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.

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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!

 

Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for advance purchase.

Friday, November 3, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and mild

I managed to get 1K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN yesterday morning.

I also updated 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the Nano cheerleading workbook. I tried to upload it to the Devon Ellington site, but Microsoft won’t let it then download when someone tries to click on it, calling it a “double escape” and citing “security” issues. Which is, of course, complete and utter crap. So it’s available on 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd. It is free — I hope it helps encourage those who are doing Nano.

Got some other work done as well, and then had yoga, which was bliss. I hadn’t realized how tight everything had gotten over these past two weeks. I also signed up for a crystal sound bowl meditation class on November 12 with the same teacher.

Took down the Samhain decorations, which included switching out the curtains from the black lace spiderweb curtains to the winter velour curtains.

My poor mother has another week of complicated dressing changes to go through before she gets her stitches out.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot — blood everywhere, but I can’t find a cut. However, the toe in question is badly bruised and it’s difficult to put weight on it. Fun and games all around.

Today, I have work to do early on at one site, then three hours on site with a client, then possibly back to the first site.

My article on “Conference Follow-Up” is live at Authors Publish. I also have to prepare the clip and send it to those who allowed me to quote them in the article.

I have more client work to do this afternoon, plus finish a book for review (I want to get it out tomorrow). I have to set a couple of posts up on various blogs, and type up some material for a client.

In addition, I have to do one more pass on SAVASANA and get some other writing of my own done.

There’s a full moon meditation up on Cerridwen’s Cottage in honor of the full moon, and tomorrow, a new post will go up on Kemmyrk, that ties in.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Plymouth to support one of my clients who has a speaking engagement, and I also have to get in a lot of writing. If the weather cooperates, some yard work has to happen, too.
Never a dull moment, but that’s the way I like it.

Don’t forget! SAVASANA AT SEA is available for pre-release orders and PLAYING THE ANGLES is available for purchase.

Have a great weekend. I won’t be able to post on Monday — a post will go live on Tuesday, talking about the weekend and Monday.

Playing the Angles available now.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Tues. Oct. 31, 2017: Samhain

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Samhain/Halloween

Pretty intense few days.

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to see its new look and please, drop a commment!

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the October wrap-up.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, the blog tied to the Cerridwen Iris Shea work, to read a few ruminations.

The bulk of the weekend was the aftermath of my mom’s surgery. She’s doing really well, don’t get me wrong. She only took the Tylenol the first day — says she doesn’t need it now. But there’s a lot of post-op care to make sure the foot and the place under her collarbone where the skin was grafted heal properly. Plus, she’s exhausted, which makes sense, since surgery is a big trauma on the body.

Then, I’m exhausted, and I feel guilty about it, because I didn’t go through surgery.

But I feel what I feel, so I acknowledge it and try to let it go, while continuing on.

Friday I was wiped out. I did some research for yesterday’s meeting. I sent off my next review. But that was the extent of getting any writing done. I couldn’t focus.

I also have notes on multiple projects that I have to sort out and put into folders, or I’ll lose them and not have them when I need them.

There was a glitch with the car insurance, but it turned out the agent gave me the wrong information, and we got it all sorted out, thank goodness.

We watched season 3 of BROADCHURCH the past few days. Wow. Just wow.

Saturday, I had to run more errands, and then, finally, that check I’ve been waiting for arrived. That was a big relief. So, on that level, things are sorted out.

Started reading Hillary Clinton’s WHAT HAPPENED. It’s an exceptionally well-written book. I don’t know why that surprised me. Maybe because Tony Blair’s memoir, and so man other political tomes I’ve read weren’t? Over the decades, there have been times when I’ve disagreed with her, but so far, I agree with most of what she says in the book. And it would have been so nice to have a qualified, intelligent human being in the office instead of a narcissistic sociopath.
Also read a translation of Marc Levy’s PS FROM PARIS. I hadn’t read any of his work before. It’s joyful and surprising and wonderful. Loved the book, and am now eager to read more. It also makes me want to get my French back up to speed so that I could read it in its original language (although Sam Taylor’s translation was excellent).

ALSO read Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES. The Gamache series is intriguing. Penny is one of the few authors who I feel can pull off third person omniscient, although there was too much head-hopping in this book, and it wasn’t as smooth as usual. But her explorations into people and their motivations interest me.

One of my rocking horse statues broke while I was using the central vaccuum. It got caught in the hose — very frustrating. It will take me several weeks to put it back together properly — filling the cracks, getting the pieces to fit just right, layering it back on, then sanding down the fixative and doing some paint touch-ups.

Tessa is far too curious, and I’m worried she’ll get glue all over her.

We had quite the storm Sunday night into Monday. Lots of people without power, still, even. We were lucky — it flickered at 4 in the morning, but then came back on.

Yesterday was spent with clients — one for the bulk of the day, then came home to change my mother’s wound dressings, and then the other for a couple of hours. Two very different projects, but both terrific, engaging, and let me be creative. I’m very grateful.

Today is Samhain, a big day on my personal calendar. I have lots of running around in the morning (buying things like candy and cat food). Hopefully, we’ll have some trick or treaters tonight — the house is all dolled up!

Then, of course, the big ritual. Today is the end of the agricultural year, and tomorrow starts the new one. We’ve harvested the last of the tomatoes and herbs. Now, I still have to finish putting the yard to bed, and soon, we’ll take in the rest of the plants that overwinter inside or in the garage, and the deck furniture. And rake leaves forever, and cut back the beds.

Next spring, I either have to buy a new mower or hire someone in.

Lots and lots and LOTS of errands, et al to do today, then handing out candy tonight and then . . .ritual. The next few nights will be taken up with ceremonies for the dead — there’s an article about that over on Cerridwen’s Cottage.

I won’t post here tomorrow, but the November To-Do list will be up over on the GDR site.

I keep promising myself that I will NOT do Nano because of my deadlines, only stand at the sidelines, cheering others on. We’ll see what happens when November 1 hits. I’m definitely wavering. My ego is at war with my practicality. Because that’s what it is for me this year — ego. I want the satisfaction of another Nano win. It has nothing to do with the realities of what I HAVE to get done this month. And there’s no room for that type of ego in my life right now.

I got a little bit of MARRIAGE GARDEN done yesterday and today. I need to do a big push on THE FIX IT GIRL the rest of this week.

Back to the page.

Fri. Oct. 27, 2017: Post-Op, CVS & Instafreebie Fail

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for pre-order here.

Friday, October 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday day was a tough day all around. If it nearly wiped me out, I can only imagine how hard it was for my mom, who is in her nineties.

Dropped her off early for the surgery. Went to the library to get some work done, such as updating the buy links on the websites, et al. SAVASANA AT SEA is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Put together some materials for a client and sent it off, in preparation for Monday’s meeting.

Went home to wait for the call that I could pick up my mom from surgery. For some reason, they couldn’t get through, and wound up contacting the landlord, who managed to get hold of me. So much for the new damn phone. Seriously, as soon as I can afford it, I’m sucking it up and buying an iPhone. They seem to be the only phones that work.

I was told she’d be ready to come home by 2. I went back early, hoping I could spring her earlier. No such luck. They’d had to do additional surgery on the foot in order to get out all the cancerous cells. Which meant she had to go back in for a skin graft to patch up the foot. It was frightening and painful. Plus, she wasn’t hungry and had refused to each lunch, which meant she nearly passed out during the graft surgery.

Let me emphasize that the surgeon and her staff were great throughout. They made it as comfortable as possible. It’s just that it was a complicated and unpleasant procedure.

I finally got her in the car by about 3:30. The surgeon gave us a long list of post-op care for the next two weeks, and her office called in an antibiotic prescription to the pharmacy. She wanted me to get it immediately, so my mom could start taking it right away.

I get to the pharmacy, and they have no interest in filling the prescription. First, they denied getting the call. When I said I was standing next to the person who called (I was), she strolled across the floor, picked it up, put it back, shrugged, and said, “Yeah, we’ll get to it. Come back in an hour or so. We’re busy right now.”

Busy. Supposedly serving customers. Six customers, four people behind the desk and you’re too “busy” to fill the prescription.

I asked how much it would be. She refused to tell me. I asked to give an estimate. She refused. She said I should call in about an hour to see if they’d filled it and maybe they’d tell me the price then.

Now, every other pharmacy in the world I’ve dealt with, when you arrive with a prescription that’s been called in will ask if you want to wait and gives an estimate of the waiting time, and can tell you the range of the drug price.

But, you see, at CVS in Centerville, the customer is an inconvenience.

Had I said I would wait for it, ahe would have intentionally NOT filled it for at least an hour, probably longer.

I came home (because I couldn’t do any of the other errands until I knew how much this prescription was going to cost). I contacted the regional manager, who’d helped us a few months ago, when the pharmacy overcharged for the shingles shot that was supposed to be free (after refusing to give the shot six times), and dragged their feet/argued on other prescriptions. He said if there was ever a problem with them, I should get in touch. I did. I also told him we were getting the same runaround with the pneumonia shot. He took care of it.

I went back in an hour. They had the prescription put aside. I could tell they were FURIOUS that I’d complained and they’d been called out by the head office. Well, if they’d done their job in the first place, I wouldn’t have.

When we moved here, they were so nice, helpful, nothing was ever a problem. For the past two years or so, every prescription pick up or anything else is a major fight. They always act like serving a customer is beneath them and maybe they’ll deign to do it if they happen to feel like it. They’re required to ask if there are any questions for the pharmacist, but the answer is ALWAYS, “I don’t know.” Nor are they willing to find out.

I’m wondering if any of them actually went to school for pharmacy — all they do is stare like zombies at screens and fill bottles. When they can be bothered.

I’ve never had this poor attitude in any pharmacy, no matter where I’ve lived. And it’s not the fault of the insurance companies or the doctors, no matter how the right will howl about it. It’s this particular pharmacy can’t be bothered. They need new management and new staff.

I’m looking into moving the prescriptions elsewhere. It will be inconvenient, but dealing with a pharmacy that offers basic customer service — like actually filling a prescription or answering a question –might be worth it.

So, I finally had the antibiotic and could run the other necessary errands, and then get back and make sure my mom ate (because the antibiotic has to be taken on a full stomach) and do everything else that needed to be done post-op.

I was going to cheer myself up by taking advantage of an Instafreebie offer that an acquaintance was involved with. First of all, I saw this several days ago, and “claimed” my books. It took three days for them to show up in my email. Then, after 45 minutes of hoopjumping and having to sign in and “send” or “forward” files between multiple email addresses to get it to my Kindle – nothing. So I contacted Instafreebie – well, I have to download a specific program to a computer in order to get the book then sent to the Kindle. Um, no. I told them I needed to be able to open my email on my Kindle and pick it up on said Kindle, the way I do with any other book sent to me. I basically got a big fuck you from them, so fuck them.

I’m sure some will argue, well it’s free, so why complain because you have to do some work? Sorry, I’d rather pay for the book and actually be able to GET IT, then be promised the book free, waste more than an hour of BILLABLE TIME (so now it’s costing me money) for a “free” book I can’t access anyway. And then be told I have to download this program and that program to a desktop computer and THEN connect it with the Kindle in order to get the book. NO. And THEN be automatically signed up for authors’ email lists when I don’t even know if I like their work or want to keep in touch.

Again, I’d rather pay for the book.

My process with free deals is that I use them to try out new-to-me authors. If I like them, then I start buying their books. Unlike many people, who only read someone if they’re free. I believe in supporting living authors, and I buy as many of their books each month as my budget allows.

Also, as I’m trying out as a customer for various services, it gives me an idea of how they work. BookFunnel and Instafreebie have both been nightmares for me, on multiple occasions. Going forward, I will ignore their promos. It also means I won’t sign up for them as an author. I’m all for promos and giveaways and stuff, but I need to be convinced that if I use one of these “services”, interested readers can actually get what’s promised to them. Not happening with either BookFunnel or Instafreebie.

So they are crossed off my list of organizations with whom I want to do business as either a reader or an author.

Started watched season three of BROADCHURCH last night. Riveting. Just love David Tennant and Olivia Coleman.

My mom had a bad night. She’s in pain. Which means, she is at the stage where most people would be taking morphine and she’s taking liquid Tylenol. No, she wasn’t even offered painkillers after the surgery. Just Tylenol. Which is fine, because she doesn’t like painkillers and wouldn’t have taken them for more than a day or so. But when you think how many people take a narcotic the second they get a hangnail and she’s not even offered a painkiller after cancer surgery — something is wrong with the system.

I have to get a review out today, and do a few other things, but, mostly I want to stay close to home.

I’m STILL waiting for that freelance check. Yet, the client I worked with on Wednesday has already paid me. Unprofessional, meet professional.

I won’t get to post until sometime on Tuesday. Monday, I have client meetings all day.

Hope you have a great weekend. My mom’s birthday is on Sunday; I hope she’s feeling up to at least a small celebration.

I hope I can get some writing done.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Thurs. Oct. 19, 2017: Best Buy’s Third Strike — Detailed

Thursday, October 19, 2017
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday ran the gamut.

The morning sucked. My phone had pinged at me all night, and then, when I actually needed to check it in the morning — black screen of death.

The damn thing is four months old.

I don’t drop it or throw it. I don’t get it wet.

I went back to Best Buy, where I’d bought it, and where the woman who sold it to me had been so helpful. She was there, but her (male, white, condescending) manager “helped” me instead.

Help. Yeah, right.

He told me it was the operating system, and there was nothing they could do. I could either send it back under warranty and be without a phone for the WEEKS it would take, or I could buy another phone, only that one would be double what I paid for this one, plus an SD card for storage, which was double again. Oh, and I shouldn’t expect the phone to work for more than six months, and “you get what you pay for.” Then, he DARED me to find a better deal.

This was Best Buy’s third strike. This is the third phone in three years I’ve bought from them that’s lasted a year or less.

Actual customer service would have been to walk ten feet to the rack with these phones, swap it out, and send the defective phone in to the manufacturer, who would replace it with a fresh phone and balance out the inventory.

Customer service is working within the customer’s budget, not humiliating them because they ARE on a budget. Customer service is making things right, not smirking and saying that you don’t deserve a working device because you can’t afford the more expensive ones.

Also, if these phones have such a limited time span, it needs to be clearly marked ON THE BOX, and it needs to be made clear upon the sale. Anything less is fraud. Or, better yet, don’t sell the product, and leave it for the gas stations that sell burner phones.

Let me also point out that the other customer in the store with me got her phone replaced after she admitted it was broken because she threw it against the wall, and her service had been disconnected for non-payment. They just swapped it out and re-established her service.

I walked out.

I was practically in tears by then.

I was just going to leave and, I don’t know what. But then I figured, hell, my carrier is AT&T, I’ll go talk to them. So I walked a few hundred feet in the mall (I hate malls), to AT&T. I figured I’d look, price, clear my head.

The guy at AT&T was also male, young, African American, and not at all condescending. Great sense of humor, listened to me, responded to what I had to say, didn’t make me feel like I was less deserving of service because I wasn’t rich. I explained the situation and apologized for being so upset. He understood, and the first phone he picked up to show me was not only the next generation up from my phone, but was less expensive than the one that died. The SD card was less than half of what Best Buy had quoted me for the exact same size and make card.

I explained about being a freelancer on a budget. He said he totally understood, and he set me up WITHIN MY BUDGET (which was stretched tight anyway, since I hadn’t counted on having to shell out for yet another damn phone this month, with my mom’s medical costs and all). I told him as soon as I could afford it, I was going to suck it up and get an iPhone. He told me there are iPhones on my current plan, and the price is less than half of what I expected or I’d been quoted elsewhere. And it’s not just a deal for the week — I can come back in two, three months when I’ve got the cash put aside, and he’ll get me set up.

He couldn’t pull my information from one phone to the other because the phone wouldn’t turn on, but, other than about four photographs, I have everything else WRITTEN DOWN. It’ll take me awhile to put in my contacts again, but I’ll deal. I might even be able to transfer them from two phones back.

He gave me the information for the warranty — because I’m damn well going to demand satisfaction on a phone that died after four months.

I had contacted Best Buy and tweeted them before I left for the store. I got a response to the tweet stating they hoped everything was resolved. When I tweeted back that it wasn’t, with some of the details . . .no response. Not surprising at all.

Their nickname is “Worst Buy” for a reason. I have friends who work in management with them in Michigan who have high standards, and I doubt, had they been in charge of this store, I would have faced the same bad experience. But they are where they are, and I am where I am, so, sadly, buh-bye Best Buy for me.

I’m learning the new phone, and I don’t entirely trust it, but at least I have a working phone. Yes, I had to cough up some cash, but it was half of what Best Buy intended to part me from, and the guy at AT&T both gave me customer service and didn’t try to shame me into spending more than I could afford. It still puts me in a bad position for the rest of the month, with my mom’s surgery coming up, but I’ll deal.

So that was my morning. You better believe Best Buy corporate, AT&T corporate, and the consumer protection agencies (including AG Maura Healey) are going to hear about this. In addition to me not ever setting foot or spending another dime at Best Buy again (and yes, when I make these claims, I follow through).

I went home to calm down a bit, and then headed out for a meeting with a potential client. We hit it off, both as people, and because I like and respect what she does. She hired me on the spot, and we start working together next week.

So that was on the plus side.

I got very little writing or promotion or anything else done yesterday, since the time put aside for that was eaten by dealing with dolts.

Today is a lovely day. I’ve got some work to do at the library, and then yoga, and then, this afternoon, both writing and starting the next book for review. I’m putting together some information for another client, doing more promo on ANGLES. This weekend, I have to do another proofreading pass at SAVASANA, so it can go into pre-order, and next week, the media kit needs to be finished and the initial press releases go out.

I’d also like the redesign for BIBLIO PARADISE to happen today, if I can pull it off. I need to upload some author spotlights and schedule them for release.

While I’m both physically and emotionally exhausted, I’m excited to work with these new clients, and looking forward to settling in with my own writing. Next week will be difficult, with my mom’s pre-op appointment and then surgery; but we will get through it.

Enjoy the day!

Mon. April 21, 2014: Boston Marathon and Other Challenges

SEAL TIDES flyer - 2nd version-1

Monday, April 21, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool
Patriots’ Day (celebrated), Boston Marathon Day

Today will be an intense day for people in this area. While last week was the actual anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, today is this year’s marathon, and, in the state of Massachusetts, a holiday.

Friday, I worked all day at the library (a good day), then headed to Buzzards Bay for rehearsal. Rehearsal went pretty well. We open in two days, so either it comes together or it doesn’t. At this point, it’s up to the actors. They get to run with it. I hope you will either come to support the show in person, or kick a couple of bucks toward it here.

Saturday, I sent a review to my editor, which means I’m ready for the next batch of books. I worked on client projects, I made my final choices on the first of the three contests I’m working on and sent them off, I turned around the final galleys on “Lake Justice”.

In the late afternoon, I had a rehearsal with the understudy for the show, and she was really, really good. She’s put in the work, and it shows.

Did some other work in the evening, but was exhausted.

Easter Sunday was tough, thanks to a client with no boundaries who is now trying to renege on the contract. If I need to walk away, that’s what I’ll do. Since I thought everything was settled and I was booked until the end of June, I’d stopped hustling for freelance projects, but just in case, I pitched for a few.

Tessa and I were out for a bit, but it was a little chilly out there; plus I’m not feeling well, and the last thing I need right now is to get sick — I have work, I have the show, I have a guest lecturing slot next week, the big gala at the library, the writers’ conference, winding up some client projects, the next contest entries, two magazine articles to write, and the release of “Lake Justice.”

Today, the focus is on client projects, the magazine articles, finishing up the program for the show, working on materials for the workshop I’m teaching, and understudy rehearsal.

It will be a busy two weeks and ass-hattery will not be tolerated.

Time to dig in.

Devon

tnLakeJustice
“Lake Justice” — coming soon from Amber Quill Press!

Published in: on April 21, 2014 at 5:40 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 21, 2014: Boston Marathon and Other Challenges  
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Wed. April 16, 2014: From One to The Other

SEAL TIDES flyer - 2nd version-1

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Last Day of Full Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing and cold

Yup. It’s snowing. Again.

Yesterday, I was up by 5:30 (which will be the norm for the coming weeks). Did some client work and other work and correspondence that had to go out. By 8:30, I was on the road for errands, thinking they would take until 10 or 10:30.

They took until nearly 3. No one’s fault, just everything took longer than expected. But it got done, and it means I don’t have to worry about errands for the rest of the week.

That put me behind on everything else, but I did some work on client projects, the storyboard for the script job, and interviewed potential stage managers/understudies. Worked on the next book that’s going to be reviewed and went over information sent to me about the upcoming days at the library. Worked on designing the prop I still have to build.

Woke up at 4:30 this morning, after weird theatre dreams. Yoga, meditation, the usual morning routine.

Got some work done this morning re: the play, the script job, and preparation for the day at the library. The car is packed for all the different tasks that need to be completed. Could not believe it is snowing again — glad I pulled in the plants last night.

The next round of edits on “Lake Justice” landed in my inbox this morning, so I’ll have to figure those in to the schedule over the next few days, too.

Going straight from a full day at the library today to rehearsal, and then back home to work on edits and client projects.

Busy day. Good busy, but I have to focus on the task at hand, and not get distracted by other demands.

If you can’t attend the production of SEAL TIDES next week here on the Cape, I hope you’ll consider supporting it via our indiegogo campaign. Even $10 makes a huge difference. Information here.

Devon

Published in: on April 16, 2014 at 7:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. April 3, 2014: Plays and Contests and Clients

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and milder

If you can’t come to Cape Cod to see SEAL TIDES in person, I hope you’ll support the play anyway through our Indiegogo campaign here. You can help us for as little as $10, and each tier has specific benefits attached. The more we raise, the better for local marine life!

Tessa was a happy cat yesterday. We went out in the morning, with our coffee (well, my coffee; cats don’t drink coffee), and then again in the afternoon with a glass of wine (again, my wine; I don’t give alcohol to my animals). There’s a lot of work to be done in the yard in the upcoming weeks, and I’m just going to have to break it down and do a finite amount on each nice day.

Worked flat out on client projects all day. Am in good shape with the contest entries, and I think I can wind up one contest before the entries for the next two come in. Worked with one of my editors. Negotiated some new project contracts, one of which will be amazing if we get past the trial stage. Got out a bunch of press, calendar listings, and PSAs for SEAL TIDES.

Did the quarterly follow-ups from the January pitches/LOIs. Always nice to remind people one is still interested in working with them, especially when it’s true. (The LOIs about which I had second thoughts were not followed up).

Difference of opinion with a potential client who said I was too expensive, so I booked other client work, and then this one tried to dump an “emergency” project on me at the end of the workday that would have meant working well into the night. Um, no.

Updated my website to clarify the rare instances in which I accept same-day or on-call assignments.

Today, I need to focus on client projects and my own work. I hope I can do an hour or so in the yard as well.

Time to get to work!

Devon

Published in: on April 3, 2014 at 7:52 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 3, 2014: Plays and Contests and Clients  
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Fri. March 28: The Mid-Cape Cultural Council ROCKS!

Friday, March 28, 2014
Day Before Dark Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and milder

Wednesday was intense, due to the storm, and yesterday was intense for other reasons. In fact, yesterday was so wild, I didn’t blog, and didn’t realize it until the end of the day; my apologies.

The blizzard was, truly, a blizzard here on the Cape, whereas Boston barely got a few flakes of snow. Unfortunately, there was a nine-alarm fire in Boston, driven by the winds, and two firefighters died, which is always heart-breaking.

I stayed tucked in, trying to get work done, reading the materials for the press kit I’ve been hired to do, going over contest entries, getting some writing done, starting the next book for my editor, and pitching for jobs.

By noon, when the blizzard warning was extended, I cancelled rehearsal. On Broadway, they always pulled us out in dangerous conditions. Less “the show must go on” than “we don’t want to refund tickets by cancelling the show”. I promised myself that when I was in a position to make decisions, I wouldn’t do to others what I resented so much done to me. So I walked my talk and cancelled rehearsal, trusting I had good actors with common sense who could do it.

That meant we went into last night with one rehearsal.

Yesterday, I had an early morning board meeting with the Marine Life Center, which was a little difficult.

Then, my new publisher needed materials turned around ASAP — there’d been some sort of communication breakdown, and the production people hadn’t realized the contracts were finalized, so cover art/author information was behind. I spent the rest of the morning turning around the materials for all four books, so both the most pressing and the ones for later this summer are done. We had good communication and got it all figured out, so it was all good. I like working with them, because we can figure things out and get it done. They communicate, and don’t make excuses, or dump blame/punish me when something happens. They let me know something’s up, and then we solve it in a positive way, which is the type of relationship I like.

Did some work on the press kit. Got hired by a magazine out of Canada to write some gardening articles, so I’ll get to work on those — first deadline on May 1 — I like the editor, the pay’s decent.

Waiting to hear on a long-term job that told me I’d hear by yesterday, but haven’t. I don’t know whether to be hopeful or discouraged. Have another client meeting this morning, which would be in a totally different direction, but also fun. Had to move another meeting tentatively scheduled for this afternoon to next week.

Headed to the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis for the Mid-Cape Cultural Council’s Grantee Reception. It was so much fun! The Council itself is an amazing group — energetic, committed to creating a community between the artists and the rest of the community. They communicate beautifully, and are very inclusive. They’re excited and energized by the work of the artists.

It was also exciting to see the work of other artists who received grants, and makes me want to support what they do even more.

Our little section went well — I was very proud of my actors. We got laughs where I hoped, and people were excited and energized by the mix of art and science. NMLC was represented by the Executive Director (who’s also a friend), and she was pleased, too.

Came home, cooked a late dinner, and prepped for today’s work.

Client meetings, work on the press kit, work with students, starting on the articles, and prepping for rehearsal. I’m also meeting with potential stage manager/understudies over the next few days. Fingers crossed.

This should be an exciting spring!

Devon

Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 6:16 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. March 21, 2014: Buckling Down

Friday, March 21, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I was absolutely exhausted yesterday. However, I pitched for some jobs, worked on the script, worked on contest entries, had an interview with a new client, and set up an interview for today with another potential new client. I circulated information to fill the two tech positions, and hope to fill them in the next week or so.

Today, I will work with students, work on the script for tonight’s rehearsal, probably pitch a few more jobs, do the client interview, and, hopefully, get some of my own writing done.

One of my most reliable clients is late paying the last invoice, and is ignoring my questions about it, which is a little disconcerting.

This next week will be difficult — I’m waiting to hear back on a potential gig that I really, really want, and I’ll be so disappointed if they go with someone else. But it will also be a busy week because the Grant Awardee Reception is next week, and I have to prep my actors for it.

Time to buckle down and get things done.

Visit Adventures in Vineland to read about the latest adventure here.

Devon

Published in: on March 21, 2014 at 6:43 am  Comments (1)  
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Tues. March 4, 2014: Good Clients are Gems; Bad Get Tossed Off

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I know I worked yesterday, all day, but wound up feeling unsatisfied anyway.

Shoveled the snow — only a couple of inches, light and fluffy, not bad at all. Working my way through the contest materials. The first batch was innovative and well-edited. This next group of books, not so much. But this category is very competitive, so it’s good that I can weed some of them out early on.

Finished the next book my editor sent for review. Difficult material, beautifully done, but writing the review will be a challenge.

Interview questions out for an article, and my delightful subject already sent them back. This individual is truly lovely to work with, and I feel lucky that I landed the assignment.

Contract arrived for a gig starting mid-April (short one, until mid-May). Signed, and will pop in the mail today. Should be fun.

Worked on the play, did some plotting for BALTHAZAAR. Sent out some pitches. Dealt with some wearying demands from wanna-bes. I don’t jump through hoops — this is what I do, here are my credentials, here are my rates, these are the terms, this is the contract. Either you want to be a client, or you don’t. I’m not turning around a 100K edit in 24 hours for $20. Not happening. Even if you paid market rate (which is about 100 times that), I couldn’t turn around a 100K line edit in 24 hours and do a good job. If you don’t work with contracts or “believe in” deposits, we are not a good fit. Buh-bye. Sending me nasty, ranting emails demanding that I change my business to suit you isn’t going to work. Sometimes there’s room to negotiate, on certain projects with the right circumstances. But I charge professional fees and provide professional services. If that doesn’t fit with your “business model”, go hire a content-mill-level person and you’ll get content-mill-level service. Don’t tell me I “have to” work for less than my fees at an unreasonable turnaround time, because you “chose” me and I should feel “privileged”. That’s not how professional business relationships work.

If we’re a good fit, we will both feel the time/money/service ratio is fair, and we will feel “privileged” to work WITH EACH OTHER.

Lots of writing to get done today, so I better get to work.

Devon

Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 9:14 am  Comments (4)  
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