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)  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, humid, sticky

Long day yesterday, but fine. Didn’t get much writing done before I left, because there was business to deal with. Had a good exchange with my PR person. Still waiting for page proofs, which concerns me.

Matinee was, um, interesting. I had my understudy on, and he had a rough show – one of those Murphy’s Law shows. But we got through it and lived through it and now it’s fine. I tossed a piece of a costume in the quick change and didn’t see where it landed, so, while the actor was on stage doing his scene, I was crawling around backstage with the bite light searching for it so I could re-set and put him back into it in the following scene. So that was my excitement for the day. I had a good dinner with a friend where we got to vent about everything that annoys us, and then back to the second show. The understudy was on a different role, which was fun. Everything was fine. There are a million little things going on backstage that wouldn’t make sense to anyone who’s not living in the day-to-day details of the place. And we laugh a lot. Which is good.

Got home around midnight; had trouble sleeping. I’m trying to pace myself for a long few days this weekend. It will be fine, it will simply be emotional and dealing with the various forms of separation, rather than just going in there, dealing with some clothing, and walking out of the building.

I need to get a lot of writing done this morning; I have to go in early to meet someone.

And, of course, the building crap is rearing its ugly head again.

Sigh.

Devon

Published in: on July 17, 2008 at 7:51 am  Comments (5)  

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

I got the article done and hit “send” about five minutes before I had to leave for the theatre. Not my best work.

Cover art discussions back and forth all day. My original vision is very different, but we’ve come to an agreement and will run with it. And Billy is not included in the cover, which is a disappointment – I feel all three of the main characters are important, but they want the focus on Jain and Wyatt.

Show was fine. Everyone’s dealing with the transition in their own way, and you just have to give them a lot of room. The actors coming in are trailing to learn the backstage as well as onstage maneuvering, so it’s pretty crowded. But it’s fine. It will be a long week, but it will all be good.

I’m going to try to get a little bit of writing done before I have to leave for the show – another two show, 14-hour day for me. Tomorrow, I have a bit of a break during the day, but Friday, we put in the new cast, so it’s another 14 hour day, and Saturday, I have to be at the theatre at 8 AM for a photo call and then do two shows, so, for me, including the commute, Saturday is an 18 hour day (6 AM – midnight). But it will be fine. The hours are long, but the people are pleasant, which makes up for a lot. Saturday will be intense, because it’s the last day for five cast members, but it is what it is. This is a transitional business – everything changes.

This week, my life is about the show, not about my own work, although I’m trying to keep somewhat of a balance. I have a lot of opportunities opening up for me, and I want to make decisions that are smart both on a creative level and a business level.

Devon

Published in: on July 16, 2008 at 8:30 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , ,

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

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)  

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and mild

So, did you have a good weekend? Are you ready for SUMMER?

I have links and things for you, so click to your heart’s content.

It’s time to catch up with my articles:

“The Misbehaving Character” in the current issue of VISION. I quote authors Colin Galbraith, Jenny Gardiner, and Jackie Kessler on how they handle characters that just won’t do what’s planned.

“Preakness Phenom”, up on FEMMEFAN, is my post-Preakness wrap-up, here.

In the same issue of FEMMEFAN, I have an article with suggestions on how to make racing safer.

In case you missed it, my Kentucky Derby wrap-up, “Run for the Roses: Triumph and Pain Intermixed” is here.

Got that?

Good.

On top of that, have you ever visited NASA’s website? It’s really cool. I hopped on because I’m interested in the Mars Phoenix Project. I didn’t realize how many concurrent projects are running at NASA right now. For some reason, I thought they’d lost all their funding and only the space shuttle stuff was going on. I was wrong, to say the least. Check it out if you get a chance.

And, continuing with Memorial Day honors, have you ever heard of The Arlington Ladies? They attend EVERY funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. They are a dedicated and amazing group of women.

Yesterday was pretty productive. Did a couple of drafts/polishes on THE MATILDA MURDERS, and went from feeling insecure about it to feeling pretty good. I’m taking another look at it this morning and off it goes. Read the material for Confidential Job #2 and took notes; will type and send them this morning. Didn’t get enough work done on the anthology story, but will drag it around with me today. Got out a few submissions.

Good morning’s work on the adaptation. I’m in the middle of a very complicated sequence right now.

I’m away from writing most of the day, because I was called in to work a photo call and then I have a show tonight.

So visit the links above and enjoy!

Devon

Adaptation: 45,176 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
45 / 90
(50.0%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


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

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


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

Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 7:26 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Stormy

There are several topics to discuss to day, so I used sub-headers. Enjoy!

Negotiating Fees
So, I got a nasty but interesting email yesterday. Now, I get a couple of dozen nasty emails per week – that’s part of putting yourself out there. If you can’t deal with nasty emails, don’t have a blog/website/public life. Because there’s always the delete button and/or reporting the mailer to the ISP or the authorities, if it’s really squirrelly or dangerous. I don’t consider people who disagree with me necessarily nasty. Some dear friends and readers disagree with me on some issues, and/or give me a good solid kick when I need it, and that’s good. But there are also the parasites, and they’re a part of being out there. A lot of it comes from wanna-be writers I’ve never met and have no reason to deal with who demand that I coach/critique/write their idea for nothing/”get them published”, because as a published writer, I “owe” it to unpublished writers to get them published.

Now, we writers work our butts off, and most of us pay it forward, help other writers . . .who are willing to put in the work. But, simply because I am published and someone else is not, I do not “owe” that person anything. Help needs to be earned.

However, this nasty email was a little different and interesting enough for me to mention the topic. The person wrote that I am a hypocrite, because I advocate sticking to one’s rates, adding things like “aggravation fees” and late payments, and setting boundaries. This person claims to have read something of mine on a site I will call “Site X” for the purposes of this discussion, and then read the guidelines, which state that writers are unpaid. Therefore, I must be a hypocrite.

Uh, no. There’s a difference between taking on a pro bono client and writing 100 articles to sell at $1/each or not getting paid for them at all.

I have a couple of pro bono clients. Usually, it’s for a cause or organization in which I have a deep personal investment and belief. And, in spite of being pro bono, we still have a contract in place so that there are no misunderstandings. I also use samples of the work I do for these clients in my portfolio, landing me other, paid work.

I also write/have written for publications/sites that state in their guidelines that they do not pay writers. However, everything is negotiable. That doesn’t mean I sent them a submission and said, “You gotta pay me for this or else.” Most of these publications have approached me to write for them and we’ve negotiated a fee. That’s different then sending in something over the transom. And if you don’t know what sending over the transom means . . .go look it up.

I’ve always said, in discussions about payment, that each individual needs to negotiate on a case-by-case basis. When you say, “I never pick up a pen for less than X” – fine. But you may well miss some great opportunities. You may be in a position to do so, and that is YOUR CHOICE. Sometimes you come across a publication you think is just great and also has growth potential, and you want to be involved. Go for it. I choose not to join bidding sites, because I firmly do not believe in paying for job listings; if an employer simply wants to go for the lowest bid instead of the best writer, that is the employer’s prerogative, and it shows me that we’re not a good match anyway, so why put either of us through a miserable experience? I also choose not to work for sites that want a large amount of content per week/month churned out for a pittance. First of all, I don’t believe that many writers can maintain quality at that high a volume – and, if they can, they ought to be working for people who pay $1/word, because they’ll be able to retire in Tahiti in about five years – and they deserve so to do. Second, I don’t want to be tied down to a single site for 20 articles a week for crap money for weeks or months on end because I get too many good, well-paying, fascinating opportunities coming in and many of them involve travel. Third, I actually value my work and, by focusing on clients who value strong skills and content, we’re both happy and well-paid.

It’s case by case and everyone needs to make their own decisions and draw their own boundaries. The problem, in many cases, is once you establish yourself at working for crap pay, the companies willing to pay more are unlikely to hire you because they believe you get what you pay for; in other words, if your previous employers paid crap, that must be what they got. By establishing a reasonable fee within your market (and a small-town market’s reasonable fee will be different than a fee in a corporation based in New York or Los Angeles), you gain respect and are paid within the ballpark of what you’re worth. Because let’s face it, do we ever truly believe we’re being paid what we’re worth? We always want to challenge ourselves to move to the next level.

Do your research on the potential employer, have a clear-headed view of your own qualifications and how fast you write, and go from there. And talk to other freelancers – those who do it full-time – to get an idea of fee structures.

Life Stuff
Had a great day with my mom. Talked to my grandmother and she sounded good (what a relief). Went to White Plains, to one of my favorite Asian markets to get some vegetables, replace the bagua mirror for the front door that the scumbags smashed a few weeks ago (wouldn’t want to be them when that karma makes its return trip), and picked up a ceramic jar that I’m going to use as a kind of a “prayer pot” and a little ceramic bowl to use for . . .well, I’m not sure, but it was pretty, and I bought it.

Helped a friend move a massive piece of furniture. We celebrated with a beer (Blue Moon, of course). And another neighbor gave me a stack of leather-bound books she was getting rid of. I look forward to going through them!

I’m booked on a bunch of shows over the coming weeks, and the schedule works out so that the days I’m not on the show, I can be up in MA house hunting and doing some other work that’s booked up there. Even if the relocation starts during those weeks, I have a place I can stay here and complete my commitment. So it’s all good.

Mostly took the day off as a “holy day” celebrating my mom and some great women in my life.

Unfortunately, my mom got sick in the night, so I’m playing nurse today to make sure she’s okay.

Writing
Most of it was mental work, not physical. Lots of “mental writing” – plotting, working things out, making a few notes on a few different projects, some pacing and muttering. Got some work done on the adaptation. It keeps surprising me in a good way. It will be able to be a complete stand-alone; there’s also room to do more with these characters that doesn’t hinge on this book. So it’s the best of both worlds.

So today, I have to give the work for Confidential Job #1 its polish and I have to dive into the essay. I have some serious deadlines this week, so I better hop to it. Because I have a short week, due to the Preakness, and next week’s looking pretty busy, with a research trip to the Museum of Natural History, the PEN Literary Awards, acupuncture, and shows.

I had a good morning’s work on the adaptation. Now, on to everything else.

Kent, thanks for stopping by. I’ll look for your YA story, and I’m also looking forward to what comes out in the future.

Hope you have a great start to your week!

Devon

Adaptation – 30,626 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
30 / 90
(33.3%)

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 12, 2008 at 7:58 am  Comments (10)  

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

I’m back. I lived a lifetime in a few days, and had my hands full with my elderly relatives and their primary care person, who was also under the weather. Unfortunately, I can’t go into details without invading their privacy, much as I would like your opinions on some of the events. Let’s just say it was – and is – complicated.

We had some beautiful days, though. I managed to stop for awhile at one of the Ongonquit beaches. On another day, I drove up to Naples and around Long Lake and Sebago Lake. Just gorgeous.

I stopped at three great restaurants: Amore Breakfast in Ongonquit, The Stone Dog Café in North Windham, and my old favorite, The Egg and I, in Ogonquit. Of course, we stopped at The Stonewall Kitchen to stock up. They have a new Roasted Apple grilling sauce that’s wonderful, and a Mango Lime Salsa. Plus, I needed the Garlic Teriyaki and the Wasabi Ginger sauces.

I continued reading Will in the World, and taking notes for the various projects it feeds. It truly is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. The author, Shakespearean scholar Stephan Greenblatt, has a play he co-wrote, Cardenio, opening at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge. I’d like to get up there to see it. It’s only running until June 8, and I’m not sure I can get up there within the time frame, but I’d like to.

I was disappointed in two other books I took up with me. Both were by authors I don’t know personally, but whose work I’ve read before, and who I understand from others are lovely people. Both sell very well, and I respect what they’ve achieved in the business. One author’s work I’d read before and liked; the other’s work I’d read before and it exasperated me, due to the lack of research and believability. The attitude that came across to me was, “well, I’m writing fiction, so who cares? I’m supposed to make it up.” I thought maybe I’d been unfair and should give Author #2 another chance with my money and time. Won’t make that mistake again. The ideas were fun, but poorly executed. The work took place overseas, and it was obviously she got her info from the tourist board and something like Wikipedia. There was no sense of anything unique about it – it was advertorial travel babble, not a true sense of place. And, while I thought some of the ideas were clever, the execution was poor. I know this author sells A LOT, but, although some of the ideas are clever and fun, I find the writing sloppy and all the protagonists and antagonists always sound exactly the same, no matter from which country they supposedly originate. There’s no cadence, there’s no individuality in either people or place. And it drives me nuts.

At least there weren’t any typos. That author has a good copyeditor!

The other book, by the author whose work I previously liked, was an even bigger disappointment. Again, some interesting ideas. But I loathed the female protagonist. There was absolutely no reason for me to give a damn whether or not she survived, much less succeeded in her quest. I hated her and wished she’d be killed off. She was weak, stupid, and selfish, and, when she had shown zero growth by the midpoint of the book and zero potential for it, I put the book down.

But no typos. 😉

I did read the last chapter to see if I should go back and read the second half of the book – couldn’t be bothered. Ick. Which is a shame, because I’ve really enjoyed other work by this author. It doesn’t put me off the author, unless the next few books alienate me as well. I think writers should write whatever they want to explore, and not every book is going to please every reader. It is the writer’s right to follow the vision. Once I’ve decided I like a writer, it usually takes several books to alienate me.

I got more writing done than I expected, which is good. Of course, none of it was on what I planned to work. It was an idea I had while in Maine, and Maine is practically a character in it. It means doing some research on the natural history of Maine, but that will be fun.

I also got some ideas for a new Fearless Ink brochure, which I will sketch out and work on this week. I found some places for whom I’d really like to write on this trip, but I need a new brochure, and I think I’m out of business cards.

The mail tampering in this building has gotten out of control. It’s time to bring in the US Postal Inspectors. I had someone stop by to pick up the mail every day I was gone after work – and by the time the person got here, the mail that didn’t fit into the boxes had been tossed. I’ve talked to management over and over and OVER about this, and we have an eyewitness to the perpetrator, who was spoken to about the fact that removing someone’s mail is a felony. His response was to shrug, walk away, and keep doing it. Time to bring in the feds. I put up a poster provided by the post office with the consequences of mail tampering and it was ripped off the wall during the day. Gee, wonder who’s doing it? Three guesses, bet you’ll get it in one. I’m going to keep printing them and keep putting them up. It is my right, as it is my right to have un-tampered mail. I should not have to pay for a post office box because building employees are thieves. I warned building management what the consequences would be of ignoring this situation; now it’s time to show them I’m serious.

Yesterday was a raw, rainy, cold day, so of course I was running around like crazy and got soaked to the skin. I’d had to cancel out of a few things because of complications in Maine and here at the building. But I was still running around enough to be soaked to the skin.

On the up side, I stopped in a bookstore because I wanted something different. I wanted new-to-me authors and something I wasn’t being paid to read.

I picked up two books. One, Summers at Castle Auburn, is by one of my favorite authors, Sharon Shinn. The other is an anthology called Misspelled, edited by a new-to-me author (with an amazing track record) named Julie E. Czerneda. I started reading it on the train, and all I have to say is:

WOW!

What a great, witty, charming, intelligent, inventive collection of stories! I can’t wait to go to the bookstore and get more by these authors. I sat down and read the whole anthology late last night and into this morning, cover to cover. I liked every single story in it, but my favorites were “Trippingly off the Tongue” by Lesley Livingston, “8 rms, full bsmt” by Kristine Smith, “Chafing the Bogyman” by Kristen Britain,, “A Perfect Circle” by Kent Pollard, and “Crosscut” by S.W. Mayse (every writer should read this one). It was actually hard to pick these, because I liked all the stories so much. The first two mentioned particularly enchanted me. Livingston either just had a novel come out, or one is coming out this summer, and I’ll definitely buy it. I don’t want to tell authors what to write (hating it so much myself), but I hope Kristine Smith does more with her story’s characters. I can’t stand golf and Kristen Britain’s story still captured me. I don’t game or know anything about gaming, but Pollard’s story was so well written it hooked and carried me. All of the stories are worth reading – the inventiveness, the quality of writing, the flashes of humor!

Bookstore, here I come!

What a great way to end the week!

Tons of errands to run this morning, and bills to pay. And then I have to buckle down and have a very productive writing weekend. Deadlines are looming, some new contracts came in, and next month’s bills will be here before I want them.

A new idea sprang fully formed into my head. I’ll make some notes on it, and put it in the queue.

Devon

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn DIRECT
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

My pre-Derby article is finally up on FemmeFan here:

Thank goodness Saturn turns direct tonight. This retrograde really kicked my ass, in spite of the fact I thought I’d dealt with quite a few life lessons since the last one. I’m really over the learning and growing right now. I’d just like to have some peace and quiet for a bit.

Sing out, now: “I’m a waste of food today, I’m a waste of food . ..”

Actually, I was pretty much a waste of food yesterday. Got a couple of pitches out, got the rate quote done; am toying with an idea of a pitch to a company that’s looking for a full-time writer, but there is NO WAY one full-time writer can take on everything in that job description, unless they plan to hire someone who never eats, sleeps, or goes to the bathroom. So I may create a pitch to make myself the “occasional additional”.

Got a book out for a Book Mooch person. Returned some clothes I ordered. Now, they are the same make, size, and style as something I really love, so I ordered extras in a variety of colors. Only one of them fits, and even that is a good two inches smaller in the waist than the one I have. What’s up with that? The other three weren’t even close – they must have been mis-marked in the sizing. Even the way different color dyes react to fabric couldn’t make the differences that drastic. So I returned them.

Looked for dresses for the upcoming Triple Crown races. Way too much this season looks like Aunt Mathilda’s vintage curtains. Don’t get me wrong – I’m fond of Aunt Mathilda and there’s nothing wrong with her curtains. I just don’t want to wear them.

I’ll have to shop in my closet. I’m sure there’s something in there, if I dig far enough. I have a dress for Saturday. Lovely green number, very flattering. I tried it with a red belt and red shoes. I looked like a renegade Christmas tree. I tried it with a brown belt and brown shoes. I just looked like a damned tree. I’m going to use a watercolor silk scarf in shades of blues and greens (including the green of the dress) as a belt, and probably navy blue pumps, also picked up in the scarf.

So, I’ve been dared to write a sci-fi surfer beach movie. Yeah, I don’t get it, either. I said I was capable of doing it (yes, talking out of my ass, what else is new), as long as it could be funny. Whether I’ll do it or not is something else.

The anthology story is starting to take form in my head. I know my protagonist is Calpurnia the Crone; I know her foil is a scholarly warrior – as yet unnamed. And the beginning of it is beginning to unfurl in my brain. It can be up to 15K, but the deadline is the end of this month, so I’d prefer it to be around 5-7K. I hope to get started on it post-Derby.

Show was fine. I’m having a good time, but I’m ready not to be there every night.

Got a late start because I overslept, so I hope that doesn’t mean I’m behind the beat all day. I’ve got a lot to get done before I go back to the theatre.

It doesn’t help that this Microsoft piece of crap that masquerades as a computer isn’t running properly at all. It’s inexcusable that PCs are built to self-destruct.

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 May 2, 2008 at 8:26 am  Comments (8)  

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool
Beltane

The latest idiocy by scumbag landlords nearly got someone hurt or worse. By me.

At a little after eight yesterday morning, someone was on my fire escape with a hammer. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I lived on the Deuce in Manhattan for 13 years, pre-Disney. Over a strip club. When someone turns up on the fire escape wielding a hammer, to me, that signals an attack.

The poor guy’s lucky I didn’t toss him right off. He could have been killed. I did scare the bejesus out of him (is that blasphemy? If so, apologies). If they were sending workers up the fire escapes to do brick work, we should have been notified. And we weren’t.

Then, when I tried to leave to go to work, the lobby was partitioned off with plastic and they were doing something unnecessary with a jackhammer. When I tried to get out the only door to the outside world, I was told I had to wait until “two or three” in the afternoon. I said no, I had to go to work. The workmen shrugged and said, “You can’t go through until two or three.”

So I yanked out the power cord for the jackhammer, ripped down the plastic, said, “Rethink that,” and walked out of the building.

Idiots.

In typical fashion, there was no one to deal with the problems at the credit union. They were all “in a meeting”. Typical.

Shows were fine, though. A few people are out, so there were some swings on, but everyone knows what they’re doing. They rarely have Wednesday matinees, so they were pretty delirious. I told one of my actors, “I know it’s painful now, but just think how good you’ll feel on Sunday when you only have one instead of two shows.”

Had a great dinner as Osteria Pepe Rosso with a close friend, and we played catch up. Turned out both she and her sister dressed the author of a novel I’m reading for review, when this author was in her acting days.

Altogether now: “It’s a small world after all. . ..”

Okay, I really shouldn’t have done that, because now that darned song will be in my head all day!

Finished reading material for my next assignment for Confidential Job #1. Now I’ll have to write it up. Sent a requested pitch to one of my editors for the 2010 annuals. I have to negotiate a possible fee for a potential client overseas.. I’d like to do the work, but right now the price is too low, and I literally cannot afford to work for that, especially not with the amount of research involved.

Yuri’s Tale is percolating, but haven’t gotten more words on paper yet. Got some more work done on the adaptation. Started working on an idea for a longish short story for an anthology that’s due at the end of the month.

Started reading The Summoner by Gail Z. Martin; the first chapters are quite fascinating.

I have some errands today, and I’d like to get a good bit of writing done. Another show tonight, and, yippee, it’s pay day.

I’m a little worried because my pre-Derby article isn’t up yet; if it doesn’t go up today or tomorrow, there’s no point in it, because the Derby will be done. Urgh.

Melissa Mc – sounds like you had a great trip in NYC. You were probably at South Street Seaport – a great place to visit. New York’s got a lot of terrific things in it. When you stayed at the Marriott, did you ride the glass elevators? People either love them or totally freak out.

The image file won’t upload on WordPress today. Oh, well.

Devon

Adaptation: 25,796 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
25 / 90
(27.8%)

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 1, 2008 at 7:53 am  Comments (9)  

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Cold, rainy day yesterday.

Worked on the adaptation. In this section, I can stay close to the original screenplay; however, I have to add quite a bit later on for it all to make sense and really hold together as a novel. There are quick explanations that one can get away with in a screenplay that simply won’t hold up in the novel. For it to have the emotional impact I want, I have to deepen it, layer it, work out some of the kinks. I’m also deepening the relationship between Zenda and Sam earlier. While, if this was visual and I had three-dimensional actors working the material, a great deal could be left unsaid. Their bodies would do the “speaking” instead of the words. In the novelization, a great deal remains unspoken between them, but it still needs to be on the page. Even if it’s done through action and gesture and behavior rather than narration, it still needs to be there.

Worked on Yuri’s Tale. Actually, I stopped working to make some continuity notes and do some world-building. The problem with that is that I wind up staring at the page. Unlike Earth Bride, where I could do dozens of pages of world-building as I created the outline and THEN write, the participants in Yuri’s Tale want to reveal it to me as it goes along. So I’m doing more note-taking than world-building and letting the characters reveal the world to be in this draft. A little frustrating, but. . .that’s the way it is. Also, I realized I need to start the book with Esmé, not Yuri (yet another reason the title needs to change). At first I thought it could be a prologue, but the more I mull it over, the more I realize no, it needs to be a chapter focused on Esmé before they arrive in Solmer and Yuri’s taven. I’ll set part of it on the ship The Sea Trotter, and part of it . . .well, you’ll just have to read it to find out!

This is the kind of situation where a writer who insists on total control over everything from the get-go would just stop. But, if you trust your characters (i.e., your subconscious) to get you through even the disjointed bits, you’ll push through and have something better at the end than if you tried to control it all so tightly before you set a word on paper. Rewrites are good places to impose structure and logic. First drafts are to trust your characters and your imagination.

Did an extra yoga session yesterday afternoon and it made a big difference.

Commute sucked both ways, and too many SFT’s in the city. Brandy and Melissa, you wouldn’t behave like an SFT, because you naturally think about others. It’s your nature. I don’t mind the tourists who come here and are amazed by all the wonderful things in New York; I mind the ones who are rude, thoughtless (it’s not New Yorkers who are rude, it’s the tourists), and treat those of us who live here as though we’re their personal maids.

Show was fine. I had to tell one of my Dear Hearts this was our last week working together on this show; he’s off to do another show (he’ll be wonderful in it) and I’m covering the Preakness during his last weekend on this show. So we are going to savor every performance together this week! Seriously, working with these actors is always good for me – they’re loving and joyful as well as being talented, and working with them opens my heart a little every time. Which is good, considering how closed and ready for battle I always have to be in my own home.

I have to go and pitch a fit at the credit union this morning. It seems anyone can walk up to any ATM and wipe out my checking and savings, as they did in January, but I can’t get to my own money, and I’m sick of it.

Taped a show last night on which I thought an acquaintance was guest-starring (because he told me so). He’d teased me that he’d call at midnight to see how I liked it (I got home at 11). So I watch the whole darned thing – and he’s not on it! He called, I mentioned it, and he said, “Yeah, that kind of sucks, doesn’t it?” I’m not sure if the episodes got shuffled around or he’s in an upcoming one or what. And it’s not a show I’d watch if he hadn’t told me he had a guest spot! He so owes me! 😉

Very short writing day today; I have two shows and I have to take a train shortly after 10:30. I want to get more writing done before that, so this is a short post.

Devon

Adaptation: 23,460 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
23 / 90
(25.6%)

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: