Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Stormy

By the time you read this, if transportation is running properly, I’ll be on my way to the gig in Philadelphia. I’m promised a good internet connection, although I’m bouncing between two separate locations, so you’ll hear from me over the next few days.

There was all sorts of chaos due to the impending storm — the plans in Philly changed, but we’re getting hit harder supposedly, and later, so if I tried to leave later it would be impossible. I wanted to leave late last night so I’d BE THERE already, but the final decision (not up to me, unfortunately), was that I should try to make a run for it today in the nor’easter.

Yes, you really can sense my eyes rolling.

Worked steadily, got done what was necessary, but felt rather like a draft horse. We all have those days. It wasn’t a bad day, it wasn’t a great day, it was simply a work day.

The only writing-related magazine I find useful at this point is POETS AND WRITERS. I find the other mags are almost entirely newbie-oriented, which is great when you’re starting out, but once you’ve subscribed for two years or so, it’s recycled content. POETS AND WRITERS always feels fresh to me, and it has great information over a lot of areas. It’s less oriented to how to break in and present yourself as a business person than it is about writing the best books you can write, and the articles are more than page or two-page sound bytes. They are actual ARTICLES, not advertorials.

The March/April issues is especially gratifying for Phyllis Theroux’s contribution to “The Literary Life” section. It’s a wonderful essay for anyone who is a writer and also has a life to live. It makes me eager to buy her memoir, THE JOURNAL KEEPER, which is supposed to come out any minute. Maybe I’ll pick it up in Philly! 😉

There was also a wonderful article by writer and BU professor Wiliam Giraldi on John Donne. It made me realize that, despite my supposedly good education, I’ve read ABOUT John Donne, but never actually READ John Donne. i intend to remedy that the next time I hit a bookstore, and certainly next time I visit Niantic’s enormous Book Barn (which should be around my birthday, in about two weeks).

Confidential Job #1 sent my next assignment, so I’ve tucked it into my bag and will start it either on the bus or while I’m down there.

Will check in once I’m settled in Philly — provided I get there! 😉

Devon

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Okay, I’ve rejoined the Land of the Living, pretty much.

Monday was just a rough day all the way around. A chronic condition was triggered, not just by stresses that piled up over the previous few weeks, but made worse due to the jackhammers outside the building where I stayed for hours on end. I’m hyper sensitive to sound, and there are certain repetitive machine sounds that trigger negative physical response. Jackhammers are one of them.

I also suffered an assault by the Doubt Demons on Monday. The whole, “Who do you think you are, calling yourself a writer?” and “If you were really all that, you would have moved already” and “what makes you think that production company would want YOU?” and on and on and on.

Well, I’ve seen the reels that this production company’s done. I respect their work. It’s high quality. I also think my writing could take them to another level, and that’s why I’m pitching to them. My experience in theatre and fiction is what will make their spots really shine.

Add to that someone’s trying to pick a public fight with me over a critical literary essay I was paid to write, and whose contents I stand by. When the person discussed in the essay thought I was a man, that person fell all over the self praising it. Once the person found out I was a woman, the person started criticizing me publicly and trying to draw me into a fight. Uh, no, thanks. I’m going to step back and let your metaphorical cow patties hit the ground, not me, and I’m not playing in your dirty sandbox. Not interested. I don’t care that you’re famous and I’m not. I was paid to state my opinion and back it up. That’s what I did, and I did it in a much more respectful way than a lot of other people have responded to the work. Sorry if I don’t worship the person or the person’s work, but I don’t. I’m not going to pretend I do and fawn. Hell, I don’t fawn when I LOVE somebody’s work.

The weather was disgusting on Monday, but it actually stopped raining and was sunny when I left the site to head back to the station. It was so windy that I had to stop and take refuge in a few doorways along the way because I couldn’t walk against the wind, and I’m hardly a delicate little flower.

I felt like crap when I got to the station, and I was early, so I sat in the waiting area of 30th St. Station, hoping I wouldn’t pass out. One of the lovely K-9s took it upon himself to keep me company and lick my face — he knew I wasn’t feeling well.

I went out to the MegaBus stop and — no bus. Then, we had a cloudburst and dashed to the nearest building to get out of the rain — where the security guard said we couldn’t “loiter.” The bus was 28 minutes late, and the driver comes out, shuts the door and walks past us without saying a word. So we’re standing in the pouring rain in front of an idling bus for another 15 minutes. He doesn’t put our luggage in the luggage hold, just opens the door. So I put in my suitcase my own damn self, while other people just stood on the curb looking confused.

I had a good seat, but the temperature was so cold all the way back that my hands literally turned blue. The driver ignored all requests to turn off the air conditioning. The water on the outside of my coat turned to frost by the time we got to New York.

Not to mention that we were stuck on the Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel for over an hour. Better in front of the tunnel than in it, but still — an extra hour in a freezing bus while I’m soaked to the skin is NOT my idea of a good time.

We finally get to the drop off point, and the SOB opens the door to the luggage compartment and steps back, chattering on his cell phone. I climb in to the luggage compartment (as everyone else stands there with their thumbs up their asses), retrieve my suitcase, and start to walk away. The SOB driver stops me and says, “Aren’t you going to tip me?”

I looked at him and said, “Do YOU see any pigs flying?” and kept walking.

Oh, yeah, the company is going to hear from me.

I grabbed a cab to Grand Central, managed to make the 7:16 train (I’d left the site in Philly at 2). The train wasn’t very full — again, unusual for rush hour. One guy on the train looked at me and said, “Did you fall into the Hudson River?”

“That just did so much for the self-esteem,” I said.

Gotta give him credit, though. He forced the conductor to get one of the first aid blankets to wrap me up in (He said if the conductor didn’t get it, he’d just yank the first aid box out and get it himself), and offered me his flask. I didn’t even fuss that it was blended whiskey instead of single malt.

Got home well after 8 PM, took a hot bath, had something to eat, felt like someone took up residence in my chest and was trying to hack his way out with a machete. Prepared some disgusting herbal concoctions, but, other than feeling like I swallowed a rasp and it’s stuck in my throat, I feel much better this morning. Lungs are a little sore, but I’m dosing myself anda it’s getting better. Fever’s gone.

I’m going to start working with someone on sound therapy. Since I’m so strongly affected by certain sounds negatively (to the point where they can trigger things like a heart attack), we’re going to find positive choices to counteract them.

Because it’s not like we lived in a civilized country that actually provides health care options.

For the most part today, I’m staying in bed and writing.

eTreasures was bought by a new person, so I’ve got a new boss as far as DIXIE DUST RUMORS. I’m excited by her ideas, and signed on for some promotions and offered some ideas of my own. I’ll refresh the link once the new site is up and the book is available again.

Okay, gotta get back to bed. I think I’m done with any sort of exertion for the day.

Devon

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 9:40 am  Comments (9)  
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Stormy

‘Tis a dark and stormy morning in the City of Brotherly Love. I hope it settles down by mid-afternoon, when I head back to The Big Apple.

I can’t believe I have to already go back — I’m just getting settled.

Stayed in yesterday, nursing the knee and writing. It was cold and grey, so I really didn’t miss anything by not going outside

I’m almost to page 100 of the WIP (in longhand). I have to rewrite a fight scene in the next draft that totally sucks in this one. I’m usually good at fight scenes. For the pivotal ones, I call fight choreographer buddies, we rent a studio, and we talk about the scene, its context in the overall work, we choreograph it, we do it a few times, with me in the different spots so I know how each character feels. Then, I watch them do it a few times and write it in detail. Then I cut it, so it reads leanly and tightly, but has the necessary moves and details to make it believable.

This fight scene isn’t elaborate –a blindside punch, a counter-punch, a third, disabling punch, a gun draw. The reason I didn’t spend a lot of time on it in the first draft is that it’s not important in the overall context of the book as more than a catalyst to draw two characters closer, bring a new character into the book in a subsequent scene who is important to the rest of the book, and give us some important information about the two main protagonists in the scene AFTER the fight scene. I do have to introduce the attacker in this scene earlier, or he’s too much of a reverse deus ex machina. But, in this case, the fight scene is less important than the two scenes directly after it, so I need to keep it crisp and shocking, while still making sure my main protag doesn’t come off as ineffectual.

Other than that, yesterday was taken up in writing an assertive (some would say aggressive) pitch for a production company with whom I really, really want to work as a writer. I’m out of my mind to even consider it, but that’s par for the course, right, and it’s a gut instinct reaction to go for it. I have to time sending it carefully — I have about a two week window for it to hit the right person, and I have to make sure I hit those correct two weeks.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

So much for working on the steampunk and the play this weekend, but the WIP is very demanding, and I must go with something that’s flowing this strongly.

I’m almost packed to go back, and I’m straightening things up before I head out. My mom’s been staying with the cats, so they have a human slave and don’t have a reason to trash the place. Hopefully, it won’t be a miserable trip back. I’ve got a good book for it, though!

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 9:15 am  Comments (6)  
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Went outside to enjoy the sunny, cold day. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to tweak my knee, probably in transit on Friday, so things like walking were, um, difficult. Same problem I had on the stairs backstage on the Broadway shows. So I had to cut my outdoor time short. I did find a great, organic bakery in the neighborhood, since my previous neighborhood favorite bakery is under new ownership and now sucks.

Got bath salts and took a good long soak, which helped the knee a lot. It doesn’t bother me at all during yoga, just walking.

Spent most of the day writing, in longhand, on the WIP. Didn’t realize it. Just wrote until I was hungry, cooked, ate, wrote some more, and then it was time for bed.

The Comcast internet connection here is so slow compared to the Optimum I have at home. But I’m grateful to get online. Just frustrated that I can do an entire yoga sequence every time I’ve got something to download!

If you were in the midst of what I’m writing, it might be interesting. But since I’m writing, not talking about it, there’s not much to say, I’m afraid! I’m at a place in the work where I’m going very deep as far as getting it down on the page, and then, in the next draft, I have to go even deeper into the characters — I can feel their motivations as I write, but it still reads a bit flat and surfacy. But this is the first draft, the skeleton. The second draft is where I explore every possible tangent and mutation, and the third draft is where I cut and shape.

I have to start putting it in the computer soon, though. I’ve got about 80 pages in longhand written, in just over a week, and I don’t want to have to type 200+ pages in all at once. I keep wondering how I’ll have to restructure — this will be far too long for a single novel, I think. But I need to have it all on the page before I can rearrange and restructure, so the Editing Self needs to get out of the way right now. The piece as a whole needs to be as fully realized as possible, and honed to be as specific and clear as possible (even in the sections where ambiguity is the order of the day). And then I can figure out if I can/need to cut substantially more, or break it into more than one volume.

But first, the whole story and character have to be on the page, the themes coming forward, the characters and their desires fully realized — or fully thwarted — in order to find the structure that serves the piece best and is still marketable.

Back to the page.

Devon

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 11:03 am  Comments (4)  
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En Route

Friday, January 22, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Who knows what the weather is? I’m scheduling this to post

I’m headed to Philly this morning for a weekend gig. I’ll be enroute when most of you read this. And I’m looking forward to some fun flirtation tonight.

Did the proofs for the anthology essay. Only found one mistake and sent in the correction. I’m satisfied with it — I said what I wanted to say, even though, in the early drafts, it took me awhile to figure out exactly for what that was. That’s what “drafts” are for, though, isn’t it? Overall, the anthology is very different than the initial concept that was pitched when I first signed on — focuses on a single topic of the writer’s work instead of the body of work.

Which doesn’t really matter; it’s simply an observation.

One of the things my friend and I discussed on Wednesday was whether or not I miss the work — on Broadway or on TV. I don’t miss the way things are run, the politics of the places, people who aren’t in the trenches of the work making decisions which make it harder to run the production well, the hierarchy, especially in the TV world. I miss some of the actual physicality of quick changes on Broadway — especially working with actors with whom I have a good rapport. I don’t miss the 8 show/week schedule and working nights, weekends, holidays, and the dreadful commute. I don’t miss the long hours on TV or the “hurry up and wait”. I miss the camaraderie backstage — the jokes no one else would ever get unless they worked on that actual production, the way you sometimes even miss people you don’t particularly like. I don’t care how many reality shows like AMERICAN IDOL pretend to show what goes on behind the scenes — each production is totally unique, has its own energy and rhythm, and relationships are formed with a closeness that, if you don’t work in the business, you can’t understand. Yes, a lot of them are transient — if you’re not working together, you don’t see each other. And sometimes, you work together again, and it’s like you picked up a conversation that stopped only moments before, even if years have passed.

As a writer, I miss being in the rehearsal room with actors — that’s always one of my favorite parts of the process. I’m not involved in the rehearsal or production process with Cloverleaf at all, but I hope at some point, to develop a piece with a director, producer, and cast along the lines of a more collaborative working process, which I enjoy, and which I’ve had in the past. That energy of creation, working on a common goal to make all the elements of it shine — it’s a wonderful feeling.

Provided, of course, you have the right mix of people. Put the wrong mix together — even if they’re talented — and it can turn into a nightmare. Been on a few of those. Where people’s personal agendas and power trips become more important than the work.

Got a good amount of writing done in the morning, less in the afternoon. But I got all the laundry and other crap done, so I can leave town with a clear conscience (and clean lingerie).

Should be connected in Philly — will try to check in over weekend.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 5:02 am  Comments (5)  
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Busy day yesterday. Lots of writing, always a good thing.

I swung by Verizon and got my new phone. I was dressed to gain (positive) attention, and didn’t even have to wait. They fell all over themselves to help me, I’d done the research, and walked out within twenty minutes with a new, activated phone with all my data transferred. When I do the rebate paperwork, it will wind up being a free phone. That’s the way it should be.

Picked up what I needed at the store, dropped stuff off with my Mom, had lunch with her, headed back, took care of a few things, then headed back out for the iWeb workshop.

At first, I found it a little frustrating, because only one other person in the class had a website, and no one had a blog, and the bulk of the class were most interested in personal sites about their vacations instead of business sites. But I reviewed the stuff I knew, learned some new stuff, and got my questions answered. Now I can create palettes of color swatches to keep my pages consistent, make my own navigation bars, etc., etc. I’m pretty sure I can design the sites I want. We’ll find out in the next few weeks, won’t we? In an ideal world, I could have all three domains and the two subdomains designed before the move, so once the transfer is complete, all I have to do is upload.

So it wound up being fine, although my head was ready to explode when I was done.

Came home to find that the cats had knocked down a whole table’s worth of stuff. Haven’t found it all yet, but put back what I could. They’re not supposed to be on that particular article of furniture, but I guess we know what they do when they’re alone, now, don’t we?

Came home, had a late supper. Watched CHUCK, which was disappointing. This season, they’re marginalizing the female characters. They got rid of the girl from the store (who was the best of the store bunch). Sarah and Ellie are now on the sidelines, fretful and whiny. The only time Sarah gets to do anything is the girl-on-girl fighting with the Villainess of the Week who’s after Chuck. It’s already gotten old. There’s so much potential for the whole upgraded Chuck thing, and, in my opinion, they’re blowing it. They’re dumping the charm, going for the cheap laugh, and cheating the female characters. If next week’s episode isn’t a lot better, I’m done with the show.

I was happier with the CASTLE episode, although I felt the writing didn’t quite match last week’s. Last week’s writing and acting was one of the best episodes of the whole series, in my opinion. While last night’s episode was necessary for overall plot movement, it felt clunky in comparison, with the writing not meeting the bar set by the actors.

The Deanna Raybourn books shipped; I hope they arrive before I leave for Philly on Friday.

I want to finish the chapter on which I’m currently working, which ends the London section of this particular WIP. It’s flowing really well — I wound up writing 12 pages yesterday, and I’ve got about 6 so far today. I’ve got to pay some bills and go to the post office around lunch time, and then I hope to focus on the steampunk this afternoon. I’d like to get a good chunk of Chapter Six done. I’m not even going to worry about word count until the first draft is done, instead of keeping track as I go. I’ll see what needs more detail for the second draft, and the third will be where I cut to fit designated word count.

I’m packed for the trip, at least clothing-wise. I won’t back the books and the writing until Thursday night, when I know where I am with various projects.

Back to the page. I hope I can go to meditation group tonight. I miss it.

Devon

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 10:01 am  Comments (6)  
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hazy, hot, humid

I’m back in NY. Yesterday was FUN! Hot as all get-out, but fun.

I was up at 5 AM – grumble, grumble, if I’m not paid to be on set, and all that, you know? On a 7:30 train to the city – we got the GOOD one, the diesel train with the comfortable seats, and on a 9:15 bus to Philly.

Costume Imp texted me when he reached Philly, and I tried to text back, but the bus wobbled and he got something that looked like the first day of typing class.

So he called.

We met at Slainte, a place near the 30th St. Station where we’ve eaten before, and had a quick snack. Our waitress wanted us to come back for karioke night. Imp explained we work with professional singers, so Karioke makes our ears bleed. Then we cabbed on over to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, where we spent our time in the Egyptian exhibits. I’d visited there in January, and done a ton of research for TRACKING MEDUSA and its two sequels, but this time I could just wander. And, they had some new pieces up. The only downside was no air conditioning. How can you have these delicate objects and no air conditioning? Maybe it was just broken for the day or something.

We wandered around the U Penn district – very nice. I hadn’t spent much time there. We’d walk – or in Imp’s case, limp – a few blocks, then stop for a beverage and then continue. Basically, we beveraged our way across the Uni district. We got a new cable for his computer, we stopped at The Last Word Bookshop to pick up a few titles and play with Lester, the cat, we had Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, we even stopped in Starbucks (ick) for iced coffee where the barista must have just taken his first voice class in the Theatre Department, because he was determined to hit the back balcony!

We ate at a well-regarded restaurant on Sansom called The White Dog, where, supposedly, the medium Mrs. Blatavasky once lived. I didn’t know that when I picked the place, but it was one of those ironic life coincidences that are so much fun. The food was great, the atmosphere great, the service poor. We were the first ones seated in our section, yet we had to wait 45 minutes for a grilled chicken sandwich? I don’t think so. In general, in Philadelphia, I find the food excellent and the service sub-standard. And we even had two servers wafting around our table – one tried really hard, but English majors really shouldn’t be waitresses. Leave it to performers, they’re better with people. It’s more important to get our orders in than correct our grammar, and, sweetie, I KNOW when I’m speaking incorrectly – I was making a point. The other one was very full of her own sense of importance, but didn’t actually get anything DONE. I’ll take the English major any day of the week.

Behind us was a table full of pseudo-geeky guys and a really bossy girl who needs to learn that there’s a difference between being assertive and bitchy, and her behaviour towards these guys last night was SO not cute. She thought she was cute – she makes the mistake a lot of girls (and I use “girls” instead of “women” deliberately, because no matter what the age . . .) in Philadelphia make – they think they’re dressing New York chic, but don’t quite pull it off. In her case, the skirt was too short for the line of her leg, and its line was unflattering to her figure, the purse and shoes were overly matched to the dress but everything was out of proportion, and she had poor posture, while pretending she’s going around kicking ass. Everything was expensive-looking, but didn’t work together. And she wasn’t kicking ass, she was being mean. I’m sure she had self-esteem issues, but there are ways to deal with them that don’t involve trying to ‘power over” people abusively just to make yourself feel worth more. They were joined by an older male teacher type who was oh, so impressed with himself and treated everyone at the table like his subjects rather than his students. Gag. We’ve all been there, but oooh, the material . . .

Yeah, she’ll be in a story. I may kill her off, or I may just have her ass get seriously kicked. The teacher . . .he’s gonna have to go.

We limped back along market to a lovely statue of the Drexel Dragon, took more pictures, then I went back to the bus and Imp went back to his hotel (on the subway). He’s got a rock and roll day today – load in, show, load out, back on the bus to the next venue. So it was fun to catch a few hours together.

Bus ride was fine, I swung by the theatre to pick up my check, and headed home.

When I left yesterday, I fretted because I was away from the ANGEL HUNT characters for a day, but it was worth it. Now I can go back to them refreshed, and I have an idea of what I need to go back and change in the first few chapters. There are characters that come up later in the book that really need to be at least mentioned early on for it to be cohesive. I’m deepening a few things, cutting some stuff – it will still be a big old long damn book, but at least it will make sense.

Back to that, back to my column – I have to quotes I requested, now I have to plug them in – back to another article, and, most importantly, back to ANGEL HUNT.

Hurricane Hanna is set to hit tomorrow with some flooding – I hope it’s not as bad as we had last year. Keep your fingers crossed.

Devon

Angel Hunt — 30,935 words out of est. 125,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
30 / 125
(24.0%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


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


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

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


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

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 8:08 am  Comments (7)  
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Part 7 of my interview runs at The Creative Heartbeat Collective. I know you’re getting sick of it, but this is the last week, so drop by and leave a comment.

I am back in NY. The trip wasn’t too bad yesterday; some annoying people, but the bus ride was smooth, and I managed to work out a glitch that was bothering me in OLD FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. I’d envisioned a sequence, but in its original version, either Ty or Solange or Xeoth would show up as almost a deus ex machine, and I’d much rather than Wyatt and Jain got themselves out of the situation. But I couldn’t figure out how.

And then I did.

And that’s in Chapter 19, which I’ve yet to write. But I finished Chapter 18 this morning.

And I’m out of ink – again. I’m getting a little tired of this.

I wrote about seventy pages while I was in Philadelphia last week, which is pretty decent. Not as much as I should have, but decent. And I wrote eleven pages this morning. I hope to at least get started, and maybe even finish Chapter 19 when I get home tonight.

The modern gothic is tugging at me, but it will just have to wait. Everything will have to wait until I get OLD FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK to the publisher. I’ve had to edit as I write, a process I hate, but it’s my own damned fault for being so far behind.

I’m going to outline Book 3 in a whole lot more detail so I don’t get myself into this mess next time around.

Off to the theatre for some work, and then it’s back to the page. No time for tired right now.

And, of course, building management is doing everything they can to torture even more. They are determined to drive us out. I am so frustrated, between building management and the fact that they’re draining our power so the fucking computer can’t run properly.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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


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

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


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

Published in: on August 25, 2008 at 9:09 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Partly cloudy and warm

Good day’s work on OLD FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. I had to go back to an earlier chapter to add something in order to make a later chapter make sense, but that’s par for the course. I’m feeling much better about it all. Took a few days to get there, but now I feel like I can actually get this done and out in a reasonable time. It’s still late, but at least it will go out this week. It’s also longer than I expected. It will be around the 200 page mark instead of the 120 page mark. Oh, well, it suits the story and feeds into the overall series, while still working on its own merits and can stand alone. I actually know what points I have to hit and the strong ending I want. Now I just have to get there. I figure it’s another 2-3 chapters. And this time I mean it! 😉

PJ, there was never any question Wyatt would come out of this situation, at least this time around. The gun to the head bit was a minor glitch to add a further complication – although I’m sure he wouldn’t agree. If he’s not going to get out of something, further down in the series, he’ll go in a much more interesting and unusual way!

I’m on Chapter 17, moving towards the big finale of this book, and I think we’ll be done by Chapter 20. The plot on this has been twisty-turny, like a tangled skein of yarn.

I came up with a brilliant title for Book 3 of the series, the one told through Billy Root’s eyes. Too bad I didn’t write it down and can’t remember it. Guess it wasn’t so brilliant after all.

Wandered back to Robin’s Books and picked up a copy of Francine Prose’s BLUE ANGEL. I’d looked at it the other day and put it back. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I returned to the bookstore and there it was. I grabbed it and bought it and it entrances me.

Outlined a couple more pieces, all odd. Not sure what they will turn into, or if they’re merely false starts. Time and writing will tell.

My eyes hurt from all the time spent on the computer.

I’m officially pathetic. I went to Rittenhouse Square (after stopping back at Remedy for another iced Earl Grey tea) because it was a beautiful day, I wanted to read in my break from writing, and be outside. I managed to stave off most of the crazies, but I had to leave because a bunch of sad shelter dogs wearing those “adopt me” jackets were being walked, and I got emotional because I couldn’t adopt them ALL. (Or even one of them, right now).

The dishwasher’s already run, the laundry’s in, and I’m almost packed.

Back to the page for a few more hours before I have to head back to the bus. We’ll see how far into the big finale I can get. I’ve also figured out the last few sentences, so the ending will pack a punch.

The dark, almost modern gothic piece is pulling at me, as is another piece I outlined yesterday, more of a contemporary lit fic. They have to wait for awhile, until OFDW is done, but they’re percolating. In the latter, in the outline, the protag/antag were pretty straight up, but the more I think about it, the more I want to make it more unclear. I want it to be more like a theatre piece, where each character is working towards achieving his or her own desires, only in this case, none of them are particularly concerned with how the consequences affect those around them. “I Want” is the central theme.

I head back to New York tonight. The weather’s been gorgeous here in Philadelphia, and it’s been a wonderful writing retreat. I’m sorry to go back to the insanity and instability of NY, especially when it comes to the living situation. I’m not looking forward to the part of the trip that’s from here to the bus station or from Penn Station to Grand Central, but I hope the rest of it will be relatively pain-free. I am filled with dread at the thought of returning, as much as I miss my cats. I feel like I need at least another week here, and then I’ll feel as though I’m truly back on track. Unfortunately, that’s not an option.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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


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

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


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

Published in: on August 24, 2008 at 7:00 am  Comments (3)  
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Part 6 of my interview is up on The Creative Heartbeat Collective. Check it out. This time I talk about mythology, how working backstage influences the writing, HEX BREAKER (finally), erotica, and solitude.

Yes, Brandy, you’re absolutely correct. I was a little down and tired yesterday. Life stuff, and wishing I could finish OLD FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK faster than I am. The additions and complexities are good, but I have to speed up the process.

I had a nice lunch with friends and then had a good wander, because I had to give the cleaning person the run of the apartment for the afternoon. I went to Robin’s Bookstore, one of my favorite places in Philadelphia, and bought a bunch of books. Not as many as I wanted to, but I’m on a budget AND I have to cart them all home. Two of the books are the compilations of the NY TIMES WRITERS ON WRITING, which I like. And, now that I think of it, I bet I bought them when they first came out and they’re in storage. If that’s the case, I’ll put the doubles up on Bookmooch. In the meantime, I can enjoy them. I also bought the memoir CHOSEN FOREVER by Susan Richards and a novel called THE FORTUNE QUILT by Lani Diane Rich.

I went to Remedy, the tea bar, and snacked on chicken summer rolls and an iced Earl Grey tea, and wrote some notes on a mystery, a comedy, and a possible other piece. Wandered over to Rittenhouse Square because it was so beautiful. Sat in the park and read all of THE FORTUNE QUILT during the afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It has a lot more heart and depth than I expected. I’ll definitely hunt down this author’s other work. Also wrote notes on some observations I made on people in the park, which may wind up being a series of short stories.

Went to an Espresso bar for an espresso and an apple tart, then wandered back to the apartment. It was a good refresher of a day, refilling the creative well.

I’m immersed in Joyce Carol Oates’s JOURNAL, and in the research materials for the play HOSTAGE. I have to say that the latter leaves me with a great deal of despair about the state of the world. But it’s necessary to do the research if I want this play to work.

I haven’t spent anywhere near enough time on the ICELANDIC SAGAS – and I’ll be very annoyed with myself if I dragged an 1800 page volume down here and didn’t look at it.

I wrote a few pages last night on something that’s been bothering me – the scenes and images keep haunting me. Now that I’ve got it on paper, maybe I can put it aside and get back to what I need to do.

Back to the page. Let’s hope I am back on track and can have a productive writing day.

Devon
Devon’s Bookstore:


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


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

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


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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Have you signed up for The Muse Online Writers’ Workshop? It runs Oct. 13-19, it’s virtual, and it’s FREE. There are lots of great presenters. And I’m teaching my dialogue workshop again, although it will be slightly different than last year’s. Registration closes on September 1, so hop on over and sign up. Believe me, it’s worth it. I developed EARTH BRIDE and another yet-to-be written novel there. It’s a wonderful way to develop material for Nano – get your world built, get your outline done, experiment with some characters, and there you go – you can sit down with fingers flying over the keys during the month of November.

I was out of sorts yesterday, once I had my quota of writing done. I ran some errands, bought a few little things that would normally make me feel better, but didn’t, and was simply feeling undervalued and underappreciated. I couldn’t sort it out with all of the individuals at the root (it’s not like there are that many, I just didn’t have access to some of them), but one, in particular, who has made empty promises on a work front for months – by the end of the night, I just lost my temper.

And got results.

I hate having to do that, but sometimes stating that you’re done and are going to walk because of the unfulfilled obligations – and MEANING it – is the only option left. It seems to be sorted out properly now; let’s hope that’s true. Of course there were excuses. To a point, I understand, but there’s also a point, especially when the promises have continued over a period of months with no results, where I stop caring what those excuses are, and simply want results.

I had a good writing morning on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, despite the late start. A mermaid named Solange has inserted herself into the tale, and promises to be a force to be reckoned with in the series. Unfortunately, she set up a dilemma. I wanted to set up a conflict between Solange and Jain that would get deeper and harsher, especially in Book 4 and perhaps in Book 5. But Wyatt didn’t like the way it was set up, and his part in the mess. Although it makes sense that someone WOULD behave in the way I wanted, HE was adamant that HE would NOT.

I worried about it most of the afternoon, running errands, reading in the park, trying to avoid an astonishing amount of people wearing metaphorical foil hats.

I came across a similar topic as I wasted time on the internet later in the afternoon, and I strongly disagreed with the way it was handled, while acknowledging that the writer has the right to present that point of view.

HOWEVER, thinking about the problems I had with the way the topic was handled made me realize certain similarities in the situation in OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. Wyatt (meaning my subconscious’s way of creating the character) is right – he WOULDN’T behave in the way I tried to force. Not only that, by following that path, although the genders are reversed, I would condone a situation similar to the one I disagreed with in the other writer’s work.

Solution – stick to what I believe in and let Wyatt behave in a way that’s true to himself.

Yeah, I realize that the above won’t make sense to anyone but me. But as long as it makes sense to me, right? And solves the problem.

And OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK is not only longer than I originally intended, but more complex. Which serves the overall series well, but makes it hard to get it out quickly.

Add the fact that I can’t get the printer to print and I’m panicking and sending multiple backup copies to myself every few minutes – remember, I lost the first draft forever of MODERN CREATION MYTHS last time I was here, and it was never retrieved – so it’s a bit more stressful than I bargained.

But I have GOT to get this novella finished, revised, and out ASAP. I’m already hideously late with it, and I hate being late. I don’t have the luxury of taking my time with the work – in order to make a living, I need to meet deadlines, so I have to make my process fit the schedule. No artistic self-indulgence allowed. No “I don’t feel like writing” today or “I’m too tired”. I lost too many writing days because I was so physically and emotionally exhausted working full weeks on Broadway this summer – my back’s against the wall and I can’t afford excuses.

There was a concert in Rittenhouse Square last night. I didn’t have to attend – I could hear it from the balcony. I’m not sure who was playing, but the first part of the evening wasn’t to my taste (okay, honestly, I think it kind of sucked), but there was some music in the second part I kind of liked, and the sounds were very different. The music in the second part had more drive, more purpose, less whine. Much more my style.

I got another late start. I had bad dreams last night, unfortunately about people close to me. Hate that. It was difficult to get back to sleep. So I slept in, and now I’m stumbling around, trying to pull it all together.

I have a truncated writing day here this morning due to the cleaning person coming in, and for a long lunch I plan to have out. I seriously doubt I’ll be in any shape to write when I return. And I’ll be toasting the all-day photo call they’re having at the show, while, at the same time, extremely grateful that I’m not working it . . .

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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


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

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


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

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 8:12 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , ,

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
Philadelphia

Yes, I’m in Philadelphia. It IS Wednesday, right? The last few days have seemed like one long day. And I slept in this morning, which means I got a late start.

Megabus was fine getting down here. It’s clean, it’s cheap, they’re nice. But my seat was broken in the “reclined” position and by the time I figured it out, it was too late to change, and they don’t let you ON the bus until just before they leave, which I hate. I like a few minutes to get settled. Still, it beats driving myself through New Jersey! I had my music on, I read Joyce Carol Oates’s JOURNAL — she truly is one of the most prolific writers ever. I feel like an absolute slacker beside her.

I’m down the rabbithole of the writing, which is a good thing. Theatre seems very far away. While I miss specific individuals, I don’t miss the amount of energy and focus it requires, even an easy show. And I’m not the kind of person who does things half-way. I can’t phone it in. Wish I could — it would probably save me a lot of stress.

I’m working out a lot and doing several yoga sessions a day. Unfortunately, before I left NY, I wrenched my good shoulder a bit, and wrestling the luggage didn’t help. I’m trying to gently stretch it out and keep it from contracting.

Costume Imp, on tour with Herself, will be down here just for two days in early September, so I’m going to take the day off and come down to play. Because let’s face it, being separated for seven to ten months is simply NOT going to work.

In the meantime, this week is about serious writing time. So, I’m going back to the page, back to OLD FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. I left them stranded off the coast of Cape Cod, and it’s time to bring them back in.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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


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

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


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

Published in: on August 20, 2008 at 8:17 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , ,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I finally saw it: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Joss Whedon’s internet extravaganza. I liked it a lot – I’m not as fanatically head-over-heels about it as some people, but I thought the writing, production values, acting, etc., were all top notch, and, of course, I’d expect nothing less from Whedon. I liked most of the music, although I thought some of the songs where they wrote it atonally might have worked a bit better with either more harmony or even a further atonal choice. And Neil Patrick Harris – talk about an actor who’s fucking brilliant. He’s one of those rare actors who can take material and go from broad comedy to snarky to simple and direct to sarcastic to vulnerable to sweet, turning on a dime and completely taking the audience on the journey. Every time I see him do something, I appreciate him more – one of those actors who’s both thoughtful and instinctive in his work, has layers of craft along with talent, and knows how to pull it all together.

I also have to admit that I’m not watching the Olympics much this time around. I’m more of a Winter Olympics fan than a summer one anyway. I’m keeping tabs on Michael Phelps – good for him, that talent and work ethic are paying off – but that’s about it. And kudos to Phelps for giving the credit for his eighth gold medal of the games to his teammates in the relay, acknowledging that not everything revolves around him. He’s got his head screwed on straight, and I hope that, once the games are over, some of the media frenzy around him calms down and he can just go and play without people judging him. No one can be a perfect role model all the time, and he deserves to be able to blow off some steam.

Every time I turn on the television, they have volleyball on, and that is a sport I absolutely LOATHE. Anything I have to say about it is mean and out of line, so I’ll keep it to the fact that I loathe it. I wanted to see more of the archery, and haven’t (although those Ukranian archers are HOT), and the fencing, sailing, and equestrien events. So far, not much luck – the hours I can watch don’t seem to be the hours those events are broadcast, if they’re even being broadcast at all. I have to say I’m kind of glad I’m not over there, trying to cover it, as fascinating as it would be to travel to China.

I’m already prepping to cover the Vancouver 2010 games, believe it or not.

A friend called and invited me over for the afternoon, so I packed a writing bag and headed over to sit by the pool. Worked on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. Didn’t get as much done as I wanted, but got something done, and got some work done on the article.

I cooked dinner over there, then came back home to pack for Philly. As soon as I pulled out the suitcase, all three cats threw up. So we know how they feel about it. I’m still trying to figure out what to pack in the writing bag – I don’t want to take too many projects. If I limit which projects I take, I’ll have to actually focus on them.

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this working trip. I’ve hit a point where I work much more efficiently when I’m away from New York.

Back to the page.

Devon