Fri. June 30, 2017: When the Road Not Taken is Best Left Untrod

Friday, June 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Two essays and a short story went out the door yesterday. I don’t write many essays — they make me feel too exposed.

Finished the reading for an assignment and got to work on it. Will polish it this morning and send it off.

As of about mid-day, I’ll be offline until Wednesday. I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to a party tonight in Dennis at a friend’s place; the rest of the weekend is about reading, writing, meditation, yoga. Recharging the batteries.

I got an idea for a new short story that I hope to draft; I want to finish another short story that needs to go out; and I want to dig in and finish the draft of FIX IT GIRL. Plus, I have to finish the proofs on “Ramsey Chase”. Cover reveal for the latter will be next week.

I realized, in this morning’s meditation as my mind wandered over roads not taken, that not taking them was the right choice. That lifts quite a load off the worries.

Had to dash out way too early this morning to do errands, grocery shop, pick up my mom’s medication, etc. Even though everything was done before 9 AM, the traffic was still unbearable. The 20 minute drive to Dennis tonight will probably take an hour.

Hop on over to the GDR site and see the June wrap-up. The July to Do list won’t be up until next week, and I’m working on the Mid-Year Assessment.

Have a wonderful long weekend!

Advertisements
Published in: on June 30, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 30, 2017: When the Road Not Taken is Best Left Untrod  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was busy, but, ultimately productive. I skipped the mowing (I’m going to pay for skipping so much mowing soon).

But I got a stack of books back to the library, and returned with another stack.

I submitted a short story and got out a couple of pitches. I got some necessary research done, and caught up on the correspondence that had come in yesterday.

I sorted out the information when I got home, so it’s where I need it when I need it, and I don’t have to go hunting it down.

I got some weeding done in the terraced bed, and then some writing, before the morons with power tools destroyed my afternoon.

I managed to get to work on an essay that needs to go out today. I finished another essay and a short story, which also have to go out today. On one essay, I had to cut over 300 words (I’d mis-remembered the word count limit as 800 when it was 600; my draft had 927 words, so there was some seriously red pen action). On the other essay, I had to come up with an additional 100+ words to meet the lower end of the limit. Two different topics, so I couldn’t take the cut words from one and rework them into the other.

The short story (actually flash fiction) is a fun, weird little piece. I hope it hits. The first line of it came to me while I was doing something else. It was so weird, I jotted it down and then off we went.

I should have completed the copy edits on “Ramsey Chase”, but my eyes were too tired. I’ll have to get back to it today. I also have to complete an assignment for the editor and get it out the door tomorrow, so he can tell me what he hates over the weekend.

I’ll be offline from about mid-day tomorrow until Wednesday morning. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the break. I’ll be writing of course — that’s part of the reason I’m disconnecting. I want to finish the FIX IT GIRL edits. I’d like to write another essay and finish the short story that’s giving me trouble, too, but that might be too ambitious.

Plus, I need to finish “Ramsey Chase” edits and get the back matter into the manuscript.

Plus, there’s a big fat book I really want to read as a reward for all this hard work.

And the yoga. And the meditation. And the garden.

So I’d better get to work and get it all done, hadn’t I?

Published in: on June 29, 2017 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wed. June 28, 2017: Trying to Line Up Ducks Before the Holiday Weekend

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Monday was busy. I re-slanted and re-sent two pitches; sent out two new pitches; caught up on correspondence. Somehow, the day flew by.

I did research on several new-to-me markets. Some, I need to do some more in-depth digging; a couple, I think I can craft pitches and send them.

My mom has to have surgery in July, on her foot. Results of the biopsy done a couple of weeks ago. I want to know why her first doctor — the one that dropped her because she wasn’t making enough money off my mom — didn’t diagnose this wound properly a year and a half ago, when my mom showed it to her?

And, of course, I have to come up with the co-payment. Another expense I wasn’t counting on. Not to mention that my mom is 94 and any surgery is worrisome.

There’s a possible new-to-me micro-fiction market. They pay, but I have to figure out the details and ratio of word count/payment/frequency of assignment to see if it’s something I want to or can take on. They seem to be more legitimate and a better payer than the other company I talked to last week. We’ll see. There’s a humor market that could become a regular gig, but I’m not feeling particularly witty or funny right now.

Read Barbara Ross’s ICED UNDER, another Maine Clambake book. I really like this series.

Quite a contrast to another book I tried to read (by a different author). It was a mystery. The protagonist was a narrow-minded, unlikable little twit. The story was dumbed down, the characters were ciphers instead of people. The author was anti-artist and anti-anyone who chose more than being a traditional housewife. I made it to page 35, closed the book, and have put the author on my Will Not Read list. She insulted my intelligence AND my profession. Next!

I really want to take this upcoming holiday weekend as a writing/reading/yoga retreat. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

Did a little bit of work on the Scottish mystery with the older protagonists on Tuesday, after running errands early enough in the morning so I didn’t get caught up in tourist traffic. That threw off my writing schedule, though.

Finished DRINKING THE RAIN by Alix Kates Shulman. Liked it a lot. And loving Helen Bevington’s THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING.

Worked on the June wrap-up, July’s To Do list, and, soon, I’ll have to do the mid-year assessment. We’ll see how far I’ve strayed.

Worked on the media kit. It’s always such journeyman work, but it’s important, and I always discover something I didn’t realize about my own work, because I have to look at it as though I’m handling someone else’s.

I came up with a series title for Playing the Angles and The Spirit Repository — but that makes me wonder if I should change the name under which the books appear. At the same time, I’m not completely sure I’ve hit exactly what I want with the series title. I’m feeling creatively drained.

The project in Orleans isn’t going to work out — they’re going with someone younger. That’s not what they said (which would be illegal), but that’s what they’re doing. Heaven forbid they hire someone with experience who expects a professional rate! Well, they’ll get what they paid for. I was having second thoughts myself — the money, the refusal to commit beyond the summer, and a few other elements. My ego’s bruised, but, deep down in my gut, I know it’s for the best.

Fretting because I’m waiting for two checks that are late. Not happy, because there are bills that need to be paid before the end of the month, and then I have to focus both on next month’s bills and on the co-payment for my mother’s surgery.

Got about half of “The Ramsey Chase” proofread. I’m creating the tracking sheets and character bible for the series as I go, which also slows me down.

Worked my way through a stack of research books that I hoped would be helpful as background for a project. Unfortunately, they were mostly self-indulgent navel-gazing masquerading as “self help.” There’s quite a stack to go back to the library.

I’m gathering questions for the Q&A section of the Devon Ellington media kit. Colin Galbraith had two interesting ones that I’m going to use. I’m hoping other people will post questions on Facebook, Twitter, and/or in the comments here on Ink.

I did quite a bit of work on the media kit yesterday afternoon. I’m through most of the fiction/series/shorts section. I’ve got some more Digital Delights to add in, make the links live.

Still fretting about the series title. That series title means it makes more sense to have the books appear under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name rather than the Annabel Aidan or Devon Ellington name. Also, the more I think about it, the more that series title fits a different series — one I’ve yet to write. So I’m on the hunt for another series title. Some of the books are set in New York, or at least start in New York and move outward. So the title needs to have a bit of an urban edge, but also fulfill the books when they move beyond the city limits. I came up with another series title, but it might also be a bit too soft. I’ll pull out the Thesaurus (the print one, not look online) and browse.

During this morning’s meditation, a new set of characters and situations dropped into my head. I still don’t have the plot, although I have a premise. I think it will be set on the outskirts of Portland, Maine.

Finished a science fiction short story this morning. Will revise it later today and tomorrow, and it can go out the door tomorrow. Now, have to turn my attention back to the more complicated, contemporary one and finish that to get it out the door.

I’m going to take the holiday weekend as a writing/yoga/meditation retreat. I need the mental and the physical break. If I can get my ducks in a row, and my deadlines met by Friday (gulp), that’s what I’ll do. Be offline from Friday afternoon until sometime on Wednesday.

Yet I’m sure there will be mowing in my future. I’ve been bad and haven’t done any this week, although the weather’s been good for it.

Errands, admin, and correspondence to do, and then, it’s back to the page.

Mon. June 26, 2017: Traction to Getting Back on Track

Personal Revolution Cover

“Personal Revolution” — A Cabot’s Crossing Mystery — Independence-Day theme.

99 cents on Smashwords here.

Monday, June 26, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

A slower-paced weekend than I probably should have had, but I needed it. My brain is tired, my soul is tired.

Saturday morning, I took a wrong step down the stairs and wrenched my knee. The good knee, not the Broadway knee. The outer tendon. My poor hockey players had that often enough, although not from going down a flight of steps. I treated it with arnica and gentle yoga. As long as I keep the leg in alignment, from hip to foot, it’s okay. The minute I go out of alignment, I’m in pain. That certainly slowed me down, because I need to move with more care.

I managed eight loads of laundry over the course of the day. A lot of it consisted of the blankets and fleece covers on the furniture for the winter. They’re now washed and ready to be packed away, with lighter cotton covers on everything. It’s finally warm enough to put the winter things away. Also in the process of washing, blocking, drying, and then putting the winter sweaters away with cedar shavings.

In between the laundry, I’ve been clearing out things that have accumulated — the big stack around my big reading chair, where I tend to nest; starting to go through drawers and boxes. I’m weighed down by too much stuff I don’t need; we haven’t even unpacked everything since we moved here. I wanted to get through everything in the winter and didn’t; so I better buckle down and do it now. A little bit at a time eventually adds up to big bits.

In and around that, I also wrote nearly 2500 words on the piece with the two older protagonists. I’m writing my way in, to see if I have something viable. I like the characters a lot, especially how they’re trying to heal from their damage. It’s naturally set itself in Ayrshire, Scotland, near Culzean, where I’ve stretched the geography a bit to add a small, fictional village between the villages I spent time in when I was there.

I’ll set something else in Cornwall, eventually!

I’m reading Alix Kate Shulman’s DRINKING THE RAIN. It’s a wonderful exploration of a writer’s need to balance solitude and companionship. I’m not as adventurous as she is, as far as where she chooses to stay. I’m a modern woman who appreciates indoor plumbing, and I’m no longer willing to stay in places without it. That doesn’t feed my soul; it merely irritates me. My soul is fed when I’m comfortable.

The book is from the library, but I’m going to hunt down a copy to buy; it’s something I will re-read.

I’m also reading Helen Bevington’s The Journey is Everything: A Journal of the Seventies. I love her writing, and it’s interesting to see her perspective on historical events we both lived through (although I was much younger, just a kid).
I originally read her books shortly after 9/11. I was staying with my mother, in the NYC suburb in which I’d grown up. I got a new library card at the library I’d practically lived in growing up. Wandering the stacks, I found Helen Bevington’s memoirs and journals, and loved them. A few years later, I found A Book and a Love Affair in Niantic and bought it; I keep an eye out for her other books, so I can add them to my personal library. I re-read Book recently, when I came across it, unpacking a box, looking for something else. I wanted to re-read the rest. The Cape Cod libraries don’t carry her books, so I had to order it through the Commonwealth Catalog. This volume is from U Mass-Amherst.

Sunday, I didn’t feel much like doing anything. I read a bit, and then went to S. Yarmouth library, where my friend and fellow writer Arlene Kay gave a program as part of their Author Series. It was wonderful, but then her programs always are. She had a nice turnout (thank goodness, it’s always hit and miss around here), including some mutual friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was nice to catch up.

Came home, read on the deck, cooked dinner. I’d created a new-to-me salsa recipe on Friday, and combined two recipes from one of Barbara Ross’s mysteries (and then added some bits of my own) on Saturday, so Sunday was mostly leftovers.

I think I’ve got the opening of “Miss Winston Apologizes” in my head. Now, to write it down, so it’s ready to add when I’m done with the proofread of “Ramsey.”

I also have to write down the opening of “Labor Intensive” — and then write the rest of it.

Did some work on the Devon Ellington media kit. Did another 1000 words on the older protagonist piece. I think it’s viable. As I’ve been writing my way in, the plot is getting clearer. Pretty soon, I will stop and outline it. I worried the premise was a little too close to Death of a Choleric, but this morning, I figured out how to fix it.

I have a long list of things to do today, both fiction and non-fiction and pitching, and administrative work, and catching up on some correspondence. And, of course, mowing. I have to pause in my work on the meadow, because the damn front needs to be mowed again!

The roses are magnificent this year. We have vases of them all over the house and they smell lovely.

Back to the page.

Fri. June 23, 2017: Spinning The Freelance Plates and the Threads of Inspiration

Friday, June 23, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy

Got a section of meadow mowed yesterday morning. It’s starting to look like actual progress. It looks like it will rain any minute this morning. I should use that as a reason to rush out there and mow, like my neighbors are; instead, I’m dragging my feet, hoping it will rain and I can’t.

I was in a lousy mood for a good part of yesterday. I tried to tease myself out of it with the “CrankyPants Song”, but it didn’t work. That’s a song I made up when I worked backstage. When a colleague or I was overtired and grumpy, I’d sing it to make fun of the grumpster (or myself), and we’d all laugh and get over ourselves. But it didn’t work yesterday.

Turned in the latest set of revisions to the new-to-me editor. Let’s hope he’s happy with this set. Also called him out on the contradictions. I hate working in their automated system that won’t let me do what supposedly needs to be done. At this point, it’s a toss-up about whether I’ll be fired or whether I’ll walk. I wonder if this is the norm, and that’s how they get out of paying writers?

Working on a pitch for a publication I hope to finish and send out tomorrow. I’ve written for them several times; it would be great to do so again. I’ve gotten decent pay and some solid clips from them in the past.

Pitched for another gig that sounded like fun; we’ll see if my samples are what they’re looking for. Again, money might be an issue. They pay “per word”, but haven’t said how much per word, or talked about volume and turn-around time. Heard back from them this morning — as I suspected, the per word rate is so low, I couldn’t even fill the gas tank with an assignment. For something that requires A LOT of technical craft, is for-hire with no royalties, um, no. I will send them a refusal today.

Press releases went out for “Personal Revolution”. I finally wrestled the website so that I could add the “Personal Revolution” information into the Delectable Digital Delights, the Media Room, and the Bazaar pages of the Devon Ellington site. No thanks to the webhost, but in spite of them. That webhost is useless. Not only are they unreliable, their customer service is non-existent. I’m starting to think most hosts are. But, by poking around and swearing a lot, I managed to figure out workarounds that got up the information I needed to add. I really need to take some classes in website coding and design. But it’s the usual dilemma — when the time exists, the money doesn’t. When the money’s there, it’s there because there’s a heavy workload in, and the time doesn’t exist. And anything web-related has to be something I can handle, update, tweak, and rearrange myself, not hire in a webmaster. The amount of attention my different sites need would mean I need someone weekly, and the cost (because the webmaster DESERVES to be paid for all this, and deserves a good rate) is out of my range right now.

The press releases also have the information for upcoming projects, which means I have to get my ass in gear and meet deadlines.

I have a good idea about the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story. I had to have the title for the press release, and came up with “Miss Winston Apologizes”. And then I figured out who Miss Winston was and why she apologized, and there was the premise for the next piece. It’s still set in Cornelia’s time period. I decided I’m going to set three stories there, then have her go with Roman when he next time travels, and they can have adventures elsewhere (that all tie in to the main arc). Now, I need to write the opening, so I can pop it in with “Ramsey Chase” and get going on the proofread. The July 10 release date will be here before I know it.

I’ve also got the opening of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern mystery, set around Labor Day (which is set to release just before Labor Day weekend, so I better get on with it).

With Playing the Angles hoping to release in October, we really need to find the right cover image. And I really need to do a final proof on it, and settle on the name for the series (even though each book will have a different pair of protagonists).

Think there’s enough to do? Along with keeping up a constant stream of pitches and freelance pieces so I can keep a roof over my head.

A royalty check from the Topic Workbooks and “Plot Bunnies” cheered me up. I certainly can’t retire on it, or even pay next month’s bills, but it helps tide me over a bit, and just getting the royalties makes me feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

The last research book I need for the Lavinia Fontana play arrived, thank goodness, because I have to start writing it at the beginning of July.

Got a rejection on an article pitch for a new-to-me market. I’m going to re-slant it to send elsewhere, and then submit something new to this market. I’m determined to crack it. Some of the content puzzled me; then I got an apology from the editor, saying the email had gone off before he was done, and he hoped I’d pitch again.  I told him no worries, I had every intention of so doing, but I’d let him rest over the weekend!  😉

Heard back from another place I pitched. They loved my samples. They want to know how good my French and/or Spanish are. Um, what? Why wasn’t that in the ad? I read French reasonably well (I read Moliere in French, because it’s funnier than any English translation I’ve yet found), and I can read newspaper and magazine articles and basically figure them out. I can get by in French, and I’ve got a little German. But I’m not fluent. So that might knock me out completely, which would be a shame. I’d love to get my French back up to speed, but I doubt they want me learning on the job.

I’m playing with yet another new idea, this one with a pair of older protagonists. I think it could be interesting. I’m trying to decide if I want to set it in Cornwall or in Ayrshire. I know both, but I know Ayrshire better, and, as I’m working on the outline, it seems to naturally gravitate to Ayrshire. I’ve set several things in Ayrshire, stretching it to add additional towns and do mix-and-match with real places. I’ve even added additional Scottish National Trust properties when Culzean Castle (where I’ve rented an apartment on more than one occasion, and which I know VERY well) didn’t quite fit the plot. In this particular piece, I’m adding a street off the main road to Culzean (halfway between the Castle and Little K’s Kitchen, where I used to get my newspaper and the racing form every morning), and that’s where my protags have rented a house.

I also figured out what I need to shift in another piece I’ve been noodling with, to get the opening different from yet another piece, whose opening I like, but was too similar to this one. The settings are similar — one at an artists’ colony, one at a meditation retreat. But the characters and situations and what I want to explore are very different. Interestingly enough, though, the protagonists for both pieces share some of the same titles on their bookshelves! Such as the Complete Works Of Shakespeare and Louisa May Alcott’s diaries.

Speaking of Louisa, a tweet from the lovely folks at Orchard House got me re-reading her. They were talking about Rose in Bloom, so I ordered that and Eight Cousins (which happens before RiB) from the library and read them this past week. From a critical, feminist perspective, there are plenty of problems. Yet it was still, in some ways, ahead of its time (although highly romanticized). It got me thinking of Fruitlands, which is where I always imagine those two books set, rather than Concord. In fact, I had an exchange with another Orchard House follower about that, when she was puzzled about “rolling hills” she didn’t remember around Concord, and now she’s going to visit Fruitlands!

It got me thinking that I would like to set something in a family compound in that area (Harvard, MA, which is different than where Harvard U. is in Boston). Somehow, I came up with a set of sisters (inspired by the great aunts in Maine), and their patriarch/matriarch based in the compound, but set in the early 1900s, and somehow, from there, I leapt to the opening taking place in San Francisco in 1904, pre-Earthquake, but just at the end of the “Barbary Plague” where so many of the Chinese immigrants died in SF from bubonic plague from 1900-1904, and that led to a stack of research books about that time period, so who knows how the piece will end up? Right now, I see it starting in SF, moving by train eastwards, with a stop in Chicago, but I have to figure out why, beyond simply changing trains.

1904 Newspaper archives, here I come. I think I can read some at local libraries, and probably access some via Boston Public Library’s digital files (I have an e-card from them); when in doubt, I can always contact my stalwart NYPL and Library of Congress.

But it’s amazing how re-reading a childhood book can set off a new train of thought.

I’ve just received Under the Lilacs and An Old-Fashioned Girl from the library to re-read. I remember reading both at my grandmother’s house in Foxboro, under an actual lilac hedge, when I was little.

Who knows what they will inspire?

This weekend, I have to dig in to FIX IT GIRL, because all those books on Hearst Castle have to go back to the library next week. They can’t be extended any more!
Besides, I want to get this draft done and the submission packets ready. I want to start querying after 4th of July, but have to get everything out before mid-August, or I might as well wait until mid-September, because few places actively read by mid-August, and right back from Labor Day, they need a couple of weeks to catch up.

I think I’ve got a handle on how I want the First Big Love Scene to go. Since this isn’t erotica, but historical fiction, the style is gentler, and I have to get it just right. Things were often down and dirty in 1930s Hollywood (as they often are everywhere in every time period), but my protag is neither a goody two-shoes nor a nymphomaniac. Nor is this a category romance where she’s only allowed to be attracted to one man. She’s an intelligent modern woman of her time, and slightly ahead of it, breaking new ground, fighting sexism, but also following her heart (and her passions). I’ve got that balance right in most of her scenes; now I have to get it right in the love scenes, too.

In general, I want this to be a fiction weekend. I’ve spent so much time on articles in order to pay the bills that the fiction has suffered, so it’s time to give it some more attention.

This is a great June for the roses — they’re blooming like crazy. And the petunias in the barrel out front have grown enough so they’re sticking their heads over the rim and peeking out. It’s very cute.

Have a great weekend!

Thurs. June 22, 2017: Primal Scream Therapy Would Be Good About Now

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got out some pitches, did some research. Worked on some articles. Got my errands done in a timely fashion–I was early enough to avoid the worst of the tourist traffic.

Mowed the terraced back area; it looks much better. Today, it’s back to tackling the meadow. If I’m lucky, it’ll be done by fall. 😉

On the drive to Orleans in the afternoon, I wrote a story in my head; will try to get it on paper today. I started this morning. I thought it would be an 800 word, rather upbeat piece under one particular name. The characters are taking it in a different direction, so I may have to re-think my target market, and what name it would go under.

The meeting went well. I liked the person I’d be working with. There are a few things that make me hesitate, and that I think will make them hesitate, and I’m disappointed by the money (or lack thereof). So I’m not sure what will happen. But I’ll know early next week.

Sat on the deck reading when I got back and got bitten to pieces by mosquitoes.

The new-to-me editor sent me another round of contradictory revision requests. This is just not going to work. I doubt I’ll even do all three of the assignments I told myself I’d do in my self-imposed trial period. Not the right fit, and the time/money ratio just doesn’t work.

Today is mowing, pitching, research, writing. I’m behind on a couple of things, especially THE FIX IT GIRL. I need to catch up this weekend.

I’m frustrated and discouraged this morning, and I’ll have to find a way to write myself out of that.

To the page (my mantra, it seems).

Published in: on June 22, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 22, 2017: Primal Scream Therapy Would Be Good About Now  
Tags: , , , , ,

Wed. June 21, 2017: Work & Solstice

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
Summer Solstice

Managed to get a few things done yesterday; several pitches out, including a script pitch for something that would be really fun. But I don’t know if they’re willing to work with someone clear across the country. Did some article work and some research.

Read Barbara Ross’s second Clambake Mystery, BOILED OVER, which was also really good. Also read a book about a woman who took a 100 day Zen retreat in a cabin, as background for an idea with which I’m playing.

Trying to figure out the shape of the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story, so I can write the opening and put it in to “The Ramsey Chase”. Then, of course, I have to write the rest of it!

Still having trouble finding the right images for the cover of Playing the Angles. I need to find my photos of the Belasco — I think I have some interesting ones that have the unlit marquee and the fire escape in them, and that might set the right tone. Nothing that’s already out there is quite working; unfortunately, at this point, I can’t hire a fine artist to paint something from the photographs.

I know there’s a whole industry in “pre-made covers”, but most of the ones I’ve seen are awful, and don’t speak to the content of the book. I want to find a series of strong images that reflect the book and give them to the cover designer.

I’m REALLY happy with “The Ramsey Chase” cover. I’d do a cover reveal, but I don’t want to interfere with the PR for “Personal Revolution”.

Mowing this morning, and then the library, errands, more pitches, more writing. I have to put together some additional paperwork for a grant. This afternoon, I get to drive to the elbow of the Cape, to Orleans, for a project meeting. I’m looking forward to it.

I need to get back to the assignment from the editor-I’m-currently-frustrated-with. I’m dragging my heels, but I need to get over myself and get it done. This will be the “midpoint” assignment in my imaginary trial period. I will see how much frustration this one generates, do one more, than make my decision to stay or go. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t put effort into the remaining assignments. It still might work out. I think I’m being highly optimistic, but I decided to give it a chance, and I will.

Tonight is the Solstice ceremony, which should be fun.

I’m struggling with the fiction, because I don’t feel particularly creative right now. Since my income depends on my ability to be creative, that’s an issue.

That’s when one has to rely on craft, and why it’s so important to build craft. Work on the craft so that, on the tough days, when inspiration is minimal, the craft sees you through.

Off to mow.

Published in: on June 21, 2017 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 21, 2017: Work & Solstice  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. June 20, 2017: Market Choice/Writing Choice

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, foggy, muggy

Today, I’m going to spend some time on choosing the right market, and then backtrack to the daily details of my constant striving (and strife) to balance the freelance writing life.

Last week, I struggled over an article, but was ultimately satisfied I’d done good work and sent it to a new-to-me market that pays fast. I specifically crafted an article I hoped would hit their sweet spot because they pay fast. I don’t like their style or their content. I don’t like writing on spec (and in many cases, I won’t). But I didn’t expect the piece to take as long as it did to write and research, and, as I’ve said numerous times, I liked the fact that they pay fast.

I woke up this morning to a rejection.

I knew it was well-written, carefully proofread. The fact checking sheet was solid, with reliable sources. But they wanted more National Enquirer and less New Yorker. Basically, I hadn’t dumbed it down enough for their readership. I’d hoped I’d mimicked their style; I’d tried to mirror it as much as possible, without making myself throw up. I cared about the topic, and wanted to do it justice. I had hoped to find a balance between an interesting, well-written piece and the pandering they often do to their readership.

The market was the wrong choice for me. Does that mean I’m not “professional” enough to be able to write for them? Some would say yes. I say I wrote to the limit of pandering my gag reflex would allow, and hoped it would fit what they were looking for. It didn’t.

I should have stopped writing as soon as my gag reflex engaged. Hey, it would be great to detach myself from the content and not give a damn. Write whatever the market wants, take the money and run. Well, if I turn down corporate gigs for companies whose missions I believe are unethical, and they are offering me enough so I could buy a house in a year, and I still say no, why would I do the same for an okay-but-not-brilliant rate? There was only so far I could go.

I’ve worked hard on my author’s voice; I’ve worked hard so that when I ghost, I can mimic the “author’s” voice. I’ve worked hard building craft over a long period of years. Perhaps that means I should be able to bend the craft to fit any market; or perhaps I should just write for those markets I respect.

I liked the idea of the piece. In fact, I loved it — the topic was something I cared about. The research was interesting, and I was sorry I had to distill the piece down as much as I did to fit the market’s parameters.

The topic was part of the problem. Although it was, technically, in one of the arenas the publication claimed it wanted, it was something that would appeal more to the literate than the reality-show crowd.

Basically, I attempted it to appeal to a wider audience, when the market appeals to a narrow (and often narrow-minded) audience. Once I knew the idea was for a literate audience, I should have re-slanted it and aimed it at a different publication.

I followed the formatting guidelines exactly. I had the proofreading, the links, the format — exactly. But the content was off.

In my classes and in the Topic Workbooks, I harp on the necessity of following submission guidelines EXACTLY. An acquaintance of mine is handles submissions for a monthly publication; they get between 800-1000 submissions per week. 85% of them are pitched unread because they don’t follow submission guidelines. Of the other 15%, 75% are then rejected because of sloppy writing and lack of proofreading to such an extent that it would take the editors too long to fix the errors. Massive editing doesn’t fit the production schedule of the publication. 10% don’t fit the focus of the publication (probably a great many of the 85% that were rejected also did not fit the publication, but they never got that far). The remaining submissions make it to the editorial meeting for possible inclusion.

So, let’s say, that particular week, they got 1000 submissions. 850 are chucked out for not following guidelines. That leaves 150 — not too shabby. 75% of those are so badly written, they’re out. That’s 113 badly written pieces that are chucked, and another 15 that don’t fit. That leaves 22 possible pieces. Not bad.

This is when it gets really competitive. 22 viable pieces come in once a week for a limited number of slots free every month. 22 pieces a week x 4 weeks — 88 pieces per month when there are probably only 20-30 slots available.

The competition is keen.

From what my rejection letter stated, it looks like I at least made it to the round where it passed guidelines, format, and craft, but they felt it didn’t fit their focus. In other words, it was one of the 10% chucked out for not fitting the publication neatly enough. Which is a perfectly legitimate reason for it to be rejected.

I knew the finished article was a risk, because it wound up being more “literary” than I expected. At that point, I could have decided not to submit. But, I decided to take the risk, just in case they’d pick an occasional piece that was a bit more literary.

I wanted the money. Nothing wrong with that.

They didn’t want the piece. As is their right.

Now what?

I still like the piece. What I’m going to do is reformat it and re-slant it a bit. Some of the fact-check links that the original market demanded will be transformed into a sidebar for additional information. I’m going to re-shape some of it and add some of the content I liked, but knew I had to cut for the particular market (both word count and content restrictions). And I’ll pitch it to a different publication. A publication that wants more New Yorker than National Enquirer.

It also means that two other articles I have pending with this publication will probably be rejected for the same reason. In which case, I won’t keep submitting, quick pay or no, because my time is better spent working on pitches to publications that pay $1/word, where I like their content and they like mine.

It was a gamble that didn’t pay off. I submitted to a publication that left a bad taste in my mouth, whose work I don’t like, and I wasn’t willing to match enough of their writing style to get in. Some would say that means I’m not “professional” enough, not detached enough. Definitely not detached enough. Others would say I’m not a “hack”, and I shouldn’t have tried hack writing. I don’t happen to think there’s anything wrong with hack writing. Many a writer who went on to public works we still read was known as a hack in their own time, churning out stories for pulps, and articles and reviews for anyone who would pay them enough to keep a roof over their heads.

“Writing to market” is an important part of selling one’s work. Since this is my business, not my hobby, I better write material that sells. I better also choose my markets by what they actually publish, instead of what I think they should publish.

So, onward.

Yesterday was one of those days that no matter where I worked, the work didn’t flow well. My hyperaccusis/misophonia was bad (as it is when I’m under severe stress) and almost any sound caused pain.

I took my mom in to the doctor, and she had a biopsy. Fingers crossed it turns out well. I had trouble writing anything by the time we got back. I tried working at the library, but it was too noisy. I came home and did some research and noodled with a few ideas.

I sent off my requested revisions to my new editor, explaining nicely that if he wanted something first thing Monday, it needed to be on my desk before noon on Friday, not at 9 AM Sunday morning. If I get fired for that, so be it. They don’t pay enough for me to compromise my Day of Disconnect.

I will have quite a bit to say tomorrow on the Shakespeare idiocy that the ignorant and stupid are currently engaging in (since most of them seem to think he’s alive and can be bullied). But that’s another piece for another day.

Today, I have errands to run, and I’ll try to work at the library for a bit. I’m having trouble finishing the short stories that need to go out, but I just have to buckle down and do them. I have some more article pitches to send out, and others to work on and/or follow up.

And I can’t neglect the longer fiction, which has gotten the short shrift the last few weeks, replaced by articles that are on a quicker pay cycle.

Tomorrow, the weather’s supposed to be clear, so I have to get back to work mowing (the terrace is looking like a vacant lot again). I also have a project meeting way down the other end of the Cape that I’m looking forward to. I don’t want to get my hopes up, and it’s out of my usual client range, but I like the company, and I like the person I dealt with so far, so fingers crossed it will all be good.

Tomorrow is also the Solstice, and I have to get ready for that celebration. I’m not feeling much like celebrating, but it will make me feel better.

Back to the page.

Mon. June 19, 2017: Not on Weekends. Not for That Rate

Monday, June 19, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, humid, cool

Challenging weekend. A lot of stresses on the personal front, some annoyances on the professional front.

Saturday morning was difficult and discouraging, and exhausted me beyond expectation.

On the positive side, I managed to pull a metaphorical rabbit out of a hat and solve one pressing stress; but there are still a pile that need dealing with.

Also on the positive side, I finished reading Philip Margolin’s SLEIGHT OF HAND, which I thought was well done. I’d never read one of his books before; will definitely read more.

Also, over the weekend, read Barbara Ross’s first Clambake Mystery, CLAMMED UP. I liked it a lot. It’s not dumbed down, the way so many of these mysteries have become. The protagonist is smart & resourceful, I like the supporting characters, it kept me guessing for the right reasons. It’s set in Maine, in a fictional cover near Boothbay Harbor and Bath, two places in the state of which I’m very fond, and she got the emotional geography right. I’m looking forward to the other books in the series.

AND I read Abbi Waxman’s THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS, which I absolutely loved.

I’m playing with an idea, writing my way into it, to see if it’s viable. I’m wondering if it’s too similar to another idea with which I’ve been toying, although the characters are very different and the premises are, too. But the openings are similar, and I might have to change that. However, a character I planned to be the first body drop won’t comply; I’m trying to figure out how to make him the second body drop instead, but he’s balking. He has every intention of being an continuing character, should this be a series, and not as a ghost.

I usually have Sunday as my “day of disconnect”, where I don’t go online or use social media. Unfortunately, I had to check my email on Sunday morning. What I wanted wasn’t there, but a demand from the new editor for revisions was, and he wanted them by 9 AM Monday morning.

I said no.

First of all, he’s had three weeks to give me notes for revisions. That’s right. I turned in my assignment three weeks before deadline. So don’t email me revisions ON A WEEKEND and demand them first thing Monday morning. Not only are you not frigging paying me enough, I’m taking my mom to a medical appointment in the morning, so you’ll get them when you damn well get them. Also, the two month lag time between the deadline and payment isn’t sitting well with me. I resent it, and it’s making me drag my feet on the next assignment. I responded that I would have the revisions back at some point on Monday (and I am SO tempted to charge a rush fee), but it wouldn’t be by 9 AM. When I return the revisions, I will also point out that if he sends me revisions on Sunday, he WILL NOT receive them on Monday morning, because I won’t know about them until Monday morning. If you want them Monday morning, you get them to me before noon on Friday.

I did the revisions (the actual notes made sense; I resented the timing and lack of consideration of my time). I will finish up the current assignment and accept one more; if these frustrations continue, I will resign. They’re not paying enough for all this kerflamma, and not paying fast enough, which is even more important.

My anger was out of proportion to the situation, in some ways; perhaps it’s because I know I’m in the wrong situation. I need to let it go, resolve it, and move on.

Worked on another article that I want to get out in the next couple of days. This week is also my follow-up on queries where I haven’t yet received a response.

Worked on a short story that will go out the door later today, and will turn my attention to the longer short story that I want to get out this week. These are initially aimed at two publications where, should I open a positive relationship with them, there is the potential for paying work that is both steady and creative.

Took my mom to her medical appointment, and she had a biopsy. Fingers crossed nothing is serious.

Fri. June 16, 2017: Just Keep Writing

Friday, June 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I finally got the article I’d been working on all week out the door; still waiting to hear back from a pitch I’d hoped was a quick turnaround. Got a few other pitches out.

Consultations on the new cover for “The Ramsey Chase”. There were two possibilities, both eye-catching, but I chose the one set in the graveyard, because the denouement is set in a graveyard. It’s not quite as spooky as the original cover, but I like the image. The byline might be enlarged just a point in the font, but, other than that, I’m happy with it.

I played with some ideas for the next story in the series, and I’ve got a few ideas spinning. We’ll see which ones actually work. I’ll have to write at least the opening scene soon, so it can go in with “Ramsey”. The re-read and the proof-read I need to do on it should help me regain the tone.

It was actually too cool to work outside on the deck yesterday afternoon; I only managed a few minutes. But, I roughed out some article ideas that I will now formulate into pitches, and also found the premise of what could be an intriguing piece of fiction. I need to play with it for a bit. The contrasting POVs would be fascinating to explore.

The exercise bicycle I picked up last week on craigslist is already having a positive effect. I’ve also finally lost the “library weight” I’d put on. Even though I’m sitting a lot for my work, I’m more active and I’m eating better. It seems all I crave lately are apples, cucumbers, peppers, parsley, and the like.

I’m hoping to have a solid writing weekend, although when it’s not raining, I’ll still have to mow. I got the side yard done yesterday morning, so it’s the terraced back area today, and then, tomorrow, back to the meadow. I also have to do some trimming in areas that the mower can’t reach.

Finished a short story that will go out today. I’m getting better at fiction that’s truly short. Which is a good thing, since there are markets for it. It’s also a good contrast to novel-length. I’m proud of myself, because the story came in only one word over the count, and I cut a qualifier, and there I was!

Started a short science fiction story, which is kind of fun. If it works, I should be able to have it submission-ready by Monday.

Still wrestling with the longer piece; I have to dig farther into the emotions, and rework the structure a bit. It should hit just over 3K when it’s done and revised. That needs to go out next week.

Started two more articles, with the basics that I’ll then fill in and use citations.

I have a project meeting set up for mid-week next week. Looking forward to meeting them – I think/hope we’d work well together.

I’d like to take some time off this weekend, but I also have to do the next section on THE FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on June 16, 2017 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 16, 2017: Just Keep Writing  
Tags: , , , , ,

Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)

Personal Revolution Cover

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Promotion starts today for “Personal Revolution”, a short mystery set in a town near Concord, MA, that takes place around Independence Day. It’s only 99 cents, available on Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, and more.

Blurb:
When a man is hanged from the oak tree in a Redcoat uniform at an historic house just before the Independence Day program, Glenda is determined to both solve the murder and protect the newly-opened museum. What she finds is much darker — and more personal — than she bargained.
(End blurb)

I hope you enjoy it. I’m playing with the idea of doing more with these characters.

Yesterday seems very far away, somehow. Maybe it was all those mass shootings, and the ridiculous and irresponsible way they were covered by the press.

What did I do yesterday? Sent out some pitches. Worked on the 30 second script. Did more research for the article that I hope to finish, polish, and get out the door today. Checked email incessantly to see if another pitch was accepted (haven’t heard back yet). Looked at a website that’s been fallow for the past few years, with an eye to starting up that platform again.

The Ridiculous Request of the Day was from an “author” who “generously offered” (his words) to pay me $350 to do a line edit on his “blockbuster” novel — that runs 120,000 words. Um, no. 120,000 words breaks down to 480 pages in Standard Manuscript Format, and I bet his wasn’t. Bet it’s single-spaced. Sweetie, $350 gets you to page 70, and I’m on the low end of the editing price range. It’s not “generous”. It’s not even a professional rate. Plus, I’m taking on very few of that type of editing client — more for scripts than for novels at this point, unless it’s at the top of my rate. Now, I am sympathetic to someone’s tight budget. But don’t boast it’s a “blockbuster” (because if it was, you’d be under contract to an agent and one of the Big 5). Look for an editor where appropriate to your budget, such as a grad student in English, who can both use the cash AND potentially use it for credit in an independent study.

On a happier note, “The Ramsey Chase”, the first Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure, will be ready for re-release sooner than I expected. The cover design will be done soon, and I should have the galleys shortly for a final proof read.

However, that means that I have to have the opening of the second Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure ready to pop into the back of it, have the darned thing outlined, and meet a deadline for its release!

Considering that I also have to get moving on the next Twinkle Tavern comic mystery, which needs to be ready to release by Labor Day, that’s a new (but positive) pressure. That will feature the characters from “Plot Bunnies” and release under the Ava Dunne name.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Cornelia and Roman. It’s a satirical fantasy/adventure series, involving time travel and an alternate universe that’s somewhat familiar and somewhat not. There’s a wry, arch tone to it that’s a blast to write. I have a lot of fun turning genre formula inside out with it, and making pointed social commentary. When first released, in 2008, it was kind of relevant; it’s even more relevant now.

We’re also in talks to set the re-release date for Playing the Angles (which used to be Assumption of Right, or, as I joked, When Bad Titles Attack). Early October is looking good, with The Spirit Repository then releasing in May of 2018. This means we have to make sure the cover is ready sometime in July. Since we’ve been having difficulty finding the right cover image, that worries me.

I should have mowed yesterday, but didn’t. So guess what I had to do first thing today? Yup, side yard needs it.

So, there were two mass shootings yesterday in the country, one on the East Coast, one on the West. The UPS shooting is hardly getting any coverage, because only ordinary people were hurt and/or killed. The one involving a Congressman, a lobbyist, and other political types is getting attention, because of the GOP’s propaganda machine. The two Capitol police personnel who put themselves in the line of fire are being mostly ignored, while politicians who weren’t even there are tearful about their own “narrow escape.” The press is covering it irresponsibly, as usual. The GOP is blaming the left, because the shooter volunteered on the Sanders campaign. Of course, the fact that the Narcissistic Sociopath repeatedly incited and encouraged violence during his campaign and actually called for Hillary Clinton’s assassination is being ignored. As is the fact that the GOP is the party who votes to allow the mentally ill access to guns (because they expect shooting victims to be outside their own party — yesterday shocked them because they think only unarmed liberals will be shot). Paul Ryan is being lauded for the speech he gave on the floor; people are saying it was wonderful. I disagree. For the man who is determined to make inhuman cuts to healthcare, Social Security, Medicare and food stamps to declare “We don’t shed our humanity when we enter the Chamber” is hypocrisy. It’s typical of Lyin’ Ryan, but it is still hypocrisy.

They all make me sick.

On that not-so-happy note, I need to go and mow, and then it’s back to the page, because, no matter what the external stresses, I have to keep showing up at the page and getting it done.

Don’t forget to hop over to the GDR site, where I have the mid-month check-in posted. I can’t believe we’re half way through June!

Published in: on June 15, 2017 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. June 14, 2017: An Attempt To Bully Me Into Unpaid Work

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday wasn’t as productive as I would have liked. I got out some pitches; I did research for an article I’m writing (the whole thing is taking much longer than I would have liked).

I withdrew from a project that interested me, because we couldn’t come to terms on money. I have bills to pay; this is how I make my living. Just because I love what I do, doesn’t mean I don’t get paid for it. The person in charge of the project understood, and we parted on good terms.

On a different project, the producer who wanted me to write unpaid corporate spec scripts started arguing with me about it. I re-iterated that the samples of previously produced work, in the style and tone they claim they want, are enough for them to make a decision. The producer insisted it wasn’t; that they were getting “commercials”, which they didn’t want — they wanted fun scripts. I pointed out that the samples I gave them were specifically that — mission-specific entertainment, where actual information is wrapped in engaging stories and characters, NOT commercials. The team should READ those samples, and look at the two script concepts I pitched, and then decide whether or not to hire me. If I’m not the right person for the job, fine; we both move on.

The argument came back that the client isn’t willing to read “other people’s samples”, but only spec scripts pertinent to their product, and that I should write two of them, and that the client wanted to talk to me ON THE PHONE — not about the concept, but about why I should write for them for free.

I have yet to find a so-called business phone conversation of more than 90 seconds anything but a complete waste of time. Most phone calls are about the ego of the person insisting on the call, who either wants to talk through the noise in his own mind because he couldn’t be bothered to do proper prep, or simple, straight up ego because he likes the sound of his own voice so much. It interferes with my work and is a complete waste of my time. That is why I charge for phone time, in 15 minutes increments, like a lawyer. If you’re going to work my last nerve and waste my time and interfere with the progress on your project, it’s going to cost. The time is billed and paid upon completion of the phone call. That is non-negotiable. I also only accept phone calls on appointment. I have my voice mail set up NOT to take messages; I don’t return phone calls. If you insist on talking to me by phone, we set up an appointment via email. We talk in that designated time frame. Period.

A single useless phone call ruins an entire day of creative work, so I have very strict boundaries about phone time.

I set out my phone terms, and, of course, got more argument, about how I “owe” the client unpaid phone time.

Honey, I don’t “owe” your client anything. I’ve never met the client. I looked at the previous videos and thought they were crap — poor writing coupled with bad, vapid acting. Yeah, if you want to use “fun” videos to sell your product, you’ll have to do some major fixes, starting with the writing.

I’m not doing it for free. This is how I earn a living — writing.

Another big red flag: “If you do this, there’s the chance for more work down the pike.” Um, is that unpaid, too? Because that’s not something I need or want. Besides, that false carrot is one of the best-known ruses to get new-to-the-biz writers to do unpaid work. Granted, this “You should be grateful to work without compensation” is the norm for Cape Cod; however, this supposed client is supposedly in a major city, and therefore should know better.

The producer admitted that several writers that were interested in the gig had brought up concerns about writing product/project specific material on spec. I don’t know if every professional writer who pitched received the same kind of bullying attempt, or if, for some reason, I was singled out.

Again, the pressure was “They want to make sure you understand it’s not a commercial and we plan to shoot at the end of next week, so we’re in a time crunch.”

YOUR time crunch is NOT my problem; I already said the deadline was not an issue (it’s not; I’m a seasoned script writer, I’ve fed doctored script pages to a film set across the country during a shoot). If YOU READ MY SAMPLES, you’ll see that I understand what you want.

Read the samples. If you like the samples and the concepts I pitched, hire me. If you don’t, then move on to someone else. Or, you demand unpaid work. I say no. We both move on.

But this insistence that I wouldn’t even be considered without project-specific spec samples, and then arguing when I refuse to do them is ridiculous, unprofessional, and guarantees that, when I see your product advertised in the future, I associate it with unprofessional behavior and avoid it.

In the interim of all this back-and-forth, which wasted half my work day (and oh, I am SO tempted to bill for wasted time, but that’s going a bit too far even for me), I landed another assignment. A very short script, no argument about my regular rate, no phone time, all sorted out within two hours of the pitch.

I withdrew from consideration from the PIA potential gig, explaining that I was contracted on another job within the same time frame, and that’s the one I’ve accepted.

More argument, that it’s “not fair” I took another job when I was talking to them about their job, and they’re in a time crunch. I was tempted not to respond, but I did, pointing out that I hadn’t been contracted by them, and we were at an impasse. I was not going to write product-specific scripts on spec. I would only do so if hired, contracted, and the deposit paid, and every hour that they argued this instead of hiring a writer was an hour that made their time crunch tighter. Also, if we started from such different positions on what our working relationship should be, I could only see it degenerating; obviously, I am not the right person to work with them, so we say goodbye and move on to better partnerships for both of us.

MORE argument that they wanted a professional writer and liked my credentials, but wanted to see spec scripts on their product before they made a decision.

Those spec scripts aren’t coming from me, as I made clear over and over and over again. I didn’t even bother to reply.

Instead, I went to work on the job for which I was contracted, for which I had been paid a deposit, and made decent progress on it. It’s a 30-second spot, something with which I have a lot of experience, so it’s a case of writing visually and aurally, and then cutting down as many words as possible.

The afternoon was so hot I wasn’t much use. The cats were little fur puddles, and I split time between doing research for a project and working on my next assignment for my new editor. AND, the second part of the afternoon was listening to the Congressional Hearings — more about that later.

I didn’t get any work done on fiction yesterday, because I fell into the trap of working on nonfiction first thing in the morning instead of fiction, which requires a completely different headspace, and never worked my way back to the fiction.

A good reminder that:
–I must always work on fiction early in the day; sometimes I can work my way back to another fiction session later in the day, but only if I’ve launched the day with it;
–I must always do my own fiction, my daily 1K quota, FIRST, before I work on any other assignment, no matter what the deadline or the pay. Otherwise, it throws my creativity out of whack.

A new-to-me author followed me on Twitter (always fun to widen the author circle). I followed back. I immediately got a DM hawking his book. Unfollow. That’s not how you get me to buy your book. That’s how you get on my list of I Don’t Read Your Work. SOCIAL media is about building the relationship first, and then telling me about your book. And then, if we’ve been having pleasant interactions, heck yeah, I’ll buy it, because I believe in buying as many books as I can afford from my contemporaries. But if I’ve only just heard of you and you privately hit me up for money, that guarantees me striking you off ALL my lists.

If you only came here for the writing commentary, click away, because I’m about to talk about politics. This blog is about balancing life and writing; the poisonous political situation, unfortunately, affects my writing (negatively, for the most part).

Jeff Sessions was always unqualified to be Attorney General, and yesterday’s hearings solidified his incompetence. He repeatedly perjured himself, both in this hearing and in previous hearings. He “can’t remember” meetings that should be pretty memorable. He claims possible future executive privilege that hasn’t been invoked, which any first year law student knows is crap. He stonewalls, rambles, and attempts misdirection. He refuses to answer questions, putting him in contempt of Congress. To hell with Congress — he holds the American people in contempt, especially those who aren’t white men. I don’t believe, for one minute, that he attended a legitimate law school or has a legitimate law degree. It’s far more likely he sent away for it on the back of a matchbook. I expect the top law enforcement official in the country to be ethical, intelligent, capable of coherent and rational reasoning, able to discern fact from fiction, secular, tolerant, fair-minded, committed to justice and the Constitution, and well-spoken. Jeff Sessions is none of those things. He should have never been confirmed, and he needs to be removed.

Senator Kamala Harris was brilliant, and those old white men who keep trying to shush her should have their mouths duct-taped. She was a prosecutor. SHE should be our country’s Attorney General.

We have lovely thunderstorms last night, and it’s cooler. That means I need to get back to mowing today, along with working on fiction, working on my essay, and my article, getting out some more pitches, and following up on some more pitches that have been out for awhile.

I am desperate for a few days off, but I need to hit my earnings for the month. Then, hopefully, I can take Fourth of July days as a holiday and rest my brain and my soul.

Watch out — I’ll be promoting the Independence Day-themed short mystery “Personal Revolution” starting tomorrow.

Out to the mower, and then back to the page. A migraine is coming on, and it’s slowing me down.

Published in: on June 14, 2017 at 9:20 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 14, 2017: An Attempt To Bully Me Into Unpaid Work  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tues. June 13, 2017: When They Don’t Want To Pay You (But Want the Work)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Yesterday wound up being hot. My poor grass!

I got out a few pitches in the morning, and ran some errands. Got some research done around lunchtime. Worked on an essay, and a couple more pitches in the afternoon. Tried to work on the teleplay, but couldn’t concentrate.

Managed to get some more pitches ready to go out this morning. I want to get work set up for the rest of the summer.

Thinking of freshening up a website and some of the names I haven’t used recently. Will play with some ideas. Freshening up is always a good thing!

I pitched to do some corporate video scripting for a new fragrance company. They want to shoot by the 25th of June, so it would be a quick-turnaround, but the scripts would be short. I sent them my credentials, writing samples, price. They responded by telling me, at 10 PM last night, that they want me to send them two spec scripts, either by midnight last night or by afternoon today.

Uh, no. That’s not how it works, bubbelah. I don’t write corporate scripts without a contract and a deposit in place. If you can’t tell if my style and tone match what you want from my previously-produced samples, you shouldn’t be in the position you’re in.

Far more likely, you’re trying to get the scripts for free. We’ve seen all these fake gigs – they want project/product-specific samples, tell the writers who apply they didn’t get the gig, change the company name, and use the material without paying. It’s called theft and/or fraud.

Not only is that a way to get on Whispers & Warnings and keep professional writers away, it’s a good way to make sure none of the writers or anyone in their circle ever buys your product. You lose customers. Buh-bye.

Sent a polite, but still to-the-point letter withdrawing from consideration for a local position. As is usual here on Cape, they want you to work without pay in the hope of “maybe someday” money. Sorry, I am paid for hours work, as is NOW THE LAW.

So, Delta now sees itself in the business of censorship? Pulling its support of the Public Theatre Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of JULIUS CAESAR because some moron thought it makes fun of the Narcissistic Sociopath is ridiculous. First of all, the reason JC’s been done for well over 400 years is that it’s politically relevant to EVERY time period. That’s the point of the play. I bet you no one at Delta saw the production or even read the play.

Second, how come the Narcissistic Sociopath and his followers can attack, degrade, and incite violence against anything and anyone they wish, but anyone who criticizes them is threatened? Authoritarianism much? First Amendment, people. If he and those who drank his Kool-Aid can say and do whatever they want, so can everyone else.

That means Delta joins United on the I’m Not Flying Them Anymore list. Pretty soon, there won’t be any US carriers getting my money.

Makes me think my article, which will post soon on A Biblio Paradise, should be about JULIUS CAESAR instead of THE TEMPEST, but too bad! 😉

It’s too hot to mow this morning (that’s my excuse, anyway), so I’m going to work on the teleplay, the essay, the short story, and some more pitches.

Several incidents mentioned above made me cranky, but, at the same time, standing true to my boundaries only serves both me and the work well in the long run. In the end, it’s all about serving the work, with as much creativity and integrity as possible.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 13, 2017 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 13, 2017: When They Don’t Want To Pay You (But Want the Work)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,