Friday, November 30, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good Afternoon, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: I noticed. Where have you been all day?
JOE: Don't get in a dander. I have other obligations as well. I had an early morning meeting, then I got to work on some research for the book, talked with Royal Caribbean about our cruise in February, and updated my writing group about next Tuesday's meeting. (Gasp) I went to the Y for a workout and swim, delivered some Christmas brochures to the Arts Council for them to sell on consignment, had lunch, did some more research, prepared dinner and here I am.
CALLIOPE: Well at least you weren't loafing. What's for dinner?
JOE: Shrimp stir fry with leeks, mushrooms and green pepper over brown rice and a crab cake with a side of carrot and raisin salad.
CALLIOPE: Sounds good. What's new on the writing front?
JOE: I didn't hear from either of the people I was waiting to have contact me so I think I will proceed with agents again on my own. I did find a few resources on finding agents I might explore a little more as well.
CALLIOPE: How about Marital Property?
JOE: This morning I worked on settings such as the meeting place and restaurant in New Bedford where the husband and his friend meet and the restaurant in Scituate where the wife and her younger sister meet.
CALLIOPE: Have you actually been to these places?
JOE: Yes but it has been a while and my memory gets a little rusty at times. I found some pictures which will help with more realistic settings.
CALLIOPE: And this afternoon?
JOE: I worked on personality characteristics and interaction patterns for Cynthia (wife) and Nancy (sister.) Now I am ready to proceed.
CALLIOPE: Do you have any time to do any actual writing this afternoon?
JOE: A little. At least I can get started on it while I have the chance.
CALLIOPE: Okay, better get to it while the sun shines (sort of.)
JOE: Righto. Talk with you later.
(Sunset at Scituate, Harbor at New Bedford)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. Glad to have you back. What's new this morning?
JOE: Not much. I spent yesterday after being reattached to the internet catching up on e-mail and other sundries. I also wrote a little more of the chapter I was working on in Marital Property about the husband's conversation with his best friend.
CALLIOPE: How's that going?
JOE: Pretty good. I spent some time working on personality patterns for each of the two characters and their interaction on a theoretical level. It helped when it came time to write the dialogue.
CALLIOPE: How does it help?
JOE: I think it makes the characters more alive and well defined as opposed to all sounding the same.
CALLIOPE: That's good. You don't want to bore people. What's on the docket for today?
JOE: I plan to finish the chapter I'm working on. I have been thinking about publishing lately. I tend to get frustrated with the process of traditional publishing and wonder if I will ever attract an agent much less a publisher. For now I'll keep trying. If I can, I would rather not go the route of self publishing again, partly due to my finances and partly due to wanting to keep my efforts directed toward my writing rather than having to take on the whole other worlds of marketing and publicity by myself. But it may come to that anyway.
CALLIOPE: I guess you never know. It's sort of like a lottery. Keep at it a while and see what happens.
JOE: I will for now. I guess it is a challenge to my creativity to come up with an irresistable query letter.
CALLIOPE: Have you done your homework on that?
JOE: Yes. I have read plenty and tried to use what I have read. But so far no success. I will keep at it for a while longer. See you later.

(Metal sculpture- Polar Bears- Peter Langen)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good afternoon, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon, Joe. I thought you had abandoned me.
JOE: Perish the thought. My internet connection suddenly died on Sunday afternoon and I lost contact with the electronic world, phone included. But I have not forgotten you.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad. Did you get any writing done in the meantime?
JOE: Yes. I was able to complete two and a half chapters of Martal Property during the cyber-hiatus.
CALLIOPE: At least you didn't sit around twiddling your thumbs. Any other adventures.
JOE: I developed new business cards for my writing and psychology practice which I will limit to marriage counseling and chemical dependency evaluations from now on. I also completed a brochure on my private practice activities.
CALLIOPE: You have been busy. Any word on the publishing front?
JOE: No. I am still waiting to hear from my publisher friend and movie producer. If I don't hear from either of them by the end of the week I will proceed with my efforts to find an agent on my own at least until I tire of it.
CALLIOPE: Then what?
JOE: I will again consider self publishing. I guess I would rather not resort to that but I may have to. That's about it for now.

(Spiral staircase at Charlotte Lighthouse- Rochester, NY)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you yesterday.
JOE: It was quite hectic. On Monday I wandered around Rochester with my brother from Hawaii. In the course of our hegira, I bought a new printer and set it up yesterday morning. At first it would shoot out three pages, eat one and spit it out and print nothing. After two hours on the phone with someone who seemed to be living in India (He wasn't sure how to spell "street,) I was as far as it printing out a jumble of colors, none of which were intended. I ended up exchanging it for one that works.
CALLIOPE: And then?
JOE: My goal yesterday was to write a Thanksgiving column on gratitude. It took me quite a while to get back into the gratitude mood which initially motivated me.
CALLIOPE: So you finally got it done?
JOE: I did, but that was about all.
CALLIOPE: I see. What about today?
JOE: I plan to work on my Christmas booklet this morning and see if I can get it to a draft stage. This afternoon, I will work on the novel.
CALLIOPE: At least you have a plan.
JOE: I do. And I better get going on it before I run out of day again.
CALLIOPE: Have a nice Thanksgiving.
JOE: I will and thanks for being you.
(Sculpture at Charlotte Beach-Rochester, NY)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How was your weekend?
JOE: Pretty good. I had planned to finish the chapter I was working on Saturday but got involved again in the agent search.
CALLIOPE: How did that go?
JOE: I confirmed my sense about one agent and sent my publisher friend a post about him asking if he knew him and would recommend me to him. I haven't heard from him yet.
CALLIOPE: So what about the writing?
JOE: I didn't get to it. I also had to bake a loaf of bread for my life partner's aunt. I also worked on a Christmas booklet I am developing as gifts and possibly for sale. However I did get to the chapter on Sunday and was able to finish it longhand since I was not near my computer.
CALLIOPE: Have you written your material longhand before?
JOE: I did a while ago. I wrote one whole book longhand and then transposed it to the computer.
CALLIOPE: What was that like?
JOE: I try to just concentrate on the story now and am saving the editing for later. When I write longhand, it is difficult not to edit while I am transposing it. It distracts me somewhat from the story.
CALLIOPE: That is a consideration. How about today?
JOE: My brother is in town from Hawaii and I plan to spend the afternoon and evening with him. I jut got back from breakfast with my daughter. I guess I won't have much time today for writing. I also need to compose a column for Saturday.
CALLIOPE: It looks like another day off from writing.
JOE: It does. But I am hoping that talking with him might give me some writing ideas. I had a talk on the phone last night with his girlfriend who was very positive about The Pastor's Inferno. It was nice to get her feedback. It keeps me going. Well, time to prepare for my journey.

(Sculpture at Charlotte Beach, Rochester,NY

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What have you been up to?
JOE: As I suspected, I did not do any actual writing yesterday. I had photographs to print, work to do on my Christmas booklet and mostly research on agents.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about the Christmas booklet.
JOE: It will consist of selected blogs from before I started conversing with you. They touch briefly on commonsense topics. I am hoping to have enough for a booklet.
CALLIOPE: How is the agent search coming?
JOE: It's getting there. I found an agent who works with children's and adult books, seems interested in a variety of topics, and even represented a book with a theme of Dante. I am thinking he might be a good bet but am doing some research on him and will check with my publishing friend.
CALLIOPE: It sounds promising. Was it much work?
JOE: Quite a bit. I am glad I have the internet. I don't know if I could ever find the information I have without it.
CALLIOPE: Good. Keep at it.
JOE: I will. I plan to finish the chapter I was working on later today and think about the next chapters over the rest of the weekend.
CALLIOPE: It sounds like you are working on getting back into the groove.
JOE: I am. I think next time I go away, I will make sure to do some work on my current project each day so I don't lose touch.

(Ladder- Charlotte Lighthouse- Rochester, NY)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Feeling rather busy. I went for a massage, made a card for Carol for our eleventh anniversary of being together and one for her brother and sister-in-law's recognition dinner tonight. I have also been working on booklets I plan to use as Christmas presents.
CALLIOPE: I guess you are busy. What about yesterday?
JOE: I started the day determined to find some agents who might be appropriate. It's a little complicated but I need agents who handle children's as well as adult books who have worked with my publishing friend.
CALLIOPE: Any luck?
JOE: No. I found some who had worked with him but they only handle children's books.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: I sent him an e-mail asking him if he could suggest any agents and that I would determine whether they worked with adult books if necessary.
CALLIOPE: Did you do any writing?
JOE: No. But I did finally call the film producer I know. I had not received a reply to my e-mail.
CALLIOPE: Any better luck with the phone call?
JOE: Yes. I talked with her most pleasant secretary. I should have called in the first place. She gets thousands of e-mails and it would have been better to call. Her secretary will let her know I called and we shall see what develops.
CALLIOPE: Do you have any writing plans for today?
JOE: I'm not sure yet. I have a few more things to do today and then have a party to go to tonight. Maybe it will have to wait until tomorrow.
CALLIOPE: I guess you were right about it being hard to regain momentum.
JOE: Yes. But my plan all along was to interrupt my writing when need be to pursue publication for my last book. Well, back to work.

(Grand Central Station from the roof of the Yale Club- NY)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Off to a rather slow start. Maybe I am still a bit groggy from my recent trip. It seems hard to get started today.
CALLIOPE: What did you accomplish yesterday?
JOE: I started the next chapter of Marital Property but was not quite into it. I guess taking a break for a few days does not help with continuity.
CALLIOPE: No it doesn't. What else did you do?
JOE: I started doing some research to find agents who had worked with my publishing friend so I could ask him for recommendations to specific agents rather than leaving the work of winnowing them to him.
CALLIOPE: Kind of you. Do you think it is time well spent?
JOE: Yes. He is doing me a favor. It can only help to give him a head start if I can.
CALLIOPE: How's it going?
JOE: Rather slow. I found a couple agents but my research on them indicates that they work only with children's books. I plan to work my way down the list today and see if I can find any who might be willing to work with adult fiction.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a plan. Anything else going on today?
JOE: Yes, quite a bit. I signed up to exhibit photos in a show at the arts council and need to drop them off today or tomorrow after I get them framed. I have a whole list of things to do. I better get started.
(Sunrise- Batavia, NY)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How was your trip?
JOE: Great. It's always nice to spend some time in New York, especially with Mike and Joe. The wedding was excellent, about the fanciest I can remember attending. It was at the Yale Club and had a great view of the city from the 24th floor roof in addition to everything else.
CALLIOPE: What else did you do?
JOE: Carol and I were a little more laid back than usual since we had four days to spend this time. We visitited St. John the Divine, or at least what was open after their fire several years ago. It was cavornous and quite interesting although not nearly as old as Westiminster Abbey. We also visitited the Guggenheim Museum which I had not seen since the 1960's. I still did not like it as much as any of the other museums in New York. But there were some good paintings.
CALLIOPE: Anything along creative lines for you?
JOE: Yes. Two things. I always feel energized visiting New York and came back ready to start again. I also ran into my publisher friend on the street who promised to explore some agents for me.
CALLIOPE: That must have been exciting.
JOE: It was. I plan to post him this morning and see what he can find for me. I think I probabaly need a recommendation to find an agent or somehow become instantly famous, which I don't think I can count on.
CALLIOPE: Well, you better get going while you are pumped up.
JOE: I agree. Talk with you later.

(Skylight- Guggenheim Museum, New York)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Feeling pretty much back to normal. Yesterday was a busy one.
CALLIOPE: What did you do?
JOE: First, I finished the chapter I was working on: dinner with the family. I don't write very many scenes with a bunch of people, so it was different.
CALLIOPE: What makes it so hard?
JOE: I don't like using "he said" or "she said" tags. So I have to make it clear who is talking in other ways. It's not so hard with two people, but a little more complicated with a group of people.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a challenge.
JOE: It is. Yesterday I wrote and sent out a column on keeping law and order in balance. I also worked on revising my private practice web site. I decided I need to earn a little money to pay for some of my writing projects. It was quite a project since I could not find my original files and had to reconstruct them before making changes. If you are interested it is at
CALLIOPE: You're not getting wealthy writing?
JOE: Not yet. It would be nice, but that's still down the road, or at least I hope it is. In the mean time, I have enough money for basics but not for things like extensive travel or up-front money for projects like self publishing if it comes to that.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you're looking ahead a bit.
JOE: I am. No point waiting until everything comes to a standstill before deciding what to do. I believe in being at least a little prepared.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good idea. No starving artist life for you?
JOE: No thanks. I have to be careful with my money now but I'm not in the poor house. Well, back to work.

(Railroad tracks- Batavia, NY)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Better. I am ready for a return to my usual self after dragging around for a couple days.
CALLIOPE: Did it slow you down?
JOE: Not really. I finished composing The Pastor's Inferno in Pagemaker. It is ready to convert to a PDF if I decide to pursue self publishing.
CALLIOPE: Good. How about Marital Property?
JOE: I did some work on that as well. My main characters are set for further get-togethers with best friends and siblings. The children are also trying to figure out how to manage what is going on.
CALLIOPE: Is that going smoothly?
JOE: Yes, but a little slow. I am working on incorporating Vineyard details and have realized I don't know quite as much about the place as I thought.
CALLIOPE: Accuracy does take some doing. Anything new on the publishing front?
JOE: Not yet. I am trying to be patient but nothing seems to be happening so far. I am wondering if I should approach more agents and if so, what I could do differently.
CALLIOPE: You seem to have done what you can on your own. The only other option seems to arrange an introduction.
JOE: Easier said than done. But I will keep my eyes and ears open for oipportunities.
CALLIOPE: What's on the docket for today?
JOE: More work on Marital Property. I also have a column to write for Saturday's Daily News.
CALLIOPE: You better get on it.
JOE: I am. I think I might write about the challenge of law and order.
CALLIOPE: Sounds interesting.
JOE: I hope so. And so to work.

(Alley's Store- Chilmark, MA)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are you feeling today?
JOE: Better I think whatever I had bugging me is receding.
CALLIOPE: Did you do any writing yesterday?
JOE: Yes. I worked on Marital Property but it was slow going.
JOE: For some reason I was working on a chapter which involved a great deal of geographical and historical detail such as the Vineyard, Cape Cod and New Bedford.
CALLIOPE: It is extra work, but it should make the story more interesting.
JOE: I hope so. I finished a chapter of the husband's reflections which I had not even planned to write. Sometimes characters have a mind of their own.
CALLIOPE: Well, I must admit, I give them ideas sometimes. Did you do anything else yesterday?
JOE: I thought more about self publication and worked on putting the manuscript of The Pastor's Inferno into press ready format. I think I am getting better at using Pagemaker.
CALLIOPE: Have you given up on traditional publication?
JOE: No, but I haven't heard from anyone who could help me and I think I am getting prepared just in case.
CALLIOPE: I guess it's good to be prepared.
JOE: I guess the key to satisfaction in wirting is being flexible. Back to work.

(Beach rose- Nantucket)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How have you been?
JOE: A little under the weather the last couple days. I thought I was getting a cold but it seems to be passing.
CALLIOPE: The immune system wins again.
JOE: I hope. I received two rejections from agents and am still waiting for the third reply. I put in quite a bit of efffort to choose appropriate agents but not a nibble from my efforts so far.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: I am still waiting to hear from the third agent and from my film producer friend. I also sent a post to my publishing contact asking him if he knew any agents I could approach. I have pretty much reached the conclusion that in order to retain agents, one must be among the already famous or be referred by someone they trust.
CALLIOPE: If anything comes of these efforts, I assume you will continue with the traditional publishing route.
JOE: Of course. If not, I will probably try a few more agents on my own but at the same time look more seriously at self publishing. I have already started brushing up on my PageMaker skills.
CALLIOPE: Anything different from the last two books?
JOE: I don't have the funds to just use a printer and am considering POD publishing. I have the skills to produce print-ready copy and a cover. So it would not be too expensive. In that case I will need to get serious about marketing and publicity.
CALLIOPE: Are you looking forward to this?
JOE: No. But I think it might be the only way I can sell any books. When I just get them printed, I tend to give them away.
CALLIOPE: You won't get rich that way.
JOE: I know it. But that's not my primary reason for writing anyway. Maybe I need to find another source of income.
CALLIOPE: Well, do what you have to.
JOE: I will give it some thought.
(View of Rocky Mountains- Estes Park, CO)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. What's new with your writing?
JOE: I don't know if anything is new but I am continuing to work on my novel.
CALLIOPE: In what way?
JOE: I did a little writing, but mostly spent my time yesterday doing research on divorce in Massachusetts.
CALLIOPE: What about your own experience?
JOE: I got out my divorce file. It was depressing to even open it. I was not sure I wanted to wade back into my own divorce and become mired. Besides, I thought things might be different in Massachusetts where my story takes place.
CALLIOPE: I understand. You do have some distance from your own experience, but still the memories remain or can at least be stirred up adding unpleasantness. Are things that different in Massachusetts?
JOE: As a matter of fact they are. They are a little easier on grounds for divorce and have no-fault which they don't here in New York. On the other hand, they don't have any such thing as legal separation or using a year's separation as grounds for divorce.
CALLIOPE: I guess it's good you looked. Do you feel ready to proceed with your new found information?
JOE: I do. I think I can now write the next two chapters on meetings of each spouse with their respective attorneys.
CALLIOPE: Okay. On with it.
JOE: I'm ready.

(Beach near Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. How are things today?
JOE: Fine. I started a chapter yesterday on my wife's meeting with her attorney. I got as far as the office when I realized I had some research to do.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: First, I needed to document personality characteristics of her attorney and how the two of them might interact.
CALLIOPE: Anything else?
JOE: I thought I might as well do the same for the husband's attorney and the interaction between the two of them. Both sets are finished.
CALLIOPE: Now are you ready to proceed?
JOE: Not quite. I need to do some research on the divorce process and legal aspects of the proceedings. I am familiar with what happens in New York, but not in Massachusetts where my story takes place.
CALLIOPE: Do you think it will be hard to find what you need?
JOE: I don't think so. I have had good luck with internet research and also know a couple lawyers I can consult if need be.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like you will be busy today.
JOE: Yes. I'm ready to get going.

(Fisherman's Monument- Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard)