Tues. Feb. 7, 2023: Variety as Spice and Obstacle

image courtesy of Reimund Bertrams via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Last Day of Full Moon

Sunny and cold

Well, that was quite the weekend. Let’s sit down and have a catch-up, shall we?

Friday, I did the blogging. I drafted two episodes of Legerdemain. That felt good, and the arcs I have intersecting and weaving in this second big arc are coming together. I’ve adjusted the outline slightly. I know where I’m headed; I’m just not sure how many episodes it will take to get there. I’m also using Legerdemain in the Writing Wonders game over on Mastodon, which is fun.

I took care of a bunch of admin. I finished a script coverage and did a scoring sheet on another project. I did some research on some residencies, and there’s one for which I’d like to pitch, but I have to decide which of my projects makes the most sense to apply there.

I finished reading a book in the late afternoon/evening that was recommended, but I lost patience with the self-sabotaging protagonist who wasn’t very bright and didn’t grow. She wasn’t someone I wanted to spend that much time with, and she wasn’t interesting enough to hold my attention once she lost my respect.

Started re-reading Anne Truitt’s DAYBOOK. If you’re not familiar with Anne Truitt’s work, she was a visual artist/sculptor/painter/writer. I was first introduced to her work through her books, published diaries and musings about her relationship to her art in the 1990s, when working on a collaborative theatre piece about women’s diaries. I re-read her books DAYBOOK, TURN, and PROSPECT regularly. If you do any type of creative work or enjoy others’ creative work, I recommend these books. They will give you a lot of insight into process.

On a trip to Washington, DC, a few years before moving to Cape Cod, there just happened to be a retrospective of her work at one of the museums along the Mall, and I was thrilled to spend quality time within the physical pieces about which I’d read over the years.

It was -10 when I went to bed on Friday night and -17 when I got up. The power held overnight, but the internet fluctuated (which was fine, because I slept through the whole thing).

I made vegetable stock on Saturday morning. I did the rounds putting up the day’s prompt, and then I sat down and drafted a couple of first drafts of short stories inspired by the prompts. Most under a thousand words.

I had three ideas for the first one, at the airport bar. The first two worked pretty well (especially the second one, set in the TWA Sunken Lounge). The third, I literally lost the plot. I had an idea Friday night, and lost it, although I remember the opening. The story for the second prompt used a character from one of the first stories, and had a unique twist, but I haven’t yet decided where I want to do with it. The third prompt was a lot of fun, kind of a sweet story, and the 4th is okay, but needs more of a climax. But that’s what first drafts are for, for me. To figure out what I’m trying to say.

I don’t know if I’ll use all the prompts, but these were fun. If I can take the character in the middle story I wrote for Prompt 1 and used in Prompt 2 and come up with fun interlinked stories all month (aside from whatever else I do), that would be a good challenge.

A lot of paying markets now want speculative and horror, and, of course, none of these so far are that. Oh, well, it just means looking at the markets. The linked stories are action/thriller; the others are contemporary women’s fiction.  They’re under three different bylines, at this point, because the tones of the pieces fit those bylines.

I’m writing all month, then going back to rewriting, and not even thinking about submitting until later in the spring. I doubt I’ll do something for every prompt, but it’s a nice warmup.

Turned around three coverages on Saturday. Read one of the books for review.

Went to bed early, because I was tired. Slept decently, and up at the usual time on Sunday. I went out a did a big grocery shop in the morning, restocking staples we’ve used up, and getting stuff for recipes I want to try this week. Five overflowing bags. That should keep us going for a while.

I read up on Corsica, which is where the next section of the Heist Romance script takes place, with the focus on the romance portion, rather than the heist portion. I realized  that they can’t take the ferry out of Nice, it has to be Toulon. Researching Toulon, I found out about Mont Faron and the cable car ride, and used that as a setting for a couple of scenes. Wrote 8 pages, and they’re on the ferry to Corsica now.

I have more research to do on Corsica (and I watched a bunch of great videos) before I can write this section. I came up with a way to tie it in to the main plot at two points, too, and I might even send them across to Sardinia for a day or two.

Obviously, I am doing this script as high-concept, big budget and not limiting my parameters at all. Which is kind of fun.

Turned around three coverages. Spent some time on Spoutible. When it runs, I have to say I enjoy it. It’s like Twitter without all the screaming and trolling, although I suspect that will change when it opens up to the general public this week. There are still some glitches, and it’s clunky moving between screens, but they fix problems and listen when people bring something up. So we’ll see. And I’m having a lot of fun on the Writing Wonders game over on Mastodon.

As I’ve said before, Twitter mostly makes me sad now. The algorithm hides followers from each other, unless they pay the monthly fee. There are a few people I regularly interact with, and I just go to their feed and see what they’re up to, but it’s even making that more difficult. Of the “writers” that are still there, most of them are posting either faux engagement questions they got off a clickbait list,  or expecting other writers to do their work for them. I’ll have the data by May or June to see if the promotional posts are even driving traffic anymore (I doubt they are), and then I’ll make my decision.

Because, for me, social media can’t just be about hanging out. It’s part of my business. It needs to drive traffic back to the websites, and translate into purchases or other forms of mutual support. Sites that don’t do that need to fall off the daily rounds, because my time and energy needs to be spent elsewhere. I love hanging out and chatting with people on a wide variety of topics, but when it’s all one-sided (as in chatting, and I’m supporting their projects, but they’re not supporting mine), it becomes an unbalanced relationship. Since I”m being far more careful to avoid those in real life, I also need to avoid them virtually.

Started reading the next book for review.

Honored the full moon.

Slept reasonably well, was up earlier than usual on Monday, and had to override the automatic start time on the coffeemaker because I couldn’t wait that long.

Drafted an episode of Legerdemain.

Revised/edited the next four episodes of Legerdemain, with the multi-colored draft, followed by two more rounds of revision and a polish. Uploaded those four episodes, which gets me to the beginning of March. Now I can draft a bigger batch of episodes, and that will help, if, in revisions, I have to plant something earlier than I thought.

Put in a couple of big orders for things I need (cleaning supplies, etc.) shipped. Still waiting for the Midnight City Tarot that should have arrived last week, but the “tracking” doesn’t show where it is; just says “moving through network.”

I hate DeJoy and he should be in prison, not running the post office.

Picked up the stack of books waiting for me at the library.

I got a coverage turned around and was almost through the second when I was hit with a bunch of admin stuff that had to be done immediately. Some of it is tax-focused (a company for whom I’ve freelanced a lot this past year is screwing me on the 1099 – I really need to find a replacement for that client). And there’s other paperwork that’s come through for a big project, and I’ll share details as soon as I’m allowed and everything is signed.

Of course, the printer ran out of ink during all of this.

I was too out of sorts to go back to coverage. I made Eggplant Mykonos for dinner (from Moosewood, of course), using graffiti eggplant rather than the usual dark eggplant, because that’s all that was in the store. I really liked it.

I read more of the book for review in the evening. I couldn’t settle back into coverage, and I’ll pay for that today. It means I have 5 coverages that HAVE to be turned around today, AND I have soup class tonight.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s wonderful.

Slept well until Charlotte woke me at 1, then had trouble getting back to sleep, and had stress dreams until the coffee started. Hauled the laundry over to the laundromat and got that done. I did some work in longhand on a project – I’m a little over 50 pages in to that one. I need to type it up and then outline, because I’m flailing, and it needs an outline. Also read some of Victoria Glendenning’s biography of Edith Sitwell.

I have to give tomorrow’s Process Muse post a polish and get it up, work on Legerdemain, and do the social media rounds. Then, I’ll spend the rest of the day on script coverage, and finish the admin work tomorrow.

Hope you had a good weekend, and are having a good start to the week.

Newest episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Tues. Jan. 31, 2023: Starting With More Snow

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

This won’t be as long as our usual Tuesday morning chat, because I just don’t have that much to say.

The month wrap up is over on the GDR site.

I wrote two book reviews on Friday morning, sent them in, invoiced, was paid, did a library run, came home. The weather was yucky. I had some scoring sheets and some pitches for coverage, that was it.

I have to say, these scoring sheets where the instructions are only to read the first page of the screenplay and score on that are teaching me a lot about how to open my own scripts.

I was done by mid-afternoon. My back hurt a lot, so I moved to the couch with the heating pad, and stayed there, reading for pleasure, pretty much all weekend. The weather was gray and icky.

Saturday’s reading was re-reading the 4th book of my own GAMBIT COLONY project and what I have of the 5th, on which I wanted to figure out and rework a few bits. I made some notes and did an insert scene. It’s not traditionally viable, so I’ll have to pitch it to a small publisher, and I have to make sure I have all the ducks in the row for the series. There’s a lot that works in it, and there’s also a lot that pushes boundaries. And there are cuts that need to be made, or information integrated differently, in order to let the focus remain on the large and ever-growing ensemble.

But in the late afternoon/evening, I switched over to reading for pleasure, and basically read all day Sunday.

There were some books that I started and went back in the return stack for the library after a few chapters because they just didn’t do it for me. But I read LAST TRAIN TO MEMPHIS by Elizabeth Peters (another Vicky Bliss), Lana Harper’s BACK IN A SPELL (which is really good), and AN UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS by M.E. Hilliard, which I think I’ve read before, but it was a pleasure to re-read (and order the next books in the series), and an early book by an author whose work I’ve read a lot of under various names; this one was a little on the cutesy side for me.

I should have dived into the books on Malta’s history for the Heist Romance screenplay. I did look through the travel guides and watched some local videos, and decide where I’m putting some of the key scenes, though. I should have worked on contest entries.

But I was in pain and feeling grumpy and unsettled, so I didn’t. I did, early on Saturday morning, dash out to get more ink. Getting in and out of the car was hard. But it had to be done.

Monday I had to get up and actually function, so I did some prep for Imbolcc, blogged, worked on Process Muse posts, and took the car in for inspection in the morning – new-to-me place, in and out in 12 minutes, which is less time than it took to drive there. But I’m all set until next year.

I only had a stack of scoring sheets to do in the script coverage, so I did that, and started working ahead on the Process Muse posts.

I have an idea tickling at the back of my brain. I thought it was going to be historical alt-fantasy or epic fantasy, but the characters have decided it is urban fantasy romance, so that’s what it will be. If I ever figure it out. Because some key scenes basically dropped into my head, and I have the story with the emotional arcs for the two protagonists, but not the plot. So I’ll make notes on the scenes (or maybe write them, there are not many of them), and let it percolate on the back burner of my brain to see if a plot evolves. All of last night’s dreams were in the world of that story, and through those characters’ experiences (rather than me being myself in one of my Dreamscapes), so there’s obviously something in there my subconscious believes is viable.

I ordered the Midnight City Pocket Tarot and am very excited to get it. The artwork is based on NYC locations, so it will have a resonance for me.

Soup class was fun – we did mulligatawny soup, and it was great. I missed the last couple of weeks of class, and missed the camaraderie, as well as the skills I’m learning. Once the food is created, everyone just hangs out and chats, and it’s fun. The best of Zoom (and makes Charlotte so happy).

I did a reading with the Spirit Allies Oracle deck, which came in the Goddess Provisions box a couple of months back. I don’t know why I’m surprised when it’s so accurate. It’s a terrific deck, by the way.

Anthony Lemke talked about a book he read that he really loved. It’s been on my TBR list for awhile, but I’m moving it up, because he’s never steered me wrong when it comes to books or good work!

We had a little snow overnight, maybe just over an inch. We have an ice warning out, and it’s kind of flurrying. I’ll wait until mid-day to do my library-grocery-liquor store run. I need more coffee. And I have to put in a Chewy order for cat litter.

The cats have adjusted to the whole not-being-fed-until-coffee. But the second the coffeemaker starts (it’s set for a specific time the night before) and the smell wafts through the house, all of them are making demands that I Get Up and Feed Them. It’s kind of hilarious.

I need to get my act together and focus today. There’s writing to do, interview questions to create and send off, contest entries to read, a book to start reading for review. No scripts in the queue, at least so far. I’m not in terrible shape this pay period, but I’m under what I hoped, and I’m very, very frustrated at the pressure to “double volume” when there aren’t enough scripts at a decent rate in the queue. So I need to add in other options.

#28Prompts starts tomorrow. I hope you have fun with it. I had fun coming up with the prompts. It will drop on Twitter at noon EST every day, and on the other social media channels (where I can’t schedule ahead of time) whenever I can get on them.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it. Be well, my friends.

Tues. Jan. 10, 2023: Good Start to the Writing Week

image courtesy of  Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Time for us to curl up with a favorite beverage and have our Tuesday catch-up natter.

The GDR post this week is about “More Me” rather than the mantra thrown at us every year about a “new me.”

Busy weekend. As you saw from reading Friday’s post,  I was not in a good mood on Friday.

I scuttled the idea of getting anything done, and, instead, spent most of the day taking down and packing the holiday decorations. I didn’t get it all done on Friday; there was still about 1/3 of the tree left, and few other things scattered around. But I got most of it done.

I was tired and sore by the end of the afternoon. I made bouillabaisse for dinner, in the new Dutch oven, and it was delicious. I read for pleasure in the evening.

Didn’t sleep well.

Saturday morning, I wrote about 1K on a project with which I’m noodling in longhand, and wrote in my head on the screenplay.

I spent most of the day finishing getting the ornaments packed and reorganizing where to stash all these various boxes of ornaments, getting the tree taken apart, and the new stand apart (took 2 minutes to get this stand back in the box, yay), and everything put away. I broke one glass ornament, from 1982, which makes me sad, but when I took it off the tree, the top metal part that was attached to the hanger detached from the glass ball and that was that. Got it all cleaned up, so that the cats wouldn’t step on any shards.

Started switching out all the different fabrics from the holiday to more general January/winter fabrics – kitchen table, the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell, other tables, etc. Didn’t get them all done, but made good progress.

The heat stopped working around midday. I put in a call, got no response, but it started working again in the late afternoon, so who knows. As long as it works.

Made Moosewood’s mac & cheese for dinner, which was good. Was too tired to read much in the evening, although I’m enjoying another of Elizabeth Peters’s Vicky Bliss series. Went to bed early because I was tired and sore.

Up early on Sunday and, for the first time since about Christmas, we had real sunshine. What a big difference! That made me feel better, too.

I wrote about 2K on the project in longhand, which wound up being all of Chapter 4. I’m starting to realize what this book is, how it’s shaped, what the narrative drive needs to be, which is very different than what I thought it was about. I think (hope) it will be a standalone. I have a lot of placeholders (which I don’t usually do), and I’m at the point where I have to type up these pages to really get an idea of what’s what. I SHOULD outline, but I don’t think I will, this time around, even though it will necessitate more rounds of revision. I started typing up the pages written (because otherwise it’s too overwhelming at the end). I am doing a lot of rewrites as I go, on this draft I’m calling “1A” that goes beyond adding in the information from placeholders and going to some restructuring as I’m learning the shape.

I wrote ten more pages on the screenplay. There are already all kinds of notes in the margins of what I’ve printed out, where I need to fix things in the next draft. And this draft will be too long, so cuts will have to be made, and some structural work done. But I’m telling the story I want to tell. I need to tell this version to completion, before I can make it fit the format better.

At the same time, part of me suspects I will eventually adapt it into a novel, because that is more likely to go somewhere. But the ideas are coming in as a screenplay, and I’m learning from it, so whatever it winds up being, I will have gained from starting in this format.

Made turkey meatloaf for dinner. Added a bit of Worcestershire sauce and tabasco to the mix, and that made a big, positive difference.

Read in the evening, but went to bed early, because I was tired. Tessa tried to get me out of bed at 3, but I told her no breakfast until the coffee starts. So the minute the coffeemaker started at its designated time, she was in full voice.

It’s amazing how something as small as having a coffeemaker one can program to start before one gets up makes such a big difference in starting the day.

Wrote about 1K on the longhand project. Drafted a Legerdemain episode. Got next week’s episodes uploaded, and created graphics. I wrote the loglines in the evening.

Mailed bills, dropped off and picked up books at the library, went to the grocery store I don’t like much to pick up a few things I couldn’t get at the other place. Sang the grumpy pants song to myself to get myself out of my worsening mood. It’s a silly little jingle I made up to sing to the cats when they were grumpy, and now I use it on myself at times, to get over myself and get back on track. Because it’s silly, and it’s hard to stay grumpy singing it.

After lunch, I did some scoring for the script coverage place – quick but low paid, and I’m a little worried about having enough work for this week.

In the meantime, I polished the first 16 episodes of ANGEL HUNT, created the Episode Tracking Sheet, the Style Sheet, and the Series Bible. I polished the blurb. I can start uploading those first two months’ worth of episodes today. Then, I’ll have to write the log lines and do the episode-specific graphics. I’m only using the series logo as a general graphic (unlike LEGERDEMAIN, where I have a plethora of general graphics to support the ongoing worldbuilding).

I wrote two pages on the script, which will have to be cut. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to cut this whole subplot. It’s too much of a tangent. I have a bit of a subplot in there already that is stronger for the piece.

I made some notes of general ad graphics for LEGERDEMAIN. I have a slew of general ads along with the episode-specific graphics, but I need to do some more, as more weird little shops and places work into the story.

Soup class with Chef Jeremy was fun, although his Zoom cut out partway through. But everyone just hung out and chatted until he got the tech on his end up and running. I’ve learned a lot in that class, and it’s fun to apply it.

My mom hasn’t been feeling well the past few days, which, since she is 98, is a concern. She’s a little better this morning, so hopefully, taking it easy for a few days will help.

Up early, before coffee, and had to coax the coffeemaker along. Tessa was thrilled she didn’t have to start howling to get breakfast. Got my act together to leave for the laundromat early, and was the only one there. It was wonderful.

While the laundry was going through, I got 1K written in longhand on the one book, and then read a bit, as the laundry finished in the dryer.

Home, hauled it up the stairs, got it folded and put away.

The plan for today is to draft another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, adapt the next chapter of ANGEL HUNT to serial episodes, and get those first 16 episodes uploaded and scheduled. I’ll write the loglines, and maybe start the episode graphics, but we’ll see how long all that takes. I also want to do some work on the LEGERDEMAIN website. I also have to do the promotional rounds for the episode going live today.

I want to get out some LOIs today; I’ve been lax on that, and am paying for it, now that the script coverage has slowed down so much. They keep telling us they want more commitment as far as hours per week – well, then pay us better and have enough scripts ready for us.

I have a book to review, and can start on contest entries, if nothing comes in, script-wise, and I have some work to do on an article, too.

Episode 49 of LEGERDEMAIN goes live today – I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one, my friends! I’m headed back to the page.

Fri. Jan. 6, 2023: Deep in That Mars Retrograde Energy

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Friday, January 6, 2023

Full Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy with temperatures dropping

Yesterday was kind of all over the place.

Meditation was canceled. I mailed some bills, did a big grocery shop, picked up books at the library, got more ink for the inkjet printer.

Came home, unpacked everything, wrote my reviews, submitted the reviews and the invoice, and was paid within ten minutes (love that). I even got a holiday bonus! Was assigned my next two books for review.

Makes me feel better about the lack of script coverages in my queue lately.

Did the social media rounds to promote Episode 48 of Legerdemain.

Was annoyed by an email with the subject line saying: “Set New Year’s Resolutions If You Want to Fail.”

My response to that is “fuck you.”

Resolutions work for me. If they don’t work for others, fine. But don’t tell people that it makes failure the only option.

This is from an organization (not local) from whom I took a few online courses when I first moved here, but they have a very cliquish system, where unless you pay to be part of their group and agree to work within their system, you’re excluded.

No, thanks. I believe I will unsubscribe to their mailings and constant invites to buy in. I got a few good things out the work with them that set me off some interesting paths, but this “do it OUR way, it’s the RIGHT way” is pretty fucked up.

Buh-bye.

I unsubscribed from a boatload of nonprofit mailing lists at the end of the year, and continue to do so as I wade through the ridiculous amount of email that comes in every day. When the day before New Year’s, I opened my email to find almost all of it demands for money, I just hit unsubscribe, over and over again. I have told every nonprofit to whom I give money that they get ONE ask per year. Segment your fucking mailing lists (it’s not hard, I did it for clients for years) or lose any future support.

Done.

I rarely unsubscribe from author newsletters unless the work no longer works for me (such as the author starting to use “witch” as a derogatory term toward women, or the work moving toward right-wing values). Even if I don’t get to read the newsletter for a few weeks, the metrics and numbers matter, so I try to open it, even if I have to read it later. In fact, I tend to increase sign-ups to author newsletters, because it’s a way to support them.

Read something online that made me angry. Someone made a series of dumbass decisions that ended in a tragedy, and then came online wanting to be told she did the right thing (when she did not). Of course, people told her she did. And yes, she knew better. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knew better. The choices were made out of selfishness (which is different than self-care or self-preservation) and now she pretends to be surprised and heartbroken at the outcome, and wants reassurance that she did “the best she could” (when she did not). The universe offered her a beautiful gift; she spit in its face and destroyed it. And now feigns surprise that her actions had fatal consequences. I have zero sympathy for her. Mostly disgust. Trying to find compassion, but so far haven’t succeeded.

I was definitely deep in the Mars retrograde energy yesterday.

I set up ornament hospital in the afternoon and fixed a bunch of stuff, since it has to start getting boxed up for the year again.

Willa helped.

Hot glue and a helpful cat. You can imagine.

She’s smart enough and I’m careful enough that there was no hot glue on the cat. But it meant everything took longer than it might have otherwise.

The 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project is no more, which is both frustrating and saddening, after writing ten plays with them, and then being in limbo last year. I need to remember the good work that project launched, instead of being frustrated with the now of it.

I gave myself the afternoon off yesterday. I worked out, in my head, the next couple of sections of the screenplay (I’ve come almost to the end of my notes).

I had the sudden urge to visit a particular thrift store in the afternoon. The storm hadn’t started yet, so I nipped out and over. I found a small leather trunk with a curved top, lined inside with burgundy fabric.  It’s delightful. I’m so happy I found it. No idea what I will put in it yet, or where I’ll put it, but I’m glad I found it. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise frustrating day.

I finished reading a Kindle book where the premise was good, but the execution/structure/worldbuilding were weak and inconsistent. I think I need to make a list of the digital books that don’t work for me, so I can delete them from the Kindle, but not risk buying them again. I don’t return digital books; that’s a lousy thing to do to an author. I bought it; if I don’t like it, it’s on me.

We enjoyed the last night of the Yuletide decorations. Today, we start taking them down (although it will probably take the whole weekend).

Didn’t sleep well last night, and it wasn’t Charlotte’s fault (for once). I woke up around 1:30 and just couldn’t get back to sleep. To say I am at less than my best today is an understatement.

I started trying to figure out how to channel my anger about consequences for the needless suffering the dumbass caused, transformed into fiction. I came up with the premise and the catalyst, but everything I came up with as a way for the protagonist to make it right is either trite or too easy. This morning, I came up with an idea to up the protagonist’s stakes and pain. It will take a few weeks to figure it out so I can write it, and it may not ever be something that can go out into the world, but it will channel the anger, and maybe turn it into something that has some sort of meaning, at least for me. Better than letting it fester.

Looking at the situation around the Speaker of the House votes is both frustrating and somewhat ironically funny. The wanna-be had lost the 11th vote by the time I went to bed. First of all, he and a good portion of the other GOP members sitting there are insurrectionists and belong in prison, not Congress. Second, I would love it if the Dems held firm throughout, and I’m pleased that they have so far, but I’m not hopeful.

This has been rather a downer of a post, hasn’t it? Not the best way to end the holiday season and the week.

Let’s look at some good stuff, shall we, and end the week and the post on a better note?

Packing up the decorations will take time and care. The place will look bare, but I’m kind of looking forward to it as a rest period before spring starts things up again. I need to start ordering seeds soon, and I put in a Chewy order yesterday, because those little furballs need to be fed properly.

I’m going to take breaks in the packing up with writing over the weekend, working on Legerdemain, ANGEL HUNT, and the screenplay. I want/need to start uploading and scheduling the ANGEL HUNT episodes next week, and get that promotional campaign going.

Tonight, I will make bouillabaisse in the Dutch oven. Tomorrow, I’m making the Moosewood Mac & Cheese again, and on Sunday, I will make turkey meatloaf. We are still up to our eyeballs in rum cake and stollen.

I will also carve out some extra time to sit in meditation and shake off the anger and frustration that have built up lately. I will get back to the stillness and start over, in order to create a better week next week.

So much for the intent of easing into the year with grace, huh? I managed at the beginning of the week, but then things deteriorated. I will work to do better next week.

Have a good weekend, my friends.

Tues. Jan. 3, 2023: Getting Started For the New Year

image courtesy of Engin Akyurt via pixabay.com

Tues. Jan. 3, 2023

Waxing Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and freezing rain

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend, and that you took off yesterday as part of it, too.

I’ve spent so many New Year’s Eves being unhappy that a quiet one was just what I wanted. I did some noodling on two projects as I try to find out if they are viable. I uploaded what I feel comfortable sharing with my 2023 Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions over on that site.

I cleaned the house, vacuumed, changed the beds, did the dishes, mopped the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, granite counters (with its special cleaner) and stainless steel (with those special wipes). I like going into the New Year with a clean house.

I made devilled eggs and small rum cakes with rum glaze. I was worried I’d put in too much rum (I tweaked the recipe), but it came out just right. I put the rum IN the mix and the glaze, rather than soaking the cakes later. I like it better the way I did it.

I’ve been asked, over the years, why I bother putting up a lot of decorations and doing big meals and cleaning for the holidays when I don’t have lots of people over. I do it for us. I do it because the years I haven’t done it, I was unhappy. Making the places festive for various holidays makes me happy, so why not do it? Why must everything always be for someone else?

I made the salmon with cumin glaze, and we had sweet potatoes with it, for the Eve meal. We stayed up, watched the ball come down in Times Square (to think, I used to be able to watch from my apartment window, I lived so close; glad not to be in that madness now). It was very discouraging to see all those people crammed in there unmasked.

I stayed up until a little after one. Tessa was delighted. Charlotte and Willa were confused. It is lovely to live somewhere that locals aren’t setting off illegal fireworks in the streets and putting us in danger.

Up early on the Day. Did the fire and ice ritual. Noodled a bit on the two projects with which I’m playing.

I made traditional Eggs Benedict for breakfast, which was good.

I set up the new, small inkjet printer. Finally. It took 3 damn hours. It should have taken 20 minutes, but the printer drivers wouldn’t load properly, and the laptop wouldn’t recognize the printer, even though it was connected by USB. What a nightmare. It’s such a lightweight piece of lousy plastic, I’ll be lucky if it lasts a week. But the scanner works well, and it’s better than not having a printer at all.

I printed out the last three chapters of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, so at least that’s all in the binder, and I can put it aside to rest for two months, while I work on other things.

I had to rearrange my office space to fit the second printer (the big laser printer is sitting there like a lump until I can get someone over to fix it). At first, I hated the rearrangement, but now I kind of like it. I still have to find a convenient place to put the file folders I need regularly, but I can make this configuration work.

Started reading a book that I hoped would be wonderful, by a Very Prominent Author. The premise sounded great, and it started off well. Then, a few chapters in, for no discernable reason, it switched into present tense and stayed there. I hated it, so I stopped reading.

So much for the first book of the year holding deep meaning. I thought I’d chosen so well!

Started reading one of the books I received as a holiday gift, and that was fun. Read the next book for review, which was interesting, but completely shifted genres for the last third of the book, and structurally couldn’t support the shift.

I have a few scripts in my queue to start the week, but not enough, so I hope more will come in.

Slept in a bit on Monday. Technically, it’s a holiday, but I needed to get some work done.

Many of the businesses and organizations around here close for the first two weeks of January, and I fully support that. Everyone is tired. It’s winter. We need rest.

I did some work in longhand on two projects: one I’m writing the actual story, and the other, I’m making outline notes. The second is pulling to start “writing into” so that I can finish the outline, but I want to do the other one first.

Posted the “Intent for the Week” here. Polished the Ink-Dipped Advice post that goes live tomorrow, and the Process Muse post that does the same, and wrote the Process Muse post for next week. It’s up and scheduled.

Did a quick round of the social media sites.

Revised, polished, uploaded, and scheduled Episodes 49 & 50 of Legerdemain, which go live next week. They needed a good bit of work, as, I believe, the next episode will.

Swung by the post office to mail a few things, and then the liquor store to stock up. In the afternoon, I turned around a script. In the evening, we had the online soup class with Chef Jeremy. Good thing it’s online, with the number of attendees who “got COVID for Christmas.”

Class was fun, and there are techniques I can and will use when I make the bouillabaisse later this week.

Did not sleep well, because Charlotte woke me up every two hours (including throwing up in the bed at 2:30). So that was a lot of cleanup and comforting her. I tried shutting her out of the bedroom, but she had a panic attack.

I had a series of weird dreams – in one, I was lost in a large school in which I’ve had dreams before; another was about writing a rent check to a person I know only from online, because I was subletting from him; the third was kind of a mess; a fourth had to do with an important scene for the outline I’ve been working on in longhand (which I wrote up this morning).

Which meant I overslept, and am getting a late start this morning.

The plan is to work ahead on Legerdemain today, first. On the social media rounds, I will post links to the regular Tuesday material, including the episode of Legerdemain that drops today, and one of the Topic Workbooks. I also have to work on some interview questions that need to go out this week for an article, create the episode graphics for the episodes that uploaded yesterday, and turn around two scripts. I hope I’ll get out a few LOIs, too. I have to swing by the library, but it’s just a quick drop off/pick up, nothing major.

I need to buckle down and focus today. Which is difficult, because I’m sleep-deprived. But we keep on keeping on, right?

Have a good one.

Fri. Dec. 30, 2022: Happy New Year!

image coourtesy of Oleksandr Pidvalnyi via pixabay.com

Friday, December 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus, Mars, and Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was about getting ahead on various blog articles. I spent far more time than I planned on them, which means this afternoon, I need to focus on getting the next episodes of LEGERDEMAIN uploaded and scheduled.

The first batch of contest entries arrived, but no inventory sheet; I’m hoping they sent me one via email, so I can check in the books and see which ones I need to download. I will get started on those this weekend, probably. Those that arrived as print submissions look good, and I’m excited to get started on them.

I did some planning work/notes/noodling on a project. It’s going to be fun, and I think I’m going to set in in Northumbria, one of my favorite places. I’ll create a fictional town between Morpeth and Bamburgh. I’ll get to have some fun in London locations, too.

The Artists Working Group has been disbanded, which is one less stress on my monthly schedule. As much as I had hopes and liked the people I met through it, it felt like organizations were coming in looking for free labor for their projects and events. My own work comes first; once I’ve done my own work and filled in client work to meet the financial needs for the month, THEN I can volunteer on other people’s projects. Not before. Getting guilted into putting other people’s work first and doing free labor for them under the guise of “building community” or “for the good of the organization” is part of the reason I was so unhappy on Cape Cod.

Charlotte decided to sleep in a chair in the office last night (after doing another Catzilla through the Christmas village), so at least I got some sleep until 4 AM, when she decided to come and wake me up for attention. I got up a little before 6, coaxed out of bed by the smell of coffee and Tessa’s complaints.

I went to the laundromat (we do not start the New Year with dirty panties in this house), and got two big loads done and back and put away. While the clothes did their thing, I wrote about 1K of a project on which I’m writing my way in to see if it’s viable. So far, so good. After a few more chapters I’ll sit down and write my Writer’s Rough Outline, and then decide where it can fit into the schedule. It’s flowing well, and I like the characters and situation.

Once I came home, put the laundry away (or hung up what needs to air dry), and had breakfast, I headed back out again. I went around the corner to drop off some mail that I been misdelivered to me. I headed for the grocery store and bought what we need for the weekend’s festivities.

Tomorrow night, I’ll do the salmon with cumin and orange glaze that’s become a New Year’s Eve tradition. I like to make a duck for the Day, but they were hard to get this year, and I don’t have the energy to go dashing around. Instead, I’m doing a roasted chicken sausage with kale, apple, and cranberries. We will, of course, have a traditional Eggs Benedict for the day (pork before noon, my friends, is a family tradition).

On the eve, another family tradition is to have herring before midnight. Not a big fan, but hey, whatever brings luck, right? I’ll also make some devilled eggs, and there’s an orange and fig spread and an assortment of cheeses. Plenty of prosecco for the Eve and the Day, and a bayberry candle to “burn to the socket to bring cash to the pocket.”

New Year’s Day will start with the Fire & Ice ritual, but overall, both the Eve and the Day will be quiet. I spent many years working on the Eve (working in theatre means you work nights and holidays). When I worked on Broadway and lived a block off Times Square, even if I got out of the show before midnight, I couldn’t get to my apartment, because the streets were sealed off. So I was forced to go to an overpriced restaurant or someone’s party. Even if I was with people I liked, it was too much, and not the way I wanted to start the year. After a few too many years of that, I started taking New Year’s Eve off work and going upstate to a yoga/meditation retreat, and that made a huge, positive difference, even if I had to race back down to the city to work a show or shows on New Year’s Day. Now that I don’t work backstage anymore, I can create the quiet, reflective New Year tranSItions and traDItions that work for me, and I’m much happier.

Monday is a day off, and then I plan to EASE into the year, instead of trying to race into it and overload myself at the beginning.

What are your plans for the transition? Whatever they are, I wish you joy.

Peace, my friends, and Happy New Year.

Fri. Dec. 9, 2022: Catching Up on Baking; Planning the Writing, the Cards, the Decorating

image courtesy of Mylene 2401 via pixabay.com

Friday, December 9, 2022

Waning Moon

Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Yesterday felt slow, although I got a decent amount of work done. I polished, uploaded, and scheduled two more episodes of Legerdemain. I created promo graphics for them. I redid the promo graphic I hated so much on Episode 42. I also redid the graphic for Episode 44. I liked the graphic for Episode 44 a lot, but it was in a style that was completely different than any of the other episode promos, and it was jarring. It also gave the sense that it was an episode that leaned more toward humor, which that episode does not. I uploaded and scheduled all the promos. I also decided, starting with the promo for Episode 45, to stop putting “First 3 Episodes Free on Kindle Vella.” That’s known, especially 44 episodes into it, and the promos will be more useful in the long term without the Vella reference. I think I will leave off the reference on the ANGEL HUNT promos, except for the first 3 episodes which are eternally free.

I’m sitting down to do the 2023 Plan which involved the larger plan for the serials (some of which will run beyond 2023). Legerdemain is sustaining itself well enough to warrant the first three large arcs, and possible one or two more. ANGEL HUNT is finite (and, by the end of this year, I hope I know just how many episodes it will entail. I’m pretty sure it will be over 100, meaning it will run for at least a year). I have to schedule in the radio plays I need to write, and a couple of full-length stage plays. I have a couple of film scripts that need prepping so they can go out to contests. Pretty soon, I will know whether or not I’m going back to the series that went on pause when I got sick. And I want to get CAST IRON MURDER out on submission this spring.

Two more packages of the ten mailed on Monday have been delivered. So, five out of the ten. Of the remaining five to be delivered, two of them having been repeatedly traveling between Springfield and Chicopee, instead of getting out of state to their destinations, so let’s hope they get it together and get going.

That’s why I mailed everything early.

It’s UPS and their lying about an incoming package that gets my goat. The package was out for delivery on the truck with the package that was delivered on Wednesday. Only it never made it off the truck with that other package. And now, UPS keeps telling me it will be delivered “today” but it isn’t.

Slogged through a bunch of email. I need to clean up and unsubscribe from a bunch of stuff instead of just deleting it.

Turned around two coverages in the afternoon. Nothing on the docket for today, which is fine, because that gives me time to catch up on the baking. Hopefully, I’ll get a few more coverages next week, and into the following week.

Too tired to bake yesterday.

Finished reading my friend’s book, and I’ll do the writeup on it I promised her, and get it posted this morning.

Today, I need to get two more episodes of Legerdemain polished, uploaded, scheduled. Then do the graphics for them. Then upload and schedule the ads for those last four episodes, and I’m into the first week of January 2023. Then I can switch to editing the next batch of episodes in this arc, and writing more.

I’ve lost some momentum on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, and need to get that back. I’m fairly close to the end of this draft, and then I want to let it sit for two months, without even looking at it.

I need to do the rounds of the library, the grocery, the liquor store later this morning, and then bake in the afternoon. If I want to get back on track with the plan, I need to bake 3 different kinds of cookies today.

This weekend, we write the domestic cards, so I can mail them on Monday. I have to get the new printer set up, and do a test run on the coffeemaker. We also need to finish decorating: the tree, getting the garlands and lights up on the stairs, the small tree on the porch, the additional lights throughout, the mantel, and decide where the 50+ Santas I’ve accumulated will perch. We have a platoon of the smaller nutcrackers waiting to be deployed in the living room, too. And Tessa’s made a nest of stuffed Christmas animals in the sewing room, near the heater.

Speaking of Tessa, she has decided that since Charlotte eats out of Tessa’s bowl, Tessa will now eat off Charlotte’s plate when she’s in the kitchen. This is the cat who has never eaten anything that wasn’t in her warm, freshly washed bowl. But she has had enough of Charlotte’s food theft. And Charlotte believes everything tastes better out of Tessa’s bowl.

Willa stays out of it.

Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you next week.

Fri. Dec. 2, 2022: Writing in My Head & a Road Trip

image courtesy of Pexels via pixaabay.com

Friday, December 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy/Partly Sunny and cold

In spite of a rather chaotic week, with Jupiter direct I’m feeling distinctly more optimistic, and with Neptune turning direct tomorrow, even better.

I didn’t get many words on paper yesterday, and none of them were for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. But I’ve written in my head a weird little paranormal flash fiction that was inspired by the recent death of a musician I admire, and that will go on the page this weekend. The Christmas flash for Ko-fi is almost complete in my head, at least working out the beats of it, and that will get on paper this weekend, too. The flash for the newsletter is still percolating, and the original piece planned for the newsletter, that will be more of a novella wants attention, too.

So there are projects that are demanding head space and finger work, along with the needs of Legerdemain, TREES, and the rest.

And the decorating! I’m getting tired of living with stacks of boxes.

I got my reader notes out on my friend’s book yesterday, and answered a colleague’s questions. I didn’t get the interviews scheduled, and Friday is a bad day to ask, so I’ll wait and send out that request on Monday. Did the rouonds to promote Legerdemain. Hive is offline for a bit, due to security issues, so I don’t have to try and figure it out for at least the next little bit.

I still haven’t unpacked the new printer or done a test run on the coffeemaker.

Brother got back to me on my request about the big printer and was absolutely fucking useless. All they did was send me the troubleshooting link in the handbook. Really? You think I’m just that much of an idiot? They’re supposed to HELP me, not just send me a link. So much for their reputation for good customer service. I can’t even get to them via Twitter, because they’ve left Twitter (good for them, but, basically, the only way to get actual service from a company the last few years was to get them to notice on social media).

Turned around two scripts yesterday, a good start to the new pay period. Have two today and two for Monday. I want to read at least 10 scripts next week, if there’s enough coming in (at the right rate). Sometimes, they put in scripts where the work: money ratio isn’t worth it, and I don’t take them.

I kicked Charlotte out of the bedroom last night, because she was impossible and wouldn’t let me sleep. By 4 this morning, she managed to get Tessa to pry open the door, but then Tessa wanted to be fed. I wouldn’t get up. Tessa feels Charlotte filched on the deal. My mom got up to feed Tessa but DIDN’T WARM THE BOWL, and Tessa wishes to speak to the manager. This Will Not Do.

Okay, I laughed at all of them. Now none of the cats are speaking to me. Not even Willa, who is united (for once) with her sisters.

Today, I have to actually leave the house. I mean, I WANT to go and do what I’m doing, which is finally making the run down to Great Barrington and Lenox in search of some things I need and a final gift for a cousin in Maine. But actually girding my psyche to get out of the house isn’t fun. But we have masks, it’s a pretty day to drive, and I’ll fill the car on the way out of town. We won’t be gone that long. It’s getting out of the house that’s the hard part. Once we’re actually out and about, it’s all good.

Today won’t be much on the writing front, but at least I’ll get a lot of other stuff done, so I can dive into the weekend with writing, packing gifts, and decorating.

Have a good one, and I’ll see you on the other side of it!

Wed. Nov. 30, 2022: A. Day. And then Another. Day

Charlotte and her banana. Photo by Devon Ellington

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Stormy and cold

Here’s a picture of Charlotte and her banana, because someone should have a good day.

Well, yesterday was A Day.

Sorry this is late, but today is shaping up to be A Day Again.

The transit chart warned me this would be a week of chaos and conflict influenced by the heavens, and drawing the Nine of Swords as my Advice Card for the day was another warning.

On the positive side, we talk about The Right Form For the Story over on the Process Muse.

I also posted a Holiday Mindfulness Oracle Reading over on Ko-fi.

You back? Good.

The worst thing that happened yesterday was that my giant Brother Color Laser Printer, which was expensive and so heavy it needs two men to life it, died. It turned itself off in the morning, and the power won’t go back on. You can tell Twitter is dying, because I posted a request for troubleshooting suggestions there and it was silent. Normally, I’d have a mix of actual help and mansplaining. CounterSocial and Mastodon offered suggestions, but most of it was what I tried, and both that and the stuff I hadn’t tried but then did, did not work. But I appreciated that people saw the post and genuinely tried to help. That’s always appreciated, and I made sure to thank and acknowledge them.

I will be heartbroken if a printer that was that expensive and under warranty at only two years old is dead for good.

Now, of course, I have to fight to get them to honor the warranty.

It’s not like I can load it up into the car and take it for repair. The tech has to come here.

So, no printer yesterday, and research for a small interim printer until we figure out what to do with the laser printer. I was going to buy a small printer anyway, that I could take with me on residencies. I just didn’t expect to get it right now, and lose the big laser printer, which is a necessity for my work.

I had A LOT of stuff I needed to scan this week, along with the regular printing, so it’s an issue.

I did the rounds to promote Legerdemain, and check in and interact here and there. Making the rounds of all the sites takes from 1 ½-2 hours, which I now need to build into the workday. Whether or not I “have” time doesn’t matter. It’s a necessary part of the job. People running around saying they “don’t have time” or “the spoons” to learn these new platforms are speaking from a place of privilege I do not have.

Twitter is mostly screaming right now, anyway. It makes me sad.

I turned around two script coverages in the afternoon. We got an issue with a misplaced synopsis sorted out, which I will deal with today. I have to sit through another “evaluation” soon. My numbers have gone up in the last months, I have a 100% on time rate, and I’m requested 5% more often than the average for readers, so what is there to talk about? Leave me alone to do my work or give me a raise.

I found out that library holds expired yesterday. I contacted the library to ask them to hold them over until I could pick them up this morning, but didn’t hear back. With the library closed for four days over the holidays, we should get a little extra time. All the same, my world will not stop if I don’t get a library book I ordered. I can order it again.

Centerville Library’s staff would just check them out and send me a note telling me they were ready whenever I wanted to pick them up, but then, I built relationships with those librarians over ten years. The turnover at this library is much higher, and while all the librarians know me, sort of, by this point, they don’t really know me. It’s whatever. I will cope.

A colleague asked for recommendations on something, and, having dealt with her requests before, she wants me to do initial introductions and labor on it, which I won’t do. I’ll give her the information. Someone else is nagging me to review her book, which I just received – give me a minute, would you? Paid work comes first.

I’m behind on getting out some other admin stuff that needs to be done this week, and I don’t want to let it slide.

It took me 45 minutes to upload my profile picture on Hive, between my tablet being slow and the site running slow. Hopefully, everything will even out soon.

On a happier note, I received a tax refund from the state. In this state, when there is a surplus of taxes collected, they don’t sit on it. They are required, by law, to return it to the taxpayers. So I got an unexpected refund check. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to cover the little interim printer I have my eye on. That little thing made me feel cared for by the Universe.

As far as writing went, I chose not to work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH yesterday, because I was working on the holiday story instead. However, as I passed the 2K mark and realized how much story there still was, this is not appropriate for the newsletter subscribers. So I have to come up with something else that can be a flash (I already have the idea) and switch over to writing the flash for the Ko-fi page in the next couple of days (that idea is a little weird, but fun. Ko-fi is where I do weird and fun).

This morning, I only did 1151 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but they’re decent. I have to come up with a few more pages tomorrow morning to round out this chapter, and then we are where we need to be for the chapter I wrote last Friday, and that sends us careening toward the climactic sequence and resolution. It will come in short, on word count, for this draft, but as I revise it next spring, I will layer in the necessary period detail so it will hit the count organically (hopefully without info dumping).

I’m finishing NaNo at 59,736 (part of me says, come on, write another 300 words before midnight and hit 60K), but we’ll see.

I did not sleep well, between worrying about things and the cats being impossible.

Up a little after 5. Tessa is doing a Houdini act. I heard rummaging, and found her in a closed bureau drawer (that has not been opened for months). How did she get in there when there are no holes in the back of the bureau? It’s a mystery, but I’m glad I was home to get her out.

My back was spasming when I woke up, but a longish yoga session (under Tessa’s supervision) helped.

I dashed out early when the store opened that carried the printer I wanted. In and out in a few minutes with the printer, a 2-year warranty, and a hole puncher (I can’t find my other one, and Staples sent me the wrong case of paper).

Wolfed down breakfast and headed out again, just as the storm started. Hit up the library – they’d held my books for me, knowing I’d show up when I said I would. I am very grateful. Liquor store (gotta stock for a storm). Bank, to put in the refund check I’d just spent on the printer.

All the errands done in 20 minutes and home. Car safely slotted. Back to work. The winds are supposed to pick up seriously over the next few hours and be high until tomorrow night. The temperatures are in the 40s now, but will drop into the 20s tonight, so the rain might switch over to snow. They are positioning plows and utility trucks around the city.

Lots to do, so off I go. Have a good one.

And hey, all you who busted your ass for NaNo – good work! Cheers to you!

Tues. Nov. 29, 2022: Juggling the Decorating

Front door wreath. Photo by Devon Ellington

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy and cold

I hope you had a great holiday weekend, if it was a holiday, or a great weekend no matter what.

Curl up and let’s have a catch-up.

If you missed my post on creating an Oasis on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolution site, you can read it now.

Friday was mostly about switching out fabric: taking the autumn fabric off various surfaces, deciding what Yuletide fabric would go on them, ironing as needed, washing what came off.

Basically, if it doesn’t move, it gets covered with fabric and décor, so the cats keep moving when the boxes come out.

Saturday morning, I realized that the chapter I wrote on Friday needs to be about two or three chapters further into the book, since it sets off the climactic sequence. I renumbered that chapter and went to create the interim chapters. I only got 709 words written, before we really had to get going on our day.

It was Small Business Saturday, so that’s what we did – we small businessed.

First, it was down to Cheshire to Whitney’s Farm to get the wreath. On the way back, we stopped at Adams Fresh Market for a few things. We dropped everything off, then headed up to Bennington, where we parked off Main Street and visited the local small shops and got our holiday shopping done, except for one thing I got in Williamstown on the way back.

All small business/individual artist stuff.

When I got home, the few things I’d ordered (from yet another small business) arrived.

So everything is ready to be packed and shipped this week.

Whew!

We also visited a favorite thrift store up in Bennington. I found some adorable vintage ornaments, including a pair of glittery  airstream trailers that totally fit in with THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. I found a wooden hot air balloon ornament, and a few other things, including a piece of a Christmas village.

vuntage trailer ornaments. Photo by Devon Ellington

I’ve always wanted a Christmas village, but haven’t found what I want within my budget. This year, I decided who needs matchy-matchy? I can create it just by picking up thrift store pieces I enjoy and build something unique.

Because you know I’ll wind up creating stories set in it.

When we got back, I got a few more decorations packed up into the closet in Tessa’s room, and got out the small tree for the porch. It’s together, but without lights and ornaments.

Sunday, I chose not to write. I made a mad dash to a store I dislike, in the hopes they would have some taper candles, and I got the last box of white tapers in the place.

We cleaned off the mantel, put up better hooks, and put some of the decorations we want up there. I also packed away a bunch of stuff that had been there.

In previous years, in fact, since I have a memory of these holidays, we always displayed our holiday cards on red ribbons hung beside the doorframes. It looked good in Chicago, in Westchester, on Cape Cod. I did it when I lived in Florida, San Francisco, Seattle, and Manhattan.

But here, it doesn’t look right. The doorways are tall, and even re-cutting ribbon for the full length looks spindly. These doorways need grand garlands. Which is not happening this year.

So I bought a cork bulletin board. I covered it in holly fabric, with burgundy and gold ribbon around the edges, and we will pin our cards to the board and keep in on the fireplace mantel. It looks nice, and we will build the rest of what we put on the mantel around that.

We got the carolers up on their little table. And the gold bells on the living room door. We worked on the big staircase from the front door up to the actual apartment. The nutcrackers march down one side of it, the tallest at the top, the smallest at the bottom. On the other side, we have the deer going up, the largest deer at the bottom, the smallest on top. We still have to do the garland and the lights, but at least these pieces are in place.

And that’s all that got done. No tree in the stand or decorated yet.

I started to berate myself for not getting it all done in one day (I used to get it all done in one, eight-hour day). Then I remembered how much I’ve accumulated since then, and that we are still trying to figure out what looks best where. Last year we just kind of slapped it up wherever. This year, we are putting more thought into it. If it takes time, it takes time.

I found Charlotte’s banana in all of this, which has been lost for weeks, and all is now right with her world.

I was tired and my back hurt by Sunday night. I went to bed early. In the morning, I had answered some questions that came back after one of the coverages, going into more detail and offering some resources to the writer.

Up early on Monday. Tessa supervised my morning yoga, making sure I didn’t slack off.

I did, however, have a hard time getting it together.

I managed to finish the chapter on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. One more interim chapter, and we’ll be where we need to for Friday’s chapter to happen, and then hurtle forward.

I got the promotions uploaded and scheduled for “Just Jump in and Fly” which always gets a push at this time of year. Since it’s one of my favorite pieces, I like promoting it. I had to do a new graphic for “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” because the ad just didn’t work. But I got it done, uploaded and scheduled. Then, I got the Topic Workbook promotions uploaded and scheduled through the end of the year.

I’m allowing all the promotions, of the above, and of Legerdemain, to run through the end of the year. Then, we’ll see what Yegads Muskrat is up to. If the platform continues its rightwing extremist skew, my audience isn’t on it anyway, and I’ll lock down my account and see where else makes sense. I don’t want to give up the account, but I’ll lock it down. I can’t even do anything with the Fearless Ink account, because if I sign out of the DE account to go to the FI account, I can’t sign back into the DE account. Maybe I’ll sign into the FI account from the library.

I bit the bullet and signed up for Post’s waitlist. We’ll see.

The tablet is running slowly and I’m having trouble doing anything on Hive. I wish they had a desktop app. So many writers and readers are there that it makes sense to be there. But if I can’t do anything on it, it’s just a frustrating waste of time.

There are people running around screaming and bullying about this site and that site, pretending they actually know what they’re talking about and their “deep dives” into the sites are anything but self-serving. The sites all screw with our info, that’s part of the deal. You take precautions, and leave when you don’t like it. And the truth is, no one knows which platform works for what, because it will depend on who winds up where. Twitter was unique in its time and place. That it survived as long as it did is amazing. Now, it’s time to try new things. The whole adapt-or-die thing.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. Was too tired to try any more decorating/unpacking. Read a little bit for pleasure. Went to bed pretty early.

Up around five this morning, which was good. I got my morning routine done early enough to get to other things quickly. I could really enjoy the morning yoga, which was nice. And, yes, Tessa was right there to make sure I didn’t try any shortcuts!

The big thing I started this morning was one of the two holiday stories that have to go out this month. I should have written them in August, but, hey. I’ve been thinking about this one since about October. I drafted about 2K this morning; it will need some work, and it will be longer than I’d hoped, but that’s the way it goes. This is the one that will go with the December newsletter. I’d written sections of the story in my head for a few weeks now, so it wasn’t just trying to figure it all out. I’m also writing in my head the flash fiction that will go up on Ko-fi. As soon as I draft this story, I’ll switch over to that one.

Which means this is probably a day off writing THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. Which is okay, because I hit the 50K I needed for Nano. And now I can flow between projects as needed, rather than stressing over hitting 50K.

I have to contact an interview source for the article recently contracted, and get that scheduled. I need to ask my friend when he wants the notes on his manuscript. I need to get to the post office today to mail the last overseas cards and the one overseas package, because I didn’t do it yesterday in the rain. I have to research the artist whose pieces I bought as gifts on Saturday, so I can make a little slip of paper to enclose with the gift (the store didn’t have the info, and not even all the pieces have her name). Note to creatives: At the very least, have a removable sticker with your name and website on the pieces you sell.

I have two scripts to turn around this afternoon. Hopefully, I can do it fast enough so that I have time to work on the decorations. Tonight, I need to start a book I promised I’d comment on for another friend, and I also want to start the domestic cards. My original idea is to write a few every night, but it might be a stronger choice to block off, say, tomorrow night or Thursday night and see how many I can get done.

The Artists Working Group is supposed to meet late this afternoon. A few days after Thanksgiving sounds like a COVID spreading opportunity to me, and I don’t trust that they will mask without being asked.

So I will skip it.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it!

Have a good one.

Fri. Nov. 25, 2022: Leftovers and Decorating Begins

image courtesy of Monika via pixabay.com

Friday, November 25, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Rainy and mild

I hope you had a lovely day yesterday, whether you celebrated American Thanksgiving or not.

I slept in, until nearly 7. Tessa was beside herself. I fed everybody, made the stuffing, and wrestled the bird into the oven a little after 8:30.

I put good wishes on the various social media platforms, rather than do any serious interaction.

Then, I did my day’s work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which wound up being 1929 words that, overall, I’m happy with (at least for this draft).

Wednesday, I got the book review out, the invoice in, was paid, and did a script coverage.

I’d finished my work by 2 PM on Wednesday, and lounged around reading, and feeling strange in the afternoon. I realized that was because I no longer know how to relax. I know how to work, and how to collapse onto the couch or the bed to recover from work, but I’ve forgotten how to relax.

That goes on the schedule for next year, weird as it sounds.

Follow-up questions came in for a script I covered a couple of days ago, and I was irritated that the answers are due on Monday morning. But I’ll probably turn them around today, and get it over with.

I could not face any more Cleaning Out the Fridge leftovers, so I made scrambled eggs for dinner instead.

Hopping back to yesterday:

For once I timed the turkey and all the sides to be done on time, and I’d set out all the necessary platters and dishes, etc. It was your typical turkey with gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (mashed with melted butter, orange juice, and brown sugar), peas, corn, and rolls. With apple pie for dessert.

We like our holiday meals around mid-day, so we can clean up and spend the rest of the day half asleep.

We cleaned up. Because I have a lot of vintage china that can’t go in the dishwasher, there are always plenty of dishes that have to be done by hand. But we also had a full dishwasher, and put that on.

I made stock from the carcass, and it’s so glorious I think I will use some of the leftovers to make a turkey soup.

Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening lounging on the couch, reading and playing with the cats.

Checked in on Twitter a few times, but it was mostly people screaming about this and that and saying that anyone who enjoys the holiday isn’t accommodating those with toxic families. Yeah, when you’re wearing a mask when you’re out and about and actually taking care of others, you get to say something about accommodations.

And if I have a family I appreciate and we enjoy each other, we’re going to have a good holiday without guilt.

Up around 6:30 this morning. Tessa is annoyed that not only was her breakfast late, but it’s not sunny. She’s somehow decided that I am in charge of making sure the sun shines, so she has multiple sun spots in which to nap during the day, and she is not pleased that I am slacking off.

I did the next chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which came in at 1941 words, so I’ve broken 56K. Without the pressure to hit a certain wordcount by a certain day, it’s flowing better. Or maybe I’m just in the book’s natural rhythm now.

Most of the weekend is about decorating  for Yule. I stopped Black Friday shopping about 20 years ago, so I don’t have to worry about anything, although I do have to pick up a few things at the grocery store and Wild Oats. Tomorrow, I may do some Small Business Saturday shopping, and I’ll head to Whitney’s Farm to get the wreath. Sunday is the First of Advent, so even if I don’t have everything done, I’ll have the Advent Table up.

So why am I online today? Because, my friends, I am being mercenary.  Writing is how I keep a roof over my head, so I must promote my work. The next episode of Legerdemain dropped yesterday. Some scheduled promotions went live, but for the rest, I have to make the rounds today.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you next week.

Tues. Nov. 22, 2022: Of NaNo Wins, Social Media Platforms, and Holiday Prep

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Dark Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and a little warmer

Curl up with your favorite beverage, because we have a long catch-up this morning, over a wide variety of topics.

If you missed my post on the GDR site about the reminder that holidays are supposed to be fun, you can read it now.

Everything took longer on Friday than I wanted. It was frustrating. But I got my words in, and then we headed out to errands.

I had quite the stack of books waiting for me at the library. Of course, as soon as I got home, I got the notice that there were more. Because that’s how it works. We headed off to the local Toy and Candy shop in Norad Mill, to get ideas for holiday shopping. It’s very cute, and I ended up buying one of my mom’s gifts there, but it didn’t solve this year’s gift-giving challenges.

Then, it was off to Wild Oats. A local coffee company had a tasting, and the guy running it was really nice, enthusiastic, and a fellow French Press enthusiast. So we had a good conversation, and then I got the rest of what I needed.

Hit Stop & Shop on the way back for a few things, and it was disgusting. Hardly everyone masked, and everyone sneezing and coughing all over everything. I stayed about 10 feet away and got out as fast as I could. Ick.

If I end up getting sick, I’ll know where it happened.

Negotiated a contract for a new-to-me publication. It’s still not the fee I wanted, but I really want to do the article, the timeline works, and, while it may be a one-and-done for me, it will also be a good opportunity to get my byline in front of a different audience.

Struggled with the script coverage in the afternoon. I’ve gotten used to the shorter write-ups, so doing a longer one was a challenge. I only got one done, not two, which meant I had to do another one over the weekend.

Gathering contact info and saying goodbye on Twitter is sad. Maybe it will course correct, who knows, but it will never be what it was. Not that it was perfect. There were plenty of times it was a toxic hell site. But it was an important marketing outlet, and a place for people to find each other, and come across fun, weird little pockets of interest. While the positive is that it gives one a chance to build something new, it’s still sad. Recognizing the grief and allowing ourselves to mourn is vital.

The people who are screaming how it negatively affects their income are going to have to buck up and learn other platforms, or lose that income permanently. People can moan that Twitter is similar to a public utility all they want, but the fact is that it is owned by an individual who takes glee in destroying it for his own ego. Either you put in the time to learn other platforms, and see what serves your business best, or you lose your income.

I’m as frustrated as anyone else. The Topic Workbooks were steadily paying the electric bill. Other sales were growing, and filling in other expenses. Legerdemain was gaining traction. A solid section of that audience came via Twitter. Since Yegads Muskrat started destroying the company, my sales took a 75% hit.

I have to absorb that and recalibrate over the next few months, until I figure out which platforms do what the best and can aim my marketing appropriately.

If all I do is scream that I’ve lost sales, I won’t learn what I need to learn, and can’t regain them. So it’s been a case of rolling up the sleeves and getting to work.

Do I “have” time? Of course not. But if I want to sustain and grow my writing business, it’s necessary. It means working even longer hours right now, and too bad for me.

The platform doesn’t “owe” it to me to stay the same because I’ve gotten used to marketing a certain way and making use of it.

There’s a learning curve with these other platforms. I’ll make mistakes, and will pay the price in lost sales. But I have to put in the work and learn.

Even if another company tries to put together a replacement platform, it will be different. This was something unique in its space and time, for all its flaws. We mourn, and we rebuild.

Things don’t stay the same in life. That’s reality. I mean, I was on the platform for 13 years. That’s centuries in tech terms.

Whining doesn’t change it.

I’m sad. I’m angry at Yegads Muskrat for taking glee in destroying something that was important to thousands or tens of thousands of people. I also think the Board shouldn’t be let off the hook. They didn’t HAVE to sell to him. They CHOSE to, out of their own greed. I want their names, and I don’t think any of them should be allowed to ever be in a position of authority over something like this again. Let them live off their spoils of this. Don’t allow them another penny again.

How does that affect my signing up as a beta for Bluesky? Because I don’t trust Jack Dorsey farther than I can throw him, even though he left the company in 2021, and the BOD earlier this year. I want to see what he’s built, and make my decisions from there, knowing that it’s likely he will throw everyone under the bus again. Will it be free? I heard rumors it will be tied to crypto. No, thanks. Will it be a useful marketing tool? Who knows? Once it goes live, I’ll try it out, weigh the pros and cons, and all of it against my opinion of Dorsey, his ethics, and what we know he’s capable of doing.

But Twitter’s demise changes the marketing game for all kinds of companies and creators. Anyone who’s positioning themselves as a transition guru is lying.

Enough about that. In the evening, I read for pleasure, and played with the cats. I finally unpacked the tote bag of toys we brought up from storage. Charlotte doesn’t understand how to play.

Didn’t have a good night Friday into Saturday. Weird dreams, and Charlotte kept waking me up. Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny, cold day, and it would have been perfect to drive down to Great Barrington. But I couldn’t get it together to get it done. I was absolutely exhausted. So we decided not to go.

The words for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH were a struggle. Not to mention there weren’t a lot of them. 1672, so I hit the day’s necessity with a handful over, but not my personal goal.

I stitched the fleece curtain for the back door. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, between the door curtain and the heavy drapes from the 1950s we put on the windows. It keeps the place warmer by several degrees, which means the heat doesn’t have to work as hard.

I did some stuff around the house. We can’t find what we hoped to find to send out as gifts this season, so we have to figure something else out. We think we have another option; hopefully, I can make it work.

The poor coffeemaker I ordered is shipping out of Buffalo – who had 5 FEET of snow. So that’s not showing up anytime soon. Those poor delivery people. This is why I ordered early. I don’t need it for another month. It’ll get here when it gets here; if it’s late, that’s the way it goes.

There were so many things I should have done, and just didn’t.

I did read IRON AND VELVET by Alexis Hall, which was a lot of fun. How have I missed this series?

I checked into Twitter a few times, but it just made me sad.

I helped a friend set up on Mastodon. I don’t find it the be-all and end-all some do, but the instance on which my friend and I signed up is primarily screenwriters, so we can talk projects together. It’s harder to come across random cool people with different interests, but I am blocking whiners and screamers and bullies much faster on this platform.

I still like CounterSocial for in-depth conversation. There are Twitgees trying to scream and bully. When they scream, they are ignored. When they bully, they are removed. But I’m also quick to block there.

I’m not a muter. I’m a blocker. I’m either all in with someone’s different facets, or all out.

But I spent very little time on SM. I want to try to cut back severely on weekends.

Up early on Sunday, mostly because Charlotte was impossible. I made the cinnamon honey coffeecake with orange marmalade filling from one of the Moosewood Cookbooks. I didn’t have wheat flour, so I substituted rye, which made it a little too dense. I should have stuck with all white flour. But it’s still good.

The day’s words went better with THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. 1928 words. Still under what I hoped for my own personal goal, but I’m on track. I doubt I’ll hit 50K before Thanksgiving, but I will by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

It snowed on and off, mostly off, although we kept getting Winter Advisory Alerts. All around us, it was much worse, but in this little bowl in the mountains, we were protected.

Did some hearth and home stuff. Turned around a script coverage (the one I hadn’t done on Friday). We sat down and wrote the overseas cards. There aren’t a lot anymore; so many people have died. I’m still waiting for a couple of requested addresses, but if they don’t arrive, I’ll just let it go. I have way too much to do over the next few weeks to chase people around begging for addresses; if they don’t want to hear from me, that’s fine.

Checked in with Twitter again. It’s glitching like crazy. People are screaming about how “ethical” creators and companies have to pull their ads. Boo, if you’re running around to conferences unmasked and on airplanes (whether masked or unmasked) and eating indoors unmasked, STFU, you ableist hypocrite. You’re in no position to talk ethics with anyone.

I tried to get on in the evening to join ScriptChat, but the glitches were too much.

Death throes.

As far as my own strategy, I’m holding course with the promotions planned/scheduled through the end of the year, and then reassessing. There isn’t a platform that promotes the way Twitter did to the audience Twitter did, so I have a feeling, at least for the first few months, promotions will be piecemeal and staggered across platforms. As I learn what works where, I will re-align as needed. Most of my audience has fled Twitter, but there are still some stalwarts, and they might find something they missed in the noise of a busier platform.

If someone whines it’s not behind a content warning, I’ll just block them.

The whiners tend to fall into two groups: those who have a huge, well-paid marketing machine behind them, and those who can’t get published because they never finish anything, but keep talking about “someday.”

Dianne Dotson suggested Hive as a good platform. They look like fun, and if she’s comfortable there, it means it’s a good place to promote work (she’s excellent at promoting her work). It doesn’t look like I can do them from the desktop, which would knock them out of contention. I don’t have the capacity OR the desire to do all of this from my phone.

I resent having to have a phone in the first place.

I looked at POST, but basically, they want people to create content for them without pay. Which is part of what social media is, but they want long and short form articles on the site itself, not links driving traffic back to one’s work on other sites. I think I’ll pass.

Started reading the next book for review.

Also read MURDER BY THE BRUSH, S.E. Babin’s first Psychic Cleaner Mystery, which was a lot of fun. It’s a novella, not a novel, but I liked the energy and the characters and the plot and the heart of it. I liked it so much I went and bought the second novella in the series, MAID FOR MAYHAM, and read that. Like I said, novellas. Quick reads. The climactic sequences tend to be a little rushed, but other than that, they are a lot of fun. I’d read more in the series, when they release.

It’s interesting that there are so few category mysteries anymore, in the 50-60K range. Most of them are 80K+.

These novellas ran around 135 pages, which brought them in around 33K. So, while I read for fun, I was also learning.

More snow overnight, but nowhere near as much as predicted.

Monday, I overslept because Charlotte kept waking me up. It was the day before dark moon, which is my lowest energy day of the month anyway. I had weird dreams about working on a project with David Tennant (which would be great, I’ve always wanted to work with him) and discovering what an intense listener he is. I mean, that’s obvious from his work, but being on the receiving end of it in the dream was interesting.

Had trouble getting going, but once I got myself to the page, the next chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH trundled along decently at 1951 words. I broke 48K, so if I keep going the next few days, I can hit 50K and then drop back to whatever the natural pace is for this book, which I think is around 1200 or 1300 words/day. As I said, I’m figuring the sweet spot is around 82K, but this draft might have fewer words, and give me room to layer in details in full drafts.

I’m kicking myself for leaving the box of costume books in storage over winter. I only have a couple up here. Although I took out a bunch of relevant fashion books from the library, I’ll have to get them out again when I do revisions.

Bibliographic notes are a must.

After breakfast and blogging, I headed out for errands. Library first, to drop off and pick up. The one day I’m in a time crunch, they have a line of people who want the librarians to look things up for them, instead of going to a terminal and doing it their damn selves.

But it was fine. I got my stuff and got out of there in longer than usual, but not too bad an amount of time. It was a bright, sunny day. Although it was cold, people were in a pretty good mood.

Big Y next, for Thanksgiving shopping. I was happy to see that almost everyone was masked. It took a lot of stress out of shopping.

Post Office, where I bought more overseas stamps, mailed the cards we’d written, and got stamps for the domestic cards. (The Elves, in case you’re curious).

Liquor store, and then home. Hauled everything up the stairs. Put it all away, made lunch, did the SM rounds. Being on Twitter made me sad.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. Another one, that had a problem with additional materials, was cleaned up, and that will be my one for tomorrow. I have two for today, so I’m okay. I have three days in the pay period next week, after the holiday, so as long as there are scripts to grab, I’ll be okay.

Soup class with Jeremy Rock Smith last night. Tons of fun, as always. I learned a lot, and got a lead on where to get my knives sharpened around here.

Got the wonky tablet up and running, because I should be able to run Hive off the tablet, since I don’t want it on my phone. I downloaded the app and established an account, but have to figure out how to get the photos I want on it. I was too tired to do much more than establish an account. And I have no idea how to find anyone. I’ll learn. Enough writers are migrating there that it sounds like it’s viable, if I make the time to figure it out. I still wish it had a desktop option.

I have to charge the tablet through my phone cord, because the charger that came with it no longer works.

Up early, although out the door later than usual to the laundromat, just in case they haven’t yet adjusted to the time change. They had. The washing machines were fine, but the dryers not only ate up double the money, but didn’t dry properly. So we have laundry draped all over everything.

Tessa disapproves. She likes things tidy.

I managed to get a good chunk of edits done on the next section of Legerdemain, which as to be uploaded and scheduled this weekend (or, at the latest, early next week).

It was later than usual when I sat down to work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but it went pretty well, the chapter coming in at 2287 words. That brought me over 50K, which means I’m an official NaNo22 Winner, a nice boost to my ego. And a relief, because I can do the remaining 30K at a slower pace. And I hit my personal goal of hitting 50K before Thanksgiving.

So this is up late. There will be a whacky little piece of Thanksgiving flash fiction up later this afternoon on Ko-fi.

Don’t forget, the latest episode of Legerdemain drops today. Enjoy!

Fri. Nov. 18, 2022: Words, Grief, and Mars Retrograde Influences

image courtesy of Enrique Meseguer via pixabay.com

Friday, November 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Yesterday was just kind of weird and all over the place. Meditation was good, and Charlotte was thrilled and sat on my lap the whole time. Between meditation on Thursdays and soup class on Mondays, she feels very well adored. Because, of course, Zoom is all about her.

I was late getting my Nano words in on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but managed 2051, with an interesting twist to the story. I’m veering farther from the outline, which is why an outline is a roadmap, not a prison. I’m not thrilled with that day’s work, but it opens up some interesting arcs. I will have to decide if they all need to be wrapped up in this book, or some of them go a few books into the series. I’m leaning toward the latter.

Over 40K now, so the finish line is in sight. About halfway through the book’s sweet spot for the genre.

Did the social media rounds to promote Legerdemain, and to interact. Because they both go hand in hand.

Put in the Chewy order. Ordered the new coffeemaker in a pre-Black-Friday sale.

One of the things I don’t miss about Twitter that I liked about other platforms is that we are more responsible for curating our own feeds. I was so sick of the “if I haven’t followed you back, give me a shout” or “prove you’re not a bot”. No, bitch, I’m not your administrator. Fix your own timeline. I’ve got enough work handling mine. I’m not doing unpaid labor on your accounts.

Of course, the bullies and the trolls are trying to invade the other platforms, demanding what others can and can’t post about and how. Counter Social handles it well. Mastodon, because it’s so many different servers, and each has different protocols, is harder to navigate.

However, one thing I am firm about is not putting “content warning” on something because it’s a project I’m talking about or promoting. While I am more than my work, being on social media is about the work. If you don’t like it, we’ll just do a mutual block and not come up on each other’s timelines.

One traditionally published author was ranting about how writers “have to” put content warnings on anything that might sound like promotion (which is, basically, any time a writer talks about their own work), because she “didn’t want a timeline full of promotions like on Twitter.” Then curate your timeline, you dumbass. Again, don’t expect other people to do your work for you. You don’t want to read promos? Filter, block, mute, or hey, JUST SCROLL BY. Don’t bully others who are trying to keep a roof over their heads because you have a traditional publishing PR machine behind you.

Blocked. Noted the name so I NEVER buy or take one of her books out of the library. I rarely say never, but in this case? Never.

I completely forgot it was Freelance Chat day on Twitter and missed it.

In the afternoon I saw a post asking if anyone knows a video editor to “chop up” a large block of video into chunks.

Bitch, that’s not what video editing is.

How insulting to anyone who is an actual editor. Video editing is about nuance and precision timing, and restructuring the smaller blocks so they stand alone while feeding the whole arc.

Mars Retrograde much?

The Mars Retrograde definitely influences me wanting to punch so many people in the throat right now. And I have to watch myself.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon, not three. One has a problem, which I hope will be fixed. Grabbed a couple more for early next week. I have two very long coverages to do today, but I’ll do what I need to do.

Got the next two books for review.

Twitter is in its death throes. A lot of us were on there last night, saying goodbye. Some people I’m okay with letting go. I figure the ones with whom I’m really tight, we are already connecting through other means.

There’s talk about creating “another Twitter” but I don’t think that can be done. It was unique. For all its flaws, it did a lot for connection and communication. I’ve been on there since March of 2009, for goodness’ sake. That’s 13 years, which is a long time.

Other platforms are different and serve different purposes. Sarah Kendzior pointed out how this is different than other platforms fading away because this is intentional destruction. I’m sad I couldn’t save my Fearless Ink archive (I have my DE archive). But if I sign out of the DE account, I won’t be able to sign back in, and I won’t be able to sign into the FI account anyway.

I’m sad. It’s definitely meant my sales take a hit, as far as the Topic Workbooks, the Delectable Digital Delights, and the serial. But I will figure out other marketing paths and regain lost ground.

There are things I won’t miss, but there’s a lot that I will. But this is what happens when it’s owned by someone else, and why it’s so vital to have one’s own website and space, apart from social media.

With all the grieving, I also look forward to trying to create something different elsewhere. I will probably try and leave several platforms, or have to use different platforms for different things. But the work will continue.

Former clients are contacting me in a panic, wanting consults on what to do next. I’m telling them to hold tight, because entire marketing strategies will have to be re-devised, and we’re all making it up.

This morning, the cats let me sleep until a quarter to six, which was nice. The work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH took longer than I would have liked, but came in at 2831 words. It’s a complicated ensemble chapter, but sets up some necessary dynamics, and I’m pleased with the bones of it.

I was supposed to be part of a state legislative session on the arts this morning, but they didn’t send me the link, and I’m not chasing it down, so there’s that.

I need to pick up a lot of books at the library, and head out to Wild Oats to pick up a few things. Script coverage this afternoon. It’s snowing and not every few minutes, so hopefully the weather won’t be too bad for errands.

I hope tomorrow’s weather is good enough for the jaunt down to Great Barrington. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week.

Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.