Tues. Feb, 4, 2020: Adjustments

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Waxing Moon

Hop on over toA Biblio Paradise for a post about my ultimate fantasy library.

Busy weekend. Friday was a lot of errands, then working on revisions and contest entries. Sent out a pitch and samples for a regular gig which would be fun, and the money would help achieve a few things over the next few months, as I get some other financial pieces in play.

Charlotte had a massive anxiety attack on Friday afternoon, and it took her a few hours to settle down. Which meant I had a few hours where she needed my full attention, instead of being able to work.

Saturday should have had more writing in it than it did. I was a little later than I wanted starting the bread, and it took longer on its rises, but it turned out well.

Friday night, I received an email from someone wanting to set up a meeting about a project with which I’d really like to work. We managed to reach each other on Saturday, and set something up for late this afternoon.

I made another recipe from the cookbook where I made the poorly written chocolate cherry bread a few weeks back. I wanted to give this book one more chance.

It failed.

I noticed something was wrong in the way the recipe was written right off the bat, and rescued it. But, had I prepared the recipe exactly as written, I would have prepared some of the ingredients in the food processor, and they would have sat in the food processor for eternity. There was never an instruction when to add them in.

I figure it out, through a combination of experience and common sense, but again — a badly-written recipe.

Where the hell was the editor on this book? Why weren’t any of the recipes tested?

I’m going to give it away. The recipes aren’t good.

The recipe itself was bland. I’m going to dress up the leftovers with some paprika.

It makes me really angry. Here, the author got away with it because there’s a huge following on her novels — but her recipes are badly written, and don’t taste good. The first red flag was when she talked about God in the introduction. Honey, God expects us to handle our own cooking.

I should have test-driven the cookbook. I’d read through a copy from the library, but I hadn’t actually done any recipes before I bought it. That’s on me.

The other recipe was a cake, which I put mixed and put in while the bread was in the oven. It was a very basic yellow cake recipe from my mother’s old LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL cookbook, which is good for basics. I added in a little almond extract. I made two layers, as instructed, and filled them with strawberry jam, and then did a chocolate satin icing, decorated with almonds.

The strawberry jam was a bit too much, especially since the batter didn’t need to be in two pans/two layers. Next time I do this recipe, I will just do it as a single layer with the icing. The icing is superb. The icing recipe is from the NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which is one of my favorites.

Worked on the short story, worked on contest entries.

Finished watching Season 2 of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. Ruby was an annoying little whiner, wasn’t she? I wish the judges would TEACH techniques, instead of smirking and leaving technique out of the recipes in the technical challenges. Also, I wanted to slap them every time they said something was under-baked — then don’t give them only two hours! And expect it cooled and perfectly decorated! The parameters are unrealistic for home bakers.

Makes me want to write a treatment for my own food show — not with me in it, but run along parameters that make it a tool for teaching, historical and societal context of food, etc. A gourmand, a home cook, a food historian, and five students who progress through the series, learning techniques and then creating their own recipes.

Managed to get four loads of laundry done on Saturday, too.

February’sGoddess Provisions box arrived, and it was wonderful! I’m so delighted with it. Also got my wall calendar — the one I usually get was sold out, so I got a different one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the astrological notations I need. Fortunately, I have it in my usual datebook.

Up early Sunday. Made honey-pecan-chocolate chip muffins, which were delicious. I liked substituting honey for sugar, and using a little baking powder. The sugar converter was a big help.

Worked on contest entries, worked on revisions, worked on the short story, worked on blog posts to get ahead for the month of February on the specialty blogs.

Imbolc ceremony was lovely. Lots of change predictors coming. I just have to choose the right change.

Didn’t really care about the Super Bowl. Sort of kept an eye o the score, but that was it. And, of course, the Narcissistic Sociopath didn’t even know from which state the winners come. He celebrates ignorance, cruelty, stupidity, and greed, which is why his base loves him so much.

Got an idea for an intriguing group of characters, but don’t know what to do with them. Made some notes, but it has to percolate.

Yesterday, I had a decent first writing session, spent a few hours with my client, then had other appointments, which meant I had to miss meditation. Hit my head in the morning, which upset my day, because I was dealing with that aftermath.

Work on revisions and contest entries in the evening.

This morning, out early for some errands, then with a client most of the day, then this afternoon is the first conversation of the Very Important Meeting. Fingers crossed that it goes well.

And, always, back to the page.

Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Put in my share of that.

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

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

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

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

 

Tues. Nov. 26, 2019: Trying to Clear the Decks

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Friday, I put in the changes and reformatted “Confidence Confidant” back into stage format. Tweaked a couple more things. It makes me want to both expand the play into a full-length, and also to create an evening of one-acts about some of Kate Warne’s cases. That needs to go on the agenda for the 2020 GDRs.

I was a wreck by the time I got home, exhausted, only to find the plumber arrived. He fixed the toilet leak and taped the sink, because the faucets and the valves need to be replaced, and he didn’t have the right parts in his truck.

Worked with the cats, cooked dinner, read. Too tired to do anything but read something light-hearted.

Read a cozy by a new-to-me author. Again, the protagonist is, as Donna Andrews jokes in her series, “Too Stupid To Live.” I liked the premise of the piece, but not the execution.

Up early on Saturday. Did a final proof of “Confidence Confidant” and fixed some formatting errors. Sent it to the director, along with the dramaturgy, and she acknowledged it a few hours later. Whichever way it works out, I’m glad that it got me back into the world of Kate Warne again.

Jumped on a sale at one of the few stores from whom I’m buying holiday gifts.

Came home, did four loads of laundry, dealt with the landlord on the plumbing issues. The toilet started leaking again. The landlord is not sure when the new furnace will be installed, so now I have to worry every cold day until it is. He decided to wait to repaint the house and replace the deck until next autumn. That’s a relief.

Worked with the cats. Raked a few more bags of leaves. Started working on the galleys. Baked tollhouse cookies. Created a new recipe with eggplant, cauliflower, and broccoli in a mushroom sauce. It tastes good, but looks awful. I have to figure out a way to make it look more appetizing.

Worked on galleys until I went to bed.

Up early Sunday. Baked fig muffins. They were good, but not as great as I hoped. Worked with the cats. Finished the galleys and put the changes in. The weather was dreadful.

Took a break, and then worked on “Pier-less Crime.

Ended up outlining two new stage plays. One already has a target market and a date. I will get to work on it in and around the other deadlines.

Worked with the cats some more in the afternoon. Made a dish from the Brunetti cookbook that I’ve made and enjoyed before, and was craving again.

Up extra early on Monday. Had a bad night — woke up around 1 with a bad cough. Took some honey to calm it down, but it took me awhile to get back to sleep. At my client’s by 8 AM, to get ahead on the holiday promotion marketing.

Sent off the galleys. By the end of the day, got back the final set of proofs. Decided to skip meditation in order to turn them around as fast as possible. Did some more work on “Pier-less Crime” because I need to get it out the door ASAP.

This morning, I’m onsite at my client’s again at 8 AM, working on the holiday marketing. I am not working on-site tomorrow — I have several things to do to prepare for the holiday. Tackling each thing as I can, and trying not to feel overwhelmed.

 

Published in: on November 26, 2019 at 6:13 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 26, 2019: Trying to Clear the Decks  
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Wed. Nov. 20, 2019: Mercury Direct, Please!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
MERCURY GOES DIRECT

I cannot tell you how glad I am that Mercury goes direct today. It kicked my ass. Yet again. I did some good inner work on resolving a few issues, but it kicked my ass.

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve been having trouble on that site, with posting (and my host is useless). If it worked, there will be a post on The Artist Statement up.

If not, you’ll be able to hear me swearing wherever you are.

They never showed up on Monday to take a look at the deck. Or let me know they weren’t coming. Yes, it makes sense — it was rainy and raw. But they should have contacted me. I changed hours at my client’s, cancelled another appointment that was for billable hours, and didn’t go to meditation.

I’m tired of losing money because these people can’t be bothered to communicate or show up on time.

I had a good proofreading session in the afternoon, which made up for some of the loss, and a good rune study session.

Then, Monday night, started watching GOOD OMENS. I meant to watch two or three episodes. I watched 5 out of the 6. The production values are spectacular. David Tennant and Michael Sheen are amazing. Well, I think David is always amazing, but the little details, the swagger in Crowwley’s walk, the small gestures, the way he tossed off a line, or gives emphasis to a particular word — wonderful.

The library is doing automatic renewals now on materials that don’t have holds on them. I HATE it. Not only is it harder to keep track of the books, but it’s an insult. It assumes that I am not enough of a responsible adult to get my books back on time.

Tuesday was rainy and yucky, too. I was out early, putting the stake in the ground for the septic pumper guy to find the tank.

Decent few pages on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Good proofreading session.

I held the fort down alone at my client’s yesterday. Got some good work done, but also had to deal with things I don’t usually deal with, which got a bit distracting.

Watched the rest of GOOD OMENS last night. AFTER I did a bunch of housework, like vacuuming and mopping floors. And general tidying up. There are times when I feel like all I do is clean, and it’s dirty again in 5 minutes. And we’re not dirty people.

Up early this morning. Writing, proofreading. I’m going in early to my client’s because we’re leaving early to celebrate a colleague’s birthday.

My back is bothering me a lot. I have a feeling I’ll have to go to the doctor, once my insurance is sorted out again. MA insurance, AKA Romney-care is a joke. It’s about having insurance coverage in name only, not at all about actual care.

Meanwhile, one word at a time, one box at a time, one small thing at a time to get things into motion for the changes that need to be made. I want to take a break for the holidays and work more slowly. I need to work quickly on a couple of projects that need to be cleared off by the end of the year. But next year has to be different. Stronger. Better.

Both on the political spectrum for the country, removing the corrupt. And personally, to achieve what I want and need in my life.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on November 20, 2019 at 6:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 20, 2019: Mercury Direct, Please!  
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Fri. Nov. 15, 2019: Trying to Balance the Demands

Friday, November 15, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and warmer

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen. Instead of talking about the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, this week, I’m talking about the Twinkle Tavern Mysteries, which are part of Delectable Digital Delights.

Took down the contact form on the Fearless Ink site, because it just won’t work. I have no idea why. Whatever they did to make the recaptcha work in the comments on Ink-Dipped Advice screwed up the contact form. It should work on both, but doesn’t, and not even the contact form works any more. So people just have to contact me directly. I typed out the email address, hopefully in a way the bots can’t get it.

Spent the afternoon clearing out a section of the basement. Water had leaked in under the door to the bulkhead in one of the storm. I lost several boxes of books to that, including the books written by my ex. I had mixed feelings about that — talk about a way to let go completely. I’m sad that I also lost a box of books on Cape Cod history, some books on France, and the Norse sagas I brought back form Iceland in 2007.

I also sorted and tossed a lot of old papers. I found some important stuff, such as old contact sheets and an article I’d forgotten I wrote — which is pretty darn good, and will go up on my Clients & Publications page.

My back was killing me by the end of it. But if I keep at it, the basement will be purged over the winter. In the spring, I’ll call one of the junk removal companies to make a dump run with all the stuff I don’t put into household garbage, recycling, or give away.

I still have to do a lot of pruning this weekend.

My back hurt so badly that I broke down and took a Tylenol PM. It kept me awake until after midnight. I finally dropped off and felt dopey when I woke up after oversleeping.

Frustrating early editing session, mostly because I overslept and felt time pressure. Errands, dropped off stuff at the dump and at the post office.

I’m moving Tessa up to my room and keeping her there, away from Willa and Charlotte for a couple of weeks, and then working on socializing them together upstairs, under supervision. It’s not happening organically, so I have to make it work otherwise. The diffuser has not helped at all, and was a waste of money.

Some time at the library. This afternoon, I’m back in the basement, cleaning and purging. There’s a clear path now, when they have to put in the new furnace whenever that is. They’re coming to “talk about it” and take a look next Thursday. The construction guy is coming to “take a look” at what the landlord wants done to the deck. Which means a bunch of old white men will stand around moaning and shaking their heads and wasting my time.

At least they’re not trying to replace it while Mercury is still retrograde.

I’m having a cranky start to the weekend, but I hope it will get better.

Have a great one!

 

Published in: on November 15, 2019 at 11:18 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 15, 2019: Trying to Balance the Demands  
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Thurs. Nov. 14, 2019: Writing, Changes, Planning

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cold

We have a bit of snow Tuesday night. Just a dusting. Charlotte was fascinated by the snowflakes. Willa ran away. Tessa was unimpressed.

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

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, where I’ve put up the questions for 2020. The approach is a little different this year. I hope you enjoy them, and that they are helpful as you figure out how to start the New Year — and the new decade. They will also live permanently on this page.

Impeachment hearings started yesterday. About damn time.

Had a good editing session in the morning yesterday. Then went on-site with a client. Remote Chat was fun, as it always is.

I’m trying to be smarter about using LinkedIn, but every time I sign in, I remember why I hate it so much. It wants to limit me.

I resent being forced to be on both LinkedIn and GoodReads. They don’t serve me. They get in my way.

I’m frustrated with A2 because they won’t fix a problem on the Fearless Ink site. Or do anything about the hacking and the threats I’ve been receiving. I need to move hosts. Which probably means rebuilding everything from scratch when I do so. SiteGround, so far, is the top contender. They’re pricier than A2, but it looks like they actually offer support when something goes wrong. And security. A2 used to offer both. Now, they just don’t give a damn.

Stopped at the store on my way home. Wednesday night has evolved into pizza night here, so that was fun.

Charlotte and Willa race to greet me when I come home. It’s so cute. Tessa was out and about a bit, but there’s still a lot of tension between her and the other two. We need to do some more work. I don’t believe that Feliway Diffuser has done a damn thing. Glad I got it on sale.

The landlord arranged for the septic tank to be pumped on Tuesday. Later in the week, he’s coming over with he heating guy to see about replacing the furnace. That means, this weekend, I have to do a serious purge of the basement around the bulkhead doors, because that’s how the new furnace will have to come in, and the old one will have to go out. That throws a monkey wrench in my weekend, but I’m grateful that he’s willing to replace it when the furnace people suggest it, rather than waiting until it breaks down in the middle of a blizzard.

Writing and editing sessions this morning, then off to the library for a bit. Back home for more writing, some raking, some basement purging. Writing session was okay; editing session was excellent.

I finished the book for review, and sent off the review to the editor. Told her I’m ready for the next one.

I plan to read my friend’s book this weekend, too. I finally feel I earned it!

 

Published in: on November 14, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 14, 2019: Writing, Changes, Planning  
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Wed. Nov. 13, 2019: Progress & Incoming Winter

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

We’re supposed to have rain turning into snow early this morning. Since I’m scheduling this to post, I wonder if it happened? Yesterday morning was nasty when I woke up.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, for a post about Creating Client Voice.

There was no meditation on Monday, and I missed it. But I came home and helped bag 6 more 30-gallon bags of leaves just from the center front yard before the storm. I’ll be making a trip to the dump on Thursday or Friday. I’m hoping it clears up later today, so we can start raking the side yard and back tomorrow and into the weekend. Every dry day, we do a little, and, eventually, it will all get done.

I’m pleased with the way the edits are going, although the fresh writing has slowed down while I focus on edits.

Got my next book to review. The pace and characters are good, the plot a bit convoluted, and easily-checked facts (about an area in which I grew up) are wrong, so it won’t get as high a review as it would if those facts were correct. We all make genuine mistakes; this is carelessness.

Reading books about Verona, Italy, and it’s giving me ideas for way down the line on GAMBIT COLONY.

Worked onsite with a client yesterday, trying to get ahead on a few projects, with Thanksgiving coming up. Doing the same today: up early thanks to the cats, writing, editing, on site with a client. While yesterday, I made a stop at the library on the way home, today I will pick up a couple of things at the grocery store and head straight back. I rarely go to the library on Wednesdays.

Still working on the GDR questions for 2020. Hope to have them up by tomorrow.

Remote Chat today. Looking forward to it.

I’m really proud of the progress the cats are making. Willa and Charlotte are starting to believe maybe they can stay after all, maybe they truly have a home and won’t be shoved around any more. Their behavior and demeanor has improved remarkably. They still get a little fussy with each other, but they are much better. When they find something new to explore (like the basement), they call a truce and do it together. We are trying to get Tessa re-integrated back into the mix, instead of her being separate, but she is not an alpha cat (although she needs to be, with these two). That will take some more time, but she, too, is getting more determined. It’s only been a little over five weeks, but it’s been a world of difference. I also think it’s hilarious that they prefer French and French Canadian jazz, rather like Celtic music, but dislike traditional classical and pop. Not that we play much pop in the house, but I wanted to see how they’d react.

I feel a little guilty for not missing the Nano participation this year. However, this year, doing Nano would be an obstacle, not an asset. And, this year, I’m enough of a grownup not to let my ego get in the way.

Live and learn, right?

Happy mid-week!

 

Tues. Nov. 12, 2019: Yes, the Weather is Changing

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not as productive, writing-wise, as I hoped. Mostly because I was exhausted. Hop on to Kemmyrk, for some thoughts about a full moon in Mercury Retrograde.

We got everything in from the deck, except the big round table that overwinters there. The plants that need to overwinter are in the garage; the other pots have had the annuals pulled out and been put away. The furniture was oiled, dried, and put away — some in the basement, some used in the house during the winter. I have a couple more things to put away that are still on the table, and decide when to bring in the chimes.

The landlord is having someone coming to look at the back of the house to see what needs to be fixed. A few boards on the deck need it, but I bet they take the whole thing out. I don’t want to lose the covered part of the deck. It’s wonderful. But who knows what the landlord will decide?

Anyway, all of that took much longer than I hoped, but it’s done. It needed to be done in decent weather. I did a little of the pruning, but I have a lot more to do. Plus, we have all the leaves. So, every dry day, we’ll be doing some raking. It’s supposed to be miserable today, rain switching over to snow.

Ran some errands. Did laundry.

Wrote and sent off the speech I was asked to do. I’m pleased with it. It was carefully structured to fit the event.

Did a lot of work with the cats. They are getting better. Tessa’s spending more time out, but there’s still suspicion between Tessa and the others, especially with Willa, whose the noisiest of the three. Charlotte is settling in the best. Considering she had the most, noisiest tantrums when she came in, that’s interesting. Yesterday morning, we had major progress — all three sitting with me in my office while I wrote. Napping. Peaceful co-existence.

Re-read THE TIE-CUTTER. Every time I look back at it, I love it more. I have to find a way to get back to work on it, when these next deadlines are cleared.

I’m re-reading Donna Leon’s mysteries set in Venice. Re-read DEATH AT LA FENICE. It was excellent. Read a biography of Maggie Smith, which was interesting, but a little too fawning.

Got some ideas for a couple of sequences in GAMBIT COLONY.

Worked on edits. Gave myself a break from THE BARD’S LAMENT.

Did three loads of laundry.

I got fed up on social media (for a lot of reasons). Specifically, there’s an unpublished author working on a piece that’s so long it should be broken up into a series, and she’s telling published authors who earn their living at it how to write. Fuck off, kiddo. Try listening and learning something.

Went in, yesterday, to my client’s, although it was, technically, a holiday. It was not as productive a day as I wanted.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” and the edits, mostly. That’s what I did this morning, too. I hate to break the rhythm I’m building with THE BARD’S LAMENT, but I need to get these two pieces done first. Excellent editing session on Monday morning, though, which set a good tone for the week.

I also need to take a look at the stage plays I’ve written and decided which ones to submit where. I’m thinking of putting together the short Kate Warne play and the short Jeanne de Clisson play with a third play about a strong woman as an evening. Or maybe do another Kate Warne? I was originally going to do three short Kate Warne plays, about three of her cases. Not sure. But I have a stockpile of scripts from the past few years, and they need to go out and earn their keep.

Worked on the GDR questions.

Mostly, I’m exhausted. I need a break. I need a real vacation, where I can rest and restore. Not just a day off here and there, but genuine time off, where I can rest and not worry about money. Which isn’t going to happen any time soon.

 

Published in: on November 12, 2019 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 12, 2019: Yes, the Weather is Changing  
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Wed. Nov. 6, 2019: One Step at A Time

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

They’re predicting snow for the end of the week. Snow!

Glad we got some raking done. Time to start bringing in the plants, before they die of the cold out there.

The past few days have been difficult. The Doubt Demons attacked, and I questioned my value in relation to just about everything.

My back is also giving me a lot of trouble. I had difficulty with some of the gentle movement in meditation class on Monday, and had to take a pain pill when I got home. Of course, when it wore off in the middle of the night, I was left sore and with the beginnings of a migraine.

The cats were doing really well for a few days, but were grumpy on Tuesday.

Tuesday, it rained. I had a good writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and a good editing session. Went onsite with a client. Worked at the library. Worked on the book for review and another client project. Started pulling in the big plants that overwinter in the garage.

One foot in front of the other. I’m trying to keep my head down and enjoy the work. I’m not enjoying social media right now, and spending less time on it. One group, in particular, has become too non-reciprocal for me to continue. I’d made the decision to leave in December a few months ago, but there was part of me hoping something would shift and I would decide to stay. But, no. The person who’s supposed to be leading the group just can’t be bothered. So why should the rest of us shout into the void? I’ll fulfill my commitment through December, and then I’m done.

Sent an LOI to a potential client about whom I’m on the fence, but it might be worth it to do a few projects together. Sent out another LOI to a place that sounded interesting. Their response is that I’m supposed to take a personality test and rewrite three pages of their website as part of the interview process. No, thanks.

Basically, at this point, I’m just trying to survive Mercury Retrograde.

I’m working on the questions for GDR 2020. The theme is “Transition and Transformation.” That should be interesting. I’ll let you know when they’re up.

It feels almost blasphemous to admit it, but I don’t miss Nano. It was the right choice for me this year, and not fraught with unnecessary ego and guilt.
Read THE UNWRITTEN LIBRARY by AJ Hackwith. I was worried, early on, it would get too religious for my taste. But it didn’t. It’s weird and wacky and wonderful. I loved it.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on November 6, 2019 at 6:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 6, 2019: One Step at A Time  
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Tues. Nov. 5, 2019: Nice Start to November

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

A friend arrived on Thursday afternoon. We had cocktails and snacks. Homemade chicken pot pie for dinner, with orange rye bread. Gingerbread for dessert.

The weather was pretty vile, so there were only 8 Trick or Treaters.

At least I had enough candy.

We watched TEA WITH THE DAMES, talked. I’d done my ritual in the morning. I did my Tending the Dead ritual once everyone was asleep.

Willa bonded with my friend immediately, which was good. Charlotte behaved better. Tessa came out a little bit.

I tried anti-anxiety medicine on all three cats. It did nothing for Willa. It confused Tessa. It made Charlotte less aggressive, but more nervous. I kept Charlotte on it for a few days, but she was miserable.

A Letter to the Editor I ghost-wrote for a client appeared in the local paper. I felt a bit smug, and she was very pleased.

The weather was bad all night into Friday, although it started clearing up Friday mid-morning.

I cooked a big breakfast. We stopped at the library.

Then we went to the Cahoon Museum. It was delightful, as always, although it was between exhibits. I was sad they took down my favorite oil painting. But Ralph and Martha’s work always delights me. One of the two new exhibits, by a weaver, was beautiful. I’m trying to decide if I’ll go the opening reception this next week. It’s the last exhibit of this year, before they close for the winter.

We came home, and I made bahn mi for lunch.

Then, we headed up to Sturgis Library, and then over to the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth. I hadn’t been there in several years. It was delightful, as always.

The guy at the front desk is someone I recognized from one of the local reading series where I’ve tested new work. He had no idea who I was. I’ve attended often enough that one would think he’d recognize me.

That’s what gets me here. It’s a small community, so “everyone knows everyone.” Yet, in professional contexts, they don’t retain information. They’ll remember gossip about the friend of a friend’s neighbor’s cousin like they know them and it’s first=hand information, but not remember someone with whom they interacted professionally.

Stopped at Parnassus Books on the way back, always a pleasure. Then, went to Tumbleweed Quilts so my friend could buy some novelty fabric for her sister.

It was nice enough to have a cocktail on the deck. I made a Venetian pasta out of THE BRUNETTI COOKBOOK. We watched the first, very dark episode of Season 4 of SHETLAND.

The cats behaved pretty well. Tessa needs to stay out more, so they all get used to being together. She holes up in my office all the time.

Saturday morning, up early. My friend was looking for something for her mom. We drove around all over Hyannis, three different stores, and finally found it at a yard sale down the street.

My friend left in late morning. I brought in the Halloween decorations, cleaned them off, packed them away. We packed all the Samhain decorations and put them away. We switched out the spider web curtains for the winter curtains and changed Halloween fabric coverings to Harvest fabric. Re-made the beds. I did laundry.

Charlotte and Willa discovered the basement, and had adventures.

They didn’t like empty boxes coming out, but once they were filled, the settled down. Tessa always avoids the chaos when decorations go up or come down. She hates it.

Finished reading MISS BUNCLE MARRIED by D.E. Stevenson, and started THE UNWRITTEN LIBRARY, which is quite wonderful and weird, but I’m worried it’s going to wind up being too religious for my taste.

Remembered to turn the clocks back.

Up early. Spent a good portion of the day working on edits. This draft is in good shape, and I’m happy with it. I have to smooth out a couple of things, and then I can get back to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DHARMA. I need to come up with an entire new outline for DHARMA, and I need to outline THE BARD’S LAMENT. I only have the most basic idea of where I want to go with it.

Yesterday morning, up early, trying to get back into the routine. Willa and Charlotte don’t really understand the concept yet of yoga and meditation time. They’re constantly up to something when I sit. It’s pretty funny.

Worked on my edits. Worked on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Worked more on it than I expected, but it’s flowing. Worked on site with my client. Bagged 30 gallons of leaves from the front yard.  Took a big stack of materials back to the library. Went to meditation. Worked on a book for review. Worked on a piece I’m doing for NMLC.

This morning, another writing session, another editing session, then off to my client. I’m debating whether to grocery shop today or tomorrow. Doing some more work on the piece for NMLC. I’m working with the Executive Director on it later this week.

Have to do some raking and yard work. I need to cut back a bunch of stuff, put the pots away from the deck (either cleaned and stacked, or, for the big plants, to the spot where they overwinter in the garage). I figure, if I do a little bit every day, eventually, it gets done.

I’m also doing some sorting and purging. Again, trying to do a little bit every day. Set the time for 15 minutes here and there, make a commitment to unpack a box or two. I want to get rid of a lot of stuff that’s not relevant to me anymore. I’ll keep most of the books, especially non-fiction, but release what I no longer want to define my life.

I’m redefining my life right now, which feels good, is scary, and most definitely necessary.

Meanwhile, I keep the writing steady. So it’s back to the page.

Mon. Nov. 4, 2019: Gratitude, Not Denial #UpbeatAuthors

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image by kumari sky via pixabay.com

Monday, November 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

November is “Gratitude Month” here on Upbeat Authors.

This has been a difficult year for me, on many fronts. Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember to be grateful. It’s easier to focus on what’s not working than what is working.

Also, far too many motivational or inspirational quotes feel like they trivialize pain.

Pain, on physical and emotional levels, is real. Everyone experiences it differently. Everyone must learn to cope, to heal, and to set and maintain boundaries. We need empathy and sympathy with each other; at the same time, we can take on, or be expected to take on, everyone else’s pain in addition to our own.

Creating a personal practice of gratitude doesn’t mean you’re in denial about what’s not working. It means using the things in your life for which you are grateful as a foundation on which to build the positive changes you need in your life.

There are basics for which I’m grateful every day:
My family
The cats
My friends
My creativity
My home
My food

On top of those basics, there are different things for which I’m grateful. On the days when I meet with my weekly meditation group, I’m grateful to have community with them and be able to practice.

On days when I participate in Remote Chats with one group or another, again, I’m grateful to be included and feel a sense of community with them.

A couple of weeks ago, when my car battery died, I was grateful that it happened in the garage at home and not out on the road somewhere.

I think of gratitude as layered. There’s Foundational Gratitude, which is includes the list above. Then there’s Transitional Gratitude, which are the different daily things that bring joy, peace, pleasure.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to find that list. But it’s always worth the time to make the list, even if you don’t write it down, and look for something, no matter how small that improves your daily life.

The basis of gratitude helps you build strength and energy to make the changes you need to make, so there’s less of “can’t I ever get a break?” and more of “I’m glad that happened.”

What you do consider your Foundational Gratitude?

Wed. Oct. 30, 2019: Prepping for Company

Wednesday,October 30, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Tired. I’m getting plenty of hours of sleep, but I don’t feel rested.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest.

Working with the cats.

My mom had a nice birthday.

Turned in my review, got paid, got the next book. I like working with this company.

Working on some article pitches. I hope to get them out tomorrow. Even though Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, and I’d much rather just hide.

Remote chat is today. I’m looking forward to it.

Then, I’m doing a final scrub of the house and making bread. My friend from NY arrives tomorrow for a couple of days. She just got back from London. I’m looking forward to seeing her.

Good writing session this morning. I’m trying to balance the work on the revisions of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA along with drafting THE BARD’S LAMENT, so I don’t get behind on that or lose momentum.

One word at a time. The best I can do.

Published in: on October 30, 2019 at 5:37 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 30, 2019: Prepping for Company  
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Tues. Oct. 29, 2019: Happy 95th Birthday to My Mom!

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image by Bernadette Wurzinger via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Today is my mother’s 95th birthday. She still does really well. Rides her exercise bicycle 20 minutes a day. Does her puzzles. Plays with the cats. Drives.

I am lucky to have her with me still.

Busy weekend, but, as usual lately, not in the way I expected.

The bulk of the weekend was spent on novel revisions. What wasn’t taken up in novel revisions was taken up working with the cats. Charlotte is the aggressor, most of the time. She’s picking on both Tessa and Willa. They don’t actually hit each other, but there’s lots of noise and raised paws and running. It’s much better than it was, and we go through long stretches of peaceful co-existence in the same room. Then Charlotte gets nasty, and we have to start again. The positive stretches are getting longer and longer.

It will take a few months.

On Saturday afternoon, when I got into the car to go to the yoga studio, the battery was dead. It’s close enough to I could walk down and still make it in time.

The sound bath was great, and I walked home to a good dinner of turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables. Then, kitty playtime and positive socializing, and watching the SNOOP SISTERS, which I’d seen years ago when I was a kid. I get many more of the jokes now.

Tessa was with me in the night, Willa with my mom, and Charlotte in the rest of the house, which meant Charlotte was cranky on Sunday morning. But we got them settled after breakfast.

Worked on the November posts for Upbeat Authors, novel revisions, the book for review.

I read a cozy mystery, the third in a series by this particular author. While I enjoy some of the interactions between the characters, the protagonist is such an idiot, and too often a nasty piece of work, that I’m done with the series. Her romantic interest should dump her. He’s great. She’s an idiot.

I gave the series three books. I was frustrated by all three. So I’m done. Moving on.

I still have to read my friend Arlene’s newest book. But I haven’t felt as though I earned a treat lately.

Now, why don’t I just call AAA, you ask? Remember, last time my battery died, I had AAA. They were supposed to come to the house (the battery died in the garage again, thank goodness). First of all, they gave me a hard time about sending someone, because I wasn’t on the road. They told me I had to push the car out of the garage, down the driveway, to the road. I refused. When the guy finally showed up, he insisted it wasn’t the battery, but something much more complicated. He refused to change the battery. He gave me a jump and I made it to Tracy VW, where, of course — it was the battery. And I had to pay more than the service AAA promised to give me.

When I complained to AAA about it — they STILL haven’t answered. And this was in January 2015. They ignore all the correspondence. Their rates kept going up exponentially. And they refuse to come to my house, even though everyone else I know who has AAA gets house calls without a hassle.

When I had the major car repair in spring, my insurance company told me I had Roadside Assistance. So I tried to make arrangements through them for someone to give me a jump on Monday morning. Only now they’re telling me I DON’T have roadside assistance.

So there I am. With no one to help. Typical around here.

I contacted the place close by where I got my car fixed a few months ago to ask them who they could suggest. They told me to call Buckler’s Towing. They were very nice, and got me started.

I made it to the mechanic. They drove me to my client’s.

I hear back from the mechanic. Not only is the battery more than double than it was the last time they put a new one in, they came up with another $1800 worth of work they want to do on the car.

No. This attitude that every time I come in, they find thousands of dollars’ of repairs to do, and that I have tens of thousands to throw into the car, needs to stop.

I told them to just do the battery.

It should have taken a half hour. They couldn’t get it done until after 2.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment. She’d called the ride service that’s supposed to take seniors to their appointments, for a $5 donation. No one ever got back to her.

My client lent me her car — a big Audi. So I could take my mom to her appointment. By the way, the doctor said those were some of the best lab results he’s ever seen. I am to be commended for making sure she eats right.

I returned the car to my client, with effusive thanks. The mechanic came and got me. I picked up the car. It drove better after the jump start than it does now with the new battery.

Yes, I know I have to work on putting the resources together for another car, but I’d hoped to get another year or two out of this one. I love this car. It’s the first new car I ever bought myself, and I’m very attached to it.

Picked up my mother’s birthday cake and fixings for her birthday dinner.

Barely made it to meditation, but I needed it.

Dinner, finished the book for review. I turned in the review this morning, and my invoice. I’m ready for the next one.

Tessa stayed with me last night. Charlotte was cranky and aggressive with both Tessa and Willa this morning. Lots of noise. By the end of each day, we achieve peaceful co-existence, but overnight, it all falls apart. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we have a lot more to make.

With a client all day today, and then to the library, to get the work done I didn’t get done yesterday.

And to figure out the way to put together money for a new car.

At least I had a great session this morning, working on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Coventina Circle #5), which releases next year.

Onward.

Published in: on October 29, 2019 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 29, 2019: Happy 95th Birthday to My Mom!  
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