Thurs. Oct. 10, 2019: Cats Coming Out of Their Shells

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and chilly

Hop on over to see the latest on Gratitude and Growth. Not much to tell, but still. . .it’s there. Consistency is important, correct?

The cats officially have new names. The one I’ve referred to as New Kitty #1 is now Willa, for Willa Cather: smart, independent, resourceful. Willa wasn’t even one of the names originally considered: we had it narrowed down to Jane or Clara. But we came up with Willa, and she likes it, so Willa she is.

New Kitty #2 is Charlotte, for Charlotte Bronte and the various feisty Princess Charlottes over the centuries. Charlotte is stubborn, determined, and a bit of a diva. She picked her name early on; Willa was more difficult to name.

They are doing well. Tessa keeps them in line. Willa is exploring more than Charlotte is. Willa comes out to play. She’s even started asking for pets, started purring, and, yesterday morning, she sat in my lap while I typed. Willa even made friends with my mom, and now asks her for pets, too.

Charlotte is still figuring things out and wondering why no one pays any attention to her tantrums. But then, she came into the house two days after Willa did. Charlotte will get there. We won’t rush her. We’ll let her figure it out in her own time.

Tessa keeps unpacking Charlotte’s toy box and playing with her toys, just to prove she can.

As soon as they are comfortable enough to have their pictures taken, I will do so.

They haven’t even lived here a week, so I think they’re doing well. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but that’s the way it goes. The less we fuss at them, the faster they adjust.

I got some good writing in on Wednesday morning. Then headed in to a client’s.

I was invited to a chamber event on Wednesday night, at a new restaurant. I knew I SHOULD go, but I didn’t really want to. I mean, we had a nor’easter coming in.I also realized I need to make new business cards with the new logo. And the new contact address, to replace the hacked one.

This is scheduled to post because  I have a meeting first thing this morning, about potential projects. Tomorrow’s post will also be late, because I have another meeting, with a different potential client about a project.

The weekend is about writing, socializing the cats, and working on cleaning out boxes from the basement.

 

Published in: on October 10, 2019 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 10, 2019: Cats Coming Out of Their Shells  
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Tues. Sept. 3, 2019: And It’s September

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend. But I needed it. Check out the September list over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

There were plenty of things I should have done on Friday, once I was finished with my work at the library, but I didn’t. I read instead. I’m really enjoying all three series by Elaine Viets.

Played with some ideas, developing them. Have to figure out how to fit them in between everything else I have going on.

Sat outside for awhile on the deck, reading. It was lovely. I want to enjoy every minute I can.

Ordered some books, some for research, and Lauren Dane’s Books 4 & 5 of her Goddess Blade series. That was my treat — only allowed to dip into them once I finished my quota for the day.

When I woke up Saturday, it smelled like autumn. The leaves are starting to turn and fall. The tiger lilies have faded and the chlorophyll has already receded. I’ll have to pull the dry stalks soon. That shouldn’t happen until well into September. The birds are starting their migrations, too. They congregate in the front yard, have a snack, and move on.

Concerned about my friends and colleagues down in Florida, and my contacts in the Bahamas. SAVASANA AT SEA is set in the Bahamas, and so it THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I’m worried about what’s happening there.

Worked on GRAVE REACH. Not enough, but we’re getting there. I’m running out of time for it, though, and that’s setting back the BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA revisions, too, so I’m a little stressed.

Worked on the adaptation to radio for BEHIND THE MAN. Anyone who thinks it’s “easy” to adapt a stage play to a radio play is an idiot. They are two different mediums. It’s not about just changing the format.

In the adaptation, I start by changing the format, scene by scene. I take a scene and change the format. Then, I take out all the visual cues and replace them with aural cues. Then I go over the scene however many times I need to for pace, plot, and character, and layer in additional cues to drive the piece. Putting in sound cues isn’t just about adding noise — it’s about picking the right aural stimulation that drives plot and supports character.

It takes a long time.

But BEHIND THE MAN is one of my favorite plays, so, to me, it’s worth it.

Didn’t finish “Pier-less Crime” which is annoying. I keep changing my mind on certain plot points.

Read more than I should have. More of Elaine Viets’s books. Read Lauren Dane’s GODDESS WITH A BLADE Book 4(the twist at the end made me sad). Worked on the book for review. I should have that done and out by tomorrow.

Worked on some article pitches that will go out this week. I have to scan a couple of clips that aren’t available online to attach with one of them. That’s always a pain the butt.

Spent far too much time on Saturday pruning. I did a big prune on the forsythia bushes in the front. They were really getting out of control. Managed to free an enormous hydrangea around the side that was being choked. Also pruned one of the shrubs in the front bed that’s gotten a little out of control. Watered the front and back lawns, too. I still have to prune in the back (the forsythia and the bittersweet) and hack back the roses (but I’m told I should wait until the first frost to do that).

Also replaced the dying pansies in the front baskets and in the front barrel with large marigolds and chrysanthemums for the autumn. Bought a new mat for the front door (the old one was growing moss; it was beyond time to get rid of it). Did tons of laundry and changed out some of the fabric from summer to autumn.

Didn’t start refinishing the sewing cabinet or the small, drop-leafed table, although I should have. There were plenty of things I should have done this weekend, and just didn’t.

Saw the black cat, who was tucked in amongst the rose bushes. She looked a little worse for wear, but wouldn’t let me near her. I left out food and water on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night, and it was all gobbled up when I got up. I hope it’s the cat and not some other critter.

Feel absolutely weary, both physically and emotionally. Until we know if we’re getting a lease renewal for one more year, I am going to be worried.

Kept an eye on Hurricane Dorian. It’s terrifying how it just stopped moving over the Bahamas.

Re-watched CASABLANCA. Every time I see it, I’m reminded how good it is. So many lines have gone into the lexicon of daily conversation, it’s easy to forget how good the movie is as a piece.

Also watched NORTH BY NORTHWEST. I hadn’t seen it since we studied it in film school, and I’d forgotten a lot of it. The ending was a bit abrupt for my taste, but the rest of it was interesting. Although I wondered how Cary Grant’s character just happened to have enough cash on him to race around the country like that. The logic didn’t quite work.

I’m with a client today and tomorrow. Have a ton of errands on Thursday, and then, hopefully, I can go to yoga. Friday morning, I have an important meeting. So we’re hitting the ground running for September.

In and around all of that, I have to meet my writing deadlines, get some promotions going for my books, and get out a bunch of article pitches and LOIs. I also have to do my postcard for my quarterly freelance mailing. That usually gets a good response and I land some decent repeat work from clients.

Never a dull moment.

But I still wish I could take a couple of weeks of vacation.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 3, 2019 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 3, 2019: And It’s September  
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Tues. Aug. 20, 2019: Trying to Get Better

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I’m doing on The Reader Expansion Challenge.

It took me a few days to adjust to the antibiotic. I’m coping. I think I’m healing.

I spent far too much time the past few days, gobbling down the first three books in Lauren Dane’s GODDESS WITH A BLADE series. Boy, are they good! I have two more to read, and then book 6 comes out in December. It’s a really, REALLY good series.

Read another book, by that author I mentioned last week, about whom I was on the fence. I’m definitely off the fence now, and it’s crossing her off the list. Her protagonist quit a job that was putting her on the path to an outstanding career because her boyfriend didn’t like that she was working with another man. Sorry, that’s not true love. That’s a toxic relationship. Add the character’s constant “tired” to miss major plot points, whining, crying, and relying on men all the time — not the series for me.

Read another book where the premise was good, but the book dripped with so much white woman Southern privilege & adherence to the status quo that it nauseated me. The author is trying to portray his protagonist as a “tolerant” Southern woman. Honey, she’s not. She has flashes of racism (which means she’s racist), she believes it’s not grafting if you cheat someone with less money than she has (but is horrified if someone wealthy gets cheated), and I got way, way, WAY ahead of the plot. Cross that author off my list.

Got the review off to my editor, worked on my article, worked on GRAVE REACH, ELLA, and a little on DEATH OF A BROKEN MAN.

I was not allowed to read Lauren Dane’s book on Saturday until I’d written my quota for the day!

I also got my first Sephora Play! box. I was surprised by the quality of the samples. They are stuff I actually want to try and use. The lipstick is a color I would have never chosen on my own, and it looks great on me (I love lipsticks). There are also some interesting skin care products that I’m trying.

Sunday, I had to hack away some invasive plants and feed the lawn. We were supposed to get storms and rain, but they were wrong. AGAIN. I went out while it was cloudy, and then the sun came out, and I had problems, in spite of slathering on the sunscreen, because of the antibiotic.

Good writing session Monday morning before I had to go onsite with a client. Which was what it was.

A quick trip to the library, then meditation group. Much-needed. Then some work on the article. It’s due next week, but I’d like to get it in a little early. Gmail was down at the library, so things I needed to get done there couldn’t happen. Plus a bunch of uniformed old white men talking politics and showing their ignorance.

This morning, work on ELLA and GRAVE REACH, then onsite with a client and other appointments.

Head down and back to the page.

Published in: on August 20, 2019 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 20, 2019: Trying to Get Better  
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Fri. June 14, 2019: Preparing for a Writing Weekend

Friday, June 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday, I did a bunch of client work in the morning, got out some LOIs. It was pouring with rain in the afternoon. I worked around the house and read.

I’m re-reading GOOD OMENS, in preparation for watching the mini-series. I’d forgotten how much I love the book. I’m giggling on every page.

It’s such a relief not to have to worry about the mowing. Now, I can work on the beds here and there on nice days, and get the rest of the planting in.

ELLA BY THE BAY is going well. Ella’s struggles with forgiving herself for making bad choices as she works to make better ones resonates. GRAVE REACH is going slowly, but it’s going. I’m happy with the shape the book is taking, and with the way Lesley and Sam try to navigate their relationship.

I feel like I learn a lot from each book I write, and then I can apply it to the next one. That’s a good thing.

This weekend, I’m hoping to balance rest, writing, some gardening, and also purging some boxes from the basement. I’m hoping a bit of rest and downtime will help get a few things into perspective. I also have a hectic week next week — a big event for a client early in the week, and a few other demands and meetings later in the week.

Step by step. That’s all we can do, right?

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

I hope the weather stays this temperate — sunny and not too warm. It would be nice not to have a brutal, humid summer.

Published in: on June 14, 2019 at 8:52 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 14, 2019: Preparing for a Writing Weekend  
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Tues. June 4, 2019: Trying to Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It’s been a difficult few weeks. There’s plenty I can’t talk about right now in a public venue.

The additional pressure has certainly slowed down the writing. That’s negative not only because it puts a dent in earnings — which I can’t have right now — but also because when I don’t write enough each day, it throws my day out of balance. I have deadlines looming, and even though I’m working as hard as I can, I don’t know what to do.

The red flags just keep coming with that potential client out of Boston. They made demands; I met them; now I’ve heard nothing. Not even common courtesy. Yet I’m sure, should they want to take the next step, that they will, once again, expect me to drop everything the second they snap their fingers. Not happening. IF and WHEN they are paying me for my time and my skills, that’s when they get to make such demands. Otherwise, they have to negotiate. Current clients take priority over maybe someday clients.

On a happy note, I heard from Radio Theatre Project that they like “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and want to take a look at the play set on Brighton Pier for their October slot. Of course, I have to write the play set on Brighton Pier — but at least I managed to dig up one research book, out of the Boston library.

Saturday, I ran errands. Tried to get the house back to rights after all the rearranging for the fridge switch out. Cut back and dug out one of the front beds in the yard, and moved some hostas.

I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and discouraged.

Was up, as usual, half the night fretting Saturday night into Sunday. Got some work done on ELLA both days. Not enough on GRAVE REACH. Got the first chapter of ELLA into the computer (which means I’m working on the first and second drafts together of that book).

Did four loads of laundry on Sunday. It kept threatening to rain; I wasn’t sure if I should try to get something done in the yard, but it being Sunday, I wanted to make sure it was something quiet. I managed to get the fertilizer down on the terraced back area.

Started reading Amanda Flower‘s Magical Bookshop mysteries, which are quite good.

A former client contacted me, wondering if we could get together this week so I could write a press release. Hopefully, we can work out the day and time. I like working with them, and it would be fun to do something again.

Was onsite with a client yesterday, and will be today and tomorrow. More pitches and LOIs going out this week.

There was a great piece by a job search advocate (who even knew those existed?) about how badly so-called “human services” professionals treat the people they interview — things like not respecting the interviewee’s time, asking questions that don’t matter to the job, not giving enough or correct information about the job, and not giving a final answer, even if it’s a rejection. Totally agree. It’s not true that there aren’t enough qualified candidates for the jobs — it’s that the people doing the interviews aren’t finding the right matches. It’s especially true when everything is done online and the application is only sent through an algorithm. Especially for a job that requires creativity, the best candidate cannot fit into the boxes. The whole point of finding the right creative fit is someone who DOESN’T fit into boxes, not someone who lies to make it seem like a good fit.

Trying to break out of this loop of self-defeating, negative interior monologue telling me I’m worthless and useless and untalented and a failure. Intellectually, I know it’s not true, but emotionally, that’s what I feel, and I’m frustrated and disheartened and feel stuck, and like I can’t break the cycle. I have to, and I have to do it quickly, but I don’t know how.

It doesn’t help that the economy is about to crash, either, thanks to the Narcissistic Sociopath Grifter and his enablers.

I am desperate for a break of a few days with NO demands on me, and I don’t know when that will happen.

In the meantime, I’m dealing with whatever’s in front of me in the moment. Which isn’t a good solution, but it’s all I’ve got for the moment.

Published in: on June 4, 2019 at 5:28 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 4, 2019: Trying to Put One Foot in Front of the Other  
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Fri. May 31, 2019: Discouraging Few Days

Friday, May 31, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Going through a rough stretch. Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. Didn’t post to the garden blog, either, and won’t be able to until next week. Considering how much work I’ve done in the garden, with so little return – oh, well. GDR wrap-up isn’t up, either; I’ll do it early next week, although I’m going to be so discouraged, I hate even the thought of making the list.

Wednesday night, the refrigerator died. Called the landlord, dashed to K-Mart to buy a set of nested super coolers. Down to the corner store to buy ice. Unloaded the fridge and freezer and packed up everything, setting it out on the deck. We had a cool night, which helped.

Cleaned out the kitchen yesterday, making room for the fridge move. The landlord came by to look at the downed tree limb and the leaning tree, and will get someone in to take care of them. He also noted everything that wasn’t done, and it turns out that one of my favorite shrubs is something that is basically a weed and shouldn’t be there.

So I feel like a complete failure.

At the same time, even though I’m a freelancer, I put in at least a 60 hour week. I’m not a retired Cape Codder, like so many others who spend eight hours a day in the yard, nor can I afford a landscape service to come in. The place hardly looks like a vacant lot. Plus, I LIKE it to look a little wild, a little like an enchanted cottage. I WANT it to have all the elements that the National Wildlife Federation list as necessary for a habitat.

This is why I need to buy. So that I can do whatever I damn well please in my own house and yard.

But I really like and respect my landlord, and hate feeling like I let him down.

They were an hour late with the new fridge, which is a spare my landlord had, but it’s really nice. It’s a little smaller, but the way the space is arranged, we have more room. It was nice to organize things a little differently.

I AM the queen of condiments. Wow. I didn’t realize I had so much. Even though I use them.

We lost some things, and some of what we lost would have been tossed in the semi-annual fridge cleanout anyway. So, it wasn’t bad.

The cats kept staring at the new fridge as though they expect it to expel tuna treats any minute. It’s pretty funny.

I was exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged last night, not to mention in pain. I gave in and took a Tylenol PM so that maybe, MAYBE, I’d sleep through the night for once. I woke up around 12:30, but managed to get back to sleep. Then, I felt like crap when I woke up, and still feel like crap. I’ve already had two crying jags, and it’s not even noon.

Went out to pick up some necessary stuff at Kmart again this morning – cleaning supplies, etc. Getting some work done, and then I have to make a run to the garden store to get fertilizer in.

It’s sunny, so I have to work in the yard. I still need to put back the stuff we took out of the kitchen. I still have writing to do, and LOIs to get out. I need rest, I need a break so badly, and I can’t take the time for it. But not taking the time for it means I’ll just feel worse. So I’m screwed no matter what I do.

Which really sums up the entire month of May.

Hope your May was better than mine, and have a great weekend.

Published in: on May 31, 2019 at 9:15 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 31, 2019: Discouraging Few Days  
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Fri. May 10, 2019: Exhaustion

Friday, May 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’ll be asking you to share the Go Fund Me Link for a few more days. I appreciate everything.

Pitched to an editor with whom I’ve worked before; she’s interested in the pitch and will get back to me in a couple of weeks. It wouldn’t pay out until next fall, but at least I’d know it was coming in.

Got out a couple of LOIs. Worked on an article; worked on a couple more pitches that will go out in the next few days.

Mowed the front lawn. Although I didn’t enjoy it, it didn’t take long, and it was much easier with the push mower than with the gas mower. Not to mention the lawn looks much better, too.

Phase One of the car repair is done. I can’t wait very long to get Phase Two done — the next big chunk of it — and I can’t drive very far until it is done. But at least I can get around locally, provided I’m careful, avoiding bumps and potholes. Poor little car. I’m very attached to this car. Not just because I need it to survive out here, but because it’s the car I always wanted.

Got some reading and writing done. I’m behind where I’d like to be on GRAVE REACH, because my focus has to be on short-turn-around, quick-paying pieces. And the money that was marked for any other bills and book marketing and garden and anything else for the next few months all has to go to the car. Thank goodness we could do the repairs in phases.

Still, not having enough of a cushion to cover the repairs makes me feel like a failure.

Worked on ELLA BY THE BAY, which is a good stress reliever. Worked out the outline for the short play I have to draft this weekend. Still struggling with a couple of scenes in “Intrigue of the Aurora Nightingale” — but I need to get them done so that play can go out next week.

“Light Between the Eyes” should start recording in MN today. I hope it goes well.

I’m still waiting for a couple of checks on other gigs I’ve completed. Let’s hope they come sooner rather than later. Every dollar matters right now.

The anti-abortion bill in Georgia is appalling. How any rational human being in the twenty-first century could legislate that is beyond me. But, of course, it has nothing to do with rationality. It has to do with religious extremism and controlling women’s bodies.

The state of the world is overwhelming right now.

Have a good weekend. I’m going to try to dig down and write, and hopefully get some rest. I went to bed ridiculously early, and woke up late this morning, still feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. I’m spending a few hours on site with a client this morning, and then stopping for groceries on the way home and, hopefully, being able to get some rest.

 

Published in: on May 10, 2019 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 10, 2019: Exhaustion  
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Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I’m leaving the essay on the “In Death” series up as the lead article on A Biblio Paradise for another week. If you haven’t yet read it, hop on over.

Got yard work done, mostly on Saturday. The front yard and the side front are now under control, although by the end of the week, I’ll have to mow again. I trimmed the beds in the terraced back area.

As soon as the weather clears, I’ll have to mow the terraced back area, no man’s land, and the meadow. But I feel like I’m getting a handle on things, between the push mower and the weed whacker.

I apologize for not posting on Friday. Comcast was down in my area, and couldn’t be bothered to give us an estimated repair window. Because, as they tell us often, “we’re you’re only option, so we get it done when we get it done.” I hate them.

The weekend focused on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It will be ready to go to the editor in a couple of days, and cover art will be ready in a couple of days. I’m happy with the work. It feels good to be back in the groove with Gwen and Justin. It gives me the opportunity to seed the stresses that later explode in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and yet it stands fine on its own.

It made a huge difference to show an outline early in the process to my editor, back when we talked about breaking off the section that grew into MYTH off BALTHAZAAR, because it gummed up BALTHAZAAR’S works.

I wrote a Writer’s Rough Outline for MYTH. I showed it to my editor. She came back with suggestions to streamline and focus. As I wrote, I could streamline and focus even more. I kept a nice, lean word count that works for a novella, it has a good story on its own, and it drives forward the series arcs of both Gwen and Justin.

Knowing the four books and the novella in the series have a contractual commitment, being able to work with my editor before I finished a first draft, made a huge difference in the process. It made the writing smoother, more focused, and will save me a few drafts full of tangents.

I could get used to these multi-book contracts.

I also spent a little time on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS and re-reading POWER OF WORDS. I didn’t get any work done on the play, because I’m pushing hard to get the novella out to my editor this week.

I miss POWER OF WORDS. A lot. I don’t know when I can get back to it, though.

I’m still waiting for a check from a gig that was contractually obligated to be here on the 31st. This is the same gig whose ethics (or lack thereof) make me uncomfortable. Once I get this check, I will withdraw, as gracefully as possible. I hate to lose the money, but a two month lag time and the rewrites to turn it into something different than it claims to be make it an unworkable gig for me. I need to let it go and make room for something better.

Hopefully that check and the check from the radio play will arrive shortly.

Yesterday was a chaotic day onsite with a client, and I expect today will be the same. But I got off some paperwork to another client; I have one more batch, and then I’m caught up on that job until next January.

But I had a great writing morning with MYTH, and another one today, so I’m feeling good about that portion of my working life, at least.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on June 5, 2018 at 1:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!  
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Mon. April 2, 2018: Relaxation #UpbeatAuthors

Mon. April 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Relaxation is important for us to keep healthy, both mentally and physically, especially during retrogrades. Mercury Retrograde is always a mess, with communication, travel, and electronics going wonky, Jupiter is a heavy planet, and planet of expansion, so when it goes retrograde, everything is harder. Plus, we have a Pluto retrograde coming up.

I find the most important part of relaxation is disconnecting. Turn the damn phone off. This idea that we have to be reachable 24/7 is ridiculous. There is always a way you can be reached in an emergency, even if your phone is off. Cell phones are a fairly recent invention.

I try to have one day a week that’s a “day of disconnect.” No internet, no phone, no social media. I loathe the phone anyway. I find it an intrusive device that destroys my creativity. In the days pre-cell phone, I had an answering machine and screened my calls. There were plenty of time, during my writing times, when I unplugged the phone.

When I am writing, as far as I’m concerned, the only acceptable excuse for interruption is a major emergency such as death or hospitalized illness. Anything other than that, wait until I’m done.

Where I live now, on Cape Cod, is a beautiful place. But, in summer, when so many other people come here to enjoy the beauty, it’s stressful. I’m lucky to have a big backyard (currently in need to post-storm cleanup) and a covered deck with beautiful skylights. Every spring, we build an enchanted garden on the deck, full of our container plants, and we have lilacs and beds of beautiful plants throughout. We eat as many meals as possible out there, and I do a great deal of writing.

If I’m working in my home office, I stop and have a glass of wine before dinner, out on the deck. Or a cocktail, in summer (we’ve reinstated cocktail hour here). I do the same when I get home from working on-site with a client. I even did it last week, after an afternoon of yard work! I poured myself a glass of wine and sat on the steps (since the furniture isn’t out yet; it’s still too cold).

For me, a glass of wine in my garden is one of the most relaxing and restorative things I can do.

I have a daily yoga and meditation practice, and that’s the other way I relax. Savasana is important. When you practice yoga, don’t skip Savasana!

In my yoga/cruise ship mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA, Sophie, my protagonist, doesn’t let her students leave class early to skip the pose! It’s a wonderful way to release and restore.

Relaxation allows you to appreciate the good things in your life, and paves the way for happiness.

So take some time for yourself, and relax!

Published in: on April 2, 2018 at 5:02 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 2, 2018: Relaxation #UpbeatAuthors  
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Thurs. March 29, 2018: Writing & Yard Work

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was a decent day, as far as client work. Got a lot done.

I made excellent progress on the serial outline, and on an outline for another project. Didn’t do much on MYTH.

I have to finish up the newsletter today and dig back into the TRACKING MEDUSA media kit, to recreate what I lost earlier in the week. I want to get that back up, so I can re-work the kits for HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. also need to rework the Hex Breaker website.

I get back my notes for SPIRIT REPOSITORY today and then get back to that. I’m doing a cover reveal in the newsletter, and then, in a couple of weeks, will do the public cover reveal. I will be glad to get this book out there.

Of course, that also means putting up additional material related to the book up on the Coventina Circle website and get to work on both the SPIRIT REPOSITORY media kit and the more general Coventina Circle kit, which will be regularly updated as each book releases.

Never a dull moment, right? Which is a good thing.

I got some LOIs out this week. I got some yard work done. If the weather holds, I’ll do more yard work this afternoon, along with work on MYTH, RELICS, and NOT BY THE BOOK.

I’m also working on contest entries.

I feel lucky and blessed today, in my creative life.

 

Published in: on March 29, 2018 at 9:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 29, 2018: Writing & Yard Work  
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Fri. Nov. 10, 2017: Problem-Solving, Weather Changes, Stitches

Friday, Nov. 10, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy yesterday. Some meetings in the morning. Then, I cleaned off deck furniture. Some of it got stashed in the basement; some is drying and will come in today.

Did some repotting and basic maintenance. After this morning’s meetings, I put the potted trees and shrubs near the window in the garage to overwinter, rearrange my bedrooms and some interior areas for the plants that have to come in, and then start on the front yard. I have to cut back, move the branches that have fallen in the wind, and rake. Working on the yard will probably take most of the weekend.

I had thought everything from Monday’s bad news was sorted out, but it’s not. And, because it’s not, I’m going to be majorly screwed next week. Not happy about that. But the catalysts are beyond my control; all I can do is come up with a solution that might still leave me temporarily screwed, but doesn’t hurt the other people affected by this.

It will work out in the long run; it just won’t be a pleasant process.

I won some yarn from one of Ashlyn Chase’s giveaways. I’m excited! 😉

My mom got out her stitches yesterday. Not pleasant. She has many more weeks of recovery — and doctor’s visits — before she can resume a normal schedule. Her foot’s got quite a hole in it, even with the skin graft.

My knees gave out yesterday. Both of them. Excruciating. I went to the health food store and got some salve, which did an amazing job. I’m not sure what that was all about. But I’m glad I’m not in constant pain today. I still feel it, a dull ache, but I can move the legs and do things like, you know, walk. And drive a car.

Working on some writing for a client, and sending off material in advance of our next meeting on Monday afternoon.

Over the weekend, along with yard work, I’ll also be baking cookies and roasting a chicken with the maple-cranberry glaze I learned how to make last week. I’ll also make a couscous salad for next week’s lunches.

The big writing pushes this weekend will be with THE FIX IT GIRL and the Lavinina Fontana play. The first three scenes are pretty clear in my head for the latter — it’s a case of getting them down on paper and moving things around, and then deciding how to build from there.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 11:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 10, 2017: Problem-Solving, Weather Changes, Stitches  
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Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES will release on October 2, 2017. It is available on the following:

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Monday, September 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Quite the weekend. Of course, most of the focus is on Hurricane Irma and its devastating path in Florida. And on the clean-up in Houston.

I am deeply grateful that the weather here on Cape has been so beautiful the past few days. I realize how lucky I am. It’s difficult not to feel guilty, but it’s better to be grateful and then take what action I can to help those who are struggling.

As part of that gratitude, I went out and did yard work. The mower is still being cranky, but I pruned the forsythia in the back that nearly obscured the path on the west side of the house, and the forsythias on each side of the garage door that were making entering and exiting the garage feel like hacking through a jungle. I yanked out a lot of invasive brambles, vines, and autumn olive, clearing out one of the front beds, tidying up two beds in the back, and some random growth in the meadow. I also cleared out some of the oak that’s acting more like an invasive than anything else. There’s still a lot more to clear — I’ll have to take the saw to some of it.

As the feverfew passes, I’ll clear all of that out of the beds, too. I figure if I do a little bit every pleasant day, then it won’t overwhelm me later in the season.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is up for pre-order so far on iApplem Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I’m putting the pre-order links up on the websites as they come in. Publication date is October 2, and it’s a go. I’m pretty excited. The PDF of the ARC is ready to send out for review. The promotional train is headed out.

Meanwhile, I finished a pass on the next draft of SAVASANA AT SEA. I also spent time fixing and smoothing out problems and logistical lapses that the previously requested edits and cuts caused. I’ve restructured a good bit of the book, which is fine for the pace, but I have to fix some gaps. The chapters are all loaded into one document now, and I’m going to do a pass for smoothness and logic.

I also have to write the first chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, in the next week or so, and prepare the back matter, as I smooth things out. I’d like to get this draft to my editor in about ten days or so. I’m sure we’ll have several passes to whip it into shape, the way we did with ANGLES.

Did quite a bit of work on the literary fiction, tentatively entitled THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I like the way it’s taking shape. It will need an awful lot of editing once I’ve got the draft done, but I’m getting to say things that I haven’t found a way to speak otherwise, and explore some interesting relationships and quirks about this area.

I am going to have to create a fictional town, though; too much controversy if I portray some of the actual places as I’ve experienced them.

Re-reading Joyce Carol Oates’s published diary from 1973-1982. I always learn something new.

“The artist must find an environment, a pattern of living, that will protect his or her energies; the art must be cultivated, must be given priority.” (p.21). So true.

I’m reading Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy, and trying to understand him better. I remember reading TESS OF THE D’UBERVILLES in school and hating it; but I wonder if I just didn’t understand it, and if I’d have more appreciation for his work now.

I started reading the next review assignment. It’s one of the worst-written pieces I’ve ever had to plow through, with a lack of editing and copyediting, and no knowledge of the difference between a possessive and a contraction. Very frustrating.

I have such a list of things that need to get done today, looking at it I feel overwhelmed. But all I can do is start at the top and work my way as far down as possible.

September 11 is always a tough day for me — and for so many. I’m doing my remembrance rituals, and keeping candles lit. I’m trying to balance that with the creative work that needs to be done.

 

Published in: on September 11, 2017 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Trying to Balance the Good (Live Links) with the Sad (9/11, Hurricanes)  
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Mon. Aug. 7, 2017: Working is My Rest

Monday, August 7, 2017
Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I feel better after cutting myself a break for the weekend. I rested a lot on Friday, and read — I’m reading a lot of Maggie Shayne’s work lately, and learning from it. Also reading Christopher Isherwood’s diaries, which are interesting, and doing my 1940s New York research (or, I should say, more research, from a different angle on the same decade).

It was nice enough to do some reading/writing outside on the deck, and I even managed some yard work (although no mowing). The Rose of Sharon is blooming beautifully, as are the geraniums, begonias, and mums — the mums are a bit early, in my opinion. We’ll have a decent tomato harvest, with three different varieties. This morning, we had an entire family of bunnies chomping on the dandelions in the back, and a blue jay taking a bath in the fresh water I put in the birdbath.

Worked on notes for the Coventina Circle series, and for some short pieces. Reworked an essay to slant to another market — I need to do another pass, to go a bit deeper, and out it goes.

Researched some other markets, and dismissed several as not being the type of market to which I want to pitch. I’m not going to pay a membership fee for the “privilege” of pitching — either you’re a professional publication that hires professional writers, or you’re a membership enclave where people pay you to be published. I’m not interested in the latter. Nor am I interested in embedding links to previous articles on your site in order to have an article published. I disagree with the ethics of both those positions. While it’s not up to me to make decisions on someone else’s website, as a “Free Lance”, I get to decide where I do and don’t pitch. Both of the above situations are a no-go for me.

Found another market for which I’d really like to write — a bit more academically-slanted than I usually do, but a good stretch. It will take me a couple of weeks to put together the pitch packet, though.

Have at least one, maybe two short stories that will go out today.

Debating on whether or not to pitch to a company — I like what they do, but don’t particularly like the employees of theirs I’ve dealt with. Not sure that would be the right situation.

Another project is going in a different direction, so we decided not to work together. I was having second thoughts about the whole enterprise, so it’s a relief.

The information in the public statements about the shooting a block away and what I see happening at the house are two different things. I’d like to think they’re merely being thorough in the investigation; however, I doubt they’ll ever tell us what really happened — or catch the shooter.

Got a good bit of work done on the draft of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY — about nine chapters. About half of each chapter is new material, so it was a good bit of writing. I’m deepening the atmosphere and the sensory detail and finding ways to weave together seemingly disparate plot threads. I’m happy with the progress. I want to get back into a daily rhythm with it, so it can release on time in May 2018.

I also have to get back into a daily rhythm with SAVASANA AT SEA this week — since its release date is this November! Most of it is rearranging material, “uncutting” the cuts that took the heart out of it, and doing some restructuring that keeps the fresh voice, but also keeps the plot moving. Pace and energy are important here.

What would have been a good night’s sleep was disrupted by some moron at 3 AM sitting in his car and revving the engine for 15 minutes. Hey, if you have to leave early, go ahead. Put the key in the ignition and drive off. But do NOT sit and rev the engine until the whole neighborhood is awake, and then peel out of your driveway with the tires screeching. Not cool at all.

Found out the insurance company lied to me. No surprise there, but it means more battles this week.

Already did an early morning grocery shop to avoid the damn tourists. Lots to do today, so I better get moving!