Thursday, June 2, 2011

ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT releases in 4 days from Champagne Books!

Thursday, June 2, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde

Pluto Retrograde

No idea what the weather is, because I’ve scheduled this to post. I’m headed for Martha’s Vineyard today, way earlier than I would have liked. Since the garden needs 1 hour of attention before I leave, I need 1 hour for yoga/meditation and 1 hour for writing — I’m up three hours earlier than normal.

Got some work done yesterday. Decided I wanted to mow the terraced back before it got too hot, so around 9:30, off I went. Just as I finished, thunderstorms broke out. Talk about timing! Took grass clippings to the dump, going a different way due to paving on Rt. 28. I found my way there and back without getting lost.

Hit the post office, hit Verizon, went to Home Goods and found three awesome planters in which to transplant the witch hazel, the Big King Eggplant, and the lilac. All one sale, for about 70% off. Also found a Ganesh-type statue for the deck. Looked at a couple of leaf-shaped birdbaths — that might be a better choice than the traditional basin-type. I have to think about it.

Stopped at Shaw’s to get in some supplies for tomorrow’s breakfast, since I have friends stopping by on their way further into the Cape. It also meant I had to dash around cleaning. I mean, I’ve been keeping up with the basics, but because of the unpacking and projects, I’ve scattered stuff around. So it was about tidying, wiping off the counters, etc. I’ll vacuum quickly tomorrow morning, clean the bathroom and the litter boxes shortly before they come, and it’s all good.

I was advised to take an overnight bag to the Vineyard in case there’s ferry trouble. Let’s hope there’s not, and I can get back this afternoon and do a few last-minute things for tomorrow!

Got out another article. Didn’t spend enough time on SPIRIT REPOSITORY or the article meant to start.

I’d pitched to be a guest poster, as Annabel Aidan, on The Writers Vineyard (which features Champagne authors) and . . . a slot opened up and I’ll be blogging there about once a month. My first post is on June 16. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you!

Good meeting for NMLC’s Mermaid Ball. Interesting mix of characters on the committee. We’ve all got different strengths, so as long as we let people do what they’re good at and not try to force them where they’re not, I think we’ll be in great shape. The chair of the committee and the head of the publicity committee are excellent, and I’m excited to work with them. I’m going to rough out some of the ideas over the weekend about what we discussed, in time for next week’s meeting.

Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final! Game still going on when I set this to post. Of course, one of the guys most vital to the evolution of CLEAR THE SLOT (the hockey novel) now plays for Vancouver and is in the playoffs. How can I not want him to do well, even though I’ve got to root for Boston?

Tornadoes did a good bit of damage in central MA. On the radio, driving back over the bridge, we were warned about severe weather and maybe even hail. I stacked the deck furniture and protected the plants as best I could. Fingers crossed it didn’t come to pass.

Lots to do when I came home. There’s no way I’ll get to bed early, but I still had to get up at 5 AM on Thursday! I’m looking forward to a meditation session before bed. I need to sit and just BE.

Iris keeps trying to dig open the door to the basement. I hope she’s not telling us we have to go down due to an incoming funnel!

I’ll have lots to tell you tomorrow, and lots to blog about!


Friday, September 17, 2010

The beautiful orchid sent in Elsa’s memory. Thank you, my friends!

Friday, September 17, 2010
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Humid and cloudy

Yesterday was a bizarre day. I wound up cleaning and scrubbing early in the morning, in preparation for the exterminator, who was supposed to show up around 10. He showed up around 1:30. Sigh. At least he showed up, step in the right direction. And they gave us heat for a full 20 minutes around lunchtime. Someone must be getting high in the office and playing with the switch, because they sure wouldn’t give us heat on a weekday on purpose!

So, in the morning, I did bits of this and that, not wanting to go too deeply into anything that couldn’t get interrupted.

I wound up cleaning out some of those little top drawer things in some of the bureaus. And some of them I hadn’t even opened since I was a kid. Very strange experience. I tossed a lot, packed a lot. My goodness, even as a little kid, I picked up rocks everywhere I went. I’m always picking up stones and rocks. I have rocks and stones in almost every box and drawer. Even then, when I didn’t know what I was doing, I knew what I was doing! 😉

And then I found a notebook given to me by my Dad. He died when I was ten. It had some pages of different ideas and things from him to me, and then something I wrote about two months after he died. Wow.

I found photographs, black and white, too, of my mom at Niagra Falls in the 1950s, of my dad, my grandmother, my dog (actually, I think I was his human, he came into the family before I did), and a little picture of what I think is me. I found a naughty gag gift someone made for me in high school — it was the late 70s, use your imagination — and some boy-crazy notes from someone I used to be friends with in middle school about her latest crush. And medals – Spelling Bee, Honor Society, Music This and That.

So I packed up my past and it’s ready to go.

After the exterminator came and left, I started washing teapots. They’ve been on top of the kitchen cabinets, and with all the construction crap going on here have gotten really dirty and sticky. I don’t want to pack them like that. So I soaked them and scrubbed them, and put them out to dry. What’s interesting is that the oldest, seemingly most fragile teapots — the Allerton and the Steubenware, given to me by my grandmother — were the easiest to clean, whereas the more modern “dishwasher safe” ones were a pain in the —-, and one of them, my snowman teapot, lost most of his red coloring, which means the ceramic teapot wasn’t properly painted and then glazed, but glazed and then some paint slapped over it. It’s still cute, it just has a lot more white.

I didn’t know I had 10 teapots here. I have a few more boxes of teapots in storage.

I really like teapots.

And I feel off kilter with them all packed.

Not that I use them that often — usually I just stick a bag in a mug and pour hot water over it. But I like having the option and looking at them.

Violet played in the teapots as they dried.

And the big excitement — the President’s helicopter (and its companion choppers) flew over the building! I heard approaching helicopters and thought, “Oh, no, must be a bad accident on I-95 for them to fly this low.” Then, I look out my third floor window and it’s the Presidential Chopper! And it’s REALLY cool! He was attending some to-do in Greenwich. I’d forgotten. At least he wasn’t on the ground tying up traffic, right? Anyway, the third floor is high enough and they flew low enough to get a good look and it was really cool. I’m rather fond of helicopters anyway.

We had big weather kerflamma. Wednesday night, the weather folk said, “Oh, we might have some showers during tomorrow’s rush hour” and suddenly we had tornadoes in Brookly and Queens. Up here, it got dark fast, with thunder, lightening, and lots of rain. The cats weren’t too worried, so neither was I. Well, Iris scooted under the bed after a loud thunderclap, but she came out pretty fast. And then they pre-empted the shows to run the same three clips over and over again all night. Give me a break!

Caught up with some old friends online, which was nice. We’re scattered all over the place.

Had a decent first writing session of the morning.

Violet is sneezing again, and it worries me. She seems fine otherwise — she’s eating and playing and all the rest. Of course, I’m coughing up a lung with all the brick dust, too. I’ve measured for the past few days. With the windows CLOSED, between 1/8th and 1/2 of an inch of dust comes through every single day. Yeah, that’s healthy. Not.

I’m having iPhoto kerflamma. I merged some batches of photos, and now I can’t find them. iPhoto sits there like a Zen whatever, saying that, yes they are there, and not telling me where they’re hidden. Guess I’ll be calling Apple Care when they open!

Best wishes to my dear friend Lori, who has surgery today.

Today, I’ve got some business to take care of in the morning, and then I’m going to a friend’s to do laundry. I’ve got to polish those lectures tonight and tomorrow for next week. And maybe start washing and packing the vases.


teapot extravaganza

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It’s so sad that the tornado hit a Boy Scout camp in Iowa, killing four of the boys. Really, a horrible tragedy. I was pretty annoyed, though, the one of the morning news shows put on a traumatized 14-year-old boy with haunted eyes. His parents stood next to him and THEY were in full Scout regalia, including medals, grinning, simpering, and making it all about THEM and how much THEY loved the organization. I wanted to slap them silly. One would think they’d be grateful their son wasn’t killed, and they’d be taking care of HIS needs, not going on national television trying to make it about them and their own feelings for the Scouts.

I’m in the process of sorting out the details of my workshop and my online chat for The Muse Online Writers’ Conference this fall. I taught and participated in it last year and LOVED it. I developed EARTH BRIDE there, which ended up being my Nano, and may develop this year’s Nano in it as well. Once I have everything finalized, I will let you know and post relevant links.

I’m considering skipping Nano this year. I’m doing J-WAT in July, where I hope to get a good start on THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, the second Gwen/Justin book. It might make sense to write the first draft of the third one, SANDOVAL’S SECRET, during Nano, but I’m not sure. If I do it, this year I’m going to limit my mentoring to 4 or 5. It nearly hit 30 last year, and, while it was fun, it’s a little too much right now.

On the downside, I’m dealing with one of those life lessons in the land of television. About six years ago, I spent a large chunk of time with a group of people researching what was supposed to be material for a cable series. The producers and I parted company because I wanted to show an inside view of that entire world, the good, the bad, the wonderful, the heart-breaking, whereas the producers wanted to focus on the sex lives of three characters. I retained the rights to my research and characters; they retained the rights to develop their view of the concept. No problem. I simply felt that, if I followed what they wanted to do, I was betraying the trust and openness that those people showed me over an extended period of time, and that I wasn’t doing right by any of them. I felt I was compromising my integrity to stay on the project. It was a perfectly amiable split, and my material became the basis for several novels, one which was making the rounds, but which I pulled out of circulation a couple of years ago because it is a difficult sell, and I wanted to get some more credits and clout to insure I could stay true to my vision and the people who’d been so kind to me.

Well, now the show is about to launch. I saw the promo and I felt like I had to take shower after it. Truly, truly awful. Horrifyingly scumbag television.

And yet, I’m upset. I’m glad I left the project; I’m not sorry I gave up the money or the credit. And yet, I’m very unsettled and very upset, as though I’m tainted simply because I’m involved in the same industry. It’s not logical; it’s emotional. I’m not personally responsible for representing all writers everywhere (thank goodness, or we’d all be in trouble). I just wanted to do something to show how incredible these people are, and now someone’s taken a similar concept and turned it into trash TV. It has nothing to do with me, there’s no logical reason for me to be upset . . .but I am.

My friends who helped me with the research think it’s funny and think we should watch it as a group. “It’ll be just like watching SHOWGIRLS,” one of them said. I’m glad they can laugh about it, and hope that, one day soon, so can I.

That day’s not quite here yet, though.

One of the people who’d been kind and helpful, and with whom I’ve stayed in touch asked why, exactly, I was so upset. It took me awhile to pinpoint it, but then I said, “Because I feel as though I’ve failed everyone who took so much time with me and showed me so much kindness by not getting my project out first.” He helped me realize that no one else (as far as he knows) feels like I’ve failed them, and they’re all confident that when my project DOES get out there, it will do them all proud.

Again, like I said, I’m having an emotional response, not a logical one.

Finished the first act of SIDEKICK and need to get the other two done. Did a detailed pitch/proposal for what could become a long-running gig with a lot of potential that also sounds like fun.

A friend and I went out last night – first to a new-ish local restaurant called Eurasian, which was fantastic. I had sushi – yellowtail with scallion, eel with avocado, and, something I never had before, spicy crunchy scallops. It was exquisite.

After that, we went to see INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Warning: spoilers! I had so much fun! I truly enjoyed it. It’s not quite as good as the first one, but leagues better than the second (it would take a lot to be worse than the second) and better than the third. There were similarities in story line between this one and NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS, but where NT2 failed, this one succeeded. And, for me, it was keeping my trust early in the film (yes, in spite of the whole nuclear explosion thing — a much more overtly political comment than I expected) because of the way it laid the foundation for the research (i.e., when Indy is figuring out the riddle Ox left) in a way that made sense (unlike NT2, which insulted the audience’s intelligence by using the wrong Mesoamerican language and thinking no one would notice). So, because the foundation was laid before it went into the absurd and fantastical, I was willing to go along with them on that journey into the absurd and the fantastical. I thought it was pretty funny that they both dealt with extinct Mesoamerican languages, but one did it in a way that made sense, and one did it in a way that was simply sloppy. Loved Karen Allen (always do). Thought Cate Blanchett was pretty good, even though there were too many too-wide-open-eye shots. I wanted to see real SCENES between Allen and Blanchett – that would have been fun, rather than that one quick bit in the chase scene. I’d heard a lot of negatives about Shia Labeouf, but I thought he was pretty good, and certainly far better than a lot of other choices for the role. He had a great scene where he realizes what’s happened to Ox, good chemistry with Ford and Allen, did the chase scenes well, and the fight scene with Blanchett was good. His entrance, the homage to James Dean, was in the same vein as Ford’s first entrance in RAIDERS, which was nod to Bogart in TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (if you’ve never seen that, rent it). The whloe ant thing was too long. Didn’t buy Hawaii as a stand-in for Peru, but thought the scenery was gorgeous enough so I didn’t really care after the initial, “That is so NOT Peru.” I also thought it was interesting how George Lucas took the old CHARIOTS OF THE GODS theory and worked it into the storyline. When I was approaching adolescence, and Lucas must have been in his late teens/early twenties, that was a big deal, with the ground carvings that could only be seen from the sky, and the theory that aliens landed to teach people agriculture, architecture, astronomy, etc. There was a lot of buzz about that in the 1970’s. And I’d pretty much forgotten about it until I saw it woven in here.

I had a great time, I’m glad I saw it on the big screen, I’ll get the DVD when it comes out, and it was an uplifting night out.

I really need to borrow a small child so I can legitimately go see KUNG FU PANDA. And HANCOCK looks like it’s going to be twisted in the best possible way. The movie I was most excited about this summer, INKHEART, had its release pushed back to January 2009, which is disappointing.

Did some decent work on the adaptation; still playing with titles.

The migraine lifted for a few hours yesterday, but is in full force today. The best description is dwarves tap-dancing in cleats waving pick-axes inside my skull.

Back to the page.


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:

Adaptation: 51,954 words out of est. 90,000