Tues. Sept. 7, 2021: Back At It

image courtesy of chezbeate via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Hope you had a good weekend.

Thursday’s meditation group didn’t happen, because there was a miscommunication between the organizers and the teacher. No big deal. I sat on my own.

Most of Thursday was about baking and cleaning for me: baking banana-oatmeal-walnut-chocolate chip cookies, regular chocolate chip cookies, orange rye bread, Portuguese sweet bread, Swedish visiting cake, and an apple galette. Making up the guest bed. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting.

Friday morning, I had to go in person to Greylock Federal Credit Union. Our checks aren’t here (they were ordered August 13). I tried to pay the rent online & couldn’t. It would take TEN DAYS to transfer the money from my account to an account at the same bank. Unacceptable. There’s no real office where I could drop cash. So I went to the bank and had them transfer from my account to the landlord’s account, and asked them why the checks weren’t here.

Turns out the check order never went through. The bank apologized and promised to put in a rush order, paying for everything.

I’ll believe it when the checks arrived.

Meanwhile, I was getting texts from my friend, who was supposed to come up for the weekend. Amtrak cancelled all trains, because Hurricane Ida dumped ten feet of mud onto the tracks. Metro North is out. It’s a disaster area.

Of course, they didn’t tell her until she was at the station.

She tried to switch over to a bus, but so was everyone else. She tried to get a bus to Springfield, but that wasn’t working, either.

So the trip was cancelled. We’ll reschedule for October.

Meanwhile, I had all this organic food I’d bought, to show off our local produce, etc. It still had to be eaten this weekend, so that it wouldn’t spoil, so I cooked all the recipes I had planned: chicken in tarragon white wine vinegar and potatoes au gratin (Patricia Wells recipes); Indian stuffed eggplant (Moosewood recipe); Hunter’s pasta with four kinds of mushrooms & prosciutto (from a cookbook specializing in regional Italian sauces). We ate the devilled eggs (not hard).

I spent most of the weekend reading. I read a book from the library that’s gotten a lot of buzz. The writing was strong, the setting was fantastic. But I hated the characters, and by the time they started to grow and change, I didn’t care. I read a book by a new-to-me author, the first in her series, sort of chick lit. I liked the characters, but there’s too much religion (they go to church and pray too much, no thanks, not for me) and disparage black cats. So that author’s off my list. I read a book by another new-to-me author who jumped on the cozy Witch mystery bandwagon, only couldn’t be bothered to do any research into what modern witchcraft actually is all about, had no internal logic to her created world, had no pacing, and a boring plot. Another author crossed off my list.

Read the next two Wonky Inn books, which I enjoyed.

Started re-reading some GAMBIT COLONY, but it felt too much like work, and I promised not to work this weekend, so I stopped. Of course, I went back to it, eventually, but by then, it wasn’t feeling like work anymore. I could just enjoy it.

On Saturday, we drove down to Pittsfield to find the Re-store. I made a wrong turn on the way and found a bunch of box stores, like Barnes & Noble and Michael’s and Price Chopper, so that’s good to know where they are. We went into Michael’s. it’s a good one, very clean, better merchandise than the one on Cape. Didn’t buy anything, though. All the autumn stuff is already on sale.

The Re-store is just up the street from the complex with the box stores, and it is huge. So much stuff that it’s overwhelming. We found a replacement glass bell for the small red lamp. It was a great price to start, and then 50% off, so, even better.

Got home, washed it, set up the lamp. It fits perfectly. The lamp is now all set up in the living room and looks great.

I finished unpacking and reorganizing all my CDs. I have a wide range of music. I need to start playing them again, because there’s good stuff on that rack.

Spent a lot of time sitting on the porch, enjoying watching the world go by. Ate too much, but that was the plan for the weekend, anyway.

I expected to feel much more rested and restored, but oh, well.

This is a busy week. Since I took four days off (of which two would have normally been workdays), I have to make up for it this week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th, in order to pay this month’s bills.

So, then, I better get to it, hadn’t it?

I wrote my first 1K of the day every morning, throughout. It wasn’t always 1K, it waved between about 750 and 1200. But I kept up the steadiness.

I’m trying to work on an outline for a piece. I have a strong catalyst, setting, characters, but I haven’t nailed down the plot yet. Without a good plotline, there’s no purpose to the piece. I have to ponder it.

Hope your weekend was terrific, and that it sets you up for a great week. I love September!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Devon’s Bookstore:

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

On March 2nd was the one year anniversary of the massive flood here in which I lost my old car. There’s a flood watch out tonight – my newish car is already on top of a hill in another town so that I don’t have to think about it. I’m waiting for the storm to start—I have my pre-storm headache. We’ve been lucky over the past few weeks – the flood watches have been more washes than actual floods, and I hope this one is, too.

And it’s still too quiet. The scumbags are plotting something. I can’t live on the edge of adrenalin all the time; I just have to be ready and assume it’s going to be nasty. I really hate living like this, and hope I can go back to the house hunt soon.

Someone who read my praise of Viggo Mortensen’s performance in Eastern Promises and who knows that I’m involved in equine charity work sent me a You Tube link, (which, of course, I can’t get to link, so you have to cut and paste it) to a public service announcement for the preservation of the American Mustang. Seems that corporate interests are making sure they get slaughtered, and, if they’re not protected, they will expire, permanently:

The PSA led me to this site.

where I signed the petition to try to help protect them. Please take a look at it. Usually, I run like hell from celebrity-promoted causes, but he’s not doing this to draw attention to himself. He’s a genuine horseman, owner, and rider, and it’s one of the best-handled PSAs I’ve seen in a long time. I encourage you, if you give a damn about keeping an American breed alive, to visit the site and, if you feel strongly enough, sign the petition.

I will talk to my editor at FemmeFan and see if perhaps I can do an article on the organization.

Lori (Words on the Page) talked about yet another fake memoir that’s been recalled by Penguin – how the woman wrote a “memoir” about all the bad things she did in her life, turned out it was false, and she was found out. In my comment on the blog, I said that, had I seen the book marketed as memoir – which is as it was – I wouldn’t have bought it, but I would have considered it as a novel. I am sick and tired of people being rewarded for being their worst selves – publishing contracts, reality television, etc. How about rewarding the people who do positive things in this world? And ignore the self-serving bastards?

Got my laundry done yesterday; worked on the assignment from Confidential Job #1, which is due tomorrow.

Had a good morning’s work on Old-Fashioned Detective Work this morning. I have to switch over to the sci-fi horror novella now, because I’ve got to break 5K on that today, or I’ll never get it out by deadline. Found some new-to-me, interesting markets, and maybe I’ll send out some submissions. Also, I’ve got to work on another ebook.

I’m untangling the story yarn in my head. This is a time where I wish I was positioned so I could sell on a synopsis and a few sample chapters for fiction, because I have a half a dozen strong ideas that could develop into saleable pieces, and I’m not sure which to pursue. I’m interested in all of them, as well, but I don’t know how to prioritize them. The pull of them is even. I have no idea in which direction to go.

Better get to work and enjoy the moments of silence before the scumbags descend again. It’s like fighting cockroaches – you think you’ve got them all, and then another crawls out of the wall somewhere, and you have to start again.


Old-Fashioned Detective Work –22,205 words out of est. 25,000

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:

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.


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)  

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007
Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Fourth of Advent
Rainy and cold

We actually have to worry about flooding today, so I got up early and moved the car. Of course, the only place safe from the water isn’t safe from debris loosened by the high winds, so I’m taking a risk no matter what I do.


I ended up cleaning out a bunch of cupboards yesterday (hey, when the cleaning urge hits, who am I to ignore it?), which is also going to make things much easier when it’s time to pack up and go.

Ran my errands. Bought a dust devil Kone – yes, I am a woman who can get excited about appliances, especially one that will make my life so much easier. The cats HATE it.

Did a massive grocery shopping, but now have everything I need through most of next week, although I’ll have to go to Trader Joe’s about mid-week for more cat food and maybe some treats for the New Year. I decided I’m going to spend next weekend at a friend’s and then go on retreat for the Eve and the Day.

Worked on the Christmas story off and on. I’ve given myself off from Earth Bride and Hex Breaker until the 26th.

Today is a baking day – I want to make different breads and rolls to do with the feasts for the eve and the day, but instead of making them ON the eve and the day, I’ll bake them today and be done. I also want to get at least two hours done on the work for Confidential Job #2 – it’s due January 4th, but I’ll have to send it out on Friday before I leave for the weekend.

Keep your fingers crossed it doesn’t flood. That would REALLY suck on the day before Christmas. Many people in the neighborhood haven’t even been able to move back into the houses that were destroyed back in March and April – it would be awful if they had to re-gut everything and start over AGAIN – all because FEMA and the city have done jack to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

The Yule ceremony was lovely and has put me in a good frame of mind for the coming season.


Published in: on December 23, 2007 at 10:59 am  Comments (7)  

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
A dark and stormy morning (hot, humid, and sticky, too)

Bad storms. Lots of flooding (not here yet, thank goodness). The Lincoln Tunnel is closed due to flooding; Metro North and Long Island Railroad are down; a tornado touched down in Queens.

Check out the latest installment of “Crafting Your Literary Life” on The Scruffy Dog Review Blog.

Other than that, I was one cranky bitch when I got home yesterday. 1 and 1 still has not fixed the server problem, and I’m having problems getting my business done. And then, they had the –is it balls or stupidity? – to send me a survey asking what I thought of their customer service. Use your imagination, I dare you, to guess what I told them!

Yesterday was a day of running into people, which I’m sure is better than running over them. Ran into a colleague on the train going in and we had a good chat. Caught up with everyone at the show. Am booked for 3 shows next week. Ran into another friend as I was leaving, who was visiting, and we made dinner plans for next week. Went to meet a friend for coffee and cupcakes, and we ran into another friend who joined us. Quite the social day! It was all lots of fun, and it’s always good to catch up with people.

Didn’t feel like eating when I got home – it was too hot.

Since it doesn’t look like the workmen are ever going to show up again to finish the mess they started in the front hall – let’s see, is it six weeks, now? — I decided to put the hallway back together myself. Get my little bits and pieces back where I want them. And now I’m going to get a picture to hang in front of the hole they were supposed to cover when they ripped the buzzer box out of the hall and added the new one in the kitchen – which, by the way, doesn’t work.

Oh, and the city council of one town upriver has approved the condo development guaranteed to worsen our flooding (even though they pretend it won’t). It’s about more than property damage – these dickheads are putting people’s lives in danger, and all so they can get a few more cents on property taxes. Of course, this is the community that created itself twenty years back or so because the town to which they belonged wasn’t a “prestigious” enough zip code, so what do you expect? That they’d give a shit about anyone but themselves? If our so-called “Flood Action Committee” had any balls, they’d start a class action suit for reckless endangerment, but they don’t.

A good long core workout and meditation helped last night, as did a good yoga session this morning.

Spent some time working on a business plan for a new, large project. The planning has to be meticulous in order for it to work. It could be fun, and, while it won’t be huge money, I think I could at least bring in enough to make it worthwhile. That was a big thing – to price it correctly. My original idea had a good advertising platform, but the price was so low I resented it. I short-changed myself. I upped the price to something that was still low enough to be attractive to a wide audience, but high enough so I wouldn’t get in a snit, and came up with a new ad campaign that I think works even better.

One of the pitchees came back and wants to me to write a test article, without guaranteed pay. And they haven’t answered any of my questions. Ding, ding, ding go the warning bells. I will re-send the questions and politely ask them to respond. However, unless they guarantee payment , there’s no reason I should write for strangers on spec.


Good session on Good Names –we’re still at the racetrack. Decent day’s morning’s work on ”Revenge Tangents”. The next section needs a lot of description – I have to sit down and really think about it as I’m writing, visualize it, because the sense of place, the actual house in the piece is a character.

Lots to do today. Confidential Job #1 sent the next assignment. It looks good. I have to finish the critique on a colleague’s synopsis, work on a short article for a mag on which I’m a bit behind, pitch an idea to another mag that wants material from me, do a short article for someone else’s newsletter, work on the profiles/interview requests, and get to work on another article due at the end of the month, but if I don’t finish it by next week, when all hell breaks loose, it will be late.

I’d like to get some work done on Tracking Medusa, but I have to clear this other stuff off my desk first.

Better hop to it.

Someday, the humidity will lessen and I will be so much pleasanter!


Good Names – 56,882 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
56 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” — 5,624 words out of est. 7,500

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5 / 7

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.


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

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
34 / 100

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.


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!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. The constant worry and preparation for a third flood in three months took an enormous toll yesterday.

This is where the hockey player advice comes in handy: When the going gets rough, dig deeper. My hockey boys (who are turning into wonderful young men) have taught me well the past few years!

The brook and the spillway held through the first deluge. A few inches of water in basements, but not full-out rivers running down the streets. And the second deluge passed us by, so, as of this writing, we’re okay. For now. Thanks for all the good thoughts – they helped!

And we’re having some building-related problems again, which need to be addressed. Ick.

I really need to spend some time on the job boards this week, to prepare for the rest of the month, when I’m not running around in twenty directions doing articles. Got to keep the money coming in!

The problem is, I enjoy concentrating on my three fiction projects and the sports writing. I’ve got a good rhythm going, and it would be great to coast through June. Don’t think I can afford to, though.

The positive thing about running my own business of a writing business is that when I’m dealing with people who are incapable of managing their time (which drives me nuts), I can charge them for it. Aggravation pay. I’m a big believer in aggravation pay. You can aggravate me all you want, but there’s a dollar figure attached. And, if you’re not paying me, I can walk away and be around people who don’t aggravate me!

If you expect to make a living as a writer, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, you must become an outstanding time manager. Not just a good one – an outstanding one.

I was discussing something along these lines with my friend over the weekend – we no longer live in a world where you can be an “artist” and not deal with the practicalities of day-to-day life. You’ve got to be able to juggle the business aspect along with the artistic aspect. If you aspire to being a “starving artist” – in this day and age, you will actually starve. A certain level of business acumen is necessary in order to survive. It’s not “selling out” – it’s survival. “Selling out” is when you create work that is against your own code of integrity and do it for the money. IE, there are certain types of companies to which I don’t pitch, because I am strongly opposed to what they sell. I don’t care that they pay and pay well – I do not wish to create business for them. If someone else doesn’t have a problem with it, good for them. Take the job and be happy. There are plenty of writers in the world. I don’t have to take assignments that go against my beliefs.

A couple of interesting things came up recently.

An acquaintance is hinting around at co-writing something. That’s not where I am right now, unless there’s a contract in place and money up front. This is my business, not my hobby, and I make my living at it. I’m not going to write someone else’s idea for them for a pie-in-the-sky process with a “someday” production date. Unless there’s a hell of a lot of cash up front. I have to protect my own work and my own time and value it. Which means I have to be a hard-ass about things like this.

And I’m getting better at it.

Another oddity which came up over the past few days has to do with interviews and perceptions of interviews. I’ve got about a dozen interview requests out for conversations I’d like to have with various people in various fields for articles and/or background on a variety of projects. Some will happen; some won’t. Never know until you ask, and there’s no pressure on anyone I’ve asked.

I spoke to someone who claims to have an in to a potential interview subject. I wanted to know what that particular person would feel is a correct and comfortable protocol of approach. My contact said, “Why do you want to interview him? He is soooo in the closet!”

Well, I want to interview this guy because I like and respect the work he does in his field, and it’s relevant to one of my projects. I really don’t care about his sexual orientation, and it’s not relevant to the interview. In fact, none of the questions I’ve prepared has anything to do with his personal life. But my contact couldn’t understand why I’d interview anyone that I wouldn’t want to at least try to bed.

That point of view is so far removed from the way I operate, and I was quite astonished. I rarely discuss my personal life, even with close friends. The man with whom I share my life and bed is sacred to me, and there’s no reason for the relationship to be open for dissection. As a woman who often interviews male sports professionals, who are often much younger than I am, I have to be especially careful not to do or say anything which can be mis-interpreted, or I lose credibility. I don’t discuss my personal life, and I don’t question interview subjects about theirs. Those aren’t the types of interviews I do. I don’t even read them, so why do them? It’s an indication, I suppose, of how tabloid-oriented our culture is. And how damned boring. Unless I’m sleeping with you, and it affects me directly, I don’t care with whom you’re sleeping. It’s not relevant.

Decent work on City of Lost. I wrote Scene 6. What an international cast I’ve got – definitely a piece I’ll pitch to theatres in the UK, the Continent, and Australia. I also have to do some research on Dutch seafaring expeditions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for the rewrite of this scene. Now I’ve hit a plot muddle, so I have to sit and think about it for awhile before I can do any more work.

My friend’s comments on Tracking Medusa were incredibly helpful. She picked up on a few things where my instinct was going in one direction, but I held back, and she encouraged me to go for it. Actually, something she suggested tweaking in the beginning will affect something that’s yet to be written, and the timing is perfect.

Updated the Devon Ellington website to include the new Dog Blog link, the Perfectly Plum information, and the articles on the Triple Crown.

Great session on Tracking Medusa, finishing Chapter 8. I made it a comic relief/action/adventure plot twist that moves it forward. And I incorporated a real life experience of taking refuge during a storm in the old limestone kilns behind the castle. So, that was fun.

Workmanlike session on Good Names. Ruby found out her assumptions about Hattie and Joseph (that they are her sea-faring Uncle Fletcher’s children) are incorrect, and she got the real story from Hattie, triggered by their cousins’ snobbish behaviour.

Seriously bummed: Anaheim beat Ottawa last night. And I’m working Wednesday night, so I can’t see the game. There were some, shall we say, bad choices on the part of certain Ottawa players tonight. Very disappointing.

Off to the theatre, for day work and the show. I hope that doesn’t break my writing rhythm too much. I want to spend some of that time untangling the plot problems in City of Lost.

Still no hot water. The next couple of weeks are terribly important and will help define the next few years of my career – and I can’t even shower. So I’m going in to the theatre early to shower there.


Good Names — 24,912 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
24 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 22,490 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
22 / 90

City of Lost
– 5,790 words out of 20,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5 / 20

45 pages out of 120 pages

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
45 / 120
Published in: on June 5, 2007 at 7:55 am  Comments (7)  

Monday, June 4, 2007

Monday, June 4, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Raining and warm

I spent far too much time fretting yesterday, worried that I just don’t have the inner resources left to deal with yet another flood. In reality, if/when it happens, there is no choice BUT to deal, so I might was well not borrow trouble, right?

By 11:30 PM last night, we had fire trucks all over the place again and the brook was about two feet from spilling over. And it was only half tide. The brook held its banks, barely, but it’s still raining and there are no guarantees. Think good thoughts for us!

So far, all the books that are being over-promoted as “must reads” for summer don’t interest me. I hate feeling like books are being shoved down my throat anyway. There are several pirate-themed books coming out, thanks to the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. One of them has a good deal of information on Woodes Rogers who is one of my secondary characters (though he tries to be a major character) in my action/adventure pirate tale, Cutthroat Charlotte. So I might get that one. But the rest of my summer reading list will be found elsewhere.

Good working session on City of Lost. I wrote scenes 4 &5. 4 needs some more work, but 5 is decent. It’s got a bigger cast than I usually use, and the cast can’t be doubled, but oh, well. Because I tend to write staccato dialogue, I expect my page count will have to go over 120 to accommodate Script Frenzy’s insistence on 20,000 words. Can you hear my teeth grinding every time I have to deal with word count for a script? Urgh!

Cooked a nice chicken dish last night, served with potatoes, guacamole (which I made) and spicy corn relish (from Stonewall kitchen). Salsa would have been a better choice than relish, but it was still good.

I had a revelation about what happens to Gwen and Justin far beyond Tracking Medusa. It kind of makes me sad, but it’s completely in character – and it’s information that will make Tracking Medusa all the stronger, even though I won’t use it in this book. Started Chapter 8, to finish the scene that was a cliffhanger at the end of Chapter Seven.

Decent morning’s work on Good Names. The work on that piece is slow, but steady.

Watched the TV-movie Write & Wrong last night – hey, it’s about a female, over -40 screenwriter in Hollywood – how could I not? Besides, there wasn’t any hockey on. Mixed response. The first ten minutes were too clichéd; the next half hour or so was fun and clever. The middle was way too predictable, and then, when it got really interesting, it wrapped everything up in ten minutes, which was frustrating. I liked Kirstie Alley’s work, I liked the guy who played Ray. I was pleasantly surprised by Eric Christian Olson as Jason – the trailer makes both the actor and his role look less substantial than they are in the piece. Plus, I saw the name and the blonde hair and thought, “Oh, no! Not another one of those guys in his twenties with three names who’s interchangeable with those dozen other guys in that age range with three names and sandy hair!” But his work was pretty good. The whole thing about Andrea’s assistant distributing the copies of the fake script and handing over badly written script pages – totally unbelievable because we’ve never seen this assistant chickie and we don’t know if she’s: A) a total dipshit or B) in competition with Andrea and out for her job. A genuine assistant wouldn’t sell her boss out that way without a reason. It also ignored the fallout of such a plagiarism issue, and I didn’t buy that, either. If the studio decided to keep it quiet – it needs to be mentioned by someone, at least in passing. Not simply ignored. And it would have still leaked out, and had serious consequences for Byrdie and Jason. I was annoyed when Alley’s character went off to the woods to write and left her dog behind – who was looking after the dog while she was gone, huh? And when her brother broke the window because he was worried about her . . .where was the dog? The dog’s there, he’s not, someone do some continuity for logic over here, please! Those lapses in logic break my suspension of disbelief and prevent me from trusting anything else in the movie. It was a decent, cute movie that just missed being much more than that. There was potential for it to be real social satire and pack a hell of a punch while still giving us a happy ending and making us laugh our guts out, and it just missed. In other words, it didn’t go far enough.

Off to the acupuncturist – boy, do I need it! Might have to cancel — according to the weather report, the worst of the storm is still to come.

We have not had more than 5 or 10 minutes of hot water per day for over a week now. I’m sick of it. My patience is gone. I don’t care why — we’re paying for this service, and we have a right to it. Time to file paperwork with DHCR. Not to mention to constant stench that smells like warm asphalt/burning oil ALL the time.


Good Names — 23,912 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 19,973 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
19 / 90

City of Lost— 4,287 words out of 20,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4 / 20

35 pages out of 120

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
35 / 120
Published in: on June 4, 2007 at 7:22 am  Comments (5)  

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Sunday, June 3, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Hot, humid, storm/flood threat

I’m certainly glad the alleged plot to blow up JFK and the surrounding neighborhoods was foiled. I didn’t even know those fuel lines ran under there.

We’re supposed to be hit with what’s left of Tropical Depression Barry today – and yes, more flood warnings. I ran my errands, moved the car to a safe place, and am boiling water in preparation. I still have batteries, etc. left. Yeah, nothing like boiling water in 90 degree weather to REALLY get you going. The thought of a THIRD flood in three months just depresses the hell out of me. I know several dozen people in the neighborhood who haven’t been able to get back into their homes since the first flood, back in March.

Good session on City of Lost. Scene 3 is nice and tight, and the tension between Hugo and Leila works, as does her surprise reveal at the end of the scene.

Belmont preview article done and out, and I mention an interesting two year old I saw win a race on Friday that I want to keep an eye on, for both the Breeders’ Cup Juvy this fall and the Kentucky Derby next year.

Read my friend’s latest chapter and sent back comments.

No work yesterday on Tracking Medusa, and, because of the flood warnings, not enough work on Good Names this morning to update the word meter.

My friend hopped a train out from the city yesterday; he missed the first train because of a call from a director with whom he’s working, but had no problems with the second train. I picked him up at the station, and we went out to Playland, the Art Deco amusement park out here, originally opened in 1928. He saw some interesting architectural detail he’s interested into incorporating into a current design, so we took photographs, and then had lunch at Seaside Johnny’s, where we brainstormed on two projects he wants to write – which, the more we brainstormed, the more we started to think that maybe they’re really two facets of the same piece.

Back in the car, and we drove up to Bridgeport to the Barnum Museum. I didn’t realize that PT Barnum had served as the mayor of Bridgeport for a year; nor did I realize that his exquisite, palatial home Iranistan (which looks like a fantasy out of The Arabian Nights or something) was located in the area. I definitely want to read a good biography about him; unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with anything in the museum. Remember my frustration in Philly? No decent biography of Betsy Ross, even at the Betsy Ross House? There’s more info available on Barnum, but I felt a similar frustration.

Afterwards, I drove him up to Watertown, CT, so he could pick up his jeep and go back to his studio, where he’s working all weekend. I have to download the photos we took (they’re all on my camera) and email them to him today.

I finally got to watch hockey last night — Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between Anaheim and Ottawa.  It was a terrific game, and I was delighted by Ottawa’s 5-3.  In this series, I’m rooting for Ottawa (and not just because I know the team’s owner because he also owns race horses)!  Part of me feels guilty — someone key in the Anaheim organization was very helpful when I first started researching Clear the Slot.  But I just prefer Ottawa’s composition and style of play overall.

I’m looking forward to Monday night’s game!

I’m stressing about dress for the coming week. I have my dress for the Belmont party; I have my dress for the Tony Awards party; I have my dress for the brunch on the morning of the Tony Awards. But I’m not happy with my choices for the Friday at the race track. I looked around quickly and can’t find anything I like. I don’t have time to make anything by Friday, not with everything else going on this week (and especially not if it floods again and there’s no power and I can’t run the sewing machine). I’ll have to ransack my closet and be creative. I rarely worry about what to wear, so I’m wondering what I’m REALLY worrying about and using clothing as an excuse.

Then, I took a corner in the hallway too quickly and hit the edge of one of my wrought iron bookcases, tearing a gash in my thigh. It doesn’t need stitches; once I stopped the blood, I put on one of my herbal concoctions and it’s starting to heal. Good thing I no longer wear mini-skirts! But I’ll have to be careful – I don’t want to wade through dirty floodwater with an open wound.

Let’s just hope the meteorologists are being overly cautious, and it’ll just rain hard for a few hours and be done.

Off to download photos and then try to get some writing done. And some studying for the Cup Races.

Unfortunately, going back to bed until the storm is over is not an option.


City of Lost — 2,747 words out of 20,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

2 / 20

21 pages out of 120 pages

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

21 / 120

Published in: on June 3, 2007 at 10:32 am  Comments (4)  

May 12, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Hop on over to The Tactile Muse to read my “Naughty Knitter” post – I went out and bought yarn. Started the cotton blanket, actually.

It was so odd – every time I came out of a store, the ground was wet and it had obviously rained. Yet it didn’t rain while I was actually outside.

No Iceland photos today – I don’t have the time to download them and convert them. I can probably do some more on Monday.

Ran my errands, did some paperwork, got out a few pitches, wrote and submitted the pre-Preakness article. Worked on the blanket a bit.

Finished Practical Demonkeeping, which is very clever. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Started Debbie Macomber’s Susannah’s Garden.

Some days, one just has a bad show, and last night was such a night for me. I had a different swing in one track, and didn’t realize she had a jacket for the first change; as I tried to wing my monkey, my pliers broke; moving one of the rolling racks of costumes, I got stuck on a bench leg someone’d left protruding. This was all in the first act, and I just had to shrug and say, “I’m doomed, this is a lost show” and not worry too much more about it. It all worked out, none of it was a big deal; it was simply a series of small annoyances.

But that means I had to wake up early this morning, because I have to go to the hardware store as soon as it opens and buy another set of pliers. I don’t like the kind of pliers they have at the theatre – I found a different kind that’s much easier for me to maneuver. However, since the spring between the blades broke and vanished – time for a new pair.

Knitted a few rows when I came home, watching the replay of the City Council meeting. Guess what? As local businesses apply to FEMA for assistance post-flood – businesses are being refused help if their credit is too GOOD. FEMA’s position is that those with good credit can get loans from banks – of course, at much higher interest rates. Yeah, that’s helpful. Punish the businesspeople who’ve worked their butts off for years because they’ve been responsible. And the developer who’s built in the town above us and whose work is one of the major causes of our flooding has made it clear that he doesn’t give a fuck if we all drown. So, I think, we have to make it a financial question – make it expensive enough for him so he has to care. And call in our governor and attorney general. I’m sorry, asshole, but your right to make a profit does not have more weight than people’s lives.

Not much work on Good Names this morning. I hadn’t gotten ahead of the story far enough in my research yesterday, and, until I do, I’m kind of stuck. They just got on the Twentieth Century Limited to travel from Chicago to New York, and I need to refresh myself on the details of the train and the trip before I can write it.

Off to the hardware store, and then another two-show, fourteen hour day.


Good Names 10,062 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10 / 100

May 7, 2007

Monday, May 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Hop on to Circadian Poems – we’ve started up again, with Wren Fallon’s “Desire in Passing” and, barring any more natural disasters/downed power lines/ illness/other acts of disruption – we should be up and running on the usual schedule until July 4.

My weekly Dog Blog ramblings should start up again this week, too. And Devon’s Random Newsletter for May will go out in the next day or two. If you’re not on the list, you can sign up here. Just make sure you put “subscribe” or “newsletter” in the subject line so I can pull you out from the spam.

Yesterday, I was basically a waste of food. The exhaustion of two floods, a lingering flu, trips to Plymouth, Portland, and Iceland – all caught up. All I wanted to do was curl up and read. Plus, I’m having some sort of respiratory problem – coming back into the pollution of New York just didn’t agree with me.

But I can’t afford that luxury – baby doesn’t write, baby can’t pay the rent or the food bill or anything else. So baby wrote. And scoured last week’s job listings to send out pitches. And went grocery shopping, did some hand laundry, balanced (well, you could call it that) the bank statement, etc., etc., etc. Roasted a chicken for dinner.

And was happy to find checks from both Confidential Jobs waiting for me in the stack of mail.

Two things I missed terribly in Iceland were cooking and reading the newspaper. Although I managed to understand some (very basic) Icelandic while I was there, I couldn’t grasp enough to read the newspaper. And English language newspapers were simply out of my price range on this trip. So I did without, and devoured The New York Times as an oasis of ink. It’s a shame I can’t read Icelandic – Iceland publishes five – or maybe it’s six, depending upon whom you ask – daily newspapers, and I would have loved to be able to read them and compare points of view. And, while every meal was luscious, I still missed the physical act of cooking.

However, I found short-term apartments for rent in a section of town in which I’m comfortable, so that’s an option for the next trip. Actually, the next trip will probably be a quick stop on the way back from Scotland – but the trip after that, I’d like to plan for two weeks, rent the apartment, and do it as a self-imposed writing retreat.

Caught up on most of the blog readings. Brandy, Kristen, ME Ellis, etc: If you don’t have the option in your comment section for me to choose another identity, I can’t comment, because Blogger swears I no longer exist. Some of the blogs HAVE this option, but, for some reason, won’t accept what I type in. So, my friends, I am reading your blogs, but can’t always comment. Brandy, I especially wanted to let you know, because I enjoy your blog so much and feel like I’m being a bad friend by not commenting.

Segueing from the guilt of being a bad friend to the topic of bad neighbors – Idiot Neighbor, who behaved so badly in the flood, does not accept that I am done with her. I mean, of course she misses the fact that Devon’s General Store (which is how she treated my apartment) is now closed to her. And she wrote me a note with a lame “I apologize, it’s all my teenage daughter’s bad behaviour” note which doesn’t address the issue, just makes excuses. I don’t know about you, but a 17 year old does NOT make the decisions in any household in which I participate. It’s up to parents to actually parent. Anyway, she was annoyed right before the trip to Maine that I wasn’t willing to take her laundry up to Maine, too, and do it for her (lady, I’m not even speaking to you – what makes you think I’m going to drive your laundry 600 miles and then do it for you)? And now, she’s moaning because she was in a car accident this week, “got hurt” (she looks pretty mobile to me) and her car’s been totaled. She stood there, waiting for me to offer my car, and I simply said, “I’m sorry to hear that. I hope it all works out for you.” I’m not obligated to lend her my car any more than I’m obligated to let her use my computer when I’m not home (an argument we had a few months ago – this is a woman who breaks absolutely everything she touches – no way am I going to imperil either my computer or my car). She still believes that she suffered more than anyone else in the flood, and that the emergency service people were unjustified in prioritizing the evacuation of the elderly and the woman who was eight months pregnant over her. She’s never going to get it. She’s in love with being a victim. And every time she’s presented with an opportunity to stop being a victim, she gets hostile. Enough already. It’s been four or five years of this type of behaviour. I am not obligated to be anything more than a polite neighbor in passing.

I must admit, the nasty side of my personality thought, “Wow! The Cat Goddess certainly worked fast to call up the Karma Dogs.”

Got the post-Derby article done and out. One makes mistakes in horse racing. I’m not going to back pedal, make excuses or pretend. I backed the horse I liked best, but another horse was better on that day and in that race. He was terrific, in fact, and absolutely deserved to win.

You’ll all be terribly disappointed in me – I didn’t photograph any of the Icelandic men! When I was interacting, I completely forgot. Those I saw in passing – well, I felt it would be rude to just whip out the camera and objectify them! You’ll just have to read some of the upcoming fiction to find out what they looked like! Seriously, if I don’t want to be objectified, I have to show the same respect to those around me. I can joke around about the good-looking and interesting men I met, but I wouldn’t trot them out publicly. This blog touches my personal life only in how it affects my writing life. Those who were my muses on this trip know who they are, and hopefully, they’ll be flattered by the way the characters they inspired morph into fiction.

And since I have a strict “no photo” policy when it comes to myself (what’s the point of publishing under multiple names if the same photo’s up?), I certainly would not put up anyone else’s photo without specific permission.

I searched online. I found some stock photos, but they don’t do the men justice. Hair color was pale blond to dark brown. Eyes from blue to brown and everything in between. They tended to be in good shape – some long and lean, some shorter and broader. And, almost every single one I met was nice. Even when they’re flirting, they’re not sleazy. You can have an actual conversation with them. I read some travel blogs where the bloggers (I swear, one of them should have been called “Around the World in 80 Men”) complained that the men were too dumb or too shy to flirt – I didn’t find that at all. I didn’t find them aggressive or spouting lousy pick up lines, which is such a relief. Most of the men I met (and there are always exceptions) were interesting AND interested, could hold up a conversation, had actual opinions and points of view, and a wonderfully dry sense of humor – which is something to which I really respond. I noticed a definite tendency, in some instances, toward the melancholic (understandable, in light of the weather), a strong work ethic in almost everyone, and a very different sense of time and lack of information up front, which sometimes drove me close to the edge. But, in general, I found the majority of the people (regardless of gender) genuinely nice. You’ll be reading about some of the exceptions as well as some of the good ones. Of course, this is a generalization. I was there for a short span of time, in a heavily touristed area. I only got a sampling – I’m sure there are as many diverse personalities and agendas and everything else going on there as anywhere else. Anywhere you have more than two people, there are going to be competing and sometimes conflicting agendas. I was lucky in that I had, people-wise, except for one restaurant experience, positive interactions.

I think, in every instance, you get out what you put in. As a writer, when I travel, I tend to be interested in almost everything. Shy myself, I try to move past that by asking lots of questions, and people respond. I attempt to be respectful, unless I’m pushed past my limits, and try to be a considerate guest in any country I visit. Most people I’ve encountered in Scotland are extremely gregarious hosts. Icelanders are more reserved, but if you make the effort, they tend to respond positively.

Printed out 240 of the photos (all the paper I had), the photo index, and attempted to copy the photos to CD for safekeeping. I’ll start loading some of them into the computer so I can post them – it’ll be hard to choose!

Today’s work is all about finishing the photo print, catching up on things, doing a few more pitches, and preparing for the week. I’m full-time on the show this week, back on the Big Broadway, and I have to re-adjust. I need to focus on the work there without letting any of the freelance work or the creative work slide.

In other words, warning – I’m going to be one tired and cranky bitch all week long! 😉 Consider yourself warned!


Good Names — 6,312 words out of est. 100,000

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