Opportunities & Intriguing Projects

Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

I got some decent writing done yesterday morning, and some very interesting Renaissance art books arrived for background research on the play.

I then got sidetracked looking up something in a manuscript I’d put aside, and then got all caught up in it again. So much so, that I spent the rest of the day in revisions for it and worked forward on it this morning. I love the piece – it’s about backstage on a television shoot – but it would have to be very carefully placed and marketed to both attract its audience and sustain it, because, like a series, it keeps going. It’s broken down into manageable books, but the first three (or maybe four) in the series are of a piece. So that kind of placement in the marketplace, to make sure no one feels cheated if they only pick up one, is important.

It’s also something to deal with once the books are written.

I rented office space today, so I could have an interview without interruption (still power fluctuations and who-knows-what at home) and also do some Constitutional Law interactive work.

The meeting was interesting, and I want to dig deeper. The job itself is interesting – the pace would be quick, the topics are those that interest me, and it would be a challenge in the right way to generate exciting content. We’re both going to do more research on each other, I’m going to send more in-depth samples, and we’ll go from there. I could contribute a lot to the organization, I believe, and I’d also learn a lot, which is always key to me in a job. It’s not a place where one can grow stale, which is one of the reasons it intrigues me.

Yesterday afternoon, I got word that a short-term gig wasn’t going to happen. That organization is going with someone with less experience, and therefore cheaper. So it goes, sometimes. There was the “hope we can work together in the future”, but I’ll believe that when I see a contract! 😉

Worked with my elected officials yesterday on several issues. The deeper I get into the Constitutional Law class, the more alarmed I am about what’s going on. But what I can do is to do what I can to contribute, in the most positive way I can. I’m not going to shut up and roll over. Nor do I have much respect for people who think if they can just ignore it, it will all go away. Yes, we have to live our lives, but we have to balance it with the responsibilities that go along with it. That’s why I get so irritated at people who refuse to serve jury duty. That’s an integral part of our responsibility.

But that’s a whole other debate.

Back to the page, and to the Constitutional Law books. The weather’s supposed to be awful the rest of the week, but I’m hoping to get to the law library and spend some quality time with Constitutional crafters.

Onward.

Published in: on February 7, 2017 at 12:31 pm  Comments Off on Opportunities & Intriguing Projects  
Tags: , , , ,

Fri. Dec. 6, 2013: Slick Marketing Over Platitudes

Friday, December 6, 2013
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Yup, we’re definitely in winter.

Yesterday was a weird day. I was at a day-long conference, as a guest of someone. It was like being in the middle of a cult experience. It was supposed to be inspiring and empowering, but all I heard were slick platitudes without any actual information. Yet people around me lapped it up. It was well-marketed, but it was all style without any substance behind it.

I would up being on Facebook and doing other things most of the day (thank goodness I brought the laptop).

I came home feeling like I needed a shower, and very, very discouraged about EVERYTHING.

Yes, I admit it. I watched the live broadcast of SOUND OF MUSIC last night. How could I not, when it was such an interesting mix of theatre and broadcast, along the lines of the way television was done early on? I am NOT a Carrie Underwood fan at all. I have to hand it to her — she sang it well. But she can’t act, and every time that was necessary, it was wooden and unconvincing. The rest of the cast had stage experience, and it showed. Overall, I thought it was well done, and enjoyed it. It was a nice interlude, something different.

Very stressed out right now, with no relief in sight. I’m trying to take the actions needed to change the situation, but am met with blocks everywhere I turn.

Tomorrow is the Organize Your Writing Life Seminar. Should be tons of fun. You can still sign up until 5 PM tonight here.

Have a great weekend,

Devon

Published in: on December 6, 2013 at 6:51 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Fri. Nov. 16, 2012: More Writing and More Seals

Friday, November 16, 2012
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Pedal to the metal all day yesterday. Worked with students. Sent out job pitches. Did an interview that will go live in January. Was invited to do another guest blog, and do a swap. Turned around the final galleys for HEX BREAKER. Did some PR stuff. Worked on a review. Worked on an article that’s due Monday, but I want to get it out today (mostly so I can invoice).

In the evening, I went back to the National Marine Life Center for the seal training session. Lots of information, and it makes me long for the running notes of Broadway days! Until I do the tasks often enough to feel comfortable, I’m going to feel insecure and ask lots of questions.

It brings up all kinds of fascinating ethical and emotional issues that will be interesting to dissect in fiction.

Came home, exhausted. Went to bed early and had very odd dreams.

I’m getting lots of great emails about the blogging article that went live yesterday — thanks for the comments and the support!

Please get in your applications for the Playwright Intensive soon — and don’t forget the Flash 7 workshop, December 7-16.

I’ve got a bunch of projects to finish up and get off the desk today, and the weekend is about buckling down and getting A LOT of writing done (and my school work).

So, I better get going!

Devon

Thurs. May 24: Writers Worth, Writing, and Weekend Prep

Thursday, May 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and foggy and pleasant (all at once)

I was felled by a migraine for most of yesterday, so I wasn’t online much. I didn’t get a chance to send you over to the Writers Worth Week post of the day, which is Peter Bowerman’s terrific article about “deserving” or not deserving to make $5 to $10 an article. Peter’s inspiration helped give me the courage to make the leap. He’s always got something great to say, and this is no different.

Today’s post is by the wonderful Cathy Miller on a Freelance Writers’ Dictionary, which is awesome.

Took my mom to the eye doctor — her eyes are healing well, and she’s allowed to drive again. It will be good for her to gain back her independence.

Revised six chapters of the book — only 10 more to go. I’m not cutting enough yet, and that concerns me. I’ll have cut close to 8K in the draft, but a lot more needs to go. Worked on my article. Waiting for quotes. Did some more PR for my classes. Spent time with students. I REALLY need the upcoming holiday weekend break, and I intend to enjoy it thoroughly. I plan to spend a lot of time in the garden, a lot of time reading and writing, and very little time online!

I read Garry Marshall’s new memoir, MY HAPPY DAYS IN HOLLYWOOD, which reminds me of the good things about the business. And I read an anthology created by Mercedes Lackey called LAMMAS NIGHT, which is outstanding — some of the best short stories I’ve read in ANY genre. The controllers of the purse strings might be bitching and moaning that the paranomal/urban fantasy market is glutted, but there’s always a hunger for outstanding fantasy. This volume was published in 1996, and it’s as relevant today as when it was published — maybe even more so.

Don’t forget to vote on Facebook, on Saturday the 26th, for the National Marine Life Center in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program. Winning that Highlander would be fantastic!

Yoga was great this morning, but boy were we worked hard!

Have a GREAT memorial day weekend, people! I’ll put up the link — I’m the featured guest on Words on the Page to wind up the two Writers Worth Weeks tomorrow — and then I’ll see you again on Tuesday!

Devon

Don’t forget the Setting Up Your Submission Systems Workshop on June 2, online. Far too many submissions go unread and automatically rejected because writers don’t submit properly. Learn how to avoid that, and set up a system that makes submissions a breeze! Information and registration here.

Fri. March 23, 2012: A Mercury Retrograde Start to the Day

Friday, March 23, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was busy. Put my head down and worked all day. Confidential Job #1 offered me something fun in addition to my usual roster of assignments; I said yes. I’m thrilled that my editor thought of me for it. Caught up on student work. Discovered that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT got a very good review here. Worked on the pre-release publicity for HEX BREAKER. Did the work I’m paid to do here on site. Worked on the materials for another project that will go live shortly.

I managed a nap, only to be woken by one of my least favorite noises on the planet — a leaf blower.

This morning was a typical Mercury Retrograde morning. Alarm went off early; I contemplated skipping yoga because I wanted more sleep. But I figured I’d feel better after yoga, so I got up and out of the house and headed to yoga. Only to find a note on the door stating it was cancelled. Okaaaaay. Stopped and got coffee and went to the beach I used to walk near the art deco amusement park instead. Sat down on a bench that was still wet from the overnight, but it was still nice out. Got an idea for a piece that I might be able to meld with some other ideas I’ve been tossing around. Maybe even with my horse-playing tarot reader character.

Decided I wanted a muffin on my way home and drove all kinds of places with no luck. You would have thought I was on the quest for Excalibur or something. It’s a muffin, people, not that hard. I could have made a batch in the time it took to track one down. Finally got one at the grocery store, got back to the job site, and ate it outside in the sun.

Spent the morning doing work on a project that doesn’t need my primary attention right now, but is so fascinating, I can’t stop. Am about to check in with students, then do some more writing, then do more student work later in the afternoon.

Word from home is that the maple tree, two holly trees, a hydrangea, Rose of Sharon, and Mountain Laurel arrived this morning — figures they’d arrive when I’m not there to plant them. Not sure what to do with the maple tree — since I’m renting, do I put it in a pot or donate it somewhere? Will have to see when I get home.

Did some work on the Jain Lazarus story that has to be ready to go with the release of HEX BREAKER. Need to do some rearranging on the site. Thought through some of the ongoing Jain Lazarus marketing stuff I need to do, and how I can cross-market along with ASSUMPTION, although they are two different worlds under two different names.

Got a few proposals to get out today, too. Got to just keep on it, right? That’s the only way to get everything where I need to be.

I’m looking forward to Memorial Day weekend, where we all have a few days off!

Devon

Mon. March 5, 2012: Weighing Contradictory Information


Heading here later today for some solitary time.

Monday, March 5, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, both good and tiring.

Friday, after getting out the materials requested in the morning, I caught up with one of my classes, caught a few hours’ of sleep, and staggered around the house the rest of the day. The emotional exhaustion was worse than the physical exhaustion. Especially since all that work might not pay off anyway — which is the problem with fiction. You don’t know until it’s done. And, of course, when you’re tired, the Doubt Demons see you as easy prey.

The tarot was not much comfort. I’d already drawn The Crossroads from the Well-Worn Path. The tarot cards drawn Saturday morning — Death and the 5 of Wands. Could ya give me a little support here, cards? 😉 Crossroads — yeah, I figured that one out all by myself; Death — yes, I’ve been talking about new business plans, new directions for the career, re-envisioning what I want and need. So the card of transformation makes sense. 5 of Wands — redefining identity and career — yeah, pretty much where I am.

At least it wasn’t The Tower!

To bed early Friday (since I was pretty incoherent anyway). Up early Saturday and to a conference here on the Cape. It was a day-long conference on epublishing and marketing. It was great to be amongst my fellow writers again, and meet some new ones. We had a lovely group at our table.

The first part of the program was about the steps an ebook has to go through from text to purchasable copy. It was pretty technical. I thought it was interesting, and much easier to follow than I expected. But you could see the room — some people found it interesting, as I did. Some people struggled, unfamiliar with the terms, but were determined to understand. Some just couldn’t be bothered.

Which is of course why the speakers were there — they do formatting and preparation. For a price. It’s still up to the author to distribute, but they handle the coding, etc. You still have to give them edited, proofread copy because they don’t handle that aspect, and that’s where a lot of writers who indie publish drop the ball. They think because they’re indie-publishing and their story is so brilliant, it doesn’t matter if it’s a mess. Wrong. If I buy your indie-published book and there are errors all over it, it indicates to me you don’t respect me as a reader, you piss me off, and, not only will I resent forking out even a small amount of money for it, I won’t buy anything by the author again.

There was some murmurings that the speakers purposely complicated the presentation to drum up business; I disagree. I thought it was very clear, and I’m a techno-phobe. So, if I could understand it, it was clear. I was also very grateful for the coaching Colin Galbraith’s given me in HTML coding — I could apply it here. Yes, Colin, I actually retained it — shows you’re a good teacher.

A group of us had a very lively lunch in Hearth ‘N Kettle — good conversation, good food. What I love about this writers’ organization is that the members are interesting. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, they’re intelligent, observant, have a sense of humor — and they buckle down and write. They’re not there to write maybe-Someday. Either they had a writing career, took time off, and are getting back in the saddle, or they had other careers and now want to add writing in — but they WRITE.

Afternoon presentation was on marketing. The presenter was a little too hard-sell for me. “Buy my book, come to my class and you’ll learn how to market.” Honey, I paid for today’s seminar. I want useful information TODAY or you aren’t going to see me at anything else you do. I’m not here for a teaser — I’m here for information.

Fortunately, she got to that. She talked about business models for writers and the importance of marketing taking 50% of your time. I was not a happy camper to hear this — I was hoping to get away with 30%. I realize she’s being practical. Me not wanting to hear it doesn’t change its value. A lot of what she talked about, I already do. I just have to do more of it. So there was good information.

What was interesting about this day was the completely opposing point of view to the industry and its direction than I had from the conversations this past week from someone deep in the trenches with a long, well-established career in it. On the one hand, it was fascinating to hear both points of view, very passionately presented, so close together.

It was also a little overwhelming. By the time I got home on Saturday night, I was ready to curl up into a fetal position. It takes awhile to sort through contradictory information and weigh the different elements as to what’s best for one’s own life.

Up early Sunday, read the papers, checked in with my students, caught up on some work. I didn’t write. I feel like I’ve used up my week’s quota of words. Fortunately, I had material to read, and could refill the creative well. I’ve got a polish this morning on a piece for Confidential Job #1, and a polish for a deadlined article. I’m also wrapping up 5 in 10 and starting the Sensory Perceptions class. A friend is speaking at a local museum, and I’d like to get there this afternoon, but I’ve got errands, and I’ve got to get the headlight on the car fixed. The week’s busy — new class starting, my mother’s surgery, continuing classes and private students, and some other stuff coming up.

50% of the time marketing. Between 1 and 3 AM, maybe. But I have to figure out how to get a higher ratio done, whether it’s a bit every day, or set aside one day a week primarily for marketing.

At least today’s tarot card was The Wheel of Fortune — upright, so turning in my direction!

And my witch hazel’s bloomed — it’s gorgeous. The morning glories I planted last week are also starting to poke up. Carlos the woodpecker is back, and you can hear the owls crooning their mating calls. Spring is on the way.

Devon

Published in: on March 5, 2012 at 7:26 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, November 4, 2011


Herring Cove Beach

Friday, November 4, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I was up at 5:30 in the morning yesterday, wrote 3500 words, and out the door by seven thirty for yoga. Yoga was good. We did a lot of work on immunity-building stuff for the winter, which means, of course, I’m getting rid of toxins today as they work their way out of the body and I’m not feeling so great! I was able to do fish pose properly for the first time, but there were a few poses I had trouble with, due to the rotator cuff problem in my shoulder. Part of it is that it’s gotten injured and re-injured so often that I’m overprotective of it in the wrong way, and I have to get over that in order to strengthen it.

It was such a nice day when I came home that I decided to just chuck everything else for the day and go to Provincetown. We walked on Herring Cove beach for a bit, gathered some stones (I found a really wonderful one). I drove to the inn where I want to set a section of POWER OF WORDS and took photos. My memory card filled, and, when I went to put in the new one, it didn’t work. I was not pleased.

Drove back along 6A, enjoying the nice fall weather. Found my receipt and took the memory card back to Staples. Turns out my camera is “too old” to handle anything over a 2 GB memory card, and they’re no longer manufacturing those. Now, why should I be forced to buy new equipment because some dumb corporate fucks decide to “stop making something”? They should not be allowed to force additional large purchases like that. And why isn’t that information ON the product itself?

Anyway, I found another memory card by a different manufacturer that fits and swapped them out. I’m wondering if I should order 3 or 4 more memory cards (they last me about a year and a half each) while it’s still possible to get them. I love this camera, and I plan to keep using it as long as possible.

Wrote a fun scene for class that I want to use at some point in the trilogy, but am not yet sure where it fits.

Early night — I was tired.

But check out my post on The Writer’s Vineyard about the importance of Daily Practice.

I need to finish the yard, but it looks like it’s going to rain, so that may not happen today. Need to spend time with students, polish lectures for next week, run media kits for the book, write some follow-up notes, and catch up on admin. All I want to do is work on the book and a couple of short stories, so I have to figure out how to best configure my time without letting any of the balls drop.

I also need to prepare a big marketing push for later this month, and I’m wondering whether or not I should rent a PO box for business correspondence.

I talk to Tessa, the kitten, so much every day, and she’s responding so well that she could probably ace the SATs at this point. She comprehends a larger vocabulary than many college-age students!

Need to unpack some more boxes from the garage and set up some more shelving in my room. And tonight, I’m attending a meditation workshop. Busy, busy! But good.

Devon

Today’s word count: 1,010
Total word count: 54,018

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011
Waxing Moon
Sunny and snowy

So the snow was supposed to stop at 11 AM yesterday. Um, where?

A little before 10 AM, I went out to shovel slush and put down ice melt. A bit of a pain, no problem. It started snowing again around 11, and the city truck went past — pushing snow into my nice, clean driveway!

I stomped out with the shovel to clean it, and said Many Bad Words in a Row.

It snowed well into the evening, so this morning, I’m off to shovel again. Doesn’t look too bad — nice and clean. About another 2-3 inches.

Really, compared to a lot of other places, we didn’t get slammed that hard, and for that, I am grateful. So I better keep my Bad Words down to a mutter! 😉

Spent the day writing, reading, commenting on the class. Got an idea for a piece and outlined it, well, the opening — not sure if it’s a Victorian urban fantasy comedy or steampunk. Percolated on the Samantha Light piece that’s been percolating for the past week or so, and also got an idea from a magazine article for a speculative fiction short story. So that was productive.

Reworked the Very Big Proposal, and will go over it one more time before I shoot it off. I think I’m ready for the commitment.

Sorted out the four-jobs-in-two-weeks-in-CT that I’m doing in February. Hey, I can use the cash. I’ve got bills to pay and patio furniture to purchase!

I need to get on the stick to market for March work. January’s been a good work month, February sorted itself out without much effort on my part, April will be light until we get into May, and then May is already booked. But March — I mean, I can’t celebrate my birthday for a whole month, and I do have bills coming in!

Live Chat went well last night — interesting questions. Hopefully, I gave them some good stuff to consider in their work.

Today, I’m off to Dennis to an herbal seminar (with my shiny new notebook) and then, this afternoon, I’m going to meet the town librarian and get my library card. That always makes me feel like I really live somewhere — getting my library card!

I’m going to try to spit out a few more pages, then suit up and shovel, and off I go!

Devon

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, rainy, cooler

Is is really Friday the 13th? Awesome! That means it will be a very, very good day. Those who have bad Friday the 13ths are generally those who have good reason to feel guilty and their Karma Dogs come to get a big bite out of their butts for good reasons!

Yesterday, I did a lot and felt as though I accomplished nothing.

Great writing session on the first Willowspring Grove novel. Yeah, one of these days, it will actually have a name.

Run-in with someone who was once a student, whining because her “historical fiction” piece kept getting rejected. I read a few pages and told her that yes, I could see why it was rejected, her characters spoke in modern speech rhythms and slang, the clothing and food details were from some bad movies, not accurate to the time period (I even accurately named the movies), and she set it in a real place while obviously knowing NOTHING about it. This was in addition to grammar and spelling errors that would have made any submissions editor hit the “delete” button and a lack of paragraph structure that meant you never knew who was talking and who was taking an action. Her response was that she’d spent, like, two hours looking at books in the library, and if the movies could get away with this, she should be able to, and why did it matter if she’d never visited the place or learned anything about the clothing or the food? She was writing fiction.

See, this is where the lazy writers get weeded out. The good, successful writers of historical fiction take time to do the research. Sometimes months, sometimes years. And I’m talking about eight to ten hour days, six days a week, for as long as it takes to know your historical time period inside out. Not just on weekends or when you’re not tired. There’s a reason they thank their families in the acknowledgements — their families don’t see them during that time. And love them anyway. There’s a reason they usually take several YEARS before the first book and then only do one book a year — about four months of those subsequent years are spent during RESEARCH. Not hours. MONTHS.

And if you can’t afford to visit the site, you damn well better have a contact who can walk the streets for you and give you a footstep-by-footstep description.

Dealt with paperwork and other crap. Dealt with upset neighbors. Hello, the head of the Tenants’ Organization is supposed to be dealing with this, not me. Not my problem he never answers phone calls or emails. Heaven forbid he do anything but posture to reporters.

The cats were upset about whatever happened while I was gone yesterday. First of all, that night, they were all piled on top of me. And yesterday, they all stuck close by. Elsa and Iris are having a dispute. Elsa’s stones keep vanishing, and she blames Iris. Iris won’t admit it. I had to separate them several times yesterday.

Started reading Jennifer Reif’s MYSTERIES OF DEMETER, which I found in storage. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the Eleusian Mysteries (if you don’t know what they are, look ‘em up). There have been some interesting speculations over the years, and some books that claim to have discovered them — without an ounce of historical fact, of course. This book has some very interesting, reliable sources, as well as growth and conjecture and imagination. It’s well researched and thoughtfully presented.

The comfrey is speeding the foot’s healing. I came up with a nice blend of eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender to cut the worst of the awful crap floating around in the air. Put it in the oil burner, and everything clears up. I tried using a cedar smudge I bought in Philadelphia, but it won’t stay lit. I may burn some sage on a charcoal block (no, not the kind you use on the grill) to get rid of any bacteria or germs floating around. I drank an icky concoction to flush out the rest of the toxins I inhaled yesterday — it tasted disgusting, but it certainly did the trick after about twenty or thirty minutes. The anvil was gone from my chest, and I wasn’t coughing up black goo any more. Really, resembling something out of a D-level horror flick isn’t my idea of a good time.

Finished up the marketing and cover art sheets for my publisher and sent them back. Will update the Annabel Aidan page with one of the excerpts soon. I have a lot of notes for revision to discuss with my editor, and notes for the next book. I’ll let that percolate over the weekend, and start it on Monday.

Did some research last night.

Had a good writing session this morning — I’m averaging about 1500 words a morning, hand-written, on this. Next week, I’ll have to up it to 1500 on this book and 1500 on the new Annabel Aidan, so that will be a busy day’s work, but necessary to stay on contract tract — and remember to keep pitching for quick-turnaround/payment projects as well, so the bills stay paid. I’ve got another stack of queries I hope to get out today, and a backlog of short stories has built up again that needs to get out the door over the weekend.

I’ve booked a couple of quick jobs out of town for September that overlap with the teaching, but I have good internet connection, so I can do both.

I’m going to write and deal with paperwork this morning, then work for a few hours at the storage unit, and maybe hang out with friends tonight. I think I’ve rigged the screen so that, if someone who does not wish us well attempts access from the fire escape, they will have, shall we say an unpleasant experience. But if we need to get out and down the fire escape due to an emergency, we are unimpeded.

Happy Friday the 13th and have a great weekend!

Devon

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday wasn’t much of a writing day, although I soldiered along on POWER OF WORDS. Because of all the energy I’m using to try and help Elsa, there’s not much left for anything else. I’m trying to recharge, but I’m only managing to keep up with deadlines. I need to hustle some new work, though, especially since my play is closing tonight and that’s the end of those royalties! Figuring out what to write for the skits will help — they want some topical, political stuff and some more general, universal stuff. And I found a couple of other things I can pull together a pitch towards. I need to get back into “hustle headspace” again.

What was funny is that I wrote a scene about hiring in a massage therapist and acupuncturist to deal with injuries on my fictional production, and then felt slighted when I turned off the computer because I had no appointment!

I eagerly look forward to my acupuncture appointment next week, though. My hip is giving me trouble again, and I had lower back spasms. I finally gave in and took a couple of Excedrin — which took off the edge in less than 15 minutes. And some yoga helped, too. There was nothing on TV, so I did a more intense than usual evening practice, focusing on hip-opening exercises, and a long meditation, with Elsa purring on the mat beside me.

Elsa had a bad morning, and then I adjusted a few things, and she actually had a GREAT afternoon and evening, very much like her old self. She was comfortable and happy and funny as hell. What a relief.

I finished reading BREAKFAST WITH BUDDHA. What a lovely novel! Truly a joyful read, and it was the perfect choice for right now. If you’re looking for something that’s loving and funny and insightful, pick up this book.

I started another book, which looks promising. Once I’m in it far enough to know and still like it, I’ll mention it!

I got a couple of ideas for short stories that I want to play with. There are some deadlines coming up in July and August, and I’ve figured out my next column — now I just have to sit down and write it.

Made a baked catfish in spice rub for dinner — it wasn’t bad. The quality of the fish wasn’t what I hoped, but the rub, I think, would also be good on cod or halibut, so I will try that next time.

We were woken up at 4 AM by cats in heat yowling under the windows. Not only is that unpleasant in itself (the twins were horrified by the yowling, and Elsa just felt it wasn’t worth getting up), it means there will be feral kittens around eventually. I’m pretty sure Bossy Girl’s spayed, so it was probably Little One, who I haven’t been able to find and catch. Sigh.

Dozed off again until 5:30, gave Elsa her medicine, just kind of lay there staring at the ceiling until nearly 6, when I got up to feed them and do yoga. Heard from the vet, we’re doing a few adjustments, he likes what I’ve done on my own to figure out how to help Elsa. We’re also going to add licorice root into the mix.

To the page now for awhile. Busy day — the building finally hired an exterminator (it only took them three damn years) who starts rounds today — with all the renovations, we need it. Will keep the cats clear. Later, we’re headed waaaay out on Long Island (not as far as the Hamptons, thank goodness, that would make me nauseous) to see closing night of my play — I dread driving home late at night. I hate driving on Long Island at any time, but especially late at night, and especially since I’ve been getting up so early and going to bed so early lately. Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. I want to leave early so we don’t get caught in early beach traffic — so I have to do some research and figure out something for us to do for two or three hours in the close vicinity before the show. Maybe there’s a bookstore or cafe where we can hang out. I might bring my notebook and work on the short stories or the skits.

Devon

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

The alarm went off early, so I was out by 5 AM for the run.

I’ve been really lax about marketing, because I’ve concentrated so much on fiction and scripts over the past few months, but now that the theatre commissions are winding down (at least until the next round of meetings/commissions), I need to get back on the stick. The job listings have sucked the last few months — the content mills are pulling down a lot of the prices, and I’m not going to write a press release (for years my bread-and-butter) for one-fifth of my normal rate.

I looked at Media Bistro — LOTS of jobs, well over 1000, legitimate jobs at legitimate rates, but very few that interest me. One did, it’s a company I’ve looked at for awhile and something opened up I could definitely do, but the amount of invasive paperwork and “investigative rights” you’re supposed to sign over to even apply for the job pissed me off, and I decided not to. I don’t do drugs, but I’m still not going to pee into a cup on demand, nor am I going to sign paper work to let you delve into my personal life. My personal life’s not particularly interesting or salacious, but IT’S MINE, and it has nothing to do with providing copywriting for your frigging company. I could understand if it was some national-security type job for a government or research or medical or defense firm where people’s lives were on the line, but copywriting for this type of company? Give me a break. And, knowing what I do about this particular organization, at least 70% of the people administering the tests are cokeheads, so I don’t think so. Hypocrites. There was another organization that looks really interesting (and the application process less invasive), but the job offered isn’t really what I want. However, I’m going to do some research and send them a proposal creating the freelance position I want, and we’ll see.

The NYFA job search board has a lot of jobs listed — again, they’re good, solid, legitimate jobs, many with benefits, but not what I’m looking for, too much full-time; but I can pull information and do direct mail pitches. If I can get a mailing out by early June, that would be great. I’ve built an interesting prospect list over the past few months, but it doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s just sitting in a folder.

Got some work done on SETTLING THE SCORE. When I’m done with this sequence, some of these scenes will be darkly funny. The trick is to give the actors and director enough solid, specific text WITHOUT STAGE DIRECTIONS so they can explore and have fun and bring their uniqueness to the material, and yet make it precise enough so the layers of meaning are clear without everything being overly explained.

For some reason, I got very nauseous yesterday. It came and went all day. I have no idea why. I managed to get the grocery shopping done, and took a nap, but it wasn’t the productive day for which I hoped.

Cleaned a bunch of stuff. Literally wiped off all the papers that piled on top of my desk and stuck them in a box. I’m going to sort & file from that box for 15-30 minutes per day to get it all handled. I now have a clean desk, which, to Violet, means a place to perch and watch me while I work. I still have the old behemoth PC because I’m not done transferring the disks — yes, it’s taken over a year and I’m still not done — but there’s a lot more room to work. It’s been a long time since I had a clean desk. It’s a little intimidating, but hopefully, will lead to more productive worktime. Definitely better feng shui. I need to look up in my favorite feng shui book, MOVE YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE, how to rearrange the desk.

“Organizers” say you “can’t” have “stuff” on the desk” — well, i can’t work without my “stuff”. It’s my creative fuel. I have my gargoyle and my dragon and my crystals and my Ganesh and other items that have personal creative meaning for me, along wiht the pens and the computer and the Rolodex and whatever I’m working on at the moment. Files are nearby, but not on the desk, and books are stacked in crates beside the desk by project, and office supplies in a bookcase against the wall beside the desk. Photos relevant to various projects are on corkboards, and I put the one I need up on top of the office supply bookcase where I can see it while I work. Works for me, and that’s what matters, right? I’ve yet to meet an “organizer” whose systems had any relevance to my life and work. Julie Morgenstern’s books come the closest, but then, she used to work in theatre, so she gets it.

Still haven’t heard back from the vet and am getting frustrated. I’m trying to hold Elsa steady, but we need to make decisions to move forward. If he needs to see her again (and wants me to dump more money at the facility) TELL me to make an appointment. Don’t just not get back to me.

Today is a day for dealing with scumbag landlords who are coming in to “make repairs”, but, in reality, coming in to snoop to see how they can continue to make lives miserable. Will also get on their case about the heat.

LOST just annoyed me yesterday, and that’s all I have to say about it. At this point in the story, I don’t care to learn backstory of anyone we’ve haven’t lived with a lot unless it takes 3 (short) scenes or less. Even if I did go to college with one of those guys. Again, no surprises, just the order in which they’re revealing stuff, and the length of time they’re taking to jerk the audience around.

I am looking forward to the day being over.

Hey, whaddaya know? 6:14 AM and the heaters are clanking. What do you figure, three, four minutes of heat this morning before they turn it off again?

Devon

Saturday, August 29, 2009

IMG_0524
Sunrise at Saratoga

Saturday, August 29, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, humid, cool

So far, so good as far as the brook holding. I boiled plenty of water, have all the supplies in, and keep watching the brook every few hours to see if I need to move the car. But now Tropical Depression Danny is losing steam (and water), so we might just get out of this intact.

I was woken up by a crying cat. I was all set to scold my beasts, when I realized that they were all staring at me, but none of them was yelling. It was a cat outside.

It was before 6 AM.

So I pulled on some clothes and hauled my weary ass out of bed and down all those flights of stairs and outside to make sure no one was hurt.

It was the little gray and white cat who belongs to someone who rented one of the basement apartments. Which are now being called “garden apartments” and shouldn’t have been renovated, much less rented out because WHEN the next flood hits, those residents will lose everything.

Anyway, Missy was sitting in front of the window, trying to get in, and no one was letting her in. She didn’t want a treat, she wanted to go inside her own home. I don’t have a key, and I surely couldn’t try to open a stranger’s window (which is locked anyway). I let her into the basement, so she could find her own front door, but be out of the rain. She was furious that I didn’t OPEN said front door. I tried to explain I couldn’t, but she wasn’t having it, and swanned outside again, in a huff.

While I was out, I checked the brook, which was low, thank goodness.

I looked up at my window, and saw three little fuzzy faces peering down, wondering what was going on with the unhappy cat.

The saying is true: Dogs have masters; cats have staff. Missy wanted a more competent staff this morning, and fired me.

I’m getting really frustrated with Apple. There’s all this phone tag and no solution. I sent another long, detailed email, and got a message saying “We prefer to handle this by phone.” Well, you’re NOT handling this by phone, you’re dragging it out. I’m tired of being talked at and there’s still no solution. I expect better from Apple. I sent them another long, detailed email — no holds barred. Mobile Me has been an utter waste of money so far — it doesn’t integrate the way they claim it does, and, as I said in my email, by the time I leave for Prague, it has to work flawlessly.

And I re-emphasize: If I was a man, this would have been solved, really truly SOLVED — not all this bullshit “talk therapy” they’re trying, instead of actually solving the problem, which is that they sold me a lemon — the FIRST time I walked through the door.

On happier notes, I did a lot of work on Confidential Job #1 yesterday, and I’m pretty sure I can finish it this weekend, send it off and invoice it on Monday. Of course, to invoice, I have to drive to the Greenwich Library and send it from there, via IE, since I can’t run IE on this machine, and their online invoicing ONLY accepts IE. I’m really tempted to charge them for time and mileage.

I had a second good writing session on AMENDS yesterday afternoon, and another equally good one this morning.

If I felt more confident about this computer, I’d be typing up the chapters as I finished them.

I have a few short pieces to get out, and I pitched a few markets yesterday. One is really exciting — I might be able to sell them some stuff written in and about Prague. If I can get an article about some other spot done before I go, so they get an idea of my style, that would be great. I also offered them clips, so we’ll see.

Found some more markets — I should be able to get my entire backlog of projects out before I leave.

I’m truly over the writers who defend their decision to write for mill content sites, accepting subpar wages and claiming that it’s “easier” to get work, it’s “reliable” and they’re making good money. At $15/article, you can’t maintain the pace you need to pay bills and quality and originality. Because if you COULD, you’d be working for publications that pay real money.

So instead of trying to educate and encourage these people, I’m over them. You say you “can’t” find any work in this economy, you “can’t” get hired anywhere else? Maybe it’s because you’re not good enough.

If you hone your skills in a class and work for some legitimate clients, you’ll get hired at a living wage. IF you’re willing to do the legwork to land the clients.

If you’re not, then, yeah, you’re only worth $15/article, and most legitimate employers who see a mill content site on your resume won’t hire you.

That’s the reality. Grow up and grow a pair.

I better get back to the page — I’ve got the chance for some truly uninterrupted writing time this weekend, and I want to take full advantage of it!

Devon