Wednesday, January 2, 2019: Hit The Ground Running and Hitting Back at Those Who Denigrate Artists

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Time to hit the ground running. I have a few thoughts on that, over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Friday wore me out. I had to take the car in (which wasn’t as bad as I feared). I spent time with a client, then had some running around to do.

I was also still spinning ideas for the online brainstorming session I had with Jackie Kessler, Deanna Rayburn, and Erin Cronican on new material for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST.

WOMEN WITH AN EDGE is a show with legs. Some of the material is evergreen; some is dated. It’s time for another show along the same lines that deal with topics relevant now. I have a few places I can test material, although there’s not a theatre on Cape who’d have the guts to produce the piece. Too right-wing around here.

But we brainstormed pages of notes, and I’ve taken it further. I threw some ideas into the Women Write Change forum as well on Monday, so I’m sure that will generate more ideas.

I want to write the first couple of monologues this week.

Saturday was unseasonably warm. I had another run to the store (because there’s always one more thing). We got the garbage to the dump (and the guys got their cookies).

I started playing with some more ideas. Because ideas come in batches. So it’s important to take notes, date the notes, and then figure what’s pulling hardest and where to put what.

Sunday I managed fourteen pages on an idea with which I’m playing — I think it will work. My two main protagonists are deliciously more complicated and manipulative than I originally envisioned. It will be interesting to see how they play off each other. A missing music composition is a big part of the story, too.

Worked on the proposal for the play set in Renaissance Venice. With that, and the anti-gun violence play, and the two women authors play, and WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, that’s four stage plays and three novels releasing this year. Minimum.

We’re pushing the Jain Lazarus re-release back to 2020. It doesn’t make sense to do it this year. That way, in 2020, the third Gwen-Justin book releases, the third Nautical Namaste releases, the fifth Coventina Circle releases — along with the first three Jain Lazarus. Those are all outlined — it’s a case of writing/revising.

This year, I’m scrambling to get BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA out on schedule — last year was just too much. GRAVE REACH will be in good shape in a few months, and ready for edits. And we’re still trying to figure out if the Justice by Harpy trilogy can come out this year.

Plus, I want to make room to have at least one stand-alone a year.

I’m posting this on Monday, so I have no idea what my Eve and Day will be. I’m determined to make them good. I’m determined not to teeter at the edge of the abyss I usually find myself on every New Year’s Eve.

I have worlds to build.

Social media has just been depressing lately. I know I need it for the books and the writing. I enjoy genuine interaction, and I’ve met some great people.

But there’s too much viciousness. And too much whining.

You want to be a full time artist? Then you have to rearrange your life and put the work first. You can’t do it all and have it all. If you want to be a part-time artist in order to have a more balanced life, fine, go ahead. But don’t whine at those of us who made the choices and put in the work about “not having time to write.” You are CHOOSING not to write. You are CHOOSING other elements in your life over the writing. And they are your choices. So own them.

I’m also tired of being attacked for earning money from my work. Loving my work does not forfeit my right to earn a living at it — provided I’m willing to put in the work. I am. I do.

Those who aren’t willing to put in the work or believe getting paid for art and craft is “selling out” can go to hell. Because I have stuff to do and can’t be bothered.

And all these attacks on artists as not being smart or who shouldn’t have opinions or participate in political activism? Those who make their living in the arts tend to be smarter and more committed than those around them, or they couldn’t do it.

If you think artists are stupid, if you attack them for being intelligent, articulate, and committed to building a better world, yeah, you can go to hell, too.

I have no time for these jealous, petty morons. People who attack artists generally do so out of spite, because they hate that artists have the talent and the skills and the work ethic, and, most importantly, the COURAGE to put it all on the line.

I’m not arguing with them. I’m not “debating” with them. Let those who are only in it to cause trouble and spread spite twist in the wind.

I have art to create. I have work to do. I have a world to change, one story at a time.

 

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Wed. Aug. 29, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Blisteringly hot & humid

Hop on over to the Fearless Ink Site for the latest on Ink-Dipped Advice.

I’ve been onsite with a client the last few days, doing studio/design work. She leaves for Thailand early in September and needs to get this done. It’s interesting work, the way she designs clothes, and very different from costume design in theatre.

I’m re-reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s TENDER IS THE NIGHT and wallowing in the beauty of the language. Which is weird, because when one breaks down certain sections of it, it shouldn’t work. But when you put it together, it does.

Since I’m reading EVERYONE WAS SO YOUNG, which deals with the inspiration for TENDER IS THE NIGHT, it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

Ari Meghlen invited me to guest on her blog (it will go up next year) and I said yes. I also invited her onto Biblio Paradise. I need to get the next few dozen posts on that sorted this week.

Working on the calendar articles. The first book for my new reviewing gig arrived, and I really like it. I hope to finish it this weekend and get the review out early next week. Worked on the newsletter, which will go out early next week.

Shameless promotional note: If you haven’t signed up for my quarterly newsletter yet, you can do so here.

This newsletter has a triple cover reveal: RELICS & REQUIEM, DAVY JONES DHARMA, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Pushing for the end of this draft of RELICS. Behind where I need to be on DHARMA. But BALTHAZAAR is where it should be, and CRAVE THE HUNT needs to get back into the mix once RELICS is in galleys and the next draft of DHARMA is done.

Right now, the goal is a minimum of 2500 words/day on RELICS (more if I can) and 1K on DHARMA, but that doesn’t always happen.

Getting more comfortable on Tumblr; loving Ello; joined Triberr, and we’ll see how that goes. I’m ready to give up on Vero — if I’m having trouble with even the sign-up, a client less IT fluent won’t like it at all. Their support people have been lovely, but the problem’s not solved. We’re going on a week here. And it’s just about signing up and my email address (that I use a dozen times a day) coming up in the sign-up as invalid. It’s not.

I have to start rehearsing the material for the Ptown Book Festival Reading and put together a flyer/handout for it.

Discussions on the Jain Lazarus covers with that cover designer. The cover I want to go back to was not by that designer — paint me mortified! I have to figure out what to do about OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. CRAVE THE HUNT is more important now.

We got the new subdomain for the new series set up and WordPress on it. Now, I have to take it offline so we can build privately. The first three books in the series are in good shape. The cover for the first is great; we have to tweak the second a bit. The fourth book is almost ready; the fifth is partially done, and the sixth outlined and has to get back into the writing roster. How the next few books in the other series stay on track and what goes on with CRAVE THE HUNT will decide a lot about the schedule for this series.

It’s a juggling act.

The cleanout of the basement is going more slowly than I’d like. The heat and humidity has a negative effect.

Last night was our last session of Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki for the season. It’s been a beautiful experience, and I am glad I made it to every session.

Today, I’m with a client for most of the day, and then I hope to get more basement cleaning done. The humidity/heat is set to break either tomorrow or Friday, so maybe I’ll have a productive weekend.

Back to the page.

Wed. Aug. 22, 2018: Creative Expansion & Annoyance at Forced Terms

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Today would have been my father’s birthday, if he was still alive.

Hop on over for the latest freelancing advice over on the Fearless Ink website, Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve tweaked the look of it a bit, too.

I hurt my back on Monday, and it’s still bothering me. On top of it, yesterday, I had an awful headache.

I’m surprised by how upset I am at Facebook’s new terms, where authors can’t talk about their books on their personal pages. Because talking about them IS promoting them — it’s all integrated. My work is deeply entwined with who I am — even though my work is public and my life is private. My reason for being on social media is to talk about the work (and watch food porn and share pet photos, but that’s secondary). To force authors and all artists to move their work to business pages in order to force all of that to be paid promotion — I’m angry.

I’m also disappointed in Mark Zuckerberg, and his journey from creative entrepreneur to greedy corporate owner. People don’t change (although one hopes they grow), so it was always there. I had hoped it wouldn’t be what he leads with, but now it is. It’s bad enough he sold out his country to foreign entities, fake news, and hate groups. All these changes, which he claims are part of controlling that are crap. All he’s doing is hurting the small businesses and individual artists.

So, yes, I’m putting up a Devon Ellington Author page tied to my other pages. For the moment, I am still on FB. But if I’m kicked off, while I will miss some of my FB-only contacts, I’m going to shrug and move on.

I signed up on Tumblr, and you can find me here. I’m still figuring out how to use it.

I signed up on Ello, and you can find me here. I’m digging the creative energy over there, and I think I’m going to like it.

Once I upgrade my phone, I might join Vero, but the jury’s still out on that.

I’m thinking about reviving my old My Space account, even.

It all has to evolve, doesn’t it?

I use Twitter differently than I use Facebook. Facebook is more for hanging out. Twitter is more hard-edged and focused. Although I’ve gotten some of my highest-paid gigs off Twitter.

I might have to suck it up and try to be active on Goodreads, although I can’t stand the thought of it. But I need to be able to connect with readers and potential readers.

The whole thing is discouraging, depressing, and dispiriting. As usual, it’s about screwing the individual artist.

Negotiations for the gig are ongoing. I’d like to land it, but we have a few things to work out. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll shrug and move on.

Lucy loves to sit in my lap as I type. Lucy loves to sit in my lap no matter what. It makes Tessa grumpy, so I make sure to give Tessa plenty of extra attention.

Needless to say, I really, really needed Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki last night!

Continuing on with RELICS, happy that I see the end in sight for this draft and moving toward it.

DHARMA is heating up; once that moves back into the primary position, I think it will cook along fine.

BALTHAZAAR is also taking shape nicely, and I’m eager to get back to that, and to CRAVE THE HUNT.

We’re working on the relaunch of the Jain Lazarus books. My editor has asked me for a few tweaks, especially when it comes to OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. And I’ll have to do some major work on the website. I’m going to get it more in alignment with the other series sites.

We’re also talking about the series POWER OF WORDS is evolving into. The cover for the first book is stunning. I’m so happy with it. The second still needs some more tweaks, but it communicates what the book is about. We should see some proofs for the upcoming books shortly. We’re still tweaking titles on some of them, and starting to build the website.

Client work today; I’ll be late getting posts up both Thursday and Friday, because of things that have to get done in the morning before I can post. I hope to spend most of the upcoming weekend writing and working on the house and garden. With any luck, it will be cool enough and dry enough so to do.

I’m absolutely delighted that I was chosen to read at the Provincetown Book Festival on September 15. We’ll be in the Marc Jacobs room at the Provincetown Library, from 10-11:30 AM. Can’t wait.

Back to the page!

 

Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Waning Moon

I moved the Cerridwen’s Cottage website all by myself. I’m so darned proud. For me, a non-IT person, it was a big deal. It’s a big personal milestone for me.

Yesterday, I started building it live. I’m hoping to move the Fearless Ink site late this week, and then maybe get to build it early next week. And then I’ll be done with 1&1 as far as hosting go. They still hold my registrations for the moment.

I also finally understand why I’m having the problem on the Welcome page of the Devon Ellington Work site. Even better, I understand how to fix it!

Now, I still have to learn how to do a drop-down menu . . .

There’s a storm coming in, so I might not get to post tomorrow, although I hope to do so on Friday. I hope it won’t be as bad as they say; I’m getting a little weary of the storms. As long as the power holds . . .

Working steadily on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Playing with ideas to finish POWER OF WORDS. Got re-ignited for NOT BY THE BOOK — there are good bones there. If I can pull it off, it will be a worthwhile book. Working on FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

It’s a good busy.

A potential client liked my pitch, but wanted me to do a proofreading test before talking any further. I did. It was a timed test, full of the errors that set my teeth on edge. So, we’ll see. The money would be great, but I need to know more about the parameters.

My flash drive is full, so I started a new, 32GB drive. I moved over pertinent files from the old drive and sorted them properly. Let’s hope I can keep this drive organized.

I’m reworking the media kits for TRACKING MEDUSA and the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and looking for some fun, additional material to add to the Jain Lazarus site.

I need to put together some more material for the Coventina Circle site, and put together the pieces for the SAVASANA AT SEA giveaway I want to do in a couple of months. I’m also working on some ads for the different books and stories. I want to see if they make a difference. Friends of mine tend to have good luck with Facebook ads, and they’re usually reasonably priced, so we’ll see.

I’ve had a terrible headache for the past few days. I hope it lets up when the storm moves in.

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 2:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm  
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Wed. April 17, 2013: Picking Up Pieces and Moving Forward

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was sunny, but much colder and windier than predicted.

It was a sad day, with the aftermath of the Marathon attack. I was weepy on and off all day.

That didn’t mean I couldn’t deal with life. Commitments still had to be met, no matter what I was feeling. I took in the car for its check-up — all good — phew! Went grocery shopping, switched out books at the library. Came home and did some reading.

I’d given myself the day off writing, knowing I was in no state to do it well. I managed to get out two LOIs and work with students.

I read an absolutely brilliant book that I encourage anyone who has a passion for what they do or what they want to do to read. It’s Twyla Tharp’s THE CREATIVE HABIT. Tharp is an icon of a choreographer. Her commitment and her techniques to not only make creative starts but creative finishes are fantastic. This is an extraordinary book, one of the best I’ve read in a long time.

I have an article up on Beth Barany’s blog about Jain Lazarus as the Personification of Karmic Return. Monday’s violence opens up a whole new discussion about the use of violence in fiction. Can’t say I love the timing on the post going live, but maybe it will provoke some interesting discussions. Is violence ever acceptable? is one of the things that I struggle with in fiction. My characters kick ass, and sometimes take violent action. Is that ever okay? The way expectations are set up, it’s expected. But again, is that okay? I don’t have a definitive answer; it’s something I keep exploring.

Excellent first writing session on the new book: just over 2300 words, wrote Chapter 10. Percolating along, and very glad I have a synopsis. This was a case where I had to have a polished synopsis ready for the agent before I’d even done the writer’s rough, working a little backwards for me, but that’s the way it goes. At least I’m back on track, and can see finishing this draft, having a few days to let it rest before ripping it apart for edits, and getting it to my agent on time.

Lots to do today, and I have a massive headache, so I better get going.

Devon

Tues. July 10, 2012: Typing My Fingers Off

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The weather has been gorgeous the last few days. May all of summer be this lovely!

Productive day yesterday: invoiced a client, edited three short stories for an anthology, sent off a contract, worked on three articles, worked on the ghostwriting project, worked on two short stories, started teaching the Scene Meat workshop, pitched for an editing job, worked on edits for HEART SNATCHER, finished reading the material for the latest assignment from Confidential Job #1. Ran an errand, swapping a donation a pro bono client is giving to a local auction, picking up the one they’re donating to my client’s auction, and picked up three gallons of water for tonight’s jazz concert.

I ordered some library books on women and aviation in the 40s for further research into the short story with potential for a novel. For the purposes of the piece due at the end of this week, I will take the first scene and turn it into a stand-alone short story, test-driving some of my ideas. I’m working on a writer’s rough outline for the novel. I need a better title for the whole darned thing, but that will come as my themes become clearer.

I’m reading Jeff Vandemeer’s BOOKLIFE — very clear-sighted breakdown of setting goals and separating out the private and public elements of the writing life.

“Town Crier” is no longer available, but don’t fret — a new Jain Lazarus story featuring Billy Root will be going live soon! “Town Crier” will be included in the collection of Jain Lazarus shorts released next year, that will also feature two brand-new novellas especially for the collection.

If you haven’t signed up for the Series Bible seminar on Saturday, you can still do that here. It is the only time the class will be offered this year.

I’ve got the ghostwriting to work on, more short stories to edit for the anthology, the introduction to work on, the classes to teach, and two more short stories to get out by this week, along with a new post up on Writers Vineyard for Thursday.

It’s a good busy, though, and that’s the way I like it!

Devon

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Snowing

We had about another two inches of snow overnight and it’s going to snow off and on all day. I took care of the errands yesterday, so I can just stay tucked at home today.

I ran my errands in the morning, and attacked the essay in the afternoon. I was reading it over about twenty minutes before deadline and realized just how badly it sucked. Completely flat, the equivalent of “blah, blah, blah.”

So I threw it out and started over. I rewrote the whole piece with a much stronger focus and got it in on deadline. Not my preferred working method — I like to hone and polish over a period of days — but it’s there, and I’ll post the link when it goes live at the end of the week.

Went out and played hard last night to blow off some steam, then came back and worked on a short story. It’s set in jain Lazarus’s world, although she is not the primary focus. She’s only going to appear in a single phone conversation, just to tie her into the world. A colleague of hers, who we haven’t yet met in the series, Hillary, is, and she gets herself into a pickle in San Antonio. I haven’t been to San Antonio in about 15 years or more, so I’ll have to do some digging, invest in a street map, get on Twitter and ask native San Antonians questions. Because I can’t go down there to re-research the city for a short story.

Snow plows woke me up at 5:30, so I only got about three hours’ sleep.

I think I’ll give myself a snow day today. I’m getting mentally fatigued, and need a break from the dark psyches I’ve had to inhabit over the past few weeks in my writing. I bought Elizabeth Kostova’s THE SWAN THIEVES yesterday, so I may start that. Men’s hockey starts today at the Olympics, so, if they’re covering the game live, I’ll watch that. Delighted by Seth Westcott’s win. I’m one of the five people on the planet not enamoured by figure skating, but I still enjoyed the gold and silver medalists from China. And can I just say Lindsay Vonn hasn’t even skied yet and I’m sick of her? Way too much coverage on someone who hasn’t performed yet. I’m going to have to root around online and find some more international coverage — I want to know about the international athletes, the ones I only get to see during the Games.

I’ve been watching and watching and watching the trailer for SHUTTER ISLAND (because the promos are on a lot). Suddenly, I got suspicious and thought, “What if X is really the big twist at the end? I’ll be so annoyed.” And I did some spoiler research and discovered I was right. So, now I’m on the fence about seeing the movie. I know what happens at the end, and that choice is a device that doesn’t work for me. But the filmmaking looks wonderful and I’m interested in some of the performances. Also, after having spent weeks deep within dark psyches, is it really a good idea to go out and see more? So I’m not yet sure what I’ll do.

Okay, back to the page for a bit — before I start my official snow day, I’ve got a bit of work to do on a couple of articles. But the bulk of the day will be spent playing. I need some light=hearted time to counterbalance the unrelenting darkness of Zeke and Eddie.

Devon

Published in: on February 16, 2010 at 7:54 am  Comments (4)  
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New Year’s Day — First Day of the New Decade!

Friday, January 1, 2010
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold
New Year’s Day

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

I hope you all had fun entering it.

My Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions for the coming year are up on the GDR site. Hop over, take a look, add your own if you like, or just use the questions for your own musings.

I had a pretty quiet day, reading and writing. Elsa’s not well again, so I was worried. I made an appointment with the vet for Tuesday morning, and am hoping that she won’t need to be rushed to emergency services before then. She was better in the afternoon, then had another bad bout in the evening, then got better during the night and into the morning.

I’m reading the biography of Emily Post that I bought at the Riverrun Bookstore in Portsmouth, ME right before Thanksgiving. It’s very good.

Burned bayberry incense and part of a bayberry candle for incoming prosperity and good health. Will burn more incense today and burn down the rest of the candle.

Started work on Universal Principles. Good start, but the scenes aren’t taking as many pages/words to write as I expected. Since this is a fairly fast-paced piece, I think that’s probably a good thing.

Lovely dinner of salmon in a garlic teriyaki sauce, sweet potatoes, leek-and-potatoes in mushroom sauce, and the rest of the green beans in hollandaise. Small group of friends made for a calm celebration, but full of laughter.

Blue Moon/Full Moon/Year End ritual went well. All of the cats participated, of course. They have to be right in the middle of EVERYTHING. Besides, they love ritual.

Set the herring over the “saintly” eggs and ate them before midnight, so long-standing family tradition fulfilled. Not a huge fan of herring. I really like smoked eel, but herring, not so much.

H’ors d’ouevres and champagne leading up to midnight. The general consensus is that my deviled eggs, which evolved from the SILVER PALATE recipe, are better than the “saintly” egg recipe I tried this year. Fortunately, I made both, so we could chow down.

The cats don’t usually pay any attention to alcohol, but, for some reason, champagne fascinates them — the bottle, the cork, the noise, the bubbles, all of it. It’s really funny.

So we had our toast to the New Year at midnight, threw open the windows (brr) to let out the old energy from last year and welcome in the new energy from the new decade. I opened the front door, took the big besom and swept out the old luck, making room for the new (and welcoming a lovely First Footer).

If you aren’t familiar with the custom of First Footing, download my Jain Lazarus adventure “First Feet” which weaves the custom into the story! 😉

People in the building started returning from their various parties aroudn 1 or 2 in the morning. Some numbnut slammed the door so hard that one of my display tables toppled over and about a half a dozen ornaments broke. So, later this afternoon, I will set up Ornament Hospital to fix them.

I’m not sticking to strict writing schedule today, since it is a holiday, but I do want to spend some time at the page. There was a very relevant line for today’s card in THE MEDICINE WOMAN INNER GUIDEBOOK: “The strands of life continually pull you from all directions until you take command of the reins of power within your being.” That’s a very kind, supportive way of saying, “No more excuses for not leading the life you want to lead.”

Off to make eggs benedict (another tradition: pork before noon on New Year’s Day), burn the incense, burn the candle, watch the Rose Parade. New Year’s morning ritual was lovely. Cornish hen for dinner with potatoes, carrot-and-parsnip, and I’m not sure what green vegetable yet. There are plenty of sweets for dessert, including a wonderful box of cookies from Costume Imp.

Today I will take as a holiday, a time of rest and renewal. Tomorrow I begin implementing the new GDRs. We had a lovely dusting of snow — it looks gorgeous around here.

Happy New Year!

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

Friday, October 2, 2009

IMG_0391_2
Silhouette of St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Friday, October 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

The scumbag landlords continue to cut down the trees and ruin the habitat that gave haven to all sorts of wildlife in the courtyard. I wish they’d have an unfortunate accident with one of the chain saws being used, and you have no idea how tempted I was to hotwire the ditch digger and drive it into the brook. The slaughter of those beautiful trees is heartbreaking.

And it has nothing to do with “beautification” — the landlord knows how important the trees are to the long-term residents, and he wants us out. It’s deliberate violence and cruelty on every level. I trust the Universe to give him one hell of a karmic return, in a much more creative way than I’d ever come up with (although I’ve been coming up with some doozies).

Abby, I was thinking about just that possibility, and I might have Jain Lazarus do some ass-kicking on my behalf in a story! At first, i thought it should be the beginning of the Prague story, but now I’m thinking maybe there’s enough for its own story — get the tree spirits and nature devas involved!

Most of the devastation happened while I was gone. I managed to pack up and get to the library by 9:30 in the morning. I discovered that I had TWO books to read, not one, which have come out since I originally turned in the essay, so I read them both, taking notes.

Next time I looked up, it was 5:30. No wonder I got distracted several times fantasizing about hamburgers (which I hardly ever eat).

Came home, cooked dinner, tried to relax amidst the tree slaughter and couldn’t. You ca feel the devastation seeping up from the ground.

Received my next assignment for Confidential Job #1, so I will work on it this weekend, along with the essay.

I’ve got to run to Trader Joe’s this morning to stock up on cat food, get out a few faxes, pack my writing bag, and drive my mom to her weekend gig. I totally forgot to go to the bank yesterday, so that’s back on the list. I leave very early for my own weekend gig in the a.m. There are half a dozen events that I’d like to attend, all happening this Sunday, but I’m working until 8 PM, so I’ll miss them all. It’s okay — I really like where I’ll be, and it’s a great environment for creative work.

I’m easing back into my evening yoga routines, finally.

And I hope to have the next Prague essay, mostly dealing with the Castle, up on Monday.

Devon

Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 6:05 am  Comments (3)  
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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Twelfth Night
Cloudy with the temperature dropping

So what did you dream over the Twelve Days of Christmas? It’s said that, starting with the first day of Christmas, everything you dream will come true in the month aligned with the day, i.e., first day = January, second day = February, etc. Let’s just say March and April will be hectic for me if that’s true!

Today is Twelfth Night, which means of course, the beginning of Carnivale! So the Yule decorations come down and the Mardi Gras decorations go up! To replace the Yule wreath, I made a Snowflake Wreath, consisting of a white feather boa wrapped around a wreath form decorated with silver and gold stars and snowflake ribbon. That will stay up until the Spring Equinox, when I’ll replace it with the floral wreath.

Yeah, I’m kind too into decorating. Deal. 😉

I got out six queries and one submission yesterday. I already got a response back from one of the queries, telling me they’d have a decision on my status by the 10th, another response with the information I needed to make a decision on my part, and two more responses that have brought us to points of negotiation.

Massive computer problems again (familiar refrain). Tried to keep the frustration level down to a minimum. I tried Michelle’s suggestion of disk cleanup and disk defrag, but the McAfee antivirus went nuts and things were being moved all over the place and the Blue Screen of Death alternated with the White Screen of Death and the Black Screen of Death. Everything started to beep and scream and flash. It wouldn’t have surprised me to see smoke come out of the machine, although we didn’t get quite that far. I shut everything down. I managed to get use of a friend’s computer, where I re-transcribed everything that was on tape (thank goodness I hadn’t downloaded it into the computer yet) and re-created the article. I got it off. Phew. Hopefully, my delay hasn’t caused too many problems.

Managed to keep on top of yesterday’s email and started catching up with some of the backlog.

I also went through about three years’ worth of magazines, pulled out what I wanted to keep, took the rest to recycling – which took four trips. I’m a magazine junkie; I’ve let several subscriptions lapse because the magazines are no longer really relevant to my life and some of the writing’s gotten so bad that I can’t bear to read them anymore. I knew I had to cut back on some subscriptions because of economics; one of the biggest factors is the quality of the writing. Those magazines whose quality has declined – not renewing. I discovered that I missed one magazine whose subscription I let lapse a little over a year ago. I might buy a current issue or two to see if it’s worth it again.

In any case, I pulled out what I wanted, put the pages into sheet protectors, and put the protected sheets into binders. Four loads of magazines wound up in about 75 protectors, usually two sheets to a protector, so out of all those magazines, I only really needed 150 pages. Interesting.

And now I have the information that I need easily accessible, instead of hunting through a whole year or more worth of magazines.

Good morning’s work on the Billy Root story. I have so much fun in that world that it’s hard to stop. The natural daily rhythm for the piece seems to be around 1200-1400 words, which is nice. My deadline’s not yet too tight for it, more like “get it done” rather than “get it done by X date”, so I can let it take its natural rhythm, and, as long as I keep a steady pace, I should finish the first draft in early March, which is fine – have Book 3 ready just as Book 2 releases.

I ran a few errands, and now I can hunker in during the bad ice storm that’s expected tonight into tomorrow, take down the decorations, bake some bread, and figure out which of next priorities on the project list is the biggest priority. I think I’ll get back to the rewrite of THE MATILDA MURDERS tomorrow.

Off to tackle the tree, and then, it’s back to the page, and to my negotiations. I’d like to land one or two of those jobs.

Devon

Billy Root story – 5,663 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5 / 60
(8.3%)
Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm  Comments (6)  
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Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I managed to get some errands done (everything in White Plains, which was great, so I didn’t have to criss-cross the county a half a dozen times), worked on the Billy Root story, worked on the article until the file went kaplooey (again), but that was about it. Oh, yeah, I got the January newsletter out. If you didn’t get your copy, drop me a line and I’ll send it to you; if you want to sign up, the link is in the sidebar.

Today, I’m hoping to coax the file back out and finish the article, which is already late, so I can get it to my patient editor. And I have a very long list of other things to get done as well.

I’ll post my January To-Do list up on the GDR site this afternoon.

Reminder: “Holiday Wish List” comes down on January 6 (tomorrow), so if you don’t have it yet and want it, visit the Ava Dunne page for the free download.

And if you haven’t downloaded the free Jain Lazarus story “First Feet”, you can do so here.

I had a good morning’s work on the Billy Root story, just over 1400 words. Nice way to start the day and week. I like viewing the world through his eyes. He’s much more scattered that Wyatt, and his emotions are much closer to the surface, but he’s a lot of fun. I’m about halfway through Chapter Two. By the end of Chapter Two, or, by the latest, the end of Chapter Three, I’ll be able to stop and outline the whole story, because I’ll have a strong enough idea of where I’m going.

I also have to update the Jain Lazarus character/continuity notebook soon – there’s a lot I need to look up, and it’s much easier if it’s all in the book, a single spot, instead of having to go back through the two books and the short story.

Now, if I can just get everything else properly organized, I’ll have a shot at getting things done this week, this month, this year. I’ve got three pitches to get out today, and at least one submission, along with all the rest.

To answer a couple of questions:
–I’m not an experienced astrologer, although I keep track of the moon cycles and the planets because I’ve found they impact my daily life and when I’m aware of what’s going on, it’s a good heads-up.
–Laura, I get the word bar at Zokutou. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get any of the Writertopia stuff to work for me.

Back to the page.

Devon

Billy Root story – 4,262 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4 / 60
(6.7%)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I just realized that I hadn’t yet posted today. I’ve been so caught up in the unusual quiet and the writing that I completely forgot.

If you haven’t downloaded the free Jain Lazarus story, “First Feet”, about my take on the tradition of first footing, you can do so here. Also, if you haven’t downloaded the free mushy holiday story “Holiday Wish List” (under the Ava Dunne name), you can do so here. The latter will only be available until Twelfth Night, and then it comes down.

I’m still having computer problems, but I’m trying to deal and not get frustrated in the same way I usually do. I’m limited in how much I can do; what I can do is prepare as much as possible so that when the computer goes on, it’s more about revision and getting the file ready for the editor than doing all the work on the computer. Less efficient, but I’ll get there in the end.

And I’m dreaming of my new computer.

I had a great yoga session this morning and did not want to get off the mat.

I had a quiet evening yesterday, getting some work done, but, mostly, resting. This morning, I started the next Jain Lazarus novel, the one from Billy Root’s POV. I don’t have a title yet, but I wrote 1547 words, which isn’t a bad start.

I also wrote nearly thirteen pages on The Lucy Gothic – once I tumble into that world, it’s very difficult to leave. If I’m clever enough to pull this story off, it will be something.

I’ve got two pitches to finish putting together and a short story submission to get out tomorrow – it needs one more read-through before I’m completely ready to hit the “send” button. I also need to set up the new pitch and submission logs for 2009 and do follow-up on anything outstanding from 2008 to which editors haven’t yet responded. I’m knocking one publication off my list completely – they don’t pay very well, they send me constant emails about the editor’s reading schedule, but don’t respond to my submissions or to my follow-ups asking (after eight months and more) the status of my submissions. So I’ve pulled everything, told them to delete me from the email list, and I’m done. I’m just not putting up with this unprofessional behavior anymore.

The answers to questions 13-25 for the 2009 GRDS are up on the site. Go on over to read them or comment or put up your own answers. Tomorrow, I’ll put up my To-Do List for the month.

Back to the page.

Devon

Billy Root’s story – 1547 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1 / 60
(1.7%)
Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 2:59 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , ,