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)  

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)  

Saturday, July 7, 2007

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

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

Lots of catching up to do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I LOVE being a freelance writer!

Devon

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

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

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!

Devon

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

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6 / 100
(6.0%)

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%)

February 1, 2007

Thursday, February 1, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

There will be about Imbolc over on Kemmyrk later this afternoon.

There’s a bit of poetry news over on Circadian also later this afternoon.

I was furious with my web host yesterday – server problems kept me from accessing my site or my mail, which meant a document sent late the previous night which I needed to turn around that morning for a job was stuck in limbo. I finally pulled it through another site, but it was frustrating. When I finally got someone on the phone, the response was, “Yeah, I guess we’re having issues. They’re working on it. Try again in a few hours.”

Remind me why I’m paying them again?

I understand that every site has problems once in awhile. But this is just too often. I thought Yahoo was a bad site host, but . . .

However, I doubt I’ll ever find another template as perfect as the one for Cerridwen’s Cottage, so there’s that, too.

A new issue of Devon’s Random Newsletter goes out today. I know, I know, two months in a row, don’t faint. If you didn’t get yours or haven’t signed up, send me an email asking to subscribe here.

Worked on the Barbaro article; started the next column for SDR. Didn’t get through enough of the piles on my desk.

Some errands today, but I need to focus on getting it all done before I leave town on Monday.

What can I say? Yesterday, I just didn’t wanna!

This morning, the whole routine was thrown into a tizzy because of the meteorologists saying a snow storm was on the way to dump four inches of snow, starting at 2 PM. So, my choices were: Be stubborn, write first and drive around in bad weather OR get over my damn self and get the errands done and then come back to write.

For once in my life, I decided to be an adult. I shot out the door before 9 AM, went to the bank, drove to White Plains, hit up Target. Target, of course, didn’t have what I drove all the way to White Plains to get and God forbid someone being paid to work there should actually be bothered to stop conversing with another employee and check in the back, and God forbid that I should go to customer dis-service and they could be bothered to do anything but tell me they can’t look up anything without an Item Number. Which I happen to know is complete and utter bullshit, because every other Target in the country can do so.

However, I filled my cart with a whole bunch of stuff on which I hadn’t planned, but definitely needed, so I checked out, then ordered online what I needed – which, since they offered free shipping, ended up being cheaper than if I’d bought it in the store – some tax thing.

So it was all good, in spite of the crappy customer service. Which was a surprise, because usually Target’s pretty good – except in the White Plains store, where you might as well not ask where anything is because not only do none of the employees know, most of them could care less and just give you wrong information anyway.

Off to Trader Joe’s to stock up on cat food, so my mom has plenty to feed them while I’m gone – and stocked up on other stuff, so I can cook in advance for my mom and all she has to do is heat it up. Off to the other grocery store to get the rest of the stuff, the wine shop, etc.

Came home and the meteorologists were now saying the storm won’t start until 4 in the morning. I think they’re wrong – my head’s about to explode with the pre-storm headache (I seem to be a human barometer).

Yes, Dru Ann, the Merry will go out somewhere else – or I might work on the novel length version – I have two possible publishers for that.

Tammy – the list is part of the Goals, Dreams and Resolutions a group of us work on every year – I’d be happy to email the questions to you if you’d like, and the to-do and wrap-up lists are born from that.

I found an exciting anthology and sent a pitch last night and got more info this morning – I only have until March 30 to come up with 10-25K, but I think I can do it, especially since the topic excites me. So, off to do some more research for that, send them more info to see if it’s along the lines of what they need, and then – clean off more desk stuff and get down to work! AND, the anthology editor sent me guidelines for a new imprint she thought would be a good fit with me. All good!

Back to the desk, and then to the page.

Devon

February 2007 To-Do List

13-in-Play

Kristen King’s 2007 Query Challenge – 3-5 pitches per week

Biblio Paradise Newsletter Out

Finish next “Literary Athlete” column

Work on revisions for Assumption of Right

Circadian Poems

Kemmyrk

Work on Real

Work on Fix-It Girl

Work on typing Shallid

Finish typing Token and Affections

Finish Chasing the Changeling

Catch up/restructure 13 Traveling Journals

2 full weeks on the show

Get Dixie Dust Rumors queries out

Finish Tumble revision

Work on the “Illuminated Nude”

Work on “The Man on the Yoga Mat”

4 Dog Blogs

January 31, 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and snowy

I can’t believe January is over. I need another two weeks, please. Not quite ready for February.

“Blue” by Brenda Braene is up on Circadian.

A new essay on supporting living writers is up on the Dog Blog.

The train was late, big surprise, but frustrating because I had three errands that HAD to be run on the way to the theatre. First two, knocked right off. Third was all the way across on the West Side, almost to the river, and, of course, took longer than I wanted, but I still made it to the theatre just a hair late. Amazing how quickly you can walk if you have to.

Work was fine. Not too many sewing repairs, but I had to re-glue some bits of the tin man that were peeling away from the frame.

I heard some of the music from the new musical version of Legally Blonde, which is coming to Broadway sometime soon. It’s REALLY good. I was pleasantly surprised. The kind of music that sticks with you and that you can walk out of the theatre still humming.

I’m writing an article on Barbaro that needs to go out the end of this week, and I need to clear off my desk some more. I don’t know why I’m so sore – I’m going to try to work out some kinks later today with an extra yoga session.

So many of the performers have dashed to Target to get those humidifiers meant for kids in the shape of animals. They’re all over the place. They’re so damn cute, I might have to get one for my apartment.

My first check arrived for the anthology – woo-hoo! It’s always nice when someone pays on time.

The computer decided to upload the newest version of IE (don’t I get a say in these things?) and I had a bit of a fit when everything was rearranged. I found where it hid most of the stuff and put it back where I want it, but I’m not sure.

And this new Microsoft Vista? For which some people paid over $600? That only runs on computers less than two years old, only they don’t bother to tell you BEFORE you plunk down the money?

Typical effing Microsoft.

Chaz’s package returned from the UK, with all sorts of paperwork. Nothing seems too major – maybe I’ll rewrap the toys with bells so they won’t ring and upset postal workers – and then I’m going to try sending it again. At least it wasn’t stolen.

People need to back off from the jawing about Daniel Radcliffe doing Equus. Especially since most of these idiotic gossipy bastards haven’t bothered to learn about the play.

Equus is a modern classic, written by the astounding good playwright, Peter Shaffer. It’s extremely disturbing. However, the young man is not the main character —the psychiatrist treating him is. I saw the play on Broadway years ago, when it first became a phenomenon. It’s dark. It’s disturbing. You leave the theatre viewing the world differently than you viewed it when you entered it, which is what a good play is supposed to do. Although the kid was shirtless for a good portion of it, I only remember one full frontal scene. It was completely organic to the piece and necessary, brief, and not a big deal at all. It didn’t feel shocking or out of place. Plus, you’re in a big darned theatre, so, except for the voyeurs with the opera glasses, you’re not seeing a whole lot.

And believe me, there are plenty of plays that put nudity on stage just to sell tickets. I attended a production at a well-known off-Broadway company a few years back. Can’t remember if I knew one of the actors or one of the crew or why the heck I went. Maybe we just got on the list for one of the previews or something. At any rate, it was a tiny theatre. I was in the third row, and if I’d stretched, I could have touched the bed on the stage.

In the second act, one of the actors is completely naked, sprawled backwards, doing a monologue as part of a 12 minute scene. There was no organic reason in the text for him to be nude in that scene. He had the body, and the company knew it would sell tickets. Good thing he HAD the body, because he sure couldn’t act.

That was exploitation. And, believe me, I know what they pay off-Broadway, and he should have demanded a much higher salary.

Equus is different. The publicity photos that are being blasted around the world are pushing the nudity angle to sell tickets, which annoys me. There’s a shot of Radcliffe and the actress nude together. Now, I don’t remember, in the production I saw, the actress ever actually getting naked with the boy, but maybe that’s something they decided to do for this production. And the house staff will have its hands full taking away cameras.

Photographs are not allowed in ANY professional theatre – it’s a violation of the performers’ right to their image. You purchase a ticket, which is the right to see the live performance IN THE MOMENT, something that can never be exactly replicated again – not to photograph it and sell it or show it to others. Also, using a flash can disorient the actor and cause serious injury onstage. Especially if the actor is trying to maneuver on or off stage, is disoriented by a flash and is run over by a two ton piece of scenery. By being a selfish bastard and taking a photograph, you could maim or kill someone involved with the production. And let’s face it, people are going to try to sell photos of Radcliffe’s genitalia on eBay. I used to work front of house and remove film from cameras – it’s in the program, on the ticket, announced before the show, so if you’re going to violate it, you deserve to get your camera taken away. Personally, I think there should be a list, and if someone violates the no-photograph rule in one theatre, they should be banned for three years or more from all of them.

Regarding Radcliffe and Equus, I’m curious as to how a 17-year-old young man can handle this role. Working on it is bound to change his view of the world not just as an actor, but as a person. It’s an awfully young age to work on the material.

With the whole Harry Potter thing – look, Radcliffe is an actor. His job and responsibility to the audience is to show up on the HP set when he’s contracted and do a terrific job. Which he does. When he’s not on contract, it’s his job to make me believe in any character he plays. That’s what he’s trying to do.

I’d much rather see him doing Equus than go around drinking and doing drugs because the pressure of being HP has become uncomfortable.

I came to the HP movies as a fan of the books. When Rowling writes other books, I plan to read her work, because she’s a damn good writer. With the movies, I was a fan of the body of work of several actors whose work I’d known for years (Rickman, Thewlis, Smith, Shaw, etc.). And I’m interested to see what Radcliffe, Watson, Grint, et al do away from the HP movies.

I’m much more interested in a body of work than seeing someone do the same thing over and over and over again. Part of that is because theatre/film/television is my profession in tandem with the writing. But part of it is because I’m not an ignoramus. There’s enough information on the inner workings of the industry now that only a moron isn’t going to allow growth and change in the performers of which they claim to be “fans”.

As I said in the Dog Blog essay about writers, which makes sense in this situation, too: Decide if you’re a fan of the actor or of the character; own it, and take responsibility for it. If you’re a fan of Harry and only Harry – don’t go see anything else. If you’re a fan of Radcliffe, go with an open mind and give him a chance.

He’s 17. With any luck, he’ll be around for a long time, with a large body of work. Look over Johnny Depp’s body of work. He started young, had early success with Jump Street, made his own way in unusual (to say the least) work, and now he’s got the over-the-top success as Jack Sparrow. Why can’t Daniel Radcliffe find his way, too?

Okay, here’s the January wrap-up for the GDRS:

January 2007 Wrap-Up

Done:
Devon’s Random Newsletter
Finished 1st draft of Token and Affection
Plum essay revisions completed and essay accepted for anthology
Started Chasing the Changeling
Quarterly Newsletter
Occasional (but more frequent than last year) entries on Biblio Paradise and Wordish Wanderings.
Circadian Poems
SDR blog every Wednesday
Kemmyrk Mondays and Thursdays
Devon Ellington temporary site up

In Progress:
Typing Token and Affections
Working to finish 1st draft of Real
Pitches
13-in-Play
Reading research books for the Assumption of Right rewrite
Requested revision for Tumble
3 short stories – I’m going for quality over speed

Postponed/Dropped:
Work on Fix-It Girl
Dixie Dust Rumors queries out
Typing Shallid
Next SDR column begun

Additional:
Unknown Journey outlined
Knockabout Kingdom outlined
Marching Band stories outlined
“New Year’s Resolutions for Sports Fans” article (pub. By Femme Fan)
“Submission Log and Pitch Tracker” article written and submitted
Two interlinked paranormal comedy stories outlined
“Ink in My Coffee” moved to WordPress
“A Biblio Paradise” moved to WordPress
“Kemmyrk” moved to WordPress
“13 Traveling Journals” moved to WordPress
“Place and Space” moved to WordPress
Joined Kristen King’s Query Challenge 2007
Novel idea: Turn of 20th Century
Novel idea: Contemporary action/psychological
Designed and put up Fearless Ink site
Designed and put up Cerridwen’s Cottage site
Joined a blog chain
Devon’s Random Newsletter for February

Disappointments:
Rejection of The Merry’s Dalliance
The death of Barbaro

Successes:
First article of the year published on Jan. 4 (by FemmeFan)
Plum essay accepted
Token and Affections first draft done
Negotiations for possible regular writing gig (not signed, sealed and delivered, but I’m hopeful)

Reading:
Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner. Very good; lots of fun.
Death by Station Wagon by Jon Katz. Excellent. (Actually, I read this in December and forgot to list it).
Hell’s Belles by Jackie Kessler. Wonderful! Excellent!
Dorothy and Agatha by Gaylord Larsen. Liked the plot; struggled with characterizations. Okay.
Diaries by Lavinia Riker Davis. Lovely.
The Ragman’s Memory by Archie Mayor. Excellent.
Off Season by Philip R. Craig. Very good.
Death on a Vineyard Beach by Philip R. Craig. Very good.
Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis. Very good.

Devon

Chasing the Changeling — 20,842 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 45
(44.4%)

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