Mon. Aug. 7, 2017: Working is My Rest

Monday, August 7, 2017
Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I feel better after cutting myself a break for the weekend. I rested a lot on Friday, and read — I’m reading a lot of Maggie Shayne’s work lately, and learning from it. Also reading Christopher Isherwood’s diaries, which are interesting, and doing my 1940s New York research (or, I should say, more research, from a different angle on the same decade).

It was nice enough to do some reading/writing outside on the deck, and I even managed some yard work (although no mowing). The Rose of Sharon is blooming beautifully, as are the geraniums, begonias, and mums — the mums are a bit early, in my opinion. We’ll have a decent tomato harvest, with three different varieties. This morning, we had an entire family of bunnies chomping on the dandelions in the back, and a blue jay taking a bath in the fresh water I put in the birdbath.

Worked on notes for the Coventina Circle series, and for some short pieces. Reworked an essay to slant to another market — I need to do another pass, to go a bit deeper, and out it goes.

Researched some other markets, and dismissed several as not being the type of market to which I want to pitch. I’m not going to pay a membership fee for the “privilege” of pitching — either you’re a professional publication that hires professional writers, or you’re a membership enclave where people pay you to be published. I’m not interested in the latter. Nor am I interested in embedding links to previous articles on your site in order to have an article published. I disagree with the ethics of both those positions. While it’s not up to me to make decisions on someone else’s website, as a “Free Lance”, I get to decide where I do and don’t pitch. Both of the above situations are a no-go for me.

Found another market for which I’d really like to write — a bit more academically-slanted than I usually do, but a good stretch. It will take me a couple of weeks to put together the pitch packet, though.

Have at least one, maybe two short stories that will go out today.

Debating on whether or not to pitch to a company — I like what they do, but don’t particularly like the employees of theirs I’ve dealt with. Not sure that would be the right situation.

Another project is going in a different direction, so we decided not to work together. I was having second thoughts about the whole enterprise, so it’s a relief.

The information in the public statements about the shooting a block away and what I see happening at the house are two different things. I’d like to think they’re merely being thorough in the investigation; however, I doubt they’ll ever tell us what really happened — or catch the shooter.

Got a good bit of work done on the draft of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY — about nine chapters. About half of each chapter is new material, so it was a good bit of writing. I’m deepening the atmosphere and the sensory detail and finding ways to weave together seemingly disparate plot threads. I’m happy with the progress. I want to get back into a daily rhythm with it, so it can release on time in May 2018.

I also have to get back into a daily rhythm with SAVASANA AT SEA this week — since its release date is this November! Most of it is rearranging material, “uncutting” the cuts that took the heart out of it, and doing some restructuring that keeps the fresh voice, but also keeps the plot moving. Pace and energy are important here.

What would have been a good night’s sleep was disrupted by some moron at 3 AM sitting in his car and revving the engine for 15 minutes. Hey, if you have to leave early, go ahead. Put the key in the ignition and drive off. But do NOT sit and rev the engine until the whole neighborhood is awake, and then peel out of your driveway with the tires screeching. Not cool at all.

Found out the insurance company lied to me. No surprise there, but it means more battles this week.

Already did an early morning grocery shop to avoid the damn tourists. Lots to do today, so I better get moving!

Advertisements

Tues. July 11, 2017: More Freelancing Than Fiction

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where Colin Galbraith talks about his latest release, GATECRASH.

Yesterday was not a good writing day. That was frustrating.

I was reasonably productive, at least in the morning: mowing, errands, final polish on the essay.

Send out questions to two potential project partners (two different projects); followed up on some pitches where I haven’t yet heard back; sent off the essay; sent a thank you & goodbye to a collaborator where our contract is up tomorrow, and I’m not extending it; sent out a query and sample pages for another book project; posted a call for questions in one of the groups in which I participate (and will do the same in another group); promoted “The Ramsey Chase”; sent out some more pitches.

The cover designer and I worked with some of the images that are possible for the new PLAYING THE ANGLES cover, but we don’t like it. I wish I could find the photos I know will work. Also playing with images for another project (which will be revealed shortly). We’re closer there, which is worrisome, since it’s not releasing until after ANGLES.

The editor with whom I’ve had a rocky relationship really likes the last piece I sent in; maybe we’re on the right track. The lag in assignment and pay, however, still bother me. I’ll have to weigh them against each other.

Read a bit; it’s an author’s new book. I have mixed feelings about the author. She’s got a huge following, but a lot of her writing doesn’t work for me. I appreciate that she’s trying something new here, but it doesn’t quite work, in my opinion. However, her fans will love it and she’ll make a packet of money, so good for her.

Still waiting on those two late payments, which I need this week in order to pay the bills. One changed the terms of the agreement (which means he is in breach of the agreement, since I did NOT agree); the other is simply not responding. Very frustrating.

On the positive side, last night, I heard back from a publication for whom I’ve written before, and to whom I pitched a couple of weeks ago. They like my article and want to contract it (sold on query again, not pre-written), AND they’re going to pay me more than the usual rate. I’m pretty happy about that. It will be a month or so before I’m paid (the article will take between one and two weeks), but at least I know that’s on the horizon. Plus, I have good clips and always been paid on time from this publication, so that’s all good.

Unfortunately, the fiction suffered — a LOT — yesterday, and I didn’t work on the media kits, either.

Today, I’ve already done a Trader Joe’s run. I have to get all my article questions out this morning, a few more pitches, and hope I hear back from the places I contacted yesterday, so I know which projects are moving forward.

I hope to have an exciting announcement in a week or two, but I don’t want to count my chickens too early, and all that stuff.

I’m in the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES now, taking my time to make sure I hit all the points and get all the editorial notes handled. If we’re going to adhere to the October release date, I have to be thorough, but also can’t take too long. Then, I’ll have to edit the first chapter of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY so it can also go in. What a relief not to battle this “one-book-in-a-series” lack of commitment that far too many of the smaller publishers are currently doing. I understand that far too many of the writers are unreliable and can’t deliver regularly, but if the publishers were paying them proper advances, there’d be more motivation to get things done on time.

I’m frantic to get the story for the sick teen finished, too, and feeling the time pressure there. Every day that passes where it’s not done means more suffering for her.

Plus, the life pressures this week are at an almost intolerable point. Most of them would be solved if those damn late payments would show up.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 11, 2017 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 11, 2017: More Freelancing Than Fiction  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mon. July 10, 2017: “Ramsey Chase” release & lots of writing

Ransey Chase Cover 2 Small

Monday, July 10, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

“The Ramsey Chase” releases today, and I’m excited! Read an excerpt here. Buy links here.

Busy weekend.

Friday, I worked on the story for the hospitalized teen. I wrote about 2500 words, about 1/3 to 1/2 of the piece. Originally, it was supposed to be 500 words, but it grew.

Saturday, I sat down after breakfast to write 1000 words on INITIATE, before getting back to everything else I needed to do. When I next looked up, it was dinner time and I’d written nearly 30 pages (about 7500 words). But then, that’s what this particular piece does to me. Whenever I work on it, it becomes an all-consuming obsession.

I also managed to do some work on the proposals that need to go out this morning, and on the new essay that’s also going out. I’m frustrated because now two payments (one quite large, that I need for July’s bills) are now nearly three weeks late. At least I have a good shot at an interesting project meeting next week, that could lead to something long-term.

Sunday morning, I wrote another 15 pages (approximately 3750 words) on INITIATE. I finished a challenging section, and can now move on to the next section, which will also be a challenge, in its own way. Two more big chunks, and the part of the tale that will be broken down into WRAIG MATURE will be drafted. Then comes the INITIATE section that inspired the title, and then the KNIGHT WITCH section, which is a huge and complex undertaking.

I drafted an essay, which I polished this morning, and off it goes. I found a new market for an essay that was rejected, and that goes off; I have questions that need to be answered before I can polish and send off the serial pitch. I have questions and follow-ups on several fronts. A contract expires in the next few days, and I won’t extend — I want to take the work in a different direction.

Still need the Hearst Castle books, but can’t extend them any further, so have to send them back and then re-order them.

Worked on the Devon Ellington media kit and the “Ramsey Chase” media kit. Worked on the story for the hospitalized teen. Worked on scheduling issues for PLAYING THE ANGLES, the Gwen Finnegan books, and the Sophie Batchelder books. Prepped some queries to go out for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. Made lists of everything that has to get done today.

And, of course, I have to mow!

Had weird dreams last night, about helping someone move. We kept having to cross through a narrow, brick-lined courtyard filled with garden gnomes. Wonder what the heck that means!

Mowing, admin work, and then, back to the page. I want to finish the story for the teen in the next day or two and send it off. I’m feeling the time pressure, because I want it to do her some good. However, it also has to be good quality to be worth anything.

Published in: on July 10, 2017 at 9:05 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 10, 2017: “Ramsey Chase” release & lots of writing  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. June 13, 2017: When They Don’t Want To Pay You (But Want the Work)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Yesterday wound up being hot. My poor grass!

I got out a few pitches in the morning, and ran some errands. Got some research done around lunchtime. Worked on an essay, and a couple more pitches in the afternoon. Tried to work on the teleplay, but couldn’t concentrate.

Managed to get some more pitches ready to go out this morning. I want to get work set up for the rest of the summer.

Thinking of freshening up a website and some of the names I haven’t used recently. Will play with some ideas. Freshening up is always a good thing!

I pitched to do some corporate video scripting for a new fragrance company. They want to shoot by the 25th of June, so it would be a quick-turnaround, but the scripts would be short. I sent them my credentials, writing samples, price. They responded by telling me, at 10 PM last night, that they want me to send them two spec scripts, either by midnight last night or by afternoon today.

Uh, no. That’s not how it works, bubbelah. I don’t write corporate scripts without a contract and a deposit in place. If you can’t tell if my style and tone match what you want from my previously-produced samples, you shouldn’t be in the position you’re in.

Far more likely, you’re trying to get the scripts for free. We’ve seen all these fake gigs – they want project/product-specific samples, tell the writers who apply they didn’t get the gig, change the company name, and use the material without paying. It’s called theft and/or fraud.

Not only is that a way to get on Whispers & Warnings and keep professional writers away, it’s a good way to make sure none of the writers or anyone in their circle ever buys your product. You lose customers. Buh-bye.

Sent a polite, but still to-the-point letter withdrawing from consideration for a local position. As is usual here on Cape, they want you to work without pay in the hope of “maybe someday” money. Sorry, I am paid for hours work, as is NOW THE LAW.

So, Delta now sees itself in the business of censorship? Pulling its support of the Public Theatre Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of JULIUS CAESAR because some moron thought it makes fun of the Narcissistic Sociopath is ridiculous. First of all, the reason JC’s been done for well over 400 years is that it’s politically relevant to EVERY time period. That’s the point of the play. I bet you no one at Delta saw the production or even read the play.

Second, how come the Narcissistic Sociopath and his followers can attack, degrade, and incite violence against anything and anyone they wish, but anyone who criticizes them is threatened? Authoritarianism much? First Amendment, people. If he and those who drank his Kool-Aid can say and do whatever they want, so can everyone else.

That means Delta joins United on the I’m Not Flying Them Anymore list. Pretty soon, there won’t be any US carriers getting my money.

Makes me think my article, which will post soon on A Biblio Paradise, should be about JULIUS CAESAR instead of THE TEMPEST, but too bad! 😉

It’s too hot to mow this morning (that’s my excuse, anyway), so I’m going to work on the teleplay, the essay, the short story, and some more pitches.

Several incidents mentioned above made me cranky, but, at the same time, standing true to my boundaries only serves both me and the work well in the long run. In the end, it’s all about serving the work, with as much creativity and integrity as possible.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 13, 2017 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 13, 2017: When They Don’t Want To Pay You (But Want the Work)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Need A Vacation, But No Break in Sight

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Worked with students yesterday, did some schoolwork, worked on proposal. Cut the essay by 2/3 and got it to my editor with 3 words’ wiggle room. It was a challenge, but it still holds together well, and is yet another example of how much one can cut.

It’s not the amount of words that gets the point across, it’s the specific words you choose.

Realized I pitched for a job I don’t really want, so I hope they’re not calling me. Ripped out the last vestiges of the tomato plants — there’s still some basil I can harvest. Cooked the last of the eggplants and tomatoes last night — yum. Went to the library. Forgot to look for the books I meant to get as research for a long article, but I’ll be back there before the end of the week, so that will be fine. Read a mystery by someone whose first book in the series I liked, but this was illogical and flat. Made some business decisions I didn’t want to make, but had to do in order to keep the money flowing in on time.

Today, I have to work with students, put up some more lectures, polish lectures for Saturday’s class (The First Three Pages: A Dynamic Opening — information here), work on the proposal, work on the edits for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, get started on two papers, and a couple of articles (so that the money is actually coming in to pay the bills).

I have to say, the whining on some of the course forums is working on my last nerve. We are studying with Ivy League professors — it’s not supposed to be easy, and we are supposed to meet deadlines when those deadlines are set. The workload is clearly stated for each class, and it’s in HOURS, not MINUTES. Deadlines and expectations are clearly stated early on. Welcome to the real world, asshats, where there are actual consequences when you don’t manage your time! And guess what? Saying you didn’t get an email alert is no excuse not to know what’s going on — it makes me froth at the mouth when online students say this in MY classes (especially, since on DAY ONE, they are told not to rely on them, but to check the fucking forum regularly), and it’s no excuse on these Coursera forums, either.

You see this in class situations, and then you realize why so many of the clients behave as badly as they do. But it sure as heck makes you appreciate the good ones! 😉

Things that make my head explode #84: When detailed conversations and scheduling held over weeks are suddenly news to some of the parties involved.

Things that make my head explode #85: When things gone over in class and then needed to be put into practice in the real world are suddenly treated like this is the first time anyone’s ever heard of them.

It’s that old adage: Your disorganization is not my emergency.

Your time is not more valuable than mine, and I am not readjusting everything to suit you, unless you’re paying me a boatload of money so to do.

Especially not right now, when, between now and early December, 18-20 hour days seven days a week are the norm. I am not cleaning up anyone else’s mess because they weren’t paying attention. I’ve got to build some down time in there somewhere or I will lose what’s left of my mind (and trust me, there’s not much left), but I don’t see how right now.

Tried to relax last night by watching REVOLUTION, but the logistical gaps bothered me. There’s no power, no windmills, no water wheels, but suddenly there’s a steam train? The scenes between Rachel and Bass have gotten too repetitive. I understood it the first time, I would have lived with it structurally three times, but now it’s five or six, and it’s overkill. Miles & Tom finally had a good scene together, and a lot of the moment-to-moment work is very good. But the things that are not working for me are starting to have more weight than what is working. Which is a shame, because I can see echoes of the themes in the Sustainability course, the World History Course, and even the Mythology course, which I find interesting.

Okay, I have to let go of my general frustration with the world today and focus on the work that needs to get done.

Devon

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
St. Patrick’s Day
Sunny and pleasant

As I’m catching up on email, I just noticed that my essay, “The Artist/Pop Culture Symbiosis” has been up for awhile on Smart Pop.

Stop by and drop a comment, so they ask me back! 😉

We’re finally able to reach friends and colleagues in Greenwich, who were hit terribly by the storm. Most still have no power and no water — and they can’t leave their homes because of downed trees, so they can’t even get to a hotel to wait it out. A few people were killed — no one we knew, but neighbors of our friends.

We tried to drive to Purchase, to go to the post office, but the roads were closed due to downed trees and broken power wires. It was a little scary driving through it, and we were turned back before we could get there.

We went down to the beach — lots of erosion, and tides about four feet higher than normal. It made us realize how lucky we were in our little brick tower here. It was sunny and gorgeous, though, so it was nice to be out.

Lots of busy work, paper work, admin work yesterday. But it pays off to make the time to do it as it comes in, especially when it comes to pulling/printing/filing clips, or else it becomes difficult to get out pitches & packets in a timely fashion.

I’m reading Louise Erdich’s SHADOW TAG. Fascinating book. It’s a slender volume, but by no means a quick read. And not at all what I expected, but, so far, in a good way.

I figured out why I’m struggling with the plays. It’s a really stupid reason, and I better get over myself.

Got some good work done on POWER OF WORDS, and am starting to get excited about it again. The tracking sheets are helping.

Good first morning’s writing session on a short story, even though I overslept and got a later start than I hoped. Today is more admin work, prepping for tomorrow’s talk at the Middle School, work on the play and the novella, a couple of queries/pitches out, polishing the newsletter, filling out the Census, and a talk with my Congresswoman on an issue we’ve worked on together for quite a few months now. It’s nice to have a solid enough relationship with my representative — the person whose job exists to represent me — where we can speak openly and honestly about issues, even when we disagree. We actually agree on a lot of things, but sometimes differ on how we’d get there. She’s really good at making things work both on a community and an individual level, which I think is rare in politics.

Will have to get to the library once it’s up and running again — hopefully by the end of the week. I need to do some scientific research, and don’t have the materials here. I’ve been picking up quite a few good scientific tomes for various projects, but, of course, this one needs something totally different. I don’t have to go into much detail about the process, thank goodness, but I need to know what’s involved, so my character’s choices make sense.

Devon

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and COLD

Happy Chinese New Year (yesterday). We are now in the Year of the Tiger, and I am a tiger, so watch out!

Got out my deadlined piece by 3:30 on Friday afternoon. I was at a location with a great wireless connection. Even managed to pitch two jobs. Got a response from one almost immediately, and it’s a case where I tripped over my naivete and stubbed my soul. The fact that this ad circulates regularly should have tipped me off. When I got more details — let’s just say it would blow the credibility I’ve built in my review work, and I’ve refused it. I was very diplomatic (hey, I’ve got a learning curve), but firm in the refusal.

Got settled in to the site job, where I don’t have a wireless connection, and have to use their PC — which is fine, it’s just I’m totally spoiled now by the versatility of Mac. So I only use the PC if I have to go online,and I limit my online time — hop on to check messages and that’s about it. The PC is just very unwieldy and difficult for me compared to my Mac. How did I ever get anything done before the switch?

Technically, I had the Olympics on, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about the opening ceremonies. I was putting in the changes to the early chapters of ANGEL HUNT, comparing draft lengths and contents. It was technical work — I’d done the creative work — so I could have the TV on, but I might as well not have. I think I looked up once in four hours. In spite of all the major cuts I’ve made, I also wrote new chunks for the direction the piece took away from its serial plotlines. So I haven’t really cut that much. Re-reading some of the edits, I feel that I take awhile to get to the meat of the scene in some respect, and, in the next pass, I’ll have to strip each scene to its essence. As I worked on the climactic sequence (my first draft of that section), I realized that there’s a huge throughline I’ve ignored and will have to weave in — which means I’ll have to go back and create new sections — which also means cutting even more.

I want the book textured. I do not want it unwieldy.

I spent Saturday working on ANGEL HUNT. The first third of the book is in good shape now, although, in the next draft, I’m still going to go back and make cuts. They will be mostly internal cuts within the scenes — I think there are still a few places where they take too long to get to the point. While, in the original vision, one of the themes was Lianna taking awhile to catch on to certain things and wrestling with her values, there’s way to much going on now for us to see every moment of that struggle. We only need the highlights and lowlights, so to speak,and then we need to keep driving forward. There are sections where it bogs down, and I need to express the same information and emotion, but more succinctly.

I gutted most of Chapters Ten and Eleven, which bridge the first section into the second section, but I think they need more work. In the serial, the scenes in that section raised more questions. In the book, they need to provide revelations. Different formats, which is why adaptation is a challenge.

The second section of the book is pretty tight, and there was only room for some internal cuts. I need to make a few more, but it holds together pretty well. Gaston takes his place of importance, the relationship with Lachlan takes the unexpected turn, Zeke becomes both antagonist and addiction. I remember when I first wrote that pivotal Lianna-Lachlan scene — I was so surprised. I never saw it coming before the scene rolled onto the page, and there are editors who will have fits about it. But it’s integral to the characters and story. And the scenes between them are damned good, if I say so myself! 😉 (My crit partner agrees, although the big scene with Zeke in the climactic sequence is the favorite — my partner said it took a good 30 minutes to recover from that one, in the best possible way, so I figure I’m doing something right).

I also discovered why I’ve struggled with the climactic sequence moving forward. I was untrue to one of the antagonists — my choices for his choices in these scenes made him weak and cliched. I figured out how to fix it, which means pushing back the Lianna-Zeke scene by about ten or fifteen pages, but the payoff is worth it.

It also means I’ll have to find material to cut earlier in the book to make room for this sequence. But every other possibility I’ve explored for this antagonist winds up unfulfilling and leaving too many loose ends. I have to stay true to ALL the characters, not just my main and/or favorite ones!

I’m also frustrated because the rights reversion for the first two Jain Lazarus books are taking longer than they should, because the former publisher can’t be bothered to supply the correct legal paperwork. It makes the whole situation uglier, and necessitates me filing breach of contract documentation (I think, at last count, my lawyer and I counted 18 actual breaches), but I can’t offer the books to anyone for reprint rights without proper reversion documentation. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes it harder to move forward with the series. And it hurts the momentum for CRAVE THE HUNT, although I have a publisher who’s interested in taking a look at it, once the damn thing is finished.

On the Olympic front, I was saddened by the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the luge athlete, and angered by the way the Olympic Committee was quick to blame the athlete and act like it was more of an inconvenience than anything else. It could have been handled with much more class. I thought Sven Kramer, from the Netherlands, was poetry in motion in long-track speed skating, and was delighted by Apolo Anton Ohno’s silver in the 1500m short track speed skating — I’ve been watching his work since his first Olympics. It’s been wonderful to watch him grow into himself as a person and an athlete. JR Celski’s bronze was pretty great, too. I’m disappointed that they didn’t show the Canadian women’s hockey, which started on Saturday night. Had it worked out for me to attend the games (as in the publications with whom I’d negotiated not gone under), I’d have covered Women’s Hockey and Men’s Hockey, with forays when I could over to snowboarding (which may have been too far away) and speed skating. I enjoy the alpine ski events, too, but they were too far from the rest of the events for me to cover; at least I can watch some of it on TV. The lack of coverage of women’s hockey, in general, frustrates me, which is why I’d so hoped to get to attend and cover these games with a lot of focus on women’s hockey.

At least they showed the USA Women’s Hockey on Sunday afternoon, in their 12-1 victory over China. I felt sorry for the Chinese goalie — she was out there without help, and she did a damn good job.

I also got to see Nordic Combined, one of my favorite events — and kudos to Johnny Spillane for making that beautiful move near the end to get silver.

I wish they’d cover more of the international athletes. I’d like to see an interview with someone like the Italian Nordic Combined athlete Guiseppe Michelli. They mention the names, but, I remember when I watched the Olympics growing up, the broadcasters actually covered the games, not just the US athletes. And would the commentators shut up and let us enjoy the sport, already? The way they drone on about nothing all the time gets really annoying. I want to see the beauty of each sport and get to know the individuals behind them.

By Sunday afternoon, I was really tired and needed a break from Lianna, Zeke, Lachlan, et al. I considered going back to Eddie, but he’s sulking because I’m not giving in and making things easy for him, and I don’t have the patience to deal with him right now.

I was edgy and restless, lots of wandering and muttering. I worked on the essay that’s due today. I want to keep it around 800 words, but I’ve had to write about 3500 to find the right 800. I’ll finish, polish, and send that out today.

It kind of felt like I was waking up after an illness, with the past couple of — I don’t even know if it’s been days or weeks — focused on ANGEL HUNT and REDEMPTION KILL.

Then, there was the Cat Sitter Trauma. I went back home unexpectedly on Saturday to drop off some stuff I finished and didn’t want to have to haul back with me on Sunday. It was obvious the cat sitter hadn’t been there — the apartment was trashed, the food bowls empty, and the litter boxes hadn’t been cleaned. There were no calls from her, and she didn’t answer her cell. I was worried –at first. I fed them, cleaned up, left extra dry food in the self-feeder just in case. When I got back Sunday, it was still obvious she had never been there. Finally, I get a message on Sunday night, “Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t there this weekend. My boyfriend and I are going through a rough patch; he surprised me with a trip for Valentine’s day to work things out and I went. I hope it wasn’t a problem.”

Um, YES, it was a problem, especially since she didn’t call. I understand that stuff comes up and sometimes one has to cancel, although, in my Lexicon of Responsibility, her excuse doesn’t cut it. A fight with the boyfriend doesn’t constitute “family emergency.” But whether I agree with the why or not, at least call and tell me, so I can make other arrangements. Not showing up is unacceptable — both for the worry caused and for the fact that there were three little beings who needed care. Fortunately, they were cats, not dogs, and have litter boxes and have self-feeders and waterers. But it’s still not acceptable.

I just called back and left a message on her cell saying,” Yes, it is a problem” and cancelling her for the next two weekends. I’ve already made other arrangements.

I was fortunate enough to wind up the gig mid-afternoon on Sunday, which meant I could go back early enough to put the apartment back to rights and also enjoy a nice, romantic Valentine’s evening. All good.

Eddie and I made up this morning, and I’m spending some time in his world today, and finishing the essay for my publisher. It will go up on that site on Thursday — I’ll make sure to post the link before I take off again. I’m unpacked and repacked for this coming weekend’s gig, and I have to go to Costco to pick up some stuff before the next snowstorm hits tonight.

Then, it’s back to the page, the essay and Eddie’s world. I’ll give myself a break on ANGEL HUNT until tomorrow or Wednesday, and then tackle the climactic sequence of the book.

Devon

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

34 degrees (F) this morning outside and no heat. Gotta love the scumbags. Yes, that’s sarcasm, accompanied by an eyeroll. And, since it’s a holiday Monday (although they’ve got the workmen here disrupting our lives), there’s no one in any official capacity who can do anything. Again, they get their wrists slapped after the fact, but it doesn’t stop them from doing it over and over again.

The Muse Online Conference starts today. I’m excited. I have 81 people signed up so far. I doubt they’ll all post exercises, but, if they do, it’s 162 pages per day for me to read and comment on.

Rearranged the exercises so they build more logically.

Cut 3000 words from the essay. I’ve got to smooth out some transitions, but I think it’s good to go.

Didn’t make much forward progress in the short story today, although i had to go back and rewrite what I’d done, because it wants to be told in First person, not Third. The limited word count concerns me — it’s going to be quite the challenge. This story has a lot to say on several levels.

Going to comment some exercises and post Tuesday’s exercise, then head off to acupuncture. When I get back, I’ll work comment on some more exercises, write up the material for Confidential Job #1 (it’s due tomorrow) and go over the essay one more time before sending it out.

I’ve been re-reading Anne Truitt’s TURN. She’s a wonderful artist who published a series of her journals (DAYBOOK, TURN, PROSPECT), which are exquisite. I have to admit losing patience when she has trouble travelling on her own. Solo travelling is very different than travelling with a companion, but each offers enormous riches, if you’re wiling to accept them.

Busy week coming up, but I’m looking forward to it.

Devon

Monday, October 5, 2009

IMG_0490

Monday, October 5, 2009
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy, but good weekend. I worked on site — cable and internet were both out, which mean I had no intrusions on my workday. It was kind of nice. I did have to dash out to the Greenwich Library briefly to pick up an email from an editor, but, other than than, Saturday was almost entirely consumed with work on the essay. I gutted and restructured it, building the whole beginning section from the ground up, adding in the information from the two newest books, and rearranging the rest of the information.

In between bouts of essay work, I also started developing a new project– I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it’s a big one, and requires a lot of thought. It feels right — like I can cover a lot of ground on a lot of issues and concepts that matter to me and that I want to explore. Part of me wants to develop it during the Muse Conference, and part of me feels it’s still at too delicate a stage so to do. I was practically in a trance during the times I worked on the information for it, which is how I like to be — if only I could sustain that for the duration of the project! Several of my main characters (it has a large, ensemble cast) are very clear to me and are revealing relevant information. Several more are still around the shadows, in the sidelines, not quite ready to step forward. I have to be patient with this, let it unravel at its own pace, and not drop any of my other deadlines while it reveals itself.

Over the weekend, I also watched more television than usual. On Friday, I flipped between STARGATE UNIVERSE, GHOST RIDER, and NUMB3RS. I missed the denouement of NUMB3RS, so I’ll have to see if I can go back and watch it online. I have mixed feelings about STARGATE UNIVERSE. I thought it was well done, in a lot of ways, but I missed the oddball humor that then turned on a dime and went straight to the heart that STARGATE ATLANTIS had. I haven’t quite warmed up to the cast yet, but I’m willing to give it a little more time. The ATLANTIS cast had an amazing chemistry and a lot of charismatic individuals in it, something that’s unusual to put together from Day One, so I need to give this some time.

I was surprised by GHOST RIDER — I’d heard such awful things about it, and it wasn’t as bad a I expected. I would have handled the material differently, both as a writer and a director, especially when it came to pace — the pace was off. And why do most actresses wash out up against Nic Cage? Angelina Jolie and Diane Kruger hold their own and have chemistry with him, but most others — ick. Cage, as usual, has an endearing quality and can pull off dialogue that would sound ridiculous coming out of anyone else’s mouth. I love how he physicalizes his characters — Johnny Blake’s kind of twitchy and then grows into Ghost Rider, while Ben Gates from NATIONAL TREASURE moves with the grace of a dancer. Sometimes when he gets twitchy, I want to shake him and say, “stand still. Be strong in the silence”, but twitchy worked for Johnny Blake, at least early on. And seeing Sam Elliot on screen just always makes me happy — talk about a solid performer who can communicate more with the tilt of a head and the glint of an eye than most other actors do with their entire bodies. Definitely an actor who knows how to use stillness. I prefer those actors to the ones that have to bounce around all over the screen.

Saturday night, I watched the re-run (I refuse to call them “encore presentations” — they’re re-runs set in the first week so they don’t have to pay production costs on having a full roster of shows) of TRAUMA. The show needs to find its feet, in a lot of ways, but I loved the work of Cliff Curtis. He was pitch perfect with a character who could have been an arrogant ass of a messed up individual. Instead, he came out of the gate with a complex human being, and I’m interested to see where he goes from here. I found the writing a little uneven and the emphasis more on the disasters than the aftermath. I’m not going to stress if I’m not home to see an episode, but if I happen to be home when it’s on, I may watch it, just for Curtis’s work. I also liked Aimee Garcia’s work a lot, but the rest of the cast has not yet enchanted me.In fact, some of them annoyed me, and not in the right way.

I slept in on Sunday until nearly 8 — bliss — read the paper, and didn’t get to work until about 10. Spent some time on what I’m calling The Challenging Project, and then spent the bulk of the day finishing the Anita Blake essay. I’m much happier with this version — although it’s far too long. I’ll go over it again this morning and shoot if off to my editor — if she likes the overall shape of it, we can take out the red machete and cut.

Got back from the site last night, unpacked, hung out with the cats. They all wanted attention.

Up at 7 this morning. No Prague diary yet — sorry, just haven’t had time to write it up properly. I need to get out the essay and rewrite a short story that an editor’s interested in, provided I do a rewrite with some cuts. Also have to do a new bio for the relaunch of the SDR site.

I want to do some work on The Challenging Project today, and on the Jain Lazarus Prague story, and then get back to work on AMENDS.

Busy day.

Devon

Monday, September 28, 2009

IMG_0575
Sandwich, MA

Monday, September 28, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

If you want to read the first installment of my Prague adventures, scroll down to the post below this one, for “Getting There.” If you want to read about my adventures in Cape Cod, scroll down to the entry below that, Sunday’s entry, where I detail the trip.

Yesterday wound up being pretty productive, actually, I caught up on a bunch of email, and on some websites. I created a spreadsheet for a project whose progress I need to track in more detail than simply in log form and filled in all the information. I polished my applications and proposal materials for two residencies. I’ll do a final proof reading this morning and get them out — along with some certified letters that have to go out, one of which goes to the scumbag landlords. Yes, folks, they’re at it again.

Got a couple of pitches out. Responded to my editor about the Anita Blake essay. Now that I have some distance, I think I can tackle it again with fresh eyes. I was a lot more straightforward with her instead of just trying to please her, and I think we can work together to make it a strong piece. I got a rejection from an anthology that pissed me off for a variety of reasons, but listing them will sound like sour grapes, so I won’t. They didn’t want to burn the bridge, but I found the tone condescending, and with their credits, they are in no position to condescend to me. Next! It would be a reprint of a piece that was already very successful, so it’s no skin off my nose — hell, I’ve already been paid for the piece, it’s been published, and that publication wants more with the same characters. I also got a lovely note from my producer — THE MATILDA MURDERS is doing very well, and is even being booked for encore performances. All good. I also found, hidden amongst the emails while I was gone, a detailed response to concerns I’d sent to the White House. Instead of an automated response, an individual actually went through my letter point-by-point and responded. While I still may not agree with everything, I at least have a better understanding of certain decisions and policies, and I appreciate that someone actually took the time to craft an individual and detailed response.

I managed to stay up until 10 PM and didn’t wake up until 5:30 this morning (which is a reasonable time to wake up in my world). Maybe I’m readjusting. I can’t believe that, a week ago today, I was still in Prague, preparing to head back.

I have a LOT on my plate this week, and I just have to go through it, bite by bite, to get it all done: The Anita Blake essay rewrite, the residency proposals, starting the NYFA grant proposal, the article on cat health, the Prague articles, the Cape articles, finishing up my brochure and getting the mailing under way, working on the Prague photos, doing the next newsletter, writing a 2500 word short story, getting started on two Jain Lazarus short stories and one Rose Olen short story, and getting back to AMENDS. ANGEL HUNT is my big October project, and I also have to do the final prep for teaching at The Muse Online.

It’s a busy week.

Devon

Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 7:32 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , , ,