Friday, August 20, 2010

don’t disturb Iris unless you’re offering food

Friday, August 20, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Yep, Mercury goes retrograde today, until Sept. 12. If I didn’t have so much to do, I’d just go off the grid. I think my personal Mercury went retrograde about two weeks ago.

Good gig in CT, although I didn’t get as much of my own work done as I wanted. Got some solid work done on the Willowspring Grove novel, and that’s it.

On Wednesday afternoon, I fell asleep and had a dream-within-a-dream, which was weird. In the inner dream, I dreamt about an actor I don’t know and whose work I don’t particularly care about, so I have no idea why, of all people, he’d show up in my dream. I was pulled out of that dream, into my actual surroundings when I heard a toilet flush and heard a man call, “Jean? Jean?” But I couldn’t open my eyes. I kept thinking that it was weird that the dog wasn’t barking, but if someone had come in, I should talk to them. But I couldn’t get up, and I couldn’t open my eyes. I was still dreaming, although I thought I was awake and in the place where I was outside of the dream. When I finally pulled myself out of that dream, I called to the dog, who got up from her nap, ambled over and said, “What? Cookie?” It was very weird. Not the cookie part, that’s normal, but the rest of it.

I was completely disoriented for the rest of the day.

I drove home in the afternoon to check on Elsa and give her medicine, and, of course, the “workmen” were at it again. This time, there was a hammer left in my windowsill. I wanted to photograph it, then realized I’d left my camera on-site. I was going to take it in as evidence, when a workman climbed up on the fire escape (again — in violation of the City Code, which the City is too corrupt to enforce), grabbed it and waved it at me. Now, he could have been startled that I was there, but I felt threatened. And why was a hammer left on MY windowsill when, supposedly, they were working in a different section of the building? Because, perhaps, the SOB planned to smash my window, only I startled him? I think that is the most likely scenario, given the circumstances around here right now.

Once I knew they were gone for the day and everything secure, I headed back to the site. I gave up on getting the mail — it’s a 15 minute drive from the site to the mail box, because, in that area of Greenwich, the postal carriers are far too lazy to actually bring the mail to the house — they bring it to the bottom of the road, even though there’s a huge vandalism and theft problem at those mailboxes. I’d driven down four times by 8 PM and STILL no mail, so that was it for me. I’m driving through Red Riding Hood’s woods anyway to get there and back — not going back and forth all night.

I picked up the mail early in the morning — I had to hand off the car to my mom, who was going home to give Elsa her medicine and deal with the exterminator. She drove me back to site so I could get back to work, and headed home, where she found the workmen hanging from scaffolding outside our living room windows AGAIN.

Now, they are supposed to “do” 120 apartments in two months. So why are the ONLY focused, three weeks into this two-month stint, on the apartments of the tenants the landlord wants out? Because they are not legitimate workmen and this is not legitimate work.

And, of course, the exterminator never showed up. When my mom called the super he said, “Oh, I don’t think he’s coming today. We’ll just come in whenever he shows up.” And she said, ‘No, you will not. The appointment was today, between 10 and 11:30. I can’t sit here all day, and you do not have permission to enter when no one is home.”

That is a tenant’s right under NY State Law — the landlord MUST make an appointment unless it’s an emergency. The landlord can request access at other times, but it does not have to be granted. What these scumbags are trying to do is get tenants to agree to entry when no one is home once, and then go in and out as they please and do who-knows-what, claiming they have permission for entry. So we have a “stop notice” (provided by the Attorney General’s office) posted on the door, “reminding” them they do not have entry without an appointment. Past precedent has proven they are untrustworthy. They cannot enter without someone here in the apartment, ready for them. We have a special additional lock on the door that only we and the Fire Department have the authority to open — they can try to get in when on one’s home, but won’t get very far.

And then, on top of it all, my mom ran into another problem that normally would not have been a big deal, but, because of the stress and harassment, became one. Which I had to try to resolve by phone from where I was. So we had a rough day all the way around.

Elsa, funnily enough, is the calmest of everyone. She’s just getting through the day being very Zen.

I got home around 8 PM last night, unpacked, checked the windows (no further damage), etc. Elsa and Iris were glad to see me. Violet wouldn’t speak to me, but this morning, she is Velcro Kitty.

I’ve got a bunch of stuff to do here this morning, including preparing my neighbor’s apartment for her return tonight, and then I’m headed to a friend’s this afternoon to hang out and do laundry.

Hopefully, I’ll either have updated word counts tomorrow or next week.

I am not looking forward to this Mercury Retrograde. I’d really like to just go back to bed for a few hours, but, hey, the workmen are getting busy again, so I can’t.

I want to be long gone when the pack of Karma Dogs arrive for these guys.

Thank goodness I didn’t have to commute via train yesterday. In typical Mercury Retrograde fashion, Metro North didn’t run most of the morning. Ick. I have to travel towards the end of the retrograde — I’ll give myself plenty of extra time. And maybe some Valium.

Sorry the post lacks a focus on writing and is focused mostly on harassment from the landlords. I am, unfortunately, someone who needs an absolutely secure and calm home base (although I CAN write anywhere, I prefer to write in a serene home environment), and with the daily fights going on nearly three years, ebbing and flowing, it’s taken a huge toll.

Hopefully, the coming weeks will be more productive, both writing-wise and house-hunting wise, and I will get back into a steady focus on the work.

I considered flipping my schedule to write all night — but with the chaos, I can’t sleep during the day, and I can’t sleep elsewhere, because I have to be here to protect my home.

Have a good weekend.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Introducing . . .Annabel Aidan!

I’m unveiling the Annabel Aidan pseudonym. It’s now official — Champagne Books has contracted my romantic suspense novel ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, under this name. It will release in July 2011, and they get first look at the next Annabel Aidan-penned tome.

I’m pretty darned excited.

You can visit Annabel’s brand new web page here.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot. What’s weird is that I remember hurting it in a dream Monday night, pulled myself out of the dream, and Tuesday morning I have an injured foot.

Sounds like something out of one of the books!

Yesterday was a challenging day, to say the least. The scumbag landlords are at it again, acting like this is an empty building. Workmen are swarming over the fire escape, the roof, hauling up heavy equipment without safety mechanisms in place, hitting the windows, etc. We had no notice, they are not conforming to city code, they arrive in unmarked vans, have no identification — these are not licensed, skilled workers.

I was so enraged that, had I owned a gun yesterday, I would have slaughtered all of them. I have rarely been that enraged in my life. It would have made yesterday’s massacre outside of Hartford looked like child’s play. And then thing is, it’s not the workers that are the problem, it’s the landlord. It’s not the workers who should be slaughtered, but the landlord.

I wonder how much the astrological pressure is causing the trigger points to snap on people. According to the records, this configuration was last seen 537 years ago — and I’m too lazy to look up what happened then. It would not surprise me at all if there was a huge spike in violence between now and Monday — a lot of people snapping the way that guy did outside of Hartford yesterday and the way I nearly did. I don’t agree with his actions, but I understand them.

I have to remember to siphon off the rage somehow. And certainly not let it out on those who aren’t the root of the problem. It’s not a healthy feeling, to be that angry and that out of control. I have to stay as calm and as quiet as possible.

We’re supposed to get some harsh thunderstorms today — that should break some of the tension and prevent them from working on the roof, at least for awhile.

I worked on the manuscript yesterday, re-reading it to make notes of things to discuss with the editor and also to pull excerpts out for the marketing. I’m working on the marketing and cover art information, and starting to put together the media kit, which will build throughout the production process, and then it will be done on time, rather than having to start the process just before the book releases.

Decent, but not brilliant first writing session this morning. I can’t work, breathe (because of the contaminated dust), eat, drink, sleep, wash (because the water’s contaminated) or do anything else. And the landlords are charging us for this crap.

It’s supposed to be over 100 degrees again today. I’m taking Elsa for another Reiki session this morning. She’s shown some real improvement in the past two days, and i hope it holds, and that we can build on it. She’s eating much better, not throwing up, has a lot of energy and is alert and involved. I hope we’ve hit a turning point, finally, and that she’s on a real road to recovery. Heaven forbid the vet do any follow-up. I’m going to email him on Monday, telling him to put in a refill on her prescription. I don’t know how much of her improvement is the Nalpoxtrene — since the improvement didn’t start until the Reiki started — and how much the Reiki is boosting the Nalpoxtrene. I think it’s a synthesis of the two along with a couple of other naturopathic therapies we’re doing. I don’t care what it is, as long as it works.

The big thing between now and Monday is to keep the rage under control. Because I’m really close to the edge, and I don’t want to snap and do something I regret. It’s almost as though one can feel the tension in these squares, like a rubber band being stretched more and more tautly. At least knowing the influences gives me information that can help me make choices that are more positive, instead of simply reacting to triggers with what could be horrible consequences.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

My post-Derby article is up on FemmeFan here. My editor loved it, even though I felt it lacked sparkle. Motivates me to make the Preakness article this week twice as good!

Exceptionally cold all weekend, frost on the ground this morning, and the scumbag landlords had the heat off until 6 AM today. Typical.

The alarm didn’t go off this morning, but Elsa is better than any alarm clock, so I went out for my run by 5:15. It’s quite light out, with just a sliver of waning moon, singing birds, corporate types scurrying to the train station . . .

So, where do I start? Didn’t write on Saturday at all — on purpose. Needed to refill creative well. Did my errands, sorted, purged a bunch of junk, took stuff to storage. Read. Cooked.

Got some good ideas for the next section of the urban fantasy.

Was about to order a great futon couch. It looks good, the price is good, and it will fit through the doorway — since they put in the new doors, I can’t bring in my sofabed. the doorway is now too narrow. Not to mention the doors suck. Anyway, I was trying to figure out the shipping costs, and, when I read the fine print, it clearly states that they don’t deliver the couch to the house. They deliver it TO THE CURB. If you want it taken into the house (or, in my case, the third floor apartment), you negotiate with the delivery guy when he arrives and you pay him cash on the spot. Sounds like extortion to me — no price quotes, no regulations. So I’m not ordering the futon. Bite me, assholes. You think I’m really that stupid? I wonder how many people were stuck with furniture left on the curb and wound up paying a couple of times more than they paid for the pieces themselves just to get them inside the house?

Elsa was up and down on Saturday — much better than she was on Friday, but still not doing as well as last week. I got up early on Sunday to give her the medicine, went back to bed, and had a weird dream.

In the dream, I was brought in to script doctor some piece or other rehearsing in Greenwich Village. I’m assuming it was a film, but maybe it was a play. That was unclear. It starred an actor who tops the list of people I still want to work with. He looked completely dazed at the disorganized chaos. No one seemed to be in charge. There were far too many producers floating around (as usual), saying, “I’ll take care of it” when something was brought to their attention and then doing nothing (as usual). We had to fill out huge packets of information we were told were “for tax purposes” but read like psych evaluations. I told the actor I was excited to work with him, just not sure it should be on this. He laughed. Some other guy asked me to watch his stuff because “You’re the amateur.” I said, “No, I’m the writer” and he replied, “Same thing.” I did NOT watch his stuff. I knew a lot of the actors in the project in the dream and had worked with them before, although in life, I’d only worked with one actress in a big musical. She kept trying to match-make me with this one and that one, whether I was interested or not (which she tried when we worked together). I was about to pitch a fit and either take over or walk out (in spite of the actor I really, really wanted to work with) when Elsa sneezed in my face and woke me up.

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about production a lot lately, since POWER OF WORDS takes place behind-the-scenes on one. This dream is a warning, the the specific actor representing not just himself, but everyone that’s still on that list of people I hope to work with (poor guy). Knowing how my dreams work, it may also be a caution– an opportunity may present itself and it may not be what it initially seems. I shouldn’t accept simply because there’s someone involved who’s on my list. So I stand warned. The nasty comment from the guy who wanted me to do PA duties represents the way writers are often treated in this business.

Made some cuts in SETTLING THE SCORE on Sunday, wrote twenty more pages, made more cuts, wrote eight more pages. Printed it all out (now that I have ink and paper again) and saw a huge, huge, HUGE logistics gap. There’s no way that character could have that piece of information vital to the plot machinations at that point in time the way I’ve got it laid out. I wrote some notes — I want to complete the draft before making any more fixes and running any more copies — and will move forward. Also, in the final draft, I’ll have to fix some formatting things. When I write scripts, I triple space between dialogue bits instead of double space. And the default font on this machine is Helvetica, which is fabulous to work in, but for script purposes, I have to change it to Courier (I loathe Courier). That will also drop the page count, which is good, because I’m up there now, and there’s still another good third of the movie to go. My goal is to have it run just over 2 hours, but feel like about 85 minutes.

On today’s agenda: pack more stuff for storage, work on SETTLING THE SCORE, maybe work on the adaptation of BEHIND THE MAN. I need to get my scripts sorted and synopsised and loglined over the next few weeks for some upcoming meetings. I may take WOMEN WITH AN EDGE out of retirement briefly just for the meetings, even. I should also take a look at my spec TV scripts — I don’t even know what one is “supposed” to have in one’s portfolio this season. I don’t know if I can still even use the BUFFY sample or the STARGATE ATLANTIS sample. If I need to come up with new ones, it would make sense to do one for HUMAN TARGET, since I spent so much time dissecting the show, but I don’t think that’s on “the list.” Of course, I might do one anyway, just to prove to myself that I can.

I’ll check with some acquaintances and find out what this season’s “list” is, and then figure out if I should even do a set of specs, or just stick to the plays for the moment, and this next round of meetings. I’m not angling for a series slot anyway — there are, literally, thousands of scriptwriters more qualified, in line ahead of me, and in LA so to do. But sometimes, even if you’re not up for the job, that’s the kind of sample someone wants to see in a meeting.

I’ll pack extra Excedrin, too. The meetings aren’t for a few months, but it takes time to put everything together, write any new material necessary, and have it be good, so I’m looking ahead. That way, instead of scrambling, everything is ready, I can just pull what i need for that meeting out of the file, and it’s much less stressful.

I’d like to get back to the urban fantasy this week, since I figured out how to overcome it’s obstacle, and, of course, ANGEL HUNT. My worry with ANGEL HUNT is that, once I go down the rabbit hole with that, I won’t come out for weeks, because of the intensity of the project. With the Preakness AND a pottery workshop this week, AND paperwork to complete for next year’s teaching schedule (yes, I’ve already got some major bookings for 2011), I don’t know if I can go down that rabbit hole right now. However, I want to get the book out on submission by the end of the month, so I need to get cracking.

Hard to sort out when so much has equal value and equal importance. But, I’ll figure it out. And I have to talk to the vet. Elsa is steadying again, but it doesn’t look like we can wean her off the steroid just yet. So we need to discuss next steps.

Back to the page.