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  Leave a Comment  
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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.

 

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.

Fri. March 23, 2018: Anticipating a Writing Weekend

Friday, March 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

So, Mercury is retrograde. In Aries. Ick.

Yesterday wasn’t as productive writing-wise as I wanted, but it was productive in other ways. I finished the book I had to review, and will polish the review and send it off today. I worked my way through several contest entries.

The big deal, for me, was that I figured why the contact form wasn’t coding in properly on my websites, and fixed it. Now the websites have contact forms, rather than stating my email or writing out the email so I’ll get a lot of spam.

I cleaned up my new mailboxes. I am in the process of unsubscribing from a bunch of stuff, on all my email accounts. There’s too much crap coming in.

I figured out how to reconfigure my menu bars so I can use drop-down features where appropriate.

I have three different WordPress books checked out from various libraries in the system. In order to figure this out, I had to read the relevant sections in all THREE and then do something slightly different, based on what I read. Because heaven forbid, any ONE of them should have had the complete, correct steps.

I worked on the newsletter. I worked on the updated media kit for TRACKING MEDUSA. I may do the cover reveal for SPIRIT REPOSITORY in the newsletter.

I got ahead on some blog posts.

I’m working on the Writer’s Rough Outline so I can distill it down to a synopsis and get the submission packet for the last big project out in the next couple of weeks. I have another project to get back out on submission, but I will wait until after Mercury goes direct. I want to do another pass on it and make some cuts.

I have a lot of errands to run this morning, then a meeting, and then I’m digging back to drafting the books that are waiting rather impatiently for attention.

And, of course work on the Writer’s Rough/synopsis.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 23, 2018 at 9:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 23, 2018: Anticipating a Writing Weekend  
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Fri. Nov. 17, 2017: Writing, Errands, and Amazon Delivery Fail

Friday, November 17, 2017
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a busy day. That seems to be the mantra, isn’t it? The Books and the Bear promotion went out for SA.VASANA AT SEA

Day before dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month. Dark moon, I start feeling better again.

I had to contact my webhost — the book covers aren’t showing up on my website for SAVASANA, nor is the Media Kit downloadable. That’s not acceptable. The host switched over to a Microsoft Server, and, Microsoft is claiming my uploads are “double escapes” and they are forbidden for “security”. Which is complete and utter crap.

So, again, just when I have a release, and it’s vital everything work, my host lets me down. Because 1and 1 sucks.

Moving everything and/or rebuilding the websites from scratch will be a nightmare, but I really don’t see what else I can do. 1and1 doesn’t deliver on the package for which I’m paying. Every “improvement” makes it more and more impossible for me to do what I need to do, and everything that’s supposed to be included then suddenly becomes an additional monthly fee.

I need a stable webhost that lets me do what I need to do. I need to be able to run multiple domains at a reasonable price, along with multiple subdomains.

So, I’m on the webhost hunt again.

Caught up on a lot of web and admin stuff yesterday, and uploaded next Tuesday’s post to A Biblio Paradise. My guest is Patsy Collins, whose newest book is set in both South Wales and Capri, which sounds interesting. Anyway, on Tuesday, I hope you’ll hop over. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you! 😉

I set up the Questions for 2018 on a separate page on the GDR site. I figured that makes more sense than having to constantly scroll down and look for it. The questions have shifted a bit from the past few years, because, well, people change. Life changes. Things evolve.

I’m having a series of interesting small “aha” moments lately. They are adding up to the major shift that will happen next spring. Clues along the trail. I still don’t know what the ultimate outcome of it all will be, but the journey is intriguing.

Did some client work. I’ve kind of done all I can on a couple of projects for this client until they get back to me with the information I requested in order to go further.

Yoga mid-day yesterday. It was a good class. I was achy and tight all over. It made me realize that, on days when I’m working onsite with my clients, I have to come home, immediately change into yoga clothes, and do a solid, forty minutes or so of yoga or I get out of alignment and tangled up. I can’t sit for so long, especially since the desk and chair are the wrong heights for me on one particular site.

My mom’s medical appointment was moved a few hours earlier, so I dashed home from yoga, packed her into the car, drove her over in the pouring rain. While she was in there, I ran a couple of errands nearby, then picked her up, and off we went home. She’s healing well. It’s slower than she would like, and she can’t do much, which frustrates her, but the nurses assure her she’s doing well and is right on track.

By the time we got back, I was done for the day!

I’ve been expecting a book I ordered from an Amazon-connected vendor. It was ordered on Oct. 31, and supposedly shipped on Nov. 1. The delivery was marked between Nov. 8-15. Now, since I paid full price for the shipping, that seemed a bit long. But, most of the time, the stuff arrives on the front end of the estimate. I’d ordered two other books from different vendors the same day. At cheaper shipping, I might add. One arrived THE NEXT DAY with a nice note — you know I’ll be doing business with them again), and the other arrived less than a week later.

I’m still waiting for this book. The tracking said it would be delivered by 8 PM on the 15th. Well, the mailman was there around 3:30, and, no package. Then, yesterday, it’s marked “delivered.” Where? Sure as hell not to me. I was home when the mail was delivered, so it’s not like anyone had time to steal it off the doorstep. I walked around and don’t see it anywhere. If it was misdelivered to a neighbor, the neighbor would have brought it over. We run back and forth a few times a week with misdelivered mail. So where is it? And why the hell would it be my job to walk the neighborhood to try to figure out where it was misdelivered? I paid for it to be delivered in a timely fashion TO MY HOUSE.

I contacted the seller when it didn’t arrive the first time, and then again last night. I’m going to the post office with the tracking number today. Hopefully, the seller will put some pressure on it from that end, and we can figure out where the heck it is.

Not happy about it at all. On the one hand, I don’t want to blame the seller for something that happened on this end. On the other hand, I paid full price for shipping, so why wasn’t it sent via first class mail? And what good is the tracking number if it doesn’t accurately track?

Time to visit the post office. My post office people are very nice, so I know they will at least TRY to figure it out. But it’s frustrating. And it makes me not want to order again.

It’s not even holiday madness. If it was holiday madness, I’d give it more leeway, but this is basic mail delivery.

And, of course, crickets from the seller. Not even an acknowledgement that I contacted with a problem. However, it might be overzealous to expect a response in less than 48 hours. That IS the standard business response time. So I really don’t have a right to be annoyed with the seller until, like, Monday.

Enough of the cranky today, right?

I ran a ton of errands this morning. By accident, I found the turkey of my dreams on sale at a great price, so I hauled that home and it’s waiting patiently for Thanksgiving. Found the cookie tray packaging I need for my annual cookie tray event, and a couple of small gifts for my mom. And I have almost everything I need for the dinner next week – just have to pick up some fresh vegetables and the pie the day before. Picked up some yarn my mom needed, and a few other things.

Yard work after lunch, although it’s windy, and I hope my piles of leaves don’t blow into my neighbors’ pristine yards before I can bag them!

Only then will I be able to dig back into SERENE AND DETERMINED. I am determined — pun intended — to finish the first act this weekend.

A friend sent me some raw material that he’s wondering how he can shape, so I’m going to give him some advice, too.

I’m going to try to stay offline all weekend, and that includes social media, in order to really dig in to SERENE AND DETERMINED, and also, hopefully into a few other projects.

And get yard work done on any day that isn’t raining!

I won’t be able to post about the weekend’s writing until Tuesday’s post. Monday will, again, be an “intent” post.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on November 17, 2017 at 11:43 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 17, 2017: Writing, Errands, and Amazon Delivery Fail  
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Tues. June 20, 2017: Market Choice/Writing Choice

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, foggy, muggy

Today, I’m going to spend some time on choosing the right market, and then backtrack to the daily details of my constant striving (and strife) to balance the freelance writing life.

Last week, I struggled over an article, but was ultimately satisfied I’d done good work and sent it to a new-to-me market that pays fast. I specifically crafted an article I hoped would hit their sweet spot because they pay fast. I don’t like their style or their content. I don’t like writing on spec (and in many cases, I won’t). But I didn’t expect the piece to take as long as it did to write and research, and, as I’ve said numerous times, I liked the fact that they pay fast.

I woke up this morning to a rejection.

I knew it was well-written, carefully proofread. The fact checking sheet was solid, with reliable sources. But they wanted more National Enquirer and less New Yorker. Basically, I hadn’t dumbed it down enough for their readership. I’d hoped I’d mimicked their style; I’d tried to mirror it as much as possible, without making myself throw up. I cared about the topic, and wanted to do it justice. I had hoped to find a balance between an interesting, well-written piece and the pandering they often do to their readership.

The market was the wrong choice for me. Does that mean I’m not “professional” enough to be able to write for them? Some would say yes. I say I wrote to the limit of pandering my gag reflex would allow, and hoped it would fit what they were looking for. It didn’t.

I should have stopped writing as soon as my gag reflex engaged. Hey, it would be great to detach myself from the content and not give a damn. Write whatever the market wants, take the money and run. Well, if I turn down corporate gigs for companies whose missions I believe are unethical, and they are offering me enough so I could buy a house in a year, and I still say no, why would I do the same for an okay-but-not-brilliant rate? There was only so far I could go.

I’ve worked hard on my author’s voice; I’ve worked hard so that when I ghost, I can mimic the “author’s” voice. I’ve worked hard building craft over a long period of years. Perhaps that means I should be able to bend the craft to fit any market; or perhaps I should just write for those markets I respect.

I liked the idea of the piece. In fact, I loved it — the topic was something I cared about. The research was interesting, and I was sorry I had to distill the piece down as much as I did to fit the market’s parameters.

The topic was part of the problem. Although it was, technically, in one of the arenas the publication claimed it wanted, it was something that would appeal more to the literate than the reality-show crowd.

Basically, I attempted it to appeal to a wider audience, when the market appeals to a narrow (and often narrow-minded) audience. Once I knew the idea was for a literate audience, I should have re-slanted it and aimed it at a different publication.

I followed the formatting guidelines exactly. I had the proofreading, the links, the format — exactly. But the content was off.

In my classes and in the Topic Workbooks, I harp on the necessity of following submission guidelines EXACTLY. An acquaintance of mine is handles submissions for a monthly publication; they get between 800-1000 submissions per week. 85% of them are pitched unread because they don’t follow submission guidelines. Of the other 15%, 75% are then rejected because of sloppy writing and lack of proofreading to such an extent that it would take the editors too long to fix the errors. Massive editing doesn’t fit the production schedule of the publication. 10% don’t fit the focus of the publication (probably a great many of the 85% that were rejected also did not fit the publication, but they never got that far). The remaining submissions make it to the editorial meeting for possible inclusion.

So, let’s say, that particular week, they got 1000 submissions. 850 are chucked out for not following guidelines. That leaves 150 — not too shabby. 75% of those are so badly written, they’re out. That’s 113 badly written pieces that are chucked, and another 15 that don’t fit. That leaves 22 possible pieces. Not bad.

This is when it gets really competitive. 22 viable pieces come in once a week for a limited number of slots free every month. 22 pieces a week x 4 weeks — 88 pieces per month when there are probably only 20-30 slots available.

The competition is keen.

From what my rejection letter stated, it looks like I at least made it to the round where it passed guidelines, format, and craft, but they felt it didn’t fit their focus. In other words, it was one of the 10% chucked out for not fitting the publication neatly enough. Which is a perfectly legitimate reason for it to be rejected.

I knew the finished article was a risk, because it wound up being more “literary” than I expected. At that point, I could have decided not to submit. But, I decided to take the risk, just in case they’d pick an occasional piece that was a bit more literary.

I wanted the money. Nothing wrong with that.

They didn’t want the piece. As is their right.

Now what?

I still like the piece. What I’m going to do is reformat it and re-slant it a bit. Some of the fact-check links that the original market demanded will be transformed into a sidebar for additional information. I’m going to re-shape some of it and add some of the content I liked, but knew I had to cut for the particular market (both word count and content restrictions). And I’ll pitch it to a different publication. A publication that wants more New Yorker than National Enquirer.

It also means that two other articles I have pending with this publication will probably be rejected for the same reason. In which case, I won’t keep submitting, quick pay or no, because my time is better spent working on pitches to publications that pay $1/word, where I like their content and they like mine.

It was a gamble that didn’t pay off. I submitted to a publication that left a bad taste in my mouth, whose work I don’t like, and I wasn’t willing to match enough of their writing style to get in. Some would say that means I’m not “professional” enough, not detached enough. Definitely not detached enough. Others would say I’m not a “hack”, and I shouldn’t have tried hack writing. I don’t happen to think there’s anything wrong with hack writing. Many a writer who went on to public works we still read was known as a hack in their own time, churning out stories for pulps, and articles and reviews for anyone who would pay them enough to keep a roof over their heads.

“Writing to market” is an important part of selling one’s work. Since this is my business, not my hobby, I better write material that sells. I better also choose my markets by what they actually publish, instead of what I think they should publish.

So, onward.

Yesterday was one of those days that no matter where I worked, the work didn’t flow well. My hyperaccusis/misophonia was bad (as it is when I’m under severe stress) and almost any sound caused pain.

I took my mom in to the doctor, and she had a biopsy. Fingers crossed it turns out well. I had trouble writing anything by the time we got back. I tried working at the library, but it was too noisy. I came home and did some research and noodled with a few ideas.

I sent off my requested revisions to my new editor, explaining nicely that if he wanted something first thing Monday, it needed to be on my desk before noon on Friday, not at 9 AM Sunday morning. If I get fired for that, so be it. They don’t pay enough for me to compromise my Day of Disconnect.

I will have quite a bit to say tomorrow on the Shakespeare idiocy that the ignorant and stupid are currently engaging in (since most of them seem to think he’s alive and can be bullied). But that’s another piece for another day.

Today, I have errands to run, and I’ll try to work at the library for a bit. I’m having trouble finishing the short stories that need to go out, but I just have to buckle down and do them. I have some more article pitches to send out, and others to work on and/or follow up.

And I can’t neglect the longer fiction, which has gotten the short shrift the last few weeks, replaced by articles that are on a quicker pay cycle.

Tomorrow, the weather’s supposed to be clear, so I have to get back to work mowing (the terrace is looking like a vacant lot again). I also have a project meeting way down the other end of the Cape that I’m looking forward to. I don’t want to get my hopes up, and it’s out of my usual client range, but I like the company, and I like the person I dealt with so far, so fingers crossed it will all be good.

Tomorrow is also the Solstice, and I have to get ready for that celebration. I’m not feeling much like celebrating, but it will make me feel better.

Back to the page.

Fri. March 31, 2017: Musing on Writing Dilemmas

Friday, March 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and foggy and cold

Morning was filled with errands. Errands always irritate me, because I feel like I should use the time to write, especially since morning is my prime writing time. But, around here, it makes so much more sense to get errands done early. So I write even EARLIER, and then run errands, and then come back and try to write some more.

Worked mostly on POWER OF WORDS. I got a research book I need on corporate espionage for NOT BY THE BOOK that I hope to devour this weekend, which will help me get back on track for that.

On POWER OF WORDS, I added some inserts — I’m honing the world building of the created world that the characters are filming.

I’m starting to wonder if it makes more sense to release the piece as a full-out serial, instead of as a serial novel. Chapters run between 20-30 pages. There’s no way, that I can see, of making it financially feasible. The contents of each book really need to be somewhere between $4.99 and $7.99 for it to make sense for readers. The mechanics of setting it up as a serial, releasing a chapter a week, seem overwhelming at the moment. For the shorter “sections” (what I’m calling the books, should they be so released), someone would pay for the whole thing, and then receive a chapter per week. At the end of each “book”, the individual would have the option to renew the subscription for the next one or not. One would hope it would build in popularity, but with people wanting to binge-watch and binge-stream and people bitching and moaning that they want the entire series finished before they read a first book — it may no longer be feasible.

There’s too much “I want it now!” rather than enjoying a piece and then looking forward to the next piece. People are greedy rather than grateful. It’s a gluttony of the spirit, not just of the flesh, as pretentious as that sounds.

While I love to binge read a whole series, there’s also something lovely about the anticipation. Although, I get just as frustrated as anyone else when the next book isn’t ready on time. I’m wrestling with that right now from one of my favorite series — her release date has changed several times over the years (instead of being consistent, which, to me, is important in a series). Her next book is going to be three or four months late. I’m sure she has a good reason. But, the greedy part of me DOESN’T CARE. I feel let down (and it’s more likely to be the fault of the publisher than the author, in this particular case, because she’s good about deadlines, et al).

In other words, I am not immune to this phenomenon.

Where does that leave POWER OF WORDS (or whatever I finally decide to call it)? I’m not sure. So why do I keep working on it, when it’s gotten so unwieldy and out of control?

Because it’s my creative utopia. The central characters know they’re creating something new and different. It’s difficult and exhausting, but the exhilaration exceeds the exhaustion. As they find the right creative home, and as they expand to the other creative possibilities, there are more conflicts (both in scheduling, creative approaches, and personal lives) and more opportunities.

There’s an ever-expanding cast of characters, although there is a core group on whose creativity things are focused. As I rewrite and hone sections, I spread out the balance a bit better. First drafting, certain sections tend to tilt one way or the other.

On a professional, financial, business sense, this project makes no sense at all. It is definitely a project of the heart, and I have to keep the more financially feasible projects on their burners, and keep all these plates spinning (while mixing metaphors) in order to have a career.

But there is SOMETHING here. I think I can find it, if I keep at it. I have no idea how long it will eventually be (too long). I have no idea into how many volumes I will eventually break it down. I do know that one of the central relationships, that I thought would be able to endure, won’t. Making it endure would be too much of a fairy tale, and not organic to the characters. They love each other, but there are certain drives in each of them that won’t allow them to stay together as romantic partners in an HEA, although for a good portion of the central part of the books, they will.

The balancing act, however, with this project and others, is difficult, and I often spend more of the workday on this than the other projects which also require attention.

I tried forcing myself to work on the other un-contracted (but with a better chance of moving into the “contracted” category) projects first and letting the work on POWER be my “reward”, but then all I wind up doing is staring at a blank page for something else, while my mind spins with what should be going on in POWER.

It could be considered a lack of discipline, or an over-abundance of passion. Take your pick.

However, when there’s a contracted, deadlined piece in the mix, no matter what I “want” to work on, the contracted, deadlined piece comes first. He who pays the most and has the tightest deadline gets the first attention. That’s what you have to do as a professional.

While inside, I’m wild to get back to POWER. This is a case where I need to trust in its process and led it lead me where it will. Meanwhile, I will also play with different business models for its eventual release, and see where the two converge. It’s not possible to use a traditional model — there’s no way it could keep what makes it special, and still be feasible for a traditional publisher to take a chance on it. It’s not even fair to ask/pitch/submit, because the necessary changes would destroy what I’m trying to do.

So I have to figure out something else. I don’t know if I’m clever enough to create a new model, but we will see what happens.

Sometimes, just to relieve some of the creative pressure, I adapt some of it to teleplay format, and that shows me places to tighten, cut, keep the text moving better. Although I can’t see this succeeding as a television show, either, due to the enormous cast. Still, a strong pilot would be useful in the portfolio as a writing sample. Not as something I’m actually trying to get done, but a sample.

I’ve been re-reading William Goldman’s ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. I always learn something from that book. It also shows how much has changed in the business since the early 1980s — the advent of “reality” television, even some of the formatting techniques for a screenplay, the shortening of the screenplay, et al. Some things, such as endless, usually useless meetings, and the adage to “protect the star” in vehicles are the same, perhaps even more emphasized. But “No one really knows anything” is still true, as, I think, it is in any creative venture. You don’t know if something will hit until it hits, until it resonates with people, for whatever reason. And it may resonate for awhile, and then stop.

Great art — Shakespeare, Austen, the art of Michelangelo, the performances of Olivier — they sustain.

I wonder who will be considered our great artists? We certainly lack great statesmen.

At any rate, I have more errands to run today. We’re supposed to get yet another snowstorm tonight.

Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day. I loathe April Fool’s day. Far too many of the “jokes” come out of cruelty, not a joyful comedy.

Have a great weekend. I have a wrap-up over on the GDR site –– I did not live up to my own expectations as far as my “To Do” list there.

Onward.

Published in: on March 31, 2017 at 8:59 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 31, 2017: Musing on Writing Dilemmas  
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