Wed. Dec. 5, 2018: Mercury Retrograde Strikes

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Day before dark moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
St. Nicholas Night

Yesterday sucked. Big time.

I was up a little after 2, fretting about a situation that I have to deal with and that screws up my timeline for things over the next few months.

I had trouble getting back to sleep; once I did, I was disoriented when the alarm went off.

I went to my mom’s bank to handle some banking for her. The ATM ate the card; I went in to get it back and was told I couldn’t. I’d have to bring her in to do paperwork, and maybe 7-10 days until a new card. I said, no, you advertise one can get a same-day card. But I had to go home, get her out of the house, down to the bank, and get the new card done.

Then I had to spend a couple of hours changing the card in all the relevant places. She doesn’t keep it on file with too many places, for security – although this damn bank will let any random person pull from the account, but heaven forbid the account holder have access.

On site with the client was okay. We got a few things worked out; we have a few more things to work out. It’s exhausting.

I got a little bit of writing done in the morning, and a couple of articles. I finished the review and got it out. I worked on the update for “Too Much Mistletoe” — I do love Nina. I love her passion and the fact that she’s a romantic wrapped up in cynicism.

Finally got some more work done on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I didn’t want to ruin the momentum I got going last weekend.

I have a stack of books on Degas. It’s a single reference in the scavenger hunt for DAVY JONES DHARMA, but if I don’t get it right, the murder won’t be right.

Tonight is St. Nicholas night – one of my favorite family traditions. We’ll have lovely chocolate tomorrow.

Today will be another challenging day with a client.

All I wanted was a few smooth weeks so we could enjoy the holidays.

I’m exhausted.

 

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Tues. Nov. 27, 2018: Busy Season is Here

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune DIRECT (as of Saturday)
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving last week.

We drove to Maine, leaving early on Wednesday. We managed to thread the needle through the Big Dig tunnel, avoiding the bulk of the traffic, and getting through it only moments before a breakdown in the tunnel caused problems.

Our preferred hotel in Ogunquit was closed for the holiday, so we found another one, in Wells. It was fine. It had a kitchenette, which always helps, but the space was cramped, and the shower only had hot water for three minutes.

Hit my favorite thrift shop in York, and got some adorable decorations to add to the decoration family.

We got our favorite pizza from our favorite pizza joint in the area, Da Napoli. On the way back, I ran into a snow squall. From clear to whiteout in seconds. It was like someone poured a giant vat of sugar over the road.

Got some writing done, on a couple of different projects. Tried to watch TV, but it was dreadful. The news has a single sound byte and then a half a dozen commercials. There isn’t any actual reporting going on. The shows don’t even have scenes any more, just moments. But at least Comcast doesn’t run everything up in Maine.

Thursday was the coldest in years, although clear. 8 degrees, but it felt like in the minus numbers. We drove up to Gray. We always rent out the American Legion Hall. This year, we had 63 for dinner. I mashed, I believe it was, 108 pounds of white potatoes, and 40 pounds of sweet potatoes. Lots of people I hadn’t seen in years were there, and it was fun to catch up.

I felt bad for my mom. This year, she was the oldest one at the dinner (at 94). All her contemporaries have died. It was difficult for her.

We ate, we cleaned up (everyone helps with everything), we went back to the motel to recover. It was fun, but exhausting. For an introvert, that’s a lot of people.

Friday morning, we hit the road early. Stopped at Stonewall Kitchen in York to stock up on our favorite things, and then headed home. There was a lot of traffic, but it was moving. We made another stop at Market Basket when we came over the bridge, to stock up, and were home a little after noon.

The cats were glad to see us, but they’d coped just fine while we were gone.

Unpacked, and switched out the harvest fabric to the holiday fabric on various surfaces. I felt like I was coming down with something, and hoped I was wrong.

Saturday, I had a sore throat, but pushed ahead. We took 300 gallons of leaves to the dump, then raked up another 330 gallons. We got the tree in the stand, and the lights on it. I hate putting on the lights, but when we took them off last year, I took the time to pack them differently and mark them, and that made all the difference this year.

While raking, sorted out the scenes for the holiday story I want to include in the newsletter this year. It will be short — 3, maybe 4 scenes, inspired by the fireplace at the rest area on the border between New Hampshire and Maine on I-95.

Cleared off one of the bureaus, to set up the Santa collection, and wound up polishing the whole piece. It looks wonderful, so it was worth it. But the Santas didn’t look right there, so they’re back on the behemoth. For now, the carolers are on the bureau and the herd of deer are on the mantel, but it might all move around.

By Sunday, I was sick, sick, sick. Curled up and read all day. Made chicken soup from scratch. Read a wonderful book called THE STRINGS OF MURDER by Oscar de Muriel, set in Victorian Edinburgh.

Yesterday, I was too sick to work onsite with my client. I probably could have pushed through, but didn’t want to sneeze and cough all over my client and colleagues. Dropping off library books and picking stuff up at CVS was about all I could handle.

Today, I’ll be onsite with my client, prepping for her holiday sales. Busy weeks coming up, with the holidays, and all. I need to get the overseas cards written.

I am disgusted by the administration’s policy firing on asylum seekers and threatening to close the border — all while Russia is making a move in the Crimea. I am sick and tired of no one DOING anything about the corruption in this administration.

I need to get back to the page. BALTHAZAAR is going along well, and I need to make sure that stays on schedule. In the meantime, I need to tear apart DAVY JONES DHARMA and fix it, so that it stay on its new release date schedule.

And I have a review to write.

I watched a documentary about Canaletto, one of my favorite painters, and got an idea to write a play about his sisters. Not sure if that will be pitched to 365 Women or elsewhere. But I think that will be the play after the anti-gun violence play is done.

In the meantime, trying to really get well. I’m better, but still get tired quickly.

Onward, and back to the page.

Tues. Nov. 20, 2018: Writing, Reconstruction, Announcements

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend. I was lucky enough to focus on the writing.

I finished the 4th draft of HEART SNATCHER on Sunday morning, after spending part of Friday and most of Saturday on it. I wound up cutting seven chapters, doing a lot of tightening. It’s now back down within an acceptable range for genre, although I’d like it to be even leaner.

But I love Max and Valerie, and what they’re dealing with. The characters are well-developed, the plot moves.

I made some changes in the first third of HEART BINDER, the second book in the trilogy, and then went over the outline for books two and three, and made some changes to support the revisions in book 1.

I also found a place where I need to add a few words of description to an object that makes an appearance in Book 1 and then becomes vital to the plot in Books 2 &3.

I wrote another chapter on HEART BINDER on Sunday afternoon.

I’ll send HEART SNATCHER to my editor after the Thanksgiving holiday. I want it to marinate, so to speak, for a few days, and then I’ll do one more pass before I send it off. She liked the synopsis and sample chapters, and in the current climate of a toxic administration, it’s relevant.

Along with the discussions I’ve been having with editor and publisher, we are moving the release of DAVY JONES DHARMA into February, rather than December. I can’t get it into the shape I want by the end of this week. I need to tear it apart and reconstruct it. The contract schedule this year was just too tight for me.

From a marketing standpoint, it makes more sense to release a book set on a cruise ship in February, during the height of cruise season, so that all works.

THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE is on track, and retains its late January release date.

We may push back the re-release of the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and the future of the Gambit Colony series is up in the air, as far as when it will release.

That’s all dependant, of course, if the publisher wants the Justice by Harpy trilogy. If not, we still have to rearrange some of the schedule, so that each book we release is the best I can make it, within the time frame, and the time frame is realistic so it doesn’t suck.

I’m also at that weird stage I hit with certain books, where I don’t like to be physically separated from the manuscript.

Got a few pages done on the suicidal veteran piece.

Friday night, there was an NBC news piece about teaching kids to triage each other in active school shootings. Right, because the adults refuse common sense gun legislation.

But that got me thinking about the anti-gun violence play. I wrote a new opening, and I have the notes for a new closing. They will echo each other, without boring repetition (if I do it properly). Instead of writing this play linearly, the way I usually do — start at the beginning, write it through, and then revise — I’m writing it from both ends to the middle. It’s a variation on a technique I learned in a playwrighting workshop I took with the National Theatre when one of my plays was done at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

I found out about the deadline to submit the application on the last day. I went to the Fringe office to apply. A scene had to accompany the application, so I sat down and wrote one. When I turned it in, they asked me to wait. A few minutes later, the instructor said, “You wrote this just now? It’s not part of something else?”

I said, “No. I can’t use anything from the piece that’s running, because it would hurt both processes.”

He looked at me and said, “You’re in.”

It’s one of the best classes I ever took in my life, and I still use what I learned.

Anyway, I rewrote the opening scene. I sent it off to my UK actor pal (the one who told me to get out of my own way in the reading). He’s one of the few who sees an early draft of anything; he’s both supportive and critical. I asked him what it needed. His reply: “To be on stage. Now.”

So I’m on the right track.

Yard work suffered this weekend, but too damn bad. I was so sick and tired of all the damn leaf blowers. It’s autumn in New England. Leaves fall down. The lawn doesn’t have to be immaculate every moment.

It was a Twitter pal’s birthday yesterday. I sent him good wishes; but, because I wasn’t close enough to buy him a drink in person, I went to a local bar where veterans hang out (he’s a veteran) and anonymously bought a round for a table of them in his honor. I left before the bartender could point me out. Because none of this is about me.

The rest of this week’s posts are placeholders and good wishes for the holidays. The next post with teeth in it is next Monday, the Upbeat Authors post wondering if authors can have friends, since everything is material.

Back to the page.

Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on why word choice matters.

Heads up: Venus goes direct on Friday WHILE Mercury turns retrograde. In other words, that’ll be one messed up day. And then I’ll have to spend the next three weeks keeping my mouth shut!

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS is up as a free download (how’s that for contradictory language?) here. Although originally geared to National Novel Writing Month, you can decide any day is “Day 1” and go for it. I’m committed to keeping it free, since Nano is free, and that was the catalyst for it.

I got the center front yard raked on Monday afternoon, before the storm started. Tuesday was nasty; I’m hoping to get all those bags of leaves (nearly 800 gallons’ worth) to the dump (excuse me, transfer station) either today or tomorrow. And then get some more raking in before Friday’s storm hits.

Steady work on DAVY JONES DHARMA, although slower than I’d like or need. I’m not sure how to step it up. I need to push harder, but right now, the tank on that project is pretty low. Truly, I’m trying to make like a hockey player and dig deeper, but I’m struggling!

Drafted about half of a short story, inspired by a conversation I had over Veteran’s Day weekend and some of my own experiences back when I did a lot of work with Vietnam vets. There’s a lot of pain in the story, but it’s in subtext, not text. That means each word has to be chosen even more carefully than in a typical short story. There’s also a twist in the last couple of lines that I hope I don’t foreshadow too directly, but I want readers to be hit with it, then go back and not feel cheated. It’s a good craft stretch for me.

Tuesday was a day onsite with a client, and today will be the same.

Looks like the Democrats picked up another Senate seat in Arizona. Maybe the gap in the Senate will be closer than predicted, even with Heitkamp and McCaskill losing.

Meanwhile, the Narcissistic Sociopath continues to be a corrupt embarrassment to the office and the country.

And California continues to burn.

Took a look at two projects I’d worked on a few years back and put aside. They’ve got a good foundation, great characters. I need to think about when I can get them back into the writing queue. They have temporary end points, so they wouldn’t drain creative energy. But I really like what I’m trying to say in them.

While doing some research for one of my projects, the song from 1984, “Obsession” by Animatron, started running through my head. I found the video and watched it — I don’t remember ever seeing it. But then, I don’t remember plenty of things from the 80s. I do remember having a lot of fun to that song and others when I lived on the West coast during that time. I’m grateful it was before the time when going out to blow off steam meant it showed up on social media. In the context of the time, I wasn’t particularly wild, but when I tell stories from those days, people around here seem to think I was. I was passionate and determined, and seized life for everything it had. I have no regrets.

Later that night, I put on the iPod and started dancing around the kitchen, just blowing off some steam. Hadn’t done that in awhile. Tessa, the older cat, looked at me, rolled her eyes (as only a feline can), and stalked out. Lucy, the newer rescue, was terrified and ran away. It was pretty funny.

I want to weave more dancing into some of my projects. I haven’t had the chance to go out dancing much here. Of course, when I worked on Broadway, we made our own dance parties regularly. Anywhere we went had potential to turn into a dance party.

In one of those weird creative synchronicity things, when I checked my Twitter feed the next morning, one of my Twitter pals had posted a video of him dancing in his kitchen. It was wonderful! Made me smile and reminded me that happiness is contagious.

He’s invited his followers to shoot videos dancing in their kitchens and will edit it together. Since I don’t do on-camera stuff, I won’t shoot one, but I’ll sure as hell enjoy watching what he compiles. He’s wildly creative, and I’m sure it will be a blast.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 14, 2018 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity  
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Tues. Nov. 13, 2018: Digging into the Inspiration

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Busy, intense weekend.

Friday, we went to the Cahoon Museum, to see the fiber arts exhibit. It was astonishing. My favorite pieces were the enormous scorpion made out of black lace doilies — it took up about a third of the floor space in the exhibit room — and a quilt called “Security Blanket” filled with charms and shells and artifacts from different belief systems.

There was also an amazing painting in the upstairs gallery by a painter named Jim Dowd. When you first look at it, it’s dark blue. As you continue to look at it, you start seeing the moonlight, the outline of the houses, the light in the windows. It was another piece I kept going back to. It filled me with delight and discovery.

Picked up some stuff at the Patisserie in Falmouth (still my favorite bakery), stocked up on cat food and cat litter, ran some other errands.

Saturday was a stormy, rainy day, but Sunday was lovely, and I got to see the matinee of a musical in which a former colleague had a role. Overall, the production was well-directed, well-designed, well-choreographed, well music-directed. My colleague and one of the young actresses were terrific vocally. But the score was beyond some of the other performers. It was better than most musical productions I’ve seen here, but still, there were too many sharps and flats and missed notes. I enjoyed it, though, and the overall sense was of a good production. The audience stood, although I did not. I have only stood at curtain call for three productions in my life, three productions where I felt blown away. I rarely stand, and this “standing for everything” dilutes the meaning of a standing ovation.

Worked on DAVY JONES DHARMA over the weekend, but still am not where I need to be. I’d hoped to have this draft done this weekend. I’m having trouble keeping the tone light enough.

Read an historical mystery where the period detail was exquisite, but the characters and plot didn’t quite do it. Read Michael Ovitz’s memoir, which was interesting. CAA was in its heydey as I transitioned from off-Broadway to Broadway. I liked (and continue to respect) the long-term career planning the agents did (rather than take the money and run). What I didn’t and don’t like is them putting together packages of all their personnel — writer, director, actors. Taking over that part of the creative process. I don’t think you can get the best person for each slot that way. Of course, one could argue that film and television production isn’t about the “best” but the most bankable. Sometimes they align, and sometimes they don’t. Anyway, it was interesting to learn that perspective. That will feed into the GAMBIT COLONY series.

I also wonder who his ghostwriter was. The tone sounds familiar.

Did some work on PREVENTATIVE MEASURES. Got over a point where I’d stalled. I’m writing some bits I’ll probably cut, but I need to write them so I have the information. Then I can cut it and seed in what’s necessary for the reader.

The Narcissistic Sociopath was an embarrassment on a global scale, yet again. Flying to France (on our $$$), then refusing to go to the Armistice Ceremony because it was raining. Berating California for its wildfires and refusing aid. Skipping the dinner of World leaders (or maybe he was 2 1/2 hours late — I’ve heard conflicting stories). Wagging his tail like an eager puppy when Putin arrived. Refusing to walk down the Champs Elysee with 70 other world leaders. He’s a disgrace, on every level.

The California wildfires are heartbreaking. The loss of life, home — not just belongings, but home. At least one actor with whom I’m acquainted has lost his home, and I’m worried about others. The animals dying, people burned alive in their cars as they try to flee.

And the federal government doing NOTHING. The Red Cross telling them there’s nothing coming in. Well, Red Cross, you have a HUGE bank account — crack it open and help these people. The Red Cross has been a major disappointment in my lifetime. The one time I personally needed help from them, where there was a fire in my apartment building and I was traumatized and frightened and didn’t know what to do? They were useless.

Re-connected with veterans, with Armistice Day and Veterans Day and all these important events this weekend. I’ve worked with a variety of them on different projects — theatre pieces, writing, listening to them. Every year, I’m saddened to see how many move from the Veterans’ Day list (alive) to the Memorial Day list (dead).

But from it, I got seeds of inspiration for several pieces. I’m taking notes, and will try to steal time here and there to work on them, while the inspiration burns hot. There’s so much pain going on, and in this percolation process, when I write from the inside out, it can be overwhelming. Actor friends tease me about “method writing.”

The process isn’t easy, but always worth it. Right now, I have no one to buffer between me and the world, which makes it more difficult. I have to build my own shells, my own walls, to protect myself and my process.

I really need a break, time off from the world, for a few days, but I can’t see how I’m going to get it.

I’d hoped to go on an adventure to Boston later this week, but I don’t think it will work. And, honestly, I don’t think I have the emotional energy for it right now.

Worked with my client onsite yesterday, and will do so today.

Focusing on DHARMA, since that deadline is looming, and on the pieces inspired this weekend, which fall into the category of development I can do in the Women Write Change project.

I got a little bit of yard work done, trying to get the leaves done and bagged. I’m getting a little sick of the neighbors, with their constant leaf blowing. But they only blow the leaves into piles, which then blow into my yard, and I’m the one who ends up having to rake and bag everyone’s leaves. Bag what you blow, people!

I’m tired, tired on so many levels.

But I need to get back to the page. That always helps.

Published in: on November 13, 2018 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 13, 2018: Digging into the Inspiration  
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Fri. Nov.9, 2018: Digging in for a Writing Weekend

Friday, November 9, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Got a little bit of work done on PREVENTATIVE MEASURES this morning, but will have to dig back in to DAVY JONES DHARMA this afternoon.

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS is up as a free book via Draft2Digital on various channels here. However, Amazon refuses to distribute it. That’s life.

But I am committed to keeping this book as a free download, since Nano is free.

Hopefully, when I switch over the Topic Workbooks, it won’t be a problem on Amazon. It probably will.

Overslept this morning, but it’s so cute to see Tessa and Lucy making friends. They are really getting along. Lucy loves having Tessa as her big sister cat, and being with a cat who doesn’t beat up on her.

Busy weekend coming up. I’m on my way to the Cahoon Museum to see their fiber art exhibit, then headed to Falmouth to PetCo to stock up on cat food and cat litter. Since I don’t want to shop at PetSmart anymore, because of their demand that customers supply phone numbers (and I don’t give out my phone number), I have to find a new place to buy cat food.

This afternoon, I’m going to try to get some raking in before the rain begins. The maple tree is naked, which means I’ll only have to rake around it once.

I want to concentrate on DAVY JONES DHARMA today and tomorrow (which is supposed to be a rainy, icky day. On Sunday, I’m going to see a friend in a show in Falmouth.

I’m hoping for a writing-centric, focused weekend.

Have a good one!

 

Published in: on November 9, 2018 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov.9, 2018: Digging in for a Writing Weekend  
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Thurs. Nov. 8, 2018: Talking and Writing

Thursday, November 08, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Worked onsite with a client yesterday, trying to juggle several things. Came home a bit tired; didn’t get much done, although I’m getting back into the groove with DAVY JONES DHARMA. I need to sit with the outline for a few hours this afternoon and tweak it, and streamline a bit. It’s getting a little too higgeldy=piggeldy.

Working on next week’s Ink-Dipped Advice post about choosing the language that fits your work or your client’s work best. Came out of a conversation I had yesterday with my client about how the previous marketing person was condescending and wanted to use platforms and language that didn’t suit the business.

Finished watching the third season of the Australian drama JANET KING. Second season is still my favorite, although it’s always well done.

Things are going well on the Women Write Change forum.

Got some sad news about a friend, who got a devastating diagnosis.

Had a lovely coffee with someone I met via a networking event a few months ago. We went to Three Fins Coffee in Dennis, which is a really cool place, and had a great conversation on a wide range of topics. It’s terrific to talk to someone who loves what they do, who has a wide frame of reference, is engaged in the world, and with whom one can actually have conversations!

Spending this afternoon digging in to both DAVY JONES DHARMA and PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, and a conversation about a potential one-and-done gig in Boston at the end of next week.

Because of the mass shooting in CA yesterday, I also want to get some more work done on the anti-gun violence play.

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here, and then the Yuletide Holiday Season!

Although, I admit, I’m looking forward to decorating for the holidays! It’s such fun and so festive.

It will be Lucy’s first Christmas with us. Tessa’s really good about the decorations, so it will be interesting to see how Lucy fares with all the stuff.

Back to the page.

Tues. Nov. 6, 2018: A Vital Election Day

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and mild
Election Day

This is the most important election of my lifetime. I’m worried. Worried, worried, worried.

Hop on over to the GDR site. I have the October wrap-up, November To-Do List, and the questions for 2019 up. The approach to the 2019 questions is different, hoping to create a different perspective on it, rather than running the same treadmill every year.

It was a busy weekend.

Had a lot of fun meeting a new colleague for coffee on Friday at Washashore Bakery in Mashpee. It was great to have a real, far-ranging conversation, and I hope we get to do it again.

The weekend’s work on DAVY JONES DHARMA was frustrating. I’m struggling, and I don’t have time to struggle, because I’m on deadline.

I worked on the revision of HEART SNATCHER, as part of the Women Write Change project. I restored the prologue. Fine, plenty of people don’t like prologues. In this case, the prologue works for the book. So I put it back in. Fixed it, but put it back in. Revised the first four chapters. The draft is tightening, which is a good thing. I’d cut a little too much before, and had to put some back, but I fixed and tightened it.

Did some work on the Gambit Colony website materials. As soon as BALTHAZAAR goes into galleys, I have to get the final drafts of those books ready to go to the editor.

The cover ideas we talked through for the Justice by Harpy trilogy are really cool. I’m excited to see the drafts.

Managed to get the outdoor decorations in before the bad weather, but it was Saturday before I got the indoor decorations down, everything packed away, and switched out the curtains. No more spiderweb curtains. We have the heavy winter drapes up in the living room. But, in my office, we hung the vintage 1940 green striped curtains that used to hang in the bedroom in Rye. They look good.

Damn neighbors spent most of the weekend leaf blowing. It was ridiculous on Saturday — it was raining and we had high winds. But heaven forbid the one dumbass at the top of the street not leafblow for at least an hour EVERY DAY. Granted, she does it so she can wander up and down the street spying on everyone.

And Sunday morning, the machines started before 9 AM. They should be banned on Sundays. Completely. And people should only be allowed to leaf blow for 20 minutes once a week.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s lovely. It’s such a great treat every month.

Drafting PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, the new novel dealing with gun violence and the opiod crisis, is going well. By Sunday lunchtime, I had 27 pages in longhand.

Read the book for review, and worked on the review, which went out yesterday.

The shooting at the yoga center in Tallahassee was upsetting. Both because it was a yoga studio, and because I lived in Tallahassee my first year of college. I need to somehow weave my response into PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.

Yesterday, worked with a client, did some grocery shopping, and then went to a meditation for peace at my yoga studio, which was their response to the shooting.

Voted early this morning. It’s always a good experience in this neck of the woods. The polling place was packed. I drove several people, and will drive some more from the neighborhood later this afternoon.

I’m invited to a party tonight to watch results. I’ll have to see if I feel like I can bear being around other people, or if I just want to hunker down at home.

Turned down a freelance gig because the way the client wants to work is so counter to the way I work that I’m not the right fit for her business. I can’t be productive or creative within her parameters; there are plenty who will.

Digging into DHARMA for a big push this week. I love the story, so it doesn’t make sense that I’m struggling. By next week, I have to start pushing again on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, too.

At the same time, I don’t want to lose momentum on HEART SNATCHER or PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.

I just have to dig deeper and get it all done.

But worry about tonight’s results makes everything else pale.

Onward.

Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano

Relics 4

Friday, November 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Busy week.

RELICS & REQUIEM is out; if you haven’t yet bought a copy, I hope you do! As I’ve said a million times, I’m very fond of Amanda and Phineas.

There’s an article about cabinets of curiosities that’s only available in the book, and the first chapter of the fourth book, GRAVE REACH, which comes out next October. That book is Lesley and Sam’s.

Monday was caught up with my mom’s health issues. Tuesday, I was back onsite with a client, and also got some decent work on DAVY JONES DHARMA. Plus, doing some interaction on the Women Write Change forum.

I also got an idea for a new novel — something I don’t need right now. But the characters are insistent, and it was sparked by something I experienced this week. I’ve been playing with it, in and around other projects. I love my two protagonists. It deals with both gun violence and the opiod crisis, which means it could fit as something that can be developed in the Women Write Change project. Along with the other stuff I’m doing there. I just feel like I need to blow off some steam with this project.

Wednesday was a crazy-making day, having to run around and do errands at 7 AM, meet my client early to load up the vehicle for Thursday’s event, work onsite, and then get home and finish the prep for the holiday.

I picked up extra candy, and I’m glad I did, because we had more kids this year than we’ve ever had — around 30. We had two little ones early on, and I was worried they would be the only ones who showed up. But the rest came in large groups, later in the evening, much later than usual. There were some teenagers, and they seemed worried that they’d get flack for being out. But they had creative costumes and were interesting people, so I chatted with them for a bit and sent them on their way. There was also a flatbed truck, filled with about a dozen kids from toddler to about eight. The truck parked at the top of the street, and the kids went from house to house, then climbed back in and sang their way to the next street. It was adorable. And what a great idea!

I have to say, the fathers stepped up this year. I’m guessing the moms stayed home to hand out candy and the dads went out with the kids. Made me wish I’d prepped a pot of coffee or batch of hot chocolate in take-out cups for them.

Anyway, it was very cute.

And it turns out Lucy, our newish rescue cat, loves trick-or-treaters and they loved her! She wasn’t scared at all. She wanted to meet everyone. Tessa, my black cat, kept herding her away from the door.

Now that Lucy’s not afraid all the time, she’s starting to understand more and explore her freedoms. And she’s starting to understand us more when we talk to her. She and Tessa aren’t snuggling up together yet, but they’d rather be near each other than apart.

Samhain ritual was good. I kept it simple this year, and had done part of it earlier in the afternoon, and then the rest of it late at night. The next few nights are ceremonies for the dead.

Thursday was a long day. The cats got me up early. We had our morning routine, I remembered to put on the new registration sticker on the car and the new insurance cards in the glove compartment.

Then, I wrote. I worked on a new edition of 30 Tips for 30 Days, which I think I will release as a permanently free book via Draft2Digital. I need a new cover and maybe some graphics, but it could be a good tool. Since Nano is free, I wouldn’t feel right charging for anything that talked about Nano.

Thursday afternoon, I met my client, and we set up for the big event. I have to say, it was one of the worst organized events I have ever been involved with. That was not on my client – we were participating vendors. It was on the organizers.

Basically, it was set up like a trailer park yard sale. If I’d been a ticket buyer, I would have demanded my money back.

As a vendor, we were promised a designated space. Even though we bought a middle tiered slot, we were put in the back corner, facing away from the bulk of the events. We took out the ugly accoutrements they had and put up our own displays. So at least we looked good.

Our entry fee was supposed to include dinner. When I asked about when we were supposed to eat, I was told, “oh, just go to the food table whenever and bring it back to your booth.”

First of all, we can’t eat in the booth. Around clothes. Second, even if there wasn’t danger to the clothes, it’s tacky and unprofessional to be chowing down in front of customers.

So we wound up not eating.

Ticket holders were annoyed because it was advertised as serving drinks as part of the ticket (nothing about cash bar). Not only was the bar cash, but it was, literally, cash only. No cards.

The carpeting in the “ballroom” was old and dirty and disgusting. They’d set up a speaker next to us and we couldn’t hear our customers, and they couldn’t hear us. When we asked them to turn it down, they turned it up.

We weren’t asked to participate in the “fashion” show – my client is a clothing designer, how is that appropriate? They had a few box stores participating. Although, when you saw how the models clomped around and didn’t even bother to stand straight, maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

The organizers were passive aggressive. Everyone was supposed to do a raffle. Every time, in the prep weeks, I’d asked about the raffle, I was told something different. When I went to have the winner announced over the speaker system, the organizers told me that wouldn’t happen and we had to “figure out how to get people back to your booth and do it there.” WTF?

I hunted down the DJ myself and asked nicely. He was lovely, and, of course, agreed to do it.

Fortunately, we loaded out in about ten minutes as soon as it was done.

Nightmare.

Not worth our time.

Anything this particular “media group” runs around here is trash.

Not only will I not work another of these, I will advise my clients not to waste their money participating.

Home, exhausted.

Up late this morning, which means I’m behind on everything.

I’m meeting a new contact for coffee, which should be fun. I need the break. Then some more running around in the afternoon, and then writing and working on a couple of things for Women Write Change.
Took down the exterior decorations before the heavy rain started. It will take most of the weekend to put away the interior decorations and get the curtains switched out from spiderwebs to the heavy winter curtains.

Onward.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2018 at 8:56 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano  
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Thurs. Oct. 25, 2018: Sometimes, You Just Have the Blues

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Yesterday sucked on a lot of levels, for several reasons. I got some disappointing personal news; I’m not feeling well; I’m dealing with a difficult client.

I’m getting back into the groove of DHARMA, thank goodness, and we finally have the upload for RELICS & REQUIEM cleanly copyedited and ready to go. It will actually release on time.

I’ve been updating both the Coventina Circle and the Devon Ellington web site. As soon as the buy links go live, I’ll add them.

I had a bad case of the blues, and felt like there was nothing of value I could really add to any conversation.

I did manage to submit a short story – a quick deadline for a flash fiction piece hit my desk and I happened to have something I could fit.

The problems with the Submittable account have been fixed, so that helps.

I have to take my mom to a medical appointment this morning, and then I’m supposed to go to a spa open house this afternoon, but I’m not sure I feel up to it.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

I’ll be online late, because I have to go to the RMV and renew the car registration.

I’m so tired, on so many levels right now.

Published in: on October 25, 2018 at 3:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 25, 2018: Sometimes, You Just Have the Blues  
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Tues. Oct. 20, 2018: The Wrong Tired Early in the Week

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

Busy, busy weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I am screaming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tired, tired, tired.

 

Fri. Oct. 19, 2018: Conference Lessons

Friday, October 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. Spent most of it in session at the Global Human Rights Conference. Took pages and pages and pages of notes, and gathered contact information. There’s so much information, and it’s relevant on so many different levels.

There’s also a realization that the US has been a disappointment on the world stage. Not just since 2016, although it’s gotten exponentially worse since then. But, as I’ve said for years, it’s devolved since Reagan. The lack of commitment and will to enhance, support, and expand universal human rights because it’s inconvenient for dictatorships and, especially, for multi-national corporations is appalling.

So is this current regime’s willingness to accept money to shrug off the murder and dismemberment of a journalist. I’m not surprised at this administration at all, but it’s revolting. This is the test balloon, to see how much killing they can get away with. They’ll do it overtly, and also by gutting healthcare, taking away earned benefits like Social Security, and the rest, with the intent that those who can’t afford to bribe them will die.

Women Write Change is going well; I’m enjoying the discussions, and I can feel new ideas percolating.

Got another round of copyedits/galleys done on RELICS, and hope the final round will be done this weekend.

Have to step up the work on DHARMA. This draft is behind, which then puts me behind on BALTHAZAAR.

Dithering about whether or not to submit a proposal to a conference that has a small chance of conflicting with another proposal I’m waiting to hear back on, at a different event. Not sure if submitting means I’m hedging my bets, or if it means I assume I won’t get the first, and have given up.

I gave my speech early this morning, video-conferencing in. Nothing like having to be camera-ready at 4:30 AM, due to time zones. It went well. We’ll see what the reaction is. I was definitely intimidated by the scope of the other contributors. I’m worried that mine was too simplistic: Basic human decency leading into holding individuals accountable AS individuals who commit human rights violations leading into the power and necessity of art to both bear witness and provoke change.

I’m glad it’s over, and immediately changed into fuzzy, comfort clothes when I was done. Since I won’t be on camera for sessions today, I can wear what I want!

Writing and edits and yard work and the last of the conference are on the agenda for today. I HAVE to get back on track for DHARMA.

And I have to get groceries into the house, or I will be very unhappy.

The car feels fantastic after the oil change. What a relief. I still have to get the hatch fixed, but one thing at a time.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on October 19, 2018 at 9:25 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 19, 2018: Conference Lessons  
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Wed. Oct. 17, 2018: Challenges

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Working steadily on the galleys for RELICS. Had hoped to turn around the first set yesterday, but couldn’t. So that’s on the agenda for today.

I’m behind on DHARMA because I misplaced the notes with all the treasure hunt clues. So I have to recreate them to fit the outline and drive the plot. I’ll do that the next few days and then dig in to write more than the daily quota on DHARMA this weekend.

That’s what I get for not having a typed copy, a backup copy, AND my handwritten notes.

Having fun with the Women Write Change forum. I think we’ll get some good work done.

In discussion with my publisher and cover designer about the designs for the Justice By Harpy Trilogy. It will have a very stark, distinct look.

Preparing for Friday. The conference officially starts today; I’ll spend some time on it tomorrow, but Friday is my big day.

Have to remind a client that the job parameters don’t get to change in the moment. They have to be discussed, and then compensated. It may be time to wind things up with this particular client in the next few months.

Hopefully, the weather will be good enough this weekend so I can do yard work, start putting the yard to bed for the winter, and put up the decorations.

Still trying to get the car appointments sorted out, and the rental inspection, and a few other things.

Back to the page.

I have to get an oil change first thing in the morning, so I’ll be late blogging.

Published in: on October 17, 2018 at 2:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 17, 2018: Challenges  
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