Tues. Jan. 10, 2023: Good Start to the Writing Week

image courtesy of  Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Time for us to curl up with a favorite beverage and have our Tuesday catch-up natter.

The GDR post this week is about “More Me” rather than the mantra thrown at us every year about a “new me.”

Busy weekend. As you saw from reading Friday’s post,  I was not in a good mood on Friday.

I scuttled the idea of getting anything done, and, instead, spent most of the day taking down and packing the holiday decorations. I didn’t get it all done on Friday; there was still about 1/3 of the tree left, and few other things scattered around. But I got most of it done.

I was tired and sore by the end of the afternoon. I made bouillabaisse for dinner, in the new Dutch oven, and it was delicious. I read for pleasure in the evening.

Didn’t sleep well.

Saturday morning, I wrote about 1K on a project with which I’m noodling in longhand, and wrote in my head on the screenplay.

I spent most of the day finishing getting the ornaments packed and reorganizing where to stash all these various boxes of ornaments, getting the tree taken apart, and the new stand apart (took 2 minutes to get this stand back in the box, yay), and everything put away. I broke one glass ornament, from 1982, which makes me sad, but when I took it off the tree, the top metal part that was attached to the hanger detached from the glass ball and that was that. Got it all cleaned up, so that the cats wouldn’t step on any shards.

Started switching out all the different fabrics from the holiday to more general January/winter fabrics – kitchen table, the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell, other tables, etc. Didn’t get them all done, but made good progress.

The heat stopped working around midday. I put in a call, got no response, but it started working again in the late afternoon, so who knows. As long as it works.

Made Moosewood’s mac & cheese for dinner, which was good. Was too tired to read much in the evening, although I’m enjoying another of Elizabeth Peters’s Vicky Bliss series. Went to bed early because I was tired and sore.

Up early on Sunday and, for the first time since about Christmas, we had real sunshine. What a big difference! That made me feel better, too.

I wrote about 2K on the project in longhand, which wound up being all of Chapter 4. I’m starting to realize what this book is, how it’s shaped, what the narrative drive needs to be, which is very different than what I thought it was about. I think (hope) it will be a standalone. I have a lot of placeholders (which I don’t usually do), and I’m at the point where I have to type up these pages to really get an idea of what’s what. I SHOULD outline, but I don’t think I will, this time around, even though it will necessitate more rounds of revision. I started typing up the pages written (because otherwise it’s too overwhelming at the end). I am doing a lot of rewrites as I go, on this draft I’m calling “1A” that goes beyond adding in the information from placeholders and going to some restructuring as I’m learning the shape.

I wrote ten more pages on the screenplay. There are already all kinds of notes in the margins of what I’ve printed out, where I need to fix things in the next draft. And this draft will be too long, so cuts will have to be made, and some structural work done. But I’m telling the story I want to tell. I need to tell this version to completion, before I can make it fit the format better.

At the same time, part of me suspects I will eventually adapt it into a novel, because that is more likely to go somewhere. But the ideas are coming in as a screenplay, and I’m learning from it, so whatever it winds up being, I will have gained from starting in this format.

Made turkey meatloaf for dinner. Added a bit of Worcestershire sauce and tabasco to the mix, and that made a big, positive difference.

Read in the evening, but went to bed early, because I was tired. Tessa tried to get me out of bed at 3, but I told her no breakfast until the coffee starts. So the minute the coffeemaker started at its designated time, she was in full voice.

It’s amazing how something as small as having a coffeemaker one can program to start before one gets up makes such a big difference in starting the day.

Wrote about 1K on the longhand project. Drafted a Legerdemain episode. Got next week’s episodes uploaded, and created graphics. I wrote the loglines in the evening.

Mailed bills, dropped off and picked up books at the library, went to the grocery store I don’t like much to pick up a few things I couldn’t get at the other place. Sang the grumpy pants song to myself to get myself out of my worsening mood. It’s a silly little jingle I made up to sing to the cats when they were grumpy, and now I use it on myself at times, to get over myself and get back on track. Because it’s silly, and it’s hard to stay grumpy singing it.

After lunch, I did some scoring for the script coverage place – quick but low paid, and I’m a little worried about having enough work for this week.

In the meantime, I polished the first 16 episodes of ANGEL HUNT, created the Episode Tracking Sheet, the Style Sheet, and the Series Bible. I polished the blurb. I can start uploading those first two months’ worth of episodes today. Then, I’ll have to write the log lines and do the episode-specific graphics. I’m only using the series logo as a general graphic (unlike LEGERDEMAIN, where I have a plethora of general graphics to support the ongoing worldbuilding).

I wrote two pages on the script, which will have to be cut. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to cut this whole subplot. It’s too much of a tangent. I have a bit of a subplot in there already that is stronger for the piece.

I made some notes of general ad graphics for LEGERDEMAIN. I have a slew of general ads along with the episode-specific graphics, but I need to do some more, as more weird little shops and places work into the story.

Soup class with Chef Jeremy was fun, although his Zoom cut out partway through. But everyone just hung out and chatted until he got the tech on his end up and running. I’ve learned a lot in that class, and it’s fun to apply it.

My mom hasn’t been feeling well the past few days, which, since she is 98, is a concern. She’s a little better this morning, so hopefully, taking it easy for a few days will help.

Up early, before coffee, and had to coax the coffeemaker along. Tessa was thrilled she didn’t have to start howling to get breakfast. Got my act together to leave for the laundromat early, and was the only one there. It was wonderful.

While the laundry was going through, I got 1K written in longhand on the one book, and then read a bit, as the laundry finished in the dryer.

Home, hauled it up the stairs, got it folded and put away.

The plan for today is to draft another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, adapt the next chapter of ANGEL HUNT to serial episodes, and get those first 16 episodes uploaded and scheduled. I’ll write the loglines, and maybe start the episode graphics, but we’ll see how long all that takes. I also want to do some work on the LEGERDEMAIN website. I also have to do the promotional rounds for the episode going live today.

I want to get out some LOIs today; I’ve been lax on that, and am paying for it, now that the script coverage has slowed down so much. They keep telling us they want more commitment as far as hours per week – well, then pay us better and have enough scripts ready for us.

I have a book to review, and can start on contest entries, if nothing comes in, script-wise, and I have some work to do on an article, too.

Episode 49 of LEGERDEMAIN goes live today – I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one, my friends! I’m headed back to the page.

Tues. Jan. 3, 2023: Getting Started For the New Year

image courtesy of Engin Akyurt via pixabay.com

Tues. Jan. 3, 2023

Waxing Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and freezing rain

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend, and that you took off yesterday as part of it, too.

I’ve spent so many New Year’s Eves being unhappy that a quiet one was just what I wanted. I did some noodling on two projects as I try to find out if they are viable. I uploaded what I feel comfortable sharing with my 2023 Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions over on that site.

I cleaned the house, vacuumed, changed the beds, did the dishes, mopped the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, granite counters (with its special cleaner) and stainless steel (with those special wipes). I like going into the New Year with a clean house.

I made devilled eggs and small rum cakes with rum glaze. I was worried I’d put in too much rum (I tweaked the recipe), but it came out just right. I put the rum IN the mix and the glaze, rather than soaking the cakes later. I like it better the way I did it.

I’ve been asked, over the years, why I bother putting up a lot of decorations and doing big meals and cleaning for the holidays when I don’t have lots of people over. I do it for us. I do it because the years I haven’t done it, I was unhappy. Making the places festive for various holidays makes me happy, so why not do it? Why must everything always be for someone else?

I made the salmon with cumin glaze, and we had sweet potatoes with it, for the Eve meal. We stayed up, watched the ball come down in Times Square (to think, I used to be able to watch from my apartment window, I lived so close; glad not to be in that madness now). It was very discouraging to see all those people crammed in there unmasked.

I stayed up until a little after one. Tessa was delighted. Charlotte and Willa were confused. It is lovely to live somewhere that locals aren’t setting off illegal fireworks in the streets and putting us in danger.

Up early on the Day. Did the fire and ice ritual. Noodled a bit on the two projects with which I’m playing.

I made traditional Eggs Benedict for breakfast, which was good.

I set up the new, small inkjet printer. Finally. It took 3 damn hours. It should have taken 20 minutes, but the printer drivers wouldn’t load properly, and the laptop wouldn’t recognize the printer, even though it was connected by USB. What a nightmare. It’s such a lightweight piece of lousy plastic, I’ll be lucky if it lasts a week. But the scanner works well, and it’s better than not having a printer at all.

I printed out the last three chapters of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, so at least that’s all in the binder, and I can put it aside to rest for two months, while I work on other things.

I had to rearrange my office space to fit the second printer (the big laser printer is sitting there like a lump until I can get someone over to fix it). At first, I hated the rearrangement, but now I kind of like it. I still have to find a convenient place to put the file folders I need regularly, but I can make this configuration work.

Started reading a book that I hoped would be wonderful, by a Very Prominent Author. The premise sounded great, and it started off well. Then, a few chapters in, for no discernable reason, it switched into present tense and stayed there. I hated it, so I stopped reading.

So much for the first book of the year holding deep meaning. I thought I’d chosen so well!

Started reading one of the books I received as a holiday gift, and that was fun. Read the next book for review, which was interesting, but completely shifted genres for the last third of the book, and structurally couldn’t support the shift.

I have a few scripts in my queue to start the week, but not enough, so I hope more will come in.

Slept in a bit on Monday. Technically, it’s a holiday, but I needed to get some work done.

Many of the businesses and organizations around here close for the first two weeks of January, and I fully support that. Everyone is tired. It’s winter. We need rest.

I did some work in longhand on two projects: one I’m writing the actual story, and the other, I’m making outline notes. The second is pulling to start “writing into” so that I can finish the outline, but I want to do the other one first.

Posted the “Intent for the Week” here. Polished the Ink-Dipped Advice post that goes live tomorrow, and the Process Muse post that does the same, and wrote the Process Muse post for next week. It’s up and scheduled.

Did a quick round of the social media sites.

Revised, polished, uploaded, and scheduled Episodes 49 & 50 of Legerdemain, which go live next week. They needed a good bit of work, as, I believe, the next episode will.

Swung by the post office to mail a few things, and then the liquor store to stock up. In the afternoon, I turned around a script. In the evening, we had the online soup class with Chef Jeremy. Good thing it’s online, with the number of attendees who “got COVID for Christmas.”

Class was fun, and there are techniques I can and will use when I make the bouillabaisse later this week.

Did not sleep well, because Charlotte woke me up every two hours (including throwing up in the bed at 2:30). So that was a lot of cleanup and comforting her. I tried shutting her out of the bedroom, but she had a panic attack.

I had a series of weird dreams – in one, I was lost in a large school in which I’ve had dreams before; another was about writing a rent check to a person I know only from online, because I was subletting from him; the third was kind of a mess; a fourth had to do with an important scene for the outline I’ve been working on in longhand (which I wrote up this morning).

Which meant I overslept, and am getting a late start this morning.

The plan is to work ahead on Legerdemain today, first. On the social media rounds, I will post links to the regular Tuesday material, including the episode of Legerdemain that drops today, and one of the Topic Workbooks. I also have to work on some interview questions that need to go out this week for an article, create the episode graphics for the episodes that uploaded yesterday, and turn around two scripts. I hope I’ll get out a few LOIs, too. I have to swing by the library, but it’s just a quick drop off/pick up, nothing major.

I need to buckle down and focus today. Which is difficult, because I’m sleep-deprived. But we keep on keeping on, right?

Have a good one.

Tues. Dec. 27, 2022: Holiday Catch-Up

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus and Mars Retrograde

Chiron Direct as of December 23

Sunny and cold

Hello, my friends, and I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend.

Hopefully, the newsletter went out properly last Wednesday, and you enjoyed the holiday tale, “Comfort, Then Joy.”

I am still waiting for my computer, although supposedly it is repaired and on its way back. So my posts on all the blogs will be erratic this week; which is kind of okay, since I planned to take this week off anyway.

We had a big storm come in late Thursday, before the holiday weekend. It poured with rain all day Friday. I was very glad I didn’t have to go anywhere. I have the new, big coffeemaker set up, and I admit that waking up to the smell of coffee in the morning is glorious.

I did manage to get a whole lotta laundry done on Thursday morning, before the storm came in. I brought some ideas with which I’m noodling, but there were Other People there, so it wasn’t as useful a work time as it usually is.

I’m able to keep up with my email, for the most part, on the phone and the tablet, but when the storm came in, I shut everything down, to avoid power surges and other issues.

I started reading some mysteries, but didn’t like the writing and the protagonists definitely fell into the “too stupid to live” category, so those are going back to the library, and those authors are crossed off the list.

It snowed for a little bit at night, and quickly changed over to rain.

Rained all night. Friday, it rained all day, and it was windy. Chiron went direct during the day — Chiron is about the Wounded Healer. I definitely feel like a lot of this year has been about healing, or at least recognizing where healing needs to happen, and letting go. Pretty much feel like a limp dishrag from the work.

I played with several story ideas on themes I’ve worked with for years, but never quite made work. We’ll see.

I worked on my answers to the 2023 Questions on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. If you’d like to take a look at the questions to help you with your own musings, here is the link.

I read, a mystery by someone whose first book I liked, but thought this one was “meh.” I’m giving this series one more shot; if book three doesn’t work, I’ll give up. Book Two is problematic, no matter what.

I read the first book in another series that was a lot of fun. It’s Diane Vallere’s first Costume Shop Mystery, A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, and I enjoyed it. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, and she has several more series that sound like fun, too.

Christmas Eve, got up early to zero degrees, but at least a white Christmas. We were lucky; the power held. Wrapped presents. Read. Did some tidying up. Wrote a bit, in longhand, playing with some ideas.

Our big Christmas Eve dinner was a cod, mussel, and scallop paella. If you saw the photos on social media, it looks very dark. That’s not from squid ink; it’s from all the spinach in it. It took several hours to make and get done properly, but was worth it. Very delicious. Plenty of leftovers for the week. It’s a dish that needs time and care.

Willa is always fascinated, and loves to watch me cook.. She either sits on the bed in my mother’s room, which is off the kitchen, or on a kitchen chair. It’s hilarious.

We opened presents after dinner, which is always fun, and enjoyed the tree and the candles.

Christmas Day, we were up early (to the glorious smell of coffee and the prodding of the cats) and enjoyed our stockings. I made scrambled eggs to go with the panettone. The panettone was disappointing this year. I have a feeling I might need to learn how to make that, too.

Had a leisurely day. Read BORROWER OF THE NIGHT by Elizabeth Peters. How have I missed the Vicky Bliss series all these years? It’s a lot of fun, and I look forward to reading more.

The big Christmas Day meal was Coq Au Vin — another one that takes hours to do, because of the layering of flavors, but it was very good.

Honestly, I feel like I could just stay in bed and sleep the rest of the week. If I could afford to, I’d like to sleep through the entire upcoming Mercury Retrograde. We had four of the damn things in 2022, and I am over it.

Coffee and cats got me up early on Monday.  I got some writing done, in longhand, and finished a short story, and planned a couple more. I hoped to take care of a few things, but got caught up trying to download the photos out of iPhoto onto a backup device. I got about half of the photos moved, and then the old Macbook just wouldn’t let me copy to a device or even export to the machine’s own hard drive I have them on Time Machine; I’m just not sure how to get them off time machine and onto something I can use.

I have the original SD cards from everything I took with a camera. Maybe I’ll get a reader/adapter for the laptop and then download all of them onto flash drives and the external hard drive.

Another digital camera is on my list for this year. I HATE relying on the phone. I’ve lost so many photos thanks to the phone. I have an SD card in the current phone, thank goodness, but still.

Anyway, that took longer than I’d hoped, so I decided to put off the errands until today.

I did some work on LEGERDEMAIN and on ANGEL HUNT instead (gotta love flash drives and Word for Mac). I wrote thank you notes. I planned future posts for Ink-Dipped Advice and The Process Muse.

The first 44 episodes of ANGEL HUNT (22 weeks’ worth) are ready for the final polish and upload in early January, so the launch on the 25th should work. I won’t get the live link to the serial until the day it debuts from Kindle Vella, so I can’t work ahead scheduling the episode graphics to drop. What I CAN do is upload at least the first 2 months, and then create the episode graphics, so that when it goes live, I can just upload and schedule.

I also need to work ahead further on LEGERDEMAIN, and upload/do episode graphics and get ahead on that. I’m also working on a prize package giveaway for it, and looking at buying some ad time for it, probably later in January, or early February, and buying ad time for ANGEL HUNT in February, too.

I’d like, this week, to work ahead a bit on some of the blog entries, so that next week is more about uploading them than creating them.

I deleted a bunch of stuff from the Kindle, old contest entries and books I reviewed that I don’t need to keep, to make room for the incoming.

I’m trying to finish the first draft of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH this week, too. Not sure if I’ll meet that goal, but I’m giving it a go. I drafted Chapter 29 yesterday, just a smidge under 1900 words. I’m about to start the climactic sequence. Not sure if that will be three or four chapters. If I keep showing up at the page steadily, I should be able to get it done. Then it can rest for two months at least before I start revisions. I also need to do some more research before I start revision, to layer in more period details.

In those two months of rest, I want to finish the revision on CAST IRON MURDER and get the submission materials prepped. There are two, possibly three publishers to whom I want to query it, in addition to the small publisher who’s handled some of my other work.

I need to spend some time this week to sit down and really look at what writing projects NEED to get done this year, and mix them with the writing projects I WANT to get done. If I get THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH finished before January 1, I will have written only one novel this year, and that’s not sustainable. LEGERDEMAIN’s done decently (both creatively and financially), and I licensed some radio plays and wrote some other plays and short stories, but I didn’t have a real plan this year, and it shows. I need to come up with something more sustainable for 2023. This year was about healing and settling in to the new location. I did some good healing work (although there is much more to do) and I’m content and often happy here.

Now, I need to come up with a sustainable plan for the fiction, so that it’s in balance with the nonfiction and other writing-related work that I do. Everything has to earn its keep, and I need to get back into the 13-in-Play concept, where there are always at least 13 pieces out on submission.

This morning was about the errands I didn’t get done yesterday (and digging out the car from this weekend Was Not Fun). I also had to mail off a bunch of stuff at the post office, drop off books at the library, and upload all of this at the library. I wrote two book reviews and sent them off, and I’m waiting for my next assignments.

The plan for the afternoon is to write Chapter 30 of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH and see how far into the climactic sequence that gets me. I don’t really like writing fiction in the afternoon, but that’s the way it shook out yesterday and today, so I’ll go with it.

The repaired computer is to show up sometime this week, and I figure it’ll take a half-day to get it set up again properly. I’m sure I lost a few things, but we’ll set up what we can. I was pretty good about regular backups, so I’d only have lost stuff from sometime in November that I hadn’t backed up anywhere else.

The first box of contest entries should arrive this week (I’m judging three categories this year). I’ll log in the physical books first and then start downloading the digital entries. Depending on how many are entered this year, it should be a busy reading time between now and May, between books to review, contest entries to judge, and the script coverage.

Which means the morning writing has to be focused and productive.

Hope you’re having a great “Betweenmas” as Dianne Dotson calls it, and enjoying some rest.

Tues. Nov. 15, 2022: Incoming Snow

image courtesy of Tomasz Proszek via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold. Snowstorm on the way.

Time for our regular Tuesday catch-up.

It was a steady weekend.

Friday, I got my words done on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, and then did a run to the pharmacy, the grocery store, the post office (mailed stuff, even though it was closed), and the liquor store.

A new contact on Mastodon, who is also over on Ravelry, shared a pattern with me that might work for that very thin alpaca yarn. I’m also working up one of my own designs, and will see which makes the most sense. Or maybe try to combine them, if I can pull it off. By accident, I cam across another yarn on sale that I want, and I have to remind myself that I have an ENTIRE TRUNK (a vintage trunk from the late 1800s) full of yarn that needs to be worked up, plus several bins of yarn still in storage. I do not need more yarn.

Yeah, like that’s gonna stop me.

Rested in the afternoon, because I am weary on multiple levels. Part of it is grieving for Twitter. Its destruction is a financial blow to my work. But there’s also the community element. I’m building different experiences on other platforms, but the platforms are different and the experiences will be different. And I’m enjoying some of the platforms, and getting ready to remove myself from others in a few weeks, when I reassess where my time and energy is best placed, on both professional and personal levels. Which isn’t a bad thing, but those of us who were hooked into top level Twitter usage, for business and personal reasons, need time and space to grieve. The fact that Yegads Muskrat is destroying it intentionally for his own ego makes it even worse.

My writing is very much a part of who I am, and how I make sense of the world. Any platform that gets squiffy about me talking about my work is the wrong place for me.

But I also read for pleasure. A brain candy book, instead of what I “should” have read, but I needed the break.

The rains at the outer edges of Tropical Storm Nicole came in the evening. It’s such a different experience here in the mountains than it was at the coast. Still, the leaks on the porch were bad, and we had to empty buckets and bowls a couple of times, and also get up overnight and do it. I wish they’d hurry up and fix the porch roof.

It was bucketing down in the morning, which meant our plans to head to Great Barrington were scuttled. Next time I head down that way, I want to visit Karen Allen’s Fiber Arts store and see what’s there. It sounds like an amazing store.

1827 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, and they were a struggle.

Read a book that’s getting a lot of buzz and everyone thinks is wonderful. I was not impressed, and annoyed that I wasted several hours with these characters.

Finished taking notes on my friend’s manuscript. He’s been traveling, so I’ll type them up and see when he’s ready for them. Started reading another friend’s book that came out recently.

Finished switching out fabric from Samhain into November, including the kitchen table. Finally took down the pumpkin lights. Getting that all washed and put away. Soon it will be time to put out the Solstice fabric.

Baked potatoes for dinner, with bacon and Moosewood’s cheese sauce. Been a long time since I had a layered baked potato.

The Dems held the Senate at 50. Let’s get in Warnock in the runoff and make it 51.

Weird dreams on Saturday into Sunday, closer to the stress dreams from before the move and when we first moved here than the better dreams I’ve had lately.

Baked biscuits.

2078 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, including an insert in the previous chapter. The first few hundred words were difficult, and then it started flowing again. I managed to beat the little voice saying, “You’re ahead. You can take time off.” I’ll take time off when I hit 50K. I’m a little over 31K now, breaking 30K two days before I needed to, for my own schedule.

Did some stuff around the house. We finally got the bulbs planted (which I will go into in more detail on Thursday’s garden post). I was annoyed that Scheeper’s shorted me a half a dozen bulbs. The bulb packets I bought were supposed to have 12 each in them, and had only 10. Which meant, over the three packages, I was shorted a half a dozen bulbs.

Definitely going back to Color Blends next year.

Started reading the next book for review, and also read for pleasure. Just felt tired all the time. There were plenty of things I “should” have worked on, but I needed rest more. Why is it so difficult for us to allow ourselves to rest, so that we can do better work after? Not just better work, but better life?

Tessa woke me up at 3:30 on Monday morning, because it was windy, and the porch door banged. I got it fastened, and then she tried to convince me to feed her. Nope. She and Charlotte bothered me until I finally got up a little after 6.

I had resistance to sitting down to write, but once I did, I got Chapter 15 drafted of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH at 2073 words. I’m a little over 33K, and broke 30K early. 17K left to go for Nano; I suspect the draft will run 70-80K. 82 is the sweet spot for this, once it’s edited.

If you didn’t see the Mid-month check in over on the GDR site yesterday, you can hop on over ad check it out here. Did the social media rounds. Kind of skipped Cohost; pretty sure I’m going to ditch that account without waiting until January. It’s more geared to a gaming and fanfic demographic than what I do.

Had 11 books to drop off at the library, and a bunch of local history to pick up, which I will make notes on and use in TREES, and can also use some of the information for CAST IRON MURDER. Picked up a few things at the grocery store. Only one person wasn’t masked while I was out and about, which made me feel better about things.

It started cold, and then warmed up enough to open the porch and bring the tomatoes back out. I have a feeling I’ll be hauling plants back and forth a lot on sunny days.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon, got some reading for pleasure in. Had a great soup class online with Jeremy Rock Smith. It’s always such fun to participate in his classes. Lots of laughter, while building skills.

Dreamscape was good last night, and I might have the basis for a new novel or novella. I have to make some notes on what I remember, and, when I have a little more breathing room, see if it’s viable.

Slept in until 6:30 this morning, but felt rested when I got up, which has been rare lately. Did the next chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. It came in at 2226, and now I’ve broken 35K. Character development, b-line stories, red herrings. Typical middle stuff.

Once I do a quick social media round, I have to head for the store and get a tarp. We need to get the rest of the plants and furniture in from the back balcony today, since tonight we’re supposed to get our first snowstorm, and it could be up to 5 inches. I planned to go to the laundromat tomorrow, but I’ll put it off.

I have two more scripts to turn around this afternoon, and that’s it for this pay period. I’m happy with what I hit. I also have to write a book review later this afternoon and submit it, so I can be assigned the next one.

Tomorrow, since I’ll be home all day in the snow, I hope to do some catching up on Legerdemain. The last few episodes of the year are in decent shape, and can go up soon, but I need to finish the rest of the second arc.

I’ve been working on a media kit for it, too.

Speaking of which, the next episode of Legerdemain goes live today. I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one, friends, and stay warm!

Tues. Sept. 27, 2022: Walking the Project Talk

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy, mild, humid

Pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle in for a natter. This weekend had a lot going on.

I’ve posted the questions to help you create and plan your 2023 over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

I managed to get them up early this year. I don’t know about you, but I already have the urge to plan next year, process this year, and build on it. We’ll ponder the questions between now and the end of the year, and then post what we’re comfortable sharing in January over on the GDR site.

Friday felt like a lost day, even though it wasn’t. I mean, I did stuff, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped to get done. I scheduled the episode ad postings on the LEGERDEMAIN site to release all the way through October. I still have to add some content to the site before I’m comfortable with it going live, but that should happen this week, so next week, I can start promoting the site.

Newsletter subscribers will get the link early, when the newsletter goes out later this week. Have you subscribed to my quarterly newsletter yet? If not, you can do so here.

I did some work on the Topic Workbook graphic, and I’m still not happy with it. I need to play some more. I also started the media kit for the Topic Workbook, and I’m pondering the media kit for LEGERDEMAIN.

I looked at running ads on Amazon for LEGERDEMAIN, and the prices are just way out of my budget at the moment.

I ordered a set of signed books by an author whose work I adore for a friend I think would really love them. I bought them directly from the author, and she already shipped them to my friend, and I am so excited.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I should have done three, but I was just too tired. And, when I cover the script, I want to give good, focused attention to the writer. That is the respect each writer deserves.

Canva won’t let me design a bookmark that’s horizontal instead of vertical, and I don’t like the way the verticals look. However, the print store I want to try out lets me design horizontally on their site, and I think I will do that. I will initially order a small batch; if they look good, I’ll order more. I may have them do my direct mail postcards, too, if I can ever get a design on those I can stand.

The Fresh Grass Music Festival was over at MassMOCA this weekend. Can you say super-spreader much? Especially now that Rochelle Wollensky of the CDC has gone full genocidal eugenics on the country. She needs to be removed. And yes, I contacted both my Senators and my Representative yesterday so to do.

But the upside of the music festival is that, at night, when the wind is right, I can hear some of it. Which is kind of cool. The venue is only 5 blocks away, so it makes sense.

Had kind of a slow start Saturday morning. We ended up putting on the heat on Friday – I’m already cringing, because not only has the gas company jacked up my bill over the summer, here in this state, they are telling us to expect a 64% increase. My income hasn’t increased 64%, so why are they allowed to do this?

Yes, that was another set of contacts to the Senators and Reps, on both federal and state levels.

I did not go to the market, or even the grocery store, because with all these people in for the festival, ewww, germy strangers probably not masking shedding virus. Nope.

Played with some ideas for upcoming Ink-Dipped Advice posts, and hope to write them up and schedule them to post this week.

I’ve basically given up on all the short stories I’d hoped to write the second half of September. I need to focus on other work first. Some of the ideas I might still play with and write, and look for other markets. But I can’t look at Sept. 30 deadlines for anything right now, other than already contracted work.

I did rough out a short story outline that was inspired by a call to submission, but they wanted flash fiction and this will be 3-5K. But I love the idea, and it will be fun to spin out.

So, yeah, not given up on the short stories, just on the deadlined submission calls!

It’s been dipping down into the low 40’s,/high 30’s F at night, so it’s time to take in the plants. We took in a bunch, some inside for good, some to the front porch. I will go into that in detail on Thursday’s garden post.

Once that was done, the light was good enough so that I could sew the October-themed curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Willa, who hardly ever comes on the couch, sat along the back of it, alternating watching me sew and looking out the window. I did this, too, by hand.

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

After that, I downloaded the scriptwriting software DramaQueen (the company is based out of Germany). Right now, I can’t make the time to sit with Scrivener. I’ve tried Trelby and hated it. Eventually, I will invest in Final Draft again, but not right now.

It was kind of a PITA to download, but I have no doubt that’s more about my computer than their software. Once it was downloaded, though, and I started playing with it, it worked well.

I imported VISCERAL INVISIBLES into the software and started working on the new draft of that. This will be the 7th draft. Because I’m going to keep at it until it’s right before I submit. The import was wonky from PDF, but just fine out of .doc, so that’s good to know. The software wonked some of the formatting, but not badly, and it’s very easy to adjust with the highlight and tabs.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t used the standard Courier format, but whatever it was I drafted in, so when it converted to the correct format, some of it wonked.

So far, so good.

I rewrote the first 23 or so pages. I’m rearranging a few things, and deepening a few things. That’s what this draft is about. And then I’ll do another pass, and make cuts. According to the software, the page count is 120. However, I think some of that is format wonk, since none of my drafts were ever that long, page-wise. Once I do the rewrites and fix the wonks, I will check the page count (I expect it’s around 115) and then cut, because it needs to hit the sweet spot for the genre, and not be more than 110. So I’ll tighten and cut until I get there.

I knew I had another script I wanted to import – but I couldn’t find it on any of my drives. I nearly panicked, until I realized I’d sent it to my friend Paula for critique a couple of years back. I went back into the emails, found the attachment, downloaded it, and converted it to .doc. I tried importing the PDF version, but it wonked again, so I imported the .doc, and it looks okay.

On the fence about importing STALEMATE DEATH. It might be worthwhile for the portfolio, but I doubt it would go out often. I think it’s just about served its purpose. There’s also the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE and of TALENT. Those need to be reworked, and maybe put into the portfolio. I will use and apply what I’ve learned as a script analyst these past couple of years to make my own scripts stronger.

The one I really need to concentrate on this winter is the pilot for THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT. That’s the one I’m truly excited about, and need to get back to.

I also found a script roster of loglines and information on scripts that all sound good, but according to the document they are written and I look at them and don’t remember some of them. So I’m not sure if that’s a document I wrote as an exercise, or if there’s more spelunking to do in old flash drives.

All of the above is a combination of leaning into the energies of the retrogrades, which is about going back and reworking or finishing older projects, rather than starting something new. This is something I talk about and share techniques for in THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Unfinished projects drain energy. I need to clear the decks to make room for new work. To do that, I have to decide which projects to revive, get into the schedule, and finish; which projects to put in stasis, because it doesn’t make creative or financial sense to deal with them right now; and which ones I need to retire.

That will make room for the new work. It’s also using the information and energy of the retrogrades as something positive, rather than using the retrogrades as an excuse.

I’ve made a rough plan for the marketing of the Topic Workbooks (and including 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS with Nano coming up soon) for October through December. If I can ever get the danged graphic right, I can upload and schedule that. I also figured out the next couple of months of the LEGERDEMAIN campaign, more than just the episode-specific ads. So all of that has to get uploaded and scheduled in the next couple of weeks, in an around all the other stuff.

I also saw that I need to update the buy links on several Topic Workbooks. I thought I’d kept up with that, and am annoyed with myself that I did not.

DramaQueen has several levels of software, but I think I’ll be okay with sticking with the free version. Anyway, so far, so good.

I’ve dumped all the “project management software” programs with which I experimented. None of them have the range I need. I do better with the old-fashioned desk blotter calendar and colored markers. I’ve also kept up with the Work Wins Daily Journal Challenge set out by a colleague. I’m learning that some of the categories he set up don’t work for me. That’s going to be the first October blog post for Ink-Dipped Advice – what I learned from this challenge, and what I’m changing to suit my needs. So much of all these tools and platforms and systems is about compartmentalizing instead of making it holistic. For what I do, that’s detrimental to my productivity, my creativity, and my mental health.

Sunday, I was up at a reasonable time and baked biscuits.

I’d hoped to get the history of Legerdemain written and up on the website, but I don’t know what made me think I could create two thousand years’ worth of a country’s history in a couple of hours. So that’s taking longer than I planned.

In the afternoon, I switched over to plotting and working on my Writers’ Rough outline for the Retro Mystery. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which was frustrating, but better to have that happen now and jot down those details, than to get stuck when I have to draft at speed in November.

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

I created an ad for 30 Tips for 30 Days, and got it uploaded/scheduled through October. November needs a slightly different take; I will either upload/schedule half the month today and half tomorrow, or all today and December tomorrow. Probably half today/half tomorrow and then December on Wednesday. Each month needs a slightly different slant, and there’s a lot to do this week.

I actually did a To Do list for the week, which sets my teeth on edge. To Do lists make me feel constrained, and then I sabotage myself, but there was simply too much for me to be able to look at the calendar and get it done. Urgh.

Read a book on Sunday by a well-known author which came highly recommended, and I was left with “meh.” I am glad to see the author try to tackle social inequity, racism, and domestic abuse in a genre that usually ignores it. But in so doing, she flattened out her central protagonists to make sure they were righteous, and that didn’t quite work. But at least she’s trying, in this genre, which is more than most attempt or fight to do.

Up at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Good journal, yoga, meditation, and tarot sessions. Came up with a mantra for my intent for the week: “I thrive in situations where my work is respected. I remove myself from situations where it is not.” I will use that this week.

Posted the blogs, posted in the Marketing Game, made the social media rounds. Drafted Episode 42 of LEGERDEMAIN, which came in just under 1300 words, and was more fun than I expected.

Did the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the liquor store.

Adapted Chapter 4 of the third draft of ANGEL HUNT into 7 serial episodes, and smoothed out a few things. The chapter was 6500 words. So that was a lot of words handled, all told, yesterday.

Turned around 3 script coverages. One is missing a piece, and I sent in the information. I read what I had, and commented; I just need the missing piece to finish it.

Made turkey Bolognese for dinner, a different recipe than I’ve used before; I like it a lot.

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

Woke up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, did the morning routine, and was out the door before 6 AM and over to the laundromat when it opened. Back by about 7:30. Still have to finish folding the sheets and put them away.

I did a few chapters of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The book is good. I just wish publishers and agents weren’t so determined to ignore the pandemic and racism, which are two very important themes in the book.

I’m going to work on Episode 43 of LEGERDEMAIN. I have to be at the TV station across town by 11 AM, so I have to pull myself together for that. But I’m looking forward to seeing the facility and percolating ideas.

Williams College music department has tightened up the COVID protocols for their performances – proof of vaccinations and masking are again required. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go and listen to some music over the coming months!

There’s a big push in the area to get everyone boosted with the bivalent formula. They’re setting up a lot of free clinics all over the place this week. That, too, makes me feel better. You can tell the tourists have left, because almost everyone in the grocery store yesterday masked.

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Wed. July 20, 2022: TypeTypeTypeTypeType

image courtesy of Nattanan Kanchanapratt via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy, hot, humid

Since yesterday was the big reveal for LEGERDEMAIN, today is the usual natter we have on Tuesdays.

Chiron went retrograde yesterday, too. The Wounded Healer.

Quite the weekend! There’s a mid-month check in over on the GDR site from Monday.

Friday was good; I got the prompts posted, and did a big chunk of work on the new edition of ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE,  then headed down to Pittsfield for the book sale at the Atheneum. The weather was warm and gorgeous.

Even though I got there just after the doors opened, I had to park waaaaay down the street (around the corner from the Colonial Theatre – that far)! But it’s such a pretty street, with graceful, old, multi-family houses that have all done lovely, cheerful, whimsical things with their gardens.

I met a woman exiting the parking lot, with a huge bag of books clutched to her chest. “Good haul,” I said, and she grinned. “They’ve got great stuff this time around,” she told me.

I grabbed a basket as soon as I went in. Almost everyone was masked, which made me more comfortable, and, even though it was crowded, people were respectful about distancing. I did the rounds of the main room. The back room, with the older, larger nonfiction was too small and crowded for my comfort, even though people masked. A business called Blue Q donated zippered tote bags made out of recycled plastic. The bag is bigger than it looks (which meant I only needed a single bag for my haul). I bought 13 CDs (a mix of jazz and replacements for stuff I had on cassette and then tossed in the move, when I should have kept them), some research books, some fun books, and a stack of books for my mom. The total was just under ¼ of what I’d budgeted for the day.

Dropped off the books at home, picked up my mom, and we headed to Wild Oats, where the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership did a cheese tasting, featuring Von Trapp Farmstead cheese. I’m not that into cheese, but my mom is, and I figured it would be something fun for her. She’s not comfortable being out and about much, even masked, but the co-op is good with safety features (such as the tasting being in the outer portion of the store, so people could actual step outside to unmask and taste).

The cheese was amazing. I even thought so, and, like I said, I am usually not that thrilled by cheese. My mom, of course, loved the bleu cheese. I preferred the Mt. Alice (kind of like a soft brie) and the Oma cheese (soft and like nothing I’ve tasted before). So I bought blocks of all 3. And blueberries (which are so, so good). And coffee. Rolls. Wine. You know, the essentials.

Our lunch consisted of the rolls with butter, the cheeses, and the last of the Red Shirt Farm huge tomatoes. And a glass of rosé, because hey, my weekend.

I gave myself the afternoon off to read a book and play with the cats. I enjoyed the book up until the character got pregnant after one night with the love of her life Yes, I understand biology and know this happens. But, come on, people, birth control. Especially since the character was established as sexually active. I know that might not be a realistic choice in the future, if the GOP has their way, but this book was published several years ago. Birth control. And I’m over the trope of the only way to happiness and family for a woman is to breed. I want some HEAs where the couple chooses not to have children. Really sick of the accidental pregnancy trope. The book worked for me up until that point. But after it, I resented the rest of it and felt cheated.

Saturday morning, I was off to the Farmers’ Market, for my usual rounds. I had a delicious haul, and, of course, all the good conversations that make going to the Farmers’ Market so much fun. In early August, after I teach at the conference, I’m going to sit down with a couple of people and help them brainstorm on grants.

Got the revision done of the Topic Workbook ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE and uploaded it. It needs the final proof, but should be good to schedule for next week’s release.

The woman running for re-election for D.A. stopped by the house in the afternoon, and we had a good chat. She’s doing a lot to counter what the corrupt, extremist SCOTUS is doing, and has my firm support.

Read a fun book in the afternoon/evening. Some of the author’s style was a little annoying, but the overall arc of the book was a lot of fun.

Sunday was all about LEGERDEMAIN. I drafted the last 7K of the serial’s first big arc. There’s one episode that I’m going to break down into 2 episodes, because it’s going on too long, and the climactic fight scene has more comedy in it than I expected, but it’s fun. The first big arc runs 38 episodes (it’ll be 39 when I break that other episode up). It does what I want it to do, winding up the murder/theft arc, and launching the next arc. I’d hoped to get it all into 30 episodes, but too much had to be established and integrated, and seeds had to be dropped for the next two big arcs, and for things that might or might not grow into future arcs (should the serial run beyond its initial 90 episodes).

I also worked on episode ads for the first four episodes.

It was a lot. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was a good tired. I went to bed ridiculously early, and slept straight through the night.

Up early on Monday. Did yet another layered revision on the first six episodes of LEGERDEMAIN. Set up the serial on Kindle Vella. Uploaded,  proofed, fixed, proofed again, fixed again, wrote the author notes, and sent them off. They cleared the content review within a few hours (I have specific, odd spellings and was worried I’d have trouble; ergo, I created a Style Sheet).

I did the episode ads for episodes 5 & 6 (I’m particularly proud of the ad for #5). I did tag lines for the first 6 episodes. I did an episode tracking sheet (because Vella doesn’t show the schedule once things are uploaded). I uploaded and scheduled the posts for the first six episodes. I might modify some of those post, should I ever get a direct link to them. But at least they’re up. I started the email blast that will go out on Monday, specific to LEGERDEMAIN.

I update the Series Bible as I draft each episode, which is unusual. But because each episode has to be built properly before I can draft the next, each episode goes through what would normally be a 3-draft process as its first draft. Once I get to the uploaded draft, I check and make sure to update anything necessary in the Series Bible, so that’s consistent.

I also have a style sheet, because there are unusual spellings, and I want to keep them consistent.

I set up an episode tracking sheet, so I know when I’ve uploaded and when an episode is scheduled to release. I also keep final word counts of each episode in there. My ideal episode target is 1K, but most episodes run around 1.3K, and some a little over.

I wanted to go ahead and start the website, but I forced myself to stop. I had to turn around two scripts in the afternoon/evening (which I did). Again, I then had to stop myself from going back and working on the website. Hyper productivity can end in a crash, and I have too much to do this week to crash.

I made myself rest.

That’s progress.

I kept up with posting the 31 Prompts, and with the Italian lessons.

We got the sad news that a member of the extended family in Maine is coming home for hospice care. This is a case where COVID was the final straw for him. He’s elderly, 4x vaxxed, always masking, very careful. But he had to go into the hospital a few months ago, for something non-COVID related, and then into rehab. He caught COVID in rehab, and, although he technically “recovered” from COVID, it made his other issues worse.

Up early on Tuesday. It’s more seasonably hot and humid than it’s been. Tessa is busy shedding the winter coat that she grew in a few weeks back, when it was cooler. In other words, lots of vacuuming happening in this house.

And lots of fur balls.

Started building the website for LEGERDEMAIN. Cycled through at least a dozen templates. The one I really want doesn’t post the newest posts firsts unless I buy an upgrade. So I went back to a template that I don’t really want, but have used on other sites – and it won’t post the newest posts first. This time, the person I landed at A2 hosting was not helpful. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. It’s configured exactly the way it is on the site where it’s working. Very frustrating.

Worked on the SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM revision/update. Getting the examples into JPGs and inserting them is a major PITA. I’ll get there, but it’s not fun. Today, I have to do the final proof/changes on ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE, so it can upload for release.

Took my mom to her new doctor, over in Williamstown. It’s taken us a year to find a new doctor. But they are very nice, the building is clean and comfortable, and masks are required. She likes her new doctor, which is good. The doctor is worried about her blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are too high. So some medication adjustments are coming. She misses going to the firehouse to get her blood pressure taken every week (they don’t do that here).

Turned around a script in the evening. Made myself stop for the night.

Up early this morning, woken by a thunderstorm, rather than cats. It didn’t do anything to break the humidity. Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the next few weeks.

We have our final instructions for Saturday’s performance at the Edith Wharton homestead. I have to find my poem and rehearse. Let’s face it, even if I mess up, it’s only 3 lines/30 seconds. It’s not about me. It’s about our collective experience creating something, and then sharing it.

But I still want to hold up my end.

Back to the page with revisions today, mostly on the Topic Workbooks. I have to do a library run and pick up a prescription and a new blood pressure monitor for my mom later, and then a script coverage or two in the afternoon.

Have a good one.

January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short

Friday, January 31, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, for my January wrap-up. I have mixed feelings about my progress. And then hop over to Affairs of the Pen to see a post about how writing about Sophie and her capacity for joy is such a pleasure.

Got some decent work done at the library yesterday, including getting the numbers put in on the US Numbered Format version of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”
Now, I have to do the same for “Pier-less Crime” and then send them off to the director, so he has the trilogy (since he likes “Horace House” so much).

Got a carload of leaves to the dump. Maybe this weekend, I can do some more yard work, if the weather holds.

Started watched THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW Season 2 last night. Not as tight and funny a group as on Season 1. Competitions just aren’t my thing. When I’m baking, I’m going to keep at it until I get it right, not be forced to do something new to me in a couple of hours. No, thanks. I like this show better than most competition shows (which, for the most part, I loathe). But I still disagree with a lot of the parameters.

Working on the BALTHAZAAR revisions. Tearing out a whole subplot section and rebuilding it, which is a challenge.

I have the short story in my head, clear as can be. But can the words find the page properly?

Absolutely disgusted with the GOP Senators. They all belong in prison. And so disappointed in the Chief Justice.

Today is Brexit, so now the UK economy gets to crash, too. Not a good day, all the way around.

How did I do on my intent for the week, for quiet?

I decided not to attend a networking event. Work prevented me from attending meditation group. I kept my mouth shut at work more than I wanted, but it made sense so to do. There were several online conversations I chose not to enter, because the people involved weren’t worth the aggravation. They didn’t want genuine answers to their questions; they wanted their own views reinforced. Not worth the time and energy. I refrained from responding to an insulting email from the potential client meeting last week, where I’d withdrawn from consideration because we were not a good fit. Wednesday, they sent me a rude email saying they were going with someone else. Of course they did — I already told them I wouldn’t work for them. What are they, six? All about control, yet another indication that we weren’t the right fit.

Lots of reading and writing again this weekend; yard work if the weather holds, purging the basement if it doesn’t.

Have a great weekend! I have a slew of errands and bill-paying, and then it’s back to the page.

Published in: on January 31, 2020 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short  
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Thurs. Dec. 19, 2019: Almost Ready for the Holidays

Thursday, December 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Up and out of the house to my client’s early, to get a few things done before the holiday lunch. As is typical, she wanted to go in a completely different direction. But, we got it done.

Lunch was absolutely lovely, at The Old Yarmouth Inn. I’d never been there before, and it’s absolutely delightful. The Christmas village was adorable. I had a burger, the first time I’ve had red meat in months.

After the lunch, headed over to Target to pick up a few things, and then back home to pack up the last of the packages we had to ship, and then I made a post office run. Everything’s out, and should get there by Christmas Eve, which is perfect. I still have just a handful of cards to write and get out today, and then I’m done.

Of course, a client got in touch last night for a rush project that has to be turned around today. It will happen, and I will charge for it. Because that’s the way it works.

Finished my holiday shopping this morning. Just have to wrap.

I baked another batch of stained glass cupcakes this morning, first thing. The cats had me up at 4:20. I did some errands in the morning, have some work to do at the library, turn around the project for my client, and then more deliveries this afternoon.

We had just a smidge of snow last night, but it’s very, very cold. I wish my landlord would get the new furnace in, because it’s getting harder and harder to keep the upstairs warm enough. I think we’ll have to revert to hot water bottles.

A decent first writing session this morning, and hopefully another this afternoon, especially on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT. I have the first two months’ worth of posts planned out for both the GDR site and Ink-Dipped Advice for 2020, so I’m going to try to get ahead on those in the next few days.

I’m almost done answering the 2020 GDRS, and look forward to making the site, in general, more useful all year, not just about lists and accountability.

Working on the next Medium post, but not sure it will get up this week. It might go up as late as Monday. Oh, well.

One minute I feel completely stressed out and a wreck, and the next I feel on top of things. I really am in better shape, on all levels, this year than I was last year.

It was such a relief last night, when, finally, the House of Representatives took the votes, and the Narcissistic Sociopath was impeached. Mitch McConnell and his pals are totally corrupt and need to be removed as much as the Sociopath. I’m tired of these old white men who know they won’t live to see the consequences of their greed and corruption, and don’t care. They ALL need to go — with consequences.

Meanwhile, I need to get back to the page.

Published in: on December 19, 2019 at 10:35 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 19, 2019: Almost Ready for the Holidays  
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Tues. Nov. 26, 2019: Trying to Clear the Decks

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Friday, I put in the changes and reformatted “Confidence Confidant” back into stage format. Tweaked a couple more things. It makes me want to both expand the play into a full-length, and also to create an evening of one-acts about some of Kate Warne’s cases. That needs to go on the agenda for the 2020 GDRs.

I was a wreck by the time I got home, exhausted, only to find the plumber arrived. He fixed the toilet leak and taped the sink, because the faucets and the valves need to be replaced, and he didn’t have the right parts in his truck.

Worked with the cats, cooked dinner, read. Too tired to do anything but read something light-hearted.

Read a cozy by a new-to-me author. Again, the protagonist is, as Donna Andrews jokes in her series, “Too Stupid To Live.” I liked the premise of the piece, but not the execution.

Up early on Saturday. Did a final proof of “Confidence Confidant” and fixed some formatting errors. Sent it to the director, along with the dramaturgy, and she acknowledged it a few hours later. Whichever way it works out, I’m glad that it got me back into the world of Kate Warne again.

Jumped on a sale at one of the few stores from whom I’m buying holiday gifts.

Came home, did four loads of laundry, dealt with the landlord on the plumbing issues. The toilet started leaking again. The landlord is not sure when the new furnace will be installed, so now I have to worry every cold day until it is. He decided to wait to repaint the house and replace the deck until next autumn. That’s a relief.

Worked with the cats. Raked a few more bags of leaves. Started working on the galleys. Baked tollhouse cookies. Created a new recipe with eggplant, cauliflower, and broccoli in a mushroom sauce. It tastes good, but looks awful. I have to figure out a way to make it look more appetizing.

Worked on galleys until I went to bed.

Up early Sunday. Baked fig muffins. They were good, but not as great as I hoped. Worked with the cats. Finished the galleys and put the changes in. The weather was dreadful.

Took a break, and then worked on “Pier-less Crime.

Ended up outlining two new stage plays. One already has a target market and a date. I will get to work on it in and around the other deadlines.

Worked with the cats some more in the afternoon. Made a dish from the Brunetti cookbook that I’ve made and enjoyed before, and was craving again.

Up extra early on Monday. Had a bad night — woke up around 1 with a bad cough. Took some honey to calm it down, but it took me awhile to get back to sleep. At my client’s by 8 AM, to get ahead on the holiday promotion marketing.

Sent off the galleys. By the end of the day, got back the final set of proofs. Decided to skip meditation in order to turn them around as fast as possible. Did some more work on “Pier-less Crime” because I need to get it out the door ASAP.

This morning, I’m onsite at my client’s again at 8 AM, working on the holiday marketing. I am not working on-site tomorrow — I have several things to do to prepare for the holiday. Tackling each thing as I can, and trying not to feel overwhelmed.

 

Published in: on November 26, 2019 at 6:13 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 26, 2019: Trying to Clear the Decks  
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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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Mon. Oct. 2, 2017: PLAYING THE ANGLES release!

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Monday, Oct. 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Release day for PLAYING THE ANGLES!

Witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States — or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP?

Available digitally for $3.99. List of buy links here.

Of course, this is just the start of the marketing marathon for PLAYING THE ANGLES and for the Coventina Circle series. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming months!

I have my September wrap-up list up on the GDR site here, and I’ll have the October To Do list up tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s already October. But October is my favorite month.

Friday was challenging, frustrating, disappointing. Got a little writing done, but most was spent on a book I have to review that was beyond disappointing.

Saturday, I wrote about 3500 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and started typing the first section.

I also did some structural work for the Lavinia Fontana play, and some research on a couple of projects.

Sunday, I put up the spider web curtains and did the inside decorating for Samhain. I’m going to wait a bit to do the outdoor decorating. I have some pruning and clearing that needs to be done first.

Thoroughly disgusted that the man who calls himself president is off golfing and insulting the mayor of San Juan while people die. On top of that, the GOP Congress refused to renew the CHIP program, knocking 9 MILLION children off healthcare. The GOP platform is that if you are not white and cannot afford to buy them, you deserve to die. The entire administration and the GOP Congress needs to be removed. NOW, not in 2018. They’re killing people. And they must, AS INDIVIDUALS, be held accountable for each and every murder they commit.

Then, woke up this morning to hear about the shooting in Las Vegas. Appalling.

Hard to be creative when there are so many people killing each other all around, and the GOP claps its hands and laughs.

Back to the page; there’s a lot to do, and, no matter what tragedies are happening in the world, I still have to promote my books and keep a roof over my head. I keep trying to wait until it’s appropriate and sensitive, but I’ll starve if I wait until the world is a better place. Unfortunately, I have to keep working creatively while I do my part of make the world better, safer, and free from horrible people, like those currently in charge.

Onward.

 

Published in: on October 2, 2017 at 8:42 am  Comments Off on Mon. Oct. 2, 2017: PLAYING THE ANGLES release!  
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Fri. Dec. 26, 2014: Preparing to Clean, to Make Room for the New

Friday, December 26, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day
First Day of Christmas

I hope you all had a joyful holiday. Ours was about cooking, eating, being with family, books, cats. The good stuff.

Read a lot, including devouring two of Joanne Dobson’s Karen Pelletier mysteries. They are excellent. I’m surprised she’s a new-to-me author. It was great to read them, because a stack of books I read over the past few days were deeply disappointing.

I have to sit down this coming week and outline the first few novellas with the RED WIDOW characters. Without the outline, it’s not going to work. The stories feature a different set of connected protagonists in each, but I need an idea of the overall shape before any of them will work properly. I also need to dive back into BALTHAZAAR, and INITIATE needs attention.

I’m working on the Burns/Woolf piece, and percolating ideas for a radio drama for an overseas production company with whom I’m in negotiation.

I hopped on and off social media occasionally during the holiday, and, honestly, was rather frustrated with all the desperate self-promotion. I understand our books and goods make good holiday gifts, but, please! Some of the pushing put me completely off those authors.

Working on my Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions questions and my new five-year-plan. Need to get back behind the wheel and steer where I want and need to be, and aim for something specific on the horizon.

Work today and tomorrow, then off until Wednesday morning. Still have a lot to get done before the end of the year, but at least I can clear off a bunch of stuff and get going on the new year. One of the things I want to do is purge a bunch of stuff from the basement – -things I don’t want or need, that are holding me back. It’ll be a cycle of “cutting deadwood” over the next few months, something deeply necessary. Cut away the old to make room for the new, keeping only what has genuine meaning.

Have a wonderful time moving out of the old year and into the new!

Devon

Published in: on December 26, 2014 at 10:29 am  Comments (1)  
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Mon. March 3, 2014: Retrogrades & Why You Need A Professonal-Level Editor

Monday, March 3, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing

I’ll have my March To-Do list up on the GDR site shortly.

Mercury went direct on Friday, thank goodness. It was like a huge weight was lifted off. Mars went retrograde on Saturday — so be careful about having too short a fuse and REacting instead of thinking first. Saturn went retrograde yesterday — it’s the planet of life lessons. If you refused to learn the last time it went retrograde and in the interim, while it was direct, if you’re not being true to yourself — Saturn will kick your ass even harder this time around.

There is something I’m doing, a commitment I must fulfill during this month, and then I will take a break from that particular part of my career. Doing it is too frustrating, takes too much energy without enough reward, and by continuing to agree to do it, I am not being true to myself. So I need to stop. Yes, Saturn, I am listening. Please don’t kick my ass! 😉

Worked flat out on Friday and Saturday. I’ve started working through the books that arrived for the contest — there are a lot of them. What I like about these is that, although they are indie published, so far, all of the ones I read hired in an actual, professional editor. What a huge difference from the contests I’ve judged where it was obvious there was no editor, or, if an editor was listed, it was obviously a cheap-ass, content-mill level editor.

As a writer who is grateful when I am paired with a good editor who pushes me to be my best, I know how important that partnership is. Unfortunately, too many aspiring writers don’t want to pay a professional price to get professional work, and can’t be bothered to learn the basics of third-grade level English themselves. Yes, that’s right — can’t be bothered. Every library has books on grammar, structure, editing. If you didn’t pay attention now, bother to learn.

If you can’t afford the rate for a professional to edit the whole novel, get the first three chapters line edited and APPLY IT TO THE REST. It’s called “critical thinking” and “reasoning”, and if you’re going to be in the world of words, you need to know how to do it.

A few months ago, an aspiring writer came to me for advice, complaining that the work was rejected over and over and over again. When I looked at it, there wasn’t a single sentence without a spelling, grammar, or punctuation error. A reader couldn’t even tell what the story was about because it was too hard to fight through the way it was presented to get to the content. When I pointed out the individual had to work on craft elements, the response was, “I don’t have time for that boring stuff. I’m an artist.”

All great artists fuse craft with art. They don’t always stick to the rules, but they know them inside out and choose when to break them.

Fortunately, so far, all the books I’ve read for this contest have at least had a good copy editor, and don’t get marked down on that aspect (yes, that is one of the things taken into consideration). Some of them could have used a strong content editor, but at least I can get to the story itself so it stands or falls on its own merits.

Landed an interview gig with someone based overseas. Am about to send off the questions. Should be fun.

Stuck to my staying-offline-on-Sundays (which, in most cases, is now a necessity — I need the break). Instead, I wrote, in longhand, nearly 30 pages of TRUE HOME. The research I’ve done the past week came together.

Watched the Oscars last night. Thought they were rather tepid. Also, award season’s gotten too cluttered.

Had a nice fire in the fireplace yesterday. When the snow stops in a few hours, I will go out and shovel.

The priority today is to finish the revisions on the play. I need to start casting this week.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on March 3, 2014 at 9:04 am  Comments (3)  
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