Tues. Jan. 29, 2019: Creative Weekend

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Waning Moon

Busy weekend, but in a good way. Not a lot of words down on the page, but plenty of project brainstorming and development.

Friday and Saturday morning were about cleaning and cooking ahead for the weekend. I’d just finished when my guest arrived.

Lucy, the newer cat, loves having company. More people to give her attention!

We had a good catch-up session over drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres. I roasted a chicken and we had rumbledethumps (a Moosewood recipe), and chocolate mousse for dessert.

We talked and talked and brainstormed projects. People who haven’t worked in theatre or other production don’t realize how much time it takes to develop projects and get them into production. YEARS.

We watched an awful movie about the Stork Club, although it was interesting to see details about the club, and the Edith Head costumes were great.

Sunday, we had a leisurely morning capped by Eggs Benedict and prosecco. Then, we headed out to see a bit of the Cape — some local shopping, a stop in one of the libraries, then out to Dennis to see the Cape Playhouse (where I worked a few years ago), The Cape Cinema, and the exhibits at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. There were several interesting exhibits going on, and they really do make use of every inch of possible space. A chorale concert was getting ready, about to start just as we were leaving. We took a scenic drive back along 6A and through Sandwich, for the old buildings and the lighted sculptures.

Back home for more conversation, maps and projects, cocktails and h’ors d’oeuvres, and then I made baked scallops with noodles and spinach for dinner. More conversation, more project brainstorming. Watched a few episodes of MISS FISHER (which is theatrical and fun and has brilliant clothes). More conversation, and a late night.

All in all, a creative weekend. I’ve been lucky enough to have some really good brainstorming sessions with people over the last few weeks. There’s a ton of information to process, and then I have to sit down and sift through it and apply it to projects. Who are the best producing partners? What other artists can be included? Where do we get the funding? Because WE ARE PAID TO CREATE. This is our business, not our hobby. Our vocation as well as our passion. Because without integration and application, it’s all just yapping.

I was up early, weight training, yoga, meditation, some writing. Prep for some meetings later this week. Writing ahead on some blog posts for various commitments.

Worked with a client yesterday for a few hours, then had some admin work to do and some pitches to get out, then meditation group.

Quiet evening at home, recovering!

Today, I’m with a client for a few hours, and then have some more pitches, etc., after my first writing session of the morning.

I can’t believe January is almost gone. I have so much to do. Being sick put me way, way back, and I’m scrambling to catch up.

Advertisements
Published in: on January 29, 2019 at 6:23 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Mon. Jan. 21, 2019: Sickness & Guilt – #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, January 21, 2019
Full Moon
Martin Luther King Jr. Day

 

Let’s take a few minutes today to commit to the dream of a better, more equal world that Martin Luther King Jr. believed we could achieve.

I’ve been sick the last two weeks. Around here, we nickname it “the Cape Cod Crud.” It’s a cold, not anything that can be fixed with antibiotics, but it sticks around for weeks, especially the cough.

I had to cancel some client work and I’m behind on some other writing. I got my radio play in one time, because it’s about to go into casting, and because I did the rewrite as soon as I’d sat with the notes for a couple of days, instead of procrastinating. Of course, then it needed another rewrite, but at least I knew where I was going.

One of the self-care items on my list that I’m trying to come to terms with is to stop feeling guilty whenever I’m sick.

On an intellectual level, I know I’m sick. I know it makes more sense to stay home and get well instead of pushing and getting sicker. Also, I don’t want to expose anyone else to germs, and risk getting them sick.

But I feel guilty that I’m not getting things done.

Even though I communicate clearly and make alternate plans to make sure everything gets done when it needs to get done. I don’t just throw up my hands, announce, “I’m sick” and let it all go.

I plan, I communicate, I ask for help, I delegate.

Yet I still feel guilty.

When colleagues are sick, I’m happy to step in and help. I don’t think less of them because they’re sick. I want to lift some of the worry, take on something that needs to be done, so they can rest and not fret.

So why do I feel guilty when I’m the one asking?

It makes no sense.

All I can do is recognize that’s what’s going on, remind myself that I’ve made plans so things aren’t dropped or forgotten or ignored, and that I do my part of help when those around me are sick. The sooner I can take care of myself, the sooner I get well and can fulfill my commitments.

Because I make plans for the work that needs to be done while I’m sick, it eases the worry, and I can use the energy that would be used for worry for healing instead.

Now, if I could only do the same with the energy I waste on guilt!

How do you deal with this? Please share you ideas in the comments.

 

Published in: on January 21, 2019 at 6:08 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , ,

Fri. Jan. 4, 2019: Social Media As Performance Art

Friday, January 4, 2019
Dark Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Getting in gear for what I want to get done in 2019.

Yesterday, I got some writing done (not enough) and worked with a client. It was a tiring day, although a good one.

I’m going to see how next week goes; if it’s similar to this one, I’m going to start getting up an hour earlier to get in more writing. I’m so tired when I get back from this one particular client that it’s hurting my writing. I’ll be wrapping a project there in the coming months, but I can’t afford to lose as much writing time as I’ve been losing, due to exhaustion.

I’ve added an additional yoga session at night, before the night meditation. To get the kinks out before getting to bed.

Weight trained yesterday (one of my designated days). I was still a little sore from Monday’s session, but I still like the way I’m easing into it. Too often, we push too hard at the start of the year, and then lose heart when we can’t keep up.

So I’m hitting the ground running in the sense of the plan, but I’m also being more careful in how much I take on at any given time. Or trying to. You know how that blows up.

I came across information from a friend I’d had all the way back in high school and shot off an email just to say hi, never expecting to be remembered. But my friend does, and we’re catching up. Which is fun. I’m glad I did sent the email!

I’ve been thinking about social media lately, and how so much of it is a form of performance art.

No matter how “authentic” we choose or intend to be, we still choose what to reveal and what to keep back. As we must.

There’s a lot of pressure on job seekers to be careful on social media. That’s a post for Ink-Dipped Advice, but my take on that is that if they don’t like what I do on social media, they won’t like what I do in the office, either, so I’m not parsing my words to please some unknown future client.

I’d rather stand for something and not get the job than be a coward and compromise my integrity in order to get it.

But it IS a form of performance art.

You build an audience. They feel the same sense of possession and connection and emotion as does the audience at a theatre performance or a film screening. Or, even more, as the audience does of a show they regularly watch.

Our social media audience knows us and doesn’t know us. We connect on certain levels, sometimes in ways that might carry over into life, sometimes that won’t. Some relationships become unbalanced. We do get to know certain people who can become genuine relationships, but there are also others that are more pleasant at a distance, or are just for the moment of connection, and then both parties move on. When one of the parties doesn’t move on, it can cause problems.

I’ve certainly worked with enough actors where audience members feel an intimacy with the performer that exists within the plane of the work, but not with the performer directly.

The plane of the work is when the artist’s work touches the soul, and the audience’s response allows the artist to create more work. That comes in the form of approval or challenge or applause or questions or money == most often a combination.

The audience expects to be fed. The artist needs to keep creating material to feed the monster, or the monster will move on to someone else who feeds them more regularly.

That can become a burden — for an actor, for a writer, for a creator on Patreon, for someone with a huge online following, be it on social media or on a blog or whatever.

Personal boundaries are important, while still feeding the audience. I think the best thing one can do is be honest when one needs a break. I know I don’t like to announce publicly when I’m going away (even when there’s a cat sitter living at the house), because I feel like I’m asking to be burgled.

At the same time, when we travel for appearances, conferences, etc., we have to get the word out there in order to bring in the audience, in order for the audience to meet us in person.

Which can be equally daunting.

I’m an introvert. There’s a reason I worked backstage rather than onstage. I don’t enjoy acting; I don’t enjoy being the center of attention.

The work is important. I like to be in the shadows.

But now, writers are supposed to be out there exposing everything even more than actors. I don’t agree with that. I don’t believe it enhances the work. It certainly can be exhausting for authors.

The flip side of that, is that I enjoy meeting people at conferences. I enjoy teaching workshops. I’m fine one-on-one. It’s the performance aspect I don’t like.

Which is why so many introverted writers are grateful for social media. We get to connect with our audience, we get to feed them, and we still get to stay in the shadows. We are both performer and our own stage manager, when we do it well.

I don’t like being forced into a spotlight. I don’t use author photographs or post selfies. That’s not my thing. I don’t like my workshops video taped or attendees to take photos and post. I don’t pose for photos at networking events. I know I was there. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. There’s no reason pictures of me need to be up on the Internet. It’s not about me. It’s about the work.

Keeping part of yourself back for only yourself, your art, your intimates in life isn’t “lying to the public” as is far too often the accusation. It’s an absolutely necessary measure of self-protection for the work and for the soul.

Everyone — writer or anyone else — needs to make their own choices about how much to share, how much to perform, how much to keep back. It is a personal choice, and not up for debate with the audience.

Audiences as an entity are fickle anyway. Individuals within the audience may become loyal, but the entity itself will always be chasing something new, something promoted as the “next big thing.”

Make your choices. Change them as you need to. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Client work this morning, then a few appointments this afternoon. I have to finish a book review and get that out. I have to write a good bit over the next few days.

The first batch of books for the contest has shipped, and will arrive in a few days.

I’ve also got to finalize some proposals that need to go out next week.

I should wait until Sunday to take down all the holiday decor (is it that time already?), but I’m going to start Saturday. I have a fancy dress party to attend on Sunday night, so I’d like to get as much done ahead of time as possible.

I’m signed up for a course on Human Rights in Open Societies out of the university in Utrecht, Netherlands. It starts in early February, and I’m looking forward to it.

Have a great weekend. I sort of feel like the year actually starts as of Monday.

Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018: Enter the Holiday Stretch

IMG_0392

Thursday, December 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I’m in the process of winding up year-end work with various clients. Some of it are permanent wraps on projects that are done, and I’ll be replacing them with new projects/clients in the coming weeks. Some are just getting things cleared up as much as possible before this holiday, and then I’ll be doing some work in between and then we start again in January.

By next year at this time, I want to arrange my life so I can completely take off from Solstice until right after the New Year. I need that time and space on multiple levels.

Got the exterior decorations up outside, including fixing some of the light strands. One is beyond help, but I had enough without it. Another, I had to make a quick trip to the hardware store to pick up a few things. The old white men were giving me sage, negative advice on what I “couldn’t” do, because, after all, I’m just a little woman, and couldn’t possibly know anything about electricity.

Honey, I started my career in lighting for rock ‘n roll. I can do things with a splicer, electrical tape, and pliers that you can only dream of.

Anyway, I got most of the lights working again. One set needs a bit more attention, but I was losing the light, and I need to be able to see.

Today, I’m running around finishing the cookie platter deliveries (even over the bridge). I did a big grocery shop, so I have the food for the Solstice, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. I’ll deal with the New Year’s meals next week.

I’m playing tomorrow by ear, because of the weather. We’re supposed to get a big storm (rain, not snow). I’m supposed to take in the car and do a few other things (like get in some more liquor), but I might hunker down, celebrate Solstice, and then get the car in over the weekend. I also have a few more stocking stuffers to get, but for the most part, I’m in decent shape. I have to wrap. Which means I also need more tape.

Next year, I’m going to buy fabric and either silk or velvet ribbon, use pinking shears to cut, and wrap everything in fabric.

I will sweep the fireplace and lay the fire for tomorrow night today, though. I want to make sure all I have to do when it goes dark is strike the match, and then it starts.

I have writing and cooking and reading and some friends coming in for the weekend and holiday, so we’ll be brainstorming the next three plays I plan to work on. I’ll need to hit the ground running on them after the first of the year – with at least three books on the roster for next year (more, if something that’s written is picked up and needs editing), and some travel and appearances and other life stuff, I’ll have to plan my time carefully to write three plays along with everything else.

But they’re good ideas, and they won’t leave me alone until I fulfill them. I just have to fix a few structural things in the rest of my life so to do.

Have a lovely holiday, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Published in: on December 20, 2018 at 11:33 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018: Enter the Holiday Stretch  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Oct. 20, 2018: The Wrong Tired Early in the Week

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Day Before Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Busy, busy weekend.

The Global Human Rights conference was intense. Fortunately, I can catch up on sessions I missed over the next couple of weeks. So much material on so many levels. A lot that I can use as jumping off points for creative work.

By Saturday, I was worn out. I gave myself the second half of the day off. I went grocery shopping, did laundry, made parsnip-carrot-leek soup, roasted a chicken.

Read more than I wrote: LARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING by Donna Andrews, which had me laughing out loud. It’s nice to see how Andrews developed the community, and how the time and energy Meg has put into it is now being returned.

Also read SHELTER IN PLACE by Nora Roberts. This is one of her better books, in my opinion. Relevant and sad, dealing with the aftermath of a mass shooting, and how the survivors’ lives evolved. Not all of her books work for me, but this one did, on multiple levels. Well done.

Read a nonfiction book that came highly recommended, from other people and in reviews. Found it very disappointing. The narrator meandered around, being ungrateful for her opportunities and blowing them, and the “memoir” had very little point, other than making me not like or respect her very much. The constant tense shifts and second person gave me a headache. The framework of the piece made sense, but too much of the internal structure within that framework didn’t support the narrative, in my opinion.

Author Lauren Dane turned me on to the poetry of Warsan Shire. Wow. Just wow, on so many levels. One of the most powerful poets I’ve read in a long time.

I needed to take in work this weekend, rather than spewing it out.

But by Sunday, I was back on track with DAVY JONES DHARMA, and that draft is humming along nicely.

I also did another round of copyedits on RELICS. STILL finding errors that I know I changed. Still finding things that, when I changed, the “auto correct” on the machine changed back, and then I changed them again, and so forth and so on. It also angers me that the latest version of Word’s Grammar/Spellcheck doesn’t recognize “it’s” and always wants to change it to “its.”

I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A POSSESSIVE AND A CONTRACTION. STOP TRYING TO CHANGE IT TO THE ONE I DON’T WANT.

Yes, I am screaming.

Worked on site with a client, which had its challenges. This week and next will be difficult, with this particular client.

I have another round of copyedits to do on RELICS. This damn well better be the last one; we’re getting way too close to the release date, and it’s hurting the pre-orders.

But once this releases, I can get back into splitting my writing work between the latest draft of DAVY JONES DHARMA and the latest draft of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Although, because I’m so deep in RELICS right now, I want to slide right into GRAVE REACH.

Prepping for the next revision on HEART SNATCHER, which I will do during the Women Write Change project.

Gathering research for both the anti-gun violence play and the multi-media performance piece.

In despair about the corruption of the US government right now. Voters better turn out.

Trying to schedule a bunch of appointments, and it’s all chaos.

Tired, tired, tired.

 

Tues. Oct. 2, 2018: Autumn Means Busy (in the right way)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto DIRECT (as of Sunday)
Uranus Retrograde

We’re already into October. Wow, this year is going quickly.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see my list for October.

The end of last week was a travesty for anyone who values human rights or justice. I have a distinct feeling it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

It was difficult to get anything done (especially with a raging migraine).

I caught up on most of my follow-up, from the Coffee Chat and from the breakfast and all the way back to the Provincetown Book Festival. I still have a few more notes to write, but I’m getting there. Follow-up and thank-yous are so important.

To my delight, I’m getting together for further interaction/meetings/hanging out/networking with half of the group I met last week, so far.

I’m debating whether or not to pitch a workshop for a couple of spring conferences, but I’m waiting to hear on some other schedule things before I do. That might mean I miss the deadline, but if I do, that’s the way it goes.

Friday night and most of Saturday was spent doing a major revision on RELICS & REQUIEM. Completing reframing the secondary plot line. So major, I wondered if we have to postpone the release, although my editor doesn’t think so. I’m feeling huge pressure, but so far, I seem to be coming through. I hope that remains the case.

Sunday, I focused on the calendar articles, polishing, revising, and getting them ready to go to my editor next week.

Got some more pieces polished Monday and today, so I feel pretty good about that.

Working on my speech for the human rights conference. There are several different elements I want to incorporate, and it has to build properly. So that’s what I’m working on.

Yesterday I spent time with one client on site, got some other work done elsewhere, and had dinner with a friend with whom I hadn’t spent time in awhile. Today, I’m on site for the bulk of the day with one client, and then other appointments. I was supposed to go to a non-profit meeting tonight, but I have to cancel, due to other work commitments.

Behind where I want to be on DAVY JONES, but I hope to get on track when we go into galleys for RELICS.

Some of the pressures I’ve been under (non-work-related) have eased a bit as of this weekend. So I’m hoping that I can regroup and dig back in.

To relieve pressure, I’ve been doing some work on THE REAPER’S RETREAT. Because, of course, when you have half a dozen deadlines looming, why not work on the project that has none!

But it’s a pressure-release valve, and then I can get back to the deadlined work!

 

Published in: on October 2, 2018 at 2:08 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 2, 2018: Autumn Means Busy (in the right way)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018: The Exhaustive Stage of Grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My yoga and meditation practices are a big help.

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

Onward.

 

Published in: on August 7, 2018 at 1:55 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018: The Exhaustive Stage of Grief  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. April 19, 2018: Roller Coaster Day

Thursday, April 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

What is it now? The 107th day of January? Sure feels like it!

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for an update.

Yesterday was a roller coaster that nearly broke me.

I had guests, more than expected, up for a funeral. Tuesday night, I cooked and baked. They arrived at night. I fed them and listened to them talk. We were up until the wee hours. Mostly, I listened and offered sanctuary. That was my role.

Helped them get ready the next morning. And discovered that 1&1.com destroyed all seven of the websites I’d built on the new host. All gone. Supposedly as part of the “holding package” they forced me into, although when I asked them BEFORE MOVING the DNS to A2, and NOTHING was mentioned about needing to have a “holding package” in order to retain the registrations that are paid through until October of this year.

I was furious. 1&1 shrugged and said all I had to do was re-point the DNS. Of course, I could sign in to the 1&1 Control Panel, but the only option was to “re-join” their package. There was no way to re-point the domain. That screen wouldn’t come up, and every other click put me into an endless loop. Finally, someone at 1&1 did the re-point and the sites came back up. They should have never gone down in the first place. But 1&1 did it because they could, and they like to fuck with their customers and do whatever they can to make life hell and prevent their customers from actually receiving services for which they paid.

THEN — 1&1 made an unauthorized withdrawal from my bank account. I was told — in writing — that the fee for this “holding package” would be waived, and I would not be charged until April of 2019. But then, they pull a payment WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION from my bank account. Not to mention that I warned my bank back in March that I was afraid they would pull this kind of a stunt, but I could not delete my card from their information until the registration transfer was complete. But, you know, TD Bank — if you’ve ever dealt with a vendor, as long as it’s not a prince from Nigeria, they’ll let anyone at any time remove any amount from your account. Their position is that you have to fight it out with the vendor. They won’t credit it or put a hold on the amount until it’s investigated. Too bad for you. They just keep racking up fees against you.

I told 1&1 they had to reverse the payment. 1&1 said it wasn’t a “real” payment, but an “RVK” and wouldn’t actually go through. TD Bank shows it as a debit, and, in fact, now says I’m overdrawn and is adding overdraft fees. 1&1 says there’s “nothing they can do” and they’ve refused to reverse the charge or give me a credit.

Not only that, but now they want to hold the transfer hostage for another 60 days (the original 60 days that would have allowed the move would be up in early May). How much more money will they extort from me with the threat of again destroying my sites and making it impossible for me to promote my books or earn a living?

So I have to file a boatload of paper work with Attorneys General, with my Senators, and probably go fill out a police report so that TD Bank will take this seriously.

I talked to Name Silo, to whom I plan to move the registration, and they told me it was par for the course with 1&1. They also said that the DNS should never have been touched, even if the names of the domains were moved into another package, and told me that, once I wrench the domain registrations away from them and get them to Name Silo, there isn’t any need to re-point DNS; it should remain the same. Intellectually, I knew that; it’s yet again, 1&1 doing whatever they can to hurt me and get more money out of me.

At four a.m. this morning, they sent me another invoice and are going to make another pull from my bank for monies to which they have no right. AFTER telling me IN WRITING none of this would cost me anything until April 2019.

So, now I also have to file more paperwork with ICANN.

I’m also not happy with A2 Hosting’s position, which is that it’s not their problem and there’s nothing they can do. I’m paying them to host my sites. I expect them to keep those sites secure and not let any random individual re-point a DNS without permission.

This will be hours and hours of putting together documentation that I need to spend writing. I am furious.

I finished up a couple of ads for one of my clients yesterday — things are moving along nicely there.

I got more work done on the outline for the serial. I hope to finish it today, distill it down into a synopsis, and send it off with the sample pages by tomorrow.

The good news is that I participated in the Carina Pitch event on Twitter. I’d polished and honed the pitch for NOT BY THE BOOK for hours on Tuesday afternoon. As a “what the hell” later that day, I polished a pitch for HEART THEFT as well. This particular round of pitching is open to partials as well as full manuscripts, so I was clear. Both NOT BY THE BOOK and HEART THEFT were developed with an eye to the Harlequin lines.

I pitched both on Twitter early in the morning. Almost immediately, one of the editors expressed interest in HEART THEFT. She sent me information to her personal submission link and the rest of the guidelines.

I re-pitched NOT BY THE BOOK in the early afternoon (you can pitch each project twice). A few minutes later, I heard from another editor, who liked that pitch, and asked for more. She sent me HER personal submission link and the guidelines.

So I have until May 28 to submit both.

I have four polished chapters of each book done and my writer’s rough outline. I plan to write six more of each in the interim, and polish them, and distill my writer’s rough into a polished synopsis. The cover letter will be a little different than I usually write, since it’s a partial, but that’s okay. I want to get them both in before May 28.

This is a great opportunity and I’m excited.

Of course, I still have SPIRIT REPOSITORY in galleys, and I have to keep MYTH & INTERPRETATION, RELICS & REQUIEM, and DAVY JONES DHARMA on track. AND keep up with client projects. AND keep landing new clients.

I will have to be focused and disciplined over the next few weeks.

In other words, the fraud and extortion practiced by 1&1 and the shrugging off about the unauthorized transactions by TD Bank need to be stopped by the appropriate authorities.

I have a life to live, and I’m tired of companies like 1&1 and TD Bank preying on people because those people don’t have infinite amounts of money to spend and actually notice when there are unauthorized transactions, and that it matters.

I have sixteen pages of copyediting notes to put in to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I am mortified that I missed so many things in the manuscript I turned in; I am grateful for the opportunity to fix them with my copyeditor before the book is published!

Onward.

Wed. Nov. 6, 2017: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy few days.

My late-paying client turned out to be a life-saver, paying me for the month that was late and the monies not due until the end of December. That will go to car repairs. I’d hoped to have money to adopt another cat before the end of the year, but no such luck. Guess Tessa’s not getting a new friend until the new year!

Work on SERENE AND DETERMINED is going slowly, but going. My deadline to turn in the play is the end of the year. I’d hoped to get in in sooner, but it’s slow. When the information on someone indicates she was determined to keep a lack of drama in her life so that she could focus on her art, well, it’s difficult to dramatize! 🙂

But it’s been a joy to immerse myself in Renaissance art for a year. I learned a lot, but there’s still so much more to learn!

The idea for the Winter holiday short that goes out with the newsletter that will go out early next week hit me in the shower yesterday. I have the characters, the situation, the story. Now, if I can only keep it to under 1000 words! I wanted it to be 500 words, but I doubt I can do it justice in that.

Got more lights up, and the Santa collection out. Still have to decorate the back room and my office. Things get a little elaborate in my office.

Also have to start the baking and finish the cards this week. Too much to do, too few hours in the day. Just like everyone else.

This morning was the joy of a candy-filled shoe! I love the morning after St. Nicholas Night! Yum yum!

Lots to do with my clients.

Busy time.

I’ll be blogging late tomorrow; National Grid is coming in to change out the meter, and then I have yoga.

Be well, be kind. Remember, Mercury is retrograde!

Published in: on December 6, 2017 at 3:32 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 6, 2017: Keeping On Keeping On  
Tags: , , , , ,

Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Quite the busy holiday weekend. And yet, it feels like I got very little done.

We didn’t go to Maine for the holiday, like we usually do. Usually, the first few days of Thanksgiving week, I’m finishing my Nano word count, cooking up a storm of desserts and other things. Then, we usually drive up on Wednesday, making our favorite stops. I bring up the dinner and dessert for twelve I prepared at home, and that’s what I serve those who set up the Hall that’s always rented for Thanksgiving on Wednesday night. Thursday, I can usually get a bit of writing done in the morning, then help with the food prep at the hall (mashing vats of potatoes is my speciality), help with the clean-up, and preparing the snack for Thursday night. Because we have anywhere from 37 to 64 in the hall for the actual meal. And Friday, we head back while everyone else runs around shopping.

Not this year, because there’s too much post-op care after my mom’s surgery, and she still can’t fit into a shoe.

My mom had her doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning. He’s worried about her accelerated heart rate and is changing her medication. I took her home, got her settled, and spent a few hours on site with a client.

Then, home, and ready to dig in for the weekend.

Thursday morning, I was up early. The turkey was stuffed and in the oven by 7:30 in the morning. I read, and got some reading done, checking on the turkey and preparing the other dishes. We ate around 3. Maple-cranberry glazed turkey, my own stuffing recipe, mashed potatoes, my own carrot-parsnip in mushroom gravy, peas. Apple pie for dessert.

My mother wasn’t feeling well, with bouts of dizziness from her medication. So, all of the cooking, the set-up, and the clean-up was on me. I put away the leftovers, took apart the turkey. I’d gotten a bit overzealous with the turkey — over 22 pounds, and just for the two of us. We’ve got a good bit of leftovers. I then boiled down the bones to make stock. Once the stock was done, I added onion, celery, carrots, herbs, garlic, etc. and some turkey meat and made turkey soup. Once that cooled, I put everything in jars and labelled it.

Basically, I was in the kitchen for about 13 hours.

But it was an outstanding meal.

Friday, I was up early. I got a few things done around the house, and I emptied the Christmas closet and stacked the boxes by category in the back room.

I had to take my mom to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, and then we dumped a stack of books in the book drop at the library, and picked up her new medication. Then, we headed to Country Gardens, where I got the wreath I’ll decorate for the door, a small tree for the barrel in the front yard, and a cyclamen.

Home, and got the laundry going. Then, I ironed all the holiday fabric, took off the Thanksgiving fabric from all the surfaces that were covered, and replaced them with the Christmas/Yule fabric. Stripped the mantel and the hearth, wrapped the iron candle stands in gold ribbon, set up the Advent Table. Put up the musical fabric over the fireplace, set up the garland, the gold bells, and the caroler collection on the top, and the herd of deer on the bottom. Got some of the Advent table done.

That took all damn day.

Watched a rather pointless documentary on Stonehenge and did some reading.

Saturday morning, up early, outlined the next section of the Lavinia Fontana play. Changed the beds, vaccuumed, moved things. Hauled the big tree down. Got it into the stand (worst stand ever). Put the tree together. Got the lights on. Even though I tested them before I put them on, once they were on, half the strand at the top didn’t work. Took them off. Tested them again. They worked. Put them on. Now they didn’t. Went to the store to get a replacement strand. Got them home. Tested them. Three quarters of the strand worked; one quarter didn’t. Went back to the store. Swapped them out. This strand worked. Got them on the tree, and it all worked.

Lost two hours on the damn lights.

Unpacked a lot of the ornaments. Got some of the windows decorated. Finished the Advent Table (since Sunday was the First of Advent). But didn’t get the tree done. Didn’t even get the ornaments on it.

We’re rearranging things this year, and a lot of it is trying something, deciding that’s not what we want and changing it.

Honestly, it was easier in the small apartment where everything only fit one way!

But I do enjoy the decorating process.

I was tired that night, though. Too tired to do much. I did get the Norfolk pine planted in the barrel. But the neighbors are doing yard work and I am not. I am doing the inside first.

I couldn’t find the recipe I wanted, so I invented on. Hello, chocolate espresso spice cake. It turned out well, but I think I want to tweak some of the proportions and make it better.

We had power fluctuations on Saturday. Power kept going on and off in the evening and all night. Good thing it happened AFTER the cake was done!

Sunday, I gave myself the morning off to read and play with the cats.

Then, I had to do some work for one of my clients. I was behind, and we were meeting yesterday to finalize some photos for the rough of the media kit and the brochure.

We also did a photo shoot in the cemetery for the cover of “Miss Winston Apologizes”, since everything we’ve come up with so far isn’t quite right. Hopefully, what we came up with will now work.

Didn’t sleep well Sunday night into Monday. I’m dreading when Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Managed to get some good work done yesterday morning on SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Had to help my client untangle computer issues most of the day yesterday. How much do you want to bet there will be more today? Scary when I’m the most IT-savvy person in any room! 😉

Busy week – I feel like I’m falling behind, so I’ll have to add in extra writing sessions, probably late at night.

And so it goes . . .

Published in: on November 28, 2017 at 2:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Nov. 22, 2017: In Prep for the Holiday

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Yesterday was busy. I managed to get some writing done in the morning, then worked on-site with a client for the bulk of the day, prepping samples for her 2018 collection (she’s a designer, and I’m learning the collection so that I can write about it).

Not much writing done on either day on SERENE AND DETERMINED, although I think I’ve got the rest of it plotted out in my head. But when I put it on paper, the characters keep surprising me in the best ways possible.

A bit of work done on the aging novel.

More questions to my webhost to see if we can resolve our issues; also wrote up a list of what I want and need that I’m sending to the web hosts I’m “auditioning.”

Got some work done for another client, that was sent off in the afternoon.

No raking — now there’s a surprise! If the weather holds, I’ll have to do it over the weekend.

This morning, my mom has a doctor’s appointment, so I’m taking her over. After I bring her back, I’m working onsite with a client for a few hours, and then I’m off for the weekend.

Not that I won’t be working! In and around the holiday, I have a book to read and review, the edits on TRACKING MEDUSA to finish, work on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and some client work for a Monday afternoon meeting. Plus, the polish on “Miss Winston Apologizes.” Which also means I have to write the teaser for the next Cornelia True and Roman Gray piece. Which is as yet untitled, although I’ve got a decent idea of the plot. It will be the last story for the moment set in this era. At the end of it, they leap into the future — and miss. Roman thinks they’re going to his time period — but they don’t quite get there.

I’m hoping to get TRACKING MEDUSA to my editor by mid-week next week.

I’m keeping track of the sales that are coming in tied to the promotion for SAVASANA last week. It’s interesting. All this tracking information helps me make decisions on future promotions. By not running multiple promotions at once, I can see how each one pays off in tangible terms, and then make the choice to use or not use them again. The spin of “we can’t guarantee sales, but your name gets out there” — um, sorry, if I’m paying you, I expect you to promote to people who actually buy books. I expect that to manifest in sales. If the promotion doesn’t pay for itself and a little extra — moving on. An unpopular stance to take, but there are too many companies soaking authors without aren’t getting results.

Charles Manson is finally dead. For those of us alive during that awful era of the murders and their aftermath, it is an enormous relief. There was always the fear he’d con the parole board into getting out, and then the atrocities would start again.

I’ve heard mixed stories about David Cassidy’s death or just that he’s near it. Either one makes me sad. And makes me feel old. I was never a particular fan of his music or had posters of him up or anything, but he was a part of my growing up years. And, later on, he was active in helping a horse racing charity in which I was involved.

I’m looking forward to this holiday weekend, and then we descend into the holiday madness. I’m determined to pace myself. I want this to be a happy and peaceful holiday, because next year presents a lot of challenges and transitions for me.

Have a great weekend! I’ll catch up with you again next week.

Published in: on November 22, 2017 at 3:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 22, 2017: In Prep for the Holiday  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Wed. Nov. 15, 2017: Good Neighbors, Good Clients, Good Writing and SAVASANA AT SEA RELEASE!

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Release day for Savasana at Sea! Buy Links here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

SAVASANA AT SEA releases today!

I’m excited about this book, because I wrote the book I wanted to read and couldn’t find. It’s got a large, international cast, humor, mystery, romance, yoga, murder.

Busy days, but the right kind of busy.

Good work with two of my regular clients. Both in very different professions; both are lively, engaged, and have great products, stories, and information to share with the world. I’m delighted to be working with them.

Septic tank pumped out Monday morning, more complicated than expected, but it’s done and everything works. The truck blocked my neighbor’s drive, and he was having trouble getting past with his equipment. He was so thrilled that I came over and said I’d ask the truck to move. Sort of basic neighborliness, isn’t it? I’m glad I made him happy. The new puppy was also happy.

SERENE AND DETERMINED, the Lavinia Fontana play, is coming along. It’s funnier than I expected. I’m planning for it to be a full-length.

Working on both THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and the aging novel. Little bits here and there.

Working on the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, and on “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which will probably drop at the end of the month. TRACKING MEDUSA is still on track (no pun intended) for mid-January release, but through a different digital publisher/distributor.

Books & the Bear is doing a promotion for SAVASANA tomorrow. I’ll be walking my talk, tracking results, to make sure I get bang for my buck, just like in the article I wrote for WOW-Women on Writing.

Yesterday was a lot about client work; some follow-up for one client, but the bulk of the day was spent on site with the other client. I’ll be there today as well — she’s a clothing designer, and the spring samples just came in. So we’re doing the prep work that needs to be done so that I can write about them, while I’m still trying to write about this year’s fall line.

I will be a guest on a fellow author’s blog soon, and I’m working on that post, which I’ve promised her by the end of the week. Also finishing up an article for another publication that is scheduled to go live in early January. And I’ve got another book to review.

Plus, I have to get organized for Thanksgiving, and do yard work on any day where it doesn’t rain.

Busy in the best possible way!

 

Published in: on November 15, 2017 at 3:34 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 15, 2017: Good Neighbors, Good Clients, Good Writing and SAVASANA AT SEA RELEASE!  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,