Saturday, January 5, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Working on those articles nearly killed me yesterday. And not because the content, research, fact-checking, or writing is difficult; but because I didn’t want to do it. I wrote a sentence. I got up and wandered around. I wrote a half a sentence. I puttered in the kitchen. I wrote three words. I played with the cats.

No self-discipline at all. Meanwhile, I got more and more frustrated, because I want this monkey off my back. And if I’d just sat down and concentrated, it would have been done a lot faster. Learn from my mistakes, my friends. It was nearly midnight by the time I got them sent out.

Thanks to a friend of Chaz’s, I think I’ve found a way to keep my Canon limping along for a few more months. I went printer shopping yesterday, and my head was spinning. The two top choices so far are the Canon Pixma830 – but I worry that I’m just digging myself into the same hole by sticking with Canon. The other printer that does everything I want and need and with which I fell into printer-lust is the HP Photosmart C7200. I also looked a few small printers that I could just use for manuscript printing. I might go ahead and indulge in one of those now and then try to coax my current Canon along for a few more months until I’m sure what I really want.

For once, I don’t want to make a panic buy. I want to get the best printer for my needs. Unfortunately, because technology isn’t my strong suit, and the people in the stores are out to make a sale, not look out for my best interests, I need to learn as much as I can so I make a smart decision.

I’m also trying to figure out if the SanDisk Multi-Use SD card will work with my camera BEFORE I rip open the packaging. They don’t seem to make the exact same SD flashcard I always used with the camera. This looks almost the same, but it’s marked “multi-use”. The website doesn’t even list my camera so I can check compatibility (and my camera’s not that old), and their Customer Disservice can’t be bothered to answer the email I sent asking them about it over a week ago. If I haven’t heard back by Monday, I’ll rip open the package, test it, and, if it doesn’t work, sell it on eBay. I also emailed Canon to ask them. In spite of the Printer Kerflamma, their customer service is usually good.

And, of course, Hex Breaker called to me all day long, wanting attention. But I needed to distance myself, even for a day.

I went to the bookstore and didn’t buy anything. You know it’s a cranky day when I do that. I had my heart set on one particular book, which they didn’t have. I didn’t want to order it – I wanted to walk out of the store with it in my hand. It’s a new release – there’s no reason it shouldn’t be there, except they haven’t gotten around to unpacking it yet.

And Strand Books sent me a batch of books for a project – they always take such good care of me. I was expecting them to be medium-condition paperbacks, and they’re brand new hard covers. I have to put them in the acknowledgments of almost everything I write. Because they’re very, very good to me.

Lyd, in regard to your comment on the gift card, you’re suggesting I commit fraud, which I believe is a felony. Besides the fact that I am not willing to do that, I believe that making public one’s medical records so an insurance company can enter one into a contest is twisted and wrong. I prefer to file a complaint against them and have the proper authorities kick their greedy, twisted, disgusting little asses. I hope you keep commenting – I do appreciate them, even when I don’t always agree with them! 😉

I wrote a new chapter for the revision of Tracking Medusa this morning. It’s Harry’s funeral, which happened away from the readers’ gaze in the first draft. It introduces Jonathan Alden, Gwen’s ex-husband. Although it doesn’t specify that’s what he is, it’s clear he’s an ex something. I kind of like the reader discovering the husband part later in the book, when Justin discovers it. It also sets up more of the love-hate dynamic between Gwen and Karl, and has Tom Albright doing his detective work. Kitty is also introduced here, instead of waiting until they reach the Earl’s house in Scotland. It helps strengthen what comes later in the book. I’ve stuck the pages between the current Chapters Two and Three – since it had to happen before the chase sequence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I had to get Karl out of there early so he and Justin could have their confrontation at the Library BEFORE Justin went to the Met. It needs work, deepening, detailing, but the character set-ups work, and placing it here strengthens what happens when it all comes together at the end.

I’m on my way to my friend’s place in CT. I’m taking Hex Breaker with me, and that will be my focus today. I’ve got more articles to work on tomorrow, and I need to finish up the work for next week’s blog tour hosting on A Biblio Paradise. But right now, as far as I’m concerned, Hex Breaker is the priority.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Saturday, June 2, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, warm, humid

Intense day yesterday. It’ll take me a couple of days to download the most appropriate photos and post them in another “Process” Sequence, but some of it I can talk about here.

Missed my first train because of computer problems, but caught the next one. Headed up Madison Avenue on the bus – really trying to LOOK at Madison Avenue, instead of thinking about everything else.

Realized Justin doesn’t have to get off at the 86 St. subway stop unless he’s taking an express – which he probably would, given the circumstances.

The admission buttons they hand out when you pay admission change color every day. Yesterday’s color matched my dress.

Walked through the renovated Greek and Roman galleries – found some great stuff, including the perfect place for the Medusa head. Wandered over to the Sculpture Court and scouted out that scene. Then I figured out how to get the chase scene going from the Sculpture Court through the Medieval Gallery and threaded through the Gift Shop into the Egyptian wing.

I choreographed the chase sequence at the Temple of Dendur and came up with an unusual way to get them out.

Unfortunately, as I got to the Hatshepsut gallery, where a pivotal scene takes place – it’s closed for renovation. So I had to trace back and backtrack some of the other choreography with the map.

I walked it several times; in at least one revision, I’ll overwrite the scene with too many details and then cut, cut, cut to get the tension I need.

By then, I figured I deserved a break, so I visited the Poiret exhibit. Poiret was a couturier in France in the early 20th Century. The exhibit was one of the most beautiful, astonishing things I’ve ever seen in my life. I was literally vibrating with excitement in there. And, while I wasn’t about to lay out the big bucks for the full catalogue and drag it around Manhattan, I bought a smaller book with some beautiful photographs. And a history of the Oxford English Dictionary from the sale table.

Walked across Central Park, drinking lots of water, because I found the heat and humidity oppressive. I’m a snow and ice girl. Arrived at the Museum of Natural History to discover that the tickets for the Mythic Creatures exhibit are timed – and I couldn’t get in until just before closing. No, thanks. A big disappointment, but I’ll have to plan better.

Hopped in to the NY Historical Society store, hoping to pick up some books, but they didn’t have what I need. I’ll have to poke through the archives when I get a chance. And when I buy some pencils.

Walked down the West Side for a bit to 72nd Street, then entered the Park, walked past Strawberry Fields, and cut back across Central Park to the East Side. I was feeling the heat pretty intensely by this point, and trying to stay as hydrated as possible.

I emerged from the Park, walked over to Madison, and back down to the entry to Grand Central Station and home.

In other words, I walked, literally, miles today, leaving me hot, sweaty, and tired.

Fortunately, the train was air conditioned.

I rested up a bit, did some work on the computer, and got back to work.

Worked on the pre-Belmont article. It HAS to go out today. Got an email from an editor reminding me I promised her pitches last week (yikes) and a request for another editor, so I have some serious brainstorming to do, fast.

Wrote the second scene of City of Lost, where Leila gets a good scare. That’ll be a fun scene for the actress.

Rewrote chapters 2-6 of Tracking Medusa, incorporating the choreography/geography I came up with earlier in the day. Continued on and finished Chapter 7. Sent everything to my friend for critique. There’s some shaky material in there, and I look forward to her suggestions. Much to my chagrin, once it was all sent, I realized that I’d given everything in the chase sequence to Gwen and Justin, and not enough to the chasers! In spite of the choreography, I only wrote Gwen and Justin’s” ography”, which makes it lopsided. I need to give the chasers more interesting things to do so that there’s actual tension and it’s not just a walking tour of the Met! What I’m trying to do is almost the anti-chase sequence – instead of taking everything out and breaking it, part of their purpose is to do the chase sequence without disturbing anything. In fact, they’re being paid not to.

Decent morning’s work on Good Names. I’m setting the scene for the murder.

A friend is coming out from the city today, and we’re going off to have adventures. I am so sore from all the walking yesterday – thank goodness I’m going to acupuncture Monday.


Good Names
– 22. 537words out of est. 100,000 words

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

22 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 19,473 words out of est. 90,000 words

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

19 / 90

City of Lost – 2,035 words out of 20,000 words

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

2 / 20

14 pages out of 120 pages

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

14 / 120

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007
Full Moon/Blue Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Next to Jill Shalvis and M.E. Ellis, I am an absolute slacker, let me tell you! Those two writers are an inspiration. They get more done in an hour than I get done in a week! Oh, well, it gives me something towards which to strive!

And a shout of congratulations to Shirley Wells, whose new book, INTO THE SHADOWS, is out.

One more day until:

Script Frenzy


The release of PERFECTLY PLUM.

The Dog Blog post on process is up here.

To answer Ivan’s question – basically what I’m doing here is changing my process slightly for this book, and brainstorming in public. There’s still plenty I’m not talking about, because it has to work itself out. I’m careful not to “talk myself out” before it’s written. I’m also interested in tracking back once it’s gone through the revision process to see where it started and how it grew. Ivan, sorry you had a bad experience with Sontag, but not surprised. I was never a fan for reasons I shan’t get into here.

Finished the material for Confidential Job #1, did the write-up, off it went and now I can invoice. Love that part!

Realized I can’t rewrite much of Medusa until I get to the Met on Friday. I need to play with a few more possibilities. While running errands at Staples, I found a scanner small enough to fit in Justin’s backpack, but I think I’ll just have him still retain his research cubicle in the room (we were in there, I can’t remember the name of it) – and say there’s a photocopier in there, whether there is or not. It doesn’t make sense to drag the laptop and the scanner internationally. A photocopy makes more sense. And I’ll add in some quick interchanges with the staff he’d run into on that library route, so he’s not questioned removing a book from the reading room. Problem solved, only stretching reality slightly – but there’s still enough reality to suspend disbelief.

Started work on Chapter 7 of Medusa, but I have to do some research on Greece and the temples in order for Gwen to tell Justin (as they’re walking around Lindisfarne at night) the backstory of the Medusa head. And I might throw in one or two of the Lindisfarne ghost yarns in there while I’m at it. Maybe the black dog running through the Abbey ruins.

Good morning’s work on Good Names. There were a couple of scenes that set up the social dynamic among the women of different economic classes, and some of the alliances and conflicts.

I was supposed to do some sort of errand this morning, but damned if I can remember it.

No hot water today. Again. We’ve had trouble almost all this week. I know they’re still working on the basement and all from the floods, but the last flood was on April 15 and it’s now nearly June. My patience is wearing thin. Not that it’s ever that thick in the first place.

But I am going to have to put the air conditioner in today.

I’m doing several tarot readings today, since it’s the Blue Moon, so I’d better prepare.


Good Names – 20,287 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 16,546 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
16 / 90

Starting tomorrow: the wordmeter bar for City of Lost

May 28 Part II

I’m trying to set up a Script Frenzy blogroll within my regular blogroll and failing miserably. It showed up the way I wanted to for a brief moment, and never again. I don’t know if I have to customize a widget (yeah, like I actually know what that means) or what.

So I emailed support because, unlike Blogger, Word Press support actually reads the question and answers it.

I worked on the questions for the interview which may or may not happen. I’d rather be prepared than have to hem and haw if it comes together more quickly than I expected. I like to plan a good foundation and then improv from there. I’ll poke around NYU a bit, since we’re both alums, and see if there’s any additional research there with which I can prepare. That damned expensive piece of paper might as well be worth something, right? And I actually bit the bullet and set up a MySpace account, because the potential interviewee has a page up. The things I do for my work! 😉

With Colin’s permission, my protagonist Gwen in Tracking Medusa reads Colin’s book Hunting Jack on the plane from NY to London. I love inside jokes like that!

Off to the theatre in the a.m. I hope they don’t keep me for the show – I’d like to do the day call and be done. I’m going in early because I want to stop at the main branch of NYPL and get the photographs and mappage I need for Tracking Medusa. Even though I wrote that section, I want to double check the geography.

On Friday, I might hop up to the Met to remind myself of the proper geography – I might even drag someone along to help me choreograph that sequence for Medusa. I’m pretty sure I have the chase scene from the Greek/Roman gallery through the Sculpture Garden back around to the front, threaded through those two gift shops and into the Egyptian wing correct – but I want to walk it again. And then I want to travel across the park and see the exhibit on Mythical Creatures at the Museum of Natural History. Of course, the NY Historical Society is right next to MNH, so if there’s time, maybe I’ll nip in there and do some research for Good Names. Which means I have to remember to bring pencils, since they don’t allow pens in the reading rooms.

I hate writing in pencil.

I can’t think in pencil. I think in ink.

We’ll see how it goes. I might have to focus on Medusa only on Friday and then go to the Historical Society some other day. But it’s so tempting to try and lump it all together . . .and next week will be insane, with the show and the Belmont and the Tony Awards and everything else. Not enough solitude.

Got one of the big submissions out that had to go out this week. The disk is missing for the other one, and I can’t recreate it in time, so I’m passing on that opportunity. It’s a shame – I have all the production disks, cast breakdowns, call sheets, everything EXCEPT the script. I’m taking it as a sign that it’s just not supposed to go out this time around. I was on the fence about the submission anyway, so that kind of pushed the decision.

Of course, Friday is the first day of Script Frenzy, and I have to get those pages done before I can do anything. But I should be able to knock out four script pages pretty quickly. Actually, I’d like to get the whole first scene out – which I’m estimating will run about 12-14 pages. The outline for the first scene is over a page.

I worked on the outline. And, finally, I have a title, City of Lost. The title, of course, brings up the question “lost what?”, which is answered in the play. It’s the reason the play exists (other than the fact I wanted to use Script Frenzy to exercise those muscles again). And there’s nothing in it that’s even remotely like the series Lost, so don’t worry.

Got more work done on Tracking Medusa today, and I’ll do my typical 1K on Good Names before I leave for the theatre tomorrow.

Oh, and raise your hand if you think I should do an article on the topic of Barbarian Migrations.


Tracking Medusa – 15,553 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15 / 90

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

Most of the day was spent on Tracking Medusa. It’s flowing very well (nearly 6000 words yesterday), and I want to ride the inspirational wave. It’s a fun piece. I’d like to knock it out as fast as possible. I need to revisit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to get some of the geography down, and also the inside of the NYPL on 5th and 42nd. I hate it when writers get geography wrong, and don’t want to fall into that trap. But I’ve got the characters on a plane to London now, so it’s all good.

I did a bunch of internet research on someone I want to interview. Gotta do the homework! Of course, the project about which I want to interview him, I haven’t been able to locate – but I’ll just flat out ask him. First I need to find out if he’s available/interested for the interview – then I’ll ask about that particular project.

Good session on Good Names this morning. I’ve got them settled into the Gramercy Park townhouse, and now I can get in to the meat of the story.

I hope you’re all reading Ian Rankin’s Open Doors, serialized in the NYT Magazine section. It’s terrific.

Off to do the matinee, and then go out for a drink. I don’t want to get in too late, because I want to be fresh for a strong writing day tomorrow.

The friction between the writing life and the theatre life is particularly high today, because I don’t want to lose this creative wave. I’m worried that switching gears to flipping people in and out of their clothes and having to think in technical terms rather than creative ones will hurt.


Good Names – 16,537 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
16 / 100

Tracking Medusa – 10,717 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10 / 90