Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and warm

I finished the Script Frenzy screenplay about mid-afternoon yesterday. It comes in at 155 pages. In spite of the fact that there’s a lot of rapid-fire dialogue and I use triple spaces between character speeches instead of double, there’s still room to cut. I’ll hone it and have it as a portfolio sample, but I think I’m going to adapt it into a novel. As I look back at it, I see how I can open it up and it’s very exciting.

This morning, I wrote 1900 words on a new piece, working title “Yuri’s Tale”. I’d hoped it would be the first of a set of linked short stories, but I don’t know if that’s going to be the case. The rhythm of the piece is quite different than what I usually do, a calmer pace, yet still building tension, and I want to see where it goes. The idea started percolating last night, and I dreamed about it, so now I’m sitting down to write it. The atmosphere is a character, if that makes any sense. There’s action, adventure, a little mystery, a little western in it, but the sensory elements are in the forefront. So it’s intriguing to work on, and I have to see where it leads me. I have no outline, I’m just writing my way into it.

As I often say, one needs to slightly re-invent the wheel with each piece, and let it be true to itself. If you get stuck in what you call “your process” – unless you’ve got the craft down so smoothly that you can plug in, write it, and sell it immediately – you need to trust the work. Trusting the work is trusting yourself, because it’s all happening on various subconscious levels within.

The response to my piece on InkThinker has been interesting, and pretty much split between those who write for a living, and those who write on the side. Those who write for a living totally get it and agree. Those who write on the side think I should be “grateful” that someone wants me to write for them. Um, why should I be “grateful” to be taken advantage of? You don’t ask the plumber to fix your pipes and then take a percentage of a fee at some unforeseeable time in the future, do you? This is my business, not my hobby. If they were serious about hiring me, it would be an entirely different conversation. But there’s a lack of respect for the quality of my work and of the importance of my time and my craft that infuriates me. And there’s no reason I should work for someone whom I don’t respect and who doesn’t respect me unless there’s A LOT of money involved.

Oh, and to respond to Brian, who said I must be “independently wealthy” to spend so much time on my blog: Uh, no, I’m not. I’m just very good at what I do. Which is write.

If ignorance is bliss, please keep the blissful away from me for awhile, okay?

Really, not much else to say. The air conditioners are still here, and I can’t do anything else, apartment-wise until they’re gone. They’re huge and take up the room I need to put furniture. Brandy, to answer your question, the window guys have to be very strict about not moving stuff or the clients would be lazy and not do anything. The window guys would end up being movers instead of window replacers. It was the building’s responsibility to get the air conditioners out for us – especially since the building put one of them in – and they never showed up. The fact that the window crew was kind enough to remove it was a big favor. Now, I have to hassle our scumbag management to get rid of them. They’re big, bulky, and environmentally unfriendly.

I cancelled all my “shoulds” this weekend, instead filling it with “want-to’s.” A lot of that will be reading, writing, and, if the weather holds, walking on the beach.

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 18, 2008 at 9:04 am  Comments (5)  

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)  

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Don’t get too excited about the word bar. I’ve gone over 100K, but I’m nowhere near done. I left the bar as is because I’m using it to congratulate myself for actually writing 100K in six weeks, and motivate myself to keep going.

Actually, I had a great morning on Earth Bride today, and could have kept going indefinitely, until my fingers fell off, but I got such a late start and have so much to do that I had to halt when I got to the end of Chapter Thirty-Seven. They’ve met Saeren, the Sorceress of the West, but they don’t know it yet; Niki and her retinue think they’re on the way to save her from Slane Reill’s men. For someone who was a librarian in New York, Niki’s adapting to this whole Queen thing pretty well. I’ve had plenty of strong-minded female protagonists in my work before, but she’s definitely the most flexible and adaptable to unusual situations. And she doesn’t waste time being homesick – she deals with the challenges in front of her, grows and changes, but also doesn’t lose the essence of who she is. All interesting things to balance in light of what she has to face down.

Day work and the show were fine yesterday. Got some disturbing news during day work regarding the interactions with the new owners. They’re doing the divide-and-conquer, mollifying some of the tenants with empty words rather than actions so there’s no united front. I felt betrayed and disappointed for awhile, but you know what? Again, a good reason for me to have resigned from the TO last spring – they’re not effective. If I’ve got to go up against these ass—ahem, unpleasant people – myself to stand up for my legal rights, that is what I will do.

Dinner with Costume Imp at Vinyl was fun, as always. The show was fine – it was good to catch up with people. And discuss an ethical dilemma I’m having with one of the projects on which I’m working. I need to be diplomatic, but at the same time, not compromise my integrity. So it was good to bounce ideas around with people not immediately involved in it, whose opinions I can respect and trust. Brainstorming is always a good thing.

I meant to get some reading done on the train to and from the city, but instead, I was working out a series of sequences for Hex Breaker.

I’d hoped the material from Confidential Job #2 would arrive last night, but as of this morning, it’s still not here. And I set aside the day to work on it, but I can’t do it if it isn’t here. And they’re the ones who keep insisting it has to be turned around ASAP – honey, can’t do it if it’s not in hand!!!

They say we’re getting a bad storm tomorrow, but my pre-storm headache says it’s coming in sooner. Because if it doesn’t get here until tomorrow, my head will pop off! If I could only untwist it, let off the pressure and put it back on, I’d feel ever so much better. And, of course, we’re supposed to have a huge snowstorm Sunday into Monday, when Costume Imp is scheduled to move . . .

I didn’t make the final Top Ten Blogs for Writers List. My disappointment is less with my own exclusion than with the fact that none of the blogs on the list are by fiction writers. They’re copywriters or business writers. There’s nothing wrong with that – the blogs are all excellent and include two of my favorites, Deborah Ng’s Freelance Writing Jobs and Anne Wayman’s The Golden Pencil. But if you’re going to say you’re listing the best blogs for WRITERS – what about novelists, short story writers, playwrights, screenwriters, sportswriters, travel writers – it needs to be more encompassing than copywriters/business writers, in my opinion. Or call it “Top Ten Blogs for Copywriters”, which would have automatically excluded me because my writing is more far-reaching than that. But it wasn’t my award to give, so my opinion doesn’t really matter! 😉 I’m delighted that both Deborah and Anne are on it, because, in my opinion, they do run two of the best sites for writers! I think Kristen King’s InkThinker and Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page should also have made the list. Well, next year, maybe I’ll campaign for them! I was pleased to be nominated, and thank everyone for their support. I hope you keep coming back for more!

I need to check my mail to see if any more assignments have come through, run some errands, and then get back to work. Later today, I’ll do my (terribly neglected) weekly post on the Scruffy Dog Review Blog – I’ll probably post the link here tomorrow.

I hate it when I oversleep; it puts me too far behind in everything. But I let home at 10 AM and didn’t get home until after 11 PM, so there were 101 issues to be dealt with until well after midnight, and I slept in today! And of course, my morning yoga session was disrupted by the leaf blowers. Not that there were leaves to blow; the yard guys just roll the noisy, dirty things back and forth over the bare asphalt to get paid for the week. Ick.

Back to the writing-stone (because I don’t find it to be a GRIND-stone)!

Oh – Diane asked about the meaning of Mercury Retrograde, which I’ve discussed in detail in previous posts. The short version is that it screws up travel, communication, electronics, but is great for bargain shopping. People misunderstand each other all the time, the computers go kaplooey, the trains and planes are even farther behind than usual, but go antiquing. Don’t buy big ticket items, especially not computers, houses, washing machines, etc., because they’ll break as soon as Mercury goes direct. And don’t sign contracts during Mercury Retrograde, because there will be horrible problems, legal hassles, etc. in the future with them!

My mantra for a Merc Retrograde: Stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.

Thanks for the reference, Michelle – I’ll take a look at Pure Energy as a future host.

Devon

Earth Bride – 100,095 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meter

100 / 100
(100.1%)

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 12, 2007 at 11:08 am  Comments (7)  

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
St. Nicholas Day!
Sunny and cold

I managed to catch the 9:32 train to NYC on Tuesday morning, which, of course, was late. I got in to the city, trekked across town to Costume Imp’s place, gave him his birthday presents, his Christmas present, and played with the girls. We got down to Penn Station in time to meet our friend C. and get on the 11:30 Cheapy bus. There were snow flurries, and somehow, everything in the city is brighter and happier when it snows.

And then, the driver didn’t show up.

One guy was walking down the street, screaming and swearing at his invisible companion. C said, “I hope that’s not our driver!”, and I said, “If it is, I’m driving the bus.”

The driver finally showed up, and we took off. But we got to Philly nearly an hour late. And the bus had no shock absorbers.

There was a pub called Slainte right next to the spot we were let off, and that’s where we had lunch. The place is great – club chairs, plenty of space, good food. We split an order of Philly Cheesesteak Eggrolls, which sound weird, but were wonderful. I had the grilled salmon sandwich; Costume Imp had onion soup and a buffalo wing salad; C. had chili and an apple walnut salad. The pinot noir served with it was excellent.

I got an idea for a short story there.

After lunch, feeling renewed, we walked across Market and down 23rd St. to South Street, and along South Street to Harry’s Occult Shop. I hadn’t been there for at least ten or fifteen years. I think it’s less hard core now. Or maybe my perceptions are different. In any case, I got some oils I can’t get up here (I miss Magickal Childe so much)!

Then we wandered back towards Rittenhouse Square, past my friends’ building (they weren’t home) and to Miel, my favorite French pastry shop, where we had pastries and coffee. Then, across the street, we went to Kitchen Kapers, one of my favorite stores, and did some shopping.

Into a cab after that and to the World Café Live, over in the university district. What a fantastic space! Extremely well run, great staff, great food and drink. We had a table up front, right at the stage, had another bottle of pinot noir, and enjoyed ourselves. The crowd (at least those near us, with whom we interacted), were very nice and lots of fun.

There were two opening acts. The first one was an excellent keyboardist, but he’d been traveling a lot and his voice was tired. The second one – I didn’t like his energy; he wasn’t what he seemed, and it put me off. If I was a cat, I would have made a fat tail and started hissing, but I behaved.

And then the main show, Darren Hayes, came out. I was familiar with Savage Garden back in the 90s – I’d bought their first album in Australia when my show ran there. But I hadn’t kept track of them or of Hayes’s solo career. Costume Imp is a huge fan, and this road trip was part of his birthday celebration.

We all really enjoyed the performance. Hayes is an excellent performer. Although he thinks on his feet and rearranges the material, everything is meticulously planned out and controlled. I’m sure many of his fans believe he’s being spontaneous, but all three of us attending have spent our lives in the biz, and we know good choreography and careful planning when we see it! He knows how to play and play to his audience; he can adjust to the vibe of the room. His material is excellent, and it was just him singing and one guy on guitar. I prefer an intimate experience like that. My days of stadium concerts with thousands of drunk people I can’t stand are over. It was an excellent performance.

I got another idea for a short story while at the concert.

After, we grabbed a cab and went back to the Greyhound bus terminal, where we boarded the “normal” bus back to NYC at 11 PM. Unfortunately, we had a crack addict a few rows behind us who spent the entire trip on his cell phone trying to swindle everyone he could think of out of money, giving each a totally ridiculous story about being abandoned/losing his car (when he’d called someone else to check on it), etc., etc., as he tried to return in time to check in with his parole officer! We were well rid of him by the time we got to NYC, let me tell you! You want to feel compassionate, but when someone is so determined to be the victim, blame everyone else, not try to take action and personal responsibility, and so determined to lie and cheat his way to more drugs, for me, that’s the end of compassion. I know the whole song and dance about “oh, he can’t help it” – what he can help is whether or not he tries to get the right kind of help or keeps going down the road he’s going. And, right now, it’s obviously the latter. I hope the kid (he was only in his early 20s, but sounded like someone in his 60s) gets his life together, but it’s his choice whether he does or not.

Went back to Costume Imp’s, got a few hours of sleep, brought in breakfast. He had to go and do two shows. Our other friend had to be in for day work at 9 AM! Made me glad that’s no longer my deal.

I meandered back through Bryant Park, picked up a few things for St. Nicholas Day (it was the Eve last night), and got a late morning train home. Slept most of the afternoon, took care of some paperwork, came to an arrangement to extend a writing gig for a few more months, but warned them they’re not paying me enough for the last minute crap they keep trying to pull on me and I simply won’t do it. Tried to run some errands and finish the holiday shopping, but couldn’t find what I wanted in the stores. So I did it online instead, and hope that I’ve ordered early enough for it to get here by the holidays. They’re saying delivery by the 20th for something ordered yesterday, which seems excessive, since all the other places from which I ordered this weekend have already shipped. Stocked up at Staples on supplies, especially paper. I need to go back to buying it by the case. Otherwise, I’m running to Staples twice a week for a new ream.

Watched a little TV last night – the last episode of Life that’ll be on for awhile, and it was, as usual, excellent. Went to bed early.

Light morning’s work on Earth Bride. Have some errands to do, but also need to get some articles written, and get back to work on Hex Breaker, We All Have Secrets, and Tracking Medusa.

I love St. Nicholas Day! It’s one of my favorite European traditions. Put the shoe out on the night of the 5th – it’s filled with fruit, candy, and small toys on the morning of the 6th. I especially like it now, since I’m older and we put in the chocolate we appreciate, such as Lindt, Godiva, etc.

One of the bars I set for whether or not a relationship will work is how the guy feels about holidays. If he doesn’t enjoy them, or at least respect them, he’s gone pretty darned fast.

And all those people who whine about the holidays being too commercial? Guess what? They don’t have to be. I don’t shop in malls; I don’t buy the latest hot whatever. I take the time to be creative in my shopping or cooking or creation and come up with something unique for that particular individual. Anyone can go to the electronics store and buy the latest gadget. A true gauge of the season is how creative you are in putting together the gifts. Again, to those who whine “don’t have time” – what they really mean when they tell someone they “don’t have time” to shop or write a card is that the person is not a priority to them. And why should I make people a priority in my life if I’m not one in theirs? Took me many years to get to that realization, but now, since I remove deadwood from my life regularly, I’m much less stressed and much happier. People who use you as a toxic dump, especially during the holidays, have no place in your life. And you CAN choose how toxic an effect they have on you, even if they’re related.

Off to get my writing and my errands done.

Devon

Earth Bride 91,569 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

91 / 100
(91.0%)

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 6, 2007 at 9:52 am  Comments (8)  

Saturday, September 1, 2007

September 1, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

GRRRR!

So the new owners are supposed to close on the building next week, and the Tenants’ Organization (from which I resigned several months ago) has become such a joke they didn’t even let us know the building was under contract again! Bet you a dozen doughnuts they didn’t know.

I was so resistant to finishing my articles yesterday. Totally unprofessional, especially since I know the topics inside out. I think I’m burned out with one publication and don’t have enough background on the other to know if it’s worth it, and that’s where the resistance comes in.

However, the long article really rocks, if I do say so myself. I’m much more pleased with it than I thought I’d be. The short one’s kind of fun, too. Let’s hope the various editors like them!

Pitched a bunch of jobs – my total for the year stands at 144 in Kristen King’s InkThinker Query Challenge. I am pretty damned proud of myself. The goal was 120 during the course of the year. I’d have to go back to tote up how many were successful, but the number steadily climbs over the months.

Ran my errands, paid some bills, got in some more cat food for the timed feeders. And Murphy’s Oil Soap – I have to scrub down the place again before I leave for my next round of gigs.

I’m working on my Craigslist ads, so I can post them on September 10. I’m trying to decide if I only want 3 that are more general, or if I want to craft a half a dozen or so very specific (since I can’t cross post), offering a single service in each ad. I can do a mix and match and track stats to see what’s working and what’s not (love Excel).

My crazy downstairs neighbor started blasting his television again, from early evening on. And I still had work to do.

So I opened all the windows, turned on the fan, started burning Nag Champa incense, and put Loreena McKennit in the CD player. At first, he tried to play “My woofers are bigger than yours”, but guess what? They’re not!!!

Besides, it’s waning moon. You REALLY don’t want to get on my last nerve now.

Amazing how certain music just drives away the nutjobs. Fascinating. Within 45 minutes of Loreena McKennit and Karen Matheson’s beautiful voices wafting out, the building had settled into an almost reverent calm. Music soothes the savage . . .apartment building? That’s a new one on me!

Tori, regarding shoes: I didn’t get hit by the Shoe Muse until I was in my thirties. Pretty much lived in sneakers or boots before that. Now – love shoes. Because of the nature of my work and the damned commute, I can’t always wear the shoes I’d like, but I’ve invested in some good Timberland boots and Timberland sneakers that look good, wear well, and are comfortable. They’re also one of the more eco-friendly companies, with great customer service, so I like dealing with them. I buy almost all my shoes on sale – my criteria is if the shoes cost the same as a plane ticket to a place I want to go – I’m buying the plane ticket! However, a good pair of shoes is very comfortable and will last for years, so certain shoes are worth the price. I’ve always said that, on my next trip to Italy, I’ll spend the money on a pair or two of custom-made shoes. Hey, that’s a plane ticket AND a pair of shoes! 😉

It was 11 PM before I could even start my weight workout last night, but it was well worth it. And I had an extra long yoga session this morning – in the quiet!

My downstairs neighbor went out last night and never came home, so I actually had a peaceful night’s sleep. Bliss! The cats ran around like a herd of buffalo this morning, and Elsa played catch with her stuffed watermelon.

Nice morning’s work on Good Names. I’m in the wind-up chapters now. I hate it when books have the climax and then just end. I like at least one chapter of aftermath. I can see the end of the manuscript, though I doubt I can finish it before I leave tomorrow.

The short article I sent off has already been accepted and will publish in October, and the editor would like to see more. So, it seems it is a good, legit gig, and maybe I can get some regular work out of it!

Errands to run, column to finish, and I want to finish commenting on a colleague’s outline that I’ve taken far too long with. I packed last night, so today can be taken at a slower pace (although I still have to wash floors and vacuum). So tomorrow should be a nice, pleasant slide into the next gig.

Devon’s Random Newsletter will probably go out late tonight or early tomorrow. If you haven’t signed up, you can do so here. Make sure you put “subscribe” in the subject line, or it might end up as spam.

Devon

Good Names — 71,757 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
71 / 75
(94.7%)
Published in: on September 1, 2007 at 8:43 am  Comments (6)  

April 10, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I ended up trying to help my mom with her taxes yesterday, and that ate up most of the day. I have a feeling we’re going to get Turbo Tax and simplify things. It didn’t help that I went through everything, did all the calculations and then realized one of my early numbers was wrong!

Anyone else use Turbo Tax? What’s your experience?

Assignments from both Confidential Jobs arrived yesterday, so I have to put my nose to the grindstone and get those done. Fortunately, I’m excited about both assignments.

I ended up having to rewrite the beginning of Chapter Two of Good Names because they would have traveled from the stepmother’s house to the hotel via horse-drawn hacks – it was still a bit too early for cars to be common just then. After all, Henry Ford sold the first Model A to a Detroit doctor in 1903 – but it may have been later in the year than when the story opens. I’d rather not risk the inaccuracy, and put them in a hack instead. But I can still have them pass streetcars – Chicago had lots of streetcars at that time! But I also went further into the chapter. It makes it stronger.

Got out two freelance pitches and a request for more information to a third company. Printed off some other guidelines for a potential market – I have to look through my pieces and see if there’s anything appropriate.

Did the assignment for Confidential Job #2, wrote the report, and sent it off this morning. Keep your fingers crossed that they like the result and keep using me!

Off to the theatre for day work today, and then I have to rush back and across town for the meeting regarding the flood last month. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to speak – it depends how much I disagree with what’s said!

Devon

Good Names — 3,562 words out of est. 100,000

Kristen King’s Inkthinker Query Challenge 2007 — 27 pitches out of 120 = 22.5%

March 1, 2007

Thursday, March 1, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cold and Rainy

I finally managed to get up the article “Other People’s Careers” on the Dog Blog yesterday. Can I just say how much I hate the new Blogger?

By the end of the day, you should be able to catch up on the past few days’ worth of Circadian Poems¸ finally up (I had Microsoft problems, it had nothing to do with WordPress), and the latest poetry news, and to check out Kemmyrk – and, if you have tarot questions, next Monday’s column is going to answer a few. Send them here.

Blogger’s newest annoyance, when I’m visiting friends’ blogs, is that it won’t give me the actual letters for visual verification. It simply says “visual verification” and the blank box, but not the letters I’m supposed to verify. So it takes five or six attempts to get the letters, then it tells me I didn’t enter them properly (which is total b.s.) and so on and so forth.

Why shouldn’t the spammers go through the hoops, not the legitimate readers?

Both shows were fine yesterday. Artie and I went to Whym, a fairly new eatery a little farther up Ninth Avenue than we planned to go. Décor nice. Artie chose the pork tenderloin with fig sauce, which was very good. Unfortunately, I had a quite mediocre chicken pot pie (I should have gone for the Mahi Mahi). Dessert, however, was excellent: warm chocolate cake for me and pear cobbler with cinnamon ice cream for Artie.

Chaz finally received the package (in Newcastle) with the filled Christmas stocking for his cat, Barry. Artie made the stocking and together we’d put in all kinds of things for cats to enjoy – and, according to Chaz, Barry’s enjoying it! The Royal Mail screwed up and sent it back when I’d sent it over for Christmas, but this time it got over there in only four days.

I’m reading In the Devil’s Garden, a book about food taboos arranged according to the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s fascinating, but it also makes me angry – the cruelties and the fact that so many people (and animals) have to suffer because of mentally ill rulers. It’s not a read-straight-through book or a good backstage book. I have to be able to pick it up and put it down.

Managed to catch an earlier train, which got me home at midnight instead of at 12:30. That meant I was able to get out two pitches before I went to bed last night. Keep your fingers crossed.

I can’t believe it’s already March. Here’s February’s Wrap-Up:

Done:
Query Challenge (12 queries out)
Circadian Poems
Kemmyrk
2 full weeks on the show

In Progress:
13-in-Play
Finish Chasing the Changeling
Biblio Paradise Newsletter out – Microsoft problems set this back; will go out by Mon.
Finish next Lit Athlete column – almost there
Real – did a bit of work, and then stopped
Tumble revision
“Illuminated Nude”
“The Man on the Yoga Mat”

Dropped/Postponed:
Work on DE site – I’m going to stick with this one for the moment
Revisions on Assumption of Right – I carried it around a lot, but didn’t actually start yet.
Fix-It Girl – although we talked about it at the show, and my colleagues got me excited about it again.
Typing Shallid – no time
Typing Token and Affections – no time
Restructure Thirteen Traveling Journals – ran out of time
Dixie Dust Rumors queries out – I focused on other queries instead

Additional:
The Project accepted and prep work begun
Tarot story for anthology discussed

Disappointments:
Getting sick and working on the show fulltime set everything back.

Successes:
Landing The Project
Article accepted by Notes in the Margin
Landing another steady gig

Reading:
The Tin Box by Holly Kennedy. Very good.
Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. (re-read). Excellent.
Martha Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead (unfinished). Excellent.
Bride and Groom by Susan Conant. Good.
Dinner at Deviant’s Palace by Tim Powers (unfinished). Excellent, but pushes a lot of buttons.
Natural Enemy by Jane Langton. Very good.
Ivy Days by Susan Allen Toth. Excellent
In the Devil’s Garden by Stewart Lee Allen (unfinished). Excellent, but not an easy read.
The Easy Way to Be Brilliant at Business Writing by Suzan St. Maur (unifinished). Very good.
Noel Coward’s Diaries. Excellent.

March To-Do List:

Circadian Poems

Kemmyrk

The Scruffy Dog Review Blog

Finish Lit Athlete Article

Prep The Project

Press Release for Ink in My Coffee Third Anniversary

Biblio Paradise Newsletter out

Restructure Thirteen Traveling Journals

Craig’s List Ads for Fearless Ink

Query Challenge

13-in-Play

Write anthology story due March 31

Finish Chasing the Changeling

Finish Tumble re-vision

Type Token and Affections

Type Shallid

Start revisions on Assumption of Right

Work on The Fix-it Girl

Work on Real

Finish “Illuminated Nude”

Finish “The Man on the Yoga Mat”

Get out Dixie Dust Rumors queries

Two and a half full-time weeks on the show

Good thing March is a long month!

Devon

February 6, 2007

Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Live from the Big Apple

Joan Spoon has an essay on how to use the library to find new poets over on Circadian.

I had trouble getting onto Blogger until early evening yesterday, so my comments – when I could make them – were late. The template would come up, but no text.

Managed to get a lot done before I had to go, although my desk didn’t get cleaned off.

My editor liked the tweaks to the copyedits, so it’s all good, it’s all done, it can go to press. Phew!

Got out two more pitches, and responded to a response for a pitch for a press release writer – I think the company’s really cool and it would be fun to write for it, so we’ll see.

Tried to get out some stories on submission, but the pieces are too short for the places to which I was going to submit, and doing the research would take too much time, so I’m going to wait until I get back to home base.

I dragged so much damn stuff such a short distance for only a week—but most of it is home office stuff – projects that I can’t let slide for a week just because I’m offsite and on a full Broadway show schedule. The next two weeks completely are about two full-time careers, each requiring a full day’s work each day.

Train ride in was reasonably smooth. Not too many people on a 3 o’clock train, so my luggage didn’t inconvenience anyone.

Unpacked a bit, played with the cats, brought in Chinese food, and got to work. Finished the editing/prep work for the next two weeks’ worth of Circadian, so all I have to do each day is upload and check for new submissions. Did some SDR work.

The cats are fascinated by the yoga mat. It’s a texture they’re not used to; plus it smells like my cats.

One of the things that always gets me about Manhattan is the noise. It’s so loud, so many people and trucks and screeching in such a small space. The apartment in which I’m staying is on Ninth Avenue, close to the Port Authority bus terminal. I’m only one level above street, so the trucks stopped at the lights, the people calling to each other as they saunter down the street, and the sirens are non-stop. It’s a combination of noise and vibration. I’m glad I brought the MP3 Player with me.

The cold has caused a state of Emergency in the city. Fortunately, for the moment, the heat is working, and the cats and I are happy and warm. I brought a hot water bottle and a heating pad along – just in case. Don’t worry, I’m not dumb enough to use them both at the same time.

Both cats are so affectionate. They just love to snuggle and cuddle. It’s very, very cute.

Today, I have day work and a show. I’m sliding back into a track I’ve done on and off for stretches of time for quite awhile.

I’m playing with some new article ideas for both FemmeFan and for my friend Kristen’s site, InkThinker. Of course, an article I think would be perfect for InkThinker just happens to be on one of the disks that are at home, so I’ll have to wait until next week to pitch it to her. There’s some stuff going down at the racetrack which I think would be interesting to cover for FemmeFan, as well as helpful to the people who are working to improve conditions, so I’m going to talk to a friend of mine and see if we can make it a go.

I woke up around 4:30 AM because it was quiet, then rolled over and went back to sleep.

Learning how to navigate someone else’s apartment is always interesting, and finding a way to streamline it into your own routine. The cats love having the company.

Did a good morning’s work on Changeling today; now I have to check the business accounts, and then try and get some more creative work before I leave for the theatre. Being so close to the theatre gives me an extra hour and a half of writing time this morning, and I intend to make good use of it.

Devon

Chasing the Changeling – 24,092 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
24 / 45
(53.3%)

January 23, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Check out Silas Byrne’s essay on poets and striving poets on Circadian. I have a feeling it can open an interesting and perhaps heated discussion!

If you missed the interview Kristen King did with me last fall, she’s got the links posted again here:

http://inkthinker.blogspot.com/2007/01/kristen-king-featured-in-article-on.html#links

Anita – your blog won’t let me comment.

Colin – I can’t get your blog to load at all. I finally did, but . . .

Fie on Blogger!!!

If you need a pick-me-up, visit this link via Dorothy Thompson:

www.dorothythompson.youaremighty.com

it made me smile.

Promise to all of you regarding The Mag: although I’ll look for advertising, I will NOT accept ads for anything as vile as Botox. That’s a promise!

Got out a job pitch and the quarterly newsletter. Worked on two other newsletters.

Because of all the time spent on the computer, in addition to my morning daily yoga practice, I did a few poses in the late afternoon. What a wonderful difference!

It was snowing last night – a nice, peaceful contrast to all that’s wrong in the world.

And I worked my way through about a year’s worth of old magazines. I read them when they come in, but then they stack up. So I sorted through what I want to keep and what I can recycle. Doesn’t make much of a dent, but it’s something.

I changed my routine this morning and did computer work before working on Changeling, and I’m all messed up now. I have time to do a few pages, but then I have to run for the train. So no word bar update this a.m.

I’m off to the theatre for both day work and a show (a track I haven’t done in about seven or eight months). See you in the morning!

Devon