Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It was a busy weekend. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and none of the busy-ness could be in the yard. I really have to mow on the next sunny day, no matter what else is going on in my schedule.

Along with errands like grocery shopping and filling the car with gas, and taking my mom to get her blood pressure checked, I got out some LOIs and wrote.

I didn’t spend much time on social media, and it was a nice break.

But the bulk of the time was spent finishing up the contest entries. Going back over my top choices, and making decisions. One category is done. All the scoring sheets are entered. The winner and five finalists chosen. I still have to write the review, but it’s percolating in my head. The second category’s choices will be made today, and the final category no later than Thursday. The quality of entrants improves every year, and it’s exciting.

I did a lot of work on the new idea, which I’m calling, at least for the moment, ELLA BY THE BAY. It will need cutting in some parts, expansion (especially sensory) in others. But I like what I’m dealing with in it, and how the characters are expanding.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like, but it’s going, and that’s always a good thing. Once the contest score sheets are all entered, I can pick up the pace on it.

I’m feeling a little better, overall, although still feeling overall burned out. Only I can’t take the time off I need. So I’m trying to find packets of restorative time, so that things don’t come to a nasty breaking point.

The Kentucky Derby was on Saturday. Omaha Beach was scratched due to breathing issues. Maximum Security was by far the best horse in the field, but he was disqualified, and Country House, the 65-1 shot who came in second, named the winner. It was a crap decision and has tainted this race forever. I’m saying that as someone who put money on Country House as my longshot pick. He did better than I expected, but he wasn’t the best horse on the field that day.

The stock market crashed yesterday morning, because the Narcissistic Sociopath threatens more tariffs on goods from China. Hmm, shortly after boasting about a phone conversation with Putin. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Was with a client yesterday. Had to skip meditation group because I had to be in Bourne for their Town Meeting. But car trouble derailed it all.

Came back later than I would have liked, and worked on the contest entries some more.

Today, I’m with a client, then at the library, then I make my decisions on the second category. I need to get some more LOIs out.

I’m deeply disappointed the Vermont gig didn’t work out, but I have to keep it in perspective in the bigger picture. It will make sense in the long run, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I need to keep my head in the game and get focused.

Of course, that meant my engine coolant light went off and I’m totally freaking out.

Left the car at the mechanic this morning. Scared to death it’s something serious. If it happened next week, no worries. I’ll have a big freelance check coming in. This week? It’s an issue. Thus goes the life of a freelancer.

Back to the page.

Published in: on May 7, 2019 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant  
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Tues. May 8, 2018: Release Day for SPIRIT REPOSITORY!

The Spirit Repository.6

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

Today is the release day for THE SPIRIT REPOSTIORY!

The book is $3.99 available on digital channels here.

There’s a post about the book and an excerpt over on A Biblio Paradise.

If you’d like to read excerpts and have more information, visit THE SPIRIT REPSOITORY page and the Media Page on the Coventina Circle website. Articles tied to the book will go up soon.

The blurb is also up for RELICS & REQUEIM, the third Coventina Circle novel, which will release in October of this year.

It was a busy weekend. We had guests. Friday night, we had a good dinner and catch up. Saturday was spent on Martha’s Vineyard, with dinner ready in the slow cooker when we got home. Sunday, we slept in, then trundled around the Cape doing fun staff, and had a nice dinner, and then started binge-watching VICTORIA. Yesterday morning, I took them to the airport bus on the way to work. It was nice to spend time together.

I was delighted that Justify won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and that my longshot pick, Good Magic, came in second.

I was also thrilled, on Saturday, to find out that the Radio Theatre Players in St. Petersburg, Florida, will produce my comic noir mystery LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES later this month. I’m very excited.

Yesterday, I was pretty tired. I dug back in to working on HEART THEFT and on the contest entries. They are due next week. There are some terrific books in contention, and all the categories are very competitive.

I know I’m behind on the GDR stuff of the end of April and early May, but I’ll catch up, I promise!

I hope you enjoy SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and I’m digging in for the rest of the things on deadline.

Published in: on May 8, 2018 at 1:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 8, 2018: Release Day for SPIRIT REPOSITORY!  
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Kentucky Derby Day!

action-athlete-competition-158976

Image courtesy of Pexels, in the public domain.

Quick picks for me today:

I wasn’t going to bet on the favorite, Justify, but with Mike Smith on him, yeah, I’ll bet him at least across the board, possibly in exotics.

I want to take another look at Mendelssohn. I’m on the fence about him, but liking him more and more.

Bolt D’oro and Magnum Moon are my favorites. Definitely doing an exacta with them, and probably mixing them in a trifecta. I may do one Trifecta with Justify and one with Good Magic.

My medium long shot is Good Magic, a horse I like and hope is around for awhile.

My longest shot is Enticed.

Published in: on May 5, 2018 at 4:27 am  Comments Off on Kentucky Derby Day!  
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Mon. May 5, 2014: Conference Wrap-up and Hotel Choices

Monday, May 5, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Intense, busy, rather wonderful weekend. I had a late start getting out of here on Friday — I had to get some stuff done before I could leave. Thank goodness that I had packed and prepared earlier, or I would have been scrambling.

When I finally got on the road, I had to run some errands in Falmouth before even getting over the bridge. Traffic coming on-Cape was already backed up — looks like we’ll have a prosperous summer!

The drive to Burlington, MA was awful. Traffic was terrible, too many crazy drivers, too many texting while driving. What should have been a quick run up there took nearly three hours. Checked in to the Marriott (I’d prepaid). My rooms was on the second floor, in the back — quieter than some of the other locations, and for that, I was grateful.

I had really mixed feelings about the Marriott, and it’s unlikely that I would choose to stay at a Marriott again. This should actually matter to them, as my business travel is going to ramp up over the next couple of years. The staff was lovely — something very important in my book. Well-trained, polite, friendly. I had no problem with the room, although it looked like an 80’s bachelor pad, with all the dark wood and mirrors. The king-sized bed was fun (although a bit soft). The towels were about the size and consistency of dinner napkins, which was annoying. I expect small, thin, scratchy towels at a budget hotel, not a Marriott. There’s no fan in the bathroom, which means it steams up and stays damp all day. I liked that my particular room was oriented towards the East — I got beautiful sunrises and could do yoga in front of the enormous windows, screened by the trees and the sheer drapes. The in-room coffee was dreadful, and the coffee downstairs was overpriced and not any better, and there was no way I was going to pay $6 for room service coffee.

But, for me, the deal breaker was charging $12.95/day for internet access in the room. Um, no. The last dozen budget hotels I stayed at had free wi-fi in the room. When I’m paying scale at a supposedly “prestigious” hotel, I expect free damn wi-fi in the room. Supposedly, one could get it for free in the lobby or the bar, but I couldn’t get the laptop to connect, and why should I have to haul my laptop into the bar? There was a public computer in the business center, and I hopped on there for a hot minute on Saturday evening, but still . . .Further, it should be clearly stated on the site BEFORE one books that wi-fi in the room is both a separate charge and the detail of the charge. According to fellow conference go-ers, every Marriott charges differently. So? Put it on the individual sites anyway.

Marriott is off my list for go-to hotels. If I’m invited back to the conference next year, there’s another “name” hotel a couple of miles down the road that offers a better room rate, breakfast, AND free in-room wi-fi.

It’s pretty amazing that budget hotels not only charge less for the rooms themselves, but offer more amenities.

There were no phone books in the room, and I couldn’t use the wi-fi without paying the ridiculous rates, AND there was no information about nearby restaurants or anything else — again, something that most other hotels I stay in offer. Most hotels have a folder in the room with nearby sights, restaurants, etc. This one had a guide about what’s going on in Boston, but nothing about local businesses, not even sights in Concord and Lexington, which is only a few miles away.

Which meant I was trapped at the hotel for my meals. Fortunately, the food was good, although the prices were more New York than not-New York.

Friday night, I went down to the bar and had a burger and a glass of wine. They had a bunch of fancy burgers on the menu, but I just wanted something simple, typical pub burger, and they were kind enough to accommodate me. I started reading Neil Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, which is a beautiful book. I also got an idea for a short story, which I hope to draft later this week, once I’ve got some deadlined work out of the way.

Went back up to the room, did some work on contest entries (I took a bunch of them with me for this second contest I’m working on), and re-watched THOR on TV. Liked it better this time around. Ran through my notes for the next day’s presentation. Toyed with the idea of putting together a Power Point for it, but was too darned tired.

Up early the next morning (love that Eastern-facing room). Bad coffee, yoga, meditation. The shower was decent, although the supposedly organic bath products provided by the hotel made me itch. No matter, I bring my own tried-and-true.

Dressed and in full make-up in time to go to the 7:30 buffet breakfast provided by the Conference. That was excellent, and I met some lovely people, including a writer who has experience similar to mine in marketing writer AND who is a costumer. We had a LOT to talk about.

I went back to the room, picked up my Bin O’Stuff, and headed back to Salon G, where my workshop would be held, and where the morning session I wanted to attend was held. It was great fun, about voice. Powerpoint, which made me wonder if I was doing a disservice by not have a Powerpoint presentation, but it was too late by then!

We had fun doing the turnover between the two workshops — the previous presenters were lovely and very aware of time and space. Last year, that was a problem. Last year’s presenter before me in the same space ran over by fifteen minutes and then stayed and chatted with people in the room while I was trying to set up because, “oh, I don’t pay attention to the clock.” Fortunately, this year’s predecessors were much more mutually supportive and respectful.

I even had a moderator to keep me on track with time, and some people were there who’d taken other workshops of mine. The handouts were a hit — there were a LOT of them. We got through all the relevant material, had time for questions, and even had time to discuss aspects of craft that weren’t strictly serials. So it was tons of fun.

We moved additional questions out into the hallway, so that my successor could set up for HER workshop, and then I took my bin back to the room and managed to catch the end of another workshop.

Lunch was fun — another buffet lunch provided by the Conference, which was really, really good. Along with fun conversation at the table, and a terrific speaker, a writer named Cara McKenna, who was a lot of fun.

I went to an afternoon session, which gave me devleopment ideas for the mystery series set at a marine life hospital. At lunch, an announcement was made asking for help to set up for the literacy signing, so that’s what I did — helped haul in books and set up tables, which is always fun. And then I bought some books at the literacy signing — four of my mom’s favorite authors put together a book, and I had all four of them sign a copy to her.

Dropped off the books in my room, went back down to help clean up, but the signing ran over. Had to head back to the room because the Kentucky Derby was on. Even though I’m not technically covering it this year (since, hey, I’m at a writers’ conference and not sitting in a press box at a race track), I didn’t want to miss it.

My pick, California Chrome, won! This is a horse whose sire cost $2500 and whose dam cost only $8000. He beat all the million dollar babies with both finesse and heart. For a three-year-old, he was remarkably together. Trusted his jockey completely, didn’t use himself up too early in the race, and, when the turn for home came, he poured it on and won by something like five lengths. He knew he won, too — he danced happily around after he crossed the finish line. Great personality, along with great skill. I was delighted. A truly great race. Usually, I don’t bet the favorite, but I loved this horse, and I’m glad he won. It wasn’t a money-making race for me, but it was a heart-warming race.

Had dinner in the room (overpriced Asian fusion — good, but small portion). There was supposedly a post-conference party for those of us still around, but a location hadn’t been set mid-afternoon and I was told, “oh, just come down, you’ll see us.”

I did some work on the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, and went downstairs a little after 8:30 to look for the party, but didn’t find it. So I went back to the room and worked on edits until 11, when I was too tired to do anything more.

Up early on Sunday. Beautiful sunrise. Yoga, meditation, shower. Bad hotel room coffee. I was not about to pay $13 for a continental breakfast or $15.50 for Eggs Benedict (although I wanted the latter). I stayed in the room and finished the edits on TRACKING MEDUSA until an hour before checkout time, then loaded the car and checked out. Since I’d paid in advance and paid cash for room service and the meals, I had no extra charges on my card. Yet, this morning, I see they still put through a $50 charge. When I complained, I was told that it would be reversed “in a few days”. It should have been reversed up on check-out, when there were no charges on the room. Another strike against the Marriott.

Drive home was fine. It was raining in Burlington, but lovely on the Cape. Since I hadn’t eaten before I left, I was ready to chew the steering wheel by the time I got home, and I took my mother out to lunch at her favorite place, Cook’s.

Sent the completed edits to my editor and did some reading on the deck in the afternoon. I was too tired to do much else. Tessa got into trouble because she chased a chipmunk into a bush, instead of staying on the deck, so she’s losing her out-of-the-enclosure deck privileges and has to stay in the enclosure.

Watched some TV last night — as good as GAME OF THRONES is in so many ways, I find the unrelenting cruelty exhausting, and I’m kind of going off that show.

I’ve got two script episodes to write this week, work on the series bible for TRACKING MEDUSA, the short story I want to draft, and contest entries to work on. I also have to do things like laundry and library work and put in the understudy this evening for Wednesday’s final performance, and finish the reports for the Arts Councils. I also have some correspondence to deal with.

Onward!

tnLakeJustice

If you haven’t bought “Lake Justice” yet, I hope you do. It’s a fun read, and it’s only a dollar here.

Mon. May 6, 2013: Recoving From the 5th, and Moving Forward on Manuscripts

IMG_1080

Monday, May 6, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Misty and cold

It amazes me that, by Monday, Friday seems so far away I can’t remember what I was doing.

I know I was pounding forward on the book. I know I did some work with students. I know I sent out the May Manuscript Prep Tip.

I wrote a review due to my editor.

I can’t remember if I mowed the terraced back section of the lawn on Friday or Saturday.

I saw an anthology call, and submitted one of the Merry’s Dalliance pirate stories. Fingers crossed it’s accepted.

We got a birdbath on Saturday — finally found one we like. It’s out in the back bed, with lilies and hostas springing up around it, and the birds are happy.

I’ve started re-reading Susan Wittig Albert’s AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS in the mornings, after I’ve done the first walk around the yard (pulling up a weed here and there), while I sit on the deck and drink my first cup of coffee. I find that book an immense restorative.

Saturday morning, the Beautification Committee headed out to Mother’s Park, pruning and weeding, and generally getting the park ready for spring. It was a lot of fun and full of lively conversation to go along with the work.

In the afternoon, I puzzled over the book’s ending, because it was pulling me away from the original outline.

Later in the afternoon, I watched the Kentucky Derby. A friend was riding, but I didn’t have a favorite horse this year, so I didn’t feel I had as much of a personal stake in things.

Diana Rigg and her daughter guest-starred together on DR. WHO — always interesting to see that type of dynamic. Between this and GAME OF THRONES, Dame Rigg keeps busy. She will also be Emma Peel in the AVENGERS to me, though. The ultimate kick-ass heroine.

Sunday morning, I sucked it up and finished the book. The draft is DONE. Now, I put it aside for a few days and, on Wednesday, dig into revisions. I have about ten days for the revisions. Less time in between and to revise than I’d like, but that’s the reality of this particular situation, so I must step up.

Wrote a little book illustrated with photos for my friends, whose son turned one yesterday. They had a Cinquo de Mayo party in his honor over in Sandwich. Great food, margaritas and fun. I ate too much — which was good, since it was the first time I’d had tequila in quite awhile!

This morning, the Manuscript Prep Tip is already out, and I have to work with students, do some freelance work, and decide which drafts to work on. I need to get back to the non-fiction book today — it’s behind where I’d like it to be. I’m going back to the adaptation, and I think LEADING OPPORTUNITIES is next up in the drafting queue. I’ve also got a short story to finish and get out this week, and another one tugging at me. I also have to follow up on the February pitches and land a few more short-term gigs for the month.

Back to the page!

Devon

Monday, May 9, 2011


Heather in front of the house

Monday, May 9, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I’m still in CT. It’s so green and bloom-y here! So much farther along than the Cape. Quite beautiful.

Saturday was a damned long day. Up at 4, out the door a little after 5. Traffic wasn’t too bad most of the way down (except around Providence, as usual). I was glad to hop on the Merritt around New Haven, because a section of I-95 was closed due to an accident, and, at the time I was in the area, people had been stuck behind it for over three hours.

Arrived a little after 9, took care of a few things, ran some errands in my former hometown, which meant dealing with the over-indulged suburbanites. Don’t miss them at all.

Spent the afternoon covering the Kentucky Derby via live stream. Had a decent, but not brilliant betting day, but not overstudying brought back some of the enjoyment. I think I’ll study a little for the Preakness, but not overly much. My favorite horse did not do well in the Derby itself, but one of my other choices came in third, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Roughed out the article, sent out a few questions on some injuries that occurred during the course of the day, hoping none of them are life-threatening.

Went to bed EARLY. Had lots of weird, disturbing dreams.

It amazes me that, after being here just a couple of hours, I was fighting a migraine again. Although I’ve had a few headaches since the move (on several different levels), they are nowhere near the frequency and severity that I have down here. I wonder how much is physical environment and how much is emotional? And how does one separate them out?

Sunday was a gorgeous day. My mom found the card I’d hidden for her for Mother’s Day– with a little coaching. I’d hidden it a bit too well. Violet cried the first three hours I was gone,and wouldn’t have anything to do with anyone for the rest of the day.

Had a good morning yoga session.

I read the papers, worked on my article, caught up on email, caught up on student comments. I’ve been having trouble finding a couple of things in my new home region, so I thought I’d check “old, familiar places.” No luck here, either (sigh).

Picked up a book by an author whose work I’ve read before and enjoyed. But (probably because I’m teaching a course on setting), I’m finding her setting so vague and “Castle Anywhere” that I get frustrated. And the depiction of the relationship between the two protagonists is annoying. Yes, it get it that they’re fascinated with each other — you don’t have to beat me over the head with it in every scene. I’m paying attention! 😉

Got a little bit of writing done, a scene on Yet-Something-Else-I-Shouldn’t-Be-Working-on-Right-Now. But had a HUGE breakthrough on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so not feeling so guilty.

Got to brainstorm with two writing pals (separately) about new career trajectories for them. Love that! Love to help talented friends look at new possibilities.

The images from my dreams were so disturbing that I was afraid to go to sleep on Saturday night. I HAVE to figure out a way to incorporate them into a piece. I don’t usually write horror, but these would be appropriate for a horror story.

Lots of writing on the agenda today, and then packing in preparation to GO HOME. Now that I have a home I love, I hate to be away from it, even for good things.

Saw a very pretty fountain — not cheap, but a fair price, considering materials and workmanship. However, the description said, “Avoid extreme temperatures.” Considering what a harsh winter we had, I thought I should check. So I called the store and asked them for the temperature range I should avoid.

Clerk: Y’know, extreme temperature. Like, too hot or too cold.

Me: I know the definition. I need the temperature range.

Clerk: I dunno.

Me: Could you find out?

Clerk: No. You’d have to ask the manufacturer.

Me: Who’s the manufacturer?

Clerk: I dunno. It’s on the box.

Me: Could you take a look at the box and tell me, please?

Clerk: You’ll read it on the box when it arrives.

Me: Since I’m not going to order it unless I know it can take the temperatures, that’s not going to happen.

Needless to say, the store lost the sale. Talk about totally different than the local Cape stores, where I was looking, in general, and asked about temperature concerns. I was told, “If we carry it, we’ve tested it. We brought in a bunch of these planters last fall and over-wintered them outside to make sure the manufacturer was telling the truth.” Now THAT’s customer service! 😉

I’m leaving early tomorrow to head back to the Cape, so Lori Widmer has graciously agreed to guest-post, in preparation for Writers Worth Day on the 15th. This week, I have to catch up on the garden, get out a few proposals to convince a couple of companies which fascinate me that they can’t possibly live without hiring me part-time, write a lot, and prepare to head, on Friday morning, the the next site job.

Devon

Published in: on May 9, 2011 at 6:09 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, May 7, 2011


Woods Hole, MA

Saturday, May 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Kentucky Derby Day
Scheduled to Post

If you’re looking for Racing Ink, there isn’t one this year. I’m not handicapping the races ahead of time. I’m choosing my horses before each race as they happen. I feel that, the past few years, I over-researched and lost a lot of the sense of fun and excitement I have on the day.

I’m scheduling this to post because I’m on the road Very Early, since I have to arrive at the site before 10 AM. Let’s hope it’s clear driving.

So not looking forward to this month’s gasoline bill.

Hate leaving the garden, even for a few days. But that’s the gig. Gotta earn a living so I can have a garden! 😉

Took garbage and recycling to the dump, picked up some wine for my trip, made sure my mom and the cats have enough food in the cupboards and refrigerator while I’m gone (those cats will be so spoiled). I’m going to have to mow the damn lawn again as soon as I get back! Got my site dates squared away for the rest of the month. To-ing and fro-ing more than I’d like, but it will all be good.

Caught up with the students. They are a committed, enthusiastic group, and a total pleasure. We had a couple of people join late, but they are working their butts off to catch up and keep up, so it’s all good.

Chapter Four of the WIP-I-Shouldn’t-Be-Working-On turned out very intense, and exposed the themes of the book. I usually don’t figure those out until about the third draft, but they’re pretty clear here in the first and will help shape the book. And then I ran out of ink. And then the ball bearings fell out of the desk.

Yeah, time to go! 😉

Will check in Monday.

Devon

Published in: on May 7, 2011 at 1:11 am  Comments (3)  
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Monday, May 10, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the page.

Devon

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday, May 3
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and warm

It’s not even 6 AM, and I’m posting! That’s wrong on so many levels! 😉

Got out the door before 5 for my run. It was raining too hard for me to see, so I only did one circuit.

Busy weekend. I wrote a little over 3K on Saturday morning, and spent the rest of the day watching Derby races. I had something hit the board in almost every race, and had picks come in 1,2,3 in the Derby itself (I had Super Saver across the board, and he won; Ice Box to place, which he did, and Paddy O’Prado across the board, and he hit the show spot). I’m skeptical that Super Saver will win the Triple Crown, but hope I’m proved wrong. My actual favorite in the race was the filly, Devil May Care, who ran a great race but wore down towards the end.

Thank goodness for the person (or people, depending upon your news source) who said something about the suspicious car and the fantastic NYPD for diffusing the car bomb in Times Square on Saturday night. Depending on the force and circumference of the explosion, based on the block where it was placed, at the very least a few hundred people would have been hurt or killed, at the very most a couple of thousand. Not to mention damage done to the subway, theatres, and hotels. According to the information we’ve been given, which isn’t much, since they need time to sift through everything, it wasn’t enough to take down any buildings, but it was enough to do some serious damage. In Times Square. On a Saturday night. Times Square on a Saturday night has more people in it than many towns in other parts of the country. Makes you wonder how many lives would have been saved, had the Bush Administration acted on/shared the information received on August 6, 2001, a full month prior to 9/11. No, that’s not some wild conspiracy theory. Go read the documentation. It’s all a matter of public record.

I admit, I’m glad I no longer live just off Times Square, and I’m glad I don’t have to cross through it 2x/day on my way to and from the theatre.

Between Boston’s water rupture, the Gulf Coast oil spill, and the floods in Tennessee, there’s a lot going on. I want to know why these dicks in the oil business were allowed to drill in the first place when they didn’t have a way to turn off the well if something went wrong? Oh, yeah, because they bought themselves enough politicians to do whatever they want.

I wrote a lot yesterday, too, and I’m at a sticky section now, where I need to sort some stuff out and do some plotting before I can move on. I plan to do some work on the urban fantasy today and on ANGEL HUNT. (I worked on POWER OF WORDS most of the weekend). I’m not happy with my post-Derby article, so I’m going to strip it down and rebuild it. I need to get it to my editor today. I’ve also got to pack more boxes to take to storage tomorrow.

Actually, I’m ready to just go back to bed, but that’s not an option.

Elsa seemed a little worse over the weekend, but a little better today. The supplement I had to special order arrived on Saturday, and I think it’s doing her some good. She’s off the antibiotics, and the steriod dose is cut in half, so we’ll see. By tomorrow, I should know the results from the radiology consult and the sneezing swab cultures, so maybe we’ll have some ideas on moving forward, poor little thing.

I screwed up my schedule — the pottery workshop is on Preakness Day, which means I can’t go down to Maryland (boo — it’s my favorite of the three because it’s more laid back). I’ll miss seeing the first few races live and then, after the workshop, watch the live feed from the other races. A big field is expected, because a lot of people want to prevent Super Saver from winning the Triple Crown. Which is a shame, because we need such a winner.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 5:03 am  Comments (5)  
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Saturday, May 1, 2010


Cover for my YA DIXIE DUST RUMORS. Since it’s set against horse racing, it makes sense to have it today’s picture

Saturday, May 1, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

I got a little bit of writing done yesterday, but not much. I did handicap the entire Derby Day race card — the post is below this one, if you’re interested.

The only change to the Derby picks I may do is move Super Saver in there, even if it doesn’t rain. If it rains, he definitely becomes an across-the-board bet.

Ran some errands, paid some bills. Read A YEAR OF FOG by Michelle Richmond. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking book. I felt the end was a bit abrupt, but I think that was part of the point she was making. Started re-reading MOCKINGBIRD, the Harper Lee portrait, by Charles Shields, which is just wonderfully written.

This morning, I got up and ran — out of the house by about 5:30. It was pretty light, the moon was still up, and no one was around, just the way I like it.

Did some work on the urban fantasy. Hoping I can get a bit done on the novella and on ANGEL HUNT before I turn my full attention to the Derby. I wish I was more excited about it this year, but with all my favorites out, the horses I’ve followed for months, well, we’ll see. Watch — this will be a Race for the Ages simply because no one’s that excited.

Devon

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 6:17 am  Comments (2)  
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Derby Picks – May 1, 2010

Kentucky Derby Day Picks for May 1, 2010

If you’re looking for the regular “Ink in My Coffee” writing post, it’s below.

Here are my picks for tomorrow’s race card at Churchill Downs:

Race 1:
Rock Hard, Stay Put, Kettle River — across the board and a boxed trifecta

Race 2:
Zimmer and Spicer across the board. If Bold Victory looks good in the paddock, I might toss him into the mix.

Race 3 (Turf):
Beyond Our Reach and Dyani. If it goes off the turf for some reason, I’d flip them and put Dyani on top. My long shot pick for this race is Kathern’s Kitten, although I’ll also take a look at Lemonappeal. If Stormy Tess gets in, I’ll put another longshot bet on that horse.

Race 4:
Wise Dan and Spooky’s Ready are my top picks, although I also want to take a look at Don’t Put it Back and Good Lord.

Race 5 (Turf):
Pickapocket looks interesting here, although I might just skip this one unless I fall in love at the paddock.

Race 6 — Eight Belles Stakes:
Hot Dixie Chick, Visavis, Decelator — probably bet all three across the board, and one trifecta in the order listed above. And I’ll take a moment to mourn the lovely Eight Belles, for whom the race is named.

Race 7 — Churchill Distaff (Turf):
Tizaqueena across the board — I’m a sucker for any of the “Tiz” horses. I’ll probably add Phola and/or Fantasia to the mix, depending upon how they look in the paddock. Less familiar with the GB horse Fantasia, but because this is a mile, her stamina might be more suited.

Race 8 — Humana Distaff:
Informed Decision, Free Flying Soul, Warbling — across the board, and a Trifecta in that order.

Race 9 — Churchill Downs Stakes:
Munnings and Musket Man across the board. I’m kind of surprised that Hull’s odds are so long, so I’ll probably put a Place bet on him. Cool Coal Man and Kensei’s odds also seem a little long to me — I want to take a look and might toss one of them into the mix.

Race 10 — Woodford Reserve Turf Classic:
This is a mile and an eighth, and many horses aren’t bred for this distance, so I’m favoring the British-bred Battle of Hastings and the Irish Loup Breton. I’ll also put Court Vision into the mix here, and maybe use Pop Tarrt at my longshot.

Race 11 — Kentucky Derby:
All my favorites are out of the race, and I’m seriously bummed. So, I’m starting from scratch.

Lookin at Lucky is the favorite here, but in the 1 hole — worried he’ll get squished. I’ll probably toss some money his way, thought. Dean’s Kitten is 50-1 right now, so he’ll probably be my longshot show bet. I’m surprised that Paddy O’Prado’s odds are so long and that Sidney’s Candy’s odds are so short. I kind of like Ice Box — his grandfather is AP Indy — but his style as a closer concerns me in a 20 horse field.
I might toss a few bucks his way. Jackson’s Bend is gorgeous, I like his running style, and the fact he’s got Mike Smith as his jockey. So chances are, he’ll see some of my cash, at least for a place bet. BackTalk is sired by Smarty Jones, which is promising, but the fact that American Lion beat him by 14 lengths just a few weeks ago (and, at this moment, American Lion doesn’t make my cut) worries me. I’m also on the fence about Conveyence. I think he’s talented, but can he keep his head straight in such a busy field?

Devil May Care is the filly in the race. She’s trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Johnny Velazquez, who brought Rags to Riches home as the Belmont Winner a few years back. She will definitely get some of my money (got to support my tribe, after all). The 5th place finish in the Silver Bullet Day worries me a bit, but the Pletcher/JV combo (who would have been on my first choice fave Eskendereya, had he not been injured), can’t be ignored. Her grandfather’s AP Indy and her sire’s Mailibu Moon, so she should have some of that AP Indy grit. If she doesn’t make the top three, I think she’ll be fourth, but I’m hoping she’s in the top three.

If this race was shorter and I thought he could wire it, I’d toss Discreetly Mine into the mix, but the way this is shaking out, I think I’ll pass on him this time out. Homeboykris has one of my all time faves Fusaichi Pegasus as his grandfather, but that horse’s daughters have done better than the sons, so I’ll pass. Mission Impossible is so gorgeous I might have to root for him; the sire as Unbridled worries me a little, because they tend to run a bit recklessly, although they’re damn fast. I’m worried he’ll break down in the race. SuperSaver is sired by Maria’s Mon, and his dam was sired by AP Indy. If, for some reason, it rains, I’ll put him into the mix.

As of today, my picks are:
Lookin at Lucky, Devil May Care, Paddy O’Prado — across the board
Ice Box, Jackson’s Bend — place
Mission Impossible, Dean’s Kitten — show
Boxed exacta — Lookin at Lucky & Sidney’s Candy, Lookin at Lucky & Devil May Care
Still undecided, but may bet if they look good — Backtalk, Conveyence
If it rains — SuperSaver added in across the board

Race 12:
I always like the race after The Big Race because so few people pay attention to it, and you can usually make some $$$.
Flying Pegasus, Thunder Jack, EZ’s Gentleman across the board
Devastator at my long shot show bet (he’s currently 50-1)

Race 13:
Moe Man & Scary Good across the board
Deets & Gallentos to place
Thunder Highway — long shot show

Let’s hope it’s a wonderful day with NO INJURIES.

On today’s card at Churchill, there’s a horse in the 5th race named War Tigress I’ll bet across the board. I’m also betting Rachel Alexandra across the board in the 6th race, the La Troienne, and boxing her in an exacta with Unrivaled Belle. If Cool Coal Man runs today in the 9th instead of tomorrow, I’ll bet him here. I’m betting Setsuko across the board in the 10th race (I think he’s a Belmont contender, and he should have been in the Derby). The Oaks is a challenge today — I guess Blind Luck across the board, with Allalea and Bella Diamante in the mix, and possibly Crisp or Tidal Pool.

Happy racing!

Devon

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 8:06 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Kentucky Derby Day

My picks for the full race card are in the post below this one, so scroll down if you’re interested.

With the poor weather, it gives my top pick, Friesan Fire, a better shot at the win. Friesan Fire and Pioneer of the Nile are still my top picks. And Dunkirk’s moved up from a “maybe” to a “definite.” He’s gorgeous, tons of personality, and, if his mental focus is there tonight, I think he can do it. I’m betting all three across the board and boxing a trifecta. One of my longshots will be Chocolate Candy, for a show spot, and I’ll probably toss in another, perhaps Flying Private or Hold Me Back.

My publisher already paid me for “The Retriever”. Pretty psyched. Will post the link to the story as soon as I’ve got it. I’m thrilled they took the piece, and I hope to work more with them in the coming months.

An interview with me is going up on Tuesday over at Long and Short Reviews. I’ll schedule the link, since I’ll be out of town — I hope you stop by.

Got to visit the chat room where I’m giving the workshop next week. We’ve got a test run today. I can only stop in for a minute, due to the Derby, but it’ll be worth it.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time handicapping today’s race card and running errands. Took some time off in the afternoon to read a cosy, getting me back in the headspace to go back to work on the Helena Francis mystery. The book was okay. There were some lapses of logic that bothered me. But the characters are fun and the writing’s fine. I just didn’t find it all that memorable.

Got to dash out for an errand and then get back and get ready for Derby coverage. This will be the first year I can use my own laptop to write my wrap up article as the races are happening instead of scribbling notes and then trying to decipher them later. I probably can’t Tweet as it’s happening, but, oh well. Besides, I need to be WATCHING the races.

The Red Wings vs. Anaheim hockey game was really good last night. Red Wings won, 3-2, as I hoped they would. They are one of the best-run teams in the league.

Off to a busy day.

Devon

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 8:24 am  Comments (4)  
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Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and rainy
Beltane

I spent way too much time pretending to be a designer yesterday. I got the Jenny Storm webpage up, and I’m pretty happy with it. I found an original photo I took that doesn’t have rights issues with the location and am using that at the Jenny Storm icon. I managed to reconfigure it to three different sizes. Turns out there’s something that the iPhoto in Mac can’t do — resize. But the very nice Apple tech guy told me about a super site called shrinkpictures.com and it was fabulous.

Got all the front and back matter to my publisher. So, when the final proofs come back, I go through them, send them off and there we are. I have an inkling DIXIE DUST RUMORS will release before OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK does. So I have to get out of paranormal head and into YA head.

Not happy with the MySpace page. I hate that I can’t make it do what I need it to do as far as setting up the page the way I want, etc. I have to figure out where to find a template I like, design the page the way I want and then upload. Any suggestions?

Even though it took a long time to do all that, it was still much easier on the Mac.

Caught up with a lot of email and various sites. I’m still behind, but I’m better.

For dinner, I made ravioli filled with ricotta, spinach, and prosciutto. It’s really good, but filling them is, shall we say, labor-intensive. The wonton skins work well, but I think the next time I make this, I will make ravioli pasta from scratch. I like a thicker texture for ravioli and the wonton skins are too thin, They work, they’re fine, but I want to try something else.

Trying to catch up with a bunch of materials to review, and to get everything sorted for the Promo Day Workshop I’m teaching next week on May 9. It’s about how to use your blog as a marketing tool for your book, while not annoying the crap out of people by making it sound like one big advertisement.

The GDR wrap-up for April is up on the GDR site. I will have RACING INK, the picks for tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby, up in the early afternoon.

Busy, busy, busy. Thank goodness I have a computer that works well. Today is my one week Mac-aversary.

Had a good morning’s writing session on the Matty book. I need to sit down and outline it now. I’m about four chapters in to it, and have a good idea of the themes, characters, storyline, so now I have to sit down and construct the plot. This is more along the lines of literary fiction than the genre work, and it’s got a very different rhythm.

Finished proofreading ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, and it’s officially on the query-go-round. Let’s hope it finds a home soon.

To answer your question, Brandy, yes, the children’s and YA material will appear under the “Jenny Storm” name.

I have two articles to get done today, and a polish, along with handicapping the race card for tomorrow and getting back to the plays. Busy day.

Have a great weekend, all!

Devon