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%)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

I really hate being this exhausted. I hope I can rest up this weekend. Plus, I started getting a migraine on the train home last night – by the time I got off at my stop, it felt like someone was stabbing me through the eyes with an ice pick.

The post-Preakness article is getting a HUGE amount of hits – I’m thrilled.

There’s a chance I’ll get to write about the America’s Cup Race coming up in June. Not that I know ANYTHING about sailing – I can’t even swim – but I’ve always been fascinated by them, and when I met some of the former boats in Newport a few years ago (because in Newport, these boats are not considered inanimate objects, but members of the community), I was even more fascinated. So, if my editor agrees – I’ve got some studying to do! Good thing I’ve got a strong learning curve!

Yesterday was busy, but mostly about other people’s work. I caught up on admin work, scoured job boards (now I have to send out pitches), critiqued three chapters of my friend’s new manuscript (it’s good), sent script samples to another friend (and fell in love with one of my plays that needs revision all over again), and just generally played catch up until I couldn’t even see straight anymore. And that was all by one p.m.! I have to set up the links list for Script Frenzy – I’m going to have a specific set of links for that project, much the way I do during Nano. It’ll probably start as a long list, then shorten as people either drop out of Script Frenzy or don’t bother to do the agreed-upon link swap! “Cause if I’m taking the time to visit and it’s not reciprocal . . .I’m going to stop. Got some other work done, gave myself a reading break, cooked dinner, and was on a 4 PM train to get to the city.

Show was fine; it was a lot of fun, actually. And I thought I had the weekend off, but I’m booked for the Sunday matinee. And then B. and I are going out.

But it gives me two solid writing days, which will be nice; I can get Circadian Poems set up for June, and maybe into July 4, when it goes into summer break; I can read and comment the rest of my friend’s chapters (she’s got assignments due today and I gave her an assignment for the weekend. Can you hear that whip crack); I can get a good chunk of work done on the script outline for Script Frenzy (and maybe even come up with a title); I can work on GOOD NAMES; I can get some pitches out; I can finish the assignment for Confidential Job #1, get that off and invoice it; and I can get off two hefty submissions that need to go out by Monday.

I also want to re-read ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, last year’s Nano, this weekend, and get going on the revisions. As I mentioned, since the chapters alternate points of view, I’m going to do all the chapters from one point of view first, and then all the chapters from the other point of view.

Two pieces I’m in the midst of reading use multiple POVs and, while there’s some good writing, there are too many POVs and the voices aren’t distinct enough. So I want to make sure I keep Simon and Morag’s cadences very clear.

I re-read DIXIE DUST RUMORS, I’m going to revise the query a final time, and then, at the top of the week, I’m going to start batching queries on that one. It’s where I want it to be – the kind of book I would have loved to read as a middle grade reader. Let’s hope someone else agrees. It’ll go out under a pseudonym specific to the genre, which I’ll share as soon as I’ve got something contracted under it!

Circadian Poems will be updated later today.

Hermione Lee’s Edith Wharton biography is fantastic, and I’m carving out reading time for it this weekend. I want several uninterrupted hours to sink into it and enjoy it. It also inspires me to read her work straight through. I’ve read some of it, and, while the writing is beautiful, my memory of the work is that her protagonists frustrate me. I am not one who believes that, because a character is a woman, she is “trapped by society”. That’s a choice, in my opinion. The only way progress has ever been made in this world is when people have flaunted society and followed their passion. Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, Jane Addams, Julia Ward Howe, heck our own Founding Fathers . . .the list goes on and on. You don’t get anything done by being complacent and conformist. I don’t sympathize with characters who are; I get impatient with them.

But Wharton wrote much more than the few pieces I’ve read, and it sounds like her work is much farther-reaching. I also want to re-read and read more of Henry James.

Off to Trader Joe’s. I opened the last cat of cat food this morning (it’s been tested and is safe). When I opened the cupboard a box of graham crackers fell on Elsa’s head and broke open. She didn’t mind; she would have eaten them, given the option (I took them away). She is a dog living in a cat’s body.

And I’m ordering new ear buds for my MP3 player. I’m tired of them either falling out all the time or hurting. Why have a player if I can’t listen to it?

Off to get things done and defeat the migraine. I refuse to lose an entire day of writing. Brandy, I answered your question in the post below this one.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Devon

May 23, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Well, I WAS going to post my Dog Blog this morning, but the disk is missing from my desk. So, either I’ll find it and post it, or I’ll have to re-write it and post it tomorrow. So much for writing ahead.

I was annoyed at Starbucks, where I stopped for an iced tea. Here I’ve gone and bought commuter cups in both hot and cold, and now they tell me they don’t fill the cold with any tea drinks because “it’s a health code violation.” Huh? Excuse me, I bring in a CLEAN cup, and I assume you put the cup under the spout and aren’t stirring it with your bare hands, so how is this a health code violation? It used to be that they gave you a discount (like, ten cents, but still) if you bought in a commuter cup. Now, here people are trying to be eco-friendly, and Starbucks refuses. So I have to buy the drink in a disposable cup and create more waste in order to fill my commuter cup. Doesn’t make any sense at all. But it’s Starbucks, so why am I surprised? They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Like all the advertising they do about fair trade coffee, when, in reality, they only use it one week per month unless the customer specifically requests it.

Yesterday was fine. Day work was, well, day work. It all got done. I nipped out, got a quick bite of Chinese food, came back, set up for the show. I’d dressed this actress before, on another Broadway show, so she at least knew me.

The show went fine. I had a few little hesitations, but nothing major, and the actress felt it was “seamless”, which made me happy. So I felt much better coming OUT of the show than I felt going IN to it. But a 14 hour day is still tiring.

Another delightful delivery from Strand waited for me when I got home with more books for Good Names. I’m thrilled. Strand takes such good care of me!

And not so delightful news from Verizon. When I told them to credit me for the seventeen days of no landline and seven days of no DSL last month, two people from Corporate called me and told me I was getting a $75 credit. Great. So what’s actually on the bill? $13 and change for DSL (which is fine) and 18 CENTS for the landline. Now, math is not my best subject, but even to me, that doesn’t add up to $75. So I’ll be talking to these people.

It’s ridiculous. All these companies are on the grift.

Some interesting info from my alma mater, NYU, with a list of resources and networking of which I think I’ll make use. My mother went to lunch with her best friend yesterday and it turns out her friend’s daughter has gone freelance as a graphic designer. And she lives close by, so I’m going to contact her and see if she’s interested in potentially teaming up on projects. I remember her when she was little – she’s always been very talented and creative. So, hopefully, we can meet in the next couple of weeks, share information and styles, and maybe get some work together. At any rate, I can point her in the direction of some good resources.

Got to turn around and go back in for another 14 hour day. Actually, today is more like 16 hours, because I have to do extra hours on this track. But it’s all good. Hopefully, I can avoid second show-itis, and do a good job on both shows today and on the show tomorrow. You never know. After all, it’s live theatre.

The Edith Wharton biography is fabulous. I want to sit in a gazebo somewhere on a lovely summer’s day and read it while drinking iced tea.

My commuting book is Elizabeth Peters’s SEEING A LARGE CAT, which is, interestingly enough, set in 1903, when GOOD NAMES is set, although mine is set in Chicago and New York, not in Egypt. I’ve read Amelia Peabody mysteries here and there and always enjoyed them, but this book – especially now, read so close to the Tut visit on Monday – makes me want to sit down and read the entire series in order.

Better get going. Those clothes aren’t going to iron themselves — although wouldn’t it be fun if they did?

Devon