you want, where to send it, the word count, and the pay. And that’s it. Don’t have three pages of instructions. Because I can’t be bothered. There are plenty of other markets that pay more than you do who are concise, precise – and pay on time.

I have to go to Staples (I forgot on Saturday), put gas in the car, and also stop at the library to see if they have any Large Print mysteries on the sale shelves that I can take to my grandmother later this week. Yesterday wasn’t as beastly hot as they predicted, but who knows what today will bring?

Pretty soon the back-to-school supplies sales starts. And you know what that means! Packets of notebooks for pennies! I can hardly wait!

I also need to start another short story that’s due at the end of the month.

And I guess I should look at my contracts and see when those calendar pieces are due.

I’m writing some ads to put up on Craigslist – but I won’t post them until I get back from Maine next week. There’s no point in not being around to respond to responses, is there?

There seems to be a lack of common sense in our government regarding the wildfires and the flooding (gee, you think?). In areas where there’s flooding, use tanker trucks and flatbeds with large drums (not cute little rain barrels, but drums). Set them out, seal them as they fill, and send them to drought-stricken areas. You’d need several hundred trucks and drivers, and, eventually, special designs, but you’re creating jobs and helping mitigate floods – if the water’s going into drums, it’s not overfilling rivers and streets, and not flooding. Preferably hybrid trucks, but those probably still have to be designed. Meanwhile, in addition to using rainwater (not floodwater – you’re catching it before it’s down) on the fires burning, for crying out loud, douse dry tinder areas instead of sitting there with your thumb up your ass talking about “drought”. We live in the twenty-first century, people, not the eighteenth! USE technology and modern machinery. You can use bomb-sniffing dogs on the trucks to make sure no one brings through explosives masquerading as tanker trucks, and you’re taking the overflow from one area and bringing it to the areas that need it. It’s a simple solution and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There doesn’t have to be a lot of paperwork involved either – you just need someone with intelligence running the program.

Some more interview requests also need to go out today, and then I should be on top of my deadlines. . .for the moment.

Not as much work as I’d like on Good Names this morning, but Mrs. Frasier is turning out to be quite a feisty character. She was supposed to be walk-through annoyance – but she’s much more than that.

Devon

Good Names – 33,632 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
34 / 100
(33.6%)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sunday, July 8, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Hot, sticky, yukky

An example of typical, American hypocrisy: Giant Stadium parking lot was filled with SUVs, the vehicle of choice for those who attended the Live Earth Concert.

Yeah. Sure, they got the message and are acting on it!

Right. In Al Gore’s dreams.

Unfortunately.

My errands only took an hour and a half yesterday. It only seemed like six hours, due mostly to the migraine. I reached the point several times where I wanted to chop off my head just so I’d feel better. The migraine’s gone today, thank goodness.

Came back, tried to get answers for my two articles by deadline; didn’t, so I’ll have to go without. Watched some stakes races.

Came across a job listing for a piece that’s due, well, today, so I sat down and wrote nearly 2500 words, then shot it to a Trusted Reader to vet while I kept working on it. Will do another polish, send it off today, and hope for the best. I like the premise; even if this market doesn’t want it, I’ve got other places I can send it. The characters are fun and a little goofy; I’d like to do more with them.

Wrote chapters 9 & 10 of Tracking Medusa. It felt good to get back in the mix with Gwen and Justin. Plus, they’re in Edinburgh, one of my favorite cities in the world, so I’m having fun with this section.

Nice morning’s work on Good Names. The murder finally happened!

On today’s agenda: polish the two sports articles and send them off; polish the short story and send it off; work on the restaurant article. Work on a trilogy of short articles for another publication; work on Confidential Job #1; try not to melt in the heat.

Devon

Good Names – 33,007 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
33 / 100
(33.0%)

Tracking Medusa – 23,170 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23 / 90
(25.6%)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Saturday, July 7, 2007
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny, hazy, hot

Enough retrogrades for you? Venus went Retrograde on Thursday. At least Mercury turns direct on Monday.

Lots of catching up to do.

The article for races 3-6 of the America’s Cup is here.

So Scooter Libby’s getting off. Once again, this administration shows that if you’re an FOC (Friend of Cheney) you can do anything you want without consequence. The absolute lack of consequences for anyone in the administration has got to stop. These people are our EMPLOYEES, not our kings. We pay their salaries. We (usually) get to elect them – although the “election” that put this Bush in office originally wasn’t a genuine election – when the Supreme Court orders the vote count to stop and hands the election to a candidate, it’s screwed up.

What happens at the top trickles down, and one reason there’s so much more person-to-person violence (such as spousal killings, child murder, etc.) is because the people at the top of the food chain make it clear that there are no consequences to their actions.

On another infuriating note: On Staten Island, a tiny Yorkie terrier was shot because he stood on his porch and barked. This was a family member, not a piece of property. I think the shooter should have his throat slit and be hung upside down to bleed out from the nearest tree. Read the studies – someone who murders/tortures an animal often moves up to doing the same to a child, and then moves up to killing adults. There have to be strong consequences for people who come in and commit murder, whether the victim has two legs or four. Especially when it’s an animal or a child, who can’t defend itself.

Day work was okay on Tuesday, although I started feeling a bit unwell towards the end of it. Managed to get home and prepare to leave for the trip, although I was not looking forward to driving while feeling ill. On top of all that, many places started having fireworks displays on Tuesday, rather than Wednesday, so there were time when I felt I drove through combat zones. Not my idea of a good time.

But, since I didn’t have to worry about watching any more races immediately, part of these past days have been a self-imposed writer’s retreat, and that’s always a good thing.

I managed to get some work done on Good Names. The process is so interesting – Good Names is an historical mystery, set in a slower time (1903). The pace of the book is slower, unfolding gently, with building urgency. And I find that about 1000 words/day is good for that. Tracking Medusa, which is more of an action/adventure/mystery with some romance tossed in, is contemporary, much more quickly paced – and I find myself writing chunks anywhere from 1500-2500 words at a time. The project directs the pace, and each project has its own pace. I have to remind myself that this book’s slower pace doesn’t necessarily mean I’m disconnecting from it. Although I need to do some character charts – the intricacies of the web of connections is getting difficult to store in my head. I’m looking forward to getting back to Tracking Medusa later today.

The 32nd America’s Cup Challenge is barely over, and the preparations are starting for the 33rd. The challenger stepped up almost as soon as Alinghi got off the boat, but now Alinghi’s dragging its heels regarding dates, venues, etc. I asked the questions to find out the “whys” although I suspect it all boils down to money, and trying to get as much as possible for the Defenders. I think the process is fascinating, and it will be wonderful to watch the process from the beginning. I have a lot to learn about the sport – and at least I KNOW I have a lot to learn about the sport, and I’m looking forward to having my readers grow in the sport with me. And maybe attract some new readers, as I learn more and more about the sport. I was sorry to read that the BMW Oracle Racing Blog will stop as of July 11 – it’s such a terrifically written site, and I’ve learned so much from it (and by bugging the writer/editor with questions). I’d hoped it would stay up so we could get a view of the process of putting together the next American team.

The party on the 4th was lovely. Huge – about 475 people, great food, good wines. It was moved into tents, because the weather was a bit wonky. With a group that big, you get some people who are interesting and terrific, and some who are not. I don’t care how much is in your bank account, you moron, I care how you live your life. Plus, we’re in the 21st Century, for crying out loud, and there are still far too many girls (because WOMEN have more sense) whose entire mission in life is to find a rich husband, so the only work they have to do is in the bedroom. As we used to say in the 80’s, “gag me with a spoon”. Trading sex for money is still prostitution, even if there’s a gold band involved.

However, there were also plenty of intelligent, interesting people there from all walks of life. Some of them travel quite a bit – and they’re the kind of people who are interested in things that are different, rather than just trying to re-create their comfort zone wherever they are. Several of them travel regularly to Chile, and it sounds intriguing.

Big screens were up so we saw the fireworks in DC, New York, and Boston. Boston’s was great – I mean, they had Craig Ferguson as the host and Mellancamp performing – plus, instead of trying to do something all serious and holy, they were just having fun.

I wrote the first article of the nine accepted by a particular publication, polished it, and sent it off. I sent some questions to the New York Yacht Club for my wrap-up of Challenge 32/Lead-in of Challenge 33. I started my restaurant article and shot off a few questions to the owner. I’d prefer to get answers from him, but, if I have to, I’ve got enough to do the piece without his input.

I’m getting addicted to working on the go. I think I’ll have to invest in a wi-fi laptop shortly, instead of just borrowing one. And the little printer – a mobile office is a beautiful thing. Although there are still plenty of times when I simply turn off the phone and am “unavailable”.

Thank goodness I could work on the run, though, this week. I’m working on multiple articles simultaneously; there are rumors and all sorts of potential stories flying about, and I want to get as many facts and confirmations, clarifications or denials as possible before I have to turn in my work at deadline.

Such as a horse trainer under investigation because cobra venom was found in his barn’s refrigerator at the track. In addition to being a banned substance, for freak’s sake, it’s COBRA VENOM. But, before I completely fly off the handle about it, I need to do more research. Especially since none of the vets I contacted would discuss it, even off the record.

Worked on another horse racing article, due tomorrow, after today’s stakes races go off. Worked on the final 32nd America’s Cup race article, also due today (it still needs a polish).

I started to catch up with my clip file – managed to get copies of all the FemmeFan articles which have appeared so far this year.

So much for those fantasies of sitting in the sun overlooking the water, reading an Edith Wharton novel!

Coming home sank me into a deep case of the blues. I’m not happy here, it’s not conducive to my work or my life, but pulling off the move is more obstacle-filled than I anticipated. I need to employ patience, but that’s never been a virtue of mine. I like to jump in with both feet and DO it.

A kazillion errands to do today, all over the map. Better hop to it. Unfortunately, I have a migraine, which will slow me down.

Also had to give Kristen King (InkThinker) the update for my participation in the InkThinker 2007 Query Challenge. Thus far, I’ve sent 63 queries. 29 were acceptances, and 13 have been published to date. Not a bad average. My pitching has grown smoother and more precise over the past few months. I’m sure there’s an article in that!

I’m supposed to attend a Live Earth party tonight. From yachts to grass roots activism, all in the course of a couple of days. I don’t know if I’m up for another evening in a large group of people I don’t know. But . . .

I LOVE being a freelance writer!

Devon

Good Names – 31,737 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
31 / 100
(31.0%)

Alinghi Won!

Just in case you’re wondering, the Swiss team Alinghi successfully defended the America’s Cup, crossing the finish line ONE SECOND before Emirates Team New Zealand.

It was a fascinating race — but you’ll have to wait for the article! 😉

Off I go, to write, party, and who knows what — I’ll check back in after a few days, with quite a few stories!

Published in: on July 3, 2007 at 6:45 pm  Comments (4)  

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Quick, quick, quick post because I’m watching the race on a split screen. Very exciting race – windiest day yet.

I owe an apology to author Archer Mayor, who writes the terrific Joe Gunther series set in Vermont – I’ve referred to him as “Archie” – inexcusable on my part. Not that I think he reads my blog on a daily basis or anything, but it was rude on my part not to get it right, and I apologize.

Julia named me “Rocking Girl Blogger” — thank you! When I return, I’ll both post the icon and pay it forward.

I received the next assignment from Confidential Job #1 – it looks great.

I’m taking writing with me tonight over tomorrow and however long – I’ll have a few nice pockets of time during the various days to concentrate on work. And it’s become much easier to write away from the home office because of all the chaos around here.

Have a fabulous 4th and I’ll check back in at some point later in the week.

Devon

Published in: on July 3, 2007 at 8:11 am  Comments (6)  

Monday, July 2, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Sorry this is up so late.

I was so exhausted after the matinee yesterday that I practically crawled home from the city. I did a rough of the America’s Cup article, and then went to bed.

I had to polish it this morning (plus I’d hoped some answers would come in to some questions before deadline). No such luck. I polished, sent, and that was that for this week. If I get the information I wanted in time for next week’s deadline, I’ll include it. Otherwise, I’ll write around it.

Yesterday’s race was postponed due to lack of wind, so tomorrow morning’s race could decide the Cup. Or not. I’m hoping not, because I’d like to see a couple more races.

I then had errands to run, and I had to have lunch at the restaurant I’m reviewing this week (which was excellent, by the way). Got out a couple more pitches, and now I’m buckling down to two other articles I want to get out this week. I also need to get a few more interview requests out.

Since I haven’t heard back from my multiple requests in May and June to one particular potential interviewee, I’m assuming he’s too busy and/or not interested, and dumping him from my list. For whatever reason, it didn’t work out, and I’ve got far too much work coming in right now (thank goodness) to get my ego in a twist about it. Stuff happens, and one can’t say yes to everything (although I’d rather have someone just tell me “no” than not respond at all). Everyone’s busy, and sometimes things fall through the cracks. I’m just as guilty of that as anyone else – suddenly seeing something in the “in box” going “How long was THIS here? Oh, f***!”

Short post today; probably short post tomorrow; then I’ll be off-line for a day or two, as I’m going to a lovely party on the 4th out of town. Will check in again when I can.

Devon

Published in: on July 2, 2007 at 2:47 pm  Comments (6)  

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sunday, July 1, 2007
Last Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I can’t believe it’s July.

Thanks for the dream interpretations. However, I noticed something interesting in them: I was very specific to say it was a COLLEAGUE and all of you jumped to the conclusion it was a FRIEND. The person in the dream was most definitely not a friend (although some of the machinations are done under the pretense of friendship) – in fact, it’s someone with whom I’ve been very exasperated lately. I thought the fact that that particular person was involved in the dream was interesting.

Both shows yesterday were fine. Nothing exciting to report – we came in, flipped people in and out of clothes all day, went home. The usual petty annoyances, but nothing worth holding on to for more than a minute.

Between shows, we went to Luxia, on W. 48th St. It’s under new management, but the menu is still interesting, and the food excellent. We sat in the protected garden out back – always nice to find places like that tucked away in the city. It helps relax on a long day.

Did some work on the article – will have to spend a lot of time on it when I get back from the theatre tonight, since I have to get it out before I go to bed.

Did some research on another client project – not enjoying it at all. The people involved are snobs – without the talent, skill, or the intelligence to back it up. Fortunately, it’s a “once and done”, and I never have to deal with them again. Or, let me put it another way – if I ever do, my price will go up in proportion to the aggravation.

It was absolutely pouring with rain when I got off the train at midnight. Of course, none of the meteorologists had predicted it. But I always carry my umbrella in my kit bag, so it was all good. I still think they should only get paid when they’re right.

Alinghi won yesterday’s race; if they win today, it’s all over and they’ve successfully defended the America’s Cup. Of course, since I want it to go the full nine races, I’m slightly favoring New Zealand today. For the most part, though, I’m simply enjoying watching the most highly skilled participants in this sport compete against each other.

I have to jump in the shower and then watch the next race. I’m glad this is my last show today – the rest of them have a show tomorrow instead of the usual Monday dark day, a show Tuesday, and get Wednesday off, then a double on Thursday and back to the regular show schedule. Tomorrow, I’ll be having a lovely lunch at a restaurant about which I’m writing, and I have a big writing week ahead of me. And a big party on the Fourth.

Devon

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I can’t believe it’s the end of the month.

I’m so tired I feel as though I’ve been hit by a truck. Monday, I should be able to get some rest.

I had an interesting dream last night: I dreamed that a colleague was rooting through my closet, giving away my clothes. When I said that those weren’t the ones I wanted to give away (because I liked them, wore them, etc.), she said, “I’m trying to help; you should be grateful.”

I think that encapsulates a lot of my frustrations there, but I’m interested in hearing your opinions!

And, let’s face it: Are any of these frustrations going to matter in a hundred years? No. Of course not. People now pay $120 bucks a pop to come see the little skit, and have a good time. I only have a few more months there, and there’s no reason to let the petty stuff get to me. There’s big stuff going on, where it makes sense to draw boundaries. But the petty stuff?

There are too many things in my life that matter. Let it go.

On the “let it go” front, I turned down a writing job yesterday for, certainly, more money than I’ve ever seen in one place, because it was a long-range campaign to promote something to which I am solidly opposed. Was it hard to turn down the money? Of course. However, how could I live with myself if I worked to, literally, seduce people towards a product that I believe (and studies have backed this up over the years) that’s dangerous? Just so I can pocket some cash? No, thanks.

On a more ironic note, I was approached to do some writing about golf. I know nothing about golf and it’s never particularly interested me, although I respect the fact that people are obsessed by it. Instead of writing coverage pieces, though, I’m going to write some destination pieces, which makes sense. Those are due in the next two weeks, along with all the other pieces scheduled.

I’m going to watch Race 6 of the America’s Cup Challenge before I go to the theatre (for a two show day). I’m excited, even though I’m exhausted. I think I have to put Races 3-6 in the article for next week, and put tomorrow’s Race 7 (and 8 & 9, if they happen) in an article for the following week. There’s too much information both to double-check thoroughly and to keep to a reasonable length by tomorrow night’s deadline.

I also have a couple of press releases to write in the coming week, a restaurant review, another article, and I have to do the half-year review of the GDRs (Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions, for those of you new to the site). I’ve got some serious time to put in on an admin level, and I need to excavate my desk, once again. I have a binder for the sailing info, and have to file the Draft info, the Triple Crown info, and update both the clip files and the CV. Once you let that stuff slide, it’s difficult to catch up, and you end up wasting time when you pitch for fresh work, because you’ve got to hunt for clips rather than just pull them out of the file or have them all on one disk for attachments.

Finished Archie Mayor’s The Scent of Evil and started The Dark Root. He’s such an excellent writer, and it’s interesting to read the books set in Vermont. I always like to read books well-set in a place with which I’m familiar.

I’d love to write some fiction against the backdrop of sailing. However, my protag would need to come at it the way I am – as new to the sport, and grow from book to book. Ideas are starting to tickle. They’ll probably need to percolate for a few months, and I’ll have to see if there’s anything else like it out there.

Devon

Published in: on June 30, 2007 at 6:40 am  Comments (5)  

Friday, June 29, 1007

Friday, June 29, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy, hazy, humid

Condolences to my friend BK Birch, for the loss of her dog. There are no words to make the loss of such a valued family member any easier.

Spooky update: the stray cat who was our guest during the last flood, then spirited way, then ran away from his new home was found, after two months. Supposedly, he’s in rough shape – I lent his owner a cat carrier (again) so he could take the cat to the vet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll be okay.

I’m suffering from serious Flood Fatigue. Between the constant flooding and the developers crawling all over the building trying to un-home 100 families, it’s been a tough fight for the past two years. However, succumbing to the sometimes bone-crushing depression the fights bring on is not an option. It doesn’t get anything done. It’s also difficult to house-hunt when it’s too dangerous to leave the present premises unattended. I’m searching for a way to break the cycle; I have a few ideas, so it’s all down to trial and error. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have room to make errors.

On the Cup Challenge front, Emirates Team New Zealand lodged a protest against Alinghi after Race 4 because it is their belief Alinghi violated one of the rules. The press were downright gleeful (gave them something to do on a day without racing), and I spent several hours reading hundreds of pages of coverage. Some of it was quite entertaining; much of it made me roll my eyes. I’ll discuss it in more detail in the next FemmeFan article. In any case, the protest was reviewed and then dismissed. I’m sure conspiracy theorists will have a field day. I’m much more interested in the intent and the psychological politics of the whole thing than the actual protest.

One of the things I enjoy most about what I do (writing) is that I get to enter many worlds I might never get to experience otherwise. Whether it’s ice hockey or thoroughbred racing or sailing or theatre or writing a restaurant review or doing a profile of someone who’s made a positive difference – I’m dealing with intelligent, interesting, dedicated, skilled individuals. It makes the contrast between the vapid, self-styled celebrities and “Reality” television” even sharper.

Started background research for the profiles, and started sending out interview requests. Worked on the article that’s due next week for the other publication. Dealt with flood crap. Dealt with a migraine.

Got to the theatre; did the show. Many of the bodices of the costumes are boned in order to give a shape (a corset within the garment rather than a separate layer) and last night was the night for bones to fight their way out through fabric and jab singers and dancers in the ribs. Many pins with red ribbons as markers were put in for today’s stitching call!

Managed to catch the 11:10, and the train was close to being on time, so I got home a little after midnight. Thursday’s rains weren’t as bad as Wednesday’s, so we managed to avoid another flood.

Up early this morning to watch Race 5 of the Cup Challenge. What a race! New Zealand was aggressive at the start, but a tear in a sail compounded by the second sail going up getting tangled in the torn sail made for quite a dramatic day. I was astonished at how quickly NZ recovered (like when there’s a problem backstage – you have to drop it and move on, or you lose the act), and Alinghi beat them by only 19 seconds. Quite exciting.

So Alinghi’s won 3, New Zealand 2. Of course, I’d like to see it go the full nine races.

Ran some errands, and am now back to do an hour or two of article writing before heading back out to the theatre. The excitement of the race certainly perked up my whole day.

I’d like about a twenty minute nap before heading out, but somehow, I get the feeling that’s not going to happen.

Devon

PS to ME Ellis – Blogspot won’t let me comment on the blog, but I do still stop by – just can’t say anything! Thanks for coming by here – you’re always welcome to come and “talk” as long as you like!