Thurs. Oct. 19, 2017: Best Buy’s Third Strike — Detailed

Thursday, October 19, 2017
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday ran the gamut.

The morning sucked. My phone had pinged at me all night, and then, when I actually needed to check it in the morning — black screen of death.

The damn thing is four months old.

I don’t drop it or throw it. I don’t get it wet.

I went back to Best Buy, where I’d bought it, and where the woman who sold it to me had been so helpful. She was there, but her (male, white, condescending) manager “helped” me instead.

Help. Yeah, right.

He told me it was the operating system, and there was nothing they could do. I could either send it back under warranty and be without a phone for the WEEKS it would take, or I could buy another phone, only that one would be double what I paid for this one, plus an SD card for storage, which was double again. Oh, and I shouldn’t expect the phone to work for more than six months, and “you get what you pay for.” Then, he DARED me to find a better deal.

This was Best Buy’s third strike. This is the third phone in three years I’ve bought from them that’s lasted a year or less.

Actual customer service would have been to walk ten feet to the rack with these phones, swap it out, and send the defective phone in to the manufacturer, who would replace it with a fresh phone and balance out the inventory.

Customer service is working within the customer’s budget, not humiliating them because they ARE on a budget. Customer service is making things right, not smirking and saying that you don’t deserve a working device because you can’t afford the more expensive ones.

Also, if these phones have such a limited time span, it needs to be clearly marked ON THE BOX, and it needs to be made clear upon the sale. Anything less is fraud. Or, better yet, don’t sell the product, and leave it for the gas stations that sell burner phones.

Let me also point out that the other customer in the store with me got her phone replaced after she admitted it was broken because she threw it against the wall, and her service had been disconnected for non-payment. They just swapped it out and re-established her service.

I walked out.

I was practically in tears by then.

I was just going to leave and, I don’t know what. But then I figured, hell, my carrier is AT&T, I’ll go talk to them. So I walked a few hundred feet in the mall (I hate malls), to AT&T. I figured I’d look, price, clear my head.

The guy at AT&T was also male, young, African American, and not at all condescending. Great sense of humor, listened to me, responded to what I had to say, didn’t make me feel like I was less deserving of service because I wasn’t rich. I explained the situation and apologized for being so upset. He understood, and the first phone he picked up to show me was not only the next generation up from my phone, but was less expensive than the one that died. The SD card was less than half of what Best Buy had quoted me for the exact same size and make card.

I explained about being a freelancer on a budget. He said he totally understood, and he set me up WITHIN MY BUDGET (which was stretched tight anyway, since I hadn’t counted on having to shell out for yet another damn phone this month, with my mom’s medical costs and all). I told him as soon as I could afford it, I was going to suck it up and get an iPhone. He told me there are iPhones on my current plan, and the price is less than half of what I expected or I’d been quoted elsewhere. And it’s not just a deal for the week — I can come back in two, three months when I’ve got the cash put aside, and he’ll get me set up.

He couldn’t pull my information from one phone to the other because the phone wouldn’t turn on, but, other than about four photographs, I have everything else WRITTEN DOWN. It’ll take me awhile to put in my contacts again, but I’ll deal. I might even be able to transfer them from two phones back.

He gave me the information for the warranty — because I’m damn well going to demand satisfaction on a phone that died after four months.

I had contacted Best Buy and tweeted them before I left for the store. I got a response to the tweet stating they hoped everything was resolved. When I tweeted back that it wasn’t, with some of the details . . .no response. Not surprising at all.

Their nickname is “Worst Buy” for a reason. I have friends who work in management with them in Michigan who have high standards, and I doubt, had they been in charge of this store, I would have faced the same bad experience. But they are where they are, and I am where I am, so, sadly, buh-bye Best Buy for me.

I’m learning the new phone, and I don’t entirely trust it, but at least I have a working phone. Yes, I had to cough up some cash, but it was half of what Best Buy intended to part me from, and the guy at AT&T both gave me customer service and didn’t try to shame me into spending more than I could afford. It still puts me in a bad position for the rest of the month, with my mom’s surgery coming up, but I’ll deal.

So that was my morning. You better believe Best Buy corporate, AT&T corporate, and the consumer protection agencies (including AG Maura Healey) are going to hear about this. In addition to me not ever setting foot or spending another dime at Best Buy again (and yes, when I make these claims, I follow through).

I went home to calm down a bit, and then headed out for a meeting with a potential client. We hit it off, both as people, and because I like and respect what she does. She hired me on the spot, and we start working together next week.

So that was on the plus side.

I got very little writing or promotion or anything else done yesterday, since the time put aside for that was eaten by dealing with dolts.

Today is a lovely day. I’ve got some work to do at the library, and then yoga, and then, this afternoon, both writing and starting the next book for review. I’m putting together some information for another client, doing more promo on ANGLES. This weekend, I have to do another proofreading pass at SAVASANA, so it can go into pre-order, and next week, the media kit needs to be finished and the initial press releases go out.

I’d also like the redesign for BIBLIO PARADISE to happen today, if I can pull it off. I need to upload some author spotlights and schedule them for release.

While I’m both physically and emotionally exhausted, I’m excited to work with these new clients, and looking forward to settling in with my own writing. Next week will be difficult, with my mom’s pre-op appointment and then surgery; but we will get through it.

Enjoy the day!

Advertisements

Mon. Oct. 16, 2017: Stressful Weekend, but Good Writing

Monday, October 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Late posting today, due to more medical appointments for my mom.

I’m so angry at the insurance company. After telling me everything was fine, they contact me late on Friday afternoon with an encrypted message I can’t open — so I don’t know if there’s a problem. And they refuse to send it in a way I can access and read it, and refuse to give me the information that’s in it. So I don’t know if we’re on track or there’s a problem. That is not “customer service.” That is unethical, inhumane crap. And, because it was Friday, after a certain point, they simply ignored my contact.

In spite of all that chaos, I did another proofread of SAVASANA AT SEA. Caught another set of errors. I’m convinced the copy editor and I fixed some of them last go-round, but they didn’t save. So, in they go again. I got in the fixes on Saturday, and am sending this draft off today. Let’s see what we find this go-round. I need to get it up for pre-order and get the media kit finished.

I polished and sent off my article; I was paid by the end of the weekend.

I also did a couple of interviews connected to PLAYING THE ANGLES. Will let you know, as soon as the links go live. Every copy sold, every review that appears, makes a big difference.

The weather was vile on Saturday. I wrote 2700 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. It’s taking some interesting twists and turns. It might decide to wind up in a different direction than I planned. Or maybe it will circle back to the original ending after some tangents. I’m letting this draft lead me, instead of the other way around.

I spent most of the afternoon immersed in books on Renaissance artists, as background for the Lavinia Fontana play. The book on TITIAN’S WOMEN also gave me material I will wind up using in THE MARRIAGE GARDEN.

I also baked my favorite chocolate walnut butter bread — yum, yum! And, for dinner, it was maple-coriander-marinated pork chops, that had marinated overnight. Pretty darned good, too.

Sunday, more work on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I couldn’t seem to stop work on it. By the end of the weekend, I’d written nearly 10K.

Worked on new material for A Biblio Paradise, which will go up shortly, and the mid-month check in for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

Finished the book for review, and it was excellent. Best I’ve read for this particular publication since I’ve worked for them. Wrote and polished the review this morning; it will go off today, and then I start reading the next book in the queue.

Read REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi. Definitely a “ha-ha-ow” book, that makes you think and rethink multiple realities and their consequences, especially if you’re a writer.

I have a couple of meetings in the mornings during these next few days, so, chances are, I will post late.

Here’s hoping my copy editor and I finally caught ALL the typos in SAVASANA!

Back to the page.

 

Tues. Oct. 3, 2017: Releases, Writing, Worrying

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Plenty of links today. First, check out the piece about PLAYING THE ANGLES over on A Biblio Paradise. Don’t forget to order your copy in any of the various digital formats. Links here.

Second, my October To Do list is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’ll also post questions to think about between now and the end of the year shortly.

Yesterday, I did promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I also got some new material up on the Nautical Namaste website. I’ll be linking and promoting that site in a few weeks, when SAVASANA AT SEA becomes available for pre-order. Right now, I want to focus on PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Sent out some pitches, did some follow-up on pieces. Sent out two short stories, which had come back from other markets. It’s always a dance, finding the right partner for a piece.

Finished both books I have to review, and the reviews will go out today. My new editor told me I hadn’t acknowledged receipt of the books — but I had, weeks ago, when I received them. I always do. I HATE the “dashboard” system they have us working in.

Started working on the galleys for SAVASANA AT SEA. There are lots of little, fiddly things the copy editor and I have both caught. Also, although some grammatical choices are technically correct according to the style guide we’re using, they look awful on the Kindle. In some cases, the fix is as simple as using Chicago Manual of Style rather than Strunk; in other instances, I’d rather change how I communicate the material. There are a few places where the copy editor and I are working together to see what is correct and still looks and feels right.

I haven’t even had the chance to work on the galleys of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM.

Got a weird idea for what I hope will be a flash fiction piece and wrote about 400 words on it. It’s an odd little piece. It will take time and shaping, but I like the premise. Now I have to add in the craft.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is both heart-breaking and infuriating. It could have been prevented. Again, the GOP doesn’t care how many people die, as long as it’s those who don’t buy them off. The NRA isn’t about responsible gun ownership, it’s about profit. I have never heard the NRA or anyone who boasts about their association with them, talk about RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. There’s just a lot of chest thumping and “Me have right to own guns.” In fact, most of the people I have met who scream about their right to own guns lack the IQ, in my opinion, to be allowed such ownership.

Every member of Congress who votes against responsible, common-sense gun laws should be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL for every murder that results in their legislation. They can’t be allowed to hide behind their jobs or use tax payer dollars for defense or if and when they are convicted. The only way it will change is when it costs them more to vote against pro-gun legislation than for it. Because Congress, especially the members of the GOP, don’t care about individual lives. They care about personal profit. They demonstrate this over and over again, with every vote. So make it cost them.

John Scalzi wrote a beautiful piece on his blog about how difficult it is to work amidst all this chaos. You can find it here. I read it at 3:30 this morning, when I couldn’t sleep, and it helps.

Of course, the current administration is anti-art. They WANT us not to be able to create. Artists are the biggest threat to autocracy that there is, because good art makes people see and understand the world beyond themselves.

Keep making art.

Back to the page.

Tues. July 11, 2017: More Freelancing Than Fiction

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where Colin Galbraith talks about his latest release, GATECRASH.

Yesterday was not a good writing day. That was frustrating.

I was reasonably productive, at least in the morning: mowing, errands, final polish on the essay.

Send out questions to two potential project partners (two different projects); followed up on some pitches where I haven’t yet heard back; sent off the essay; sent a thank you & goodbye to a collaborator where our contract is up tomorrow, and I’m not extending it; sent out a query and sample pages for another book project; posted a call for questions in one of the groups in which I participate (and will do the same in another group); promoted “The Ramsey Chase”; sent out some more pitches.

The cover designer and I worked with some of the images that are possible for the new PLAYING THE ANGLES cover, but we don’t like it. I wish I could find the photos I know will work. Also playing with images for another project (which will be revealed shortly). We’re closer there, which is worrisome, since it’s not releasing until after ANGLES.

The editor with whom I’ve had a rocky relationship really likes the last piece I sent in; maybe we’re on the right track. The lag in assignment and pay, however, still bother me. I’ll have to weigh them against each other.

Read a bit; it’s an author’s new book. I have mixed feelings about the author. She’s got a huge following, but a lot of her writing doesn’t work for me. I appreciate that she’s trying something new here, but it doesn’t quite work, in my opinion. However, her fans will love it and she’ll make a packet of money, so good for her.

Still waiting on those two late payments, which I need this week in order to pay the bills. One changed the terms of the agreement (which means he is in breach of the agreement, since I did NOT agree); the other is simply not responding. Very frustrating.

On the positive side, last night, I heard back from a publication for whom I’ve written before, and to whom I pitched a couple of weeks ago. They like my article and want to contract it (sold on query again, not pre-written), AND they’re going to pay me more than the usual rate. I’m pretty happy about that. It will be a month or so before I’m paid (the article will take between one and two weeks), but at least I know that’s on the horizon. Plus, I have good clips and always been paid on time from this publication, so that’s all good.

Unfortunately, the fiction suffered — a LOT — yesterday, and I didn’t work on the media kits, either.

Today, I’ve already done a Trader Joe’s run. I have to get all my article questions out this morning, a few more pitches, and hope I hear back from the places I contacted yesterday, so I know which projects are moving forward.

I hope to have an exciting announcement in a week or two, but I don’t want to count my chickens too early, and all that stuff.

I’m in the final edit of PLAYING THE ANGLES now, taking my time to make sure I hit all the points and get all the editorial notes handled. If we’re going to adhere to the October release date, I have to be thorough, but also can’t take too long. Then, I’ll have to edit the first chapter of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY so it can also go in. What a relief not to battle this “one-book-in-a-series” lack of commitment that far too many of the smaller publishers are currently doing. I understand that far too many of the writers are unreliable and can’t deliver regularly, but if the publishers were paying them proper advances, there’d be more motivation to get things done on time.

I’m frantic to get the story for the sick teen finished, too, and feeling the time pressure there. Every day that passes where it’s not done means more suffering for her.

Plus, the life pressures this week are at an almost intolerable point. Most of them would be solved if those damn late payments would show up.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 11, 2017 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 11, 2017: More Freelancing Than Fiction  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. June 6, 2017: Writing Hangover

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I’d hoped to have the article up on A Biblio Paradise re: The Tempest, but writing about Shakespeare always takes longer than I expect. I hope to have it ready tomorrow or Thursday.

I did one thing yesterday: I worked on the new teleplay I’d outlined the night before. From 7:30 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon, I wrote 84 pages.

I don’t think I’ve ever written that much in one day in my life.

So, the radio play went out today, instead of yesterday, along with some more pitches. I got paid last night for an article I wrote last week, which will run shortly. I like that market, and I hope we can work together again.

The past two days, I’ve watched THE GAME, a British mini-series, starring Tom Hughes, set in 1970s Britain. Eerily reflective of today. Strong writing, excellent acting.

Absolutely in despair about the state of the country. Saddened that there was another attack in London; furious and embarrassed by the Narcissistic Sociopath’s inappropriate response.

However, I did not get caught up in the Ariana Grande spin on the benefit concert in Manchester. Yes, it’s good that she did it. However, immediately after the attack, she ran back home and talked about how “devastated” she was, making it about her instead of about the incident, instead of standing tall and being a leader IN THAT MOMENT. Coming back with a publicity stunt a couple of weeks later doesn’t cancel that out. Glad people enjoyed themselves, but she’s off my list.

Back to the teleplay today — a steady six pages/day will seem like a let-down after yesterday. I anticipate it as four hours, in two chunks. I’m going to write without worrying about page count/running time in the first draft, then cut and shape in subsequent drafts.

I’m working on the next section of THE FIX IT GIRL revision — soon, I’ll be able to use all those books about Hearst Castle, as Mavis and Troy spend some quality time there.

I have an enormous stack to return to the library today, both books and DVDs. But most of today will be about writing, pitching, creating content and finding professional-rate markets for it.

Onward, bad weather and all.

Published in: on June 6, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 6, 2017: Writing Hangover  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

It still goes down into the 30s at night. We had to bring the tomato plants in.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise. Jamieson Wolf is a guest, and he talks about his new release LUST & LEMONADE.

Yesterday was kind of all over the place; grocery shopping; trying to get some work done at the library, but it was both noisy and full of the crazies.

I did some research for a handful of projects; figured out that an article I was working on actually needs to be broken down into two articles in order to keep a solid focus; wrote most of an outline for a new piece and the first ten pages of it, so I can figure out what it is and if it will work (so far, so good). I’m working on a proposal packet for a slot with a producer who wants to develop a new play. It’s a different way of working — I’m trying to develop enough of the idea to create an exciting package, while, at the same time, leaving enough room for collaboration. I usually put the proposal together with a finished, polished script, but that’s not what this theatre wants. Good to work differently. Keeps one from getting stale.

It was interesting reading the research book I’ve been reading the past few days. It feeds into three different projects, and I’d read a passage and think, “that will work with X” and a few pages later, “That will work for Y” and a few pages later, “I can use variants of that for X AND for Z.” Then, of course, I had to jot down notes in the various outlines referring to the research notes so I wouldn’t forget!

I’m in article mode now, and I had an idea for another spate of articles. Unfortunately, so far, the research I’ve done into the markets — the publications most geared to the topic — not only refuse to pay, they want their contributors to write numerous articles per month FOR FREE. I’m getting a little tired of the “Gimme Culture” instead of a sustainable Reciprocal Culture. Nope. Next. Bye. If I was starting out and looking to build my portfolio, maybe. But not at this stage in the game. So I have to dig a little deeper into other markets, and see what’s what.

I’ve been asked by two organizations I used to be associated with for marketing advice. I don’t mind throwing them a few ideas, but I’m not working for either one for free anymore. I put in my time. No matter how much I did or how much of my own work suffered, it was never enough; in fact, my thanks from one organization was metaphorical multiple slaps in the face, so, no. You get a short email with some ideas, and then it’s up to you, unless you plan on hiring me as a marketing consultant at my regular rate. In fact, I’m writing an article on just that topic. 😉

I’m working on a couple of other pitches to send out. I’m in negotiations for one particular gig which I think would be fun, and I have a meeting tomorrow about another one.

I’ve been working on FIX IT GIRL rewrites. Unlike some rewrites, I’m not putting all the changes into chapters every day. I find, with this, as I work on the hard copy of the first draft, I need to stop and research this detail and that detail and the other detail; expand, contract, restructure; get rid of sloppy writing. About every three chapters, I pull up the document and put in the new material. On the one hand, it’s slower; on the other hand, it means more goes into this draft, which means fewer drafts, because I’m not doing separate passes for separate elements.

I’ve done my prep to dig into the revisions of WINNER TAKE ALL. I’m hoping I can read through it this afternoon and get started. I already know one character/subplot I need to cut, and there are some other cuts, along with a new scene I need to add to have it make sense. As long as I can keep the script 120 pages (I’d like to get it down to 112-115), I’m okay. But 120 pages — where it is now — is the top of the limit. I want some more room in the draft, so I have to see what I can cut. There are a few scenes that could use some trimming. I want to raise the sense of danger for my protagonist in a couple of scenes, too. She sails through it all with a bit too much serenity. Yes, she’s smarter than most of those around her, but, as we all know, stupid people can be dangerous. Look at what’s going on in the country right now.

Speaking of which, Sally Yates was amazing in her testimony. Talk about someone with ethics, intelligence, and integrity. She put Ted Cruz in his place, that slimy piece of corrupt garbage. Then the Narcissistic Sociopath fires the FBI Director — on the advice of the corrupt, racist AG who supposedly had recused himself from the situation because he’s involved. Granted, Comey needed to go. There were two major conflicts/investigations going on with the elections last fall, one with each party. He made a partisan choice that affected the outcome. For that, he should have been sacked by November 10, and then prosecuted. For far too much of his recent testimony recently before Congress, he sounded like a whiny moron, not the head of a legitimate intelligence agency. But to be fired by the people he was investigating AT THIS POINT, is also suspicious. Nor should the people under investigation be allowed to appoint his successor until the investigation is complete. The level of corruption in this administration is astonishing.

It reminds me of the research material I’ve been reading, about the 1920s. Harding’s administration was pretty damn corrupt, too, and that ended in the Crash of 1929.

Re-reading Elizabeth George’s WRITE AWAY!, which is a book I assign to my writing students. The more I write, the more my process evolves away from hers. I don’t do the detailed character profiles she does — if I write down too much ABOUT a character before I write a piece, my subconscious believes I’ve already written the book and moves on. All I do is stare at a blank page. You can ask me anything about a character, any detail, and I know it, but I can’t write it all down. By trying her method, I lost what could have been a good book. Maybe someday, I’ll get it back, but so far, no luck. However, she has good points about knowing one’s setting and putting butt in chair and getting it done. I’ve always been on the fence about her books — some work for me better than others. I always loathed the character of Helen.

A little over a year ago, when I tried to book her as a speaker at the library for which I then worked, the person who handles her bookings quoted me a rate that would have wiped us out for nearly three years, and then was rude about us not booking her, although I politely explained the “why”. The booker berated us for having a small budget, for thinking a “name” author could be bothered with us, and for not being willing to go into debt to pay her anyway. By the way, we had plenty of name authors come in within our budget. Yes, have your “team” play the bad guys, but when they behave that way, don’t be surprised when it touches how people respond to your work. Now, every time I see a new release of hers, I remember how nasty her booker was, and, since I was already on the fence about the book, I pass. I respect what she’s achieved, but she is no longer on my “must read” pile. That could change, with time and distance, but that’s where I am right now. I do, however, respect and admire her work ethic. She gets things done. She does them well, and she makes a living from it. Good for her!

Tried re-reading a memoir of Paris, which is well done, but I wasn’t in the mood for the exploits of a young, drunken, male Aussie. So I went back to re-read Claire Cook’s IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. I met Claire two years ago at the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and we had some great chats. In fact, I’m going to dedicate TIE CUTTER to her. Her novels are a good pick-me-up when things look bleak. I also respect the way she gets things done, like Elizabeth George and Jayne Ann Krentz and just about every other writer making a go of it. She doesn’t whine or waste time in negativity. She writes her books, she respects her readers, she doesn’t bow to the changing winds. She’s comfortable in her own skin, and that’s always something to admire.

Tonight, I’m going to a reading in which my friend’s daughter has a part. I’m looking forward to it. I missed the last production she was in, and I want to support her and her mom.

At least there’s a lot of creativity going on!

Published in: on May 10, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. April 11, 2017: Building the Writing, Building the Garden

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Full Moon
Venus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I wrote about Adrienne Rich for National Poetry Month. The essays I’m writing for the month there are personal, rather than critical. It’s about my response and reaction to the material, not an objective examination of it.

Got some yard work done yesterday, but nowhere near enough. I’m out of shape. It will take much longer than I would like to get things back to rights. Plus, there’s a LOT of work to do, and I’m paying for not getting more done before the snows hit last winter.

Got a chunk of the terraced bed done, but there’s a lot more to do. Managed to get some of the invasives out, but some weird grasses also took up residence, and there’s stuff that has to be dug out that takes time and attention. The star juniper in the barrel out front died, so I have to yank that out. I think I’ll put flowers in it this year, and not worry about something permanent.

Got more plants out on the deck, and they’re happy.

Started the screenplay I outlined yesterday morning, and did 14 pages on it. The outline is a huge help, although I’m finding I have to get a few more things in earlier, and I’m combining action in some scenes to keep it lean.

I think I’m going to set the screenplay in 1937, although I’ll have to research a few things. I want it to be later than FIX-IT GIRL, but before the US gets into World War II.

Got some research done. Still hoping to find that catalyst to get the Lavinia Fontana play in gear. It’s frustrating — I have an idea of the characters, but I need a plot to galvanize things. I’m hoping studying the monograph on her patrons will help me find what I need.

Also need to do some research for an article I want to write this week. It may be my introduction to a new-to-me publication. The pay is a little lower than I’d like, but it’s been awhile since I did any articles, so maybe that would get me back into the swing of things. I need to do a bit more research — something I saw on the website yesterday troubled me; I need to dig a little further, and it may knock the publication off my list of possibilities.

So United dragged off a paid passenger because THEY overbooked. It’s time that we stop flying all the major US carriers and send them out of business. Flying used to be glamorous and fun; customer service used to matter. Not anymore. It’s simple: DON’T GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY. Even though trains, busses, and automobiles take longer, it will be worth it in the long run. Or use non-US carriers. It’s time to teach this “industry” that if they don’t treat their customers like they matter, they won’t have a business anymore. But the general public won’t have the guts to actually take action that will make changes. They’re too lazy. They’d rather pay through the nose to be treated like cattle than take a stand that gets results.

Today’s supposed to be an even nicer day than yesterday, so I’m hoping to do my errands quickly, get some good writing done, and then it’s back in the yard.

Published in: on April 12, 2017 at 11:20 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. Jan. 17, 2017: Reading, Figuring, Negotiation

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and take a look at “The Joy of Re-Reading.” Maybe it will inspire you to re-read some of your favorites.

Well, the weekend wasn’t as relaxing or productive as I hoped.

There was news happening, such as Swamp Thing Elect’s attack on John Lewis — right before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Typical of a self-centered Swamp Thing to attack someone vital to this country’s civil rights.

Not to mention that Biloxi, MS is now calling it “Great Americans Day”. That is not the name of the holiday, and you don’t get to change its name just because you’re a racist representing other racists.

Ringling Brothers’ Circus is closing after 146 years. Feld blames animal rights activists, and I call bullslhit on that. There are circuses without animal acts (such as Big Apple) who are doing fine without them. As someone who pitched to them several years ago to be part of their marketing department, I had a plan that would have brought them into the 21st Century while still paying tribute to their history and the history of “circus.” (Regular readers know I have several circus-themed projects in development — I have a good handle on the history). They weren’t interested. To their credit, they also didn’t start hiring third-rate reality celebutards to get them more attention. Am I saying that if they’d hired me they’d still be viable? No, because I’m sure other people pitched even better plans. But they weren’t willing to take big enough risks.

Sent off some material to a theatre that seems interested in working with me. We’ll see.

Did some more research for a pitch to a different theatre. I’d like to do the particular project I’ve been researching, so I sent off the pitch. Fingers crossed. It would mean six months of immersion in a period of time I’m interested in, but don’t know much about except peripherally. It would mean six months of immersion in beauty (as well as drama), which I could use right now.

I also re-thought another long-term project, which means one of my deadlines that was at the end of this month is now at the beginning of March, and then the next at the beginning of June, and so forth, every 12 weeks for the next two years, instead of every 6 weeks for a year. That will allow each of those pieces to be more in depth and more polished.

Because the point of honing one’s craft is that every piece one writes is better than the earlier ones.

Read Gail Godwin’s PUBLISHING: A MEMOIR, and recommended it to a friend who’s been going through a rough time. I didn’t realize how many publishers and editors she had — although she found the right agent early on and they stuck by each other. The right agent is so important. And difficult to find.

I used to read a lot of Godwin’s work, and really liked it. Until the religion overshadowed things like plot, character, and story, and then she lost me. I haven’t read the last few books, but I think I will try them. I also want to find the early ones, the ones I liked so much, that are packed away somewhere downstairs, and re-read them.

I don’t trust people who say they never re-read. A good book gives you fresh gifts every time you enter it. The “don’t have time” argument is just another bullshit excuse. There’s no such thing as “having” time for anything. You make the time for things that matter, and you ignore the rest.

Playing with a few things writing-wise, but it wasn’t anywhere near the productive writing weekend I needed it to be. I’m way, way behind where I need to be and frustrated.

I managed to write 14 pages on a piece on Saturday, but it wasn’t one of the pieces I should be working on. However, it was important in its own way, and I learned from it.

Read Miles Morland’s MILES AWAY: A WALK ACROSS FRANCE, which was fun.

There was an absolutely amazing event on Sunday at the New York Public Library, hosted by PEN America. It was the Louder Together Event, for writers to express the importance of protecting and fighting for free speech. There were people I knew there; people I didn’t know before but admired; new-to-me people who I now know. Writers of all kinds: novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists, translators, journalists (I’m talking REAL journalists who work stories, not news readers), and, most importantly to me, perhaps: playwrights. Because live theatre is a huge arena of change, because it is experiential rather than theoretical. Heroines of mine such as Anna Devere Smith and Eve Ensler spoke. I have always felt a great honor and a great responsibility as a member of PEN — it was strengthened on Sunday.

I was disappointed not to see any familiar faces from where I now live — Cape Cod. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and think they went to the sister rally held in Boston. However, I seriously doubt it. May I be proven wrong!

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and a holiday. I took it as such. A contract offer came through — why it was sent to me instead of to my agent puzzles me. Negotiations will start this week, and it will be settled one way or the other.

I have a lot of lost ground to make up on both NOT BY THE BOOK and SONGBOUND SISTERS, although I’m feeling more confident in SONGBOUND SISTERS. Its natural rhythm is a bit slower than I’m used to; since it is yet to be contracted, I have the luxury of working with the book’s natural rhythm.

I started reading ITALIAN WAYS: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks. He says something that resonates even more strongly in 2017 than in 2013, when the book was written: “In America the lack of investment in train travel speaks eloquently of a country always ready to appear righteous but pathologically averse to surrendering car and plane for a more eco-friendly, community-conscious form of mobility.” (p. viii, Preface).

Today, in addition to catching up on writing, I have a Very Long List of administrative tasks. Gotta keep up with them or they become overwhelming.

If the contract negotiations end positively later this week or early next week, there will be press releases to get out. Ditto if the play set in the Renaissance I pitched is commissioned. So, I have to be ready to jump on either of those instantly, should they come to pass.

I’m also working on a new marketing plan for the Topic Workbooks.

It’s always feast or famine; if even a handful of the opportunism work out, I’m entering a feast cycle, which will be good. I’ll need to step up to the plate and deliver. And adjust the uncontracted work so it still moves forward (because today’s uncontracted work is tomorrow’s contracted work) without sabotaging the contracted work.

It’s all about protecting the work while keeping one’s commitments, and knowing how to shift. And being able to work on more than one thing. Very few writers have the luxury any more, of being able to work on one project at a time. They should honor their agents and editors when they do.

Have a great week!

Tues. Jan. 3, 2017: Writing and Books

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Ninth Day of Christmas
Rainy and cool

If you want to see my To Do List for January, visit the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site here.

I also have an article up about my favorite “Comfort Books” — books I re-read regularly — up on A Biblio Paradise here.

Yesterday, I wrote nearly 2300 words on the 5K short story that’s due at the end of the month, so that’s well on its way. It’s surprising me in a good way; I just hope it’s what they want.

I also wrote an article (the one on comfort books), and started rehearsing for this weekend’s MOBY DICK marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

I should have worked on NOT BY THE BOOK, but I didn’t. I’ll have to make up for that today.

I read a book called SKIN LIKE SILVER by Chris Nickson, and I really liked it. I definitely want to read more of his work. I ordered a bunch from the library. Once I read some more, I will decide which ones I’ll buy. Important to support living writers and all that.

I have more admin work to do today, and then it’s back to the page — both the short story, and NOT BY THE BOOK. Then, it’s more rehearsal for MOBY DICK.

Started a new training regimen of strength & cardio work to go along with the yoga and mediation. Yesterday was strength training. The circuit was challenging without being disheartening, and I felt much better once I did it. Today is cardio — I’m supposed to walk in this bad weather. Too bad for me, right? The only way I’m going to achieve what I want and need to is to get back in shape and stay healthy.

So the House of Representatives wants to gut the Congressional Ethics Panel, does it? The House GOP isn’t even pretending to have any ethics any more. Then it’s up to the few ethical Congress members left to hire private investigators and prosecute the unethical Congressional members through the court. Don’t make our entire system a mockery.

As of January 20, our government WILL be a mockery.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on January 3, 2017 at 10:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 3, 2017: Writing and Books  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. June 17, 2014: Writing and Raining

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool, about to rain

Worked at home yesterday morning. Headed to Centerville Library to do what I needed to do online, check email, send out my reviews, invoice, etc. Headed back home for some soup and anti-nausea medication, then drove over to the Marine Life Center to prep for the press conference.

One of the interns helped me put together packets. One of the newspapers made arrangements to come early, with a photographer and a reporter, and got the tour and the information. I rehearsed the two speakers, and set up the podium. The Board members who’d committed to come were there on time, and dressed appropriately (I’d sent out information on what would and would not read well on camera). We didn’t have a huge turnout, but each type of media — print, radio, television, and online — was represented. The conference ran smoothly, the hospital tour went well, one of the television stations did some extra interviews with personnel. All in all, I hope we got some mileage out of it. Fingers crossed.

I did some follow-up afterwards, and thank yous.

Came home, had a glass of wine on the deck, cooked dinner, and then did some organizational/research work. I’ve had a lot of books out of the libraries in the area over the past weeks, and I need to either finish using them, or return them and request them again. So that’s what I’m doing.

I just finished a really wonderful book by Rebecca Mead called MY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH. Read about it on A Biblio Paradise here.

Did some work on the scripts, but not enough; that’s on the agenda for this morning, since I have to deliver one today and one on Thursday. Next week, I have to deliver the final episode and the revisions.

I’m prepping for the Solstice Ceremony on Saturday, which should be fun. It’s my Saturday “on” at the library, but I’ll be done mid-afternoon, and the ceremony’s at night, so it’s all good.

Looking forward to a good writing day today. Trying to decide if I want to head to the Sandwich Library to do some work later this morning — it’s been a couple of months since I’ve been there. They’re the one Cape library that’s on a separate network than the rest of us. They’ve got a great collection, though. Episode #113 is ready to go out, and I’m excited about episodes 114 & 115.

I also have to mow the meadow, and bake for tomorrow’s program at my library.

I’ve got some ideas about marketing TRACKING MEDUSA that I have to get going on, too. The print edition will be out later this month, and I’d like to get it into some unusual places, especially places that are connected with the locations in the book.

Lots to do, and limited hours in the day, so I better get moving!

Devon

Published in: on June 17, 2014 at 11:07 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 17, 2014: Writing and Raining  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. June 3, 2014: Projects, Interviews, Writing

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I have an interview live over on A Biblio Paradise about how TRACKING MEDUSA evolved. Jump over and read it here.

Busy day yesterday. I lost most of the morning and a good part of the afternoon helping a colleague work on a project that was dumped on us at the last minute.

Then, I revised Episode #105 and most of #106 for the Big Script Project, while working on #109 (which has to be delivered today) and #110 (which is due on Thursday).

I tweaked a few things in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and finished Chapter 3 — it was nearly 10 PM by the time all that happened. And I realized this morning I have to do an “insert” to tweak something, or it will contradict (in the wrong way) information from TRACKING MEDUSA.

Dropped off my new boss’s birthday gifts at the library — she deserves to know she’s appreciated.

I started putting together the pieces of the Tip Sheet for tomorrow, but that has to be finished.

I have a lot of baking to do today, in preparation for tomorrow’s workshop, script work, and other stuff that all needs to get done TODAY.

I have to remember to do my own writing first, and not try to get work done for other people in the morning (my most creative time), because then I run out of words and creative energy later in the day. There’s a reason I start with MY OWN first thousand words of the day.

But I’m happy to be back on track with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Even though It’s a draft and will need work, it feels right again.

Devon

Tues. May 6, 2014: Light at the End of the Long Workday Tunnel

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to see the interview about “Lake Justice.”

Busy day yesterday. Worked on client projects, the Big Script Project, and wasted far too much time on administrative material with corporate assholes. The corporate structure in this country must be dismantled and rebuilt. Individuals cannot be allowed to mistreat and abuse customers and ignore laws and regulations due to “company policy”. If “company policy” is in conflict with a regulation or a law, the regulation or law takes precedence. The company and THE INDIVIDUAL who refuses to obey the regulation or law must be held accountable. If an individual doesn’t have the balls to stand up to illegal company practices, that individual deserves to be either fired or held liable for damages.

We had the put-in for the understudy for tomorrow night’s performance. Some of it was quite good; some of it needs work. It was a little distracting, because there was a volunteer orientation happening in the next room, but we all survived.

Tomorrow is the performance, then I file the final reports on SEAL TIDES, and we’re done. Big relief. I need to be able to settle into my new work schedule a bit, and figure out how to get the writing on my primary projects done in and around the library work, the script work, and the remaining client projects.

I also have a heck of a lot of yard work to get done.

Came home and worked on a script polish on the episode that I have to deliver today, and some work on the episode to be delivered on Thursday. I also have to get back to work on contest entries.

There will be more dealing with corporate assholes today, but at least I’m getting a lot of paperwork done, and I want to get these issues resolved.

I’m also working to get the TRACKING MEDUSA details into the Series Bible, so that I can dig into BALTHAZAAR TREASURE again, starting this weekend. July 1 is coming up quickly, and I need to get a submission-ready draft done by then — which means several rounds of edits.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on May 6, 2014 at 7:25 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 6, 2014: Light at the End of the Long Workday Tunnel  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. April 22, 2014: Earth Day and Perspectives

SEAL TIDES flyer - 2nd version-1

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool
Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Take some time to honor the our Big Blue Marble today, and find ways to care for and sustain our planet.

Worked flat out all day yesterday. I’m trying to wind up client projects, finalize the contract on the new project (because I am NOT working and delivering work without a contract and a deposit, so if they want to stick to the schedule discussed, they better stop dragging their heels and trying to backpedal on the agreed-upon terms), finish up the details for tomorrow’s opening of the show, prep next week’s workshop, etc. I wound up one of the contests — sending off the hard copies of the judging sheets, invoicing, packing up the entries to either keep or donate.

Had to run over to Falmouth to take care of something, and, on the way back, picked up most of the groceries I need to feed the actors between shows on Sunday (yes, I’m doing the cooking). Rehearsal with the understudy who will take over one of the roles in the show. It would have been a nice day for yard work, but there weren’t enough hours in the day.

Wrote two essays, one of which is up on A Biblio Paradise, as part of the new column “From the Stacks at Marstons Mills”, which will run on the fourth Tuesday of the month. As I’m learning the collection, I’m pulling and reading random titles that catch my eye and writing personal essays related to them. Researched the two articles on deadline. Worked on other client projects — one until nearly 11 PM — the graphics aren’t behaving; something in my program isn’t speaking to the jpg properly. It’s working with jpgs from other projects, just not these particular jpgs, so I’m not sure what the issue is.

Have a lot of work to do this morning on this front, before heading over to the Marine Life Center for our final dress/tech. Tomorrow, SEAL TIDES opens. Think comedy thoughts for us — faster, louder, funnier! 😉

Yesterday was an intense day all around the Boston area. Fortunately, the Marathon went smoothly, which I think is a huge step toward dealing with last year’s bombing. Joy and healing can begin to temper the pain and loss of the day.

The lives lost in the ferry accident in South Korea is tragic. Those poor parents. There are so many events that actually have meaning in the larger fabric that it’s harder to tolerate the petty crap so prevalent.

Hopefully, today will be a day that’s both productive and joyful.

Devon

tnLakeJustice
“Lake Justice” releasing from Amber Quill Press soon!

Published in: on April 22, 2014 at 6:49 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,