Mon. Jan. 27, 2020: Intent for the Week: Quiet

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image courtesy of freephotos via pixabay.com
Monday, January 27, 2020
Waxing Moon

This does and doesn’t tie into the post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about “Precipice” other than the fact that I feel as though I’m on the edge of one.

My intent for this week is “Quiet” which will be a challenge on every front.

Client work will be busy and chaotic this week. I won’t have exterior quiet, so I will have to work on the interior quiet.

With everything going on politically, there will be even more noise than usual. I will keep up with my trusted sources of information, and back away from a lot of other noise. I need to do some work and make some decisions that can’t be distracted by other people’s noise or agendas.

I will carve out additional time this week for solitude and meditation, extending my morning and evening meditation times.

If the weather is decent, I hope to add in a couple of solitary walks.

I’m fed up and done with situations on several fronts. Rather than be reactive, I want to step back, be quiet and thoughtful, and work on decisions from there.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on January 27, 2020 at 6:33 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

There’s a new post on Affairs of the Pen, under the Ava Dunne name, about how we’re all kids eager to look for lost treasure.

Yesterday really felt like a lost day, work-wise. It was frustrating.

I got a little bit of writing done before the rental inspection. The inspection itself takes only a few minutes, especially since everything’s okay and we have an ethical landlord. But the timing of it means I couldn’t really start anything until it was over.

I managed to get to the library and get a few things done, but I was under time constraints. Couldn’t get anywhere near done what I needed to.

Dashed back, bolted down a quick lunch, and then took my mother to the doctor. Where we waited for an hour and a half for a five-minute appointment. So, basically, the afternoon was lost, too.

I got in some reading, and finished the book for review, and started reading a fascinating book on the literary world in 1922, where this author believes everything changed.

Had planned to take a walk on the beach, but by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, it had clouded up and gotten too windy.

Leftovers for dinner, and reading. I’m still working my way through my re-reads of Donna Leon’s Brunetti series.

I have to do some research on Chicago in 1856 to get the correct names of a few things for “A Woman for the Job.”

Started “A Rare Medium” — the next Kate Warne play, about a case of hers where she posed as a medium. I have to dig up my notes on names, but it’s percolating along nicely.

Working on revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Some of it is sticky work, but once I fix the first half, where I got off track (again), the rest should fall into place pretty nicely.

Unpacked and purged a few boxes, and sorted out some clothes. Figuring out what to donate, what to get rid of, what to pack away as stock, and what to keep in the closet.

Yesterday was the first day of full peaceful co-existence for all three cats since Willa and Charlotte came to live here. Even Tessa and Charlotte ignored each other, while being in the same room, which is huge progress.

If Charlotte had ended up in a shelter, she would have been marked unadoptable. Fortunately, MA has only no-kill shelters, or she would have ended up on death row. She can’t stand confinement or closed doors or chaos and doesn’t do well with strangers. I’m glad she’s here and I figured out how to work with her to make her feel safe. The sunnier, sweeter side of her personality is starting to come out.

Willa just kind of does her own thing. She likes company, but refuses to engage when Charlotte has a tantrum. She’s very, very smart, and keeps at something until she figures it out. And friendly. She’s a friendly, easy-going cat most of the time.

Tessa is getting used to them. She doesn’t assert herself enough with them, but there’s peaceful co-existence. As my vet in NY said, it’s healthier for them to be together in the same room and ignore each other than be alone. After all, we took in these cats because Tessa hates being an only cat.

We’re getting there. I hope we’ve turned a corner. There will be some regression here and there, I’m sure, but consistency, boundaries, and lots and lots of affection have brought them a long way.

I had a meeting with a potential client late in the morning, which is why this is posting so late. The conversation was fine, but we are not what each other needs right now.

Now, I’m off to the grocery store, and then back to write the review and start the next book for review.

The weather’s supposed to be bad this weekend, so I’ll stay in to write, read, and purge boxes from the basement. Maybe run the leaves to the dump tomorrow morning, if the weather’s okay.

With a new moon, Burns Night, Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and Chinese Lunar New Year all hitting this weekend, I will be exhausted.

Received the second invitation to work without pay this week, this time a speaking engagement. I gracefully declined. What gets me about both invitations was that it comes from people who are paid and who don’t work without pay — yet they want me so to do.

Put in my share of that.

I looked over my clips and what I use where. I realized that my unpaid clips for “exposure” only resulted in requests for more unpaid work. Clips from paid gigs led to more paid gigs. That’s important information. I will sit down and figure out the exact stats, but it was an important realization.

How did I do with my intent to listen this week? I definitely listened. I definitely did not like a lot of what I heard. The Senate Trial is enraging and disheartening. The Republican Senators are a disgrace.

I listened to a lot of incidental conversations around me. As a writer, I do periodic eavesdropping anyway, as part of my process to catch cadence. But I was discouraged by the amount of intentional stupidity going around.

So, yes, I achieved my “intent” for the week, but the consequences were not what I foresaw. I still have a couple of days to go on the week, but I think I will focus on listening to music!

 

Thurs. Jan. 23, 2020: Projects and Exhaustion and Frustration

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Dark Moon
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, where I talk about my dreams of gardens.

Yesterday was exhausting, partially because the day before the dark moon tends to be my lowest energy day of the month.

I’m working on a big project with a client, so that’s taking a lot of time and attention for the next few weeks.

I started the next Kate Warne play, “The Rare Medium.” I hope I can keep the opening two lines. They are some of my favorites among all my projects. No, I am not posting them. I don’t blow first rights by splattering something in draft on public platforms.

Working on the book for review, and the other book for review finally arrived. Will finish one today and get the review out tomorrow, and read the other one over the weekend.

Have roughed out the short story inspired by the news event in my head, and will start drafting it later today.

Have a meeting with a potential client late morning tomorrow, so tomorrow’s blog will post late. It’s on YET another platform, so I need to download YET another app and I’m sick of it all. I don’t want to run my life on apps.

The rental inspection was this morning. Of course, one of the carbon monoxide detectors decided to start squeaking “end of life” because why wait until an hour later, when the inspection was done? Will contact the landlord to get a new one. He’s really good about stuff like that.

Needed Google Hangouts Meet App for tomorrow’s client conference. What a nightmare getting that to work. I HATE having to use apps for everything. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Working on the revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, too. I lost a few threads in this draft. Some of them I will remove completely — they’re bogging down the story. Others need to be reworked so they’re stronger.

Of course, scenes for GAMBIT COLONY keep forming in my head, when it’s not a good time to work on it. Because that’s the way it goes. Idea Cookies.

Some work at the library, then work at home, then taking my mother to her doctor’s appointment. Then home for more writing and reading.

Every one of those rude, corrupt GOP Senators walking out of the trial needs to be held in contempt, lose the right to vote, and be removed from the process (and office). No jurors are allowed to behave this way. Chief Justice Roberts’s refusal to actually behave like a judge during trial is equally appalling. The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court is supposed to be a leader, not a milquetoast.

The whole corrupt sham is disgusting.

In the meantime, I’m going back to the page.

 

Wed. Jan. 22, 2020: Up and Down and . . .

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Day Before Dark Moon

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about my Business Bookshelf. I hope you’ll read some of the books you haven’t yet read.

Monday was telling, in those who showed their true colors (and how they feel about color) by declaring that Martin Luther King Jr. Day “isn’t a real holiday.”

More people to remove from my life.

Client work was what it was, and I was glad to get home.

Got my review off, and got another book to review, while I wait for the print book to review to arrive in the mail. Every time I get a new book to review, I’m excited and hope to fall in love with it.

Got an article pitch out, one that I like, to a publication for whom I’d like to start a writing. Fingers crossed. They got back to me on Tuesday morning — love the article, but don’t to pay. What a slap in the face. I’ll rework the pitch and send it elsewhere.

Read the second book in a series about which I have mixed feelings. I enjoy the characters and the historical detail, but the pace is too slow for a mystery. It takes forever to get anywhere, and then, suddenly there’s a climactic scene, and then another ten pages of life settling back down, instead of a single scene as a breath.

It was amazing how an excellent writing session on “A Woman for the Job” (the Kate Warne play) set a much more positive tone for the day than I had when I woke up.

Worked on the play yesterday morning, finishing the draft. Went back to working on “Trust” this morning, and planning the next Kate Warne play, which will be about the case where she posed as a medium, working title “The Rare Medium.”

A news story about the gun nut idiots in Virginia on Monday enraged me so much that it spurred the idea for a short story. I wasn’t going to write any short stories this year, but if I don’t channel this rage into art, it will eat me alive. I have the plot points and characters sketched out. Now, I just have to sit down and write it. I did a little yesterday and today. I hope I can finish a draft over the weekend.

Also angry about the way Mitch McConnell is determined not to do a complete and fair trial for the removal of the impeached Narcissistic Sociopath.

Client work yesterday was what it was, and will be so again today. I hope I can participate in the #RemoteChat.

Pizza night tonight, and then some writing. I will vacuum the house top to toe tonight, and mop floors first thing tomorrow. The damn rental inspection again. They changed the hours for doing inspections, which means I lose a half day of work (and pay) for them to come. I’m really sick and tired of the attitude that no one who lives here has to work for a living and can take off and hang around without pay for everyone else’s schedule.

I hope to get some writing done in and around the inspection, and before I have to take my mother to her doctor’s appointment (which is why I asked that they come today, when I already knew I’d have a jagged day). But it still means lost work hours and lost income, because I can’t really sit down and do a solid stretch of billable hours. I can work on pitches and LOIs, but not client work. It means working later in the evening or more hours on Friday to make up for it.

In the meantime, back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 22, 2020 at 6:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Waning Moon

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about books that had a strong impact on me in 2019.

It was a rather frustrating weekend, at least as far as productive writing. I’m still struggling with the end of “Trust.” I worked on, but did not finish the Kate Warne curtain raiser. I am at a crossroads with the scene on which I’m working. I don’t want to add characters this late into the play, nor do I want to have the climax of the play happen offstage.

I got an idea for two more comic mystery radio plays: one a steampunk, and one set against a vintage circus. I wrote the first eleven pages of the steampunk. I had to re-figure the plot once when I changed direction on one of the characters; then again, when I realized that some of the tropes I’m playing with could come across as offensive, and, within the restrictions of time and number of characters, I couldn’t do enough to turn those tropes inside out so using them wouldn’t be offensive. I’d need it to be a full-length evening in order to do that. Maybe I should make it into a two-parter? I’m confused. I have to think about it. There are already a few identity switches, but now I might have to add a character who is only referenced and do another mistaken identity. Or, or, I could enter this character and make this character the Big Bad. Because right now, the Big Bad is never in the script, and I feel that lets the audience down. The characters are all at odds with each other. Or do I want this as part of a series, like I did with the Frieda and Lazarus plays, and have the big reveal in the third play?

I don’t know yet.

I had a question from the director of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” from one of the actors. I think I’ve fixed it in a single line. Fingers crossed.

Discouraged about the LOIs and the article pitches. I’m tired of companies lying about what they want in a certain role. That’s what it all is — lies, to get someone cheap instead of skilled, frightened instead of an independent thinker, and to force them to go beyond the scope of what drew them to the company in the first place — and not beyond the scope in a good way. Not a stretch, but a diminishment.

As far as article pitches, I’m discouraged with myself for not getting them drafted, polished, and out fast enough. I managed to finally get one pitch, for a publication with whom I really want to work for, polished, and sent it off yesterday. Fingers crossed.

Did laundry, worked with the cats a lot, cooked, baked, worked on contest entries and the book for review. Finished the book, wrote the review, sent it off.

We had a snowstorm on Saturday night into Sunday which we needed, but it changed over into rain overnight. We need some steady snow cover, or the tick and bug problem will be out of control and the growing season will be challenging. We had snow flurries on Monday morning, but nothing substantial.

Worked on site with a client, in spite of the holiday. No meditation, so I sat on my own in the afternoon.

Onsite today with a client, and then some work at the library. Video conference with London with a different client, before I go onsite.

Just feel disappointed and discouraged all around. Let’s hope I can shift that this week.

Published in: on January 21, 2020 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mon. Jan. 20, 2020: Intent for the Week: Listen

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image courtesy of sasint via pixabay.com

Monday, January 20, 2020
Waning Moon

I considered multiple intents for this week. The one I really wanted was “Solitude” but that wasn’t going to happen this week, so I decided not to set myself up for failure.

Instead, I chose “listen.”

The Senate trial for removal, post the House’s impeachment of the Narcissistic Sociopath starts this week. I intend to listen. I intend to let my Senators know, each day, what I think of what I’ve heard. I intend to be an additional juror. McConnell has already made it clear he won’t be impartial. The Chief Justice should force him to recuse.

This week will show each Senator for who they are: Whether they will fulfill their Oath to the Constitution, or whether they only care for lining their own pockets and are willing to sell us out and destroy our democracy. The Senators are o trial as much as the defendant.

I will listen to the trial. I will listen to those I encounter who have opinions on the trial and other things. It gives me information I need about them, and listening this week will help me shape my decisions over the next few months. I will listen to what’s not being said, and become aware of subtext.

I will listen to music, to soothe my soul.

I will listen to nature: the wind, the waves, whatever other weather comes our way. I will listen to the way the house creaks and the way the car sounds as it starts.

I will learn from aural cues.

I am hypersensitive to sound anyway, with a rare condition called hyperaccusis, which manifests in strange (and often painful) ways.

But this week, I will listen mindfully, and see how that shapes perceptions and aids me in my decision-making.

What is your intent for the week? How have you used the intents in the past few weeks?

Published in: on January 20, 2020 at 6:04 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?

 Friday, January 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re finally getting the cold weather we need for the garden and to kill off the bugs. Supposedly, a storm coming in, too.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk aboutSecond Book Syndrome.It was supposed to post this morning, but I think I inadvertently posted it yesterday.

I couldn’t get a parking spot at Centerville Library, so I went to the Sandwich Library first. Dropped off books. Used the computer there. Got out some LOIs. Found some great books about books and writers that I checked out and am eager to read.

Circled back to Centerville Library, where I dropped off and picked up.

Did some grocery shopping.

The wind was awful all afternoon. I didn’t dare work on the computer. I did some work in longhand and read, mostly.

We worked for a couple of hours socializing the cats in my room. Willa, Charlotte, and Tessa, all together, hanging out calmly. It worked for nearly two hours, until Charlotte tried to bully Tessa again. But it’s progress. Willa and Tessa are doing pretty well. Willa and Charlotte are doing well, most of the time, because Willa stands up to Charlotte.

Chicken pasta Alfredo with broccoli for dinner. It was good.

Started reading a book and it just didn’t do it for me, so I stopped. Since it wasn’t a contest entry or a book for review, I had that option! Started another book, which intrigues me, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The writing is very good, the situation is interesting, but tying it to a well-known figure was unnecessary, in my opinion. I’m getting a little tired of that trope.

How did I do with my week of the intent of creativity? Honestly, I did better last week. This week, I was slow in the writing (although I plan to make up for it this weekend, with a writing immersion starting this afternoon). I wrote, but not as much or as well as I wanted. I was very creative when it came to client work and LOIs, but not as much as I wanted on my own work.

I did, however, pay attention to everything that was in front of me and give it my full attention. In that respect, I fulfilled my intent. I came up with some new approaches to several different topics, although I did not have the chance to implement them.

I felt tired, emotional, and off my game.

But the week isn’t over, yet, and I hope to steady on.

Today, I have to take my mother to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, go to the library, pick up my mother’s medication at the pharmacy, and then home before the storm.

For an immersed weekend of reading and writing, as the storm rages outside.

Have a great weekend.

 

Thurs. Jan. 16, 2020: Rain, Writing, Other

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

The temperature is dropping, It’s going to snow this weekend.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was exhausting with the client, and will be for the next few weeks, while we work on a big project. It’s fine, I’m just wiped out when I leave.

Home, worked with the cats. Charlotte was being difficult. But the Chewy order arrived, which put all three of them in a better mood.

Worked on contest entries, and am re-reading Donna Leon’s FATAL REMEDIES.

Up early this morning, took my mother to a medical appointment. Got some writing done. Off to two different libraries today, for resources that are unique to each.

I am determined to wrestle the end of “Trust” into something that works over the next few days.

Will start my next book for review tonight.

Hope to finish “Trust” and the Kate Warne curtain raiser, and also get some serious work done on BALTHAZAAR. That deadline is looming.

Hoping to get some more LOIs out today or tomorrow, and then polish some article proposals over the weekend.

At least there’s never a dull moment!

Published in: on January 16, 2020 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Jan. 15, 2020: This, That, Writing

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild for January, but getting colder

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about Winter Work. Then, hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for the Mid-January check-in.

Yesterday was tiring onsite with the client, but it is what it is. Today will be the same, and so will the next few weeks. We have some big projects coming up.

The more that comes out about this corrupt administration, the more disgusting it is. The Chief Justice must also take action against any Senator who breaks the Oath taken when sworn in for the trial. One of the reasons it’s getting worse and worse is that there are no consequences for breaking Oaths and the law.

Got my reviews out, and new books assigned.

Swung by the grocery store to pick up a few things. Swung by the library to drop off and pick up.

Home. Got a chicken in the oven to roast. Worked with the cats. Worked on contest entries.

Delighted to find out that the radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” will be performed on January 27. I wish I could fly down and be there for it, but I can’t.

In the first two weeks of January, I’ve had two radio plays scheduled for production, and a proposal for 2 plays accepted. Nice start to the year.

Over the past few days, watched documentaries on The International Sweethearts of Rhythm and THE GIRLS IN THE BAND, which had some overlap. I want to write something rooted in there, but I’m not sure what yet. I have to let it percolate, while I write the other things.

Today, I’m at a client’s, and the home. I’ll be wiped out, no doubt, but I plan to get some work done on the plays and the contest entries. I have the rest of the Kate Warne play in my head — now I have to get it down on paper. Would be nice to come up with a title, too. And I need to finish “Trust.” It’s frustrating that these last four pages are so difficult. I had a decent first writing session on the Winter Solstice novel.

The last couple of days, I tried to start my writing day by reading about writing and craft before writing, but that was a mistake. I need to do it later in the day, and hit the page first thing.

Charlotte is trying to learn how to be a literary cat, but since she’s awkward anyway, it’s taking time. But at least she’s making the effort, and she likes to be in my writing room with me when I work.

I hope I can participate in Remote Chat, but I have a feeling that it will be too chaotic.

The next four days are about writing and going through boxes and putting the last of the winter holiday stuff. It’s supposed to get very cold over the weekend and then snow, so it will be a good weekend to stay in.

Tues. Jan. 14, 2020: The Skeezy & The Stormy

Tuesday, January 14, 2019
Waning Moon
No Retrogrades

Can you believe it? We have a short window with no retrogrades. It’s going to feel strange.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I have an interview up with historical author Jean Roberts.

I was so, so angry on Friday. I’d gotten a quick response from an LOI, asking me for more information and sending me a link to pre-interview questions on a Google doc.

The “questions” were a demand for me to write a proposal, complete with sources. Unpaid, of course. Another question was about how I’d go about contacting a Big Name this company wants to land for a project.

First of all, I don’t do unpaid work, especially not this kind. The company expects “interviewees” to write full proposals WITH SOURCE MATERIAL. Unpaid. Then, the company will tell each one who did it that they didn’t make the cut. Then, the company has a year’s worth of proposals written without paying for a single one. Can you say scam?

Second, I HAVE the contact information for this particular Big Name. I don’t give it out, certainly without permission. And I sure as HELL wouldn’t give it to a sleazy organization like this one.

Third, none of this has anything to do with the parameters of the job about which I sent an LOI — scriptwriting. They said they wanted scriptwriters to write spots FOR THEIR CLIENTS. Not proposal writers to land new clients, or mine people’s contact lists. Yet that’s what these “pre-interview” questions demand.

Boo, shove those questions right up your ass.

It was a decent writing weekend. I have some ideas on what I want to build the Susanna Centlivre play around. I may use both of them, or I may choose one and make it a shorter, more focused play. I need to do some more research.

Friday afternoon, I worked on the books for review. Saturday morning, into the afternoon, I wrote, getting ahead on blog posts. Spent most of the afternoon doing laundry and starting contest entries. I’m still working on the laundry to finish and put away from the holidays.

Worked with the cats. Tessa and Willa are making progress. Tessa and Charlotte are still having trouble.

Re-read MY STAGGERFORD JOURNAL, Jon Hessler’s account of writing his first novel. I enjoyed it, but was much more aware of white male privilege this time around.

Made rumbledethumps on Saturday night, from the Moosewood recipe. That’s always good.

It was warm and sunny out on Saturday. I should have done yard work, but I was busy doing other work.

It was stormy Saturday into Sunday. Terrible winds. Warm with rain, but the damp made it feel cold. I didn’t dare work on the computer until the afternoon, for fear the power would go out and hurt the machine. It’s old and limping along as it is. I want to be good to it.

Worked on contest entries. Worked on “Trust.” The end still isn’t where I want it.
Worked on the Kate Warne curtain-raiser, which still doesn’t have a title, but is plugging along decently. I got an excellent ten pages on it, which means it will be longer than I expected — a tad more than a curtain raiser.

Worked on contest entries. This year’s entries are strong, with terrific premises. Always exciting.

Monday client work was fine, and I was happy to get to meditation.

Today, I’m with a client most of the day, and then other meetings.

Looking forward to some solid writing time.

Mon. Jan. 13, 2020: Intent for the Week: Creativity

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image courtesy of Amber Lamoreaux viz pexels.com

Monday, January 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Uranus Direct (as of the 11th)

Can you believe it? No retrogrades for a brief, shining bit of time. Do we even know how to respond to that?

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, where I suggest some tools to help you reach your GDRs.

Today is my “Intent Post.” As you can see from the title, the intent for the week is “Creativity.”

What does that mean?

It means different things to different people.

For me, first and foremost, it always means the writing. I want and need to have a creative week when it comes to working on a variety of writing projects including novels and plays, both drafting and editing. It means being creative in the way I approach potential new clients. It means being creative in the way I approach the ongoing client work.

It means being creative in how I approach cleaning out the basement, which I’m trying to break down into small enough daily bits so it doesn’t overwhelm me.

To me, being “creative” means approaching each task with the focus I intended last week, and building on it by looking at it from multiple angles, and not being tied into “the way I always do it.”

It’s time to trade comfort for creativity.

What is your intent for the week?

Did you stick to your intent last week, or did it change as the week unrolled?

Fri. Jan. 10, 2020: Reviewing Focus & Prepping for a Writing Weekend

Friday, January 10, 2020
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to the Ava Dunne blog, Affairs of the Pen,to read about what the characters miss when they go out to sea.

We’re supposed to hit record high temperatures this weekend around here. The snow is already melting. IF it’s dry enough, I’ll do some more yard work.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, worked on the GRAVE REACHmedia kit, did some work on the marketing plan for the overall series.

Dropped off and picked up a bunch of stuff at the library.

The first shipment of books for the contest arrived. Very exciting! I unpacked them, checked them against my list. I have a few digital ones to download, which I will do over the next few days, and then I’ll start reading. I like getting the entries in two shipments. It means I can finish the first batch by the time the second batch arrives, and it gives me time to give the ones vying for the top spot and finalist spots a second read.

Yes, I take my work as a contest judge seriously. These authors poured heart and soul into the work. I approach each with excitement and joy. I WANT to fall in love with every book I pick up. The categories have become more and more competitive each year, with both the quality of writing, and the way the winning authors are growing the genre.

In the afternoon, I read F.P. Lock’s dissection of Susanna Centlivre’s plays, letters, and poems. It was very interesting, and makes me even more excited to write about her. I look forward to reading her plays — I got several from Project Gutenberg. The Lock book came from Taunton Library via the Commonwealth Catalog — I’m so lucky to have access to that.

To my great joy, I received notification that 365 Women accepted BOTH the proposal for the Susanna Centlivre play and for the Isabella Goodwin play. I’m absolutely delighted. I am researching Susanna already. I’d like to get that play done and out by the end of June. That gives me the second half of the year for Isabella’s play.

I got a little bit of work done on the Winter Solstice romance. I’m at the point (six chapters in), where I need to start typing what I’ve written in longhand and making tracking sheets, because I’m losing certain elements. I have an outline, which helps. I have a feeling it will be more of a women’s fiction novel with romantic elements rather than a romance novel. There are issues I’m exploring that take it out of the romance formula, while still having my two protagonists falling in love.

I’m still struggling with the last few pages of “Trust.” I hope to get it finished this weekend.

I need to do some tweaks on the Lavinia Fontana play, too, SERENE AND DETERMINED, because I have my eye on a potential submission for that.

I had a wacky idea of an out-there dream project (in real life) that I will never be able to fund (in real life), but it would make a cool premise for a book. Made some notes. So we’ll see.

Idea Cookies, right?

Working on the books for review. I want to get the reviews out next week, and get in the next books for review. I can juggle those deadlines with contest entries and research books.

Re-read Donna Leon’s QUIETLY IN THEIR SLEEP and A NOBLE RADIANCE over the last couple of days. I get so much out of this series every time I read it.

Finished watching the documentary on the Dark Ages. I didn’t know most of what was in it. Very interesting.

One of the LOIs I sent out yesterday already got a response for more interaction. I will do that later today. We will see if we are a good match. But it was a pleasant, professional response, and it was quick, so we’ll see how it goes.

Lots of errands this morning. As I’ve been writing this, it’s moved from sunny to cloudy. Reminds me there was a red sky in the morning, which means there could be rain later. Looks like it will be sooner, rather than later.

So, how did I do on this week’s intent of focus?

Pretty well, even though the focus was spread over a lot of projects. But whatever I worked on, I FOCUSED on. I got more done (although it never, ever feels like enough).

I feel as though the energy I focused on the Susanna Centlivre research really paid off, as did the focus on the LOIs. It’s too early to see if the pitches hit true, but I’m happy with the quality of what I pitched.

I’m looking forward to a creative weekend. Let’s hope next week is positive and creative, too!

Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was exhausting. I was plugging away at my client’s when one of the reps needed an email blast sent out immediately. Of course, it was near the end of my workday. Then, when I logged onto Robly, the platform we use — they changed everything on their dashboard. So there I was, under time pressure, and they’ve made everything awful.

For the past three years, I’ve loved Robly and recommended it to everyone above Constant Contact and MailChimp. Now, without any warning, they’ve stripped everything that made them unique and versatile out of the platform. I can’t build a campaign from scratch anymore. I’m FORCED to choose one of THEIR templates, then have to dismantle it in order to rebuild it the way I need. Instead of being able to choose a blank template and building it the way I want. Everything that took one step now takes five. I’m being forced into setting up for metrics that my clients don’t want or need. Support had to work with me through live chat so I could send out a basic, simple email because the platform tried to force me into A/B testing of two different emails. I don’t want or need that for that particular blast. Don’t force me into doing extra work when I’m on time pressure for things I don’t want or need. No. YOU are supposed to serve MY needs, not the other way around.

So, no more Robly for me. I know there’s one particular client who won’t move platforms, but everyone else will, once I recommend it, will move. And I sure as hell won’t be recommending them to ANYONE again.

Way to lose customers, Robly.

Remote chat was okay, but I got in late and was upset, and had to work to catch up.

Stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a few things.

Charlotte was in meltdown mode when I got home, having an anxiety attack where she also got aggressive. She didn’t like the boundaries set while I was gone (that she couldn’t go up and bother Tessa). So she got hissy and spitty and aggressive. Then, she heard people talking outside and some idiot idling their engine for a good half hour and freaked out. I suspect that was the pattern when she was moved around — she had anxiety and got aggressive, there were loud voices, a car engine started up, and she was moved to the next location.

I coaxed her into my lap and soothed her. As soon as the truck drove off and there were no more voices, AND SHE WAS STILL HOME, she calmed down and was fine.

She has to learn boundaries. And she needs to learn that having to stay within certain boundaries (and there aren’t a lot: no aggression to the humans or cats in the household; stay off the counters) doesn’t mean she’s given away.

Time and patience. That’s all she needs. Time and patience. And consistency.

Worked on the Winter Solstice romance this morning. Will finish the draft of “Trust” this afternoon, and wash the holiday fabric, so it can be put away until next year. Have to get some wax out of a few pieces. That’s where the iron and the butcher paper come in handy. I can lift off the wax using butcher paper without hurting the iron or the fabric.

Will clean out some boxes from the basement this weekend, maybe get in some yard work, do research, write, work on the books for review.

Hopefully, a lovely, creative weekend at home. I need some peace and quiet!

Difficult, when there’s a psychopath determined to get us all killed running the country. And Congress lets him.

An article pitch and an LOI bounced back. I found another submission address for the article pitch. The LOI — the company removed the listing, so that’s that. Working on a couple more article pitches and LOIs that will go out either later this week, or early next.

Back to the page.