Tues. Sept. 17, 2019: Trying To Smooth Out Difficult Times

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Difficult weekend. Everything worked my last nerve. I’m angry and hurting and unhappy and nothing works to lessen it. It’s a bad patch. I’ll get through it, but it’s not fun while it lasts.

Hop on to see the mid-month check in over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions; some musings about reciprocal and non-reciprocal spirituality on Kemmyrk; today’s post for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge over on A Biblio Paradise. That catches us up, at least for the moment.

We still miss Lucy terribly. It’s tough on Tessa, being the only cat. She’s with us all the time, but she misses having another cat in the house. Without Lucy to sleep on the bed, my elderly mother started having nightmares again.

Friday night, I gussied up and attended the opening reception to the new exhibit at the Cahoon Museum. I almost didn’t manage it, because, in spite of their expanded parking, it was packed. Great for the support of the museum, but frustrating. I cheated and parked at a business next store that was already closed for the night.

The reception was lovely. I have to say that I found the “pre-mortem” daguerreotypes disturbing. Photos taken just before the moment of death. Creepy. And the hunters with their trophies were gross. But there was also an exhibit called Look This Way which included “Unidentified Women” with artist Jodi Colella that was quite wonderful. She combines film and fiber in a unique and wonderful way. She created the giant scorpion out of black doilies for the fiber art exhibit last autumn. I had the chance to talk with her for a bit. I didn’t want to hog her time, because the reception was packed. But we had a lovely conversation. She brings such insight and imagination to her work.

I ran into a couple of people I knew, which was nice. I eavesdropped on several conversations (as writers do). Mostly old rich white people moaning about their privileges and criticizing anyone who didn’t grovel before them. Several of them deserved a good slap upside the head.

Worked on GRAVE REACH, but not enough. When I’m actually into it, it flows well, but sitting myself down and doing it is a struggle. For no good reason. This book is leaner and more tightly plotted than the last two, and, in many ways, I think it works better. So I don’t understand why I’m struggling with these revisions.

Worked on ELLA. Worked on another idea I’ve been spinning, that looks like it might turn into something worthwhile. Played with some short story ideas. Worked on some article pitches.

Did some revisions on the first volume of GAMBIT COLONY, which I shouldn’t have, but working on that book soothes me when I’m stressed, so I did it.

Had sent an LOI to a company that looked like it would be a good match for some marketing work, pairing writing with my film/theatre expertise. Their response? Demanding a timed on-line assessment. No. Not doing those. If you’re too lazy and stupid to read my cover letter, resume, and samples to figure whether or not I’m right for the job, that’s on you. We are not a good match. Do not waste my time for what you’re claiming is a top-level assignment by sending me something an hourly minimum-wage employee would have to fill out. I have three decades of credits behind me. You know where you can put your “timed assessment.”

Another response to an LOI was a request for additional information, via an online form. It arrived on Saturday afternoon, outside of business hours. Fine. I figured I’d do it on Monday, DURING business hours, as any legitimate business expects. Only they nagged me ALL WEEKEND. I ignored them. They’re not paying me. I’m not giving up my weekend to fill out a form. It can wait until Monday. I suspect part of this “next step” will be a demand for an unpaid project-specific sample, in which case I will tell them where they can put it. I’m supposed to be panicked and jump through hoops because they claim they had 400 applicants? First, I don’t believe they did; second, part of the introduction/interview process is to see if we are a good fit FOR EACH OTHER. So far? Not liking what I see.

It’s a complete lie that there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill top-level jobs. The problem is that the companies outsource EVERYTHING to unskilled recruiters who are working part-time in between their college classes (because yes, I know how to get them to tell me everything about themselves and they’re not skilled enough to avoid the questions or dig into MY background) and HR people who don’t know anything about the job or the company, and do everything by form and algorithm. You’re not going to find the strongest skilled, creative person for the job that way. Genuinely skilled people with solid credentials aren’t going to play that game.

Saturday was all about laundry. Nine loads of laundry. We changed over from the summer cotton sheets to the flannel fall/early winter sheets. We took the summer covers off the chairs and sofa and put on the fleece for the sofa and the autumn on the big chair. The lace curtain panels came down in my room and the red-and-gold three season curtains went up. Some of the plants came in. Some are getting cut back. Things are being washed, dried, ironed/folded, and packed until next summer. Leaves are falling, and I’ll have to start raking soon.

I read a book by a writer who was trying to write blue collar, rough characters from her point of white privilege. It didn’t work. She didn’t understand what drove the characters, and they weren’t dimensional enough. I’ve read some of her other work and enjoyed it, for the most part. This was a disappointment.

Worked on the books for review. One blurb will go out today; will send the other tomorrow or Thursday.

I’m reading the entire Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald in order. I’d read several of them a long, long time ago. It’s interesting to re-read them all, with fresh perspective of life experience. They are very of their time and timeless. It’s interesting. There’s some beautiful, concise descriptive writing. I didn’t like any of the female characters in THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY. I’m hoping I will like them better in NIGHTMARE IN PINK. But so, far, not liking the women in that book either.

It’s also interesting to re-watch the entire MARY TYLER MOORE series in order. It’s very much of its time, too. I wasn’t too excited about the first half of the first season, but then it started having a little more bite. I remember it being more ground-breaking than I’ve seen so far, but maybe it grew into it. Or maybe it was ground-breaking at the time and seems less so now, because of the ground it broke.

THE NEW YORK TIMES is being stupid and pandering again, as usual. Calling a sexual assault “harmless fun” is not “poor phrasing.” It’s trivializing sexual assault, which is something the media –and the justice department does. Brett Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed, and he needs to be impeached.

The whole bru-ha-ha over Felicity Huffman serving 14 days for bribing someone to fix her kid’s test scores irritates me, too. I am furious at her for doing that. First of all, it’s an insult to her kid. If my parents had so little faith that I could get into the school of my choice that they felt they had to bribe someone, I would have been devastated. And yes, I got in to every school to which I applied, including top-level Ivy League schools. On. My. Own. Merit. I’d always admired Huffman’s work and she presented herself as an ethical person. So I am angry that she’d stoop to something like this.

Do I think it’s fair that she serves only 14 days when a black woman got 5 years for trying to vote? No. Those sentences have no parity. I believe both racism and economic segregation played a part. But I also disagree with John Legend’s comments that there shouldn’t be any jail time. For the black woman who was arrested for trying to vote? Zero time, I believe, a class in political science, and community service. But rich people trading on white privilege need to have serious consequences. Is jail the best solution? Probably not. But community service isn’t enough either. Using the same amount of money she paid or more to pay toward the tuition of someone smarter than her kid who can’t afford college? Maybe that would help.

Yesterday was a long but productive day at my client’s, then work at the library, then Meditation. I desperately needed it.

Today will be another long day with my client and then who knows what else. I’m trying to tackle everything that needs to be done and struggling.

For the moment, though, it’s back to the page. The consistency gets results.

 

Tues. Sept. 3, 2019: And It’s September

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend. But I needed it. Check out the September list over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

There were plenty of things I should have done on Friday, once I was finished with my work at the library, but I didn’t. I read instead. I’m really enjoying all three series by Elaine Viets.

Played with some ideas, developing them. Have to figure out how to fit them in between everything else I have going on.

Sat outside for awhile on the deck, reading. It was lovely. I want to enjoy every minute I can.

Ordered some books, some for research, and Lauren Dane’s Books 4 & 5 of her Goddess Blade series. That was my treat — only allowed to dip into them once I finished my quota for the day.

When I woke up Saturday, it smelled like autumn. The leaves are starting to turn and fall. The tiger lilies have faded and the chlorophyll has already receded. I’ll have to pull the dry stalks soon. That shouldn’t happen until well into September. The birds are starting their migrations, too. They congregate in the front yard, have a snack, and move on.

Concerned about my friends and colleagues down in Florida, and my contacts in the Bahamas. SAVASANA AT SEA is set in the Bahamas, and so it THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I’m worried about what’s happening there.

Worked on GRAVE REACH. Not enough, but we’re getting there. I’m running out of time for it, though, and that’s setting back the BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA revisions, too, so I’m a little stressed.

Worked on the adaptation to radio for BEHIND THE MAN. Anyone who thinks it’s “easy” to adapt a stage play to a radio play is an idiot. They are two different mediums. It’s not about just changing the format.

In the adaptation, I start by changing the format, scene by scene. I take a scene and change the format. Then, I take out all the visual cues and replace them with aural cues. Then I go over the scene however many times I need to for pace, plot, and character, and layer in additional cues to drive the piece. Putting in sound cues isn’t just about adding noise — it’s about picking the right aural stimulation that drives plot and supports character.

It takes a long time.

But BEHIND THE MAN is one of my favorite plays, so, to me, it’s worth it.

Didn’t finish “Pier-less Crime” which is annoying. I keep changing my mind on certain plot points.

Read more than I should have. More of Elaine Viets’s books. Read Lauren Dane’s GODDESS WITH A BLADE Book 4(the twist at the end made me sad). Worked on the book for review. I should have that done and out by tomorrow.

Worked on some article pitches that will go out this week. I have to scan a couple of clips that aren’t available online to attach with one of them. That’s always a pain the butt.

Spent far too much time on Saturday pruning. I did a big prune on the forsythia bushes in the front. They were really getting out of control. Managed to free an enormous hydrangea around the side that was being choked. Also pruned one of the shrubs in the front bed that’s gotten a little out of control. Watered the front and back lawns, too. I still have to prune in the back (the forsythia and the bittersweet) and hack back the roses (but I’m told I should wait until the first frost to do that).

Also replaced the dying pansies in the front baskets and in the front barrel with large marigolds and chrysanthemums for the autumn. Bought a new mat for the front door (the old one was growing moss; it was beyond time to get rid of it). Did tons of laundry and changed out some of the fabric from summer to autumn.

Didn’t start refinishing the sewing cabinet or the small, drop-leafed table, although I should have. There were plenty of things I should have done this weekend, and just didn’t.

Saw the black cat, who was tucked in amongst the rose bushes. She looked a little worse for wear, but wouldn’t let me near her. I left out food and water on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night, and it was all gobbled up when I got up. I hope it’s the cat and not some other critter.

Feel absolutely weary, both physically and emotionally. Until we know if we’re getting a lease renewal for one more year, I am going to be worried.

Kept an eye on Hurricane Dorian. It’s terrifying how it just stopped moving over the Bahamas.

Re-watched CASABLANCA. Every time I see it, I’m reminded how good it is. So many lines have gone into the lexicon of daily conversation, it’s easy to forget how good the movie is as a piece.

Also watched NORTH BY NORTHWEST. I hadn’t seen it since we studied it in film school, and I’d forgotten a lot of it. The ending was a bit abrupt for my taste, but the rest of it was interesting. Although I wondered how Cary Grant’s character just happened to have enough cash on him to race around the country like that. The logic didn’t quite work.

I’m with a client today and tomorrow. Have a ton of errands on Thursday, and then, hopefully, I can go to yoga. Friday morning, I have an important meeting. So we’re hitting the ground running for September.

In and around all of that, I have to meet my writing deadlines, get some promotions going for my books, and get out a bunch of article pitches and LOIs. I also have to do my postcard for my quarterly freelance mailing. That usually gets a good response and I land some decent repeat work from clients.

Never a dull moment.

But I still wish I could take a couple of weeks of vacation.

Back to the page.

Tues. Aug. 6, 2019: Life And . . .

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

It’s been nearly a week since I blogged about daily life. I needed the break.

Today is Lucy’s first anniversary since she came to live with us. She’s grown from being a shy, terrified cat into a friendly, inquisitive lovebug. She makes every day better.

Late last week, I struggled with stress and motivation. My client kept telling me the check was mailed; it kept not arriving. It finally got here yesterday, just as I was getting ready to send a second invoice with a late fee. I’ve already cut this client too many breaks: didn’t require a deposit due to past work together; didn’t charge when one of the venues to which I uploaded the information changed and did it on my own time; gave 5 extra days past the 30 days before sending the invoice with the late fee. Needles to say, I won’t be cutting the client ANY breaks in the future. Deposit up front, late fee on the day it’s late. I no longer trust this client. That it’s typical of local clients doesn’t change the fact that it is unacceptable.

Work on both ELLA and GRAVE REACH was shaky. Had an idea that combined other ideas with which I’ve played for several years. Made some notes, but it’s the type of piece that won’t be done much faster than a page or two a day. I’m trying to combine themes from several other projects that haven’t quite worked. It’s percolating, but not really ready to be written yet, which is fine, since there’s plenty that HAS to be written at this point.

I’m having a lot of fun with the Upbeat Authors posts this month about inspiration. I’m playing with the #31Prompts posts, and it will probably take me a couple of years to write the projects inspired by them all. Having fun with the serial parable I’m doing on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Did house and hearth stuff. Have some worries on the home front, but we’ll see what happens.

Had a good meeting with a potential new client. I definitely have the skills and versatility they need, but it depends if they want versatility and skill, or merely a drone.

Went to a sound bath at the yoga studio on Friday night, which was good, although my back was giving me trouble.

Got my hair cut, finally, on Saturday. A totally different style than I’ve ever had, and it looks good. Fun, flirty, professional, a little retro. It goes with the way my hair naturally waves at this point (considering it used to be stick straight). It feels much, much better. Make-up updated, wardrobe freshened, new hair. Getting the changes started.

My hairdresser was an artist-turned-hair-art guy, and his boyfriend is an aspiring YA writer, studying for his MA. I reeled off a bunch of local writing resources. I always prefer to talk about my stylist than myself when getting my hair done. I’m not one to gossip about myself in the chair.

Read Soniah Kamal’s UNMARRIAGEABLE. Wow, is that a good book! Absolutely loved it. Will shelve it with the set of Jane Austen from my grandmother, and re-read it often. Soniah asked for a photograph of the shelf. Once I dust and light it properly so it photographs well, I’ll do it!

Started the book I’m reading for review. Started the next radio play, tentatively called “A Pier-less Crime.” It’s the next Frieda/Lazarus comedy.

Delved into art books for both the month of Upbeat Author posts on inspiration and the Canaletto play. Started re-Feng Shui-ing some of the house. Did more research on Caribbean recipes to incorporate into my writing. On the flip side of that, also made some more smoked trout pate, because it’s a good cool dish to eat on a hot day. And we had tiramisu, although I bought that. I’m not confidant enough to try making it — YET.

Read a couple of cozies (from two different series) by an author who always leaves me with mixed feelings about her work. There’s a lot of charm and warm detail. But her protagonists are too dependent on the men in their lives, cry too much, repeatedly get “tired” as a plot device to miss important information, and are always rescued by men during the climactic sequence instead of participating in their own survival.

Focused mostly on writing and reading on Sunday. I’m reading a mystery by a Spanish writer. Again, so different from the way US/British/Australian mysteries are structured. So interesting. With an unusual pair of detectives. I also read THE ABOMINATION by Jonathan Holt, set in contemporary Venice, dealing with the war crimes, especially against women, when Yugoslavia was split up. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a huge book, and I read it in one day.

Worked on my Llewellyn article, the play, GRAVE REACH.

Angry and heartbroken over the shootings in El Paso and Ohio. The Narcissistic Sociopath dances with glee that he can incite such violence, and his Russian handlers are delighted. The corruption in this administration is astonishing, although it’s been building since the Reagan years. None of this is a surprise. The lack of will to change it is disgusting.

Yesterday, had to go into my client’s early, so someone would be there to receive a shipment. Challenging day.

Meditation was much-needed.

But Sunday and Monday were good writing days, and this morning was, too. Onsite with a client for most of the day, before other appointments. Getting out some article pitches this week that I hope will hit their marks and create some additional income.

Back to the page.

Wed. Sept. 12, 2018: Switching Genres

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Yesterday was a sad day. It was appropriate that it rained for most of it.

The Narcissistic Sociopath was his usual disgusting self.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see my article on how to lose a client.

Getting back into the groove of DAVY JONES DHARMA. These characters are a lot of fun. I enjoy spending time with them. Now that this is the primary writing focus, I can have fun with the piece, and be a little zany.

Having fun playing with a new idea, although I have no idea when I’ll actually get to write it.

Working on website stuff.

Working on the info sheet for my books that I need for Saturday (and beyond). I had a heck of a time fitting everything on it, about the different books and series. I finally distilled down the blurbs to three words per book. THREE WORDS.

Watched a BBC production of Shaw’s THE MILLIONNAIRESS, starring Maggie Smith. Still relevant in many ways. There’s a reason we keep doing Shakespeare and Shaw.

We are teaching Lucy how to play. She’s starting to enjoy herself. She and Tessa are figuring out how to be friends.

While I appreciate the efforts of people to be politically active on social media, for me, I don’t necessarily want to broadcast everything I do. I do a slew of active things every day. I don’t detail it, either on social media or here. I do it because I believe it’s part of the deal when you’re a citizen — you vote, you serve jury duty, you let your elected officials know where you stand on issues and bills so they can properly represent. It’s great to know what other people are doing, but I don’t feel detailing it publicly is the right choice for me. So I don’t. Because I get to make those choices. And those who find it appropriate to discuss their daily details make their choices. That’s why we’re all working for positive change — so we get to make these choices.

The story about a female cop who went into the wrong apartment and killed the man who lived there has a lot of holes in it. I’ve stumbled home after a 22-hour day on set. I always recognized my apartment (or, if I was staying at someone’s place, their apartment). I didn’t try to get into other people’s apartments. And to just shoot the guy? No. It’s beyond poor judgment. Especially for someone who is supposed to protect and serve, and who carries a gun. There’s more to this story. I don’t know whether there’s race involved (it wouldn’t surprise me) or something more personal. But there’s more to this story, and I hope it gets thoroughly investigated.

Hurricane Florence is supposed to hit the Carolinas tomorrow. I hope it loses power along the way.

I’m hauling all the stuff I’ve been working on out on the deck inside, because of the rain and humidity. Guess I’ll be unpacking inside for awhile. I hoped to have a few more months to air things out on the deck.

Rehearsing for Saturday. Public readings are a necessity, and once I do them, I’m fine, but it’s the prep and the pre-show jitters that I hate.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 12, 2018 at 2:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 12, 2018: Switching Genres  
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Thurs. Sept. 6, 2018: The Need for Saturn to Go Direct

Thursday, September 6, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn DIRECT
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

Saturn goes direct today, and that’s a huge relief.

I was not feeling well yesterday, which wasn’t fun. Nauseated, no appetite. I ended up making chicken noodle soup from scratch, and that helped. Still not feeling great, but I can cope.

I’m so close to the end of this draft of RELICS, which is good, since we have to go into galleys soon. So I better get it right and damn fast!

Once it’s off to the editor, it means I can get back on track with DHARMA.

Working on calendar articles, rehearsing for my reading next weekend. Finishing up the newsletter so it can go out tomorrow. Working on articles from Biblio Paradise and the guest blog and Upbeat Authors and Ink-Dipped Advice. Sending out LOIS.

I still don’t have my September To Do list done.

I haven’t cleaned out any more boxes yet, either. But the stuff that’s being dealt with is BEING DEALT WITH, not just looked at and repacked to deal with someday further down the line.

The SCOTUS hearings are an abomination. Thank goodness for Cory Booker & Kamela Harris. Kavanaugh is not fit to be on the court. If he had the integrity he pretends, he would have insisted on the release of all documents, and he would have been cordial to Fred Guttenberg. Not to mention the whole he-shouldn’t-have-lied-under-oath thing. The GOP is so openly corrupt and refuses to provide checks and balances. They ALL need to GO. Not just be voted out, but investigated and prosecuted where appropriate. And those who have grifted and misused our tax dollars need to pay it back.

MAGAts igniting their Nikes on fire just prove, again, how stupid they are. You hurt a company’s bottom line by not buying their products. Destroying something for which you’ve paid does nothing except reveal that you are both stupid and a hypocrite, especially when it’s something that could be donated to help someone else. Nike’s response as “Just Do It –Safely” with tips how to safely burn their products is fucking brilliant.

Tessa and Lucy are working on getting along. It doesn’t always succeed. They want to be friends, but neither one is sure how. We’re teaching Lucy how to play. It’s kind of funny.

I had a meeting this morning, unfortunately with someone who acted mentally unstable, but had decision-making power over me, so it involved a lot of keeping my mouth shut (and, fortunately, nothing that actually impinged on my integrity and wouldn’t so allow me).

Massive grocery shopping. Now, it’s getting work done at the library.

And finish this draft of RELICS.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 6, 2018 at 12:34 pm  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 6, 2018: The Need for Saturn to Go Direct  
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Wed. Aug. 22, 2018: Creative Expansion & Annoyance at Forced Terms

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Today would have been my father’s birthday, if he was still alive.

Hop on over for the latest freelancing advice over on the Fearless Ink website, Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve tweaked the look of it a bit, too.

I hurt my back on Monday, and it’s still bothering me. On top of it, yesterday, I had an awful headache.

I’m surprised by how upset I am at Facebook’s new terms, where authors can’t talk about their books on their personal pages. Because talking about them IS promoting them — it’s all integrated. My work is deeply entwined with who I am — even though my work is public and my life is private. My reason for being on social media is to talk about the work (and watch food porn and share pet photos, but that’s secondary). To force authors and all artists to move their work to business pages in order to force all of that to be paid promotion — I’m angry.

I’m also disappointed in Mark Zuckerberg, and his journey from creative entrepreneur to greedy corporate owner. People don’t change (although one hopes they grow), so it was always there. I had hoped it wouldn’t be what he leads with, but now it is. It’s bad enough he sold out his country to foreign entities, fake news, and hate groups. All these changes, which he claims are part of controlling that are crap. All he’s doing is hurting the small businesses and individual artists.

So, yes, I’m putting up a Devon Ellington Author page tied to my other pages. For the moment, I am still on FB. But if I’m kicked off, while I will miss some of my FB-only contacts, I’m going to shrug and move on.

I signed up on Tumblr, and you can find me here. I’m still figuring out how to use it.

I signed up on Ello, and you can find me here. I’m digging the creative energy over there, and I think I’m going to like it.

Once I upgrade my phone, I might join Vero, but the jury’s still out on that.

I’m thinking about reviving my old My Space account, even.

It all has to evolve, doesn’t it?

I use Twitter differently than I use Facebook. Facebook is more for hanging out. Twitter is more hard-edged and focused. Although I’ve gotten some of my highest-paid gigs off Twitter.

I might have to suck it up and try to be active on Goodreads, although I can’t stand the thought of it. But I need to be able to connect with readers and potential readers.

The whole thing is discouraging, depressing, and dispiriting. As usual, it’s about screwing the individual artist.

Negotiations for the gig are ongoing. I’d like to land it, but we have a few things to work out. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll shrug and move on.

Lucy loves to sit in my lap as I type. Lucy loves to sit in my lap no matter what. It makes Tessa grumpy, so I make sure to give Tessa plenty of extra attention.

Needless to say, I really, really needed Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki last night!

Continuing on with RELICS, happy that I see the end in sight for this draft and moving toward it.

DHARMA is heating up; once that moves back into the primary position, I think it will cook along fine.

BALTHAZAAR is also taking shape nicely, and I’m eager to get back to that, and to CRAVE THE HUNT.

We’re working on the relaunch of the Jain Lazarus books. My editor has asked me for a few tweaks, especially when it comes to OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. And I’ll have to do some major work on the website. I’m going to get it more in alignment with the other series sites.

We’re also talking about the series POWER OF WORDS is evolving into. The cover for the first book is stunning. I’m so happy with it. The second still needs some more tweaks, but it communicates what the book is about. We should see some proofs for the upcoming books shortly. We’re still tweaking titles on some of them, and starting to build the website.

Client work today; I’ll be late getting posts up both Thursday and Friday, because of things that have to get done in the morning before I can post. I hope to spend most of the upcoming weekend writing and working on the house and garden. With any luck, it will be cool enough and dry enough so to do.

I’m absolutely delighted that I was chosen to read at the Provincetown Book Festival on September 15. We’ll be in the Marc Jacobs room at the Provincetown Library, from 10-11:30 AM. Can’t wait.

Back to the page!

 

Fri. Aug. 17, 2018: Tucking In to a Weekend of Inspiration & Writing

Friday, August 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Here’s hoping I can hang on until Mercury goes direct!

Yesterday, not enough writing done. But I got some LOIs out, updated the websites. I’m trying out the new Fearless Ink logo, and I changed the background color on the site. As my work evolves, so must the site. The concept for the site wasn’t meshing enough with the practicality.

Did some updates on the Devon Ellington site, too. Tweaked the information; added a couple of necessary things. I really like the slideshow of book covers on the Welcome page; I’d like to add additional slideshows to the top of the Delectable Digital Delights Page and the Anthologies Page. Eventually, the Topic Workbooks will have one, too.

We’re working on a new look for the Topic Workbooks. So far, the consensus is that the old covers work better! So I guess we’ll keep working.

Saw a couple of roughs for the cover of what will be the new book in the first of what used to be the Power of Words series. I really like it. It’s very different from anything I’ve seen out there. It gives information on the cover without over-extending titles and gives an idea of what the series is about. We’re going to start building the website offline, so it can go live when we’re done.

About twenty research books arrived at the library — some I’d ordered quite awhile ago. Most of them already go back today.

Did some good work on something I had to research for RELICS. I think feeling insecure about some of the research is what’s tripping me up and making me second guess. Also, the massive overdose in New Haven, CT is supporting what I’m dealing with in the book.

A new character walked into DAVY JONES DHARMA and is going to give Sophie a hard time — in more than one book, it looks like!

Writing this morning. Then, I have to do a few things at the library, and then it’s off to the Cahoon Museum to see their exhibits.

Tessa and Lucy are doing really well. They’re adjusting to each other. Tessa’s mood has improved enormously since Lucy joined the household. Lucy came from a difficult situation, so she’s cautious, but she’s starting to feel safer and more confident.

I plan to dig in this weekend. It’s all about writing and working on the house.

Back to the page, and then off to get some inspiration!

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on August 17, 2018 at 8:48 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 17, 2018: Tucking In to a Weekend of Inspiration & Writing  
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Thurs. Aug. 16, 2018: Trying to Get My Creative Will Back

Thursday, August 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Tired. Can’t seem to get my energy back.

If you didn’t get a chance to read Ink-Dipped Advice yesterday, about charging for multiple skills, hop on over to it here.

Yesterday was up and down at the client’s. Conflicting agendas and some inflexibility. Deciding something SHOULD be a certain way and not working with what IS does not serve to do anything but add unnecessary stress. Change what you can; make a decision about the rest.

I’m second-guessing myself on RELICS & REQUIEM, and the way I’ve set up the two interconnecting plots. I have to decide how far and how much destruction I want to cause with one of them; for the drama of it, it needs to be intense. I just have to make sure it also makes sense on a logical level.

I’m getting back into the groove with DAVY JONES DHARMA. I love Sophie’s voice, and am having fun with it.

BALTHAZAAR TREASURE is reshaping nicely. It’s nice to have the cover designs for them, too. I think we might have to do one more tweak on DHARMA.

My newsletter subscribers will get a sneak peak at all three covers in the September newsletter. If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up here.

We’re designing new covers for The Topic Workbooks, which will be good. And I’ve been working on a new Fearless Ink logo, which I think I like. I may do some tweaking on the site. As my work evolves, so must the sites that represent me!

Tessa and Lucy are doing very well. They haven’t been together even a week. Instead of sitting across the room and staring at each other until they fall asleep, now they do it about two or three feet from each other. They adjust to each other, are aware of each other, but are not aggressive. It’s pretty cute.

Yoga today, and then writing and working on things around the house. I need to fix a few things, clean a few things, get back to the purge.

I plan to have a strong writing weekend, and also cleaning weekend.

Tomorrow, I hope to get to make a museum trip.

Back to the page.

Published in: on August 16, 2018 at 8:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 16, 2018: Trying to Get My Creative Will Back  
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Tues. Aug. 14, 2018: Getting Back on Track

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Quite a busy few days.

On Friday, we drove across the bridge and picked up the newest member of our family, a six year old tortoiseshell cat named Lucy. Her owner was a nice guy and it broke his heart to give her up; but she was friendly with us from the get-go, so I hope he is reassured she has a good home.

Coming back over the Bourne Bridge was a nightmare, but eventually, we got home. Then came the introduction/integration process.

It’s been working well. They growl at each other occasionally, or hiss. But there’s no other aggression, and, most of the time, they basically ignore each other. They both get a lot of affection, often in sight of each other, at the same time, so that they can associate good things with each other. We’re pretty low key and calm; because we’re not tense and fussing, other than a few growls and hisses, they don’t, either.

It will take a few months before they’re friendly with each other, but I think it will work out. They are both sweet-natured, affectionate cats.

The writing did not go well over the weekend; I’m exhausted. Although I did re-plot the rest of RELICS now that it’s diverged so far from the outline. Yesterday, I got back into the saddle with both RELICS and DHARMA. I’m not quite in the flow where I want to be yet, but we’re getting there.

It rained on and off, so when it was cool enough to do yard work, I couldn’t actually do any.

Saturday, I managed to do tons of laundry, get some cleaning done, and get material to create a new cover for the big chair. It’s the same color configuration as Lucy’s tortoiseshell fur, so sometimes when she sits in it, she’s camouflaged. I think she likes that.

I also experimented with a puff pastry filled with apple pie filling, making little turnovers. Needs some work.

We’re watching lots of travel-the-world through cooking videos, and it’s making me more adventurous and confident about my own recipes.

I finished off the foreword for my friend’s book and sent it off. He was thrilled with it. Hopefully, the publisher likes it, too, and doesn’t want too many other changes. But I’ll do whatever.

It was one of the more challenging pieces I’ve ever had to write. Keeping it simple, not getting too gushy, pointing out where it works and lifts the book above typical genre, why it works so well as an indie title due to the chances it takes and breaks through the narrowing of the genre that so many of the Big Five now do. Using examples, but not spoilers.

I’ve read far too many over-blown forewords that quote so much text and dissect so much of the book, you don’t need to read the book anymore. I didn’t want to write one of those!

It was a good stretch, and I learned a lot.

Sunday was the memorial service for the friend who lost her battle to cancer on Aug. 1. It was at a local theatre, which was great (especially during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in NY, we held a lot of memorials in theatres). Lots of people, photos and videos of productions and performances in which she was involved. Her family is bearing up while devastated, because what else could they be?

What I didn’t like was that there was a cash bar and the drinks were full theatre show night price. Since, in lieu of flowers, the theatre was getting donations anyway, I thought that was inappropriate. That’s something I’ve noticed lately at New England funerals/memorials — cash bars. The last two years, that’s been the case in MA and Maine. I don’t like it. I prefer the established ritual of the community providing the feast for the family of the bereaved — everyone would chip in if asked.

It was good to gather everyone to say a final goodbye, but it drove home that this was it. No more of our friend laughing and making our lives sparkle. It was closure, but I don’t want to close the chapter on her. It’s a closure her family, especially needs, and I guess the rest of us do, but there’s a part of me that rebels at it.

She will live in our hearts, but right now, that’s not enough. Even though it has to be.

Came home, exhausted, to calm kitties also sleeping. The past few days have been stressful for them; it was good they could sleep — especially in the same room.

With a client and some other appointments yesterday and today. Yesterday was a web of missed communications.

My phone is dying AGAIN. I’m tired of forced updates I don’t want and forced apps I can’t take out of my phone to make room for what I want and need in it. I resent being forced to run my life on my phone and everything is an app.

I’m not buying a phone during Mercury retrograde. Last time I did that, it died the day Mercury went direct.

I’ll just be old school for the next couple of weeks, and people don’t get an instant response.

This coming weekend, I will go offline all weekend. I’m looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, I’m booked into three yoga classes this weekend, which I’ll need!

Onward.

Published in: on August 14, 2018 at 1:37 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 14, 2018: Getting Back on Track  
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Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018: The Exhaustive Stage of Grief

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Lucy Burdette’s newest Key West Food Critic Mystery, Death on the Menu.

It’s been a rough few days. I keep expecting Iris to hop up on whatever I’m working on and made one of her feline demands; I keep coming across cool things to do and thinking, “Pam would enjoy this.”

None of that is possible anymore. It’s tough.

Friday was terribly hard. I was exhausted, I was sad. I tried to nap in the afternoon, and couldn’t.

On the positive side, the Heart Chakra box from Goddess Provisions arrived early – just when I needed it. It was a welcome treat.

I managed to pull myself together to attend a dinner party given by my friend and colleague, author Arlene Kay, for our mutual friend and colleague, Carole Buggé, whose sold 50,000 copies of her newest release, Edinburgh Twilight.

It was a lovely evening. I got to see people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and meet some new ones. The house was lovely, the food was spectacular, the conversation lively. It was a delightful evening.

Saturday, some friends from Connecticut stopped by on their way to Nantucket; they’ll be there for three weeks, so I might get the chance to visit with them there again.

But I was worn out and that was all I could do. It’s the stage of grief where everything is exhausting. You’re trying to function as needed, you’re working not to make it all about your grief for everyone else, and it’s exhausting. I feel like I’m plodding. All I want to do is sleep, but when I lie down, I can’t.

I read a lot, I played with Tessa (who is very upset), I tried to stay cool. I’d been in conversations to adopt another cat before Iris’s death, and it looks like we’ll get to pick her up this coming Friday. She’s only a year younger than Tessa, and supposed to be friendly, and a tortie, so I hope they will become good friends in time.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I’m with a client. I’m trying to put one foot in front of the other and get done what I have to. I’ve cancelled out of several things to just give myself time to grieve in peace.

My yoga and meditation practices are a big help.

I haven’t written much on RELICS the past few days, or DHARMA, with the deadlines looming. I managed to write about thirty pages of an idea I’m playing with – I needed something different to work on, without pressure. I’ll get back into the harness with RELICS later this week. It means a deadline extension, but I’m lucky that I’ve earned one.

Onward.

 

Published in: on August 7, 2018 at 1:55 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018: The Exhaustive Stage of Grief  
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Thurs. Aug. 2, 2018: A Test of Coping Skills

Thursday, August 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Hot and humid

Usually August 1 is a wonderful day. It’s a very important day on my personal calendar. I’m usually able to take it off as a personal day of rest and reflection.

That wasn’t a possibility yesterday. My client has a big event starting this weekend, and we were working on last minute stuff. It was a good type of busy, but still busy.

Then, our beloved Iris, the last of the New York City cats, is fading at age 18. She’s not ill, she’s just old, slowing down, and only has a few more days, if that, with us. It’s very sad. We let her know how much we love her, and help her as much as we can. She’s been a huge part of my life, first in NYC, later with my mom in Rye, and then moving to the Cape.

I’m behind where I want and need to be on both RELICS & REQUIEM, and on DAVY JONES DHARMA. It’s hard to push through and get things done.

RELICS has taken quite a few turns away from the original outline, although the emotional core is still there. I haven’t felt lighthearted enough for DHARMA. But maybe working on the latter would be good for my heart.

We had a series of power outages on Tuesday night going into Wednesday. Very frustrating, especially since it wasn’t all that hot and there were no storms.

I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. I’m making progress on RELICS, it’s just slower than it needs to be for deadline.

And I’m sad.

Published in: on August 2, 2018 at 8:44 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 2, 2018: A Test of Coping Skills  
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Tues. July 3, 2018: Writing, Marching, Company

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and hot

Packed few days.

Friday, I gave myself the day off. Even from writing. We got out of the house early and drove out to Truro, to the Atlantic Spice Company. I was out of a few things, and, since the local natural market closed, I needed to restock. It was a nice drive on a lovely day, and a good trip.

On the way back, we had a quick stop at the National Seashore in Eastham, stopped at Great Cape Herbs in Brewster, and had lunch at  Captain Frosty’s in Dennis. Then, a quick stop at Trader Joe’s. At 1 PM on a Friday, the place looked like it had been stripped by locusts. I couldn’t believe how many shelves were bare.

I also picked up some globe solar lights and put them into the garden. Between the lights and the fireflies, it was beautiful.

We have a mother and baby bunny in the garden, too. I have enough dandelions for them to eat, so they leave our lettuce alone!

I read a lovely book by Catherine Isaac called YOU ME EVERYTHING. Really well done.

I received the most wonderful request from my colleague Ron MacLean to write the foreword for the re-release of his novel HEADLONG. It remains one of my ten favorite novels I’ve read in the past decade or so, and probably on my top 20 books of all time. I’m so honored.

Between that and the almanac articles and the monologue for my friend’s benefit and the material I’m sending for a potential reading slot in fall, I have quite the schedule. But it’s wonderful.

I’m going to re-read HEADLONG before I write the foreword. Fall in love with the book all over again.

My lunch at Frosty’s had been a much anticipated platter of fried seafood, and I spent the rest of the day and night regretting it. But it was wonderful while I ate it.

Saturday morning, I woke up at 4 AM. I felt better, but Iris (aka Princess Hellion) scared me nearly to death. She was lying in the hallway, not moving. I was afraid she was dead. It was only a deep sleep, thank goodness. She was quite annoyed that I woke her up. She was hot, and could get a breeze by lying in the hall.

Early grocery shopping before heading out to the march.

Each march has its own distinct atmosphere. This, #FamiliesBelongTogether was of grim determination. Although Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy III worked hard to make us optimistic in our fight.

I am sick and tired of Republicans denying human beings basic human dignity and calling it “religion” and “safety.” My mother is terrified — she survived a regime like this during WWII.

I did not do well in the heat and had to be treated for heat exhaustion.

On the bus back, and later in the evening, I read Hannu Rajaniemi’s new book SUMMERLAND. Wow. Just wow. The type of book that’s a page turner while you read it and keeps you thinking after you put it down. Really excellent.

Watched STATE OF PLAY (the one with Bill Nighy, the BBC mini-series). Very good. Also started watching the second season of HUSTLE, which is fun.

Sunday was hot, hot, hot. We got the garbage to the dump (not fun). Read and wrote a little during the day. I’m playing with an idea that’s a variation on something I’ve played with on and off for years and never quite made work. Also pondered this, that, and the other on RELICS & worked out ideas on calendar articles.

We went to MSPCA for a senior cat adoption. The new facility was beautiful, but there weren’t many cats (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong). Tessa needs a friend, and I don’t think the right one was there for her in this batch. I feel so guilty every time I walk out of a place without adopting.

When we came home — the power was out in this neighborhood. I was worried we’d lose everything in the fridge, but it came back on after a couple of hours without damage.

Monday, I did client work and had some meetings and did some work at the library.
Worked on a marketing campaign for a client and got part of it out. The rest has to be handled today.

Had an excellent writing day on Monday for RELICS. Finished a Phineas chapter, wrote an entire Amanda chapter.

Have to get going with DHARMA this week, too. I look forward to being back on the cruise ship with Sophie, Sebastian, Roz, and the gang.

Today, more client work, and then Reiki tonight. Company arriving late tonight — they might stay until the end of the week, they might leave after a few days. We’re playing it by ear.

No post tomorrow — Just a holiday greeting. I’ll be back online on Thursday. Have a great weekend. And I hope my Canadian friends had a wonderful Canada Day on Sunday.

 

Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Rainy and muggy

Tuesday night, there was a lovely Savasana/Reiki session at my yoga studio. I’m so glad I went. I felt so much better after.

Tessa wouldn’t eat her food (she only eats one kind of dry food, with another as an occasional treat), so at 6:30 in the morning yesterday, I went to 711 to get her a fresh box of her “treat” food, since the pet food store wasn’t open. She ate that. So her regular food must have gotten stale or something. Then, this morning, she didn’t want that food, and ate her normal food again. She’s bored and acting out. I need to give her more to do. Iris is too old to be a good companion for her.

It was difficult to make much progress on RELICS on Wednesday. My head wasn’t in the game.

Now that the US has pulled out of the UN’s Human Rights Council and believes that gives them the freedom to do anything they want, harm anyone they want, I hope that the world will prosecute this administration for human rights violations and war crimes in the Hague.

If a baker can refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding and say it’s because of his “religion” than any ethical and moral individual can refuse to sell to, serve, or otherwise provide any good or service to any individual who participates in this atrocity. And we all should. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Frontier Air took important steps yesterday to do just that. Prosecute the participants, the way Nazi collaborators were prosecuted after WWII. Cut them out of the community. Refuse them the sacraments. After all, they are tearing rosaries away from immigrants — why should they be allowed the comfort they deny others? Nor should they be absolved in a confessional and allowed to return to committing the same atrocities again.

If these were white children being detained, these gun rights militias would have already stormed the camps and freed them. But, since gun rights militants tend to also be white supremacists (not to mention hypocrites), they haven’t done anything. Or even spoken out.

A large faction of Methodists has spoken out against Jeff Sessions and threatened to expel him from the church. Good. He’s been hiding behind “religion” to justify his atrocities. His religious leaders, if they actually walk their path, should condemn and expel him. Then he should go on trial for human rights violations. All the evangelicals who haven’t spoken out, who aren’t doing anything — again, proves that they aren’t followers of Christ at all, but hypocrites. Like people with critical thinking skills didn’t already know that.

Some Republican Senators are saying this is wrong. Yet they refuse to sign on to Senator Diane Feinstein’s bill that would stop this. Because Republicans don’t really mean it, and aren’t willing to work across the aisle for a solution. It’s beyond not being willing to work with Democrats. It is because Republicans AGREE with the policies. They would rather see an entire generation of children destroyed for not being white and world-wide anti-Americanism on the rise than put country over party. It is racism and the worst kind of nationalism.

We cannot wait until November. They must be stopped NOW.

That EO signed by the Narcissistic Sociopath yesterday does not solve the problem. It was a photo op to stop some of the shouting by those who can’t be bothered to read beyond a headline. It continues to put asylum seekers — something that is LEGAL — into concentration camps. It does not reunite the children already separated from their parents. It is not acceptable.

I am deeply disappointed in some that I thought were decent human beings and have proven themselves otherwise by continuing to support and excuse this corrupt administration. Including some who claimed they voted R on “religious grounds.”

I’ve said it before and I repeat: Good people did not vote for this administration. The minute they pulled that voter lever, they forfeited any “good person” status and let the mask slip, revealing who they really are.

In the book I’m currently reading, Dolores Stewart Riccio’s THE DIVINE CIRCLE OF LADIES MAKING MISCHIEF, on page 108, she has a beautiful sentence: “The heart always has room for one more.”

Unless one supports this administration. Then, the heart has room for no one.

Had hoped to do some yard work today, but don’t know if the weather will let up so I can. I need to work on RELICS, and I also need to finish the proofs for MYTH.

It’s so important to show up and do the work every day, to keep creating, to refuse to be silenced during this dark time. It’s tough, but necessary.

Hopefully, tonight’s ritual will serve to both soothe and to activate.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 21, 2018 at 9:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 21, 2018: The Need To Be Creative In Spite of The World  
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