Wed. July 20, 2022: TypeTypeTypeTypeType

image courtesy of Nattanan Kanchanapratt via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy, hot, humid

Since yesterday was the big reveal for LEGERDEMAIN, today is the usual natter we have on Tuesdays.

Chiron went retrograde yesterday, too. The Wounded Healer.

Quite the weekend! There’s a mid-month check in over on the GDR site from Monday.

Friday was good; I got the prompts posted, and did a big chunk of work on the new edition of ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE,  then headed down to Pittsfield for the book sale at the Atheneum. The weather was warm and gorgeous.

Even though I got there just after the doors opened, I had to park waaaaay down the street (around the corner from the Colonial Theatre – that far)! But it’s such a pretty street, with graceful, old, multi-family houses that have all done lovely, cheerful, whimsical things with their gardens.

I met a woman exiting the parking lot, with a huge bag of books clutched to her chest. “Good haul,” I said, and she grinned. “They’ve got great stuff this time around,” she told me.

I grabbed a basket as soon as I went in. Almost everyone was masked, which made me more comfortable, and, even though it was crowded, people were respectful about distancing. I did the rounds of the main room. The back room, with the older, larger nonfiction was too small and crowded for my comfort, even though people masked. A business called Blue Q donated zippered tote bags made out of recycled plastic. The bag is bigger than it looks (which meant I only needed a single bag for my haul). I bought 13 CDs (a mix of jazz and replacements for stuff I had on cassette and then tossed in the move, when I should have kept them), some research books, some fun books, and a stack of books for my mom. The total was just under ¼ of what I’d budgeted for the day.

Dropped off the books at home, picked up my mom, and we headed to Wild Oats, where the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership did a cheese tasting, featuring Von Trapp Farmstead cheese. I’m not that into cheese, but my mom is, and I figured it would be something fun for her. She’s not comfortable being out and about much, even masked, but the co-op is good with safety features (such as the tasting being in the outer portion of the store, so people could actual step outside to unmask and taste).

The cheese was amazing. I even thought so, and, like I said, I am usually not that thrilled by cheese. My mom, of course, loved the bleu cheese. I preferred the Mt. Alice (kind of like a soft brie) and the Oma cheese (soft and like nothing I’ve tasted before). So I bought blocks of all 3. And blueberries (which are so, so good). And coffee. Rolls. Wine. You know, the essentials.

Our lunch consisted of the rolls with butter, the cheeses, and the last of the Red Shirt Farm huge tomatoes. And a glass of rosé, because hey, my weekend.

I gave myself the afternoon off to read a book and play with the cats. I enjoyed the book up until the character got pregnant after one night with the love of her life Yes, I understand biology and know this happens. But, come on, people, birth control. Especially since the character was established as sexually active. I know that might not be a realistic choice in the future, if the GOP has their way, but this book was published several years ago. Birth control. And I’m over the trope of the only way to happiness and family for a woman is to breed. I want some HEAs where the couple chooses not to have children. Really sick of the accidental pregnancy trope. The book worked for me up until that point. But after it, I resented the rest of it and felt cheated.

Saturday morning, I was off to the Farmers’ Market, for my usual rounds. I had a delicious haul, and, of course, all the good conversations that make going to the Farmers’ Market so much fun. In early August, after I teach at the conference, I’m going to sit down with a couple of people and help them brainstorm on grants.

Got the revision done of the Topic Workbook ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE and uploaded it. It needs the final proof, but should be good to schedule for next week’s release.

The woman running for re-election for D.A. stopped by the house in the afternoon, and we had a good chat. She’s doing a lot to counter what the corrupt, extremist SCOTUS is doing, and has my firm support.

Read a fun book in the afternoon/evening. Some of the author’s style was a little annoying, but the overall arc of the book was a lot of fun.

Sunday was all about LEGERDEMAIN. I drafted the last 7K of the serial’s first big arc. There’s one episode that I’m going to break down into 2 episodes, because it’s going on too long, and the climactic fight scene has more comedy in it than I expected, but it’s fun. The first big arc runs 38 episodes (it’ll be 39 when I break that other episode up). It does what I want it to do, winding up the murder/theft arc, and launching the next arc. I’d hoped to get it all into 30 episodes, but too much had to be established and integrated, and seeds had to be dropped for the next two big arcs, and for things that might or might not grow into future arcs (should the serial run beyond its initial 90 episodes).

I also worked on episode ads for the first four episodes.

It was a lot. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was a good tired. I went to bed ridiculously early, and slept straight through the night.

Up early on Monday. Did yet another layered revision on the first six episodes of LEGERDEMAIN. Set up the serial on Kindle Vella. Uploaded,  proofed, fixed, proofed again, fixed again, wrote the author notes, and sent them off. They cleared the content review within a few hours (I have specific, odd spellings and was worried I’d have trouble; ergo, I created a Style Sheet).

I did the episode ads for episodes 5 & 6 (I’m particularly proud of the ad for #5). I did tag lines for the first 6 episodes. I did an episode tracking sheet (because Vella doesn’t show the schedule once things are uploaded). I uploaded and scheduled the posts for the first six episodes. I might modify some of those post, should I ever get a direct link to them. But at least they’re up. I started the email blast that will go out on Monday, specific to LEGERDEMAIN.

I update the Series Bible as I draft each episode, which is unusual. But because each episode has to be built properly before I can draft the next, each episode goes through what would normally be a 3-draft process as its first draft. Once I get to the uploaded draft, I check and make sure to update anything necessary in the Series Bible, so that’s consistent.

I also have a style sheet, because there are unusual spellings, and I want to keep them consistent.

I set up an episode tracking sheet, so I know when I’ve uploaded and when an episode is scheduled to release. I also keep final word counts of each episode in there. My ideal episode target is 1K, but most episodes run around 1.3K, and some a little over.

I wanted to go ahead and start the website, but I forced myself to stop. I had to turn around two scripts in the afternoon/evening (which I did). Again, I then had to stop myself from going back and working on the website. Hyper productivity can end in a crash, and I have too much to do this week to crash.

I made myself rest.

That’s progress.

I kept up with posting the 31 Prompts, and with the Italian lessons.

We got the sad news that a member of the extended family in Maine is coming home for hospice care. This is a case where COVID was the final straw for him. He’s elderly, 4x vaxxed, always masking, very careful. But he had to go into the hospital a few months ago, for something non-COVID related, and then into rehab. He caught COVID in rehab, and, although he technically “recovered” from COVID, it made his other issues worse.

Up early on Tuesday. It’s more seasonably hot and humid than it’s been. Tessa is busy shedding the winter coat that she grew in a few weeks back, when it was cooler. In other words, lots of vacuuming happening in this house.

And lots of fur balls.

Started building the website for LEGERDEMAIN. Cycled through at least a dozen templates. The one I really want doesn’t post the newest posts firsts unless I buy an upgrade. So I went back to a template that I don’t really want, but have used on other sites – and it won’t post the newest posts first. This time, the person I landed at A2 hosting was not helpful. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. It’s configured exactly the way it is on the site where it’s working. Very frustrating.

Worked on the SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM revision/update. Getting the examples into JPGs and inserting them is a major PITA. I’ll get there, but it’s not fun. Today, I have to do the final proof/changes on ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE, so it can upload for release.

Took my mom to her new doctor, over in Williamstown. It’s taken us a year to find a new doctor. But they are very nice, the building is clean and comfortable, and masks are required. She likes her new doctor, which is good. The doctor is worried about her blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are too high. So some medication adjustments are coming. She misses going to the firehouse to get her blood pressure taken every week (they don’t do that here).

Turned around a script in the evening. Made myself stop for the night.

Up early this morning, woken by a thunderstorm, rather than cats. It didn’t do anything to break the humidity. Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the next few weeks.

We have our final instructions for Saturday’s performance at the Edith Wharton homestead. I have to find my poem and rehearse. Let’s face it, even if I mess up, it’s only 3 lines/30 seconds. It’s not about me. It’s about our collective experience creating something, and then sharing it.

But I still want to hold up my end.

Back to the page with revisions today, mostly on the Topic Workbooks. I have to do a library run and pick up a prescription and a new blood pressure monitor for my mom later, and then a script coverage or two in the afternoon.

Have a good one.

Fri. July 15, 2022: Of Books and Cheese

collage by Devon Ellington from stock photos

Friday, July 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny, warm, and pleasant

Meditation was good yesterday morning. Charlotte enjoyed it, too!

Got the ads for THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST scheduled to post/run through the end of September. Created the ads for the other five workbooks, so as soon as I have buy links going live, I can add them into the content calendar, and we’re good to go through August and September. In early September, I’ll decide what I want to do through the end of the year.

I might put some of those ads and some of the ads for The Big Project into an updated marketing portfolio, because they are fun. The ads for the Big Project, in particular, have a rather wacky sense of humor to them, which I think will engage readers.

Did a library run, and dashed into the grocery store to grab some Lysol spray since I can’t find ours. Really excited about some of the novels that arrived. I’m looking forward to reading them.

Spiro Squirrel climbed the kitchen window screen, trying to get in this morning. Willa chased him off. We’ve started closing the kitchen window at night. All we need is for him to figure out how to remove the screen and get inside.

Freelance Chat was fun.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon.

Skipped Open Studios as MASSMoCA. I needed to focus on my work. Also, the though of getting dressed, putting on makeup, and pretending I wasn’t feral for a couple of hours was overwhelming yesterday. I’m not sure if masking is still required (the email was unclear), and if it’s not, I would have had to leave anyway, because they get crowded. I’m going to have to play each month by ear, and see how what they’re doing fits in with what I’m doing, and with what I need to do to keep us safe.

I’ve done more content calendars than I can count for clients over the years, but doing one for my own work has been invigorating. Having it all there on the calendar inspires me to get it done. It also helps to track the ebb and flow of projects, so I can see where I have room to do more, and where I can pull back a little and not overdo.

Buckle up, my lovely buttercups: The last week of July and the first week of August are going to have a lot of promotion going on!

A Twitter pal and her husband is taking their first ever trip to NYC for 5 days, and I sent them a boatload of suggestions for weird little fun stuff. I really love New York, and I’m so grateful I lived there the years I did. Even though it’s not where I need to be right now, I do love it.

The sentence about the children’s screams cut out from the Uvalde videos released will haunt me the rest of my days. For the parents, who are going through more pain than any of us can imagine, I hope this helps them (rather than insults them, and different parents will feel differently). For those who stood around and did NOTHING while those children were slaughtered, may they never be free from the screaming. May they be haunted the rest of their miserable lives for this, and may they suffer in eternity beyond their own deaths. May they never, ever rest in peace.

I intentionally cleared off the script reading early this week, because I wanted to have three days without it. I’m headed to Pittsfield to a book sale at the library this morning, then taking my mom over to Wild Oats, where the Von Trapp Farmstead is doing an event around their cheese. I never thought I would build time into my schedule focused on cheese, but there you have it. My mom loves cheese, so we are going.

Then it’s back to work, on The Topic Workbooks, and finished the first big arc of The Big Project, so that the next parts of the process can hum along on time, and I can actually make the Big Announcement and The Big Reveal next week, and all of this will make sense.

Then comes the Big Marketing Campaign, which will last for months, so. . .be warned!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side! The weather has been just gorgeous here, and I hope it is where you are, too.

Tues. March 15, 2022: Don’t Get All Stabby On Me

Image courtesy of Thomas B via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

If you’re familiar with Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, you’ll get the reference.

The March mid-month check-in post is over on the GDR site.

Anyway, on Thursday, I got some work done in the morning. I then did the rounds of the library, picking up my birthday cake, post office, liquor store. I participated in Freelance Chat. As I did, I realized that everything I HAD to do before Monday was. . .done.

I’d expected to be working until well into the evening to “justify” taking a three-day weekend. But there wasn’t anything in my script reading queue, I was waiting to hear back on a few things, I’d written my reviews. I could have started the next book for review, or worked on contest entries.

But I didn’t want to.

So I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I read books I wanted to read, including THE LOFT GENERATION by Edith Schloss, about abstract and modern artists who started living and working in lofts in NYC in the 1940’s. Excellent book.

Friday morning, we had smoked salmon Benedict as my birthday breakfast, which was excellent. We got into the car to head out for the birthday adventures. One of the windshield wiper blades snapped off, and the check engine light came back on. Really? The car only worked for four days?

I was not a happy camper.

We decided to truncate the day’s plans. We only went to Pittsfield, to the big book sale at the Atheneum. People were still masked, thank goodness, but it was very crowded, and I was uncomfortable. We didn’t stay very long. I bought some jazz and world music CDs, and a couple of books. My mom bought a few books. I couldn’t get near the older, interesting books, because a triad of dealers were there, scooping them up and blocking regular buyers from them.

On the way back, we stopped to get some cleaning supplies, more pots, potting soil, and some groceries to get us through the stormy weekend. People were talking about this storm with more concern than any of the storms so far this winter.

Home and settled in with the new books. I started reading a mystery, didn’t like it after 50 pages, read the ending; liked it less. It was everything that doesn’t work for me in a mystery: a dumb, nasty protagonist; smarmy, vicious ensemble of characters who don’t support the protagonist nor deserve the protagonist’s help; used “witch” as a slur against women; and an undercurrent of racism that I found sickening, like how dare the few black characters encroach on this safe white world. The book goes into a bag of donations I’m putting together for another book sale, and someone else can have it. It is not staying in this house, and I will not read something by this author again.

I had to wash my hands after putting it in the box, to get the stench off me.

I read the other book I’d bought, a paranormal urban fantasy with romantic elements. It worked better. It was a several books into a series I haven’t read, but it was clear about the story (without info dumping on the past). I read the blurbs for the next several in the series; not sure I’ll read them, because I don’t really like the overall series arc. But at least this was a few hours of reading pleasure.

Then, I started THE DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan. Wow. Just wow. I read it Friday and finished it Saturday, even though it’s a pretty big book. But the writing is gorgeous. So beautiful. The worldbuilding, the characters, the storytelling. All wonderful. It’s a completely unique fantasy novel. The copy I read is from the library, but I think I will buy my own copy, because this is a book I will re-read.

I’d been stressing out about what to order for dinner on Friday night, worried I’d be disappointed in it. The restaurant I’d planned to order didn’t have anything on its changing menu that I really craved. So, instead, we ordered from the Freight Yard Pub, which isn’t far from us at all, and a couple of people have recommended it to me. My mom ordered her favorite fish & chips. I had stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and roasted vegetables. The portions were huge, and it was quite good. Not a brilliant, life-changing meal, but good. I had prosecco with it, because it’s my birthday and I will damn well drink prosecco.

Although I’m seriously considering making like a Venetian and drinking prosecco regularly when the lunch is fancy enough.

I got so many lovely and loving birthday wishes via social media and email. It really made the day special.

Tessa got me up around 6 on Saturday. It was raining, but quickly changed over to snow. I thanked people for their good wishes, and answered birthday emails.

I spent the day going through books. Reading or rereading some, when I’d finished DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS. Going through some research books I’d gotten out of the library; I extracted what I needed, and they’re in the pile to go back.

I went through some of the art books that are here (I will have to retrieve others from storage, if and when the car is fixed so we can do a storage run). I’m looking for pieces that will inspire the short pieces under the three categories I’ve set aside for them. I looked at some terrific work – I’d forgotten how much impact Judy Chicago’s work has – but nothing that was a catalyst for any of those pieces. I’ll get some books from the college library this week, and see.

The snow kept pounding down, a heavy, wet snow. One of the books I’m assigned for review arrived, and it looks wonderful. I’m eager to dig into it this week.

I rested a lot. It’s a combination of birthday blues, stress about the car, worry about work, and general burnout.

I got a rejection on a short story, which was not unexpected, because it was a stretch market for me, and they were very nice in the letter. I’m going to take a look at it, see what needs to be tweaked, and find another market for it. Because I like it (or I wouldn’t have submitted it anywhere in the first place). It’s a combination of speculative fiction & mystery, with a dose of humor. But not a flash piece, it’s too long for that. And most of the paying markets now seem to want flash.

Had to change all the clocks before bedtime on Saturday, which made me grumble. I hate springing forward. When we fall back, I have extra energy for weeks. When we spring forward, I drag for days.

Up around 6 on Sunday, regular morning routine. Traditional eggs Benedict for breakfast, since it was still birthday weekend.

I rewrote a short story which had been rejected a few weeks back for being “too genre.” Hmm, when the submission call says they read regardless of genre as long as it fits the theme, then say something is too genre, gives me important information.

Anyway, I like the story, it’s a ghost story set in a theatre. I rewrote it a bit, to move it away from the submission call’s theme, and changed the protagonist’s name (which was part of the guidelines, and it didn’t suit her). I was looking for another market for it, but it seems ghost stories are now considered horror. This is more of a traditional ghost story, more paranormal with touches of mystery, than horror. I don’t think it’s dark enough for the horror markets I researched. I could go a little darker, but going too much darker would go in a direction I don’t really want.

However, there’s a middle section that’s set outside of the theatre (the beginning and end happen in the theatre). It underlines a theme and places a red herring. But maybe if I change that and keep all of it in the theatre, it might work better, and skew dark enough to fit some of the horror submission calls without going darker than I want for this particular piece.

I have to percolate on that a bit.

A friend sent me a list of markets, and, researching through those, that might be the way to go, so that it’s still within my vision, but still suited to one of these paying markets.

There’s no deadline on this, so I can let it simmer for a bit.

Did a little bit of work on Gambit Colony. If I get pulled down into that rabbit hole again, it will throw too much other work off track, but, as is typical, when I’m under stress, that’s the piece that soothes me best to work on. I’m writing a section set in Venice right now, which makes me happy.

Started work on a short piece that’s been rolling around my brain for a bit, inspired by a submission call. Not sure where it’s going yet. I want it to be short, no more than 1500 words, but it’s hitting the right 1500 words that’s the trick. 1000 words would be even better. The deadline’s not for a couple of months, so we’ll see.

I put together chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. I’d forgotten to start it right after breakfast; it was late morning before I remembered, but that’s what the “high” cooking speed is for, right?

I planted the cherry tomatoes and the mini cucumbers directly into their final pots. No need to transplant. I’m going to have to get more potting soil, because I still have hollyhocks, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, tansy, sweet peas, and mallow to plant. And the night-blooming jasmine coming in at the end of the month or early April, which will need repotting. I also planted more cat grass, since Charlotte and Willa only have a few stalks left. I put them in a different pot; I will alternate between the two pots, but I need to order more seeds for that. I’ll order the bigger batch this time.

There’s a new combination of plant center/art gallery opening up next month on Main Street, in walking distance. I am very excited.

The afternoon and evening were spent reading contest entries, with Norah Jones on the CD player. Finished the bottle of birthday prosecco, too, that I opened on Friday.

Charlotte started poking at me around 5, but Tessa was quiet until 6. Because it’s darker now in the morning, she’s staying quiet. Although that doesn’t explain why, so often, she woke me at 4 over the winter, because it was darned dark then.

Good yoga session. I’ve been hit and miss on the morning yoga the past few weeks, and need to get back into that routine. I feel better when I stick to it.

The side table to the left of my desk, in front of the large windows, has always been one of Charlotte’s favorite’s hangouts, but Tessa has discovered it. She can see more birds from it, and she is very excited.

I sent out some LOIs; got back some auto-responses for tests, which meant I shrugged off those companies and put them on The List. If they’re not going to read my cover letter, where I clearly state I don’t do unpaid labor as part of an interview or pre-interview process, and that I have a specific contract for it, then it’s not a company with whom I want to work.

Did some work on The Big Project, but not enough. I feel I’ve lost the tone of the piece, and I need to get that back.

It was warm enough on the front porch to move out the seedlings, to encourage them.

Took a big load of books back to the library; they only had one for me to pick up. It was bright out, and things are melting. We’re supposed to actually move into warmer weather this week, in the 50’s and 60’s, which would be nice.

Made my favorite comfort Chinese peanut butter noodles for lunch. I’m so grateful not to have nut allergies.

In the afternoon, I did some brainstorming on the Monthology piece, caught up on some emails, did some client work. Stepping back from interacting with someone online, because she continues to make harmful decisions, then whines about them, in spite of having a network of professionals around her giving advice on better decisions. I can’t participate anymore. She’s made her decisions; they are hers to make; I’m not spending time putting together ideas and resources that she won’t bother to use, but will whine about being exploited, because she went against advice and made those choices. It’s a never-ending circle of frustration, and I don’t need to participate. I no longer respect her, and I’m beginning to actively dislike her, which is not a relationship worth maintaining. “Oh, she’s young” is not an excuse, because one of my editors is several years younger than this individual, but several decades smarter.

 I re-subscribed to THE NEW YORKER, which I’ve missed since my subscription lapsed last July. They offered me a great rate, so I was delighted to accept it. Which means I need to get some more magazine holders.

Turned around a script coverage. I should have started the spring cleaning, but I did not. I’d hoped to put in about two or three hours each weekday, and then three or four on the weekends, but I don’t know how that will shake out. The Chewy food order arrived early, and the cats were happy to play in the box. A pair of Nine West flats I’d bought on sale also arrived, earlier than expected. They look much better in person than they did in the picture, thank goodness, and fit. I still need a good pair of cross trainers in which to run errands on foot, and walk in the various parks, but the flats will be good for going to museums, networking events, etc.

Read contest entries in the evening. It will take me several hours today to enter the scores.

Tessa woke me at 4:30 this morning. I moved to the couch, dreamed about some sort of undercover operation where I had to be a flower arranger (if you know how bad I am at that, you’ll see why there’s no way I could pull it off). I overslept until seven, which put back my day.

I might rearrange my day anyway today, to go off and do some research later this morning. I want to work on The Big Project first. Then, I ‘ll go do my research. I have another script to turn around this afternoon, and more contest entries. And I need to get in touch with the mechanic about the next appointment for the car. I’m dreading that, but it needs to be done.

Almost all the snow has melted, so let’s hope this is it for the winter. Yeah, we’ll move into mud season next, but that’s still better than snow.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it. Have a good one!

Tues. Nov. 9, 2021: Music, Cats, and Sleep Deprivation

image courtesy of cottonbro via pexels.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Last week, the prediction was that we’d have our first snowfall by yesterday. Instead, we’re having gorgeous weather. Frosty nights and glorious days. I’ll enjoy every one we get.

Catch-up time from the weekend, huh? I’d miscalculated how much time I needed for the script coverages, and ended up reading/writing up coverage all weekend. I have a feeling I’ll be doing so until Thanksgiving, so that I can take a four-day break without worrying.

Work on CAST IRON MURDER for Nano was steady. Friday-2439; Saturday-2574; Sunday-3008; Monday-2121; this morning-2584. Part of Sunday’s was doing an insert to the previous day’s work, where I’d forgotten to write a rather important scene. Yesterday was a bit of a slog, but the second week of Nano is always the hardest for me. Today, I had a late start, but it went well.

Friday was an absolute debacle of a day. It was gorgeous weather, and we planned to go to Holyoke and South Hadley, about an hour and a half away to the east, to hit up some stores we don’t have around here. I’d printed out the directions, planned the route, all good, right?

Only it wasn’t.

The drive across to Northampton was lovely. They’re just hitting peak color there; we peaked Halloween weekend. Northampton is kind of an odd, funky city, and I hope I get to spend more time poking around at some point, when the pandemic is more under control.

But once we got to Holyoke, the directions had little to do with the map, and neither of them had anything remotely to do with the signage. We couldn’t find any of the stores, and there was no place to stop and ask for directions.

We found 91, and took it down to the Mass Pike, and back west to Lee. Lee was busy, and there was no parking, so we decided not to roam around Lee, but keep going.

To my delight, the Berkshire Atheneum in Pittsfield was having a book sale. The sale was gigantic (and everyone was masked and following protocols). I was overwhelmed, but not so overwhelmed I didn’t buy a stack of eight books, two cookbooks, and eight classical music CDs.

So the day wasn’t a total wash. Because, book sale.

Their next sale is my birthday weekend, which means I’m less upset about having to cancel the planned trip for That Big Birthday than I was a few weeks ago.

We stopped at a market in Adams we’d been wanting to try. They have some stuff I can’t get anywhere else, but no staff and few patrons masked, so I won’t be going in there often or for long. One of the few places around here that’s lax on masking.

We stopped at Burger King on the way home, because it was late, and we were hungry. Bad idea. We had the chicken sandwiches, which were basically carboard slabs on other cardboard slabs. And felt awful after. We know better.

The month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it was a delight of crystals and a mug and a window hanging and all kinds of fun stuff. A bread cookbook I forgot I’d ordered also arrived.

Was up way too late doing script coverage.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:22 on Saturday, a real gift.

Wrote my quota on the novel, and then we headed to Job Lot, where we got a few things my mom wanted, and a draft blocker for the back door, and a snow shovel. Because if a plow pushed snow against the back of the car in the parking lot in winter, I’m going to have to dig it out, and I gave away the snow shovel we had on the Cape before we moved.

Since we were up that way anyway, we stopped at a favorite thrift store. I got another Santa for my collection (this one with little gray kittens who reminded me of my beloved Iris and Violet), some jingle bells, and another metal deer. For Five bucks, for all of it.

To CVS, where it turns out my mom’s new prescription insurance hadn’t come through as promised, so I’m back to working on that.

The library, which was busy, to pick up and drop off books. The Saturday librarian with whom I often talk books in detail was busy, so I just waved to let him know I saw him.

Script coverage in the afternoon and evening. Also finished reading THE LOLA QUARTET, which was interesting, but I got frustrated by the way the characters didn’t learn from their mistakes. The writing’s beautiful, though.

I’m enjoying Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen mysteries. They are light and fun.

Saturday was the last sunset after 5 PM until February 3, according to local weather people.

Turned the clocks back, and Tessa let me sleep until 6:30 on Sunday, which was a win, all the way around. However, we had a Serious Conversation. Tessa sat in front of me and told me that they elected her Spokes-Cat, and they would very much like it if I fed them BEFORE I started the coffee in the morning, not after.

Not happening.

Frost in the morning on the cars. I didn’t miss scraping the windshields when I had a garage, I’ll tell you that much. But it only takes a few minutes.

Wrote my Nano quota, more script coverage, some reading for fun.

Discovered I can’t have Bach’s harpsichord music on when I’m trying to do anything else. It’s definitely not background music, but listening music. I also enjoyed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which is one of my favorite pieces.

Sunday night into Monday, Charlotte was the one who was impossible. She woke me up every two hours, all purry and cuddly, wanting attention. By 3 AM, Tessa began singing her arias.

I grabbed the feather bed and moved into the bed in the sewing room. Tessa quieted down. Charlotte joined me for a few minutes. Charlotte’s catnip banana was under my back, so I pulled it out and threw it on the floor. Charlotte and Tessa fought over the banana, and then over Tessa’s catnip carrot.

I told them I didn’t care anymore; I just needed some sleep.

I dozed off again, and was woken up a little after 6 by a cold kitty nose. It was Willa, saying, “Please, could you get up and feed us? I am very hungry.”

Since she asked nicely, I did.

AFTER I started the coffee.

I was grumpy most of the day. I did my Nano words, and even came up with titles for the next two books in the series.

Wrote up a script coverage. Got out some LOIs.

I’m so behind on email, it’s not even funny.

Spent a good part of the day trying to sort out my mother’s insurance again. Elizabeth Warren’s office has been a big help. Hopefully, it’s done this time. I need to pick up her medications.

Big grocery shop over at Big Y, then over to Wild Oats for a few things, and Stop & Shop on the way back for stuff I couldn’t get at the other two places.

Read scripts in the afternoon and at night, which I will write up today.

Roasted chicken thighs with both sweet potatoes and Yukon golds, served with creamed spinach. It was yummy.

Up early this morning, even before the cats, and over to the laundromat by 6 AM, even with scraping off the car windows. My mom came along, wanting to know what it was like. We had a lot of laundry, because I procrastinated, and we had a houseguest, and we had all the fabric from Halloween. So it was two loads in the big industrial machines and two loads in the smaller commercial machines.

We were still washed, dried, folded, and home before 8. And I got a couple of pages done on the outline for the second book.

I made an egg, leek, chevre, and tarragon scramble for breakfast (Kripalu recipe), and put some potatoes, carrots, and pork chops in with barbecue sauce in the slow cooker for dinner. The house smells great.

Did my Nano words (went well today, unusual for week 2). Writing this, then catching up on email and doing script coverage. Oh, yeah, and putting all the damn laundry away.

I have two new review assignments, so I have to get started to those, too.

Maybe a nap in the afternoon, or at least 20 minutes or so on the acupressure mat.

We’re ready for winter (I think), but we’re enjoying every beautiful autumn day we can get. The front porch is still great in late morning well into the afternoons. Tessa has taken over the porch. Trying to get her in when it gets dark is getting more and more difficult. But it’s great to sit out there and read or write, while the cats watch the world go by.

Willa was excited by the birds having a meeting on the back balcony. I put up the blinds a bit in my mom’s room, so she could watch a squirrel dancing around in the tree out there. She is just fascinated.

Tessa always liked my bed to be smooth and clean (no lumps). Charlotte moves around the covers and blankets every day to build little nests.

No wonder Tessa spends most of her time on the porch.

Back to the page. I still have to finish “A Rare Medium” in the next few days, too.

Wed. May 13: StayTheFHome Day 49: Creativity and Exhaustion

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I had a new post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, but I took it down because it wasn’t really helpful. I will try to come up with a better one and get it up later today.

Yesterday was an overly-long work day. I am on the edge of burnout. I’m hoping I can make it to the Memorial Day weekend, because I intend to take some time off and do nothing except sit outside and read, and write if I feel like it.

Not only am I working long hours, but the clients for whom I’m working insist that I’m not working, and they resent paying me to do nothing – even when the results are coming in that prove otherwise. So I’m feeling burned out, overworked, underappreciated.

Too bad for me, right? At least I’m still alive.

Yesterday started pretty well, though. I had excellent writing sessions on two different projects, and I’m happy with the way both are going. The band name “Orgasmic Clowns” turned up, and at first, it looked like they would be a part of one of the novels, but now I think I need to make them their own piece.

I got admin work done, some bills paid, put in another Chewy order. I’m frustrated because an order from Target went astray via UPS and neither entity wants to do anything about it. I’m still having Comcast issues, and the only “fix” they provide is something I’ve done before that only makes everything worse.

But at least my stamps arrived, so I can write more cards!

There’s a new logo for the Topic Workbooks, that needs a bit of tweaking, but I like it. Instead of having all the covers uniform with different titles, I’m getting new covers and using the logo at the bottom. Once I have all the covers, I’m going to pull them off Smashwords and put them through Draft2 Digital. I also want a new cover for 30 Tips for 30 Days. I don’t like it.

I have to get some promotional material posted via Tweetdeck and Hootsuite for the books on sale, and I need to finish the Trinity of Teasers free download that I want available in either mid-June or early July.

A writer friend who misses writing in coffee shops set up a bistro table and chairs in her house, and writes there, drinking from her travel mug and playing music. Sometimes she put the TV on in another room to simulate conversation around her. And she’s grateful not to be in a tiny NYC apartment, where her bistro table was once the only table that fit in the place! I love that idea and that image, and may need to use it in a story.

So at least I’m feeling creative, even if I’m exhausted.

I got out five LOIs yesterday, and go responses back on four. All of which have turned me off to the companies, but best to cut it off now than waste time. This idea that I should be willing to trot into an unsafe office full of germy strangers is simply not happening.

Got a lot of client work done on a big project. Will get a little more done today, but it won’t be ready until next week. By tomorrow, I will have used up the allotted time for the week, and I’m not working for free.

Today, I have Remote Chat to look forward to. I had two excellent first writing sessions this morning, on two different novels, and a frustrating computer update on a computer I’ve had less than a week.

Peace, my friends, and be well.

Wed. Feb. 18, 2015: Sneaking Between Storms

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy, snowy, cold
Snow Fatigue

I don’t see how we’ll get the snow melted and gone until sometime in July.

Saturday was fine. It was my Saturday “on” at the library. It wasn’t as hectic as I expected, although it was busy enough for me to spend the bulk of my time on the desk.

Read a couple of books, which were a disappointment, including one highly regarded one which I put down by page 2, because it’s written in the present tense, and I felt like the author kept yelling, “Look at ME! Look at ME!” instead of telling me the story.

Started snowing in the evening, so I tucked in and watched more of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. So much I like about that show, but it did dip and get uneven there for awhile.

Had stopped snowing on Sunday when I woke up at 5:30, and it was that lovely quiet. By 6:30, it started again.

Read Norman Lear’s autobiography, which was interesting. I worked with his daughter Maggie at MCC in the late 80s/early 90s, and we had a retreat up at the place in Vermont. I have very fond memories of it. I was disturbed by the fact that 9/11 was not mentioned in the book at all. He lived through it; he’s a social activist. How could it not even get a mention? Especially when it affected us so deeply?

I finished the galleys for KILLER QUINTET and reformatted the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE to the specific guidelines to which I’m submitting.

Started shovelling; got about 3/4 of the driveway done. Got the rest done on Monday morning — about 8 more inches, total, had fallen over the weekend. Of course, as soon as I jumped in the shower, the plow came by and blocked the bottom of my cleared driveway again. At least the plows showed up this time, and they’ve scraped the ruts down in the street, so it’s about 5 inches of pure ice, with just a little bit of ruttage, and easier to get traction.

Headed to the library. Although we were closed for President’s Day, some of us came in to set up for the book sale. I could only stay for about two hours, because I had a meeting on a potential project. THAT was a total waste of time — the person I met with basically likes to hear himself talk, and it won’t go anywhere. I repeated several times that when there’s money on the table and a contract, we can get into specifics, but this is my business, not my hobby, and I’m not working for free, especially not on something that doesn’t have the pieces in place. I’ve learned the hard way from blowhards like this — you get the pieces in play and THEN I will write something beyond a one-page synopsis.

Ron Perlman’s memoir was a lot of fun. I’ve always liked his work. Tried to read a novel, and it was awful, so I put it down.

Got an idea for an hour-long pilot. Wrote a few opening scenes, and I like it. I have to do some research for it, but I think it will make a solid sample.

Not happy with where I am in the radio play. I have to rethink some of it. I might over-write and then cut — usually that works better than under-writing and then padding.

Watching Season 4 of WEST WING.

Had hoped I could do some errands on Tuesday morning before the snow started, but it started at 8 AM and everything I needed to reach didn’t open until 9, so I stayed home. Did some more tweaking to THE BROWNSTONE pilot — there was one character I’d sorely underwritten, and I added a quick scene that makes it more balanced. Now I have to stop fiddling with it, or I’ll hit the point of diminishing return.

Wrote up the minutes from the last Writers’ Center board meeting, and a press release and a set of guidelines I promised them. I’m missing some information, and the press release has to go out this week, so if the person who is supposed to supply to me doesn’t, we don’t get the information into the magazines. Deadlines are deadlines. It’s very tough to do what I’m assigned to do on time, and then not get the rest. But my term is up in October.

Read a couple of mediocre novels and was disappointed. Got an idea for a screenplay — I’ve been playing with the premise for awhile, but suddenly the missing piece clicked into place. so I can write a synopsis, and then do the script — after I finish the radio plays for Ireland and Paris. The one I want to do for Paris is percolating.

Had a false start on a chapter for BALTHAZAAR. Need to get back to that. I have to get that done and out before doing another pass on CLEAR THE SLOT and getting THAT done and out.

Nice fire in the fireplace last night, and a good glass of wine. Of course, it was wine o’clock by 2:30 — either that or sob into the ice melt.

Today will be a long day at the library, but, hopefully a good one. I’ve got a couple of press releases to write, and some finagling to do on March programs. I’ve got more research books coming in.

The microfiche/film that I thought I was getting from Harvard that was shipped on January 21 and still hasn’t shown up — turns out Harvard didn’t send it after all. They wanted to charge a lot of money — not that money ever came up into the multiple emails going back and forth when I asked if they’d do an interlibrary loan in the first place. Turns out it’s coming in from the University of Indiana — bless ’em! They sent it to the distribution center in Quincy, rather than directly to our library, so it’s in snowbank somewhere. But they’re cool about it, and will give me a month with it once it arrives.

So here’s Harvard only, about 70 miles away, and they’re less cooperative with a fellow citizen of the Commonwealth than both the Library of Congress and a midwestern university. Go figure. Seriously, it would have taken less time and been less frustrating to go to DC for a week.

Hop on over to the GDR site, and see my updates for mid-February. Stay safe and warm — we’re supposed to get more snow today.

Devon