Thurs. Nov. 7, 2019: Incoming Storm

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

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

There was no post on Ink-Dipped Advice this week. My back has limited the amount of time I can spend at the desk. I was working on the week’s post and was in so much pain, I had to stop. It’s a post on client voice, and it will go up next week.

This month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived and it was delightful. I’m thrilled with every single piece in it. This box has become vital to my self-care routine.

Willa and Charlotte are getting along much better. Now, we just have to re-integrate Tessa back into the mix. Time and patience. I keep reminding myself it takes time and patience, and for something this important, “no time” is not an option. I make sure to spend quality time with Tessa every day, so she doesn’t feel neglected.

Charlotte was on my lap on Tuesday night and Willa tried to hop up, which didn’t quite work. Charlotte was good — no hissing or growling. Willa complained, but that was it.

They also call a truce for Bedtime Snacks, which is pretty funny.

They’re starting to remember that they CAN get along. The more positive time they spend together, the more they’ll associate each other with good things. They have to learn that yoga/meditation time means QUIET, not climbing-all-over-the-human time, but they’ll get there.

Season 4 of SHETLAND is just heart-breaking. What a terrific show.

Excellent writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Wednesday morning, and this morning. Some good editing work, too. Made a decision to cut yet another subplot of GRAVE REACH, and streamline it a bit more. Late in the game to be doing it, but necessary for the flow to work.

Client work. I’m always tired by Wednesdays. Great Remote Chat about stress.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Worked on the book for review (I hope to get the review out either today or tomorrow). Worked on another client project. I’m meeting with the client tonight. Sent out an LOI for an exciting new position. I’m a long shot — I’m sure they want a Big Name for it. But I’d be a strong choice, and would love the opportunity. If I don’t try, then I can’t succeed, right?

Sent an LOI to work remotely with a client in Michigan on email campaigns. They sent back an online “test” — so, no, they’re out. If you’re too lazy to read my portfolio and expect free labor as part of the interview process, you’re out. Sent another LOI to a company in Colorado who says they’re “open” to working remotely with the right candidate, although they’d prefer someone local. There are plenty of good writers in Colorado, so I doubt I’ll get that, but again, I liked the company and the product, so it was worth the LOI. Am prepping an LOI to a company in Boston with a terrific mission, but I’m not sure if we could work out the logistics of the work.

Doing research on a publication so I can put together a good pitch for them.

Working on the questions for the 2020 GDR.

Good session on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning. And a decent editing session. Because it’s not due until next year, I only set the goal for 2 pages a day. But I’m regularly writing more. Wouldn’t it be nice to get ahead on this draft, without dropping the ball on the other contracted projects? I’m enjoying the process. I also love doing research on harps.

Doing the work, putting in the time, redefining what I want from my work life.


Published in: on November 7, 2019 at 9:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 7, 2019: Incoming Storm  
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February 23, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Icy and cold

We had about 10 inches of snow yesterday, which then turned to freezing rain. I went out in the afternoon and shoveled out the car so the freezing rain wouldn’t make it impossible. The workouts must be working — I shovelled for an hour and wasn’t even breathing hard. Now THERE’S a change!

My new Canon Pixma arrived, and I installed it, uninstalled and packed up the HP. Once I find the driver for the HP, I will put it up for sale. Cheap. So, if anyone knows anyone who might want it, let me know. It’s fine if you don’t print 100+ pages nearly every day. And it’s not even two months old. The Pixma was $20 cheaper than the HP, and the print quality is 10X better. Go figure. It’s gorgeous – and the cats leave it alone! I feel like I should keep a special cloth in the drawer next to it and wipe it clean like a car every day, so it keeps gleaming. It doesn’t have a catch tray for the pages coming out, so I’ll make one out of a box lid. The HP had a catch tray and it still spit the pages all over the living room.

Did a bit of writing, noodling around. I have to do some research before I can go any farther on one particular piece.

Read another book for the essay. I probably could have read two, had I pushed, but I needed to spend some time away from the dark world for awhile. When you read one book per year there, it’s one thing; when you’re reading 16 back-to-back . . .it’s a little much.

It’s nasty out there again today, but I don’t have to go out until this evening, so this morning I’ll do some things like, oh, I don’t know, maybe vacuum? Since the cats are shedding their winter coats and we have tumbleweeds of hair flying around.

Again, I’m operating on so much internal work that I really have nothing interesting to say right now. There are plenty of job practicalities I should be dealing with, but, right now, I’m refilling the creative well a bit.


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

Published in: on February 23, 2008 at 9:18 am  Comments (2)  

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
First of Advent

It’s snowing! Everything looks absolutely gorgeous!

Yesterday, I was felled by a migraine. Part of it was migraine, part was pre-storm headache. The pre-storm headache let up as soon as it began to storm, but the migraine is down to feeling like someone is stabbing me in the left eye with an ice pick.

Went grocery shopping in anticipation of the storm yesterday. Ran some errands for my friend who’s recovering from surgery, and cooked some meals for her. Brought them over. She can heat them up whenever she wants. I’d made my famous Shepard’s pie using chicken instead of beef or lamb, and that always goes over well. Today, I’ll make beef stroganoff, which I always think is a lovely meal to have on a snowy day.

Did a bit of reading and work on Confidential Job #1, but wasn’t very productive.

Had trouble focusing on yoga this morning.

Had a great morning’s work on Earth Bride. 2,294 words, all of Chapter Thirty Two. This book is going to sprawl well beyond 100K, and I’ll have to cut it somewhere in the edits. For now, I need it all. It’s my epic – we all have one epic inside us, and this one’s mine. I love this piece, and I think about it constantly.

Part of me wants to push to finish it, but I’ve got to get that paranormal novella done. Of course, I did zero work on it yesterday and still can’t decide which one to do. I have to do something on it today or I’ll be so far behind I can’t possibly catch up.

I’m also starting the edits of Tracking Medusa. I broke one of my own rules and fed chapters to a trusted friend and reader during this first draft (we were swapping chapters for awhile while she was on deadline). I’m going to print out all her notes and read them over, too, before I start. But the one thing I realized, going over the material, is that I didn’t figure out enough the story within the story. I focused on the relationship between Gwen and Justin, how she learns to trust him and how her respect for him and his abilities gives him more self confidence and self-respect. The part of the caper in the present is a lot of fun, and most of it works pretty well. But what they’re actually researching/investigating/uncovering is weak. I have to go back and write out that story for myself, and then decide how much of it to use and where to insert it. Since so much revolves around Harold Custis’s diary of his discovery of The Medusa (which is a statue), I’m also considering opening each chapter with a diary entry. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m hesitant to do so because sometimes it comes across as to “precious”, but at the same time, it might give a stronger sense of what happened 85 years ago or whenever – see, I also have to decide WHEN the original archaeological expedition happened. Strengthening that internal structure will help with everything else.

As usual, the character interaction is fairly strong – although there are some scenes that need to be deepened between Gwen and Justin. But there are plot holes that need to be filled.

I’m going to try my new snow boots and stomp through the snow to get the Sunday paper. And then, it’s back to work.


Earth Bride – 87,260 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
87 / 100
Published in: on December 2, 2007 at 9:24 am  Comments (11)  

April 7, 2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

For crying out loud, it SNOWED yesterday! Not much, but . . .I mean, really!

I can not believe how much time all the paperwork takes in reference to the three regular gigs. I’m not talking about the actual assignments – I’m talking about tracking the assignments, incoming and outgoing deadlines, invoices, and payments, and the various instructions that fly back and forth. But I figure if I take the time now, at the beginning, to set up solid systems, I can just plug in the rest as I go, and keep track. It’s quite different than the one-offs, where you just pitch, negotiate, contract, do it, send it, and get paid, and move on to the next thing.

Thank goodness for Excel!

Worked on the Writer’s Outline for Good Names yesterday morning. Found a few holes to plug, a few character bits to strengthen. In general, it’s coming along well. It feels different than anything else, but it feels right.

Spent the afternoon at the local library, researching turn of the century architecture, etc. in Chicago and New York. I found lots of good information – and two books that I have to hunt down and purchase. There’s one book in particular, on the Mississippi, that not only serves Good Names, but will be a big help in the restructuring of The Widow’s Chamber.

I had to leave the reference room because it was so frigging loud – this is a LIBRARY, people! Shut the fuck up! And, if someone is on the cell phone – they should be excommunicated from the sacred space of the library!!! I long for the days of stern librarians!

I moved upstairs to “the quiet room” and we were all quiet – although, I swear, I ended up on the squeakiest chair known to man and was mortified. And then I got distracted by a biography of Daphne du Maurier (which I now want to own, too) and ended up spending far more time there than I should. On the sale shelf, I found an almost-new copy of Patricia Wells’s Bistro Cooking. It’s one of my favorites, my copy is in storage, this one was only $2 – it is now mine. I can always use it as a contest prize when I get my own copy out of storage, or put it up on BookMooch or something.

On my way home, I stopped at Patisserie Salzburg and treated myself to a chocolate éclair. Not just any chocolate éclair – this one had chocolate filling, not custard! Yum!

Came home and those idiots with their leaf blowers started up as soon as I walked in the door. They had an entire afternoon to be annoying – why did they wait until I got home? Personally, I think leaf blowers should be banned – they’re bad for our ears and nerves, and lousy for the environment, the way they belch exhaust. Use a rake, people!

Did some online research about Chicago – still don’t have the information I need about neighborhoods, but I have some on hotels, restaurants, stores, etc., that I can use. I might pop off an email to the Chicago Historical Society over the weekend for some specifics. I also found some books at Strand – but I have to restrain myself for the moment.

The first chapter of Good Names is starting to bubble up, but I want to have the details of place IN PLACE, in my mind at least, before I start. Place is an additional character in this book.

I’m off to a friend’s for a few hours today, to do laundry and maybe get some work done. And then I need to come home and do more on The Project.

Confidential Job #2 keeps adding more and more things to the confidentiality agreement, which makes me think they are a little paranoid beyond a reasonable scope. I’m a bit skeptical about this gig. We’ll see.

I still don’t have my energy back from this bout of flu. I took most of the evening off yesterday and actually watched television (you know I’m not feeling like myself when that happens).

Oh, and down the street – they’ve started with the effing leaf blowers – already! Um, it’s spring, the leaves aren’t even out yet.

Harmony tagged me – I’ll post the results tomorrow.


February 26, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Every once in awhile, patience is rewarded. I really want a set of L.M. Montgomery’s Journals; ordering them from Canada costs over $100, including shipping. Trying to get them in the states runs even higher.

I won volumes 1 and 2 on eBay yesterday – cost for both, with shipping, just under $20. So, by being patient (I’ve wanted them for nearly two years), I’ve got my hands, nearly, on two out of the five volumes. I’m going to remain patient and come up with the other three volumes.

Disengaged from yet another wanna-be who expects working writers to do her work for her and open doors for her when she hasn’t earned it. This is yet another person who can’t be bothered to learn the basics of the craft. Can’t be bothered; not worth my time. Someone else who wants everything for nothing, and believes that she doesn’t have to learn how to construct a sentence, how to spell, the difference between similar-sounding words, how to research, or how to do anything else. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there’s nothing wrong with starting at zero. But one has to be willing to learn and do one’s own work.

Coincidentally (I don’t believe in coincidence), the March issue of More magazine has an article on mentoring and how to deal with parasites.

Most of the day was spent cooking – working on a recipe for The Project, cooking for the party, etc., etc. Not a bad way to spend a day with a snowstorm threatening.

The Oscar party was fine. I thought the ceremony itself was rather dull and filled with unnecessary filler – if they want to it to move at a good pace, get rid of the crap. Focus on the awards and stop scripting silly banter that the actors don’t even bother to try to deliver with finesse.

Many of us ended up making it a sleepover, due to the weather. I’m going to head home in a bit, once the plows have come through again. So Circadian, Kemmryk, etc. will be late today. Oh, well. There’s plenty to do once I get home, to prepare for the next three weeks, when I somehow have to figure out how six hours of work each day has to fit into two.

Got some work done on Changeling this morning. Yes, I almost always have my writing bag with me, even if it’s living in the trunk of the car at a party!


Chasing the Changeling — 27,467 words out of est. 45,000

Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 9:27 am  Comments (6)  

February 25, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
About to dump a bunch of snow on us

Worked on The Project. Worked on the books I need to review. Worked on some pitches, but I’m not satisfied with them, so I’ll have to revise them before I send them out. Worked on the reconstructed newsletter, but am still not happy with the tone. It’s too precious now, and lost its lighthearted touch. Probably because I’m trying to do it when I’m upset. I need to get the excitement of the topic back, so that I can translate it onto the page.

Received the March issue of Vogue, which is the size of a coffee table. Should be fun.

Cooked pork chops with broccoli and carrots in a wine sauce – based on a Marcella Hazen recipe.

Playing with some ideas zooming around my brain (guess there’s plenty of room in there right now).

Printed more photos and worked on the 2006 album – I’m STILL printing out photos from Mohonk House last August! At least we’re moving into the garden photos at this point! Still, I think it would be great to set a YA mystery on the grounds of a place inspired by that resort.

I did a major grocery shopping trip this morning – 3 stores and about 16 bags of groceries. I still have a heck of a lot of work done before I leave for the black-tie Oscar party tonight. I’m making my regular deviled eggs, the variation with radishes, and the variation with smoked ham; the chicken dim sum dumplings; and some spicy beef empanadas. Should be fun.

Rhian – you an always amend the question to – what do you need in order to paint?

I have to go figure out how many cups of flour is meant by “two pounds of flour”. Sigh. One of the challenges of translating handed-down recipes.


Published in: on February 25, 2007 at 12:06 pm  Comments (6)  

January 25, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Burns Night
Virginia Woolf’s birthday

Have a laugh at my attempts at herbal studies over on Kemmyrk.

Check out the poetry news on Circadian.

Sometimes, you lose.

I lost yesterday, to the migraine. I managed to get some admin work done, but I thought my head was going to explode. It was the type that also creates nausea, so all was unhappy.

I wonder if the stuff the exterminator used triggered it.

It’s not supposed to affect humans or pets adversely, but I somehow doubt it.

However, the cats were fine (thank goodness), but I was not.

I tried everything – lying down, gel pack, passive traction with the rubber balls at the base of the skull.


So I caved by 2:30 and took a Canadian pain pill. It took the edge off, and made it difficult to focus. After awhile, I was able to read for short periods of time, but not any of my research material.

I managed to finish Archie Mayor’s The Ragman’s Memory. What a wonderful, thoughtful, clever, enticing book. I definitely want to read the entire series.

In response to the responses to yesterday’s second entry, “How to be a Full-Time Writer” (if you haven’t read it, scroll down): I forgot how many of you recently joined me on this journey. I’m in the midst of TRANSITIONING from two full-time careers into the full-time writing. I lost eight months of the transition fighting the developers last year, who were trying to drive out the 100+ families in this building. So I’m a little behind schedule, but, for once in my life, I’m TRANSITIONING instead of LEAPING. I’ve already cut way back on the theatre and increased the writing. That steady progress has to continue. In this case, a break as opposed to a flow is the wrong choice.

It was a choice I SHOULD have made back when it was pointed out to me over a dozen years ago. But I didn’t. In some ways I’m glad I didn’t, but in some ways, I know it makes the hill all that much steeper to climb now. It points out consequences of a road not taken. As glad as I am to have had 20+ years in the theatre, it took a toll on my writing and the overall flow of the writing career.

And I certainly wouldn’t cut and run when I made a commitment to the show until the beginning of March. Once I make a commitment, I do everything I can to keep it.

To bed early last night, because I could not get rid of the migraine. It’s a combination of the physical factors of the demands of the show and the mental demands of trying to balance the writing and the theatre work.

The migraine woke me up at 5:30, so I got up to start the day. A long session of yoga and plenty of coffee (in spite of the warnings about caffeine with migraines, it helps mine), helped. And, once the snow began, the pre-storm pressure lifted, leaving just the migraine.

Because I’m a swing, and I cover when others are out, calling in sick is not an option. So I’ll take some Excedrin migraine and work through it.

Managed to get some decent work done on Changeling. Working on it alleviated some of the migraine pain – probably because it released the tension built up by not writing. Although I have a loose outline, I find each chapter creates itself and its world, and the process of discovery is exciting. I feel as though I have the best of both worlds – the world of pre-planning, and the world of blank-paging. Let’s hope it all holds together for a coherent story.

Since “Illuminated Nude” is far more complex than I originally expected, I need to work on the other two stories due by the end of the month first and make sure they get out. “Illuminated Nude” would be great to include, but I’m not going to rush through it and hurt the story – especially since it’s not a deadline with a signed contract.

I have a lot to clear off my desk before I start doing full weeks on the show again. Next week will have to be very long days of practical work rather than creative work.


Chasing the Changeling – 17,217 words out of est. 45,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17 / 45


January 18, Part II

It’s snowing!


Published in: on January 18, 2007 at 1:25 pm  Comments (7)