Thurs. Aug. 6, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 78 — Less Stress (Yay)

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image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cooler

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, to learn the latest goings-on in the garden.

I didn’t feel well yesterday, so I worked from home instead of going onsite for a few hours. It helped me on oh, so many levels. Plus, I got a lot of work done.

I was supposed to sit in for a client on a Zoom session about SBA/PPP loan forgiveness. I was there on time, waiting and waiting for the host to start the meeting. Nothing happened. I finally emailed the organizer – only to get an email back that it had been cancelled. Um, why didn’t you let me know? I’m registered by the email. I’m obviously waiting to get in. You just . . .forgot? I was polite, and it wasn’t that big a deal because I was working remotely, but still. Basic consideration. Stuff happens. Things have to be postponed and cancelled. But communicate. Don’t just ignore the people who have put aside the time to be there.

Moved on from that debacle to Remote Chat, which was fun.

I downloaded GIMP, and now I have to learn how to use it.

Started work on one of the play ideas. It’s coming together nicely.

Did some brainstorming for the next section of GAMBIT COLONY and the next section of BARD. Need to catch up on classwork today.

019 Instagram

The Merry Writer Podcast I recorded about a month ago went live yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. If you get a chance, I hope you’ll listen.

Decided to return a stack of books to the library, some unread. They are all by the same author (albeit different series, sometimes under different names). The only passion or spark the characters ever show is when their white privilege is threatened, and it’s both boring me to death (pun intended, since they’re mysteries) and annoying me. So the stack goes back into the book drop, and that author (with the various pseudonyms) is crossed off my list.

I learn as much from books which don’t work for me as I learn from books that do.

I have to venture off the property to do the two-week shop at Trader Joe’s. We are out of milk, eggs, butter, bread, and a bunch of other stuff.

Then, after disinfectant protocols, I hope to have a productive day working.

Have a great Thursday!

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

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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.

Thurs. July 30, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 71 — Stress and Rage

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image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 30, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth. Hop on over.

The less said about yesterday’s client work, the better. All I’m going to say is that I was shaking with rage on the drive home, and made myself a martini as soon as I finished m disinfectant protocols.

I have a few days to consider how I will handle the situation as gracefully as possible.

At least Remote Chat was a lot of fun, as usual.

I was so exhausted from the morning of stress that, when I went upstairs to check on Tessa, I fell asleep on the floor beside her and had a two hour nap. Then, I was disoriented for the rest of the day. I am not a napper.

Of course, Gambit Colony is flowing well, since it is the piece that’s not on hard deadline.

I’m going to try to get the recycling out this morning; we’re supposed to have a grace period until the 1st of August before they charge us, but it’s suddenly not on the website or any of their accounts. I posed the question on their FB page. I guarantee they will not answer until next week that “oops, grace period is over” because that is what they are like. I can just see myself loading up the car this morning and being turned away at the gate. It would be typical here. I’m not emailing them, because they still haven’t answered the email I sent them BACK IN MARCH. Because they can’t be bothered. It doesn’t take four months to answer an email, even in a pandemic. Because heaven forbid the Town of Barnstable do anything for its actual residents. It’s all about tourist dollars and quick turnover.

Client work, LOIs, chasing down missing payments from work done months ago, a review out to my editor, work on an article, work on the Topic Workbooks, cleaning out boxes from the basement, filing and admin – the list goes on and on. So I’d better get going then, hadn’t I?

Have a great day.

Tues. July 28, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 69 — Maskhole Rant, Che Guevara Chipmunk, and Writing

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image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

I hit a level of burnout on Thursday afternoon and into Friday. I was just done.

But, of course, when one is the breadwinner, not coping is not an option.

From Masshole to Maskhole
Plenty of people from Massachusetts are not well-liked (often even in their own state). “Masshole” is the common term. But far too many are now also Maskholes – refusing to wear the mask properly or at all. To be fair, they’re not just from around here – the tourists are even worse.

Virus cases are on the rise in this area. No surprise. Some dimwit in Chatham had a party with 50 people, no masks, no distancing. At least half the partygoers have tested positive since that party. They are trying to figure out how many people THOSE people infected Elected officials moan and say there’s nothing they can do because it happened on “private property.” Yes, they can. Charge the party-thrower with criminal negligence. Anyone who got infected by someone at the party should have all health costs paid by the person who infected them.

A good portion of the attendees were restaurant workers. Yeah, so how’s all that Phase III-IV on-site dining working for everyone, huh?

On Saturday morning, I did a quick errand. The drive home was 3 miles from store to home, along the beachfront. I passed about 150 people (I stopped counting at 127). Over the course of three miles.

4 of them were masked.

FOUR.

You can’t social distance when there are that many people in that small an area. Not that they were even trying. Many of them walked in packs, or hung out as their pack met another pack. No masks, no distancing. And yeah, not even pretending they give a fuck by having one around their neck or in their pocket.

I can’t go for a walk in my own neighborhood because the fucktards roam in maskless packs. All those people who claim they’re “safe” when they take a walk or walk the dog because “nobody’s around” or “there’s plenty of room” or “I cross the street” or “we’re good at social distancing” – I don’t believe you. They’re saying the same things here every day. Praising themselves to the sky for being so responsible and careful. I watch every day and it is not happening. No masks. No social distancing. You need BOTH. You need to wear a mask AND social distance. What part of this is an airborne virus do you not understand? Being outside doesn’t negate that. “Oh, but I’m just walking the dog, it’s early, no one’s around” – yeah, so are 15 other people and you’re stopping to chat and pet each other’s dogs and hang out and you’re only about a foot apart. Wear your damn mask when you leave your property. Keep it on – properly on, not pretend on — until you return.

If you NEED to be out and about – wear the damn mask.

If you WANT to be out and about – wear the damn mask.

It’s not hard. Yes, it’s inconvenient, and the first ten minutes are uncomfortable. So?

The level of selfishness is just disgusting.

The stats are that we have 100,000 extra people so far on Cape Cod. I don’t want to hear one word from businesses about how slow business is. Every place around here is packed. Plus, almost every business I know got either a PPP loan or an SBA loan or both. We have heightened travel rules in place as of the first of the month per the governor about 14-day quarantines and fines of $500/day. Too many aren’t even doing the mandated masking and social distancing. No one’s going to enforce a damn thing.

The bridges are backed up every damn day and unbearable from Friday to Monday again like every summer weekend. People aren’t quarantining here. They come in for the day, spread the virus, leave. They’re not being careful, even if they pretend they are so they can feel all righteous about it. Yes, the travel restrictions are not as firm from New England states and New York and New Jersey because those states have controlled it FOR THE MOMENT. But many, MANY of these plates are from high-risk states. They’re not complying with quarantine. The places they’re renting aren’t requiring it. They’re just taking the money and looking the other way.

There are businesses requiring people follow the mask mandate and distancing, etc. They’re truly trying to make it work and keep people as safe as possible. But plenty of businesses look the other way when the tourist twat walks in and immediately pulls the mask down around their neck.

We’re going to need to be in lockdown all damn winter because people are so damn selfish and lazy, while claiming they’re being responsible. I’m talking genuine lockdown, where maybe you can leave your property once a week for an hour to go grocery shopping. It’s going to make this spring look like a cakewalk.

We could have had the virus under control and be back to a modicum of normal without much danger – like New Zealand and Iceland and Europe – but instead, it’s getting worse. People are lying to themselves and each other about it.

The positive spin that’s being put on everything here and WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING are far apart. But people are buying into the spin, which means things are moving even farther apart.

I am very, very glad I was wrong that we would hit the 250,000 death toll mark by July 4th. But I doubt I’m wrong about the next lockdown. And so much of this could have been prevented. So much of it still can be prevented, but won’t, due to selfishness on personal and nationwide levels, and greed.

I’m sick of it.

No wonder I’m feeling burned out. If I didn’t have to leave the property at all, I could just shrug it off. I mean, on human level, I’d still be angry at the sheer level of selfishness and I’d still be working with my elected officials on various legislation, but I could stay in my little book-lined tower and keep my family safe.

Chop Wood, Carry Water
I mailed off my passport renewal materials for the third damn time. Let’s hope they actually renew it this time. The first time, last fall, when the rumors about no more passport renewals started, it was returned because it was “too early to renew.” When I tried in March, it was “returned to sender” with “office closed due to COVID-19” scrawled on the envelope.

Even if we’re banned from entering other countries, I need my passport. I hate being separated from it.

Saturday morning, the cats got me up way too early. Fed them, watered the front and back gardens, lawns, and the meadow out back. Changed the beds, did two loads of laundry, did a run to the store that carries the white cranberry-peach juice and some gelato for the heat wave. Full disinfectant protocols (not letting up on them any time soon). Sorted the boxes and bags in the quarantine area of the garage – some went downstairs to be used, some put aside for other use, some into recycling). Washed all the reusable grocery bags and disinfected them.

The ban on reusable bags has been lifted in the state, but most grocery stores sill ask that people not use them. Still, I thought it would be a good idea to disinfect all the bags.

Paid end-of-month bills.

The neighbor across the street has his very own small bulldozer. Yup. Drove it around the neighborhood to show it off on Friday. Saturday, he brought in a truckload of gravel and dumped it next to his garage (which faces our front yard). Then he started leaf blowing the gravel. Which is a stupid move on multiple levels, but it also sent clouds of gravel dust across to us, and I had to close the windows (on a hot day, with no air conditioning) so we didn’t choke on the dust.

His parents must not have bought him Tonka Trucks as a child, and he’s making up for it now.

All he ever does is use heavy machinery, make noise, and destroy. There’s never building anything beautiful – just cutting down trees or leaf blowing gravel.

My neighbor next door is awfully fond of his power tools, too – but he builds. A firepit, a three-season room, a shed for his nifty tools. Also, he does it during reasonable hours, and it’s never for long stretches. I don’t mind even the power tools, because the energy is so different – it’s CONstructive, not Destructive.

Sunday morning, I was up early again to water. I don’t have a sprinkler system, and I don’t want to do the putting green thing, but I also want the yard to be healthy. Right now, we haven’t rain for a bit, and it needs a drink.

Che Guevara Chipmunk is back. I didn’t put out the bird bath this year (because it’s 2020 and West Nile or some other plague would come by, too). But I’ve been putting out a big dog dish of water out back, and changing it three times a day. Che Guevara Chipmunk comes by the drink out of it and tell me the news. And the birds like it, too. We had some melon that was getting squishy, so I put it out back and the murder of crows dashed from the front yard and gobbled it all up. Who knew crows like cantaloupe?

Friday morning, when I sat on the deck with my first coffee and my writing, a bat dropped down from the roof of the covered deck and then flew away. Startled me, but I like bats, so I’m good with it. If he (or she) comes back, the bat gets a name!

I got a spam call on my cell from Russia. Uh, yeah, that’s a block.

Monday, I was out early to water. This morning, I was out early and did just over an hour of yardwork from just after 5 AM to nearly 6:30. It’s been brutally hot and humid. 102 degrees in Hyannis yesterday, 94 degrees here, a few miles away. We’re still a little cooler because we haven’t cut down all our trees.

But there are poor air quality warnings up. On Cape Cod. Can you imagine? We moved here for healthy sea air. But it’s been clear cut of trees so badly and overbuilt so badly and with the tourists flowing in DURING A PANDEMIC, we have poor air quality.

The virus is delighted.

But with fans going and staying quiet in the worst of it, it’s bearable. Even without air conditioning. So far.

Shall I mention that the furnace was supposed to be replaced by the owner last year before Thanksgiving, and he was going to add coils for air conditioning? And it still hasn’t happened?

Writing. Oh yeah, there’s writing. And Reading
I got about half the revision of VISCERAL INVISIBLES done. Still trying to come up with another title, although a part of me kind of likes this one.

Shaped the review for the book I read. Sent it off yesterday morning, along with the invoice. Yay, money!

I read a wonderful book by Fenton Johnson, AT THE CENTER OF ALL BEAUTY: SOLITUDE AND THE CREATIVE LIFE. It’s quite wonderful. As someone who is, by nature, solitary, and needs a lot of solitude even within the context of relationships, the book speaks to me on multiple levels.

Catching up on the issues of THE NEW YORKER. There’s always so much good information there, and stellar writing (even if I don’t always agree with the pieces). The latest issues re-runs earlier profiles – Toni Morrison, Larry Kramer, etc. – it’s interesting to see how much I’ve changed since they first came out. How much I’ve learned.

Actually got to sit outside and enjoy the deck for an hour here and there, in between neighbors and their power tools and heavy machinery. And they’re still setting off the fucking illegal fireworks most nights.

Also reading Donna Leon’s non-Brunetti mystery, THE JEWELS OF PARADISE, which is interesting.

My mother is reading Chris Cavender’s pizza-lover’s mysteries, and really likes them. I will read them soon (while she finishes reading the Vivien Chien series). We have one more Brunetti book to read, the one that came out during Stay-at-home, and then we’ll start reading the Gamache series in order (re-read for me). It’s fun to read a long series together in order and talk about the books.

Did some planning for the Gambit Colony books. Will get back to them once I’m done with this draft of BARD’S LAMENT.

Worked on the Topic Workbooks.

I’m working on the Grief to Art website, but it takes a lot out of me, and is thereby taking more time than I’d like. With nearly 150,000 dead, we need a site for collective mourning.

Did a quick proof read of the WINNER TAKE ALL screenplay and sent it to my friend, who has time to read it this week.

I was at the office for a few hours yesterday for a client, by myself, which was perfect. I’m still far more productive from my home office even than in an empty office, but if I have to be in an office, I’d rather it was empty. I do some client work before it gets too hot. When it heats up, I have to shut down the computer; it doesn’t function well in heat and humidity. Plus, I figure the power’s bound to go off at some point.

Have a safe week, and try to stay cool, if you can. Mentally and physically. Peace.

Tues. July 21, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 62 — Heat Wave

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image courtesy of klimkin via pixabay.com\

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

Busy weekend.

Friday, I got some blogging and LOIs done. I dashed down to the library in the rain to drop off some books in the book drop and do a curbside pickup.

I did the update on SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM. I still have to do a few little tweaks in the script section, and I added information on radio and corporate scripting.

Unfortunately, the formatting on the examples doesn’t hold. I’m either going to have to save them as PNGs or JPGs and insert them, or provide a link for a downloadable PDF of the examples. I hope it’s not the latter, because that’s just more trouble for everyone all the way around.

Revised THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. Will do one more proof, and then upload it to the system.

Starting updates on THE SERIES BIBLE this week. Again, that has example sheets, and I need to figure out how to do those so they hold the formatting. Otherwise, they’re useless.

Did some client work, but didn’t get what needed to be done finished, so had to put in some time over the weekend on it, and then do a test run yesterday, to make sure it works.

Saturday, I wrote 24 pages on Gambit Colony. Sunday I wrote more, finishing Book 4. Finally. Too bad it’s not the book I needed to finish. But it’s done. Book 5 is an Interlude book, much shorter, and I’ve written a bunch of material for it already, so that should go pretty fast.

Famous last words.

I cleaned the house, did three loads of laundry, caught up on the classwork for the Book of Kells class.

I got a negative response on an LOI. Kind of a rude email, actually. But I did what I always do: thanked them for getting back to me, saying I’d rather get a disappointing response than no response at all. I got an almost immediate note in response thanking me for being so gracious. Which surprised the hell out of me.

I was saddened by the death of John Lewis, and enraged by the Gestapo-like troops deployed to Portland. They must be stopped.

My Trusted Reader gave me her notes on the VISCERAL INVISIBLES script. They are the best notes I’ve ever gotten on a script, and that includes by producers. It was interesting that the two atonal things she picked up on had been added at the behest of a producer, and I’d felt they didn’t work. She sent two pages of single-spaced notes and I can use ALL of them. I see ways to integrate all of it, without completely having to break down and rebuild what I have.

I’m excited to get back to work on it, although I’m not sure when I can do so.

Up way too early on Sunday.

Wound up finishing the 4th Book of the Gambit Colony series. There’s always a high that follows (even though that wasn’t the book I should have been working on). I did the first chapter of the 5th book.

I should have done a bunch of other stuff. I didn’t.

Instead, I sat outside on the deck with a Very Strong Martini and read the latest issue of The New Yorker. Because I felt like my brain was rotting.

Monday, I went onsite to do work for a client. I got a lot done, and was on my own for most of it; when I overlapped with a colleague, we took precautions.

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up books. Came home, decontaminated, caught up on email, then worked on a website project. I’m trying to take it off line while I build it, because the stress of building live is hurting my ability to make good choices. I struggled with a lot of the templates, because they would not do what I wanted.

So the airlines are whining that they’re losing money. What did they think would happen? First of all, anyone with any sense is not travelling. Second, those who travel aren’t the people anyone wants to be around anyway. Third, the airlines aren’t paying attention to health and safety protocols, such as when they let Ted Cruz fly without a mask. So, again, anyone with any sense is going to stop flying for the moment, especially with the infection rate soaring. Fourth, the airlines got billions of dollars in bailout money. Instead of investing in their workforce and long-term protocols, they paid off executives and did stock buy backs.

The airlines have only themselves to blame. Several of them SHOULD go under. Airlines have made flying a nightmare ever since they monetized the 9/11 attacks. It’s not about security – it’s about finding ways to make people spend more money once they’re through security and on the place.

They deserve to go under.

New airlines need to start up that actually give a damn about the people paying the bills.

I’m headed out early this morning for blood work; later, I’ll have to do a Trader Joe’s run for basics like bread, milk, and eggs, and a few other things. Then it’s client work, writing, course work.

Fri. July 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 58 – Feels Like 2020 is Retrograde

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image courtesy of Comfreak via pixabay.com

Friday, July 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s supposed to get brutally hot and humid this weekend. I hope that’s not the case.

Yesterday seems like a year ago. And I wasn’t even all that productive.

Did a run to Star Market for a few things. Not too many people, everyone masked, although not following directional arrows and not distancing in line for checkout. But I was in and out quickly, and did full disinfectant protocols when I came home.

Read a little bit on the deck to get my energy back from all that is expended every time I have to be amongst people.

Did some client work, but didn’t get what I wanted to finish done, so I will have to suck it up and put in a few more hours today. Got out an LOI to an interesting company. Have been debating about sending an LOI to a company looking for YouTube scriptwriters. I doubt they’ll want to pay my rates, but it might be worth a shot.

Spent way too much time and energy trying to chase down a late payment from a major magazine for whom I did a piece back in February. The contract states I’ll be paid “within eight weeks of publication.” The issue dropped April 22. I should have been paid by June 22. It was now July 16 and crickets. I knew my paperwork was all in, because I’d sent it in February, and it was re-confirmed in April. April was the height of the shutdown in this state.

I contacted my editor and was sent new paperwork for direct deposit – but April’s writers are getting paid “next month” and I’d be “up next after that.” So I might get paid by September? Um, no. My contract says within eight weeks. Not five months or more. Pandemic or not. Besides, here in MA, where the ‘office’ is located, accountants and payroll people have been considered “essential” since Day 1 of Stay at Home. I have clients who do direct deposit – they’ve been on time AND their accounting departments have been in touch throughout all of this to make sure everything is smooth while we all work remotely – including the accounting departments. There’s no reason it should take another six weeks to pay via direct deposit. Oh, and if I wanted a paper check, I’d have to wait “indefinitely” since the office is still closed. Hey, I’m all for offices remaining closed (although here in MA, we’re in Phase 3 re-opening, offices are allowed at 50% capacity with safety protocols in place. Most are at 100% without protocols. So kudos to the company for keeping their offices closed), but direct deposit doesn’t take six weeks.

I contacted the accounting department directly and am waiting to hear back. Also, if additional paperwork was needed, why didn’t THEY send it to me as soon as they knew? Why do I have to find out about it because I’m chasing down payment? This is not some little nonprofit lit mag with a single individual toiling to keep everything put together. This is a major publication. The lack of communication is just as inexcusable as the lack of payment.

If I agree to wait six more weeks to be paid, I guarantee they’ll go out of business between now and then and I’ll never be paid.

The article I wrote last week and submitted on Tuesday was accepted. Payment was sent, but hasn’t shown up yet via Paypal. I’ll wait until we’re a few hours further in to business hours, and then contact them to see what’s going on. But look at that – I’m paid promptly, per the terms of my contract.

Freelance chat was fun. It gave me some new ideas. Now I have to schedule the time in which to implement them.

Spent a few hours on the new edition of the Topic Workbook SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM (which fell by the wayside with everything else going on). I have to do some research to update a few points and resources, and decide if I want to keep all the samples/examples in their own section at the end of the workbook, or if I want to put them with the exercises/topics.

The friend serving as a Trusted Reader for the script I sent out a month ago – turns out she never received it! Here I assumed she hated it and didn’t know how to break it to me! So, with her permission, I’ve resent it, and I’m hoping she doesn’t hate it once she actually gets to read it!

You’d think Mercury was still retrograde.

I don’t know, seems like all of 2020 is retrograde.

Have to go to the library this morning to put some books in the book drop and do a curbside pickup. Then, it’s client work, LOIs, work on the Topic Workbooks, work on BARD, work on GAMBIT.

This weekend, I plan to read the book I was sent for review, write, clean, and maybe do a little sewing.

Of course, if it’s hot and humid, I might just lie on the floor in front of the fan!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Thurs. July 16, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 57 — Blue as Nikko Hydrangeas

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Thursday, July 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth about what’s going on with the garden.

If you haven’t read the post over on Ink-Dipped Advice on Reinventing Work, you can hop on over.

Went onsite for a client for a few hours. Got some ad approvals, got some more photos for the next bit we need to do together. Too many people in the office at the same time, and getting lackadaisical about protocols. I’m not happy about it.

I was glad to get home and do a full decontamination protocol.

Remote Chat was fun. As always. What a great group of people.

Titcomb’s let me know another book was in for me, so we got into the car and had a little drive for a curbside pickup. They’re so great.

Got out some LOIs. Got a book assigned to review – I will read it over the weekend.

Still waiting for a big check from a job back in February – which should have paid by the end of June. So I guess I’m contacting the editor to ask her to check on it.

Read anotherEllen Byron book in her Cajun series. Delightful.

Feeling a little blue today, kind of like my hydrangeas, but I hope keeping busy will help. I have some writing to do (as always), including an article idea I’ve been playing with for LinkedIn, and starting my Llewellyn article. Need to work on BARD. Want to work on GAMBIT. And there’s always purging that needs to be done in the basement.

I have to do an early morning run to Star Market, because we’re out of a few things, and I don’t want to stand in line later at Trader Joe’s for them. Plus, some of what I need isn’t at TJ’s, although I’m most comfortable shopping there. I’m hoping, if I go early enough to SM, I can avoid Sliding Mask Skanks.

Then home, disinfectant protocols, and to work. I’m hoping focus on the work will get me out of feeling so low.

Hope your Thursday is lovely.

Wed. July 15, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 56 — Running (Metaphorically)

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image courtesy of Conquero via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

Short post, because I’m running late this morning.

Long post on reinventing work over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Up early yesterday, got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Did an early morning Target run. Everyone masked, distancing, pleasant. Took a lot of stress out of the experience. Stocked up on cleaning supplies. I think we’re good for about 4 months.

Home, full disinfectant protocols. LOIs, client work. More ads.

Finished, polished, and sent off the article that was due. Hope it’s what the editor wants. Will start the other article, for the almanac, tomorrow.

Headed in to work onsite for a few hours today. I need to get ad approvals from the client, and get a few other things done.

Feeling pressured on a couple of fronts, but the work itself is fine. But I’m behind on a few other things.

Remote Chat today, which is fun. Need to get some coursework done, too.

More tomorrow – gotta fun!

Tues. July 14, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 55 — Working On Independence Issues

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image courtesy of jackmac34 vis pixabay.com
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Bastille Day

Bastille Day is my own personal Independence day, because that was the day I left a very toxic job situation in the past.

If you missed the weekly intention post yesterday, it’s here; it ties in with the Inner Resources post on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolution site,which also went up yesterday.

Mercury went direct on Sunday, so at least that’s a little pressure off. But these heavy planets are still slowing things down.

Didn’t get as much done as I hoped over the weekend. I don’t do well in heat and humidity, and we don’t have air conditioning. It wasn’t too bad, but it slowed me down. And, mentally, I’m just exhausted.

I managed to finish reading the rest of Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I love how the characters grow from book to book.

Most of my own creative work was focused on GAMBIT COLONY, when it should have been focused on BARD, but GAMBIT is a good stress reliever, and my stress levels are skyrocketing.

Tried some new to me recipes over the weekend – a farfalle pasta with zucchini, corn, and tomato, with homemade pesto using basil from the garden; chicken enchiladas. I’d never made the latter before. I was always worried it was too hard, but it’s not. There are leftovers, so I don’t need to worry about much cooking for the early, high-stress portion of the week.

Three Chantal Chamberland CDs arrived over the weekend, and I’ve been playing them a good deal. Sitting and really listening to them, not just having them on in the background while I do something else.

I feel a need to pull inward. I’m expending too much energy on Sliding Mask Skanks and Covidiots. They want to be stupid and reckless? Let them pay the consequences. I’m going to stay as far away from them as I can as much as I can. I have a life to rebuild.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working for more justice and equality across the boards. But it does mean not wasting time with people who aren’t worth it. I am willing to meet each individual as worth of basic human dignity until they prove otherwise. Then, I’m done.

I’m tired of the noise levels around here. I’m tired of these people who can’t enjoy their lovely yards for two minutes without turning on a machine to destroy something. They’re never building something or creating something beautiful; it’s just destruction. Cut down trees, tear out bushes, cut up boards. Someone had a chainsaw going at two a.m. Monday morning. Unless they’re disposing of a body, there’s no reason for it. Tropical Storm Fay barely kissed us. And on Monday morning, the mowers started by 7 AM.

People hanging out in their yards talking and laughing? No problem. I actually love to hear it (outside of pandemic times). Playing music? No problem, whether it’s something I like or not.

But the constant repetitive machine noise seven days a week at all hours of the day or night is infuriating, especially because of the hyperacusis.

And now, the town wants to get rid of residential zoning, so every building can be rented short term. The short term rentals have already destroyed this neighborhood. Tourists don’t give a damn. The sense of neighborhood and community is lost, they don’t follow pandemic protocols, and they throw trash everywhere.

No. Just no.

My Town Councilor got a letter from me to go into the Public Record at last night’s meeting. I doubt he even looked at it, much less submitted it or acted on it.

I managed to catch up, over the weekend, on my coursework for The Miracle of Human Language. The course is a delight, mostly because the professor is smart, quirky, and enthusiastic.

Yesterday, I went on site for a few hours to do some client work. I was completely on my own I the office, which meant much less stress, and I could get a lot done. Not quite as good as working from home, but I’ll take it.

Swung by the library on the way home to drop off/pick up.

Worked on my article, which goes out today. Probably at the end of the day, since there are tweaks I want to do on it. Got out a bunch of LOIs. Heard back on a few – a couple want to go with a writer who has a track record within the industry (understandable, but short-sighted); several like my work, but their expansion/hiring plans are on hold now. However, they want to stay in touch, so we’re setting up a check-in schedule every few months to see where we are and when we can work together.

Managed a couple of hours of yardwork in the afternoon, hacking away at invasives. There’s still a lot to do, but I’ve made some progress.

Charlotte and Willa were both on the kitty condo last night. Not sure about having the other so close. I got some hilarious photos, which are over on Instagram.

The numbnuts are still setting off illegal fireworks every damn night. I wish the town would crack down on them.

I was supposed to get bloodwork done today. The doctor said I could just show up whenever at the diagnostic center. But I checked with them, and I can’t. Which I figured. The earliest appointment I could get is next Tuesday morning. Which is fine with me. I’d rather they took precautions, and the COVID antibody tests have to take priority.

Then, I have to do some client work and some writing. And what ever else comes up. I’m hoping to be more productive today than I was yesterday.

I should do a Target run, but I just don’t want to be out and about. But I feel like I should get in everything we need, because I anticipate things shutting down again in a few weeks, in spite of us being pushed into Phase 3 re-opening.

I’m really not surprised that Disney World re-opened during all of this. I mean, the company’s greed is legendary. But the fact that people are actually going? Putting themselves, each other, and the staff in danger? That is disgusting.

Again, though, I don’t need to waste my energy on these Covidiots. I need to focus on my own life. And work And things that need to happen, pandemic or not, over the next few months.

I have to mull over how to pull inward more. Much as I’d love to be a professional recluse, I need to be visible to earn money. But, even with isolation due to the pandemic, I need to pull even further inward to get some things sorted out, and figure out how to get a few things on track.

 

Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

The past few days have been hell, because of dumbass “neighbors” setting off illegal fireworks all the time.

They’ve gone off every night since the beginning of the month. And every weekend since the Stay at Home. It needs to stop.

When it’s someone local, with whom the cops grew up, it’s “nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know how unreasonable people are” and they’re let off with a warning. And, as soon as the car pulls away, they set the fireworks off again. They’re not confiscated, as required by law. They’re not fined, as required by law.

When it’s tourists, the cops do nothing because, you know, tourist dollars.

On the 4th of July, it started at 4 in the afternoon and went on until 2 in the morning. People were going up and down the street, setting off fireworks in front of other people’s houses. One set of neighbors next door did a production in his little backyard.

The houses here are just too close. There’s shrapnel everywhere, they’re gong to set someone’s house on fire.

Not to mention that Tessa was so terrified I was sitting in a corner of the room, holding her while she tried to burrow under my skin. I was afraid she’d die of fright.

It wasn’t cute little sparklers. It was the big boomers. It was like being under mortar fire for 10 hours, and the cops did NOTHING.

This state has specific and strict laws about illegal fireworks. In the 10 years I’ve lived here, not ONCE have the cops ever done a damn thing. The illegal fireworks have gotten exponentially worse every year.

Instead of pounding on peaceful protestors, how about going after those who are actually breaking the law and causing harm? Just because you grew up with them isn’t an excuse. Nor is that they’re tourists. Those aren’t the tourists we want visiting.

It’s not “harmless fun.”

I also noticed that EVERY person doing this belongs to the same group who refuses to wear masks – again, something that the state mandates.

Gee, people hurting other people in the name of their own “freedoms.” What a surprise.

It was hell.

Why should I pay taxes in this community? They charge me an “excise tax” because I own a car. They’ve upped the rates to get rid of garbage and punish me for wanting to recycle. They allow people to set off explosives every week “for fun.”

Especially since some of these fireworks are set off by those in illegal, short-term rentals. It’s not like they give a damn if they set the neighborhood on fire.

The Town Manager and my district’s Town Councilor are a complete and utter waste of space, both of them, but you better believe they’re getting strongly worded letters. It won’t do anything, but it will go on record in the town archives. Maybe, at some point down the line, it will be useful to someone who will actually do something.

And the fireworks are still going on EVERY DAMN NIGHT. I’m not going through this all summer.

Sunday, I was a complete wreck. I hadn’t gotten any sleep on Saturday night. I had to clean up shrapnel on Sunday. I tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but I was so wound up I couldn’t sleep.

At least Saturday and Sunday, I got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY. I’m nearly done with Book 4 – I figure I have three more chapters or so. The chapters run long, so I’m figuring another 60-70 pages. I have a bunch of material I wrote intermittently for Book 5, which is an interlude volume (figuring that to run 100 -150 pages), and Book 6 is outlined. I’m hoping to get drafted through Book 6 by the end of the year, and then start on the serious edits, at least for 4-6. The first three books are in good shape; they’ve had countless drafts.

I re-read two more Donna Leon books and BODY ON THE BAYOU by Ellen Byron, all of which were good. I also read AMERICAN SPY by Lauren Wilkinson, which was excellent. I had no idea what to expect going in. It’s a hell of a wonderfully written novel, strong voice, very different structure than usual, but different in a way that works.

I was left both wanting to know what happened next to these characters and feeling it ended at the perfect spot. So often, I’m unhappy with how and where novels end. Too often, it feels post-modern just to try to show off “style” instead of giving the book the unique ending it needs. But this was perfect.

I also read the book I was sent for review. It’s a solid fantasy novel. Not brilliant, but an enjoyable read, and will get a good review.

We had a wonderful, vicious thunderstorm on Sunday night. I loved it, especially since it cut short the illegal fireworks. I’d hoped for a good storm; it was even better than I expected.

I wish the weather would be horrible every weekend for the rest of the summer. Tourists are flooding in, bridges are backed up the way they usually are in summer, and we’re all being put at risk, because the tourists aren’t following the state-mandated protocols, and the businesses just shrug and let them get away with it.

Because, you know, if we’re not rich enough, we “deserve” to die for tourist dollars. That’s the attitude around here.

Client work yesterday – I’m creating more ads for this client. 6 LOIs out. Work on fixing BARD’S LAMENT – I’m about to enter the bit that’s a real mess. I need to fix it so I can move on. The deadline looms.

Did the whole week’s course work on THE BOOK OF KELLS class. It was fascinating, talking about scribes and how they created the book. Gave me ideas (always dangerous).

Managed to sleep through the night last night, for once (once the fireworks stopped).

This morning, I’m going to do some work on BARD, record a podcast for THE MERRY WRITER, do some client work. I think I need to go to the grocery store – it’s been about 10, 12 days, and we’re out of some basics. So I’ll gear up and go.

I have a Zoom call with my primary care physician, which I’m dreading. We will talk about the mixed results from the surgery, and work out a plan. I do not want more tests. I want to be left alone for the next six months until the next procedure.

I have a feeling this will continue to be a difficult week.

Hope your week is better.

Published in: on July 7, 2020 at 5:06 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 50: My Neighbors are Pyros (though not professionals)  
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Fri. July 3, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 46 — Finally, Productivity

Friday, July 3, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

We’re going into the long holiday weekend, and I just feel like the clock is running out for me on way too many fronts.

Yesterday was actually a fairly productive day. I popped into my client’s to launch an ad – the financial information was at the office. That didn’t take long, and the client is pleased. Let’s hope it converts into actual sales. I’ve got some SEO tweaking to do on the client’s website next week, which should also help.

Swung by the bodega (ahem, convenience store) on the way back to pick up eggs. It just wasn’t worth standing in line to get into a grocery store for eggs. The only people wearing masks around here yesterday were the locals going into the post office and the convenience store.

Clumps of tourists are clomping around, not wearing masks, not social distancing. The bridges were backed up for hours.

We’re going to lose all the progress we made against the virus, and it’s disheartening.

Got home, full disinfectant protocols, and made it to the first session of the Freelance Writing  Success Summit. Attended all three virtual sessions. Got some good information. Some of the sessions are for people earlier in their careers than I am, but they’ll get a lot out of it.

It turns out a lot of best practices for SEO writing were what I do instinctively. That’s good to know. It helps me frame SEO conversations moving forward, especially because I am committed to quality content over SEO word salad. Since Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing anyway, it gives me a stronger position when the companies push back about using keywords that aren’t supported by content.

Got out some LOIs. Refused some reach outs from “recruiters” who want me to do work in which I’m not interested nor is my focus, for lower than my regular rate because I should be “happy someone wants to hire you in these hard economic times.” A) I’m working; B) What you offer is not in my area of expertise OR interest, so find someone in that field; C) I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I’m a seasoned professional and I’m worth my rate.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun.

Finished reading a book of essays by someone who is a good writer, but her brand of crazy is too much for me right now. And yes, in her case, it’s definitely part of her “brand.” My emotional energy needs to be elsewhere right now, because there’s not a whole lot of it.

My doctor sent me a survey on how I’m feeling, emotionally. Um, I’d be a bit of a sociopath if it was all flowers and rainbows in the middle of a pandemic. No, I’m not sleeping well, I worry a lot, and I have post-anesthesia brain fog. I just had two surgeries in 4 months during a pandemic, for goodness’ sake!

I’m a little fed up with all the forms and the surveys and the tests. I’m tired and I’m worried and I can’t heal if I’m filling out forms all the time.

Got some work done on the promotional TRINITY OF TEASERS package, but exporting text from system to system and having it actually do what I want is frustrating. But I don’t want to rekey over 100 pages of text, either. I need to get back to work on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, too. I thought I’d be farther along by now.

I thought I’d be farther along on a lot of things.

Didn’t get the reading done for my language class, so I’ll have to get that done today.

Did do some work on Book 4 of the Gambit Colony series, because I craved it. Really shouldn’t be working on it now, but it calms me and soothes me and gives me creative fuel for other projects.

The dickheads with their illegal fireworks were in full force last night. These are the same idiots who won’t wear masks because “fweedom” asLilith St. Crow put it the other day in her blog. Their freedom to terrorize the neighborhood exists, but ours not to be infected by their stupidity does not. We obviously know for whom they voted and where they get their news. About 20-30 minutes, at least 300-400 fireworks (I trained in pyro when I worked rock and roll, I know these things). I was on the floor, beside Tessa, who was terrified, putting my body between the direction of the noise and poor Tessa. Willa and Charlotte ignore the noise, but it absolutely terrifies Tessa.

At least I had a good night’s sleep, for once.

Working on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning – hoping I can finish fixing that huge plot problem. I can’t believe I was that stupid.

Dashing down to the library for a curbside pickup this morning. Excited to return books and get some new ones. Will also read the book for review this weekend.

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Sent out a bunch of cards to people yesterday, and have some more that need to go out in the next few days. I ordered a bunch of new notecards from Peter Pauper Press (one of my favorite suppliers), so it’s time to use them!

I’m actually almost looking forward to the weekend. I have to battle the bindweed, weather permitting, but I’d like to read and write and not deal with any human beings outside the household.

I don’t feel there’s a lot to celebrate this year, but I am looking forward to some downtime.

Have a great holiday weekend, friends!

Tues. June 23, 2020: Pre-Op Isolation Day 1: That’s Writer Bitch To You

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

That enough retrogrades for you? Not fun.

But it’s a good time for sorting things out, and I certainly need that.

Weekend was good, and productive in ways I didn’t plan.

Got some work done on Friday afternoon. Worked with the cats. Charlotte is making progress, most of the time. Willa is settled in. Tessa still isn’t sure about those two. But most of the time, Tessa and Willa are fine. Willa tries to play with Tessa.

Spent time on the deck, which is always nice. Willa loves her playpen. Che Guevara Chipmunk gets right up in her face, though. She’s learned to chase him in the playpen by making it roll like a snowball. It’s pretty funny.

Our town has decided to add yet another layer of economic segregation by charging for recycling. Buy the expensive sticker; you’re all set. Have a big enough car to load in your garbage AND your recycling in one load, pay the whole thing. Have a small household, a small car, and try to be responsible by recycling? Ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you.

Using Covid as an excuse to charge more and make it harder to recycle is yet more lies on their part. They’ve been trying to do this for years.

Saturday was laundry day. Got some reading done.

I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas. Some twists on the old-school gothic novel (different from what I tried in THE LUCY GOTHC a few years back)

One of the ideas took flight, so to speak, and I would up writing 17 pages on it. It’s sort of fantasy, sort of steampunk, sort of gothic, some mystery, lots of adventure, a few romantic elements, some pansexual characters, explorations of social and economic justice and injustice. The world was very clear to me, and very specific, even though I had to stop here and there to do some research and figure out phrasing, et al.

I had to start the Tracking Sheets right away, so I can keep details consistent. I don’t want to get into info dumps. I want meaning to be clear within context. At least this way, if it does turn out to be a series, I have the basis for the Series Bible.

I outlined the next few sections, and I have a good idea where I want to go. It may stand alone; it may be the first of a series. I’m not yet sure.

Of course, it wasn’t what I was supposed to write.

Played with a few article ideas; still haven’t hit on the right one.

Worked on the book for review, which I need to get done in the next day or so.

Read a lot. Tried to stay off social media, except for a few bouts here and there. I need to be ruthlessly selfish this week and take care of myself.

Satisfying Solstice ritual.

Up early on Sunday. Took some clippings from the big lilac and the puffy pink rhodie. Dipped them in rooting powder and planted them, so, fingers crossed. Got the peas planted.

Che Guevara Chipmunk ripped out some of the lilac cuttings to hide acorns. We had words. I replanted the cuttings and moved the pot where I hope he can’t get at it.

It’s awfully early for all the beasts to be hoarding for winter. It’s not even July.

Took the pressure off myself on Sunday. Let myself read and work on the DRAKECLIFF outline. It was lovely to work on the deck.

Up early on Monday. I hope the guy comes to mow the lawn this week. It’s looking a little raggedy. We’re getting into the fourth week since his last visit. If he’s not here by Wednesday, I’ll have to prod. He’s usually very reliable, and I paid him the day I got the invoice, so. . .

Worked on a survey about Serial Fiction. I miss writing it. I’ve looked into some of the platforms out there and am leery of them. They don’t pay enough. Some don’t pay anything.

A couple of people suggested using Medium as the platform (since there’s a pay scale). I have not utilized Medium well thus far. Not sure if this would be a way to do it.

I mean, first I’d need something to put up. Like a 6 week run of a piece (2-3X/week) that would be complete within the six weeks to see if it would fly. That would mean novella length, about 30K words. And then I’d need a longer piece ready to go if it worked.

I’d considered doing THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS as a serial, but it’s complex with a large, ensemble cast (although the primary protagonists are a quartet), so I’m not sure that would work. Expecting the readers to hold so many characters in their heads over time might not make sense (even if there was a website to which to refer).

I’m curious as to how people view serial fiction and what they’re looking for, which is why I’m developing the survey. Information is always a good thing.

I’ve been encouraged to start a Patreon, but I don’t think I can take that on right now. I’d want to have 18 months of multi-tiered material stockpiled before I started. The time/money ratio doesn’t make sense right now.

Still no bill from Comcast – that supposedly was sent on the 16th and must be paid by the 30th or else. I hate Comcast.

How am I supposed to pay a bill they don’t send?

I won’t be forced into AutoPay. Comcast pulls any amount they want out of the account multiple times a month and won’t return it or credit it. Been down this road before with them.

Had to hunt down the thermometer. For 14 days after the surgery, I have to track my temperature twice a day. Hopefully, hot flashes won’t skew it.

Doing my first writing session of the day out on the deck, which is nice. Charlotte doesn’t like it, though. She wants to be with me for that writing session; but she doesn’t go outside.

Buzzed by the office quickly yesterday morning; got a few things sorted, then ran my final errands before surgery.

Followed full disinfectant protocols, and went back to work for a few hours. I’m working on some ads for a client.

Heard from a colleague at the office – we just missed each other. Phones & internet went down around 11. Comcast has to come out and fix it on Wednesday. So that means everything that has to be done from the office – emails, shipping, etc. – is delayed. Plus, when I checked with the client for some last minute details for tomorrow’s email blast – some challenges have come up, so we’re holding the blast for a few days. I’ll focus on ads instead.

Finished the survey for the serials. I set up the survey on Survey Planet, a platform I’ve always liked. But then, when I tried to make it go live, I was told certain features wouldn’t show up unless I “upgraded my plan.” Why didn’t that come up when I added them into the survey in the first place? Because you think, after I did all that work, I’ll just cave and pay more? Get stuffed.

So I’m off to find another survey platform. No, it won’t be Survey Monkey. They’re too limiting. I might do Google Forms, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Why I thought doing something like this during Mercury Retrograde was a good idea, I’ll never know. Wasted afternoon.

On a happy note, someone on Twitter recommended Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries. I read an excerpt and liked it so much that I ordered the whole series from Titcomb’s Books in Sandwich. They’ll be in sometime next week, and I’ll go over for a curbside pickup. I get to support an author AND a local independent bookstore. AND get to read five really fun books.

Makes me happy.

More client work today. All remote, as I’m required to be in isolation today and tomorrow. I have to keep the phone handy, because they will call me to tell me what time my COVID test is tomorrow at the testing center up at the Community College. If it comes back negative, we move forward with the surgery (and I have to take the medication and have a Very Bad Day and then surgery on Thursday). If the test comes back positive, we have to follow a whole different set of protocols.

I find these constant “do you still wear a mask?” questions on social media insulting. OF COURSE I WEAR A MASK, YOU IDIOTS. I ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

In the general sense of humanity, because I’ve certainly lost patience with “people” in general.

Stop asking, you idiots. We can tell if someone’s wearing a mask or not. It’s obvious. At this stage of the game. You can also tell by their posts.

Let’s dismantle the toxic myth that this is about a “difference of opinion.” It’s not. It’s about giving a damn about other people, or aggressively putting them in danger (aka attempted murder).

I think I will unfollow, and possibly block, people who ask this.

I already unfollow and/or block people who boast about not wearing masks. Why would I engage with people who consider it their right to assault others and attempt murder, while saying wearing a mask – something so basic and simple – is an “assault” on their liberty?

The other truly disgusting question going around is “what’s your day job?” from other people who are supposedly writers.

My day job is WRITER, Bitch. Or, perhaps it’s Writer Bitch.

I’ll be doing more unfollows/blocks on those morons.

Bad enough non-writers run around acting like it’s not a profession. When other “writers” do it? Then they’re not writers. They’re dilettantes. It’s one thing for another job to come up in conversation. We do what we need to do in order to survive. It’s quite another to assume that NO writer makes a living at it, and perpetuate that toxicity. Hey, part-time writing is perfectly valid. Every stage of a career, and every career trajectory is valid. But don’t insult those of us busting our ass and making a living at it. Fuck right off. Stop contributing to the toxic myth that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work.

Will be a tough week on multiple fronts. At this point, I’m just trying to get through it.

While getting a lot of writing done. I hope to get some serious work done on BARD’S LAMENT and DRAKECLIFF, with Gambit Colony as my reward if I do it all. Then, it’s scrubbing the house down in preparation for setting up the living room tomorrow for my recovery.

I’m starting to have some ideas on how to shape the Susanna Centlivre play. I hope to start tackling it this weekend (because I need to turn my attention to the Isabella Goodwin play soon).

The book on harps and their history arrived yesterday, which I need for THE BARD’S LAMENT. So that’s a good thing.

Have a good one. I’m buckling up for a challenging rest of the week.

Thurs. June 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die For Tourist Dollars Day 31 — Attempt at Equilibrium in Five Retrogrades

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Foggy and cool

Five retrogrades for the next week, one of them Mercury. May I hide under the bed, please?

There’s a new post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

I had a decent first writing session yesterday on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Sitting down and doing at least 1K early in the morning, whether I feel like it or not, makes a huge difference.

I was at the office early. Everything went much better than I expected. No fussing or whining about protocols. I’ve worked ahead, in light of next week’s surgery, and will work from home next week.

Left by 12:30, swung by the library to do a curbside pickup, had to stop at the bodega (called here a “convenience store”) to pick up a loaf of bread. In and out quick, they have sanitizer, everyone’s masked, no fuss.

At least some people are taking it seriously.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, and even made it to Remote Chat only a few minutes late.

Remote chat was fun. Worked through some emails and other admin. Got some reading in (I have a book review due soon).

Worked on some article ideas per an editor’s request, but haven’t hit the right one yet. Hope to get something out to him today.

Sent an LOI to a theatre looking for plays; found out later they’ve gotten a grant from Mass Humanities, which is a good thing. My local library did, too, which is also a good thing.

Got to spend a little time out on the deck.

Finished reading Barbara Ross’s SEALED OFF, the latest Maine Clambake Mystery. I really like the way this series has grown. It’s more human and complex than many cozies, which is one reason I like it so much.

Woke up at 2:30 with a blistering headache; dozed off, but Charlotte woke me again at 4:30. So I guess it’s another early day.

I hope to get a good chunk of writing in today, some article pitches out, some LOIs out, a session of client work, and maybe even some yard work. If the light is good, I might even get some mending done in the afternoon. I need good daylight for mending.

Tomorrow, I have to take the recycling in to the dump and then head to Trader Joe’s for one last grocery shop before I hunker down and isolate before next week’s surgery. Hopefully, it will be a weekend of nice weather for Summer Solstice, and I can spend a lot of time out on the deck, reading and writing.

Unexpectedly, a book I got from the library because I was interested in the subject (nonfiction) turns out to be useful as background information for ELLA BY THE BAY.

I want to make solid progress on BARD this weekend, and GAMBIT will be my reward if I do so!

I had sent my state senator, with whom I’m in regular contact, just a simple thank you for something, and he was really pleased. I guess we all spend a lot of time complaining, and not enough time thanking.

Andrew Cuomo will end his daily briefings this Friday. I wonder if he has any idea how many people he sustained through all of this? I don’t always agree with him, but I like and respect him.

I need to withdraw a bit from the world burning down, in order to be in good shape, mentally and physically, for surgery. So my focus will be small and close to home for the next week and change. It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention; but it means I can’t cope with it on a larger scale right now. I allow myself that choice without guilt.