Monday, March 4, 2013: Release Day for the Second Jain Lazarus Adventure!


Monday, March 4, 2013
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Lots to discuss today!

First and foremost, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK releases today! Woo-hoo! I’m still waiting for the Buy Link from Solstice, but there’s a great interview with me on Cynthia Woolf’s blog, and there’s an excerpt and more information on Billy Root’s blog. Stop by one or both and say hey!

“Prolonged Engagement: Developing the Series” workshop runs this week and should be lots of fun. I’m very excited about it.

AND, I’m teaching a one-day QUERY CLINIC on March 23, where you can bring in query letters from your various projects and we shape them, line-by-line, along with learning how to assemble the parts of a strong letter. More info here.

Busy weekend. On Friday, just before 5 PM, I got some great news from my agent! She’s very excited about a project I pitched her a few weeks ago, made some suggestions, and wants to go forward asap. That puts pressure on me I wasn’t expecting until the fall, at least as far adding an extra project to the mix, and means I have to reshuffle back some of the projects I was working on. My GDRS for March have to be re-worked. But I’m very excited!

Friday night was the staged reading of my new play, SEVEN OF SWORDS, which is not a comedy! I was on the bill with three other short plays, so we were a solid evening — what fun to share the bill with them. I liked my director a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed the work of all the actors, including the ones in my piece. I got some interesting feedback to shape the piece in the next draft. It was a good night, but I was exhausted.

I was up early-early on Saturday morning. I worked on some revisions for MUDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, then I rewrote the first three chapters of the piece per my agent’s suggestions and wrote Chapter Four, which came in just over 3K. I worked with students, and did the final polish on the lectures for the workshop.

Busy day, but fulfilling.

Sunday, I was up early, putting in and printing out the revisions in the script. Then, I packed the car and headed off to the Marine Life Center for rehearsal — we blocked Acts II & III, then went over to the venue to look at the space and a drink and chat. It was fun.

Today is release day for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, so I have to do the work associated with that. I have to write Chapter 5 of the other project, attend a funeral, and give the actors the cuts I made last night in the script when I got home.

Oh, and do some work that pays the bills! 😉

Busy, busy!


Wed. Feb. 13, 2013: Auditions and Writing

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Worked flat out yesterday. The good mood from the good first writing session (on the Dickensian steampunk) supported me through quite a bit. I had a lot of catching up to do — amazing how much piles up when you CAN’T get online for a few days, isn’t it?

Caught up with students, which is the important thing. The Journal workshop had a rocky start due to the power problems, so I’ll keep it open through the weekend, making sure everyone can catch up.

Bill Keating’s office was very receptive to my views on the power issues, and I have a person to deal with directly. I’ll be submitting a proposal early next week to them with ideas on how to improve the situation in the future and prevent this from happening again — with consequences for the utility companies if they don’t start making improvements. It’s good to know that my elected representatives are actually representing me.

I’ve hit the point in the Dickensian steampunk where I need to sit down and outline the whole book. Some interesting subplots came up as I wrote the chapter I need between the first chapter and what I’d originally thought was the second chapter, but needs to be the third. I need to make sure I’ve got a coherent whole. A title would be good, too, but until I know more of its shape, I can’t give it an appropriate title. Hopefully, that can be handled today and tomorrow. I also need to do some work on the wacky proposal and take that to the next step, although my gut is telling me to take a more traditional route with it for creative freedom. The marketing-savvy approach will limit the creative portion, and there’s no telling which way will be more lucrative in the long run until we try it. So I’m approaching my top choice for the marketing-savvy option, and if it doesn’t interest them, I’ll go the more traditional route that gives me more creative freedom.

I need to print off the audition sheets and sides for tonight’s auditions for MURDER ‘SEALS’ THE DEAL — if you are a Cape Cod or South Shore-based actor, I hope you come by. Details and character breakdowns here. Hopefully, we’ll get a good turnout. I’m eager to get to work on this piece.

If you’re writing a series or interested in writing a series, sign up for “Prolonged Engagement”, from March 4-8, which deals with how to create/evolve a series. Details here.

Better get going — lots to do today!


Tues. Feb. 12, 2013: Home Safely, but Lots To Do

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Greta van der Rol has a wonderful article up on A Biblio Paradise about “Series and Sequels.” Check it out!

Exhausted. The blizzard hit on Friday. As of noon, there was a travel ban in MA (lifted late Saturday), and mass transit shut down by 3:30. We all hunkered down and let it snow. The trip to CT was postponed, thank goodness.

I managed to get as much work done as possible on Friday, while we still had power. The power went out about midnight-ish Friday into Saturday. Temperatures dropped pretty rapidly. The gas stove still worked, but the gas heat is run by an electric switch — which is crap, if you ask me, but no one did. We kept the house liveable by cooking on the stove and using the fireplace, and wrapping up in layers. We could have warm drinks and warm meals, which was a big help. We read all day, and went to bed early.

Saturday morning, a neighbor came over with the snowblower to help clear the driveway of the 15 inches or so of heavy snow that fell overnight. I couldn’t have done it on my own.

By Sunday morning, we could see our breath in the house. NStar was both rude and unhelpful. I got up early and got the stove going again, and the fireplace on, and we got the temperature up to a bearable level. I went out and shoveled the additional 8 or so inches of snow — this was light and fluffy, so it wasn’t bad. Then, I went and helped neighbors dig out, and they said I could have some of their firewood if I ran out. In other words, we all looked after each other.

The weather was clear up here, and our destination in CT had power, so I stocked up the feeders and waterers, had boosted the temperature up to comfortable, and left hot water bottles and down comforters for the cats. We loaded up the car and left just before 2, with the neighbors keeping an eye on house and cats.

The drive in MA and RI was fine. It was CT that was a disaster. On good days, CT’s DOT’s incompetence is astonishing to behold. This was out of control. The roads were barely plowed — the fucking idiots had let the plows get snowed in. How much brainpower does it take to place your shovels inside garages or warehouses so they can actually go out and do their jobs? Only a moron leaves them outside to be snowed under. On top of that, the plows weren’t shovelling the snow — they dragged on the pavement, sending sparks towards the gas tanks for the cars on the road. Add the glare of the descending sun, and it was a miracle we weren’t killed.

I was so stressed out I had McDonald’s for dinner. Was miserable three hours later, but it was good while I ate it!

Set up the computer, connected, and got some basics done that needed to be done — namely, cancelling yesterday’s auditions. If we have to cancel tomorrow’s, I don’t know how the hell we’re going to cast this piece. But I’m certainly not going to ask people to come out in dangerous conditions to audition in a building with no power.

Collapsed in exhaustion fairly early Sunday night. Up early on Monday. Managed to get out a deadlined piece before shutting everything down and getting back on the road, in rain and fog. Another nightmare of a trip home — I couldn’t make any time, CT was still a mess, and I had trouble getting gas in RI. Buzzards Bay was still in the dark, but I found a gas station and could refill before going over the bridge and heading home. Then, there was a problem on 6, so I had to take 130 & 28.

But I got home, and there was power. I unpacked, fed the cats, cleaned the litter boxes, let everyone know I arrived safely, and collapsed on the couch with wine and mac ‘n cheese. I was incapable of coherent sentences by then. The power was intermittent, going out a couple of times overnight, but this morning, I hope to catch up with everything, especially my students.

I had a good morning’s writing session the Dickensian steampunk, thank goodness, and I’m trying to reshuffle the projects to get everything done.

The cats won’t let me out of their sight.

What irritates me about days getting power back on is not the line crews — they are working their butts off. But management KNOWS there will be problems, yet doesn’t do anything to create ways to prevent problems. Their solution is to clear cut and get rid of all trees, which is total bullshit. Why aren’t they coming up with de-icing coatings that can be sprayed on power lines, or new technologies to prevent outages in the first place? Because there aren’t any consequences for long power outages and suffering, and their fat cat executives still get to collect huge paychecks, while the people who actually do the work are put in the same poor situations over and over again. The contract the power company has with the population is to provide power — not just when it’s easy or convenient. But to provide it ALWAYS. They should be innovating better ways of doing that, but as long as the top brass can collect their inflated salaries while regular people freeze and suffer, there’s no incentive.

I am in contact with my congressman’s office, because I have some ideas on restructuring.

Overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, but all I can do is work bit by bit.


Stay tuned for information on audition updates for MURDER SEALS THE DEAL.

Sign up for “Prolonged Engagement”, the class on how to develop a series, March 4-8, here.