Tues. Jan. 24, 2023: Digging Out

image courtesy of Richard Duijnstee via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Waxing Moon

No Retrogrades

Snowy and cold

Whew! Finally, we are done, for a brief shining moment with retrogrades, since Uranus went direct on Sunday the 22nd.

Which was also Chinese Lunar New Year, and we are now in the Year of the Water Rabbit.

Which is why tomorrow was chosen as the launch day for ANGEL HUNT.

Got all that?

Good. Now we can sit down for our usual Tuesday natter.

Friday seems oh, so very long away. It snowed all day. I did the section of the Heist Romance set in Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland (yes, I’ve been there, too), back in London, and on the Eurostar to Paris. I spent about an hour and a half putting together a list of resources for a close friend of mine, who’s feeling stuck, and sent that off. Heard from a friend of a friend, who recently moved to the area and is now working at Williams College; we will get together when she feels more settled.

In the afternoon, I read both books for review, and then read for pleasure in the evening.

We got closer to 3 inches than six inches of snow overnight, but because of the constant freezing and snowing, digging out the car was not fun. But I did so, and got to the library to pick up the stack of 8 books waiting for me. So at least I have those in before the next storm.

The rest of the materials for the incomplete coverage arrived, so I read them and started the coverage. Did the usual Saturday chores, like changing the beds, etc. Made pasta with sausage for dinner.

Read Evelyn Salter’s memoir of her years working as Edith Sitwell’s secretary, which was very interesting, and relevant to one of the projects with which I’m noodling in longhand. And makes me want to read Evelyn Salter’s crime novels, which I’m having difficulty finding. Time to haul out WorldCat. Between the regional CW Mars network, the Commonwealth Catalog (all of the state), the ILL system of WorldCat, and the Gutenberg Project, I should be able to do it. I managed to finally find Alice Campbell’s JUGGERNAUT on Gutenberg, and order some of her other titles via Commonwealth Catalog. Her work was popular around the time of Agatha Christie’s work, though she was not as well known.

Speaking of Agatha Christie, I joined the reading challenge over on her website (run by her descendants). January’s title is SAD CYPRESS, which I haven’t reread in ages, so that will be fun.

Figured out how to plant a real clue and some red herrings in the section of the Heist Romance script set in Paris, and researched the neighborhood/architecture of the neighborhood where I want it to happen, so I can choreograph the action in a way that makes sense.

Up early on Sunday to make chocolate chip banana bread. The weather advisory shifted to up to 10 inches of snow falling between Sunday night and Monday evening.

So, instead of taking Sunday off, I finished the coverage and sent it off, wrote both book reviews and sent them off, and said I’d be ready for more, hoping the power would hold on Monday morning so I could download them and read them during the snow.

Wrote 16 pages on the Heist Romance screenplay, doing the Paris section, the train to Nice-Ville, and the train to Monte Carlo. Set up clues and red herrings.

Made spicy peanut noodles and dumplings for lunch, so we could celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year. I miss being included in family celebrations for this as I was during my Broadway days, working on shows like MISS SAIGON and FLOWER DRUM SONG.

Treated myself by reading the next Vicky Bliss book, TROJAN GOLD (I love that series so much), and working on contest entries.

It started snowing around dinnertime on Sunday, and snowed all day on Monday. I was glad I’d gotten everything out the door Sunday, although I got my next two books for review on Monday.

I also got a big stack of coverages to do today and tomorrow, for which I’m grateful, but it will keep me busy. Let’s hope the power holds.

I worked on The Process Muse post which drops tomorrow. I’m trying to keep the posts a little shorter than they’ve been thus far.

I polished, uploaded and scheduled the next four episodes of LEGERDEMAIN, which gets me through mid-February. I polished, uploaded, and scheduled the next eight episodes of ANGEL HUNT, which gets me through mid-April.

ANGEL HUNT goes live tomorrow, so I have to block off a few hours to promote, and to upload/schedule promotions on the first episodes, since Kindle Vella doesn’t give us the direct link to the serial until it goes live.

I have to write episode loglines for all 12 episodes, and do the graphics for the LEGERDEMAIN episodes.

Starting this week, people can read new episodes of mine Tuesdays through Fridays: LEGERDEMAIN episodes drop Tuesday and Thursday; ANGEL HUNT episodes drop Wednesday and Friday.

I went out to try and dig out the car once we hit 12 inches. It was still snowing, and I gave up after a bit; it was too difficult, and the plow had pushed large chunks of snow behind the car. I will try again today. We have another storm coming in tomorrow, although instead of the 8 inches predicted, now they’re only saying 4.

One of the few things I miss about living on Cape is the garage.

Worked on contest entries. Got some other reading done.

Chef Jeremy did a fundraising class for No Kid Hungry; I couldn’t attend the session (even though it was on Zoom), but I made a donation.

Frustrating when the premise is excellent, most of the writing is strong, and the protagonist is an idiot one wishes was the next murder victim.

Listened to the HADESTOWN cast album last night. It’s one of my favorite scores, and one of the shows I wish I’d had a chance to work on before I left working backstage.

Busy night in the Dreamscape. Nothing bad, just busy. Work up tired and grumpy. I have a feeling a good portion of the grumps is because I know I have to shovel out the car later, before the next storm hits. The very thought of it is exhausting.

And, somewhere between all the storms, I have to get the car inspected.

I plan to get some drafting done on the next LEGERDEMAIN episodes this morning, and maybe a few pages on the Heist Romance screenplay, before digging out the car and switching to script coverage. I’m grateful for the work, but I’m tired.

Have a good one! Enjoy today’s LEGERDEMAIN episode!

Thurs. Jan. 19, 2023: Incoming Snow

image courtesy of Pexels, via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Day Before Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Incoming storm

I don’t understand why I’m so slow this week. Everything is taking much longer than it should.

Post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Post on Ink-Dipped Advice about why I like using Direct Mail.

I did the social media rounds promoting the Process Muse post and Ink-Dipped Advice. I’m enjoying Post more and more, although they are moving to a system of “trust metrics” which just sounds like another version of a popularity contest. So we’ll see. There’s not much interaction there, but there’s a lot of good reading material, and I enjoy my time there. CounterSocial and Mastodon, so far, are the best for genuine interaction.

I drafted a new episode of LEGERDEMAIN, which was a lot of fun. I have to work on the graphics for the episodes for the next two weeks, which are already uploaded and scheduled. I thought I wrote the loglines, and am puzzled that I can’t find them.

I turned around five script coverages. I’m glad I have four in today’s queue because, you guessed it, the rest is blank. I may have to read over the weekend, which I do not want to do. Motivation to get the new Fearless Ink postcard out, and the new brochure designed.

I figured out a way to make this first section of the Heist Romance script more logical, more creative, and funnier for the audience. Even though I SHOULD NOT DO IT, I am going back and rewriting, so that I can move on a few days down the line. Because, over there? In that other corner? The LUCKY NUMBERS script Is Not Happy.

Caught up with some correspondence with friends yesterday, too, which was nice. Did a little reading for pleasure (when I should have been reading for review). But it will all get done, and I need to give my brain rest from critical reading with pleasure reading, or I get burned out.

We’re supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow today. Originally, the storm was supposed to come in tonight and into tomorrow. Now, they’re saying it will start at 11 AM this morning and continue through Saturday morning. Sunrise this morning was a sky on fire. I have the pre-storm headache. And when I stepped outside, I could feel the storm coming in.

Because I pulled myself together when the alert came in, and went to the grocery store at 7 AM, when they opened, to pick up potatoes, orange juice, and toilet paper. Because, you know, priorities.

I’m going to make the stuffed eggplant tonight for dinner, which uses a lot of potatoes. I thought we had potatoes when I went grocery shopping earlier in the week, only to discover that we had ONE potato. But now we have enough for the recipe.

Online meditation this morning, and then, after breakfast, it’s back to the page!

Have a good one, and enjoy Episode 52 of Legerdemain, which drops today.

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

image courtesy of  Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

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

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

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

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

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

Didn’t sleep well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image courtesy of Engin Akyurt via pixabay.com

Tues. Jan. 3, 2023

Waxing Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and freezing rain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did a quick round of the social media sites.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good one.

Fri. Dec. 30, 2022: Happy New Year!

image coourtesy of Oleksandr Pidvalnyi via pixabay.com

Friday, December 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus, Mars, and Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace, my friends, and Happy New Year.

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

image courtesy of Monika via pixabay.com

Friday, November 25, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Rainy and mild

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hopping back to yesterday:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed. Nov. 23, 2022: Almost Feast Time!

image courtesy of Lubos Houska via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Jupiter DIRECT as of tonight

Sunny and cold

Hello! This is a much shorter post today. Less ranting, more celebrating, some sorrow.

If you didn’t see my weird little micro fiction “That Darn Dog” over on Ko-fi yesterday afternoon, you can find it here.

This morning’s post on The Process Muse is about astrology.

So, yesterday I hit 50K on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH and hit the Nano goal. I felt huge relief. Last year, I felt genuinely victorious with CAST IRON MURDER, since last year I was worried I’d never have it in me to write another novel again. Yesterday, I just felt tired. I’m worried that Nano has become, for me, too much about ego, rather than the work. It needs to be about the work first.

This morning, I wrote 2020 words on the book. Just because I hit 50K doesn’t mean I’m stopping. I have a book to finish. I just don’t have to be under the same pressures, and each day’s words can be more organic (although, as always, the goal is a minimum of 1K/day).

I’m definitely ready for the new moon, and even more ready (readier?) for Jupiter to go direct tonight. Since it’s the planet of expansion and material things, this is a good time for it to go direct, especially with my sales taking a hit because of Twitter’s death throes.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. I actually like cooking Thanksgiving dinner. For those of you who just recently joined the daily reading, for over 40 years, we used to go to Maine for Thanksgiving. The extended family rented the VFW Hall, and we usually had around 60 people for dinner. When it first started, everyone made an agreement that, for the day, it was about thanks and being together. No arguments, no drama. For the first few years, I made a box for the front hall with a sign saying, “Drop your egos here. You can pick them up on the way out.” After the first couple of years, we didn’t need it.

We’d cook in the giant, industrial kitchen. My job was the mashed potatoes. The potatoes were cooked in huge pots, and the masher was 4 feet long. I had to stand on a stool to get high enough over the pot to mash.

Large tables were set up in a U shape in the main room, with two buffets off to the side. One had the meal; the other was the dessert table.

As the years went on, I started taking responsibility for Wednesday’s meal, for those who set up the hall. I’d cook a gigantic casserole of something on Tuesday. We’d drive up on Wednesday, and I’d heat it up, and everyone who set up would come over for dinner. I also would bake something for the dessert table.

Even when I was working on Broadway, I made arrangements to take off at least Wednesday and Thursday (I made it back for Friday night’s show). And then I’d work Christmas, so someone else could have off.

We’d leave very early in the morning on the Wednesday, about 5 or 6 AM, and hit the Maine border around 9 or 10. We’d meander up slowly, visiting our favorite stores and places along the way. Once my grandmother died and my great uncle went into a nursing home, which meant the house changed hands, we started staying at a motel in Ogunquit, and getting in pizza from one of our favorite pizza places, rather than going up all the way and bringing the Wednesday dinner. The next morning, we’d drive the rest of the way up, help with the meal, help with the dishes, drive back to the motel,  and drive home early on Black Friday.

We stopped shopping on Black Friday about 20 years ago.

The pandemic, of course, made it impossible to have the dinner the past couple of years. And, by this point, there’s enough death and exhaustion that it’s too much to pull it off. So the extended family now has smaller family dinners. Last year we did a ZOOM dessert, but I think this year, everyone just wants to rest.

Things change. We had a great four decades of large gatherings. I will always be grateful for them. At the same time, something smaller works for me now at this point in my life.

Yesterday, I worked through a ton of email. I’m still behind in my Substack reading, which I will catch up on this weekend. I finally got Hive working on my tablet, although it’s very slow. I managed an intro post, and that’s about it. I have to figure out how I can upload graphics to the tablet and then into Hive. I want to run them off my flashdrive, but the tablet doesn’t always acknowledge the flashdrive.

The coffeemaker arrived. From snowy Buffalo! Isn’t it pretty? So shiny! So much bigger than I expected. And no instruction booklet (the box wasn’t even taped shut). The coffeemaker is complicated enough that I’m baffled, and want to read the instructions before I try anything. So I’m on the hunt on the Cuisinart site for it. I have to get different filters, too.

I turned around two script coverages yesterday, and have one today. I have to finish up a book review this morning, and send it off with the invoice. Clear the desk before the holiday weekend, right?

I intentionally did not discuss the shooting at Club Q in yesterday’s post because I was worried it would get lost in the noise, and it deserves more. It’s not at all surprising that the shooter is the grandson of a Republican politician who supported the insurrection. That is what happens when there are no consequences. No one has the right to go into a club and shoot people up because they make different choices. And when someone does an act of terrorism like this, there have to be serious consequences. Not the shooter and Rittenhouse becoming besties and poster boys for the GOP, which is the next step.

Those murdered and their loved ones deserve better. People deserve to live their lives without interference, and with love and joy.

Then, of course, this morning was news of another shooting, this time in a Virginia Walmart. I mean, that’s slightly more understandable that someone would snap at Walmart, but still not acceptable.

The only reason to have an AR-15 is to kill humans. That means anyone who owns one is premeditating murder, even if the target is yet to be chosen. And they must be so prosecuted.

Not the happiest note to end on before the holiday, so let me add this: may you have a joyful, delicious weekend without family drama.

Peace, friends. Catch you on the other side.

Thurs. Nov. 10, 2022: A Sunny Autumn Day

(image courtesy of Tim Hill via pixabay.com)

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I’m late posting, because I was busy writing.

The latest on the garden, and last night’s avian visitor, is over on Gratitude and Growth.

I realized I need to rewrite my cover letter template, the one I use as the basis for sending out LOIs. It’s become outdated.

Did some work on future posts for THE PROCESS MUSE yesterday. Did the SM rounds to interact and promote Process Muse. I’m behind reading other Substackers, and need to build time into the weekly schedule to do that. It’s very much about being a reciprocal community. I’ve blocked off some time tomorrow to catch up.

Did a library run, dropping off books, and picking up the eight books waiting for me. Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. Made chicken enchiladas for dinner, and they were excellent.

I feel better about the election results. I spent a good deal of time yesterday listening to people whose opinions I respect. I’m still wary, but I feel like I have a fuller perspective now. And, as I said, I’m happy about the results in my home state. And I want indictments to happen. NOW. No more excuses. When you crime in real time on video, there need to be consequences.

I was tired and went to bed ridiculously early. Busy in the Dreamscape, putting a garden to bed in front of what looked like a British cottage, only it wasn’t as damp.

Up early, and at the desk. Got in one chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH before meditation. I was on a roll, with the next scene boiling in my head, so I wrote a second chapter after mediation. My total today is 4007 words, and I’ve passed 25K for the month, so I can take a breath. I don’t want to skip any days, but I don’t have to panic, either. At a third of the way through the month, I’ve hit half the word count, so steady work until 50K will mean I can slow down later in the month around Thanksgiving.

Meditation was good, although Charlotte was a pill until she got settled in front of the Zoom screen.

I have a script that needs to be turned around quickly, today, so once I make the social media rounds, I will do that first, before going back to any other writing or reading. I’m in good enough shape that I can take tomorrow off script reading; I have two scripts in my queue for Monday.

I have house-and-hearth stuff to do in the next few days, along with working on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, LEGERDEMAIN, and ANGEL HUNT, and finishing reading/critiquing my friend’s book. I want to get that out to him this weekend. I also need to get back to the radio plays.

If you’re taking the holiday tomorrow, I wish you a good long weekend. If you’re not, we’ll meet again here virtually tomorrow!

Have a good one!

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

Tues. Nov. 8, 2022: Dumfungled

(image courtesy of Mohamed Hassan via pixabay.com)

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Full Moon (and Lunar Eclipse)

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and Windy

Election Day

Will this be our last election? We’ll know in a few days. Let’s hope not.

Pull up your favorite beverage and we’ll sit down for our regular longish Tuesday natter.  

Today’s post is titled thanks to Melissa Amateis, who shared “Dumfungled” with me yesterday. According to Melissa, SCOTS MAGAZINE, and Susie Dent, it means “mentally and physically worn out” and “used up, in a near state of imbecility” to which I can relate right now. According to the Urban Dictionary, it can also mean “being unproductive, hitching a ride on the back of an assumption” which fits the current situation in so many aspects. But I choose the first definition as the title for this post.

See, Melissa? I kept my promise to you!

If you didn’t see the post over on the GDR site yesterday, you can hop over now.

I got a lot done on Friday: 2223 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH for Nano, an episode and a bit for LEGERDEMAIN, caught up on some email, turned around two scripts. I was tired by the end of it, and read for pleasure, rather than doing the other reading I should have done.

The paper I ordered from Staples arrived; but it was the wrong kind. Regular paper, not 3-hole punch. I’m not going to fuss. I’ll keep it, invest in a new 3-hole puncher (I can’t find the one I own; it might be in storage) and punch the holes myself. I draft on 3-hole punch paper, so I get it in by the case. Usually.

I spent far too much time on Twitter, upset at the way Yegads Muskrat is intentionally destroying it. Lilith St. Crow calls him “Melon Husk” which is another good handle for him, What a disgusting human he is. Destroying something people value because he can afford to do it.

Stayed up way too late reading Ann Aguirre’s EXTRA WITCHY, which was a lot of fun.

Saturday morning, I slept later than expected, because the cats tried to roust me early, I refused, and fell asleep again. Got in 2412 words for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. I’m having a lot of fun writing Rita’s youngest son, Doug.

Once the words were out of the way, I went to Big Y and did a big grocery shop, restocking a bunch of staples that we used up, and getting the fresh stuff we’ll need for the week. Came home, put it all away, and off we went, gallivanting, because it was a beautiful, sunny day, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

We drove up through Bennington and over into NY through Hoosick Falls (which is an interesting little town) and to Hoosick, and our favorite Treasure Hut, which we hadn’t visited all summer. We didn’t find any of the furniture pieces for which I’m looking, but I found an Inkberry Pfaltzgraff platter that matches some of my other dishes, a tiered silver serving tray (Irwin ware), vintage glass poinsettia ornaments, a cute ceramic piece of two kids getting ready to skate, and yes, another brass trivet. You know me and trivets. I think I have 20 now?

On the way back, we stopped at a favorite thrift store in Bennington. We found 2 dinner plates that match the soup bowls we bought last year, a lovely blue and green bowl, another little figure of a kid walking dogs for Christmas, and a gorgeous tapestry runner for spring.

Picked up a pizza on the way home and had a late lunch. Washed what needed washing, and put the rest away, after doing some research on maker’s marks.

Hung out and read a bit. Turned the clocks back before we went to bed.

Tessa tried to get me up at 5, insisting it was breakfast. I thought my phone hadn’t fallen back yet, so it was really four, and rolled over, not getting up until 6. Tessa didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day. She tried going to my mom for comfort. By accident, my mom called her “Charlotte” and Tessa, insulted, stomped off and wouldn’t have anything to do with either one of us all day.

It was raining and kind of yuck, so instead of being out and about again, we stayed home. I wrote the next chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, at 2938. A character repositioned himself in the story earlier than I expected from the outline, but it worked, and I can cut some info dump out of the first chapter, because it’s actually integrated here. But it took damn long to write those words.

I’m fighting the book’s natural rhythm to make word count. It wants to grow at around 1000-1200 words a day. But I need to push it to make the Nano wordcount, to meet my expectations for myself for participating. So I’m forcing it at an unnatural rhythm, which will bite me in the ass during revisions. The chapters are also very uneven, which is a problem, Because structurally, it does matter in the genre.

I spent too much time mourning Twitter in the afternoon instead of reading or doing something worthwhile. I also wasted too much time struggling to set up an account on Mastodon. The first two servers I tried wouldn’t send me the confirmation email, no matter how many times I requested. I finally got an invite from a screenwriter on Twitter who set up his own server, and that went through. Once I was in, setting up is pretty easy. Finding people is harder, because of the different servers, but it’s possible. I was also invited to a screenwriters’ Discord group, and, much as I dislike Discord, I like the person who set it up, so I’ll give it a go.

But if you want to find me on Mastodon, I’m at @devonellington@bbq.snoot.com.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, so the whole house smelled wonderful. Made stock from the carcass.

Went to bed ridiculously early.

I had some sort of bad dream, from which Charlotte woke me up around 3. It fled as soon as I woke up, but the adrenaline spike was nasty. Tessa was all like, “well, since you’re awake” but I ignored her and fell back to sleep.

I dreamed about going to listen to jazz at a place with wonderful food and interesting people. No COVID in the Dreamscape, and I have quite a good social life there, so it will have to do until I can actually socialize when I’m awake, if the pandemic is ever under control.

I was all set to sign up for an in-person yoga class the Sunday after Thanksgiving and realized everyone there would have been unsafe all weekend and shedding virus, so I think I’ll pass.

Up at a reasonable time on Monday. Wrote 2337 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. It was a fun chapter with good dynamics and finally, FINALLY, I’ve dropped the first body. I usually drop it much earlier. And I had to change a relationship from cousin to brother-in-law to make the logic work. But it was fun, and I’m feeling more hopeful.

Posted on the blogs and made the SM rounds – which took two damn hours. But I need to establish myself on the platforms and interact and build different communities. Some I’ll phase out. Others I’ll continue to build. Different platforms work for different things. As someone who makes a living in the arts, I don’t have the LUXURY of not MAKING the time to find out which platforms do what best, and I don’t have the LUXURY to whine that’s too hard and I don’t have time. I’ll lose my livelihood if I don’t do it. Getting my work out to the widest possible audience is part of my job. I don’t get to whine (okay, maybe I’ll whine a little bit, but you know my rule: pity parties can’t last longer than 15 minutes). Most importantly, I don’t have the option of not learning and changing and growing as the industry does.

Tribel is about branding and marketing, so even though I’ve met the largest amount of creepy dudes sending me inappropriate messages there thus far, I might have to stay. Cohost talks about being “cozy” but so far, it seems like a platform for hobbyists rather than professionals. There’s no reason a platform can’t support both, but if Cohost gets squiffy about me linking to projects that pay the bills, they are not the right platform for me.

We’ll see.

It’s exhausting.

Necessary, but exhausting.

Twitter dystopia was a hellscape, and I spent very little time there. Yegads Muskrat is openly telling people to vote Republican. Bite me, asshole.

It was a glorious, sunny day, so I walked to the post office to mail some bills.

Only turned around one script in the afternoon. Had trouble concentrating.

Took Jeremy Rock Smith’s virtual cooking class. He’s doing a soup class for the next few weeks, and I love it. He has such joy in both the cooking and the teaching that it makes every day better.

I also learned where I can improve my technique on several things, so my upcoming soups will be even better.

Went to bed early, because I was so exhausted. Between the full moon, the eclipse, the retrogrades, the election, and Twitter’s destruction, it’s a lot.

In the Dreamscape, I taught a class, did a reading/book signing at an adorable library, and baked a ham. It was a busy night. There are no Republicans in my Dreamscape (along with no COVID), so it’s a nice place to spend time.

Tessa woke me up at 4. I refused to get out of bed until nearly 5, but then went to start my day. I went onto DystopTwitter, which was a mistake. In addition to the destruction, there are people boasting about not voting. Of course, that makes it easy to unfollow/block them. Some of them are people I’ve interacted with for a long time, and didn’t know they were that stupid. But when people show you who they are, believe them. I’ve always lost respect for people who choose not to vote; in the past few elections, that’s turned into genuine loathing.

I’m too old and tired to argue with people. The great thing about social media is that it’s easy to cut off contact.

I tried to sit down and write, wondered why I was struggling, and then realized I was still in my pajamas. Changed into writing clothes, and there were the words, waiting for me.

Wrote Chapter 8, coming in at 2118 words. Lots of dialogue, so a typical chapter length, but fewer words. It looks like I’ll break 20K tomorrow instead of on Thursday; if that’s the case, I will feel like I’m really on track.

I have to do the rounds to promote the episode of Legerdemain that drops today. And, you know, do some work on Legerdemain itself. By the end of next week, I need to put up the episodes through the end of the year, and then, hopefully, by mid-December, I can get all of the second arc up and scheduled. I’d like to get another chapter of ANGEL HUNT adapted today, too, before I have to switch over to script coverage.

No post on Ko-fi today. With Election Day chaos, it makes no sense. I’ll do a tarot post next weekend, and I’m working on a weird little flash fiction piece for Thanksgiving week.

Fingers crossed things get better after today, not worse. I want to be hopeful, but I’m afraid to be.

Take care my friends. VOTE.

Fri. Oct. 21, 2022: The Process Muse Announced

Friday, October 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

This will be fairly short, since I have to get going.

Yesterday was a lot about getting ready for my friend’s visit: running to the grocery store (again), making a batch of black bean soup and a lemon mousse. I’m making devilled eggs this morning.

Dusted, vacuumed, mopped. Tidied up. Filled the new magazine rack (it looks really good). Stashed the bookcases until I can paint them this weekend. Took all the tea and drinking chocolate off the top shelf of the pantry and put it in a rolly cart. Put my grandmother’s china up on the shelf. Tessa is now fascinated by tea. In the other house, it had its own cabinet in the kitchen. But now it’s accessible to her.

I did some promotion for the episode of LEGERDEMAIN that went live yesterday.

I can also announce the project that’s launching next Wednesday, October 26,  over on Substack. It’s called The Process Muse, and will be weekly deep dives into process, especially as its relevant in comparison/contrast to the serials. It also talks a lot about the creation of VIXEN’S HOLLOW/THE CUNNING ONE, which will, in a few months, start running on that platform.

Another plus to Substack is that it’s internationally. Vella is only available in the US, but my international readers can read the serial(s) I run on Substack. Since my international readership is a decent size, and always growing thanks to distribution of certain work in the UK, Australia, France, Italy, and Germany, having serials on a platform with international access is a smart choice.

I got out the newsletter extra blast about The Process Muse. Substack suggests importing one’s mailing list. If one converts a general newsletter over, that makes sense. But I didn’t want to force anyone to get The Process Muse unless they chose it. For me, in this particular situation, I wanted to INVITE my regular, quarterly newsletter readers to subscribe to The Process Muse, if they wanted. Or they could ignore it, if they did not want it. Or they could wait, and subscribe at some future time.

The newsletter went out, and people are subscribing! I’m honored and excited.

The Process Muse is free. That makes the most sense, at this time. The plan is for a weekly post on an aspect of my process, and also talking about things I’ve tried that didn’t work for me. It’s supposed to be fun, as well as a deep dive into the work, which is why the logo for it is on the more whimsical side.

If you’re not on my mailing list, but interested in it, you can sign up for it here.

Made another batch of mac & cheese last night, because, you know, MAC AND CHEESE!

I managed to turn around a script last night. I have two more to turn around this weekend. Not sure if I’ll get one done today and one tomorrow, or do both tomorrow. Next week, hopefully, there will be more in my queue AND I won’t have the distractions I had this week. It all worked out – I took some time off from reading to do other things at the same time there wasn’t much to read. It aligned well. The check from Llewellyn and the incoming money from LEGERDEMAIN next week make up for it (and more).

This weekend is about painting, getting in the plants once and for all, doing some more around the house. I also hope to do some work on LEGERDEMAIN. I didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT this week, so that needs attention. Along with reading a book for review, and reading my friend’s book for feedback. And revising the two short plays and getting them out the door.

Guess it won’t be much about resting!

Peace, my friends, and have a good one. Catch you next week!

Tues. Oct. 18, 2022: Riding a Creative Wave

image courtesy of Kaneori via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

Ready for our long, Tuesday natter? I also have the Mid-Month check-in up on the GDR site.

Decent weekend. Friday was a little all over the place. It wasn’t focused writing time, which was frustrating. Lots of admin work. Wrote and submitted a book review, and received the next two books to review. Wrote 2 ½ blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice, working ahead. Poked around on Substack, honing my plan. Covered a script. Started another coverage.

The inspiring thing I did on Friday afternoon was to put on real people clothes and makeup and go to MASSMoCA for the Boiler House Poets reading. I met Joanne, the poet who invited me to the reading, and several of the others. Eight poets were on this year’s retreat, working together. The voices and experiences were all very different, but there was still a flow to the overall reading. It was exciting, and I’m so honored I was invited to it. I’m looking forward to next year’s reading already!

Home, made dinner, read in the evening, for fun. Read a new book in a series where I’ve read most of the series. This one was just too formulaic and similar to the others to be satisfying. I mean, I enjoyed it, it worked as relaxing brain candy for the night, but I didn’t love it, and some of the other books in the series I really loved.

Slept well Friday into Saturday, mostly because Charlotte stayed on the couch until nearly 5 AM. It was Tessa who jumped on the bed in the morning to wake me up – the first time she’s been on the bed since we moved here. Charlotte came in a little later and was horrified.

I drafted a short play in the morning, “My Side of the Bed” which was fun. I unpacked more boxes from the storage run, washed some pieces, and finished the last script coverage of the pay period. I made some notes on a couple of projects, where the ideas are flowing.

The tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs arrived. We’ll plant them in a week or two, and hope for the best in spring. So I guess the tussling with John Scheeper’s worked. Still not sure I’d deal with them again.

Forced myself to read the book I’d put aside from the author whose series I’d previously liked until she used “witch” as a slur in this one. I didn’t like it for more reasons than the slur. Overall, it was bland. On top of that, the protagonist, in the last few books, is regressing. I was drawn to the series because the protagonist was smart, resourceful, strong, and fun. She paired up with a romance-worthy guy, and the first few books post-marriage were fun. But in the last few, she gets weaker and weaker and more and more dependent on him and frantic/anxious, in a way that doesn’t make sense the way her character was established in the previous books. It’s like the editor encouraged the writer to make the character more “relatable” by giving her more anxiety when there’s nothing to worry about.  I’ve lost respect for the character, and not just because of the witch slur. Instead of growing, she’s regressing, into a state of helplessness beyond where she was in the first book. So, I’m done with the series and the author. It’s not like losing me as a reader is going to make a dent in her sales. I am no longer her target audience.

Tried to start another book that came highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, and I’m not being paid to read it, so it’s going back to the library unread. I loathe novels written in present tense. I want to hurl them against the wall. It’s the author standing between me and the text screaming, “Look at me! I’m such a brilliant stylist!” when they’re not, instead of letting me experience the story. Again, I’m not the target audience. If a writer believes that’s the best voice in which to tell the story, they should absolutely do it. But I am not the audience for it.

I’m reading a few nonfiction books right now, which I enjoy. One I did not, too much religion and not enough about what it claimed the book was about, so that’s going back.

Started the next book in the Elantra series, and I’m enjoying that.

Alternated reading and unpacking in the afternoon.

Charlotte woke me up too early on Sunday morning. But I got up, fed everybody, and wrote two episodes of LEGERDEMAIN, about 3K all told. Updated the Style Sheet and the Series Bible. I bitch and moan to myself (and the cats) about updating the sheets after drafting every episode (for a novel, I’d wait until galleys to update the Series Bible). But it sure as heck saves me a lot of time and frustration as I move forward.

I did some puttering and reading, and planning for a project I realized has to go live next week (just after the new moon). I meant to just create the opening for it and jot more notes, but I wrote the first four pieces. This will all make sense later this week, when I formally announce the project. Until I upload it and schedule it to post, I don’t know if I can promote it before it goes live, or if I have to wait. I hate vague-posting, and apologize. I’m also not talking about it on social media, because I hate it when people say they have good news, but can’t share it yet. STFU until you can.

Crankypants much? I better sing myself the Crankypants song until I laugh and get over it.

All told, I wrote a little over 5K on the new project and 3K on LEGERDEMAIN, so I wrote nearly 8K on Sunday. I haven’t done that in a long time, and I was tired and achy by the end of the day.

To my horror, when I was looking at the content calendar of scheduled upcoming posts, I realized that I have not uploaded/scheduled the episode ads for the final 11 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN’s first big arc. So that’s on the list for this week. I’m behind in the overall series marketing, and I have to update the Topic Workbook links before the new project drops next week, because I link back to the Topic Workbooks. I also have to create a newsletter blast so it’s ready to go when the new project goes live.

And I’m way, way behind on LOIs. As in, hadn’t sent any this month. Which I didn’t realize until I compiled the information for the Mid-Month post over on the GDR site on Monday.

But the writing itself felt good, and that’s what’s important.

I joined #scriptchat on Sunday night, and it was fun. Sunday nights are usually bad for me to do stuff online, but I’d already blown the attempt at a day of disconnect, so why not do something fun?

Monday morning, I was irritated by the amount of email that piled up. I have a lot of admin to catch up on this week.

I wrote another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, which is a good thing. But I’m pretty sure this arc will run closet to 40 episodes than 30, as originally planned. But the structure of the arc has embedded in me as I write, which will make the revisions and edits easier.

I got an email for my editor with the suggestions for the article that will be in the 2024 Llewellyn almanac. She loves the piece, which makes me so happy, because it’s one of the riskiest and most personal pieces I’ve ever written, and I worried I screwed it up. Her suggestions, as always, are right on the mark. I’m so grateful to have her as my editor.

Payment came through from the last two weeks’ of script coverage, and I transferred that over to the bank.

I think I figured out a solution for the LEGERDEMAIN ads which won’t be too much of a PITA. On some platforms, it’s just about adjusting dates. On channels that don’t allow edits, it’s about adding in the correct episodes on the correct dates, and having more overlap between episodes. It will be a slog, but it’s fixable.

The hardest thing was to take a breath and not berate myself for the mistake. I’m human, I made a mistake. It wasn’t huge, it’s fixable, it didn’t hurt anyone. It was on my own work, not client work. Mistakes happen.

I updated the links on the Topic Workbooks on the Devon Ellington site, so those are all current. Since the workbooks are steady sellers, I need to stay on top of that. I still have to create, upload, and schedule the marketing campaign for that through December. And upload/schedule the ads for 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS during November and into the first week of December (October is done and dropping on time).

I did another piece for the project launching next week, because I was in its groove. I can start uploading/scheduling on Thursday, I think. I also created the announcement in MailerLite, which will either go out this week (preferable) or on the day of the launch, depending on when I can get a legitimate link.

I turned around one script coverage, and started a second. I realized I was behind where I hoped/needed to be, so I withdrew from an online event I was scheduled to attend.

However, while I was cooking dinner, I got an idea. The title came first (which is unusual for me). Originally, it was going to be a piece of flash fiction, a ghost story with humor and maybe a touch of horror. But as I percolated, I realized it make more sense as a play.

After dinner, instead of returning to script coverage, I sat down and wrote the first draft of “Paranormal Paraphrasing” which turned out to be a 10-minute play.

As I finished the draft, an email came in from my friend Paula, who’d come across some more play submission calls, and one of them looks like it will be a good fit.

I was so tired by the time I was finished that I was shaking. But I’m glad I rode that creative wave.

I didn’t sleep well; too many different ideas mashing, but not meshing, in my dreams.

Up early. One of the cats was hurling, but I haven’t stepped in it yet, which means I haven’t yet found it.

Got into a lively Twitter discussion about being baffled when people refuse to wear clothes more than once. For me, it’s not only a sustainability and an economic issue, but also, when I love a piece of clothing, I take good care of it and keep wearing it. I mend it. I clean it the way it needs to be cleaned. I honor it. Most of us on the thread felt the same way, thank goodness.

I also sew, and can build my own clothes. I realize not everyone can or wants to do that, but basic mending is a necessary life skill. It’s worth MAKING the time to learn.

Anyway, I actually have to leave the house today. I should have gone to the laundromat, but the weather is too yucky. I’ll go tomorrow. I do, however, have to return a stack of books, hit the grocery store, pick up my mother’s prescription, mail some bills, hit the liquor store.

I need to get some writing in before I leave, help a friend with her website, and then, later on, finish the coverage I started yesterday and turn around another one. There hasn’t been much in the queue this week, which concerns me.

Time to get out some more LOIs. I’ve been lax on it for the past few weeks.

Have a good one! The next episode of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

Fri. Oct. 7, 2022: Cooking, Noodling, and 100 FREE Episodes/Day

Friday, October7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday, the temperatures went up into the 70s, but my productivity did not soar along with it, except in terms of cooking. I noodled with some ideas (no pun intended), but didn’t get good words on paper (just mediocre words that will have to be scrapped and/or rearranged).

I made a batch of vegetable stock, I made a batch of Moosewood’s sweet potato and corn soup (which is wonderful), I roasted a chicken and later made stock from the bones, I made mashed potatoes, and my infamous carrot and parsley dish.

I created a marketing campaign for the free Kindle Vella week (which lasts until Oct. 11). You can read up to 100 episodes free per day, which means you can read all the episodes of Legerdemain that have released to date, plus a lot of other cool stuff. The link to Legerdemain is here.

Anyway, I created the campaign, and uploaded/scheduled 3 ads per day between now and the end of the 11th. It was mostly uploading/scheduling, because I used the general ads I’ve created, and rotated them through the slots, with the information. Plus, I had to promote the episode that dropped yesterday on the channels that don’t let me schedule ahead.

I looked through some submission calls. I have one more short play to prep for a call. I don’t have anything ready to go that would fit any of the other calls, and I don’t have the time or the energy to start yet something else and get it in shape in time for any of these calls.

I set up my project on Nano. The title for the first Retro Mystery will be THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which takes the title my friend Lori suggested and then adds “Death” into it to make it clear in which genre it sits. I’m going to use one of my friend Chris’s suggestions for the next book in the series, a play on cocktail titles. I put up a notification on The Enchanted Wordsmiths perch on the Nano site that we would be active in November. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it in the newsletter than just went out. It looks like there’s no ML for the Berkshires, so I guess we’re on our own. Frankly, I don’t have the time or the energy to volunteer.

I’ve spent 45 years of my life doing volunteer work across different organizations, the bulk of it unappreciated, and often, no matter how many hours I put in, there was always a demand for more. Someone else can step up, and I can step back and be careful where to place my time and energy.

I managed to get through some email, and then, it was time to switch over the script coverage. I had trouble focusing, but managed to pull it together to turn around two coverages with the attention they deserved. I couldn’t do the third script justice, so I’ve pushed it off to today, which means I have to turn four scripts around today, and then I’m done until Tuesday.

But it was nearly 10 PM by the time I was done. And I was tired.

At least Charlotte was calmer last night, and we actually got some sleep. She slept curled up against my chest. As long as there’s sleep involved, I’m fine with it.

I tried to get in for an oil change appointment this morning, but they can’t see me until Monday. Fingers crossed all goes well for the storage run this weekend.

I’m going to get some writing in now, then I have to do a run to the post office and the liquor store, then switch over to script coverage. I have a gallery opening I promised to attend at 5 tonight. When I return, I’ll have to finish up whatever script coverages are still left.

So I’ll be awake as long as it takes today.

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

And don’t forget all those FREE episodes on Kindle Vella!