Thurs. Feb. 2, 2023: Blessed (Cold) Imbolc

image courtesy of NoName_13 via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Waxing Moon

Bitterly cold

Imbolc

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

Yesterday was kind of all over the place. I had a bunch of admin work to do in the morning. Then I did the social media rounds to promote Angel Hunt, Ink-Dipped Advice, The Process Muse posts, and the day’s #28Prompts.

I got an email from Barnes & Noble stating I had to update payment information for an upcoming order. Which I did. And they WOULDN’T – not couldn’t, but WOULDN’T, due to ‘security reasons’ —  connect the updated payment information to the order. I have never worked with a company where, once I updated payment information, the order wasn’t simply put through with the new payment info that’s now default on the account and that was that. I’ve done with every account I have, from the storage unit to Amazon to the webhost, because Greylock issued new debit cards last fall for no damned good reason, and no one has a problem. I put in the new information, it’s confirmed, it’s marked as “default” and then we’re good to go. They get their money; I get my order. Basic business. I argued back and forth with them for TWO HOURS, and they finally said the best they could do was to cancel the order and have me put It through again, with the new information. Which also meant additional shipping charges.

No, mofo. Your antiquated system that won’t update from my end and then you REFUSE to update it on your end is not my problem. Cancel the order and lose me as a customer.

I will put the order through elsewhere. It’s for books by a friend of mine, and I just told her I’d pre-ordered them ages ago (which I had). So I want the damn books.

But I won’t be ordering anything from B&N anytime soon (if ever). I’d used them as an alternative to Amazon (along with Bookshop.org), but now it’s Bookshop, even though I don’t like the shipping fees.

And there was my morning, lost, without the writing I needed to do on Legerdemain or anything else. Because they wouldn’t tie the updated credit card information on the online account to the actual order. I’d cancel the whole account, but there’s no function to do so.

I switched over to reading some pitches and scoring sheets. And then I remembered Spoutible launched today, so I went over to get that all set up. I pre-registered MONTHS ago, and don’t like that we didn’t get any immediate link launch information. Signing up/in was a pain in the butt, because the server kept crashing (people are excited to be there). Then they want to verify my phone number. Let me be very clear – NOTHING about 2-factor verification using the phone is about security. EVERYTHING is about collecting data. I resent having everything tied to the phone. I wouldn’t even have a phone if I could get away with it. And the authentication wouldn’t go through, it kept saying it “couldn’t verify” my phone number.

I was about to tell them to bite me, too, but then it went through and everything was settled.

The server is running slowly because so many people tried to sign up all at once (rolling the launch over a few weeks like Post did would probably have made things smoother).

So many people are raving about how good it is, and how similar to Twitter it is and I’m like, meh? Probably because of the initial crush, but it’s very hard to move between screens. For instance, if I search a topic, I then have to wipe it from the search bar after I’ve dealt with it, because going back to “timeline” only gives me the search results again, instead of the overall timeline feed. I’m hoping things will smooth out, but with all the hype, especially the way they were talking in the live session yesterday, I expected more.

But I’ll give it a chance. I’ve already found some old writer pals and made some new ones.

I also think it’s ballsy that Spoutible does so much of their admin on Twitter, when their goal is to get people to leave Twitter for them.

I managed to get the prompt for the day even up on Hive, although that was another way-too-much-wasted-time event.

But I’m telling you, I was In A Mood by the end of it all. Not in the mood to do the one short coverage I had, but it wasn’t due, so I put it off. I want to give the script and the writer  full focus and solid attention, not grumpy pants attention. I’ll go back to it today. Writers put their hearts and souls into the work, and I want to make sure to give every piece I read, whether it’s coverage reading or reviews or contest entries, a fair shake.

On a happier note, answers to the interview questions started to come in, and I have to make an appointment over at MassMOCA next week or so to get some background for the article.

I’m getting very excited about the article.

I found some interesting submission calls for plays that I sent off to a friend. There’s one, at a playhouse I know, that I might also send something in for. There was another one that interested me, but the deadline is today, and I’m not sure I have the right material for it. Some residency application deadlines hit my desk – and were due yesterday or today. I wish they’d let people know about them earlier.

I did a quick revision on one short play I thought would be good for one organization and got that in. So we’ll see. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I still have time for the other.

I also signed up for the Dramatists’ Guild “End of Play” event in April. I will write one of the full-lengths I started developing in the workshop sponsored by Williamstown Theatre Festival last year.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, I spent some quality time with the virtual alumni book group, talking about THE READING LIST, and it was a lot of fun. And a local theatre’s moved to a new space, inviting me to their open house at the end of the month. If the weather is okay, I think I will go.

Later in spring, I think we’ll do a day trip to Hobart, NY, which has a ton of second hand bookstores. A friend sent me an article about the place. It’s about two and a half hours away, which means it could be a reasonable day trip, when the weather is nicer.

The stores sound luscious.

I considered renting a place for a few days as a change of scenery to write, but honestly, if it’s not a residency with a private studio and meals provided, I might as well stay home and work, where I have my pots and pans and magic coffeemaker. Because if I have to do my own cooking in a different space (which, I admit, can be fun), I will be taking crates of equipment with me and spending more time in the kitchen than on my work. Especially since I’m not doing indoor dining yet.

I had the Black Screen of Death on the computer this morning, but managed to get it up and running. Told ya they hadn’t fixed it properly. How much do you want to bet it will have to go out again soon for repair?

Meditation this morning, then off to pay some bills before the weather turns too brutal. Then, I’ll spend some quality time on the page, finish off the coverage, and switch over to contest entries and the books for review. I’ll also do the social media rounds promoting today’s episode of Legerdemain, #28 Prompts, etc.

The Chewy delivery didn’t get here yesterday (which is fine, I always try to order early enough so it’s not a problem). The Midnight City Tarot is supposed to arrive tomorrow, and I’m very excited. I’m hoping to do some work later today with the Rackham Tarot on recent dreams, and I plan to set out and post a tarot spread for Imbolc.

I did some candle work last night, and today I will do the first planting.

Have a good one!

Tues. Jan. 31, 2023: Starting With More Snow

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

This won’t be as long as our usual Tuesday morning chat, because I just don’t have that much to say.

The month wrap up is over on the GDR site.

I wrote two book reviews on Friday morning, sent them in, invoiced, was paid, did a library run, came home. The weather was yucky. I had some scoring sheets and some pitches for coverage, that was it.

I have to say, these scoring sheets where the instructions are only to read the first page of the screenplay and score on that are teaching me a lot about how to open my own scripts.

I was done by mid-afternoon. My back hurt a lot, so I moved to the couch with the heating pad, and stayed there, reading for pleasure, pretty much all weekend. The weather was gray and icky.

Saturday’s reading was re-reading the 4th book of my own GAMBIT COLONY project and what I have of the 5th, on which I wanted to figure out and rework a few bits. I made some notes and did an insert scene. It’s not traditionally viable, so I’ll have to pitch it to a small publisher, and I have to make sure I have all the ducks in the row for the series. There’s a lot that works in it, and there’s also a lot that pushes boundaries. And there are cuts that need to be made, or information integrated differently, in order to let the focus remain on the large and ever-growing ensemble.

But in the late afternoon/evening, I switched over to reading for pleasure, and basically read all day Sunday.

There were some books that I started and went back in the return stack for the library after a few chapters because they just didn’t do it for me. But I read LAST TRAIN TO MEMPHIS by Elizabeth Peters (another Vicky Bliss), Lana Harper’s BACK IN A SPELL (which is really good), and AN UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS by M.E. Hilliard, which I think I’ve read before, but it was a pleasure to re-read (and order the next books in the series), and an early book by an author whose work I’ve read a lot of under various names; this one was a little on the cutesy side for me.

I should have dived into the books on Malta’s history for the Heist Romance screenplay. I did look through the travel guides and watched some local videos, and decide where I’m putting some of the key scenes, though. I should have worked on contest entries.

But I was in pain and feeling grumpy and unsettled, so I didn’t. I did, early on Saturday morning, dash out to get more ink. Getting in and out of the car was hard. But it had to be done.

Monday I had to get up and actually function, so I did some prep for Imbolcc, blogged, worked on Process Muse posts, and took the car in for inspection in the morning – new-to-me place, in and out in 12 minutes, which is less time than it took to drive there. But I’m all set until next year.

I only had a stack of scoring sheets to do in the script coverage, so I did that, and started working ahead on the Process Muse posts.

I have an idea tickling at the back of my brain. I thought it was going to be historical alt-fantasy or epic fantasy, but the characters have decided it is urban fantasy romance, so that’s what it will be. If I ever figure it out. Because some key scenes basically dropped into my head, and I have the story with the emotional arcs for the two protagonists, but not the plot. So I’ll make notes on the scenes (or maybe write them, there are not many of them), and let it percolate on the back burner of my brain to see if a plot evolves. All of last night’s dreams were in the world of that story, and through those characters’ experiences (rather than me being myself in one of my Dreamscapes), so there’s obviously something in there my subconscious believes is viable.

I ordered the Midnight City Pocket Tarot and am very excited to get it. The artwork is based on NYC locations, so it will have a resonance for me.

Soup class was fun – we did mulligatawny soup, and it was great. I missed the last couple of weeks of class, and missed the camaraderie, as well as the skills I’m learning. Once the food is created, everyone just hangs out and chats, and it’s fun. The best of Zoom (and makes Charlotte so happy).

I did a reading with the Spirit Allies Oracle deck, which came in the Goddess Provisions box a couple of months back. I don’t know why I’m surprised when it’s so accurate. It’s a terrific deck, by the way.

Anthony Lemke talked about a book he read that he really loved. It’s been on my TBR list for awhile, but I’m moving it up, because he’s never steered me wrong when it comes to books or good work!

We had a little snow overnight, maybe just over an inch. We have an ice warning out, and it’s kind of flurrying. I’ll wait until mid-day to do my library-grocery-liquor store run. I need more coffee. And I have to put in a Chewy order for cat litter.

The cats have adjusted to the whole not-being-fed-until-coffee. But the second the coffeemaker starts (it’s set for a specific time the night before) and the smell wafts through the house, all of them are making demands that I Get Up and Feed Them. It’s kind of hilarious.

I need to get my act together and focus today. There’s writing to do, interview questions to create and send off, contest entries to read, a book to start reading for review. No scripts in the queue, at least so far. I’m not in terrible shape this pay period, but I’m under what I hoped, and I’m very, very frustrated at the pressure to “double volume” when there aren’t enough scripts at a decent rate in the queue. So I need to add in other options.

#28Prompts starts tomorrow. I hope you have fun with it. I had fun coming up with the prompts. It will drop on Twitter at noon EST every day, and on the other social media channels (where I can’t schedule ahead of time) whenever I can get on them.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it. Be well, my friends.

Wed. Jan. 25, 2023: ANGEL HUNT Launch Day

Wednesday, January 25, 2022

Waxing Moon

Virginia Woolf’s birthday

Burns Night

ANGEL HUNT:

ANGEL HUNT launches today, with new episodes dropping on Wednesdays and Fridays. The episodes are intentionally short, usually less than a thousand words. I hope you check it out and follow it. The first three episodes are free, so you can read for free until the middle of next week.

A witch.

An angel.

An impossible task.

A devil calls in a marker, forcing witch Lianna Maplethorpe to hunt a renegade angel. It gets even more complicated and dangerous when the renegade turns out to be Lianna’s own Guardian Angel, who she believed abandoned her. As magical conflicts escalate in 2004’s New York City between differing factions, deeper and darker magic than Lianna has ever faced force her to grow – or die.

Urban Fantasy set in a slightly alt-New York City, beginning in 2004.

Direct Link Here.

Back to the Regular Blog:

The newest Process Muse post, talking about “Mindful Work” is here.

Wrote the loglines for the new LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT episodes. Did the social media rounds promoting yesterday’s episode of LEGERDEMAIN. Created a double graphic for LEGERDEMAIN/ANGEL HUNT.

I need to get #28Prompts uploaded and scheduled soon, too. February is just around the corner.

Dug my car out. It wasn’t fun, but not as bad as expected. And I didn’t clear out all the space between cars, either, because I’m tired of being the only one who ever does it. But I made a nice little bowl around the car, so that I can run some errands this morning, before the next storm comes in.

Put up the Valentine’s decoration on the front door. I like having something fun up on the front door all the time, and switching it out every month or so.

Turned around 5 coverages and one score sheet in the afternoon. One of the coverages is for one of the best pieces I’ve ever read anywhere. What a delight! I can’t give more details, because NDA.

Worked on contest entries.

They’re backing off on how much snow is coming in. I might not do errands today, and do them tomorrow and Friday instead, although I need to mail a few things and get eggs. I might tromp down to the mailbox at the end of the street and then hit up Cumberland Farms and see if they have any eggs.

Pulled myself out of a weird dream last night. It wasn’t bad, just busy, and I realized it was the third time I’d been in the same dream in the same sequence (three distinct parts). Once I pulled myself out, I realized I should have stayed in it, because if I’ve had the same exact dream three times in a row, my subconscious is trying to feed me information I’m not getting. Go figure.

Discouraged with all social media platforms right now. February will be dialed back somewhat, focusing on the promotion drops and the #28Prompts. Then I’ll reassess. But I need to get the Topic Workbook promos going again. When I do those properly, they sell steadily.

I also need to figure out how I’m going to do wider promotion (paid advertising) for both Legerdemain and Angel Hunt (once there are more AH episodes live). I’m putting together a giveaway package of Legerdemain, and will probably do a series of bookmarks for it that will be a more general giveaway. I have to figure out what kind of giveaway I could do for AH.

Creating the giveaways isn’t that hard. It’s getting the material and getting them made up. Without the laser printer, I’m struggling. I wanted to do transfers of the logos so I could put them on bags and tee shirts, but this little printer isn’t gonna cut it. Maybe I can get them done at a print shop.

I have to do research for the next section of the Heist Romance script. Some of it is on Monte Carlo, where it takes place. The rest is on old German books containing woodcuts. I know a little bit about German woodcuts, because it was one of the things my uncle the artist was known for (along with stained glass windows, carved altar triptychs, and giant bronze sculptures), but I still need to refresh my memory on some details.

Writing this morning, script coverage, article work, and contest entries this afternoon. And so it goes.

Hope you have a good one, and please check out Angel Hunt. The first three episodes are free!

Wed. Jan. 18, 2023: Trying to Move Past the Lethargy

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com of a painting by Franz Winterhalter

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Mercury goes Direct today

Rainy and cold

The week’s post is up on The Process Muse, and it’s about building the ensemble. It was hard to write, and it still wasn’t where I wanted it when I ran out of time. But it’s there. I have to finish the Ink-Dipped Advice post and get that up this morning.

Because it was sunny, once I got The Process Muse post up, I pulled myself together and did the errands: library drop-off/pickup, pharmacy, grocery store, liquor store. People were cheerful for a brief respite of sun in between storms, and soon after I got home, the sky darkened, and it began to rain again. I bought two small pots of primroses, which made me happy.

Home, got everything unpacked, realized I forgot to get potatoes and orange juice, so I guess I’ll be going out later this week again. Finished the book I’d been reading the previous day. It’s pleasing the writer’s fanbase, but it’s a little too formula for me, in spite of being a page turner. I respect what she’s done, but some of her other books have had a much stronger impact, both for pleasure and in engaging my emotions.

Turned around two scripts and some scoring. One is missing materials, so I can’t finish the coverage and submit until I get the missing material, or am told not to worry about it.

Did the social media rounds to promote Episode 51 of Legerdemain.

I’m spending less and less time on Twitter, because it just makes me sad. The feeds are all screwed up. I’m tired of people whining about the feeds being screwed up and demanding everyone else provide free administrative labor on their timelines. Do your own damn work. If you have “too many followers” to be able to deal with it, maybe you haven’t earned them. I have my hands full adminisrating my own feed. I’m not working on other people’s because they think they’re so important. There are also too many right-wing trolls. My time is better spent elsewhere.

I’m skipping spending time on Cohost until February, when I’ll put up, daily, the #28Prompt posts. And then I’ll probably stop spending any time there. Tried navigating Hive on my poor old tablet (which now has a cracked face) and it’s just so frustrating.

I did not work on any of the scripts, because everything else took too long. Nor did I draft on Legerdemain or adapt any of ANGEL HUNT. Which is frustrating. I was logy and frustrated all day.

Started the next book for review. The premise is interesting, but so far, I’m less than thrilled with the execution. Put it aside to read a book for fun, the second in a series by an author I like, and it’s fine, but I couldn’t concentrate at that point, because I was too tired.

Fell into bed, tired. Slept decently, but was busy in the Dreamscape, everything from attending a writer’s conference to redecorating a house, so I woke up tired. Well, Tessa and Charlotte woke me up, once the coffee started burbling.

Wrote a couple of pages in longhand on a project, and then came up with a working title for the piece whose outline I started (eleven pages’ worth) on Saturday. Went down a fun research rabbit hole about women writing speculative and science fiction in the so-called “golden age.”

We’re under all kinds of weather alerts today, it will switch between snow and rain, although we don’t get much accumulation until tomorrow, where 3-6 inches are predicted. I’m hoping I can sneak out between the switch tomorrow morning to get potatoes and orange juice.

Today, I have to shake off the lethargy and focus. I have a lot on the agenda, both for myself, and script coverages.

I’m glad Mercury is going direct today, but the transition day is always a slog for me. Plus, tomorrow is the day before dark moon, always a low energy day. Still, needs must, and I needs must get my act together and get to work.

Have a good one!