Wed. May 15, 2019: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

If you haven’t stopped by A Biblio Paradise to see the interview with Heather Haven, please do so. It’s wonderful, and I’m excited to read her new book.

You can also go on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site and see my mid-month check-in.

I can’t believe how cold it is. They actually has snow in Western Mass Monday night into Tuesday. We had a cold, damp rain.

My lower back and hip have been incredibly painful. On Monday, at meditation, I had trouble moving from position to position. I don’t understand what’s going on. I’m sure all the sitting I do is part of it. More yoga? More movement? Back to acupuncture? There are times when the pain is excruciating, and I’m always aware of a dull throb.

But at least, Monday night, I slept through the night. I went to bed ridiculously early, and slept until the alarm woke me up on Tuesday.

Got some writing done in the morning. Waited for the insurance adjustor to show up. It went okay– he’s approving less than the initial claims agent thought was covered. But then, it’s his job.

Then, it was off to work onsite with a client, which was exhausting.

To the library, back home. I’m so exhausted I can’t even see straight.

Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Only a few more days until Mercury goes direct. The last week of it is always difficult for me. I’m just trying to keep my head down and keep going.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read my essay on how the wonderful book SCRATCH, essays and interviews where writers talk about money, had a strong impace.

If you ever dream of writing for film or television, I hope you’ve kept up with how the WGA is fighting to make sure agents avoid conflicts of interest with their “packaging”. I’ve always hated it. Michael Ovitz talks about how he came up with the idea in his memoir. Agents are supposed to represent their clients, not act like additional producers. If they want to produce and create art, then they should switch jobs. But representing both sides of a negotiation — no. We’ll never know how many mediocre projects could have been stellar if the best people for the job had been hired instead of the project “packaged.” There’s a balanced post with both sides of the argument here. I’m also sharing a post by David Simon, who created Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire, who has a great piece about his personal experience with  the practice here.

Friday was about running errands, getting some writing done, working on books for review, and reading contest entries.

We had some snow on Friday night into Saturday, just enough to look like someone dumped powdered sugar over everything. I wrote in the morning, then we took the recycling in to the dump and ran more errands, then wrote more.

Sunday, more writing. Which was upset by the jackasses using leaf blowers. Leaf blowers should be banned on Sundays. Period. Unless it’s clean up after a hurricane or something.

I took a social media break for most of the weekend. I checked in now and then, mostly due to the Mueller Report. But there were too many early-career writers having the same questions, refusing to do any homework, the same arguments over and over and over again.

Everyone needs to start somewhere, to find community, to find encouragement, to learn. But all this repetition shows that people AREN’T learning from each other or researching answers. They can’t be bothered. They’re too in love with the sound of their own tweets, obsessing on how many thousands of followers they can accumulate, or why they lose followers.

But they expect and demand writers with more experience to take away time from their own work to answer questions easily answered by a Google search or by picking up any of the writing magazines. And then, instead of thanking the experienced writer for the time — they start arguing.

Shut the hell up. Say thank you. If you choose not to use the advice, fine. But don’t waste our time and throw our generosity back in our faces by arguing. Every minute spent answering a newbie question is a minute spent away from our own work. Time we can NEVER get back. Most of the time, we are happy to help. Hey, if we can spare someone pain from our own experience, of course we’ll do it. We don’t expect groveling. We don’t expect everything we suggest to work for you. But we expect basic courtesy. Act like the professional you claim you want to grow into. Learn the protocols of your industry, and behave with grace. Because professionals in any industry talk to each other, and remember the asshats. Don’t be a creative vampire.

Sunday into Monday was a challenge. Bad dreams, lonely coyote howls, strange night-calling birds. Awake by 3:30, couldn’t get back to sleep before the alarm went off.

Monday was mostly onsite with a client. A big marketing package I worked on was approved and will now go out. I’m getting us on some additional influencer channels. Meditation group was a much-needed relief.

Monday night was the performance/broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” in Florida. I look forward to hearing how it went.

Today and tomorrow will be with clients, and then it’s down to another few days of intense writing.

April is going to be a busy month, and I have to work to make sure it’s a good busy.

 

Published in: on March 26, 2019 at 5:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires  
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Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I read for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy, intense weekend.

Worked on contest entries and books for review on Friday.

Saturday, I wrote 20 pages on GAMBIT. I planned to keep going, or to switch to one of the other novels, but then I got an email.

The radio theatre company in Florida, where I pitched “Horace House Hauntings” a couple of weeks ago wants to perform/produce it. On March 25th.

Now that’s quick!

So, on March 25, “Horace House Hauntings” will be performed in Florida. The first two weekends in April, “Confidence Confidant” will be performed in Boston. On May 10, “Light Behind the Eyes” will be performed in Minnesota.

That’s a pretty good run of productions.

The company in Florida wants more with Frieda and Lazarus, my protagonists from “Horace House Hauntings.”

So, on Saturday afternoon, I wrote the half of the first draft of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” which puts them on an ocean liner headed for England.

Page total for Saturday: 35.

I was wiped out.

Watched some of Season 3 of THE WEST WING. Worked on the books for review.

Fell into bed, exhausted.

Sunday, I sort of slept in. I was back at my desk by 8 AM (late for me). I wrote 21 pages on GAMBIT. I wrote a couple of blog posts. I wrote a 7-page letter to an old friend. I finessed two monologues: “Smile” and “Quicksand” from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST and rehearsed them for Wednesday night.

I’m still not happy with the last beat on “Smile.” It’s not there, and I have to have something better by tomorrow night. I tossed it to Women Write Change, and hope they can help.

“Quicksand” takes a nice turn and ends on a gut punch.

“Emotional Labor” isn’t quite ready to test. I’ll do it next month. And I’ll have to decide which other piece to write and prepare.

Exhausted Sunday night, and behind where I want to be in the books for review (although I’m well within deadline).

Monday, I was with a client, and then to meditation group. Today I’ll be with a client and, if the weather holds, I’ll have to get started on yard work later in the afternoon.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. And the full moon. And Mercury Retrograde. And a reading.

Overwhelmed much?

I’d say yes!

Published in: on March 19, 2019 at 5:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend  
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Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Sleeting and cold

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post.

Had a decent writing day yesterday, and a good session onsite with a client.

Got out the comic ghost story radio play (numbered draft), along with some other paperwork for them. Waiting to hear back from that company on a few different things, including my contract.

The weather was turning, so I came home after the client session, and worked on contest entries.

SCRATCH, the book about writers and money, is really wonderful. And the experiences can be applied across disciplines in the arts. Someone on social media couldn’t understand how a book about writing could apply to any other art. If everything has to be spelled out directly in your own reference, how can you possibly create art? Art is about going beyond the expected, and knowing how to make connections beyond the obvious.

Also reading A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN, edited by Eleanor Brown, which is a wonderful anthology of writers and their experiences in Paris. It also lists their books. Some of them I’ve read; many I haven’t.

I’m also determined to track down a book by Jeannie Moon. She was disparaged by a person calling herself an author who said that a romance novel where the woman is ten years older than the man is “gross.” How sexist and ageist is that? So now I’m determined to read the book.

Between the lists of Parisian books and Jeannie Moon’s book and recommendations from the post on A Biblio Paradise’s Reader Expansion Challenge, I have a wealth of choices for the next challenge!

Did some work on Gambit Colony.

Watched HIDDEN FIGURES. What a beautiful, beautiful movie! Made me both laugh and cry. I can’t believe it took me so long to sit down and watch it.

Worked on the monologues.

I planned to test one or two of them last night, but decided not to because of the weather. Of course, then the weather didn’t get bad until later, but it would have been a challenge to get home.

Public reading is not something I can do off the cuff. I write for performers; I am not one. But, of course, a professional writer has to give readings. It’s even more layered when it’s from a stage piece that I have no intention of professionally performing — the actors cast will perform it.

However, the monologues from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE have served me well over the years — both in the professional productions where actors have performed the monologues, and in readings all over the world, both live and on radio. Those monologues have been around and performed since the mid 1990’s. The evergreen ones can be called up and spoken/read at the drop of a hat.

I need to test the monologues I’m creating for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. At some point, when I have a batch of them, I might call upon some local actors to come over for a session and read. Or hire a rehearsal studio for a few hours, where we can read. Maybe hire a space over at Cape Space.

But right now, it’s too early in the process. I need to speak them myself and gauge a reaction. I need to feel the rhythm in my body in order to revise properly.

When there’s a script with multiple parts, it works better for me to bring in actors and listen to them read. That way, I can feel how individual rhythms develop and make adjustments. (And yes, I’ve often paid actors to come in, sit around a table, and read an early draft of a script).

But with monologues, unless I’m developing a piece with a specific group of actors (which needs time, access to the talent pool, and money), I need to read aloud the initial drafts myself. I need to feel the rhythms in my own body.

After a few drafts of the monologues, then I’ll bring in some actresses, and we’ll work in the room. But I need to test the initial drafts with an audience, once I’ve read them aloud myself a few times. Whenever possible, I also tape the reading, and listen to it for objectivity. I do this when I rehearse readings from my books as well.

By listening, I can figure out rhythm. Where do I need to take a breath? Where can I speed up? Where should I slow down? Is there anything that needs to be cut, because it doesn’t work in the piece?

Anything that is spoken needs to be heard. Simply looking at words on the page isn’t enough. Even when I have enough experience to feel the beats as I write them, I also need to hear them. That’s true of radio, stage, or screenplay. Having actual actors (not just random people) read the words out loud during the development/drafting process makes a huge difference.

Obviously, it was easier to do that in NY than it is here. First, the talent pool is smaller here. Second, even though there are some wildly talented people here, theatre is a “side” not a “priority” and getting people to commit and fulfill that commitment — even for a one-shot reading — is not easy. Anything shiny dangled in front of them will take priority.

It gets frustrating. But it is also vital to the process.

But I can’t just decide at the last minute whether or not I’ll read. I have to feel confident that the draft I have is ready for comment. In other words, it will have gone through several drafts, and I will feel it’s solid enough to have feedback.

Then, I have to rehearse it, so it feels natural when I speak it, and I’ve found its innate rhythm and show it off as best as I, a non-performer, can.

Had I gone last night, I would have read “Smile!” and possible “Emotional Lifting.”
“My Life in Quicksand” is still an unfinished first draft; while I’m having fun with it, it’s nowhere near ready to be read yet. Most likely, I would have just read “Smile!”

I’d rehearsed, to the point where I felt as comfortable as I can feel when reading. Which is “never very.”

But then, I have to gear up myself emotionally. I need the focus of my emotional energy to be set aside for that reading. For several days leading up to a reading date, I pace myself differently, and I store up the necessary energy, so I can tap into it during the reading. I do this when I teach in person, too, or attend a conference.

Even though I wrote during the day. Even though I did client work during the day. I had to pace myself and save myself.

So add in a storm to the mix, snow and sleet, and bad road conditions at night, in an area where people are lousy drivers on a good day — I made the decision the night before, based on the weather forecast that said it would start getting nasty in the late afternoon, not to go.

In other words, that saved emotional energy was then released and dissipated into other projects.

I kept waiting for the storm to start. It didn’t.

Part of me was tempted to just drive to the open mic and read.

Only I’d used up the emotional energy I needed in order to read well on other projects during the day, because I’d made the decision not to read that night. Could I have read?

It would have been flat. It wouldn’t have given the audience something worthy of response, which meant I wouldn’t have gotten what I needed for the next draft.

It was snowing a little after eight, so it was a moot point anyway. I wouldn’t have gotten home until nearly ten (I don’t read and run — I stay for everyone’s work, and then we usually chat).

Have I ever just stepped in and stepped up to an unexpected opportunity? Or a request to fill in for someone who backed out at the last minute?

Of course I have. I’ve done well. Because I dig deeper, making like a hockey player, and use the adrenaline rush. I’m wiped out after, but I can do it.

I can do it not with new material, but because, after all these years, I have a wealth of material and experiences I can use to draw from in a spontaneous talk. It’s been hard-won, but it’s there.

So that was my Wednesday night.

Today, I have lots of admin and LOIs to do, then yoga, then, hopefully, a good afternoon writing and working on contest entries and the book I’m reviewing. I also am prepping for my client meeting tomorrow.

Which means that tomorrow’s post will go up late, probably in the early afternoon.

We have more storms this weekend, so I’ll tuck in to read and write.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues  
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Tues. Feb. 19, 2019: Writing & Weather

Tuesday, February 19. 2019
Full Moon
Sunny and not too cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see how I fared reading horror on the first month of the Reader Expansion Challenge. My choice this time around was in the horror genre, and I read Grady Hendrix’s WE SOLD OUR SOULS.

I cut myself some slack this holiday weekend. I did a lot of reading: what I felt like reading just because, research for various projects, contest entries, and the next book I have to review.

Writing-wise, I finished the short comic ghost radio play, “Horace House Hauntings” and polished it. The ending had to be rewritten quite a few times, because it kept going off track. Then, I changed the murderer (again), and it all fell into place. It goes out to the company in Minnesota today.

Started the next comic radio mystery play, which is set in the Straw Hat Circuit. I was going to set it in the early 1950’s, but the heyday was in the late 30’s, so I’m moving it back. I’ve been playing with titles for it. And I’m going to have a running joke about wardrobe in it. I got about 12 pages done on it, and it’s not quite as comic as I expected. More of a drama. And likely a two-parter, not wound up in a single 30 minute episode.

Worked on GAMBIT COLONY more than I should have — I have other pieces on a tighter deadline.

Worked on the monologue, to the point of rehearsing it. Still not sure if it’s ready to test by tomorrow night. Plus, there’s another storm coming in tomorrow night, so it might be again a moot point.

Sunday night into Monday, we had a snowstorm. Not anywhere near as bad as predicted, but I was glad I didn’t have to go in for any client work. Especially since they didn’t bother to plow the road, and it got mushy, and then icy. It meant I also couldn’t get out of our little road and down to Provincetown for the only local protest against this false National Emergency the Narcissistic Sociopath Autocrat declared.

Shoveling wasn’t too bad, except for the place where the plow packed everything at the bottom of the driveway. That’s always killer. Me with my little orange shovel having to undo what a two-ton plow packed down.

Monday’s meditation group was cancelled, due to the storm, and I missed it.

Today, I’m with a client most of the day, and then some other appointments; same tomorrow.

Plus, of course, writing.

Published in: on February 19, 2019 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 19, 2019: Writing & Weather  
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Tues. Jan. 15, 2019: The Waves of Different Opinions & Ideas

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Waxing Moon

There are several links for you to check out today.

Over on A Biblio Paradise, join the Reader Expansion Challenge, where we stretch each month to read beyond our normal genres and new-to-us authors, then share them. I hope you’ll join in.

Yesterday, on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, I talked about using each week as a building block on your goals, and, this week, to add one more thing.

Today, on the same site, I have my mid-month check-in up.

I didn’t feel well on Friday. It didn’t help that I had printer problems. I changed the drum, no problem. But now the paper won’t catch. I can’t be without a printer, and I can’t afford a new one right now. So, I’m basically screwed. I’m tired of disposable printers. I want my printer to work, for years on end. Or be fixable. Not with these crappy plastic parts that stop working if you breathe on them wrong, and then you have to buy a new printer.

Actually, this Brother laser has been great. I’ve used it daily for about seven or eight years, which is amazing. But I’m on deadline and need it working now. The first time it ever had a paper jam, it shouldn’t just give up the ghost.

Read FIT AT MID-LIFE: A FEMINIST JOURNEY. The book is very well done, and still depressed the hell out of me. All this talk about running and cycling and swimming and triathlons. I don’t want to do any of it. I hate running and cycling hurts. I can’t swim. So, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Deepen the yoga practice. Stay with the weights and add as I hit levels of fitness. Try other things to find something I like. I’d like to try the rowing machine (can’t swim, so can’t actually row on the water). But I have to be careful with my shoulder, from when it was dislocated and I still have issues. I HATE treadmill desks and standing desks. Not doing them. So, we’ll see.

I managed to finish the requested revision of the radio version of “Confidence Confidant” — so I can send it off this week. I cut one character, brightened some dialogue, clarified a few things, added some sound cues. I did not implement the sexist request to make one of the female characters more “likable.” That would change the point of her character and the piece.

I don’t like the particular way they need it formatted — between using multiple fonts in the script (something I’ve never encountered before, anywhere) AND using line numbers — adding in the line numbers, after reading it through several more times and making more tweaks, is the absolute last thing I will do, and takes the longest.

But, overall, I feel good about the revisions. I’ll probably update the BBC format and the stage play, and re-register/re-submit as necessary. I still plan to expand the stage version into a full-length, adding in active scenes of what happened in the New York jail.

So, yes, I still want to write more about Kate Warne. Next year, I might do another short play about another of her cases, where she posed as a medium.

I was also delighted that the proposal to write a play about Canaletto’s Sisters for 365 Women was accepted. I’m looking forward to that. Of course, the minute I announced it, some random guy started telling me what was wrong with the idea, since he’d done a dissertation on a contemporary of Canaletto’s. First of all, I’m still in the research stage — I’m sure I would have discovered the points on my own. Second, the classy thing to do would have been to say, “Hey, I’d love to be a resource” and then privately tell me where he felt I got off track. Instead, he chose public humiliation.

Not interested in dealing with him.

I’m tired of internet bullies. Not engaging.

I’m also tired of people who claim to defend others’ rights making demands that if I don’t do/like/say what they want, they’ll block me. I don’t care. I will do/like/say whatever I want on my own timeline; I won’t trash what you like, although I may say it doesn’t work for me if you’re inviting discussion. If you into something I’m not, providing it doesn’t hurt anyone else, I’ll just keep scrolling. It’s not my business.

But if you are inviting discussion, then don’t get mad when people have different opinions or experiences. There’s a way to disagree while being respectful and kind. Really, the stupid lately is off the charts.

I’ve barely been on Facebook for weeks, and, I have to say, I don’t miss it. I was offline almost all day again Sunday; when I checked the news, that’s when I found out about Stratford, so I kind of wish I’d stayed off all day!

I’ve let go of a bunch of people in my life lately, which was necessary. Last year, I did a lot of reconnecting and catching up. But I’m not doing all the heavy lifting any more. Hey, great, glad you’re doing well, and we can both continue on our separate journeys. I learned that the one I’d always looked upon as the “one that got away” was better off away; I learned that some people that were once important to me at a particular stage of my life are well and happy and creative where they are. That’s great for all of us. Want to connect further? Great Ball’s in your court now. I’ve opened the channel. What you do from here is up to you. But I’m no longer always going to be the kin-keeper, the organizer, the connector. Can’t make the time to stay in touch? Fine. Be well. I have people who actually do make time for me on whom I’ll spend my energy.

It’s official: I’m teaching a workshop on Character Closets: Wardrobe at a Character Development Tool at the NECRWA conference in April. You can learn more about it here and sign up here. I’m putting together a fun presentation, and I hope to reconnect with people from previous conferences and meet lots of new readers and writers! We’re finally allowed to promote our workshops!

I was heartbroken to learn that the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford burned down on Saturday night. That was such a huge part of my early theatre career, even though I never had the chance to work there. But I attended Shakespeare performances again and again and again, to learn. Christopher Walken as Hotspur, and, later as Hamlet, among other experiences. It was a beautiful, wonderful place.

The official line is that it’s devastating to the community, but I’ve heard rumors about the town wanting to demolish it or sell it to developers for years, so I’m suspicious about the cause. It’s just a little too convenient.

I was sick as could be on Sunday. I bundled up and read — worked on the book for review, read a book lent by a friend, and did research on the Algonquin Round Table for another project. That way, at least I didn’t feel like I’d lost a whole day.

Back to writing first thing Monday, which at least got my week off to a decent start. I’m so far behind where I want to be.

Had a great conversation with the director and the producer of the radio play – who totally backed me in what I felt were sexist notes. The director also asked that I put back a character the previous set of notes had asked me to cut. Easy fix.

Client work, and a quick trip to the library; then I had to skip meditation, because I was still coughing. I’m losing my voice, so I’m not going to be able to test the monologue on Wednesday, either. That’s frustrating.

But this desperation for rest that I’ve had for weeks has now manifested into illness to force me to rest. Only I can’t afford to let any of my deadlines slide right now.

Client work again today, and then rest. There are also still decorations to put away.

 

Thurs. Jan.10, 2019: Focus on Writing

Thursday, January 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a long, damn day onsite with a client. It was a good day, a productive day, but a long one. I couldn’t face cooking when I came home, so I picked up a pizza on the way.

And I’m still trying to take down decorations!

Put in my responses for the notes on the radio play. Called out the comments I felt were sexist — they’re not happening. But most of the other ones make sense, and I will implement them in the new draft. Of course, this company uses a format completely different from any other radio format I’ve ever worked in, but hey, gaining an additional tool is always valuable.

Got the next book I need to review. And the first shipment of books for the contest arrived. I’m excited to dig into them. They look good. Every time I pick up a book, either to review or for a contest, I want to fall in love with it. Doesn’t always happen, but I’m always excited and optimistic.

Tried adding the exercise bicycle to the fitness routine. I’d tried it a few years ago, and it caused so much pain in my knees, hips, and back that I stopped. But I need more elements in the routine, so I’m trying again. Just a short stint, but I was in pain a good portion of the night and this morning. I’ll give it a week of daily attempts; if it doesn’t feel better, I’ll stop.

Meanwhile, my 94-year-old mother does 20 minutes every day of the week on the bike! That’s her preferred form of exercise.

I’ve stuck to the weight training, though, and that feels good. I even upped the repetitions on one of the lifts. I’ve also added plank position every day back into the yoga sequence. I hate it, but I need it for the core. So I’ll deal.

I have some admin work to do today, and some LOIs to get out. Hopefully, a pitch for an article, and also work on a conference proposal I want to send out tomorrow. I also have a detailed proposal to go to my representatives on the federal level about the government shutdown. This crap has to stop, and if Mitch McConnell won’t do his job and let votes come to the floor, then remove Mitch McConnell. Even if it’s unprecedented. This administration has set the precedent that rules don’t count.

On today’s writing agenda: THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, start revisions on the radio play, and work on the first of the monologues. And write ahead on some blog posts. I’m going to introduce a Reader Expansion Challenge on A Biblio Paradise next week.

On the life agenda: Get the rest of the decorations down from the tree. Fix the printer, if possible.

Have a great Thursday!

 

Published in: on January 10, 2019 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan.10, 2019: Focus on Writing  
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Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Andrew Singer’s wonderful memoir, China Sings To Me.

The 17th Anniversary of 9/11. I knew a lot of people who died that day. I still grieve. I perform my own ceremony of remembrance.

I get annoyed when people book social events, etc. on this day, but it’s not up to me. What is up to me is not engaging, and keeping it a day of remembrance in the way that works for me. People have the right to live their lives. I have the right to live mine.

For me, this day is about remembrance, commitment to those for whom I care, and trying to figure out how to make the world a better place that’s not fear-based. I have a long way to go, but at least I put in the work.

There was some sort of stomach bug prevalent in the house over the last few days. I had trouble Thursday and Saturday; my mom was sick Saturday into Sunday.

I managed to finish this draft of RELICS on Saturday night and get it off to my editor. I’ll get editing notes back later this week, turn it around, and then we go into galleys.

Meanwhile, DAVY JONES DHARMA moves into the Priority slot, with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE moving back into the secondary slot (out of the “I’ll work on it whenever” slot). CRAVE THE HUNT and the rest of what used to be POWER OF WORDS are in the “whenever” slot, and I’m percolating the opening chapter of GRAVE REACH, which goes into the back of RELICS.

GRAVE REACH is outlined, but I’m on a tight schedule for it, and have to get cracking. That will also be in a “whenever” slots.

I read some nonfiction books by an author whose work I’ve followed for decades. Some of her work resonates with me; some does not. She is not someone I want to meet or work with, though. Too many of her quirks annoy me: they’re not honest or endearing; I find them selfish and hypocritical.

But then, as someone pointed out a couple of years ago, we all have areas in which we’re hypocrites. We simply choose our level of hypocrisy. I’m trying to narrow those areas in my own life. Again, work in progress.

Also read an urban fantasy novel by a new-to-me author. I’d read one of her short stories in an anthology and liked it, so I figured I’d try a full-length book. The only book I could get from the library was in the middle of the series. Loved the action. Although, after awhile, it was too much action and not enough happening in between. The sex scenes were necessary to drive the plot, and were pretty well written, but ten pages plus, in my opinion, is too long in this case. Some of the best development of supporting characters I’ve seen in a long time. I wasn’t so thrilled about the protagonist. This was book six and she was in a place I’d have expected in the middle of book one or maybe book two. She doesn’t make a mistake once and then learn from it. She makes it five or six times, finds a solution by accident, but doesn’t apply it moving forward. That bothers me. She found out information and, at the end, it looked like she evolved, but when I read the reviews for the next few books in the series, it seems like she’s doing same old, same old. Also, according to the reviews, the cliffhanger set up at the end of this book still isn’t resolved two books down. I’m not sure I’m willing to go ahead indefinitely with constant cliffhangers, so that each book is like an overlong chapter. Especially since the cliffhanger involves the character that was my favorite in the book.

I rarely use reviews to make a decision about whether or not to read a book, but I had suspicions about where this was going, and wasn’t sure I wanted to put time into it, which is why I hunted down the reviews. I’m on the fence. If I can come across the next two books easily via the commonwealth catalogue or something (they’re not in CLAMS), I’ll try them.

Then I feel guilty, because I should support my fellow writers. However, this woman has plenty of sales — mine won’t matter! And, since a library book is a sale for her, it works all around.

I was really disgusted by the way Serena Williams was treated at the US Open. Men get away with questioning the umpire, but heaven forbid a woman, especially a talented black woman, do the same. The crowd also treated Naomi Osaka terribly. It should have been a glorious day for her, not a misogynistic one.

With Hurricane Florence a threat, I have to finish what I’m doing, cleaning-up wise, on the deck in the next few days. Here I’d hoped I’d have until nearly the end of October to use the deck as a staging area as I clean out, but I guess not.

Rehearsing for the reading, working on the calendar articles.

Onsite client work yesterday, today, tomorrow. Trying to find a new angle for the current and upcoming collections.

The newsletter went out on Friday, with cover reveals for the next three books. Next newsletter is December’s.

Working on my sell sheet for the weekend (and beyond), too.

Sent off a guest blog post. Working on the calendar articles. I want them done by the end of the month.

Got an idea from some of the non-fiction reading I’ve been doing for a novel. Playing with the setting, characters, themes, plot. We’ll see.

Working on the book I have to review.

Working. Working. Working.

I like it.

 

Published in: on September 11, 2018 at 3:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work  
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Tues. Sept. 4, 2018: Diving Back into the Fray

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image courtesy of Free Photos via Pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Today I’m

–writing

–voting

–spending extra hours with my client

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read my piece about Donna Andrews’s Meg Langslow series.

I’ll be back blogging tomorrow, with a catch-up post!

Published in: on September 4, 2018 at 4:20 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 4, 2018: Diving Back into the Fray  
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Thurs. Aug. 30, 2018: Dissecting Creativity & Poor Business Choices

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, cloudy

Long day yesterday, although I got good work done on RELICS. The heat and humidity are supposed to break a bit later today, thank goodness. I am not productive in this weather, and I need to be productive. This morning, the RELICS worked rocked! We are at the first of the double climactic sequence and barreling to the end of this draft!

Lots of work with the client yesterday, and next week will be long days of extra hours. But it’s all good. The work is interesting, and that helps.

Finished re-reading TENDER IS THE NIGHT (F. Scott Fitzgerald). Although there is a lot of beautiful language, it’s also a cruel book. It also keeps the reader at a distance, which I hadn’t noticed the first time I read it. I never felt that the POVs were close enough. It wasn’t quite third omniscient, but not really close third, either. That got frustrating after awhile.

It’s also interesting to speculate on how he used material and transformed it into fiction. I always wonder how much of that transformation is using a real-life inspiration as a jumping off point, and how much is exploring one’s feelings toward that inspiration? In my case, when I do my job properly, the inspiration evolves into a fully-formed individual/character very separate from the original inspiration. I know where they diverge. But I always wonder if and where it happens for other authors.

Nicole Diver reminded me, in some ways, of Sara Murphy. So many of her characteristics are similar to Sara’s. But her mental health issues reminded me of Zelda Fitzgerald. In the same way, Dick Diver seemed a combination of Gerald Murphy and Fitzgerald himself. Although the McKiscos also reminded me of the Fitzgeralds. The racism in the book also struck me. I think it was deliberate on Fitzgerald’s part, him pointing it out and depicting it, I mean. I don’t think it was thoughtless. I think he wanted a spotlight on how black individuals were treated in that time and place. There were many people in the novel where one could speculate the inspirations — especially because I’m re-reading the book about Sara and Gerald Murphy, EVERYONE WAS SO VERY YOUNG, at the same time. The first time I read it, I didn’t know any of the context. It was less distracting in some ways, but I was also less discerning.

It’s been an interesting experience.

I was absolutely shocked when I opened my email yesterday and there was an email from a startup wellness company attacking me for not buying their product. I’m not even sure how I got on their list in the first place. They asked if I wanted an invitation to subscribe to their monthly yoga box. I accepted the invitation for an invitation. That’s not a commitment. That’s saying I’m interested in hearing about it. When I received the invitation, it was for a limited time, and I was dealing with two deaths that happened in close proximity. I glanced at the invitation, I had questions about pricing — things were unclear and it looked like the pricing would fluctuate every month, which meant it wasn’t an option for me. And, frankly, their stuff was fine but it didn’t excite me. I put it aside. I CHOSE not to purchase it at this time. That is my right as a potential customer. To CHOOSE whether or not I buy a product.

Yesterday I got an email, berating me for not purchasing the product. Basically calling me too stupid to understand their offer.

I sent a strongly-worded email saying that I was dealing with two deaths at the time and not everything was about THEM, and sending an email attacking potential customers is not the way to grow one’s business. I then unsubscribed from the email list, too.

Of course, there was no apology. I felt like I’d been blindsided with a gut punch, and I wanted one. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it didn’t matter. Yeah, my ego wanted the apology. But there is no way I’d become a customer. There is NOTHING they could do or say — not an apology, not an offer of free or discounted anything — that would make me trust them enough to give them money. I’m done.

And this is supposed to be a company promoting the yoga lifestyle. Hypocrites.

I’m still hurt and angry, but I’ll get over it, I’ll move on, and I want nothing to do with them. I realize it’s hard to be a start-up, but walk your talk. And you’re NOT going to succeed if you abuse potential customers.

Roughed out the next month’s worth of Ink-Dipped Advice pieces. Uploading next week’s today; will write the next over the weekend and upload them next week. Also want to get ahead on the September postings for Upbeat Authors.

Working on calendar articles.

Have to get the balance back between working on RELICS and DHARMA. This draft of RELICS will head off to the editor as soon as I can finish it (hopefully this weekend).

Working on the piece about Donna Andrews’s Meg Langslow mysteries, which should go up on A Biblio Paradise next week.

I have errands this morning, and writing, and web stuff (have to get the new website offline properly so we can work on it). Because it takes place behind-the-scenes on a television series, my editor and I are also discussing how the #MeToo movement will affect the plot. When I started writing it, we dealt with the issues differently than we are trying to deal with them now. So, as we work through this next draft preparing for galleys, we have to figure out how to acknowledge how things have changed and figure out where and if they affect the plot.

I’m hoping the weekend will be a combination writing retreat/meditation/purge-the-basement/yardwork event.

I’m not going anywhere. The Labor Day Tourist Insanity was already in full swing yesterday. I’ll do some grocery shopping tomorrow, and some errands, and then I’m in for the weekend.

Back to the page.

Wed. Aug. 29, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Blisteringly hot & humid

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

I’ve been onsite with a client the last few days, doing studio/design work. She leaves for Thailand early in September and needs to get this done. It’s interesting work, the way she designs clothes, and very different from costume design in theatre.

I’m re-reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s TENDER IS THE NIGHT and wallowing in the beauty of the language. Which is weird, because when one breaks down certain sections of it, it shouldn’t work. But when you put it together, it does.

Since I’m reading EVERYONE WAS SO YOUNG, which deals with the inspiration for TENDER IS THE NIGHT, it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

Ari Meghlen invited me to guest on her blog (it will go up next year) and I said yes. I also invited her onto Biblio Paradise. I need to get the next few dozen posts on that sorted this week.

Working on the calendar articles. The first book for my new reviewing gig arrived, and I really like it. I hope to finish it this weekend and get the review out early next week. Worked on the newsletter, which will go out early next week.

Shameless promotional note: If you haven’t signed up for my quarterly newsletter yet, you can do so here.

This newsletter has a triple cover reveal: RELICS & REQUIEM, DAVY JONES DHARMA, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Pushing for the end of this draft of RELICS. Behind where I need to be on DHARMA. But BALTHAZAAR is where it should be, and CRAVE THE HUNT needs to get back into the mix once RELICS is in galleys and the next draft of DHARMA is done.

Right now, the goal is a minimum of 2500 words/day on RELICS (more if I can) and 1K on DHARMA, but that doesn’t always happen.

Getting more comfortable on Tumblr; loving Ello; joined Triberr, and we’ll see how that goes. I’m ready to give up on Vero — if I’m having trouble with even the sign-up, a client less IT fluent won’t like it at all. Their support people have been lovely, but the problem’s not solved. We’re going on a week here. And it’s just about signing up and my email address (that I use a dozen times a day) coming up in the sign-up as invalid. It’s not.

I have to start rehearsing the material for the Ptown Book Festival Reading and put together a flyer/handout for it.

Discussions on the Jain Lazarus covers with that cover designer. The cover I want to go back to was not by that designer — paint me mortified! I have to figure out what to do about OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. CRAVE THE HUNT is more important now.

We got the new subdomain for the new series set up and WordPress on it. Now, I have to take it offline so we can build privately. The first three books in the series are in good shape. The cover for the first is great; we have to tweak the second a bit. The fourth book is almost ready; the fifth is partially done, and the sixth outlined and has to get back into the writing roster. How the next few books in the other series stay on track and what goes on with CRAVE THE HUNT will decide a lot about the schedule for this series.

It’s a juggling act.

The cleanout of the basement is going more slowly than I’d like. The heat and humidity has a negative effect.

Last night was our last session of Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki for the season. It’s been a beautiful experience, and I am glad I made it to every session.

Today, I’m with a client for most of the day, and then I hope to get more basement cleaning done. The humidity/heat is set to break either tomorrow or Friday, so maybe I’ll have a productive weekend.

Back to the page.

Tues. July 24, 2018: Brace For A Challenging Week

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde

Mercury is about to go retrograde (on Thursday), and then there’s a full moon on Friday. With all these other retrogrades. I’d really like to stay home, in bed, until it’s over! Unfortunately, that’s not an option.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see the post on the Idea Vat.

Spent the weekend doing what yard work I could before the storm, writing, doing laundry and household chores, and working on purging boxes from the basement.

The writing, of course, has priority, as it always does. Steady work on RELICS & REQUIEM, although not as fast as I’d like. Slower, but also steady work on DAVY JONES DHARMA. Some organizational work for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.
Work on the book I’m reviewing. Work on the Foreword. Notes on a couple of other things. Work on the other radio proposal, which went out yesterday.

Yesterday was stressful at my client’s site. Last day for one of the other people there, and more to learn so I can cover on my days there until they hire someone new. Which, fortunately, they did –and she’s lovely – and she starts today.

I had an excellent session on RELICS & REQUEIM yesterday, and I hope to keep up the momentum. It’s veered far from the Writer’s Rough outline, but it’s being itself in a lovely way. It’s a much leaner book than SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and very much true to Amanda and Phineas.

A little tired, a little sad, and bracing myself for a challenging week.

Onward.

Published in: on July 24, 2018 at 1:19 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 24, 2018: Brace For A Challenging Week  
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Fri. July 20, 2018: We’re All Busy

Friday, July 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It smells like autumn this morning.

Decent day’s work yesterday. Good client meetings and good potential client contacts. Some follow-up today and we’ll see where it goes from there. Put together a big packet of information for a request, and that went out this morning.

Not enough of my own writing done, but then, it rarely feels like it is.

I got a peek at a rough for the cover of DAVY JONES DHARMA, and it’s really cute, in the right way. We’ll have our final consult on the cover of RELICS & REQUIEM soon. I like what I’ve seen so far.

Our bunnies are having the best time in the yard. The local wildlife feels safe here, because we don’t use chemicals of threaten them.

Started weed whacking the meadow. It’s slow going. But every bit that’s done is more than was done before.

I’m re-reading EVERYBODY WAS SO YOUNG, about Gerald and Sara Murphy. I own a copy, but I don’t know where mine is, so I got it out of the library. It’s well done, although the tense shifts are annoying sometimes.

I’m writing the piece for the book I’m reviewing, so I can post it next week and put up the long version on A Biblio Paradise on August 7, her release day. Of course, this coming Tuesday’s guest flaked out on her commitment, so I have to scramble to replace her. This is NOT OKAY. I cut the rant I wrote here, because, well, not worth the energy.

This weekend must be about writing, yard work, and cleaning out the basement. A lot needs to get done.

Fortunately, I had a GREAT morning on RELICS, getting a whole chapter done, and I hope to have an equally productive morning on DHARMA.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on July 20, 2018 at 10:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 20, 2018: We’re All Busy  
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