Tues. Feb, 4, 2020: Adjustments

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Waxing Moon

Hop on over toA Biblio Paradise for a post about my ultimate fantasy library.

Busy weekend. Friday was a lot of errands, then working on revisions and contest entries. Sent out a pitch and samples for a regular gig which would be fun, and the money would help achieve a few things over the next few months, as I get some other financial pieces in play.

Charlotte had a massive anxiety attack on Friday afternoon, and it took her a few hours to settle down. Which meant I had a few hours where she needed my full attention, instead of being able to work.

Saturday should have had more writing in it than it did. I was a little later than I wanted starting the bread, and it took longer on its rises, but it turned out well.

Friday night, I received an email from someone wanting to set up a meeting about a project with which I’d really like to work. We managed to reach each other on Saturday, and set something up for late this afternoon.

I made another recipe from the cookbook where I made the poorly written chocolate cherry bread a few weeks back. I wanted to give this book one more chance.

It failed.

I noticed something was wrong in the way the recipe was written right off the bat, and rescued it. But, had I prepared the recipe exactly as written, I would have prepared some of the ingredients in the food processor, and they would have sat in the food processor for eternity. There was never an instruction when to add them in.

I figure it out, through a combination of experience and common sense, but again — a badly-written recipe.

Where the hell was the editor on this book? Why weren’t any of the recipes tested?

I’m going to give it away. The recipes aren’t good.

The recipe itself was bland. I’m going to dress up the leftovers with some paprika.

It makes me really angry. Here, the author got away with it because there’s a huge following on her novels — but her recipes are badly written, and don’t taste good. The first red flag was when she talked about God in the introduction. Honey, God expects us to handle our own cooking.

I should have test-driven the cookbook. I’d read through a copy from the library, but I hadn’t actually done any recipes before I bought it. That’s on me.

The other recipe was a cake, which I put mixed and put in while the bread was in the oven. It was a very basic yellow cake recipe from my mother’s old LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL cookbook, which is good for basics. I added in a little almond extract. I made two layers, as instructed, and filled them with strawberry jam, and then did a chocolate satin icing, decorated with almonds.

The strawberry jam was a bit too much, especially since the batter didn’t need to be in two pans/two layers. Next time I do this recipe, I will just do it as a single layer with the icing. The icing is superb. The icing recipe is from the NEW BASICS COOKBOOK, which is one of my favorites.

Worked on the short story, worked on contest entries.

Finished watching Season 2 of THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW. Ruby was an annoying little whiner, wasn’t she? I wish the judges would TEACH techniques, instead of smirking and leaving technique out of the recipes in the technical challenges. Also, I wanted to slap them every time they said something was under-baked — then don’t give them only two hours! And expect it cooled and perfectly decorated! The parameters are unrealistic for home bakers.

Makes me want to write a treatment for my own food show — not with me in it, but run along parameters that make it a tool for teaching, historical and societal context of food, etc. A gourmand, a home cook, a food historian, and five students who progress through the series, learning techniques and then creating their own recipes.

Managed to get four loads of laundry done on Saturday, too.

February’sGoddess Provisions box arrived, and it was wonderful! I’m so delighted with it. Also got my wall calendar — the one I usually get was sold out, so I got a different one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the astrological notations I need. Fortunately, I have it in my usual datebook.

Up early Sunday. Made honey-pecan-chocolate chip muffins, which were delicious. I liked substituting honey for sugar, and using a little baking powder. The sugar converter was a big help.

Worked on contest entries, worked on revisions, worked on the short story, worked on blog posts to get ahead for the month of February on the specialty blogs.

Imbolc ceremony was lovely. Lots of change predictors coming. I just have to choose the right change.

Didn’t really care about the Super Bowl. Sort of kept an eye o the score, but that was it. And, of course, the Narcissistic Sociopath didn’t even know from which state the winners come. He celebrates ignorance, cruelty, stupidity, and greed, which is why his base loves him so much.

Got an idea for an intriguing group of characters, but don’t know what to do with them. Made some notes, but it has to percolate.

Yesterday, I had a decent first writing session, spent a few hours with my client, then had other appointments, which meant I had to miss meditation. Hit my head in the morning, which upset my day, because I was dealing with that aftermath.

Work on revisions and contest entries in the evening.

This morning, out early for some errands, then with a client most of the day, then this afternoon is the first conversation of the Very Important Meeting. Fingers crossed that it goes well.

And, always, back to the page.

Fri. Jan. 10, 2020: Reviewing Focus & Prepping for a Writing Weekend

Friday, January 10, 2020
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to the Ava Dunne blog, Affairs of the Pen,to read about what the characters miss when they go out to sea.

We’re supposed to hit record high temperatures this weekend around here. The snow is already melting. IF it’s dry enough, I’ll do some more yard work.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, worked on the GRAVE REACHmedia kit, did some work on the marketing plan for the overall series.

Dropped off and picked up a bunch of stuff at the library.

The first shipment of books for the contest arrived. Very exciting! I unpacked them, checked them against my list. I have a few digital ones to download, which I will do over the next few days, and then I’ll start reading. I like getting the entries in two shipments. It means I can finish the first batch by the time the second batch arrives, and it gives me time to give the ones vying for the top spot and finalist spots a second read.

Yes, I take my work as a contest judge seriously. These authors poured heart and soul into the work. I approach each with excitement and joy. I WANT to fall in love with every book I pick up. The categories have become more and more competitive each year, with both the quality of writing, and the way the winning authors are growing the genre.

In the afternoon, I read F.P. Lock’s dissection of Susanna Centlivre’s plays, letters, and poems. It was very interesting, and makes me even more excited to write about her. I look forward to reading her plays — I got several from Project Gutenberg. The Lock book came from Taunton Library via the Commonwealth Catalog — I’m so lucky to have access to that.

To my great joy, I received notification that 365 Women accepted BOTH the proposal for the Susanna Centlivre play and for the Isabella Goodwin play. I’m absolutely delighted. I am researching Susanna already. I’d like to get that play done and out by the end of June. That gives me the second half of the year for Isabella’s play.

I got a little bit of work done on the Winter Solstice romance. I’m at the point (six chapters in), where I need to start typing what I’ve written in longhand and making tracking sheets, because I’m losing certain elements. I have an outline, which helps. I have a feeling it will be more of a women’s fiction novel with romantic elements rather than a romance novel. There are issues I’m exploring that take it out of the romance formula, while still having my two protagonists falling in love.

I’m still struggling with the last few pages of “Trust.” I hope to get it finished this weekend.

I need to do some tweaks on the Lavinia Fontana play, too, SERENE AND DETERMINED, because I have my eye on a potential submission for that.

I had a wacky idea of an out-there dream project (in real life) that I will never be able to fund (in real life), but it would make a cool premise for a book. Made some notes. So we’ll see.

Idea Cookies, right?

Working on the books for review. I want to get the reviews out next week, and get in the next books for review. I can juggle those deadlines with contest entries and research books.

Re-read Donna Leon’s QUIETLY IN THEIR SLEEP and A NOBLE RADIANCE over the last couple of days. I get so much out of this series every time I read it.

Finished watching the documentary on the Dark Ages. I didn’t know most of what was in it. Very interesting.

One of the LOIs I sent out yesterday already got a response for more interaction. I will do that later today. We will see if we are a good match. But it was a pleasant, professional response, and it was quick, so we’ll see how it goes.

Lots of errands this morning. As I’ve been writing this, it’s moved from sunny to cloudy. Reminds me there was a red sky in the morning, which means there could be rain later. Looks like it will be sooner, rather than later.

So, how did I do on this week’s intent of focus?

Pretty well, even though the focus was spread over a lot of projects. But whatever I worked on, I FOCUSED on. I got more done (although it never, ever feels like enough).

I feel as though the energy I focused on the Susanna Centlivre research really paid off, as did the focus on the LOIs. It’s too early to see if the pitches hit true, but I’m happy with the quality of what I pitched.

I’m looking forward to a creative weekend. Let’s hope next week is positive and creative, too!

Tues. Nov. 19, 2019: Weekend of Work

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge on a family-oriented novel.

And a happy, happy birthday to my Twitter pal Jake! Have a beautiful day!

Friday afternoon, once I got back from errands and the library, it was about yard work. I hacked back the overgrown roses on the side of the house, took out the invasive oak and bindweed. It took a good portion of the afternoon, and I came away scratched and bleeding. I prefer the Sleeping Beauty look, and it discourages cutting through the property. But my landlord complained, and, knowing these damn men who will put in the new furnace, I guarantee they will insist on going down that side of the house, with the narrow path, rather than the side of the house with the driveway and the flat area to get to the bulkhead to load in the furnace. Because it’s “shorter.”

Only in your dreams, buddy.

But it’s done.

I didn’t write enough on Friday, and it threw off the rhythm of my day. The editing session was good, though.

I started reading my friend’s book, which is fun. I finally feel I’ve done enough work to earn that treat.

I moved Tessa up to my room to take some of the pressure off her with Willa and Charlotte. We got them to be company for her, but their issues are causing problems. I’m giving Tessa a break of a week, and then we’ll start re-integration under supervision again.

What’s funny is that Willa, who bothered Tessa the most, ran around the house looking for her and howling once I brought Tess upstairs, and now spends a good portion of the day sitting outside my bedroom door. Maybe they’ll make friends through the door.

Charlotte ran and hid when I picked up Tessa to take her upstairs; she thought she would be next, and she would be moved again.

I’ve had weird dreams the last couple of weeks. Positive, for the most part, but still weird.

Saturday, got up a little after 6 (late for me). Adjusted the morning routine so Tessa still got fed on time. Charlotte thought she could now eat in the kitchen in Tessa’s spot — no, honey, Tessa will be back there soon. You still eat in your spot.

Yoga, meditation, the first load of laundry in before 7.

Then, to writing. I finished editing a draft of a book late in the morning. I started doing the final proof, so I can send it to my editor for final galleys.

In the afternoon, tried to rake, but it was too windy. Scrubbed the railings and the deck. The landlord said it had mold — no, it was dirt. No mold. Some of the paint is coming off, because the last time it was painted was when we moved in in 2010.

Monday was supposed to be pouring with rain, so I don’t see how they’ll muck about and figure out what needs to be done. But that’s up to them, not me.

My back was killing me.

Spent some time with Tessa and studying runes. Read. Finished reading a memoir where the writer tries to present herself as the heroine, when in reality, she’s a manipulator who was caught out. Worked my last nerve.

Sunday, worked on a new recipe for muffins. They came out pretty well, although I’m going to add vanilla next time around.

Wrote all the posts for December for #UpbeatAuthors. Feel a sense of relief and completion.

Pulled the last bits in from the deck, and worked in the basement on Sunday.

Also made orange marmalade oatmeal bread. It was a lot of work, and I don’t like the result. It’s too dense and heavy. If I do it again, I will try it with just oats, not cooked oatmeal. I was very disappointed.

Scrubbed the basement floor.

Read some more in my friend’s book. Kept getting interrupted.

Did a good chunk of proofreading.

Overslept on Monday morning. I didn’t want to get up when the alarm went off (I’m usually up a half hour to an hour before it goes off). The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted, or at least it seemed so when I woke up.

Morning routine, and then to editing. Went in to my client’s a little early, because I had to leave early because the landlord had the builder coming to look at the deck and the back of the house.

I’m scheduling this to post, so I don’t know what the workday/builder, etc. actually brought yet. I know I plan to be up early on Tuesday, finish the proofs, and get them to my editor.

I haven’t written any new material in a few days, and it’s throwing me off my game. But I need to get these edits done.

I did, yesterday, indulge myself in a few pages of THE BARD’S LAMENT. That helped.

Onward.

 

Fri. Oct. 25, 2019: Optimism

Friday, October 25, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

If you haven’t been over to Affairs of the Pen for the latest Ava Dunne post, please hop on over. It’s about how Sophie walks her talk.

Charlotte stayed in my room last night, just Charlotte, and was a little angel. She was even less aggressive this morning. Willa is still grumbly, and Tessa is avoiding both of them. So we have made progress, even though there’s a long way to go.

Had a great revision session at 5 AM this morning on a novel. It’s coming together, finally, and I’m so happy. Had to run errands, and everything took longer than it should have, so this post is late.

Dropped off a housewarming present for a friend.

More revisions this afternoon, reading a book for review, some writing. Tomorrow, I have writing and yard work, and then a sound bath session in the afternoon. Sunday will be about writing and yard work. The garden needs to be put to bed.

A friend is coming in next week. I hope she realizes just how much of her time will be spent working with the cats! 😉

We’ll have fun, no matter what.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on October 25, 2019 at 10:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 25, 2019: Optimism  
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Wed. Oct. 2, 2019: The Daily-ness

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

The weather is all over the place this week. Warm, cold, humid, dry, rainy.

Monday afternoon was fun. Got some errands run in Bourne and Sandwich, took my mom along, because it was a nice day for a ride.

Up to season five of the MARY TYLER MOORE show. I was too young to understand a lot of the innuendo the first time around. So many of the guest actors went on to solid careers of their own. It’s fun to see them here.

Was awakened Tuesday morning a little after 4, because yet another of the carbon monoxide detectors hit “end of life.” So there’s something else to replace. Yes, technically the landlord should, but it’s easier if I do it.

Decent writing sessions in the morning. Onsite with a client most of yesterday and today. Yesterday afternoon, spent another work session at the library. Not sure if I’ll do that today or not. I don’t usually go to the library on Wednesdays. I’m too tired after being on site.

LOIs out, meetings, discussions on projects and potential projects. Got out some email blasts for a client and finishing up a roster of scheduled tweets for the month, for the same client.

We’re supposed to have some rain; I’m waiting until it passes through before putting up the exterior decorations. Yes, I’ll make sure to take photos! I’ll put them up on Instagram.

Still in search of a feline friend for Tessa.

Ordered a research book for a new series I’m developing. I won’t actually get to write it for a few years, probably not until the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries is done and Covetina Circle series is almost done. But I keep taking this particular book out of the library constantly, so I tracked down a used copy (it’s out of print) and ordered it for my personal library.

Putting one foot in front of the other.

Spinning some ideas, seeing where they go. Trying to stay on top of deadlines. I’m not doing enough marketing for my own work; I have to ramp that up, especially with the holidays coming.

And I’m on the hunt for a new webhost. A2 was great for breaking away from the horrible 1&1.com. However, A2 is incapable of making a simple fix and their security has gone downhill in the past few months. They’ll give me the runaround about getting into the sites for which I pay, but any random computer geek can hack in. That’s not okay. Their security is failing, and their customer service has gone downhill. And when there is a customer service issue, their solution is to send me into an endless loop of the same steps that didn’t work, through a variety of so-called tech support people. Which doesn’t solve anything, because all they do is pass it around the table instead of solving the issue. So it’s time to go elsewhere. It’s disappointing. I hate moving webhosts. It took me nearly a year to completely break free of 1&1. But I learned a lot since the move. Hopefully, I can apply it. Because I don’t upload FTP files, but build on the host, it’s going to be a pain to move things.

It means building everything from scratch again, the thought of which just makes me tired.

But if I have notes on all my specs and copies of all my copy, it shouldn’t be too bad. Famous last words.

Because of everything else going on, I’ll probably see out my term and make the switch in January.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 2, 2019 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 2, 2019: The Daily-ness  
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Tues. Oct. 1, 2019: It’s The Frustrating Things

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy, but then, we’re in autumn, and autumn is always busy! It’s unseasonably warm.

Friday, I ran some errands. I had to put gas into the car — I was all the way down to the bottom of the tank. Unusual for me — I usually refill it when I hit half. Of course, because I was so low, they were working on the street and had a detour so I couldn’t get to my usual gas station. I made it to another one, but I was not a happy camper.

One of the annoying things about Cape life is that you’re stuck in ridiculous traffic all summer on roads that can’t handle it. Then, during “shoulder season” — spring and summer — you’re stuck in one-lane only traffic because that’s when they work on the roads.

Only this year, they did roadwork all summer, too, so the summer traffic was even worse than usual, and now it’s no better. Plus, the damn tourists just aren’t going home. It’s gotten to the point where there’s about a week in mid-March where you can get where you need to go on time, where it’s not blocked by snow and too early for roadwork.

The very idea that they want to replace the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges with bridges doubling the current spans is not the solution. There’s no way for that traffic to feed into the current roads and no way to widen those roads. Just have one bridge for on-Cape traffic and one for off-Cape. It will still be a mess. The Cape is beyond capacity.

If you live on Cape, it’s harder and harder to get anywhere OFF Cape and get back to get anything done. And it’s getting harder and harder to get around on Cape. Not to mention that the mass transportation system is awful on Cape, and limited to get on and off. You can get to Boston, but not a whole lot of other places.

On top of that, all the tree-cutting is out of control. It has nothing to do with the health of trees, and everything to do with clear-cutting and leaving the Cape looking like a cross between a sandbar and a prairie. Personally? I like the oxygen trees provide. Breathing matters.

So Friday was annoying. I went to the library to do some work, but it was chaotic and noisy (not in a good way), so I wasn’t there very long.

I couldn’t get all my errands done on Friday because of the traffic. Plus, I hadn’t slept much — insomnia most of the night.

Crashed early on Friday because of Thursday night’s insomnia and slept for 10 hours, which is unusual for me.

So, Saturday, I had to finish what I couldn’t get done on Friday, which included taking the garbage to the dump, coming back and taking the recycling to the dump, and washing out the garbage bins. Also got some raking done, our first raking of the seasons.

In the afternoon, I switched out the lace panels on the first floor for the spiderweb curtains. Even though today is the first of October, and I don’t usually do it until now, I had the time on Saturday, so that’s when I did it. I put up most of the interior decorations. I’ll put up the exterior ones this week.

Roasted a chicken on Saturday night (served with sweet potatoes and spinach). We’ll have some good leftovers this week. I’ll do a curried chicken salad, and maybe a chicken potpie.

Made cinnamon buns on Sunday morning for breakfast. Wrote on Sunday, had a good writing day. Didn’t get everything I’d hope to finish done, but it was still a good writing day.

Tessa hates being an only cat, even though we’re giving her lots of extra attention. We went to the shelter down the street to meet some new arrivals. There are some sweethearts, but we had more questions before we can try to adopt. Let’s hope they can answer. It’s the same place where I adopted Tessa, but they’re made the adoption process more complicated since I adopted her.

Sunday night, made turkey meatloaf in mushroom gravy, served with mashed potatoes and steamed peas.

Read a mystery where the premise was good, but the execution poor. The protagonist annoyed me. She wasn’t cute and relatingly human –she was whiny and annoying. Read two more Travis McGree novels. Again, the female characters were awful. The way Travis tries to romanticize his promiscuity gets annoying. Just admit you’re a dog and be done with it. Stop trying to make us believe you’re different and somehow noble, because you’re not. He’s as damaged as the hot messes he’s always bedding.

Finished reading a couple of memoirs, one by someone with whom I’d worked in New York, another by someone involved in some of the same productions. It amazed me how differently the anecdotes were printed on the page than what was said backstage.

A few major things are up in the air right now, which is something I don’t do well with. But I have to be flexible and keep my ability to think on my feet. This will be a stressful month. And then we go back into Mercury Retrograde, which I dread on so many levels I can’t even start talking about it. There’s too much going on at the same time as not enough. It’s a weird kind of friction.

More insomnia Sunday night into Monday, which means I woke up cranky and out of sorts. Decent early morning writing sessions, time with a client. The necessity of yet more errands that I couldn’t finish over the weekend, piled on with end-of-month errands, meant I missed meditation.

Onsite with a client, and then some other appointments. Too much tension in my life right now.

But as long as I keep showing up at the page every day, at least there’s progress somewhere.

 

Published in: on October 1, 2019 at 6:51 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 1, 2019: It’s The Frustrating Things  
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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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Fri. Aug. 9, 2019: Just A Quick Post

Friday, August 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was a bit blue yesterday, especially after an interaction with a potential new client that was a total waste of time. When you’re going to hire me for a marketing position, don’t expect me to fill out the form and answer the questions for a minimum wage customer facing position. They have nothing to do with each other. Not doing it. Not working for you.

Didn’t get enough writing done. Dashed around getting other stuff done.

But there are a few new ideas that are demanding attention and must be worked in and around the contracted stuff. Plus, the Llewellyn article needs to be finished this weekend.

Spent some time with a writer pal. He’s tired (back from Canada, headed to Japan, than the Yucatan, all on assignments AND prepping for the release of his new novel). But he’s doing well, and we always have fun together.

Did a Skype session with a playwright friend. Brainstormed some ideas with another friend. I’d hoped to lump them all into one piece, but, as my friend pointed out, there are two very distinctive sets of characters, and while some of the themes overlap, others don’t.

This morning, ran around doing errands. My mom got scared while I was out, because she heard a passel of police sirens and was sure there was a mass shooting at the grocery store. There wasn’t, but why are we agreeing to live in fear like that? We need to get all these corrupt politicians out, and then make sure this stops happening. It CAN be stopped. Every other civilized nation in the world manages.

Going to a late morning yoga class, then cleaning the house and preparing the food for our guests tomorrow morning.

Then, it’s back to the page.

Have a great weekend! Another inspiration post on Monday.

Namaste!

Published in: on August 9, 2019 at 8:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 9, 2019: Just A Quick Post  
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Tues. June 4, 2019: Trying to Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It’s been a difficult few weeks. There’s plenty I can’t talk about right now in a public venue.

The additional pressure has certainly slowed down the writing. That’s negative not only because it puts a dent in earnings — which I can’t have right now — but also because when I don’t write enough each day, it throws my day out of balance. I have deadlines looming, and even though I’m working as hard as I can, I don’t know what to do.

The red flags just keep coming with that potential client out of Boston. They made demands; I met them; now I’ve heard nothing. Not even common courtesy. Yet I’m sure, should they want to take the next step, that they will, once again, expect me to drop everything the second they snap their fingers. Not happening. IF and WHEN they are paying me for my time and my skills, that’s when they get to make such demands. Otherwise, they have to negotiate. Current clients take priority over maybe someday clients.

On a happy note, I heard from Radio Theatre Project that they like “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and want to take a look at the play set on Brighton Pier for their October slot. Of course, I have to write the play set on Brighton Pier — but at least I managed to dig up one research book, out of the Boston library.

Saturday, I ran errands. Tried to get the house back to rights after all the rearranging for the fridge switch out. Cut back and dug out one of the front beds in the yard, and moved some hostas.

I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and discouraged.

Was up, as usual, half the night fretting Saturday night into Sunday. Got some work done on ELLA both days. Not enough on GRAVE REACH. Got the first chapter of ELLA into the computer (which means I’m working on the first and second drafts together of that book).

Did four loads of laundry on Sunday. It kept threatening to rain; I wasn’t sure if I should try to get something done in the yard, but it being Sunday, I wanted to make sure it was something quiet. I managed to get the fertilizer down on the terraced back area.

Started reading Amanda Flower‘s Magical Bookshop mysteries, which are quite good.

A former client contacted me, wondering if we could get together this week so I could write a press release. Hopefully, we can work out the day and time. I like working with them, and it would be fun to do something again.

Was onsite with a client yesterday, and will be today and tomorrow. More pitches and LOIs going out this week.

There was a great piece by a job search advocate (who even knew those existed?) about how badly so-called “human services” professionals treat the people they interview — things like not respecting the interviewee’s time, asking questions that don’t matter to the job, not giving enough or correct information about the job, and not giving a final answer, even if it’s a rejection. Totally agree. It’s not true that there aren’t enough qualified candidates for the jobs — it’s that the people doing the interviews aren’t finding the right matches. It’s especially true when everything is done online and the application is only sent through an algorithm. Especially for a job that requires creativity, the best candidate cannot fit into the boxes. The whole point of finding the right creative fit is someone who DOESN’T fit into boxes, not someone who lies to make it seem like a good fit.

Trying to break out of this loop of self-defeating, negative interior monologue telling me I’m worthless and useless and untalented and a failure. Intellectually, I know it’s not true, but emotionally, that’s what I feel, and I’m frustrated and disheartened and feel stuck, and like I can’t break the cycle. I have to, and I have to do it quickly, but I don’t know how.

It doesn’t help that the economy is about to crash, either, thanks to the Narcissistic Sociopath Grifter and his enablers.

I am desperate for a break of a few days with NO demands on me, and I don’t know when that will happen.

In the meantime, I’m dealing with whatever’s in front of me in the moment. Which isn’t a good solution, but it’s all I’ve got for the moment.

Published in: on June 4, 2019 at 5:28 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 4, 2019: Trying to Put One Foot in Front of the Other  
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Tues. May 21, 2019: Digging In to Dig Out

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Busy weekend, but a different busy than I expected. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Work is coming along steadily on ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s different than my usual pieces, and I’m taking what I’ve learned in other pieces and applying it here. It’s taking on its own form and rhythm, while still holding genre elements which interest me.

Working on GRAVE REACH, which is interesting in the way it’s forming, too. I feel as though last year I’d hit a plateau with my work. Although I wanted to improve, I’m not sure I did. I think both GRAVE REACH and ELLA will wind up being really good books. They’ll need a lot of work to get there, but the bones are solid on both of them, and I can layer on in the edits.

Ran errands on Friday, got out some LOIs, handled some stuff for my mom, and some grocery shopping. Saturday morning, more groceries, gas in the car, and a trip to Country Gardens so that I could get the stuff I need to treat the deck for ticks, et al. There were lettuce six packs on sale, so I could replace some of the lettuce we lost.

I did some trimming in the yard, and spent a good portion of the day transplanting tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings, and repotting some herbs. I also planted nasturtium, morning glory, moonflower, kale, mesculan green, and spinach seeds.

We have to take some of the tender plants back in at night, but they need the long sunshine.

Did the first of the tick treatments on the deck. I’m probably more afraid of ticks than anything else.

Later in the day, I enjoyed the scent of lilacs on the breeze, as I did research for a couple of projects.

The check arrived from the radio play in Minnesota that was taped last week. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the check from the Boston production a month ago. I’ll wait a few more days and then do a follow-up.

The Preakness was wild. Both in the entrants, and the poor horse who ran without his jockey.

Last week, I re-watched, on DVD, Bill Moyers’ FAITH & REASON, which took place at a PEN conference in NYC a few years back. What those writers predicted is even more chilling today. Now, I’m watching A WORLD OF IDEAS, conversations Moyers had with writers way back in 1988. E.L. Doctorow predicted what has since come to pass.

I overslept on Sunday, not getting up until after 8. I can’t remember when I’ve done that. Put the plants out on the deck for the day. Will have to take them in and out all week, because the nights are still too cold. I’m slowly taking out the teak furniture, a piece at a time, and rubbing it with teak oil, so it won’t crack in the weather. Did three loads of laundry. Wanted to mow (okay, not really, more like NEEDED to mow), but it kept threatening to rain, so I didn’t. That was my excuse, anyway. I need to get the meadow done soon, or it will be too high for the mower.

Worked on ELLA; worked on GRAVE REACH; worked on a tweak my editor asked for in the review; got ahead on some blogging. Worked on the articles that are due this week.

Woke up at 2:30 on Monday morning; managed to get back to sleep, but it always means I’m groggy and have a problem getting going when the alarm goes off. The weather was lousy, so I kept the tender plants inside.

I think I’m going to stick to my plan of taking off from this Thursday through Memorial Day. I’ll make it a long weekend of reading, writing, and yard work (weather permitting). As little online as possible, not dumping things on people’s desks except for deadlined work. I need the break, or I will break.

Taking Sunday almost completely offline helped a great deal. I need to go back to one day a week that’s disconnected; for a long weekend, I plan to spend most of it disconnected.

Was with a client yesterday. It was a little chaotic. Will be there today and tomorrow, and then I have a break from client work until next Tuesday. I barely made it to meditation on time.

I desperately, desperately need it.

 

Published in: on May 21, 2019 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 21, 2019: Digging In to Dig Out  
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Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It was a busy weekend. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and none of the busy-ness could be in the yard. I really have to mow on the next sunny day, no matter what else is going on in my schedule.

Along with errands like grocery shopping and filling the car with gas, and taking my mom to get her blood pressure checked, I got out some LOIs and wrote.

I didn’t spend much time on social media, and it was a nice break.

But the bulk of the time was spent finishing up the contest entries. Going back over my top choices, and making decisions. One category is done. All the scoring sheets are entered. The winner and five finalists chosen. I still have to write the review, but it’s percolating in my head. The second category’s choices will be made today, and the final category no later than Thursday. The quality of entrants improves every year, and it’s exciting.

I did a lot of work on the new idea, which I’m calling, at least for the moment, ELLA BY THE BAY. It will need cutting in some parts, expansion (especially sensory) in others. But I like what I’m dealing with in it, and how the characters are expanding.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like, but it’s going, and that’s always a good thing. Once the contest score sheets are all entered, I can pick up the pace on it.

I’m feeling a little better, overall, although still feeling overall burned out. Only I can’t take the time off I need. So I’m trying to find packets of restorative time, so that things don’t come to a nasty breaking point.

The Kentucky Derby was on Saturday. Omaha Beach was scratched due to breathing issues. Maximum Security was by far the best horse in the field, but he was disqualified, and Country House, the 65-1 shot who came in second, named the winner. It was a crap decision and has tainted this race forever. I’m saying that as someone who put money on Country House as my longshot pick. He did better than I expected, but he wasn’t the best horse on the field that day.

The stock market crashed yesterday morning, because the Narcissistic Sociopath threatens more tariffs on goods from China. Hmm, shortly after boasting about a phone conversation with Putin. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Was with a client yesterday. Had to skip meditation group because I had to be in Bourne for their Town Meeting. But car trouble derailed it all.

Came back later than I would have liked, and worked on the contest entries some more.

Today, I’m with a client, then at the library, then I make my decisions on the second category. I need to get some more LOIs out.

I’m deeply disappointed the Vermont gig didn’t work out, but I have to keep it in perspective in the bigger picture. It will make sense in the long run, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I need to keep my head in the game and get focused.

Of course, that meant my engine coolant light went off and I’m totally freaking out.

Left the car at the mechanic this morning. Scared to death it’s something serious. If it happened next week, no worries. I’ll have a big freelance check coming in. This week? It’s an issue. Thus goes the life of a freelancer.

Back to the page.

Published in: on May 7, 2019 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant  
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Tues. Dec. 4, 2018: Writing and Annoyances

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Saturday morning, I met friends at the Cahoon Museum’s open house. We wanted to see the fiber art exhibit again, and revisit some of our favorite paintings. It was a wonderful way to spend the morning, and it also allowed me to plot a scene for a piece I’m playing with.

Ran some errands on the way back. Got a new carbon monoxide detector to replace the one that gave up the ghost in the basement. Had to go to multiple stores to find the red and green candles I need for the Advent table, because heaven forbid a store had them in stock. And DON’T tell me to “order online” when I’ve made the effort to support your brick-and-mortar store. That really annoys me.

Home, wrote a few pages of another project, read a bit, more decorating.

I also finalized the recipe for the Stained Glass Cupcakes. They are really, really good. I’m glad I could get them right. It took a few months, but it was worth it.

Finished reading the second book in a series. I’d loved, loved, loved the first book (it makes me “favorites” for the year). I loved the beginning of the second, but the further the story went, the angrier I got. The craft was great, but the plot — it reinforced anti-female clichés that I found personally insulting, and I found the female characters’ revenge justified, not that they were villains. There was also too much unnecessary animal murder in it. I nearly decided not to read the third book in the series — although it takes place backstage at a theatre.

Slept in on Sunday, which was nice, and then got to work. Managed 6 1/2 chapters of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which puts me in a good position. Wrote about 4 pages of another project, and plotted out some more of the erotic adventure story in space with which I’m playing.

I have to finish the short for the newsletter; I want to get the newsletter out next week.

More decorating; finally starting to get some of the boxes put away. But it takes awhile. My office and the back room are still in chaos, and need to be sorted out; I still have no idea where I’ll display the angels, the nutcrackers, and some other ceramic figures. And the tree topper’s not working, so I have to come up with something else.

It will all work out. It always does.

Finished a book I had to review, and wrote the review yesterday. I wanted to like it more than I actually liked it. It has serious logistical problems.

The first Bush president died over the weekend. The photo of his service dog lying in front of the coffin is heartbreaking. But now everyone acts like he’s a saint. He wasn’t. He was part of the GOP long game that brought us Trump. He did it more for country than self, and I wish his family peace, but I worked as a military case worker volunteer for the Red Cross during Desert Storm. I was furious about the way he handled it, and how it led to 9/11. Not to mention all the other typically-Republican positions he took. Just because he was a better human being than the Narcissistic Sociopath (and that bar is pretty low) doesn’t make him a shining light.

Monday morning’s first writing session was derailed by idiots with leafblowers who started at 7:30 in the morning—even though everything was soaked from the storm the night before. I am so sick of them. Two hours later, when I left to work with my client, they were still there.

Worked with a client yesterday. Exhausting. Today and tomorrow will be more of the same. Some changes are going on with this client that will make life difficult for the first few months of next year.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on December 4, 2018 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 4, 2018: Writing and Annoyances  
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Thurs. Aug. 30, 2018: Dissecting Creativity & Poor Business Choices

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, cloudy

Long day yesterday, although I got good work done on RELICS. The heat and humidity are supposed to break a bit later today, thank goodness. I am not productive in this weather, and I need to be productive. This morning, the RELICS worked rocked! We are at the first of the double climactic sequence and barreling to the end of this draft!

Lots of work with the client yesterday, and next week will be long days of extra hours. But it’s all good. The work is interesting, and that helps.

Finished re-reading TENDER IS THE NIGHT (F. Scott Fitzgerald). Although there is a lot of beautiful language, it’s also a cruel book. It also keeps the reader at a distance, which I hadn’t noticed the first time I read it. I never felt that the POVs were close enough. It wasn’t quite third omniscient, but not really close third, either. That got frustrating after awhile.

It’s also interesting to speculate on how he used material and transformed it into fiction. I always wonder how much of that transformation is using a real-life inspiration as a jumping off point, and how much is exploring one’s feelings toward that inspiration? In my case, when I do my job properly, the inspiration evolves into a fully-formed individual/character very separate from the original inspiration. I know where they diverge. But I always wonder if and where it happens for other authors.

Nicole Diver reminded me, in some ways, of Sara Murphy. So many of her characteristics are similar to Sara’s. But her mental health issues reminded me of Zelda Fitzgerald. In the same way, Dick Diver seemed a combination of Gerald Murphy and Fitzgerald himself. Although the McKiscos also reminded me of the Fitzgeralds. The racism in the book also struck me. I think it was deliberate on Fitzgerald’s part, him pointing it out and depicting it, I mean. I don’t think it was thoughtless. I think he wanted a spotlight on how black individuals were treated in that time and place. There were many people in the novel where one could speculate the inspirations — especially because I’m re-reading the book about Sara and Gerald Murphy, EVERYONE WAS SO VERY YOUNG, at the same time. The first time I read it, I didn’t know any of the context. It was less distracting in some ways, but I was also less discerning.

It’s been an interesting experience.

I was absolutely shocked when I opened my email yesterday and there was an email from a startup wellness company attacking me for not buying their product. I’m not even sure how I got on their list in the first place. They asked if I wanted an invitation to subscribe to their monthly yoga box. I accepted the invitation for an invitation. That’s not a commitment. That’s saying I’m interested in hearing about it. When I received the invitation, it was for a limited time, and I was dealing with two deaths that happened in close proximity. I glanced at the invitation, I had questions about pricing — things were unclear and it looked like the pricing would fluctuate every month, which meant it wasn’t an option for me. And, frankly, their stuff was fine but it didn’t excite me. I put it aside. I CHOSE not to purchase it at this time. That is my right as a potential customer. To CHOOSE whether or not I buy a product.

Yesterday I got an email, berating me for not purchasing the product. Basically calling me too stupid to understand their offer.

I sent a strongly-worded email saying that I was dealing with two deaths at the time and not everything was about THEM, and sending an email attacking potential customers is not the way to grow one’s business. I then unsubscribed from the email list, too.

Of course, there was no apology. I felt like I’d been blindsided with a gut punch, and I wanted one. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it didn’t matter. Yeah, my ego wanted the apology. But there is no way I’d become a customer. There is NOTHING they could do or say — not an apology, not an offer of free or discounted anything — that would make me trust them enough to give them money. I’m done.

And this is supposed to be a company promoting the yoga lifestyle. Hypocrites.

I’m still hurt and angry, but I’ll get over it, I’ll move on, and I want nothing to do with them. I realize it’s hard to be a start-up, but walk your talk. And you’re NOT going to succeed if you abuse potential customers.

Roughed out the next month’s worth of Ink-Dipped Advice pieces. Uploading next week’s today; will write the next over the weekend and upload them next week. Also want to get ahead on the September postings for Upbeat Authors.

Working on calendar articles.

Have to get the balance back between working on RELICS and DHARMA. This draft of RELICS will head off to the editor as soon as I can finish it (hopefully this weekend).

Working on the piece about Donna Andrews’s Meg Langslow mysteries, which should go up on A Biblio Paradise next week.

I have errands this morning, and writing, and web stuff (have to get the new website offline properly so we can work on it). Because it takes place behind-the-scenes on a television series, my editor and I are also discussing how the #MeToo movement will affect the plot. When I started writing it, we dealt with the issues differently than we are trying to deal with them now. So, as we work through this next draft preparing for galleys, we have to figure out how to acknowledge how things have changed and figure out where and if they affect the plot.

I’m hoping the weekend will be a combination writing retreat/meditation/purge-the-basement/yardwork event.

I’m not going anywhere. The Labor Day Tourist Insanity was already in full swing yesterday. I’ll do some grocery shopping tomorrow, and some errands, and then I’m in for the weekend.

Back to the page.