Fri. Sept. 30, 2022: Inner and Outer Fog

Image by Joe via pixabay.com

Friday, September 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cold with dense fog

I could not shake the sadness triggered by the dream yesterday, to the point where getting through the day was a struggle. It was a case of actual reality not aligning with my emotional reality.

Meditation was lovely (Charlotte participated). I then had time to bolt breakfast and head for MassMOCA for the Working Artists Group, which was also good. They’re talking about moving sessions to after traditional work hours, which does not work for me. I can go to the next meeting – I think –even though it’s at 5, but if it moves to evenings, I will have to give it up. These meetings are part of my job, not a hobby; and if people are going the “day job comes first” route, then it’s not the right group for me.

Got the newsletter out. I like using MailerLite. The newsletter has a good feel to it. Of course, since that newsletter is out the door, it’s time to start the document for December’s newsletter!

The missing piece for one of the script coverages arrived, so I read that, updated the notes and sent it off. Started to turn around another coverage; it was missing a piece. Sent off the note. Received an “updated draft” that was still missing a piece, so I asked the support team for guidance. I have a feeling this particular author does not know the difference between a “preface” and a “synopsis.” Did half of the big coverage that’s due today, and will finish the rest this afternoon. That piece is pretty good.

Got 3 writer satisfaction bonuses, so at least the feedback’s been helpful.

Finished the book for the review that’s due today. I’ll write it up and get it out this morning.

I’m woefully behind in what I needed to get done this week, especially when it comes to Legerdemain and the next radio play. However, I have a lot of bills that have hit and need to be paid, so the script coverage has to take priority. But I’m discouraged with myself. I just don’t have the stamina and the mental capacity for long days that I used to.

So I have to adjust.

I’ve been invited to three events next week. I’ve already bowed out of one, because it will be inside, a large group, and unmasked. Nope. Not with the way the numbers are going up. I’m not yet sure about the other two.

I’ve also made peace with the fact that it might be years before I go to another in-person conference, if at all. If they’re not going to have safety policies and enforce them, I won’t be there.

On this morning’s agenda are the book review, Legerdemain, some blog posts, hopefully some work on “Owe Me.” The afternoon is about finishing the large script coverage and doing a shorter one. And that’s the pay period.

I’m trying to get in touch with various friends and colleagues in Florida, to make sure they are okay.

This weekend, I hope to get some more work done on Legerdemain and on the outline for the Retro Mystery. We’re also turning over the curtains/fabrics to October and getting out the decorations.

I am so ready for Mercury Retrograde to be damn over.

Have a good weekend, my friends.

Thurs. Sept. 29, 2022: Choices

image courtesy of Arek Socha via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny and cool

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday morning, I set up a Substack account and subscribed to some material. I will read for a few weeks/months, to get an idea of the platform and how it can be used.

Found out about some great submission calls. Hopefully, I can fulfill them.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by opportunities and having trouble prioritizing them. It shouldn’t be difficult. The opportunity needs to meet the following criteria:

–Does it pay the bills? Because writing – yes, even fiction and plays – is my BUSINESS, not my hobby.

–Does it present an opportunity for professional growth?

–Does it challenge/stretch me creatively?

–What are the long-term benefits compared to the short-term benefits?

Chasing something because it’s new and shiny and interesting does not build a career. Finishing work and making sure it pays its way, while growing in the process, builds a career.

I drafted an episode of Legerdemain (I wanted to draft two, but that didn’t happen). I stayed current on the marketing game, posted on LinkedIn, made the social media rounds, slogged through some email. In the afternoon, I turned around three script coverages and grabbed a big coverage I will do today and tomorrow, along with a couple of smaller ones, that should get me closer to where I need to be this pay period.

I started reading the next book for review (the review is due tomorrow). Good thing I read fast.

I prepped for this morning Working Artists Group session.

Watching Hurricane Ian destroy Florida is horrifying.

DeSantis, who voted against Hurricane Sandy aid to blue states, should be forced to step down as Florida gets aid. That needs to be the tradeoff. You vote against aid? When you then ask for it for your state, you have to step aside. The aid should go to the people who need it, but the politicians cannot be allowed to remain in office when they’re hypocrites.

I had two weird dreams last night. One was very personal, and I completely understand the message, but it made me very sad. It will keep me sad as I process it. The other dream had something to do with time travel in New Orleans, and I have no idea what that was about.

Online Meditation group this morning. Then, I just have time to gulp down breakfast before I head off to the Working Group, and there’s the morning gone. This afternoon, I have a lot of coverage to do, and to finish the book for review.

It is unlikely I will draft anything for Legerdemain today, which puts more pressure on tomorrow and the weekend.

Episode 20 of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Peace, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)

image courtesy of Christian Dorn via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

The last week of Mercury Retrograde is always crushing, but with all these other retrogrades piled on, it’s rough going.

I did admin and marketing in the morning, and did not get another episode of Legerdemain written, and that threw my day out of synch.

I left early for the meeting at the television station, in case I got lost. Of course I did, but I eventually found it. They are a very small staff, but very nice. The studio is far better equipped than I expected – even with green screen capabilities, and there’s a lot of flexibility within the space. The radio component is smaller, but also quite good.

It gave me fuel for several different projects. They need to percolate, and then I can write up proposals if any of them are viable. I also have to look into sources of funding, especially for the radio plays. Maybe that’s something I can hit up the cultural council for next year.

I made notes on Ink-Dipped Advice posts into the beginning of December. Now, to sit down and actually write them!

I meant to sit down and do the script coverage. Really, I did. But I decided to take a look at my Play Script Tracker sheet in Excel, and update it with “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By.” That led me to looking at calls for submission, which led me back to some of the earlier plays which are actually ready to go out, and I wound up submitting 5 plays. Which took much longer than it should have, mostly because I realized how few plays have synopses ready to go. I broke one of my own Submission Systems rules, and I paid for it.

Another thing to go on the list: Make sure every play has a blurb AND a synopsis. The blurbs are already up on the Pages on Stages site, but I need the synopsis ready for when it’s called.

A friend contacted me about a collaboration over the winter, which sounds like a ton of fun. I was in touch with another friend, who has both a new novel and a new screenplay he’d love some feedback on, so we’ll get that set up.

By that time, The Authors Guild Seminar on serials started. I did not realize that an author whose work both my mom and I have read extensively was the pseudonym for the chair of English at a major university (and a Board member). So, that was fun. There were two Vella authors, one Substack fiction author, and heads of Vella and Substack. 

I knew most of the information about structuring a serial, etc. I mean, I’ve written serials for decades, off and on. I was interested that Vella has more flexibility with driving readers to other sites (it says, in the guidelines, one can’t). Yet the authors are listing their websites and Facebook groups and other work in their author notes.

So I will start doing that, too. If they send it back for removal, so be it, but at least I’ll try.

The information on gaining traction was too vague for my taste. Great, success stories about tens of thousands of hits and people making the serial their day job. But what are the nuts and bolts of gaining traction? Especially if the price of Amazon ads is out of reach? That was not answered to my satisfaction.

Substack’s pitch interested me. I had not looked at it in terms of fiction. The pitch was very strong, and the author chosen to speak was a ton of fun, and I am definitely signing up for her material. I think I will poke around the site and sign up for a few things and see what it’s about. I might put EARTH BRIDE and REP serials up there, and have LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT on Vella and do a comparison study.

The Substack people also offered more nuts-and-bolts information on growing audience, which was helpful.

Also, Substack is international. A strong portion of my readership is international, and therefore shut out of all things Vella. Having work on Substack  would give them entry.

After all that, it was time to make dinner. I did colcannon tricked out with leek, pancetta, and lots of shredded cheese on top. It was wonderful.

I should have done script coverage after, but by then, it was 9 PM, and I was too damn tired.

So today will be a long day. I have to do follow-up on yesterday, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and catch up on script coverage. There’s more I should do – maybe I’ll sneak in a post or two of Ink-Dipped – but LEGERDEMAIN and script coverage need to be the main focus.

The television/radio stuff can percolate for a few days, before I actually write up those proposals and contact those I want involved, but I will send the thank you out today.

I’m worried about my friends and colleagues in Florida, in the path of Hurricane Ian. Let’s hope the storm decreases in intensity and/or veers into the sea.

Have a good one, friends.

Tues. Sept. 27, 2022: Walking the Project Talk

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy, mild, humid

Pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle in for a natter. This weekend had a lot going on.

I’ve posted the questions to help you create and plan your 2023 over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

I managed to get them up early this year. I don’t know about you, but I already have the urge to plan next year, process this year, and build on it. We’ll ponder the questions between now and the end of the year, and then post what we’re comfortable sharing in January over on the GDR site.

Friday felt like a lost day, even though it wasn’t. I mean, I did stuff, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped to get done. I scheduled the episode ad postings on the LEGERDEMAIN site to release all the way through October. I still have to add some content to the site before I’m comfortable with it going live, but that should happen this week, so next week, I can start promoting the site.

Newsletter subscribers will get the link early, when the newsletter goes out later this week. Have you subscribed to my quarterly newsletter yet? If not, you can do so here.

I did some work on the Topic Workbook graphic, and I’m still not happy with it. I need to play some more. I also started the media kit for the Topic Workbook, and I’m pondering the media kit for LEGERDEMAIN.

I looked at running ads on Amazon for LEGERDEMAIN, and the prices are just way out of my budget at the moment.

I ordered a set of signed books by an author whose work I adore for a friend I think would really love them. I bought them directly from the author, and she already shipped them to my friend, and I am so excited.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I should have done three, but I was just too tired. And, when I cover the script, I want to give good, focused attention to the writer. That is the respect each writer deserves.

Canva won’t let me design a bookmark that’s horizontal instead of vertical, and I don’t like the way the verticals look. However, the print store I want to try out lets me design horizontally on their site, and I think I will do that. I will initially order a small batch; if they look good, I’ll order more. I may have them do my direct mail postcards, too, if I can ever get a design on those I can stand.

The Fresh Grass Music Festival was over at MassMOCA this weekend. Can you say super-spreader much? Especially now that Rochelle Wollensky of the CDC has gone full genocidal eugenics on the country. She needs to be removed. And yes, I contacted both my Senators and my Representative yesterday so to do.

But the upside of the music festival is that, at night, when the wind is right, I can hear some of it. Which is kind of cool. The venue is only 5 blocks away, so it makes sense.

Had kind of a slow start Saturday morning. We ended up putting on the heat on Friday – I’m already cringing, because not only has the gas company jacked up my bill over the summer, here in this state, they are telling us to expect a 64% increase. My income hasn’t increased 64%, so why are they allowed to do this?

Yes, that was another set of contacts to the Senators and Reps, on both federal and state levels.

I did not go to the market, or even the grocery store, because with all these people in for the festival, ewww, germy strangers probably not masking shedding virus. Nope.

Played with some ideas for upcoming Ink-Dipped Advice posts, and hope to write them up and schedule them to post this week.

I’ve basically given up on all the short stories I’d hoped to write the second half of September. I need to focus on other work first. Some of the ideas I might still play with and write, and look for other markets. But I can’t look at Sept. 30 deadlines for anything right now, other than already contracted work.

I did rough out a short story outline that was inspired by a call to submission, but they wanted flash fiction and this will be 3-5K. But I love the idea, and it will be fun to spin out.

So, yeah, not given up on the short stories, just on the deadlined submission calls!

It’s been dipping down into the low 40’s,/high 30’s F at night, so it’s time to take in the plants. We took in a bunch, some inside for good, some to the front porch. I will go into that in detail on Thursday’s garden post.

Once that was done, the light was good enough so that I could sew the October-themed curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Willa, who hardly ever comes on the couch, sat along the back of it, alternating watching me sew and looking out the window. I did this, too, by hand.

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

After that, I downloaded the scriptwriting software DramaQueen (the company is based out of Germany). Right now, I can’t make the time to sit with Scrivener. I’ve tried Trelby and hated it. Eventually, I will invest in Final Draft again, but not right now.

It was kind of a PITA to download, but I have no doubt that’s more about my computer than their software. Once it was downloaded, though, and I started playing with it, it worked well.

I imported VISCERAL INVISIBLES into the software and started working on the new draft of that. This will be the 7th draft. Because I’m going to keep at it until it’s right before I submit. The import was wonky from PDF, but just fine out of .doc, so that’s good to know. The software wonked some of the formatting, but not badly, and it’s very easy to adjust with the highlight and tabs.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t used the standard Courier format, but whatever it was I drafted in, so when it converted to the correct format, some of it wonked.

So far, so good.

I rewrote the first 23 or so pages. I’m rearranging a few things, and deepening a few things. That’s what this draft is about. And then I’ll do another pass, and make cuts. According to the software, the page count is 120. However, I think some of that is format wonk, since none of my drafts were ever that long, page-wise. Once I do the rewrites and fix the wonks, I will check the page count (I expect it’s around 115) and then cut, because it needs to hit the sweet spot for the genre, and not be more than 110. So I’ll tighten and cut until I get there.

I knew I had another script I wanted to import – but I couldn’t find it on any of my drives. I nearly panicked, until I realized I’d sent it to my friend Paula for critique a couple of years back. I went back into the emails, found the attachment, downloaded it, and converted it to .doc. I tried importing the PDF version, but it wonked again, so I imported the .doc, and it looks okay.

On the fence about importing STALEMATE DEATH. It might be worthwhile for the portfolio, but I doubt it would go out often. I think it’s just about served its purpose. There’s also the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE and of TALENT. Those need to be reworked, and maybe put into the portfolio. I will use and apply what I’ve learned as a script analyst these past couple of years to make my own scripts stronger.

The one I really need to concentrate on this winter is the pilot for THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT. That’s the one I’m truly excited about, and need to get back to.

I also found a script roster of loglines and information on scripts that all sound good, but according to the document they are written and I look at them and don’t remember some of them. So I’m not sure if that’s a document I wrote as an exercise, or if there’s more spelunking to do in old flash drives.

All of the above is a combination of leaning into the energies of the retrogrades, which is about going back and reworking or finishing older projects, rather than starting something new. This is something I talk about and share techniques for in THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Unfinished projects drain energy. I need to clear the decks to make room for new work. To do that, I have to decide which projects to revive, get into the schedule, and finish; which projects to put in stasis, because it doesn’t make creative or financial sense to deal with them right now; and which ones I need to retire.

That will make room for the new work. It’s also using the information and energy of the retrogrades as something positive, rather than using the retrogrades as an excuse.

I’ve made a rough plan for the marketing of the Topic Workbooks (and including 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS with Nano coming up soon) for October through December. If I can ever get the danged graphic right, I can upload and schedule that. I also figured out the next couple of months of the LEGERDEMAIN campaign, more than just the episode-specific ads. So all of that has to get uploaded and scheduled in the next couple of weeks, in an around all the other stuff.

I also saw that I need to update the buy links on several Topic Workbooks. I thought I’d kept up with that, and am annoyed with myself that I did not.

DramaQueen has several levels of software, but I think I’ll be okay with sticking with the free version. Anyway, so far, so good.

I’ve dumped all the “project management software” programs with which I experimented. None of them have the range I need. I do better with the old-fashioned desk blotter calendar and colored markers. I’ve also kept up with the Work Wins Daily Journal Challenge set out by a colleague. I’m learning that some of the categories he set up don’t work for me. That’s going to be the first October blog post for Ink-Dipped Advice – what I learned from this challenge, and what I’m changing to suit my needs. So much of all these tools and platforms and systems is about compartmentalizing instead of making it holistic. For what I do, that’s detrimental to my productivity, my creativity, and my mental health.

Sunday, I was up at a reasonable time and baked biscuits.

I’d hoped to get the history of Legerdemain written and up on the website, but I don’t know what made me think I could create two thousand years’ worth of a country’s history in a couple of hours. So that’s taking longer than I planned.

In the afternoon, I switched over to plotting and working on my Writers’ Rough outline for the Retro Mystery. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which was frustrating, but better to have that happen now and jot down those details, than to get stuck when I have to draft at speed in November.

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

I created an ad for 30 Tips for 30 Days, and got it uploaded/scheduled through October. November needs a slightly different take; I will either upload/schedule half the month today and half tomorrow, or all today and December tomorrow. Probably half today/half tomorrow and then December on Wednesday. Each month needs a slightly different slant, and there’s a lot to do this week.

I actually did a To Do list for the week, which sets my teeth on edge. To Do lists make me feel constrained, and then I sabotage myself, but there was simply too much for me to be able to look at the calendar and get it done. Urgh.

Read a book on Sunday by a well-known author which came highly recommended, and I was left with “meh.” I am glad to see the author try to tackle social inequity, racism, and domestic abuse in a genre that usually ignores it. But in so doing, she flattened out her central protagonists to make sure they were righteous, and that didn’t quite work. But at least she’s trying, in this genre, which is more than most attempt or fight to do.

Up at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Good journal, yoga, meditation, and tarot sessions. Came up with a mantra for my intent for the week: “I thrive in situations where my work is respected. I remove myself from situations where it is not.” I will use that this week.

Posted the blogs, posted in the Marketing Game, made the social media rounds. Drafted Episode 42 of LEGERDEMAIN, which came in just under 1300 words, and was more fun than I expected.

Did the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the liquor store.

Adapted Chapter 4 of the third draft of ANGEL HUNT into 7 serial episodes, and smoothed out a few things. The chapter was 6500 words. So that was a lot of words handled, all told, yesterday.

Turned around 3 script coverages. One is missing a piece, and I sent in the information. I read what I had, and commented; I just need the missing piece to finish it.

Made turkey Bolognese for dinner, a different recipe than I’ve used before; I like it a lot.

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

Woke up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, did the morning routine, and was out the door before 6 AM and over to the laundromat when it opened. Back by about 7:30. Still have to finish folding the sheets and put them away.

I did a few chapters of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The book is good. I just wish publishers and agents weren’t so determined to ignore the pandemic and racism, which are two very important themes in the book.

I’m going to work on Episode 43 of LEGERDEMAIN. I have to be at the TV station across town by 11 AM, so I have to pull myself together for that. But I’m looking forward to seeing the facility and percolating ideas.

Williams College music department has tightened up the COVID protocols for their performances – proof of vaccinations and masking are again required. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go and listen to some music over the coming months!

There’s a big push in the area to get everyone boosted with the bivalent formula. They’re setting up a lot of free clinics all over the place this week. That, too, makes me feel better. You can tell the tourists have left, because almost everyone in the grocery store yesterday masked.

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Sept. 26, 2022: Intent for the Week — Repositioning

image courtesy of Rafael Javier via pixabay.com

My intent this week is to reposition myself in a few different situations.

During meditation this morning, I came up with this:

“I thrive in situations where my work is respected.

I remove myself from situations where it is not.”

I will apply this test and make the necessary adjustments.

Over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, I posted the Questions to Ponder for 2023, and we will reconvene there after the first of the year with what we’ve come up with.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on September 26, 2022 at 6:22 am  Comments (4)  

Fri. Sept. 23, 2022: Of Words

image couortesy of Daria Glodowksa via pixabay.com

Friday, September 23, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and cool

I worked on the graphic I need for the Topic Workbooks campaign, and am not satisfied with it. I promoted Episode 18 of LEGERDEMAIN. I worked to look for photos and links for both the Creative Ground profile and to use on my website(s). I put up the Radio Theatre Project’s Sound Cloud links to “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale,” “Horace House Hauntings,” and “Light Behind the Eyes.” If you go on the radio page over at Pages On Stages, you’ll find them, and can listen. I hadn’t heard “Aurora Nightingale” before and it was fun. “Pier-less Crime” should be up soon.Lakes Area Theatre doesn’t have any of my shows uploaded yet, and Post-Meridian Players requires a subscription, so that’s that, at least for now. I found some photos from MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL that I might put up.

I did some work on the newsletter, which will go out next week.

I worked on some other graphic stuff I need. I also copied both LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT folders from the flash drive where I work on them to the hard drive of the computer, backed them up on an external hard drive, and also put them on a drive specific to the serials. Paranoid much? But I want the serials kept separate from the main flash drive I usually work off of, and I want to make sure everything’s backed up multiple times.

I skipped Freelance Chat, because I just wasn’t up to it. I was in too much pain to be able to follow conversations and be appropriately cheerful.

I got more information on an event I’d been invited to participate in, and it’s really not for me, so I will gracefully decline.

I created the logo graphic for ANGEL HUNT. It’s much simpler than I originally envisioned, but I believe it’s more striking.

I worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Didn’t finish as much as I’d hoped, but I’m still well within my deadlines. I grabbed two more, so I will be busy today, and it might spill over into tomorrow. I have to push hard next week. They’re paying us less to do more, and I’m getting a little fed up.

I made Cornish hen with mashed potatoes and peas for our Equinox supper. It was good.

I set the bones to cook down for stock, and headed over to the local indie bookstore for my colleague’s reading. She was someone I met through the Artists Working Group over at MassMOCA. I was interested in her work, plus why be a part of an artist working group if you don’t turn up to support each other?

I got there early and helped set up. The place was backed – a tiny store with about 40 people there. All masked. There was no fuss ever made about it. People simply masked up as they stepped in the door, as though it was the most natural thing in the world. It made me feel good to be part of a community that walks their talk.

The reading was wonderful. The reader was Molly Rideout, and she read from an essay in progress about her experiences relocating to this area, and the concept of being a “good transplant” which provoked interesting discussion. It was nice to be in a group of people who really listen and respond to what is being said, both by the reader and by other audience members, instead of only thinking about the next thing they want to say.

I bought her book TRANSIENT, and she signed it.

It was a fun evening.

Most of the tightly networked artist community meets through various art-related work events. As a writer, mostly solitary, I have to actually make an effort to get out and do things!

Did my Equinox ritual, finished the stock and put it away, and went to sleep. By the end of the night, my ear was in a lot of pain again. It will take time to let the initial trauma heal, and then we’ll find out if there’s permanent damage. I was in pain most of the day, which derailed some of my productivity, too.

Up early this morning. I’m going to write in the morning, on a couple of different projects: LEGERDEMAIN, maybe a couple of short stories. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to the radio play “Owe Me” today or wait until Monday.

I hope I won’t have to read all weekend, for script coverage, but that depends on where I am, earnings-wise, at the end of the day. I have A LOT of bills coming up in October. The plan is to write all weekend, but we’ll see how that works out.

The Fresh Grass music festival is in town this weekend (can you say “super-spreader event”?), so I will stay home.

I forgot to switch over the sheets from bamboo to flannel yesterday (I usually do that on the Equinox, and then switch to fleece at Yule). So that, too, is on today’s agenda.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Wed. Sept. 21, 2022: Digging in the Archives Of Law

image coourtesy of svklimkin via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Mars is still in effing Gemini

Cloudy and humid

I pushed a little too hard yesterday. I wasn’t as fully recovered from the booster as I hoped.

I was out of the house a little after 8, but had not budgeted enough time for the school busses and the road construction. Mercury Retrograde, even though I gave myself extra time. It just wasn’t enough time.

Then, I went to the wrong building first. I navigated decades through the five boroughs of New York, yet Pittsfield baffles me. It makes no sense.

Anyway, I ended up in the state office building, at the RMV. There was a long line and grumbling when I went to the head of it to talk to the security guard. But when I said, “I need help. I’m lost” everything shifted, and everyone had an opinion to help me get where I was going. Which was basically across the street, but I had to go all the way up the street around the common and back down. Because, you know (gestures). Anyway, I thanked them all and they were smiling when I left.

I texted the librarian to let him know I was on my way, and got there a few minutes later. I had to park waaaaay down the street, because parking in Pittsfield is a nightmare. Plus, the street along which the court buildings sit has the music school and a whole bunch of other buildings with people coming, going, and needing parking. And one has to move the car every three hours. I sincerely hope jurors get their own lot somewhere.

Everyone is funneled through a single doorway in the basement of the building, through the metal detector. The very nice female security guard asked where I was headed, I told her the library, and she asked if I knew where it was. I told her I was lucky I found the building. She laughed and said, “Let me fix that for you” and gave me directions.

The library is on the top floor.

The restrooms are in the basement, which made restroom breaks a hike.

The library is lovely, and so is the librarian. He’d pulled some books for me, showed me how to read the statute indexes and where to find what I needed. I spent the morning going from book to book. I had to go back to the 1932 Statutes to sort of find what I needed.

He suggested that the bank POLICY might be different than the actual LAW, and I’m inclined to agree with him. The law talks about “persons” without regard to gender. So basically, it was bank POLICY to be misogynistic jerks, and no wonder they refused to give me the information.

Just for that, I’ll kill a few bankers over the course of the series.

The information I found will send me back to the historical society to dig through some more of their files.

I left just before noon, a little dizzy from all the concentration. I stopped at Adams Market to pick up some groceries, and then did a few more errands, including the library, before I got home, completely wiped out.

We had a late pizza lunch, and I finished reading A MURDER OF MAGES. I never get tired of that book.

I turned around two scripts in the afternoon and evening (should have been more, but I was too tired). I have to make up the difference today. Spent some time online with a fun group of colleagues on a six-week “marketing game” in which I’m participating.

I haven’t spoken about Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. I’m an American; the monarchy is not part of my heritage, and I have never been a royal watcher/gossiper. It’s always been my position that what the family does is not my business. I don’t take joy in gossiping about them, and when I see Americans being snarky and nasty, I lose respect for them. I have a great deal of empathy for my British friends who mourn her. British subjects and those who’ve been colonized by the British are directly impacted by all this, and I’d rather listen to them than squawk my own meaningless opinions.  The history of the event intrigues me, and her long reign was astonishing. The way the world changed while she was Queen was astounding. When you look at the history that took place under the three major Queens: Elizabeth I, Victoria, and Elizabeth II – it’s quite astounding.

I started re-reading AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE, the next Satrine/Minox book, and love it, too.

Awakened a little after two by coyotes yipping at each other, up on the mountain. This is the first time I’ve heard coyotes since I moved here. I’m only four blocks from downtown, but I figure they’re up by the lake, which is less than ¾ of a mile up the mountain at the end of the street.

I see Joyce Carol Oates has yet again said something unfortunate on social media. I will always admire her work ethic. I keep re-reading her early diaries on process. But the work itself has always been problematic, and the mix of attention-seeking ego/insecurity is exhausting. It was old in the 90s and is still eye-rolling now.

Trouble getting my act together this morning. I need to get some admin. I need to catch up on some stuff that’s come in thanks to my Creative Ground profile up, and do some website updates. Creative Ground is so much more useful to me than LinkedIN. The debit card clusterfuck begins today, and I am not looking forward to it. Plus, I have to argue with Berkshire Fucking Gas about the bill. Do not fuck with me during a Mercury Retrograde when Mars is in Gemini because I will be more like a rabid bear than a feral cat.

I want to finish up the last few chapters of the novel version of ANGEL HUNT, but Shelley has demanded some attention on LEGERDEMAIN, so I have to see how I can move between the two for a few days. And make up the script coverages that I didn’t get done yesterday.

There was a great quote in today’s note in the Mercury Retrograde journal: “Be so committed to creating your own Universe and the Universe will start to form around you.”

Damn right I am forming my own Universe.

I need to prepare for Mabon, too, since it happens tomorrow, whether I am prepared or not.

Tessa and her Scout Crow buddy are still having their morning chat at the living room window. There must be a lot going on out there.

I also need to contact the local community television/radio station about an appointment. I want to check out the facility before the next Artist Impact Coalition Working Group meeting.

I have Ideas.

Be very scared.

Catch you tomorrow, friends, and have a good one!

Tues. Sept. 20, 2022: The Boostered Couch Potato

image courtesy of Agata via Pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Yup, Mars is still in Gemini (until March 2023)

Cloudy and cooler

Anyone else find all these retrogrades exhausting?

This will be short, because it was close to a Lost Weekend. Not due to alcohol (hopefully, I’ve matured beyond that by now). Due to Covid Shot #5, the bivalent booster.

I got it on Friday morning, at good ole Stop & Shop. It hurt. My arm hurt immediately. My mom drove us home. She hasn’t driven much here in the Berkshires since we’ve moved (and her license is good until she’s 101).

I was woozy, but not too bad, for most of the day. I’d blocked it off for rest, so I spent the day on the couch, reading. I read Kwana Jackson’s KNOT AGAIN, the second book in her series about a group of foster brothers who inherit their foster mother’s knitting shop in Harlem and are determined to keep it a community hub. The series is a lot of fun.

I didn’t feel bad until about 12 hours after the shot. Then, it hit. I’d gotten steadily colder during the afternoon, but by 12 hours post shot, I was so cold I was, very literally, shaking. That was a new and different reaction. I piled quilts and cats on the bed, did a hot water bottle, and snuggled in.

That warmed me up, but I was awake most of the night with terrible body aches, headaches, and nausea, but I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed to get the Tylenol.

I finally managed to hoist myself out of bed around 11 AM on Saturday and took Tylenol, which helped, although I continued to feel nauseated. Again, new and different. Usually, I am all kinds of hungry after the shot.

I spent Saturday on the couch, reading and dozing. I read Roselle Lim’s SOPHIE GO’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB, which was delightful. I do love her books so much.

I barely ate anything all day (just some chicken soup), drank a lot of black-raspberry-flavored water, and hot tea when I started getting cold again. I alternated between a slight fever and chills.

I went to bed at 7:15.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me up at 5 AM on Sunday. I had a blazing headache, which makes sense, since I hadn’t had any coffee the day before (just the thought made me queasy, and rarely do I skip coffee). I made coffee, fed everything, retired to the couch.

Where I spent the day.

I read Michelle Sagara’s CAST IN SHADOW, which I really liked. It was published in 2005, and there are 16 books in the series, so I have a lot of pleasurable reading ahead of me. Not sure how I missed it back then, but I’ve found it now, and am happy about it.

In one of my half-dozed states, I figured out the climactic sequence and resolution for ANGEL HUNT. It’s quite different than I originally planned (I am sure), but I’m using what I’ve learned about craft and character in the ensuing years, so I believe it’s stronger.

I also worked out a few threads for LEGERDEMAIN. Let’s hope they haven’t fled when I sit down to write!

I decided that I’m not going to the Authors Guild Festival in Lenox next weekend due to lack of COVID protocols. They’re taking the cowardly “Masks recommended but not required” which means having high numbers means more to them than having healthy attendees. Nope. Not doing it. To say I am disappointed in them is an understatement. I emailed them on Monday, releasing my tickets (so someone else can take the risk) and telling them why. Rather than going there, getting upset, and leaving, I will withdraw now. Because, fuck you, you CANNOT be in a seminar claiming you give two shits about equality and justice when you can’t be bothered to wear a piece of cloth over your face for an hour. That’s hypocrisy. I won’t condone it or be around it. At least 500 people are dying a DAY. That calls for stricter protocols, not fewer, and I have zero tolerance for cowards.

I started re-reading A MURDER OF MAGES by Marshall Ryan Maresca, which remains one of my favorite books ever. I’m re-reading the whole Maradine Constabulary series, and then probably all his Maradine books. They hold up.

Monday, I woke up feeling semi-human. Still not great. Fed the cats, caught up on the journal, went back to the page. Typed up the notes for ANGEL HUNT’S climactic sequence. The notes were 2K, so the sequence will be long, and then cut. I made a placeholder for the resolution saying “figure it out” which will bite me in the butt, but hey.

I was saddened by an email that the yoga studio is closed for a couple of weeks, because the owner came down with COVID. This is the one place I felt safe indoors, because everyone had to have proof of vaccination. And still . . .just proves there’s no safe place outside of home.

Wednesday, we have to “activate” our new debit cards with Greylock Federal Credit Union. Having the entire base activate their debit cards on the same day during Mercury Retrograde would be a clusterfuck even if they didn’t always get everything wrong the first time. Not looking forward to it.

I was going to run some errands, but I had a slight fever, so I decided to stay home.

After typing up and printing out my notes for the rest of ANGEL HUNT, I went back and adapted chapters two and three of the third draft into Episodes 9-15 of the serial. The pace is good, it works structurally. I mean, it was designed to be a serial, then adapted into a novel, so adapting back isn’t all that much of a stretch. These episodes are shorter than the original episodes. So far, they are all under 1K, except for one of them, and shorter than LEGERDEMAIN’s episodes. I want to look at the contrasting metrics for the two serials, especially during the stretch they run concurrently.

I should have switched over to script coverage, although I am fine with my deadlines. Instead, I went back and re-read all of ANGEL HUNT. It holds together, I’m happy to say, but I can see why I stopped where I did. I spun out multiple arcs when it looked like the serial would continue indefinitely. When it was clear the company was in decline, I tried to tie things up before the company collapsed, but was not able to do so. When I adapted, I had some good ideas, but didn’t know how to pull it all together without cheating an arc or going on for too long.

Hopefully, in the intervening years, I’ve developed the craft to fix that. We’ll see, won’t we?

I was starting to think, between the climactic sequence and the resolution, I might have as much as 8K left to write, but I think I can keep it within the original 5K vision.

So I guess that’s what I’m doing later this week, when I’m not doing client work.

Shelley, over at LEGERDEMAIN, is tapping her foot with impatience.

I stayed up way too late re-reading A MURDER OF MAGES. I have no regrets.

This morning, I am up and out of the house early, headed to the Berkshire Law Library in Pittsfield, where their librarian will point me toward the books on banking law in 1957 for the retro mystery. I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

On my way back, I’m getting in some groceries, doing the errands I didn’t do yesterday, and getting in some cash, in case the whole banking think goes cattywampus tomorrow, as is inevitable.

Speaking of LEGERDEMAIN, Episode 17 drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, Sept. 19, 2022: Intent for the Week — Steer Through

mage courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

There’s a lot going on, on multiple fronts, with all these retrogrades, so I’m looking at the week as an obstacle course which I need to steer through. Keep a cool head, keep it together, make it through.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on September 19, 2022 at 7:26 am  Comments (2)  

Fri. Sept. 16, 2022: Creativity and Connection

image courtesy of GLady via pixabay.com

Friday, September 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

I think we’re going to have to bring in some of the plants. And I had to close (or at least lower) some of the windows).

Meditation group was good yesterday (but then, it always is).

After breakfast, I wrote up the two book reviews, sent them off, invoiced, and was paid within 10 minutes. That’s the way I like it! Also got the next two assignments for review.

Ran errands: picked up books at the library, picked up my mother’s prescription, mailed a bunch of stuff at the post office (including my quarterly taxes – ouch), deposited a couple of checks into the bank. Everyone was in a good mood, because it was sunny and cooler than it’s been, so running errands was a pleasure.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon.

Was invited to the virtual launch party for the improved Creative Ground site (to which I’d created my profile yesterday). There was a lot of good information. I have to find some photos of my work to upload. My profile rates pretty high, but needs a couple more points for it to be “featured.” Hopefully, being up on the site will help with connections and opportunities.

It’s definitely worth more than my LinkedIn profile, already!

I’m already searching through actor profiles, in preparation for a project I plan to pitch locally.

It was exciting to start my weekend a little early. I cleared the decks for today through the weekend because I’m getting my bivalent booster this morning. My mom had no side effects, except her arm was a little sore for about a half an hour yesterday morning. She’s worried she got a placebo! But if she had no effects (and she usually has few effects), maybe I won’t be down for the count for a week.

I mean, I can’t, I have to be at the law library Tuesday morning!

We’re playing with book titles for the retro mystery. Between the Women Write Change group and my friends who visited last weekend (who tromped around the location with me), we’ve come up with enough for the whole series!

An intriguing opportunity landed on my desk for next spring. Hmm. I have to think about it. Out of my wheelhouse, a stretch for me, but intrigues me. So I’ll play with some ideas to see if it’s viable.

I’m going to try to get some work done this morning before we head over for the shot. We’re going early again, because I bet they claim they “didn’t get’ the fuckton of paperwork I filled out when I made the appointment, and I have to fill it out again.

I’ve blocked off the weekend, so if I feel bad, I will stay in bed and ride it out. Or stay on the couch and read, if I feel up to it. If I feel better than I expect, I can do things like go to the library book sale, turn my closet over for winter, and write.

Because I’m behind where I want to be on the next two arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, and have to get that going. Plus noodle on the short stories, and decide which one to write. I’m almost ready to start putting one of them on paper.

I also want to start re-reading Anne Truitt’s diaries. If you don’t know her work, it’s pretty interesting (I saw a retrospective at the Smithsonian a few years ago). If you’ve never read her diaries, they are absolutely fascinating, especially if you are interested in process.

Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Thurs. Sept. 15, 2022: Organization is Key

image courtesy of Karolina Grabowka via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and cooler

It’s finally starting to feel like autumn. Doesn’t quite smell like it, though. There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

We went over early to Stop & Shop for my mother’s bivalent booster. Good thing we did, because they claimed they “only got the first page of the paperwork” and we had to fill it all out again. So sick of filling out forms.

While my mom got her shot, I picked up a few things we needed. She didn’t have to sit and wait for 15 minutes, like we had to for the other shots. It was stab and go.

She had zero side effects yesterday at all, to the point where she worried she’d gotten a placebo. This morning, she has a little soreness n the arm. That’s it.

I finished reading a second book for review. I will write and submit both reviews today, submit my invoice, and ask for my next assignment.

I spent way too much time building my profile on Creative Ground, but it needed to get done, since the launch party is tonight (virtually), and I’m invited.

I set up an appointment at the law library next Tuesday to do the research on banking laws here in MA in 1957, for the retro mystery that will be drafted during Nano this year. The librarian is looking forward to it (and so am I). Since the state banking association and the banks themselves refuse to answer my questions. I’m batting around potential titles with some trusted friends, and realizing just how much I need to get back to the outline, so it’s ready to go before November 1. I have character sketches, locations, situations, but I need to, you know, actually plot the murders and the rest of the book.

Did some research on local radio stations, and on the community television/radio station that’s here in North Adams. I might need to make an appointment to go and check out the facilities.

Got my instructions for next week’s conference sessions down in Lenox. I’m worried that people won’t be responsible about masking; if that is the case, I will get up and leave the session. Not taking the risks.

WAM’s next show is in October, and tickets are available. I’m not going in person, since their audience already proven they won’t keep up their end of the masking bargain (even though a caveat of ticket purchase is to remain masked). I may buy a ticket for the virtual performance. At least they have that option, and I know their work is excellent.

Starting to figure out the autumn into winter schedule, which looks to be intense. I have 4 radio plays to write, for specific producers; I have to write the next 2 arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, polish them, and get them up; I need to revise “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By” so they can go out the door when appropriate calls open up; I have a handful of short stories with which I’m noodling; I need to outline the retro mystery so it’s set to go for Nano; once the first draft of that is finished, I need to draft THE KRINGLE CALAMITY and then the third book of the Hearthstone Mysteries, so that all three of those are ready to go out the door by early summer. And I need to do the first draft of the full-length play FALL FOREVER. I’d like to get ANGEL HUNT finished and broken down into episodes, so that can launch in January.

Which of course means having to keep up the content calendar on LEGERDEMAIN, the Topic Workbooks, and, if ANGEL HUNT goes live, the ANGEL HUNT content calendar, and it’s a lot.

Plus, you know, client work and script coverage, and next year’s contest entries will start arriving before the end of the year.

So I guess it can snow, because there’s plenty to do at home!

But it’s nice to feel creative again. In late winter, early spring, decisions will be made on the current series, as to whether I feel up to starting up again, and if my publisher wants to keep carrying them.

I haven’t spent the time on the Cerridwen’s Cottage website that it needs, so that has to be folded in there somehow, too. Plus organizing the almanac articles whose rights have reverted, so I can turn those into eBooks and sell them.

I might need a larger desk blotter calendar!

Anyway, I have meditation this morning, and then getting the reviews done and out, and invoicing. I have to pay my quarterly taxes today (argh), get everything to the post office, pick up my mom’s prescriptions, take a couple of checks to the bank. This afternoon, I have two more scripts to cover, finishing out the pay period, not terribly, but still below what I’d hoped.

What I do hope is that my bivalent booster tomorrow won’t take me out. I’ve blocked off the weekend to rest. If I feel up to it, I’ll do some work on LEGERDEMAIN, and maybe turn over the closet from summer to winter. Otherwise, I’ll stay in bed, or read on the couch.

Episode 16 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

The next two weeks are busy, but filled with good stuff.

Peace my friends, and enjoy!

Wed. Sept. 14, 2022: I’ll Just Be Here in the Pillow Fort

image courtesy of ambermb via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

My friends got back on the road by 8:30, during a break in the weather. About 10 minutes after they left, Willa came bouncing into the living room with one of her toys, looking for them. She ran around to their rooms and the porch and everywhere else. She was very disappointed they were gone. Tessa looked around; I think she missed the Mutual Annoyance Society she has with one of them. Charlotte finally came out to take a look around.

We finished stripping the beds and getting things ready for laundry, etc.

It felt like I did nothing all day except lounge on the couch, but when I look back, I did quite a bit. It just didn’t feel that way. I dealt with over 600 emails that had stacked up over the weekend. I finished and submitted a residency proposal. I sent out a couple of LOIs. I noodled with ideas for about four or five new short stories, aimed at particular magazines. I finished reading a book for review.

It was just a quiet day, not a lost day.

I heard back from a recruiter about an LOI I’d sent (didn’t know it would get routed to a recruiter or I wouldn’t have sent it). She wanted to “talk” about a short-term copywriting gig for a month, which would be fine, IF they meet my rate. I suggested a few times for today. She wanted to talk at 7 PM my time last night (4 PM her time). Nope. She knows I’m on the east coast. I’m not doing PST hours. I work asynchronously among time zones, not within other time zones.

Went to bed early. Charlotte woke me up early. We had a battle. I kicked her out of the bedroom. I didn’t close the door all the way, but she couldn’t figure out how to push it open again and fussed, until Tessa shouldered it open. Now, Charlotte wants Tessa to open all the closed doors, and Tessa’s disgusted, giving her the “I am not the butler. We have humans with thumbs for that” look.

I moved to the couch and tried to sleep again, but Tessa started pushing my shoes down the stairs. So I gave up and fed them at 5:30.

I had stuff to do on computer this morning. We are about to leave to get my mom’s bivalent booster.

So, of course, the computer “updated”.

Mercury Retrograde.

We’re off, and I have a lot to do when we get back.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on September 14, 2022 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment