Tues. Nov. 23, 2021: Goals Create New Goals

image courtesy of Carla Luca de Tena via Unsplash.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

It was a good weekend. I wrote about most of Friday on Friday, because the post went up so late. The afternoon was about client work, following up on information I had promised, etc.

I did some percolating on this, that, and many others while on the acupressure mat, and spent a good bit of time on the script coverages.

I was annoyed when an email landed in my inbox around 7 PM from the CEO of a company with whom I had less than pleasant pre-interview experience a few months back. I had refused to write project-specific samples or take “assessments” without being paid, and had sent my contract. These tests were a requirement to even be considered for an interview, which is a waste of my time, since the initial conversation either backs up or negates the initial research I did on the company, and I certainly won’t take a test to have a preliminary conversation. The CEO had gotten nasty in response to me sending my contract for tests and samples, and I’d said we weren’t a good fit, bye.

So he emails me on Friday about an open position to which he thinks I should apply. I reminded him about our previous, less-than-pleasant exchanges, and asked if he needed my contract for tests/samples again.

His reply was that he figured I’d be over that “conceit” by now and need the work. He also wanted the tests/samples turned around that night. After contacting me at 7 PM on a Friday.

Nope.

I told him we were not a good fit, and not to contact me again.

Up early on Saturday. 2512 words on CAST IRON MURDER, which got me just over the 50K mark.

I did it. I wrote 50K focused on one project. In 20 days. Without feeling like it would kill me. It’s done a lot to help me regain my confidence in my ability to sustain on a long project, which is what I need for some projects coming up.

Once I was done with those words, and got a script coverage out, we got in the car in search of holiday gifts, down Pittsfield way. We got almost everything – we have one more gift to get one of my mother’s friends, and I have two more gifts to get for my friends, but I know where I can get one of them, so that’s all good. It was another beautiful, sunny day, although a bit chilly.

We did hit up Target on the way down, to stock up on cleaning supplies to get us through the winter. More because we don’t know what the weather will be like than being worried about “supply chain shortages” which only the big box stores seem to have. Target was an absolute zoo. But we got everything we needed.

Everywhere we went, it was busy. But people were in a good mood, polite, and followed masking/distancing protocols. Several people mentioned how happy they were that the weather was good, and they could get their shopping done now, and not worry about it on Black Friday and into December.

It was a good day.

I turned around another script coverage in the late afternoon/early evening, so that I could have all of Sunday off script coverage. I read a monologue written by a friend, which she’d asked me to critique, and I loved it. It’s such a strong piece.

Sunday was a day of rest. Well, once I did my 2161 words on CAST IRON MURDER.

I stayed off email. Other than posting two photos, I stayed off social media. I need to get back to having Sunday as my “day of disconnect” for both mental and physical health.

I did dash out, early in the morning, to pick up the turkey. I also got some raspberry rugelach, from a bakery out of Brooklyn. Since Chanukah starts Thanksgiving weekend, all those goodies are available, too.

Played with the cats a lot. Made my favorite orange rye bread recipe. Instead of making half the batch as rolls and half as a loaf, I made all rolls. We like that recipe better as rolls. They came out perfectly. Also made chocolate mousse.

We’re trying to finish off all the leftovers, so there’s room in the fridge for the Thanksgiving leftovers.

Finished reading BURY ME WHEN I’M DEAD by Cheryl A. Head, part of her mystery series set in Detroit (although this had a good chunk of it also in Alabama). It is an excellent book, plot-wise, character-wise, pace-wise, setting, all of it.

Read the fifth book in a mystery series I’d enjoyed enormously up to this point. This book was still fun. However, the jokes repeat from book to book, and are getting stale. And the lack of character growth is beginning to bug me.

I didn’t get any of the domestic holiday cards done over the weekend, which made me disappointed in myself, but I was wiped out. I just don’t have the energy I had even ten years ago.

Tessa got me up early on Monday morning. I got in 2495 words on CAST IRON MURDER.

My mom wrapped gifts for overseas and to send friends in time for their Chanukah celebrations. Tessa decided to “help” with the wrapping paper and the ribbons and the craft paper used to pack the packages.

So, of course, it took much longer than it would have otherwise.

By the time the three of us were finished, the weather had turned, and I decided I wasn’t going out.

I tried to catch up on email, worked on script coverage.

I’m playing with an idea for a new project. It came together out of some ideas that have rattled around for a bit, looking for a home; instead of separate homes, some of them can fit into the same created world, in a format in which I used to write a lot, and miss terribly. The characters are coming fast and furiously, the world is creating itself in my head. I took some ideas I heard from people about “I wish I could find a story with this” and incorporated those in. I started jotting “a few” notes, and am up to seven pages. They’re coming out in a mishmash, all over the place. I’m going to start typing them up soon, so I can start focusing them. The initial draft should take me about three months to do, if I apply what I gained from this Nano period.

I did some research on the markets and the outlet I have my eye on, and I like what I found. I don’t want to keep all my eggs in one basket, publishing-wise. It’s too risky.

I need to be working to revive an old project that’s getting new life in it, too, but I will let that percolate over the holiday weekend.

Started reading Jenn McKinlay’s new book, KILLER RESEARCH. I’ve read that whole series, and I like Jenn a lot. I’ve interviewed her for articles here and there.

Charlotte woke me a little after one a.m., because she wanted attention. She got some, and we went back to sleep. Tessa started in at 4:33. I moved to the bed in the sewing room, and she settled down. Then Charlotte joined me for more attention; after a few minutes, she left and started crinkling paper in one of the Chewy boxes.

I gave up and got out of bed.

2431 words on CAST IRON MURDER. I think I have two to three more chapters, and I’m done with this draft. It’ll be too short for what I want, but it’s a good foundation, and it gives me room to layer on some details without getting overblown.

Made French toast this morning, and it came out well. From a recipe I brought back from one of my New Orleans trips.

I have to run all the errands I didn’t do yesterday, then get back and finish some script coverage.

I think a lot of the college kids already left for the holiday. Quieter and emptier than usual.

I’m glad I’m not travelling this weekend. I don’t have either the physical or emotional energy to travel in company like that, and, no doubt, the COVID numbers will spike again in two weeks.

I’m glad we’re staying home, and I’m glad I’m getting my booster next Monday.

Fri. Nov. 12, 2021: Rain (At Least It’s Not Snow)

image courtesy of Sam Willis via pexels.com

Friday, November 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and mild

Raining pretty hard this morning, so I’ll put off the trip to the post office and the library until tomorrow.

Yesterday, I stayed in and worked. I’d hoped to get enough cleared off my desk by lunchtime so I could go to the lake in the afternoon, but it was already getting cloudy, so I skipped the lake.

Got in my Nano words, got out some LOIs, checked on my Nano Buddies, caught up on some email, did some research for a project, wrote up script coverages. Wrote the thank you notes to the people at all the different agencies who helped sort out my mother’s insurance and medication stuff. It was quite a stack by the time I was done. Pretty soon, I have to do the annual Freshening of the Websites, and I need to print up my new business cards for Fearless Ink. I don’t think I have any with the new logo on it.

My Ipsy bag arrived, with lots of good stuff for the month.

Read a new book by an author whose previous work I really enjoyed. This is in a different genre than the other work I’ve read. It hits the genre expectations, is more inclusive than typical in the genre, and the writing’s fine, but there’s a fire missing in it that was there in this author’s other work. I’m annoyed with myself for not loving it, but I don’t. Of course, it’s in a genre in which I don’t read much because the genre parameters often annoy me, but I wanted to see what the author would do. I want to love it, but I just don’t.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. The kids are getting vaccination appointments.

Cape Cod’s virus numbers are way up. Which is not surprising at all.  Vermont’s are, too, which is surprising, since they have such a high vaccination rate. I guess that’s it for us in Vermont until the spring. I got an email from the Credit Union that an employee tested positive at one of the branches (not the one I frequent), and the branch is closed for deep cleaning, and everyone with whom that employee was in contact will be tracked down so they can be warned and tested. I’ve noticed some sloppiness about masking lately around here, especially in CVS, where the customers tend to pull their masks down to lean over the counter and talk to the pharmacists. Because those customers are morons. If I do get sick, I’ll have caught it at CVS.

We have one more out-and-about trip planned, late next week, to do a sweep of a bunch of small artisan stores to get the gifts we need to ship. Then, we’re done for the holidays and for the winter, and it’s just the grocery store and the library until spring. Although I’m not at the point where I’m back to decontaminating all the groceries when I come back from shopping, I think I’ll start jumping in the shower and decontaminating myself again. I’d just gotten back into the habit of only the morning shower. So I guess I’m adding in an extra one on grocery days. Can’t take the risk, with numbers going up.

And I’ll get my booster as soon as it’s allowed.

Willa wanted to play last night. Charlotte was willing to play with her, only they were playing by different sets of rules and ended up in a fight. Tessa glared at them from the chair, glad to be out of it. Poor Charlotte’s feelings were hurt. It’s not her fault she didn’t understand Willa’s rules for the game. Charlotte doesn’t really understand playing, except with her catnip banana. We’re working on that.

Read two scripts last night, which I will write up today. Only one to read tonight, and I’ll write it up tomorrow, and then not read again until Sunday. This pay period closes Monday, so I can read Sunday, write it up Monday, and make my nut for the pay period. Several monthly bills are going up, and I need to make sure I hit at least my target, if not a little more. Plus, I want to ease up between Christmas and New Year’s, although I doubt I can take that week completely off.

Slept in until 6. Tessa fussed at 4:23, but I ignored her. My mom got up to feed the cats just before 6 and Charlotte started headbutting me at 6.

2689 words on CAST IRON MURDER. Tough first 400 or so, and then it flowed well. I plan to write every day this weekend on it, not to lose the flow. If I can get more than 50K done by the end of the month, and then finish the draft by the end of the year, that will be a good way to get back on track with the other projects, too.

I’m writing the overseas cards this weekend, so we can mail them just before American Thanksgiving. Not taking any chances on them not showing up until, say Valentine’s Day.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side. Hopefully, I can get some more unpacking done.

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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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day yesterday. Cyber-Mondayed. I have almost all my shopping done now, between Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday. I have a handful of small things to pick up and we’re good to go. Just wrapping, mailing, cards, and baking left.

And putting the house back together.

Good meeting yesterday. I pulled materials I need to make up the press kit for this client, and will turn my attention to that a little later this week. I’ve got the bones of it done, but need to scan in press clippings and arrange them to show the growth of the organization.

Lunch with a friend at a Thai restaurant — always fun.

Interesting discussion with a top notch agent. Can’t be my top-notch agent, because she doesn’t handle genre fiction, but we had a good chat about the changing business model of the market, and how she’s dumping the writers who don’t sit down and write every day and turn out books regularly — unless they’ve already earned the right not to with a solid track record of glowing reviews and high sales. She said slow writers, or writers who only write “when they have time” or “when the mood strikes them” are, nine times out of ten, no longer a viable option for either an agent or a publisher. The days of “your process” or “doing what works for you” are done. If you want to a career, any career, you learn what’s necessary in that field and you do it. Fiction is the same as anything else. Just because you can do it at odd hours doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn the protocols of both craft and business. She pointed out that if you expect to publish in the fiction market, using the excuse of not showing up at that particular page because you’ve got other paid work going on and this isn’t yet contracted is simply a cop-out and indicates you’re not serious about your fiction. The fiction must always come first. Writing — especially fiction writing — is not a nine-to-five endeavor, and if you treat it like a corporate job, you cut yourself off at the knees –and the publisher. Nothing wrong with only having only one book in you, but it better be a good one. And if you take years to write it, there really will only be one. She’s a big believer in writing a minimum of 1000 words a day, and says that’s what makes the difference between “a writing career and a cute lil hobby no one’s gonna take seriously.” Interesting perspective. She’s a tough one — makes me look like a sweet little cupcake! 😉

Especially interesting timing on this conversation, because yet another student dropped out of the year-long because she feels 1000 words a day is too much.

Afternoon busy with commenting on the short story exercises coming in. I’m pleased by the high quality of the work and how clever the plots and stories are.

Worked on the assignment for Confidential Job #1, but got my dates mixed up — kept thinking yesterday was the 27th instead of the 28th. Must get that sorted out right now.

Good morning writing session on HEART-SNATCHER (the first Harpy book in the trilogy).

I’ve got some freelance work to take care of, some errands, and then back to commenting on student work.

Devon

Today’s word count: 2446
Total word count: 94,806

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2stacys-christmas-blogfest-0812

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Waning Moon
Sleet and cold

My guest today on A Biblio Paradise is Adrianne Brennan. She writes a series, but also has shorter stories and novellas that feed into the series, featuring various characters. Hop on over and check her out.

Can you say Murphy’s Law? Because that’s what yesterday was, a true Murphy’s Law day, all around.

First of all, I had a lot of work spread over the kitchen table. Iris lived up to her nickname of Princess Hellion by jumping up on the table (which she knows is forbidden) and knocking over a full cup of coffee. Not only did I have to scramble to save all the paperwork, the table was decorated for the holidays, so the decorations had to be rescued, and both tablecloths were soaked with coffee. Normally, I use dark cloths, but, for the holidays, the top cloth is cream, gold, and green, and the under cloth is a white tablecloth from my great-grandmother that is at least one hundred years old.

That was my main concern. I can’t use bleach on fabric that old, so I soaked and soaked and soaked it in gentle detergent and hot, hot, hot water, and I think it’s all come out. I’ll iron it today and put it back on. The coffee actually came out of that cloth better than the over cloth. Gotta love those antique linens!

I got the first batch of cards and letters out to the post office (I had to drive over to the next town because our post office keeps odd hours and has lines out the door). On the way back, I stopped and picked up some of the stuff I need for Christmas – including scoring an eighteen pound turkey for only $12 – from an honorable local store! THAT was a bright spot in the day, let me tell you.

I came home, got everything put away, worked on the handmade gifts for a few hours. I had trouble with the bobbin for awhile on the sewing machine – turns out that particular bobbin was faulty, so I had to use a different one. Whoever thought that plastic bobbins were a good idea should be smacked. They suck. I love all the things my current machine does, but I wish it was built to use metal bobbins, like my very first machine. They’re much better than the plastic. And, let’s face it, the plastic bobbins were created and machines forced to use them because the companies made more profit – it has nothing to do with serving the customer.

Anyway, after some trial and error, I got the first batch of gifts done. I wrapped the overseas packages, filled out the customs forms, headed back to Purchase to the post office, and got those out.

Had to stop at the store again to pick up a few things I forgot for the baking.

Confidential Job #2 already paid me for my work – gotta love it. THAT’s the way I like to work.

Tossed out my column – it sucked, and I’m going to do a better topic and rewrite it today. I’ve also got an article to get out this week.

Didn’t get as much done as I wanted on the revisions, so I have to work on that today. I’ve also got to finish S-Z on the US cards and get them out, pack up the rest of the packages and send them out, and send out the prizes from Stacy’s Christmas Blogfest.

AND, I’m doing the test run on the cake baking. I think I’ll do the dough for the sugar cookies and let it sit, then roll them out and actually bake them tomorrow. A bunch of people in the area are getting small, decorated spice cakes flanked with sugar cookies.

So that’s the plan for the day. I should pitch some jobs – still have bills that need to be paid before the holidays – but I don’t know if that’ll happen today. I’ve also been asked to do some political work, and I have to read through the details and the time frame. I’m interested in the opportunity, but don’t know if I can take it on right now. If I can do it the first or second week of January, I’ll say yes; if they need it done before the end of the year, I have to pass.

Slow going on the writing this morning, but I hope it’ll pick back up later in the day. I need to get some more work done on the Aunt Doris/Cassio piece. I’ve restructured it a few times and still don’t have it quite right. I think I’m going to set it in Paris rather than Bermuda, though. Doesn’t Christmas in Paris sound like fun?

Devon

christmas-2008-003

Iris, AKA “Princess Hellion” is unconcerned that she caused so much chaos.