Mon. Oct. 31, 2022: Blessed Samhain

(image courtesy of Pexels.com)

This is a big holiday on my personal calendar, and I am taking the holiday.

Have a wonderful day, and a great start to your week!

Published in: on October 31, 2022 at 6:02 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Oct. 28, 2022: There Will Be Cake

(image courtesy of Leslie Eckert via pixabay.com)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I spent yesterday morning working on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. It took longer than I hoped, and the Writer’s Rough runs 11 pages. But I feel like I now have a viable book planned, and I can sit down and start writing next Tuesday.

I had to stop a few times and do some research. I had to research stoves in the late 1950’s in trailer homes to make sure my climactic sequence would work (yay, it does). One of the characters I’d layered into the piece to make the twists and turns work turns out to have quite the history. I also have some ideas for character arcs that can grow from here that I will note this morning, especially when it comes to the main subplot concerning my protagonist’s son.

I took care of some email (there’s still way too much in the Inbox), promoted the episode of LEGERDEMAIN which dropped, caught up partially on my Substack reading and responded to comments on my posts, and responses to comments I left on other posts (where appropriate).

I wrote a quick pitch for an article and sent it to an editor who’d put out a call on Twitter. Twitter used to be the place I found some of my highest-paid assignments, but that hasn’t been true for a bit.

Spent some time on CounterSocial, where people have been reading some of my work on various sites, including “Won if By Sea” over on Ko-Fi, and enjoying it.

Since Yegads Muskrat’s purchase of Twitter went through, and he’s going to destroy it, chances are I’ll grit my teeth and sign up for Tribel, even though I’m skeptical about their Terms of Service. They claim they’re a good branding platform, so maybe I can expand LEGERDEMAIN’s reach. The Process Muse is gaining subscriptions nicely just via Substack. The platform I had the most fun on and miss the most is MySpace.

Made soup with red beans, rice, and andouille sausage, which turned out well. I have all these soup cookbooks, so we are going to eat a lot of soup this winter!

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. One was very near perfect.

In the evening, I lounged on the couch, drinking red wine and re-reading DRACULA (thanks to Lilith St. Crow). It really was fascinating. It’s been so long since I read the original text, I’d forgotten a lot of the texture and the detail. I will go back and read the biography of Stoker I’ve been carting around since before the move (which I bought because I wanted to learn more about his work in the theatre).

I didn’t write up the book review yesterday, so I will do that this morning and get it out. I still have one more book to review for that editor. I didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT, so that will be pushed to next week. I’m in good shape there, so I don’t have to worry. LEGERDEMAIN needs more attention first.

This morning, I will write up the book review, type up some additional notes on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH (well, more general series/character arcs than for that book), and work on LEGERDEMAIN.

I have to do another library run to drop off/pick up books, then go to the grocery store and the liquor store to get what I need for my mother’s 98th birthday weekend (her birthday is tomorrow). I’ll head over to Adams, then, to pick up the cake.

I have two scripts to turn around this afternoon, and then I’m done until Tuesday. I’m taking Monday as my holiday, as I should. We’ll celebrate my mom’s birthday, and I’ll probably do some work on LEGERDEMAIN. I’ll finish reading my friend’s book that he wanted feedback on. And read for pleasure. Make up the treat bags for Trick or Treaters. And prepare for the series of rituals next week. This is always my busiest time of the year.

If you are doing Nano and want to be part of a supportive group, I run Enchanted Wordsmiths over there. Send me a message on that platform, and I’ll send you an invite. We’ll write in company next month.

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

Thurs. Oct. 27, 2022: A Cat With A Plan

(Charlotte, photo by the author)

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Warm and wet

I hope you’re enjoying The Process Muse. If you haven’t had the chance, you can sign up for it here. (It’s free).

Latest on the garden and our weird weather up on Gratitude and Growth.

Worked on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH and I’m still not happy with it, although it’s grown and is richer than it was. A major arc for a couple of supporting characters is gaining traction, and, if I handle it will be both beautiful and sad throughout the book.

Picked up the rest of the books at the library, and put in for some books with 1950s details that I will need for Nano. The book on fashion is a lot of fun. After all, I have to clothe my characters (and most of my costume books are still in storage).

Went to the DMV (RMV here in MA) to renew the car registration. In and out in under 10 minutes, and they were very nice, just the way I like it. Paid the insurance for the next 6 months, so that is all set.

Ordered in Chinese food for lunch, because I was too lazy to cook.

In the afternoon, I turned around two scripts, and in the evening, I read the next book for review. I will write it up and send it off this morning, after meditation and breakfast.

Charlotte kept bothering me in the night. Around 2 AM, I set up her playpen in the sewing room and put her in it (Tessa came by the snicker at her). I was just falling asleep again when I heard a series of thumps. I got up. Charlotte had rolled the playpen out of the sewing room and down the hall into my office, headed for my bedroom. Gotta give the cat points for ingenuity.

I took her out of the playpen and back in bed. She snuggled down, purring, and was good until Tessa woke us at 6:30 with her howling.

I had a breakthrough on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH – I think I’ve finally figured out the climax and refigured the resolution, so it works better. It means setting up a couple of other characters earlier and planting more clues, and shifting a relationship, but it will make the book stronger, and fix what I was worried isn’t working. As soon as this is posted, I’m going back to work on it, taking a break for meditation, and then finishing it.

I’ll have to decide if I want to work on ANGEL HUNT this morning and LEGERDEMAIN tomorrow, or the other way around. I think I’ll work on ANGEL HUNT, and then work on LEGERDEMAIN all weekend.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today, and I hope you enjoy it!

Published in: on October 27, 2022 at 7:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 27, 2022: A Cat With A Plan  
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The Process Muse Launches!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

It was up in the 70’s around here yesterday, more like spring than autumn. It rained; it was sunny; it rained; it was sunny. All day long. The sunny patches were very humid. I basically ignored the eclipse, because I couldn’t deal with it.

I have a new short story up on Ko-Fi, a short mystery called “Won if By Sea.” It’s been broken down into two parts, one up yesterday and one up next Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday afternoons seem the best days to post on Ko-Fi. I hope you enjoy it.

Today is the launch of THE PROCESS MUSE, the weekly posts over on Substack where I dig into the hows and whys of the way I create. For subscribers, the posts go out on Wednesday mornings at 8 AM; they should post on the site around the same time. Subscription to THE PROCESS MUSE is free, and there’s room to comment and have discussions at the bottoms of the posts. I hope you will join me in this experiment. Substack is available internationally, so my readers outside of the US can enjoy it, too.

Yesterday, I managed to untangle the scheduling issues with the episode-specific ads for Legerdemain, and to get the rest of the ads for the first arc uploaded and scheduled into mid-December. That reminded me that I am behind where I need/want to be on the second arc, and need to get cracking, because at some point in November (which starts NEXT WEEK), I need to upload and schedule the posts for the second arc, then create both the episode-specific and the general ads for them. While juggling Nano and everything else.

Of course, in order to upload and schedule all of that – it has to exist. While I’ve made good progress into Arc 2, it’s not where I want it to be.

I polished, uploaded, and schedule the posts for The Process Muse through the end of November, so at least I don’t have to worry about that, and can write other posts as I wish through the month, upload, and schedule them.

I’m also behind where I wanted to be on ANGEL HUNT, but we’re not going to deal with that at the moment.

I picked up some books at the library, only to discover, when I got home, that they hadn’t given me all the books that were ready. I have to go back this week, because some of the holds will expire. It’s really not a big deal; the library is four blocks away. It’s more the mental energy to get me out of the house than anything else.

Dropped off our ballots at the City Hall ballot box. It was pretty full, which is great, because it means people are voting.

Picked up some puzzle books for my mom; although she paid for a yearlong subscription, they only ever send the books when she asks why she hasn’t received them. Cashing a check for a subscription and not fulfilling it seems like fraud to me.

Went to the post office to buy stamps and catch up.

Turned around two scripts.  Promoted the episode of Legerdemain that dropped yesterday. Took another look at Tribel, since Yegads Muskrat insists he’ll own Twitter by the end of the week. I’m uncomfortable with their privacy policy. It’s probably not worse than any other platform, so I don’t really know why it makes me so uncomfortable, but it does. My gut is telling me not to sign up, while my brain is telling me I need as wide a net as possible.

This morning, I need to type up what I’ve got so far on the outline of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. I still don’t have the climactic sequence figured out, although I’ve got a good idea of the resolution. I think, in this case, it has to be a case of trusting the characters to see how it works out.

And hope I hit 50K in November before I have to figure it out!

I also have to go down to the DMV and renew the car’s registration. So I better get going on things like typing up the outline and working on the next episode of Legerdemain.

Have a good one, friends, and come visit over on The Process Muse.

Tues. Oct. 25, 2022: Life as a Kaleidoscope

image courtesy of Dmitri Posudin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Saturn DIRECT as of Sunday

Rainy/Sunny/Confusing

Saturn went direct on Sunday, taking a lot of the life lessons pressure off. Now, we have to implement what we learned on this Saturn Retrograde so we don’t have the same lessons smacked at us next time it comes around, next year.

Enjoy the lull this week, because Mars goes retrograde  on the 30th, and stays there until January 12th. Mars is already in Gemini until March of 2023, causing stress and difficulties. Going retrograde, through all the holidays, means huge additional stresses. It makes it likely people will be more easily argumentative than usual over the holidays, so try to pull up extra patience and compassion. I talk about that in more detail over on the GDR site, with a post on “Breath Under Duress.”

My plan is to have as quiet a holiday season as possible, with very little socializing (especially since there’s a pandemic going on).

Now, down to our usual Tuesday morning natter, to catch up over the weekend.

Don’t forget: The Process Muse launches tomorrow on Substack. It’s free, and you can sign up here.

Friday morning, I hit the ground running; blogging, making devilled eggs, taking out the garbage, doing the last-minute counter wiping and stainless-steel appliance cleaning.

Our friend showed up and we had a good catch up on all that’s new for both of us. Feasted on the devilled eggs, the black bean soup, the lemon mousse. She had to head back to CT after lunch.

We cleaned up and settled in on the couch to rest. When I checked my email, I found some sad news. An old family friend died last week, in Switzerland. We didn’t even know she was ill. I’d been planning to go and visit the next time I went overseas (which will probably be in 2024).

I had nothing left in the tank, so I gave myself the afternoon off. I finished reading THE SECRET SISTERHOOD, about literary friendships, which was good. I read Joy Harjo’s memoir, POET WARRIOR, which was very well done and uniquely structured.

Charlotte, who’d hidden when my friend was there, because she was afraid she would be given away, was Velcro Kitty all afternoon and evening. And woke me every two hours all night, for reassurances.

Up early on Saturday. Did some work on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED MURDER. I’m a little worried, because it’s heavy on character and atmosphere, and light on plot. Also, there are so many period details I’ll have to add in when I do the revision. But I at least have a good idea on the first third, and escalating the stakes for Rita, my heroine. This book will definitely be a case of draft fast, revise slowly. I like THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH better as a title, which, it turns out, was my original title, so I’ve changed it back to that.

Turned around a script.

I filled out a writer-in-residence application that comes with a nice stipend. However, because of that, I’m sure they will go with a much bigger name. But if I don’t try, I have zero shot, so I tried.

Went out and got the paint I needed for the bookcases, and a dropcloth. I painted one bookcase completely and started the second one, but ran low on both paint and time.

Read a book by someone whom I met in passing back in my NYC days. It was one of those people I was advised I “should” know, although we were in different arenas. Anyway, I recently came across one of her books in the library (a memoir) and decided to read it. The writing is good. But I don’t like the person I met in those pages. The privilege and the whining are way too much.

Charlotte woke me at 3:30 on Sunday morning, which was not the start to the day for which I’d hoped. But I made apple muffins. I upped the allspice from ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon, and it was a good choice.

Got a nice chunk of work done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH.

Filled out the ballots for the election. Of course I voted Blue all the way down. I’m not an idiot. Or a supporter of fascism.

Got more paint and finished the second bookcase. Not that I know where to put it yet. The first one fit perfectly on top of the other red bookcases in the kitchen, so I cleaned and rearranged all those shelves, and it looks good.

I kept feeling I “should” work all day (on work-work, not house and home stuff). I also felt the flickers of burnout and decided to rest, so I could focus this week and next week, which will be challenging.

I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT BEACON ROCK, which was well done and satisfying and sad, all at once. I really like the series. At one point, I fantasized about writing a series set in Gilded Age Newport, but she’s written a better series than I would have, and I no longer need to write one!

There are flutters that Yegads Muskrat is going ahead to buy Twitter and people are fretting about where to go. Tribel Social Network has been urging people to go on it, but I don’t like their policies/terms of service. I think I’ll stick with CounterSocial. If people want to find me, they will. I still can’t get on Ello, which is annoying, since I built so much on there. I’d hate to leave Twitter, but if I have to, I have to.

This is why one needs a website, not just social media.

Had trouble sleeping on Sunday into Monday, which made Monday a late start. But I got some work done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH.

My priority was turning around the edits for my Llewellyn editor. Eek! Thank goodness for her kindness and patience, because some of the stuff she caught there was a big mess. I sent it in early, in case she needs me to do more work. But she said they’re fine, and she assured me she loves the piece (even with the messes we cleaned up).

I did revisions on “My Side of the Bed” and “Paranormal Paraphrasing” and got them submitted, in spite of the computer repeatedly crashing. I managed to get out six script submissions.

Irritated that the regional ML for Nano only wants to interact on Facebook and Discord. When I do Nano, I want to be able to go to the Nano site and get the information I need, not travel to other sites. I go to the Nano site FOR NANO. I’m irritated. I’ll stick to my Enchanted Wordsmiths group and to hell with the region crap. They’re doing stuff in person and you know they won’t implement any COVID protocols. Pass.

More scripts came up in my queue, so I have enough to read at least through tomorrow, and then, hopefully, I’ll get a couple of Thursday and Friday.

Turned around 3 scripts. Started writing a weird new little, short play. Heard that an odd little play I really love, which I wrote and submitted for a specific call, was not chosen as one of the 5 plays they can use for their event. The company wrote a really kind letter about it, but it makes me sad. I’m fond of the piece, and will have to find another spot for it, which won’t be easy, because it’s so specific.

Stepped in for a colleague who had an emergency and couldn’t do a Zoom talk with a group of young playwrights. It was a lot of fun. They had terrific ideas and great questions. It meant I missed the Artist Working Group, but I knew if they held the WG in the evenings, I’d run into conflicts. If they keep it in the evenings permanently, then I’ll withdraw.

Set the alarm for 5 this morning, and woke up just before the alarm went off, waking from a dream that I slept until 9 and missed the alarm. I was very confused when the alarm went off.

Hauled a fuckton of laundry into the car and over to the laundromat. Three large, industrial-sized machines were going, between the clothes (I’ve been lax about going every week), the curtains, and the other fabric-y stuff that’s been turned over for the season.

Sat in the car working on the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The original plan was that it would be ready for submission this past summer, but that didn’t happen. A longer wait time to work on revisions before I start querying was the right choice for this book. The story and characters are strong, but there’s a lot of sloppy writing (which happens, during Nano).

Cleaning up the sloppy writing makes it an even stronger book. But, again, although it’s an amateur sleuth, it’s not a cozy. The book deals with racism, COVID, and the sex lives of the characters.

Didn’t get enough done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH before I had to leave for the laundromat, so that’s been pushed off until tomorrow. I have to type up what I have, so far, so that it’s ready to go. I have a strong opening. I have good backstory to integrate. I’ve drawn maps of who lives where, et al, which in a community such as this one, is necessary for the plot. I know who the murderer is and why that individual committed the murder(s). I have some of the clues and the red herrings, and raising the stakes for my protag. I don’t yet have the climactic sequence, but I’ll get there.

I probably need to walk around the Spruces a bit more, on a nice day, and let it percolate. I do know where the first body drop happens. My friends and I poked around that spot near the river when they came to visit a few weeks back.

I have a feeling I’ll have a lot of placeholders in this draft, since I need to go in and layer period detail. I want to go to the library/historical society and read a batch of newspapers from the months in which this book takes place, and then also do some research on the racial and ethnic relations in the area at the time. I’d hoped to get it done before Nano started, but it will have to be a winter project, and part of the revisions, which will, no doubt, make the revisions more extensive.

There’s a post for The Process Muse in all that! (Don’t forget, it drops tomorrow).

I hope to catch a pocket between rain showers to do a library run, drop off my ballots at City Hall, get some stamps at the post office. There was something else I was supposed to do, but darned if I can remember it.

Episode 27 of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it. If you haven’t started reading the serial yet, it starts here.

Have a good one!

Mon. Oct. 24, 2022: Intent for the Week — Make the Climb

image courtesy of Coco Parisienne via pixabay.com

Today is the Dark Moon.

Tomorrow’s new moon is in Scorpio.

While Saturn went direct yesterday, Mars is still in Gemini, and that retrograde looms as of the 30th.

I can feel that argumentative energy rising. Keep sharp objects and flamethrowers away from me, because I am ready to use both.

We’re in the time around Samhain, which is my busiest time of year, on multiple levels. Anyone asking for anything extra gets “no.” I’ll be pulling ridiculous hours this week. My mother’s 98th birthday is on Saturday. Samhain is on Monday, and next week I have nearly full week of Ceremonies for the Dead.

With the COVID losses this past year, that willl be particularly intense.

Plus my regular freelance workload, plus the launch of THE PROCESS MUSE on Wednesday, plus LEGERDEMAIN and all the other deadlines.

I need to remain calm, focused, and deal with each thing as needed.

What’s your intent this week?

Published in: on October 24, 2022 at 7:43 am  Comments (3)  

Fri. Oct. 21, 2022: The Process Muse Announced

Friday, October 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

This will be fairly short, since I have to get going.

Yesterday was a lot about getting ready for my friend’s visit: running to the grocery store (again), making a batch of black bean soup and a lemon mousse. I’m making devilled eggs this morning.

Dusted, vacuumed, mopped. Tidied up. Filled the new magazine rack (it looks really good). Stashed the bookcases until I can paint them this weekend. Took all the tea and drinking chocolate off the top shelf of the pantry and put it in a rolly cart. Put my grandmother’s china up on the shelf. Tessa is now fascinated by tea. In the other house, it had its own cabinet in the kitchen. But now it’s accessible to her.

I did some promotion for the episode of LEGERDEMAIN that went live yesterday.

I can also announce the project that’s launching next Wednesday, October 26,  over on Substack. It’s called The Process Muse, and will be weekly deep dives into process, especially as its relevant in comparison/contrast to the serials. It also talks a lot about the creation of VIXEN’S HOLLOW/THE CUNNING ONE, which will, in a few months, start running on that platform.

Another plus to Substack is that it’s internationally. Vella is only available in the US, but my international readers can read the serial(s) I run on Substack. Since my international readership is a decent size, and always growing thanks to distribution of certain work in the UK, Australia, France, Italy, and Germany, having serials on a platform with international access is a smart choice.

I got out the newsletter extra blast about The Process Muse. Substack suggests importing one’s mailing list. If one converts a general newsletter over, that makes sense. But I didn’t want to force anyone to get The Process Muse unless they chose it. For me, in this particular situation, I wanted to INVITE my regular, quarterly newsletter readers to subscribe to The Process Muse, if they wanted. Or they could ignore it, if they did not want it. Or they could wait, and subscribe at some future time.

The newsletter went out, and people are subscribing! I’m honored and excited.

The Process Muse is free. That makes the most sense, at this time. The plan is for a weekly post on an aspect of my process, and also talking about things I’ve tried that didn’t work for me. It’s supposed to be fun, as well as a deep dive into the work, which is why the logo for it is on the more whimsical side.

If you’re not on my mailing list, but interested in it, you can sign up for it here.

Made another batch of mac & cheese last night, because, you know, MAC AND CHEESE!

I managed to turn around a script last night. I have two more to turn around this weekend. Not sure if I’ll get one done today and one tomorrow, or do both tomorrow. Next week, hopefully, there will be more in my queue AND I won’t have the distractions I had this week. It all worked out – I took some time off from reading to do other things at the same time there wasn’t much to read. It aligned well. The check from Llewellyn and the incoming money from LEGERDEMAIN next week make up for it (and more).

This weekend is about painting, getting in the plants once and for all, doing some more around the house. I also hope to do some work on LEGERDEMAIN. I didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT this week, so that needs attention. Along with reading a book for review, and reading my friend’s book for feedback. And revising the two short plays and getting them out the door.

Guess it won’t be much about resting!

Peace, my friends, and have a good one. Catch you next week!

Thurs. Oct. 20, 2022: An Interesting Mystery Dropped Into My Lap

image courtesy of Julia via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

A little cloudy and cold

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

A piece on expanding the definition of freelancer is up over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Yesterday was basically a day off writing and writing-related work. I blogged, took care of some email, did the social media rounds, noodled with the notes Paula gave me on my plays. They have to go out the door soon. I can’t waste any time.

But by mid- morning, we were out the door. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and it was absolutely beautiful to be out and about.

After the first errand, I had a feeling we should stop at the local thrift store. I’ve been looking for another jewelry box to stack on top of the ones I have, a magazine rack for the unread magazines before I file or pass on the read ones, and, of course, more bookcases. Always more bookcases.

All of those items were at this thrift store today, along with another glass chimney for the pillar candles. The magazine rack, in particular, is a piece I fell in love with. Maple, beautifully made.

All for a very low price.

Loaded the car and headed for another store that was between the thrift store and home, to pick up some basic supplies like project binders, divider sheets, and I found my great, big desk blotter calendar for sale at 1/3 of the price I’ve seen it elsewhere.

We unloaded everything at home, and then headed down to Pittsfield, where we had a series of stores on the list to visit. We batch shop when we go down there. The candle store, the kitchen store, the bookstore, etc. I’m almost finished with my personal journal book and had to buy a new one – the 5th journal book for this year. I also bought 4 books for next year, and they are gorgeous.

It was after 2 by the time we got home and unloaded. So I decided to give myself the day off script coverage. There hasn’t been much coming in, and my next piece isn’t due until Friday, so rather than pressuring myself, I gave myself the day off.

I cleaned and polished the jewelry box and the magazine rack. I found a maker’s mark on the magazine rack that said “George B. Bent, Gardner MA.” I did a quick look up and discovered the company was in business from 1946 to 1990, but little else except a note about a fire at some point.

I did a little more digging. Turns out Gardner was known as “Chair City” for its furniture making. There was also a furniture company called “S Bent” in business from 1867 to 2001.

George was the brother of the current “S” Bent when he started his own company.

There’s a play in there somewhere. I need to do more digging.

Anyway, researching the piece, I found a high-end furniture company selling a similar one for– $599. As in nearly six HUNDRED dollars. I did not pay that much at the thrift store. There’s another similar piece on eBay for $75. Still far more than I paid.

I found the Gardner Museum, and emailed them for more information. The was also a strong theatre community there at one point, and I want to know more about them, too.

I have a feeling there is a trip to Gardner in my future in the spring.

An old family friend got in touch in the afternoon. We have not seen her since pre-plague. She wondered if she could come up and visit tomorrow, and we said sure.

Which means I have to make up for all the work I didn’t get done yesterday AND work ahead to do everything for tomorrow. Plus make the food and clean the house.

That’s the way it goes sometimes. Good thing it was a light coverage week!

I finished unpacking the rest of the stuff we brought up from storage. I realized I forgot to buy a tarp and another rolly cart yesterday, but my mom said she didn’t see any rolly carts. We’ll deal.

My back is bothering me again, from all the hauling stuff around yesterday. I also have to check the paint/primer situation. The two bookcases still need some TLC, which includes new paint. I have to see if I have any, or need to buy it. I thought I had some primer, but I might have used it. Since it will be in the 60’s this weekend, I can paint.

I’m looking forward to meditation again. I have to make another trip to the grocery store. I decided I’ll make up another batch of black bean soup, and serve it with ciabatta. I know our friend loves my devilled eggs, so I’ll make some of that, and more mousse. Maybe lemon instead of chocolate? That might balance better with the eggs and the soup. Keep it simple, right?

And try not to hurt my back any more with the cleaning.

Have a good one!

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. Direct link here. Enjoy!

Wed. Oct. 19, 2022: Rearranging Words

image courtesy of Willi Heidelbach via pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy, foggy, and cold

Yesterday wasn’t as much of a words-on-paper as I hoped, but I still got a good deal done. I need to shift my idea of “productivity” and allow myself to be happy with what I get done, instead of obsessing on what I don’t get done.

I put up a tarot reading on my Ko-Fi page, using the Halloween Tarot. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, hop on over and check it out.

I got the blogging done, I slogged through some email. I did the social media rounds to promote the next episode of LEGERDEMAIN. With permission, I went into a friend’s website and did some fixes. The site is under construction, but there are enough relevant visuals and placeholder text so she can apply for grants that will allow her to hire a web developer and get exactly what she wants.

I had to dress like a Real Person and run errands: library, grocery store, post office, the liquor store, the bank. Of course, as soon as I got home, more books arrived at the library, and the check arrived from Llewellyn for last year’s almanac that comes out this year. More people are masking than did even a week ago, which is encouraging.

I uploaded and scheduled the posts to drop every day through November and into December for 30 Tips for 30 Days.

I haven’t yet fixed the problem with the LEGERDEMAIN ads, but I will do that today and tomorrow. It will just mean more episode-specific ads dropping for a few weeks in November, that’s all.

I set up the site for the project that launches next week over on Substack. It was, of course, more complicated than I’d hoped. But I got it done. I’m going to do some tweaking before I make the official announcement.

I did some interacting with other Substack authors, to introduce myself and get more of a feel for the site. One of the authors spoke about how Substack had given her a “business audit” with advice for monetizing her site better. And yet, EVERY piece of advice they gave her is something that would turn me off to becoming a paid subscriber.

I want to be invited, not nagged.

In fact, I’m unsubscribing from a couple of lists over there, because I’m tired of being nagged and a sense of bait-and-switch. I also don’t want to get into a non-reciprocal situation with a bunch of authors where I’m paying them, but none of them are supporting me.

Some will say, well, that cuts into the profit margin of their own site, and well YEAH, but part of being in a community of writers, to me, is buying each other’s books, or, at the very least, boosting each other’s social media about the work so we all expand our reach. It’s something that will be front and center when I clean up my Twitter feed and get rid of a lot of other “writers” (most of whom aren’t doing  this to earn a living) who never support my work. Supporting is not just forking out cash; there are fellow writers who either can’t afford to buy everything I do, or some of what I do (maybe all of it) isn’t to their taste. Yet they still support me with boosts and likes and comments and recommendations and other interactions. My budget, too, is limited; I can’t give money monthly to every other writer I’d like to support. But I do as much as I can each month. I at least try to do SOMETHING. But if I’m not getting any type of interaction or support back, it’s draining me on multiple levels.

Because the best way to reach people who are readers, not writers (and whom writers need to sustain their work) is via other writers. Most readers read work by multiple writers. We’re not competing for audience. That’s a corporate traditional publishing line, to keep writers scared. Yes, people have limited budgets and have to choose where to put their reading dollars. But they also usually read more than one writer.

I mean, basically, Substack is a streaming service for writers.

Did a quick revision on “My Side of the Bed” and “Paranormal Paraphrasing” so I could send them to my friend Paula for comment.

Turned around a really fun script that took familiar tropes and did something new with them in clever, skilled ways.

While I was cooking dinner, I came up with an hilarious sequence for LEGERDEMAIN. Now, I just have to figure out where to put it so it supports the overall arc, rather than is a tangent.

I set up a Serials page on the sidebar of this blog. Right now, it only has LEGERDEMAIN up, because that’s what’s running. It will have more entries as more serials drop.

Read for pleasure in the evening.

Overslept this morning, after weird dreams where I was a different person in the dream. Not myself. I mean, I was very much the person I was in the dream, but that person wasn’t the me I am when I’m awake. Does that make sense at all? There’s got to be a way to use that in something.

Tessa Was Not Amused. She composed and performed her song of hunger and abandonment relentlessly until I got up, with Charlotte and Willa singing backup. She plans to record it in Nashville and hit the charts, so she can afford minions who will feed her On Time.

Paula’s comments on the plays were terrific, and now I have to figure out the best way to implement them.

I have to travel down to Pittsfield at some point today (hey, taking the advice of yesterday’s reading that’s up on Ko-Fi) and get some stuff done.

But I’m hoping to get at least a few words on the page before I have to leave.

Have a good one!

Tues. Oct. 18, 2022: Riding a Creative Wave

image courtesy of Kaneori via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

Ready for our long, Tuesday natter? I also have the Mid-Month check-in up on the GDR site.

Decent weekend. Friday was a little all over the place. It wasn’t focused writing time, which was frustrating. Lots of admin work. Wrote and submitted a book review, and received the next two books to review. Wrote 2 ½ blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice, working ahead. Poked around on Substack, honing my plan. Covered a script. Started another coverage.

The inspiring thing I did on Friday afternoon was to put on real people clothes and makeup and go to MASSMoCA for the Boiler House Poets reading. I met Joanne, the poet who invited me to the reading, and several of the others. Eight poets were on this year’s retreat, working together. The voices and experiences were all very different, but there was still a flow to the overall reading. It was exciting, and I’m so honored I was invited to it. I’m looking forward to next year’s reading already!

Home, made dinner, read in the evening, for fun. Read a new book in a series where I’ve read most of the series. This one was just too formulaic and similar to the others to be satisfying. I mean, I enjoyed it, it worked as relaxing brain candy for the night, but I didn’t love it, and some of the other books in the series I really loved.

Slept well Friday into Saturday, mostly because Charlotte stayed on the couch until nearly 5 AM. It was Tessa who jumped on the bed in the morning to wake me up – the first time she’s been on the bed since we moved here. Charlotte came in a little later and was horrified.

I drafted a short play in the morning, “My Side of the Bed” which was fun. I unpacked more boxes from the storage run, washed some pieces, and finished the last script coverage of the pay period. I made some notes on a couple of projects, where the ideas are flowing.

The tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs arrived. We’ll plant them in a week or two, and hope for the best in spring. So I guess the tussling with John Scheeper’s worked. Still not sure I’d deal with them again.

Forced myself to read the book I’d put aside from the author whose series I’d previously liked until she used “witch” as a slur in this one. I didn’t like it for more reasons than the slur. Overall, it was bland. On top of that, the protagonist, in the last few books, is regressing. I was drawn to the series because the protagonist was smart, resourceful, strong, and fun. She paired up with a romance-worthy guy, and the first few books post-marriage were fun. But in the last few, she gets weaker and weaker and more and more dependent on him and frantic/anxious, in a way that doesn’t make sense the way her character was established in the previous books. It’s like the editor encouraged the writer to make the character more “relatable” by giving her more anxiety when there’s nothing to worry about.  I’ve lost respect for the character, and not just because of the witch slur. Instead of growing, she’s regressing, into a state of helplessness beyond where she was in the first book. So, I’m done with the series and the author. It’s not like losing me as a reader is going to make a dent in her sales. I am no longer her target audience.

Tried to start another book that came highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, and I’m not being paid to read it, so it’s going back to the library unread. I loathe novels written in present tense. I want to hurl them against the wall. It’s the author standing between me and the text screaming, “Look at me! I’m such a brilliant stylist!” when they’re not, instead of letting me experience the story. Again, I’m not the target audience. If a writer believes that’s the best voice in which to tell the story, they should absolutely do it. But I am not the audience for it.

I’m reading a few nonfiction books right now, which I enjoy. One I did not, too much religion and not enough about what it claimed the book was about, so that’s going back.

Started the next book in the Elantra series, and I’m enjoying that.

Alternated reading and unpacking in the afternoon.

Charlotte woke me up too early on Sunday morning. But I got up, fed everybody, and wrote two episodes of LEGERDEMAIN, about 3K all told. Updated the Style Sheet and the Series Bible. I bitch and moan to myself (and the cats) about updating the sheets after drafting every episode (for a novel, I’d wait until galleys to update the Series Bible). But it sure as heck saves me a lot of time and frustration as I move forward.

I did some puttering and reading, and planning for a project I realized has to go live next week (just after the new moon). I meant to just create the opening for it and jot more notes, but I wrote the first four pieces. This will all make sense later this week, when I formally announce the project. Until I upload it and schedule it to post, I don’t know if I can promote it before it goes live, or if I have to wait. I hate vague-posting, and apologize. I’m also not talking about it on social media, because I hate it when people say they have good news, but can’t share it yet. STFU until you can.

Crankypants much? I better sing myself the Crankypants song until I laugh and get over it.

All told, I wrote a little over 5K on the new project and 3K on LEGERDEMAIN, so I wrote nearly 8K on Sunday. I haven’t done that in a long time, and I was tired and achy by the end of the day.

To my horror, when I was looking at the content calendar of scheduled upcoming posts, I realized that I have not uploaded/scheduled the episode ads for the final 11 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN’s first big arc. So that’s on the list for this week. I’m behind in the overall series marketing, and I have to update the Topic Workbook links before the new project drops next week, because I link back to the Topic Workbooks. I also have to create a newsletter blast so it’s ready to go when the new project goes live.

And I’m way, way behind on LOIs. As in, hadn’t sent any this month. Which I didn’t realize until I compiled the information for the Mid-Month post over on the GDR site on Monday.

But the writing itself felt good, and that’s what’s important.

I joined #scriptchat on Sunday night, and it was fun. Sunday nights are usually bad for me to do stuff online, but I’d already blown the attempt at a day of disconnect, so why not do something fun?

Monday morning, I was irritated by the amount of email that piled up. I have a lot of admin to catch up on this week.

I wrote another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, which is a good thing. But I’m pretty sure this arc will run closet to 40 episodes than 30, as originally planned. But the structure of the arc has embedded in me as I write, which will make the revisions and edits easier.

I got an email for my editor with the suggestions for the article that will be in the 2024 Llewellyn almanac. She loves the piece, which makes me so happy, because it’s one of the riskiest and most personal pieces I’ve ever written, and I worried I screwed it up. Her suggestions, as always, are right on the mark. I’m so grateful to have her as my editor.

Payment came through from the last two weeks’ of script coverage, and I transferred that over to the bank.

I think I figured out a solution for the LEGERDEMAIN ads which won’t be too much of a PITA. On some platforms, it’s just about adjusting dates. On channels that don’t allow edits, it’s about adding in the correct episodes on the correct dates, and having more overlap between episodes. It will be a slog, but it’s fixable.

The hardest thing was to take a breath and not berate myself for the mistake. I’m human, I made a mistake. It wasn’t huge, it’s fixable, it didn’t hurt anyone. It was on my own work, not client work. Mistakes happen.

I updated the links on the Topic Workbooks on the Devon Ellington site, so those are all current. Since the workbooks are steady sellers, I need to stay on top of that. I still have to create, upload, and schedule the marketing campaign for that through December. And upload/schedule the ads for 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS during November and into the first week of December (October is done and dropping on time).

I did another piece for the project launching next week, because I was in its groove. I can start uploading/scheduling on Thursday, I think. I also created the announcement in MailerLite, which will either go out this week (preferable) or on the day of the launch, depending on when I can get a legitimate link.

I turned around one script coverage, and started a second. I realized I was behind where I hoped/needed to be, so I withdrew from an online event I was scheduled to attend.

However, while I was cooking dinner, I got an idea. The title came first (which is unusual for me). Originally, it was going to be a piece of flash fiction, a ghost story with humor and maybe a touch of horror. But as I percolated, I realized it make more sense as a play.

After dinner, instead of returning to script coverage, I sat down and wrote the first draft of “Paranormal Paraphrasing” which turned out to be a 10-minute play.

As I finished the draft, an email came in from my friend Paula, who’d come across some more play submission calls, and one of them looks like it will be a good fit.

I was so tired by the time I was finished that I was shaking. But I’m glad I rode that creative wave.

I didn’t sleep well; too many different ideas mashing, but not meshing, in my dreams.

Up early. One of the cats was hurling, but I haven’t stepped in it yet, which means I haven’t yet found it.

Got into a lively Twitter discussion about being baffled when people refuse to wear clothes more than once. For me, it’s not only a sustainability and an economic issue, but also, when I love a piece of clothing, I take good care of it and keep wearing it. I mend it. I clean it the way it needs to be cleaned. I honor it. Most of us on the thread felt the same way, thank goodness.

I also sew, and can build my own clothes. I realize not everyone can or wants to do that, but basic mending is a necessary life skill. It’s worth MAKING the time to learn.

Anyway, I actually have to leave the house today. I should have gone to the laundromat, but the weather is too yucky. I’ll go tomorrow. I do, however, have to return a stack of books, hit the grocery store, pick up my mother’s prescription, mail some bills, hit the liquor store.

I need to get some writing in before I leave, help a friend with her website, and then, later on, finish the coverage I started yesterday and turn around another one. There hasn’t been much in the queue this week, which concerns me.

Time to get out some more LOIs. I’ve been lax on it for the past few weeks.

Have a good one! The next episode of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

Mon. Oct. 17, 2022: Intent for the Week — Ride the Creative Flow

image courtesy of Sasin Tipchai via pixabay.com

I planned to rest this weekend, but I got caught up in the creative flow of several projects, and chose to ride it.

I have an enormous list of work that has to get done within particular timeframes this week, in spite of my relative flexibility in my schedule.

Therefore, the plan is to ride the creative flow and match the best energy to the best project at the best time to get it done.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on October 17, 2022 at 6:54 am  Comments (2)  

Thurs. Oct. 13, 2022: Working Through the Back Pain

image courtesy of Wolfgang Claussen via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold (rain coming in)

Read up on what’s going on, garden-wise, over on Gratitude and Growth.

I had a pretty good day workwise, yesterday, and my back didn’t give out until the evening.

In the morning, I wrote another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, updated the style sheet and series bible. That usually takes longer than writing the episode (okay, it doesn’t. It just feels like it). I’m having a lot of fun, and working hard to keep the rhythm of the chapters more consistent, and closer to the 1200-word mark.

Then, I switched over and wrote the next episode of VIXEN’S HOLLOW/THE CUNNING ONE. It’s a lot of fun. I think people will enjoy it. I updated the series bible for that (I won’t have a style sheet until I revise/edit, as I prep it for release). But I am creating a “Work Diary” that gets into the details of each episode, the inspirations, the changes as the writing flows, etc. That will be part of the subscription element when the series goes live.  For my personal definition, the central protagonist, Esmeralda Santini, is a cross between Marion Ravenwood and Morticia Adams. The series itself is somewhat like WAREHOUSE 13 meets LEGENDS AND LATTE. Yeah. That far out there.

It’s a helluva lot of fun to write, and I think readers will enjoy it. Again, it’s specifically written as a serial, as is LEGERDEMAIN, not releasing chapters of a book one at a time. Which means if I ever do decide to take them down and turn them into a book, it will be a bit of a PITA to adapt it back.

I poked around some more on Substack. There are so many different ways to do this. It looks like the most sensible way is to start building an audience before launching the serial and the “extras” that would be part of a subscription. Another thing to keep up. But I have some ideas, and if I can batch write posts and schedule them, It should work. It definitely feels better than Medium, which had so many obstacles to get over that it became a chore, rather than something joyful. There’s also more of a sense of writers supporting each other’s work over on Substack, which I like. So we’ll see. It means at least a year’s commitment, before I’d know whether or not to keep going. And before I have enough metrics to compare to Vella.

While juggling the shorter-term work that pays the bills every month. I’m playing with several different approaches, and I will see what works best. I look at the way Lilith St. Crow runs her career, and she’s doing pretty well running her serials on Patreon and Gumroad, but those are written with the intent to put them out later as books.

It’s a lot to think about and plan. Especially with the pressure from Nano coming up, and the need to keep up with immediate-paying work. I don’t want to drop the ball on radio plays or stage plays. I have plans for those for next year.

I looked at Linktree, which seemed like a good idea, but it drives traffic to Linktree instead of my website, so I think I’ll keep it to the website, which then has links to everything else on its landing page. It keeps my metrics higher.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. I liked both of them a lot, which is always a nice way to end the day.

There were computer issues on and off. By next spring, no doubt, I’ll need a new laptop. This one will be 3 years old, and I never had a PC make it more than a week past its warranty.

After dinner, I was on the couch with a heating pad on my back, reading the next book for review. I like the writing style – until it hit a trope that just sets my teeth on edge.

Didn’t sleep well. Woke up several times because of back pain, and used the yoga blocks and the foam roller. Had weird, bad dreams. Their messages are very clear, but it makes me weary.

Meditation this morning, and then it’s back to the page. I also have to do a library/grocery/post office run. This afternoon, more coverage. I’m hoping to have a light coverage day tomorrow, because I want to spend some time updating my websites.

Episode 24 of Legerdemain drops today. It’s not all-free anymore, but if you haven’t yet started to read, the first 3 are still free. The link is here.

Have a good one!

Published in: on October 13, 2022 at 7:29 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 13, 2022: Working Through the Back Pain  
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