Fri. Sept. 28, 2012: Organization and Freelance Roller Coaster

Friday, September 28, 2012
Waxing Moon (nearly full)
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Managed to get some good work done yesterday afternoon, but, alas, not enough. I’ve really got to focus today to get a lot cleared off before I leave tomorrow. At least I had a good start to the day — I have a spice cake in the oven and the first load of laundry in, and it’s not even 8 AM!

Also, found out that a grant deadline is Monday. Turns out there are two separate grant councils in the area — one has a deadline of Monday, the other the 15th. I thought they were one and the same. I’m going to pull together a proposal because I’ll regret it if I don’t at least give it a shot. Plus, you usually have to go through several proposal cycles before you’ve actually got a shot at landing a grant. Meanwhile, while I’m out of town next week, I’ll put together the proposal for the other grant. The last time I applied for a grant in NY, I was one of over 690,000 people applying. I think the application pool is probably a little smaller here. It also means putting together a new version of the resume for the grant.

I am teaching a three-day Supporting Characters workshop at the Muse Online Conference Oct. 9, 10 & 11. There’s more information here. (You have to scroll down pretty far to get to it). The Muse Conference, in general, is a great experience. I’ve developed several novels and had the chance to test drive some fun classes there.

I need to finish an article and schedule a blog post for next week while I’m gone. I got an idea for a new article that I’ll pitch to a publication, and I owe another publication (who, thankfully, finally got around to paying me) another batch of ideas. I’ve still got one outstanding client payment — the final ghostwriting payment, which is not at all a surprise, but a disappointment. Another client is being dithery, and I just don’t have time for it — will be easing away from that one. I’ve said, bluntly, that the dithering has to stop, especially at the distance that separates us. If i have to travel several hundred miles, the dates have to be set and fixed. Got out another project early, that I wanted to clear off before I left, and will finish that client’s batch of work today. Pitched yesterday for a job way out of my wheelhouse, but I’m just different from the people who’d apply for it to be the right choice. One of my editors has also asked me to do an interview with someone (as the interviewer), which will be fun, although her publicist is about 12 and needs to learn how to check her facts.

The reading of my play is tonight. I’m interested to see how it goes. My notebook is ready.

I’m packed for tomorrow’s trip, except for the stuff that’s still in the laundry, and the food that has to go in the cooler in the morning. This time tomorrow, I will be on the road.

Lots to do between now and then!

Devon

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and HOT

First of all, my wrap-up article on Belmont Stakes day is here. Enjoy.

Second, I have some teaching gigs I’m going to mention now, and then remind you about as they draw closer.

In fall and into winter, I’m doing three deconstruction seminars. Each runs for a week, analyzing structure and character development.

September 13-19: Fantasy/romance

September 20-26: Steampunk film

November 29-December 5: Paranormal mystery

These are all online through Savvy Authors, and I will direct you to the blurb and registration and fees once that’s all sorted.

I’m also teaching two workshops at The Muse Online Conference this year: My ever-popular Dialogue Workshop and also a Story-Building Workshop. Registration is limited and will close on August 15 for the conference in general. More importantly, my workshop is limited to the first 30 people who sign up; in previous years, something like 150 people have signed up, with 50+ posting each day, and it’s just too much for me to give feedback as intensively as is necessary for the workshop to a large group of students, especially those who ignore the directions in the exercise or who take on too much and don’t keep up with the work. If I can make the commitment of time and energy, I expect the same from the students.

The Muse Conference is free. If you’ve never participated, I suggest that you try it this year. It’s terrific. I’ve developed three novels and a collection of short stories in it over the years. There are some really great teachers this year. If either Karina Fabian or Christine Amsden are teaching world-building workshops, take them. They are amazing.

The conference runs from October 11-17, but, as I said, registration closes on August 15.

I’m also teaching One Story, Many Voices online over the month of January 2011 at Savvy Authors, and several workshops for the RWA in 2011, but I’ll post information closer to registration dates.

Yesterday was a pretty good, calm day. I spent time in the morning hanging out with the nieighbor’s cat, who first pinned me against the door when I came in, and, once he’d eaten, sat in my lap for the rest of the time. He’s 16 pounds, so that’s a lot of cat in the lap!

Drove to LI for my acupuncture appointment. Lots of traffic, but it moved and I gave myself plenty of time so I wouldn’t stress out. Started plotting the story that the “spiritual” center inspired while I drove. Acupuncture was great. Turns out the painful hip was a half inch out of alignment. She was surprised I could even walk around from the pain. I guess I just sort of got used to it. Anyway, she untangled me, got my neck back in the right spot, too, and unwound my back. Wow. What a difference.

But I had to rest for the remainder of the day (once I drove home). I can do most yoga, except for one sequence, but no running or weight training for two weeks, to make sure the body gets used to being in proper alignment. I’m definitely a little sore today, but always checking to make sure I’m not askew.

On the way home, I stopped at the wine store. Two older “businessmen” in cheap suits were hanging out in the store. One of them said to me, “Don’t you think it’s time you got a boob job?” And I said, “Don’t you think it’s time you got a personality job?” The proprietor was mortified — I go there a lot, and people there are always nice. Figures. The old, out-of-work, down-at-heel drunks are true gentlemen, and the older white guy in the business suit is the sleaze bag.

Anyway, hung out with the cat some more, wrote up the notes I’d come up with as I drove (always interesting to see how far a piece evolves from the original kernel of the idea — it’s already mutated a lot). Rested the hip.

The night was terrifying — bad thunder storms and a bolt of lightening struck right outside the bedroom window. It came down white, hit the asphalt and turned into an orange fire ball that sounded like an explosion. Cats flew in all directions, and I could feel the tingle of the electricity.

No running this morning, just some light stretching. Will do yoga later. It’s hot and humid. Will hang out with the neighbor’s cat early, then check in the afternoon to see if he needs the air on. Plan to write, read, and generally take it easier.

Sorted things out with my editor. I think we’ll be okay for the next few months. We’ll see how it works out. I have a loyalty to my editor, but there will come a point where I have to say, “enough.”

I’m invited to the opening of my pottery teacher’s new exhibit in two weeks. I’m looking forward to it. The pottery class I’m taking (with a different instructor) starts next week, and I’m looking forward to it.

Elsa is worse, unfortunately, and I am very worried.

Back to the page.

Devon

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009
Day before dark moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Slow start this morning, because I did a longer morning yoga practice, meditation practice, and then baked apple muffins. The muffins are based on a recipe in Marion Cunningham’s THE BREAKFAST BOOK. However, her recipe only calls for cinnamon; I put in cinnamon,nutmeg, cloves, mace, and allspice. It gives the batter a beautiful harvest brown color and deepens the taste a bit.

Yesterday was all about the conference and storm prep. We didn’t flood yesterday, but there’s snow a little farther upcounty and certainly upstate. We had heat all day — guess the Health Department had a little chat with the landlords. We’ll see if they actually toe the line, or if it was just a one-day pretension of following the law.

I’ve got some errands to do today and then I’ll put the car up on the hill this evening, just in case — tides are about three feet higher than normal. We’ll see what the weekend brings.

The conference will wind up this weekend. I had a good time, but I’m ready to put more focus back on my own work again. I had one of those “Duh!” moments yesterday when I realized that I could make the artist statement for one of the residency applications do double duty on the grant application.

I’m re-reading the May Sarton biography by Margot Peters. Peters, along with Claire Tomalin and Hermione Lee, ranks as one of my favorite biographers. I use Sarton’s journals as fuel when I get tired, and I appreciate her poetry, but she always struck me as someone who was a bit of an energetic vampire with a martyr complex. She’s someone whose work I can enjoy and appreciate from a distance, but I made sure not to know her when she was alive. I had contacted her once, during some research for a project on Susan Glaspell, but her response didn’t make sense and I chose not to follow up.

Better get going, although today is the type of cold, rainy day where all I want to do is curl up in the big chair with the cats, a good book, and a cup of cocoa.

By the way, it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that Violet had her own Twitter and Facebook accounts and a blog. She’s that kind of cat. She does, after all, chew on Shakespeare. Literally.

Devon

Monday, September 7, 2009

IMG_0265
Garden at The Mount, Lenox, MA

Monday, September 7, 2009
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant
Labor Day in the US

Batten down the hatches! Mercury’s retrograde.

Seven days to Prague departure!

I read a lot yesterday, mostly about Prague: John Banville’s PRAGUE PICTURES, Richard Burton’s PRAGUE: A CULTURAL HISTORY (finally finished it) and went back to Vaclav Havel’s TO THE CASTLE AND BACK. I’m mulling over what I read, digging up memories of my personal experience with the Iron Curtain, etc. I’m not ready to articulate much yet, but there’s a lot of percolating going on.

It will interesting to see what “My Prague” turns out to be. “My Edinburgh” is vastly different from my friend Colin’s Edinburgh or anyone else’s Edinburgh. “My New York” is different now than it was when I lived on the Deuce, and it was different then, as someone working eight shows/week on Broadway from someone else’s New York who worked on Wall Street, or someone who came into town for a week’s visit.

Costume Imp and I are travelling together, and, even with shared experiences, we will wind up with very different personal Pragues.

I’m more anxious about this trip than I usually am about travelling, and i wonder how much of that is connected to the fact I don’t speak the language (although I didn’t speak Icelandic either and was perfectly comfortable there), and how much is ingrained from my own and my family’s personal experience with the Iron Curtain and its politics? Even though it no longer exists, it leaves resonance in its wake. It’s more than just visiting a new place for me — it’s connected to the personal history of my family, even though, as far as I can tell, none of them are from the area. My mother lived outside of Prague for awhile, many years ago.

There will be more layers to this trip than I expected.

Got some good work done on AMENDS and hope to get some more good work done. I’m about a third of the way into it, it’s time to up the stakes.

IMG_0192

Didn’t get much sleep. Elsa was very busy all night, rummaging, getting into things she shouldn’t have, and i spent a lot of time getting her out of things she shouldn’t have been in in the first place. I got maybe an hour of sleep at a time. I might take a nap later.

Things are moving along well for The Muse Online Writers’ Conference. I’m teaching my dialogue workshop there again this year. I’ve been invited to teach again at the Catholic Online Writers’ Conference again next February — I have to see how a few things shake out in the next few weeks before I give them a definite, and if they want me to teach something other than dialogue.

I need to get out some submissions this week, and would like to finish a draft of an article and get it to my editor before I leave. I keep thinking it’s Sunday, but it’s already Monday, and not a lot will get done on Friday, because of 9/11, and I want to have my desk completely cleared off before the 12th.

Seven days until lift off.

A lot can happen in seven days.

Devon

AMENDS: First Draft: 22,250 words out of est. 75,000
29.6%
IMG_0231
View out of the window at The Mount, Lenox, MA

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I’m very disappointed in myself. I only got about half done yesterday that needed to get done. I’m actually behind on a deadline, which never happens. I hit a wall.

Before anyone goes, “well, take time for yourself” – normally, as a freelancer, I’d just give myself the day off to recharge. Unfortunately, today, I can’t, because I’ve fallen behind on a deadline. I’m going to have to find a way to push through it.

I had a good start to the day: Worked on the Big Project, redrafted a press release, searched the job boards (some decent stuff, but nothing for me), wrote and sent out thank yous and testimonials for the conference, got out the contract for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and worked on the author information sheets (gee, wouldn’t it be nice if the cover artist actually read it this time?), and wrote an article for a colleague’s newsletter. I even got some work done, in the evening, on the DEAD WELL DREAMS outline – I really hate the title. I like the cadence, but not the image – again, too much of a western. DEAD DREAMS WELL maybe? In case you didn’t figure it out, there’s a well involved.

One item on the list had to be pushed aside, because I had to ask the publisher a question, and wait for the answer, so I don’t feel bad about that, but the above was less than half of what was on the to-do list.

I hit a wall. Couldn’t string together a coherent sentence.

I used the ultimate avoidance mechanism – I started to clean my desk. I have three huge piles on my desk. The farthest left is letters, correspondence, and bills. Hate keeping bills on the desk, it interferes creatively, but if it’s not in front of me, it doesn’t get done. If I put them in a pretty little holder – or even folder – that’s where they stay. In my subconscious, if it’s put away, it’s done. If it’s on the desk, it’s pending. If it’s in something pretty on the desk and not waving at me – it’s not a priority. The middle pile is writing stuff I need to get to, or research I’m using, or sources, etc. That pile had grown far too large, and that’s what I tackled. I actually could put most of it in files and put it away – near by, so I can reach over and reference, but only about a half a dozen pages needed to stay there for daily use. The pile on the right is stuff I pull from the printer to file and that’s huge, because I haven’t gotten around to filing for far too long.

I only tackled the middle pile. I’m glad I did, but it makes the two side piles look even worse, and it didn’t help me get anything done from the list. My desk will never be completely clean, because I can’t work on a pristine desk – it’s sterile and stalls my thinking – but I’d like it to be in better shape than it’s been for the past few months. I’m getting there – but yesterday was not necessarily the best day to start!

The Nano site’s already crashed, which is frustrating. It usually doesn’t crash until the just before the first day. I’m glad I get to write with 100,000 of my closest friends, most of which I’ll never see or hear from again after December 1, but the technical glitches do get annoying, even though it’s free. One of the good things is that I’m getting emails from former N3s and other people with whom I exchanged information on previous Nanos who tell me how helpful my advice was in getting their books finished and edited past Nano, and thanking me – some of them apologizing for being defensive and not wanting to try my tips early on! Glad I can help. We’re all in this together.

An actor with whom I worked closely this past summer turned to me once and sighed, “I might as well do what you suggest the first time; you’re always right, and it saves a lot of grief.”

If only I was ALWAYS right! 😉

I’m going to take it easy on myself today, only push on the most pressing work and not stress about the rest. I’m scheduled to attend a local freelancers’ luncheon farther up the Hudson River, so that should be fun. I don’t know any of the people attending, so it will be a good chance to meet new people. Let’s hope I’m not too shy to say a word! And that the food is good.

I’m going to get the late assignment out before I go. That’s got to be my first priority. And then make sure I have enough and the correct business cards for this luncheon!

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


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:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

First of all, some awesome news: The second Jain Lazarus book, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, went to contract last night. Woo-hoo! The editor asked me to make a few changes, which actually mean expanding on a few things, which makes me happy – I was trying to keep it lean, and she wants more, so that will be a pleasure.

Woo-hoo!

If you’d like to read the blurb, hop onto the Jain Lazarus website. It should be on the “home” page – if not, hit “refresh” and it comes up!

That means I darned well better get “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” up and soon, and get back to work on the third novel, from Billy’s POV! (But I’ll wait until I’ve done the next pass on OFDW so I don’t muddy the voices).

The Western has to take priority over the next couple of weeks, because the first draft needs to be done before Nano (if I’d stayed on track, the first draft would have been finished today) and the Big Project also has to stay in the forefront.

I did a lot of work on the cozy outline last night, which now has a working title of DEAD WELL DREAMS. Sounds a bit like a Western instead of a cozy, but I’ll start with that title and see what it evolves into.

I got a rejection from a magazine that kind of makes me shrug. The last piece they took from me I didn’t think suited them, but they liked it. This I thought was right up their alley and they didn’t. Whatever. Move to the next on the list.

I have to get out the work for Confidential Job #1 today, and take care of a bunch of business.

Drafted a press release last night that will go out today and throughout the week, as I develop my media list a bit more. I also have to update the websites with the new information.

Spent a lot of time online doing the final exercise critiques for my students. If I do the conference again next year, I’m going to have a posting cutoff for mid-afternoon my time for the last day. I was still up at 11 PM doing critiques. I’m sure after a few hours, I will fill the lack-of-conference void today. Or maybe I’ll just have post-conference hangover!

I had an anxiety dream about the show Saturday into Sunday – that I couldn’t get back to the theatre after dinner break. Ridiculous.

Okay, fingers crossed that the next few weeks will be as LUCRATIVE as they are busy.

Decent morning’s work on The Big Project. The work I did on this chapter is more for me than material that will stay in the final draft, but I needed it in order to get to the next section. It’s not as strong as I’d like, so in the next draft, I’ll have to fix it. But I needed it in there for now. And I forgot to add a scene that I need to go back and insert tomorrow.

I wish I’d really written out the outline for this instead of just spinning it out in my head. I think I have to make some notes, or I’ll lose my way in between juggling all these projects, and there’s too much at stake with this one for that to happen.

I have to post on the Nano board that all my N3 slots are full. I accepted a couple more than I planned to this year, but it’s still a tight, workable, carefully chosen group. I hate to exclude anyone, but I need to protect the work and those who are already slotted in first.

Devon

The Big Project – 17,694 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17 / 75
(22.7%)

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


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:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Can you say “brain ache”? ‘Cause that’s what I have! Not to mention eye strain.

I wrote three stories for the short story workshop yesterday, to catch up. I’m holding off on the final exercise, because I feel like there will be more than seven stories in this particular collection which is a cross between literary urban fantasy and magical realism. I think thirteen would be a good number, don’t you?

The third I wrote shows some fatigue, and worry that it grew too long, so I’ll go back and work on it in a few days.

Sent out a couple more submissions.

Worked on the cozy’s plot, which needs to percolate. A nice, catchy title would be good, too. I’m trying to follow the exercises and shake up my process, but I tend to need to write my way in a bit before I know what the gosh-darned plot it. I have the beginning and the ending – I just have to figure out how to get from one to the other. Oy! But it’s helpful. I know the who, where, why. I have to figure out the steps of the “how”. I know how the murder victim was murdered, but I need the nuts and bolts of getting from the murder to the Big Reveal. And I’ve got B lines figured out that, if I do my job properly, feed into the A lines while still strengthening the overall arc of the series, if this is to become a series. I’ve got a bunch of red herrings prepped, and I better figure out where to put them before they start to smell. Because, trust me, rotting herring can reek! I’m getting more of a sense of the characters and a sense of the character of the setting, which is helpful. But I need to figure out more plot details.

One of the instructors who “didn’t have time” for the students (unless privately hired) actually had the cojones to email me to ask for a testimonial! I am going to take the high road in this case, and not respond. Because if I open my mouth . . .

I need to do research on the Carthinogens (doesn’t that sound like something you get from smoking?) I mooched two books on ancient history over on BookMooch, so I’m hoping that will give me what I need. It’s a short story, so I need enough sensory details to make it work, but I don’t need to go into the extended scenic description splattered in a novel.

The N3 email went out yesterday.

I’ll miss the conference, but 9-11 hours/day, most of it responding to exercises, was a bit much. I’m grateful that I had such an active room (one of the busiest in the conference, she says with pride), but it was exhausting. Exhilarating and worthwhile, I’m not complaining – I just don’t think I could keep up this type of pace with this many students indefinitely. Which is why real-time workshops have registration limits, I’m sure! 😉 I’m glad I was off from the show all week. I couldn’t have done it otherwise.

Worked on “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” this morning, the Jain Lazarus ghost story. I plan to get it up this week.

Back to the final day of the conference . . .

Devon

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Conference fatigue has set in. I feel it; there’s less activity on the board, and people are getting tetchier. Those of us who are taking workshops where the instructors aren’t showing up are cranky. And I blew a gasket because several people have sent private messages, I’ve taken time to write detailed responses (and I mean, like twenty, thirty minutes), only to hit “send” and get the message that the individual doesn’t accept private messages.

Then don’t send ME one with QUESTIONS in it, you dumbass!

When someone wastes my time and/or takes advantage of my willingness to help and share resources, it pisses me off!

I’m having a blast in both the short story workshop and the cozy workshop, though. I’m learning lots of new things and getting to try stuff and play, so that’s all good.

I’m also pleased because quite a few students in my workshop are showing genuine improvement from day to day, exercise to exercise.

And some ideas are churning for other stuff which needs to get into the roster. Some of them are very, very funny, and offer new directions for me.

Submitted a few short stories. Wanted to submit more, but one place changed their guidelines, so what I thought was relevant no longer is, and the other no longer pays its writers, so, sorry, going elsewhere. I’m getting a nice batch of stories whipped into shape, though, so I’ll be able to up the submission ante before Nano.

There’s something satisfying about writing a short story. You can FINISH it in a finite amount of time, get that sense of accomplishment, instead of days when you don’t feel like you’re making progress, which often happens with a novel.

I have to dash into the city this morning, come back, catch up on the workshops, and then prepare for the live chat tonight. Busy day, but, hopefully, a happy one. Oh, yeah, and I have to finish the assignment for Confidential Job #1 which I barely started. Ooops.

I have ideas for the next stories for the workshops I’m taking, and ideas for some other things with which I’ve been playing that are ready to ripen.

I have to do some continuity checking before I can write the next part of the Big Project, and I won’t get a chance so to do until tomorrow. I hate losing day on it, but I don’t see how I’m going to get it done today, realistically.

Got out the guest blog post yesterday and roughed out the two articles. If I can do one tomorrow and one on Sunday, I can submit both Monday and not worry about the deadline question they couldn’t be bothered to answer. I have to say, it made warning bells go off in my head. They’re not paying me enough for me to cut them slack or take any crap from them.

I have a question for you — I’d really like to learn how to put my Bookstore info into my sidebar, using this template, but I’m not sure how that works — I’m not sure which widget to add — any ideas?

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


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 October 17, 2008 at 8:19 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , ,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

I wrote three short stories yesterday to get caught up in the workshop where I decided the first ones I presented were chapters of a novel, not short stories. They all run in the 12-1500 word range, so it was quite a day’s work.

Hopped on and off to critique what was posted. There are still a few people who don’t feel the exercise specifics pertain to them, and, as I told them, I simply state that fact and don’t comment on the work. It’s not fair to the people who are participating and following the guidelines.

And, come on, people, if you can’t follow a one paragraph exercise guideline, how the hell are you going to follow submission guidelines? And these people wonder why they’re not published?

I wish there was a thread for Working Writers, the way there’s one for aspiring writers. Working writers face a completely different set of challenges.

Did the work for some of the workshops I’m taking. One that I was worried about turns out to be a lot more fun that I thought; the one I’ve been complaining about as frustrating remains so.

Didn’t get some of the other stuff done that I needed to get done, so that falls to today. Which is fine.

I got a little bit of work done on The Big Project this morning. The word count has dropped drastically this week, due to all the other writing pressures, but I figure even a few pages a day will prevent me from losing all of the momentum, even if it’s slowed down.

I’m sure there’s more to say, but I can’t remember, and I need to get back to the conference and comment on the latest work. I found a way to write up my critiques more efficiently, which helps – duh, I can have a window open as I read instead of scrawling handwritten notes I can’t decipher, then typing them in, then cutting and pasting. Some times, I behave in a ridiculously neo-Luddite fashion!

Back to the page. Hope a lot of you buy and use the new ebooklet, SENSORY PERCEPTIONS. (Shameless plug) 😉

Devon

The Big Project – 15,811 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15 / 75
(20.0%)

b>Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


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 October 16, 2008 at 8:17 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT this afternoon
Sunny and pleasant

Thank goodness Mercury goes direct this afternoon, because then I’ll know it’s people not paying attention rather than influenced by Mercury! 😉

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to learn about the site Writers and Authors, and then give the site a visit! You may find it interesting.

Busy day yesterday, most of it spent on the conference. I’m excited at the quality of the writing by most of the students; however, they aren’t posting material relevant to the exercises, and I had to get all over some of them. I don’t post parameters for my own amusement. Each exercise is created to teach them something specific. And some of them are slapping up scenes from WIPs they’ve written to get critiqued rather than following the instructions in the exercises. So I told them I won’t comment on anything that doesn’t fit the exercises any more. I have a thread where they can post snippets from WIPs for comments, but that’s not the purpose of the exercises.

If I do this again next year, the rule will be all material must be created within the context of the class.

More people are coming in and working on exercises as the week progresses, which is great, and everyone is welcome as long as they do the work. I think some students are frustrated because some of the workshops aren’t particularly interactive and mine is, so they’re winding up with me. Which is fine, but I need to take more breaks during the day as I read the work. My eyes are tired.

I posted to the short story workshop, and realized the short stories I posted don’t have enough conflict and read more like chapters of a novel. Urgh. So I don’t know whether to come up with new short stories or try to fix the chapters and force what should be a novel into short stories.

I posted my hook and a quick character bio (because long character bios cause me to lose the character) in another workshop and then realized I don’t really want to do this piece! Oh well, I’ll learn something by doing the exercises with something where there’s nothing at stake for me, right?

Wandered into a workshop taught by someone who was a great teacher last year – different topic, but still great, so I might stick around.

Frustrated in another workshop because the instructor isn’t there much, hasn’t bothered to read the info on the students’ backgrounds and needs, and proclaims at us instead of working with us. Another student in a similar position to mine emailed me separately because we are in the same boat and not getting what we need from the workshop, so we’re supporting each other! So something good came out of it. My dilemma now is do I quit or see it through? I want to see it through because I want to see if I can get ANYTHING out of it to apply to my work, but I do think it’s geared towards aspirants who aren’t writing and have other sources of income rather than people who write for a living and I, well, WRITE.

I have my 5th Nano mentee, so I’m full up now. And it’s a guy. So there are four women and a man as my N3s this year. This is a case where I wish we were all geographically closer because I think we’d all have a good time together in person.

Got some work done on The Big Project this morning. Now it’s back to the conference, and then I need to get a guest blog out and at least one article.

Devon

The Big Project – 15,172 out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15 / 75
(20.0%)

Devon’s Bookstore:

NEW!Sensory Perceptions: Techniques to Improve Your Writing Through the Six Senses by Devon Ellington. Use the six senses to take your writing to the next level via a series of sense-specific exercises. By the end of seven weeks, you complete seven short stories!. $1.29 USD. Here.


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:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008
Almost full moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and icky

I’m going to rant about television for a bit, and then get to the important stuff:

I forgot to mention all weekend how annoyed I was with last Friday’s episode of SANCTUARY. I want to like that show, I really do. But Friday’s episode annoyed me. I disagreed with the way they twisted and diluted the legend of the Morrigan (not to mention the way they costumed them). I could understand if the villains had captured three powerful women of their time and manipulated them because they had the potential to be LIKE the Morrigan, but the Morrigan themselves were goddesses, and not under the power of these fruit loops. And they each had individual names, none of which were “Danu”, “Tatha” and “Caird.” The “Tuatha De Danann” is very specific to the Celtic Pantheon, but not part of this myth. There is an Irish goddess “Dana’ sometimes written “Danu”, but she is connected to Brigid and healing, not the Morrigan and war. There is an Irish goddess named “Caireen” – protective of children. Again, no association to the Morrigan or war. There is an Irish goddess “Taillte’, also spelled “Telta” – closest I could find to “Tatha” — who is a goddess of the harvest, not connected to the Morrigan or war. And they were Irish, when according to the show storyline, this trio was discovered in a crypt in Scotland. Which looked like Vancouver.

Um, hate to break it to you, writers and producers, but Irish culture/myth and Scottish culture/myth are DIFFERENT. Just because they fall under the loose “Celt” banner doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable.

What, do the writers think none of us have any knowledge of Celtic myth?

I understand using mythology as a jumping off point for imagination, but this didn’t work for me. There’s nothing wrong with using “found goddesses” or morphing a myth in a way that’s believable, but don’t just ignore what’s already out there or get it wrong. It was beyond not working for me, I found it insulting.

And I keep getting ahead of the storylines, which annoys me. I liked the whole “freedom of choice” theme, but felt it could have been developed in a more believable fashion.

I lasted ten minutes into ELEVENTH HOUR and won’t be back. I love Rufus Sewell’s stage work, but in this, as good as he looks, as many interesting mannerisms as he comes up with, he’s always looking just past his fellow performers and it drives me insane. I find myself shouting at the television, “Look at the people you’re talking with! At least occasionally!!!! Connect!!!!” I can’t stand it when actors don’t look at each other when they work together. He connects with his fellow performers onstage, so I can only assume it’s some creative choice on someone’s part, and I hope it’s not his, because it sure as hell doesn’t work.

At least CHUCK is still funny, and LIFE is better than ever.

Muse Online Conference starts today. I hung out on the boards for a bit yesterday and posted the exercises for my workshops, so that anyone in international time zones apart from mine could start at THEIR midnight. I visited the forums of the courses I want to take; did some homework. In homework for one class, I had HUGE resistance – it’s a little psychobabble for me. Yet, BECAUSE I’m having huge resistance, I’m doing it, because I want to see where it takes me. I think I can get something good out of it by getting out my own way, and learn something new. I’m excited to visit some of the “rooms” run by the publishers and meet some new-to-me publishers. I checked the first batch of assignments, posted my assignments on the workshops I’m taking, asked some questions, etc. I’ll hop back on later in the day.

Wrote some short stories. One was over 2500 words, longer than I planned, but that’s how long it took to get it done. It had its own rhythm, and I had to respect that.

Pushed hard on the new ebook. Today, I need to proof it and finish the cover, then convert and lock the file, and I can upload it for sale. Don’t worry, it’s a low price point, only $1.29.

Even better, because I wanted to do another test run for the exercises, I have drafts of seven new stories. They need some revision, but I should be able to start submitting them by the end of the month. Of course, I’m taking a short story workshop this week, so I have to figure if there’s anything left in that creative well. Stores tend to come in bunches, and I thought I’d bunched out. I’d hoped the test stories for the ebook would run between 500-1000 words, but that rarely happened.

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the free Nano handbook, is again available for download. I’ll add it back to the bookshelf in the next few days.

I had a good morning’s work on The Big Project. Now, I’m off to the conference, then finish the cover and the publication of the ebook, then work on some articles. Busy day.

Devon

The Big Project – 14,617 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
14 / 75
(18.7%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


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


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

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


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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

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

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

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

And got results.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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


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

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


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

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