Fri. Sept. 27, 2019: Heading Into a Busy Weekend

Friday, September 27, 2019
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about the romantic entanglements in SAVASANA AT SEA.

Got some writing done in the early morning — a good session on ELLA BY THE BAY. Got some work done at the library, although it was so chaotic there, I left earlier than I’d planned.

Home, prepped for my big noon meeting. It went really well. We are going to do a follow-up meeting in the next couple of weeks and see where to go from there. It would be an exciting project. There are a lot of people who are pitching for it, so let’s hope I’m the right fit.

I’m frustrated and fed up with A2 hosting. It shouldn’t be this difficult to fix the problem in the contact form and add in the recaptcha. It’s not working, and they basically shrug and tell me the same thing over and over again, stuff we’ve tried that doesn’t work, instead of doing something that would actually fix it. This should not be brain surgery. It should be a 10 minute fix. I guess that article a techie contact on Twitter sent me is true — both their security and their customer service have gone into the toilet over the last few months.

I’m going to start talking to other hosts again. I’ll grit my teeth and deal for now, but when it comes to renewal time in January, unless things get a lot better FAST — I’ll move all my sites to a new host. I bet I wind up having to build everything from scratch, since I’m not uploading FTP files, but working on the WP platform itself. Right now, Site Motion looks like the best fit for what I need.

Fortunately, my registrations are with Name Silo and they’re fantastic, so it’s only the hosting.

Read TERNS OF ENDEARMENT by Donna Andrews, which is really funny. I thoroughly enjoy that series. That series has one of the best growth curves of any series I’ve read. Both the central cast and the supporting cast have had terrific arcs over the years.

I’m learning so much re-watching the entire MARY TYLER MOORE show, all seven seasons. Again, the character arcs grew a lot over the years. As the ensemble got more connected, the show took more risks. The comedy beats, the detail work, when to be broad, when to be subtle, how to write a joke so the actor can make it land well — I am learning SO much.

Couldn’t sleep last night. I finally gave in to the insomnia and got up at 4 AM to feed Tessa, make coffee, and write. The deadline for GRAVE REACH looms.

The next couple of months will be hugely stressful. All I can do is deal with each piece as it comes.

Not sure when this will get posted. There are a ton of errands to do this morning. If I don’t get gas in the car first thing, it will be bad. I have to pick up my mother’s prescriptions, take the garbage to the dump, come back and take the recycling to the dump, run some errands in Sandwich, go grocery shopping, get some work done.

At some point, due to lack of sleep, I’ll have to give it all up and catch a few hours’ worth of nap, but I also don’t want to be up all night again tonight.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I guess. Have a great weekend. It’s supposed to be beautiful around here. I wish the damn tourists would leave.

 

Thurs. Sept. 19, 2019: Focus Back on the Writing

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image courtesy of voltamax via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cool

Hop on over to see the latest on the garden in Gratitude and Growth.

I had terrible nightmares Tuesday night into Wednesday. I dreamed someone was casting fishing line and I got a fishhook in my face.

Good work on ELLA yesterday morning and this morning. GRAVE REACH is going well, too.

Yesterday was a loooong day at my client’s, not just because I had to go in an hour early for a meeting. Part of it was that I had a migraine; another was that I’d had an excellent session directly before on GRAVE REACH, and it was difficult to switch headspaces.

As usual, the Remote Chat was outstanding. Owl Labs has put together a report on remote work. I downloaded it and look forward to reading it.

NIGHTMARE IN PINK, the next Travis McGee, was also frustrating when it comes to the female characters. There’s some gorgeous writing, such as calling cubicle offices “people kennels.” But the women in the books are awful. And McGee self-romanticizes his obsession with sex. He pretends not to objectify the women he screws and leaves, but he does. He justifies it to himself. He can lie to himself; he can lie to them; I’m not buying what he’s selling. I might have when I was twenty. But I know better now.

I listened to the radio broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” that was done in Florida last spring. It went well. In spite of the gaffe made by one of the actors, who was so charming he took the audience along with him and they applauded when he recovered, overall, it went well. So I damn well better get “Pier-less Crime” polished and out to them.

I have a commitment tomorrow, so I may not blog here. But you can hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk about creating the passenger ensemble for Savasana at Sea. Another Upbeat Authors post will be up on Monday, which is the Equinox. Then we’ll really notice how early it gets dark.

Have a great weekend.

Wed. Sept. 18, 2019: Saturn Finally Goes Direct

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Direct (Today)
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

I hope that Saturn going direct takes some pressure off.

I talk about Saturn going direct over on Kemmyrk. There’s also the latest chapter of “Fred Needs a Writer” up on Ink-Dipped Advice. We’re nearing the end of that little parable. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more about which to write!

Meditation was good on Monday afternoon, although there were heart openers, and that’s still tough. I’m still too deep in grief to want to open my heart; it still needs protection. But it reinforced that not going last week was the right decision — I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes without breaking down.

Going along with GRAVE REACH edits. I’m happy with them, I just wish I could make them happen faster. We’re getting down to the wire. Plus, I immediately have to dive into revisions for BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and then DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m wondering if I’ll have to work on one of the books in the morning and the other in the evening. I’ll do what I have to do in order to get it done.

I’m scrolling past a lot of the stupid on Twitter, because people get to say what they want, and I don’t have to respond. Quietly unfollowing some, blocking others. I don’t have to make big public drama about it. We follow each other on recommendations or follow hashtags; as we get to know each other, we’re going to decide we don’t want to interact. That’s life.

I’m unfollowing several traditionally published, so-called “best selling” authors because they’re whining about their careers. Careers other people would kill for. Careers other people would handle with grace (even when tired and frustrated) and for which they’d have gratitude. We all get tired. We all get frustrated. We all need support. So many of us are generous with our support in this community. That’s a good thing. When one of us does well, it’s good for everyone. But a constant pattern of whining and ingratitude turns me away from both the person and the writing.

Again, there’s no need to get into a big public spectacle about it. I’m a Pisces; I quietly swim away and go on with my life.

And don’t waste any more of my money on that author’s books.

Hey, plenty of people don’t want to read my books because of my political activism, and the fact that I walk my talk. That’s their choice. That’s the positive about having the freedom to make that choice. It doesn’t have to be a debate or a public shouting match.

I’ve been a conscientious consumer for years (now called “hold your wallet” among other things). If I feel a company supports something unethical, I stop buying their product/spending my money with them. I’ve done that with Wal-Mart for decades. I will (and have) drive 150 miles out of my way to avoid spending even a penny there. When I see lists demanding boycotts of businesses that support the far right — I stopped wasting my money on them years ago.

I feel badly for my elderly mother, who’s now lost her favorite show, DANCING WITH THE STARS, because they hired that lying idiot Sean Spicer. She won’t watch it anymore. And she won’t start watching again, even after he’s voted off; even in subsequent seasons, because they’ve broken her trust and proven they have no ethics. I’m not the one who told her she “can’t” or “shouldn’t.” She made that choice on her own. She doesn’t like many of the current shows, but that was one she usually liked (she had plenty of problems with a lot of the fools they’ve hired over the seasons). I ignored the social media posts about him. He doesn’t get any more real estate in my life. It was bad enough when he had a job where I had to pay attention to him.

Onsite with a client yesterday. In early today, for a meeting about reconfiguring one of the client’s websites. I have most of the content; we just have to keep up with something she likes for the visuals with the web designer, something that also meets our needs.

Other than that, it’s back to the page on GRAVE REACH, “Pier-less Crime”, ELLA BY THE BAY, and a couple of things with which I’m playing. I’m trying to come up with a title for the play about Canaletto’s sisters; I think I have to cut some characters. But that’s starting to come together.

I shouldn’t work on GAMBIT COLONY, but that’s the best stress release valve I have, so I am.

As always, it’s back to the page.

Published in: on September 18, 2019 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 18, 2019: Saturn Finally Goes Direct  
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Tues. Sept. 17, 2019: Trying To Smooth Out Difficult Times

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Difficult weekend. Everything worked my last nerve. I’m angry and hurting and unhappy and nothing works to lessen it. It’s a bad patch. I’ll get through it, but it’s not fun while it lasts.

Hop on to see the mid-month check in over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions; some musings about reciprocal and non-reciprocal spirituality on Kemmyrk; today’s post for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge over on A Biblio Paradise. That catches us up, at least for the moment.

We still miss Lucy terribly. It’s tough on Tessa, being the only cat. She’s with us all the time, but she misses having another cat in the house. Without Lucy to sleep on the bed, my elderly mother started having nightmares again.

Friday night, I gussied up and attended the opening reception to the new exhibit at the Cahoon Museum. I almost didn’t manage it, because, in spite of their expanded parking, it was packed. Great for the support of the museum, but frustrating. I cheated and parked at a business next store that was already closed for the night.

The reception was lovely. I have to say that I found the “pre-mortem” daguerreotypes disturbing. Photos taken just before the moment of death. Creepy. And the hunters with their trophies were gross. But there was also an exhibit called Look This Way which included “Unidentified Women” with artist Jodi Colella that was quite wonderful. She combines film and fiber in a unique and wonderful way. She created the giant scorpion out of black doilies for the fiber art exhibit last autumn. I had the chance to talk with her for a bit. I didn’t want to hog her time, because the reception was packed. But we had a lovely conversation. She brings such insight and imagination to her work.

I ran into a couple of people I knew, which was nice. I eavesdropped on several conversations (as writers do). Mostly old rich white people moaning about their privileges and criticizing anyone who didn’t grovel before them. Several of them deserved a good slap upside the head.

Worked on GRAVE REACH, but not enough. When I’m actually into it, it flows well, but sitting myself down and doing it is a struggle. For no good reason. This book is leaner and more tightly plotted than the last two, and, in many ways, I think it works better. So I don’t understand why I’m struggling with these revisions.

Worked on ELLA. Worked on another idea I’ve been spinning, that looks like it might turn into something worthwhile. Played with some short story ideas. Worked on some article pitches.

Did some revisions on the first volume of GAMBIT COLONY, which I shouldn’t have, but working on that book soothes me when I’m stressed, so I did it.

Had sent an LOI to a company that looked like it would be a good match for some marketing work, pairing writing with my film/theatre expertise. Their response? Demanding a timed on-line assessment. No. Not doing those. If you’re too lazy and stupid to read my cover letter, resume, and samples to figure whether or not I’m right for the job, that’s on you. We are not a good match. Do not waste my time for what you’re claiming is a top-level assignment by sending me something an hourly minimum-wage employee would have to fill out. I have three decades of credits behind me. You know where you can put your “timed assessment.”

Another response to an LOI was a request for additional information, via an online form. It arrived on Saturday afternoon, outside of business hours. Fine. I figured I’d do it on Monday, DURING business hours, as any legitimate business expects. Only they nagged me ALL WEEKEND. I ignored them. They’re not paying me. I’m not giving up my weekend to fill out a form. It can wait until Monday. I suspect part of this “next step” will be a demand for an unpaid project-specific sample, in which case I will tell them where they can put it. I’m supposed to be panicked and jump through hoops because they claim they had 400 applicants? First, I don’t believe they did; second, part of the introduction/interview process is to see if we are a good fit FOR EACH OTHER. So far? Not liking what I see.

It’s a complete lie that there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill top-level jobs. The problem is that the companies outsource EVERYTHING to unskilled recruiters who are working part-time in between their college classes (because yes, I know how to get them to tell me everything about themselves and they’re not skilled enough to avoid the questions or dig into MY background) and HR people who don’t know anything about the job or the company, and do everything by form and algorithm. You’re not going to find the strongest skilled, creative person for the job that way. Genuinely skilled people with solid credentials aren’t going to play that game.

Saturday was all about laundry. Nine loads of laundry. We changed over from the summer cotton sheets to the flannel fall/early winter sheets. We took the summer covers off the chairs and sofa and put on the fleece for the sofa and the autumn on the big chair. The lace curtain panels came down in my room and the red-and-gold three season curtains went up. Some of the plants came in. Some are getting cut back. Things are being washed, dried, ironed/folded, and packed until next summer. Leaves are falling, and I’ll have to start raking soon.

I read a book by a writer who was trying to write blue collar, rough characters from her point of white privilege. It didn’t work. She didn’t understand what drove the characters, and they weren’t dimensional enough. I’ve read some of her other work and enjoyed it, for the most part. This was a disappointment.

Worked on the books for review. One blurb will go out today; will send the other tomorrow or Thursday.

I’m reading the entire Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald in order. I’d read several of them a long, long time ago. It’s interesting to re-read them all, with fresh perspective of life experience. They are very of their time and timeless. It’s interesting. There’s some beautiful, concise descriptive writing. I didn’t like any of the female characters in THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY. I’m hoping I will like them better in NIGHTMARE IN PINK. But so, far, not liking the women in that book either.

It’s also interesting to re-watch the entire MARY TYLER MOORE series in order. It’s very much of its time, too. I wasn’t too excited about the first half of the first season, but then it started having a little more bite. I remember it being more ground-breaking than I’ve seen so far, but maybe it grew into it. Or maybe it was ground-breaking at the time and seems less so now, because of the ground it broke.

THE NEW YORK TIMES is being stupid and pandering again, as usual. Calling a sexual assault “harmless fun” is not “poor phrasing.” It’s trivializing sexual assault, which is something the media –and the justice department does. Brett Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed, and he needs to be impeached.

The whole bru-ha-ha over Felicity Huffman serving 14 days for bribing someone to fix her kid’s test scores irritates me, too. I am furious at her for doing that. First of all, it’s an insult to her kid. If my parents had so little faith that I could get into the school of my choice that they felt they had to bribe someone, I would have been devastated. And yes, I got in to every school to which I applied, including top-level Ivy League schools. On. My. Own. Merit. I’d always admired Huffman’s work and she presented herself as an ethical person. So I am angry that she’d stoop to something like this.

Do I think it’s fair that she serves only 14 days when a black woman got 5 years for trying to vote? No. Those sentences have no parity. I believe both racism and economic segregation played a part. But I also disagree with John Legend’s comments that there shouldn’t be any jail time. For the black woman who was arrested for trying to vote? Zero time, I believe, a class in political science, and community service. But rich people trading on white privilege need to have serious consequences. Is jail the best solution? Probably not. But community service isn’t enough either. Using the same amount of money she paid or more to pay toward the tuition of someone smarter than her kid who can’t afford college? Maybe that would help.

Yesterday was a long but productive day at my client’s, then work at the library, then Meditation. I desperately needed it.

Today will be another long day with my client and then who knows what else. I’m trying to tackle everything that needs to be done and struggling.

For the moment, though, it’s back to the page. The consistency gets results.

 

Fri. Sept. 13, 2019: A Pretty Day

Friday, September 13, 2019
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Today is a lovely autumn day, and I’m trying to get myself steady.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about how I built Sophie’s shipboard friends and foes.

Yesterday, I got a lot of work done on LOIs, posts, and I’m working on a free promotional download packet of my series. The formatting is a bit of a slog, but it matters. When I pick up a book, be it print or ebook, and the formatting is amateur hour, I cross the author off my list.

Got some work done on ELLA. The work is slow, but steady. This first draft is kind of a mess because I’m blank paging instead of using an outline, but I’m learning a lot. I think I’m going to outline the next two books in the trilogy. It’s easier to have at least a loose idea of where I’m going.

Didn’t get enough work done on GRAVE REACH or “Pier-less Crime” but I hope to fix that today.

I did some more research and am working out the plot of the play on Canaletto’s sisters. I still need a good title. But the characters are coming together, and I have at least one of the conflicts, with two of the smaller conflicts figured out. So that’s a help. I may have to cut some characters.

I cancelled this morning’s phone meeting. The deeper I dug into their work and values, the more uncomfortable I was with how they work. I have other opportunities that are more suited to the way I work.

I have a lot to do this weekend, writing and review-wise, but I’m actually looking forward to it.

We are still grieving Lucy’s loss, though, and will for a long, long time.

Published in: on September 13, 2019 at 8:54 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 13, 2019: A Pretty Day  
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Thurs. Sept. 12, 2019: Trying to Get Back on Track

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Monsoon-like rains

Sorry this is late, but the weather’s thrown a monkey wrench into things this morning. Tomorrow’s post will be late, too, because I have a morning meeting.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on the garden. And if you didn’t see Monday’s post about Flexibility on the GDR site, it’s here. I’m working on the questions for 2020, and they will be posted soon.

It’s been a tough week. We miss Lucy terribly. Tessa steps up, trying to take care of everyone in the household, but she misses Lucy, too.

One of my clients was at a luncheon with the head of Bide-A-Wee, where I adopted several of my cats when I lived in NYC. She got us in touch, and Leslie looks forward to helping me find the next member of our feline family when we’re ready. It means going to NY, but I’m established with Bide-A-Wee, and they don’t automatically mark every cat as “must be only pet” as they do here.

We are, of course, open to a cat coming to us from another source, but it’s nice to know we have options.

The writing has been a struggle. I’m close to the end of this draft of GRAVE REACH and am pushing through. I’m working slowly but steadily on ELLA BY THE BAY. I’m working slowly and not quite as steadily on “Pier-less Crime”. I’ve also been playing with another idea that’s pulled at me and pulled at me.

I have a meeting early tomorrow morning. I like what I know of the company, but wasn’t thrilled with the interactions with the person I’ll be talking to tomorrow. We’ll see. I’m getting jaded. Most of these appointments are a complete waste of time. They’re about putting quotas into the statistics column, not actually finding the right person for an assignment or a marketing campaign. It’s a waste of time.

I’m getting more and more frustrated with A2 hosting. Now, when I have a question, I have to jump through multiple levels of “security” that has nothing to do with actual security and everything to do with asking me questions that are none of their damn business. Not to mention not actually reading my questions and answering them. Or providing any actual security against spam or anything else. Any random hacker can do whatever they want to my sites. But me? The owner who actually pays for them? Not so much.

A social media contact sent me the link to an article about how A2 has had security breaches since May of this year and isn’t fixing them. Yeah, that’s about when the problems started.

So I’m back to interviewing hosts again. I like what I see and hear so far with Site Ground. I want to have a more detailed conversation with them and maybe move everything over in a few months.

Working on LOIs and some more article pitches. Just so, so weary and sad.

But the Fearless Ink Twitter account I started to keep the business writing part of my social media life separate from everything else is working out well. And the Remote Chat yesterday was tons of fun, as usual. I feel very lucky with these colleagues.

Yesterday, September 11, was difficult, as it is every year. What was especially sickening was that the Narcissistic Sociopath tried to make it all about him, and those damn GOP hypocrites, talking about honor and remembrance, when just a few weeks ago, they tried to deny health care to those who came in and worked on the pile. I hope they all burn in hell for eternity.

I’m nearly finished reading Nancy Martin’s Blackbird Sisters mysteries. They are a lot of fun. I like her writing. It has a lot of energy, warmth, and humor in it. Plus, she’s a good plotter. It’s also fun to read books set in an area I know — Philadelphia and Bucks County.

I made chocolate chip cookies last night just because. Sometimes, you just need a chocolate chip cookie.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 12, 2019 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 12, 2019: Trying to Get Back on Track  
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Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap

Friday, September 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

For some reason, yesterday seems far away.

Got some work done at the library in the morning, including sending out a bunch of LOIs. Did the big grocery shop before the incoming storm. Couldn’t find everything I wanted. How could the store be out of flour? So I guess I’m not baking this weekend, once the storm passes, unless I go shopping again.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the blog under the Ava Dunne name, where I talk about how I’m building the ensemble for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries. This week’s post talks about how I developed Sophie’s friends on land: her housemates Fawn and Bianca, her friend Freddie the painter, her family, the supporting characters that help set up and support certain aspects of her character.

Participated in the Freelance Chat on Twitter yesterday, which was a ton of fun.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” in the afternoon. It’s going more slowly than I’d like, but okay. Crafted a pitch for a magazine for which I’ve wanted to write for years, and I finally came up with something I think is suited to them. That goes out today.

Meeting this morning, which I was not looking forward to (and why this post is going up late).

I’ve set up a separate Twitter account for Fearless Ink. I still will talk about anything on the @DevonEllington account, but @ink_fearless will be focused just on business writing and freelancing. I hope you will follow me on both.

Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. But, because I’m blank paging most of it instead of following a detailed outline, this last third of the book is a mess and difficult to sort out. I feel like I have to type up everything I’ve written so far, so that I can effectively write the last third. This process has been fun and I’ve learned a lot; however, it reminds me why I prefer to work from detailed outlines.

The plan this afternoon and for most of the weekend is to work on GRAVE REACH and finish “Pier-less Crime.” I need both to go out next week. I also have to revise the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, so it’s in good enough shape to be part of the back matter for GRAVE REACH.

There are personal stresses with which I’m dealing with and can’t yet discuss. They are wearing on me, and I hit patches in the day where I feel like I am flat out of coping skills.

Of course, in times of stress, I always want to work on GAMBIT COLONY, because it soothes me. But I can’t do that during this deadline period. I need to focus on what’s on deadline.

But all I can do is the best I can do. And I have to get back to the page.

Have a great weekend. Monday’s post will be a full one, about challenging yourself, for Upbeat Authors.

 

Published in: on September 6, 2019 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap  
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Wed. Sept. 4, 2019: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was sad to hear that Valerie Harper died over the weekend. I was lucky enough to work with her, on DEATH DEFYING ACTS off-Broadway, when she took over for Linda Lavin. She was lovely

I’m going to watch all the season of the Mary Tyler Moore show again. I want to see them with my adult perspective.

Yesterday was very productive at my client’s. Got a lot done. I have a feeling today might not be quite so productive.

Worked on GRAVE REACH, “Pier-less Crime” and ELLA. Worked on the chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT that will go in the back of GRAVE REACH.

The review went out this morning to my editor.

Working on article pitches and LOIs.

Just trying to stay on top of everything and get some forward motion going.

Trying to make some decisions on several fronts. Directions in which I’ve been moving on a few things aren’t really what I want, so I have to correct the course.

Published in: on September 4, 2019 at 5:20 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 4, 2019: Keeping On Keeping On  
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Tues. Sept. 3, 2019: And It’s September

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend. But I needed it. Check out the September list over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

There were plenty of things I should have done on Friday, once I was finished with my work at the library, but I didn’t. I read instead. I’m really enjoying all three series by Elaine Viets.

Played with some ideas, developing them. Have to figure out how to fit them in between everything else I have going on.

Sat outside for awhile on the deck, reading. It was lovely. I want to enjoy every minute I can.

Ordered some books, some for research, and Lauren Dane’s Books 4 & 5 of her Goddess Blade series. That was my treat — only allowed to dip into them once I finished my quota for the day.

When I woke up Saturday, it smelled like autumn. The leaves are starting to turn and fall. The tiger lilies have faded and the chlorophyll has already receded. I’ll have to pull the dry stalks soon. That shouldn’t happen until well into September. The birds are starting their migrations, too. They congregate in the front yard, have a snack, and move on.

Concerned about my friends and colleagues down in Florida, and my contacts in the Bahamas. SAVASANA AT SEA is set in the Bahamas, and so it THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I’m worried about what’s happening there.

Worked on GRAVE REACH. Not enough, but we’re getting there. I’m running out of time for it, though, and that’s setting back the BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA revisions, too, so I’m a little stressed.

Worked on the adaptation to radio for BEHIND THE MAN. Anyone who thinks it’s “easy” to adapt a stage play to a radio play is an idiot. They are two different mediums. It’s not about just changing the format.

In the adaptation, I start by changing the format, scene by scene. I take a scene and change the format. Then, I take out all the visual cues and replace them with aural cues. Then I go over the scene however many times I need to for pace, plot, and character, and layer in additional cues to drive the piece. Putting in sound cues isn’t just about adding noise — it’s about picking the right aural stimulation that drives plot and supports character.

It takes a long time.

But BEHIND THE MAN is one of my favorite plays, so, to me, it’s worth it.

Didn’t finish “Pier-less Crime” which is annoying. I keep changing my mind on certain plot points.

Read more than I should have. More of Elaine Viets’s books. Read Lauren Dane’s GODDESS WITH A BLADE Book 4(the twist at the end made me sad). Worked on the book for review. I should have that done and out by tomorrow.

Worked on some article pitches that will go out this week. I have to scan a couple of clips that aren’t available online to attach with one of them. That’s always a pain the butt.

Spent far too much time on Saturday pruning. I did a big prune on the forsythia bushes in the front. They were really getting out of control. Managed to free an enormous hydrangea around the side that was being choked. Also pruned one of the shrubs in the front bed that’s gotten a little out of control. Watered the front and back lawns, too. I still have to prune in the back (the forsythia and the bittersweet) and hack back the roses (but I’m told I should wait until the first frost to do that).

Also replaced the dying pansies in the front baskets and in the front barrel with large marigolds and chrysanthemums for the autumn. Bought a new mat for the front door (the old one was growing moss; it was beyond time to get rid of it). Did tons of laundry and changed out some of the fabric from summer to autumn.

Didn’t start refinishing the sewing cabinet or the small, drop-leafed table, although I should have. There were plenty of things I should have done this weekend, and just didn’t.

Saw the black cat, who was tucked in amongst the rose bushes. She looked a little worse for wear, but wouldn’t let me near her. I left out food and water on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night, and it was all gobbled up when I got up. I hope it’s the cat and not some other critter.

Feel absolutely weary, both physically and emotionally. Until we know if we’re getting a lease renewal for one more year, I am going to be worried.

Kept an eye on Hurricane Dorian. It’s terrifying how it just stopped moving over the Bahamas.

Re-watched CASABLANCA. Every time I see it, I’m reminded how good it is. So many lines have gone into the lexicon of daily conversation, it’s easy to forget how good the movie is as a piece.

Also watched NORTH BY NORTHWEST. I hadn’t seen it since we studied it in film school, and I’d forgotten a lot of it. The ending was a bit abrupt for my taste, but the rest of it was interesting. Although I wondered how Cary Grant’s character just happened to have enough cash on him to race around the country like that. The logic didn’t quite work.

I’m with a client today and tomorrow. Have a ton of errands on Thursday, and then, hopefully, I can go to yoga. Friday morning, I have an important meeting. So we’re hitting the ground running for September.

In and around all of that, I have to meet my writing deadlines, get some promotions going for my books, and get out a bunch of article pitches and LOIs. I also have to do my postcard for my quarterly freelance mailing. That usually gets a good response and I land some decent repeat work from clients.

Never a dull moment.

But I still wish I could take a couple of weeks of vacation.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 3, 2019 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 3, 2019: And It’s September  
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Fri. Aug. 30, 2019: Here Comes the Holiday!

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Image courtesy of PhotoMIX Company via pixabay

Friday, August 30, 2019
New Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got some work done yesterday. Told the “potential” client that was trying to get me to jump through a bunch of hoops before I actually talked to anyone involved in the project that wasn’t the environment for me. I’m glad I did. I was polite, firm, and direct.

Got ahead on some blog posts. I’m starting Kemmyrk again, now that the 2020 Almanacs are out, and I just submitted my article for the 2021 piece. Here’s an article yesterday on the Dark Moon. And today, there’s an article on the New Moon. The blog won’t have a designated day, but it will go by the phases of the moon, and talk about tarot, etc. I hope you enjoy it.

Gratitude and Growth and Ink-Dipped Advice will both be back next week.

I’m going to start up the blog under the Ava Dunne name, too, where I talk about the Nautical Namaste Mysteries. It’s called Affairs of the Pen, and the first post, on how I decided to write SAVASANA AT SEA is here.

I got some good work done on ELLA BY THE BAY. I got an idea for another stand-alone suspense novel, and did a rough outline. I’m behind where I want to be on GRAVE REACH, but I’m doing a big push this weekend, no matter how much I want time off. I can see the end of this draft, I can almost taste it. And I’m running out of time.

Participated in a fun freelance chat yesterday, which reminded me it’s time to prep my autumn postcard mailing. I land more work from the postcard mailing than any other form of marketing.

I also need to finish “Pier-less Crime” and draft the first scene of the Canaletto Sisters play. Coming up with a title for the latter would be great.

Have a lovely Labor Day Weekend, and we’ll check back in on Tuesday, although the blog might go up late.

Take some time to enjoy!

Published in: on August 30, 2019 at 8:54 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 30, 2019: Here Comes the Holiday!  
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Thurs. Aug. 29, 2019: Duty Served

Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Raining and warm

The remnants of Tropical Storm Aaron are here, so we’re having a lot of rain. We need it, but it’s still a lot.

Yesterday was jury duty. MA has “one day, one trial” which means that, when you get called, you either serve one day or for one trial.

I was up making h’ors d’oeurves at 6 AM, because my friend was stopping by on her way back from Nantucket to pick up the car she left in the garage, and I didn’t think I’d be back in time. So I wanted to make sure she had a snack before driving back to Connecticut.

I was out of the house a little before 8 AM. Traffic was awful, but I got there on time. The zippers in my boots set off the metal detector.

About two dozen of us were in the jury room. The woman from my yoga class wasn’t there; not sure if she got out of it, or if they decided they didn’t need everyone originally put on notice.

I managed to rough out an outline for a stand-alone suspense novel before we even started. I have to figure out specific clues and red herrings, but I have the backstory, the opening, and the end worked out.

We had our orientation, and watched a video, which wasn’t as cheesy as they usually are.

Then, we sat. For three hours. I read most of a novel. The author is highly regarded. I respect her writing, but dislike her as a human being. This novel? Well-written, but I loathe the protagonist: spoiled, weak, and not very bright.

After three hours, we were released. All the cases on the docket were settled, and they didn’t need us. I am now free for three years.

I was surprised that we were left alone in the jury room. In New York, there’s always a court officer with us. People pretty much ignored each other, and read or texted. There was water and a vending machine.

The one time I left the room to go to the Ladies’ room, the male lawyers in the hallway were checking me out like it was Saturday night at an upscale bar. Yeah, I was dressed more professionally than most of my fellow jurors, but still. . .I was torn between feeling flattered and exasperated.

Picked up a bottle of wine on my way home. My friend was there; she’d come over from Nantucket early to try to beat the storm. I made sure she was fed properly and off she went. Glad she ate, because she had a hellish trip back through the storm.

It gave me the gift of a half day. There was no point in going to my client’s; I’d worked ahead into next week. There was absolutely nothing I could do there. I should have worked on any of a number of writing projects; instead, I gave myself the afternoon off.

In the evening, we watched THE MALTESE FALCON. I can’t even count how often I’ve seen it, and I always find something new. I’d forgotten how good the pace was. It moves right along. I still don’t get how everyone thinks Brigid is so enticing. Manipulative, yes, but why fall for it? Anyway, it was research for a sequence I’m working on for ELLA BY THE BAY, where Ella, Simone, Rosalia, Olive, and Antigone sit around watching old movies and yakking, Ella’s attempt to make new friends on the island. I’m watching the other two movies in the scene, CASABLANCA and NORTH BY NORTHWEST this weekend.

I have a nod to a particular MALTESE FALCON scene in my radio play “Broken Links” and whenever I see the movie scene, it makes me laugh.

The less said about the conference with the potential client on Tuesday afternoon the better. It wasn’t the client on the conference, it was a recruiter. Which is ridiculous. Not only that, but nearly every question I asked was answered with, “I can’t answer that; I’m only the recruiter.” Waste of my fucking time. On top of that, now they want me to take a “timed assessment”? Twice? And then talk to a “hiring manager” and then, only MAYBE talk with the people with whom I’d actually work on the project? I don’t think so. Makes me wonder who they paid and how much to be listed as one of the top 100 companies to work for in Boston. Because my experience with them puts them firmly near the bottom of anywhere.

And they definitely need good content and a well-thought out marketing campaign. I went over their website more than once, and I still don’t know what they do.

Next!

Good morning session on ELLA. Worked ahead on some blog posts. Prepping some article pitches that will go out next week. Doing some research on more radio companies.

This afternoon, I will focus on GRAVE REACH for a few hours.

I’m going to write my way into the holiday weekend!

 

Published in: on August 29, 2019 at 8:52 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 29, 2019: Duty Served  
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Tues. Aug. 27, 2019: Trying To Get It All Done

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not very productive. I didn’t get anywhere near as much writing done as I needed to, especially not on GRAVE REACH. ELLA was in fits and starts. The main focus was on the article for Llewellyn, which I polished and sent off yesterday.

Saturday morning, friends stopped in on their way back from Nantucket. I had baked a chocolate sour cream cake on Friday night, and put on the brown sugar frosting on Saturday morning. It was supposed to be a 7-minute frosting, but took 27 minutes, as it does.

I read some of Elaine Viets’s books in her Dead End Job series and really enjoyed them. I finished reading a biography of Wendy Wasserstein, which got me thinking about my early days in professional NY theatre.

I did some research for a client meeting I have this afternoon. I did my paperwork for jury duty, and some other paperwork that needed attention. Got some bills paid and some errands run. Caught up on things like laundry. Cleaned the house.

Saturday was my last day on the antibiotic. I forgot that coming off an antibiotic is even more unpleasant than going on one, so I felt pretty miserable on Sunday and Monday.

Sunday evening, a friend came in on her way back to Nantucket. Brought us some fresh peaches. We’ll eat some and I’ll put the rest into a peach tart.

A lovely little black cat strolled through the yard, exploring. I’m not sure if she’s new to the neighborhood or lost. She was too shy to let me come close. I tried putting food out for her, but Che Guevera Chipmunk was all over it right away, so that didn’t work. I don’t want Che to think he gets room service. But I do want to find out if the little cat is lost and needs help finding her way home, or if she needs a home.

I made a Crockpot chicken tomatillo chili with cornbread, which was pretty good. Drove my friend back to the ferry.

Up early on Monday, writing and getting things done. Worked onsite with a client, prepped for today’s meeting, did some work at the library, went to meditation.

Have to run some errands this morning on my way in to the client’s. Then, I have to dash back to my home office for my conference with my potential client, then to the library to get some work done.

Tomorrow, I’m supposed to show up for jury duty, unless I hear otherwise by 5 PM tonight. Not sure how much I’ll be posting for the rest of the week.

I seriously doubt I’ll get put on a jury. They don’t want someone who is experienced in jury service to actually serve. Someone who might actually understand the way the law works and not be manipulated by lawyers. I’m sure I’ll get kicked out of contention tomorrow.

But it’s important to show up. Vote. Serve jury duty. It matters. It’s part of the responsibility of citizenship. I have no respect for people who try to wiggle out of jury duty. And I loathe people who don’t vote.

I’ll see what happens and think on my feet. All I can do is the best I can do.

 

Published in: on August 27, 2019 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 27, 2019: Trying To Get It All Done  
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Fri. Aug. 23, 2019: This N That

Friday, August 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

Yesterday was unpleasant, in terms of weather. Got some work done at the library. Took care of a bunch of stuff.

Quiet afternoon reading. I’m reading both Elaine Viets’s Dead End Job series and her Mystery Shopper series. They’re fun and lively. She balances plot and character well.

Started reading the Wendy Wassersetein biography WENDY AND THE LOST BOYS. I knew her from my NYC days, although she was a few years ahead of me on both years and her career. I admired her work enormously, although I didn’t know her well. But it was a reminder of a lot of that off-Broadway world that nurtured new work from the mid-seventies into the nineties. I knew some of the same people and places. Brings back a lot of memories. It’s always interesting to read another perspective about something you’ve lived.

Up early this morning. Out to run errands. What usually takes me 30 minutes took TWO HOURS because of traffic.

Friends coming in tomorrow for a bit, so I will clean the house — and hopefully not re-injure my hand. I had a great session on ELLA this morning, and look forward to working on both GRAVE REACH and my article this afternoon.

And focusing on GRAVE REACH all weekend. Next week will be a roller coaster.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on August 23, 2019 at 8:54 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 23, 2019: This N That  
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