Tues. Sept. 19, 2017: In Preparation for the Storm

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

We’re getting scratched by Hurricane Jose today and tomorrow. They say it’ll be more like a nor’easter, but without the snow. I don’t know why I’m still nervous.

Morning doing stuff at the library; frustrated with technical stuff. I couldn’t get things to do what I needed them to do. But I got a lot of things on my list accomplished.

For some reason, though, it never feels like enough.

The afternoon was spent preparing for Jose. I wanted to keep the enchanted garden on the deck until early November; however, there was so much to put in and clean, it doesn’t make sense to put it back out after the storm. I have nothing real to complain about, especially in light of the devastation other hurricanes have caused, and am irritated with myself for feeling what I’m feeling.

Did some reading yesterday, but no writing. Which is fine, since I did so much writing over the weekend.

Out to the store early this morning. Will do a few things at the library, and then I’m probably tucked into the house until Thursday. I have plenty of reading and writing to do, and will be flexible, depending on power issues. I was going to a lecture tonight, but it’s been postponed due to weather.

Take care!

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Published in: on September 19, 2017 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Mon. Sept. 18, 2017: A Successful Writing Weekend & Preparing for Jose

Monday, September 18, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

We’re battening down for the outer fringes of Hurricane Jose to hit tomorrow and Wednesday. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad. The lack of specific information, as usual, is infuriating.

Tough weekend of writing. The revisions on THE FIX IT GIRL are stalled. I need to check some research information and the books I need haven’t arrived yet. Just when I felt it was getting back on track.

THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is going well, though, with 1600 words on Friday, 2500 words on Saturday, and 5500 words on Sunday. All in longhand! I’m in the groove of it now. Making it more active, along with the introspective sections.

Outlined an idea that I like a lot, but don’t know when I can get to; started a short story that will be sad. “Tragic” might be pushing it, but it will be sad. It deals with spousal abuse. It must stay short, under 1000 words.

So I met Lissa Matthews’s #10KWeekendWriters Challenge, with a total of 13,500 words. 3500 over goal. Which is funny, because by Saturday night, even though I hit 8K of the 10K, I was pretty sure I’d have to cut myself a break for not meeting the goal.

Re-read Steven Axelrod’s NANTUCKET GRAND, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I wanted to read a well-known author’s new release, but it’s in present tense. As much as I like and respect her writing most of the time, I can’t read this. The present tense pushes me away from the story and the characters. Disappointed, but I’m not going to struggle with it. I’ll just pass. The only time a novel written in present tense works for me is if it’s structured as epistolary (letters) or in diary format. Otherwise, it’s the author screaming at me for attention instead of letting me experience the book.

I’m re-reading John Steinbeck’s JOURNAL OF A NOVEL: THE EAST OF EDEN LETTERS. The way he has to coach himself and the repetitive nature of some of his struggles is interesting.

Did eight loads of laundry on Sunday, in and around the writing. Caught up. Now, when the days are sunnier, I’ll have to catch up on mending. I’ve accumulated quite a pile.

My To Do List for this week is overwhelming. So I just have to attack it one item at a time, and hope for the best.

Mabon/Autumn Equinox this week, along with the new moon. And Rosh Hashanah. Days are getting shorter. Although it’s been hot and humid this week, it smells like fall, especially in the evening and early morning.

We’ll put away some of the lighter things from the deck/yard in preparation for the hurricane. They might not come back out until next spring.

 

Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters

Friday, September 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I mis-dated Wednesday. All day Wednesday, I thought it was September 14, and it was only the 13th. I knew it was Wednesday, but I had the date wrong. Apologies.

I didn’t blog yesterday; worked at home and focused on other things.

I’ve been getting back into the FIX-IT GIRL revisions the past few days. These are the difficult chapters that require a great deal of restructuring. Lots of new material written, opening out certain storylines, having it make sense, pick up intensity, moving toward the climactic sequence. Mavis made a decision that could easily ruin her personal reputation, outside of work, but she’s owning it.

I’ve let SAVASANA AT SEA sit for a few days, so I can go back to it with fresh eyes. I don’t want to blur the tones of the two books, since they are both in revisions, by working on them in too close a tandem. I had some ideas on restructuring some of the marketing for the series, too, thanks to a conversation with Ilona Andrews. Ilona reinforced what I know in my gut, but have been advised to take a different route by the “experts”. As my intent is to guide the book and the series back to the original vision that feels right in my gut, it makes sense.

Speaking of “gut feeling” — I had an opportunity yesterday that, on a logical level, seemed good. But my gut told me otherwise. So I decided to go in a different direction. I declined gracefully, and well before the deadline for response. In the short-run, it may cause some difficulty, but in the long run, I believe it’s the right decision. Amazing how much stress was relieved once it was made.

I’ve been working on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. There are books within the book — the books the characters are working on during the course of the novel. I’m finding I have to do nearly as much research for those as I do for the novel itself. It’s a quiet book, which will have to be rewritten in certain sections to be more active, but I like stretching in this non-genre direction. My characters are trying to find their way back to each other, and not always succeeding. I don’t know how it will end. Either they will or they won’t. The events within the book will shape that.

The furnace was cleaned yesterday morning — this company is always prompt and very nice. So we’re set for the winter, which is great. The guy that used to come every year to take care of it — young guy, big, with brilliant tattoos, had said, a year or so ago, he was tired of winter and was thinking of selling up and leaving. Guess that’s what he did. The new guys (a pair of them ) were very nice, though.

Yesterday afternoon, we sorted out the yarn stash — bags and boxes and bits and bobs. It now makes more sense, and several projects have been planned/sketched out for the winter. I have a couple of pieces in progress that need to be finished. So, when I get the craft urge, there’s plenty to work on. Couldn’t believe we spent the entire afternoon on it, but it was well worth it.

I’ve joined Lissa Matthews in the #10KWeekendWriters challenge this weekend. Writing 10K from Thursday through Sunday. Yesterday’s total was 1500 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and 900 new words within the revision of THE FIX-IT GIRL. Total: 2400 words (100 words shy of my goal). Remaining words to goal: 7600.

I’m wondering if I can count the words on the article I’m expanding/polishing/adding to the Coventina Circle website about working on Broadway? 😉 Yes, you can find that article here. Because I intend to post the article before I post this blog.

This needs to be a writing/reading/sorting weekend. Next week is Mabon, and a whole lot of other things. As usual, I’m waiting on a round of freelance payments so I can meet the bills. I also have to research some markets.

I have some pitches to get out this morning, websites to update, and PR to work on for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I haven’t been sleeping well, and have had migraines off and on this weekend, but taking time off today is not an option. I find, though, that when I push hard on the early part of Friday, I tend to take most of Friday afternoon off, and then am more productive on Saturday and Sunday. So, if I can get it all done this morning, that’s what I’ll do. Once I get in my 2500 words for the day (will try to get in 2600 to make up for yesterday’s shortfall).

The yard is fading in stages this year. Usually it hangs on and then everything goes at once and it’s overwhelming. This is much easier to deal with — doing a bit every few days. I wish I could get the mower working again, though. I’d like to do one more big mow. Well, I don’t WANT to do it, it’s not something I enjoy, but I think it’s necessary.

Have a great weekend!

 

Wed. Sept. 14, 2017: Balancing Act

Wednesday, September 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday was a long day of admin, filing paperwork, updating links, et al.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is now live on Google Play, ready for pre-order.

My article “Tracking Your Banged Buck” is live on WOW-Women on Writing, and I want to thank K.R. Conway, Jessica Glenn, Goddess Fish Promotions, Arlene Kay, Alyssa Maxwell, and Barbara Ross for their quotes. I made a document for their clip files, and sent that, along with the live link and a thank you, to them. I heard from the editor last night that the article is getting positive feedback, so I’ll pass that along today, too.

Exhausted by the time I got back, and came down with a migraine. However, I didn’t have the luxury of taking an afternoon off, so I kept working.

I did some work on the FIX-IT GIRL revision. It’s going slowly, and I’m frustrated. I’m not quite sure how to solve the frustration, which leaves me more frustrated, and so it goes. The first eighteen chapters of the revision sailed along well, but this is a tricky part, a turning point. I have to get it right, or the book falls apart.

I’ll just keep at it until I do.

Also did some work on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the literary fiction. This first draft will need a lot of revision, a lot of making scenes active that are now too narrative. But I need to set out the narration for myself first, and then pick which scenes to dramatize, and what to leave as narration. Because the book is quiet and introspective, rather than an action-driven piece, it needs a different approach. Too much action, and I lose the tone and the reflective quality that is the reason for the book’s existence. Too much narrative and it’s telling rather than showing and just plain dull.

We need to make some solid decisions about “Labor Intensive”, and I also need to get back to the draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so that can go off to the editor, and she can catch me out on my bad habits again. 😉

As much of a slime pit as social media can sometimes be, through all this political chaos, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people from all over the world, in all walks of life, with whom I might not have otherwise crossed paths. They are intelligent, creative, and committed to making the world a better place. I hope we’ll stay in touch if and when things settle down.

It looks like I didn’t land two gigs I’d really hoped for this week. One of them would have been well within my wheelhouse, but the people making the top decisions have proven, over the past few weeks, to be consistently disorganized. On the other, it would have been a physical challenge in some respects, but the company’s lack of basic business protocol makes me wonder if the listing was scam. One can put up a slick website and still be a con. More research done, and perhaps I should be grateful not to be associated with either organization! Only time and what happens next will tell.

My editor asked for some revisions on a review; I have to get back to work on the next book, which is one of the most sloppily written pieces I’ve read in a long time. I need to work on some article pitches that I’d like to get out before the end of the week, and expand an essay where there’s interest, but it’s too short.

Whenever the days are nice enough to be outside, I’m trying to work at least for a few hours at a time on the deck. Pretty soon, everything has to come back in for the winter.

Speaking of winter, yesterday I worked on a section of THE MARRIAGE GARDEN taking place during a blizzard, while we had lovely, sunny, warm weather. It was an interesting exercise in sense memory for writing.

 

Tues. Sept. 12, 2017: Trying to Keep Balanced and Focused

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/cool

Yesterday was all about updating links into websites. I got the live links for PLAYING THE ANGLES up onto the blog, onto the Devon Ellington website, onto the Coventina Circle website.

I added links to the newsletter and got it out — my first newsletter in a long time. I’ll have to clean up any bounce backs, new subscriptions, unsubscriptions.

It also meant I had to put the Nautical Namaste site live earlier than I planned, and set up the Nautical Namaste Facebook page earlier than planned. But it’s done, at least I have the links.

Had to get some admin paperwork done, and have to go into Hyannis this morning to file it, before picking up a few things at the grocery store.

The writing suffered yesterday, although I managed to get some more work done on the FIX-IT GIRL, and I hope to have that draft done in about two weeks. While juggling finishing the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA, so I can get it to my editor.

Because of Hurricane Irma, we pushed back the release of “Labor Intensive” yet again, but pretty soon, the timing will be so bad, I’ll have missed the boat. If we could not have any disasters, either caused by the Narcissistic Sociopath or Nature for a bit, that would be great.

Being 9/11, yesterday was tough as it always is. Tears off an on all day. You never “get over” something like that; you have to learn to live with it.

Onward.

 

Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES will release on October 2, 2017. It is available on the following:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Monday, September 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Quite the weekend. Of course, most of the focus is on Hurricane Irma and its devastating path in Florida. And on the clean-up in Houston.

I am deeply grateful that the weather here on Cape has been so beautiful the past few days. I realize how lucky I am. It’s difficult not to feel guilty, but it’s better to be grateful and then take what action I can to help those who are struggling.

As part of that gratitude, I went out and did yard work. The mower is still being cranky, but I pruned the forsythia in the back that nearly obscured the path on the west side of the house, and the forsythias on each side of the garage door that were making entering and exiting the garage feel like hacking through a jungle. I yanked out a lot of invasive brambles, vines, and autumn olive, clearing out one of the front beds, tidying up two beds in the back, and some random growth in the meadow. I also cleared out some of the oak that’s acting more like an invasive than anything else. There’s still a lot more to clear — I’ll have to take the saw to some of it.

As the feverfew passes, I’ll clear all of that out of the beds, too. I figure if I do a little bit every pleasant day, then it won’t overwhelm me later in the season.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is up for pre-order so far on iApplem Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I’m putting the pre-order links up on the websites as they come in. Publication date is October 2, and it’s a go. I’m pretty excited. The PDF of the ARC is ready to send out for review. The promotional train is headed out.

Meanwhile, I finished a pass on the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA. I also spent time fixing and smoothing out problems and logistical lapses that the previously requested edits and cuts caused. I’ve restructured a good bit of the book, which is fine for the pace, but I have to fix some gaps. The chapters are all loaded into one document now, and I’m going to do a pass for smoothness and logic.

I also have to write the first chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, in the next week or so, and prepare the back matter, as I smooth things out. I’d like to get this draft to my editor in about ten days or so. I’m sure we’ll have several passes to whip it into shape, the way we did with ANGLES.

Did quite a bit of work on the literary fiction, tentatively entitled THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I like the way it’s taking shape. It will need an awful lot of editing once I’ve got the draft done, but I’m getting to say things that I haven’t found a way to speak otherwise, and explore some interesting relationships and quirks about this area.

I am going to have to create a fictional town, though; too much controversy if I portray some of the actual places as I’ve experienced them.

Re-reading Joyce Carol Oates’s published diary from 1973-1982. I always learn something new.

“The artist must find an environment, a pattern of living, that will protect his or her energies; the art must be cultivated, must be given priority.” (p.21). So true.

I’m reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy, and trying to understand him better. I remember reading TESS OF THE D’UBERVILLES in school and hating it; but I wonder if I just didn’t understand it, and if I’d have more appreciation for his work now.

I started reading the next review assignment. It’s one of the worst-written pieces I’ve ever had to plow through, with a lack of editing and copyediting, and no knowledge of the difference between a possessive and a contraction. Very frustrating.

I have such a list of things that need to get done today, looking at it I feel overwhelmed. But all I can do is start at the top and work my way as far down as possible.

September 11 is always a tough day for me — and for so many. I’m doing my remembrance rituals, and keeping candles lit. I’m trying to balance that with the creative work that needs to be done.

 

Fri. Sept. 8, 2017: Finalizing One Book, Moving on to the Next

Friday, September 8, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Got my review out yesterday. Was assigned my next two books, which I pick up today.

Put together some information for my friend, which he found helpful.

Worked on the literary fiction piece. It’s an interesting challenge. Today, I get back to the other work on the roster, but I’m finding a way to keep the momentum for this piece along with the work that has to be done on other pieces. Now I’m second-guessing (maybe it’s fourth-guessing, by this point), and thinking I SHOULD focus on each section in each voice at once to go deep enough, rather than alternating shorter sections. As I reader, I prefer chapters or sections that go long enough to get deeply into the character. I could always rearrange the sections once they’re written, but I’m not sure which way will serve best in the WRITING of it.

We found one small thing that had to be clarified in PLAYING THE ANGLES. I probably could have gotten away with it, but if anyone questioned it and it needed clarification — better to use the clear language from the outset. Hopefully, it’s off for the last time — which always makes me queasy. Even with the editor, the copy editor, and I going over it multiple times, I’m always afraid we missed something, simply because we’ve gone over it so many times.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. October is filled with appointments before her surgery, poor thing.

I did some yard work. I started cutting back in two of the beds in the back, and I hard pruned the forsythia that grew so wild this year it completely blocked one of the paths on the side of the house. I hacked back most of the invasive autumn olive, and a lot of oak that’s acting like an invasive. When it gets colder, I’ll have to saw down some more oak that’s interfering with the roses. Doing a little bit every sunny day, and eventually, it will get done. Don’t know how I’m going to finish the mowing, though, with this damn mower being recalcitrant.

I had weird dreams, mashing three different times/experiences in my past. Probably because I’ve been talking with my college friend. Bizarre.

I want to get anything I need to do out and about done fast this morning, so I can get back into the writing for the rest of the weekend. I keep changing my mind about what to do with a particular section of THE FIX-IT GIRL, but I have to suck it up, make a decision and move on this weekend.

I’m worried about my friends in the path of Hurricane Irma, and I’m not looking forward to the anniversary of 9/11 on Monday. I think next week could be quite emotionally difficult, for a lot of people.

I also have some paperwork to file with the attorneys general of MA and NY on two different scam issues that they need to know about. Some other paperwork to get done, too, some for me, and more with my mom’s insurance.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

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Thurs. Sept. 7, 2017: Rain & Rhythm

Thursday, September 7. 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and muggy

Yesterday was the annual rental inspection; guy was in and out in five minutes. The town checks to make sure there aren’t illegal additions, too many people living in the structure, and to make sure all the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors work.

Ran to PetSmart to get cat food, and managed to get back before the storms hit. We had a whole day of thunder storms and torrential rains. Nothing as bad as what the hurricane recipients are going through with Harvey and Irma, of course, but enough so I was glad I could stay home.

I wrote, and I finished reading the assignment and taking notes for the review. The review goes out today.

The literary fiction piece is interesting. Slower to write than the genre work, because the structure is different. In fact, I’m still figuring out the structure. I’m still considering writing the first draft (which I’m doing in longhand) with each point of view in a notebook. Initially, I thought I’d write all of one section in one POV, then the next section, covering the same time, in the next POV, then switch back. Now I’m wondering if I should write the POVs simultaneously, but in different books, and then decide how I want to mix and match the entries. I was worried that doing so from the start wouldn’t let me go deep enough into either point of view, but now it feels like it should be more call and respond. Also, because I don’t know how it will end — although I’ve got a rough outline and know the points I plan to hit through the book — it’s truly written with a sense of discovery. Who knows if anything submittable will come of it, but the process is teaching me a lot.

However, I can’t drop the ball on any of the other projects, just because this one intrigues me.

I didn’t get anywhere near enough writing done last weekend, so I have to make up for it. And this week is nearly gone.

My best friend from college has decided he wants to write a novel, and he wants advice. I’m happy to help him however I can. I think it’s a good choice for him.

My mom has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, so I’m trying to get everything I need to get done DONE this morning, and then take reading and writing with me while I wait in the office.

I can’t believe tomorrow is Friday. It feels like it should be Monday.

Published in: on September 7, 2017 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Sept. 5, 2017: Into a Fresh Cycle

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
First Day of the Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT

Mercury goes direct today. Today could still be rough, but we’re almost there! It kicked my ass — again — this time around. Although there were also some good things.

We’re gearing up for Hurricane Irma, which might or might not have a huge impact on this area. They “don’t know”. So for all those ass wipes criticizing people for not evacuating Houston — first of all, we don’t get accurate information; second, we don’t get it early enough; third, the evacuation plans around here (I’m not in Houston, I’m talking personally) don’t work. So STFU and don’t criticize.

I don’t care how much the various staffs have been downsized. With the millions of dollars in equipment, they need to give us accurate information in enough time to make informed decisions that can be practically acted upon. In other words, we need information weeks ahead, not hours. 48 hours doesn’t cut it.

And saying you can’t predict the weather — hon, you’re PAID to predict the weather. Any other job with that much error and you’d be out on your ass. So do it, already.

I remember, way back in grade school in the 1970s when they told us about technology in development to fly into the eye of a hurricane and release a chemical that would dissipate the hurricane. Whatever happened to that? Probably found out the chemical killed people.

Anyway, busy weekend. Lots and lots and lots of yoga. Seriously sore.

Finished the proofs for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Let’s hope we caught everything this time around. They go off to the publisher today.

Worked on my review assignment. The book is denser than I expected, and I can’t read it as quickly as I’d like.

Read a lot. Also went through some research books, which, unfortunately, weren’t as useful as I’d hoped. They all go back today.

Worked on the overall series outlines for Nautical Namaste Mysteries and the Picaroon Island Mysteries. Did some more work on the overall outline for Coventina Circle.

Did some more work on “Labor Intensive”, which I think will be re-secheduled for release on September 12. Unless we’re in the middle of a hurricane.

Started preparing for the annual rental inspection, which happens tomorrow.

Got some yard work done, but not enough. The mower is cranky, and it rained quite a bit on Sunday (Harvey remnants), so I’m behind.

Re-reading LEAVING A TRACE, about journals. That gave me an idea for a literary fiction novel, written as diary entries. I wrote a writers’ rough outline and the first twelve pages. I think I have something worthwhile here, but don’t know how to fit it into the schedule. Will have to work on it piecemeal around other things.

Also got an idea for an odd, one-off thriller. Did the writers’ rough outline.

It was nice enough to do some work sitting out on the deck. But I feel like I’m not getting enough done.

I’m waiting to hear back on two gigs this week — one which would be the following week, and the other which would be from now through November. I’d like to do both, but we’ll see if I’m what they want.

I also have to get out at least one essay and one short story, not to mention some pitches and LOIs. I should hear back this week on a couple of pitches I sent to a publication with whom I work fairly regularly, and I’m waiting for payment on two other pieces.

Saturday night, I had a wonderful aha! moment in the evening meditation, that sends me back on the right track. I’ve lost too much of what I worked hard to gain, in personal terms, and I need to be less willing to compromise. But the realization when it all clicked into place — it gives me a huge sense of freedom.

The next few months will include a lot of long-term planning, and that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, for short-term planning, go hop onto the GDR site and see my September To Do List.

This morning, I did a major grocery shopping, and I got the proof of PLAYING THE ANGLES to the publisher. An article I pitched was accepted (for January, but I’ve been trying to break into this market, so great). I accepted the assignment this morning.

Still have a lot to do, and the traffic is still a nightmare (summer people, go home).

But it’s all good.

Fri. Sept. 1, 2017: Start of a Productive Month

Friday, September 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I kept thinking yesterday was Friday, but it was only Thursday. Today is the first day of September. I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone!

Got some pitches out yesterday, and a request for an invoice for a piece that will go live next week — all good. I’m in the midst of preparing a set of LOIs to go out next week, when Mercury goes direct, and also the initial marketing mailing for the PLAYING THE ANGLES release, which will also go out next week.

It’s cool enough to switch the summer coverings on the chairs and couch over to the winter coverings — already! And there’s a lot of pruning that needs to be done as things die back, although I’ll have to wait to give the roses their hard prune until spring. The autumn clematis is blooming and gorgeous.

Didn’t get much writing done; mostly outlining. Finished re-reading Steven Axelrod’s NANTUCKET SAWBUCK. I’m re-reading the entire series, because it’s set on Nantucket, and we were just on Nantucket a few weeks ago. I like them even better this time around. I started re-reading NANTUCKET FIVE-SPOT.

There are a few things I need to send out this morning, but, generally, I try not to send anything out on the Friday before a long holiday weekend, because it’s unfair to dump a bunch of stuff in someone’s inbox before the holiday (in my opinion), unless that’s the deadline, and even if I’d rather get it off my own desk.

I hope to be offline most of the weekend. I want to concentrate on finishing my latest review assignment, do the final pass on PLAYING THE ANGLES, make sure “Labor Intensive” is ready to release next week, revise a few more chapters on both SAVASANA AT SEA and THE FIX-IT GIRL. That should keep me busy for the next four days!

And, of course, finalizing the LOIs and the first marketing mailing for PLAYING THE ANGLES. The media kit is finished, and that will go out as part of the mailing.

There are a couple of short story ideas with which I’m playing, but I don’t know if I’ll get to draft any of them this weekend, with everything else that’s going on. Plus, I have to sit down and figure out the GDRs for the month. I will have September’s To Do List up next Tuesday.

I will continue to do what I can to help in the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. We’re being warned about possible danger from Hurricane Irma within the next week or so. I hope they’re wrong, and it stays well out to sea.

I love autumn, and I love September. I’m looking forward to a productive, creative month!

Have a great weekend.

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Aug. 31, 2017: Gearing Up For Long-Range Plans

Thursday, August 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The end of August and the flannel sheets are already on the bed. There’s talk it might go down into the 30s this weekend. Brrr.

I got conflicting information about Irma. One report I saw said that was the cause of yesterday’s rain — it was out to sea, passing by. Another report says it’s just forming down south. Anyway, it wasn’t bad rain, just steady for a few hours.

Got some pitches out, worked on some writing, worked on some information coordination, and worked on a freelance assignment.

I’m tempted to start the holiday weekend at the end of today, but I’ll probably work through today and start it tomorrow around noon or so.

I want to take some time this weekend to recharge, but I also have a lot to do. It’s about being efficient with time and keeping things balanced. Now that one major decision is done, that affects me for the next year, I can set other plans into motion to plan for the year and beyond. I don’t mean to sound mysterious, but this is a situation where public brainstorming isn’t going to help. I need to review the information, make the decisions, set plans in motion, and then I can share them.

The year of transition will be difficult, but, in the long run, it will work well. I just have to be focused, efficient, and flexible, all at once. Back to thinking on my feet, the way I had to do backstage, only apply those techniques to outside life.

Part of it is cutting deadwood out of my life, something which has to happen periodically. People who are toxic. I don’t argue with them; they’re just gone. And each time I do that, I feel a bit brighter and more relaxed, and more like I’m getting back to the person I am, rather than the person those around me want to be. I spent decades not being that person, so why backtrack now?

This morning, I have a couple of pitches to send out, and do things like get cat litter. Chop wood, carry water, staying rooted in the daily tasks matters, in my opinion. The one task I hope to hand off by next spring, though, is the mowing. I really hate it. In seven years, I have not been able to find pleasure in it. So, if I can afford it come spring, I’m going to hire someone to do it. I’ll then get rid of the hunk of junk I for which I overpaid (never again Poulan Pro, they’re awful and lack customer service). I’d rather have a manual push mower, like my grandmother used, just on hand in case I need it, but have someone else actually mow every two weeks. But I’ll make sure they know NO LEAFBLOWERS.

It’s already autumn here, which is nice, because that’s my favorite season. The traffic is a nightmare, and there’s so much work to be done on so many fronts, and yet, I’m starting to feel optimistic again.

Onward.

Published in: on August 31, 2017 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Aug. 29, 2017: Short-Term and Long-Term Relief Planning, Balancing With Work

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cool

We’re getting the very outer grazings of Tropical Storm Irma. Not bad, especially not in perspective with what’s going on down south, but still worth paying attention to and not taking unnecessary risks.

The Narcissistic Sociopath lived up to his name yesterday on his visit to flood stricken areas. Not a word of comfort or support or empathy. He treated it like a campaign rally, going on about “crowd size.” Excuse me? And the tone-deaf wife, insensitive to the losses of those around them — the whole propaganda event was sickening.

Amy Siskind, with whom I often agree, especially as she documents how our civil rights are being methodically stripped away every day, said we shouldn’t criticize the wife because it reflects how we treat women in general. I disagree. You don’t get respect BECAUSE of your gender. You get basic respect as a human being, because every human being should get that, and build that WITH YOUR ACTIONS. Or you lose it WITH YOUR ACTIONS. The fact that too often women are objectified and criticized for their appearance or choices doesn’t mean that, simply because one is a woman, one can’t criticize or be criticized by another woman. The wife is in a position of leadership, and it is her JOB to behave with grace, class, and sensitivity towards ALL the people who live in or visit this country. She has done nothing, EVER, to earn respect, at least not from me. To say she’s “learning on the job” is crap — all First Ladies learn on the job, because there’s no other job quite like it. And yes, it is a job, and don’t give me that crap that she didn’t “choose” it. She didn’t walk away from it. She CHOSE to stay. Top offices are a package deal, and yes, there are politicians who have not gotten my vote because I thought their partners weren’t up to the job, and would, in fact, be a detriment. One person holds the elected office, but the couple is in it together.

And then, the Nashville Statement? Disgusting. Again, I was in Nashville several years ago to cover the NHL draft. Six days in Nashville was five days too many, as far as I was concerned. They were talking about secession and creating a country which recognized that slavery was a “good” thing. I still have the newspaper coverage tucked away in some file somewhere.

I’m trying to come up with a plan for long-term giving. I don’t have the financial resources right now to do a lot, but I’m doing what I can, and planning what I can do over the long-term, because the area will need help long-term. So far, with my due diligence, I’m focusing on food banks for people and the Texas SPCA and Pets Alive in Austin for animals. When the immediate need eases, I’ll focus on Habitat for Humanity for people. My friend, author Joelle Charbonneau, who always goes the extra mile for everyone, gave me information on Global Giving, so I’ll also do what I can with them.

I’m reading the material on why one shouldn’t give to the Red Cross. It disturbs me. I agree that the company that took over in the past few years isn’t transparent enough, especially with donations. I volunteered with the Red Cross in NYC during Desert Storm (I was a military case worker). I learned a lot, disagreed with some of their policies, but overall, had a great deal of respect with them at the time. As far as being helped by them, in my personal experience, I found them good at immediate, short-term assistance — such as when the building I lived in caught fire, and when my hometown flooded — but not structured to handle long-term issues. The Text and $10 goes to them option is, in my opinion, good in the short term, but for longer term help, I’m going to give elsewhere.

The phone scams for false charities are already in full swing. Half a dozen calls yesterday morning alone. I don’t give out my phone number, so how do they get it? Which corporation (of the few that have it — utility companies, etc.) is selling phone numbers? That needs to stop. I’m on every Do Not Call list there is. In any case, be careful, and don’t make donations by phone, unless you’re texting one to a vetted organization.

All of this has to balance with the writing, or I can’t keep a roof over my head.

Not much writing done yesterday, although I have to get back on track for that. I got out an article pitch and another pitch, so, hopefully, they’ll hit home. I need to do some research for a batch of LOIs to go out next week, when Mercury goes direct and after the holiday weekend.

I’ve gotten several questions as to when NOT BY THE BOOK will be ready to submit (some publishing people are interested), so that has to get back on the schedule, along with everything else.

August was a month away from the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions in the sense of not sticking to a list, but relevant due to the internal work.

Finished Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT CHATEAU SUR MER, one of her Gilded Newport Mysteries. I love the series, and I love the growth of Emma Cross.

I have to figure out a new release date for “Labor Intensive”. Since it takes place on Labor Day Weekend, I don’t want it to be too far out, but I also don’t want to do a big promotion when people are drowning in Harvey.

I like the new covers for both “Labor Intensive” and “Plot Bunnies”. I think they fit the scope of the series better.

More ideas are coming in for the Picaroon Island series. I need to jot them down before I lose them. The ideas pouring in right now are for what would be the fifth book in the series. The first book is out on submission. Visiting Nantucket got me thinking about it again.

Next week, the first pre-pub push for PLAYING THE ANGLES goes out. Lots of juggling going on.

Not to mention that I really want to get SAVASANA AT SEA to my editor by mid-September.

I have one more pass at ANGLES to go, and that needs to happen this weekend.

Never a dull moment, which is good.

Tues. Aug. 29, 2017: Just Doing Whatever Little Bits I Can

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Doing whatever I small bits I can to help those suffering from Hurricane Harvey. It doesn’t feel like much, or enough, but I have to remember that many individuals doing as much as they can eventually adds up.

Didn’t get much writing done; can’t concentrate.

Am irritated at more late payments. Am pitching to a different tier or client – ones that pay on time.

I never give my phone number out; so how do the donation scammers already popping up in response to Harvey have the number to call? Which of the few places that have my number – utility companies, phone company, etc., is selling my number?

I’ve decided to postpone the release of “Labor Intensive” until next week. It just doesn’t feel right to promote right now. That’s not a judgment on anyone else making a different choice – it’s just what I need to do.

I’m dropping off a ream of paper at the local animal shelter (“Tessa’s orphanage”). They put out a call on Facebook that they were out of paper, and I have an extra ream, so over it goes.

Early morning grocery shopping. This afternoon, I have to write, research, work on final galleys for PLAYING THE ANGLES (according to the copy editor, there are only two tiny fixes, but I want to do a full proof), and read another assignment.

We’re going to be clipped by Tropical Storm Irma tomorrow, and then get the remnants of Harvey on Sunday.

Onward.

Published in: on August 29, 2017 at 9:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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