Tues. June 18, 2019: Weekend Writing Groove

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

The #ReaderExpansionChallenge post will be late, but I’ll post as soon as I can. Crazy couple of days.

Weekend was pretty good, writing wise. Saturday was terrific. Worked on both the first (longhand) and second (typed) drafts of ELLA BY THE BAY; worked on GRAVE REACH, and finding some cool new stuff in it; worked on the newest draft of GAMBIT COLONY, where I’m breaking the big manuscript down into manageable books. All in all, a little over 11K.

Also finished the book for review. It was quite good.

Windy and stormy on Saturday night. Gloomy start on Sunday morning.

Worked on ELLA, took a break, went back to the page. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Took a break. Went back to the page. Did revisions on GAMBIT. Wound up for the day. Again, a really good word count day. I was also happy with the quality, not just the quantity. I have to keep up both.

Wrote my review, polished it. Sent it off yesterday morning, and hope to be assigned my next book soon.

Good first writing session of the morning yesterday.

Worked onsite with a client yesterday. We have a big event today, so I won’t be around much.

If I can keep the momentum going, and pick up the pace just a little bit on GRAVE REACH, I’ll be in a good groove.

 

Mon. June 17, 2019: A Presumed Negative Attitude Can Be Positive — #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, June 17, 2019
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

How often have you heard someone complaining about another person’s attitude? Or even stating, in a derogatory tone, that so-and-so “has attitude”?

How often is it really a person standing up for themselves, and not allowing someone else to dictate their lives or responses? Someone being assertive (not aggressive). Someone who has enough self-esteem not to be bullied?

If someone says or does something derogatory/harmful, you have both the right and the responsibility to speak up and stop it.

“Keep your hands to yourself.”

“Please keep your tone professional and cordial.”

“Stop making racist remarks and expecting me to agree with you.”

The person hearing these statements will say you have attitude. Good. You should.

The person making these statements has the attitude that they are right, that they are entitled to decide how others think, feel, and behave, and that they are better than those they disparage. They are wrong.

The next time you stand up for yourself or someone else and are accused of having “attitude” — smile and say, “Thank you. That’s the best thing anyone has said to me today.”

Shuts them right up!

Published in: on June 17, 2019 at 6:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. June 14, 2019: Preparing for a Writing Weekend

Friday, June 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday, I did a bunch of client work in the morning, got out some LOIs. It was pouring with rain in the afternoon. I worked around the house and read.

I’m re-reading GOOD OMENS, in preparation for watching the mini-series. I’d forgotten how much I love the book. I’m giggling on every page.

It’s such a relief not to have to worry about the mowing. Now, I can work on the beds here and there on nice days, and get the rest of the planting in.

ELLA BY THE BAY is going well. Ella’s struggles with forgiving herself for making bad choices as she works to make better ones resonates. GRAVE REACH is going slowly, but it’s going. I’m happy with the shape the book is taking, and with the way Lesley and Sam try to navigate their relationship.

I feel like I learn a lot from each book I write, and then I can apply it to the next one. That’s a good thing.

This weekend, I’m hoping to balance rest, writing, some gardening, and also purging some boxes from the basement. I’m hoping a bit of rest and downtime will help get a few things into perspective. I also have a hectic week next week — a big event for a client early in the week, and a few other demands and meetings later in the week.

Step by step. That’s all we can do, right?

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

I hope the weather stays this temperate — sunny and not too warm. It would be nice not to have a brutal, humid summer.

Published in: on June 14, 2019 at 8:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. June 13, 2019: Writing, Garden, Rain

Thursday, June 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Raining and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the details about the garden and the mowing.

People are pretty sad around this area. The Bruins lost the Stanley Cup last night to St. Louis.

Yesterday, the guy came to mow, early in the morning. I’d let my neighbor know, so that he wouldn’t be rudely awakened (although he was probably up). In one hour, the guy did what usually took me several days. There’s a lot of relief in having this off my plate. I never found my mowing Zen, I hated the mowing part of having a yard. I struggled for years. This guy is nice, charges a price fair to both of us, and does a good job. If anyone decides to give me a hard time for not handling it myself, too bad. I’m not twenty any more. There are things I can’t physically do anymore, and things I don’t WANT to do. Mowing is both.

The lawn looks good (okay, I admit, I preferred it to look wild in the back), and now I can concentrate on the beds and plants, and putting down fertilizer to keep it green and healthy.

Client work onsite was fine. I’m prepping for next week’s big event. I’ll probably have to put in some extra hours in the next few days, remotely, but that’s fine.

Another client gave me the greenlight on the material I wrote, so now I’m getting it out to the press and up on event calendars.

Again, I got jerked around by the potential client in Boston. We’ve now had half a dozen conversations that I need advance notice to come up from the Cape to Boston. It is ignored. When I follow up on meetings they claim they want for confirmation, I get excuses.

So, it’s finally gotten through my thick skull that they’re not serious about hiring me. Somehow, they can use me as leverage against someone else. They’re stringing me along for whatever reason. But guess what? I’m not willing to be anyone’s second choice. And if so many red flags come up during our initial meetings, what would working with them be like?

I’m going to keep pursuing other opportunities. I’m going to keep keeping up with my other clients. I’m going to keep sending out LOIs and article pitches.

I’m disappointed, I’m a little angry, I’m insulted. But it’s best that I acknowledge those feelings, then drop them and move on.

I’m doing all kinds of research in Caribbean history. It’s technically for ELLA BY THE BAY, but some of it is useful in THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA.

ELLA BY THE BAY is going very well. I enjoy my daily writing session on it, in longhand. I like mixing elements of mystery, romance, and the character’s self-exploration.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly, but it’s finding its way. I look forward to getting this draft to my editor. THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA both have new release dates, early next year, and I’m working on the revisions. The new track for both books is much better. I’d rather spend more time on the book than rush it and put out a lousy book.

I’m reading some material on Brighton Pier in preparation to write the next radio play. I’m looking forward to it. I might also contact the museum with some questions.

There’s still an awful lot that needs to be dealt with in the next few months, but I’m doing what I can each day to deal with it. Mercury in Retrograde for the bulk of July isn’t going to help.

Have to follow up today on an article I submitted a couple of weeks ago. It’s supposed to be paid on acceptance, and there hasn’t been any acknowledgement of it, much less acceptance, or payment. If this was the first time working with the publication, I would figure this is just the way they operate, but I’ve written and been paid for a half a dozen pieces over the years, so I don’t understand what’s going on now.

Will follow up on a couple of other things, too.

Fingers crossed, and then back to the page.

 

Wed. June 12, 2019: Could There Be Some Relief in Sight? Don’t Want to Jinx It!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Over on Ink-Dipped Advice, I talk about interviews being more of information exchange sessions.

I don’t feel like I have many interesting things to say on the blog right now. There’s plenty going on; but much of it is inappropriate to discuss publicly at this point. It’s taking a toll, but until certain things are settled, it’s counterproductive and potentially harmful to discuss them here. So I hope you will be patient. I will share what I can as I can.

On the upside, I managed to get the final piece finished on the car — the hub cab. I can’t believe they charge that much for a plastic piece of crap that’s going to pop right off again the next time there’s a pothole. Which, by the way, is how most roads in MA operate — full of potholes. They spend months narrowing traffic lanes and causing delays to pave the roads. Two days later, some utility company rips it all up, puts a bad patch on it, and everything’s right back to where it started. It’s not about throwing money at infrastructure — it’s about coordination, and making the utility companies fix what they rip up.

I’ve been getting estimates from lawn care companies about the mowing. No luck finding a woman-run business so far. Hit and miss on the others. This attitude that I don’t have the right to decide what is done and when has got to stop. I’m not hiring someone who shames or demeans me. Why would I pay for that?

I finally found a really nice guy who is responsive, friendly, listens. He came by yesterday morning to take a look and talk about it. He’s going to start today, and then come every other week. It’s a reasonable price, and it takes a lot of worry off my back (and pain out of my back). What a relief.

Working with a client on a big event next week. Working with another client on a marketing campaign for a series of talks given at different locations. Trying to pin down the meeting in Boston with a potential new client. Working on a couple of articles. Following up on an article I submitted nearly two weeks ago to a publication — they pay on acceptance. In the past, it was always accepted the same day I submitted and paid. I’m happy to make any changes they want, but I can’t make them unless they communicate. Got out some more LOIs. Working on some pitches. I don’t feel I can send them out until I have a few other things finalized, because those projects will change my schedule and limit my flexibility.

Meditation was great on Monday afternoon. Even managed to get home before the rain started. It wasn’t anywhere near as big a storm as predicted.

ELLA BY THE BAY is chugging along nicely. GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like. I’m getting out the gift books to the donors on the GoFundMe campaign.

My “action card” for the month is the Eight of Swords, and that’s exactly what this feels like. All I can do is keep my head down, keep moving forward, and handle each thing as it comes in, so I can make the next necessary thing happen.

I’ve had a couple of good nights’ sleep in a row, which helps, but I really, really, REALLY need some time off. That’s not going to happen until 4th of July weekend.

Back to the page.

Tues. June 11, 2019: Working My Way Back

Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

The weekend, of course, turned out differently than planned.

I’m still trying to find a reliable mowing service. The rudeness and misogyny with which I’m met when I ask for a quote and say what I want done — and they TELL me what I need without ever seeing the space — is infuriating. I am the person paying them. They need to provide the service I ask, not the service they feel like doing so they can charge extra.

Had an excellent Skype meeting on Friday afternoon with a potential client. Got out material to another client. Saturday, got out another draft of something else. Got some errands done and some writing done. Worked in the yard.

Saturday evening, I went to the fundraiser supporting the library. A wine tasting and auction. I wanted to support them, since I use their services so often.

Sunday, I did some writing, three loads of laundry, more yard work. It’s not like anyone ever enjoys their yards. They’re out there making noise with leaf blowers and the like all the damn time and never doing anything else.

Did some research on some stuff that’s coming up in the next few months, so I have an idea of my options.

Took most of Sunday afternoon off from “have-tos” because I needed the break.

Up early on Monday to get the last bit of the car repair done, then to work onsite with a client. Was already tired by 9 AM.

Library after, then meditation. Today, I’m onsite with a client, and doing some other writing, and some other stuff for another client. I have to work on the book for review this week, too.

But it’s the good kind of busy.

This week and next week are mostly caught up with an event one of my clients is doing next week, and planning for her big August event, while helping another client do a PR campaign for a speaking tour.

In other words, the good kind of busy.

I woke up feeling decent on Sunday for the first time in a couple of months, and Monday morning was the first time I’d woken after a really good night’s sleep in I can’t remember when.

Moving the pieces around, seeing what the best configuration is. It might not move as quickly as I want, but it’s moving, and that’s a good thing.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 11, 2019 at 5:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Mon. June 10, 2019: Attitude #UpbeatAuthors

bridge-53769_1920image courtesy of Pixabay.com

The last few weeks have been a real struggle, and I’m fighting to keep a positive attitude and get back on track.

Most of my favorite tricks for regaining and maintaining a positive attitude are not working. Extra meditation helps, but nothing else is.

The long-term positive is that it’s making me face several realizations about even more changes that need to be made moving forward. I can’t discuss them yet, but when I can, you can be sure I will here.

What are your favorite tricks to regaining/maintaining a positive attitude?

Published in: on June 10, 2019 at 5:35 am  Comments (1)  

Fri. June 7, 2019: Trying to Get Back on Track

Friday, June 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

It’s June, and I just switched from flannel sheets to cotton ones. That’s how cold it’s been around here.

I was up early yesterday morning. Got a bit of writing done, then headed out at 8:30 for a 9 AM meeting with a local client. It went well; after the meeting, I got the first of my part of it done; I have a press release to finish today and get off to them, and then a Skype meeting with another potential client in the afternoon.

Took my mother to her medical appointment. It went reasonably well, but there’s still care to be done on the leg. Ran some errands on the way home, and then, using some new garden equipment, did some yard work. Tackled the rest of the front bed, and cleaned out a lot of the Sleeping Beauty look on the side, and pruned the pretty blooming tree. I decided to hire in someone to mow, but so far, the companies are nasty and sexist and condescending. Why would I pay money to someone who treats me like that? I wish I could find something like Rent-A-Husband, or a woman-run business.

Went to bed ridiculously early last night and finally slept through the night. I’m suffering from severe stress & exhaustion from the events of the past few months, and it’s taking its toll. If I don’t take care of it now, my health will break down indefinitely.

Errands this morning, client work out, prepping for a meeting, and then more yard work. Because there’s always more damn yard work. I’m trying to get the damn weed whacker fixed, so I can actually use it to whack weeds. It works for about two minutes, and then needs adjustment again. I’m so sick of nothing damn working.

I want my weekend to be about writing, especially about GRAVE REACH, but there will, no doubt, be lots of yard work, too.

The Bloomberg article the other day about it being a “myth” that most people can’t afford an unexpected expense was so condescending and removed from reality I wanted to vomit. I expect no less from them — they are, after all, a business publication, and dedicated to screwing the workers while applauding useless executives who profit from those who actually do the work.

I want some time off, with no pressure and no demands on me. I am desperate for it.

Don’t see that happening any time soon.

But I am always happy to go back to the page.

And tomorrow, I’m going to my local library’s big fundraiser (not the library where I used to work, but the library where I spend part of my day three to four times a week). I’m looking forward to it. I use the library so often; I want to support them.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on June 7, 2019 at 9:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. June 6, 2019: This N That

Thursday, June 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Early Morning meeting with a client. Not much to post, except that there’s a lot going on, but not much about which I can talk.

My mom has a medical appointment this afternoon. Fingers crossed she doesn’t need more surgery.

A more complete post tomorrow — I hope.

Published in: on June 6, 2019 at 5:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Wed. June 5, 2019: Trying to Balance Irritation and Action

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Exhausted.

Ink-Dipped Advice has a post on trade-offs today.

Irritated because someone has been bitching at me about money, about how much certain things cost. But I’m doing the numbers, and it’s not adding up. I don’t want to hear it any more.

I had an epiphany, and, while it’s not appropriate for me to go into public detail, a few things are going to change soon, paving the way for bigger changes in a few months.

I’m also sick and tired of these nasty, filthy tourists who come on Cape Cod supposedly to “enjoy” the natural beauty, and then do everything in their power to destroy it. Leaving their trash everywhere, being rude to people. Now the Army Corps of Engineers is talking about doubling the size of both bridges. How are they going to feed that extra traffic into the narrow roads? We can’t fit the people that are here now.

But again, everything is being sold off to corporations not located on Cape Cod, so all they care about is short-term profit.

Thank goodness for Monday’s meditation group.

The writing is not going well, because I have so much other stuff to sort out, and that always sends me into a downward spiral.

I need to come up with something pithy for the radio play set on Brighton Pier. I’m not feeling very witty right now, though. But I think I can have a lot of fun with the premise. Carousel sounds and carnival barkers and fortune tellers and the rest.

I need to get out of this negative headspace. I also need to push back against those who are demanding that I live my life to their rules, when my life has little to nothing to do with theirs.

What I need, most desperately, is some time off.

Which isn’t going to happen any time soon.

With a client today, for most of the day, and then, possibly, with another client.

Onward.

Published in: on June 5, 2019 at 6:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. June 4, 2019: Trying to Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It’s been a difficult few weeks. There’s plenty I can’t talk about right now in a public venue.

The additional pressure has certainly slowed down the writing. That’s negative not only because it puts a dent in earnings — which I can’t have right now — but also because when I don’t write enough each day, it throws my day out of balance. I have deadlines looming, and even though I’m working as hard as I can, I don’t know what to do.

The red flags just keep coming with that potential client out of Boston. They made demands; I met them; now I’ve heard nothing. Not even common courtesy. Yet I’m sure, should they want to take the next step, that they will, once again, expect me to drop everything the second they snap their fingers. Not happening. IF and WHEN they are paying me for my time and my skills, that’s when they get to make such demands. Otherwise, they have to negotiate. Current clients take priority over maybe someday clients.

On a happy note, I heard from Radio Theatre Project that they like “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and want to take a look at the play set on Brighton Pier for their October slot. Of course, I have to write the play set on Brighton Pier — but at least I managed to dig up one research book, out of the Boston library.

Saturday, I ran errands. Tried to get the house back to rights after all the rearranging for the fridge switch out. Cut back and dug out one of the front beds in the yard, and moved some hostas.

I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and discouraged.

Was up, as usual, half the night fretting Saturday night into Sunday. Got some work done on ELLA both days. Not enough on GRAVE REACH. Got the first chapter of ELLA into the computer (which means I’m working on the first and second drafts together of that book).

Did four loads of laundry on Sunday. It kept threatening to rain; I wasn’t sure if I should try to get something done in the yard, but it being Sunday, I wanted to make sure it was something quiet. I managed to get the fertilizer down on the terraced back area.

Started reading Amanda Flower‘s Magical Bookshop mysteries, which are quite good.

A former client contacted me, wondering if we could get together this week so I could write a press release. Hopefully, we can work out the day and time. I like working with them, and it would be fun to do something again.

Was onsite with a client yesterday, and will be today and tomorrow. More pitches and LOIs going out this week.

There was a great piece by a job search advocate (who even knew those existed?) about how badly so-called “human services” professionals treat the people they interview — things like not respecting the interviewee’s time, asking questions that don’t matter to the job, not giving enough or correct information about the job, and not giving a final answer, even if it’s a rejection. Totally agree. It’s not true that there aren’t enough qualified candidates for the jobs — it’s that the people doing the interviews aren’t finding the right matches. It’s especially true when everything is done online and the application is only sent through an algorithm. Especially for a job that requires creativity, the best candidate cannot fit into the boxes. The whole point of finding the right creative fit is someone who DOESN’T fit into boxes, not someone who lies to make it seem like a good fit.

Trying to break out of this loop of self-defeating, negative interior monologue telling me I’m worthless and useless and untalented and a failure. Intellectually, I know it’s not true, but emotionally, that’s what I feel, and I’m frustrated and disheartened and feel stuck, and like I can’t break the cycle. I have to, and I have to do it quickly, but I don’t know how.

It doesn’t help that the economy is about to crash, either, thanks to the Narcissistic Sociopath Grifter and his enablers.

I am desperate for a break of a few days with NO demands on me, and I don’t know when that will happen.

In the meantime, I’m dealing with whatever’s in front of me in the moment. Which isn’t a good solution, but it’s all I’ve got for the moment.

Mon. June 3, 2019: Attitude #upbeatauthors

fantasy-4235607_1920

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

This image reminds me of the Boardwalk at Playland Amusement Park, Rye, NY, where I grew up.

I always felt a sense of sanctuary there. I need that right now — I’m going through a difficult time and am fighting to maintain a positive attitude.

This image helps me feel better about the possibilities.

Published in: on June 3, 2019 at 5:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. May 31, 2019: Discouraging Few Days

Friday, May 31, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Going through a rough stretch. Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. Didn’t post to the garden blog, either, and won’t be able to until next week. Considering how much work I’ve done in the garden, with so little return – oh, well. GDR wrap-up isn’t up, either; I’ll do it early next week, although I’m going to be so discouraged, I hate even the thought of making the list.

Wednesday night, the refrigerator died. Called the landlord, dashed to K-Mart to buy a set of nested super coolers. Down to the corner store to buy ice. Unloaded the fridge and freezer and packed up everything, setting it out on the deck. We had a cool night, which helped.

Cleaned out the kitchen yesterday, making room for the fridge move. The landlord came by to look at the downed tree limb and the leaning tree, and will get someone in to take care of them. He also noted everything that wasn’t done, and it turns out that one of my favorite shrubs is something that is basically a weed and shouldn’t be there.

So I feel like a complete failure.

At the same time, even though I’m a freelancer, I put in at least a 60 hour week. I’m not a retired Cape Codder, like so many others who spend eight hours a day in the yard, nor can I afford a landscape service to come in. The place hardly looks like a vacant lot. Plus, I LIKE it to look a little wild, a little like an enchanted cottage. I WANT it to have all the elements that the National Wildlife Federation list as necessary for a habitat.

This is why I need to buy. So that I can do whatever I damn well please in my own house and yard.

But I really like and respect my landlord, and hate feeling like I let him down.

They were an hour late with the new fridge, which is a spare my landlord had, but it’s really nice. It’s a little smaller, but the way the space is arranged, we have more room. It was nice to organize things a little differently.

I AM the queen of condiments. Wow. I didn’t realize I had so much. Even though I use them.

We lost some things, and some of what we lost would have been tossed in the semi-annual fridge cleanout anyway. So, it wasn’t bad.

The cats kept staring at the new fridge as though they expect it to expel tuna treats any minute. It’s pretty funny.

I was exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged last night, not to mention in pain. I gave in and took a Tylenol PM so that maybe, MAYBE, I’d sleep through the night for once. I woke up around 12:30, but managed to get back to sleep. Then, I felt like crap when I woke up, and still feel like crap. I’ve already had two crying jags, and it’s not even noon.

Went out to pick up some necessary stuff at Kmart again this morning – cleaning supplies, etc. Getting some work done, and then I have to make a run to the garden store to get fertilizer in.

It’s sunny, so I have to work in the yard. I still need to put back the stuff we took out of the kitchen. I still have writing to do, and LOIs to get out. I need rest, I need a break so badly, and I can’t take the time for it. But not taking the time for it means I’ll just feel worse. So I’m screwed no matter what I do.

Which really sums up the entire month of May.

Hope your May was better than mine, and have a great weekend.

Published in: on May 31, 2019 at 9:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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