Tues. Oct. 11, 2022: Serial Musings, Creative Inspiration, and Dishes

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Pluto direct as of Oct. 8

Cloudy and cold. Second frost.

I started out stressed on Friday, but then calmed down. As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I hoped to get an oil change, but had to schedule it for yesterday instead.

I came home, got some work done, had trouble logging into Ello, which bothered me, since that platform has one of the highest metrics for me.

I picked up some books at the library, swung by the post office to mail some cards and bills, picked up some wine at the liquor store, filled the gas tank.

I jumped in the shower when I got home, and I thought, “what if I just don’t worry about everything that still has to be done today? What if I just get it done without the worry?” And that made things flow better.

I worked on script coverages up until the time I had to get dressed and go to the art opening. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t stay long; I made sure my colleagues knew I was there and that I thought they did a great job; I had a short conversation with the artist; I looked at the art five or six times, seeing something new each time. And then I left, as it got more crowded. The turnout was good, which is always heartening.

Home, made fish and chips for dinner, then finished the script coverages, which took until nearly 10 PM. But I made my goal and a little over this week. But I was tired.

Overslept on Saturday morning, after weird dreams.

I did a lot of promotion for the Free Vella Binge days. I promoted my serial, and I also read a lot of other writers’ serials, and it was a lot of fun. I hope they do a binge week a few months down the line again. Today is the final day of the binge – which means you can even read the episode dropping today, Episode 23.

It also means I have to start a different type of promo as of tomorrow.

And I’m behind on the Topic Workbook promos, which have to get done, since they pay at least one of my bills per month!

I wrote more on the next LEGERDEMAIN episodes – about 3K, and it felt good. This arc is taking some interesting twists and turns for me as the writer, even as I sort of stick to the general outline I made for the arc.

A character started talking to me. She’s kind of a cross between Marion Ravenwood and Morticia Adams, and I kind of love her. I listened to her for awhile and made some notes. Where I originally planned to start turns out to be further into the piece. My character told me the action starts IN an action scene earlier. So I listened.

I think this will be a short serial, to dip my toe into the waters of Substack. I have some questions to ask them about pricing, and if one can put bundling serials into the tiered pricing system. It’s a combination of action, magic, fantasy. With, of course, some humor. The voice is VERY different from LEGERDEMAIN.

Anyway, the series is called Vixen’s Hollow, and this first “season” is called THE CUNNING ONE. If I stick to the outline, it will be 12-20K. That way, I can dip my toe in while prepping EARTH BRIDE (which needs a fuckton more revision than ANGEL HUNT) and developing REP. While keeping LEGERDEMAIN going on over at Vella, as long as the metrics for work it, and also putting ANGEL HUNT up there in January.

Then, by midyear next year, I’ll have enough data and metrics to compare, contrast, and see if either platform grows the way I need it to grow for this to be viable on both financial and creative levels. And can make informed decisions.

While I’m juggling the other prose, script, and business writing. I think it’s do-able, if I stay focused, and if everything is outlined properly. Then, in each project’s time slot, I drop down and work. Hit my quota, take a quick break to clear my head, and move on.

We also did some more decorating on Saturday, putting up the autumn lights (which is always a bigger PITA than I’d like) on the front porch, in the living room, and in the kitchen. I wanted to wait to do the stair lights until after the storage run.

Sunday morning, we were up at 4:30, and on the road by 6, even though I had to scrape frost off the windows. It’s our first frost, which means the colors will begin to pop soon.

The drive to the Cape wasn’t bad at all, in spite of some sun glare for a bit. There wasn’t much traffic, and it was pretty to see where the colors are throughout the state. Mid-state has the strongest color now.

We made it in 3 ½ hours instead of 4, and spent about an hour in the storage unit, trying to organize and rearrange what shifted. We still haven’t found the photos and scrapbooks from our trips, and I’ll have to take another look at spring’s trip. I also forgot the shepherd’s pie dishes, which annoys me, and I didn’t have the energy to move enough boxes to get to the books I wanted.

But we brought back teapots, my grandmother’s china, the snowman china, lots of pictures and a couple of paintings, more sewing baskets, my wardrobe kit (which I will clean out and make functional for current project life), plant pots, and some miscellaneous stuff. It was a full car.

We stopped at a favorite store, which has things I haven’t yet been able to source here, and stocked up.

We were back on the road  a little after 11. We hit a bad pocket of traffic from Worcester to Sturbridge, but then, even though it was busy, traffic moved. We stopped at Adams Fresh Market for things like pizza, bread, and pie (their bakery is wonderful), and filled the tank up the street at Cumberland Farms. The gas was 4 cents more a gallon on Sunday than it was on Friday, when I filled the tank in preparation for the trip.

We were home with the car unloaded by 3:30, and kind of tired, even though it was a much less stressful day than I expected. Ate pizza, unwrapped some of the pictures. Some we will hang up; others we will put aside and maybe switch out, if we get tired of what’s up on the walls.

So tired, I went to bed at 7:30 at night. Slept until midnight. Woke up because my hip hurt. Moved to the bed in the sewing room and slept until the alarm went off at 6. Weird dreams, including that my laptop was stolen, with the flash drive holding the serials. I guess I better back it up on the external hard drive, too.

Tessa was beside herself, claiming we were starving them to death.

Fed the beasts, fed myself, pulled it together and was out the door and at the garage by 8 for my oil change appointment.

I’d brought CAST IRON MURDER with me, to work on the multi-colored draft, and got a couple of chapters done while I waited. The change was easy-peasey, reasonably priced, and they always do right by me. The car is purring like a contented cat.

Came home and started unpacking/washing china. Of course, now we have to figure out where to put it. And now, in addition to working on a flash fiction idea about a haunted doorbell, I want to write another about dead ladies’ china. Because ideas come in batches, like cookies.

Some of the pieces could go into the dishwasher, but most of the older, fragile, bone china needed to be handwashed and set out on the mats to air dry, then get wiped.

Of course, I don’t have a place to put some of it, although I think I’ve come up with a temporary solution that involved buying another rolly cart for the shelf full of tea and chocolate, and then putting some of the dishes up there. Until I can get a china cabinet that will fit into one of the corners in the living room or my office.

Because there are still two boxes of china that need to come up in spring. And who knows how  much I’ll rescue out of thrift shops over the winter?

While batches of china dried, I did Kindle Vella promotion and finished the first draft of the first episode of THE CUNNING ONE. It needs some tweaks, but the bones are good.

One of the things I noticed while reading serial episodes is that many of them are long, because the author is simply posting book-length chapters in preparation for the book’s later release. I’m intentionally keeping the episodes shorter and crisper than I would for a book because serial structure is different from book structure. It’s not just a bunch of chapters slapped up there, one at a time.

LEGERDEMAIN’S sometimes run longer than I would like, although if we get up to 1700 words, I try to break it down and restructure it. I can’t always do that without losing the rhythm, but I try, and as I write forward, in this second arc, I’m much more aware of structure as I write, rather than writing and then revising to fit structure.

ANGEL HUNT was originally created as a serial, then opened out as an (unfinished) novel, and now being adapted back into a serial. The episodes are short and tight, shorter than the original serial episodes. But it fits the rhythm.

THE CUNNING ONE, at least so far, is a little longer than ANGEL HUNT’s, but still less than LEGERDEMAIN. I want to keep the episodes between 900-1100 words, not more than 1200.

EARTH BRIDE’s will be more complicated, since that was originally written as a novel, and the chapters run long even for my usual chapter lengths. I have a feeling those will run around 1500 words each.

No idea about REP yet. Since it’s a science fiction comedy, probably short, precise chapters that build in comedic beats and then pay off.

Anyway, in addition to that, I did some noodling on two Christmas story ideas, which I need to draft before November. One is aimed at the newsletter subscribers; the other will go up on Ko-fi. My friend Chaz Brenchley has a really cool piece called HITHER that he releases a page at a time over there. You can read HITHER here (and buy Chaz a coffee).

We’re all experimenting across formats, trying to earn a living practicing our craft.

I tidied up some of the text on the Legerdemain site yesterday afternoon, too. I will work on the city’s history and the People content, and hope to get them up this week. I want to start promoting the site.

Slept decently last night, although, again, I had the dream that my laptop was stolen with the serial flash drive in it. Note to self: back up serial flash drive on external hard drive AND make sure the flash drives are out of the laptop and put away at night, or when away for extended times.

Back to the page; there’s a lot that has to get done this week. The To Do lists I made the last two weeks only depress me. But I have a lot that has to get done. So I better get to it, huh?

Anyway, Episode 23 drops today for LEGERDEMAIN, and I hope you enjoy it. The direct link to the series is here.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Yesterday turned out to be a great day, after a very rocky start.

By rocky start, I mean we were all suffering from, shall we say “gastric distress” in the morning — I believe our water’s contaminated, and even boiling it isn’t helping. I used the pH strips I got for Elsa’s testing — extremely high on the acidic side. Fortunately, most of the time, the cats get bottled water, not boiled tap water. I’d put boiled tap water down for them this morning and they refused to drink it. Then, we got sick, so I switched it all to bottled, and they drank the good stuff and were fine.

So, yeah, basically, although I doubt it would stand up in court, the landlords are poisoning us. Plus, my downstairs neighbor moved out yesterday, which means they will start the renovation torture and it will be impossible to think or breathe or survive as of Monday.

If I COULD move out this week, I would. But people in this neck of the woods won’t rent to an unmarried female freelancer, no matter how reliable or what the law says. Besides, I don’t want to live HERE — I want to relocate. Which I’m trying to do, in spite of obstacles. I need everyone to hook into Diane’s heavy-duty moving vibes, and we’ll get it done. The move itself will cost at least $10K, which isn’t chump change, and it’s a case of having someplace to GO.

Immodium AD is a beautiful thing, and we were able to get on the road only about an hour late. We drove up to Old Saybrook, to my favorite “recycled furniture store”. I bought a set of Japanware cups and saucers for the shoot, a beautiful blue outside with a lovely gold glaze inside. It’s a little more modern than I originally envisioned, but it gives us options. I also found an almost-complete set of silver plate flatware that is monogrammed with my initial AND the pattern complements the William Rogers pattern I use daily. This flatware is by Old Company, but it’s beautiful. I may use some of it in the shoot, too. Everything came to $25, well within my projected budget.

We walked across the street to a warren of antique dealers, and I found a pair of Bond Ware cups and saucers with the rose pattern on the outside I wanted, and even inside, which are perfect for the shoot. $10 for the pair, still within budget.

From Old Saybrook, we hopped back on I-95 and headed up to Mystic, CT, where we wandered around the shopping village (rather than the historical village). I found Mystical Elements, the shop I wanted to visit. Their oil suppller is not one I particularly like, so I skipped the oil, picked up some of the herbs on my list, and stocked up on some much-needed crystals — the price and quality of the crystals are great. Also got some candles.

Headed southward again, to Niantic, to all three locations of the Book Barn. Found some books for my mom by her favorite author (Mary Balogh), but nothing for me. Youo know I’m sick when I walk around thousands of books and don’t buy ANY. I had three black cats accompanying me on my travels around the book sheds. It was hilarious. One led the way, telling me where to go, and the two younger ones trailed behind. I miss having black cats.

The drive back was a bit of a chore, because the traffic was bad. Not as bad as coming north, though — both I-95 and the Merritt Parkway seemed to be backed up all the way from Manhattan to New Haven. I felt sorry for those stuck, and grateful that, although traffic was heavy and moved slowly on our side, at least it moved.

Carefully washed the cups and saucers and pulled some other choices out of the cupboard. Couldn’t find what I wanted — those should NOT be in storage, but I’ll look.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home, had a quiet evening of EUREKA and HAVEN. I’m getting a little ahead of HAVEN, perhaps — each case is caused by something similar — strong emotion. Make the connection already and work on it! EUREKA’s fun, though. The invisible cat just made me howl. I could watch James Callis in every scene — I still think he’s being somewhat under-utilized. They brought him in beautifully, but aren’t using him enough. However, next week are the cross-over episodes with WAREHOUSE 13, and that should be fun.

Today, I’ve got to dig out some more dishes and props from storage, then head to Target for bins and other supplies, and find a pair of matching (or complimentary) blank books for a project. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the photo shoot today, and then, if I don’t like how it came out, I can do another round of photos tomorrow.

Must also read my friend’s piece and re-read the book just accepted so that I can do the marketing and cover art questionnaires and get them back out — along with the photos — early next week.

Had an excellent first writing session this morning.

Busy, but all good.

Devon