Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 120 — When the Day Levels Out

image courtesy of MiraCosic via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth. Check it out.

Also, if you love reading serial fiction, I’ve created a survey. I’m curious what draws other people into reading serial fiction (and I miss writing it). If you get a chance, I hope you’ll fill it out here. It’s 12 questions. Thanks in advance.

Yesterday was all over the place. I was at my client’s for a few hours – we talked about some strategy for the new round of ads I’m creating. At this point, she’s just trying to ride it out, as other similar businesses panic and fail. There were internet issues at the office, and the new payroll company, who tries to upsell “human resources” services the company doesn’t need, spends all their time calling us about them, and then screws up the payroll, which is their actual job. She’ll be moving companies in December. Vile, vile payroll company.

Hootsuite and Facebook are at odds, which means I’m going to have problems using Hootsuite to schedule client posts on FB & IG. Looking for another affordable platform.

Depending on how many social media packages I handle for different clients, I might need to invest in a platform that can handle the multiple channels for multiple clients and build that subscription money into my fee structure. Right now, I’m just using whatever platforms the client wants/can get and setting them up there, because I don’t stay with clients forever, and they can keep the platform that’s in their name when we go our separate ways. But logging in and out of a half a dozen different platforms and tools every few hours is not efficient.

I’ve been researching the tools. So far, I can’t find any that does what I need it to do at a price I can afford and build into my fee structure in a fair way. The platforms’ business fees are structured for corporations, not social media professionals handling multiple clients across multiple channels.

There’s a part of me that wants to move away from social media packages and focus more on copywriting and long form, but I have to see where the work is, and what gigs I land. I need to be versatile.

Home, decontamination protocols, fought with Twitter to get back into my account so I could participate in Remote Chat, which was fun.

Realized I’d mis-figured the time difference with LA. The NYU-LA meditation event wasn’t at 3 PM EST, but 9 PM EST.

Which meant I had time in the afternoon to get some other stuff done. And spend quality time with Tessa. Tessa finds our afternoon “quality time” sessions very important, since Charlotte gets me so often the rest of the day.

My package arrived from Fed Ex – finally. It would still be sitting in MS if I hadn’t bugged them, which is not okay, and I was not happy with the store’s response.

However, the contents were great. I’d ordered two Banana Republic dresses, and a pair of wide-legged, side-tied navy pants. Banana Republic’s clothes look good on me. I’d ordered two dresses because they were on sale, and I couldn’t decide between the gray and the red. The gray looks good and goes everywhere, but I’m totally in love with the red, and it looks fabulous on me. And yes, I will wear them in video conferences. I feel fantastic in them.

The pants fit and drape well, but the fabric wrinkles easily. They do seem a bit like Phryne Fisher-style pants, which is one of the reasons I like them.

Since I haven’t actually buckled down and sewn any of the pile of projects waiting to be made, at least I have a few pieces to get through the next few months of video conferences, along with all the fuzzy, comfy sweaters coming out.

I attended, via Zoom, of course, the Community Bookshop event for Melissa Monroe’s new book of poetry, Medusa Beach. It was a great evening of conversation, poetry, and process. The book arrived yesterday, so I haven’t had the chance to do much more than skim it. I look forward to really digging in.

Willa was fascinated by the Zoom event. Usually it’s Charlotte who participates, but Willa thought it was great (although the speakers were the only ones on video).

I had a quick break and then the meditation session with NYU-LA Alumni. The meditation leader’s name was Crystal because it’s LA and of course it was. But she was excellent. It was a good session. I didn’t stay for the chat after – I wanted to carry the calm into going to bed early.

So although the first part of the day was frustrating, it levelled out.

I slept much better than usual. Up early this morning, getting a few things done, including cleaning out the box quarantine area in the garage, because that’s where the wood has to go.

I signed up for a morning meditation with Concord Library – they do a regular Thursday morning session, and I’d like to try it. Then, I have to do a Target run – we’re getting low on toilet paper.

Then it’s client work, writing, work on Grief to Art, some social media scheduling, maybe some more LOIs.

I’m increasing my time on the exercise bicycle by one minute per day. Not my favorite form of exercise, but I need it. Adding in weights twice a week again, too.

Slowly, slowly, we will get there.

Reading a terrific book called SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. Made me realize just how abusive a former boss was, who always berated me for being an introvert, forced me into extroverted situations that were painful (which allowing another employee to opt out of anything she didn’t feel like doing, claiming “anxiety” and not redistributing the work, but making me do the extra – without compensation), and, every time I disagreed with her, telling me I “must” be on the autism spectrum or I wouldn’t disagree. Talk about a toxic situation. I’m well out of it.

Anyway, I don’t agree with everything in this book – several techniques I’ve tried and they don’t work for me, but I like the book, and there’s a lot of useful information.

I need to get going on my day. It’s a new moon in Virgo, good time to get organized!

Have a great day.

Fri. Sept. 11, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 114 — Anniversary of 9/11

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, September 11, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and Humid

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I have an essay about it over on Grief to Art.

This morning, I plan to watch the performance of Table of Silence, streaming from Lincoln Center.

Remember how, last week, I was worried that those anti-mask Covidiots at the mechanic’s might sabotage my car because I was masked and following protocols? Guess what . . .leaking fluids and dropping wing nuts. Not sure if I should go back and force them to fix it (risking my life yet again) or go somewhere else – only I don’t know where else to go. My regular, trusted mechanic is too far.

Trader Joe’s run was fine, although I bought more than I planned. But I’m stockpiling for winter.

Got some client work done, did some LOIs.

It was Freelance Chat’s 2nd anniversary, which was fun.

A middle-aged white woman (wearing her fanny pack but unmasked) was roaming the neighborhood, banging on doors. In a pandemic. When I saw her coming, I shut the front windows, because, you know, AIRBORNE virus. I refused to answer when she pounded on the door, and told her I definitely wouldn’t unless she wore a mask.

“I don’t need a mask!” She insisted. “I have Jesus.”

Needless to say, I did not open the door. She knocked until she tired of it, and wandered off to the next house. Then I disinfected the door.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s new book, JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR. It’s fantastic. Absolutely wonderful. Funny, scary, heartfelt all at once. She is a writer who takes the genre and makes it better.

My friend’s sister released a book of poetry. I ordered the book and signed up for her Zoom reading next week. Next Wednesday is stacked to the rafters: onsite with a client for a few hours, Remote chat, a session with NYU LA alumni, and the Zoom reading.

Took time to read both VANITY FAIR and start the latest NEW YORKER issue. I really like what Radhika Jones, the current editor is doing with it. I’d stopped reading it under Graydon Carter because it wasn’t relevant to me – a bunch of rich white people amusing each other and reassuring each other they were fabulous. But the September issue, with a focus on racial injustice and Breonna Taylor’s murder in particular, is excellent, and I’m glad I’ve re-subscribed.

Knowledge Unicorns

We had our second session yesterday. It went well. One of the schools where one of the kids was pressured to return to has already shut down again due to the virus. Some of the other kids (siblings) were pulled out of regular school at the end of the 2018-19 schoolyear and have been homeschooled starting last fall, so they are old hat at learning at home, and they are offering suggestions to the kids new to it to make it easier. Even though the homeschooling program is quite different from the current online learning platform, there are still tools and inner coping resources that are helpful in both.

We talked about 9/11. It was a bit of a shock to realize that NONE of them had been born when the attacks happened. Again, it made me feel old. But hey, I’m not 20 anymore.

There’s a fantastic interview in the September issue of VANITY FAIR, Ava DuVernay interviewing Angela Davis. Angela Davis has had a huge impact on my frame of reference ever since I can remember. I read the interview to the group, and we talked about it, Davis’s belief and commitment that it is the ordinary people who create change.

We worked on their assignments and caught up on the details of what’s going on with them. We took our regular breaks to stand up and stretch, and had our dance break. We did a quick foray over to the National Aquarium’s site to learn about the giant Pacific Octopus.

It was a great session, but I was tired by the end of it. I can’t imagine how exhausted their parents are.

___

We had some much-needed rain yesterday, and it looks like we’ll have more today. I hope it cools off; still too hot for my comfort.

I have to make a curbside pickup at the library. Unless I take the car in. . .somewhere, that’s my only outing today. I have a lot of writing to get done this weekend, and some client work to handle today.

Have a great weekend.

Tues. Sept. 1, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 104 – Can I Regain Any Balance?

seesaw-41961_1280
image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Pleasant and cool

Primary elections, here in MA. My replacement ballot (carefully coded, to prevent voter fraud) finally turned up in Friday afternoon’s mail. I filled it out immediately and ran it down to the secure ballot box on Saturday morning.

Everyone in this house has voted, and the ballots delivered.

I’m glad the situation was resolved; but so much stress would have been removed from my life if someone in the office had taken 30 seconds to shoot me an email to let me know it was being dealt with rather than ignoring my multiple contacts. This is not a major city.

Rough weekend, which is all I’m going to say about it.

Bad time with allergies, exhausted, achy, mentally exhausted, too.

I’m finding affirmations/quotes that are supposed to make me feel better are annoying me. They’re unrealistic and privileged. Some of us don’t have the luxury that fulfilling these quotes requires. We’re down here fighting for our survival and don’t want to be placated. We want tools. We want justice. We want suggestions on actions that WORK.

Pleased to see that Main St. Hyannis is enforcing and people are respecting it as a masked zone. Disheartened when I ran to Star Market early Sunday (we were low on white cranberry-peach juice). Except for the store, NOT ONE person I passed in the miles to and from the store was masked.

And our numbers are climbing.

Designing a garden for a project – yes, I eschewed the software that wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, and I’ve been drawing it with pen and paper. Playing, too, with the idea of the idea inspired by the auction of Green Mountain College in Vermont, and having fun with that.

The series I was reading, where I was up and down with it depending on the book – down with it again. The protag has turned into a doormat, and she doesn’t grow from book to book, she gets weaker and dumber. So disappointed. But there are only three more books at this point, so I’m going to read them and learn. See how the structure of those dozen or so books did NOT satisfy me, even if they supposedly met the tropes of the genre. I read another book in a different series by the same author, and it was delightful.

So I’m learning.

Ink arrived for the big printer (I was getting low on black – this tank will give me 3K pages). Did a bunch of research. Read Louise Penny’s A FATAL GRACE, which was sadder than I remembered. The two other bread/soup cookbooks that I need for a project arrived, and they make me happy.

Reworked my article completely. Read the book for review, working on the review.

Switched out some of the summery fabric to fall tones; switched the front door décor this morning; have some transitional decorations over the fireplace. September is transition month. October is when the spiderweb curtains go up and the real decorating starts.

Wondering if we’ll have trick-or-treating this year. I figure I’ll plan as though we do – get treat bags and prepare to set up tables with bags full of treats instead of individual rummaging, and set it in the yard or at the bottom of the driveway. If it’s cancelled because of the re-emergence of the virus, then so be it, but at least I’ll be prepared.

Already deciding what changes I need to make for the winter holiday baking gifts I always do – instead of platters, have everything in tins, with each kind of cookie wrapped separately. No platters; no centerpiece cakes/cupcakes that will get bad quickly. Everything something that can survive quarantine and still be fresh. I’ll mask up when I bake.

In the next month or so, I want to experiment with a chocolate crackle cookie and a maple cookie, to see if either can replace the centerpiece cakes.

Forgot the cream for the mousses I plan to make this week when I went to the store on Sunday, so I had to get it on my way back from my client’s yesterday. Also did a curbside pickup at the library.

I was on my own in the client’s office, which is as it should be, and got a lot done. I managed to time it to miss a negative colleague, and that lightened the stress on my day.

Some slimy people are trying to DM me on Instagram. No. I don’t know you, and your profile picture indicates you’re not contacting me for anything worthwhile.

One of the curbside pickup books was the latest by Donna Andrews, THE FALCON ALWAYS WINGS TWICE. It was delightful and smart and wonderful. I laughed out loud reading page after page. The way the series—and the characters – have grown in book after book is wonderful. This is one of the best, smartest, and most fun series out there.

Compare this series to the series where I have mixed feelings about the protagonist’s growth – or lack thereof. Huge, huge, huge difference.

Had the cats out on the deck in their playpens while I read. They love watching the bunnies eat the dandelions. I haven’t seen Che Guevara Chipmunk in awhile again. I hope he’s okay.

The tree cutting and the chemicals neighbors use on their lawns have hurt the bee, butterfly, and hummingbird populations. They are much smaller this year.

Today, I’m going to make another attempt at an oil change. Hopefully, they are masked this time, and I can get it done. Then it’s client work and more writing. I’m trying to get an ad campaign nailed down for a client, and not happy with what I’ve come up with so far. It doesn’t sparkle in the way I want.

Had hoped to put together a proposal to join a team on an exciting project in an area that interests me; however, the person heading the project is a Republican, so it’s a no-go for me.
I like a lot of what this guy has done, but if he’s supporting the sociopath, we’re not a fit.

Let’s hope this is a fairly calm week, going into Labor Day Weekend, because I am just Not In The Mood.

Decent writing sessions yesterday and today, but they need to carry over and inspire the rest of the days’ work.

I’m hoping to take both Friday and Monday off for a long holiday weekend of reading and rest, but I have no idea what the week will bring.

Hope your week’s off to a good start.

Please share the information for Grief to Art.

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Fri. Dec. 6, 2019: Deep Within the Baking Marathon

Friday, December 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Hop on over to AFFAIRS OF THE PEN, where I talk about the fun of holiday romances.

I got back to baking in the early afternoon, after having adventures finding decent vanilla that was also affordable. It’s shocking how much food prices have gone up this year, while the packages are smaller and the quality is often lower.

I made the orange-cranberry cookies from the recipe in THE CAPE COD COOKBOOK. I started making them a few years ago, and they’ve become a favorite. I made about 10 dozen. I prepped the dough for the same amount of molasses spice cookies, which I will bake today.

I had leftover orange zest (I got a little over-enthusiastic trying to find a way to actually LIKE zesting oranges). So I built a chocolate spice cake around the leftover zest, using ideas from several different recipes, and then tweaking them.

It was outstanding.

I already got the request (although it felt more like a demand) to share the recipe. Um, no. When I put a bunch of work into developing a recipe, I’m not flinging it up on the Internet so anyone can claim it. I’m saving it for my own cookbook. I am thinking of reviving The Heritage Recipe project next year, where I work on family recipes and adjust them for modern times. I think there’s another website with that name already, so I probably need to rename mine.

Then, I wonder if it’s too much to take on, with everything else that has to happen next year.

Watching SHETLAND, Season 5. It’s so well done.

Got in one of the research books for an essay I’m working on. I need to get the other essay done this weekend, so it can go up on Monday, and I’m thinking of doing one more before the end of the year, then the two I’ve been thinking about for a long time early next year.

This morning, I have errands (grocery store AGAIN, post office, library, etc.), some work to get done/out, take my mom to get her blood pressure checked. Then, it’s baking the molasses spice cookies and the oatmeal/currant lace cookies.

Tomorrow morning, I will bake the cupcakes. Then, we’re going to the holiday greens sale at the library, and the open house at the Cahoon Museum. After that, I’ll frost the cupcakes, and maybe deliver ones to the neighbors. Sunday and Monday will be more deliveries. I want to make sure I get them all out by mid-week.

I’m behind on the overseas holiday cards. I wanted to get them out this morning, but I will have to stay up as long as it takes tonight in order to get them out tomorrow morning instead. Otherwise, it’ll be Valentine’s Day before they arrive.

I carefully read through the National Grid bill. We were so careful with gas last much, and our bill is so much higher. You know why? They double the price per therm from November to April. It’s not that I’m using so much more — although, with cold weather, of course I am. It’s that they’re charging DOUBLE. How is that legal? And, there’s both a delivery charge and a service charge. Huh? Aren’t they the same thing? That’s ridiculous. People already use more energy in the winter, because they need to heat the house. The company’s making more money. But now they DOUBLE the price? That’s not right.

I will be talking to my elected officials about that, in our regular conversation, along with all the other points we need to discuss.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side of it. We’re supposed to get a little more snow today. I already have my pre-storm headache.

 

Thurs. April 25, 2019: Evolution of the Writing Process & Internet Bullying

Thursday, April 25, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

That pressure you’re feeling? Jupiter AND Pluto are retrograde. Saturn joins them on Monday. Yuck.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post on the garden.

Was with a client most of yesterday. Somehow, when I woke up I thought it was Thursday instead of Wednesday; even once I realized it, I had trouble getting into the Wednesday head space to work with the client.

Home and worked in the garden for about an hour. There’s still a lot to do, but I just have to do it one piece at a time. Eventually, it will all get done.

Worked on contest entries.

I’m playing with a new idea for a series of novellas. I want to mix genres. I want them to be short. The characters are clear; the world is taking shape. I have the beginnings of a plot, which I’ll have to explore further. I don’t want them to run longer than 25-30K, so the plot has to be precise, and a minimum of sub-plots, even though I want a couple of them to run the course of the series.

I’m not sure WHEN I can fit in the writing of them, so I have something worthwhile to show my editor. I have deadlines to meet, and re-adjusted deadlines to meet.

But it’s fun to play with the ideas.

It’s so important for process to evolve. My process is constantly evolving. I learn from each project. I work on both art and craft. Some of them wind up not working at all, and that’s okay. Disappointing, but even what doesn’t work gets me somewhere else, and gives me valuable experience.

I’ve written books as a blank-pager, not using an outline. (I don’t use the term “pantser” — to me, it sounds like an STD). While it was sometimes fun and often frustrating to figure it out as I wrote, ultimately, I had to evolve away from that. It also needed a lot more drafts to get it into the shape where I could even ask a Trusted Reader to look at it.

This is my profession, not my hobby. This is how I keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I don’t have the luxury of writer’s block or not knowing what comes next when I sit down at the page. I need to be able to drop immediately into the world of whatever I’m working on and move forward.

I’m juggling several series, along with other projects. Some are novels; some are radio plays; some are stage plays; some are articles or other writing I do for clients. I don’t have the option of telling a client I “didn’t have time” to do their project.

Outlining has helped me. I sit down and plot out the book. I free write the characters’ stories. Then I go back and work on plot points and scenes. Then I arrange and rearrange them as I best think it will serve that particular book.

I don’t like working on index cards. For scripts, especially television scripts, that’s the protocol, and if I’m working as part of a staff, or with a partner, yes, we use index cards. But I’m happier with paper and pen. My outlines are more like treatments.

This is NOT the outline I’d send with a query. Even the outlines I send my editors for series in progress are honed from these outlines, but are NOT these outlines. I call these outlines my “Writer’s Rough Outline.”

I type a copy and keep my original handwritten copy. I usually work from the handwritten (if I can read it — sometimes it’s too scrawled). The creative energy that went into the handwritten copy often serves me better than a cold, typed version.

As I complete each section of the outline, I check it off.

I adjust along the way, as the story and characters dictate and evolve.

My outline is a roadmap, not a prison. I often go in very different directions. That’s okay.

The first draft is often lean and skeletal. I don’t want to lose momentum. I want to get through it.

I like to put each draft away. The most important rest time is between the first draft and the second. Ideally, it’s two months. The reality is often far less, but I always try for at least two weeks.

I have to be able to look at it objectively, as though someone else wrote it.

Then I do as many drafts as it takes, including my multi-colored draft (where I go through with different colored markers highlighting adverbs, passive or past perfect, and qualifiers. Then I take them out and look for better ways to express what I want to say. If that word IS the best way, I negotiate with myself to put it back in).

The second draft is usually where I overwrite and follow tangents and develop ideas. The third draft if usually a combination of multi-colored draft and massive cuts.

Trusted readers usually get a third or fourth draft. I usually have at least one, sometimes two drafts after my readers see it before I consider it submission-ready. An un-contracted manuscript can take several years until it’s ready for submission.

The books on series contract have fewer drafts, since my contracted editor is in earlier in the process. Plus, the schedule is tighter.

There are always more ideas than hours in the day to write them. (I distrust those who say they “don’t have anything to write about” the same way I distrust people who get bored. Writers always have too much to write about). I recently started a notebook I call the “Whatever” notebook. I’ve had variations on this throughout the years, usually called “Fragments.”

I date every entry. I find the date provides a context for the inspiration, and sometimes it helps to go back to other elements of the day.

In it, I write whatever I want. A snippet of dialogue, an observation, ideas as characters and situations come to me. If I’m somewhere between meetings or in a waiting room or just want to get away and clear my head, I take the Whatever notebook and free write. Write about whatever’s on my mind, a combination of inspiration, what if, development, and brain dump.

It’s along the lines of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Practice and Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, although they happen at any time in the day, and at any place.

Morning pages work for lots of people, but not fore me. Morning is my most creative time. If I do morning pages, then I’ve used up that creative energy that should have gone into whatever is my Primary Project (the manuscript in which I write my first 1K of the day every morning). I think they’re great if they work. The concept is terrific, and it gets the person writing every day. But I need my first writing of the day to be about the work, not about me.

I’ve also started reading a few pages in one of my favorite writing books in the morning, before I start writing. Morning routine is: make coffee, feed the cats, check email/social media (sometimes I respond, while the coffee is brewing; sometimes I make a note to respond later), first cup of coffee, yoga, meditation, shower/dress, first 1K of the day.

When the weather is nice, I have my first cup of coffee out on the deck. When it’s not, I have it in my writing room. Now, I’m reading a few pages in one of my favorite books about writing (I have shelves of them, and some of them I re-read regularly as fuel).

Any other kind of book siphons energy away from my own work; in other words, I don’t read fiction first thing, or it derails my first 1K. But reading about writing and process helps. Usually it’s only 2-3 pages. But it starts building the desire.

Once I’ve written my first 1K of the day, I have breakfast. Check email, plan the day. If I can, I get a little more writing done. If it’s a day where I’m headed off to work with a client, I do it. Otherwise, I might write at home for a bit, and then head to the library for a few hours. There, I can research and put together pitches, or just sit in a corner and write. I answer emails, I send out LOIs or pitches. It’s easier for me to do that away from the writing room.

I prefer to write in the morning and edit in the afternoon. That’s flexible, depending on deadlines.

Again, weather dictates when I can work in the yard, so sometimes I have to push an editing session or add an extra writing session into the evening, when necessary.

I still go out with friends. I still spend time with family. But they can’t sabotage the writing. Anyone who sabotages the writing is removed from my life. This is my profession as well as my passion. I am the breadwinner. Writing is a priority, and those who don’t understand that, who don’t respect that, reveal a far deeper problem than time or writing. They reveal that they don’t understand or respect ME. Why would I have people in my life who don’t respect me?

That carries over to the endless bullying on the Internet. The last few days, I have received demands to stop talking about politics because the follower “only” wants writing information; to stop talking about writing because the follower “only” wants politics; to block people that person didn’t like or they would block me; if I’m even willing to listen to a different point of view, they’ll block me; if I don’t like the same thing they do, they’ll block me; they pick the “hill they want to die on” for something meaningless to most of the rest of us and demand fealty; that they’ll block anything that is retweeted without comment — really? If it’s well said, adding anything is only ego on my part; that I have to “prove” I’m a “real person” and they get to define “real” and that I “must” use pronouns in my bio– um, no. I get to decide what I share publicly and how to share it; to stop forwarding information on animals in kill shelters whose lives can be saved through adoption, fostering, and sponsorship.

All these people can go to hell, as far as I’m concerned. They don’t get to tell me what to post about, what to write about, how to live, what parts of myself I choose to share with the world.

I’m tired of people who claim they support inclusion and tolerance and are fighting for what’s right then tell me what I can and can’t say or do or think — as much as those we’re fighting dictate to us. Especially if it’s someone I’ve never met and only know for a few days on a social media platform.

Are you paying me to write something specific? No? Then you don’t have a say in what I write. YOUR right is not to buy it. Or read it. But not to tell me I can’t or shouldn’t write it.

None of these people matter in my life. I quietly unfollow or block plenty of people every week. We’re just not compatible. I don’t have to threaten them or fight with them. I either scroll past (because we are all more than one thing, and that’s beautiful) or, if it truly is something I don’t want in my life in the long term, I unfollow or block, as appropriate. I don’t have to make a big deal out of it. I’m a random person on plenty of people’s feeds, as they are on mine. We can peacefully co-exist, in most instances, without bullying each other. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to write posts that incite violence or demean people — yes, those should be called out. But if someone is happy about a show or a flavor of ice cream or whatever? Why be mean? If something matters to someone and they want to share a post to try and help? Why do YOU have the right to say THEY don’t have the right to care or to share it?

You don’t.

Also, I am not required to follow everyone who follows me, nor is everyone I follow required to follow me. There are certain red flag words in posts or bios that mean I won’t follow back. It doesn’t mean that person is expected to change; it’s just not something I want in my life. Eventually, they will probably unfollow me anyway.

And we don’t miss each other, because we never really knew each other.

Yes, social media is a marketing tool for my work. But that’s only part of the reason I’m on it. I’m on it to learn from people who know and are interested in different things than I am. I am on it for conversation and information and laughter. I don’t have to like, or even agree, with every post from every person that shows up on my feed.

Have I made poor choices, either in comments or in sharing? Of course. But I’m getting more aware of it, and am thinking twice before doing either. I am well aware how flawed I am, and I work on it. But I don’t bow to bullies, even in elementary school.

I’m happy with the way GRAVE REACH is going, and hope to get in at least one more writing session on it today. I have to make a grocery run, go to the library, take my mother to a doctor’s appointment, get some yard work in.

I also have to go over Saturday’s presentation one more time, and re-check the packing and all the stuff I’m bringing for the presentation. I have a rolling rack full of fun stuff. I leave for the conference tomorrow. I present late on Saturday. I know I’m prepared, but I always like to make sure.

I could teach a semester-long course on this. I have 50 minutes. I hope I picked the right 50 minutes of material!

Back to the page. And the yard.

 

Friday, February 1, 2019: Preparing for a Happy Weekend

Friday, February 01, 2019
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday wound up being one of the most quietly happy days I’ve had in a long time.

Hop on over to the GDR site to check out my February To-Do list. Which will need adjustments, because some things are happening that will recalibrate the rest of my year. It’s all good, but will need flexibility on my part to make it work.

I had a good phone meeting with a potential client this morning, and we will meet in person next week.

The radio play split into the 2-part version and the short play to fill the remaining time in that second slot went out yesterday, along with another requested radio play.

I set up nearly a month’s worth of marketing posts for my books on Twuffer; however, they don’t seem to be posting. (Note: I fixed it; time zone issue. Phew)

In the afternoon, I drafted half of the new comic ghost story radio play. It’s a lot of fun, and, as with the other comedies, a little silly. But that’s part of what makes it work. I hope to finish the draft this weekend, let it sit, and revise next week, so it can go out the following week.

As soon as that draft is done, I dive right into the straw hat theatre comedy.

WHILE I’m juggling the novel revisions and working on the monologues and working on the first act of the anti-gun violence play AND research for the Venetian play and the two women writers play.

So it’s busy. But the right kind of busy, which makes me happy.

It’s supposed to get warmer this weekend. First planting should be tomorrow – my seeds haven’t arrived yet, so I’ll have to find something to plant.

Imbolc tomorrow – I’m looking forward to it.

I want to have a happy weekend of reading and writing, because the next few weeks will be very, very busy.

Have a lovely weekend!

Published in: on February 1, 2019 at 11:09 am  Comments Off on Friday, February 1, 2019: Preparing for a Happy Weekend  
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and sticky

Woke up exhausted. The past three weeks caught up with me. Got a slow start this morning. Tomorrow, I’ll have to do things like go through the mail I haven’t opened in three weeks and pay some bills.

I’m already missing my actors; I’ve been lucky to be in a positive (mostly) environment for the past few weeks with people I care about. Not being there regularly will leave a hole in my life. However, we’re all scattering to follow our paths, and, again, it’s about trusting in the bonds created.

Revising REAL is like watching an episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE. Things I wrote about as fiction a year and a half ago have actually happened in life much the way I wrote about them in the book. Now the dilemma becomes do I change that and re-fictionalize it, or do I keep it in, even though it’s too close to the bone for my comfort? I have to sit back and ask, “What serves the story best?” and follow it from there. But it’s a little disconcerting.

I ordered some CDs put out by friends; I need new music for the next few months. Also, since some of them are by people I worked with on the show, it’s a way of keeping them close.

I have to figure out what I’m going to do about the promotional stuff for HEX BREAKER, and now that the cover art is final and the edits approved (less than a week before release), I have to get back on track with promotion.

This will be a busy week. I need to re-gather my energy and focus it on the launch and on the other writing that needs to be done.

I’d like another day off to just “be”, but that’s not an option.

Off to catch a train for day work.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 8:12 am  Comments (2)  

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

I got the article done and hit “send” about five minutes before I had to leave for the theatre. Not my best work.

Cover art discussions back and forth all day. My original vision is very different, but we’ve come to an agreement and will run with it. And Billy is not included in the cover, which is a disappointment – I feel all three of the main characters are important, but they want the focus on Jain and Wyatt.

Show was fine. Everyone’s dealing with the transition in their own way, and you just have to give them a lot of room. The actors coming in are trailing to learn the backstage as well as onstage maneuvering, so it’s pretty crowded. But it’s fine. It will be a long week, but it will all be good.

I’m going to try to get a little bit of writing done before I have to leave for the show – another two show, 14-hour day for me. Tomorrow, I have a bit of a break during the day, but Friday, we put in the new cast, so it’s another 14 hour day, and Saturday, I have to be at the theatre at 8 AM for a photo call and then do two shows, so, for me, including the commute, Saturday is an 18 hour day (6 AM – midnight). But it will be fine. The hours are long, but the people are pleasant, which makes up for a lot. Saturday will be intense, because it’s the last day for five cast members, but it is what it is. This is a transitional business – everything changes.

This week, my life is about the show, not about my own work, although I’m trying to keep somewhat of a balance. I have a lot of opportunities opening up for me, and I want to make decisions that are smart both on a creative level and a business level.

Devon

Published in: on July 16, 2008 at 8:30 am  Comments (5)  
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and warm

So, before I left for the photo call at 11 AM yesterday, I’d worked on the adaptation, done another polish on THE MATILDA MURDERS, prepared it and the cover letter, sent it off, typed off my notes for Confidential Job #2, sent if off with invoice, and repacked my set bag for the photo shoot.

Pant, pant, pant. I’d put in a day’s work before I even got started with the “official” day’s work!

Train was late – as usual – but I’d left for an early enough train to take that into consideration. Got to the theatre, we waited for the car service, we packed the car – the driver couldn’t figure out how to get the ironing boarding the back – what, does Momma still do the shirts? Anyway, we got down to Chelsea without a problem. The studio was hot and stuffy, but we managed. We were prepped lickety split and the shoot started. A few minor glitches (okay, I pitched a fit at one point when it was necessary and stopped the shoot to make an adjustment on a costume – Topstick is the BEST invention known to man – or woman).

After the shoot, there was a point where I had the large garment bag of costumes slung over one arm and I’m carrying the ironing board, standing on the curb on W. 23 St. of New York City as my colleague’s hailing a cab, and one of the actors and I just looked at each other and started laughing. Welcome to my world!

Got back to the theatre (after wrestling the ironing board into the trunk of a yellow cab), redistributed everything to be prepped for the show, and I grabbed a salad for dinner.

Show was fine – I was with the women this evening rather than the men, but got confused at two points and thought I missed cues, but they were from the other track. Everything was fine. Nothing got missed, nobody died, show was fine, so it’s all good. It’s a really good group of people on the show, and that always makes it pleasant.

Got home late, checked email. Peter Bowerman’s using a quote from me on “Aggravation Fees” in his next WELL-FED WRITER newsletter. Confidential Job #2 already paid me for the work I sent in yesterday morning. And a publisher gave me an offer for HEX BREAKER. I’m going to go over the contract again – the first pass looked pretty sane. And I’ll have the lawyer look at it. I’ll let you know when all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. But it looks as though HEX BREAKER found a home.

I have to take a few days and think things through before doing more work on the adaptation. I’m at a critical series of scenes – it’s the big confrontation between the female protagonist and the antagonist, where the male protagonist learns the complicated history and why there’s a confrontation. If it seems early in the book for this to happen, well, when I flesh out some of the earlier scenes, it’ll be about 10-20K later in the book, I think, and then there’s a twist later on (that’s not in the screenplay, by the way) that will make sense for it to happen here.

However, I’ve been splitting action between the several factions of the protagonist group. Here, I’m not sure if I should have this action unbroken, or go back to what’s happening simultaneously, and then come back to this action for the big finale of the section. I’m worried that using a technique similar to cross-cutting in film will dilute the action and power in this scene; at the same time, I don’t want the reader to lose the sense of what else is going on in the story.

I need to focus on the anthology story today – I’m way behind on it and it’s due, well, on Friday. And I have shows tomorrow and Friday, so I better get to it. Plus, I have to write the pre-Belmont article on Friday. And a few letters and get a monologue drafted.

I’m waiting a few days to start FEMME FATALE and SIDEKICK; I want to see what the response to THE MATILDA MURDERS is first.

I hope to get a draft of the next ebook done next week, too, along with the new brochures.

I’m getting everything sorted out with Cablevision. Someone from the executive office is going to send someone to install it all – at no charge, unlike what I was told initially – which will negate the need for UPS, who can’t be bothered to deliver here anyway.

Oh, yeah, and even though I’m not leaving for the Cape until Sunday – I’m packed.

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 8:34 am  Comments (4)  

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and mild

So, did you have a good weekend? Are you ready for SUMMER?

I have links and things for you, so click to your heart’s content.

It’s time to catch up with my articles:

“The Misbehaving Character” in the current issue of VISION. I quote authors Colin Galbraith, Jenny Gardiner, and Jackie Kessler on how they handle characters that just won’t do what’s planned.

“Preakness Phenom”, up on FEMMEFAN, is my post-Preakness wrap-up, here.

In the same issue of FEMMEFAN, I have an article with suggestions on how to make racing safer.

In case you missed it, my Kentucky Derby wrap-up, “Run for the Roses: Triumph and Pain Intermixed” is here.

Got that?

Good.

On top of that, have you ever visited NASA’s website? It’s really cool. I hopped on because I’m interested in the Mars Phoenix Project. I didn’t realize how many concurrent projects are running at NASA right now. For some reason, I thought they’d lost all their funding and only the space shuttle stuff was going on. I was wrong, to say the least. Check it out if you get a chance.

And, continuing with Memorial Day honors, have you ever heard of The Arlington Ladies? They attend EVERY funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. They are a dedicated and amazing group of women.

Yesterday was pretty productive. Did a couple of drafts/polishes on THE MATILDA MURDERS, and went from feeling insecure about it to feeling pretty good. I’m taking another look at it this morning and off it goes. Read the material for Confidential Job #2 and took notes; will type and send them this morning. Didn’t get enough work done on the anthology story, but will drag it around with me today. Got out a few submissions.

Good morning’s work on the adaptation. I’m in the middle of a very complicated sequence right now.

I’m away from writing most of the day, because I was called in to work a photo call and then I have a show tonight.

So visit the links above and enjoy!

Devon

Adaptation: 45,176 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
45 / 90
(50.0%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 7:26 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I got the material off to Confidential Job #1. I spent most of the day working on the revision of the essay. I’ll take another look at it and send it off today. It needs cutting, but I’ve cut as much as I can see to cut, and I trust my editor’s eye for the rest.

It was too nice a day to stay inside, but I was waiting for a delivery. Unfortunately, Staples called and has to deliver the bookcase today instead of yesterday, which is fine, no problem. But it better arrive today!

It was a quiet day, with a minimum of building crap. There’s always building crap, but I’m glad when it doesn’t interfere too much with everything else. The building’s new super has already proven himself to be management’s scumbag and not on our side at all and he’s only been here a few days. Oh, goody.

Got a decent morning’s work done on the adaptation, and now I will turn my attention to the first act of THE MATILDA MURDERS.

This is just a week of putting my head down and working, with as few distractions as I can manage.

I’m reading Gail Z. Martin’s THE BLOOD KING and enjoying it.

Sometimes, simple is good.

(I don’t mean the book I’m reading — I mean life)

Devon

Adaptation: 34,032 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
34 / 90
(37.8%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on May 14, 2008 at 7:27 am  Comments (6)  

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Stormy

There are several topics to discuss to day, so I used sub-headers. Enjoy!

Negotiating Fees
So, I got a nasty but interesting email yesterday. Now, I get a couple of dozen nasty emails per week – that’s part of putting yourself out there. If you can’t deal with nasty emails, don’t have a blog/website/public life. Because there’s always the delete button and/or reporting the mailer to the ISP or the authorities, if it’s really squirrelly or dangerous. I don’t consider people who disagree with me necessarily nasty. Some dear friends and readers disagree with me on some issues, and/or give me a good solid kick when I need it, and that’s good. But there are also the parasites, and they’re a part of being out there. A lot of it comes from wanna-be writers I’ve never met and have no reason to deal with who demand that I coach/critique/write their idea for nothing/”get them published”, because as a published writer, I “owe” it to unpublished writers to get them published.

Now, we writers work our butts off, and most of us pay it forward, help other writers . . .who are willing to put in the work. But, simply because I am published and someone else is not, I do not “owe” that person anything. Help needs to be earned.

However, this nasty email was a little different and interesting enough for me to mention the topic. The person wrote that I am a hypocrite, because I advocate sticking to one’s rates, adding things like “aggravation fees” and late payments, and setting boundaries. This person claims to have read something of mine on a site I will call “Site X” for the purposes of this discussion, and then read the guidelines, which state that writers are unpaid. Therefore, I must be a hypocrite.

Uh, no. There’s a difference between taking on a pro bono client and writing 100 articles to sell at $1/each or not getting paid for them at all.

I have a couple of pro bono clients. Usually, it’s for a cause or organization in which I have a deep personal investment and belief. And, in spite of being pro bono, we still have a contract in place so that there are no misunderstandings. I also use samples of the work I do for these clients in my portfolio, landing me other, paid work.

I also write/have written for publications/sites that state in their guidelines that they do not pay writers. However, everything is negotiable. That doesn’t mean I sent them a submission and said, “You gotta pay me for this or else.” Most of these publications have approached me to write for them and we’ve negotiated a fee. That’s different then sending in something over the transom. And if you don’t know what sending over the transom means . . .go look it up.

I’ve always said, in discussions about payment, that each individual needs to negotiate on a case-by-case basis. When you say, “I never pick up a pen for less than X” – fine. But you may well miss some great opportunities. You may be in a position to do so, and that is YOUR CHOICE. Sometimes you come across a publication you think is just great and also has growth potential, and you want to be involved. Go for it. I choose not to join bidding sites, because I firmly do not believe in paying for job listings; if an employer simply wants to go for the lowest bid instead of the best writer, that is the employer’s prerogative, and it shows me that we’re not a good match anyway, so why put either of us through a miserable experience? I also choose not to work for sites that want a large amount of content per week/month churned out for a pittance. First of all, I don’t believe that many writers can maintain quality at that high a volume – and, if they can, they ought to be working for people who pay $1/word, because they’ll be able to retire in Tahiti in about five years – and they deserve so to do. Second, I don’t want to be tied down to a single site for 20 articles a week for crap money for weeks or months on end because I get too many good, well-paying, fascinating opportunities coming in and many of them involve travel. Third, I actually value my work and, by focusing on clients who value strong skills and content, we’re both happy and well-paid.

It’s case by case and everyone needs to make their own decisions and draw their own boundaries. The problem, in many cases, is once you establish yourself at working for crap pay, the companies willing to pay more are unlikely to hire you because they believe you get what you pay for; in other words, if your previous employers paid crap, that must be what they got. By establishing a reasonable fee within your market (and a small-town market’s reasonable fee will be different than a fee in a corporation based in New York or Los Angeles), you gain respect and are paid within the ballpark of what you’re worth. Because let’s face it, do we ever truly believe we’re being paid what we’re worth? We always want to challenge ourselves to move to the next level.

Do your research on the potential employer, have a clear-headed view of your own qualifications and how fast you write, and go from there. And talk to other freelancers – those who do it full-time – to get an idea of fee structures.

Life Stuff
Had a great day with my mom. Talked to my grandmother and she sounded good (what a relief). Went to White Plains, to one of my favorite Asian markets to get some vegetables, replace the bagua mirror for the front door that the scumbags smashed a few weeks ago (wouldn’t want to be them when that karma makes its return trip), and picked up a ceramic jar that I’m going to use as a kind of a “prayer pot” and a little ceramic bowl to use for . . .well, I’m not sure, but it was pretty, and I bought it.

Helped a friend move a massive piece of furniture. We celebrated with a beer (Blue Moon, of course). And another neighbor gave me a stack of leather-bound books she was getting rid of. I look forward to going through them!

I’m booked on a bunch of shows over the coming weeks, and the schedule works out so that the days I’m not on the show, I can be up in MA house hunting and doing some other work that’s booked up there. Even if the relocation starts during those weeks, I have a place I can stay here and complete my commitment. So it’s all good.

Mostly took the day off as a “holy day” celebrating my mom and some great women in my life.

Unfortunately, my mom got sick in the night, so I’m playing nurse today to make sure she’s okay.

Writing
Most of it was mental work, not physical. Lots of “mental writing” – plotting, working things out, making a few notes on a few different projects, some pacing and muttering. Got some work done on the adaptation. It keeps surprising me in a good way. It will be able to be a complete stand-alone; there’s also room to do more with these characters that doesn’t hinge on this book. So it’s the best of both worlds.

So today, I have to give the work for Confidential Job #1 its polish and I have to dive into the essay. I have some serious deadlines this week, so I better hop to it. Because I have a short week, due to the Preakness, and next week’s looking pretty busy, with a research trip to the Museum of Natural History, the PEN Literary Awards, acupuncture, and shows.

I had a good morning’s work on the adaptation. Now, on to everything else.

Kent, thanks for stopping by. I’ll look for your YA story, and I’m also looking forward to what comes out in the future.

Hope you have a great start to your week!

Devon

Adaptation – 30,626 words out of est. 90,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
30 / 90
(33.3%)

Devon’s Bookstore:


5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.


Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here:

Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 7:58 am  Comments (10)  

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

To all of you out there who are my friends and readers and who are mothers, a blessing to you for a day where you are shown how much you’re loved and appreciated, and may you have many more years of daily love and appreciation to come.

I was going to discuss several points about blogging that recently came up, but decided to save it for an article for this week’s SDR blog. So there! 😉

Busy day yesterday: Banking, bill paying, post office (the rates go up Monday, don’t forget), dealing with Verizon wireless (they are such a pain in far too many parts of my anatomy), bookstore, wine store, grocery store.

When I got my mom her bookstore gift card, I also decided to pick up a couple of books for myself. This store had nothing by any of the authors from MISSPELLED, which annoyed me. However, I picked up BLOOD KING, Gail Z. Martin’s next book (and I’m hoping there are fewer typos than in THE SUMMONER). I’m interested to see where the story goes from where THE SUMMONER stopped. I also picked up a book called DHAMPIR by Barb & J.C. Hendee, which looks and sounds very interesting. I think it’s the first of a series. It’s supposed to be quite witty, according to an actual person who recommended it to me. It’s a person whose opinion I trust, and someone who didn’t just think it was good because she liked it, but she thought the writing, the characters, and the wit would be aspects to which I’d respond.

I know we live in the Cult of the Book Blurb, but I hate them. Blurbs on the cover are more likely to make me put the book down and not buy it than to take it to the register. I don’t want to be told what to think about it, unless I personally know the author and have a reason to respect that author’s opinion. And then, the book will be recommended to me other than on a blurb. A lot of the cover art nowadays also turns me off – it’s too similar.

MISSPELLED has one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long time. But, actually, it was the title that made me pick up the book. I wanted an anthology, and the title was clever. Then I looked at the cover, which I thought was lovely. Then I looked at the editor, whose name was new-to-me, and thought, “Great.” Then I read the back of the book, and it sounded good. I just looked at the cover and, guess what – no blurbs! No wonder I bought it. Then I read a few random paragraphs. And it had to come home with me.

And it just happens to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

Anyway, I went to the bakery to get my mom a cheesecake for Mother’s Day. Cheesecake is her favorite thing, and I’ve never mastered the art of making a really good one. I can make all sorts of other cakes, but haven’t gotten the knack down for cheesecake.

In the afternoon, I wrote my pre-Preakness article, started the write-up for Confidential Job #1, roughed out in my head the script (tentatively titled THE MATILDA MURDERS), caught up on blogs and BookMooch, and roughed out two more stories. I also started playing with a better tracking system for the short stories. The Submission Log’s useful to let me know what’s out, what’s in, what’s paid, but I need a history of each story in one place, not different documents for different years, and a central location as to the length, pseudonym, and genre (or lack of genre) for each. It’ll take weeks to sort out properly, but it will be worth it in the long run.

I’m reading SUMMERS AT CASTLE AUBURN, which I enjoy. I see glimmers of some of my favorite characters in the Twelve Houses series here – they could be relatives; they are, at least, what Anne of Green Gables would call “kindred spirits”. Elisandra in this book reminds me of Casserah; Roderick could be a more easy-going cousin to Justin. It’s very interesting.

I’m getting a new, 5 shelf oak bookcase on Tuesday. Can’t wait. Then I can bring more books back out of storage.

On, in response to all your helpful comments about how to stop the mail tampering – building management knows it’s happening and doesn’t care. The perpetrator claims he’s doing it at their instruction. It is simply another tactic o their part to drive people out of the building. Management has been talked to about this for months. Now, it’s time to bring in the feds. When one or more of their people are arrested, maybe they’ll realize we mean business.

Now, some quality time with my mother, and some writing time.

Devon

Published in: on May 11, 2008 at 6:39 am  Comments (4)  
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