Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

So, before I left for the photo call at 11 AM yesterday, I’d worked on the adaptation, done another polish on THE MATILDA MURDERS, prepared it and the cover letter, sent it off, typed off my notes for Confidential Job #2, sent if off with invoice, and repacked my set bag for the photo shoot.

Pant, pant, pant. I’d put in a day’s work before I even got started with the “official” day’s work!

Train was late – as usual – but I’d left for an early enough train to take that into consideration. Got to the theatre, we waited for the car service, we packed the car – the driver couldn’t figure out how to get the ironing boarding the back – what, does Momma still do the shirts? Anyway, we got down to Chelsea without a problem. The studio was hot and stuffy, but we managed. We were prepped lickety split and the shoot started. A few minor glitches (okay, I pitched a fit at one point when it was necessary and stopped the shoot to make an adjustment on a costume – Topstick is the BEST invention known to man – or woman).

After the shoot, there was a point where I had the large garment bag of costumes slung over one arm and I’m carrying the ironing board, standing on the curb on W. 23 St. of New York City as my colleague’s hailing a cab, and one of the actors and I just looked at each other and started laughing. Welcome to my world!

Got back to the theatre (after wrestling the ironing board into the trunk of a yellow cab), redistributed everything to be prepped for the show, and I grabbed a salad for dinner.

Show was fine – I was with the women this evening rather than the men, but got confused at two points and thought I missed cues, but they were from the other track. Everything was fine. Nothing got missed, nobody died, show was fine, so it’s all good. It’s a really good group of people on the show, and that always makes it pleasant.

Got home late, checked email. Peter Bowerman’s using a quote from me on “Aggravation Fees” in his next WELL-FED WRITER newsletter. Confidential Job #2 already paid me for the work I sent in yesterday morning. And a publisher gave me an offer for HEX BREAKER. I’m going to go over the contract again – the first pass looked pretty sane. And I’ll have the lawyer look at it. I’ll let you know when all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. But it looks as though HEX BREAKER found a home.

I have to take a few days and think things through before doing more work on the adaptation. I’m at a critical series of scenes – it’s the big confrontation between the female protagonist and the antagonist, where the male protagonist learns the complicated history and why there’s a confrontation. If it seems early in the book for this to happen, well, when I flesh out some of the earlier scenes, it’ll be about 10-20K later in the book, I think, and then there’s a twist later on (that’s not in the screenplay, by the way) that will make sense for it to happen here.

However, I’ve been splitting action between the several factions of the protagonist group. Here, I’m not sure if I should have this action unbroken, or go back to what’s happening simultaneously, and then come back to this action for the big finale of the section. I’m worried that using a technique similar to cross-cutting in film will dilute the action and power in this scene; at the same time, I don’t want the reader to lose the sense of what else is going on in the story.

I need to focus on the anthology story today – I’m way behind on it and it’s due, well, on Friday. And I have shows tomorrow and Friday, so I better get to it. Plus, I have to write the pre-Belmont article on Friday. And a few letters and get a monologue drafted.

I’m waiting a few days to start FEMME FATALE and SIDEKICK; I want to see what the response to THE MATILDA MURDERS is first.

I hope to get a draft of the next ebook done next week, too, along with the new brochures.

I’m getting everything sorted out with Cablevision. Someone from the executive office is going to send someone to install it all – at no charge, unlike what I was told initially – which will negate the need for UPS, who can’t be bothered to deliver here anyway.

Oh, yeah, and even though I’m not leaving for the Cape until Sunday – I’m packed.


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 May 28, 2008 at 8:34 am  Comments (4)  

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The new issue of The Scruffy Dog Review is out, which means my latest installment of “The Literary Athlete” is up. It’s called “In Between” and gives suggestions what to do while your manuscript makes the rounds. You can find it here.

The Pre-Derby article is off, and should be up in a couple of days. The monologue went off, the actor read it via web-cam, I did a rewrite, sent it off, we worked via webcam, I tweaked. I think it’s in good shape. I sent him one final tweak when I got home last night; if he’s comfortable, he can memorize it (his audition is tomorrow).

I didn’t get the script doctoring job. They decided to go with someone else (who has no published credits and has never written in play or screenplay format) who was willing to do it for the “experience” rather than pay. Now, they asked me for a quote when they approached me about the job, presented it as a paying job, and told me the scope of the project and the overall budget. I gave them a fair price, and, as far as I knew, this was a paying job, or I would have refused outright. Suddenly, they gave me the “option” of “we really want you to do this, but we decided we’re not paying anyone to punch up dialogue.” I don’t think so. You guys have no track record, I have no personal reason to work with you other than the actor who recommended me, you wouldn’t let me read the whole script, you’d only send me the few scenes you wanted punched up if I took the job (even after I explained why reading the whole script would be useful in punching up the dialogue of the specific scenes), and have been through six (count ‘em) writers so far. Usually, at least the courtesy of a deferred payment agreement is offered. Or, if you really don’t/can’t pay, you pull in favors from people you know really well, not strangers who have no reason to do anything for you. Their parting volley was amusing: “I’d bet you’d do this for free for a friend” to which I responded, “Probably. For a friend.” Whatever, it’s not my film, I’m not invested in any way. I feel badly for the actor who suggested me for the gig, who’s very unhappy with the scripts thus far. He only agreed to do it because he knew the first writer on the film – who was subsequently “replaced.” Honestly, it sounds like a nightmare-in-embryo to me.

The timing’s good, because I really don’t see how I could have taken it on this week while I’m in shows and doing a three hour daily commute and still have done my best work. I would have, but not landing it takes pressure off me, and that’s always welcome. I’m also enough of an optimist to believe it simply means some other opportunity to which I am better suited will come down the pike.

Besides, I have a Kentucky Derby for which to prep! After all, I’m in shows through Friday night and the Derby is on Saturday! I’m cutting it a little close this year.

Worked on the adaptation some more. I think I can add in one of the scenes I was sad to cut out of the screenplay due to time and space issues – it could be lots of fun here, and shore up the relationships among the secondary characters.

The trip to and from the city sucked, and there were far too many SFT’s to climb over (no, it’s not a venereal disease, it’s “stupid fucking tourists” and I don’t care what anyone says, THEY do not pay MY bills, so I can call them as I see them).

Show was fine, went smoothly, we had lots of fun. Once I’m in the building, it’s fine, but it’s getting to and from the theatre that makes it such a hassle.

Caught up with a colleague I hadn’t seen in ages, who’s very excited that Dreamworks is starting to produce on Broadway. He thinks they’ll be really good producers. They trust that the people they hire know what they’re doing and are honest with them, they let them do their jobs, and they don’t nickel and dime them to death. They’re willing to spend the money; in return, they want honest quotes, honest work, and that things are delivered on time, which seems perfectly fair to me. They seem to be thinking ahead so that there will be a minimum of scrambling at the last minute. That’s the kind of producers we need on Broadway, and there’s been a dearth of them with the corporate bean counters taking over instead of actual producers. So, let’s see if they come through as well as they’re starting, and, if so, it’ll be great for Broadway, and theatre in general.

Caught up with another colleague who I just think is one of our most exciting emerging artists; she’s getting ready to spend time in Europe again this summer, at an artists’ colony in Germany, working on a project. I’m delighted for her.

I have a friend visiting for a couple of days; he arrived yesterday and will be here until tomorrow. He’s been working in Canada and is on his way back home to Europe for the summer; it’ll be great to spend a few days together. He’s had a rough year, and he’s certainly been a life raft in stormy seas for me enough times, so I’m happy to return the favor.

Off to get some writing done. I want to finish at least one, maybe two short stories today so I can give them a polish tomorrow and get them out. And there was a very funny little incident on the train coming home last night that’s the seed of another story. I don’t want to relate it here, because it will dilute it – you’ll have to wait and read the story. I’m going to take what actually happened and then push its boundaries.

It’s a rainy, gloomy day, but we need the water after 13 days with no rain; as long as it’s steady and not so hard the brook breaks its banks, I’ll be happy.

Getting ready for a busy week at the show, and trying to balance it with the writing.


Adaptation: 20,808 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 90

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:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Bitterly cold and sunny

It is MINUS 9 degrees F here this morning. Ow!

Yesterday was fine; commute sucked – the commuters around here are the rudest, most ignorant idiots with a misplaced sense of self-entitlement that one could find. Thank goodness for the Zen V – I could put in the earphones, turn up the music and shut them out.

I had two shows (not the one I quit, another one), which went smoothly and were fine. A friend and I trudged a few blocks through horizontal snow on dinner break for Chinese food at one of our favorite restaurants. When we returned, we found the cast album won a Grammy, so morale was especially high that night. All good.

AND, I’ve been invited to the final dress of the new Stoppard play on Wednesday! Woo-hoo!

During downtimes, I worked out some plot fixes for The Balthazaar Treasure and come up with plot lines for something else. Well, it was more characters, but then the plot starting unwinding, so we’ll see what happens with that. I’ve got several shorter pieces to cough up first.

It was brutally cold getting home, and I got a bit of scare. There was a guy standing behind me as I waited for the train to get into the station, and something just wasn’t right. He was dressed in a first responder uniform, but something was . . .off. The body type was off, the way he moved, the energy. Then, I realized that the patches weren’t authentic. (Bless ‘em, on Conviction a few years ago, for teaching me how to read the patches). He was a fake. He got off the train behind me. I paused, pretending my boot lace was untied and let him move ahead of me. I thought about going to the police station (in sight), but he hadn’t done anything. So I walked towards the tunnel, then, abruptly turned and doubled back and went across the overpass instead. Let’s face it, at midnight on a Sunday, there aren’t a lot of people hanging around there. I crossed the street towards my building, but I looked back in the tunnel – there he was, hanging around, looking back to where he thought I would come down. I guess he had a long wait, because I kept going. I’m glad I trusted my instincts.

Today is about practicality, not creativity. I have a boatload of paperwork to file with agencies dealing with both the identity theft and the building crap. I have to consolidate this draft of Tracking Medusa into a single file (when I do drafts, I keep each chapter in a separate file). I have to polish the outline and the synopsis. I have to tweak the query letter. It goes to the person to whom I promised first look tomorrow, but in case that’s not the right match, I want to be ready to shoot it out to the next batch on the list immediately. I have to finish an assignment for Confidential Job #1. And it would be a good idea to get some pitches out. I’ve been lax on that the past week or so – mostly because the listings have been insulting. And I have to work on an ebook.

It would be nice to get some creative work done today, but I’m not counting on it.

However, I am counting on staying inside – let’s hope the building scumbags leave the heat on today!

Oh, and if you haven’t read the interview with Yasmine Galenorn on A Biblio Paradise, um, why not? Hop on over!


Devon’s Bookstore:

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

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

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

Published in: on February 11, 2008 at 9:33 am  Comments (9)  

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and read the interview with Cat Muldoon, the author of Rue the Day. We share many of the same interests and had a lively, interesting interview.

So, yesterday was a fun play day. Getting into the city was a nightmare, worse than usual, and I had the start of a migraine by the time I got in. I fought my way through the crowds at Grand Central and got some errands done. When I got to the subway, all of the ticket machines had lines of 20-30 people in front of them, and, since the booth clerks won’t do Metrocard transactions when it’s busy, I was stuck. It would have taken me about an hour to get a $4 Metrocard.

So I didn’t.

Instead, I walked down Park Avenue/Park Avenue South from Grand Central at 42nd St. to 12th St. and Broadway. In the rain.

And it was still pleasanter than being cooped up in the subway.

AND, I had time to swing by Strand and pick up a book they had for me, saving the shipping fee, and, while I was at it, I picked up a biography of Martha Washington. People seem to think George and Martha were rather dull, but when you look at all they managed to accomplish, they were quite resourceful, and quite a good match. John and Abigail Adams get more attention because they were more volatile and public, but George and Martha had a lot of energy and intelligence. George’s diaries can be a little dry, but he doesn’t strike me as the type of man who could express himself on the page.

I met my friend Barbara at the Cineplex, and we got our tickets and our snacks, and settled in for National Treasure: Book of Secrets. I will have a LOT to say about it in tomorrow’s post. I want to fact check a couple of things before I really go off on it. Short version: There were some things I really liked; a lot I didn’t; too many writers and not enough vision, not to mention shoddy research and things that were beyond implausible and not in the way that makes you go, “I’m having fun, so I don’t care”; and one of my favorite characters got short-changed, in my opinion. You’ll get to read all the details in tomorrow’s post. I was disappointed because I love the first one so much.

Afterwards, we walked over to University Place to go to the Cedar Tavern and . . .it’s not there any more! I’m heartbroken. This was one of the premiere hangouts for decades for artists and writers and everyone else. The food and atmosphere were great. We hung out there for hours after writing class, plenty of after-show parties, etc., etc., etc. I used to go there and have a meal after wearing myself out at Strand. A great deal of my creative life was formed there.

And it’s gone.

At one point, I thought Barbara was calling Bellevue, but she was calling information.

We wandered back down to Union Square to Heartland Brewery, where we had drinks and a meal, tore the movie to shreds, caught up on life, work, and art. We had an absolutely lovely waiter who took good care of us. And Costume Imp joined us for the last hour or so we were there, which was fun. Barbara and Costume Imp gave me my Christmas presents, which were wonderful! (So, more thank you notes have to go out today). They took a cab up to the show; I stopped in at Barnes & Noble, but they didn’t have what I wanted. I walked back up to Grand Central and got a 7 o’clock train home, getting home by 8 (it was an express).

My legs are sore from all the walking (just over 6 miles, total), and I didn’t sleep well, but, other than that, I’m ready to attack the day’s work. I do have to run to Staples this morning – AGAIN – I have two and a half manuscripts to finish reading this weekend, and I ran out of paper. I need to print them because I can’t read that much on screen, especially not when I’m taking notes. And I got a double assignment from Confidential Job #1, which I will probably take to Philly with me. There are a couple of jobs for which I want to pitch, and I’ve got some articles to write this weekend and early next week, so I better get going.

I need to come up with a segue way for Hex Breaker and I’m having trouble with it. And I have no time to have trouble with anything right now. I need to focus, get it done, polish it, and get it out.


Published in: on December 28, 2007 at 8:16 am  Comments (6)  

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007
Waxing Moon
Yule/Winter Solstice
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I managed to get everything done in the city fairly quickly. The ride in was a nightmare, due to more badly behaved children whining and screaming for the entire 50 minute trip. Everyone in the car was ready to throw the parents under the train. In addition, the parents just kept shoving doughnuts into the kids’ mouths to try and shut them up. Yeah, that’s what a cranky four year old needs – more sugar! Could we license parents, please? I mean, come on!

Grand Central Station was already a zoo by 10 AM. Plenty of people either took the day off or left early to begin their travels. I fought my way through the crowds, and went over to the 30s on 6th Avenue, looking for chains. Well, I’d have to buy it by the foot and put my own clasps, etc. on it, and I don’t really know how to do that. I could learn, but don’t want to take the time right now. The store personnel’s English wasn’t good enough to understand what I asked, and my Korean is non-existent, and it’s not that important right now, so I bagged it.

Headed up to the credit union, took care of business. Headed to the theatre to pick up a check that wasn’t there, but some phone calls tracked it down at the office, so I picked I up at the office and got it to the other bank, then headed to the Borders at 57th & Park to look for a few things. Found some, didn’t find others, but trekked back to Grand Central. By then, I’d walked the equivalent of 5 miles and I was losing momentum! It was like one of those filmed dream sequences, where you run and run and the destination keeps getting farther away instead of closer!

Managed to catch the 12:37 train back out – it was packed and I drank a vile cup of cocoa on the train, unfortunately. They were giving out free NY Post newspapers and I figured, hey, I’m getting a little short on cat litter, so why not? Because, in my opinion, that’s all it’s good for.

Can’t remember what I did in the afternoon. I know I was tired. I know my back’s bothering me, although there’s no good reason for it to do so. Oh, yeah, dealt with more building crap, which is probably why my back hurts. Worked on the menu for the Eve and Day. Wrote up the grocery list. Worked on the Christmas story.

Just when you think you’re done, there are ten more errands that turn up, so that’s what I’ll be doing today. The weather is supposed to be icky tomorrow, so I only want to have to go out and get the paper.

And, of course, tonight is the Yule celebration. Okay, so the Solstice was actually at 1:08 this morning, but I was in bed, and I’ll celebrate it tonight!

Decent morning’s work on Earth Bride. I finished the wedding ceremony. If I can handle the reception and all the deceptions going on there in one chapter and the wedding night in another chapter, I’ve got this third section of the book finished. The fourth section opens eighteen months later, and then the fifth is when Niki returns to earth. I’m definitely going way over 120K. I’m trying to choke the internal editor. Because she really is getting on my last nerve! Even if she’s right.

Have a great weekend leading into the holidays!


Earth Bride – 115,782 words out of est. 120,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
115 / 120

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 22, 2007 at 8:12 am  Comments (3)  

October 12, 2007

October 12, 2007
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
No idea; it’s still dark, it’s about 1:30 in the morning

So, it wasn’t even retrograde yesterday and I was already f—ked!

One of the publications, for whom I turned out quite a few articles in the past few weeks is now saying that I “misunderstood” the rate and it’s really less. Um, no, we talked about the rate and I was never told that different articles were paid at different rates or I would have said “no.” I want my money, and I don’t want to work for them again. Or, if I do, we renegotiate terms, and that’s what I told them. It’s a shame, because it was a fun gig. But, had the rate they want to pay me been the rate in the ad, I wouldn’t have even bothered to answer it.

By the time I got home, there were promises to pay, and a line saying, “If we don’t use you for January, February, or March, it’s not personal; we’re trying to cut costs.” Uh, if you don’t meet my terms, you won’t be using me those months or any others, because I’m not doing the work! Some always try to get in the last word, you know?

So goes the life of a freelance writer.

And it always feels like such a body blow when they try to screw you. So you have to step back, take a deep breath, remind yourself it’s business and respond in kind.

I’m in the process of adopting Nano Newbies for November. Shall I call them N3s? I figured, fuck it, I want to do Nano again, I enjoy working with the newbies, if I have to bag it to move, then that’s what I do, but why cut myself off from it before I know what November will bring? It will bring freedom in some areas, stresses in others, but why assume Nano’s a no-go?

And then I went to the train to begin my trip to the theatre and my life turned into something out of a Janet Evanovich novel.

First of all, it was pouring rain. I had to move the car, because the street was already flooding, although the brook held. Then, I’m standing there on the platform, in my long black trench, looking like a reject from The Lost Boys, waiting for my late train, wallowing in “poor me-isms”. The train from NYC pulls up on the other platform. I see Mr. Chivalry get off, from the other day – the guy who lent me his suit jacket when I was cold. He spotted me and started across the overpass to my side of the train tracks. My train pulled up. I got on; he sprinted the last part of the way, down the steps, and got on the train, sitting next to me! I was surprised, to say the least.

We’ve barely pulled out of the station, and a face pops up from the seat in front – narrow little face framed in curly brown hair with big brown eyes. For a minute, I thought it was an elf, but in reality, it was a 14 year old boy who said, “I know you.”

“Yeah, right.”

He told me my name, and then he said, “You went to school with my dad.”

“Who’s your dad?”

He told me, and it was a guy I’d gone to school with, in both elementary and high school. “He had a really big crush on you.”

“No, he didn’t.”

“He did.”

“Trust me. I was there. He didn’t.”

“He has a scrapbook of your writing, all the way back to when you wrote for The Chronicle and Garnet and Black.”

(The former was the local paper; the latter the high school paper, both of which contained my articles).

I found this a little weird, to say the least. And then the kid’s going, “And I read your stuff, too, especially about horses.”

“You don’t even know the names I use.”

“Do so.” And he reeled off about half of them. I’d have been really embarrassed if he’d known any of the erotica ones! Then he says, “You have to be my godmother.”


“I’m fourteen. My dad’s divorced and my mom’s not around. I’m at the age where I need a strong female role model in my life.”

“I could so kick your ass.”

“I know. That’s why you’re a great role model.”

“You are so full of it.” But I have to admit, he was pretty funny.

Then, he launches into a whole social justice monologue – that seems to be his passion in life. He got off a few stops down, still chattering a mile a minute.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chivalry’s watching all this like we’re some weird sort of science experiment. Then, Mr. Chivalry and I finally get to talk without the interruption of a teenaged elf boy. He’s at a personal crossroads; I’m at so many crossroads there aren’t even signposts. I told him to trust his gut. His head and heart will take him on the most complicated path, but his gut will steer him true.

So we get to Grand Central Station, and, thanks to my Lost Boys trench, I’m pulled over to get my bag searched (but I got to play with the bomb-sniffing dog). And they pull my huge pliers out of my bag and want to know why I’m carrying them around.

“I dress flying monkeys for a living.”


I spoke very slowly and clearly, as though I was speaking to the intellectually challenged. “I. Dress. Flying Monkeys. For a living.”

“Uh –“

Meanwhile, the bomb-sniffing dog is wagging his tail and gazing at me adoringly. So they let me go.

We get out of the station and there are film trucks all over, and it turns out I know one of the actors from something else I worked on a couple of years ago, and we joke around for a bit until we go on our merry way. Meanwhile, Mr. Chivalry’s looking at me like I’m some sort of space alien and I say, “Welcome to my freaking life.”

Somehow, even though he has my number, I seriously doubt I’ll be hearing from him.

I was exhausted before I ever reached the theatre.

Got to the show, got through the show, and that’s all I have to say about that. I was trailing, but it’s not with the actor with whom I’ll actually work next week, so there will be plenty I don’t know. Whatever. Costume Imp gave me a thorough talking-to the other day and he’s right, and it’s helped clarify some things. Kick a few signposts, so to speak.

I missed the 11:10 train by ONE MINUTE – Mercury Retrograde – so I got home much later than I wanted, but, oh well.

I have to work on conference stuff today, and maybe, just maybe, get the Samhain decorations up. I bought a pumpkin the other day. Now I have to decorate it.

Downstairs Neighbor’s back to running the television at full blast all night long. If I was a different type of person, I’d cut his cable line.

Hmm, the Loving Kindness Meditation doesn’t seem to be working. You think?

Let’s just say I’ve upgraded from depression to melancholy.

I’m going to try to get some sleep now, and get up early enough to get things done later today.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cool

I survived yesterday, but that was about it. There were a few times where the back was so painful, I thought I would pass out. And that was AFTER the pain medication kicked in! But I got through it, and, although I had a modified yoga session this morning, I can move, just not easily It’s not all the way down in the lower, lower back- it’s kind of right behind my waist, if that makes any sense. The core work I’ve done the last month or so has helped, but my core still needs strengthening so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.

Also, I know both the psychological causes and the physical causes, so now I have to work on solutions. You can’t just treat the problem – you have to get it at the source. Easier said than done, unfortunately.

Coming home on Metro North was a nightmare. Not only couldn’t they be bothered to let us know what track the train was on until the last minute – come on, they have all the trains listed for the next three hours, but not the one scheduled to leave first? After Pelham, there were no lights and no ventilation. Not acceptable.

I have to go grocery shopping today or the cats will be upset – they don’t like it when their section of the cupboard begins to go bare. I’m going to work on the November gardening articles, the SDR blog entry, and a few other things today, once I get back. But I’m going to take it at a slow pace, and have plenty of breaks to do gentle stretches and relax.

I also need to get the handouts finished for my workshop and get them out. Devon’s Random Newsletter finally went out yesterday. Did you get your copy? If not, send me an email here with “subscribe” in the subject line, and I’ll shoot one off to you.

Thanks to Costume Imp, for helping me so much during the show – as though he didn’t have enough to do helping out another swing, and there were mix-and-match tracks for the boys and all sorts of madness. I couldn’t have gotten through the show without him.

Great morning’s work on Revenge Tangents. The piece is unusual, which is why I’m going to place it where I’m going to place it.

The job boards have had a long line of listings all week – unfortunately, nothing that I want! I also have to figure out when I’m going to meet a local graphic designer with whom I might team up for freelance work, and get next week’s house hunting, visiting, and other travel sorted.

Never a dull moment!

May you have a cheerful and pain-free day!


Revenge Tangents — 20,000 words out of est. 25,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 25
Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 8:30 am  Comments (8)  

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday’s migraine slowed me down, but I still managed to get the most pressing deadlined work out. And the corresponding invoices, which is always a relief. So far, no payments are late (although several are right on the line), but, when you work on invoice rather than regularly scheduled payment, there’s always the lag time, so this month has been, financially, a bit tight, even with Jupiter going direct.

Absolutely nothing on the job boards to which I even wanted to pitch.

Did some work on a couple of short pieces. Realized a piece I want to do as a gift for conference attendees will work better for my friend’s new publication, and the one I originally intended for his publication will do better as the giveaway. Live and learn, right? So I have to finish both of them and get them polished and ready in the next couple of weeks.

Train was late, as usual (gee, what a surprise). It started raining as soon as I stepped out of the house, thundering, etc. Oh, well. It was still waiting to rain in the city, so I managed to get to the theatre unscathed.

Survived the show. There are just too many egos and personal agendas going on where there shouldn’t be, and I have no time or patience. It filters from the top down – the show is run by film people, and you can’t run a theatre production like a film production. It’s starting to rot from the core. Eventually, it will implode. But it’s made a lot of people happy, and it’s kept a lot of people employed, and it’s a good piece. It’s just a shame it’s disintegrating the way it is.

I’m thoroughly enjoying Good Omens, although it resonates much more this time around, because of the state of the world.

Too sore and tired to work out when I got home last night, but had a good yoga session this morning, extra long. The Psycho Neighbors seem to have been away last night, so I even got a full night’s sleep.

Decent morning’s work on Good Names. Will try to get some article work done, and then I have errands to run and things to do out of town. I’ll take some writing with me and see what happens. I also have to start moving things over to where I’m working next week. I’ll be home for a few hours on most days, but the bulk of the work will be done elsewhere, and I need to make sure I have what I need with me.

I’ve got some chicken marinating in a honey-soy-mustard sauce – I’m looking forward to that meal tonight!

Off to write, and hope that last night didn’t drain every drop of creativity out of me.


Good Names – 61,882 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
61 / 100
Published in: on August 18, 2007 at 8:40 am  Comments (4)  

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Better hop to it.

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


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

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
56 / 100

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

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5 / 7

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky, disgusting

I cannot wait to cover the Central New York Scottish Games this weekend. In addition to covering the actual sporting events (trust me, there are a few people I’d like to whack with a caber right now), I’m excited because I bet I’ll be exposed to some new (to me) music. I feel like I’ve hit a musical rut lately.

Some of that rut’s been helped by finding bands on My Space (I know, I know, how could I not know?), but nothing beats live performance.

I hate working all day and feeling as though I got nothing done.

I had problems with the email accounts all day, and felt that the tech support asked for inappropriate information. Sorry, bubbelah, not giving you the passwords. I am paying this host enough to actually get the service for which I pay; I shouldn’t have to spend an entire day arguing with them about a SERVER error. What can I say? 1 and 1 sucks. Unfortunately, it took me over a year to get my sites up and running once I switched over from Yahoo Small Business Hosting (which sucked even worse), and, at this moment, I can’t face switching everything again. However, within the next year or so, I expect I’ll redesign everything and then leap.

I managed to polish a press release and get it to the person who had to distribute it. I got some pitches out. I plowed through paperwork and email, but my inboxes are still filled to bursting, and the piles of paper don’t look any smaller.

Hate that!

Off to the theatre today; hopefully, I don’t have to stay for the show. I’ve got articles to get out this week before I leave; second requests to put out for some interview material, and writing to get done. And I’d kind of like to leave my desk looking a bit better than as though a shredder threw up all over it.

I wish I could train the cats to file. I mean, they’re sitting around all day sleeping. Why can’t they alphabetize? When I presented this to Iris, her look of disdain said it all, “We’re cats. We don’t have to work for a living. We just have to be – be adored.”

They certainly do that part well.

Several days ago, I watched a series of episodes back-to-back for a limited production. I won’t give details, because what I have to say is uncomplimentary, and I don’t want to be cruel to the people who put a lot of time and effort into it. It had religious overtones, to say the least, but the presentation was one of the best parts of it – it made sense, and wasn’t shoved down the viewers’ throats. Even though my point of view on the issues is quite different, I could appreciate the point of view presented. The themes were interesting, the writing was uneven – and it contained some of the WORST acting I’ve seen in a long time. Just dreadful. There was one actor, a second lead, who managed to pull off most of it because he relied on physical tricks. But then the writers gave him a character inconsistency near the end and he broke character because the writing gave him nowhere to go. Everyone else in the piece was unremittingly AWFUL. And I know some of these people’s work – some of them are decent at their craft. It was a terrific lesson in writing and production – I just felt bad for those involved that the outcome was so below par. (No, it’s not SAVING GRACE – I’ve mentioned in detail how much I flat out loathe that show and why).

Decent night’s weight training; good yoga session this morning.

I did some logo design work and some page design work for a gift I’m putting together for registerees for The Muse Online Conference.

Good morning’s work on Good Names. I’m having fun with the racetrack sequence.

Good morning’s work on “Revenge Tangents”. Although I’ve had to accept the fact that this is not going to be a typical short, and I’ve bumped up the estimated word count. Sigh. But it’s the introduction to a bigger project, and I have to get it right.

Now, if I could only make this next chapter of Tracking Medusa work . . .

Off to Manhattan, in this disgusting weather. Metro North better have the air conditioning on for once, instead of the heat, the way they usually do in summer. I had to turn the air on by 7:30 this morning. Ick.


Good Names – 55,382 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55 / 100

“Revenge Tangents” – 5,125 words out of est. 7,500

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5 / 7

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Foggy and hot

These construction/asbestos guys are getting on my last nerve. We were not relocated for this process; that means they need to take into consideration that people live here, and behave accordingly. Of course, the way they argue down there, I don’t have to go down to inflict grievous bodily harm; they’ll do it to each other. I also don’t see any certification or permits for this work – why am I not surprised?

One of the things I hope is coming across as Tracking Medusa unfolds is Justin gaining self-esteem and how that’s changed the way he reacts in the various situations/dangers/crisises they keep finding themselves in. He’s used to being with women who treat him badly, and he’s come to think that’s what he deserves – that he’s not all that smart, that he’s not all the resourceful, that his decisions are likely to be incorrect. Gwen treats him as an equal – she’s aware that he’s emotionally immature for someone his age, and takes that into account for certain things. But, as far as their working partnership, she approaches it from the standpoint of “you’re smart, you’re resourceful, you’re a professional, what’s your take on this?” and he’s growing and changing for the better for it. Of course, at the end of the second book and into the third one, he’ll take it a bit too far, with consequences, but for now, it’s a real blossoming of his spirit. And, when she revealed more vulnerability in the scene at The World’s End than she had before, he was faced with a choice to behave like the emotionally immature person he was when he started – and like the people he was used to being around – or make the choice not to deliberately hurt her in a way that would make her behave the way he wanted her to. It was a spur-of-the-moment scene, not in the outline, but I think it shows a great deal about the growth of his character.

I’m starting to realize how much the time I spent interviewing some of the younger hockey players is influencing these characters – there’s a lot of several of them in Justin, even though the only Justin would know what to do with a hockey stick is carbon-test it for age.

Train in to the city was a nightmare. I decided to take a train two trains earlier than usual, so I’d get in early and be able to leave early for the party. Usually, I take the 10:26 and arrive at the theatre at 11:45. Yesterday, I tried for the 9:32 to get there by 10:30 – and I got there at 11:15. And the train had the heat on. Ridiculous.

Pushed through the call as fast as I could, hauled ass from 51st St. up to Alice’s Tea Cup on 73rd and Columbus. It was a great party, and my boss was happy, so that’s always nice. She’s a terrific person, and deserves to know how much she means to us all.

Walked all the way back to Grand Central (and realized I walked the equivalent of five miles today, not counting all the running up and down the stairs required in the work call – no wonder everything hurt) and caught the 5:30 train back out. It was semi-ventilated, so it wasn’t as uncomfortable as the ride in.

Came home, peeled down and stood under the shower until I started to feel human again.

Was a waste of food most of the evening – got some paperwork done, and percolated on the Gwen/Justin stuff some more, but didn’t actually write. However, I did start up the evening workouts again – three times a week core exercises, three times a week weight training. When I don’t do 8 shows/week, I need to work out more, and I noticed that I’m using my body incorrectly with the heavy costumes lately, because the core is weakening. Have to fix that. My strength and stamina have always been important – now that I’m no longer 20, I need to work harder to not only keep them, but improve them. Last night was the core work, and I was a puddle of jelly on the floor by the time I was done.

Up early this morning – I’ve extended my morning yoga sessions for the past month, and it’s helped a lot.

Instead of working on Good Names, I had an idea for a press release that’s given me trouble, so I worked on that. It’s in decent shape, and I ought to be able to get it out by the end of the week.

But I missed having the session on Good Names. Now that the first murder’s happened (a third of the way in), the pace is picking up, the interwoven character lines are making sense, and it’s more fun to write.

I have to dash off to pick up my press credentials for The Empire States Games and then try to make it back for a live stream from Europe regarding the next America’s Cup Challenge.

And then finish up some articles that need to go out this week – but because of the games the rest of the week, if I don’t get a solid start today, they’ll be late.

Got an email from a new editor with whom I’m working – looking forward to working with her.

My presence will probably be sporadic here over the next few days, as the focus of my life is the Empire States Games.

Have a good one!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Hot, humid, rainy

So, the latest news I have on the explosion in NYC – steam pipe explosion, possibly caused by a transformer fire. They’re testing for asbestos – they refuse to make the same mistake Whitman did around 9/11, saying it’s all good when it’s not. Plenty of haz mat suits, area locked down. I’d be frantic if I lived there and couldn’t get to my pets. One confirmed death thus far and about 30 people in hospitals.

It may not have been a terrorist attack, but I hope they investigate other types of sabotage. The timing – it happening during rush hour, which doesn’t seem like a coincidence. And it’s happening just as Con Ed is screaming that the funds they received aren’t enough (probably because there are administrative pockets getting lined) and they want not only more money but a 17% rate hike.

I don’t believe in coincidence, so the timing on all of this makes me very, very suspicious.

And I’m trying not to go into the city until I have to be back at the theatre next Tuesday. I don’t trust the trains; there was minor flooding yesterday and we were told to expect more today.

I was ready to commit hara-kiri with a coat hanger by 10 AM yesterday, and the day didn’t get better. The workmen were underneath the window all day long, sawing and screwing together 2 by 4’s with boards across them. Not only that, but they didn’t know what they were doing. I’ve built enough sets and run enough screw guns to know that if every single screw is screaming in pain when you put it into the wood, you’re doing something wrong. Instead of hiring people who’ve never used power tools before, how about hiring someone competent? Oh, right, that would mean paying them a living wage.

And having building permits up. God forbid THAT should happen.

Turns out they’re building a containment shed out of plywood for the asbestos-contaminated dumpster under the window – that’s been there since APRIL. Who knows what health hazards we’ve been subjected to for months?

I am furious.

No wonder I’ve had even worse troubles with migraines, coughs, etc. for the past few months – asbestos-contaminated materials have been dumped under my window! Completely unacceptable.

I worked on some article stuff, had a good day’s work on Good Names before the construction numbnuts started their debacle, filled out an application in response to a pitch I sent, brainstormed with a friend about an article site that sounds too good to be true, yet might actually be legit, read a little bit, and tried not to do downstairs and commit seriously bodily harm to those morons – especially the ones running the building.

Good thing I didn’t have to go to the city tonight – we had three inches of rain in just a few hours, so Metro North didn’t run. Not to mention that a good deal of the region was without power and flooded again (we got away lightly this time).

I was going to go to a friend’s place to do laundry (since not only are the downstairs laundry facilities cholera-inducing, but they’re asbestos-contaminated). Unfortunately, his basement had an inch of water in it, so we’re putting it off until things dry out a bit. No reason to electrocute ourselves trying to wash some dirty drawers!

Even Belmont Park cancelled yesterday’s Race Card because of the floods. And there was a tornado on Long Island.

I meant to work on Tracking Medusa last night, but I was glued to the TV watching the coverage of the explosion and trying to track down my fellow New Yorkers who might have been in the area. So far, so good.

I had a good day’s work on Good Names this morning – the murder investigation is under way, and the gossip mongers are in full swing. I have to do more work on articles this morning, write some business correspondence, and then get back to Tracking Medusa.

Unfortunately, I have a migraine, so I don’t know how much will get done. And I’m practically choking to death on the sawdust. Normally, I’d just have fans going, but with all the construction dust around the asbestos dumpster, I’ve got the windows shut and the air on. Guess I’ll be scrubbing those filters frequently.


Good Names – 37,257 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
37 / 100
Published in: on July 19, 2007 at 8:37 am  Comments (9)  

June 17, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Happy Father’s Day to those of you who celebrate it!

Thanks for all the good wishes, everybody. Believe me, I want to get the heck out of this Dodge, and I’m working on it. Unfortunately (?), since I want it to be a single move, I can’t make it a panic move – I have to find the place where I want to be and then secure it. And the move itself is going to be massive – yet, in a way, I’m looking forward to it, because it’ll be so much better on the other side. Unfortunately, with both Jupiter AND Mercury Retrograde – the chances are I wouldn’t be able to find something with them retrograde and if I did, the Jupiter Retrograde (which means you lose stability and instead of expanding in areas of home and money, you contract) and the Mercury Retrograde (don’t buy big ticket items or sign contracts or you’ll be really, REALLY sorry) – the next few weeks don’t look so good!

And, of course, one should be prepared for travel delays during Mercury Retrograde and what am I doing? Travelling nearly the entire time for writing gigs.

It looks like this will be a particularly nasty MR, so I better batten down the hatches.

Julia mentioned the beauty of the music of Manon and the two lovely scenes – the bedroom pas de deux and the brother’s drunken revelry – the music and those scenes are worth the ticket price, definitely, but I have a hard time feeling sympathy for characters who don’t learn from their mistakes, and neither Manon nor her lover did. But yes, the piece itself is lovely, as is the music.

Yesterday, on the train into the city, we stopped at New Rochelle (as we do). A little kid got on the train, and the doors shut before his mother could step on. About twenty of us are screaming at the engineer (who was less than ten feet away from us) to stop, and for the conductor. They IGNORED us. So someone finally pulled the emergency brake. And the kid was reunited with his mother before the train left the station. Yet another incident where the incompetence of Metro North shines brightly. When twenty people are yelling,” Stop! Wait! Don’t pull out!” there’s probably a good reason, you dumbass.

Can you imagine how scared that kid and his mother were? The kid couldn’t have been more than six or seven. And the mother had two smaller kids in a stroller. What would have happened if they’d actually been separated, due to the stupidity of the Metro North crew? By the way, the bell that’s supposed to ring before the doors close – didn’t.

Both shows were fine. The person who set the show up has a very different thought process than I do, and I don’t follow her logic. But if I follow the notes, for the most part, I can get through it. There was an important move missing from the notes in the first act, which set up a domino effect for awhile, but we got through it and caught up. I fixed it in the notes so I wouldn’t make the same mistake in the second show, but then one of the labeled baskets wandered off somewhere in the second show, so I have to go searching for it when I get in today. Far too much basket ballet.

A friend and I went out to Ciro’s for dinner. The food was good, but a few too many tourists in the place for my taste.

Back for the matinee today, and then straight home. I need to actually put in the air conditioner tonight – it’s supposed to be hot tomorrow. I meant to do it a couple of weeks ago, but the temperatures never got as high as they predicted, so I didn’t.

I need to work on an article this morning before I leave, and maybe, maybe, get a bit of other writing done, although I’m so tired I doubt it. I was so exhausted when I got home at nearly one this morning from a two show day that I was ready to cry out of sheer fatigue. I fell into bed, and the cats nestled up with me and purred me to sleep.

I’m exhausted, mentally and physically, and I’m tired of two years of non-stop problems in this building. All people want to do is to be left alone to live their lives. That’s not too much to ask.