Fri. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 149 — Baking and Song

image courtesy of Aline Ponce via pixabay.com

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

Yesterday seems far away, for some reason.

But it’s amazing how much calmer the household is, now that each cat has her own catnip banana.

Meditation group was great. It’s such a wonderful way to start the day.

Headed off to Trader Joe’s. Bought more than I planned, but that’s pandemic life. Because I don’t go that often, I buy more when I go. Dashed next door to Target to stock up on a few things I can’t get anywhere else.

Home, full decontamination procedures. There was most of the morning gone, and I was exhausted.

Freelance Chat was fine, and I did some Yoga Nidra work.

Got out some LOIs, worked on some pitches. Got TRINITY OF TEASERS, the promotional package that contains the first three chapters of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA done. It’s taken months to get done because of formatting issues, but I finally got it. Everything took six steps instead of three, but it worked.

I have to check the different formats (PDF, epub, mobi) and then put it up in the media room on the website for free download. Hopefully, that will generate some book sales.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. Everyone’s tired. They’re feeling the stress. But all their parents filled out the Census, which is a good thing. As early voting starts, their parents are voting.

I listened to the CD of the original Broadway cast of HADESTOWN, which I’d ordered from the library. It is amazing. Transcendent. I just loved it. I sat and listened and was transported.

I liked it so much, I ordered my own copy!

The music Is outstanding and the voices spectacular.

One of my pet peeves around here is that they keep producing musicals, but hire too many performers who can’t sing. They’re sharp or flat, they sing around the note, but rarely hit the actual note.

It was nice to hear a glorious score sung truly.

Today I’m finishing the article that requires me to pull examples from different drafts of a stage play and its radio adaptation. I also hope to finish the pitches for the other new-to-me editor. I have some blog posts to write and schedule for posting.

I managed to sleep through the night until 5 AM, and then baked raw apple muffins. I used currants instead of raisins (I love currants), and added allspice, nutmeg, and clove instead of just using cinnamon. It’s based on the Marion Cunningham recipe, and is basically chunks of apple held together with a bit of batter, but I love it.

I’d like to get TRINITY OF TEASERS up and start that promotion.

I also want to work on the novel, and to get started on the Susanna Centlivre play.

Tomorrow, we have to start bringing plants in to overwinter; over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking everything off the deck and putting it away for the winter.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends. Create with joy.

Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 148 — Peace By Catnip Banana

catnip banana photo by author

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

We have achieved peace by catnip banana.

Chewy got the package here by yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it until today). I unpacked it, and put the box itself in quarantine, and now every cat has her own banana. They drag them around, grab and kick, roll on them. And don’t fuss at each other.

If only all peace accords were that simple!

There’s a short post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Yesterday was fine. Got some writing done, headed off to work onsite at a client’s. I was there on my own for the first few hours and got a lot done. The other colleagues filtered in and we only overlapped for about an hour, with everyone following protocols, so it was fine. People were in good spirits,

I was still glad to get out of there, and do the curbside drop-off/pickup at the library and get home. Found the box from Chewy, did the full decontamination process, slid into Remote Chat a few minutes late.

The chat was fun, as always.

I took my afternoon time with Tessa – I spend some time upstairs to play with her and to rest on the acupressure mat every afternoon. Since I’m up between 4 & 5 AM every day, by early-midafternoon, I need a real break.

I’m trying to add in some Yoga Nidra to my practice. One hour of Yoga Nidra is supposedly as restorative as four hours of sleep. With my sleep patterns so disrupted, I want to try it.

I also came up with titles 3 & 4 for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, which will be useful once Book 2 is rewritten properly and off.

Watched Keith Olbermann’s daily commentary, as always. He’s right on point.

Attended a Zoom session from the O’Neill Center, part of their Plays to Progress series. Tonight’s focused on HOW WE GOT ON, by Idris Goodwin. Paige Hernandez, Malik Work, and Brian Quijada were also on the panel, and actors (Deona Bouye, Holden Harris, Jamal Covin, and Miranda Holliday) read a scene from the play.

Something Goodwin said really resonated – that he will never write anything with that purity again (it was his first play). Yes, he’s learned a lot about the craft and structure and all that, but that first play had a purity about it. Patrese McClain, the moderator, pointed out that one can learn the rules and then how to break them to make the work sing and create new forms (something I deeply believe). But he’s also right – that passion and place in the soul where the first play comes from can never be replicated.

The conversation about inclusion and support for artists was very important, collaboration, and lifting up each other’s work, especially in these times. Breaking down structures that don’t work and rebuilding something better.

As someone who has been screaming that we were headed down a dark path since Reagan, told I was being ridiculous, and now, here we are, it was affirming that there are people and artists who are willing to work for change through art.

Goodwin talked about the plays he’s written since March, how they’re different, how they’re using what we’re going through to make art that not only gets us through it, but helps make the world a better place beyond it.

What a contrast to the (mostly white) novelists, especially in cozy mystery and contemporary romance, who are ignoring it. The whole “I don’t do politics” thing. The deep-rooted privilege of it bothers me.

Anyway, it was a terrific evening and gave me hope.

Up early this morning – I actually slept through the night, imagine that. Hope allows room for rest.

Getting some writing done. Then I have the online meditation session with Concord Library (it’s such a great group). After that, a quick run to Trader Joe’s and maybe Target to replenish supplies.

Once I decontaminate from that, I have to pull up the different drafts of the play and radio play I’m using in my article and tackle the rest of the piece, working through the confusion between different drafts. I need to get this article finished, polished, and out the door.

Then, I need to work on the pitches for the other editor. I’d like to get them out later today or early tomorrow. One of my original ideas is morphing, so I have to decide if I want to pitch it as two articles, or drop the first idea and form the second better.

I need to check a few details on the Susanna Centlivre notes. I’ll be ready to start writing the play this weekend.

Plus, get back to work on the novel revisions.

So goes the writer’s life.

Have a good one, friends.

Fri. Oct. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 142 — All Writing

image courtesy of mozlase via pixabay.com

Friday, October 9, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cold

Yesterday was all about SERENE AND DETERMINED. I worked through it, scene-by-scene, line-by-line. I changed, cut, added. I had my friend’s notes next to me, and figured out how to make them work. I added a scene in the second act, to balance it out more, bringing back an antagonist I’d used in the first act.  Lavinia shows more flashes of temper now, and Gian Paolo has a stronger arc as he takes over the contract negotiations from her father.

I’m awfully tempted to write a play in the future centering around the three noblewomen who gave her so much support. Each of them was extraordinary for their time, or for any time, too, and they’re such fun to write.

I took a break for the Freelance Chat. I’d considered skipping it this week, and I should have, because it was difficult to get back to Bologna in the late 1500s after yapping about Buffer and social media tools.

But I got there. It took all damn day to get this revision finished, but I did it.

I then looked over the paperwork for the submission and realized I had to write a “Statement of Objectives” to go with it. Urgh. So I knocked that out. I might have laid it on a little thick, but the passion underlying the words and the process is real.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. A Twitter pal sent me a fun link for more octopus stuff, and it was Octopus Day, so we talked about both the octopus and the bat. We worked on various assignments. There’s less fear and more resignation and determination amongst the kids now, which I think is a good thing. They know continuing remotely is the best choice in this situation; they also realize that they are privileged in ways other kids who don’t have the support they have from their parents and the Knowledge Unicorns aren’t. Several of them are helping kids in their classes, using techniques we’ve been using in the Knowledge Unicorns. And a lot of their classmates are doing homework in the car, driving somewhere that has a Wi-Fi signal, because they don’t have internet at home.

Their bond with each other is growing, and that helps them when kids who are going back to in-person learning (and the parents of those kids) try to bully them. As I said early on, most of the kids in the group didn’t know each other before – they are scattered all over the country. Most of their parents only met once, that time we all were together and down in the house on the beach waaaay back when the parents were kids.

But they’re in communication with each other regularly outside of our sessions, helping each other, hanging out virtually, and I think that’s a positive.

Keith Olbermann is back as a political commentator. He is one of my favorites. He is so smart, so strong, so determined to call out bullshit. I’m absolutely delighted to watch him again every night. I missed the way he puts together and offers information.

Slept through the night, which was nice, although Charlotte was fussing at me way too early in the morning.

Today, SERENE AND DETERMINED gets a final proofread. Then I finish the paperwork and submit it. I know this conference gets thousands of submissions, but if I don’t try there’s no chance. If I try, there’s a 50-50 chance – either they take it, or they don’t.

So I’ll try.

As soon as that goes off, I have to do a curbside drop-off/pick-up from the library.

Then, I will turn my attention to the short story, and work on that. I plan on working through the weekend this weekend. I want to get the short story and all three articles written, polished, and out before Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Because that, my friends, with Mars retrograde at the same time, will be a bumpy ride.

Peace, friends, have a great weekend, and see you on the other side.

Tues. Sept. 22, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 125 — Autumn Equinox

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Mabon, Autumn Equinox

Stormy and cold

Hurricane Teddy is going to give us a bit of a slap as he moves by today, mostly with high surf and winds. We could use a few hours of torrential rain, although we do have a coastal flood advisory out.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about planning in chaos.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death grieves me. I’m also furious at the Republicans for pushing through the next nominee. I’m even more furious at the Democrats for not doing anything. I’m tired of them bringing a cupcake to a gunfight. There is ALWAYS a way to stop the other side and stop the vote. There is ALWAYS a way to derail a nominee. But they’re not willing to do it.

I stress-baked and stress-cooked most of the weekend, instead of doing other things I should have been doing. I did get several loads of laundry done, and I switched out the lace curtains and those pretty sheer rose curtains I made at the beginning of the stay-at-home for the heavier red and gold paisley curtains I use for winter.

I made chocolate chip cookies, cornbread, and tried a chocolate cake from a cookbook borrowed from the library. I’m not sure if I like the cake. It’s a pain in the butt to make, even though it has no eggs. It tastes fine, but with all the hype around it, I expected it to be brilliant, and it’s not. I make other chocolate cake recipes I like better. Still, I will copy out the recipe, in case I want to try it again with tweaks.

I made a crockpot minestrone on Saturday (quick dash to Star Market at 7 AM to get what I needed, and then full decontamination process). That was from a small cookbook I picked up years ago with seasonal garden recipes. That came out very, very well.

I took the bits and bobs discarded from the minestrone and used it to make vegetable stock. I actually used the vegetable stock I made whenever it was I last made it instead of water in the minestrone, and it made a huge difference. It gave it a depth and a richness I liked a lot.

Sunday, I made a cauliflower-leek soup from one of the cookbooks I bought as background for one of the novel ideas with which I’m playing. I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with it. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower anyway. I just sort of felt there should have been more of something, somehow. It’s not bad, it’s better than edible, but I’m not thrilled with it.

I also learned that cauliflower is easier to cut than broccoli. I expected it to be as hard. When I whacked the cauliflower head with the cleaver, it exploded all over the kitchen. So that was a bit of a clean-up.

The soup only used the white part of the leeks. I took the green parts to make leek stock – I will use that in the prep for the next surgery, and froze it.

I also put the discarded bits from the soup into a bag and stashed it in the fridge for the next round of vegetable stock.

Yesterday, I made the Indian stuffed eggplant from Moosewood’s recipe. I also took the bits from the past few days’ vegetables and some tomatoes that looked a bit sad and made more vegetable stock. Making stock this way is fascinating, because no two batches are ever alike.

My friend gave me the notes back on both JUST A DROP and SERENE AND DETERMINED. They’re excellent and workable. She put her finger on what was missing on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and now I can fix it.

I’m going to work on JUST A DROP today – it needs the least work before submission for this particular market, and I need to send it off by the end of the week – company wants to work on plays over a nine-month process (much of it via Zoom) and then do a public reading. I think JUST A DROP could benefit from that, although I don’t want it to lose its theatricality. It’s unabashedly melodramatic at points, and that is a stylistic choice.

Whether it works or not is yet to be determined.

When that is done, I will turn my attention to SERENE AND DETERMINED, which I would like to submit to the O’Neill for next summer. It’s a long shot, but if I don’t try, there’s no shot.

The Susanna Centlivre play is taking shape in my head. By the time I’m done with the revisions on the above two plays, I should be ready to put Susanna’s story down on paper. Then, it’s on to Isabella Goodwin’s play, and then I can circle back around to the Kate Warne one acts I’d planned to write all year. I’ve figured out how to retain them as one acts, but also adapt them into a full-length by adding a supporting character who flows through the evening and also serves as a bit of a Greek chorus/narrator between the plays. I still want to expand CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT to a full-length, adding in Nathan in his jail cell and that whole part of the undercover operation. But that’s down the line a year or two.

I pitched to a couple of arts-related gigs.  One might not work out because the money is lower than I’m looking for; the other might not work out because I don’t think they’d support the necessary relocation and I’m not doing it on my own dime. But again, if I don’t try, there’s no chance.

Yesterday, I got some writing done early in the morning, and then went onsite to my client’s. I was alone in the office, which is as it should be. I got some A/B ads done, and an email blast, and took care of a few things that can’t be done remotely.

Swung by the library to drop off books and do a curbside pickup. Another woman was there, dropping off, and whining that the library is still closed to patrons. “We’re so much better,” she whined. “I work at the hospital and we haven’t had a case in a long time.”

“Maybe they want to keep it that way,” I snapped at her, and stomped off to the table to pick up my books.

It alarms me that stupid works in the hospital. Nantucket has gone up to a red zone for COVID. This area is now up to green (from gray, which is low risk), and our numbers are only climbing. According to the stats I watch, um, yeah, there ARE cases in the hospital, so this person doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Not sure where in the hospital she works, but it’s not anywhere getting information.

And we wonder why we’re not further along fighting this thing.

Well, at least she wore a mask and social distanced.

I’m reading the series I’ve been enjoying (where I stopped reading her other series), and now this one is starting to bother me, too. The disdain this author has for theatre people bugs me. Considering the series is set adjacent to a theatre company, this becomes a problem. The dislike and disdain drips from every sentence in which she includes them. Everyone is always painted in caricature. In 30 years of working professional theatre all over the country and the world, I’ve never encountered anyone working professionally in the theatre who is that un-dimensional. Community theatre and non-pro theatre? Yeah. Because it’s a hobby. Professional theatre? No. A career would be unsustainable.  Most people are multi-dimensional and choose which facets to bring forth at any given time. But not in this author’s books. And it angers me. I’m willing to read the last four books in the series, because I like the way the relationships are building between the characters, but I don’t know if I’d recommend the series. If I ever cross paths with her, I will ask her why she hates theatre people so much.

Also, the protagonist, who I liked because she wasn’t a typical flat cozy protag, is starting to get a self-righteous stick up her ass, and it annoys me.

The book I have to read for review lost me in the first sentence, due to adverbs and lazy writing. I put it down for a bit, and will get back to it today, since, you know, I’m being paid to read it.

However, I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CROSSWAYS (which I someone never got my hands on when it came out last year), and liked it a lot. I like the way this series has grown.

Today is about client work, LOIs, working on JUST A DROP, working on edits for a novel, and, hopefully, cleaning out a few boxes n the basement. One box a week won’t cut it. I need to do at least one box a day, two on weekends. Even that’s not enough, but it’s better than I’ve been doing.

Later today is the Knowledge Unicorns session. We are going to wear tiaras. It was a suggestion that came through over the weekend, and we all decided it would be fun.

Today is the Autumn Equinox, Mabon. We are in a precarious moment of balance, before tipping back into the dark. I’m looking forward to tonight’s ritual.

Blessed Mabon, friends.

Tues. April 9, 2019: Catching Up on the Adventures

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Waxing Moon

I bet you want to hear about my adventures last week, don’t you?

Which I’ll get to in a minute.

There are all kinds of games to connect writers now on Twitter. Which is great and fun and interesting. But too many of them demand information from WIPs. That does not work for me. If I talk the book, it takes away from writing the book. It dilutes the creativity. Not to mention that actually posting something from a draft blows the ability to sell first rights (and, for the series under contract, they are specific NOT to post anything from a draft, just excerpts from edited, contracted work), and early draft material splattered on the internet is more likely to turn readers off than engage them. It harms the work. It harms the quality. And talking about switching places with the MC or putting them in a different situation — no. Just no. They are part of the construct of their world. Putting them in a different world doesn’t add anything to them or the book. It hurts everything.

So I skip those questions. Because people can post whatever they want on their own timelines.

But I will not put the work at risk. The work is central. The work is what’s important. I’ll talk process until the cows come home, but I only post excerpts and lines and information from the actual work when it’s ready to go out into the world. — once it’s under contract and has been edited.

Wednesday morning, we left early for Vermont. The stretch from the Cape to Worcester is always the worst, but once we got past that, it was nice driving. We drove out of a storm and into sunshine (once we were over the bridge onto the mainland, it was already better weather).

Turned north at Springfield and went into Vermont.

It took a lot longer than I expected it to take. Vermont is interesting, because, although there’s not much traffic, the roads are long and often windy, and you have to drive around things instead of straight shots between destinations.

The quality of light is very different, and the quality of air is very different.

We ended up in a small hotel in Quichee Gorge, which was fine. Drove around to get oriented. Everything seems quite far away from everything else. Weathered and funky rather than ostentatious.

Dinner meeting, took care of some other business. Watched some TV in the room at night, but really, I so prefer watching DVDs. The sound and image got out of sync on one particular station, and it was annoying.

Up early the next morning. Stuck to my morning yoga and meditation routine (I’d brought my travel mat). It was another sunny, lovely, beautiful day.

The hotel served a hot breakfast as part of the stay, which was great. Then I headed off for a day of meetings, some with potential new clients, some with those for whom I do some remote writing. There’s a lot of solar and wind energy, people are dedicated to recycling and doing better for the planet. Fox Disinformation doesn’t play in public areas. People are committed to doing good work while maintaining a high quality of life. I met with a lot of smart people who are good at what they do, which was nice.

It was interesting, busy, creative, but I was tired by the time I was done in the mid-afternoon.

We drove back as far as Sturbridge, and checked into my favorite Publick House. We were up in the Lodge, with all its toile, which always makes me laugh. The room was great, the food in Ebenezer’s Tavern was terrific, and it was a nice way to wind down after a busy couple of days.

Friday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, then drove home. I ran around and did some grocery shopping, and then, exhausted, just worked on contest entries and thank you notes.

Saturday morning, I was up early trying to get things done, and then on the 9:45 bus to Boston. Another gorgeous, sunny day, and much warmer than I expected. It was a lovely ride.

Amazing how much the city coping skills come back instantly. The focus, the confidant stride, the “don’t mess with me” vibe. Even though I’d never ridden the T before (imagine, I’ve lived here for nine years, and it was the first time I took the T), I got my Charlie card, found the Red Line, and off I went.

Of course, it’s public transportation, and nothing is easy. So, at Harvard Square, we had to get off the T because of construction, and were taken by shuttle bus to the next stops.

It was nice to be above ground and get a sense of Harvard and Cambridge and all that.

The theatre was only a few blocks from the Davis Square stop, in Somerville. Somerville reminds me of Queens a bit, and I mean that as a compliment. Lots of great little restaurants and shops, busy, lively, upbeat. People of all ages and diverse — very different from down here on Cape.

Everyone was very nice. They were genuinely happy to see me, which was nice. Because so often, the writer is considered an obstruction to the production instead of an asset.

They did a wonderful, wonderful job with “Confidence Confidant.” Their commitment to the piece, their talent, their excitement, their creativity — it was all great.

I met the director, assistant director, producer, house manager/board member. It was an excellent experience. It was great to meet everyone, and meet some audience members who were excited about it. It was a good-sized house, which thrilled us all, and a very responsive audience. The laughs hit where I hoped they would. I want to tighten the scene in the garden for future productions, and beef up the role of Bill. That role was woefully underwritten, and I’m grateful that the actor made it work.

They suggested I submit “Horace House Hauntings” for their October show. I don’t think it exactly fits the guidelines, since it’s not adapted from legend or folklore, but, you never know. I’ll think about it.

The other play on the bill was also fun, having to do with airships and bank robberies and mistaken identities, adapted from a silent film.

All in all, a lovely afternoon.

Headed back to the shuttle bus, which took me back to the Red Line at Harvard Square, which took me back to South Station. The subways have far fewer seats here than the ones in NYC. People expect to stand.

I tell you, though, there’s even more walking involved in this transit system than in New York. I’d be back in shape within a month if I had to do it every day.

Caught the 5:15 bus, and was back home by 7. Some traffic coming out of Boston, but I just sat on the bus and read my book. The bus was nearly full from the airport when it hit South Station, and those on the bus were disgruntled that more passengers got on, and, heaven forbid, their luggage couldn’t have its own seat. Sorry, sweetie, it’s people before purses.

But P&B has made the bus as a quiet zone — yes, you can call to tell someone which bus you’re on and what time you’ll arrive, but no ongoing conversations during the ride. Makes it much better.

Tired, but happy tired. Still re-watching WEST WING. Worked on more contest entries. Heated up leftovers for dinner. Fell into bed, exhausted.

Had trouble getting up on Sunday, but got there. I should have gone out and done yard work. Instead, I worked on contest entries, planted the rest of my tomato seeds, wrote.

I finished the first draft of the radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.” I need to let it sit a few days, because it needs work. Started a draft of “Organizing the Dead” which is a darker paranormal comedy that I might also submit to PMRP. I want to take the idea that derailed the original draft of “Horace House Hauntings” and took it out of farce, and see if I can develop it here. We’ll see.

I’m getting back into the rhythm of GRAVE REACH, which is pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to diving further into this book. Lesley is growing into herself, and Sam is an intriguing character.

This week will be stressful, on a lot of fronts, so I’m trying to mentally prepare.

Worked with a client yesterday, which wore me out, although we did good work. Had another appointment, and then skipped meditation, because I wasn’t feeling well. With a client today, too, and then another location after. Trying to keep all the flaming coconuts in the air and still keep my sanity.

I should go out tonight, but, honestly, I don’t feel up to it.

Back to the page.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

Day work was fine yesterday. The building was quiet, which always helps. There was a lot of dry cleaning to haul up four flights of stairs and sort out, and haul some of back to the basement, but it was fine.

I went over to the restaurant where the party will be held for the launch of HEX BREAKER to order the h’ors d’oeuvres and take care of the last minute details. I’m having anxiety because I should have SOMETHING to give away, some sort of promotional whatever, but since the cover art was just approved, it’s too late to order anything without huge rush charges. I was thinking of getting some nice cardstock and printing the excerpt on it and giving that out, but I don’t know. I have to think, and I’m really feeling too tired to think.

It was odd not to be on the show last night. At a few minutes past eight, the soundtrack began running in my head. So I was hearing the show inside my skull (guess there’s a lot of room in there), but not doing the cues. Very odd.

Today, I have to deal with some practicalities – like paying the bills I’ve ignored for three weeks – and then get back into the writing. I need to write at least three of the eight articles due by the end of the week. Laundry would also be a good thing to deal with.

I also have to get back to the revisions on REAL and back to work on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and the other dangling projects.

Lots to do – better get moving.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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

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


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

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 8:13 am  Comments (9)  

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and sticky

Woke up exhausted. The past three weeks caught up with me. Got a slow start this morning. Tomorrow, I’ll have to do things like go through the mail I haven’t opened in three weeks and pay some bills.

I’m already missing my actors; I’ve been lucky to be in a positive (mostly) environment for the past few weeks with people I care about. Not being there regularly will leave a hole in my life. However, we’re all scattering to follow our paths, and, again, it’s about trusting in the bonds created.

Revising REAL is like watching an episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE. Things I wrote about as fiction a year and a half ago have actually happened in life much the way I wrote about them in the book. Now the dilemma becomes do I change that and re-fictionalize it, or do I keep it in, even though it’s too close to the bone for my comfort? I have to sit back and ask, “What serves the story best?” and follow it from there. But it’s a little disconcerting.

I ordered some CDs put out by friends; I need new music for the next few months. Also, since some of them are by people I worked with on the show, it’s a way of keeping them close.

I have to figure out what I’m going to do about the promotional stuff for HEX BREAKER, and now that the cover art is final and the edits approved (less than a week before release), I have to get back on track with promotion.

This will be a busy week. I need to re-gather my energy and focus it on the launch and on the other writing that needs to be done.

I’d like another day off to just “be”, but that’s not an option.

Off to catch a train for day work.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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

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


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

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 8:12 am  Comments (2)  

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky, thunderstorms

So my big excitement today was grocery shopping; which, considering how tumultuous the past few weeks have been, was a lot of fun. The larder is re-stocked, finally, although as soon as I got home, I realized I forgot a bunch of stuff. Oh, well.

My actor had popped several buttons Thursday and Friday (on Thursday, he popped a suspender button during one of the songs, and Friday a jacket button just as he had to go on stage at the top of the show—nothing like having to stitch a costume under time pressure with the actor in it). So, Saturday, when he was out for the matinee, I took all his costume pieces and stitched everything down, whether it looked like it needed it or not! The only other thing I can do is stitch him INTO the costume and leave him there for his final week! 😉

I had the understudy for the matinee – I love working with this guy, too. Both of the actors in this role are terrific, both on and offstage, and I’ll miss then a lot now that I’m not on the show regularly. I miss all my boys, because they’re wonderful. They’re a special, special bunch, and I feel privileged to have had this time with them.

But it’s time for me to put the focus back on the writing.

I haven’t been able to order any of the fun promotional stuff for HEX BREAKER because cover art, page proofs, etc. are so far behind. I may just pick a few things, create my own logo and go for it. It still won’t be done for the release date, but at least I’ll know it’s done and I can start some of these contest things. I mean, don’t ALL of you just want to win a copy of HEX BREAKER and it’s gifty stuff?! 😉

I’ve got a friend in town, so I’m actually going to spend some time acting like a grownup today. And I get to cook, which I haven’t done AT ALL in the past three weeks – I’ve just tossed together something at the last minute or eaten take-out.

Tomorrow I have day work, but that’s it; I hope to get some writing done before I go in, finish the reading for Confidential Job #1, and maybe get to work on the 8 short articles that are due at the end of the week. I also have to finalize the arrangements for the HEX BREAKER release party.

As much as I’ll miss my actors, especially both the one heading out on tour and the understudy about to take over the role, I’m confident and secure in the seeds of friendship sown over these past weeks, and that, although we don’t see each other every day and in the context in which we’re used to, we will continue in each other’s lives. So it’s not as much of a wrench as it would be if I was worried they’d be out of my life for good. You often say you’ll stay in touch with people, but then they drift away – I don’t think that’ll happen to us here.

Now . . .to actually enjoy A DAY OFF!

Devon

Published in: on July 27, 2008 at 11:02 am  Comments (3)  

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The weather finally broke, and it’s not as hot and disgusting as usual.

My editor accepted the tweaks I made in the edits, and the book goes to press this weekend for its release date of August 1. I’m nervous. I want people to like it, and I want the book to find its audience, so that the series can grow.

I wasn’t particularly productive yesterday, although I got in some work on REAL. It amazes me that I wrote the piece about a year and a half, two years ago, and some of the work-related things I fictionalized have come to pass since I wrote it.

I’m exhausted. And I’ll be tired for awhile. The past few weeks at the show have been challenging, with all the transitions, and there are more this weekend, at least for me, which includes saying goodbye to the actor on the show with whom I’ve worked the most closely. The leaving part is always hard, even when all of you go on to good things.

But I haven’t gotten enough writing done in the past weeks, with all this other stuff going on, and I need to get back on track. These books won’t write themselves. If it’s not written, it can’t go out into the world.

I’m working onsite in CT most of the day, then doing the show, then going back out to CT and going in to do two shows tomorrow – doubt I’ll blog again until Sunday or Monday. I plan on giving myself Sunday as an actual day off.

And then, the big push for the HEX BREAKER release begins.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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

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


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

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 7:28 am  Comments (7)  

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Exhausted. It’s been a busy couple of days.

I was supposed to have Tuesday off completely from the show, but the supervisor was sick and asked me to sit in the chair. It was no big deal – she’s very organized, and everything was taken care of. It was only dealing with daily details and any emergencies that might come up. But it was still hours in the building, when I really needed to be elsewhere, working on the page proofs. I brought them with me, but for awhile the room was like Grand Central and I finally had to put my foot down.

Earlier, I’d gone into the city and wandered around. I had to go to Aphrodesia on Bleecker St. to pick things up to put together a Wellness Kit for my actor who’s going out on tour, and I wandered around looking for a birthday present for another actor with whom I’m close. I also stopped by Stick, Stone, and Bone on Christopher Street – they have wonderful crystals and all kinds of things. It was a long, hot day and I wasn’t feeling too well myself, but everything got done. I decided to give the actor his birthday present early because one of the creative team minions had been particularly vile and destructive towards him the night before, and I figured he could use the boost. I didn’t see him at all Tuesday, but he thanked me yesterday. The gift meant a lot. I found him something with particular meaning to both the current situation and looking forward to his new year.

I stayed up to finish the page proofs – more difficult than it should have been, but not something I can diplomatically discuss publicly. Most of yesterday was spent putting the corrections into the proofs. Then, I ran a clean copy and worked on them at the show last night. I dressed the girls instead of the boys last night, so I had more time, especially in the first act, to work on the proofs. Show was fine; it was strange not to be in the track I’ve done steadily the last few weeks, but I like everyone in the track I had, so it was all good. And the boys stopped by to create a moment here and there just to say hi and catch up. I’m with them for the rest of the week, so we get to play again.

Came home, put in the changes, and sent off the proofs around 1:30 in the morning. I just can’t look at them anymore, and I hope that the places where I stood firm on certain things will remain. The book is set to release a week from tomorrow, and this down-to-the-wire stuff makes me tense.

I can take a breath today. I’d love to do some work on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and/or OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, but I’m so weary, both physically and emotionally, that I might just cut myself a break.

Confidential Job #1 finally sent me a new assignment (rate cut kicks in). It’s been over a month. So I want to get started on that.

I’m a little worried because I haven’t pursued freelance jobs in these past two weeks of chaotic theatre stuff, and I don’t want the work to dry up. But working so closely with the actors makes me realize that I want to keep pursuing other theatre opportunities as a writer. Several have come up in these weeks, and I’m going to see if I can land a few. I love the dynamic with actors, the creative process. However, it would be very easy to fall back into doing this full-time again and lose the writing, and that, ultimately, would wind up eating at my soul.

Finding that balance is always tricky, and it’s gotten even trickier these past weeks. Last week there was no balance – with everything going on, my entire life revolved around the show, and the writing suffered. And I have to remember to always protect the writing first.

So, I’m tired, and I have a lot to think about. I’m finishing the Wellness Kit today and taking it in with me. I have to run a few errands, like getting wrapping paper and picking up another bottle of wine.

But I’m going to try to take it easy.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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

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


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

Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 8:34 am  Comments (2)  

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Hot, humid, cloudy

There’s a fun interview with me on Michelle Pillow’s Pillow Talk Blog here:</a

Exhausted.

Yesterday was busy, trying to finish the changeover. The regular dresser was back in the track, and I was there to smooth the transition. The new cast members had their Broadway debuts last night, which was always fun. The understudy was on for the actor who was sick, so I got to see him in the role, and I thought he was terrific. This guy will take over the role in a few weeks; his interpretation is very different from the previous actors in the role, and he fills it with a passion and a vitality that then turns to pain and anger and despair – he’s going to be wonderful in the role on an ongoing basis. He’s such a passionate force of nature offstage and to see him translate that into the work is wonderful. If he’s this astonishing at nineteen, I can only imagine what he’ll be like by the time he’s thirty and fully grown into himself.

It was wonderful to see the show. I’d listened to it every night working it, but to see it from the front was an entirely different experience. It’s beautiful. I hadn’t realized the BEAUTY of the piece, the way the space is used to its full theatricality, and the detail work. It was a great experience. I can see why people connect so strongly to the show and the performers. I am truly proud to be associated with it.

Unfortunately, it meant no page proofs were done. I have to do them today.

But . . .I have to go in to the city this afternoon to take care of a few things, and then I’m supervising the show tonight, because the supervisor is out sick. I’m taking the page proofs with me.

What I really need is sleep, but that won’t happen until some time next week.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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

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


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

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 8:36 am  Comments (5)  

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

Phew! Busy, emotionally charged few days. I’m looking forward to a bit of a break.

Friday was a long day, putting in the new cast, then doing the show with the current cast, and everyone handling separation anxiety in their own ways. I knew I had to cut everyone more slack than usual, but there were still moments where it got exasperating.

I tried to work on page proofs, but couldn’t.

Got barely 2 ½ hours of sleep Friday into Saturday before I had to turn around and head back in for the photo call. My understudy will take over one of the roles when the other actor goes on tour, and there’s a new actor coming in at the end of next month to take over one of the other leads. So, of course, they schedule a photo call at 8 AM on a two show day that happens to be the transition day for the casts. Nothing like planning, you know? Photo call was fine – typical b.s. and there are just times when you have to stand up for the actors and their comfort. There were some things I didn’t like, and I later spoke to the company manager about it, because I felt they needed to be said. Since I’m not there all the time, I have the least to lose and don’t have to worry about kowtowing to anyone, so I have no problem with being the one to say them. In this case, I’m lucky in that company management truly likes and respects me, so I don’t have to worry about diplomacy.

For the matinee, I had another understudy, one whose last show would be that night, in one of the lead roles. It was an emotional show for him, and he did a beautiful job. I got to have a lovely sit-down catch-up chat with the actor who left the role last December, and with whom I haven’t spoken in months. He went out of his way to be kind to me when I first started on the show, and it was great to be able to have an in-depth conversation.

Evening show was insane – the fans and former cast mates were screaming and cheering at every possible point for the performers who were leaving. And, one of my actors was ill, so it was a case of making sure he could get through the show in one piece, and then sneaking him out a different exit away from the crazed fans so he could get home. And then saying the goodbyes and gathering up costume pieces and laundry and all the stuff you have to do when they leave.

There was a party, but I skipped it. I was too tired. I got home a little after midnight, and went to bed pretty soon thereafter.

The cats woke me up early on Sunday, but I rolled over and went back to sleep. I finally got up and went grocery shopping – there was nothing in the house except cat food.

I managed to get out of the house a little after noon, and head upstate, to see my friend’s show. A group of us met up in New Paltz – only to find they’d blocked off the route in the directions due to a local fair. We were told to take a detour, but it was poorly marked, so there was a bit of chaos until it was sorted out. We got to the show with about five minutes to spare.

The production was LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, which is one of my favorite shows anyway, and it was directed, choreographed, and costumed by the friend for whom I’ve been covering these past weeks on Broadway. We were a nice group from the city, and we clapped and cheered – because the production was WONDERFUL! Not only did it look and sound great – the beats were clean, the detail work was gorgeous, it was such a good, good, good show. Our friend really needs to direct more – this is his calling. He had young, and sometimes very inexperienced performers, and they were wonderful. He really knows how to reach out to them, find the best in them, and bring it forward. It’s a rare and beautiful gift. And I’m so glad he shared it with us.

We went out to dinner at a lovely local restaurant, and then drove back. Traffic was bad coming back, and it was about 11 PM by the time I got home.

I checked in with my sick actor, who felt better enough to be funny, and went to bed. I’m headed back in to the show this morning (page proofs in hand to work on during breaks) – the new cast members start tonight, my friend is back from the directing gig, and I’m going to do the day work, help with the transition, and then stay to watch the show.

So it will be a long day, without much writing and without much time to work on the proofs – which I need to turn around quickly. But I was very clear with my editor that I needed the proofs EARLY last week because I couldn’t work on them late in the week and I didn’t get them until Thursday night, so . . .it is what it is.

Another long and busy day. But I think it will be a good one.

Devon

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 7:12 am  Comments (7)  

Busy. Not Blogging

I won’t be able to blog until Monday, probably.

Off to the theatre for a put-in with the new actors; show tonight with previous actors. Back by midnight; stuff to do. On a 6 AM train tomorrow for an 8 AM photo call, and then a matinee with a different understudy and an evening show that is the final one for five company members. Back later than midnight, I’m sure.

And you thought a life in the theatre was GLAMOROUS! Pft!

Sunday, it’s upstate to see a show my friend is directing.

In edits for REAL (there’s interest) and the page proofs finally arrived for HEX BREAKER. How I’m going to turn them around this weekend is a mystery to me. . .

Devon

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 7:52 am  Comments (8)