Fri. Sept. 11, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 114 — Anniversary of 9/11

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, September 11, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and Humid

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I have an essay about it over on Grief to Art.

This morning, I plan to watch the performance of Table of Silence, streaming from Lincoln Center.

Remember how, last week, I was worried that those anti-mask Covidiots at the mechanic’s might sabotage my car because I was masked and following protocols? Guess what . . .leaking fluids and dropping wing nuts. Not sure if I should go back and force them to fix it (risking my life yet again) or go somewhere else – only I don’t know where else to go. My regular, trusted mechanic is too far.

Trader Joe’s run was fine, although I bought more than I planned. But I’m stockpiling for winter.

Got some client work done, did some LOIs.

It was Freelance Chat’s 2nd anniversary, which was fun.

A middle-aged white woman (wearing her fanny pack but unmasked) was roaming the neighborhood, banging on doors. In a pandemic. When I saw her coming, I shut the front windows, because, you know, AIRBORNE virus. I refused to answer when she pounded on the door, and told her I definitely wouldn’t unless she wore a mask.

“I don’t need a mask!” She insisted. “I have Jesus.”

Needless to say, I did not open the door. She knocked until she tired of it, and wandered off to the next house. Then I disinfected the door.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s new book, JANE DARROWFIELD AND THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR. It’s fantastic. Absolutely wonderful. Funny, scary, heartfelt all at once. She is a writer who takes the genre and makes it better.

My friend’s sister released a book of poetry. I ordered the book and signed up for her Zoom reading next week. Next Wednesday is stacked to the rafters: onsite with a client for a few hours, Remote chat, a session with NYU LA alumni, and the Zoom reading.

Took time to read both VANITY FAIR and start the latest NEW YORKER issue. I really like what Radhika Jones, the current editor is doing with it. I’d stopped reading it under Graydon Carter because it wasn’t relevant to me – a bunch of rich white people amusing each other and reassuring each other they were fabulous. But the September issue, with a focus on racial injustice and Breonna Taylor’s murder in particular, is excellent, and I’m glad I’ve re-subscribed.

Knowledge Unicorns

We had our second session yesterday. It went well. One of the schools where one of the kids was pressured to return to has already shut down again due to the virus. Some of the other kids (siblings) were pulled out of regular school at the end of the 2018-19 schoolyear and have been homeschooled starting last fall, so they are old hat at learning at home, and they are offering suggestions to the kids new to it to make it easier. Even though the homeschooling program is quite different from the current online learning platform, there are still tools and inner coping resources that are helpful in both.

We talked about 9/11. It was a bit of a shock to realize that NONE of them had been born when the attacks happened. Again, it made me feel old. But hey, I’m not 20 anymore.

There’s a fantastic interview in the September issue of VANITY FAIR, Ava DuVernay interviewing Angela Davis. Angela Davis has had a huge impact on my frame of reference ever since I can remember. I read the interview to the group, and we talked about it, Davis’s belief and commitment that it is the ordinary people who create change.

We worked on their assignments and caught up on the details of what’s going on with them. We took our regular breaks to stand up and stretch, and had our dance break. We did a quick foray over to the National Aquarium’s site to learn about the giant Pacific Octopus.

It was a great session, but I was tired by the end of it. I can’t imagine how exhausted their parents are.

___

We had some much-needed rain yesterday, and it looks like we’ll have more today. I hope it cools off; still too hot for my comfort.

I have to make a curbside pickup at the library. Unless I take the car in. . .somewhere, that’s my only outing today. I have a lot of writing to get done this weekend, and some client work to handle today.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. Sept. 10, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 113 — Books and Lies

image courtesy of lumix 2004 via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Waning Moon

Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Hot, humid, cloudy

Catch up with the latest on the garden over at Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started out pretty well; The idea for my client’s piece worked, she loved it, it went out into the world to draw in business. That was all good.

But I  found out that a client has been lying to me about something pretty major. So I have to gather facts and documentation and decide what to do about it.

Remote chat was fun.

Got out some LOIs.

Spun out some ideas, and I’ll start storyboarding a marketing campaign today.

Found out a colleague is about to go into hospice. She’s been fighting cancer a long time. I’m so sad, and feel so helpless.

Re-read Louise Penny’s THE BRUTAL TELL. It’s lovely and sad.

The second Jane Darrowfield book by Barbara Ross arrived (an ARC). I’m so happy. I started it last night, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I have to do a run to Trader Joe’s, which will eat up a good part of my morning, but it needs to be done. I also need to get a big chunk of writing done over the next few days.

And I need to do some work on Grief to Art.

I did some prep for today’s Knowledge Unicorns session.

Today is also the 2nd anniversary of Freelance chat!

I am not surprised, but I am angry that the person calling himself “president” has murdered nearly 200,000 citizens, continues to murder, and Congress lets him. There have to be severe and long-lasting consequences for this. And the West Coast is burning, and no one does anything about it.

There’s plenty going on that I can’t discuss publicly; I will share what I can when I can. Not much of a post, is it? Let’s hope a productive day can get me back on track.

At least the pistachio mousse I experimented with yesterday came out well! It’s the little things.

Charlotte and Willa are now genuinely happy. It’s taken them nearly a year to settle in, after being bounced around every few weeks for 18 months prior. But now they are settled and happy. Even Tessa is happier lately. I’m hoping in a few more months, they will all hang out together more. Learning they don’t have to compete – for attention, food, toys, anything – has been a big lesson for Charlotte and Willa. There’s enough for everyone and no one gets shut out.

We need to rebuild our society on those principles, too.

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 31 — Attempt at Equilibrium in Five Retrogrades

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Five retrogrades for the next week, one of them Mercury. May I hide under the bed, please?

There’s a new post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

I had a decent first writing session yesterday on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Sitting down and doing at least 1K early in the morning, whether I feel like it or not, makes a huge difference.

I was at the office early. Everything went much better than I expected. No fussing or whining about protocols. I’ve worked ahead, in light of next week’s surgery, and will work from home next week.

Left by 12:30, swung by the library to do a curbside pickup, had to stop at the bodega (called here a “convenience store”) to pick up a loaf of bread. In and out quick, they have sanitizer, everyone’s masked, no fuss.

At least some people are taking it seriously.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, and even made it to Remote Chat only a few minutes late.

Remote chat was fun. Worked through some emails and other admin. Got some reading in (I have a book review due soon).

Worked on some article ideas per an editor’s request, but haven’t hit the right one yet. Hope to get something out to him today.

Sent an LOI to a theatre looking for plays; found out later they’ve gotten a grant from Mass Humanities, which is a good thing. My local library did, too, which is also a good thing.

Got to spend a little time out on the deck.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s SEALED OFF, the latest Maine Clambake Mystery. I really like the way this series has grown. It’s more human and complex than many cozies, which is one reason I like it so much.

Woke up at 2:30 with a blistering headache; dozed off, but Charlotte woke me again at 4:30. So I guess it’s another early day.

I hope to get a good chunk of writing in today, some article pitches out, some LOIs out, a session of client work, and maybe even some yard work. If the light is good, I might even get some mending done in the afternoon. I need good daylight for mending.

Tomorrow, I have to take the recycling in to the dump and then head to Trader Joe’s for one last grocery shop before I hunker down and isolate before next week’s surgery. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of nice weather for Summer Solstice, and I can spend a lot of time out on the deck, reading and writing.

Unexpectedly, a book I got from the library because I was interested in the subject (nonfiction) turns out to be useful as background information for ELLA BY THE BAY.

I want to make solid progress on BARD this weekend, and GAMBIT will be my reward if I do so!

I had sent my state senator, with whom I’m in regular contact, just a simple thank you for something, and he was really pleased. I guess we all spend a lot of time complaining, and not enough time thanking.

Andrew Cuomo will end his daily briefings this Friday. I wonder if he has any idea how many people he sustained through all of this? I don’t always agree with him, but I like and respect him.

I need to withdraw a bit from the world burning down, in order to be in good shape, mentally and physically, for surgery. So my focus will be small and close to home for the next week and change. It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention; but it means I can’t cope with it on a larger scale right now. I allow myself that choice without guilt.

Tues. July 2, 2019: Slow Recovery, Healing Arts

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I finally started feeling like I’d turned the corner and was getting better.

I ran errands on Friday, which was tough. Got a few work-related things done.

Went home and tried to feel better. Which didn’t work.

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, one of the errands was getting the newest books by Juliet Blackwell, Barbara Ross, and Jenn McKinlay. I started reading Juliet’s BEWITCHED AND BETROTHED. Lily Ivory is one of my favorite series protagonists.

A space opened up in the sound bath at the yoga studio that night, and I decided to go. Because I’m so hyper sensitive to sound, this type of experience is often very healing (my acupuncturist in NY used tuning forks on me, because I was so sensitive to specific sounds and responded so well).

Arrived, got myself set up. It takes about 15-20 minutes to set up one’s “nest” as the instructor calls it, to make sure we’re comfortable for the 90 minutes. I was just all settled when this woman stomped in and demanded that I move. Um, no. Huge breach of protocol. She wanted that spot? She should have arrived earlier. So she huffed and puffed and flung her belongings around setting up. I put my eye pillow on and ignored her. As much as she wanted to make the entire evening about her and intrude/punish me because I didn’t do what she wanted — no game, honey. I’m from NY. You’re amateur hour.

Once it started, I settled in, set a healing intent, and worked on bending the various sounds to where I thought they’d have the most healing effect. It’s difficult to articulate, because it’s such an experiential thing, and because most people have a very different relationship to sound than I do.

By the end of the session, I was not only pain free, I was ravenously hungry.

I cleaned up my spot, thanked the instructor, and went home. I made a salmon banh mí for a late dinner and sucked it right down. It even stayed.

Stayed up to finish Juliet’s book, which left me wondering if this is where the series ends. I’ll always want more Lily, but if this is the last book in the series, it’s also a satisfying last book.

Slept well, slept in on Saturday. Woke up feeling more like myself for the first time since I got sick. Still have a long way to go, but getting there.

Unfortunately, the illness triggered several other issues, kind of a domino effect, and I’m dealing with them one at a time. But I’m isolating and then solving each as I can.

I also haven’t had alcohol since I got sick. I miss the idea of it more than I miss the actual drinks.

Did a little bit of work on ELLA BY THE BAY in the morning. I need to catch up on typing the chapters I’ve written in longhand. I’m about 135 pages/one-third of the way through the book, and only the first two chapters are typed. I’m losing track of certain details, which makes it harder to move forward. I need to catch up, print out, and start tracking sheets, or I’ll be in a mess.

I also have to sit down and draw the map of this fictional Caribbean island. And do some renderings of the protagonist’s house and garden. You know me. Setting is an additional character.

Kept down breakfast (big win).

Read Barbara Ross’s JANE DARROWFIELD, PROFESSIONAL BUSYBODY, the first book in her new series. It’s lovely and charming. I think this will be a fun series. I’m already a fan of her Maine Clambake series.

In the afternoon, I did transplanting and planting (it was a planting day, according to the agricultural calendar). I transplanted all the rest of the tomatoes — I had four more kinds of tomatoes to transplant. I have a total of 7 varieties, over 100 plants. I might have been a little overzealous this year.

I also planted bush beans, peas, snow peas, zucchini, cucumber, zinnia, honesty, and milkweed. Yes, it’s late, but it’s been cold. Fingers crossed everything comes up.

The lettuce is thriving. The eggplants and peppers are doing well. So, we’ll see.

Then, I read Jenn McKinlay’s DYING FOR DEVIL’S FOOD, which was really fun, too. This series inspired me to create the Stained Glass Cupcakes I made for the holiday baking last year.

Slept well again, although a test of something that might cause a problem — well, it is. I was cautious, so it’s not a major setback, and now I know something else to avoid.

Worked on ELLA, caught up with a Twitter pal, took pictures in the yard. The pale pink roses are in full bloom, and the scent wafts up into my room, which is lovely.

Got some decent work done on GRAVE REACH.

Worked on the book I’m reading for review, a truly splendid book of poetry.

Still run out of energy too quickly.

Spent most of Sunday out on the deck, reading and writing. It was nice.

Up early on Monday. Worked on ELLA, worked on GRAVE REACH. I’ve started the second notebook of ELLA — starting with Chapter 11. I’m just over a third of the way into the book now. This draft needs a lot of rearranging and certain bits need more research, but the bones are good, and I like the characters.

I’ve started something for July called #31Prompts. For the month of July, I’m going to post, on Twitter, a different prompt that can be used as a jumping off point for prose, poetry, song, dance, visual art or anything else. I’m setting up another page on this blog and will upload the prompts every few days. But I’ll post each day’s on Twitter. I hope people enjoy it.

Spent time with a client, a session that was both fun and productive. Got some other work done. Went to meditation.

Up early this morning. Worked on ELLA, worked on GRAVE REACH. Will be with a client today and tomorrow, then I’m taking the long holiday weekend to rest and fully recuperate. And, hopefully, to get a lot of writing done!

Published in: on July 2, 2019 at 5:15 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 2, 2019: Slow Recovery, Healing Arts  
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Fri. June 28, 2019: Compounded Illness

Friday, June 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and warm

I had a major relapse yesterday and was quite sick.

I managed to drag myself out of bed to finish a project for a client which couldn’t wait.

As soon as I could, I went back home to rest.

It seems to be more complicated than the original illness — and, on top of it, I’m having severe muscle pain. Morning yoga this morning was difficult — nearly every pose was excruciating. But, by the time I kept pushing through, I started to be able to move again.

But I’m pretty miserable.

Had to go out and run errands. Have a few things to do at the library. Then, I’m going to spend time reading on the deck and trying to get well. I stopped at the bookstore to pick up the newest by Jenn McKinlay, Juliet Blackwell, and Barbara Ross. It’s going to be a happy reading weekend!

Hopefully, I’ll get some writing done, too. I’m getting behind again.

But I can’t do much of anything with this type of sickness.

Have a good weekend, all!

Published in: on June 28, 2019 at 10:21 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 28, 2019: Compounded Illness  
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Fri. Feb. 8, 2019: Thoughts, Decisions, Weights

Friday, February 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Rainy and mild

Yesterday’s meeting went well in some respects, but gave me a lot of to think about. There are facets to weigh, positives, negatives, possibilities.

My head says one thing, my heart another, my gut a third.

So we’ll see.

I read Barbara Ross’s STEAMED OPEN, which was a lot of fun. I like that series a lot, and she mentions Wiscasset, one of my favorite places in Maine.

I’m pretty sure I’m off track with the radio play, so I have to rip apart the second half and fix it.

Working on the book I have to review. Sending out a bunch of LOIs. Working on contest entries this weekend, along with the monologues, the radio play, and the novels.

I feel discouraged on several fronts, like there are obstacles pushing me in a direction I’m not sure I want to go. But I can’t stay where i am, either. There has to be movement. But perhaps it’s in a direction I haven’t yet explored.

So this weekend will also contain a lot of reflection.

And planting. There are seeds that need planting!

And writing.

And reading.

Have a good one.

Published in: on February 8, 2019 at 9:50 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 8, 2019: Thoughts, Decisions, Weights  
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Wed. Sept. 14, 2017: Balancing Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll just keep at it until I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wed. June 28, 2017: Trying to Line Up Ducks Before the Holiday Weekend

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Monday was busy. I re-slanted and re-sent two pitches; sent out two new pitches; caught up on correspondence. Somehow, the day flew by.

I did research on several new-to-me markets. Some, I need to do some more in-depth digging; a couple, I think I can craft pitches and send them.

My mom has to have surgery in July, on her foot. Results of the biopsy done a couple of weeks ago. I want to know why her first doctor — the one that dropped her because she wasn’t making enough money off my mom — didn’t diagnose this wound properly a year and a half ago, when my mom showed it to her?

And, of course, I have to come up with the co-payment. Another expense I wasn’t counting on. Not to mention that my mom is 94 and any surgery is worrisome.

There’s a possible new-to-me micro-fiction market. They pay, but I have to figure out the details and ratio of word count/payment/frequency of assignment to see if it’s something I want to or can take on. They seem to be more legitimate and a better payer than the other company I talked to last week. We’ll see. There’s a humor market that could become a regular gig, but I’m not feeling particularly witty or funny right now.

Read Barbara Ross’s ICED UNDER, another Maine Clambake book. I really like this series.

Quite a contrast to another book I tried to read (by a different author). It was a mystery. The protagonist was a narrow-minded, unlikable little twit. The story was dumbed down, the characters were ciphers instead of people. The author was anti-artist and anti-anyone who chose more than being a traditional housewife. I made it to page 35, closed the book, and have put the author on my Will Not Read list. She insulted my intelligence AND my profession. Next!

I really want to take this upcoming holiday weekend as a writing/reading/yoga retreat. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

Did a little bit of work on the Scottish mystery with the older protagonists on Tuesday, after running errands early enough in the morning so I didn’t get caught up in tourist traffic. That threw off my writing schedule, though.

Finished DRINKING THE RAIN by Alix Kates Shulman. Liked it a lot. And loving Helen Bevington’s THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING.

Worked on the June wrap-up, July’s To Do list, and, soon, I’ll have to do the mid-year assessment. We’ll see how far I’ve strayed.

Worked on the media kit. It’s always such journeyman work, but it’s important, and I always discover something I didn’t realize about my own work, because I have to look at it as though I’m handling someone else’s.

I came up with a series title for Playing the Angles and The Spirit Repository — but that makes me wonder if I should change the name under which the books appear. At the same time, I’m not completely sure I’ve hit exactly what I want with the series title. I’m feeling creatively drained.

The project in Orleans isn’t going to work out — they’re going with someone younger. That’s not what they said (which would be illegal), but that’s what they’re doing. Heaven forbid they hire someone with experience who expects a professional rate! Well, they’ll get what they paid for. I was having second thoughts myself — the money, the refusal to commit beyond the summer, and a few other elements. My ego’s bruised, but, deep down in my gut, I know it’s for the best.

Fretting because I’m waiting for two checks that are late. Not happy, because there are bills that need to be paid before the end of the month, and then I have to focus both on next month’s bills and on the co-payment for my mother’s surgery.

Got about half of “The Ramsey Chase” proofread. I’m creating the tracking sheets and character bible for the series as I go, which also slows me down.

Worked my way through a stack of research books that I hoped would be helpful as background for a project. Unfortunately, they were mostly self-indulgent navel-gazing masquerading as “self help.” There’s quite a stack to go back to the library.

I’m gathering questions for the Q&A section of the Devon Ellington media kit. Colin Galbraith had two interesting ones that I’m going to use. I’m hoping other people will post questions on Facebook, Twitter, and/or in the comments here on Ink.

I did quite a bit of work on the media kit yesterday afternoon. I’m through most of the fiction/series/shorts section. I’ve got some more Digital Delights to add in, make the links live.

Still fretting about the series title. That series title means it makes more sense to have the books appear under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name rather than the Annabel Aidan or Devon Ellington name. Also, the more I think about it, the more that series title fits a different series — one I’ve yet to write. So I’m on the hunt for another series title. Some of the books are set in New York, or at least start in New York and move outward. So the title needs to have a bit of an urban edge, but also fulfill the books when they move beyond the city limits. I came up with another series title, but it might also be a bit too soft. I’ll pull out the Thesaurus (the print one, not look online) and browse.

During this morning’s meditation, a new set of characters and situations dropped into my head. I still don’t have the plot, although I have a premise. I think it will be set on the outskirts of Portland, Maine.

Finished a science fiction short story this morning. Will revise it later today and tomorrow, and it can go out the door tomorrow. Now, have to turn my attention back to the more complicated, contemporary one and finish that to get it out the door.

I’m going to take the holiday weekend as a writing/yoga/meditation retreat. I need the mental and the physical break. If I can get my ducks in a row, and my deadlines met by Friday (gulp), that’s what I’ll do. Be offline from Friday afternoon until sometime on Wednesday.

Yet I’m sure there will be mowing in my future. I’ve been bad and haven’t done any this week, although the weather’s been good for it.

Errands, admin, and correspondence to do, and then, it’s back to the page.

Mon. June 26, 2017: Traction to Getting Back on Track

Personal Revolution Cover

“Personal Revolution” — A Cabot’s Crossing Mystery — Independence-Day theme.

99 cents on Smashwords here.

Monday, June 26, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

A slower-paced weekend than I probably should have had, but I needed it. My brain is tired, my soul is tired.

Saturday morning, I took a wrong step down the stairs and wrenched my knee. The good knee, not the Broadway knee. The outer tendon. My poor hockey players had that often enough, although not from going down a flight of steps. I treated it with arnica and gentle yoga. As long as I keep the leg in alignment, from hip to foot, it’s okay. The minute I go out of alignment, I’m in pain. That certainly slowed me down, because I need to move with more care.

I managed eight loads of laundry over the course of the day. A lot of it consisted of the blankets and fleece covers on the furniture for the winter. They’re now washed and ready to be packed away, with lighter cotton covers on everything. It’s finally warm enough to put the winter things away. Also in the process of washing, blocking, drying, and then putting the winter sweaters away with cedar shavings.

In between the laundry, I’ve been clearing out things that have accumulated — the big stack around my big reading chair, where I tend to nest; starting to go through drawers and boxes. I’m weighed down by too much stuff I don’t need; we haven’t even unpacked everything since we moved here. I wanted to get through everything in the winter and didn’t; so I better buckle down and do it now. A little bit at a time eventually adds up to big bits.

In and around that, I also wrote nearly 2500 words on the piece with the two older protagonists. I’m writing my way in, to see if I have something viable. I like the characters a lot, especially how they’re trying to heal from their damage. It’s naturally set itself in Ayrshire, Scotland, near Culzean, where I’ve stretched the geography a bit to add a small, fictional village between the villages I spent time in when I was there.

I’ll set something else in Cornwall, eventually!

I’m reading Alix Kate Shulman’s DRINKING THE RAIN. It’s a wonderful exploration of a writer’s need to balance solitude and companionship. I’m not as adventurous as she is, as far as where she chooses to stay. I’m a modern woman who appreciates indoor plumbing, and I’m no longer willing to stay in places without it. That doesn’t feed my soul; it merely irritates me. My soul is fed when I’m comfortable.

The book is from the library, but I’m going to hunt down a copy to buy; it’s something I will re-read.

I’m also reading Helen Bevington’s The Journey is Everything: A Journal of the Seventies. I love her writing, and it’s interesting to see her perspective on historical events we both lived through (although I was much younger, just a kid).
I originally read her books shortly after 9/11. I was staying with my mother, in the NYC suburb in which I’d grown up. I got a new library card at the library I’d practically lived in growing up. Wandering the stacks, I found Helen Bevington’s memoirs and journals, and loved them. A few years later, I found A Book and a Love Affair in Niantic and bought it; I keep an eye out for her other books, so I can add them to my personal library. I re-read Book recently, when I came across it, unpacking a box, looking for something else. I wanted to re-read the rest. The Cape Cod libraries don’t carry her books, so I had to order it through the Commonwealth Catalog. This volume is from U Mass-Amherst.

Sunday, I didn’t feel much like doing anything. I read a bit, and then went to S. Yarmouth library, where my friend and fellow writer Arlene Kay gave a program as part of their Author Series. It was wonderful, but then her programs always are. She had a nice turnout (thank goodness, it’s always hit and miss around here), including some mutual friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was nice to catch up.

Came home, read on the deck, cooked dinner. I’d created a new-to-me salsa recipe on Friday, and combined two recipes from one of Barbara Ross’s mysteries (and then added some bits of my own) on Saturday, so Sunday was mostly leftovers.

I think I’ve got the opening of “Miss Winston Apologizes” in my head. Now, to write it down, so it’s ready to add when I’m done with the proofread of “Ramsey.”

I also have to write down the opening of “Labor Intensive” — and then write the rest of it.

Did some work on the Devon Ellington media kit. Did another 1000 words on the older protagonist piece. I think it’s viable. As I’ve been writing my way in, the plot is getting clearer. Pretty soon, I will stop and outline it. I worried the premise was a little too close to Death of a Choleric, but this morning, I figured out how to fix it.

I have a long list of things to do today, both fiction and non-fiction and pitching, and administrative work, and catching up on some correspondence. And, of course, mowing. I have to pause in my work on the meadow, because the damn front needs to be mowed again!

The roses are magnificent this year. We have vases of them all over the house and they smell lovely.

Back to the page.

Wed. June 21, 2017: Work & Solstice

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant
Summer Solstice

Managed to get a few things done yesterday; several pitches out, including a script pitch for something that would be really fun. But I don’t know if they’re willing to work with someone clear across the country. Did some article work and some research.

Read Barbara Ross’s second Clambake Mystery, BOILED OVER, which was also really good. Also read a book about a woman who took a 100 day Zen retreat in a cabin, as background for an idea with which I’m playing.

Trying to figure out the shape of the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story, so I can write the opening and put it in to “The Ramsey Chase”. Then, of course, I have to write the rest of it!

Still having trouble finding the right images for the cover of Playing the Angles. I need to find my photos of the Belasco — I think I have some interesting ones that have the unlit marquee and the fire escape in them, and that might set the right tone. Nothing that’s already out there is quite working; unfortunately, at this point, I can’t hire a fine artist to paint something from the photographs.

I know there’s a whole industry in “pre-made covers”, but most of the ones I’ve seen are awful, and don’t speak to the content of the book. I want to find a series of strong images that reflect the book and give them to the cover designer.

I’m REALLY happy with “The Ramsey Chase” cover. I’d do a cover reveal, but I don’t want to interfere with the PR for “Personal Revolution”.

Mowing this morning, and then the library, errands, more pitches, more writing. I have to put together some additional paperwork for a grant. This afternoon, I get to drive to the elbow of the Cape, to Orleans, for a project meeting. I’m looking forward to it.

I need to get back to the assignment from the editor-I’m-currently-frustrated-with. I’m dragging my heels, but I need to get over myself and get it done. This will be the “midpoint” assignment in my imaginary trial period. I will see how much frustration this one generates, do one more, than make my decision to stay or go. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t put effort into the remaining assignments. It still might work out. I think I’m being highly optimistic, but I decided to give it a chance, and I will.

Tonight is the Solstice ceremony, which should be fun.

I’m struggling with the fiction, because I don’t feel particularly creative right now. Since my income depends on my ability to be creative, that’s an issue.

That’s when one has to rely on craft, and why it’s so important to build craft. Work on the craft so that, on the tough days, when inspiration is minimal, the craft sees you through.

Off to mow.

Published in: on June 21, 2017 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 21, 2017: Work & Solstice  
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Mon. June 19, 2017: Not on Weekends. Not for That Rate

Monday, June 19, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, humid, cool

Challenging weekend. A lot of stresses on the personal front, some annoyances on the professional front.

Saturday morning was difficult and discouraging, and exhausted me beyond expectation.

On the positive side, I managed to pull a metaphorical rabbit out of a hat and solve one pressing stress; but there are still a pile that need dealing with.

Also on the positive side, I finished reading Philip Margolin’s SLEIGHT OF HAND, which I thought was well done. I’d never read one of his books before; will definitely read more.

Also, over the weekend, read Barbara Ross’s first Clambake Mystery, CLAMMED UP. I liked it a lot. It’s not dumbed down, the way so many of these mysteries have become. The protagonist is smart & resourceful, I like the supporting characters, it kept me guessing for the right reasons. It’s set in Maine, in a fictional cover near Boothbay Harbor and Bath, two places in the state of which I’m very fond, and she got the emotional geography right. I’m looking forward to the other books in the series.

AND I read Abbi Waxman’s THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS, which I absolutely loved.

I’m playing with an idea, writing my way into it, to see if it’s viable. I’m wondering if it’s too similar to another idea with which I’ve been toying, although the characters are very different and the premises are, too. But the openings are similar, and I might have to change that. However, a character I planned to be the first body drop won’t comply; I’m trying to figure out how to make him the second body drop instead, but he’s balking. He has every intention of being an continuing character, should this be a series, and not as a ghost.

I usually have Sunday as my “day of disconnect”, where I don’t go online or use social media. Unfortunately, I had to check my email on Sunday morning. What I wanted wasn’t there, but a demand from the new editor for revisions was, and he wanted them by 9 AM Monday morning.

I said no.

First of all, he’s had three weeks to give me notes for revisions. That’s right. I turned in my assignment three weeks before deadline. So don’t email me revisions ON A WEEKEND and demand them first thing Monday morning. Not only are you not frigging paying me enough, I’m taking my mom to a medical appointment in the morning, so you’ll get them when you damn well get them. Also, the two month lag time between the deadline and payment isn’t sitting well with me. I resent it, and it’s making me drag my feet on the next assignment. I responded that I would have the revisions back at some point on Monday (and I am SO tempted to charge a rush fee), but it wouldn’t be by 9 AM. When I return the revisions, I will also point out that if he sends me revisions on Sunday, he WILL NOT receive them on Monday morning, because I won’t know about them until Monday morning. If you want them Monday morning, you get them to me before noon on Friday.

I did the revisions (the actual notes made sense; I resented the timing and lack of consideration of my time). I will finish up the current assignment and accept one more; if these frustrations continue, I will resign. They’re not paying enough for all this kerflamma, and not paying fast enough, which is even more important.

My anger was out of proportion to the situation, in some ways; perhaps it’s because I know I’m in the wrong situation. I need to let it go, resolve it, and move on.

Worked on another article that I want to get out in the next couple of days. This week is also my follow-up on queries where I haven’t yet received a response.

Worked on a short story that will go out the door later today, and will turn my attention to the longer short story that I want to get out this week. These are initially aimed at two publications where, should I open a positive relationship with them, there is the potential for paying work that is both steady and creative.

Took my mom to her medical appointment, and she had a biopsy. Fingers crossed nothing is serious.