Thurs. Aug. 3, 2017: Too Much Drama, Too Many Guns

Thursday, August 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Too much drama, too many guns.

On the positive side: I got hired for a freelance gig I really, really wanted. Flexible hours, steady work, steady monthly pay with regular chances for promotion. They offered me the gig yesterday morning, I accepted, did the paperwork, got my first assignment.

Once I get the rhythm set with this new job, I can give notice at the other freelance gig I’ve held for the last few months that has given me nothing but grief. I was “hired” quickly, but it was over a month before my first assignment, and there’s a delay in payment by two months. Additionally, I am regularly asked to compromise my ethics. In small ways, but I believe digging away at the small stuff leads to bigger stuff. I spend too much time uncomfortable and/or frustrated. I knew I couldn’t stay much longer; at least this means I can both replace and increase the lost income.

A pitch I sent to a new-to-me publication was rejected, but nicely. In fact, the editor was intrigued by a throw-away line in my credits and asked for a pitch built around that. The new pitch goes out today.

An historian whose work I like and respect a lot put out a call for sources for an article he’s working on. I immediately thought of someone I knew years ago, who I thought would have an interesting perspective. She’s still alive (thank goodness — sad we have to check that first, isn’t it?) I’m trying to get updated contact information, remind her how we know each other, and set up a virtual introduction. I think she’d find his work interesting, and he’d find her a good source.

I have one more piece of back matter, an article on theatre ghosts, that I hope to finish today, and then PLAYING FOR ANGLES can go to my editor!

On the frustrating side, I’m dealing with far too many insurance companies right now. Does HR intentionally hire the least competent, least intelligent, most likely to commit acts of willful cruelty, or is that just the type of individual who seeks work in the industry? That’s been my personal experience since I started temping and was sent to insurance agencies back in high school, not to mention dealing with them. The only exception is the guy in my hometown who handled my mother’s car insurance for over 30 years. He was actually smart, compassionate, and had integrity.

Still having trouble with the web host. I’ve put together a document that’s almost a questionnaire that I will submit to the web hosts that SEEM to offer what I need. Their answers will have a lot to do with which company I move my business.

I’m reading Christopher Isherwood’s diaries. I realized I know ABOUT him (after all, his play I AM A CAMERA was the basis for CABARET), but I don’t actually know his work directly. There’s a great passage about LA haunted by the ghosts of failure that I copied out, and there’s also a lot of talk about impending WWII (the diaries begin in 1939). The way history is taught in school, I had the impression that the US basically ignored the war until Pearl Harbor. Of course, it was far more complicated than that, and it’s interesting to read the first hand accounts, especially when actual dialogue’s been recorded. Yes, diaries filter through a subjective point of view, but such a personal viewpoint of world-changing events is both fascinating and necessary.

We watched TO WALK INVISIBLE, the drama about the Brontes, which was interesting and well-done.

However, during that, came the scary stuff: we heard something we assumed were yet more idiots setting off illegal fireworks, which happens a couple of times a week in the neighborhood.

They were gunshots.

I didn’t know that until this morning. I SHOULD have — I know enough about guns, and I should be able to discern the difference between a gunshot and fireworks. Yet another example of dangerous assumptions. But a few minutes after the quick succession of noises, a quartet of helicopters with search lights hovered over the neighborhood. So low I was worried they’d tangle in the trees.

I posted on social media, asking about it. A friend a couple of miles down the street had heard about a police car involved in a major crash while en route to respond to report of shots fired a few miles away in the next town over. We figured it was probably that. As an aside, I believe that’s the third police vehicle involved in a MAJOR accident while responding to a call in a month around here.

I knew I wouldn’t get any answers if I called the police — it’s not NY, nor do I have the contacts here that I had there. I considered calling the fire department, but decided not to. The helicopters hovered for about a half hour, and then there was that eerie silence that rolls in after a commotion.

We locked the doors early last night, just in case.

I woke up at 4. Something that sounded like it was out of a horror movie was on the deck — nails clattering, vocally chattering, skittering around. It was a drawn out, high-pitched, single-note call, followed by a series of short, staccato sounds over about an octave’s range (still pretty high). I was actually more scared of that then the possibility of a gun-toting moron with a sub-par IQ. No, I did not go out and investigate. I sincerely hope I never hear that again — although I’m sure I’ll use it in a book at some point. I checked the deck this morning, but couldn’t figure out what it was. The older cat slept right through it (she slept through the gunshots, too). The younger cat wasn’t going anywhere near the doors or windows. I decided to pay attention to her instincts. Whatever it was, it was not friendly.

The morning news feed had the news of a shooting — a BLOCK AWAY FROM THE HOUSE. Not many details, but this was definitely NOT the shooting to which my friend referred. Too many morons with guns out there. Two incidents, around the same time, about three miles apart. One of which was way too close to my home for comfort. I’m pretty sure I know which house — there are only 3 on the block mentioned in the article. I’m going to drive by this morning. If it is them, I’m not surprised, but I am angry. If it’s the house on either side, I’ll be worried.

I’m exhausted and on edge this morning. I’ll do what I need to do this morning (which includes a visit to the fire station to find out what the HELL was going on last night), get out some pitches, hopefully finish the article so I can do a final proof and send out ANGLES tomorrow, and then nap.

Or I might send out my pitches and nap before I try to do a final proofread. I’ll miss less that way.

Onward.

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Published in: on August 3, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 3, 2017: Too Much Drama, Too Many Guns  
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Fri. June 23, 2017: Spinning The Freelance Plates and the Threads of Inspiration

Friday, June 23, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy

Got a section of meadow mowed yesterday morning. It’s starting to look like actual progress. It looks like it will rain any minute this morning. I should use that as a reason to rush out there and mow, like my neighbors are; instead, I’m dragging my feet, hoping it will rain and I can’t.

I was in a lousy mood for a good part of yesterday. I tried to tease myself out of it with the “CrankyPants Song”, but it didn’t work. That’s a song I made up when I worked backstage. When a colleague or I was overtired and grumpy, I’d sing it to make fun of the grumpster (or myself), and we’d all laugh and get over ourselves. But it didn’t work yesterday.

Turned in the latest set of revisions to the new-to-me editor. Let’s hope he’s happy with this set. Also called him out on the contradictions. I hate working in their automated system that won’t let me do what supposedly needs to be done. At this point, it’s a toss-up about whether I’ll be fired or whether I’ll walk. I wonder if this is the norm, and that’s how they get out of paying writers?

Working on a pitch for a publication I hope to finish and send out tomorrow. I’ve written for them several times; it would be great to do so again. I’ve gotten decent pay and some solid clips from them in the past.

Pitched for another gig that sounded like fun; we’ll see if my samples are what they’re looking for. Again, money might be an issue. They pay “per word”, but haven’t said how much per word, or talked about volume and turn-around time. Heard back from them this morning — as I suspected, the per word rate is so low, I couldn’t even fill the gas tank with an assignment. For something that requires A LOT of technical craft, is for-hire with no royalties, um, no. I will send them a refusal today.

Press releases went out for “Personal Revolution”. I finally wrestled the website so that I could add the “Personal Revolution” information into the Delectable Digital Delights, the Media Room, and the Bazaar pages of the Devon Ellington site. No thanks to the webhost, but in spite of them. That webhost is useless. Not only are they unreliable, their customer service is non-existent. I’m starting to think most hosts are. But, by poking around and swearing a lot, I managed to figure out workarounds that got up the information I needed to add. I really need to take some classes in website coding and design. But it’s the usual dilemma — when the time exists, the money doesn’t. When the money’s there, it’s there because there’s a heavy workload in, and the time doesn’t exist. And anything web-related has to be something I can handle, update, tweak, and rearrange myself, not hire in a webmaster. The amount of attention my different sites need would mean I need someone weekly, and the cost (because the webmaster DESERVES to be paid for all this, and deserves a good rate) is out of my range right now.

The press releases also have the information for upcoming projects, which means I have to get my ass in gear and meet deadlines.

I have a good idea about the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story. I had to have the title for the press release, and came up with “Miss Winston Apologizes”. And then I figured out who Miss Winston was and why she apologized, and there was the premise for the next piece. It’s still set in Cornelia’s time period. I decided I’m going to set three stories there, then have her go with Roman when he next time travels, and they can have adventures elsewhere (that all tie in to the main arc). Now, I need to write the opening, so I can pop it in with “Ramsey Chase” and get going on the proofread. The July 10 release date will be here before I know it.

I’ve also got the opening of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern mystery, set around Labor Day (which is set to release just before Labor Day weekend, so I better get on with it).

With Playing the Angles hoping to release in October, we really need to find the right cover image. And I really need to do a final proof on it, and settle on the name for the series (even though each book will have a different pair of protagonists).

Think there’s enough to do? Along with keeping up a constant stream of pitches and freelance pieces so I can keep a roof over my head.

A royalty check from the Topic Workbooks and “Plot Bunnies” cheered me up. I certainly can’t retire on it, or even pay next month’s bills, but it helps tide me over a bit, and just getting the royalties makes me feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

The last research book I need for the Lavinia Fontana play arrived, thank goodness, because I have to start writing it at the beginning of July.

Got a rejection on an article pitch for a new-to-me market. I’m going to re-slant it to send elsewhere, and then submit something new to this market. I’m determined to crack it. Some of the content puzzled me; then I got an apology from the editor, saying the email had gone off before he was done, and he hoped I’d pitch again.  I told him no worries, I had every intention of so doing, but I’d let him rest over the weekend!  😉

Heard back from another place I pitched. They loved my samples. They want to know how good my French and/or Spanish are. Um, what? Why wasn’t that in the ad? I read French reasonably well (I read Moliere in French, because it’s funnier than any English translation I’ve yet found), and I can read newspaper and magazine articles and basically figure them out. I can get by in French, and I’ve got a little German. But I’m not fluent. So that might knock me out completely, which would be a shame. I’d love to get my French back up to speed, but I doubt they want me learning on the job.

I’m playing with yet another new idea, this one with a pair of older protagonists. I think it could be interesting. I’m trying to decide if I want to set it in Cornwall or in Ayrshire. I know both, but I know Ayrshire better, and, as I’m working on the outline, it seems to naturally gravitate to Ayrshire. I’ve set several things in Ayrshire, stretching it to add additional towns and do mix-and-match with real places. I’ve even added additional Scottish National Trust properties when Culzean Castle (where I’ve rented an apartment on more than one occasion, and which I know VERY well) didn’t quite fit the plot. In this particular piece, I’m adding a street off the main road to Culzean (halfway between the Castle and Little K’s Kitchen, where I used to get my newspaper and the racing form every morning), and that’s where my protags have rented a house.

I also figured out what I need to shift in another piece I’ve been noodling with, to get the opening different from yet another piece, whose opening I like, but was too similar to this one. The settings are similar — one at an artists’ colony, one at a meditation retreat. But the characters and situations and what I want to explore are very different. Interestingly enough, though, the protagonists for both pieces share some of the same titles on their bookshelves! Such as the Complete Works Of Shakespeare and Louisa May Alcott’s diaries.

Speaking of Louisa, a tweet from the lovely folks at Orchard House got me re-reading her. They were talking about Rose in Bloom, so I ordered that and Eight Cousins (which happens before RiB) from the library and read them this past week. From a critical, feminist perspective, there are plenty of problems. Yet it was still, in some ways, ahead of its time (although highly romanticized). It got me thinking of Fruitlands, which is where I always imagine those two books set, rather than Concord. In fact, I had an exchange with another Orchard House follower about that, when she was puzzled about “rolling hills” she didn’t remember around Concord, and now she’s going to visit Fruitlands!

It got me thinking that I would like to set something in a family compound in that area (Harvard, MA, which is different than where Harvard U. is in Boston). Somehow, I came up with a set of sisters (inspired by the great aunts in Maine), and their patriarch/matriarch based in the compound, but set in the early 1900s, and somehow, from there, I leapt to the opening taking place in San Francisco in 1904, pre-Earthquake, but just at the end of the “Barbary Plague” where so many of the Chinese immigrants died in SF from bubonic plague from 1900-1904, and that led to a stack of research books about that time period, so who knows how the piece will end up? Right now, I see it starting in SF, moving by train eastwards, with a stop in Chicago, but I have to figure out why, beyond simply changing trains.

1904 Newspaper archives, here I come. I think I can read some at local libraries, and probably access some via Boston Public Library’s digital files (I have an e-card from them); when in doubt, I can always contact my stalwart NYPL and Library of Congress.

But it’s amazing how re-reading a childhood book can set off a new train of thought.

I’ve just received Under the Lilacs and An Old-Fashioned Girl from the library to re-read. I remember reading both at my grandmother’s house in Foxboro, under an actual lilac hedge, when I was little.

Who knows what they will inspire?

This weekend, I have to dig in to FIX IT GIRL, because all those books on Hearst Castle have to go back to the library next week. They can’t be extended any more!
Besides, I want to get this draft done and the submission packets ready. I want to start querying after 4th of July, but have to get everything out before mid-August, or I might as well wait until mid-September, because few places actively read by mid-August, and right back from Labor Day, they need a couple of weeks to catch up.

I think I’ve got a handle on how I want the First Big Love Scene to go. Since this isn’t erotica, but historical fiction, the style is gentler, and I have to get it just right. Things were often down and dirty in 1930s Hollywood (as they often are everywhere in every time period), but my protag is neither a goody two-shoes nor a nymphomaniac. Nor is this a category romance where she’s only allowed to be attracted to one man. She’s an intelligent modern woman of her time, and slightly ahead of it, breaking new ground, fighting sexism, but also following her heart (and her passions). I’ve got that balance right in most of her scenes; now I have to get it right in the love scenes, too.

In general, I want this to be a fiction weekend. I’ve spent so much time on articles in order to pay the bills that the fiction has suffered, so it’s time to give it some more attention.

This is a great June for the roses — they’re blooming like crazy. And the petunias in the barrel out front have grown enough so they’re sticking their heads over the rim and peeking out. It’s very cute.

Have a great weekend!

Wed. May 24, 2017: Trying to Keep Going On

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Struggled a lot with the sample pages for the play proposal. They’re speaking the subtext, and I need to cover it with text that’s clever enough to communicate the subtext, but not be as ham-handed as it currently is.

Got a new cover for “Creative Stimulus”, so it now matches the other Topic Workbooks. I want to go over the text again, maybe do some updates.

Looked at some images for the new Fearless Ink logo, but didn’t find what I wanted. I may have to shoot it myself and then layer in the text. I’m looking into rights for a Charles Dana Gibson image that I like for something else. It’s supposedly in public domain, but I want to be sure.

Talked to a designer about a new cover for the re-release of PLAYING THE ANGLES. I need to do another copy editing pass on it, and then also put in the first chapter of SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and then make sure I can get SPIRIT out on time. We need to talk release dates soon.

More mower issues — turns out I have to buy special tools in addition to the special parts. Take it from me — don’t buy a Poulan Pro. They run poorly and the company has no interest in honoring warranties. Really, really not okay.

I have a meeting next week north of Boston for a project I’d really like to do. The logistics would be a nightmare, but first we have to see if we’re compatible.

Struggling to show up at the page every day and get anything done. Feeling sick and exhausted all the time doesn’t help. But any time I put off the work on the page, I feel worse.

Managed to create a pitch on the fly for an opportunity that landed unexpectedly. Fingers crossed.

Just have to keep going on, don’t I. That’s the only option.

Published in: on May 24, 2017 at 9:34 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 24, 2017: Trying to Keep Going On  
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Wed. May 29, 2013: The Challenge of The Travel

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Yesterday was certainly a challenge!

The morning started well, although I felt a wrench at being away from the garden this week. The irises are about to open. They are my favorite flower. I think they’ll have come and gone by the time I get back. The terraced back needs mowing, and I’m worried that the ants will get the upper hand while I’m gone.

But everything will rub along without me — plants were doing that for thousands of years before people started to garden!

I opened my email to find out that I’ve been contracted for 14 short articles (yes, paid) over the next seven months. I’ll do the first one next week, when I get back. I also finished and pitched another article to a different publication. Not a bad way to start the week!

The drive to Providence wasn’t bad, except for the construction work around New Bedford. If it’s the left lane that’s closed, why is that the only one moving? Because the travellers in that lane are pushy bastards, that’s why. If everyone let one person get ahead of time, and six people didn’t force their ways forward, causing the other lane to come to a grinding halt, we’d all get where we needed to go on time.

Megabus late in Providence. Turns out, the bus coming from NY broke down in CT, so they had to send another bus. However, the bus they sent was a single decker, and the Providence-NY bus was sold out as a double decker. Not everyone could get on the bus — some had to wait for another bus they were sending. Um, why didn’t anyone check the manifest for the trip BEFORE sending out a bus? We do make reservations ahead of time. There’s no reason to act surprised that there’s a line of people waiting.

Needless to say, I was on that first bus. 😉

Once we got rolling, it was okay. I ate the lunch I packed (simple– hard boiled egg, carrots, celery, radishes, a gigantic chocolate bar). I read Joelle Charbonnau’s END ME A TENOR, which was a lot of fun. I’m meeting her for a drink tonight, so I wanted to read at least something of hers!

The wifi on the bus didn’t work, and people were even having problems with cell phones, so at least it was quiet!

The problems happened from Bridgeport to New York. Should have taken maybe an hour and a half for that stretch. It took a little over three. The traffic was just backed up, it was raining and miserable.

I was glad that I packed the rain gear I wore in Iceland a few years back. It’s a light windbreaker that folds into its own pocket.

Once we disembarked in NY, we were in the midst of rush hour. Taking the escalator down into Penn Station, watching all the people scuttle around, was like descending into a colony of cockroaches. Reminded me of one of the reasons I no longer live here and have to deal with the commute.

Got the Metro Card — actually, I refilled the one I used when I was down here for Costume Imp’s birthday. Turns out they now charge you $1 for a new card, but credit you an extra $1.50 (three quarters of a ride? Huh?) if you refill. I opted for the refill.

I got the C train — I even got a seat! Headed out to Brooklyn. Humped the luggage in the rain through Ft. Greene to the place I’m staying. Imp left the key at the diner around the corner. Retrieved the key, hauled my luggage up the steps of the brownstone, and then up the steps INSIDE — tall ceilings, lots of steps.

It’s a wonderful place — and it’s the location I based the Ft. Greene brownstone in which Sophie, Fawn, and Bianca live for THE CHARISMA KILLINGS.

Greeted the animals, handed out the toys I brought, gave out pettings. The Puerto Rican street cat decided maybe I should give her some extra attention, and even climbed on the bed with me a few times. She wasn’t sure what to do next — she’s not a cuddler — but it was funny. Imp’s cats were delighted to see me and tried to convince me they haven’t been fed in at least three days. Riiiight.

Went back to the diner and had a roast chicken dinner. Yummy. Chatted with the housemates for a bit, read, waited for Imp to get back from the ballet. He had to haul out to Long Island for a photo shoot for HARPER’S BAZAAR, and had trouble getting back to the city in time for his show, too.

But we caught up, played with the cats, he lent me three more of Joelle’s books to read (and one of Pauline Gadge’s). And I lent him END ME A TENOR.

Slept like a log. I did wake up at 3 AM — like I have for the past few weeks — but got over it, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

I’m showered and dressed (although the makeup has yet to be applied). Did yoga. The younger of the two huskies and the Puerto Rican Street cat have wandered in and out a few times. Had my first cup of coffee. My run-around day bag is packed — promo materials, notebook, camera, in-case book to read, all the directions and appointments for the day.

Going to do some work with students and then a few email things — the editor of the publication to which I pitched wants to see the article, so I need to polish it and get it out. A proofreading job to which I applied says they want me, but the terms sound slimy — they want to pay by KB instead of by word or page, which sounds weird to me, and a few other things made the red flags go up.

Will foray out to get some breakfast soon, get some stuff done, and then I’m headed out for the day’s appointments, including the Indie Next Generation Book Awards at the Harvard Club tonight. I better get going!

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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Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Late blogging start to the day, with some left over rants from yesterday.

The city’s summer ban on leaf blowers is done, so all these effing morons are walking around aiming leaf blowers at the pavement, even though there’s not a fallen leaf to be found. Leaf blowers should be banned entirely – they are smelly, noisy, ruin the quality of life, kick up dirt and germs everywhere. Use a frigging rake, people, or, on pavement, a broom!

I blew a potential job on Wednesday because I was careless. I have no one to blame but myself. I was frustrated because God forbid 1and1, my stupid webhost, could keep my mail open long enough for me to write an email pitch and actually send it. Why am I paying these people again? At least two or three hours per day, either the webmail or the websites aren’t working properly. I shouldn’t be booted off my mail after 3 minutes.

Anyway, I was in the process of sending and re-sending a batch of pitches and queries. This one particular job is something for which I’m totally qualified. Unfortunately, after I hit “send”, I realized that I was supposed to send the samples WITH the pitch; I’d stated that “samples will be sent upon request”. There’s no one to blame for that but myself, and I blew it. Don’t follow directions; don’t get the gig. That’s the way it works.

Got a couple of queries out yesterday (this time I followed the directions), so, hopefully, I’ll see some bites. I’m not scheduled at the show next week, I’m waiting for some checks, so I need to land some other stuff with short turnaround and quick payment. The job boards have really sucked lately, so I have to be more creative in my approach – which is next to impossible when I’m working shows. So, even though the wisdom is that, when you’re in the midst of a lot of work, you should pitch for more, when I’m working shows and putting in 14 hour days at the theatre, it doesn’t happen. There’s not enough brain power left for anything except the show and the writing that’s already on my plate. So, what I’m trying to do is get pitches out BEFORE I spend chunks of time at the show, in order to book jobs for AFTER I’m done.

I wrote my articles yesterday. One went out; the other I’m giving a final read and then sending out, too. I have to print out some information for the Tenants’ Organization. They’re having a meeting tonight; I’m working, but I’ve put together some info for them.

I’ve got some interesting opportunities in the works – the challenge will be scheduling them, and, at the same time, keeping enough short turnaround/immediate payment work going to keep the bills paid.

Show was fine yesterday; I had two swings on, but it was all good. People were happy to see me. I like being there, but it’s always a weird adjustment back and forth, and I’ve got a lot of writing to work out, so it’s a case of feeling slightly like a split personality.

I’m interviewing an actor/songwriter before the show tonight – that should be fun.

The work on ANGEL HUNT has slowed down considerably because it’s all new material, and I’m trying to match the style and tone, and still keep it moving. And I’ve got to sort out the other stuff – I’ve got the opening for Billy’s book (from the Jain Lazarus stories) finally straight in my head, but now I need to write it down.

I’ve got three manuscripts stacked in the submission queue, but I have to time the mailing properly.

At least I’m getting things finished. Every time I go back to an unfinished manuscript and finish it, I feel like an enormous weight was lifted.

Unfinished work drains creativity.

Back to the page.

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 September 19, 2008 at 9:38 am  Comments (7)  
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