Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

The past few days have been hell, because of dumbass “neighbors” setting off illegal fireworks all the time.

They’ve gone off every night since the beginning of the month. And every weekend since the Stay at Home. It needs to stop.

When it’s someone local, with whom the cops grew up, it’s “nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know how unreasonable people are” and they’re let off with a warning. And, as soon as the car pulls away, they set the fireworks off again. They’re not confiscated, as required by law. They’re not fined, as required by law.

When it’s tourists, the cops do nothing because, you know, tourist dollars.

On the 4th of July, it started at 4 in the afternoon and went on until 2 in the morning. People were going up and down the street, setting off fireworks in front of other people’s houses. One set of neighbors next door did a production in his little backyard.

The houses here are just too close. There’s shrapnel everywhere, they’re gong to set someone’s house on fire.

Not to mention that Tessa was so terrified I was sitting in a corner of the room, holding her while she tried to burrow under my skin. I was afraid she’d die of fright.

It wasn’t cute little sparklers. It was the big boomers. It was like being under mortar fire for 10 hours, and the cops did NOTHING.

This state has specific and strict laws about illegal fireworks. In the 10 years I’ve lived here, not ONCE have the cops ever done a damn thing. The illegal fireworks have gotten exponentially worse every year.

Instead of pounding on peaceful protestors, how about going after those who are actually breaking the law and causing harm? Just because you grew up with them isn’t an excuse. Nor is that they’re tourists. Those aren’t the tourists we want visiting.

It’s not “harmless fun.”

I also noticed that EVERY person doing this belongs to the same group who refuses to wear masks – again, something that the state mandates.

Gee, people hurting other people in the name of their own “freedoms.” What a surprise.

It was hell.

Why should I pay taxes in this community? They charge me an “excise tax” because I own a car. They’ve upped the rates to get rid of garbage and punish me for wanting to recycle. They allow people to set off explosives every week “for fun.”

Especially since some of these fireworks are set off by those in illegal, short-term rentals. It’s not like they give a damn if they set the neighborhood on fire.

The Town Manager and my district’s Town Councilor are a complete and utter waste of space, both of them, but you better believe they’re getting strongly worded letters. It won’t do anything, but it will go on record in the town archives. Maybe, at some point down the line, it will be useful to someone who will actually do something.

And the fireworks are still going on EVERY DAMN NIGHT. I’m not going through this all summer.

Sunday, I was a complete wreck. I hadn’t gotten any sleep on Saturday night. I had to clean up shrapnel on Sunday. I tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but I was so wound up I couldn’t sleep.

At least Saturday and Sunday, I got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY. I’m nearly done with Book 4 – I figure I have three more chapters or so. The chapters run long, so I’m figuring another 60-70 pages. I have a bunch of material I wrote intermittently for Book 5, which is an interlude volume (figuring that to run 100 -150 pages), and Book 6 is outlined. I’m hoping to get drafted through Book 6 by the end of the year, and then start on the serious edits, at least for 4-6. The first three books are in good shape; they’ve had countless drafts.

I re-read two more Donna Leon books and BODY ON THE BAYOU by Ellen Byron, all of which were good. I also read AMERICAN SPY by Lauren Wilkinson, which was excellent. I had no idea what to expect going in. It’s a hell of a wonderfully written novel, strong voice, very different structure than usual, but different in a way that works.

I was left both wanting to know what happened next to these characters and feeling it ended at the perfect spot. So often, I’m unhappy with how and where novels end. Too often, it feels post-modern just to try to show off “style” instead of giving the book the unique ending it needs. But this was perfect.

I also read the book I was sent for review. It’s a solid fantasy novel. Not brilliant, but an enjoyable read, and will get a good review.

We had a wonderful, vicious thunderstorm on Sunday night. I loved it, especially since it cut short the illegal fireworks. I’d hoped for a good storm; it was even better than I expected.

I wish the weather would be horrible every weekend for the rest of the summer. Tourists are flooding in, bridges are backed up the way they usually are in summer, and we’re all being put at risk, because the tourists aren’t following the state-mandated protocols, and the businesses just shrug and let them get away with it.

Because, you know, if we’re not rich enough, we “deserve” to die for tourist dollars. That’s the attitude around here.

Client work yesterday – I’m creating more ads for this client. 6 LOIs out. Work on fixing BARD’S LAMENT – I’m about to enter the bit that’s a real mess. I need to fix it so I can move on. The deadline looms.

Did the whole week’s course work on THE BOOK OF KELLS class. It was fascinating, talking about scribes and how they created the book. Gave me ideas (always dangerous).

Managed to sleep through the night last night, for once (once the fireworks stopped).

This morning, I’m going to do some work on BARD, record a podcast for THE MERRY WRITER, do some client work. I think I need to go to the grocery store – it’s been about 10, 12 days, and we’re out of some basics. So I’ll gear up and go.

I have a Zoom call with my primary care physician, which I’m dreading. We will talk about the mixed results from the surgery, and work out a plan. I do not want more tests. I want to be left alone for the next six months until the next procedure.

I have a feeling this will continue to be a difficult week.

Hope your week is better.

Tues. June 30, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 43 — Surgery with Mixed Results

Tuesday, June 30. 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy, stormy, humid

Venus went direct on the 25th, so at least a little pressure has eased.

I thought I’d scheduled a post yesterday. I’m sorry I didn’t.

I was on a clear liquid diet, pre-op, on Wednesday. Miso soup and white cranberry-peach juice for breakfast, chicken broth for lunch, more miso for dinner. It was pretty good.

Went for my COVID test in the morning. Very well organized. A few seconds of discomfort when they jab the swab up your nostrils, but that’s it. Everyone very nice.

Home. Info full quarantine. Checked in with a client, designed some A/B ads, got out an email blast. Participated in Remote Chat, which is always fun.

Got the call from the hospital. My surgery was scheduled for 9:30 the next morning. A relief to get in there in the morning, and home as soon as possible.

The COVID testers only call if it’s a positive. So, once the deadline passed and no call, I started the rest of the prep, which was awful, I had side effects, and I was up all night, miserable.

I got ready in the morning, and got a call at 8 AM, asking me to come in an hour and a half early.

I got there, and was sent to the OR. Um, I knew it was surgery, because they had to remove something, but had been told it would be a simple procedure. Originally, I was told it would be done in the office.

So I was prepped for surgery, much like the last time, and a little thrown by it.

Unfortunately, it took 7 tries to get the IV in. SEVEN. I was upset. I also felt guilty (which, looking back on it, I shouldn’t. It’s not MY fault they can’t hit a vein. But it hurt like hell).

They finally got a pediatrics nurse to get it in.

Then some guy starts yapping at me, and I finally asked, “Are you the doctor?” And then I deliberately mispronounced his name, which threw him.

He said yes and corrected the pronunciation of his name.

I said, “Oh, okay, it’s just that I’ve never met you or talked to you before and you’re about to go digging in my insides. I’ve dealt with more than a dozen people while I’ve been lying here in pre-op and I’m trying to keep them all sorted. Now that we’ve been properly introduced, what’s going on?”

He said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m a little presumptive sometimes” and then we talked about the surgery.

The nurses were howling. They told me later the male patients usually start sputtering and the female patients are often in tears. They never saw anyone stand up to him before.

So we had a chat about what was going on. I was a little disconcerted, because no one seemed to know why I was there. Why didn’t anyone read my chart? I’m not the professional. I’m the patient. I know, in basic strokes, why I’m there, but not the details.

I told the anesthesiologist that, especially after all the trouble getting the IV in, I didn’t want to know anything.

When I came out of it, the doctor said, “You should thank that CT technician. This surgery probably saved your life.”

Turns out it was much more complicated than anyone had told me, and, if I’d blown off this surgery (as I was tempted), by the time I knew something was really wrong, it would have been too late, and needed very complicated surgery.

So now I get to wrap my head around that and worry about the results of the biopsy.

The nurse called my ride, I got dressed, and off I went home.

I was too rattled to really sleep, but I also couldn’t do anything. I’d saved back some of the pain pills from the last surgery. Of course, they were on the list of things I couldn’t take. But I didn’t really need them.

To keep myself occupied, both the miserable night before surgery and the day after, I read the first four books in Martha Wells’sMurderbot series. I loved them. So clever, and funny, and full of action, and full of heart.

We’d set up the living room again for recovery. I ate scrambled eggs for dinner – I hadn’t eaten solid food in 48 hours, but that’s all I could stand.

I went to sleep early, and slept through the night for the first time in who knows how long.

Friday, I got some material off to a client. Heard back that she’s going in a new direction for something. She’s going to try to push me to do work that needs someone with different skills, and there will be problems going forward. So I need to find a replacement client so we can part ways soon without me taking a major hit to my income.

I got out one LOI, and then back to bed.

One of my nurses checked in with me, to make sure I was okay. I am. I mean, I’m healing. “Okay” is relative at this point.

I heard from one of my other doctors, who found out I was having this procedure; he checked in to see how I was doing. He was the one who talked me into going through this second surgery; I wanted to blow it off. But he’d been right about everything else, so I went forward. It’s a good thing I did.

I have the same post-anesthesia effects I had last time – first day or so, I have a runny nose, and then I have a few days of a scratchy throat.

I have to monitor my temperature twice a day for two weeks, to make sure I didn’t catch anything at the hospital.

My arms are so bruised from the failed attempts to insert the IV. I have track marks and bruises. I’ll have to wear long sleeves for at least a week. And I need to heal before I go in for blood work.

I managed to go down to the library for a curbside pickup and got more books. Read Donna Leon’s BY ITS COVER. I love that series.

But it was not a productive day, by any means.

I got in touch with the guy who mows the lawn; he came and did it. It looks better, but I need to put fertilizer on it.

I did not sleep well on Friday. I was up by 3 AM, fretting.

Saturday morning, I moved the two potted trees on either side of the front door to the side. They’ve grown through the years, and don’t look right there any more.

I was working on cleaning out the front beds and found a wasp nest attached to the siding in the front, near the front door. I’m so sick of the damn wasps. It never occurred to me they would build there.

I didn’t want to go back to Hyannis Country Gardens, but I know where everything is there. So I masked up and drove over.

I am never going there again, even once this is all over. Wearing the mask around your neck is not wearing the mask. Staff and customers did this (register staff were the only ones fully masked). The place was packed.

I grabbed my wasp killer (you have no idea how much strength it took not to spray the Sliding Mask Skanks). I grabbed some lawn food. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

I felt safer walking alone at 2 AM in NYC’s worst neighborhoods than I felt in that store.

Our numbers are going up again in MA. Not as badly as in down south, but going up enough to be concerned.

Not that anyone else here is. Because, if you’re not rich around here, you’re expendable and expected to Die for Tourist Dollars.

Came home and took out my fury on the wasp nest.

Rested a bit; once the buzzing died down (pun intended), I brought some of the oversized red geraniums from the back to flank the front door. They look good, and it’s good Feng Shui.

I couldn’t work in the beds, so I took myself to bed and rested for a bit. I read Ellen Byron’s PLANTATION SHUDDERS, and loved it. Excellent book, and I’m excited to read the rest of the series.

Soaked in a bath of Himalayan Salts for a bit. Cooked dinner – nothing fancy, I’m easing back in.

So the Sociopath was informed in March that Russia pays bounties to kill American soldiers? And keeps making concessions to Russia? I hope the military turns against him, once and for all. We have a sociopath calling himself “President” who is not only actively killing citizens with a pandemic, but allowing our enemies to kill our soldiers for profit. What’s his cut, I wonder? Because he does nothing without an eye to personal profit.

Why would anyone think the GOP will do anything about it? Remember, only a year ago, over Fourth of July, 10 GOP Congress people traveled to Russia to genuflect.

Those 10 should have been arrested the second they returned. But they got away with it, and here we are.

No wonder the EU is banning Americans from travel. Good for them.

And the airlines who are going to start flying at capacity? I hope they all go under. And why the hell is ANYONE flying right now?

The selfishness and stupidity are overwhelming.

Moved back up to my bedroom by Saturday night, and had a good night’s sleep.

But sat on the deck early Sunday morning, weeping, because I feel overwhelmed on a personal level, and on a broader, societal level. I’m sick, exhausted, and don’t see a way forward in anything.

Rested most of Sunday morning, because that’s all I could handle. I read a delightful book called RAISING THE BARRE by Lauren Kessler, about her journey to dance in a production of THE NUTCRACKER as an adult. So well done, on so many levels. However, I did lose a bit of respect and felt disgust when she skipped part of the tour that was the reason to write this book in the first place because of “family commitments” and because she was teaching a writing workshop. That, hon, is why you’re not in the business. The show comes first. Always. Life fits around theatre (or, in this case ballet) for professionals. Theatre does not fit around life.

That, right there, is why I managed to be one of the 11% who actually MAKE it to Broadway. Commitment and priority to the work. And why dancers can do what they do.

My arms really hurt from the bruising of the failed IV attempts.

Got out 5 LOIs, then sat out on the deck for a bit, reading. Watered the back, where I’d put down lawn food and fertilizer. Couldn’t face another wasp battle in the front.

Tackled the mending, because the light was good, and I need true daylight at this point to sew. Got a good part of the stack done. Still have a few pieces, including socks.

Managed to sleep through the night on Sunday, up early on Monday, normal routine. Because, you know, the cats like a normal routine, and it’s all about the cats. Arms really hurt from the IV bruising.

Annoyed by people on social media who beg for followers, then deride people who support them. I don’t have time for that b.s.

Also annoyed because people are asking to come visit. As in show up and stay a few days. In a pandemic? I don’t think so. Close friends understand it’s not viable. We’re going to make plans to see each other WHEN IT’S SAFE. It’s the borderline “acquaintances” who are the problems. The ones who stay in touch because they see us as free accommodation in a tourist spot they want to visit. I can’t believe how many emails I’ve gotten in the past two weeks that are “oh, we’re going to be in your area on vacation for a few days. We’d love to see you. Can we stay?”

Nope. Not doing any hosting this summer. Sorry you think just because the government decided to recklessly reopen, I’m going to put my life in danger so you don’t have to pay a hotel bill. Not happening.

Absolutely dreaded going in to the client’s on Monday.

Didn’t get a lot done on BARD Monday morning. I had to research mandolins and mandolin making before I could write the scene. Then, when I referenced something from an earlier chapter I found an enormous mistake. I have to go back and fix it, or it will throw the entire book off. I’m so annoyed with myself.

But that’s what I get for not making tracking sheets up front. Serves me right.

Discouraging, but my own damn fault.

Onsite for the client wasn’t bad. Staggered hours, lots of precautions. Only a little overlap, so we’re in synch, and not full staff (the way it should be, but isn’t on Wednesdays).  The client expects me to pull off the type of advertising campaigns that large companies with huge design and advertising budgets do, and she expects huge returns within 48 hours. That’s not realistic. She keeps sending me ads with “do that” — I can’t without design tools and time and professional photographs of product, and a budget to spend for placement.

Came home, wiped out.

I meant to only peek at the online course I’m taking on FutureLearn on The Book of Kells from Trinity College in Dublin. It was so interesting that I went through the entire week’s work. Which was pretty cool.

I decided I should brush up on my rusty Latin, and was looking for a way to do that, when, on Coursera, I stumbled across The Miracle of Human Language, from University of Leiden, where I’d studied the International tribunals a few years back. I signed up and started work on it. It’s fascinating.

That course will help me as I develop languages for books like DRAKECLIFF and other fantasies.

I was still worn out, and ran out of intellectual steam, so I stopped.

I also bought Sharon Hurley Hall’s SHADEISM. We’ve been talking about race, inspired by her most recent writings; this book will not only expand my understanding, but it will be good background for ELLA BY THE BAY.

Then, the phone rang.

It was the doctor.

As I wrote above, that’s never good news. They only call if something is wrong, never when it’s right.

The doctor had even improved his bedside manner, which worried me even more.

The news was mixed: there were some cancerous cells in what was removed, but at the tip of the polyp, not the base, and the cells scraped from the lining were clear. He believes he got it all. Originally, he wanted to see me in a year; now, he wants me back for another procedure In six months (um, Happy Holidays to me?). We’re going to treat it like another full-blown surgery, and hope it’s just a look that reveals everything is clear. He was upbeat and reassuring about it – which meant I wasn’t sure whether to go with it or worry more.

Something else to wrap my head around. Disconcerting, to say the least.

But what else can I do other than keep on keeping on?

I do have to behave as though I’m immune compromised and stay home as much as possible, avoid crowds, socializing, etc. I told him that was the plan for the foreseeable future, anyway.

He promised to take good care of me. I thanked him (which surprised him) and he rang off.

I’m a little tired of 2020 piling it on.

I need to talk with my primary care doctor in the next day or two, and come up with a plan for the next six months. Losing weight and getting fit will have to be a part of it. I already eat pretty well, and I’d cut out most beef and quite a bit of pork out. I will have to continue with that. I’m glad I can cook.

I want to lose 20 pounds, the doctor wanted me to lose 10, we compromised on 15 (which I have not lost), but I think I want to go back to 20. I feel better when I weigh less.

I’d already started up core work again on Sunday, so I will do more of it.

I’d love to walk around the neighborhood, but the clumps of Maskless Wonders make it a non-starter.

Much as I hate the exercise bike, the exercise bike it is. If my 95 year old mother can do 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week, I can work my way up to similar.

But I’m rattled.

Went to bed early; slept through the night.

Up early today. Have to fix BARD today, so I can move forward on it. There’s a deadline looming. Got two rejections on LOIs because they want someone with more experience in the tech sector. Which is understandable, but they SAID they wanted someone to communicate what they do to a more general audience. At least they responded, and I got responses from the companies themselves instead of a third party recruiter.

Client work. I have to come up with a new strategy for a struggling client. I have a few ideas, but I wish I had more time with them, because it’s hard to focus right now.

Classwork for Miracle of Human Languages later, and then maybe purging a few boxes in the basement. I need to get back to that.

I can’t believe it’s almost July. It’s hard not to feel defeated.

Especially when you look at the rampant corruption and stupidity people are getting away with, with absolutely no consequence.

Going back to the page will help. I hope.

Peace, friends.

Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

There’s a new post on Affairs of the Pen, under the Ava Dunne name, about how we’re all kids eager to look for lost treasure.

Yesterday really felt like a lost day, work-wise. It was frustrating.

I got a little bit of writing done before the rental inspection. The inspection itself takes only a few minutes, especially since everything’s okay and we have an ethical landlord. But the timing of it means I couldn’t really start anything until it was over.

I managed to get to the library and get a few things done, but I was under time constraints. Couldn’t get anywhere near done what I needed to.

Dashed back, bolted down a quick lunch, and then took my mother to the doctor. Where we waited for an hour and a half for a five-minute appointment. So, basically, the afternoon was lost, too.

I got in some reading, and finished the book for review, and started reading a fascinating book on the literary world in 1922, where this author believes everything changed.

Had planned to take a walk on the beach, but by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, it had clouded up and gotten too windy.

Leftovers for dinner, and reading. I’m still working my way through my re-reads of Donna Leon’s Brunetti series.

I have to do some research on Chicago in 1856 to get the correct names of a few things for “A Woman for the Job.”

Started “A Rare Medium” — the next Kate Warne play, about a case of hers where she posed as a medium. I have to dig up my notes on names, but it’s percolating along nicely.

Working on revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Some of it is sticky work, but once I fix the first half, where I got off track (again), the rest should fall into place pretty nicely.

Unpacked and purged a few boxes, and sorted out some clothes. Figuring out what to donate, what to get rid of, what to pack away as stock, and what to keep in the closet.

Yesterday was the first day of full peaceful co-existence for all three cats since Willa and Charlotte came to live here. Even Tessa and Charlotte ignored each other, while being in the same room, which is huge progress.

If Charlotte had ended up in a shelter, she would have been marked unadoptable. Fortunately, MA has only no-kill shelters, or she would have ended up on death row. She can’t stand confinement or closed doors or chaos and doesn’t do well with strangers. I’m glad she’s here and I figured out how to work with her to make her feel safe. The sunnier, sweeter side of her personality is starting to come out.

Willa just kind of does her own thing. She likes company, but refuses to engage when Charlotte has a tantrum. She’s very, very smart, and keeps at something until she figures it out. And friendly. She’s a friendly, easy-going cat most of the time.

Tessa is getting used to them. She doesn’t assert herself enough with them, but there’s peaceful co-existence. As my vet in NY said, it’s healthier for them to be together in the same room and ignore each other than be alone. After all, we took in these cats because Tessa hates being an only cat.

We’re getting there. I hope we’ve turned a corner. There will be some regression here and there, I’m sure, but consistency, boundaries, and lots and lots of affection have brought them a long way.

I had a meeting with a potential client late in the morning, which is why this is posting so late. The conversation was fine, but we are not what each other needs right now.

Now, I’m off to the grocery store, and then back to write the review and start the next book for review.

The weather’s supposed to be bad this weekend, so I’ll stay in to write, read, and purge boxes from the basement. Maybe run the leaves to the dump tomorrow morning, if the weather’s okay.

With a new moon, Burns Night, Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and Chinese Lunar New Year all hitting this weekend, I will be exhausted.

Received the second invitation to work without pay this week, this time a speaking engagement. I gracefully declined. What gets me about both invitations was that it comes from people who are paid and who don’t work without pay — yet they want me so to do.

Put in my share of that.

I looked over my clips and what I use where. I realized that my unpaid clips for “exposure” only resulted in requests for more unpaid work. Clips from paid gigs led to more paid gigs. That’s important information. I will sit down and figure out the exact stats, but it was an important realization.

How did I do with my intent to listen this week? I definitely listened. I definitely did not like a lot of what I heard. The Senate Trial is enraging and disheartening. The Republican Senators are a disgrace.

I listened to a lot of incidental conversations around me. As a writer, I do periodic eavesdropping anyway, as part of my process to catch cadence. But I was discouraged by the amount of intentional stupidity going around.

So, yes, I achieved my “intent” for the week, but the consequences were not what I foresaw. I still have a couple of days to go on the week, but I think I will focus on listening to music!

 

Tues. Nov. 12, 2019: Yes, the Weather is Changing

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not as productive, writing-wise, as I hoped. Mostly because I was exhausted. Hop on to Kemmyrk, for some thoughts about a full moon in Mercury Retrograde.

We got everything in from the deck, except the big round table that overwinters there. The plants that need to overwinter are in the garage; the other pots have had the annuals pulled out and been put away. The furniture was oiled, dried, and put away — some in the basement, some used in the house during the winter. I have a couple more things to put away that are still on the table, and decide when to bring in the chimes.

The landlord is having someone coming to look at the back of the house to see what needs to be fixed. A few boards on the deck need it, but I bet they take the whole thing out. I don’t want to lose the covered part of the deck. It’s wonderful. But who knows what the landlord will decide?

Anyway, all of that took much longer than I hoped, but it’s done. It needed to be done in decent weather. I did a little of the pruning, but I have a lot more to do. Plus, we have all the leaves. So, every dry day, we’ll be doing some raking. It’s supposed to be miserable today, rain switching over to snow.

Ran some errands. Did laundry.

Wrote and sent off the speech I was asked to do. I’m pleased with it. It was carefully structured to fit the event.

Did a lot of work with the cats. They are getting better. Tessa’s spending more time out, but there’s still suspicion between Tessa and the others, especially with Willa, whose the noisiest of the three. Charlotte is settling in the best. Considering she had the most, noisiest tantrums when she came in, that’s interesting. Yesterday morning, we had major progress — all three sitting with me in my office while I wrote. Napping. Peaceful co-existence.

Re-read THE TIE-CUTTER. Every time I look back at it, I love it more. I have to find a way to get back to work on it, when these next deadlines are cleared.

I’m re-reading Donna Leon’s mysteries set in Venice. Re-read DEATH AT LA FENICE. It was excellent. Read a biography of Maggie Smith, which was interesting, but a little too fawning.

Got some ideas for a couple of sequences in GAMBIT COLONY.

Worked on edits. Gave myself a break from THE BARD’S LAMENT.

Did three loads of laundry.

I got fed up on social media (for a lot of reasons). Specifically, there’s an unpublished author working on a piece that’s so long it should be broken up into a series, and she’s telling published authors who earn their living at it how to write. Fuck off, kiddo. Try listening and learning something.

Went in, yesterday, to my client’s, although it was, technically, a holiday. It was not as productive a day as I wanted.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” and the edits, mostly. That’s what I did this morning, too. I hate to break the rhythm I’m building with THE BARD’S LAMENT, but I need to get these two pieces done first. Excellent editing session on Monday morning, though, which set a good tone for the week.

I also need to take a look at the stage plays I’ve written and decided which ones to submit where. I’m thinking of putting together the short Kate Warne play and the short Jeanne de Clisson play with a third play about a strong woman as an evening. Or maybe do another Kate Warne? I was originally going to do three short Kate Warne plays, about three of her cases. Not sure. But I have a stockpile of scripts from the past few years, and they need to go out and earn their keep.

Worked on the GDR questions.

Mostly, I’m exhausted. I need a break. I need a real vacation, where I can rest and restore. Not just a day off here and there, but genuine time off, where I can rest and not worry about money. Which isn’t going to happen any time soon.

 

Published in: on November 12, 2019 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 12, 2019: Yes, the Weather is Changing  
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Tues. Oct. 15: Cat Adjustments Continue During the Storm

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge. I read a delightful anthology called HAUNTED NIGHTS.

The bulk of the weekend was devoted to cat socialization. When you think it’s only been a bit over a week, they’re doing very well. There are still some hissy-spitties and growlies, but, overall, they are adjusting.

The weather was so dreadful on Friday that I never left the house. I read, worked with the cats, wrote. I shouldn’t be working on GAMBIT COLONY right now, but that’s my stress release piece, so I am.

Friday’s phone interview with a potential client did not go well. Again, it’s that whole unpaid labor as a requirement of the hiring process. I’m not working for you for free. I am not giving up billable hours because you’re incapable of reading my portfolio and analyzing my writing skills. That is a lack of skill on YOUR part, not mine. Yesterday, I withdrew from consideration.

I need to follow up with another potential client this week. I knew there was a busy period coming, but I can’t wait any longer, or there won’t be room in the schedule. I need to know whether or not we’re moving forward.

Saturday morning, I ran some errands, even though it was still raining. None of the places I went to has the filter I need for the furnace. I need to get my hands on one before they come to do maintenance on Friday. My landlord complains if they charge him for the filter, saying they charge too much. Um, why is this my problem? It’s not like the rent doesn’t cover it. Especially with the increase.

We had a fire in the fireplace Saturday afternoon. Willa wasn’t sure about it, which is funny, because Willa is The Little Adventurer. Charlotte was fascinated. She sat at a safe distance, but where she could watch it. Tessa’s been around fireplaces since she was a kitten, so she was nonchalant about it all. It was pretty funny.

Sunday morning, they had me up at 4 AM, because they were hissing and growling and chasing each other around the house. Well, because they all three wanted to be in my bedroom and THEN the hissing, growling, and running around the house started.

They settled down once they had breakfast, but I was up. Once I’m up, I’m up.

The sun was out, so I put the exterior decorations back up. I’ll add in the lights this weekend or so. I had to drive to Brewster to pick something up. The pickup went well, although the person doing the handoff made me feel uncomfortable.

Stopped in Dennis for some overpriced but delicious baked goods. But it was a little too much sugar for one day.

Read the newest Donna Leon, UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN, which was excellent. I love that series. Read a different mystery by a different author where I like the characters, but there’s a lack of research in some of the aspects that really bothers me. So I always have mixed feelings when I read one of the books.

Up early on Monday. The cats tried to get me up at 4 AM again, but I closed the door, keeping Tessa in the bedroom with me and the other two out. Then, of course, they all worked to try and get the door open, but I managed to stay in bed until 5:30, which is a reasonable time to get up.

I did not take the holiday. I went in to do some work onsite with a client, hoping for a quiet day. No meditation group. Went in search of the furnace filter, and then make chicken pot pie for dinner. I’m getting good at making chicken pot pie from scratch.

Had a good follow-up from Thursday’s conversation, and am moving forward on that. Also got my edits/proofs from my editor at Llewllyn for the piece for 2021. Will turn those around this week.

Today, I’m onsite with a client most of the day, and then off to the library for a bit. Along with writing, revisions, and final galleys.

The whole situation with Syria and the Kurds is disgusting. The woman who was raped and then stoned to death — unacceptable. Sending our troops to Saudi Arabia — not acceptable. The Narcissistic Sociopath dances with glee as people are slaughtered, and he makes a personal profit. The GOP, who could stop him, won’t. Not out of fear, but out of greed. Add to that the video of the Sociopath killing people who disagree with him that’s running at his resort? He should be in front of the Hague, and then locked away until he rots. It will take decades to repair what he’s destroyed. Which is, of course, what he was put in there to do in the first place. Destroy. Every single person who enables and votes for him is complicit. And must be defeated. This is what the GOP has worked toward since Reagan was in office. Greed and apathy made it possible.

One word at a time. That’s all I can do.

 

Published in: on October 15, 2019 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 15: Cat Adjustments Continue During the Storm  
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Mon. May 12, 2014: Reading, Writing, Contest Entries

Monday, May 12, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend. Friday was a good day at the library, albeit a busy one. Got a bunch of reports done, some new books on the shelves, prepped for today’s board meeting, dealt with all the little issues that come up to help patrons.

After the day was over, I headed to a different library, where a colleague and I culled entries for the third contest I’m working on — making sure the payments and entries matched, and then making sure that they followed the submission guidelines. Not able to follow directions? Gone! This is the real world, people. If you’re so arrogant you think you’re too good for “guidelines”, guess what? You’re wrong.

Came home, cooked dinner, went back to work on contest entries for the second contest.

Up early Saturday morning. Did some work on the TRACKING MEDUSA edits and the next two Big Script Episodes. Two trips to the dump with recycling and yard waste.

By 10 AM, I was headed to Osterville LIbrary to hear Patry Francis speak about her new book THE ORPHANS OF RACE POINT (which I ordered for our library –and it’s on the shelf). We’ve been communicating on social media since THE LIAR’S DIARY came out, but this is the first chance we got to meet, and it was fun. My boss was also there, and we had a nice chat.

Came back, worked all day, mostly on contest entries.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, so we had a nice day, doing whatever Mom wanted. I also finished the contest entries, finished the write-ups, and sent them off.

Did a lot of work sitting outside on the deck — it was so lovely out.

I did some reading for myself, too: Donna Leon’s latest release, BY ITS COVER (which is set against a library, which makes me happy). She’s trying something very post-modern with her last few books, and, much as I hate to say it, it’s not working for me. She’s stopping just before the climax. We KNOW who did it, and what happens next, but it actually happens offstage and there’s no breath of resolution or how that particular case changed Brunetti. I’m struggling with it. I respect her choices, I understand closing the blind on a life still in progress, but I’m getting frustrated with these abrupt endings.

Also reading Ann Patchett’s book of essays, THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE. Love it. She spent some time at P-town’s Fine Arts Work Center. She talks about people who say they want to write and don’t, and says, “I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers.” (p.30). She’s very generous, and, based, on my own experience, I heartily disagree. What I have seen, in workshop after workshop after workshop over the years, is that people don’t write out of a combination of laziness and lack of commitment. They like the idea of being a “writer”, but they don’t actually want to sit down, put in the work, or learn the craft, and I have no patience for that.

Patchett also talks about people who come up and tell you they have a great story that YOU (the writer) must write, and how she struggles to be polite to them. I’m done with being polite to these insulting asshats. If I’m feeling generous, my response is, “Here’s my agent’s number. If there’s a first contract offer and a check for ten thousand dollars on her desk by 10 AM tomorrow morning, we can START negotiations. Anything less than that, forget it.” When I’m not feeling generous, I say, “No, I don’t HAVE to write YOUR story. I’m busy working on my own.”

I’m done with these people who think writing is easy and they’d do it “if they had time”. It’s about more than time. It’s about work ethic and talent and commitment and craft. It is a specialized skill, in the way that brain surgery and plumbing are highly specialized skills, and the better we are at it, the easier it looks.

Disagreeing with her in these particular essays doesn’t make me love the book any less, and I certainly appreciate her generosity of spirit.

Today’s focus is all on the TRACKING MEDUSA edits, the next two episodes of the script, and revising the first two.

The inspector is coming for his yearly making-sure-we-renters-are-following the rules. Put in fresh batteries for the smoke detectors, even though I changed them all on the Equinox.

I have some new story ideas spinning, on which I jotted some notes, and there’s a Mermaid Ball meeting this evening in Buzzards Bay.

Back to work!

Devon

Fri. May 9, 2014: Library, Scripts, Contest Entries, and Edits

Friday, May 9, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy day at the library. A lot of it was spent coaxing our machines to do what they’re supposed to do — what should have been a fairly straightforward project took much longer than it should have. A solid reminder of why I loathe Microsoft and how much happier I am with my Mac. However, I also got some other work done, on outreach for the theatre collection and to writers, encouraging them to use our library as a resource and even write their books on site, polish my report for the board next week, etc. There were also all those things that come up during the day, to help patrons find something they want, and to deal with the dozens of issues that come up during the day that need attention to keep the collection running so patrons can get what they need when they need it.

Today, I’ll be finishing up the big project from yesterday and printing a lot of book spine labels, along with everything else. A few things came up yesterday that I need the Circulation Director to teach me how to do properly, too! Always something new to learn, which keeps things fun.

Before I’d gone to work, I’d polished and sent the second episode of The Big Script Project. I’d integrated notes from the first episode that affect the second episode, and tried a few things that are easy fixes if they want a different direction. Later today, I’ll get started on Episodes 3 & 4, which need to be delivered next week, along with the revisions of Episode 1.

The next round of edits for TRACKING MEDUSA arrived yesterday morning (I think I mentioned that in yesterday’s blog post), so I’ll turn those around this weekend, finalize the Series Bible for it, and do the “Odd Word Sheet” for “Severance”, which is the next Amber Quill release coming down the pike for me.

Stopped at the store and the liquor store on the way home from the library. Had a glass of wine on the deck — Tessa was pouting and wouldn’t come out. Cooked dinner, and then got to work on contest entries. I have one stack to finish up over the weekend, and I’m supposed to meet with a colleague after work to go over entries on another contest.

Donna Leon’s newest release, BY ITS COVER, is out (and I got it, I’d put it on hold). It’s set against a Venetian library. I’m in heaven! Now, I just have to make sure I carve out some time over the weekend to read it.

At some point, I also have to get gas for the mower, fire it up, and start mowing my lawn, before it looks like a jungle!

Have a great weekend, all, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Devon

Hey, if you want a fun read for the weekend, pick up a copy of my ghost story, “Lake Justice”, released by Amber Quill Press here.

Published in: on May 9, 2014 at 5:50 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 9, 2014: Library, Scripts, Contest Entries, and Edits  
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Mon. Dec. 30, 2013: How I Develop Material & Juggle Projects

Monday, December 30, 2013
Day before Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Friday was busy, busy, busy. Took the leaves and the recycling to the dump. The place was so busy! But it’s heartwarming to see how dedicated people are to recycling in this area.

Picked up a few groceries, ran some books back to Wheldon Library (and, of course, got out some more), picked up something waiting for me at Sturgis Library, and then headed back. Got out some job pitches, worked with students.

Set up the development notebook for the Stowe-Eliot-Bronte project, even though I’m not really sure what it is yet. Ordered some books for it via the library network. Wrote up the passage that got the wheels turning in the first place, sourced it, and copied out the bibliographic notes.

Dug out the Hedrick biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Using the index, I tried to cross-check the info from the Eliot bio, and didn’t find confirmation. So I’ll be re-reading the entire biography — which will give me plenty of background for the piece in general. Asked a friend who knows a lot about the Brontes if she’d ever heard the reference. Found the Rugoff biography of the Beecher clan, and there’s a reference to the same incident, but not enough to hang my hat on. I hope getting my hands on the volumes of letters will give me what I need!

My friend and colleague Nancy Rubin Stuart’s wonderful book DEFIANT BRIDES was named a Best Book of 2013! I’m so thrilled for her. It’s an amazing book, and well-deserved recognition.

Saturday, I finished and printed out the pilot episode of a one-hour drama. It’s in the editing queue. I started the third teleplay for this packet, an adaptation of one of my novels. Got some good work done on it and fell in love with my characters all over again.

Unfortunately, I was also under the weather, sneezing and coughing, although I didn’t feel that bad. I felt much worse by Sunday, where I ended up fighting some sort of stomach upset. Don’t know why — I’ve been the least self-indulgent during this holiday season that I’ve been in years. Irritating.

Read Donna Leon’s THE GOLDEN EGG, one of her Venetian mysteries, which I love. Also started Kim Edwards’s THE LAKE OF DREAMS, which is quite good, and got some reading done on the Stowe bio. Treated myself to a chapter in an excellent art history tome as background for a different project.

Got some good work done on TRUE HOME, the initial novel in the Sparkle & Tarnish series. I love the way it’s developing. I’m working very differently with this project — developing a section, writing a few chapters, typing them, adapting them to script. The amount of research is enormous, and I’m looking forward to layering in a lot more detail.

I spent hours with Gilded Age Mansion house plans over the weekend, and am about to design their NYC mansion, remembering that they’ve taken over a mansion that was originally built several years earlier by an eccentric, and then having their architect modify it for the Gilded Age. As always the librarians at the New York Historical Society, the New York Public Library, and the JP Morgan Library have gone out of their way to be helpful, and will all be thanked in the Acknowledgements.

Speaking of Acknowledgements, I start keeping a list as soon as I need to ask someone for something when I’m researching a book. Every time someone is helpful, I add that individual to the list, so by the time the book is ready to go through the production process, it’s all there, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting anyone. Again, something I learned the hard way by not keeping track during the writing and then screwing up and forgetting people when the manuscript went to press.

Hey, if you can learn from my mistakes, they’ll have been worth it!

Still a little queasy this morning, but have a lot to do. I have an editing intensive workshop starting on the 6th, and I need to polish up the exercises. Those students are getting a lot for their money, but they’ll also have to put in a lot of work!

I want to wait and run my errands tomorrow, but I will have to run down to Centerville Library later today to drop off/pick up some books. Yes, I go to one of the local libraries ALMOST every day.

I want to get some work done on the novellas, the teleplay, and the airship steampunk piece. I need to get back into the latter — I’ve lost my momentum in it, and that’s a shame. I need to find those threads again and get back on track.

Day before the dark moon is always my lowest-energy day of the month. I’d like to crawl back into bed, but that is not an option.

I can’t believe 2013 is nearly over. It’s been challenging, and I’m ready for a better year next go-round!

Devon

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and milder

It’s rainy and gloomy, but at least it’s warmer.

Saturday was spent working on the information sheets the students had posted regarding the novels on which they’re stuck for the class. Really great stuff, but because of the amount of work I’m spending on each piece, it took a lot more time than I expected. Worth it, though, to look at the possibilities from several different angles and make suggestions that will hopefully help, and that they can feed into the exercises moving forward.

The rest of the day, I spent on working on the material for Confidential Job #1. And got out two major submissions that needed to get out the door.

Yesterday, I gave myself the day off from writing and classes. I needed to get over the migraine. I spent the morning with newspapers (and doing some more laundry), ran some errands in the afternoon, vacuumed the house, and finished the material for Confidential Job #1, so that today I can do the write-up. Ran some errands, including getting some citrus cilantro candles for the big holders by the fireplace for spring, stocking up on pet food, and looking at more garden stuff and patio furniture (none of which I bought).

Read Donna Leon’s mystery A QUESTION OF BELIEF, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Her books make me want to visit Venice more than ever.

One of the cable channels is replaying FIREFLY over the next couple of months, with the pilot and first episode airing last night, so I watched it. I enjoy it more this time around than when it was on a network. Also glad to know that some of the actors I like will see residual checks! 😉

It’s supposed to rain most of the day, so I plan to stay in, write, work on the classes, finish up the assignment for Confidential Job #1, and tackle some of the growing stack of library books by my chair. And maybe even unpack some stuff in the office. I’m hoping tomorrow and Wednesday will be dry enough to get out in the yard and do some clean-up. There are a lot of small branches strewn around, because of the high winds, and I want to stack them someplace, and start cleaning out the beds and preparing them.

Devon

Published in: on March 7, 2011 at 8:10 am  Comments (5)  
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

So where’s this thaw they keep promising us, and pushing back day-by-day? We had snow flurries last night!

Everything that needed to go out today went out yesterday, all good. Now I can focus on the book. I’ve been invited to present in person at a conference at Mt. Holyoke in the fall — not too far away from where I live, and it will be fun to do some in-person work. A friend and I brainstormed topics for a one-day, online seminar at the end of March. So, the morning, at least, was productive.

Afternoon was busy with site work, but I managed to grab a few hours to read Donna Leon’s ABOUT FACE. I love her mysteries set in modern-day Venice. We’re definitely going to talk about her work in “Setting as Character.”

Also, a couple of story ideas are roiling around in my brain. I wish they’d queue up properly, but that’s not how the process works.

My back is REALLY bad. Yoga and tiger’s balm are helping somewhat, and I just have to hang in there until the end of the month, when I have an acupuncture appointment. Pain medication doesn’t even take off the edge, so I’m not going to waste my liver on it. Heat, stretching, tiger’s balm, valerian root (except I don’t have any with me). When I have a car again towards the end of the week, I’m going to get some icy hot patches and see if they help. There’s a massaging chair here that is sort of fun, but doesn’t give much long-term help.

Back to the book, with breaks to work on the seminar essays. And my March workshop is almost full — the getting unstuck one. There are just a few more slots left.

To the page.

Devon

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 7:45 am  Comments (7)  
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I didn’t have internet access over the weekend. It was pretty great to have the laptop with me, and I have to admit that I didn’t mind being disconnected for a few days.

Saturday was great — got out of the house, got to CT just fine, got set up. Got some work done. Dashed out at lunchtime to pick up some sushi and stopped at one of my favorite wine stores. Although I rarely drink white wine anymore, I felt like it, so, along with the bottle of pinot noir, i picked up a bottle of Chilean Savignon Blanc, one of the best wines I’ve ever had. Truly wonderful.

Worked on the Matty book all day. It will need a lot of work in the revision — I’m finding the book as I write it. That’s the rhythm of this particular book. I know what the themes are — it’s the execution of them that needs work!

I love the kitchen at this particular gig — I always have the best time cooking in this kitchen.

Worked on an assignment for Confidential Job #1 in the evening, but mostly, took it easy, did my yoga, etc. It’s nice to have the ROOM for yoga.

Slept well, up early on Sunday. Kind of a dreary day with patches of sun. I dashed outside to take advantage of the sun whenever possible, doing yoga and meditation out on the deck, got the work for which I was there done, and had a nice, relaxing afternoon reading Donna Leon’s FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES (I love her books) and cooking a great pasta meal in the evening.

I finally watched the original NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM on Sunday night — I’d never seen it before. It took longer to get going than I expected, but it was fun. I love the Museum of Natural History, so it was fun to see how it was used in the movie, and it was also great that the stuff they changed to fit the script made sense within the context of the museum, zaniness and all, although the whoe Egyptian area reminded me more of the exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art than anything I’ve seen at the Museum of Natural History! And yet, it was set up so I went with it instead of getting annoyed by it.

Monday morning was gorgeous — yoga and meditation outside, some writing done on the Matty book. I wanted to work on the sci-fi book and discovered I didn’t have the notes with me and was at a point where I couldn’t move forward without the notes. So that was a bit frustrating.

I did do a final proof on a manuscript that goes out the door tomorrow,and polished the outline and synopsis for it. I’ll polish the cover letter later today.

Got home by mid-afternoon, made potato salad, unpacked, tried to get the cats to forgive me for leaving. My mom stayed with them, so it wasn’t like they were alone, but they were still mad.

Quiet night, early to bed, up early this morning. I did some work on the Matty book, and also started the new serial. It needs to be around 50K, and I want to get that first draft DONE so I can revise it and get it out the door this summer.

I have a ton of errands and catching up to do from not being online and working out f town these past few days. So I better get to it. And then I want to get back to the page. I’m feeling optimistic about the writing again, after flailing for the past few weeks.

If you haven’t read my guest blog over on The Book Blues, please stop by, leave a comment, and, if you want, you can enter to win a copy of HEX BREAKER. And my Preakness Wrap-up is finally up on FEMMEFAN.

Devon

Serial: 1,656 words out of 50K

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was a decent day. I got out a lot of business correspondence, I pitched for a job, I got some work done on the Billy Root story.

I felt like I was coming down with something, but went to my friend’s place anyway for the afternoon. I baked cookies, and we just had a relaxing afternoon of reading and hanging out, and I felt much better. I read Donna Leon’s A NOBLE RADIANCE. I enjoy her books so much. But they always make me hungry, because these are Italians, after all, and great food and wine are very important, even in the midst of a murder investigation!

I came home to find that Elsa’s sick. She seems to have developed a respiratory infection, which of course, is worrying, because I can’t isolate her from the others, and I don’t want everyone to get sick. I’m calling around this morning to find a clinic that can see her – I can’t afford my regular vet. But she needs some sort of antibiotic something, and fast.

Keep your fingers crossed – it’s always so stressful when one of the animals is sick.

I cancelled out of Oscar plans last night to take care of Elsa, although I had the show on. I thought Hugh Jackman did a great job, I liked having former winners give tributes to nominees, as a wardrobe person, it’s very, very, very important to have awards like art direction, costume, and make-up in the main program, not shunted off to the side somewhere. While individual dresses were, for the most part, flattering, I thought there was far too much dressing alike, with large skirts, one shoulder, and pleating. I like to see variety in fashion, and I thought that was sadly lacking. It was fine, but I’m not sure if I just wasn’t in the mood for it, or what. I wasn’t thrilled. I’m glad the nominees and the winners had a great time, I think it’s good to get that kind of recognition, because the fact that any movie ever gets made and released is something to cheer. If you’ve ever actually worked on a set, you know how much damned hard work it is and how hard you have to fight for everything.

Today will be all about getting Elsa the care she needs. There’s a list of “have-to’s” stacked up, but Elsa is the priority.

Devon

Published in: on February 23, 2009 at 7:57 am  Comments (12)  
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