Mon. Feb. 27, 2017: Some “Mistakes” Are Not Okay

Monday, February 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

The weekend seems far away, even though it’s not.

Most of it was spent writing. Some studying, some researching, but mostly writing. That is a good thing, and I intend to take advantage of it.

I ran some errands, should have done some yard work and didn’t. I’ve got the edges of a migraine threatening, and I hope it doesn’t blow up full force, or I will be in bad shape.

The weather was unseasonably warm early on, so I did some of my work out on the deck.

I’m reading Alyssa Maxwell’s A PINCH OF POISON, which is a lot of fun.

Also watched the first season of THE LIBRARIANS, which is more clever and funnier than I expected. It’s also structured very well, so I’m watching it for structure as much as for content. There was one episode where you could tell there were just too many writers in the room, but, other than that, I was pleasantly surprised.

Tried watching another show that came highly recommended, but stopped watching. I’d read the books, and wasn’t as thrilled about them as a lot of people. I’d absolutely loathed one of the protagonists in the book, and I didn’t like her any better in the series. The primary protagonist, around whom the story is built, was okay but not my favorite in the books — I found the actor irritating. He was difficult for me to watch, both in the show and in his interviews. There was something about him I didn’t like and didn’t trust, and I found it difficult to go on a complicated journey with him.

So I didn’t.

Diving into a busy week; I have to finish reading and commenting on my colleague’s script, I have to study for Constitutional Law, I have to research both the Italian Renaissance and fashion in 1931 Hollywood. I have to work with my elected officials.

I’d hoped to go to Salem next weekend to see the shoe exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Oh, well, that’s the way it goes.

Mixed feelings about the Oscars last night. Kudos to the winners — the work was very good. I was glad to see the blue ACLU ribbons and the refusal to bow down to fascism and be silent.

Unfortunately, all the good done and the credibility of the evening was destroyed with the Best Picture Fuck Up. It is inexcusable. It’s not a “simple mistake.” You do not humiliate, in front of millions of viewers, a group of people who worked as long and put as much heart into their work as the LA-LA LAND company did by calling them onstage with the win and then say, “Oops. Kidding. Not yours after all.”

Not only is it being cruel, it negates the credibility of the entire evening, which was the chance to do some good in the world, by showing artists being creative, vocal, and engaged.

There is no room for this kind of “mistake”. There better be some heads rolling this morning.

It’s cruel to the company of LA-LA LAND and undermines the company of MOONLIGHT. Both films are extraordinary in their own ways, and they deserve better.

That’s what happens when you give bean counters too much power.

Back to the page.

Wed. Feb. 15, 2017: Of Words and Firemen

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

Yesterday was an odd day. Dump run in the morning, to get rid of the trash. Errands. Library.

Had a huge craving for fish and chips. My characters ate it in a recent scene, while they were having a production meeting, and suddenly, all I could think of was how badly I wanted fish and chips.

There’s a place just down the street from me, a chain restaurant I usually avoid, but they were close and reasonably price.

As I pull up and get out of the car, three fire trucks pull up. And the guys, my firemen, are busting my chops, because here we all are again. Together.

Turns out the power outages caused problems in the sprinkler system for the whole plaza, and they had to check each pressure point. The fire alarms were going off all over the place, including in the restaurant. They couldn’t cook, but people could stay. Most didn’t.

I hung out, nursing a beer, and about a half hour later, it was all settled, and I got my fish and chips. Worth the wait. The manager knocked 50% off, but I left the waitress a huge tip, because three tables had walked out on her, and she was having a rough day.

So it was all good.

But I didn’t get started on my writing day until nearly 3 PM, and only got 14 pages in. Which is still decent.

I figured, as I was doing my mid-month GDR evaluation, that I’ve written 177 pages so far this month, a little over 44K words. Even though it’s not on the projects I planned, it’s a good pace.

I’m rethinking some of the plot points of SONGBOUND SISTERS, and I hope to get back into that this weekend. I’m not quite sure how I can get back on track with NOT BY THE BOOK, but I’d like to, because it’s high energy, fun, and romantic, and I think readers would enjoy it.

I’m hoping to have a solid writing and research day today, and later, spend some time on Constitutional Law. I’ve also got some material to work on for FIX-IT GIRL.

Back to the page, which is my favorite place to be.

Published in: on February 15, 2017 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 15, 2017: Of Words and Firemen  
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Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Day after Lunar Eclipse
Snowy and cold

I don’t often post on a Saturday; let’s see if I can today, or if nothing’s working.

We had a blizzard on Thursday. Basically, the Cape shut down. The Governor told people to stay home. Although it didn’t hit the Cape until around noon, people paid attention — schools, libraries, lots of businesses closed. Most things were closed yesterday, although it wasn’t as bad as predicted.

During the blizzard, I looked out of the window, and there was something flapping in one of the snow banks. It looked like a person in distress. I bundled up and dashed out, wondering if I was going to have to call my lovely firemen. But it wasn’t a person — it was my neighbor’s flag, whose line had snapped. The way it landed in the snow bank looked like a body (it’s a big flag). I managed to grab it before it ever technically hit the ground (it was above the ground on the snow bank) and took it in. I hung it in the bathroom to let it dry off, then folded it up and gave it back yesterday, when he came over to help us dig out the bottom of the driveway. He was glad to get it back — and glad it hadn’t touched the ground.

I wrote, although not on what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m back working on what was originally called POWER OF WORDS. Now that I know what I want to do with it, once it’s all done and goes through a massive editing process, I’m inspired again. Yesterday, I finished what will eventually be Book 2 of the series and started Book 3. Yesterday I got about 40 pages done. I’m first-drafting right now, so it’s fast. It’s the basic plot and character drives, and then, in the second draft, I fill it out and deepen it. I’d already done the second draft for book 1 and part of book 2. The tandem drafting is a little odd, but every project requires its own process.

I studied Constitutional Law. It’s depressing to see how the GOP have turned into such oathbreakers. The level of corruption in the current administration is appalling. The courts are our last line of defense, and the administration is bound and determined to shred them, too. But I’m learning a lot in the class. My professor is terrific, and the course is very well done. My professor is much more optimistic than I am, that’s for sure!

I’ve been researching the Italian Renaissance, which is such a pleasure. It’s also relevant — in terms of the development of humanism and the need for art. It’s interesting how the wealthy of that time were determined to make the world better, not just for themselves, but for everyone, becoming patrons of the arts to create things that were both beautiful and challenging. The present-day rich only want to take more from themselves and hurt others. They want to shut down beauty, challenge, and, especially, education.

That is why art is always political and always important. It can also be entertaining and a relief from the strife of daily life, but, for it to connect to people, there’s got to be something meaningful there. Otherwise, it’s just empty calories. Sometimes one needs that as a stress relief valve, but genuine art always challenges and always makes the world better, even when it’s uncomfortable.

I’ve got a stack of books out of the various libraries in the network, and I’ve also checked out “Great Courses” in both art and in history. The lectures are interesting, although dense, and it’s interesting to see how connected everything is. Both professors are committed to context, and that is so important.

In other words, I’m making good use of my snowed-in time!

I have to venture out today to return some books, send off some material, and run some errands. We had more snow overnight — which means more shoveling — and expect another storm tomorrow into Monday, which could wipe out most of Monday.

Last year, the wood lasted all winter. I’m already running low. Might have to restock the wood next week.

Back to the page — things are rolling with this piece, and I want to keep up the momentum. SONGBOUND SISTERS also is starting to pull again, as is NOT BY THE BOOK, so I’m hoping I can give them some attention soon, too.

However, the bulk of the day and tomorrow morning must be about studying for the Constitutional Law quiz. If I can even take it, depending on the power situation.

Power issues all week have put me behind in getting stuff out.

At least I can write in longhand by candlelight, if necessary! 😉

Published in: on February 11, 2017 at 10:46 am  Comments Off on Sat. Feb. 11, 2017: Peeking Out from the Snowbank  
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Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow

Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Waxing Moon
Rainy and warm

Yesterday’s choice to rent office space was a good one. First of all, Cape Space is great. Second of all, I got a lot done. I’ll definitely use them again.

Came home to power outages off and on all afternoon. As usual, Eversource sucks. Plus, my phone is dying. I’m so sick of these phones that only last a year.

Got some excellent work done on a project yesterday – nearly 30 pages. Not what I should be working on, but it has a future, so it’s about reshuffling. I have that luxury right now, about being able to flow with projects that pull strongly. I’ll keep in that groove, while also doing some work on SYMPATHETIC MAGIC, for which I had some ideas as I was running errands this morning.

Out and about early this morning, because we’re supposed to get hit with another foot of snow tomorrow. Groceries, cat food, wood, firestarters, liquor. We’re all good.

I’ll either spend the day alternating between studying Constitutional Law and researching Italian Renaissance paintings, or writing in longhand.

Because you KNOW the power’s gonna go out! 😉

I’ll build a fire first thing, so I can light it as soon as the power goes.

Putting together some additional material from yesterday’s meeting, and doing further research. Hoping I can get it all out on Friday.

Looking forward to a snow day!

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 10:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 8, 2017: Prepping for More Snow  
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Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

We had snow yesterday! Enough to cancel my evening plans, although not so much we were stuck and had to be rescued. Again.

Busy day yesterday. Short story out to the anthology, the Constitutional Law textbook arrived and I can dig in. Worked on contest entries. Worked with my elected officials.

Not enough writing done, which is something that has to be remedied this month.

Contract negotiations that were seemingly settled blew up last night on the ghostwriting project– after I’d sent out the paperwork at the author’s request. The other side came at me with new terms — even worse than the terms to which I’d agreed. Not only that, but I was accused of “imaginary research” — for a non-fiction project. We’d talked about research — the author wanted me to do research, handle photo permissions, and all that — and then decided she didn’t want to pay for it. Um, no. I put in the work, you pay for the work, and for any permissions fees. So we agreed to a provision where I wouldn’t put in any time or incur any costs without prior written permission from her on specific parameters. So she comes back with capping “imaginary research” at a specific fee.

I don’t know of a single professional working in non-fiction who doesn’t research the topic in question. I can understand if she was talking to advisors and that term was bandied about in conversation — but to try to put that language into a contract?

I wrote a rebuttal and formally withdrew from the project. She’d already kept scaling back and scaling back — trying to get out of a fair rate. No. Line. Crossed it. Done. Find someone on craigslist who’s going to do substandard work and screw you six ways from Sunday. Because it sure as heck won’t be me working on this.

My lawyer warned me it would come to this, back when she negotiated back the fee the first time. He gets to do the “I Told You So” song, and I’m going to have to acknowledge that, as usual, he was right.

This is the second referral from the same person who tried to screw me on money. I’m going to tell this individual to not give out my name and information any more.

I’ve got my To-Do list for February up on the GDR site. Let’s hope I’m more productive in February than I was in January!

Back to the page — and to the Constitutional Law textbook!

Published in: on February 1, 2017 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song  
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Tues. Jan. 31, 2017: January’s a Snowy Wrap

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re going to have another snowstorm today. I can feel the pressure building in my head.

GDR wrap-up for January here.

Yesterday was another depressing and discouraging day, thanks to the Faux Emperor and his Puppet Masters. I’d accuse the GOP of being spineless, but it’s not that they’re spineless, it’s that they agree, which is even worse.

It looks like the contract for one project is going to go through, on terms that will work for both parties. We each gave, we each got, which is as it should be. That goes off today. That project should take me up through the spring.

Got some writing done. Started the Constitutional Law class. Worked on contest entries.

This morning, I did the final pass on the anthology story, and off it goes. I have class work and errands and writing all to do before the storm hits, so I better get going.

Hopefully, I’ll get some more writing done this afternoon. Writing-wise, February has to get back on track.

Onward.

Published in: on January 31, 2017 at 11:36 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 31, 2017: January’s a Snowy Wrap  
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Tues. Jan. 24, 2017: Piling More on the Plate

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild

Yesterday was a busy day. I had contract negotiations on two different projects, admin work, a couple of hours’ work with the staffs of my elected officials, preparation for this afternoon’s meeting, writing (which did not go well), and research into both Italian Renaissance painting and 1930s fashion.

On top of that, I applied to and was accepted by, a Yale-based course in Constitutional Law, which starts next week. I want to be prepared. People are waving around the Constitution, but most of them haven’t read it. I studied it in school, but that was a while ago, and I want to learn the legalities. I received my orientation package, and made arrangements with the local library so I can study and do research there during open hours. It’s at least fifteen hours a week, and I’m sure it will kick my ass, but I think it will be worth it.

The local news mentioned that more people died in the tornadoes that hit this country this weekend than in all of last year. The only other information I could find on the tornadoes was on CNN, which confirmed that. I finally managed to get onto the Red Cross website to find out that they are on the ground, and donations can be made through their site, but I had to hunt for the information.

Why isn’t this being reported? More importantly, what kind of federal aid is being sent? Why is the White House continuing to whine and push false inauguration numbers while people are dying or have lost everything and need help? There should have been a strong message of support and comfort and promise of aid out of the Oval Office as soon as it happened.

I’m not surprised that there wasn’t, but there should have been.

More contract negotiations today, and more work with elected officials before I head off Cape for my meeting. I’m hoping to sneak in some writing.

If one of these contracts actually comes through, not only will I have a tight contract schedule on the book that’s being negotiated, I have to make the next book in the series a priority. That will mean re-arranging the year’s manuscript schedule. I hate being in a holding pattern, but the contract that was offered was against all of my interests in so many ways, I can’t believe it was actually offered. But that’s why I have an agent, a lawyer, and the Authors Guild.

The press release about the new play goes out today. That should be fun.

Meanwhile, I have a short story to finish and get out this week!