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.

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May 1, 2017: Process and Planning

Monday, May 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Beltane
Rainy and cool

Busy weekend, but good one.

Finished the first draft of the screenplay WINNER TAKES ALL. It took me 19 days to write it from concept through first draft. It flowed well. I’ll have it marinate for about a week, and then hit revisions. The 6 pages/day schedule was good (although I usually averaged 10-13). I like the leaps of craft I’ve made in this. The storytelling is better, and that’s the point.

I had an idea for a new mystery on Friday and started playing with it. We’ll see if it goes anywhere. I wrote a few pages and it seemed distant. This morning, I woke up with the protagonist’s voice very strong in my head, and the realization it needs to be first person. However, I’m worried about yet another mystery of mine in the first person, although I feel Anna’s voice is quite distinct from either Sophie’s or Gin’s. We’ll see.

Disappointing response to a pitch that requested samples. Part of it was my misunderstanding the request, which is entirely on me; the rest of it is the person in charge not wanting/being able to evaluate a writing sample that wasn’t project specific. In my mind, if you look at a writer’s portfolio, you should be able to evaluate voice, style, craft, even if the sample wasn’t written specifically for you — that’s the point of a writing sample. To show breadth and depth, not to provide something for free to the publication. An editor should be able to read a piece and tell if the writer fits the publication. If said individual “can’t” because it’s not specific to that publication, the warning bells go off. It had potential to be a steady gig that could have been fun, but if the editor’s ability to evaluate is so narrow, I’m not a good fit for the publication. Next. I was going to try to fix the misunderstanding, but the more I consider it, the more my gut tells me that I’ve dodged (yet another) bullet.

Did some yard work, and planted some bee-friendly patches on the side of the house and in the stone circle. Arranged the deck, turning it into the Enchanted Garden for summer. There’s still a lot to do, but I’m out of shape, and only have the stamina to do a little bit every nice day. I’m going to have to start mowing this week.

Have an idea for a literary fiction/historical novel. Not sure if it will go anywhere. Again, the protagonist’s voice is strong, and quite different from the other voices. I will play with the ideas.

Made some research notes for FIX-IT GIRL — I start revisions on it today. I need to finish the Venice section on POWER OF WORDS, because I need to get those research books back, since I have oh-so-many other research books on the way out.

Rewatched THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR and liked it. I appreciate Matt Smith’s work more with some distance. When he first started, I missed David Tennant’s work so much, it was hard to connect to Matt Smith’s. They’re very different, but very good, and they were excellent together.

Watching the AGATHA RAISIN series. I am not a fan of the books, and the series doesn’t do it for me, either. There’s a mean-spiritedness in so much of it, and a lack of logic that thinks it’s funny, but just comes across as stupid. I like most of the actors, I love the locations, but I don’t like the tone.

Finished re-reading the Anthony Trollope biography. I’ve always admired his professional approach to his writing. He got up early every morning and wrote five pages, no matter what or where he was. 250 words per page, 1250 words a day. If he finished a novel within those five pages, he pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and started the next one. He got things done, without a lot of fuss and bother, or moaning.

The April wrap-up is on the GDR site, and May’s To Do list will be up tomorrow. The view on May looks very stressful from here — I hope I can get things sorted out to relieve some of the pressure. Otherwise, it will be a very difficult month.

I have some errands to run this morning, and then, this afternoon, I hope to dig back in to the writing. My To-Do list includes NOT BY THE BOOK, THE FIX-IT GIRL, POWER OF WORDS, “Seven of Swords”, and “Axe to Grind”, but I seriously doubt I can get work done on all of them today.

I’m worried I may have missed the window of opportunity for “Seven of Swords.” At the same time, I can’t send out a piece I know is sub-par. I have to try to fix it. I thought I had the key to fixing it, but it’s not quite working. I want to retain some of the ambiguity, but clean up the parts that are a hot mess. I haven’t hit that balance yet. I either over-explain or it’s overly ambiguous. I just have to keep at it until I get it right.

Like so many things.

Onward.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010
Waning Moon
Sunny and warm

Woke up at four, but that was too early to get up. Went back to sleep, slept through the alarm, and was late going for the run. It was so light, and I felt so exposed. But I did my double circuit anyway. I prefer to go just as dawn breaks, experiencing the changeover from dark to morning. And there are fewer people and cars out, too. Although the guy running with his golden retriever on my last circuit was pretty funny. The dog. The guy was fine, but the dog, in typical golden retriever fashion, came over and was all, “You wanna run, right, right, right? Play? Play? Pet me, pet me, pet me? ‘Cause you wanna play, right, right, right?”

One of the struggles I have with POWER OF WORDS is that, no matter how strongly its story wants to be told, I don’t see where it will slot once it’s completed and polished. It’s going to be a damned hard sell, and I worry about spending time on it when there are other projects in the queue that are more likely to sell. Since this is how I make my living, I don’t just get to write whatever I feel like writing. I have to balance it with what brings in the money in a timely fashion. It’s finding a way to juggle the multiple projects without anything getting dropped that’s always the challenge, charting out the individual day to get it all in, and make sure there are enough short turn-around, quick-pay projects to keep the bills paid. If I try to ignore the project that’s calling loudest in order to work on something that’s ahead of it in line, the creativity freezes, the muse turns her back, and that’s it. NOTHING gets done. But unfinished projects drain creative energy, so putting something aside to work on something else is also counter-productive. They have to be worked on in tandem, and that becomes a challenge. Someday, I hope to get advances large enough to cover a few months’ bills and royalties coming in that are large enough and regular enough so I don’t have to worry about short-turn-around, quick-pay projects. If I want to take on something like that, I can. Frankly, working on a short story in the middle of a novel gives me energy, because I’ve got the momentum of completion on my side and I can funnel that back into the novel.

So I hear Matt Smith is awesome as the new Dr. Who. I loved David Tennant’s work — but then, I love most of his work. When we get the new DW episodes over here, I look forward to seeing what they do with it. Those of you in the UK, what do you think?

All kinds of technical difficulties on the workshop forum made the weekend particularly frustrating.

I need to take a breath this week and really think about whether or not I want to teach another workshop for this group again. I truly appreciate the students. I pushed them very hard, didn’t cut slack, and most of them rose to the challenge; but, overall, it has not been a positive experience, and cost me far too much in time, lost income, and creativity. Because the lost income influences the other two enormously, that’s been the biggest issue. What I was paid was out of proportion to the amount of time and energy necessary to make the workshop valuable. I’m not going to punish the students because of the situation and give them less than they signed up for because I made a mistake in the negotiation. Live and learn, right? Honestly, at this point, I’m ready to say I’m done with teaching ANYWHERE, but that’s not a rational decision, it’s coming out of a huge place of frustration and anger, much of which is my own fault. So, I’ll take a breath, try to negotiate some more safeguards, and make choices from there.

This past week in general was a test on several fronts. On two occasions, I chose to be gracious instead of confrontational. Not because I wanted to be a hypocrite, but because I felt erring on the side of politeness would get us all farther in the long run. I nearly bit my tongue bloody, but I got through it. Hopefully, the gamble will pay off.

I am just tired, tired, tired. It doesn’t matter how many hours I sleep, I’m still exhausted, because it’s about so much more than actual sleep.

I read Book 3 of CE Murphy’s Walker Papers series, COYOTE DREAMS. Again, I really liked it. Normally, the amount of narration she uses would drive me away from the books and make me cross my eyes and put it down. But she uses narration actively and specifically, even when there’s a lot of it. And, let’s face it, it’s the best way to communicate the shamanic journeys. She’s chosen the best and clearest way to tell her very interesting stories, and it works. I’m learning as much about craft as I am enjoying the books just to enjoy them. I also recommended them to the class. I want to track down books 2 & 4 now, and her other series.

The writing has not gone well these past two weeks, and that has to change. I’ve got deadlines coming up, and if the work I submit is crap, it won’t matter that I met the deadline. If I miss the deadline, I miss my shot. So, not only do I have to hit the deadline, it has to be GOOD.

On an up note, I got a request for a partial from an agent. I’m pleased, and I’d like to find a partner in the business aspect of all of this, but agents have to be so specialized nowadays that I despair on finding someone who will represent the whole package of the writing, not just a piece of it. I’m simply not going to stop writing in different genres. I’ll write in whatever genre serves a particular set of characters best. Nor do I want to stop writing plays — I love them too much. The theatre is my home, on many levels. I don’t want multiple agents — I want one person who believes in my work and my worth. That’s why, to this point, I’ve only worked with a lawyer. But I’ve got too much going on to deal with every nut and bolt myself — I need someone used to kicking in the doors and doing the negotiations so that I can get my work done.

Can I just say this is all way too much like dating until you find The One?

Because, really, I’d rather not be a Literary Polygamist (which is what I call having multiple agents). And, as in dating, there are plenty of agents with whom I interact regularly whom I really like and respect, and yet who I know are not the right match.

This week, I’ve got to deal with the scumbag landlords.

AND, my new play opens this week, which I kind of keep forgetting, because of everything else that comes up. I know, how could I possibly forget something like that? Just shows how much is going on. I hear it’s going well, although they had to cancel a preview because they “weren’t ready”, which concerns me. Yes, that’s common in production, to push back a preview, but it still always worries me.

Elsa felt well enough to play with the Easter eggs I brought back from Prague (those intricately decorated ones), so that’s a good sign. Of course, then I had to dig Easter eggs out from under all the furniture. But, if she’s getting better, it’s all worth it.

A batch of ideas hit me all at once, and I scribbled some notes. A few of them are, I think, short projects, and I can get them out relatively quickly. One of them is longer, and I’ve started a notebook for the research and the situations and the details I need to figure out before I can even start a Writer’s Rough, much less any pages. Gotta love Strand Books — they get something in that ties in with a current project, they get it out to me. I love them madly, and they are the Bookstore O’ My Dreams. I’m so lucky that I can spend time there, or, at the very least, order from them when I can’t get there in person!

Finished the material for Confidential Job #1. Will send off the notes today.

I am so looking forward to having tomorrow and Wednesday off!

I had a GREAT writing session this morning, set in Jain Lazarus’s world, but with a different set of characters (not Hillary, from the story that moved from San Antonio to Bath, ME, but really wants to be set in San Antonio). Obviously, I’m missing Jain’s world, but this book, although there’s a loose tie to the same organization, definitely stands on its own. The entire story came to me yesterday, after I overheard a remark spoken in an interview by an actor whose work I admire. I was going to write an article in response, supporting the information in the interview and going further, but It got me thinking. Instead of treating it in its original realm of non-fiction, why not push the possibilities into fiction? I did some research, Edwina started kicking my ass and telling me I damn well better pay attention, and the whole structure of the piece revealed itself. I made a lot of notes, and the first 1600 or so words flowed easily this morning.

I’ll go back to finish the work for Confidential Job #1 and then do some work on the novella. I’ve also got to finish prepping an interview that goes up on BIBLIO PARADISE tomorrow. And wind up the workshop.

It’s the first really good day of writing I’ve had in far too long. If I get everything done that I need to (which includes some errands), I’ll treat myself with another session on the Edwina piece.

Back to the page.

Devon