Mon. Nov. 18, 2013: Health Wins & Screenplays

Monday, November 18, 2013
Last Day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Stormy and rainy

Busy weekend. I had to knock off early on Friday, because I was coming down with the flu — fever, chills, aches, headache. I dosed myself with my herbal brews, rested, and I think I kicked it before it got a chance to really put me out for a week or more. Fingers crossed.

I got about 40 pages done on a new screenplay, and am spinning another idea — got the initial scenes done. Got some work done in the development notebook. Got out a book review, and read most of the next book I need to review. Worked with students. Pitched for jobs.

Over two unreliable clients, especially since I gave one of them a special deal. Deposit and materials aren’t in today, as booked, and the price goes up. Sick and tired of these asshats who want professional services but don’t want to pay. Grow the fuck up, people –no one owes you anything. You want a professional, you HIRE one. There’s a fee involved, the same way you pay the plumber and the lawyer. Was also approached by a publisher who wanted me to give a “publisher’s discount” to hire me as an editor — meaning he would pay me less than the individual author clients. I never heard such stupid shit — -publishers pay MORE than individuals for professional editors, not less. Needless to say, I refused.

Big critique project arrived over the weekend; will get that turned around as fast as I can.

Finished watching THE UNUSUALS on DVD. I wish that I’d worked on it (but I was already committed to another show), and I wish that it ran more than 10 episodes. It was created by Peter Tolan, so of course it was good, but I’d forgotten HOW good until I sat down and binge-watched the episodes. The balance it kept amongst the characters, the character development, the episode-specific balance versus the overall balance of arcs, the writing, the acting — fantastic. Also watched SWAT — I’d forgotten how it jumps right in from moment one — I kept thinking I missed the beginning — and I would have liked to see a little bit more character development amongst the team. The action and pace were good, but I think some of the character development suffered with so much focus on Colin Farrell’s character at the expense of the others. You wouldn’t have to give Street any less time — just give more detail to the other characters; the strokes were too broad, in some cases.

Don’t forget to sign up for “Organize Your Writing Life” on December 7. We’re getting a lively group in there, and it should be enormous fun.

Got a lot of writing to do today, so I better get going!


Mon. April 30, 2012: Beltane Eve

Monday, April 30, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Billy Root blogs about the importance of leaving a character on the set. Check it out.

And don’t forget the Amazing Antagonists Seminar on May 12. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and, if you’ve ever had doubts about the strength and importance of your antagonists, this class will help you a lot. More information and registration here.

Busy weekend, and I’m still trying to shake off the last of this flu. So far, not much luck.

I did not think I could pull it together for the Arbor Day Celebration, but I did, and I’m glad I did. It was lovely, and I got to meet some of the people with whom I’ll be dealing when I teach at the high school in May.

Worked outside, worked with students in the afternoon. The plumber came, fixed the problem in ten minutes, and was done. Phew!

Saturday morning, I spent about an hour and a half working to weed Mother’s Park with the Committee. It was fun, but I still get tired awfully fast. Had to then dash to an appointment in Harwich, which turned out to be a washout.

Came back and cleaned out the garage (first time in my life I’ve ever been able to say that). Unpacked about 20 boxes, put up shelves, organized things. Lots more room in there now! It looks good. And I can get at everything, which is helpful.

Wrapped up the One Story Many Voices class and caught up with my year-long students and private students. Worked on revisions and proposals.

Dump run on Sunday, getting rid of the recycling. Tried to do bottle return — I swear, they’re quick to charge the bottle deposit, but then try to make it impossible for you to return them and get the money back. Why is that? Because they hope you’ll give up and they can keep it, of course. I had to go to three different places before I found one where the machines were in service. Because, heaven forbid, the place where I BOUGHT them, where they CHARGED me, would have a working redemption center. Oh, they have the machines — but in the year and half I’ve lived here, they’ve been in working order exactly once.

Verizon Wireless are being dickheads, as usual. I’m so sick of these mega companies who think they are above the law. They’re NOT.

I have a lot of work on my plate today, along with yard work that has to get done, and errands and appointments. Setting as Character starts today, and it’s Beltane Eve.

Never a dull moment!


Fri. April 20, 2012: Back to the World of the Living

Bugleweed and Scotch Moss

Friday, April 20, 2012
Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday, I stayed in bed. I mean, I did a few things on the computer and watered the grass, but then I stayed in bed for the rest of the day. I feel better today, just low-energy. It was the right choice. And one day is misery was, I think, getting off pretty easy. I felt icky for about a week, but I really had only one bad day.

Mostly, I napped, read a book on meditation, and read Edmund Wilson’s diaries from the 1960s. I had a breakthrough of an idea in the book I’m editing, which will then spill into the second book in the trilogy. I mapped out, mentally, a few more proposals that will go out today, and came up with three ideas for non-fiction books that I plan to get into proposal stage over the next few weeks. The great thing about non-fiction is you can submit a PROPOSAL with the first three chapters, rather than fiction, where, until you have a long-term contract, you have to write the whole book first. I did some blah-blah, talking off the top of my head, and I even have a few people willing to look at them, with an eye towards contract.

The next two Fast & Fun Workshop registrations are live. The detailed information on Amazing Antagonists, on May 12, is here, and the Setting Up Your Submission System, on June 2, is here. Both are one-day, quick, and information-packed, well worth the price.

Later this morning, I head off to a friend’s (one of my fellow Bellini Girls) to pick up a small holly tree she needs to re-home and some violets. Hey, if it’s a holly tree, I’ll find a spot!

The tulips are gorgeous, the flowering almond is blooming, even some of last year’s pansies decided to be perennials instead of annuals.

Now, if I can settle down and get the work done — it’s all good! Hope to get a lot of writing done this weekend, and some more mowing and garden stuff. And get a bunch of proposals out, so that the coming moon cycle is rosy and abundant! Sunday, I’ve been invited to a Green Drinks event — not really sure what that is, but it sounds like fun, so why not? If I’m feeling up to it.


Thurs. April 19, 2012: Officially, The Flu

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Well, the mystery illness finally blossomed into full-blown flu last night — chills, fever, congestion, the works. At least I know what it is, so I can deal with it, instead of a little symptom of this here, another symptom there.

I cancelled out of everything I was supposed to do today, and am staying in bed, once I’m done with a few things here. It means missing yoga and a farewell lunch for a colleague, but illness is not an appropriate parting gift!

Caught up with students, mowed the terraced back (and then lay down in the grass for awhile to recover). I got some spray to make the mower catch faster, and it works. Fell in love with a Scotch Broom plant that’s a bit beyond my budget right now, but will keep an eye on it. My neighbor gave me three kinds of lettuce, and they went into the vegetable bed. Put down some grass seed in the front, where it’s looking a bit bald, and where I killed some grass fighting ants last year. Hopefully, it will come up.

We had our first taste of the garden– mixed greens and chives in yesterday’s lunch. Yummy!

Got some good edits done on the book, and also wrote 816 on the second book, in a half hour sprint with the students. Am pondering the proposals that need to go out tomorrow, and will finalize them later today.

I got up this morning to cancel out of obligations in a reasonable time, and to water the grass seed. Am going to check in with students, and then go back to bed and get rid of this damn flu once and for all. I think I’m past the worst of it — that was last night– but I want to make sure it’s gone!

I’m over at the Writers Vineyard today, talking about the garden’s influence on my writing.

Back to bed.


Published in: on April 19, 2012 at 7:11 am  Comments (6)  
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Waxing Moon
Sunny and mild

I survived yesterday, although it seemed a bit touch and go there for awhile. I got steadily worse throughout the day (you know it’s bad when I can’t even read). There was some talk in the evening of going to the emergency room, but since I am one of this country’s 47 million uninsured, in spite of being a union member (thank you, George W. Bush), I don’t go in unless I’m three quarters dead, and I wasn’t there yet.

By about three in the morning, I started to feel better. I went back to sleep (I’ve slept almost all of the past two days), and woke up at my usual 6 AM to feed the cats. Did a few gentle yoga poses, but couldn’t do very much. Still, it was better than yesterday.

Only got a couple of pages done on the mystery. I’ve lost my rhythm with it, and have to find my way back into it – again. Frustrating. But if I leave it undone, it will drag down everything else. That’s an ongoing problem with Nano – one puts so much intensity in getting the 50K done in 30 days, and has such a sense of accomplishment, that continuing on to FINISH the project often becomes a struggle.

Did about a thousand words on the Maine project. I’ll have to do some research on artisan yarn, since my protag is taking over some of the family business of alpaca, a few llamas in there for protection, and some sheep. Llamas can be nasty, but they’re good guardians. Alpaca are too darned sweet for their own good. Near where the family is up in Maine are many wonderful individual artisan yarn producers – I’ll have to do some research on them, and maybe schedule some visits on my next trip. I can read up on it all I want, but it adds an entirely different and more sensual dynamic to experience it. I’ve never been a huge fan of sheep – the sheep on the Isle of Skye were particularly annoying – I had to keep stopping the car to shoo them off the road – they liked to lie on the warm asphalt. They were pretty cute on Lindisfarne, the way they ran and jumped – I finally understood the meaning of the word “gambol”. My mom thinks sheep are adorable. I like them over there – most of them just aren’t very bright and work my last nerve. Although, when we stayed on the estate in Norfolk in 2000 during lambing season and bottle-fed and cuddled some of those lambs, they were awfully cute. And I still can’t eat lamb after that, even though I’m sure most of those little guys ended up as lamb chops on someone else’s table. It’s not that I think anyone should or shouldn’t eat lamb – I just can’t. Which is a shame, because I used to love it.

I’ve got to get the assignment done for Confidential Job #1, and then I’ll see what else I can do. I’d hoped to have most of the hand-made gifts done by today, but that didn’t happen. At least I have all the bits – it’s just a case of making the prototype, taking my time with it to make sure I’ve done it right, and then setting it up so I can put them together efficiently. And I need to get started on the overseas cards – they should get out by the end of the week.

Holiday cards are always a priority to me – I cut back on many things, especially this year, because of deadbeat clients, but cards matter.

Lori Widmer had a great post yesterday on Word on the Page about thinking ahead to one’s freelancing goals for next year. I made a leap in my type of client this year, and I’ve certainly done better fiction-wise than in previous years, but it’s now time to make another leap in the client-base. I don’t think I’m suited to the majority of corporate clients – I lack the patience and diplomacy to deal with their b.s. – but I think it’s time to work on a new brochure and get out a fresh mailing early in the year, targeted towards specific companies whose policies I like and agree with, and convince them they can’t live without me. That’s where I’ve always landed my best jobs in the past. I’ve been lazy this year – that’s the only word for it – relying on job listing sites whose client listings got progressively skeezier as the year wore on. Nothing like a site claiming to support freelancers who then lists jobs that are detrimental to them! Because I always had theatre work as my fall-back position, I allowed myself to be lazy. But the show’s closing in mid-January. Quite a few shows are closing in January, and several shows that were supposed to come in for the spring have cancelled. So, I need to get my act together and now take the NEXT freelancing step up, while still keeping on track with the fiction. Which means being even more aware of time management and honing those skills. I’m decent with time management, but I can be a lot better.

And, still, I have to be able to build in percolation time, because without percolation time, that time where you just sit and stare at the wall and it looks like you’re not doing anything, the creativity doesn’t happen.

I know how much I want and need to earn each month next year. So, this month, I need to clean up the unpaid contracts and implement the procedures that will get me where I want and need to be next year. In many ways, it’s a great time to be a freelancer – because so many companies have downsized, they have to bring in people on a per-project basis. And I’d much rather work that way.

But I’m still not going to write 20 articles/week for $1 each or go on one of those skeezy bidding sites where you pay for listings and the client’s only interested in the lowest bid, not the best writer!

I may still be too sick to do much physically today, but the brain is sort of working again, so I can start to plan so that next year builds on this year and builds on it well. With a new administration coming into power that actually gives a damn about the citizens of this country, I think we’ve got a chance. But the door can’t hit Paulson’s butt fast enough for my taste. Handing the money to corporate institutions that then sit on it and/or hand it out to shareholders or use it to pay their fat cat execs instead of putting it back into the company to generate more jobs is not acceptable, and that guy should have been kicked to the curb months ago. And guess what? I don’t want to “own” part of AIG or any of those companies, thanks to my tax payer dollars – unless I get a say in how they’re run, and part of that say is to fire the people who got the companies into these messes in the first place!

Anyway, I’m going to take it slowly today and see how much I can get done. Hopefully, I’ll feel more like myself tomorrow. I’m better, but I’m not great.

I missed two important marketing opportunities yesterday, and I could just kick myself, but that’s the way it goes. I’ve got some more coming up next week – I just have to be ready for them.

The computer’s done some weird update all on its own, so everything I lost and imported last time has to be re-imported. Sigh. At least I know how to do it this time (thanks, Colin).

Hopefully, I’ll catch the holiday spirit the way I caught this flu. Until then, I’m going to make a concerted effort not to dampen anyone else’s holiday spirit, but enjoy the fact they’ve got it! I’m going to try to pay special attention to anyone or anything that shows positive holiday spirit and write about it, so we can all enjoy it.


Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW! Too Much Mistletoe A Nina Bell Holiday Mystery by Devon Ellington. Nina Bell is back! Still trying to make a living in the New York theatre world of the 1990s, she’s trying to figure out which is the bigger mystery – a college friend’s disappearance, or her ever-complicated love life, as every man she meets wants to hang mistletoe over her head. Read an excerpt here and purchase the story for only $2.99 USD here .

NEW! “The Ramsey Chase” A Remarkable Adventure of Cornelia True and Roman Gray By Devon Ellington
Meet the adventurous Cornelia True of Bodwin’s Ferry, whose life changes forever when “fixer” Roman Gray lands naked in her petunias, and they combine forces to track down a serial killer determined to murder thirteen women in thirteen months for their blood, with his latest victim right there in Bodwin’s Ferry!
Only $1.49 USD for this 10K adventure, the very first Penny’s Dreadfuls release! Read an excerpt of the adventure here.
Purchase the story here.

Free limited download
“The Possession of Nattie Filmore: A Jain Lazarus Adventure” by Devon Ellington. If you loved HEX BREAKER, you’ll love spending time with Jain and Wyatt as they try to solve a haunted house mystery. Read an excerpt of the story and download it free here

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.

Back By Popular Demand! 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
Limited time offer
Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.

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 December 2, 2008 at 8:48 am  Comments (9)  
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