Mon. April 9, 2012: Dialogue and Tulips and Taxes

Monday, April 9, 2012
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Billy Root’s blogging over on his site about auditions and how he wound up on the film that’s the backdrop for HEX BREAKER. Check it out here, and drop a comment so I know you visited!

Things are going well for the Dialogue Dilemmas and Solutions Seminar on Saturday, April 14. At this point, it looks like it’s the only dialogue workshop I’ll be teaching all year online. So if you missed the others, or if you want some new information, make sure to sign up here.

The dates for the next Fast and Fun workshops will be finalized in the next couple of days, and then pages will go up with the registration information. Unfortunately, 1and1, yet again, won’t let me put buttons on my site via Mac, so I’m going to go to the library and use a PC every time I need to put in a button. Definitely time to move hosts, once I get the webmail they’re holding hostage away from them. I was lucky last time, because I was working somewhere where I had access to a PC. The webhost shouldn’t dictate what type of computer I can use. I can’t even put in a “tweet this” button!

My “One Story, Many Voices” class starts today, and I continue as a student in the steampunk class.

I don’t know if I remember all the way back to Friday — I know I didn’t feel well, and that I did a lot around the house in preparation for the weekend’s company — tidying, washing floors, vacuuming, rearranging, that kind of thing. The house looked great, but I still want to do more with the front yard. However, it has to be inexpensive, whatever I do.

Had a good writing sprint with the students — it’s working better, on this book, to write in company.

Saturday was fun — long-time friends from CT came by for a visit and lunch. I hadn’t seen them in years, so it was good to catch up. I actually fell asleep in the late afternoon for awhile, while doing some research for a project.

Sunday, I slept in, then spent most of the day catching up on the computer with what I hadn’t gotten done on Saturday. I like Sunday to be my day offline, but, oh, well. The work has to get done, and I wasn’t up to it on Saturday after company left. I worked with students, did some research for some proposals that will go out this week, got out some interview questions for a piece, and did some promo work. I had a weird dream about an old friend on Saturday night into Sunday, and woke up with an idea for a tweak on a piece I’m getting ready to send out.

I’m glad Mercury went direct, and I’ll be glad when Mars goes direct at the end of the week. However, Pluto goes retrograde tomorrow. THAT always brings some interesting revelations!

Lots to do today, both writing and administrative, so I better get to work. This will be a busy week – but then, lately, every week is busy. Fortunately, it’s “good busy”. But I’ve got to deal with the taxes this week — ick. Not so bad because I do quarterlies, but still, gathering all the paperwork (I was bad about keeping up all year) is a pain in the butt, and I just don’t feel like it. Too bad for me! 😉

Some of my tulips are already blooming — isn’t it a bit early?


Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Costume Imp and I made it — we hit the window between the storms. I was up at 6 on Saturday, my usual routine, then packed the car with what i needed and sorted out the cats. So, when he got up at 7:30, he had clear sailing, and we were on the road just after 8. It was starting to sleet as we left, but once we hit I-195, it was clear. Although there was a lot of snow once we crossed the CT state line, the roads were clear, and I stayed on I-95 the whole way instead of flipping over to the Merritt (upon hearing rumors it had yet to be plowed).

Dropped him at the train in Rye, tried to avert my eyes from how sad and neglected my old building looks, picked up my mom’s medications, headed to her gig in CT. Unloaded everything I’d brought down for her, considered getting right back on the road and heading back, but I was too tired and, according to reports, it was snowing along the way.

I stayed put, used the wireless to keep up with my classes, did some other work, and read the NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW (the one thing I really miss up here, although the GLOBE’S “Ideas & Books” has a lot of great stuff — and I don’t like to read the NYT BOOK REVIEW online. I like to hold it in my hands).

To bed early, up early on Sunday, out the door by 8 AM. Smooth trip up, although my windshield wipers are driving me nuts. They’re smearing not wiping. I just had them replaced in late October. Not happy.

Along the way, I world-built a new piece. I’m not sure of it’s urban fantasy in a created world or speculative fiction. The protag nudged me a few days ago with, “Hey, I got a story here, you better tell it.” On the surface, she’s the type of woman I can’t stand, so it will be interesting to investigate the layers and see what’s there. Anyway, I worked on creating the world and the supporting cast and getting to know her a bit, and the premise. I’ve got the premise and a bunch of scenes, but I have to figure out the WHY of the piece, or I’ve got nowhere to aim.

And, hey, the CD player wasn’t working! 😉

Got home just after noon. Not too much snow, about 2 inches. The car managed to hop over the snow wall left when they plowed the street and get into the garage, fed the cats, then went out and used the regular shovel (rather than the electric one) to clear the driveway and walkway. Took 30 minutes, tops, it was light, fluffy snow, and not that much of it, plus it was sunny out. Sprinkled down some ice melt, and it was time for my hot shower!

Showered, unpacked, had a snack, spent the afternoon reading the Sunday papers in between doing loads of laundry. There was a really interesting article about scientists mapping the geography hell based on the writings of the philosophers. There were lots of interesting articles — the newspapers up here are miles better with actual articles, ideas, opinions, not just recycled celebrity trash, the way most of the NY papers are now.

The seed catalogs arrived. I made my initial list, and now I have to cut it way down. I’m already figuring I have to double my original budget for the yard this year (guess I better land a few more short-turn-around, quick-pay gigs), but still — I can’t blow my entire garden budget just on seeds. So I have to think it through a bit more. Also, there are some plants who will do better if I buy them as Baby Plants instead of starting them as seed, as I learned during the Holly Walk.

I priced patio furniture and am kind of horrified by the cost. $649 is the low end for a metal bistro table and chairs? Really? I can do better than that. And I can do better than the going rate on Adirondack chairs. I just have to pay attention and repaint a lot.

I do have quite a bit to say about the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords, but it’s going into an article. Why is anyone surprised? It was only a matter of time before this happened. Words have power, and we have irresponsible Snake Oil Salesmen (and Women) inciting this violence, then backpedaling and pretending they had nothing to do with it. In reality, they are dancing with glee on the graves of the dead and are such cowards that they incite rather than take any sort of action themselves. Not that I agree with this specific action, I don’t want to come across as though I do, but those who incited it are cowards and hoped someone else was crazy enough to do their dirty work.

Watched THE CAPE pilot last night, (spoiler alert), and I must say, I liked it better than I thought I would. Writing’s better than I expected, premises executed better than I expected, I like David Lyons in the lead — he knows when to be intense, when to pull back, and when to throw away a line to make it work better. I like that he trains and learns to use both his physicality and illusion instead of being zapped with nuclear something and gaining superpowers. He earns his skills, and uses his brain. I like the supporting cast and the whole carny-as-hiding place/training ground — plus it gives the designers a wonderful canvas. I like the design a lot, although I want better lighting. I understand keeping him in shadow sometimes, but please, could we see the action already? I’m a fan of Summer Glau’s work (hey, she’s from the Joss Whedon Repertory, and I’ve got a soft spot for most of his ensemble), but I’m not sold on Orwell as a character yet. I bet she turns out to be Fleming’s daughter or sister or something. My big problem is the villain. Peter Fleming is rich and greedy, but he’s not all that scary, smart, or creative. He must have inherited his wealth, because the character that’s up there isn’t smart enough to have accumulated it himself. Cain showed promise; I’m on the fence about how I feel about the organization of assassins called Tarot — although it makes sense, because they’ve decided to be Karma-For-Hire. I’d have a lot more respect if they went after bad guys in a way Vince couldn’t stomach rather than just being for hire, since they’re co-opted the tarot. If it descends into ignorant Hollywood cliche about my beliefs and practices, I will shut the show off. But I liked a lot of what I saw, I hope the villains man up (probably won’t until they toss some female villains into the mix), and I’m interested enough to watch a few more shows. The teasers NBC ran made me NOT want to watch it, and I only happened to flick onto it and decided WTH. Glad I did.

Up early, yoga, meditation, writing, etc. Will spend a few hours on the page and then run some errands — next snowstorm set to hit tomorrow night, and I want to make sure there’s enough cat food. I can eat my way through leftovers for a good long time, but the cats need provisions. Also, need to get the MA car title into the safety deposit box — it’s so much fancier than NY’s — I feel like i’ve been given an award or something. Need to get more filters for the furnace — it’s nearly 90 days and time to change the first one, and do a few other dribs and drabs. Then, I’ll start taking down the holiday decorations. A little late, but I want to get them boxed up and put away this week. It will seem very bare, but it’s time to let go of the first holiday season in the new house.

I probably won’t make it to the dump until tomorrow, but I want to get the garbage cleared out before the storm.

Got my next assignment from Confidential Job #1, so I can get started on that, too.

The Stephanie Plum workshop wound up yesterday, really fun, great discussions. The One Story, Many Voices stretches for the whole month, and I’ve got a live chat on Wed. January 12 at 8 PM EST about craft — I need to find out some details and do a test hop-on so I’m not locked out during the chat.

We’ve been warned to cancel all plans for Wednesday, expecting 7-12 inches of snow, and then I’ve got a lot to do on Thursday. I wanted to take the car in for its 40,000 mile check-up on Friday — it’s running fine, but needs the equivalent of a spa day — but I might take the cats to the vet on Friday and try to book the car for Tuesday, unless another storm’s coming.

I need to get some pitches out and possibly get a press pass for something early next week.

So much for sleeping for three days! I did four loads of laundry yesterday when I got back, and I’ve got at least one more today. More, once I pull the festive holiday fabric — I like to wash it and iron it before I put it away.

And off we go.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and hot

It was hotter and more humid than predicted, but oh, well. Got out a batch of queries and five pitches, which was pretty decent. One of them is based in London, although I’d telecommute — it would be very cool to land that one. And it pays pretty well, too. Spent time with the cat next door, both morning and afternoon. Finished the wonderful Pepys biography by Claire Tomalin and went back to Joyce Carol Oates’s diary. Received my next assignment from Confidential Job #1. Made some notes on the Solstice Mystery.

Savvy Authors sent me the post for my Ons Story, Many Voices Workshop. Problem is, they’d promoted it as starting in August, only we’d moved it to January. We got it sorted, but I had a few minutes where I nearly had a heart attack, wondering how I was going to manage it with the time I’m booked to spend on the road, if we HAD to move it back to August, and also if I was crazy and had somehow written it down wrong.

But the paper trail was there, my calendar was right, and it’s sorted for January. That workshop is very unique because we start with a flash fiction story that’s literary fiction and then move it from genre to genre throughout the month, using the protocols of each genre to tweak it and explore it. By the end, you’ve either settled on a genre in which to expand the piece, or you have a handful of short stories in different genres. It’s not an easy workshop, by any means, but it’s really cool. I created it several years ago, when I was looking for something like this and couldn’t find it. So far, the students have loved it.

It’s January, it’s a long way down the road, but I hope to see a lot of you there. When it’s properly posted, I’ll put up the link.

I had some unpleasant business to deal with on my mother’s account. Some of it was handled; some will continue over the weekend and into next week. And I have to figure out my dates down in DC for some meetings, in the fall, but around the teaching jobs. I’m getting excited about going to Philly for a gig in a few weeks – not only will the work be tons of fun, and I’ll also have time to write, but I’ll get to hang out with some writer pals.

Today will be busy: writing, looking after the cat next door, sorting out some correspondence, clearing off the desk, taking a carload of stuff to storage, picking up some stuff from a couple of stores, maybe getting over to Target or Home Goods to replace the wine glasses I accidentally broke the other day (a bandaged hand is slowing me down). I want to get most of it done sooner rather than later, because it’s going to be a hot one. It never cooled down the way they promised yesterday.

Elsa improved quite a bit yesterday, and she seems even better today. She’s really working at getting better, and I’m doing everything I can to help her.

Not that we’ve heard back from the vet or anything since I contacted him on TUESDAY.

Back to the page.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010
New Moon
The Ides of March
Rainy and mild

The brook’s holding, and, in fact, I moved my car back to my regular parking slot last night. Fingers crossed.

I log on to my account yesterday and discover 600 emails from January that had never come through until yesterday. SIX HUNDRED. Bite me,! Talk about one of the worst webhosts EVER. I spent several hours trying to sort it all out.

Some of the emails were work-related (though most of those come to a different account). I lost some freelance jobs, but I may have salvaged one or two.

To say that I am livid is an understatement.

Then, I asked support how to do something, since I have a trackpad, not a mouse — and they said I can’t. So, I went to the Apple site — of course I can do it. In fact, it’s much easier on a Mac. I can now create the new folders they told me couldn’t be created. And I spent several hours sorting hundreds more emails that couldn’t be properly sorted since the Webmail 2.0 wreaked havoc. I’m not entirely caught up, but I’m close.

I set up a Gmail account for the newsletter. It’s trying to pull the address book. So far, no luck. It’s like my new host told me, when they investigated doing a full transfer, including folders — 1and1 is set up so one can’t. They like to hold their customers hostage.

Thunder, lightening, rain, sirens. Not my favorite way to spend the day, while I’m frantically trying to salvage some income.

On the upside, I managed to land two teaching jobs in the salvage frenzy. I’m teaching my Dialogue workshop for two weeks starting on March 22, and then, in August, I’m teaching “One Story, Many Voices” for a month, both for Savvy Authors. Having the workshop spread over a longer period of time means I can go more in-depth with the students, and I’m looking forward to it. Here’s the link to the workshop about to start. If any of you are interested, I hope you’ll join in!

I spent the bulk of the day tweaking the workshop for this particular venue, updating tipsheets, checklists, welcome messages, etc.

I’m wondering if I should do Script Frenzy in April this year, since I have so many plays to write, or if the pace would hurt the quality of the work. I’ve now got FIVE plays to write instead of three, plus the drama that I started, plus marketing the plays whose rights reverted.

I just loathe the Daylight Savings Time switchover (or, as Tori put it so well, “Daylight Stupid Time”). It takes me weeks to readjust to that lost hour.

Today, I’ve got pitches and queries to get out, the newsletter to work on, and the plays.

I had a good morning session of POWER OF WORDS, but I need to do some more logistics planning. It’s a very complex piece.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Violet loves Samhain

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s the third Wednesday of the month, which means my next SDR blog post is up. This one is about “Reading To Write.”
Note: I just realized it’s TUESDAY, not Wednesday, so this post is up a day early. headdesk.

I got up at 6 and was at my desk at 7 this morning. That hour makes all the difference, mentally and creatively. For once, the cats weren’t rummaging at 4 AM, so when the alarm went off, they were like, “What? it’s dark outside!”

But I’m so much more productive if I get up at 6 than if I get up at 7, that it’s worth it.

I had a great session on “Lake Justice.” It’s weird, because I feel like I’m doing so much work and covering so much ground, but the word count doesn’t seem to rise very quickly. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since this is a short story. But I look down and go, “I’ve covered all this ground and I’m only 300 words ahead?”

Good news: One of my children’s stories, under the Jenny Storm name, has been accepted for publication in January. When it comes out, I’ll point you all towards it. I’m delighted. Jenny needs a few more credits!

I’m booked to teach both the Dialogue Workshop and a Story Building Workshop at the 2010 Muse Online Conference, next October. AND, I’ve been invited back to the Catholic Writers Online Conference in February to teach the Dialogue Workshop and the One Story, Many Voices Workshop.

I think I’ve found my new web host. I’m pretty excited. So I’m trying to move forward a little more quickly on the website redesigns so I can move before the end of the year.

More legal paperwork to do today — it’s taking longer than I’d like because, the deeper we dig, the more points need to be articulated. But it will all be good when it’s done.

Good progress on BE THE MONSTER and a novella. I’ve got to read through another set of edits for the essay and then, hopefully, we’re done.

So I better get back to work!