Fri. Sept. 22, 2017: Jose’s Sit-N-Spin, Writing Weekend

Friday, Sept. 22, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hurricane Jose still here
Autumn Equinox

Jose’s doing a sit-and-spin over us. It’s not anywhere near as bad as how other areas have suffered. It will, however, require a good bit of clean-up when it finally moves on. I am grateful for the lack of force and fury, but tired of the steady rain and wind.

I have a few difficult days coming up, and my coping skills are not at their best. But not coping is not an option.

Worked on the back matter for SAVASANA AT SEA; started working on the opening chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will be in the back of this one. I’m having a lot of fun with the chapter. The premise of this book is going to allow for a lot of adventure, mystery, comedy, and romance.

Wrote a little over 1K on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN.

Did some research, took some notes.

Turns out an article I’d submitted at the end of July never arrived; good thing I contacted the editor to follow up. I re-sent it, and it is scheduled to run in about six weeks — longer than I’d like, mostly because of the pay, but at least it’s all sorted out, and neither of us wonders if the other party is unreliable.

Heard back from a script pitch — basically, as part of the interview process I’m supposed to become a customer of the product I pitched to write about. Um, no. Honey, that’s not how it works. You bring in a professional to write about the product for other people. You don’t pretend you’re hiring someone to enlarge your customer numbers. Next!

I have promotion and research to do today, and then a lot of work to get done over the weekend. I have two books to review — I’ve been dragging my feet on one of them, because it’s a draft in desperate need of an editor, not a finished book one can charge money for — and I’m trying to figure out how to review it properly without being that blunt. But I must get on with it, and then move on to the other book. I’d like to get them both done and the reviews submitted by early next week.

I have a couple of short pieces to work on, that should also go out next week, finish up the backmatter for SAVASANA, so that can go off to my editor early next week, and work on FIX IT GIRL. Two of the research books I needed are in, so I can settle in with those chapters, and maybe return the books once and for all by the end of next week.

The book Willow works on in THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is so interesting that now I want to write it, too. Since I have to do the shadow research in order to properly write about the research she does for the book, I’ll have enough material to write the actual book!

Feeling discouraged on several fronts, and overwhelmed. I hope that the Equinox ceremony this afternoon will set me back to rights.

I have a meeting early on Monday, so I will be late posting.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Advertisements

Wed. Aug. 16, 2017: Freelance Range

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Oh, how I long for the days when all we had to worry about was a book review or whether or not the wine delivery was on time. I want to go back to the days of talking about books and art and cat videos. Unfortunately, our very lives depend on our current choices and actions. We are in the midst of a Civil War.

And the idiot who is at the helm clearly aligned himself with Nazis yesterday in a press conference that was irrational and irredeemable. Yet Speaker Ryan and Mitch McConnell continue to do nothing, because having him where he is suits their personal agendas. They are just as corrupt and must also be removed. Every day they refuse to do their jobs, they continue to prove they agree with him, they align with him (no matter what their empty words contain), and they refuse to uphold their oaths to the Constitution.

But, apart from my daily activist work, I also have to keep a roof over my head, and that means writing.

I sent off my article in the morning; by afternoon, it was accepted and paid, which is one of the reasons I love working with this particular publication.

I’m in discussions with a publication whose work I admire, who liked my samples, and who is interested in having me on staff. There’s more research and pitching on my part, and more decisions on their part, but if it all works out, I will be excited.

Pitched for a corporate script job out west (I’d work remotely), and for two other gigs, wildly different topics, both well in my wheelhouse, but which would still let me stretch. It would be steady work that paid fairly, if one or both work out. I had to pull samples and create a different type of sample packet for one of the pitches, but I think it reads well.

In the afternoon, I alternated between reading A WALK BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH: A PERSONAL JOURNAL ON WRITING AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS by Burghild Nina Holzer, and working on the first assignment for the new publication that hired me a couple of weeks ago.

This is why I’m the Anti-Niche, and why I refuse to be locked into the myth of “niche writing”. I get to live many lives and follow a wide variety of interests, do it well, and get paid.

I gave myself a break from fiction yesterday, although I have to get back on the stick with that. I’ll have to juggle the final galleys on PLAYING THE ANGLES with the revision of SAVASANA AT SEA. Which is fine, but I want to finish the assignment from the editor today and get that off tomorrow morning.

This morning, I have a couple of essays to work on and then send off. I need to research a market for a short story and get that out, and research another market for an essay.

It’s hard to create in the midst of destruction, and hard to balance creation with then necessary work to ensure survival on both an individual and a cultural basis. But it’s necessary.

Published in: on August 16, 2017 at 9:19 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 16, 2017: Freelance Range  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions

Monday, July 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Intense weekend. Still dealing with personal issues.

Worked on the article; it should be ready to go out tomorrow. Roughed out two more articles and two flash fiction pieces I hope to get done this week.

Most of the weekend was spent working on the Coventina Circle series. I’ve got the edits done on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I have a bit more backmatter to add in over the next few days, and then it goes to my editor and copy editor.

Worked on the information for what will be the Coventina Circle Series Bible. I have most of the character information in there; now I need to do the place information.

We’ve roughed out the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, too. The central protagonists are Bonnie and Rufus, and it deals with both contemporary times and with New York City’s history as New Amsterdam. The first chapter of SPIRIT REPOSITORY will be included in the back of PLAYING THE ANGLES.

I re-read what I have on the book. I thought I was nearly finished with it, but it’s really only about a third. I have to get cracking, since we now have a May 2018 release date for it. But I got a good sense of it, and have to sit down and work out some plot complications. It will take a few days to finish outlining it and then I can get back to work on it. That book has to go into the regular, daily writing schedule.

I also spent time doing Writers Rough Outlines on other books in the series. I have basic notes on the Lesley/Sam book and the Diana/Greg book. I spent most of my time focusing on Book 3 in the series, which has the tentative title of RELICS & REQUIEM. That book focuses on Amanda and Phineas.

Because the lives of these characters are so entwined, and I’ve set up some strong relationships in ANGLES, I find I need to work on the outlines in tandem. Things that happen further down the line need seeds planted in the earlier books. Each book stands alone, and has a different central pair of protagonists, as paranormal romantic suspense does, but they feed on each other.

It’s an interesting process, and I understand so much more about structure than I did when I first wrote ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. Growth in a writer is a good thing.

Started reading WORDS ON THE AIR, which is the collected letters of poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. It’s gotten me thinking about writing an epistolary novel. Supposedly, that’s out of fashion, but it’s a style I enjoy. Made some notes. I think I want it to cover several decades of history. The characters are talking to me, telling me about their lives and how they want it to work. It will take quite a bit of research, I think.

Getting back into writing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY means re-visiting some of New York City’s earliest history. I ordered some books from the library, then looked up and realized I owned one of them. When I first percolated the novel, I used Washington Irving’s diaries. I also bought a good biography of him, but didn’t read it. It’s sitting on the shelf next to his diaries. Time to read it.

One of the late payments arrived; the smallest one (of course), and only part of it. But better than nothing. The other payment better arrive in the next few days. This is ridiculous. “Processing” means the check will be written and mailed, not that you’re deciding to maybe someday pay or not pay. Use the right language.

The actor John Heard died. I was sorry to hear it. We worked together off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club on an Arthur Miller play quite a few year ago. He had a meticulous process approaching his work. He had the reputation for being difficult, but we got along well.

Watched PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES again this weekend. I liked it better this time around. My favorite scene is still the Bennett girls getting ready for the ball, hiding their weapons in their gowns. My 94 year-old mother, who doesn’t like paranormal movies, loved it. She’s re-reading Jane Austen right now, and we’re watching all the movies, and I wanted to see this one shortly after seeing the definitive PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Colin Firth.

Lots to do today. I’d like to stay in the cocoon of the Coventina Circle books, but I have to deal with the real world in order to keep a roof over our heads. I have a project meeting on Thursday that I’m looking forward to.

I have to do some rearranging of front matter for a play that a producer is interested in; more to do with renumbering the pages than anything else. I gave it a proofread yesterday, and it holds up better than I remember, which is a good thing.

Already did a grocery run this morning (to avoid the tourists), and wrote two drafts on a flash fiction piece I’ve been turning around in my head for a few days. I hope to get it out the door soon. While I drove to the grocery store, I had another flash fiction idea about a butcher and his vegetarian customer who shops for her elderly neighbor. Will work on that when I’m done with the articles.

Because, you know, ideas come in batches.

Published in: on July 24, 2017 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. July 21, 2017: Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Balancing Act

Friday, July 21, 2017
Day before Dark Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Back to our regularly scheduled balancing act.

Lori Widmer kindly referred to me in one of her posts on Words on the Page as an example of busting a freelance writing myth. I’m honored to be included. I’m in a rough patch now, and that mention makes me realize that I’m further along than I often feel.

I’m having trouble with the mower again, which is hurting my ability to get the meadow finished. That was one of the worst purchases I’ve ever made, certainly the worst house-related purchase. Poulan Pro not only has substandard equipment, they don’t honor the warranty. I spent far too much on this piece of garbage, and it’s never worked properly. Very frustrating. At least I won’t make the mistake of doing business with Poulan Pro again.

Worked on the article on deadline. I’m waiting for one more quote, will integrate it when it arrives, and then off it goes (probably on Monday).

I have to figure out where to pitch next. I’m feeling a little burned out, pitch-wise, and I need to get back on track with a couple of short stories that need to go out.

Pitched for a project out of San Francisco that sounds like great fun; I’d love to be part of that team, if they’re willing to work with someone remotely.

Working on the PLAYING THE ANGLES galleys. Still trying to figure out how I can get the right Facebook page up. The one for Delectable Digital Delights and Jain Lazarus work well; the Gwen Finnegan doesn’t. But I can’t find in the settings what page I chose when I set it up. All very frustrating.

Working on the adjusted outlines for the “between-the-books” novella MYTH & INTERPRETATION and then, BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Prepping for my project meeting next week. I hope we like each other and it works out. The company interests me.

I’ve been reading about web design, trying to figure out if I can create GOOD ftp files for subdomains and uphold them to my current website. I’m intimidated. What I need to do is take a course in all this. I need a structured environment to learn how to do it. It’s a different language; rather than just saying, ” I don’t get it”, I want to find a way to learn it.

The books on Hearst Castle came back, so hopefully, I can dig into them and get that section done on FIX IT GIRL in the next couple of weeks. I’m behind where I want to be on that.

I hope, this weekend, to do a big chunk of work on “Labor Intensive” as well.

Hopefully, the humidity will lessen; I don’t do well in this weather and neither does the computer. I’d like to be clear-headed and productive.

On author Trish Milburn’s recommendation, I’m reading THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin. I’m thinking about doing an essay on it for Biblio Paradise next week. There are things I really respond to in the book, and things I don’t. But then, the book is about HER happiness, not mine.

The day before the dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month, so I’m dragging today. It’s an effort to dig down and focus. Layer on the life stress, and today is a challenge.

Back to juggling burning chainsaws.

Have a great weekend.

Wed. July 12, 2017: Trying to Write Through Stress

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and humid

Yesterday, I accepted the article offer and got out my interview questions to my interview subjects. All but one (a major publisher) responded immediately. I’m going to construct the article over the next few days, hone a few points, and get it to my editor early next week, I think. I’ll approach a different publisher today; I can’t wait around.

Submitted the essay somewhere else. Sent off a book query.

I read a paranormal mystery in the afternoon — some of it I liked, some I didn’t. I’d like to read another book in the series.

Worked on the story for the sick teen. Did some purging of boxes. I’m overwhelmed if I look at the big picture of what has to be cleaned out, but I can manage if I do a little at a time.

STILL waiting on those late payments.

Did some research for the Lavinia Fontana play.

As of today, I have the Sophie Batchelder rights back. Instead of being pushed into a formula that doesn’t work for the books and is far from my vision, I can go back to what I know is the right course for the books and make them even stronger. Title change, series title change, working on cover art, and will start work on the next draft as soon as FIX IT GIRL is done.

Still struggling to come up with the right cover for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I need to figure out a proof-reading schedule for it, so I don’t get too far behind.

There was a ghost writing gig that sounded fun, although I wasn’t sure what the pay rate was. They kept telling me it’s “flexible” — on whose end? Because there’s only so much flexibility in my rates. They also wanted a project-specific sample for free (that would be “no”) and want the bulk of the work to be done via phone — without paying for phone time. That is also “no”. If someone is going to waste my time rambling out loud, I will be compensated for that time. As I’ve said many times before, I have never had a so-called “business” call lasting more than 90 seconds that wasn’t a complete waste of time and entirely about the other party’s ego. No. I charge for phone time, in 15-minute increments. Like a lawyer.

I have two short stories that need my attention, and then I have to dig into “Labor Intensive”. I also need to get going on the Lavinia Fontana play. It’s not taking shape in my head, and I need it to do so before I can start writing it.

It’s difficult to write with life stress pushing down, but all I can do is put my head down, dig in and keep working.  The only way past the life stress is to write my way out of it.

Also, someone I’ve trusted for most of my life performed a major betrayal; that’s always disconcerting. But people will disappoint you, and you have to keep going on.

Published in: on July 12, 2017 at 9:18 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 12, 2017: Trying to Write Through Stress  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tues. June 20, 2017: Market Choice/Writing Choice

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, foggy, muggy

Today, I’m going to spend some time on choosing the right market, and then backtrack to the daily details of my constant striving (and strife) to balance the freelance writing life.

Last week, I struggled over an article, but was ultimately satisfied I’d done good work and sent it to a new-to-me market that pays fast. I specifically crafted an article I hoped would hit their sweet spot because they pay fast. I don’t like their style or their content. I don’t like writing on spec (and in many cases, I won’t). But I didn’t expect the piece to take as long as it did to write and research, and, as I’ve said numerous times, I liked the fact that they pay fast.

I woke up this morning to a rejection.

I knew it was well-written, carefully proofread. The fact checking sheet was solid, with reliable sources. But they wanted more National Enquirer and less New Yorker. Basically, I hadn’t dumbed it down enough for their readership. I’d hoped I’d mimicked their style; I’d tried to mirror it as much as possible, without making myself throw up. I cared about the topic, and wanted to do it justice. I had hoped to find a balance between an interesting, well-written piece and the pandering they often do to their readership.

The market was the wrong choice for me. Does that mean I’m not “professional” enough to be able to write for them? Some would say yes. I say I wrote to the limit of pandering my gag reflex would allow, and hoped it would fit what they were looking for. It didn’t.

I should have stopped writing as soon as my gag reflex engaged. Hey, it would be great to detach myself from the content and not give a damn. Write whatever the market wants, take the money and run. Well, if I turn down corporate gigs for companies whose missions I believe are unethical, and they are offering me enough so I could buy a house in a year, and I still say no, why would I do the same for an okay-but-not-brilliant rate? There was only so far I could go.

I’ve worked hard on my author’s voice; I’ve worked hard so that when I ghost, I can mimic the “author’s” voice. I’ve worked hard building craft over a long period of years. Perhaps that means I should be able to bend the craft to fit any market; or perhaps I should just write for those markets I respect.

I liked the idea of the piece. In fact, I loved it — the topic was something I cared about. The research was interesting, and I was sorry I had to distill the piece down as much as I did to fit the market’s parameters.

The topic was part of the problem. Although it was, technically, in one of the arenas the publication claimed it wanted, it was something that would appeal more to the literate than the reality-show crowd.

Basically, I attempted it to appeal to a wider audience, when the market appeals to a narrow (and often narrow-minded) audience. Once I knew the idea was for a literate audience, I should have re-slanted it and aimed it at a different publication.

I followed the formatting guidelines exactly. I had the proofreading, the links, the format — exactly. But the content was off.

In my classes and in the Topic Workbooks, I harp on the necessity of following submission guidelines EXACTLY. An acquaintance of mine is handles submissions for a monthly publication; they get between 800-1000 submissions per week. 85% of them are pitched unread because they don’t follow submission guidelines. Of the other 15%, 75% are then rejected because of sloppy writing and lack of proofreading to such an extent that it would take the editors too long to fix the errors. Massive editing doesn’t fit the production schedule of the publication. 10% don’t fit the focus of the publication (probably a great many of the 85% that were rejected also did not fit the publication, but they never got that far). The remaining submissions make it to the editorial meeting for possible inclusion.

So, let’s say, that particular week, they got 1000 submissions. 850 are chucked out for not following guidelines. That leaves 150 — not too shabby. 75% of those are so badly written, they’re out. That’s 113 badly written pieces that are chucked, and another 15 that don’t fit. That leaves 22 possible pieces. Not bad.

This is when it gets really competitive. 22 viable pieces come in once a week for a limited number of slots free every month. 22 pieces a week x 4 weeks — 88 pieces per month when there are probably only 20-30 slots available.

The competition is keen.

From what my rejection letter stated, it looks like I at least made it to the round where it passed guidelines, format, and craft, but they felt it didn’t fit their focus. In other words, it was one of the 10% chucked out for not fitting the publication neatly enough. Which is a perfectly legitimate reason for it to be rejected.

I knew the finished article was a risk, because it wound up being more “literary” than I expected. At that point, I could have decided not to submit. But, I decided to take the risk, just in case they’d pick an occasional piece that was a bit more literary.

I wanted the money. Nothing wrong with that.

They didn’t want the piece. As is their right.

Now what?

I still like the piece. What I’m going to do is reformat it and re-slant it a bit. Some of the fact-check links that the original market demanded will be transformed into a sidebar for additional information. I’m going to re-shape some of it and add some of the content I liked, but knew I had to cut for the particular market (both word count and content restrictions). And I’ll pitch it to a different publication. A publication that wants more New Yorker than National Enquirer.

It also means that two other articles I have pending with this publication will probably be rejected for the same reason. In which case, I won’t keep submitting, quick pay or no, because my time is better spent working on pitches to publications that pay $1/word, where I like their content and they like mine.

It was a gamble that didn’t pay off. I submitted to a publication that left a bad taste in my mouth, whose work I don’t like, and I wasn’t willing to match enough of their writing style to get in. Some would say that means I’m not “professional” enough, not detached enough. Definitely not detached enough. Others would say I’m not a “hack”, and I shouldn’t have tried hack writing. I don’t happen to think there’s anything wrong with hack writing. Many a writer who went on to public works we still read was known as a hack in their own time, churning out stories for pulps, and articles and reviews for anyone who would pay them enough to keep a roof over their heads.

“Writing to market” is an important part of selling one’s work. Since this is my business, not my hobby, I better write material that sells. I better also choose my markets by what they actually publish, instead of what I think they should publish.

So, onward.

Yesterday was one of those days that no matter where I worked, the work didn’t flow well. My hyperaccusis/misophonia was bad (as it is when I’m under severe stress) and almost any sound caused pain.

I took my mom in to the doctor, and she had a biopsy. Fingers crossed it turns out well. I had trouble writing anything by the time we got back. I tried working at the library, but it was too noisy. I came home and did some research and noodled with a few ideas.

I sent off my requested revisions to my new editor, explaining nicely that if he wanted something first thing Monday, it needed to be on my desk before noon on Friday, not at 9 AM Sunday morning. If I get fired for that, so be it. They don’t pay enough for me to compromise my Day of Disconnect.

I will have quite a bit to say tomorrow on the Shakespeare idiocy that the ignorant and stupid are currently engaging in (since most of them seem to think he’s alive and can be bullied). But that’s another piece for another day.

Today, I have errands to run, and I’ll try to work at the library for a bit. I’m having trouble finishing the short stories that need to go out, but I just have to buckle down and do them. I have some more article pitches to send out, and others to work on and/or follow up.

And I can’t neglect the longer fiction, which has gotten the short shrift the last few weeks, replaced by articles that are on a quicker pay cycle.

Tomorrow, the weather’s supposed to be clear, so I have to get back to work mowing (the terrace is looking like a vacant lot again). I also have a project meeting way down the other end of the Cape that I’m looking forward to. I don’t want to get my hopes up, and it’s out of my usual client range, but I like the company, and I like the person I dealt with so far, so fingers crossed it will all be good.

Tomorrow is also the Solstice, and I have to get ready for that celebration. I’m not feeling much like celebrating, but it will make me feel better.

Back to the page.

Fri. June 16, 2017: Just Keep Writing

Friday, June 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I finally got the article I’d been working on all week out the door; still waiting to hear back from a pitch I’d hoped was a quick turnaround. Got a few other pitches out.

Consultations on the new cover for “The Ramsey Chase”. There were two possibilities, both eye-catching, but I chose the one set in the graveyard, because the denouement is set in a graveyard. It’s not quite as spooky as the original cover, but I like the image. The byline might be enlarged just a point in the font, but, other than that, I’m happy with it.

I played with some ideas for the next story in the series, and I’ve got a few ideas spinning. We’ll see which ones actually work. I’ll have to write at least the opening scene soon, so it can go in with “Ramsey”. The re-read and the proof-read I need to do on it should help me regain the tone.

It was actually too cool to work outside on the deck yesterday afternoon; I only managed a few minutes. But, I roughed out some article ideas that I will now formulate into pitches, and also found the premise of what could be an intriguing piece of fiction. I need to play with it for a bit. The contrasting POVs would be fascinating to explore.

The exercise bicycle I picked up last week on craigslist is already having a positive effect. I’ve also finally lost the “library weight” I’d put on. Even though I’m sitting a lot for my work, I’m more active and I’m eating better. It seems all I crave lately are apples, cucumbers, peppers, parsley, and the like.

I’m hoping to have a solid writing weekend, although when it’s not raining, I’ll still have to mow. I got the side yard done yesterday morning, so it’s the terraced back area today, and then, tomorrow, back to the meadow. I also have to do some trimming in areas that the mower can’t reach.

Finished a short story that will go out today. I’m getting better at fiction that’s truly short. Which is a good thing, since there are markets for it. It’s also a good contrast to novel-length. I’m proud of myself, because the story came in only one word over the count, and I cut a qualifier, and there I was!

Started a short science fiction story, which is kind of fun. If it works, I should be able to have it submission-ready by Monday.

Still wrestling with the longer piece; I have to dig farther into the emotions, and rework the structure a bit. It should hit just over 3K when it’s done and revised. That needs to go out next week.

Started two more articles, with the basics that I’ll then fill in and use citations.

I have a project meeting set up for mid-week next week. Looking forward to meeting them – I think/hope we’d work well together.

I’d like to take some time off this weekend, but I also have to do the next section on THE FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on June 16, 2017 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 16, 2017: Just Keep Writing  
Tags: , , , , ,

Fri. June 9, 2017: Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out

Friday, June 9, 2017
Full Moon
Jupiter Direct
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I pitched five script jobs and an editing job yesterday morning, back-to-back, and was exhausted. Wasn’t able to do much in the afternoon; it felt like I ran out of words, although I got all the background research I needed for my article.

Managed to revise and put in the changes for the next three chapters of FIX IT GIRL. In the upcoming chapter, I have to add The First Big Love Scene of the book, which wasn’t in the original draft, so I’m turning over, in my mind, how to do that in a way that’s appropriate to the context and time period.

This morning, I put some fixes into a few scenes in the first part of PARALLEL-O-GAME, where I’d rushed things near the end. I also started Part II. I’d say I wrote close to ten pages.

Had my meeting. Love the project, the people, the organization. We can’t make the money work. I’m a little heartbroken. But, as is typical in this area, they don’t want to pay for hours worked or work done. So, no matter how much I like them, I’m not doing it.

Came home and cried.

Pulled myself together and got back to work on the article. I need to get it out today, and then figure out some more to pitch. Then, it’s back to FIX IT GIRL, and to the next assignment from my new editor.

I’m feeling about as creative as wilted lettuce right now, and the last thing I’m up for is crafting a romantic love scene, but too bad for me.

I hope you have a good weekend. I will be working.

Published in: on June 9, 2017 at 10:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 9, 2017: Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out  
Tags: , , , , ,

Thurs. June 8, 2017: When You Just Want to Slap the Bitch

Thursday, June 8, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Well, yesterday was . . .challenging.

Wrote 13 pages on the teleplay, finishing the first part.

Managed to arrive at the arts center on time for the social hour. The exhibit currently up is terrific; the interpretations are engaging and unique. About forty or fifty people turned out, which, for a Cape event, is great. A friend of mine was in charge of it, one of the most positive people I know, so that was all good.

Ran into someone with whom I’d been involved in an organization for months, and even been to her home on numerous occasions. She had no idea who I was. Or chose to pretend that. Okay, fine.

We went down to the costume shop and met the designer of an upcoming show. Talk about familiar surroundings! The costume shop could have been in NYC or San Francisco or Edinburgh. Too funny.

However, one of the other attendees waxed on and on about how the people who work in the theatre “love what they do so much, just do it for the love of it, work so hard, and then get up and go to work the next morning.”

I wanted to slap that bitch.

Theatre is a viable profession. That ignorant dolt’s attitude reflects the attitude around here, that theatre isn’t a “real job” and something to be done “on the side.” Sorry, it’s not. It’s a profession.

I think they were hoping to get volunteers for the organization from the coffee. Good for them, but I am paid for my work. This is my PROFESSION, not my hobby.

I was pretty upset when I left. That anecdote reflects what’s a big part of my weighing whether or not I should leave this area. I worked too hard all my life, all the way up to Broadway, to have my profession insulted like that. It’s the same as telling a neurosurgeon he’s got a “cute little hobby, cutting open skulls and poking around.”

This misplaced notion in this area that the only “real” work is to take minimum wage jobs and never get ahead and only work on art “on the side” is everything I’ve rejected all my life. As someone who’s made my living in the arts since I was eighteen, it’s frustrating.

Came home, worked on a couple more pages of the teleplay, but I have to work out the opening scene to Part Two in my head a bit more.

Worked on my next article; I need to do some research today to finish it off and fact check some links.

Was told my next assignment on the new, supposedly long-term gig is on its way.

Found a batch of script jobs to which I want to pitch; I will do that today.

Revised the next three chapters of FIX IT GIRL, which was just over 6K, bringing my total revisions so far to just over 44K.

The weather’s better, so I’m going to start mowing the meadow today, then run some errands, then do the necessary research for the article, finish it, pitch to the script gigs, work on a couple of other pitches, and do my quota of pages on both the teleplay and the revisions of FIX IT GIRL. Then, I have to prep for tomorrow morning’s meeting.

I slept in until 7 this morning, so I feel like I’m a bit behind, time-wise. Still, since I’m making my own schedule, I’ll simply work until it’s all done.

I can’t believe we’re in June and it’s still so damn cold.

Published in: on June 8, 2017 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 8, 2017: When You Just Want to Slap the Bitch  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear

Monday, May 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Not the productive weekend I’d hoped for, unfortunately.

The stress of the personal issues I’m dealing with hit like a hammer, and it was difficult for me to get anything else done. I managed a little yard work, but not like the marathon hours that my neighbors did. Their lawns are pristine; my mower still isn’t working. I’m hoping the replacement of a simple part or two will do the trick.

I got a little work done on the play proposal, and some plotting work done on the radio play. I need to gear up and get those out the door this week.

On the upside, I re-read Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons mysteries, and enjoyed them. I drafted up some reviews I’ll leave for them. I also read a couple of her earlier books, one-offs, which were also fun.

STILL waiting for my first assignment from that editor who, weeks ago, said I was hired. I could have done THREE assignments (and been paid) in this time frame. I’m irritated. Perhaps it’s time to move on and take other work instead. IF I’m ever contacted, I’ll see what my schedule is, or I’ll bow out. If you’re “constantly” adding people to the team and promising “steady” work, it doesn’t take three weeks to make the first assignment.

Drafting a short article and an article pitch that need to go out today. Also want to tackle the short story — I’d like to get that out by the end of this week. I need to do some reformatting on the Topic Workbooks for an additional release venue, and get back to work on the next Topic Workbook. I’m going to try to release one every three months.

I re-read TIE CUTTER, which needs to get back into the writing mix in the next few months, and also did some more research for the next section of FIX IT GIRL revisions. The revision process on this novel is different than my usual, but it’s working for the particular novel, so I’m going with it.

Managed to get in a bit of yard work this morning before the rain started, although I was bitten several times. I hate ants. I’m in full out war with the ants. I know, I should appreciate them and all they stand for, but they’re not keeping their part of the bargain.

I have errands to run this morning, some things to do at the library, and then, hopefully, I can get back to the page. This week will be very stressful, on multiple fronts, and I’m trying to prepare myself, both mentally and physically.

Published in: on May 22, 2017 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Mon. Jan. 20, 2014: Opportunities — Some Grabbed, Some Not

Monday, January 20, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold
Martin Luther King Day

Busy weekend. Friday, I dug in and did a lot of work for my new editing client, prepped for my new article gig (we’re trying each other out on a paid assignment), finished the revisions on the second teleplay, worked with students, and roughed out a couple of press releases. I also did some work on the novella, falling in love with it again.

A potential new client who’d been at me about a big “emergency” project that I HAD to start immediately has been dragging his feet about a deposit and a contract. I stood firm in refusing to do the work until both were in place, in spite of the continuous whine of “but it’s an emergency!” If it’s so important, put the deposit in my Paypal account, sign the contract, scan it, email it back, and I’ll get started. But I am NOT doing the work for someone I know nothing about and have no reason to trust without all that in place. Back and forth all day. Finally, I told them to talk to someone else; I have too much on my plate right now to play this game. I told you repeatedly what needed to happen for the work to get done within the time frame you claim to need it; if you’re not willing to do that, I am not the person for the assignment.

I have no doubt they were hoping to get me to do the work, and then find a reason not to pay me. I didn’t just fall of the turnip truck. Professionals work with deposits and contracts, and professional clients understand and respect that. Buh-bye.

Disorganization on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Especially when you haven’t shown any inclination to pay me to fix the emergency.

There’s a new post up on Gratitude and Growth about the too-early planting I’m doing, which I hope won’t come back around and bite me in the butt.

I read two very well-written books over the weekend, DELIA’S SHADOW by Jaime Lee Moyer, and THE BONES OF PARIS by Laurie R. King.

Saturday, I was out of words. I was tired and unable to really focus. I did some work in the morning, but then gave myself the rest of the day off. I did things like grocery shop. I managed to do some research for the Eliot-Stowe-Bronte project.

Sunday was better. Got the changes into the teleplay, worked on the novella a bit, did some more work for the editing client. A company I’d pitched to about a month ago contacted me in a frenzy, wanting 10 press releases by this morning. TEN. Of course they balked at the rate, the deposit, and the rush fee. Sweetie, if you need TEN press releases by Monday, why are you waiting to contact someone on Sunday and then expect the releases to cost no more that $15 each? Without deposit or rush fee? Oh, right, you must be used to working with content-mill-level writers. Sorry, not me. You want my time and level of experience, you pay my rates.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, then cooked down the bones to make soup. Yum! Labor-intensive, but yum!

I’ve got the article to prep, work to do for my editing client, work with students, press releases (for a regular client and on some of my own upcoming events) to draft. I signed some exciting contracts this morning and am sending them back — will be able to make an official announcement soon!

Had to turn down a theatre opportunity because it conflicts with the new play, the NECRWA conference, and the two projects whose contracts I signed this morning. Maybe some other year I’ll be under consideration again and can go for it.

Two screenplay ideas are swirling in my head (loglines already done; they’re for the packet going out March 4), and I’ve got a LOT to get done today, along with picking up a few things before tomorrow’s snowstorm hits — we’re supposed to get eight inches.

To the page!

Devon

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 8:33 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. June 13, 2013: Good Workday and Eager for Conference

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I was productive yesterday. Got out my review (last for this editor, whaaa — but I’m excited for his new opportunities). Wrote a press release and a blurb for the previous day’s committee meeting, per what I promised and am waiting for feedback. Worked with private students and the Supporting Characters students. Wrote an article. Roughed out a second article. Did some research on Venetian painting (I could have spent all day on that — delightful). Realized I had to return books, so I pulled one of them (that I can’t renew any more) and took the notes I needed before making the trip.

You know you spend a lot of time in local libraries when the librarian greets you by name as you walk in and brings over the next stack of books put aside! Cape Cod has some of the best libraries and best librarians ever. I am truly blessed.

Watched lectures for both my Climate Literacy class and the Archaeology class. Interesting how some of the issues intersect.

Worked up general notes for a new series and started outlining the opening of the first book. This is in an historical context, which means I get to do a whole lot of fun things with it!

Prepped for the conference I’m attending today and tomorrow. It’s about Cape Cod’s changing coast — feeds directly into the climate literacy class, and I expect that information here and from my friend at NMLC will give me the background I need for my first climate literacy paper.

I’m going to try to work with some students now, before I leave for the conference (yes, it’s just after 6 AM — the beauty of an online course).

I’m in my Annabel Aidan persona over on the Writers Vineyard, talking about trusting your creative subconscious here.

Looking forward to the day — in spite of the nor’easter heading our way!

Devon

Thurs. Oct. 4: Exciting Times and Time to Go Home!

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Worked with my students yesterday, got some good work done on a few other projects. Got an apology from the slow-paying client with a promise to “pay next week”. We’ll see if that happens. Watched several of my Sustainability video lectures, and several of the World History lectures, and took the quizzes. This week’s lectures are useful in terms of my flood/drought project. I also did an email interview promoting both the Jain Lazarus books and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT that will go up in late November.

Tessa is sulky and upset. She got out of the house and was difficult to catch yesterday, poor little thing. Hopefully, she will be glad to see me when I get home, and not act like Violet. Violet always does “talk to the tail” for three days before she forgives me.

I’m over at the Writers Vineyard today in my Annabel Aidan persona, giving thanks for this year’s Writing Harvest.

It’s more stressful here than it needs to be; I will be glad to go home. Although “home” will be chaotic for the next few weeks — the owner decided the outside of the house needs to be painted and a new roof put on.

I had a lovely meeting with an agent last night, and we had a good chat that ranged over many topics. We brainstormed some ideas, and now it’s up to me to see if I can come up with proposals that fulfill what we discussed. Excited about it.

I want to get the revisions on the article done before I head back today, and will try to get as much schoolwork done as possible. Well, I’d LIKE to curl up and read a good book, but that is not going to be an option until about Sunday! And that book will be something I’m reviewing!

Quick reminder — I’m over at the Muse Online Conference next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, teaching my Supporting Characters workshop. Hope to see you there!

Off we go — I hope the drive back won’t be bad this afternoon. I’m tired of driving in bad weather and dense traffic.

Devon