Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us

Charlotte

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Stormy

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday wound up being a more interesting day than I expected. I was up early and got some writing done.

Headed off to the client’s. Got a lot done on my own. The client herself called and wasn’t coming in, so we updated each other. She’d left me nearly two cases of cat food – expensive wet food she bought for her cat and he won’t touch it, because he likes the cheap stuff! If Charlotte and Willa like it, we’re set for wet food until the end of the year, between that and the case that arrived a few weeks ago.

My other colleague arrived – we worked masked and safely in separate rooms and got a few things figured out.

Home, decontaminated, and online for Remote Chat, which was fun.

My back and neck hurt from sitting at the client’s. As I lay on my acupressure mat to release the knots, I mulled the guidelines for a flash fiction contest a friend told me about.

The first line burst into my head and the rest started tumbling out. I jumped up (much to Tessa’s dismay) and ran downstairs to the computer to pound out the first draft.

It’s wild and wacky and out there, but I kind of love it, even though it needs work.

It also broke through the creative torpor I’ve felt lately, which is a big step. And it was great to sit down and get an entire piece drafted.

I will put it away for a few days – the ending needs a bit more pizzaz, and I need a better title. I have a few weeks before the deadline, although I want to get it in before Mercury goes retrograde next week. It doesn’t work for me to submit something the same day it’s written, at least not for fiction (I can do it for journalism, but not fiction).

This morning, I woke up with ideas for the ending, that tie in more with the vision that the publisher wants. I didn’t use up the word count limit, so I can still play a bit, and I will also cut and adjust.

I’ll put those in today, then put it aside for another day or two, and look at it again.

The storm knocked out the power last night, so no debate-watching for me. Not enough juice in the phone. The power came back on during the night, thank goodness.

Today is Charlotte’s first anniversary with us. Both she and Willa have been anxious the past few days, almost as though they’re having sense memory of when they arrived last year. All three of them are getting extra cuddles.

I have meditation this morning with Concord Library. The bulk of the day will be devoted to the revisions on SERENE AND DETERMINED. If I can do a good job on them, the play has to go out tomorrow, or I miss the deadline for this particular submission.

I would like to have a quiet day dedicated to creative work. Fingers crossed I can achieve it.

Hope your day is good, too.

Tues. Aug. 4, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 76 — Tired of Tired, but Writing & Reading

autumn-4548280_1920
image by pixamio courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Stormy

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
Busy, frustrating weekend. It was hot and humid most of the time, and I’m sick of this weather.

I couldn’t get much done, although I got out a bunch of LOIs.

I got some reading done; I got a review out and an invoice out. I’m still chasing down two other late payments.

I’m sick of having to “create an account” every damn time I want to buy something online. No. I don’t want an account. I’m not coming back, and I may not buy it now, if you make me “create an account.” Let me check out, give you my damn money, and buy what I want. I don’t’ want any more accounts. I don’t want any more passwords. I don’t want an email every day trying to sell me something else. I don’t want to “review” every damn purchase I make. I want to give you money for a product and get on with my life.

The idiot across the street was out in the heat and humidity every day making noise with his heavy machinery and causing more destruction.

The fucktwits with fireworks were out in the streets every night.

I am so sick of the Town of Barnstable which does NOTHING for its residents. They keep making up more taxes and other things we have to pay for, but they don’t actually give us any services or protections. My Town Councilor is a disgusting waste of space.

I have some challenges with a particular client which I have to decide how I’m going to handle.

On The Plus Side With Writing and Reading
Laundry, baking, nice Lammas ritual early in the morning on Saturday – before the Covidiot short term renter-tourists could ruin everything.

At least I got some good work done on Gambit Colony. Although it should have been on BARD. I’m behind on BARD again, damn it, and I was doing so well there for awhile.

It was so hot, I couldn’t think straight much of the time. I don’t do well in heat and humidity.

I cleaned out a few boxes from the basement. Not enough, but a few, and I have to keep at it. I threw out about 90%, and I bet, when I go to file some of the rest, I can throw out some more.

I found a partial manuscript from a project I started a couple of years back and put aside, due to contracted work. I kind of love it. I also remember having done more work on this particular project. I need to find the other pages and read the whole thing again. The voices are very strong and unique.

Got the notes back from WINNER TAKE ALL. Some interesting points. There are some things I want to achieve and fell short of on this draft. But I don’t want to explain everything, either. There are subtle hints here and there – too subtle, sometimes. I have to find a way to make a few things clearer without being too obvious about it. I might not do changes the way the notes suggested, but I want to make changes that still get me to the same endpoint as suggested, if that makes any sense. It will take some percolation (and a lot of trial and error) to figure it out.

Submitted my review and invoice to my editor over the weekend; got paid first thing Monday morning. That’s why I love working with this company. Got another book assigned already. Will download it today; looking forward to it. Got paid for the article where the payment didn’t go through, initially. So we’re all good on that.

Now, if the Big Publication that is in breach of contract would cough up the fairly good-sized chunk of cash it owes me for a piece I did back in February, around all my medical tests and surgery, we would be all caught up.

Two of the three flash fiction pieces I sent out a few weeks ago have been rejected. I’m not really surprised – they are odd little moments in time. But that’s kind of why I like them. They are neither comfort pieces nor doom pieces – those seem to be the extremes short fiction publishers want right now. I’ll just keep trying. The right match is out there.

Did a curbside pickup at the library (and dropped off a stack of books). All mysteries. The first one, I hated so much I put it down after 20 pages. It was part of the wave when certain cozies went far right wing in the initial years after 9/11. It was awful. Judgmental, small-minded, I hated the characters, and didn’t care if the murderer killed the protagonist. So I put it down.

Read another one, set around the same time, that had a few whispers of some of the same elements, but overall was much better, both in terms of structure and characters. It was a quick read – took maybe two hours, perfect for a hot summer afternoon when too much movement or thought would turn my brains to jello.

Reading the last book I have in a series that I liked initially, but don’t like the turn it’s taken. Instead of growing as people in the series, the characters are getting small-minded and being “less than” instead of better. On top of that, the protagonist had two choices of romantic interest, and chose the one with whom she has zero romantic chemistry. And no, it’s not just a phase in the series, where she then realizes the mistake and ends up with the guy with whom she has chemistry. The author is trying to tamper down the chemistry she has with the other guy, the one she should be with, and force chemistry with the one where there isn’t any, and it throws off the tone and the pace of the series. So I’m done with it. (Yes, I did research to see if she comes to her senses in future volumes – she doesn’t). The author has every right to pair up protagonists as they please; but if it doesn’t work for me, if it frustrates me, I don’t have to stay with the series.

Even reading books in the genre that don’t work for me teaches me a great deal. It clarifies what I’m trying to do, where I’m trying to break out of boxes, yet still satisfy readers on certain points, and clarifies why I make certain choices in plot and character that I make.

Working from home today, for clients and, I hope, getting some good writing done. I might try to run out and do a curbside pickup from my favorite Chinese restaurant (I’ll probably stock up on several meals’ worth) before the big storm comes in today.

I figured I didn’t need to water this morning if we’re having a tropical storm come in.

Peace, friends. Hope you are well.

Tues. Oct. 3, 2017: Releases, Writing, Worrying

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Plenty of links today. First, check out the piece about PLAYING THE ANGLES over on A Biblio Paradise. Don’t forget to order your copy in any of the various digital formats. Links here.

Second, my October To Do list is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’ll also post questions to think about between now and the end of the year shortly.

Yesterday, I did promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I also got some new material up on the Nautical Namaste website. I’ll be linking and promoting that site in a few weeks, when SAVASANA AT SEA becomes available for pre-order. Right now, I want to focus on PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Sent out some pitches, did some follow-up on pieces. Sent out two short stories, which had come back from other markets. It’s always a dance, finding the right partner for a piece.

Finished both books I have to review, and the reviews will go out today. My new editor told me I hadn’t acknowledged receipt of the books — but I had, weeks ago, when I received them. I always do. I HATE the “dashboard” system they have us working in.

Started working on the galleys for SAVASANA AT SEA. There are lots of little, fiddly things the copy editor and I have both caught. Also, although some grammatical choices are technically correct according to the style guide we’re using, they look awful on the Kindle. In some cases, the fix is as simple as using Chicago Manual of Style rather than Strunk; in other instances, I’d rather change how I communicate the material. There are a few places where the copy editor and I are working together to see what is correct and still looks and feels right.

I haven’t even had the chance to work on the galleys of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM.

Got a weird idea for what I hope will be a flash fiction piece and wrote about 400 words on it. It’s an odd little piece. It will take time and shaping, but I like the premise. Now I have to add in the craft.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is both heart-breaking and infuriating. It could have been prevented. Again, the GOP doesn’t care how many people die, as long as it’s those who don’t buy them off. The NRA isn’t about responsible gun ownership, it’s about profit. I have never heard the NRA or anyone who boasts about their association with them, talk about RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. There’s just a lot of chest thumping and “Me have right to own guns.” In fact, most of the people I have met who scream about their right to own guns lack the IQ, in my opinion, to be allowed such ownership.

Every member of Congress who votes against responsible, common-sense gun laws should be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL for every murder that results in their legislation. They can’t be allowed to hide behind their jobs or use tax payer dollars for defense or if and when they are convicted. The only way it will change is when it costs them more to vote against pro-gun legislation than for it. Because Congress, especially the members of the GOP, don’t care about individual lives. They care about personal profit. They demonstrate this over and over again, with every vote. So make it cost them.

John Scalzi wrote a beautiful piece on his blog about how difficult it is to work amidst all this chaos. You can find it here. I read it at 3:30 this morning, when I couldn’t sleep, and it helps.

Of course, the current administration is anti-art. They WANT us not to be able to create. Artists are the biggest threat to autocracy that there is, because good art makes people see and understand the world beyond themselves.

Keep making art.

Back to the page.

Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions

Monday, July 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Intense weekend. Still dealing with personal issues.

Worked on the article; it should be ready to go out tomorrow. Roughed out two more articles and two flash fiction pieces I hope to get done this week.

Most of the weekend was spent working on the Coventina Circle series. I’ve got the edits done on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I have a bit more backmatter to add in over the next few days, and then it goes to my editor and copy editor.

Worked on the information for what will be the Coventina Circle Series Bible. I have most of the character information in there; now I need to do the place information.

We’ve roughed out the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, too. The central protagonists are Bonnie and Rufus, and it deals with both contemporary times and with New York City’s history as New Amsterdam. The first chapter of SPIRIT REPOSITORY will be included in the back of PLAYING THE ANGLES.

I re-read what I have on the book. I thought I was nearly finished with it, but it’s really only about a third. I have to get cracking, since we now have a May 2018 release date for it. But I got a good sense of it, and have to sit down and work out some plot complications. It will take a few days to finish outlining it and then I can get back to work on it. That book has to go into the regular, daily writing schedule.

I also spent time doing Writers Rough Outlines on other books in the series. I have basic notes on the Lesley/Sam book and the Diana/Greg book. I spent most of my time focusing on Book 3 in the series, which has the tentative title of RELICS & REQUIEM. That book focuses on Amanda and Phineas.

Because the lives of these characters are so entwined, and I’ve set up some strong relationships in ANGLES, I find I need to work on the outlines in tandem. Things that happen further down the line need seeds planted in the earlier books. Each book stands alone, and has a different central pair of protagonists, as paranormal romantic suspense does, but they feed on each other.

It’s an interesting process, and I understand so much more about structure than I did when I first wrote ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. Growth in a writer is a good thing.

Started reading WORDS ON THE AIR, which is the collected letters of poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. It’s gotten me thinking about writing an epistolary novel. Supposedly, that’s out of fashion, but it’s a style I enjoy. Made some notes. I think I want it to cover several decades of history. The characters are talking to me, telling me about their lives and how they want it to work. It will take quite a bit of research, I think.

Getting back into writing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY means re-visiting some of New York City’s earliest history. I ordered some books from the library, then looked up and realized I owned one of them. When I first percolated the novel, I used Washington Irving’s diaries. I also bought a good biography of him, but didn’t read it. It’s sitting on the shelf next to his diaries. Time to read it.

One of the late payments arrived; the smallest one (of course), and only part of it. But better than nothing. The other payment better arrive in the next few days. This is ridiculous. “Processing” means the check will be written and mailed, not that you’re deciding to maybe someday pay or not pay. Use the right language.

The actor John Heard died. I was sorry to hear it. We worked together off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club on an Arthur Miller play quite a few year ago. He had a meticulous process approaching his work. He had the reputation for being difficult, but we got along well.

Watched PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES again this weekend. I liked it better this time around. My favorite scene is still the Bennett girls getting ready for the ball, hiding their weapons in their gowns. My 94 year-old mother, who doesn’t like paranormal movies, loved it. She’s re-reading Jane Austen right now, and we’re watching all the movies, and I wanted to see this one shortly after seeing the definitive PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Colin Firth.

Lots to do today. I’d like to stay in the cocoon of the Coventina Circle books, but I have to deal with the real world in order to keep a roof over our heads. I have a project meeting on Thursday that I’m looking forward to.

I have to do some rearranging of front matter for a play that a producer is interested in; more to do with renumbering the pages than anything else. I gave it a proofread yesterday, and it holds up better than I remember, which is a good thing.

Already did a grocery run this morning (to avoid the tourists), and wrote two drafts on a flash fiction piece I’ve been turning around in my head for a few days. I hope to get it out the door soon. While I drove to the grocery store, I had another flash fiction idea about a butcher and his vegetarian customer who shops for her elderly neighbor. Will work on that when I’m done with the articles.

Because, you know, ideas come in batches.

Published in: on July 24, 2017 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions  
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Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was busy, but, ultimately productive. I skipped the mowing (I’m going to pay for skipping so much mowing soon).

But I got a stack of books back to the library, and returned with another stack.

I submitted a short story and got out a couple of pitches. I got some necessary research done, and caught up on the correspondence that had come in yesterday.

I sorted out the information when I got home, so it’s where I need it when I need it, and I don’t have to go hunting it down.

I got some weeding done in the terraced bed, and then some writing, before the morons with power tools destroyed my afternoon.

I managed to get to work on an essay that needs to go out today. I finished another essay and a short story, which also have to go out today. On one essay, I had to cut over 300 words (I’d mis-remembered the word count limit as 800 when it was 600; my draft had 927 words, so there was some seriously red pen action). On the other essay, I had to come up with an additional 100+ words to meet the lower end of the limit. Two different topics, so I couldn’t take the cut words from one and rework them into the other.

The short story (actually flash fiction) is a fun, weird little piece. I hope it hits. The first line of it came to me while I was doing something else. It was so weird, I jotted it down and then off we went.

I should have completed the copy edits on “Ramsey Chase”, but my eyes were too tired. I’ll have to get back to it today. I also have to complete an assignment for the editor and get it out the door tomorrow, so he can tell me what he hates over the weekend.

I’ll be offline from about mid-day tomorrow until Wednesday morning. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the break. I’ll be writing of course — that’s part of the reason I’m disconnecting. I want to finish the FIX IT GIRL edits. I’d like to write another essay and finish the short story that’s giving me trouble, too, but that might be too ambitious.

Plus, I need to finish “Ramsey Chase” edits and get the back matter into the manuscript.

Plus, there’s a big fat book I really want to read as a reward for all this hard work.

And the yoga. And the meditation. And the garden.

So I’d better get to work and get it all done, hadn’t I?

Published in: on June 29, 2017 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend  
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Tues. May 30, 2017: Hamster on the Wheel

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

It was kind of a lousy weekend here on Cape, weather-wise. That didn’t stop it from having a back-up trying to get off Cape yesterday from Orleans (the elbow of the Cape) all the way to the Sagamore Bridge. Three hours for a trip that should take about 45 minutes.

It’s going to be a challenging season.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, so you can see how I’m using books by Claire Cook and Jeff Vandermeer on this Recalibration journey.

With the mower now working again, I got some work done on the yard before the weather changed. I got the front and the side front yard mowed. I’d hoped to get the terraced back area done, so I could start on the meadow today, but no such luck. I’m hoping it will clear up a bit this afternoon, so I can start that.

I did my first assignment from my new editor. I don’t know how long my association will be with this publication. I have some issues with contract and payment terms. Either we’ll work them out, or we won’t, and I’ll leave. I’m no longer accepting situations that don’t work for me. Especially when there’s an unacceptable time iag in payment.

Heard back last night from another pitch I sent last week — the editor wants to buy the article. So I have to get that off to her as quickly as possibly (while writing something good).

I also need to do some follow up on other pitches.

Last night, I got an idea for two flash fiction stories, on the light-hearted side. I’d like to draft them, so I don’t lose the energy.

I worked on the story inspired by the photos of the abandoned Connecticut town I came across online. I got 49 pages written, in longhand, getting all the way into chapter four. So I think the idea is viable. I like working in longhand on this particular piece. I’m at a point where I need to stop and type up the first three chapters, and also where I need to stop and write my Writer’s Rough outline.

Trying to get back into the rhythm of NOT BY THE BOOK, and trying to sort out some things for the next section of FIX IT GIRL.

Worked my way through some research books. I have a big stack to take back to the library today. Hopefully, I can get done everything I need to get done in an hour or so, and then get back to the page.

I thought I had two deadlines today for radio scripts, but it turns out that one is actually the end of next month, and the other is in a window — I have a feeling I’ll get the latter (which is further along) out the door later this week. Here, I thought I’d have to drop one possibility, and push hard for the other one. Glad I don’t.

The most important thing this morning is to dig down and get the article done, then polish the piece for the other editor and send it off.

I won’t be posting here tomorrow — I’m off on an adventure. But I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say when I come back on Thursday!

Published in: on June 1, 2017 at 10:48 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 30, 2017: Hamster on the Wheel  
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Mon. Nov. 12, 2012: Good Writing News

Monday, November 12, 2012
Dark of the Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend. Trying to juggle lots of things on Friday, including getting out press releases and discussing the possible play commission. One short story was rejected — have to get that back out — but another was accepted.

My 200-word flash fiction piece “Love in a Wok” was picked up by DAILY LOVE, and will run on November 26. Don’t worry — I’ll remind you!

Which is a good segueway into the flash fiction workshop, Flash 7, I’m teaching from December 7-16. Students will write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 days. Since they should all be writing 1000 words a day anyway, and no assignment is more than that, there better not be any excuses! You’re all done and submitted before the holiday madness strikes! 😉 More information here.

Here’s a press release about the Playwright Intensive. The CAPE COD TIMES was also very kind to run something about it in the Sunday paper.

Saturday, the Beautification Committee did a work day at Mother’s Park. We had a lot of fun. It was definitely a time of “many hands make light work” — got everything done and had time for coffee, cake, and a chat before heading home. At home, I kept going, cutting back and getting the beds in the front of the house done for the winter.

I’m luxuriating in the NOTEBOOKS OF HENRY JAMES in my down time. Fascinating stuff.

Sunday was all about catching up on school work. Watched all the lectures for the World HIstory class and aced all the quizzes but one. Watched all the lectures for the Mythology class — we studied the Orestia this week, which I practically know by heart. So, yeah, I did well on the quizzes, too.

Got some writing done, but not enough, so I have to buckle down some more today — have to get work done on two novels, a non-fiction project, and revise a press release — and, hopefully, hustle a few quick-pay, quick-turnaround short gigs, such as press releases.

Busy week this week, lots going on — I have the final galleys for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK — and I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is already next week!

Devon

Thurs. Jan. 12: Webinar Works and Healing Day

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Waning Moon
Rainy and cold

Worked hard yesterday, revelling in the quiet. The neighborhood was really QUIET. I got a lot of work done. In addition to dealing with my students, I polished a 500-word flash fiction piece. I’m really excited about it. First of all, I don’t usually work that short, so it was a good challenge. Second, I thought it was one thing, and it took a very exciting direction elsewhere. The found inspiration was the dead blackbirds falling out of the sky in Arkansas, and the story ended up being about the secret life of besoms. I think I may write more with this character, picking up after the stopping point of this piece. There’s also kind of a dark humor, so that may serve me well.

I sketched out another piece, the first line coming to me over dinner, and, earlier, I’d figured out the next piece to write for class. I’m not posting my stories in the class, but I’m writing along with them.

Not happy with where I am in either of the novels, but at least I got the other requested novel out, and I’m hoping the short stories motivate me back into the novels.

I did about four loads of laundry — still have some more holiday fabric to do — and changed all the bed linens but mine (which will happen today or tomorrow). I kept getting caught up in what I was doing and forgetting the laundry was down there — thank goodness it’s in the house and I didn’t wander off somewhere and forget it.

I looked at some job listings — considered one, but the time/money ratio wasn’t enough to warrant putting together a package. They want so many hours for so little money that I couldn’t do anything else.

Got some reading done in the afternoon, and rested a bit, in preparation for the evening’s webinar. It went pretty well. We moved through the material a little faster than I expected — the students got to work on 9 short pieces over the course of the class, which is pretty decent. They’ve got material to work from. What they do with it and whether they do anything is something else, although this batch seemed pretty motivated. Having this scheduled when some of them came off the flash fiction assignment got them juiced for more work along those lines. The mix of talk and type was interesting. I think some people were intimidated. It was a little bizarre at first, but then it was like being in the classroom together.

The cats, however, were impossible. I’d played with them earlier; I’d settled them with snacks and toys in the other room. Ha! Racing through the house at top speed, screaming, hissing, spitting, jumping on the keyboard, howling, the whole thing. Screeching into the mic for all the hear their shenanigans. I don’t have doors to shut in the office, so I was at their mercy. Badly behaved little ones!

And then, as soon as the computer was shut down, they readjusted their tarnished halos and slept!

I’m getting some writing done this morning, then it’s off to yoga, and, after that, off to acupuncture. I’m not going to be able to eat until after noon, which will make me one cranky little person! But the rest of me will feel better, even if the tummy’s rumbling.

To the page, and then out into the rain. Funnily enough, today is Ganga’s day (the goddess for which the Ganges River is named, a day to wear yellow and wash away the detrius of the year. I’m sure I have a yellow candle somewhere, and the rain’s certainly washing!

Devon

Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 6:11 am  Comments (1)  
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