Tues. Jan. 29, 2019: Creative Weekend

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Waning Moon

Busy weekend, but in a good way. Not a lot of words down on the page, but plenty of project brainstorming and development.

Friday and Saturday morning were about cleaning and cooking ahead for the weekend. I’d just finished when my guest arrived.

Lucy, the newer cat, loves having company. More people to give her attention!

We had a good catch-up session over drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres. I roasted a chicken and we had rumbledethumps (a Moosewood recipe), and chocolate mousse for dessert.

We talked and talked and brainstormed projects. People who haven’t worked in theatre or other production don’t realize how much time it takes to develop projects and get them into production. YEARS.

We watched an awful movie about the Stork Club, although it was interesting to see details about the club, and the Edith Head costumes were great.

Sunday, we had a leisurely morning capped by Eggs Benedict and prosecco. Then, we headed out to see a bit of the Cape — some local shopping, a stop in one of the libraries, then out to Dennis to see the Cape Playhouse (where I worked a few years ago), The Cape Cinema, and the exhibits at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. There were several interesting exhibits going on, and they really do make use of every inch of possible space. A chorale concert was getting ready, about to start just as we were leaving. We took a scenic drive back along 6A and through Sandwich, for the old buildings and the lighted sculptures.

Back home for more conversation, maps and projects, cocktails and h’ors d’oeuvres, and then I made baked scallops with noodles and spinach for dinner. More conversation, more project brainstorming. Watched a few episodes of MISS FISHER (which is theatrical and fun and has brilliant clothes). More conversation, and a late night.

All in all, a creative weekend. I’ve been lucky enough to have some really good brainstorming sessions with people over the last few weeks. There’s a ton of information to process, and then I have to sit down and sift through it and apply it to projects. Who are the best producing partners? What other artists can be included? Where do we get the funding? Because WE ARE PAID TO CREATE. This is our business, not our hobby. Our vocation as well as our passion. Because without integration and application, it’s all just yapping.

I was up early, weight training, yoga, meditation, some writing. Prep for some meetings later this week. Writing ahead on some blog posts for various commitments.

Worked with a client yesterday for a few hours, then had some admin work to do and some pitches to get out, then meditation group.

Quiet evening at home, recovering!

Today, I’m with a client for a few hours, and then have some more pitches, etc., after my first writing session of the morning.

I can’t believe January is almost gone. I have so much to do. Being sick put me way, way back, and I’m scrambling to catch up.

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Published in: on January 29, 2019 at 6:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I have a Guest Rant up on Kristen King’s InkThinker blog on “Dealing with ‘You Should Write . . .’”, a topic that particular drives me ‘round the bend. Yeah, I know, it’s a real short drive, but come check it out here:

Well, yesterday was, um, interesting. On the positive side, I got my assignment off to Confidential Job #1, and an editor with whom I’ve worked on and off for several years has asked me for ideas for a 2010 calendar. Which, of course, will be due this June, because annuals are written two years ahead.

I spent the afternoon rearranging the living room, and I’m not sure I like it – some of the proportions seem off to me, re-mixing the furniture, so I may have to keep tweaking it. The twins, however, are very pleased and racing around. They like having chairs in front of the window, because now they can sit along the backs and look out over the plants. I’ll take cat happiness over correct proportions any day. Plus, it gives me more space to do my yoga. My back and neck are killing me, though, and, of course, building maintenance STILL hasn’t shown up to remove those air conditioners, and I can’t do any more shifting around until they are out, especially in the bedroom. If I have to hire a bunch of big, brawny guys from Rent-A-Husband, I’m charging it to the building. I’d entice some big, brawny hockey players with the promise of a home-cooked meal, but the guys I know nearest to me are in the playoffs right now, and I will NOT risk them getting hurt moving damn air conditioners from the 1970s during the most crucial weeks of the season.

I put together a sample package of monologues I promised a colleague, and updated my overall script samples package, pulling out some old ones and substituting some of the newer scenes. Those went off. I’ve turned them into PDFs, which should make life easier for all of us. Several of my older disks are missing, and I had a heck of time converting documents, because heaven forbid Microsoft can open their own programs if they’re a few years old. I had to do document recovery on most of them and then reformat.

Paperless office. Yeah, right.

I sent a query to a new-to-me publisher and, within two hours, received a request for a full. Now THAT’S the way I like to work. Keep your fingers crossed! Got a whole bunch of queries and submissions to get out this week and next. Too much stuff backing up.

A trio of characters appeared and started yapping late last night. I need them to shut up, so maybe I’ll make a few notes to appease them while I concentrate on other things.

Going back to the Frenzy screenplay today – I think I can finish it in a day or two.

Devon

PS I rearranged the living furniture again. The proportions drove me nuts. It’s better now, and the cats aren’t complaining, so it stays.

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:

Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 8:26 am  Comments (9)  

Slowly Returning to the World of the Living

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I survived. I feel like hell, battling the second day of a migraine, but I survived.

On Monday morning, I was up at 3 AM. I did a good hour and a half of yoga, fed the cats, and did the last minute stuff to prepare for the window crew. By 6:30, I was totally ready for them and just sitting around. I managed to capture and crate the cats by 7:30 (took the opportunity when I could), and took them to a neighbor’s shortly thereafter.

The felines were NOT amused. Iris screamed in her crate for THREE HOURS without stopping. I had someone sit with the crate on the lap, trying to keep her quiet. No go. That cat is a drama queen. Elsa complained once or twice, but she was pretty calm. Violet was angry. She didn’t scream, but she was determined to find a way out. There was a point where she was upside down in the crate, trying to chew her way through the bars. She managed to work part of the door out of its fastening, but I found out and tied it shut.

The window crew arrived at 8:30. The windows were all out in the blink of an eye. It took 3 guys to get out the air conditioner that had been put in in 1973, and it’s still in the middle of the bedroom, because the building can’t be bothered to send anyone to get it out, and I can’t even slide it anywhere. It’s that heavy. The new windows went in fairly quickly, but this apartment is an anomaly – each window is a different size, but only by between ¼ and ¾ of an inch. Just enough to really screw everyone up. Especially since the team was told that all the windows on this side of the building are the same size, and heaven forbid our management company should set up appropriate measuring appointments. And there was some rotted wood around some of the frames. So they had to build some new somethings or others in order to have something on which to fasten the new window frames. I was the only one who actually cleared back the requested five feet of workspace, so they had the room to work.

In spite of it all, they were completely finished within only two hours. Three weeks of prep work and schlepping for two damn hours. But the crew was terrific – fast, efficient, and really, really nice. The windows let in a lot more light (hey, they’re clean for one thing, and, again, it’s not like management ever cleaned the windows, and we couldn’t clean them from the outside.) These we can.

I spent the afternoon sanding the sills. The window crew hadn’t damaged them; they’d been damaged in the bad weather around the flooding this time last year, because the old windows weren’t securely sealed. So I sanded, primed and did two coats of paint (I still had the Snowy Egret left over from when I painted the place in ’06). We put back a few things, but until these old air conditioners are out of here, we’re at a stopping point. Kind of frustrating.

The cats ran around and screamed a lot. Violet was completely over-stimulated and wouldn’t sleep. She was hissing and fretting all evening. Elsa and Iris settled down as soon as they saw their bowls were back in the kitchen.

Yesterday, I woke up with a migraine. I managed to drag myself out of bed. I worked on the screenplay – up to p. 113, past the re-creation of lost material and on to new material. I also turned around a piece for Confidential Job #2, and worked on the assignment for Confidential Job #1, which is due today, so as soon as I post this, I’m back to working on that.

They turned off the heat on Monday at 9 AM and it wasn’t back on until 6:30 this morning, in spite of the fact that Monday night and last night it was in the 30s here. And, because we were without windows for a couple of hours, the apartment got really cold on Monday. If you want to learn how to spell scumbag, just look up our landlords. Totally illegal and they totally don’t care.

I’ll have a couple of new articles appearing soon, one in a magazine for writers called Vision. I’ll put up the link when it runs.

The next few days will be spent putting together writing samples promised to a few people, drafting a monologue for a friend, working on the screenplay, hustling for work, and, of course, trying to figure out what to bring back from storage and what to leave in. I am NOT bringing it all back. I’ll have to figure out when I can head to Maine to see my grandmother – maybe by midweek next week. I also have to watch a bunch of video as research for some interviews I’m doing. It’s impossible to concentrate with a pounding head. Excedrin Migraine takes off the edge, but that’s all.

I need to get the pre-Derby article done as well. The Derby is a-coming – and my first choice horse is out, due to injury, and my next two choices haven’t done well in the past few weeks. So I have to look over the entire field again and re-shuffle my Derby deck.

And the hockey playoffs are happening, so I have to pay attention.

I’m hoping, in a few days, as I slowly put the apartment back to rights, it will be easier to concentrate. I’m re-arranging stuff, too. Just because I don’t plan to be here much longer doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look good while I’m here.

I bought pansies yesterday – they’re such a cheerful flower, and now that the apartment is so much lighter, they’ll be able to thrive.

I did my taxes on Sunday. I had all my receipts done and collected throughout the year, so it was a case of sitting down with the folders and adding up the numbers. It took about an hour. This is the first time I had to file a Schedule E because of royalties – pain in the butt to fill it out, but a good feeling that I finally have to declare royalties on my taxes!

Back to work. Someday my head will stop pounding and I’ll feel human again.

Devon

Script Frenzy – 113 pages out of 100 pages (113%).

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:

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 8:26 am  Comments (8)  

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

So tired I’m crawling. But everything’s stacked, covered in sheets, I took a big load to storage yesterday, and I might have a small load today.

Tomorrow is the Window Tango, so I might be offline for a couple of days. I think we’re going to be ready. Crated Kitties are resting in a neighbor’s apartment, things are clear from the windows. I have to stack things in the kitchen tomorrow morning.

Realized I have to go back in and add the scene I cut in the re-created screenplay, because it sets up some important relationships amongst the secondary characters. Which means I need to kill more trees and re-paginate and re-print. So much for a “paperless office”.

Unfortunately, once I wrote the scene, it no longer works in the place where it sat originally. The script has changed enough so I have to create another place in it to set up these relationships. And it needs to happen soon, because it’s integral to what happens farther down the line.

I think, a few more drafts down the road, this will make a good screenplay sample for the portfolio, but I also think I’m going to wind up converting it back to novel form, because I also think it’ll sell well as a book. With the potential for more stories set in this world, that the screenplay doesn’t. IE, the screenplay is not a pilot – it’s a stand-alone. But I think more can be said about this world in novel format.

I’ve also been thinking of The Annym Rooseteyr’s Return a lot. I feel as though I truncated a lot of the story to fit within the specified word count. I’m thinking of re-visiting the piece and expanding it. Personally, I think it’s an 85K story, not a 15K story, but I had no way of knowing that when I first created it. Some writers are really good at being able to tailor their pieces to word count – I still tend to have to find my way through it in early drafts and then figure it out. Not good when you’re juggling deadlines.

Yesterday my life was writing, and packing. Confidential Job #2 wants me for a new assignment – yippee! They’re always a pleasure. And I have an assignment for Confidential Job #1 that’s due on Tuesday. I’ve started it, so it won’t be a huge push at the end; I’m just tired. It’s pretty interesting, though.

Today is writing, packing . . .and taxes. I have a feeling there won’t be much writing.

Tomorrow is Window and Recovery.

We’ll see what the rest of the week holds.

My grandmother didn’t sound good when I spoke to her today, so I want to get up there by the middle of next week.

I almost forgot – woke up at 3 AM because I heard a cat yowling outside. My cats were in the window, not too happy. I was worried it was sick or hurt, so I got dressed, took a big flashlight and went looking for it, but couldn’t find it. I was terribly worried, and not sure what to do. I’d hate to think it was injured or hungry.

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2008 at 8:37 am  Comments (6)  

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm – but the birds are singing!

Quill pens and parchment : Just sayin’.

Carrier pigeons to deliver manuscripts.

Much less frustrating.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions and the support yesterday. They really helped. Well, the one person who emailed me and said this was a good time to practice detachment – let’s say I was less gracious than I should have been! Because I am not detached from my work, especially not in the creation stage. I don’t think artists should be or can be.

I did everything I could without screwing up someone else’s computer – I would have been a lot more adventurous on my own. Heck, I probably would have hacked it apart with an axe looking for the thing, but one must be more restrained with someone else’s property.

It never ceases to amaze me – astrobiology and physics and all of that make perfect sense, but a computer – not so much. Because, frankly, whenever I do delve into the workings, I don’t find it based on a logic that makes any sense to me, where even chaos in the universe has a decent logic. I find computer “stuff” is created by people with too much time on their hands who take joy in making it as difficult and inefficient as possible. But then, my brain is wired differently, and things that other people believe have no sense or logic are absolutely transparent to me. It’s all in the perception.

So I started re-creating the piece. I still have my notes – thank goodness those didn’t go, even though that file was open. I’d updated them as changes happened, for the most part, and I’d even emailed them to myself. In fact, when I lost the document, that’s what the save was for – saved so then I could back it up and email it to myself. It was the ONLY document on the whole drive not yet sent to my backup account, and the ONLY document not printed – which is why, of course, it failed. Five more minutes, and there wouldn’t have been a problem. And it doesn’t make sense – when Word fails, it always saves something with a ~ so you can restore the document. Nothing. And it usually only dumps the version you’re working on, not every version previously saved. If I’d lost those 30 pages, I’d have been sad, but could have immediately recreated them. To lose 98 pages – when the Script Frenzy count is 100 – very frustrating. I searched every drive, checked every file to see what it mutated into – it’s as though the file never existed. Talked to several computer-savvy friends and spent an hour on the phone with a tech guy I actually trust. They agreed this can’t happen – it has to be in there somewhere.

Maybe the guys who own the computer can find it. I asked them to look and then email it to me if it turned up.

And Yasmine let me have a good cyber-weep on her shoulder. Thank you very much. It’s deeply appreciated.

So I’m going back to my extreme state of computer paranoia.

Dealing with computers makes me think of the Nine of Wands in the tarot – you’ve always got to be ready and keep those defenses up, no matter how much work you’ve put in to date.

Feeling sorry for myself wasn’t going to solve anything. I’d done everything I could physically do in terms of data recovery (or, in my case, non-data recovery). It was time to buckle down and get back to work.

In any case, I recreated the first 11 pages. Some of it’s better, like the opening sequence, because now I know Jack Danou’s coming back as ghost, and he’s not just some guy that Zenda has to kill because he and his men were hired to slaughter a village. Some of the scenes are stronger, because having written so far into it, I actually know who these characters are, and I can set them up. Some of the scenes, like the breakup scene between Carole and Sam are weaker. But hey, it’s technically draft 1 ½ , so whatever. As the character Sam said to me (the writer), “Look, it’s not as though we haven’t been around for six years or something. It’s been a couple of hours. Just drop back in and listen to us.”

I also have an idea of a technique I learned for another area of my life, and I’m wondering if I can apply it here. I don’t want to discuss it too much ahead of time, but it would be awfully intriguing if it works.

I was on the 7 PM bus out of Philly. What a horrid group of nut jobs traveled! Really, half of them should have been put off the bus – truly energy-sucking vampires and disruptive to everyone else. I just cocooned myself in my music, set up the psychic barriers (which one of the nut jobs could actually see and commented on – but he couldn’t pass it), and stayed in the world of Sharon Shinn’s THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE for the trip.

Trundled across town from Port Authority to Grand Central with my luggage, mowing down tourists and climbing over something or other that filmed near Bryant Park. Don’t know what it was, but the Craft Services guy remembered me from . . .something . . .and pressed a much-needed cup of coffee into my hand for the rest of my trip home.

Got home around 10:30, couldn’t sleep, was up unpacking and puttering far too late. Elsa and Iris were glad to see me; Violet was furious with me for leaving in the first place and wouldn’t even look at me. However, this morning, she is Velcro Kitty.

I’m going to write this morning and then I have to pack this afternoon and get another load of stuff to storage.

This time next week, the Window Tango should be complete and maybe we’ll have a little bit of peace before the scumbags come up with their next element of torture.

I’m going to combine the next trip to Maine to check on my grandmother with some serious house hunting.

Does anyone know where I can purchase binders in bulk? I keep my manuscripts in binders, and it’s ridiculously expensive. Staples just looks at me like I’ve grown extra heads when I ask about bulk binder purchase. So I need to find some other, more reasonably priced outlet. Novellas usually go in 1” or 11/2” binders, but I usually need 2 ½-3” binders for novel-length.

Because let’s face it, I’m going to print out EVERYTHING after this latest fiasco. I know, I know: Tree Murderer!

At least I’m using recycled paper, and I recycle every scrap of paper I toss.

Got a disappointing rejection this morning for a piece I was sure was a good fit for that particular venue. Guess I was wrong. So off it goes to the next one on the list.

Devon

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:

Published in: on April 9, 2008 at 10:26 am  Comments (10)  

Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008
Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

So, how many guys does it take to hang a door? Trust me, you don’t want to know. They had a heck of a time getting it to fit. Gee, you think if management had actually set up a measurement appointment like they were supposed to, it could have been avoided? Anyway, the guys themselves were very nice. They swore a bit, I didn’t blame them, and finally said, “Hey, I understand enough Gaelic to know what you’re saying!” and they all blushed.

The cats were barricaded in the bedroom. Iris hid, Elsa curled up in the window, and Violet did nothing but scream and scold until they were done. She was NOT having it. Wonder where she gets it from? 😉

Got a carload of stuff to storage in the morning, packed some more during the Door Hang Derby, packed a bunch of weird stuff for a second carload in the afternoon. Is it ever going to look like I’m making progress here? I guess I just make excellent use of what little space I have; either that, or it reproduces every time I’m out of the apartment heading to storage. I’m also throwing out a lot, which is good. But there is just constantly MORE. And I’m not a “stuff” person. I’m a book person – so, yes, there are about 50 file boxes of books already in the unit – but I don’t buy a lot of “stuff”. Yet I just keep shoveling it out of all these nooks and crannies.

I also found cash tucked away in an envelope, which was a good thing. Glad I checked before tossing it!

Got a second carload of stuff to storage in the afternoon, and then I was done for the day! Met the new guys moving into the auto body shop next door – they’re very, very nice and want to be good neighbors, but it doesn’t change the fact that our scumbag landlords (who own both properties) must have paid off somebody, because it wasn’t supposed to be rented out again, due to zoning, only every time we asked, they kept moving the date. At least it’s not the illegal chop shop that was in and out for a few nights a few months back.

When I moved books around to give the Door Hang Gang room to work, I found a cultural anthropology text I didn’t know I had, and was about to buy. Whew! Glad I found it. I need it for the next two Gwen/Justin adventures.

I’m still trying to decide if I want to set The Balthazaar Treasure in the Caribbean, off the Cape Cod coast, or off of the tip of Long Island. There were plenty of shipwrecks in all three places. Setting it off Long Island would make life easier logistically for Gwen and some of the conflict she has to deal with in the course of the book, but do I really want to make her life easier? And if I set it there, I’ll have to go back out and re-walk it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, but . . .I LOATHE the Hamptons. Or, I should say, most of the people who hang out there. These aren’t people I’d spend time with here in NYC—why would I waste all that time sitting in traffic to see them in the Hamptons? Too bad so many ugly-souled people take up so much beautiful landscape.

But if I could get in some research before the season starts, do a day trip, maybe . . .I don’t know. I have to look at some shipwreck maps and see what I can figure out. The Caribbean just feels like it’s been done so often. Cape Cod feels like I’m treading on the toes of someone who’s been helpful. I want to keep it up in the northeast. Maybe further up into Canada? Hey, Canadian readers? Know anything about shipwrecks off New Brunswick or Nova Scotia? I’d think it would be really short dive season, though.

I was definitely tired and cranky by evening, suffering from “Poor Me” Syndrome and battling the Doubt Demons. I really have no time for any of them right now, so I had my fifteen minute Pity Party and got back to work. I’m sure a lack of high-quality chocolate contributed.

I have to buckle down and finish the essay today, no matter what. I’m packed for the trip. I should have internet access, but if I don’t, you won’t hear from me until next week.

Wyatt’s getting on my case to finish his story in Old-Fashioned Detective Work, and he is just going to have to wait.

Julia, I’m NOT working on a series right now; I must have written the post badly for you to think so. I’ve worked on several NY-based series in the past few years, but I’m writing full-time and only dipping into the crew work here and there when the right opportunity comes up.

10 pages on the screenplay this morning. I wanted to do more, but the next whole section needs to be written as a piece. Maybe that will be my reward for doing good work on the essay.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Script Frenzy – 48 pages out of 120 (40%)

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:

Published in: on April 4, 2008 at 8:07 am  Comments (9)  

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild
Happy Birthday Me!

Going back to yesterday’s discussion about writing for actors, I had a few questions on that, which I will try to answer.

If you write for a specific actor during the development process, unless the actor is a producer on the piece, or it’s for the actor’s company, you often don’t get the actor for the role. Either the actor doesn’t feel it’s the right fit, or the advisors don’t think the actor should do it (and may not even tell the actor about the script) or simple scheduling conflicts. So you (or the next writer on the project) do a major rewrite every time a different actor is interested.

It’s much easier to create the material without Imaginary Casting and then tweak it once an actor’s assigned.

Of course, some actors bring with them their own writers to rewrite their dialogue – a practice I really HATE. If you’re good enough, you can make any good script your own without having your own people rewrite it.

Again, the writer usually has very little to say in that, unless the writer is also a producer.

Sometimes I use Imaginary Casting when I start a project, knowing it’s all fantasy, but usually, when I’m doing my work properly, the characters grow into themselves and away from my perception of the actor pretty quickly.

The noise level was truly painful yesterday in the hallway. The high-pitched whine of the drill, for hours on end causes physical pain. Having the music on helped, but I jumped nearly ten feet out of my chair when some spoken word came on and I thought someone had walked into the room behind me!

Got a bit done on the sci-fi horror western and a nice chunk done on the thriller. The section I’m doing now is a putting-the-pieces together section – only, they’re putting together some of the pieces incorrectly and will have to find out the hard way that they made mistakes. I’m almost done with the changes on Tracking Medusa – thank goodness it’s more tweaking than rewriting at this point. I caught another inconsistencies in ages/timeline – thanks, Mik, for helping me figure it out.

And thanks, Lara, for the card! It’s great and very much appreciated.

A loud crash in the kitchen last night brought me running. Elsa had climbed up on the counter (bad kitty move #1), knocked a bunch of bottles onto the floor (bad kitty move #2), and had her paw in a box of crackers (bad kitty move #3). I yelled at her and she jumped down –forgetting she was in the box up to her shoulder, and she tried to run away, still dragging the box. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. And it’s hard to scold her when I’m laughing.

The drills have started up again. Time to turn the music on, zone out, and get back to the thriller. I’m having a low key day today. I usually like to get out of town on my birthday, but couldn’t this year, between work and building chaos. So I’m having a big lunch thing with family and friends and keeping it all low key. And getting a lot of writing done. The thriller’s flowing, so I’m running with it.

New Amsterdam was better written last night – mostly because co-producer Eric Overmeyer co-wrote the episode. And Eric Overmeyer is one of this country’s best playwrights in addition to being a damned good producer. We’re getting to see some of the darker sides of John Amsterdam in his single-minded obsession to find “the one”. It’s interesting character work, so he’s not just an all-out hero, but it also gives us room not to like him quite so much – there’s a sleaze factor to him. Very interesting, and fun for the actor, I’m sure. And both the A and B storyline were well-developed, and the weekly mystery logical and resolved.

Off to write.

Devon

March Literary Challenge: 35,107 words out of 50,000 (70%)

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:

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 8:07 am  Comments (9)  

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
International Women’s Day
Rainy and cool

Today is International Women’s Day, so take a moment to let the women in your life know that they’re appreciated! And, if you can support an organization supporting women’s health or stopping domestic violence or some such, with time, letter writing, or anything else (support does NOT have to always mean money), that’s great, too.

I wanted to write something special for the day, but by the time I thought about it, in the midst of chaos, it was too late to actually WRITE 1500 words, much less revise it and get it into condition to post. So I’ll have to add it in to my main calendar, to give myself enough time to produce something for NEXT year. Because our stories don’t stop. And there’s always more to be done.

Yesterday was NOT a productive day.

One of my many faults is that I’m hypersensitive to sound and to scent. I’m not as sensitive as my cats, but, for a human, I’m affected more than many other people. In addition to the skyrocketing costs of living in Manhattan, I had to leave because of the noise factor. By the time I moved out of Times Square, I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in my own apartment for nearly three years – jackhammers all day due to construction; jackhammers all night due to street work. The cats and I were all basket cases.

The work being done in the hallway reminds me of that. Now, had we been given sufficient notice and the type of schedule the workmen needed, so that we could plan our needs around theirs, it wouldn’t be so bad. However, in spite of repeated requests in writing and verbally, our needs have been ignored.

Unfortunately, in my case, it’s more than mere annoyance – it’s a health risk. I’m actually more worried about the cats more than myself. They’re practically velcroed to me all day, frightened and shaking. And then, they just collapse into sleep in a pile on top of me once the workmen leave for the day. I can’t explain to them what’s going on; they just want it to stop. I want it to stop, too, but I can counteract some of the stress with music or yoga or meditation or whatever.

I managed to get some edits done on Tracking Medusa, in spite of manuscript and myself regularly buried under a pile of freaked-out felines. I outlined another project – too many projects, no idea in which direction to go. By the time the workmen left, I was so wrung out that I couldn’t just jump right back into work. Plus, it was late afternoon, instead of early morning, so . . .

I have to figure out how to get a few creative hours out of my day in and around the chaos.

I finally just said, “fuck it” and whipped up a batch of deviled eggs and went downstairs to have cocktails with a friend.

If you can’t beat ‘em, you can at least out-drink ‘em.

Came back, zoned in front of the TV, went to bed early.

Up early this morning, and got 2500 words’ worth of outlining on a project that hit me in the shower.

The workmen are back at it, but I’m hoping, with headphones, I can find the right music and fly today, because these scenes, images, and characters are coming more quickly than I can write them down.

The town’s braced for flooding, along the lines of last spring. I hope that’s not the case.

Devon

March Literary Challenge: 16,448 words out of 50,000 (32%)

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:

Published in: on March 8, 2008 at 11:09 am  Comments (3)  

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

“Don’t make me come up there!”

Usually, that’s said to kids who are misbehaving. In fact, especially when I say it quietly, without lifting my eyes from the page, ALL of my ten godchildren quake. Even the ones who have children of their own.

See, I’m the “cool” godmother, the one who lived on 42nd St. in NYC for 13 years over a strip club, works (worked?) in theatre, television, and film, writes for a living, hangs out with horse racing and ice hockey people and travels all over the world whenever I want just because I want.

And I’m MUCH stricter with my godkids than their actual parents are sometimes. There are some cases where my rules are different, but the Main Rule when they stay with me, is “You follow the House Rules – or you go home.” I don’t negotiate with the underage. Period.

And, when I negotiate with the “of age” but young – hell, I’m a union negotiator. I play hardball. I don’t back down.

So I don’t have a lot of trouble with any of them, even the ones who’ve landed on the doorstep and stayed for months at a time because of problems at home.

Too bad it doesn’t work on cats.

I put up with way more from my cats than I do from humans.

It’s true: Dogs have masters. Cats have staff.

Fortunately, I’m bigger than the cats, so when push comes to shove, literally, I can pick them up and place them where I want them. And get that look of disdain that only a feline can throw, before turning around and stalking out with nose and tail in the air.

Building problems that needed to be dealt with immediately this morning. If things aren’t better by the end of the week, it’s time to bring in the Feds. Not the state people, who’ve been a big help. The Feds. That’s how bad it’s gotten. And my patience has expired.

I’m not negotiating.

This is the way it is.

I have a confrontation to handle right now, and then, hopefully, I can get some writing done. Read another book for the essay yesterday, and stayed up way to late to finish it.

The last box of books arrived, with the last books I need for the essay and some stuff from Strand for BALTHAZAAR research. Strand Books is so good to me!

Devon

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:

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 10:21 am  Comments (9)  

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Went outside to look at the lunar eclipse last night. It was fascinating. The cats were freaking out, being moon creatures. And I was pretty restless myself. I do not like being cut off from the moon!

The 1and1 server is down. Again. I can’t access my mail. I can’t update my websites. Every month, I lose approximately 2 weeks’ worth of service, scattered in and around the different days. This is NOT acceptable.

I need to back everything up on Fearless Ink and move that site first, then back up everything on the other sites and move them, too. BEFORE the next frigging invoice comes from 1and1. They are quick to take my money; but they don’t provide either service OR customer assistance.

I found a way to pull mail through another server, but why should I have to when I’m paying 1and1?

Quiet day yesterday. Some writing, lots of reading. I read two of the books for the essay and took lots of notes. I didn’t get too far on the desk, so I have to tackle that again today.

I was supposed to work onsite today, but that got moved to next week, so I’m working from home today, which is great. Tomorrow’s supposed to be quite a snow and ice storm, so I’m going to run my errands today, and hopefully, tomorrow, have a quiet day at home.

I’ve got some work friends sent me to read today, then back to my own writing, and the reading for the essay. If I can read a book a day, I can get through everything in about two weeks, and then start putting together the essay. This one is a challenge, because my personal views are so different from both the view the author presents and the topic about which I’m writing. I can’t brainstorm publicly, because it will come back to bite me in the butt, but there will be a lot of filtering and approaching material from different angles in order to make this one work. It’s a good exercise – writing a piece developing an argument with backup on a point of view that is not necessarily my personal one. Definitely not as straightforward as the last one – although that one had its challenges, too!

Linda, I’m not sure about the follow-up capacity on WordPress. I couldn’t find one yesterday, but maybe I just don’t know how to do it. Maybe it’s called something else. When I get a minute, I’ll see about asking Support.

Not much to say today. I’m staying quiet and just trying to get a lot done.

And that’s the way it should be.

Devon

Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 9:15 am  Comments (7)  

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was all about cooking, because the next few weeks will have a lot of shuffling from pillar to post and not much time to cook. This morning, I’m boiling water.

We had 2 ½ inches of snow yesterday; that’s now turned to rain, and they expect 4 inches of rain. On frozen ground. And the city, county, and state have done NOTHING towards flood mitigation in the year since the last floods, which means if the brook overflows, it will be much, much worse than it was in March and April last year. The streets are already ankle deep in water.

Those of you who remember last year’s floods – the water up to the first floor, the fire department having to evacuate people on cheery pickers and in boats. Wading through chest high water in current. No electricity, heat, or hot water for a week. The fact that Con Ed said if it flooded again they would NEVER turn on the power again in this building . . .you have an idea of why I’m worried. And I have three cats, so I can’t go to a shelter; in spite of the law that was passed after Hurricane Katrina, the Red Cross here does not allow people with animals into shelters. Which means, of course, that I no longer volunteer for them or give them donations.

The car is up on the highest point in town, by the train station, with a note. If they give me a ticket, I’ll fight it.

I’m supposed to be in the city today; who knows what I’ll find when I come back.

Think good thoughts.

And the Valentine’s Day Part I plans are on hold until we know whether we’re flooded or not.

Devon

PS All of you who’ve worried about my commenting on Blogger– you have your blog set so that people can “choose sign-in”. It’s the ones who set it so you can only sign in with Blogger that are a problem. I mean, there are days when it takes five or six tries to sign in with Word Press, but the accounts that only allow Google/Blogger are the ones to which I can’t comment. Some of those are run by writers who, funnily enough, complain about their low traffic. WELL, if you’d set the darn thing to let people comment, you’d get more traffic!!!

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:

Published in: on February 13, 2008 at 8:20 am  Comments (8)  

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

So where’s this huge storm they talked about? There’s been barely a dusting of snow around here!

I did some work yesterday morning, got everything ready to leave, and headed for the demon bus in the early afternoon. It actually worked, and was mostly a pleasant ride. I put on my headphones and listened to my music, while doing the work for Confidential Job #1. It was beautifully rendered, but heartbreaking, and will be difficult to write up. We got to the city, I hauled my luggage uphill back to Grand Central – people don’t realize that Manhattan is not flat, and there’s quite a rise from 33rd – 36th Streets. Got on the train, and I was home a little after 6:30. It takes me almost as long to get between here and Manhattan as it does between Manhattan and Philly.

Played with the cats, who were very glad to see me and had to tell me EVERYTHING that happened while I was gone. Did a whole lot of nothing at night; didn’t even unpack.

And that’s what I’m doing today. A whole lot of nothing. I’ve given myself the day off. Other than a trip to the bank and writing up the material that’s due today for Confidential Job #1, I am going to do exactly as I please. If I feel like writing, I will; if I don’t, I won’t. There’s plenty of reading that needs my attention – I’m partially through Class Dis-mythed, and I started Sharon Shinn’s Mystic and Rider, which is enthralling from page 1. I’ve got another manuscript to critique, and the next batch of material for Confidential Job #2. I’ve got plenty of writing to do – and I completely forgot that I have to work on the time travel novella. And there’s editing and all the rest. And a book of essays written by archaeologists in the field that I thought would be good background material for the next two Gwen/Justin books, since, instead of traveling with them in a chase, we’re actually out in the field with them. I also had a very odd dream that felt unusually real the other night. I think it will make a good basis for a story, eventually, but I have to figure it out. It wasn’t bad or frightening or anything . . .it was just odd.

But right now, there’s too much information roiling around in my head, and I have to give it time to sort itself out. If I try to force it, it will get more muddled. If I let it unravel itself slowly through some quiet time, I’ll be ready to get back to the page more quickly, and I’ll be more productive once I get there.

Devon

Published in: on January 14, 2008 at 8:48 am  Comments (9)  

Friday, December 14,2007

Friday, December 14, 2007
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. And this is new because . . .?

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and check out my ideas for the best writing books to give this holiday season. In case you know a writer who needs some books on writing! 😉 (No, I don’t mean me; I have them all; that’s why I know they work).

The storm dumped more ice than snow down, and I was glad I could stay home. Unfortunately, so could plenty of other people, and there were massive interruptions, deliveries, etc. And packages to be wrapped. I didn’t get many cards written, but everything that was delivered got wrapped. I’m only waiting for one more box of stuff to arrive and I’m all set. Now, if I can just make myself sit down and do those cards . . .

And then, of course, Iris and Violet had to untie all the ribbons on the presents, and I had to retrieve the ribbons, iron them (I only use fabric ribbon), make sure the toothmarks didn’t show, and retie them all!

Got the interview questions out to the author’s publicist; they were happy about them, and the publicist has asked me to host another author in January, whose book sounds interesting, so I said yes.

Got everything sorted out with LA for Confidential Job #2. New deadline, easier parameters, etc. All good.

Still have to invoice some articles. I’ll make sure that invoice goes out today.

I’m debating whether or not to throw my hat into the ring for a steady copy editing gig. It would run about 15-20 hours a week, for a solid, reliable company. My dilemma is whether I’d resent spending that much time on someone else’s work, even though I was getting paid for it. I might apply anyway and see if I make the cut, THEN decide. Steady money sounds good right now.

Did some work on Hex Breaker and some plotting on We All Have Secrets. The novella that has to be started in early January for a different gig is starting to percolate in my head. It’s a time travel piece. I’ve got the two main characters; I’ve got the time period. But I need the conflict and the villain. So it needs to percolate some more. And it can be 5K – 10K shorter than both Hex Breaker and We All Have Secrets, so I have to make sure I don’t overcomplicate it.

Started with a decent morning’s work on Earth Bride, then got interrupted by building crap. It’s gotten my entire day out of whack, and I’m ready to explode about it.

But I need to calm down, focus, and get back to work. I have a truncated writing day today, because I’m going into the city tonight to work the other show again. And I have to make up for everything I didn’t get done yesterday as well as getting done everything I need to get done today.

And write cards.

Devon

Earth Bride – 103,980 words out of est. 120,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

103 / 120
(85.8%)

Hex Breaker – 5,713 words out of est. 25,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

5 / 25
(20.0%)

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:

Published in: on December 14, 2007 at 10:13 am  Comments (5)