Wed. April 7, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 320 — Vaccine Appointment!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Waning Moon

Still dark out – supposed to be mild

No graphic today. I’m too tired to look for something that fits my moods.

Yesterday was just all over the place. I got out some LOIs, got some client work done, worked on the article. I hope to finish it and get it out by tomorrow.

The excellent news is that my health care provider contacted me with a vaccine appointment for this upcoming Saturday morning, and just over in Mashpee. It’s Moderna, the one with the worst side effects, but it’s a vaccine, and I can get my second dose in early May and be done.

I’ve been behind in the packing these past two days; I have to gear up through Friday, and with the articles, etc., so that I can just rest this weekend and deal with any side effects.

It’s such a huge relief.

I did a run to the bank to make a deposit and to the library for curbside pickup.

Heard back on a rental possibility, but it doesn’t have internet, and I can’t afford to wire someone else’s house for internet, so even though the space and the price are right, I don’t think it will work. Also, one needs 4-wheel drive in winter, and I have a VW rabbit.

Saw some other potential listings, and will send out some inquiries today.

Sent off some more sample agreements to those who want unpaid labor as part of an interview process. I’m sure I’ll never hear from them again.

May have landed a new client who has a variety of article/blog work – we have to interact some more, but it sounds like a good possibility. If it works out, I hope to add that client in to the roster starting next week.

Worked on contest entries. Felt pretty wiped out/burned out, so allowed myself some rest.

Watched the Martin Clunes documentary on Australia’s islands last night. It was a lot of fun.

Up early today, trying to get some work done and some emails out. I have to be onsite with the client today, and hope it won’t be too stressful.

There’s Remote Chat this afternoon – I hope I can participate. It’s always one of the brightest spots of my week.

My friend who is sick with COVID is getting better, thank goodness. I was worried. Well, I still am worried, but she sounds better.

Playing with some ideas. I’m not writing enough fiction during all this moving chaos, and it’s negatively affecting me.

Upward, onward, all I can do is the best I can do.

Tues. Jan. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 244 — Dark Before Dawn, Dare I Hope?

image courtesy of Shantanu Kashyap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Waxing Moon

Still dark out

Busy weekend, but busy in a good way. Post up over on A Biblio Paradise about Dan Rather’s book.

I finished the book proposal and got it off on Saturday. I also completed and submitted a grant application. In and around doing five loads of laundry and the usual Saturday housework.

The first shipment of books for the contest arrived, and I unpacked them. I will process them today, and will start them this week.

Then, I was exhausted.

Other than worrying about what crap the radical right plans to pull this week, I gave myself Sunday off. Finished reading Neil Simon’s REWRITES and started his next memoir, THE PLAY GOES ON.

I put up the Carnivale decorations on the mantel, which cheers up the entire room.

I did some work on GAMBIT COLONY, which always serves as a stress reliever. But it’s difficult, this week, to focus on anything.

I took the holiday on Monday, at least, location-wise. I did not go into the office, but worked remotely for a few hours. Also got some LOIs out.

I also did a run to Trader Joe’s, the pharmacy, and dropped off some library books in the book drop.

Working on the ScriptMag article. Not sure I can get it finished today, but I will try. I alternate between struggling to concentrate and glad to have something that demands strong focus.

I am in desperate need of a real break, a couple of weeks with no pressure on me about anything. Genuine rest. Catching a day or two here and there doesn’t cut it. But I don’t see any way for me to get such a break in the foreseeable future. Not until after the move, at the very least. But I’m hurting from the exhaustion.

Today is blocked off to do some client work and the article. Once the article is out the door, I have a short story that needs some attention.

I want tomorrow to go off without any violence happening to Biden and Harris, or their families. That’s my main concern. And I want the insurrectionists destroyed. No negotiation with domestic terrorists, whether they are in public office or roaming the streets. No. Negotiation.

Published in: on January 19, 2021 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 19, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 244 — Dark Before Dawn, Dare I Hope?  
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Tues. Aug. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 97 — Rest & Prep

sunset-174276_1920
image courtesy of danigeza via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and Humid

I gave myself the weekend off. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted, and I’m sick of trying to keep on keeping on. The laptop stayed off; I was on social media a little bit here and there; I ignored emails.

Saturday morning was busy: watered the yard, took garbage and recycling to the dump (way too many Sliding Mask Skanks at recycling), a trip to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop (where I got things I can’t get at Trader Joe’s), home, full disinfectant protocols, beds changed, 5 loads of laundry, made chocolate mousse. All by 10 AM. Well, laundry took pretty much all day, but the first load was in before 10! Then, around 10:30, I made another curbside pickup at the library.

Sunday, I had to brave a trip into Christmas Tree Shops to pick up some things I knew they carry and haven’t been able to source elsewhere. I was there when they opened, and there weren’t a lot of Covidiots in there yet, so I could zoom around the store, grab what I needed, get out, and do a full disinfectant protocol when I got home.

It was too hot to make baguettes or do any other baking.

I read all weekend, instead. I wrote a little bit, but not anywhere near what I “should” have, and, frankly, I didn’t give a damn. I had the cats out on the deck in their playpens. I read. I napped. I was out on the deck. I stayed away from the chaos as much as possible.

I decided, in that series that started so well, then three books disappointed and angered me, but I’d already ordered the rest from the library – that I would read into each book until I hit a slur or something else stupid, and then skim/stop the rest. After three books that I didn’t like (which is more than I’d give most authors), the next book is back on track. No slurs; the protag was weaker than she was at the start of the series, which I don’t really like; the author got rid of the really great love interest the previous book in a way I didn’t like, without any real resolution, and brought in a new one here – who is basically out of the same mold as the previous one, only in a different profession and with more romance-hero looks. So I’m on the fence about that. But many of the things I’d liked in the earlier books were back in force here.

So we’ll see. And I’m learning a lot, even from that which I don’t like.

Also re-read THE CRUELEST MONTH by Louise Penny. I’m getting a lot more out of the series this time through.

And started reading ROMANCE IS MY DAY JOB, a memoir by Harlequin editor Patience Bloom, which was recommended by a friend of mine, and enjoyed it (finished it yesterday).

I cooked a little, snacked too much (I’m not usually a snacker, but I was this weekend). The cats were happy with lots of extra playtime.

Illegal fireworks in the street again on Saturday night, but at least not right in front of our house. But, you know, no one will do anything because “it’s just innocent fun.” No, assholes, it’s not. Do your jobs and shut this down. Someone in the neighborhood has a horde of tens of thousands of dollars of illegal fireworks, and it’s going to take out half the neighborhood when they do something else stupid and their house explodes.

Monday, I had to go onsite for a client for a few hours. I was on my own for most of it, which is how it should be. I had to contact the Town Clerk because I still haven’t received my mail-in ballot (my mother received hers over a week ago). I suspect it’s because I’m named for my mother, and they assumed it was a duplicate –even though we have different middle initials, different signatures, different registrations,  it’s clear we are two separate people, and we’ve both voted in every election for 10 years. But it’s not a prerequisite to have intelligence or common sense if you work for the town. I contacted via fax AND via certified mail, since I’m still waiting for the town to respond to an email I sent in March, and another sent in June. Because they can’t be fucking bothered. No, it didn’t go astray, and it’s not because of the pandemic, and they’re not “doing the best they can.” This is their pattern.  If I haven’t heard anything by tomorrow, I will have to contact the Secretary of State. Mail-in ballots have to be dropped off by Sept. 1. This is not a big city with tons and tons of work and no staff. This is a small town. Who ignores their residents whenever possible.

And how sexist! Plenty of sons are names for their fathers, especially around here, and no one thinks twice. But because I am named for my mother, there’s confusion?

Setting up a quarantine area in the laundry room on the rolling rack. We’re getting into weather where clothing is not all easy-to-wash cottons. When I strip down in the laundry room for disinfectant protocols, I can toss what I need to in the machine, and put the less-often-washables on the rack in quarantine.

Finally used my Phin filter to make Vietnamese coffee with sweet condensed milk. Lovely.

Re: The Conways. How stupid are the people who are cutting them a break with all of this? This is one of the biggest grifts of the administration – husband and wife playing two sides against the middle, and now bowing out citing “family” issues. Husband and wife have been playing the population since Day 1 and laughing all the way to the bank. Corrupt to the core. Roped in their kid as part of the scheme. I don’t believe anything coming out of any of their mouths. It’s all orchestrated, scripted, and planned, for profit.

Prepped for this morning’s meeting yesterday – it’s at 8:30 this morning, via ZOOM. Nothing like being professionally dressed and in full makeup again that early!

The rest of the day will be a mix of client work and writing. I need to cover a lot of ground on the Llewellyn piece today, get out an email blast for a client, and upload some more pieces to her online shop.

Hope your week is starting well. We’re supposed to get storms today to break the heat and humidity. The last few days have been miserable with it.

And please share the information about Grief to Art. Thanks – greatly appreciated.

Grief to Art Logo

Tues. June 16, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 29 — Bone Weary

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It was cool enough last night for the heat to kick on.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, “Just Rest”, which I have to take to heart this week.

Up and down weekend. Not as productive as I wished, but I got work done. It just wasn’t what I needed to get done.

I felt as creative as wilted lettuce on Friday, so I concentrated on admin tasks. Cleared out a couple of inboxes, dealt with things, got out some LOIs.

I can’t remember if I made the new curtains for the bedroom on Thursday or Friday. Sheers with small roses on them, a little out of character for me, but they’re nice.

Saturday morning, geared up and went to Star Market early (after dropping my library books in the bin). People were masked, and there weren’t a lot in there, so it wasn’t bad, even though they don’t always follow the arrows.

On the way home, I saw lots of people out and about. All unmasked. All acting like nothing’s happened.

Basically, we stayed home to give the powers that be time to come up with solutions to keep us alive, and they did nothing. Now, they just want us to go back out there and die for their profit.

Still getting daily emails claiming my package will be delivered that day (whatever day it is). Of course, it’s not. Now, UPS marks the excuse as “emergency or natural disaster.” Um, no. There haven’t been any emergencies or natural disasters in the 11 miles between the facility and the house in the past ten days. It was either Friday or Saturday when the UPS truck drove right past the house, but didn’t stop.

Absolutely unacceptable.

If my package isn’t important enough for them, then they should hand it off to USPS, like they did the last one. At least USPS can be bothered to deliver.

UPS seems to forget that the only reason they exist is to deliver packages. If they can’t do that, then they need to be broken up.

Most of the weekend was taken up by GAMBIT COLONY revisions. I planned to spend an hour or two in re-reads. That piece is my favorite stress reliever. But I got caught up in it. I revised books 3 & what I have of 4. Book 4 is nearly finished. Book 5 is an interlude book, and I have bits and pieces of it done, and Book 6 is in basic outline.

Once all six books are done, I will do a big pass over them for continuity and hand them off to the editor. As we do the editor-based revisions, I will do the Series Bible, which is complex.

The plan, once the first six books are edited, is to release one a month over the course of six months. Although I have ideas for a few more books in the series, whether or not anything will come of them remains to be seen, and will be contingent upon how well the first six books do. They are of a piece; while they don’t act as cliffhangers, each book is a specific part of the journey.

I’ve been joking about the series being a “creative soap opera” since it deals with the behind-the-scenes filming of a television show. But, really, that’s what it is. And not your typical, clichéd, bitchy idiocy. But an exploration of creative process under pressure; some of it is a creative utopia I wish existed, some is about the actual conflicts that come up.

We’re looking at a 2022 release, but it could get pushed back, again, because of other contracts that need to be finished first.

If there are further books down the line, they will have to deal with the pandemic and how it affects the show. Maybe by then, I’ll have a better idea of how things actually work out.

Providing I survive. Which, when your government and your bosses are doing what they can to make sure one doesn’t, becomes a challenge.

I got a bit of yard work done. Not as much as I should have. Cut back some invasives. Did not get the front finished, which is something I need to do this week if the weather holds.

A lot of this week is getting in what I need for next week’s surgery and recovery. I think I have most of it; will get a few last things at the end of the week, and then play it as safe as I can until I have my COVID test next week, and, if it comes back negative, the surgery.

At each phase of the process, depending on what happens, there are different sets of protocols to follow, so it’s just one step at a time.

I decided, since GAMBIT COLONY is my stress-relief project (as complex as it is), that it will be my carrot. If I finish what I need to write that day, I get to spend some time on GAMBIT COLONY. If I don’t, no GAMBIT.

That should motivate!

Had weird dreams all weekend. Sunday night into Monday I had a good one, which was working on a Shakespeare production with Peter Dinklage. That would be great, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Decent first writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Monday morning.

Headed in to the office. It was quiet for most of my stint, and I was on my own. A bit of overlap with a stressed out co-worker. There’s nothing I can do to help her. I’ve tried. I attempt to lend a sympathetic ear to her venting, but I leave feeling bruised from the negativity.

Home, got out some LOIs, had a really nice preliminary online interview with a company based in Australia. I don’t have enough expertise in their field, so I doubt they’d hire me, but the actual process was a pleasure. That is so rare when so many of these recruiters and application places either bait and switch or are so demeaning in the initial contact that I stop the process right there.

I’m so weary, weary all the way into my bones, running deep. Having a migraine didn’t help, either.

I took a two hour nap (I’m not a napper). It didn’t help.

Slogged through making dinner. Read a bit, went to bed early. Felt no better after nine hours of sleep.

The UPS package finally arrived. It wasn’t delivered for so long because it was small (smaller than I expected). Therefore, not important enough. They should have just handed it off to USPS, and not lied every day that it was going to be delivered.

I already decided NOT to buy a couple of things in the past few days because the companies use UPS to ship.

Ron Perlman taking Ted Cruz to the woodshed was funny as hell. Cruz behaved completely inappropriately for a sitting Senator – especially one who allowed the Sociopath to publicly trash both his wife and father. Perlman is smart, talented, and has integrity – everything Cruz does not.

The Supreme Court decision saying the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT was important. I was not impressed with Gorsuch’s opinion on it, and Alito’s disagreement was appalling and from the past century. But it passed, and the Supreme Court actually served justice and our population, which it hasn’t always done.

I’m hoping to have a good day both on the fiction front and the client front today, and mentally prepare for a difficult day onsite tomorrow.

But I still have a migraine, I’m weary unlike any exhaustion I’ve ever had before, and it will be a struggle. Hope it’s all better on your end.

Published in: on June 16, 2020 at 5:36 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 16, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 29 — Bone Weary  
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Tues. Dec. 17, 2019: Trying to Stay On Top of It All

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Lousy weather

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about one of my favorite Winter Holiday books.

Busy few days. Sorry I didn’t post at all on Friday. I was up at 5:30 and out of the house by 7. Put gas in the car, then drove up to Plymouth, to my regular mechanic, to give them their holiday treats and get the yearly inspection done.

The car passed. All those things the place that replaced my battery told me I had to pay $1800 to get done or else not pass inspection — NONE of them were true. Which makes me both angry and relieved.

I’ve spent the past nearly three months in agony fearing the car wouldn’t pass, and I couldn’t afford the additional work. Because I was lied to.

Stopped at Market Basket on the way back to pick up a few things. Swung by the library to pick up a book and talk to the librarian who took her first trip to NYC this past week, and I wrote up directions to the stuff she wanted to see. She had a great time.

Then, I just hit a wall. I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that I couldn’t do much more than play with the cats, do some more decorating, and read.

I managed to pull it together in the late afternoon to put together and deliver the cookie platters to the neighbors. It was fun — a chance for us to catch up. We are all friendly in passing and help each other when we need it, but every now and again, it’s nice to spend some time in actual conversation. We are lucky in our neighbors. Most of them, anyway.

It looks like my health insurance might be sorted out for the next year. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

On Thursday night, we watched the version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Alistair Sims, which is still my favorite. Friday night, we watched HOLIDAY INN, which I had ordered from the library by accident, thinking it was the Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye version later named WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Well, it wasn’t. It was a Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film in black & white — also using the song “White Christmas” — and what a horrid movie. The racism — especially against blacks, with an entire musical number in blackface, and the awful way the black characters were written, anti-Semitic comments, the misogyny, and the fact that the characters are all so mean to each other. Awful. On so many levels. Some of the dance numbers are good, but the plot, characters, and viciousness of the movie are hateful. To think that, at any point in our history, that was considered “okay” much less acceptable, is discouraging.

Saturday morning, woke up to a bad storm with pounding rain. Made it through the flooded streets to the store to pick up a few things, and barely made it home. If I’d waited even a half hour more, some of the streets would have been impassable.

Made stollen, the traditional Dresden stollen recipe, from Mimi Sheraton’s German cookbook. Upped the almond extract a bit.

The recipe took me 8 hours to make last year, but only 6 hours this year, with the mixing and the rising. The yeast was fresher, and it rose faster.

This recipe makes 3 loaves of about 3 pounds apiece. When you think that a single pound of it from a store or ordered online costs anywhere from $9.99 to $34 and tastes like cardboard or could be used for a doorstop, this is a much better choice. In addition to being absolutely delicious. It’s an all-day project, but worth it.

Just about finished my cards on Saturday night, except for a few where I need to hunt down addresses.

Worked on the books for review. Started preparations for Winter Solstice, which is next Saturday. Got some writing done.

We put up the reindeer collection and the nutcracker collection, and cleared out my office, so that we can put up the tree in there. I cleaned up the roll-top desk, and I want to clear off my computer desk, so I can start the New Year and the new decade, with a clean desk.

I will have to make the next batch of stained glass cupcakes either today or tomorrow, and another batch of tollhouse cookies. I’m still making deliveries.

Sunday, I was up early and creating a new muffin recipe with orange, cranberry, and chocolate. It turned out well, although I think I will add some cloves next go round.

Got some writing done. Put up the tree in my office, and started decorating the rest of the office.

Watching THE QUEENS OF MYSTERY. There’s a lot of clever, fun stuff in it, but sometimes I feel it tries to hard to do too much and gets a little unfocused.

Monday, it was off to my client’s early (since we’re leaving early for our holiday lunch together). On the way, made some more cookie platter deliveries. Client work was okay, albeit a bit chaotic. Headed to the library after, to get some other work done, and send off one of the reviews.

Early at my client’s today, and then a couple of other appointments after. Decent first writing sessions of the day both days. THE QUALITY OF LIGHT is chugging along, and it will get to where it needs to go on time.

I’m working on my next essay for Medium, which I hope to post this week sometime.
Planning to finish up the reviews, so I can get them out and invoiced, either today or tomorrow.

This year, I’m very much hearth-and-home for the holidays. I’d rather do cards and cookie platters than running around to all the holiday networking events. My focus needs to be on other things right now, focused on the home front and the upcoming changes, not on socializing.

Published in: on December 17, 2019 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 17, 2019: Trying to Stay On Top of It All  
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Tues. April 30, 2019: Conference Wrap-up and New Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ever so much to talk about, and some things about which I’m not yet ready to talk about, because I’m still mulling them over.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the April wrap-up. It should be up within a half hour of this post.

This past weekend, I was a presenter at the #NECRWA conference in Burlington, MA. It’s one of my favorite conferences, because it’s relaxed and upbeat. It always gives me a lot to think about.

I re-connected with some people I knew from before, met new people, met some people I knew from online and this was the first time we’d met in person.

The weather was awful on Friday. I had the car packed early, and left a little before noon. Usually, it takes me about 3 hours to get there (and it’s only outside of Boston) because of traffic. I’d managed to time it so it only took two hours.

My room was ready; I checked in and it took 2 luggage cart trips from car to room to get everything up. Made me think maybe I brought too much stuff.

The hotel had a renovation. It’s very upscale business traveler with dark wood and shiny counters and a huge TV. My room had a kingsized bed AND a chaise longue, with which I immediately fell in love. The bathroom was all shiny counters and frosted glass.

I unpacked, tried to rest up a bit, looked through the conference materials. I also worked ona book I have to review.

Freshened up and went downstairs for the cocktail hour. They served us a buffet dinner, too, courtesy of Red Feather Romance. That definitely got our attention — feed us! 😉

I had some interesting conversations. One with a writers’ group who’d travelled here together to attend — their members were from Western MA and upstate NY. I had another conversation with some early career writers who didn’t even try to hide their contempt that I’m with a small publisher and that I talked about craft and the importance of a good editor, and how much I value both my editor and my copy editor. They plan to self publish, and, according to them, “craft doesn’t matter, because Kindle readers don’t care.”

I beg to differ.

I found that arrogance rather off-putting, and wondered if that would be the tone of the conference.

The Literacy signing was after the dinner. I prefer it when it’s at the end of the weekend, when I’ve gotten to know some of the authors and have an idea of their books. I felt like I “should” buy a lot of books, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and I felt guilty when I browsed a table without buying.

I went back upstairs to decompress a little and read more of the book for review.

I also set up my rolling rack for tomorrow, went over the presentation again. Second-guessed myself on every item I brought and every slide I chosen; wondered if I should revise the presentation. But that way madness lies.

Tried to watch television, but it was lousy. I’m not missing anything by giving up cable.

Got an email from that new-to-me editor who wanted yet more information about why the topic — an underused resource that can generate more income for freelancers — is relevant to his site, which is supposed to be about generating income for freelancers. I have now written more than twice the word count ABOUT what the actual article would run. For a publication for which I’ve written a half a dozen times, and where I never had to jump through all these hoops for the other editor.

Makes me think we are no longer a good fit, and perhaps it’s time to move on to another dance partner.

The bed had one of those pillow top or memory foam things. I felt like I sank so far down it would cover me and smother me. It was comfortable; I’m just used to a much firmer mattress.

I woke up once at 4 AM with a horrible headache, but got back to sleep, and got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. I like writing in hotel rooms. There aren’t many distractions.

On my way to the first session, I stepped outside for a few minutes — and the headache went away. I realized that I can’t open the windows in my room, and I always sleep with my window cracked. I’m not used to recycled air.

A few minutes outside, even in the rain, helped.

Before the first session, I talked to some people who live in Central MA about the benefits of living there. They love it, because one can get to anywhere from there. It was great to hear them talk about what they loved about the area, how it’s changing, what frustrated them. The arts community seems much more vibrant and able to earn a living than it is here.

The first session was great, about burnout. Emily Nagoski was the presenter. Her handouts and worksheets were great. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the crossroads I’m facing right now. I also want to get a quote from her for an article I’m writing.

Went outside for a few minutes in between sessions, then went to a panel discussion where the participants frankly discussed money. We all agreed not to share these authors’ actual financial details outside of the room. But some of their approaches and concepts were interesting.

I was surprised — at this panel and elsewhere in the conference — by how large a percentage of the incomes are via Amazon’s Kindle direct. I’ve always avoided them because I don’t like the contract. My small publisher distributes digitally through Amazon, but my contract is not directly with Amazon, but via my publisher.

Also, the volume at which some of these authors are turning out books. There’s one full-time author who has published 70 books in the last 11 years. She’s earning money, she’s winning awards. She’s turning out quality work. She’s got audio books and translations out.

I always thought I wrote reasonably fast, but I couldn’t keep up that pace, unless I had a full staff to run the rest of my life.

I’m wondering if I should run an experiment, and have something that is more typically genre run through KDP/Unlimited to see how the returns differ.

The downside to that (apart from the qualms I have about the KDP contract) is that having only one book in that pipeline isn’t going to do much. I’d need at least three.

Three books that are separate from anything I currently have on contract, when I’m already on a brutal contract schedule.

Of course, a new pseudonym and a new idea for a series, even its title, came bursting forth almost immediately.

Whether I choose to go KDP or not, I’m kind of in love with this idea. It fuses with a couple of other ideas I’ve been playing with, and mixes the mystery and romance genres in a beautiful location.

I even have the opening line, which is a kicker.

The problem is — when will I be able to write it? We’ve already rescheduled THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m on track for GRAVE REACH, but I can’t let the other two fall by the wayside.

I have to get back into the Jain Lazarus Adventures later this year, revising CRAVE THE HUNT, and my editor and I have to go over the first two, seeing if we need to make any changes.

I have to get back on track with the JUSTICE BY HARPY books. The first book is in great shape; the second two, not so much. Since all three have to release close together, that’s a challenge.

I want to get THE FIX-IT GIRL out on traditional submission, and work on THE TIE-CUTTER.

And, of course, there’s always GAMBIT COLONY that pulls whenever I’m stressed to blow off steam.

I have a radio play going live in May. I have another radio play due in Florida in the next couple of weeks, and requests for more; I have ANOTHER radio play to send to MN as soon as I’m done with it.

I have a play due in NY at the end of May for a contest.

I have to get into the MFA to research Canaletto and the Bibiana families so I can start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters that’s due at the end of the year.

I have to finish the anti-gun violence play (because it’s not like that issue will be solved any time soon).

I have to keep working on WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, and test the monologues.

I have to write the play about the two infamous women authors.

I have articles to pitch and write, and other marketing writing that keeps a roof over my head. I have contest entries to finish, books to review, a couple of speaking engagements coming up.

I have to come up with a new marketing strategy for my books.

How do I make it all work? Especially when, right now, I’m exhausted? And deal with the garden? And I probably have to face some major life changes in the upcoming months.

I’m not sure. I have to take some time to sit and think. To prioritize. To push myself to get it all done.

To do it without killing myself.

Hence why the burnout workshop was so relevant.

Outside, took a few breaths of fresh air, then back in for a seminar on ebook pricing. Some of which directly contradicted what worked for some of the authors in the last seminar.

One interesting thing that came up was to set the first book in a series perpetually at 99 cents. I’ve played with that idea. I don’t want the people who are excited by a new release to feel screwed if I lower the price of the first book to 99 cents and keep it there. My publisher is open to discussing pricing changes, but is more in favor of limited-time discounts than a permanent change.

A few months ago, I was advised that I should lower the price of ALL the earlier books whenever I have a new release out. I balked at that idea, as did the publisher. Because then why should people order the book when it first comes out? They know it’ll come down in price a year later when the next one comes out. In the interim, I might lose them anyway.

It was also brought up that $1.99 is an awful price. I put my Delectable Digital delight shorts at 99 cents (making sure people understand they are SHORT). My publisher usually has novellas or short novels at $1.99 or $2.99 if they’re almost up to category length. Now I’m wondering if we should go up to some funky price like $2.09 or $2.49?

Yeah, this is just what my publisher wants. Me to come back from a conference full of ideas that aren’t new books! 😉

The lunch buffet was fun. I got to catch up with a friend who has nine books out under one of her names, and is about to launch a cozy mystery series under another. Can’t wait to read all of them!

Met another author, Jillian David, whose presentation I missed (and I felt guilty for so doing, because I really liked her). I now can’t wait to read her books, either.

The lunchtime keynote was Penny Reid, who was funny and heartfelt, and now I have another new-to-me author to read. That’s one of my favorite things about conferences — finding new-to-me authors whose work I can gobble up.

I found Kilby Blades, who was presenting the two sessions before mine in the salon we would all share, to ask if she minded that I brought my rack down and stashed it before her session started. She was cool with it. I didn’t want to just show up with a bunch of stuff and presume I could take up space.

I attended both of her marketing sessions which was useful. She navigates how to use best business practices in marketing and then morph them for the weirdness that is the book business. It helped me rethink some strategies, and I will have a lot to discuss with my publisher’s new marketing director soon!

There were some elements that gave me a headache. Charting daily sales–I know it’s useful, but I’d much rather look at weekly or monthly breakdowns. But as we work on new marketing strategies, the daily fluctuations and the importance of serious testing matters. The same way it does when I do it for other people.

I wish it wasn’t so much easier to market for someone else than to market myself!

Then, it was my turn.

My audience was great, but I was not happy with my performance. I talked too quickly. I didn’t share enough anecdotes from the set (only two or three). I meant to talk about heirloom pieces that are passed down and how they have meaning, and didn’t. I meant to tie in to some of the other sessions, and it flew right out of my mind.

I was frustrated with myself because it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the only one to blame was me.

I shouldn’t have cut reading the passage from a friend’s book about how a couple of characters cleaned up for a funeral. That would have been a good addition. But when I timed a rehearsal, it made the session run long without time for questions.

As I said, my audience was great. I could have been better. I did not live up to my own expectations.

I packed up, took everything back up to the room, and changed for dinner. I wore Cupcake International pieces all weekend — I was a walking advertisement for them. But the pieces were fun and comfortable and flattering.

Dinner was good. I sat with some people who’d been in my session, and another woman from NH who was lovely. We had a great talk about life in New Hampshire and a whole lot of other things.

Sonali Dev was our Keynote, and she was wonderful. She said something that resonated. “We write because we refuse to be silent.”

Again, gave me a lot to think about.

I was exhausted and my mind going a mile a minute after dinner. I didn’t join the debrief sessions; I went upstairs. I finished reading the book for review, and made notes.

I made some notes on some new ideas. I tried watching TV, but there was nothing I wanted to see. Packed everything up.

I pondered all the information I’d gathered. It will take me awhile to sort it all out and decide how best to put it to use.

Woke up at 1 AM and got back to sleep. Woke up a little after six. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. Breakfast.

Had the car loaded and was gone a little after 8. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was home by 10:30.

Unloaded. Put stuff away. Unpacked. Sorted laundry. Unpacked the handouts and bookmarks and other things I picked up at the conference. It will take me a few days to go through them.

I usually go through them the day of or the day after. But I was too tired.

I don’t get why — I hardly drank at all. I usually spend more time at the bar at conferences, and I didn’t this time around. But I feel more worn out than when I spend most of my free time in the bar. Here I tried to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I’m still wiped out.

Probably because this was at the end of a long, stressful month.

Tried to rest on Sunday. Wrote the review. Read some other books. I gave myself the day off from contest entries.

Monday was back to the normal routine, although I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

Got some writing done in the morning, although it wasn’t very good. Played with my new idea. That world is coming into focus surprisingly clearly. Although I don’t want to be arrogant about it, so I ordered a bunch of research books from the library.

Returned what I’d borrowed for the conference. Spent time onsite with a client. Turned in my review.

Cancelled out of my mid-afternoon appointment because my brain was mush and I was making stupid mistakes.

I’d walked out of the house without my phone. Meant to pick it up after the session with my client and before leaving for meditation group. But, of course, I walked out without it — mostly because the cats caught a little, tiny mouse, and I felt horribly guilty about her demise. I mean, I don’t want mice in the house, and I’m glad the cats did their feline job — but I still felt awful about that poor little mouse, and buried her in the yard.

Meditation was good. I felt better and more focused after, although still tired.

Read a couple of Tracy Kiely’s Nic and Nigel Martini books over the past two days. They’re a lot of fun.

Went to bed early; overslept this morning.

Got some writing done, but not enough. Still mulling things over in my head.

Onsite with a client most of the day, then I have to get some work done at the library.

More contest entries to work on tonight, and I’m starting to enter the scores into the digital sheets.

Was assigned my next book for review.

I have to get going on the thank yous and follow ups from the conference today and tomorrow. I don’t want to let that slide.

And I have to get on a more productive writing schedule. I think I have to add a second writing session into the evening for the next few months. The morning at 1.5-2K is okay (although it makes me feel very slow). But if I can add in another 1K session in the evening, I should be able to get back on track. Maybe I can up it a little on weekends.

Mostly, though, I’m so, so tired. My body is tired and my brain is tired. I’m seriously thinking of taking a few days off this weekend, except for contest entries, and then starting up again with the new moon.

But the conference was great, and it gave me a lot to think about. Now, I have to sort through it, and, most importantly, APPLY WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

Because otherwise, it’s just time spent without gain.

Back to the page.

 

Wed. Dec. 5, 2018: Mercury Retrograde Strikes

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Day before dark moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
St. Nicholas Night

Yesterday sucked. Big time.

I was up a little after 2, fretting about a situation that I have to deal with and that screws up my timeline for things over the next few months.

I had trouble getting back to sleep; once I did, I was disoriented when the alarm went off.

I went to my mom’s bank to handle some banking for her. The ATM ate the card; I went in to get it back and was told I couldn’t. I’d have to bring her in to do paperwork, and maybe 7-10 days until a new card. I said, no, you advertise one can get a same-day card. But I had to go home, get her out of the house, down to the bank, and get the new card done.

Then I had to spend a couple of hours changing the card in all the relevant places. She doesn’t keep it on file with too many places, for security – although this damn bank will let any random person pull from the account, but heaven forbid the account holder have access.

On site with the client was okay. We got a few things worked out; we have a few more things to work out. It’s exhausting.

I got a little bit of writing done in the morning, and a couple of articles. I finished the review and got it out. I worked on the update for “Too Much Mistletoe” — I do love Nina. I love her passion and the fact that she’s a romantic wrapped up in cynicism.

Finally got some more work done on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I didn’t want to ruin the momentum I got going last weekend.

I have a stack of books on Degas. It’s a single reference in the scavenger hunt for DAVY JONES DHARMA, but if I don’t get it right, the murder won’t be right.

Tonight is St. Nicholas night – one of my favorite family traditions. We’ll have lovely chocolate tomorrow.

Today will be another challenging day with a client.

All I wanted was a few smooth weeks so we could enjoy the holidays.

I’m exhausted.

 

Published in: on December 5, 2018 at 6:17 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 5, 2018: Mercury Retrograde Strikes  
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Wed. Nov. 4, 2015: Dealing with Loss, Pushing the Writing

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015
Waning Moon
Sunny and warm

Yesterday was busy. The Come Write In! session at the library was a lot of fun. Really nice group. I got a little over 1700 words written in longhand. Between the two projects, it brings my nano word count to just over 13K, which isn’t bad. It will drop substantially during the second part of the week because of my schedule, but that’s life. As long as I show up every day to the page, it will work.

When that was done, I helped set up the test run of the Christmas tree as a dry run for Spectacle of the Trees. We wanted to see what we still need, and we also wanted to have it up for tonight’s donor event. It looks really nice.

Iris and Tessa are renegotiating their relationship. They also both still search for Violet. Iris and Violet were litter mates and have never been apart in their entire lives. Iris howled and howled yesterday, completely grief-stricken. It’s heartbreaking.

Even though I got home mid-afternoon, I was exhausted. I’m exhausted all the time lately. I got some reading and research done, and we started raking leaves. Of course, by this morning, it doesn’t look like we raked at all.

One of the biggest challenges between switching back and forth between the two novels is that they’re both written in the first person, but the protagonists are very different from each other. It takes me awhile to drop back into the voice of one or the other.

This morning’s work on CHOLERIC is difficult. I wonder if I should have pushed through yesterday, because I was on fire and ready to start at the argument scene in the restaurant. Today, when I worked on it, it felt flat. Very frustrating. Hemingway (I think) always said to stop in the middle of something vital so you can pick up with energy; that doesn’t work for me. I need to finish the beat or I lose it.

So, today, I’m a little tired and discouraged. It doesn’t help that it will be a long day at work with an event after that should be uplifting and lovely, but I don’t feel up to it. And tomorrow morning is a meeting I’m dreading, because I always wind up feeling frustrated and discouraged when I come out of that particular committee’s meeting.

I can’t wait until the weekend. I want to get some serious sleep, if I don’t get off the waiting list and into Crimebake.

Devon

Published in: on November 4, 2015 at 10:34 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Sept. 11, 2015: 14 Years — Change and Changes

Friday, September 11, 2015
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cooler

The 14th Anniversary of 9/11. There’s always a struggle to balance the need to build new memories connected to the day and to keep it sacred – at least for me. At this point, I still don’t want to do anything other than be in quiet remembrance. I have no problem with other people doing whatever it is they need to do in their lives. What I do have a problem with is people trying to make ME do what THEY think I should do.

The weather took a turn for the worse yesterday, but it was actually a good thing, because we needed the rain.

Home, tried to rest up. Part 1 of the Sept. 11 honoring ceremonies was last night. Most of us didn’t know each other when it happened, but have met since, and thought it might make more sense to try remembrance together instead of separately.

Up early, finished cleaning. We have company visiting for just a couple of hours early this evening from CT, and then the second of the ceremonies.

The levels of exhaustion I’m fighting are immense. I need next week to figure out what I need to adjust so I don’t feel so beaten down all the time. I left New York for a slower pace and a better quality of life. The people around me live at a slower pace, but expect me to pick up the slack, and, um, no. Not unless you’re paying me a boatload of money.

There are involvements I need to leave behind; the thought of separation with some of them makes me sad, but, in the long run, for my own well-being, it’s necessary.

Dearly looking forward to next week’s vacation. I need it even more desperately now than I did in May. May didn’t wind up being what I needed, so I need to make sure this coming week is.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Devon

Published in: on September 11, 2015 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 11, 2015: 14 Years — Change and Changes  
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Wed. Nov. 13, 2013: Submission Catch-Up

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

It snowed most of the day yesterday, so I stayed home and worked. Glad I got so much yard work done the previous day!

Didn’t get enough of my own work done, although I did some work in the development notebook, got out a few submissions, and found a few interesting submission calls. I’ve been focused so much on other people’s work that I feel drained when it comes to my own, and that has to change. My own work must always come first.

Got paid for a piece by someone I’d written off; always a good thing. Still waiting for a project that was promised nearly a month ago — no communication, no project. This is why I’ve started to ask for a non-refundable booking deposit.

Errands to run today, and tomorrow I’m out the door very early for an NMLC Board meeting.

I need a vacation, but there’s no chance of one anytime soon.

Devon

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 8:26 am  Comments (1)  
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Fri. Aug. 30, 2013: Brain Fatigue

Friday, August 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and warmer

Not very productive yesterday, although I got some stuff done in the morning. Suffering from brain fatigue, I think. Worked with students, got a few things cleared out of the way, went grocery shopping.

Read a terrific book, DEATH OF AN AMBITIOUS WOMAN by Barbara Ross. Really well-written.

Cooked a pork roast in a spice marinade, roasted fingerling potatoes, red cabbage, for dinner.

Giving myself the weekend off, my houseguest leaves Monday, and then it’s back into the writing routine. My brain needs the break right now, and I need to refill the creative well. I’m waiting to hear back on a few projects, and I can’t set my schedule until I know what’s coming through and what isn’t.

Thinking about applying for a residency for next spring. Not sure what to do. Tired of feeling like I’m on other people’s schedules all the time.

Devon

Published in: on August 30, 2013 at 6:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 30, 2013: Brain Fatigue  
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Mon. March 25, 2013: Sprouting Seeds and Scheduling Dilemmas

Monday, March 25, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Friday was a difficult day, and, frankly, there were times when I just wanted to give up. But I made it through. This week will be tough, but, hopefully, I will get through this, too.

I don’t remember much about Friday, except it was a blur of stress and pain.

Friday night’s rehearsal was a nice break, though. The actors are doing well, although they still have work to do. Friday was the painful rehearsal for them, where they realized that, in spite of all the good work they’ve done, there’s still more to do.

Came home late, exhausted.

Up early on Saturday. I filled in as the set-up person for the Tomorrow’s Writers Today program for teens at Barnstable Intermediate School, set up by The Cape Cod Writers Center. The people at the school were great, the teachers were great, and the kids were great. Terrific all around. At 10 AM, I handed off the program to the Executive Director.

The only thing about the experience that sent a chill through me was the postings, in every classroom, on “lockdown procedures” and “safe spots” set aside in every room. This is what it’s come to? It’s heartbreaking.

Came home, set up for the online Query Clinic, ran that.

Dealt with scheduling issues for the show. MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL is sold out, and we want to add a second show, but it’s getting it scheduled with the company that’s a challenge.

Received the grant money for SEVEN OF SWORDS, my other play, which just made me feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s not the amount (which was small, but fair), it’s the fact that we were respected enough, as playwrights, to be awarded money for our work.

Sunday was supposed to be my day off, and one that was badly needed, but it didn’t work out that way. Dealt with show stuff nearly all day, searched for stuff I needed for various projects, which led to reorganizing the storage unit over the garage. It looks great and I can get at everything, but I still didn’t get my hands on what I needed. So tired, I was shaking and dizzy.

The mesclun greens, bok choy, buttercrunch lettuce, speckled lettuce, and radish seeds all sprouted over the weekend. Very exciting! The tulips I planted in pots and overwintered in the garage are also blooming — lovely!

I have a meeting in Brewster this morning, and then have to deal with show stuff and the book. I’m supposed to have another meeting this evening, but there’s no way I can do all of it.

Didn’t get enough work on the book done, which upsets me. Worked with students, sent out a lot of pitches.

Have a blasting migraine, but have to work through it.

Devon

Published in: on March 25, 2013 at 7:12 am  Comments (3)  
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Thurs. March 14, 2013: Running on Empty

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

I wasn’t feeling well, so yesterday wasn’t as productive as I hoped. I got some pitches out, worked on the synopsis for the new book for my agent, did some marketing, etc. I had a meeting about dealing with the trespasser — and he’s either being more careful or has backed off for the past two days. Got the batteries changed in the thermostat – -who knew it needed batteries?

Finished material for Confidential Job #1, and will write it up this morning and turn in the invoice — although the check hasn’t arrived from the last batch of work, which is unusual, and they’re “checking on it”. This client is very good about paying on time, so this is weird.

Watched the coverage of the new Pope. As someone who is not Catholic, the tradition, pageantry, and theatre of it all are fascinating.

Read a page-turner — THE ELDRITCH CONSPIRACY, by Cat Adams. I liked it a lot, and look forward to the other books in the series. I needed a break from reading what I HAVE to read, and read something I WANT to read.

As far as my own creative work, I feel drained and flat. I have to get past it, because I have deadlines, but the tank is empty. Still, I show up every day and push through, because that’s how it gets done, and sometimes the work that comes through on the hard days is what triggers a better flow.

The cats are being very clingy lately. I don’t know if it’s because they sense how much pressure and stress I’m under, or if something else is going on. I was so exhausted yesterday that I was shaking, so I made sure, after the meeting, I had a quiet afternoon and evening.

Today is meetings, back-to-back, all over the darned place, so off I go.

Devon

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