Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Busy day yesterday. Lots of writing, always a good thing.

I swung by Verizon and got my new phone. I was dressed to gain (positive) attention, and didn’t even have to wait. They fell all over themselves to help me, I’d done the research, and walked out within twenty minutes with a new, activated phone with all my data transferred. When I do the rebate paperwork, it will wind up being a free phone. That’s the way it should be.

Picked up what I needed at the store, dropped stuff off with my Mom, had lunch with her, headed back, took care of a few things, then headed back out for the iWeb workshop.

At first, I found it a little frustrating, because only one other person in the class had a website, and no one had a blog, and the bulk of the class were most interested in personal sites about their vacations instead of business sites. But I reviewed the stuff I knew, learned some new stuff, and got my questions answered. Now I can create palettes of color swatches to keep my pages consistent, make my own navigation bars, etc., etc. I’m pretty sure I can design the sites I want. We’ll find out in the next few weeks, won’t we? In an ideal world, I could have all three domains and the two subdomains designed before the move, so once the transfer is complete, all I have to do is upload.

So it wound up being fine, although my head was ready to explode when I was done.

Came home to find that the cats had knocked down a whole table’s worth of stuff. Haven’t found it all yet, but put back what I could. They’re not supposed to be on that particular article of furniture, but I guess we know what they do when they’re alone, now, don’t we?

Came home, had a late supper. Watched CHUCK, which was disappointing. This season, they’re marginalizing the female characters. They got rid of the girl from the store (who was the best of the store bunch). Sarah and Ellie are now on the sidelines, fretful and whiny. The only time Sarah gets to do anything is the girl-on-girl fighting with the Villainess of the Week who’s after Chuck. It’s already gotten old. There’s so much potential for the whole upgraded Chuck thing, and, in my opinion, they’re blowing it. They’re dumping the charm, going for the cheap laugh, and cheating the female characters. If next week’s episode isn’t a lot better, I’m done with the show.

I was happier with the CASTLE episode, although I felt the writing didn’t quite match last week’s. Last week’s writing and acting was one of the best episodes of the whole series, in my opinion. While last night’s episode was necessary for overall plot movement, it felt clunky in comparison, with the writing not meeting the bar set by the actors.

The Deanna Raybourn books shipped; I hope they arrive before I leave for Philly on Friday.

I want to finish the chapter on which I’m currently working, which ends the London section of this particular WIP. It’s flowing really well — I wound up writing 12 pages yesterday, and I’ve got about 6 so far today. I’ve got to pay some bills and go to the post office around lunch time, and then I hope to focus on the steampunk this afternoon. I’d like to get a good chunk of Chapter Six done. I’m not even going to worry about word count until the first draft is done, instead of keeping track as I go. I’ll see what needs more detail for the second draft, and the third will be where I cut to fit designated word count.

I’m packed for the trip, at least clothing-wise. I won’t back the books and the writing until Thursday night, when I know where I am with various projects.

Back to the page. I hope I can go to meditation group tonight. I miss it.

Devon

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 10:01 am  Comments (6)  
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and (a tad) warmer

I’m having trouble getting going this morning.

Got a little writing done yesterday, but not enough. Took another load of stuff to storage, ran a few other errands. Made ratatouille and a beef stroganoff in the afternoon, reading Yasmine Galenorn’s BONE MAGIC in between the simmering and stirring. I like it a lot — the threads of the storyline are getting more complex, and, at the same time, she keeps managing to surprise. Both as a reader and a fellow writer, I’m fascinated by the way she unfolds this series.

Started another book (by a different author) last night which I don’t know if I’ll finish. Not only is the writing sloppy and expository in the wrong way, but the author writes about a foreign locale and it is obvious said author never visited and only knows through reading the most basic of guidebooks. Very few writers are good enough to set books in locales they haven’t visited in person. Some are imaginative enough, do enough thorough research, and find people who’ve either lived there or visited there who, by being asked THE RIGHT QUESTIONS by the author, can relate specific, sensory information that brings the locale to life.

This author didn’t have those strengths.

The book’s definitely going up on BookMooch, and I won’t be buying any more by this author. The author’s published quite a bit, but the style, the voice, the tone, the lack of research, and the sloppy writing turn me off. It’s hard to make a living in this business, so I’m not going to trash anyone by name, more power to the person for making a living, but I won’t be contributing to the royalty checks in the future. Just not to my taste.

Last night’s episode of CHUCK was much better than the season premiere, and I enjoyed the episode of CASTLE. Nice little distraction in the evening. And I did my workout, which was okay, but not great.

Did a lot of percolating yesterday, which was helpful, and will alternate percolation with writing today. I’ve got to get a few things cleared off, get another load of stuff to storage, check on my mom (her back’s worse), and do basic stuff like vacuuming and mopping the floors. Housework never ceases, does it? But if I can write a few scenes and then percolate while I clean, and then write some more, it should all get done in a reasonable amount of time.

When I’m percolating writing, it’s hard to talk about it, because the process is so internal and mysterious, even to me. It’s like putting a bunch of stuff in a slow cooker. When it’s ready, you have a great meal, but if you take it out too soon, some of the elements are too raw and it doesn’t taste as good.

And preparing to do the webhost move is a nightmare, pure and simple.

Devon

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 9:41 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy weekend.

Saturday’s job went well. I got everything done and had time to work on some writing, too. The environment was peaceful and conducive to creative work. One piece on which I’m working has a “piece with in a piece” and have to figure out the internal logistics in order to write the actual story. I did get home around midnight, though, so getting up at 6 AM on Sunday wasn’t fun.

Up early, out the door, to CT, picked up my Mom, back here (because I live across the street from the train station, so it makes sense to use this one. On the train into the city — it was actually on time, nearly unheard of in the annals of Metro North.

Up to the hotel where my friends are staying, and we met up with them and their great kids. My mom hadn’t seen them in twenty yearns, and for me, it was even longer. I hadn’t realized it was that long, because we always talk on the phone every Christmas. It was lovely to see them and catch up. I have an open invitation to come to Rio, so I very well may take them up on it next year — I can start putting aside some money every paycheck for the “Rio Fund”. 😉

One of the friends runs the first cat-only vet practice in Brazil, so, of course, we talked cats. They have a few cats in their homes, and her practice, next door, is exclusively cats, so to say she’s a “cat person” is putting it mildly. He works for a good company in Brazil — he used to actually work on the oil rigs, but now he’s back on land. We met when we lived next door to each other in a residence club, when I first moved to San Francisco, a VERY long time ago! 😉 And have stayed friends ever since.

It was great to see each other again and catch up. And the kids are great — his daughters are 12 and 4. The older daughter brought a friend over, and his nephew, about eight, was also there. All of them are very bright, self-motivated, and don’t expect the world to entertain them The four year old is more computer-savvy than I am, which is a little scary. They’re in NY for a few days, and then headed to Disney World. I know of very few American children in that age range (unless I had a strong hand in bringing them up, the way I did with most of my godkids), who would have behaved as well and handled a first trip to NYC with such sophistication, and yet still been kids.

The contrast was even stronger on the train back, where there were far too many badly behaved, spoiled suburban children running wild on the train and their parents not paying any attention, or thinking it’s “cute.”

But before we headed back on the train, we stopped at Borders and used our gift cards! I bought quite the stack of books, and didn’t get everything on my list, because I was distracted by other books that looked really interesting!

I bought Yasmine Galenorn’s newest, BONE MAGIC (of course, I’m a big fan of the series). Sharon Shinn has a new book out in the Twelve Houses series, FORTUNE AND FATE, so I had to get that (her first book in the series, MYSTIC AND RIDER, continues to be one of my favorite books across the board). I picked up Monica Ferris’s THAI DIE, a mystery that I’m worried is what I call a “gimmick” mystery (it has a counted cross stitch pattern in the back), but the story sounds intriguing enough that I bought it anyway. Nicole Peeler’s TEMPEST RISING looks good, so I added that to the pile. That’s a case where the cover design completely drew me in — Sharon Tancredi’s illustration is completely unique, especially from the other books shelved around it. So many of the cover designs are so similar — all dark with the heroine in stilettos and a bustier, could we please have a RANGE of fashion choices, thank you very much, and some color? Yes, the covers are often appropriate for individual books, and, for instance, I think Yasmine’s covers are great and unique, but when shelves and shelves of covers on books by different authors with unique voices all look the same, I don’t want to buy any of them– but the colors and the artwork on this were completely unique. And the story sounds good, so I bought it. I also bought Deanna Rayburn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE, and Karen Harper’s MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE.

A good afternoon’s shopping! 😉

There was one kid on the train, though, who didn’t fit into the “spoiled suburban brat” mode. He was about nine years old, doing card tricks. His mother was at her wits’ end — I bet he’s been saying, “Pick a card” 24/7 for WEEKS. So I let him ply his tricks on me, and he’s actually very good. I gave him a few suggestions on presentation (he takes direction well), his mother had a break, and we had fun. I’ll have to use a character inspired by him in something.

Quiet evening at home. Watched the premiere of CHUCK and was disappointed. To me, it seems meandering, repetitive, and scattered, and lost a lot of its charm. They’re spending waaaaay too much time on the friends in the store — they’s supposed to be B story-line comic relief, and they’re getting equal screen time, and it doesn’t work for me.

I have to comment on the whole Jay Leno debacle. So many mistakes were made all the way around, and, instead of fixing the issue, NBC is closing its eyes, sticking its fingers in the ears and singing, “La, La, La” at the top of its lungs. People want scripted shows in the 10 PM slot. Period. I specifically did not watch the new Leno show, which I understand was basically a re-hash of the old Leno show, but in an earlier time slot, because, as someone who’s worked in the industry, NBC could get away with 5 hours’ less of produced, scripted shows by putting him on, and I protest that, both as someone who makes my living in the industry, and as an audience member. I’d stopped watching Jay awhile back, because the segments like “Jay walking” infuriate me. Why is he rewarding people for being uniformed morons by putting them on TV?

Yes, it costs a lot of money to produce a good scripted show, and to produce it well. But it’s worth it. I definitely have my problems with LOST, but it’s well-scripted and well-produced, and has been a gold mine for ABC. As usual, the network is trying to cut costs the wrong way. Having worked on several NBC shows, unless they’re up against a producer who pushes back, they’re always trying to nickel and dime. All the networks do, which is why it’s so important that the exec producer on a show has clout and is a hardass and pushes back at the network, and trains the producers under him or her on various shows to be the same. The networks don’t care about quality most of the time (example — reality shows). They only look at numbers and gossip about the network. If they widened their view a bit, they’d end up making more money over a period of time.

Okay, it’s back to the page for me for a few hours. I should take another load of decorations to storage and run some errands. Not yet sure if that’s on the agenda. Depends on the writing and what I feel like doing. I’ve also GOT to get a new phone sooner rather than later, although I hesitate to get it during Mercury Retrograde. I’ve also got a lot of correspondence to handle this week, and continue attempting to pull off emails from 1and1.

Ick.

Devon

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008
Almost full moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and icky

I’m going to rant about television for a bit, and then get to the important stuff:

I forgot to mention all weekend how annoyed I was with last Friday’s episode of SANCTUARY. I want to like that show, I really do. But Friday’s episode annoyed me. I disagreed with the way they twisted and diluted the legend of the Morrigan (not to mention the way they costumed them). I could understand if the villains had captured three powerful women of their time and manipulated them because they had the potential to be LIKE the Morrigan, but the Morrigan themselves were goddesses, and not under the power of these fruit loops. And they each had individual names, none of which were “Danu”, “Tatha” and “Caird.” The “Tuatha De Danann” is very specific to the Celtic Pantheon, but not part of this myth. There is an Irish goddess “Dana’ sometimes written “Danu”, but she is connected to Brigid and healing, not the Morrigan and war. There is an Irish goddess named “Caireen” – protective of children. Again, no association to the Morrigan or war. There is an Irish goddess “Taillte’, also spelled “Telta” – closest I could find to “Tatha” — who is a goddess of the harvest, not connected to the Morrigan or war. And they were Irish, when according to the show storyline, this trio was discovered in a crypt in Scotland. Which looked like Vancouver.

Um, hate to break it to you, writers and producers, but Irish culture/myth and Scottish culture/myth are DIFFERENT. Just because they fall under the loose “Celt” banner doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable.

What, do the writers think none of us have any knowledge of Celtic myth?

I understand using mythology as a jumping off point for imagination, but this didn’t work for me. There’s nothing wrong with using “found goddesses” or morphing a myth in a way that’s believable, but don’t just ignore what’s already out there or get it wrong. It was beyond not working for me, I found it insulting.

And I keep getting ahead of the storylines, which annoys me. I liked the whole “freedom of choice” theme, but felt it could have been developed in a more believable fashion.

I lasted ten minutes into ELEVENTH HOUR and won’t be back. I love Rufus Sewell’s stage work, but in this, as good as he looks, as many interesting mannerisms as he comes up with, he’s always looking just past his fellow performers and it drives me insane. I find myself shouting at the television, “Look at the people you’re talking with! At least occasionally!!!! Connect!!!!” I can’t stand it when actors don’t look at each other when they work together. He connects with his fellow performers onstage, so I can only assume it’s some creative choice on someone’s part, and I hope it’s not his, because it sure as hell doesn’t work.

At least CHUCK is still funny, and LIFE is better than ever.

Muse Online Conference starts today. I hung out on the boards for a bit yesterday and posted the exercises for my workshops, so that anyone in international time zones apart from mine could start at THEIR midnight. I visited the forums of the courses I want to take; did some homework. In homework for one class, I had HUGE resistance – it’s a little psychobabble for me. Yet, BECAUSE I’m having huge resistance, I’m doing it, because I want to see where it takes me. I think I can get something good out of it by getting out my own way, and learn something new. I’m excited to visit some of the “rooms” run by the publishers and meet some new-to-me publishers. I checked the first batch of assignments, posted my assignments on the workshops I’m taking, asked some questions, etc. I’ll hop back on later in the day.

Wrote some short stories. One was over 2500 words, longer than I planned, but that’s how long it took to get it done. It had its own rhythm, and I had to respect that.

Pushed hard on the new ebook. Today, I need to proof it and finish the cover, then convert and lock the file, and I can upload it for sale. Don’t worry, it’s a low price point, only $1.29.

Even better, because I wanted to do another test run for the exercises, I have drafts of seven new stories. They need some revision, but I should be able to start submitting them by the end of the month. Of course, I’m taking a short story workshop this week, so I have to figure if there’s anything left in that creative well. Stores tend to come in bunches, and I thought I’d bunched out. I’d hoped the test stories for the ebook would run between 500-1000 words, but that rarely happened.

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the free Nano handbook, is again available for download. I’ll add it back to the bookshelf in the next few days.

I had a good morning’s work on The Big Project. Now, I’m off to the conference, then finish the cover and the publication of the ebook, then work on some articles. Busy day.

Devon

The Big Project – 14,617 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
14 / 75
(18.7%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.


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: