Tues. Nov. 23, 2021: Goals Create New Goals

image courtesy of Carla Luca de Tena via Unsplash.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

It was a good weekend. I wrote about most of Friday on Friday, because the post went up so late. The afternoon was about client work, following up on information I had promised, etc.

I did some percolating on this, that, and many others while on the acupressure mat, and spent a good bit of time on the script coverages.

I was annoyed when an email landed in my inbox around 7 PM from the CEO of a company with whom I had less than pleasant pre-interview experience a few months back. I had refused to write project-specific samples or take “assessments” without being paid, and had sent my contract. These tests were a requirement to even be considered for an interview, which is a waste of my time, since the initial conversation either backs up or negates the initial research I did on the company, and I certainly won’t take a test to have a preliminary conversation. The CEO had gotten nasty in response to me sending my contract for tests and samples, and I’d said we weren’t a good fit, bye.

So he emails me on Friday about an open position to which he thinks I should apply. I reminded him about our previous, less-than-pleasant exchanges, and asked if he needed my contract for tests/samples again.

His reply was that he figured I’d be over that “conceit” by now and need the work. He also wanted the tests/samples turned around that night. After contacting me at 7 PM on a Friday.

Nope.

I told him we were not a good fit, and not to contact me again.

Up early on Saturday. 2512 words on CAST IRON MURDER, which got me just over the 50K mark.

I did it. I wrote 50K focused on one project. In 20 days. Without feeling like it would kill me. It’s done a lot to help me regain my confidence in my ability to sustain on a long project, which is what I need for some projects coming up.

Once I was done with those words, and got a script coverage out, we got in the car in search of holiday gifts, down Pittsfield way. We got almost everything – we have one more gift to get one of my mother’s friends, and I have two more gifts to get for my friends, but I know where I can get one of them, so that’s all good. It was another beautiful, sunny day, although a bit chilly.

We did hit up Target on the way down, to stock up on cleaning supplies to get us through the winter. More because we don’t know what the weather will be like than being worried about “supply chain shortages” which only the big box stores seem to have. Target was an absolute zoo. But we got everything we needed.

Everywhere we went, it was busy. But people were in a good mood, polite, and followed masking/distancing protocols. Several people mentioned how happy they were that the weather was good, and they could get their shopping done now, and not worry about it on Black Friday and into December.

It was a good day.

I turned around another script coverage in the late afternoon/early evening, so that I could have all of Sunday off script coverage. I read a monologue written by a friend, which she’d asked me to critique, and I loved it. It’s such a strong piece.

Sunday was a day of rest. Well, once I did my 2161 words on CAST IRON MURDER.

I stayed off email. Other than posting two photos, I stayed off social media. I need to get back to having Sunday as my “day of disconnect” for both mental and physical health.

I did dash out, early in the morning, to pick up the turkey. I also got some raspberry rugelach, from a bakery out of Brooklyn. Since Chanukah starts Thanksgiving weekend, all those goodies are available, too.

Played with the cats a lot. Made my favorite orange rye bread recipe. Instead of making half the batch as rolls and half as a loaf, I made all rolls. We like that recipe better as rolls. They came out perfectly. Also made chocolate mousse.

We’re trying to finish off all the leftovers, so there’s room in the fridge for the Thanksgiving leftovers.

Finished reading BURY ME WHEN I’M DEAD by Cheryl A. Head, part of her mystery series set in Detroit (although this had a good chunk of it also in Alabama). It is an excellent book, plot-wise, character-wise, pace-wise, setting, all of it.

Read the fifth book in a mystery series I’d enjoyed enormously up to this point. This book was still fun. However, the jokes repeat from book to book, and are getting stale. And the lack of character growth is beginning to bug me.

I didn’t get any of the domestic holiday cards done over the weekend, which made me disappointed in myself, but I was wiped out. I just don’t have the energy I had even ten years ago.

Tessa got me up early on Monday morning. I got in 2495 words on CAST IRON MURDER.

My mom wrapped gifts for overseas and to send friends in time for their Chanukah celebrations. Tessa decided to “help” with the wrapping paper and the ribbons and the craft paper used to pack the packages.

So, of course, it took much longer than it would have otherwise.

By the time the three of us were finished, the weather had turned, and I decided I wasn’t going out.

I tried to catch up on email, worked on script coverage.

I’m playing with an idea for a new project. It came together out of some ideas that have rattled around for a bit, looking for a home; instead of separate homes, some of them can fit into the same created world, in a format in which I used to write a lot, and miss terribly. The characters are coming fast and furiously, the world is creating itself in my head. I took some ideas I heard from people about “I wish I could find a story with this” and incorporated those in. I started jotting “a few” notes, and am up to seven pages. They’re coming out in a mishmash, all over the place. I’m going to start typing them up soon, so I can start focusing them. The initial draft should take me about three months to do, if I apply what I gained from this Nano period.

I did some research on the markets and the outlet I have my eye on, and I like what I found. I don’t want to keep all my eggs in one basket, publishing-wise. It’s too risky.

I need to be working to revive an old project that’s getting new life in it, too, but I will let that percolate over the holiday weekend.

Started reading Jenn McKinlay’s new book, KILLER RESEARCH. I’ve read that whole series, and I like Jenn a lot. I’ve interviewed her for articles here and there.

Charlotte woke me a little after one a.m., because she wanted attention. She got some, and we went back to sleep. Tessa started in at 4:33. I moved to the bed in the sewing room, and she settled down. Then Charlotte joined me for more attention; after a few minutes, she left and started crinkling paper in one of the Chewy boxes.

I gave up and got out of bed.

2431 words on CAST IRON MURDER. I think I have two to three more chapters, and I’m done with this draft. It’ll be too short for what I want, but it’s a good foundation, and it gives me room to layer on some details without getting overblown.

Made French toast this morning, and it came out well. From a recipe I brought back from one of my New Orleans trips.

I have to run all the errands I didn’t do yesterday, then get back and finish some script coverage.

I think a lot of the college kids already left for the holiday. Quieter and emptier than usual.

I’m glad I’m not travelling this weekend. I don’t have either the physical or emotional energy to travel in company like that, and, no doubt, the COVID numbers will spike again in two weeks.

I’m glad we’re staying home, and I’m glad I’m getting my booster next Monday.

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: It’s Getting C-c-cold!

photo courtesy of Ginny via pexels.com

Thursday, November 4, 2021

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy/cold

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about our first frost last night.

The days are kind of mashing into one long day.

But I had a couple of good writing sessions, blogged, checked in with my Nano Writing Buddies, updated Enchanted Wordsmiths, checked in with the Berkshire Region writers. The usual.

It looks like we’ve got my mother’s insurance/medication issues sorted out, thanks to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office. Her staff guided us to the resources/people who could help us. So that’s a relief. I still have to tell Tufts Health to shove their demands for additional payments (even though they discontinued insurance) up their collective ass, but that’s for next week.

Switched out books at the library, mailed bills at the post office, picked up eggs and coffee at Wild Oats, and, since I was in that direction anyway, got duck Lo Mein from the Chinese restaurant I like out that way. It was sooo good.

Someone on social media, who’d spent months begging for followers, is now whining that, having reached the 5K she wanted, she no longer feels safe and is deleting approximately 200/day. She made a list of all the hoops people need to jump through in order for her to “keep” them.

I solved it for her in my case by disconnecting. Zero patience for that shit.

I’m tired of the bullying so many people who claim they are working for tolerance, justice, and equity constantly do to the rest of us. If I do something inappropriate or hurtful, definitely let me know, so I can make it right. But don’t tell me who I can follow and what I can put on my own timeline. You don’t like it, scroll past or disconnect.

Too many self-righteous jerks.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, to some really cool companies, so, fingers crossed.

Remote Chat was fun.

Needed time on the acupressure mat. All this desk time causes pain.

Worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Got the two out for the scripts I’d read the night before, read another script and got that coverage out. Read two more scripts at night.

Found out disturbing information about a theatre institution I’ve revered since I made my commitment to theatre. Distressing and heartbreaking, but better to know the information and make decisions with that knowledge moving forward, than to remain in a deluded bubble.

Was supposed to attend an NYU event on Zoom, but I never received the link, so I guess they must have filled up before I signed up. Oh, well. It happens.

Charlotte and Tessa did really well yesterday. After sleeping in the living room all night without fussing the previous night, they had peaceful co-existence all day. Charlotte slept on the bed with me last night, and Tessa let me sleep in until 5:30 this morning. Tessa even let Charlotte into the kitchen for breakfast without fussing.

Unfortunately, a little later, while I was writing, they had a spat. Two steps forward, one step back. But every bit of progress helps.

Meditation group on Zoom was great this morning. Charlotte sat on my lap for most of it and participated.

Wrote the next chapter of CAST IRON MURDER, at 2418 words. I like the way it’s shaping up, even though there’s a great deal of revision in the piece’s future.

Now, off to write up script coverage and try to get ahead on the emails. It’s astonished how much email pours in each day, even with all the unsubscribing I’m doing. Also time to make the rounds of Nano buddies, et al. No point in being a listed as a buddy if you’re not going to actually be supportive, right?

I hope I can finish my work early enough to day to get in some reading for pleasure. And I also hope to get some work done on “A Rare Medium.” I’m so close to the finish line with that play!

It was 28 degrees out last night. Brrr. But it’s so pretty!

Thurs. Oct. 7, 2021: Cat-aversaries

Willa, photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and mild

I talk more about foliage and farmer’s markets over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was a quiet day. I worked through some emails, wrote up four coverages, participated in Remote Chat, sent out some LOIs. Read three more scripts. Steady workday, although not as varied as some.

The longer morning yoga session helped counteract all the sitting, and I did another yoga session before bedtime. I want to get back into doing that. I sleep better when I have that transition time of yoga and the night meditation, especially if I’ve been reading scripts all the way up until bedtime.

I’d bundled the chicken carcass into the fridge because I was tired the previouos night, but made the stock yesterday. That will be good for the rest of the week’s cooking.

Yesterday was Willa’s 3rd anniversary with us, and tomorrow is Charlotte’s 3rd anniversary. Although they are litter mates, and were raised by the same guy, they’d been separated by the time we adopted them. Their original owner got the pair of them as kittens. He had a lot of health problems, and needed a service dog. The cats and the dog didn’t get along, so he had to give up the cats. For eighteen months, they were moved around to different relatives about every two weeks, sometimes together, sometimes separated because they fought (of course they did, they were stressed). By the time we adopted them, they were both very traumatized. It’s been a lot of daily work, but they’ve both shown a lot of improvement. They are healthy, curious, funny, and loving. Willa is the goofier one; Charlotte is more of a princess. Charlotte still has some behavioral issues, especially when it comes to sharing space and humans; she and Tessa have attained peaceful co-existence most of the time, but usually fuss at each other once or twice a day. Willa and Tessa are sort of friends, although they don’t really understand each other. But they hang out together and sort of play in the same space, but at a safe distance from each other. They were six when we got them, so they are about nine now, and Tessa’s going on eleven.

Charlotte, photo by Devon Ellington

We love all three of our furry critters, and are glad they are part of the family.

Tessa let me sleep until 4:46 this morning, which is just perfect. Got up, and had a good morning routine, finally. Coffee, first writing session (which went well), the extended yoga session, a good meditation session. I have meditation with the online group in a little bit.

I have four script coverages to write up today, and two more scripts to read (which I will write up tomorrow), and then I’m done for the week. I have to write up the book review today and send that off, so I can get my next assignment. Errands today: both libraries and the bank.

I hope to catch up on some more email, and get out some more LOIs.

I’m hoping for a few quiet weeks to get settled into a solid remote work routine, and also finish unpacking!

I managed to book my mom’s Covid booster shot for next Thursday, just down the road at the local CVS. They’re so much nicer and, you know, actually work with their customers instead of against them here.

Have a great day, friends!

Fri. Sept. 10, 2021: Clarity Clears The Way

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Friday, Sept. 10, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cool

If you’ve never experienced the 9/11 Table of Silence Project, I strongly recommend you watch it tomorrow. Last year’s performance was breathtaking, and I have no doubt this year’s will be equal or surpass it.

Yesterday contained a lot of work, but felt scattered. I had to do some admin and some research, and get through a lot of stacked up emails from Wednesday, while still trying to finish going through the email that stacked up over the holiday weekend.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun, and I finished reading a rather delightful book for review in the afternoon. I didn’t do the script coverage I should have done, so I have to make up for that today.

This weekend is the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, which is a mix of honor and sorrow for me. I plan to spend most of the weekend away from social media. I’m not up for those who need to publicly share their grief, and I’m definitely not up for those who hypocritically moan about 9/11 while being douches in daily life. The people who lived and lost directly from it will always have a different experience than those who were farther removed. Everyone’s experience matters, but for my own mourning, I need to be away from the more public mourners. So the best choice for me is to stay off social media, watch The Table of Silence Project, see what the weather is like and maybe go to the lake.

There are errands I should run over the weekend, but I might not.

Straw Dogs Writers Guild has an open mic event on Zoom on the 12th, but I’m really trying to stay offline all day on Sundays again, so I don’t think I’ll do it. Plus, I have a Playwrights Circle with LAVA on Monday night. I’m trying not to over-Zoom.

I do have to work through the weekend, since I lost 2 days this week, and will lose a day next week. I still have to make my nut by the 15th to pay the bills in the second half of the month.

The Crow Tarot arrived yesterday afternoon and it is wonderful. I’m so excited to start working with it. I also received Deborah Blake’s FURBIDDEN FATALITY, and I’m excited to read it this weekend.

Last night, I virtually attended an NYU alumni event with a psychotherapist about mental health, especially around the pandemic. He said a few things that made certain things for me click into place, like lock cylinders or a Rubik’s cube.  Suddenly, connections were made to root causes of various emotions and situations with which I’ve been struggling for far too long. Now that I have a clearer understanding, I can actually take steps to heal and to make more positive decisions moving forward. I feel more hopeful than I have in a long time, in spite of everything going on.

I have errands to run today, and lots of work to get done, so I will just put my head down and do it. Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on September 10, 2021 at 6:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 10, 2021: Clarity Clears The Way  
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Fri. April 23: Die For Your Employer Day 335 — Frustrated

image courtesy of Erika Wittlieb via pixabay.com

Friday, April 23, 2021

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cool

Yesterday was a mixed day. Started optimistic and positive, and took a turn.

Meditation was good. I got some client work done, a couple of LOIs out, some research done.

I got disappointing news from a company with whom I wanted to work. They’re going with someone else. Someone younger, I’m sure, because I have an abundance of the skills they claim they want. Someone cheaper, too, I’m sure. But I really wanted this particular gig, especially after all the time spent in initial interactions, research, etc.

Screaming into the social media void would have been both inappropriate and wouldn’t have made me feel any better, so I didn’t. It is what it is, and I move on. At least they were professional enough to let me know. Far too many companies have defaulted to ghosting.

I am, however, making a tiered list of these companies – the highly toxic (those who demand unpaid labor as part of the interview process and/or things like a DISC test) and the merely hypocritical, who claim they want skills and experience, but want young, cheap, and obedient. Keeping track of this will save me a lot of time and aggravation.

I need to find some paperwork from the first move ten years ago, because I can use some of that in this one. Of course, it’s packed away – I have to dig out the box with the 2010 files and see if I can find it.

I burned my hand a few days ago, and badly bruised my foot yesterday. The stress is getting to me. I have to be more careful.

I did finish the second category of contest entries. I will make my choices, finish the paperwork, and send that off. That gives me just under two weeks to finish the third category (I’m a little over halfway done with it).

I had a decent first writing session this morning, although a little under 1K. But it was the end of a chapter and a good stopping point. That’s three chapters in longhand, so I’ll type those while I keep working.

I need to do a run to the library and CVS later this morning, more LOIs, more client work, more article work, once I finish the paperwork for this contest category.

Then, it will be packing and house hunting, which is what will take up a good bit of the weekend.

Have a good one, people, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on April 23, 2021 at 5:28 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 23: Die For Your Employer Day 335 — Frustrated  
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Wed. March 31, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 313 — A Breath

image courtesy of pasja1000 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a pretty productive day. Got out some LOIs. Got a couple of errands done. Decontaminated.

Switched over to client work and got several projects out.

Got some of my interview quotes in. I might have enough to finish the article, or I might send out one more request. Was really happy to get a quote from someone I’d worked with on Broadway, back in the day.

Got the article back from my editor at a magazine with quick turnaround edits – only it was the wrong version of the article.  The day after I sent her the first version, I’d gotten a really good quote from a source and reworked the article to include it, also tightening up a few other things. I’d addressed some of the things she brought up in the first version. Anyway, I reminded her of the second version and sent it again. She’s looking at it, so I will probably get it back at some point today and have to turn it around right away. Just sit there and get it done, right? She loves the piece, which is good.

Rental listings were disappointing. Still way too many scams. I’m forwarding some of the scams to the appropriate Attorneys General offices, so they can deal with them. A house in which we were interested turned out to only be a short-term rental, so that won’t work.

Worked on contest entries.

Didn’t get enough packing done. But I just keep chipping away at it. We will live amongst boxes for a bit, so when we do land a place, it’s just about getting the truck.

It’s very stressful.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. They are ready for Spring Break next week.

I’m facing a stressful day on site at a client’s today, no doubt battling to keep COVID protocols in place. Then, I’ll decontaminate, hopefully do Remote Chat, and turn my article around.

Playing with some short fiction ideas, just so I don’t lose that ability completely. I can’t really focus until we’re moved.

Will probably limit online time tomorrow, because I loathe April Fool’s Day. Far too many of the “pranks” are cruel.

Have a good one.

Published in: on March 31, 2021 at 4:48 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 31, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 313 — A Breath  
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Wed. March 3, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 285/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 35 — Steady On, Now.

image courtesy of vertvhul via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Waning Moon

Windy and Cold

Yesterday was busy, but a steady, good busy. I got some writing done in the morning, and got my article off to my editor.

Had to venture out into the world for a basic grocery shopping, put gas in the car, and a curbside pickup at the library. It was too windy to go to the dump; I’ll do that run at the end of the week.

Home, full decontamination protocols.

Lost the daily cage fight to get my mom’s second vaccine appointment. The message came up that “all appointments next week are full.” So what the hell am I supposed to do? She needs to get her second dose next week.

None of this chaos is necessary. I’m so tired of incompetents running the show.

I had to do some online research, got out some more LOIs. The “additional information” the prospective client wanted was, basically, an unpaid proposal of how to revamp their site. In detail.  No, honey, if I’m revamping your site, you’re paying me.

Next.

Got another request for more information from another LOI that was actually a request for more information, so we could have a good conversation. That went out this morning.

I re-read some of the blog posts of where I was at this time last year, when we were just starting to get the information on how deadly the pandemic was, and everyone was scrambling to figure out what to do, and I was just past the first surgery. The level of stress was pretty high, and it actually made me feel better about the level of stress I’m experiencing right now, in a weird way.

Got my review out. Turns out I’d gotten the deadlines for the two books mixed up. The book I reviewed had a deadline near the end of the month; the other one is due at the end of this week. So I started THAT one, and will get in the review on time. Did a bunch of client work; trying to work ahead on a few projects.

Got a quote back from a source after I’d turned in my article. It’s good, so I asked my editor if I could add it in and tweak the article (I wanted to reach her before she started work on it). She’s cool with it, so I’ll get that turned around to her today.

Started working on an article pitch for a magazine that’s a profile of someone about whom I want to write.

Since I surpassed my box purging quota on Monday, I didn’t have to feel guilty about not purging yesterday, and working instead.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. Everyone is tired, and there’s huge pressure to go back onsite, but we are all holding steady. Not this year. The kids are doing very well, and, more importantly, it’s safer.

I actually slept through the night last night. This morning, I’m up early, writing and trying to turn around my article.

We have to be out of the house just after 7 AM; I have to take my mom in for bloodwork, then drop her off and head for the client’s office for a few hours.

Remote Chat this afternoon, and then more article work, LOI work, and finishing the book for review.

Hopefully, it will be another “good busy” day.

Published in: on March 3, 2021 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 3, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 285/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 35 — Steady On, Now.  
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Tues. Dec. 8, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 202/Isolation Day 3 — Preparing

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Friday was errand day, trying to get things done before I had to go into isolation in preparation for surgery. The errands were run successfully, with minimal contact with others, although I continue to be appalled at the stupidity of those around me, especially with the rising cases. The refusal to practice basic human decency by simply wearing a mask is disgusting.

Two of the errands weren’t strictly essential, but had to happen today or not happen at all. I was as careful as possible, other than not doing them, and hope I don’t have to pay the price of getting sick. I have sanitized so much in the car lately that it reeks of sanitizer. Or it smells like I’ve been quaffing thermoses full of vodka martinis in the car. You pick.

Home, decontaminated or quarantined everything picked up, decontaminated myself. Was exhausted. Got some admin and an LOI out.

With all the talk of a big storm coming in, after lunch, we brought in almost all the deck furniture (the big bench has to stay out for another week or two), the garden decorations, and the rest of the plants – except for the hanging plants. One pot of pansies is STILL blooming! Imagine that.

We had to clean things before putting them away. I am angry by how dirty everything got outside this year. Everything was scrubbed down after the pine pollen stopped falling – and that happened late this year. But everything was filthy, which it wasn’t in previous years. It’s all the damn heavy machinery, daily overuse of leaf blowers, and general uptick in pollution and cutting down of trees that contribute.

Some numbnut a couple of blocks over ran leaf blowers from just before 9 AM to after 6:30. There is not a single property in this neighborhood big enough to qualify for that. It’s disgusting.

It took all afternoon, and then I had to cook dinner. After dinner, I finished, finally finished the rest of the holiday cards. I say “finally” because I started them so early. I don’t think I’ve ever been done by December 4! I kind of like it, and might do it again next year, depending where we are and the work situation.

Town managers are moaning about all the “stress” of the rising virus numbers. What the eff did they think would happen, when there is ZERO enforcement of the state mask mandate, nothing is shut down, and their own personnel aren’t modeling proper protocols? Barnstable is the only red zone on the entire Cape because people are such selfish idiots, and that goes all the way up to town personnel.

Up early on Saturday. The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted – yet. I used a quick calm in it to dash out to Shaw’s and Trader Joe’s for the last few things before isolation. I went next door to Christmas Tree Shops to pick up another piece of outdoor décor, and then stopped at CVS to pick up my prescription. They gave me the high-end stuff this time, without a fuss, so I hope it doesn’t make me as sick as the last stuff did.

The storm was getting bad by the time I got out of CVS. I made it home, driving slowly, decontaminated everything including myself, and officially went into isolation.

None of the stores had the old English fruit and peel I need for the fruitcake cookies. When I tried to order online, every outlet I felt comfortable spending money in was sold out. So I guess I’m not doing fruitcake cookies this year. I will try chocolate crackle instead.

The storm kept getting worse; I didn’t want to be on the computer or do laundry, in case the power went out. But we did some more decorating, and spent a cozy afternoon reading. The Santas are up on the Behemoth, I put the snowmen on a small table all their own, more ornaments went on the tree,

The storm abated enough by Saturday night to watch the first half of season 9 of DEATH IN PARADISE. I love the location. The show really shouldn’t work – yet somehow, it does.

Sunday was the day to catch up on laundry, and decorate the back room. Cleared out a bunch of stuff that somehow accumulated in there. There’s still more work to do, but the room and the dining table look festive for the holidays.

There’s still a LOT of work to do in my office, including the Elegant Tree, but that will have to wait until after surgery.

Up early yesterday. Did some work on LIFE, REVISED, the piece that was inspired by an argument a few weeks ago. Somehow ended up with a haunted covered bridge in it, because of course I did. But the piece feels right. However, I need to make it the carrot, and only allow myself to work on it when I’ve completed the other things I need to do that day.

I risked going into the office, since no one was supposed to be there. Technically, I was alone and isolated, and I had no contact with anyone outside my household. I got some orders shipped out – because it’s the holidays, and I didn’t want them to sit unfilled until someone came in on Wednesday. I answered email questions, got out an email blast I’d worked on last week, the inspirational quote of the week, scheduled some social media stuff, did the social media rounds.

As soon as the postman picked up the packages I left outside for him, I locked up and left. I did a curbside pickup at the library – no one was around – and got back home. Here I stay, until Thursday’s COVID test, which removes a lot of stress from my life.

Decontaminated – even though I hadn’t had any contact, even at a distance with anyone. The office was supposedly the same temperature as the house, but for some reason, it felt really cold and I was chilled. I took a good, hot shower and scrubbed down, and felt better.

Read and got admin work done in the afternoon and evening. Read the fifth book in a series – I’d though the first book was mediocre, didn’t like the second book, and skipped the 3rd and 4th. Ordered this one, not realizing it was part of the same series. But this one is good. It feels like the series is growing into itself.

Today, I have client work I’m doing remotely, including a marketing campaign suggestion packet for 2021, LOIs, and my main focus is the Susanna Centlivre play. I’m so close to getting it where I want!

As usual, the computer has been acting up. I have problems with the PC every week. I had about three problems with the Macbook in 10 years.

Trying to get mentally prepared for the surgery. I hope this is the last one for a while. I’m weary. The whole year has made me weary, and thoroughly disillusioned with far too many of my fellow citizens. But I need to put aside the Big Picture worries this week and focus on what I’m facing on the home front. I can worry about Big Picture again in a few weeks.

I need to find my writing rhythm again. It’s been fits and starts in the past few weeks – heck, in the past few months – and I need to find a steady rhythm again.

Have a great day, and a great week.

Tues. Nov. 24, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 188 — Too Much (Web) Traffic

image courtesy of Steven Liao via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

The last few days have been more chaotic than I hoped. It happens.

I have a Very Long Post Full of Context on Thanksgiving Prep over on Comfort and Contradiction. A long post to try to simplify the holidays sounds contradictory, but there you have it.

Yesterday, I also posted on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions about worrying less about the “perfect” holiday and living it more from the heart.

The food post took longer on Friday than I meant it to, and then I had to rush to CVS, where they’d screwed up my mom’s prescription. We got it sorted out and they were nice; it just took time, and I got increasingly nervous having to be around people. I’m doing my best to avoid people right now.

Swung by the library for a curbside drop off/pick up. Came home, decontaminated, was exhausted.

Got an ad live for a client.

Just Jump in and Fly cover

Went through the final proofs for “Just Jump In and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne byline) and signed off on it. It’s coming live for pre-orders slowly – except Amazon doesn’t want to carry it because it’s available through other channels. Amazon is used as a distributor, not a publisher, and I’m not part of any exclusive program with them, so they can get over themselves. Well, they only wanted to give me 29 cents royalty on every sale anyway, which is pretty insulting.

I’m looking at platforms where I can sell mobi files (since I can’t get the WP site to acknowledge the plug-in). Setting up a Square Store would make sense – only that platform can’t do instant downloads. Most of the commerce sites are too expensive – I couldn’t generate enough to make them pay for themselves, much less make any profit.

I absolutely love “Just Jump In and Fly” even after all this time. It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.

I managed to get Trinity of Teasers up, too, for free download. It contains the first three chapters each of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA. You can download the PDF here.

I started work on the revision of “Lockesley Hall” which is pretty damn funny in its own right, even though it needs work. Didn’t get very far, because I was so damn tired.

Saturday morning, I was all set to get a lot of writing done and promotion, and all the rest.

I received an email late Friday night from my editor that my piece was up on Script Mag. So I had to prep it for my clip file, get it up on Clippings.me, but when I tried to add it to my Fearless Ink website, it wouldn’t save the edit.

I contacted A2. They told me that my websites have “too much traffic” and that I exceeded CPU capacity. Lots of people are finding my work on WOW – Women on Writing, and coming over. Even more are finding me through SEO searches.

That’s a good thing, right? This is what I’ve worked for the past few years, WHY I moved hosts. To have a stable platform and grow traffic.

Only now, they’re trying to force me to upgrade my plan to something I can’t afford right now AND hire one of their “web developers.”  They suggest switching things onto Cloudflare, but it’s out of my price range right now.

Come on, people! My sites are gaining traffic, but it’s just that THAT much.

And, of course, they’re doing this while I’m trying to get the holiday pieces out and doing lots of promotion, such as with TRINITY OF TEASERS, that drives traffic to the sites. They know they have me over a barrel. It makes me so angry.

I looked at some other hosts. Hostinger seems affordable, but then I have to learn a whole new control panel. They’re supposed to be reliable and good, but do a lot of upselling, which I don’t like.

I also think I might have to split the websites on different hosts. The Devon Ellington Work site and its various subdomains might need to be on one host, since they get the most traffic and are ever-expanding. While the Fearless Ink, Cerridwen’s Cottage, and Grief to Art sites might need to be on a different one. If I can find reasonable plans, it will be about the same price as what I have now, which is affordable.

If Grief to Art gains traction, eventually, it will need to spin off on its own host, because it will need a lot of room.

So I lost most of the day dealing with that, which was so frustrating. I was in tears by the end of it, even though A2 was nice and had some good ideas. But every suggestion ended with the upsell.

The bottom line is that the websites need to pay for themselves. They’re doing that right now. But if I upgrade to a plan I can’t really afford, I’m in trouble. They need to show the actual monetary gains in book sales, more article work, etc. BEFORE I upgrade, not putting in the money where I’m not sure it can grow fast enough to pay for itself.

I also don’t want to make a stupid decision out of panic and regret it.

Thank goodness I’ve always kept the websites separate, or I’d be in real trouble.

I ran down to do a curbside pickup at the library. The Congregational Church next door was having a leaf cleanup on their property. Too many people, more than half unmasked, no social distancing. In flagrant violation of state mandates. Why are they allowed to get away with this? Why is nothing enforced around here?

Sunday morning, I was out the door early, early to go to Star Market before too many people were out. I didn’t need much, but the turkey was the most important thing. I found a nice turkey – only 14 pounds this year. Put gas in the car, too. Hauled everything home, disinfected it, disinfected myself.

Sat down and wrote holiday cards. Got all the overseas cards out, except a few where I had to email people for their addresses. Got a good start on the domestic cards. But it took a long time, and I was tired.

Up early yesterday. Off to the client’s, where I worked on my own. Got some orders shipped out (I hate that part of the job; I don’t mind helping out, but I am not a shipping clerk). The postman “forgot” to stop at the office, so I had to run down the street after the truck, waving the packages, even though the flag was up, and I’d put in an electronic pickup request. Got out holiday email blasts; worked on the ad that needs to go live. The ad that went live on Friday is getting a lot of traction, so hopefully it’s converting well into sales. We’ll know next weekend.

Was getting ready to work on some social media posts for the client when a Tornado Warning came through on my phone, followed a few seconds later by a screaming Tornado Alert – Seek shelter! Message.

The building I was in was flimsy, and the car unprotected. I looked outside, and didn’t see any funnels. I locked up and risked driving home. The rain came in, hard. I could barely see the road sometimes. But I made it home, got the car in the garage, before the worst of the deluge and the thunder. We hunkered down for the next hour and a half. It was a bad storm, but no funnels around here, thank goodness.

But I was worn out by then.

Read in the afternoon. Finished reading a biography of Elaine Stritch. As talented as she was, I kept a safe distance from her when we were both working in NYC. She was nasty and manipulative, and I stayed away as much as possible.

Also read my first Kit Rocha book, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, one of the Mercenary Librarians series, and liked it. I usually avoid dystopia because we’re living it, but this one was recommended by several people, and I liked it a lot.

Gearing up for a round of errands today. I have to make a Target run for some things I can’t get anywhere else and can’t do for curbside pickup, because I have to look at things and make a decision. Then, to the post office to get more stamps and mail an overseas package; to the liquor store and the library; and to the chocolatier to get gifts we are sending to several friends.

Even the thought of it upsets me, being out around people, but I hope I’ve mapped it out and timed it so I’m around the fewest people possible and can whip in and out everywhere with minimal contact.

Major, major disinfectant protocols when I get back.

Then, it’s writing more domestic cards, getting a client ad live, and working on “Lockesley Hall.”

Tomorrow will be stressful, because I have to overlap with other people at the client’s, but it’s only for a short time, so, fingers crossed.

At least that seditious GSA administrator finally signed the transition papers. She needs to go to prison anyway. We can’t let ANY of these corrupt individuals slither away.

Of course, I’ve been sneaking in a few thousand words here and there on GAMBIT COLONY, my major stress-reliever of a project. Someday, I’ll be satisfied with those first six books of the series, that cover from auditions through filming the first season, and actually submit them! Well, I’m hoping to submit them in 2021, so they’ll be out by 2022, but who knows. There are other books that need to be finished first.

Take care, and have a safe day.

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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