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.

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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
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Published in: on January 3, 2009 at 2:59 pm  Comments (4)  
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January 2, 2009

first-feel-cover-thumbnail

Friday, January 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowy and cold

The Jain Lazarus short story, “First Feet” is available as a free download. You can read an excerpt and then download it here.

I’m sorry it took me so long to get it up. I’m having horrible computer problems. It’s the same old refrain: Dell, Microsoft, and NitroPDF all suck, and I lose half my working day because these dishonorable companies, who are quick to take consumer money, do not honor their side of the contract, which is to supply products that WORK.

It will be good to get my new computer, and to hell with all of them.

Anyway, I’m happy with “First Feet”. It much more light-hearted than some of the other Jain Lazarus stories, yet gives more about everyone’s background, and when you read OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and the Billy Root story (that I begin tomorrow), you’ll go, “Oh, yeah, that goes back to ‘First Feet’.” At the same time, you don’t NEED to read any of them to enjoy each one separately.

I had a good couple of days, in spite of losing more than half my workday yet again today due to computer problems.

The weather was pretty bad on New Year’s Eve – a twenty minute drive took me an hour and a half. I was kind of shocked at how bad the roads were once I crossed the border into Connecticut. But I got there, unloaded the food, and prepared the h’ors d’oeuvres. (Five bags of food). Good thing I did, because the power went out. Fortunately, the fireplace is gas (wood-burning is better in my opinion, but beggars can’t be choosers) and the gas stove still worked, so we weren’t completely lost.

The power came back on a few hours later, which was a relief. It would have been a cold, dark night otherwise. They’re not big on candles or flashlights at this house. Good thing I always keep my Mag light in my bag.

We enjoyed a good chat by the fire with wine and cheese mid-afternoon. We had a fairly early supper (the salmon in mustard-wine sauce with spinach and mashed potatoes). And wine. Buche de Noel for dessert. At 8:30, we had the traditional herring salad – only, because I can’t stand herring, I mixed it with chopped egg, scallion, and sour cream. If I say so myself, it wasn’t bad. With more wine, of course.

We brought out the devilled eggs and the smoked salmon/spinach appetizers around 11, along with the champagne and happily kicked 2008 out the door, welcoming in 2009. I am so READY for a new year.

I was up early the next morning, grateful for a few minutes of peace and quiet to do my yoga. The past few years, I’ve been so used to going on yoga retreats that a grown-up house party weekend felt odd. I’m not used to being around people for such a stretch, even people I like.

Anyway, we had a big bacon-and-eggs breakfast, complete with more champagne (either with orange juice or cranberry, depending on what people wanted). We watched The Tournament of Roses Parade, always one of my favorites, while I prepared the duck.

I roasted the duck with a combination of fennel, shallot, and rosemary – quite good. The mashed potatoes were such a hit it was requested to have mashed potatoes again instead of roasted potatoes – no problem. And steamed green beans with hollandaise. And, of course, more wine. And more of the Buche de Noel for dessert.

It quickly came back to me how much I hate taking the remainder of the duck off the bone; next time, I may go to the butcher and ask just for duck breasts and duck legs instead of the whole duck.

Some of the rest of them stayed to watch football, but I packed up and came home in the late afternoon. The cats had plenty to tell me, and, frankly, I was tired. I had a good workout session at night and just took it easy. I don’t have an alcohol-related hangover, because I drank very little over long stretches of time; but I’ve got a food hangover. Thirty-six hours focused on food and drink.

In spite of everything, I managed over a thousand words on the Lucy Gothic project while I was gone.

Had a slow start this morning, but did my yoga and set back to work getting “First Feet” up. It was ready to go, it was just a case of the computer freezing, locking files, refusing to upload, Nitro PDF refusing to open, etc., etc., etc. for about six hours.

Oy.

But the story’s up. I think I’m going to take a break before I tackle another file, an article file that’s on deadline and with which I’m also having trouble, due to technical difficulties beyond my control.

I’ll make it an early night tonight, I think. It’s snowing again, which is fine with me, since I don’t have to go anywhere. I have a long weekend of writing ahead of me, but I have every intention of pacing myself.

The first set of answers to GDR questions will go up either later today or first thing tomorrow. Make sure you hop on over to the GDR site to take a look and post your answers to the questions, should you wish.

Devon

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cold, rainy, raw

Lots of stuff to talk about today.

First:
HEX BREAKER got another good review, this one from Bitten By Books here.

Second, building on that good review, the Jain Lazarus ghost story is finally available for free download! You can read an excerpt of “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” and then download it as a PDF here.

Third, I’ve got the website up for the new project launching next month, a line of short fiction called Penny’s Dreadfuls, in homage to the penny dreadful tales. The website’s still rough and will get worked on over the next few weeks, but come and visit the Penny’s Dreadfuls site to get an idea of the types of stories we will feature.

Okay, that’s the big stuff.

I got my Breeders’ Cup article out in the morning, and I’ll let you know when it publishes. I spent most of the rest of the day building the Penny’s Dreadfuls site, which didn’t take all that long because, for once, my webhost worked properly most of the time, and I understood what I was doing.

I lost far too much time prepping the Jain Lazarus story. I designed several really cool covers, but if they worked in Word, they didn’t convert properly in NitroPDF. NitroPDF does not have the versatility they promised when I bought it, and was not worth the price. It’s a huge, huge, huge disappointment. I’ll have to limp along with it for now, but once I get the new computer system, I’m getting the full Adobe Creative Suite package. That will do what I need it to do (although learning it will be a challenge, I’m sure). Until I can afford that purchase, all of my covers, etc., have to remain very simple and very geometric. Hopefully, I can grow from cover to cover, as far as scanning and maybe getting more color in (the Nitro conversion refuses to hold either background color or photographs as background, even though I can layer, and watermarking doesn’t really work, either). I can’t hold headers and footers with my cute little page designs, nothing. And, of course, I’m angry, because before I bought the program, I asked all these questions and was PROMISED it could do all these things that it can’t. So, don’t waste your money on NitroPDF. Perhaps somewhere out there is a product that actually does what it advertises.

And, of course, Microsoft just sucks, and I’m tired of the computer taking up to 22 minutes to boot up and then sticking, freezing, and giving me that fucking little hourglass all the time before I have to shut it down and start over.

Thank you, Colin, for all your time and patience helping me figure it out and helping me with the download glitch.

Heaven forbid I should be able to capture the cover out of Adobe and convert it to a jpg so I could do a thumbnail of the cover. No, tomorrow I have to go out and get more color ink. Then I have to print the cover, then scan it into the computer and then mess with it until I have a thumbnail. Which is ridiculous. I should be able to open the fucking document, copy the cover page into whatever format I want, and then manipulate it, not do 16 steps for something that should take 2.

Eventually, I’ll be able to post the damned cover!

Of course, it’s much simpler than the really cool covers I designed, with the photograph as the background and the text overlay, or the two column design with the current cover photograph on one side and the text on the other with a pumpkin-colored background, but again, fucking Microsoft won’t let me do that for the very first page, you have to have columns either for the whole document or “from this point forward”. How about “this page only” you dumbasses? I HATE MICROSOFT.

And, of course, I’m totally stressed out and behind on everything else because I had to waste so much fucking time AGAIN on programs that don’t do what they promise. Seriously, I’m ready to start invoicing NitroPDF and Microsoft for wasting my time.

On a happier note, I’m humming along with my N3s, all of whom seem committed and eager to get going, and I’m putting the work into my own outline. Yeah, I’m nuts, but let’s face it, I’m not going to be happy sitting on the sidelines. I still don’t have a title, so for now, it’s the Untitled Helena Francis Mystery. I think that’s what I’m doing – I might change my mind on November 1.

I’m happy with the site for Penny’s Dreadfuls, and working away on “The Ramsey Chase”, which is a ton of fun. Cornelia and Roman are quite an interesting pair.

Today is the worst weather day of the week; of course, I have to go out in it. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

Sigh.

Back to the page.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!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.


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


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:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

If you want to read an excerpt from “The Possession of Nattie Filmore”, the new Jain Lazarus story, visit the Excerpts page on the Jain Lazarus website.

If you’d like to read some of my exploits, there are press releases making the rounds here and here.

Good news: My play with the Cloverleaf Theatre opens on January 17, 2009.

Sad news: The Broadway show on which I’m working closes January 18, 2009.

Yeah, I got to be there last night, after the closing announcement was made. Gee, I get all the fun nights, y’know? 😉 Yes, it’s sad, but, at the same time, every show closes sometimes, and I’m glad they told us three months ahead of time. They’re only required to let us know a week or two in advance. I’ve been on some shows where it was week-to-week. So, for the cast members, it’ll be a roller coaster, but it’s also an opportunity for new creative risks.

Worked on the rewrite for “The Possession of Nattie Filmore’.

Had to do a website dance, because my host wants to charge me double for the additional sites (yeah, I can have 200 subdomains, but I can only build 5 sites without additional charge). So, instead of having its own subdomain, “The Merry’s Dalliance”, for now, will just have its own page on Cerridwen’s Cottage (when I get the chance to design it), and a new project has its own subdomain. I even designed the logo for it – a very rough drawing. I wanted it to be very rough, so I could use something I actually sketched myself (because sketching is not my strong point).

The one and only photo editing program that’s ever worked on this frigging computer has vanished from the program list. And the disk is missing from the disk box, too. So I had to figure out how to outsmart the programs I have.

Why can’t the basic photo program just let you crop and change size or do other edits? It’s ridiculous. Oh, wait, because it’s Microsoft, and their policy is to bleed their customers dry.

I figured out a round about way to do it, but it took awhile.

Got my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, so I’ll get started on that today. Still haven’t written those two articles, but hey, they still haven’t answered my question about deadlines.

Another show tonight.

And I want to do another revision on “Nattie Filmore” and work on the cover. And hope it converts properly.

I also have to prep for tomorrow’s Breeders’ Cup. I’m way behind.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!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.


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


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on October 24, 2008 at 8:15 am  Comments (5)  
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