Thurs. May 17, 2018: Writing Retreat & Preakness Picks

Thursday, May 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’m tired, but I’m deep in HEART THEFT. I had that moment when the book cracks open and makes perfect sense, and I’m going to ride that wave until I finish what I need to send to the editor. I’m also polishing the synopsis. I hope to have it out this weekend, and then turn my attention to NOT BY THE BOOK, and have that out next week.

As of noon today, I am on a self-imposed writing retreat. With only a quick foray out to buy a new lawnmower. We have Vacant Lot Syndrome going on in the front yard.

Any post I post will be quick tomorrow. Monday’s will be for Upbeat Authors.

Preakness is Saturday.

Justify and Good Magic across the board and boxed exactas again.

I kind of like Quip. If he looks good on Saturday, I’ll throw him into the mix.

I like Diamond King’s personality, and Sporting Chance was sired by my old fave Tiznow. I’ll look at them on the day and then make the decision. But my top choices remain Justify and Good Magic. If anything, I have more confidence in Good Magic here than I did in the Derby. But I can’t help hoping Justify wins again!

Have a great weekend!

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Published in: on May 17, 2018 at 9:11 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 17, 2018: Writing Retreat & Preakness Picks  
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Fri. May 16, 2014: Busy Times — But Good Busy!

Friday, May 16, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and muggy

The lilacs are in bloom. They are so pretty! I’ll post photos soon.

Yesterday morning was such chaos, I don’t even want to get into it. But the script episode went out, I made it to the Marine Life Center Board Meeting (late, but I got there), and found out I was elected Clerk. So now, I hold offices on two boards!

Dashed to work, even found the Marstons Mills Post Office on my way — which was in a completely different place than I expected! Too funny!

Busy day at the library — I ordered some cozy mysteries and some science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal to expand our collection, some new CDs, and I’ve got my eye on some graphic novels. I landed a speaker I really, really wanted for June (he wrote a book I think is terrific), and I was asked to present a workshop at the library in early June. I’m also working on my presentation (and the infamous Tip Sheets) next week at the Cape Cod Writers Center Writers Night Out on Writer’s Block.

Dashed to the store for a bunch of stuff I forgot when I did the Big Grocery Shop the day before, came home, had a glass of wine on the deck, cooked dinner, read something I wanted to read just for me, but collapsed into bed pretty early — I’d gotten up at 4 AM that day!

Up early this morning (darn cats). Tessa and I went out, I’m taking care of a few things, and then I’m headed back to the library for another busy day.

The weekend will be busy, too — tomorrow, some of us from the Mermaid Ball Committee are heading up to Plymouth to look at the venue, and then, in the afternoon, is the Preakness. Sunday, I will probably just collapse — although I have to mow!

I also have to finish revisions on the first two episodes, revise episode three and get the final galleys turned around for TRACKING MEDUSA — AND finish the next book I’m reviewing for my editor.

Maybe sleep somewhere in there, too?

Devon

Mon. May 20, 2013: The Book is Out in the World

IMG_0913
What I wish I was doing today!

Monday, May 20, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’m still fuzzy and exhausted.

That final proofread on Friday? Turned out to be another entire revision. Stayed up through Friday and finished it late Saturday afternoon. I didn’t intend to pull an all-nighter and be up way too many hours in a row, but I also didn’t want to lose the sense of the piece as a whole.

Tweaked the proposal, and sent the third draft (which is the draft I like to send out, earlier ones usually need more work) and the revised proposal to my agent.

It is done.

At least, for now.

I managed to watch the Preakness — my favorite horse in the race, Oxbow, won. Sad we won’t have a Triple Crown winner again this year, happy my horse won, wish I’d been together enough to get a bet in.

Collapsed into bed.

I was out of words yesterday. I’d used them up in the revision!

I spent most of the day outside on the deck, reading. I read Deborah Tall’s FROM WHERE WE STAND, about the importance of place. That’s going to get added to my Recommended Reading List for the “Setting as Character” workshop. Am reading Mary Oliver’s book of essays, LONG LIFE, which is sending me back towards the life and work of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

I spun out ideas for two short stories which will serve as palette cleansers. I put aside the ideas for the play I think the producers want in favor of the play I want to write, and should dig in to that today – I have to get out the proposal and first ten pages this week, if I want a shot at the slot. Had some ideas for the second book in the series, and made some notes. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but don’t want to lose momentum, either. Have to work with students, get out some work for Confidential Job #1, get out a couple of proposals, follow up on some LOIs, get going on a media kit for a client, update a blog for another client, prepare the next two weeks’ worth of material for Biblio Paradise, work on the next novel in the queue (LEADING OPPORTUNIES) set here on Cape Cod, and work on the adaptation of BLOOD AND BONE. And get back to the non-fiction book.

If it clears up enough, I HAVE to get some mowing done, since the weather was suitable for it all weekend, and I didn’t do any of it!

Last week of the Manuscript Prep tips. People are enjoying them, which is good. It was a good bit of work to put together and to do each day, but I’m glad I did it.

Devon

Fri. May 17, 2013: Next Step With Revision Process

IMG_1094

Friday, May 17, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warmer

I didn’t mow yesterday, so I’m paying for it today! The front yard looks raggedy, so I’ll have to get my act together and do it. It’s cooler today, so it will be easier on the body to haul the machine around.

Yesterday, I focused on the revisions(once I’d worked with my students). Next five chapters done. I think I dropped a thread somewhere (sort of like dropping a stitch in knitting). When I go back for the final proofread later today, hopefully, I’ll catch it.

Two more chapters prepped last night, so I will finish them today. Then, this draft is done.

What does that mean?

I go over the proposal again, tweaking it, especially when it comes to the outline. I attach the freshly-polished first three chapters to the proposal.

I finish up the back matter — all those special tidbits for reader enjoyment that help set this book apart from others in the genre.

I proofread the whole thing again (even though I’ve been proofing each set of chapters as I revised them), making sure it holds together and fixing typos.

I put together this draft into one document for the full.

I send the proposal and the full to my agent.

I let go (although I’m so tempted to use the momentum to start the next book in the series). It’s at the point where I need feedback from the professional team.

At some point in the next few days, I will type up the Series Bible material I have (I worked in longhand, with the hard copy), print it out, and put everything in binders, so I’m ready for the next step.

I get to work, over the weekend, on the next book in the queue (different genre) and work on the new play, whose proposal and first ten pages have to go out next week.

I catch up on all the admin and other stuff that I let slide while I spent the last ten days deep in revisions. That includes finishing up some work for Confidential Job #1, which I hope to get done today.

Have a great weekend, all, and don’t forget — Preakness tomorrow!

Devon

Published in: on May 17, 2013 at 7:28 am  Comments (1)  
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Monday, May 21, 2012: Busy weekend and Kick-Ass Editing Morning!

Monday, May 21, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy weekend! Honestly, I can’t remember what I was doing on Friday, other than prepping for class and getting press releases done and working with students.

Oh, wait — I went to an art opening at the Cape Cod Cultural Center in Yarmouth. That was fun. My friend (one of the inspirations for the upcoming Bellini Girls comic mysteries) invited me. The artist is the wife of a musician we know. Her work is lovely! I also met the mother of the previous tenant in this house (small world) and the associate director of the center. And a bunch of other people. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday was the Tomorrow’s Writers Today program. My fellow writer/teacher is terrific — he taught the non-fiction portion and I taught the fiction. We swapped books at the end — I can’t wait to read his book over Memorial Day weekend. What a treat! The kids were split into two groups and we each had one in the morning, and then we switched. I was pleased and impressed by the talent in the room. These kids are not writing pop culture derivatives. They’ve got IDEAS. And they’re more competent and understand the significance of things like spelling, grammar, and structure more than many of their adult counterparts. If I’m asked back, I’d structure it a little differently — I was trying to give them an overview of several different aspects, and each session had slightly different exercises. I think I’d want to either do a scene-by-scene story building or a revision intensive, if they wanted to bring me back. The sessions were so short, it was hard to build a group dynamic easily — if we worked, say, for two or three sessions together, it would have made sense to read aloud and split them into critique partners and stuff, but in a session this short, I didn’t want anyone to feel put on the spot. I might do a round-robin one-line of a story next time at the beginning to get them warmed up. IF I do it again.

But I’m glad I did it. I was wiped out, though, by the time I got home. I had a glass of wine on the deck, and then went in to watch the Preakness. As much as I wanted my friend to win, I was also glad that I’ll Have Another got the second leg, and there’s the chance for a Triple Crown this year. Creative Cause was still my favorite horse in the race, but I think both he and Gemologist will really come into their own during Saratoga and Del Mar.

A positive aspect of not officially covering the races this year is that I get the chance to simply enjoy them again. My coverage the past few years grew cynical. With this break, maybe next year I can approach it with a fresh enthusiasm.

I was so tired I did an hour of restorative yoga and was in bed by nine. I slept for 10 hours.

Sunday, I spent time with online students to make up for not being available Saturday, but finished fairly early. I walked to get the papers instead of taking the car, which was good, and read them out on the deck. Tessa was in the crate, having a good time. I also got some marigolds, so that I can transplant the tomatoes this week, and pair some eggplants with them, and put them in the new bed and the vegetable bed.

I already revised six chapters on HEART SNATCHER (today’s quota). I’ve got some pitches to get out, some follow-up to do, and hopefully the quotes for my article will come through today, so I can finish that and get it off. I want to do some work on HEART BINDER this afternoon and a couple of short stories. I was supposed to get a definitive answer on Friday about another manuscript, so I know how I have to fit that into the schedule, but nothing, so I’m not going to stress about it.

Over on Billy Root Blogs, “he” talks about Actors Filling Time. Writers Worth Week continues over on Lori Widmer’s blog on Finding Your Niche — which I totally DISagree with. Just so you know. 😉

My student and fellow author Nina Benneton has a great blog post over at Writer’s Digest here.

And hey, don’t forget to sign up for the Setting Up Your Submission System online seminar on June 2! You’ll be walked through each piece of the process and wind up with a reference guide that will help you for years! More information and sign-up here.

Devon

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

There’s a picture of the witch hazel over on Gratitude and Growth. I can’t find one of the huckleberry, so I have to take another one, and put it up next week.

I fixed the lawnmower. My own little self. With some advice from a neighbor, but I did the work. I ran into my neighbor, who’s a professional landscaper. He agreed that this brand totally sucks. He told me that the company used to be fantastic, absolute top-of-the line quality, but the last three years, it’s gone way downhill, for whatever reason. Customer service is awful, and they often don’t stand by their warranties (a check on the consumer affairs website confirmed that). He suggested a few things I could try, because it seems that a lot of these machines are rolling out without some of the adjustments that used to be automatically set, and if I needed him to, he’d take a look at the end of his workday. He used to use this brand for years until last year, when he replaced all his equipment of that brand because he got sick of the company’s b.s. So he gave me a list of tricks and adjustments he developed over the last few years when there were problems and he didn’t have time to fight with customer service. He said I should try one at a time, because the next time something goes wrong, I can try one of the others. And that I was lucky the bolts weren’t falling off (which, according to him, has been happening a lot on several of their products over the last year).

My choices were to pay someone to haul the lawnmower to the service place and back and pay for the adjustment, or learn how to do the adjustment myself.

So I tried the first adjustment, plus a little of “I wonder what would happen if I do THIS” of my own, the mower started right up, and then I was afraid if I let go of the lever that makes it stop, I’d never get it started again, so I did the whole front yard. It did start again, so I did the terraced back, and I’ll do the meadow over the weekend, if the weather holds.

I’d driven over to Wareham to get more buckets and some spray paint, and also gotten a great pair of edging grass shears from Target, so I edged the front beds, too. I pulled some of the big pots to the front (the echinacea and the yarrow), and planted the urn with lobelia seeds. Hopefully, they’ll come up. If not, I’ll get a bunch of annuals & stick ‘em in. I put some poppies in the terraced bed.

That was all I could do. I was worn out. Because even the bits of the property that look flat aren’t, it’s physically difficult for me to maneuver the mower, especially in the back, where there’s a lot of weird slopage going on. It’s not a big mower, but I’m not physically used to it yet, and I have to develop the strength to handle it properly. I’m still missing a lot of the strength I lost during the back injury time. But at least it waits for me, instead of running off without me, so I’ll be grateful for whatever I can. The landscaper neighbor told me that if I hired someone to do this property, they’d have to bring in three guys. Well, it’s all up to me, so I just have to spread the work over three DAYS! 😉

I’ve got three 30 gallon bags of grass clippings just from the day’s mow. Yes, I’m careful to check and empty the bag regularly, so it doesn’t get all clogged. And I clean all the bits and bobs on the list after every usage. But 90 gallons of grass clippings? That’s how big the damn yard is. And I’ve got more than that in the meadow. I wish I knew how much acreage it is. I mean, it’s certainly not farm-sized or huge-huge, but it’s a good-sized lot for the house (thank goodness).

I’m also grateful not to suffer from grass or pollen allergies.

I doubt I’ll ever find my mowing Zen, but as long as I can get it done with minimal damage, I’ll be content. And, I managed to avoid a clump of buttercups and the little rose that’s valiantly trying to survive all on its own.

Before all that, I’d driven over to the next town and wrestled the bookcases into the car. I managed to get three bookcases in two trips. The two big ones are the same size as my big oak bookcases in the writing room(six feet tall, about 2 feet wide), but a darker stain. I was grateful to have one of the bulkhead things that opens out, so I could get them into the basement easily. Of course, I had to drag them all the way around the house to get them to the bulkhead, but they slid well on the grass, they fit, and they’re in much better shape than I expected. The small white bookcase will be repainted blue (hence the trip to Wareham) and eventually go on the deck for plants and stuff I don’t want to keep hauling in and out of the house all the time. It’s not in very good shape, and has lived a lot outside, but a fresh coat of paint will make it fine for what I need. And the whole “free” part worked really well.

Today is the Preakness. This race has grown into my favorite of the three Triple Crown races because at this point, there’s still so much possibility. And the undercard is very good. I’m hoping that Animal Kingdom hits it again, so there’s a shot at a Triple Crown, but I’m going back to Dialed In again and Mucho Macho Man. I’ll probably toss some money on Midnight Interlude because his sire is War Chant, one of my favorites. There’s a horse called Astrology ridden by Mike Smith that I’m looking at, and Dance City is such a gorgeous horse that if he looks good, I might just have to toss a few bucks at him.

Tomorrow, I wind up one workshop, and Monday, I start teaching another.

Oh, and get this: I was working away on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and went back to check on something in a previous chapter, because I couldn’t remember what triggered the event later. Turns out I haven’t written the chapter yet! I have the chapter title, the page number, etc., all saved in a document, when I was rearranging the chapters and adding in those from Rufus’s POV, but I never actually wrote that one chapter. I skipped it to work on other stuff. No wonder what I tried to write now didn’t make ANY sense!

Groan.

Got a nice email from my new editor at Confidential Job #1. So that’s on its way to being sorted out.

I got to use the first thyme from my garden in my cooking last night. What a difference it makes — not just in taste, but in enjoyment of “I grew this.”

Have a great weekend, all!

Devon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The close-up of the heather is for you, Lara!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Tried to catch up on things yesterday — three loads of laundry, getting things straightened up, going through mail, getting stuff sorted with the publisher.

My new, pushed-up release date for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT is June 6. Gulp! So I’ve got a lot of promo work to do in the coming weeks. It’s coming out digitally first, with the possibility (if it does well) of a print run 3 or 4 months later. I’ve also been chosen for the publisher’s Author Spotlight for June, so I have to get all that info out today.

According to the calendar, yesterday was a planting day, so I got some repotting done (thing are growing fast) and started two kinds of tomatoes, the echinacea, the yarrow, the soapwort, and the Love-in-a-Mist. I’m looking forward to getting some work done outside towards the end of the week, when it’s supposed to stop raining. It stopped for about ten minutes yesterday afternoon, and people were out mowing their lawns! I thought the grass had to be DRY — my manual is very clear about that.

Not enough writing or reading done yesterday, so I have to make up for that today. Got HEART OF STONE finished, and really liked it, so I’m looking forward to the next one, hOUSE OF CARDS. However, I have 2 1/2 books I have to read before I can start that, all within the next few days.

Caught up with my class. There’s been a lot of good work this month, and I’m glad.

I’ve got to prep for the Preakness this weekend, too. I’m doing a little bit of prep, not much.

I unpacked three more kitchen boxes from the garage, and found some wonderful stuff I forgot I had. Lots of washing and drying and oohing and aaahing. Now, to figure out where to put it!

Not sure where to start with the work today, so I’m just going to pick one thing and get going. There’s a lot of hiring going on in the area, not just the Cape, but in Boston — nearly 6000 jobs in health care alone. And all sorts of other jobs, too. I’ve got to get my proposals finished and out the door, and the brochures redone, too. Strike while the iron is hot, right? There’s a lot of work. I may push a little harder for the next few months so that I really can sit back in August with a clear conscience. Several people are mad at me for taking the month off. “Why can’t you just do X for me?” “Because I’m not available.” “But you can make the time.” “No, I can’t.” I’m tired of going for years without a real vacation because other people are disorganized. Part of this Saturn return lesson — taking a reasonable amount of time off to recharge every year!

Of course, August seems VERY far away right now! 😉

Devon

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Out the door a little after five this morning for a good run. It felt great.

Drove up to South Salem on Friday and picked up Elsa’s new medications. She responded immediately and positively to the sinus infection medication — I’m wiping her nose like she’s a toddler constantly, but it seems like she’s getting rid of all the gunk, which is a good thing. I mean, have you ever tried to get a cat to blow her nose into a Kleenex? She responds much better to the natural hydrocortisone than to the synthetic steroid, and yesterday we added the olive leaf, so we’ll see how that works. So glad I didn’t just slap her into the other center for radiation treatment.

Got my teaching information off on Saturday morning. Also had a request to a pitch I sent for a writing job a few weeks ago, asking for my portfolio samples. I already like them — they talked contract terms and didn’t expect me to write an audition piece for free. So let’s see if I’m a good fit. It would be a long-term, intermittent gig that sounds like tons of fun. If the pay is even in the ballpark and they like my work, I’d do it. Found another job that sounds fascinating. I’m going to apply for it — getting it would send me in a completely new direction in life, lifting the bulk of what I do out of entertainment and into more academic/preservation/education nonprofit. Which is fine, I’ve done a lot of work in nonprofit, and I am particularly enamored of this organization — but it would still be a huge change. It wouldn’t be 9-5 — I’ve never been able to cope with that — but it would veer quite far from theatre and plays and screenplays. Although I doubt I’d give up playwrighting — the theatre is my emotional home.

Didn’t run on Saturday morning — it was stormy again, although it blossomed into a gorgeous day. So that makes only two runs in last week. Will have to make up for it this week, and, due to the out of town gig next weekend, will run Tues-Thurs-Sat next week.

Had a good morning writing session on the screenplay, SETTLING THE SCORE. I’m honing some of the scenes, rearranging a few beats, putting in some short scenes of the ensemble to break up the former linear structure that made it Lucas’s story. Lucas is supposed to be the catalyst, not the focus. I had to write those early, more linear drafts to meet some of the other characters through his eyes, and now I can work with them on their own terms.

It’s still too long and there’s still a lot of story to happen, but I will deal with that once I’ve put down everything I want to say. Then I can look at it, see what’s unnecessary and remove it,, and tighten the rest of it. Because very often, the actors don’t need three rhythmic beats to get out a piece of information — if they’re good and I give them specific lines with meaning, they can do it in one beat.

I was really, really nervous about the pottery workshop. It’s an introductory workshop, and i wanted to take it to see if I truly like playing with clay, or if I just like the IDEA of playing with clay. The Clay Art Center, which is one town over from where I live, is a place where professionals can rent studio space, where artists-in-residence teach, etc., etc. It’s not like taking a class at the Y. These are serious, full-time artists. I’ve never worked with clay. So I was, to say the least, intimidated.

The class was small — there were only two of us, which was great. The teacher, an artist named Jon McMillan was really terrific. Some people have both the gift of their art and the gift to teach — he’s one of them. He kept it relaxed and fun, taught us basic technique, while giving us a lot of information we needed on both the mechanics and the background of it. I was surprised by how much chemistry goes into the process. Since my dad was a chemist and it makes sense to me, that was something for me to use as a starting point. Also, an example of why mystery writers should keep their mouths shut in pottery class — of course, I started speculating how the tools could be used in a murder, which got me a few odd looks.

Anyway, we learned how to make a pinch pot and made oversized mugs using the slab method. Mine are pretty pathetic — it will take a lot of work to develop technique. I have to think less about it and feel the clay more. I may need to take 101 level classes more than once to develop a decent technique and lay a solid foundation. But it WAS a foundation, and I had fun with it. Since the construction of my pieces was beyond rough and rustic, I felt that very technical and specific painting would make the mistakes in structure stand out even more. So I opted for bright color and exaggerated brush strokes to support the construction. We left them to be fired, and I’ll pick them up in about two weeks. Yes, I’ll post photos. I was way out of my comfort zone for all of this, but that was a good thing.

It whetted my appetite. I want to take a basic pottery class, but the one that makes sense to take runs during dates that don’t work for me. This teacher, who I like so much, is teaching a glazing class that does work for me, time-wise, but I’m wondering if that’s putting the cart before the horse. The chemistry of creating glaze fascinates me, and I’ve spent to much time in wonder at the Edgware pottery glazes, I think it would be interesting. If it’s just experimentation and tile making, I could do it — if it’s creating objects on which to experiment, it’ll be too advanced. However, since Jon’s residency finishes this summer and he won’t be here in fall, this might be my only chance to take it. I also don’t want to take a slot from a professional who might really need the class to progress with a career. I shot him an email to ask him about it. He responded pretty quickly, and my instincts are right — too early for a glazing class at this point for me. Another sign of an excellent teacher — he’s honest while still being supportive!

I’m disappointed I won’t get the chance to take another class he teaches, but very grateful for the opportunity I had to take the workshop with him.

There was a wonderful exhibit in the space, by Marlene Ferrell Parillo, called DREAM CITY. It mixed tapestry (with beautiful stitching), beadwork, crochet, and ceramic. Very striking and inventive.

Anyway, the whole day gave me a lot to think about. Which is a good thing.

Came back in time to watch the live feed from the Preakness — it was weird not to be down at Pimlico this year. The Preakness is my favorite of the Triple Crown because Pimlico isn’t as fussy and celeb-oriented as the Derby and the Belmont, and there are still high hopes — at least at the beginning of the day — for a Triple Crown. I watched the video of all the other races so I could see where my picks landed and write my article.

Sunday, I worked on the Preakness article and actually got it out in the morning — which meant I had the whole rest of the day to read a novel by one of my favorite writers. I was so excited! I’ve read five or six of his books and one of them ranks among the best books I’ve ever read.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them. The premise was interesting, but there was too much espionage and too much religion. It gave me a headache. The characters crossed and recrossed each other so many times I couldn’t keep track. I realize that was part of the point, but it didn’t work for me. I read his author’s note at the back, where he talks about the genesis of the idea and his passion for the material. This is definitely a book of his heart, and I feel guilty that I didn’t like it, but . . .I didn’t. I felt both disappointed, because I’d been looking forward to the book for days and it was my treat, and also guilty for not being able to like something that someone I genuinely respect is passionate about.

Today I have to play hardball with someone who’s being paid to play hardball with someone else and not doing her job. Hate that. Also, am looking over some material for a friend of mine, working on a big job application, and working on the screenplay, and maybe a couple of article pitches. I had some ideas during my meditation this morning — so much for an empty mind!

Okay, some television stuff: Rumor has it HUMAN TARGET has been renewed, but with a different show runner. Interested to see how that changes it, and happy for those involved who still have jobs. Very interested to see how they’ll develop the characters, especially the way Jackie Earle Haley will continue to embody Guerrero. HEROES has been cancelled — finally! I can honestly say that’s one of the worst shows with the worst acting I’ve ever seen in my life (and I’ve been around plenty of atrocious acting over the years), and it was appalling that it was on for as long as it was. LAW & ORDER: THE MOTHERSHIP’s been cancelled after twenty years, which throws a lot of people I know out of work and makes me sad. You know why the show is expensive to produce? Because Dick Wolf values the people who works for him and gives them what they need to put on a quality show. I remember working on the CONVICTION spin-off, and they’d have to change the schedule for whatever reason and put more pressure on the crew. They never said, “This is what we’re doing, tough shit.” It was always, “This is what we need to do, what do you need to make it work?” which is how true professionals behave. I’m irritated that they’re doing an LA production — calling it LOLA ? Really? Ick. We don’t need to see any more shows set in LA. I’m also annoyed on the behalf of an actor whose work I really like, who was very excited about a comedy pilot in which he was cast. The pilot was picked up, but he was fired. I hope the show tanks on its first episode!

By Thursday, I should get my readers’ comments back on POWER OF WORDS, which means i can take them to Philly with me over the weekend to digest them and get back to work on the second section of the book. I’d like to have the draft of SETTLING THE SCORE done by then.

So I better get back to work.

Devon

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury — What the Hell?
Rainy and mild

Today is Writers’ Worth Day, and go check out Lori Widmer’s blog. You should read it anyway, if you want to make your living as a writer, because she knows her stuff. You need to learn how to value your work and yourself, and, most importantly, if you think writing for content mills constitutes a “career” you need to get a clue as to what it means to be a professional.

So I’m in a Mercury muddle. I hadn’t thought it was retrograde, and then an astrologer friend said it’s retrograde until May 18. My calendar does not say that. In the back of my calendar, I just saw that it said Mercury was retrograde from April 18 until May 5. So now I’m completely confused. I think my Mercury is just in perpetual retrograde right now, so I’ll have to sort it out this weekend with some alignment work.

Drove up to Westabrook, CT to the Tanger outlet center. Shopping is not my idea of fun, unless it’s books, but I had a list of things I needed, figured I could knock them all out in one spot, and, since I mistakenly thought Mercury was retrograde – – –

Let’s just say it was not fun. Couldn’t find anything I wanted and/or needed in THE ENTIRE COMPLEX. Since we’d driven an hour and a half and it was only 7 more exits to go to Niantic and The Book Barn, that’s what we did.

Gorgeous day to wander through the books. I’d crafted a detailed list of everything I planned to look for there, but, of course, since we weren’t planning to go, I had it at home. I kinda sorta remembered, and picked up the works of John Donne and the works of William Blake, both of which I need to read over the next few months for various reasons. I also picked up Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD, a book I enjoy, but isn’t on my writing shelf. I got a couple of novels, including Tim Powers’s DECLARE. I am rabidly wild about Tim Powers’s writing — I still think his book LAST CALL is one of the best books I ever read in my life. I’m going to read it over the weekend — it’s too big to take with me when I travel at the end of next week, and, once I sit down and open a Tim Powers book, the world falls away until I’m done. So it’s my Sunday treat, since tomorrow will be caught up in the Preakness and the pottery class. Once I’ve finished and submitted my Preakness wrap article to my editor on Sunday, I get to read the book. How’s that for a carrot? I also picked up an anthology that sounded interesting, and it happens to have a novella by yet another of my favorite writers, Sharon Shinn, in it.

Was in the mood for a burger, and, on the recommendation of the staff, tried The Niantic Diner, which is across the street from The Book Barn. The burger was good and hit the spot. I rarely eat red meat anymore because I feel better when I don’t — but once in awhile, when I crave it, it’s exactly what I need.

Drove back — way too much traffic on both I-95 and the Merritt. Still a lot of infrastructure work going on from the stimulus money. It’s a pain in the ass, but the parts of the road that are finished are wonderful. I’ve been driving these roads for decades, and it’s the first time the bridges feel secure and the pavement doesn’t rip up the tires. Yes, this is one of the few places I want my tax dollars! 😉

Couldn’t find Iris when we got home, and nearly had a fit. She’d made herself a nest tucked down amongst a pile of cushions and ignored us when we called. I should have trusted that, since the other two weren’t worried, there was nothing to worry about.

Heard from the vet. We’re going to add an olive leaf supplement and then a homeopathic nasal treatment, as though she has the feline equivalent of a sinus headache. If she responds well to that, we’ll also switch the cats’ drinking water to an alkaline water because Elsa’s pH is too acidic, and that could also contribute to the problem. We’re switching her from the synthetic steroid to a natural one, and, in about a month, will see if we can wean her off it or if we need to continue. The natural steroid has fewer side effects than the synthetic, so it’ll be better to use long-term, but we’ll eventually want to get her off it. We’re adding and subtracting things one at a time to see how each bit affects her, and kind of breaking new ground here. She’s definitely responding well to the first portion of treatment — she made quite a bit o forward progress just in the last two days — so let’s go with it.

I have to handicap tomorrow’s race card and get that up, then drive up to South Salem to get her additional medication. Hopefully, I can get some writing done, too. Thought of another issue in the screenplay — we know what all the older characters do and what got them where they are — the mainstay caper that broke them apart — but what do Lucas and Jimmy “do”? Are they still in college? Do they have jobs? Are they unemployed due to the bad economy? I need to figure that out, even if it’s not a big deal in the story. Lucas’s girlfriend has a job, so why wouldn’t Lucas? I can add in a line about him having a bit of bereavement leave, but then, what about JImmy? I have to figure it out. It can be solved in a short line, but it needs to be addressed.

I better get going — busy day leading into a busy weekend.

Devon

Monday, May 10, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the page.

Devon

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday, May 17 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn DIRECT (as of yesterday)
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Wasn’t the Preakness great? Go, Rachel Alexandra! And Mine That Bird ran a great race, too.

I had a great few days out of town, on the Cape. Unfortunately, even though I dragged around the laptop, the internet access promised in the room didn’t work properly, so I was disconnected for those days — which was fine with me

We hit the road around noon on Tuesday, deciding to leave a half a day early. The weather looked great, and it seemed like it would be a great day. And then we hit a bad storm around New London. But we drove through it, and by the time we hit Rhode Island, it was gone. The storm moved west to east, and we drove south to north.

We chose a motel in the middle of Hyannis — we got a great deal on the room, and it was simple, no frills, but fine. I probably wouldn’t choose to stay there again, unless I had no other choice, but, for what I needed for research purposes, it was fine. It was clean and plenty of hot water, which are two of my top needs. We walked around town for a bit. For an affluent, rather famous community, I found it disturbing that there were so many homeless, mentally disturbed people wandering around,, and so many bored teens looking around for trouble. I immediately went into my I-Lived-on-the-Deuce-and-you-didn’t-so-don’t-even-think-of-messing-with-me mode. They didn’t. These kids may be bored, but they’re not stupid.

We had a fabulous dinner at a restaurant called Alberto’s — I had amazing mussels, and when THIS restaurant makes a house salad, it’s an assortment of greens, blood orange slices, walnuts, shredded carrots and prunes with a homemade vinagrette — wonderful. Quite different from the supposedly excellent Italian restaurant on the night I went out to Long Island to see my play, who considered their house salad iceberg lettuce with Thousand Island dressing. The wine, a California pinot noir, was okay, but not brilliant. The chocolate mousse, however, was sublime.

Got some work done in the evening. It helps, bringing the laptop, although I couldn’t get the wi-fi hook up to work. Oh, well. I had the yoga mat, so I could stay on schedule with the yoga.

Up early the next morning — coffee, yoga, but not much writing. I was in reasearch/experiential head, not writing head. We had a great breakfast at La Petite France Cafe — the food’s very good, the service is good, and the guy behind the counter is very nice. He’s there if you want something, but doesn’t try to be best friends just because you walked in the door.

Hit the road early, travelling East. I’ve been to the end of the Cape’s seashore, The Province Lands, ever since I was a little, little kid. But I never investigated the other end, the Eastham end of the shorelands. So, we went to the National Seashore and walked the trails for several hours. I took a lot of photos. It was thrilling to see so many red-winged blackbirds so close, and to hear the frogs chatter, and the ospreys and swans and all the rest. Truly gorgeous. It was a wonderful day, and plenty of benches. We could just sit and BE. The beach plums were in full bloom — gorgeous white flowers. One of the rangers told me I hit it just right – they weren’t in bloom last week and wouldn’t be in bloom next week. Good timing!

I picked up some materials in the bookshop, including a volume of letters from whalers to their families, put out by Descendants of the Whaling Masters. How’s that for a name?

On the spur of the moment, we turned to Nauset and went down to the beach and the lighthouse. I have a fondness for lighthouses anyway. This one was gorgeous, and, yes, still working. We went down to the beach — gorgeous light green water close to the beach, deepening to cobalt blue farther out. We sat on the beach for awhile, watching dogs play and someone try to surf. I gathered up stones. And then we headed back to the lighthouse.

It was still too early for the lighthouse to be open to the public during the week, but one of the workers was there to do something inside and asked if I wanted to come in. Yes! While she did what she needed to do, I got to climb around and explore the lighthouse on my own. It was fabulous! It’s a small house, without living quarters attached, but still a working light. It’s just beautiful. And it was so generous to let me in.

Lunch at a great, family-run fish shack called JT’s — terrific cod burgers with wonderful fries and coleslaw.

Then, it was back towards Brewster, to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural HIstory, one of my favorite places on the cape, to walk the trails on Wing Island. They have an “osprey cam” set up — a camera on an osprey nest, so you can watch the young osprey develop. I didn’t go inside to watch this year — last year’s batch where quite the little hams! The trail was lovely, and the wildflower garden was also beautiful.

I would say we walked at least ten miles over the course of the day. And we were in serious need of salad for dinner, so it was chicken caesar salad for dinner, and a quiet evening reading the materials I collected and typing up notes. The Helena Francis books are set on the bay side of midcape, and parts of the Matty book take place at the Natural History Museum and the shorelands, plus I’m thinking of setting a YA in the area.

Thursday was cloudier and windier. We ate at La Petite Francaise again, and headed out the door early. This time, we headed back over the Sagamore Bridge, off the Cape, to Plymouth. The Matty book is set along the coast just below Plymouth, and I wanted to get some geographical details and some photographs of the stretch where I want to place the house. We did all that, made a wrong turn and wound up in the center of Plymouth, which was okay, because I could grab some more pictures of where I want to set one of the confrontations.

Then, it was over to Buzzards Bay. There’s a marine life rescue center. I wanted to visit and maybe pick up a book on turtles, since turtle rescue is part of what they do. One of the characters in the Matty book loves turtles. I’d hoped to find one at the Natural History Museum, but the only one I found was large, unwieldy, and didn’t focus on Cape area turtles, which is what I need.

On the way to the center, we stopped to stare at the Railroad Bridge. It moves. In other words, the center span is stored in the “up” position, allowing boats to travel the canal freely. When a train comes across, it lowers so the train can actually cross the Canal. We happened to be there as they lowered and then raised the span. Fascinating. And yes, I will post photos.

Unfortunately, the Marine Life Center is both under renovation and not open for the season. I’m going to contact them about visiting in the fall. There’s an event I hope to cover in the area in September — just a few days after I get back from Prague. Maybe I can come out a day or so early or stay a day late and visit the center.

We headed back over the Sagamore Bridge and over to the Canal Visitors’ Center in Sandwich. They did a fantastic job — the museum is wonderful, and the educational DVD about this history and building of the Canal is one of the best of its kind. What I found interesting was that August Belmont — think Belmont Park Race Track here in New York — was the one who built the first canal as a toll thoroughfare. However, it was too shallow, and, due to the amount of accidents, failed. The Army Corps of Engineers took over, redug it during the Depression (in an example of an original stimulus plan), and now it’s a very active channel — and Cape Cod is an island, not a peninsula! We walked to the point where the canal ends and the bay begins. Turning back, I saw that they use actual traffic lights — the yellow metal lights, like they do on the street corners — for the channel. It was pretty funny.

Next stop, Sandwich, just about my favorite town on the Cape. Dashed into their wonderful library, checked email, got a few responses out, Twittered quickly, and was done They use Windows Vista — what a nightmare — everything was so slow and had to be done twice. Typical Dell/Windows!

Then, it was over to the Sandwich Glass Museum. The work there is fantastic, and I learned a lot about glassmaking. The demonstration was fantastic, and the woman who gave it was terrific. I wanted to slap the man sitting in front of me upside the head — instead of appreciating the delicacy required in rolling and pulling the glass, he wanted to see her make a show of the blowing — which, it turns out, is a very small part of actually working the glass. Instead of being excited to learn the intricacies and delicacies of how it’s actually done, he wanted to see what he expected. Moron.

In the gift shop, I found a history of the Orleans Inn at such a good price I was afraid it was a misprint. But it wasn’t, and I snatched it up. Can’t wait to read it.

We drove to Barnstable and the Sandy Neck beach. By now, it was cloudy and very, very windy. The beach is lovely, and this is the area where I’ll stick Collier’s Cove, the setting for the Helena Francis mysteries.

We had lunch at the Beehive Tavern in Sandwich — fantastic! I had some locally brewed Cape Cod Summer Ale. I’m very fussy about beer and ale, preferring wine, but this was terrific. And I had a wonderful sole stuffed with lobster, vegetables, and rice. Really, an excellent meal, great service, great atmosphere. Definitely a place I’d go again.

We headed down to Chatham for a look around, and then picked up some food from a local, mom-and-pop deli on the way back — a chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts, which was great.

Another quiet night full of typing up notes and reading. And watching playoff hockey, Boston vs. Carolina — heartbreaking loss for Boston in overtime.

Friday morning was rainy, so we headed back right after breakfast (again, at the cafe). A big bus nearly crushed me twice near the canal. I got its information and plan to complain to the company. I’m sorry, you don’t come to a dead stop in the middle of a roundabout and then suddenly swerve to a turnoff you’ve already missed, ignoring the cars around you — after you already nearly forced me into construction nearly a half a mile back. Not acceptable. Traffic was an absolute nightmare around Providence. I swear, Rhode Island has some of the worst drivers I’ve encountered anywhere in the world — and I’ve driven many places in the world. They’re even worse than New Jersey drivers.

Couldn’t make good time coming back from the Cape — combination of weather and traffic. Managed to stop in Niantic at the Book Barn, where I played with the cats and got a stack of books, including several on the Cape and several books I’ve wanted for years! Lunch in Niantic, and then continued back. Stopped at the apartment to switch out some stuff and then continued down for the Preakness. Horrible traffic, early night.

The races started really early Preakness Day. And the temperature was a good twenty degrees higher than it was on the Cape and muggy. I expected a deluge any minute, but the rain held off until there was a light shower just as the horses went to the post for the Preakness itself.

As thrilled as I was by Rachel Alexandra’s win, I just wanted to be home by the end of it all. I was supposed to leave revoltingly early this am to head back up to MA for the US Olympic Women’s Hockey Team tryouts, but that fell through. As annoyed as I am with USA Hockey right now, I’m also relieved not to spend six hours on the road today and six hours watching tryouts at a hockey ring.

I’ve got to finish my post-Preakness article and get if off to FemmeFan, and then take a final look at the DIXIE DUST proofs — the last round of corrections arrived while I was gone. The next assignment for Confidential Job #1 came in, I have client projects to work on tomorrow, and some reviews to do this week for A BIBLIO PARADISE. UHaul again made me livid, and it’s time to file charges with the appropriate authorities. Enough already.

Read one of the books I bought in Niantic already — THESE RUINS ARE INHABITED by Muriel Beadle, about her family’s year at Oxford University. It was published in 1961, and it’s funny how little has changed, and, of the changes that have taken place, which ones.

I hope to take it a little bit easy today, but I’d like to get a jump on all the work stacked up for the coming week.

Cape photos to follow.

Devon

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I had such a hard time getting going on Friday. The weather was miserable, and I dreaded Preakness weekend. This is unusual, because Preakness weekend is usually the wackiest and most fun of the three Triple Crown weekends. I guess part of me was filled with the dread that more horses could break down.

I putzed around, I had trouble getting things off on time, I was hours and hours and hours late getting out of the apartment, the weather was awful, the roads were terrible, and I just kind of holed up all Friday night.

The good part is that I read the ARC of Yasmine Galenorn’s upcoming novel DRAGON WYTCH. I enjoyed it, and it has some interesting surprises in it. I’ll review it on A Biblio Paradise on Friday, June 13.

And I got a lot of writing done. I got some solid work done on the adaptation-which-will-someday-have-a-name, a short story that came out of nowhere, the anthology short, and THE MATILDA MURDERS. I’m getting into some very interesting territory in the adaptation, where some of our protagonists discover that, just because they’re on different sides from the antagonists, it doesn’t mean the rank and file of “the other side” are all evil. And THE MATILDA MURDERS is coming along well. The characters are surprising me in a good way. Hope the producer feels the same! The story that came out of nowhere is kind of a departure for me, and I’m having an interesting (in a good way) time of it; the anthology story will make some people uncomfortable, but . . .too bad. Saturday morning was sunny, and I dragged my feet about starting race coverage to write outside in the sunshine on other projects for a few hours, which was great.

The race day was better than I expected, although I hadn’t been particularly impressed with the card. A friend of mine trained a horse who had a big win in the tenth race, and I was thrilled for him. And I got to catch up with some other friends, and talk to other people and see some horses that are under the big radar but still worth watching.

Big Brown just blew everyone away in the Preakness. One of the things that struck me about the horse, especially that day, was how smart he is. And how playful. He’s got a great sense of humor. And yet, when it’s time to race, he’s all business. I’m impressed with his learning curve from race to race. Some horses need multiple races to understand what’s expected. He really processes what he’s done and what happens around him and applies it to the next race in a very logical fashion that I think is pretty rare in a horse. He listens, he trusts the humans around him, and he puts it all together. Once he made his move on Saturday, that was just it.

If Casino Drive runs in the Belmont, I think that will be his toughest competition. He’s going to have to run the race of the century so far, because Casino Drive is tough as well as talented. And he shares a mother with Rags to Riches and Jazil, previous Belmont winners. The mare Better Than Honor’s giving us a better line of horses than most of the highly-regarded sires.

I was also really pleased by my long shot pick, Ichabad Crane. I thought he’d make the show spot, and that’s exactly what he did. He was pretty much ignored, and he just did his thing and kind of ignored everything going on around him.

I wrote and sent off two articles Sunday morning: the owed Preakness wrap-up (just over 2K)and my ideas on some of the implementations to create better safety for horses and jockeys (about 1200 words). Those should go up later this week. Some of the issues that feed into the bigger overall safety issue are being ignored as the industry tries to soothe the upset that Eight Belles’s death caused. Don’t try to placate . . .DO something. I should probably be less cynical about the NTRA than I am, but until I see definitive action, I will continue my skepticism.

The weather was vile yesterday, too. Ick.

I managed to stop at my friend’s place on the way home and do four loads of laundry (much needed and no, I didn’t haul it around in my car all weekend, I stopped home to get it). The cats were cranky, poor things, and I just pushed to do as much writing as possible.

I decided that J-WAT (the July writing marathon) is a good time to get started on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, the second Gwen/Justin book. I should have the research completed by then.

I’m getting my ducks in a row for my next foray into Massachusetts, and I’m trying to get ahead of deadlines so that nothing hangs over me when I have to go out of town, or when I have a show day. My dear writer pal Lori prefers to have deadlines waiting when she returns – I need to have it clear before I leave, or I fret the entire time I’m gone. Because if you assume there’s time to do it when you get back, the Universe will make sure to bite you in the butt! Or is it just me?

I need to get out of my own way on one project in particular. I’m being silly about it – I’m perfectly capable of doing good work, but, for some reason, seem to have lost my confidence for it.

Today, I’m out for most of the day. I’m at the Museum of Natural History all day for research, meeting a friend for cocktails, and then attending the PEN Literary Awards at Lincoln Center. Something a little different – I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.

Hope your week has a terrific start!

Devon

Adaptation: 37,802 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
37 / 90
(41.1%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


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 May 19, 2008 at 7:23 am  Comments (7)  
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Racing Ink May 16-17,2008

Note: The post on “Writer’s Worth Day” is below this one; scroll down. Regular “Ink in My Coffee” posts resume either Sunday, May 18 or Monday, May 19.

I was surprised by the race card for Preakness Day. Usually, there are many more familiar horses entered.

On Friday’s card, I’m going to bet only in the Black-Eyed Susan. I’m going to bet all four of my choices across the board: Bsharpsonata, Highest Class, Pious Ashley, and Sweet Vendetta.

Saturday’s Card:

Race 1:
I’m sitting this one out and watching to see how the track plays.

Race 2:
I’ve liked Cryptogram before and will look at him here.

Race 3:
Celtic Innis, Suave Jazz, Forest Park (if he runs here).

Race 4:
Alphabet Storm, probably to place.

Race 5: Skipat Skates
I’m going to look at Drama Lady and Ursula’s Passion, but I may sit this one out.

Race 6: Gallorette Handicap:
Valbenny across the board and Saint Pegasus to show.

Race 7: Barbaro Stakes
Roman Emperor and Wesley; not sure how yet, but those are my two top choices.

Race 8: Old Mutual Turf Sprint:

The only horse I know in this race is Forest Park. If he runs here instead of in Race 3, I’ll start with him and build; otherwise, it’s all a paddock decision.

Race 9: Hirsch Jacob Stakes

I’m going to look at Silver Edition, Force Freeze, and Commandeered, but I’m not yet sure how I’ll bet them.

Race 10: Dixie Stakes
Distorted Reality and Shakis

Race 11: Allaire DuPont Distaff:
Peace Flambe across the board with probably Cash’s Girl and Silver Knockers in there somewhere.

Race 12: Preakness
Big Brown, across the board, of course, just in case he is the freak for whom we’ve been waiting.
Another Derby horse, Gayego, was also entered here; jockey Mike Smith knows this track well, the horse is excellent, and I’ll also bet him across the board.
I’ll take Behindatthebar for place and show, and longshot Ichabod Crane to show.
I want to look at Racecar Rhapsody, Giant Moon, and Riley Tucker for possible additional bets, and I might try an exacta or two with Big Brown and . . .somebody, depending upon who looks perky.

Race 13:
Loveme Lovemenot and Diamond Flyer.

The Preakness Wrap-up will be on FemmeFan nextweek, and don’t forget to check out Kay’s comments on Seriocity!

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 10:36 am  Comments (1)  
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