Tues. Aug. 23, 2022: Clacking Those Keys

image couresy of Simon via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Mars in Gemini

Cloudy and humid

The weekend was rocky. Friday, I still had a migraine. I dreaded going out to do the necessary errands, but it was sunny and pleasant out, and people were so darned happy about it, that it was fun to do errands. All of us who live there know that the sunny, pleasant days are numbered, and pretty soon, we have to hunker down for the winter.

Although I have to admit, I’m kind of looking forward to hunkering down for the winter.

I did more work on LEGERDEMAIN on Friday, finishing the episode ads, although I have to still work on some general ads. And I had to break up the folders for the episode ads and the general ads. I also did some work on the Legerdemain website. There’s still more to do, but I hope, by early September, I will have enough fun material on it to make it worthwhile to start promoting the link to the website.

Saturday morning, I went to the Farmers’ Market, which was a lot of fun. It wasn’t so hot and humid, which was a big help. I’d worn a dress – nothing fancy, just something simple and fun, and got a lot of compliments. Genuine compliments, not creepy ones. So that was a nice boost to the ego.

Forgot to photograph the produce when I came home. I immediately pulled out the slow cooker and did a slight adaptation of Moosewood’s ratatouille recipe so it would work in the slow cooker. And used the wonderful Carmen peppers instead of regular bell peppers, which made such a huge difference. That went simmering along for most of the day while I worked. We had some of it over couscous for dinner, and the rest made up six packets that I froze.

I did more work on the LEGERDEMAIN website. Because I want portions of it to read like the Chamber of Commerce put it up, there was a big section on public transportation and how to best get there, money, checkpoints, etc. It needs some massaging, but it’s fun.

I put up a bunch of the business-oriented ads, but did not write the information around them.

I really need to sit down with the sketchbook I bought for the project, my dad’s old Faber Castell pencils, and draw maps.

I worked on a new logo for the Coventina Circle Series. The graphic I’m using is too busy. I’m still not fully satisfied with the new logo, but it’s moving in the right direction.

I struggled with the horror story. The version that works, that sings, and makes sense on plot, character, and structure levels leans too far toward humor, which the editor very specifically stated he does not want for this anthology. The version without humor falls apart on plot and structure levels, although some of the character stuff works. So the version that works doesn’t fit the guidelines, and the version that fits the guidelines doesn’t work. The first would be rejected because it doesn’t fit the vision for the anthology; the second would be rightly rejected because it’s not good. I’m not saying that seeking praise; I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something doesn’t work/is bad. The version that fits the guidelines can’t be salvaged before deadline.

So I decided not to submit, because submitting either version wastes the editors’ time and is disrespectful. It kind of broke my heart, because I was so excited about the premise. But that’s the reality.

I’m putting away the more comic version. I think that has the potential to grow into a novella, which might eventually fit some other publisher’s guidelines. But right now, I will let it sit. There’s too much on deadline that needs my attention.

It still meant I was very depressed for the rest of the weekend.

I finished reading the Anita Loos biography. I always wished I lived around the beginning of the film industry, writing scenarios. I’ve always loved reading about it, and how writers used to move smoothly from coast to coast, and between prose, theatre, and film writing.

Sunday, I hit a wall. Or maybe the wall hit me. Not sure. I was exhausted (didn’t sleep well Saturday night). I was worried about a boundaries conversation I had to have with someone. Anyway, I made a late brunch of salmon Eggs Benedict, and spent most of the hot and humid da on the couch, reading Donna Andrews’ latest, ROUND UP THE USUAL PEACOCKS, which is a lot of fun.

The whole Mars in Gemini bit, with Mars being the planet for forceful momentum, and Gemini being quick-thinking and action, is hitting me hard. I have zero patience, and the urge to slap idiots upside the head is overwhelming. Seven months of this? Ick.

At least the migraine abated a little by Sunday.

Sunday night into Monday was rough, too. First, I was awakened by a cat in heat crying outside. All three of mine moved from window to window, worried. Finally fell back to sleep, and Charlotte woke me up a few hours later, because I had a nightmare. Took awhile to get to sleep after that.

But I woke up feeling better on Monday, and it turned out the boundary conversation was unnecessary, because the other party decided to respect the boundaries after all, so all is good. I have some ideas for the next couple of arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, one of the seeds which will be planted in the rewrite.

I’m considering putting all the Legerdemain stuff onto its own flash drive (in addition to backing it up on the external hard drive) instead of just having it on the general writing flash drive. I think the project needs its own. If I do wind up doing more serials (which wouldn’t happen until early next year, because I don’t want to undermine Legerdemain), maybe there would be room to put all of them on that drive. I’m thinking about revising ANGEL HUNT, finishing it, and putting it up as a finite serial, and then maybe revising EARTH BRIDE, and doing the same with that. It would be interesting to see how they stack up against each other. ANGEL HUNT started as a serial back when I wrote for KIC, and was unfinished when the company tanked. EARTH BRIDE was a Nano project way back in 2007 (I think) that wound up growing into a possible trilogy, but it might work as a serial, because it mixes science fiction and fantasy elements. But first, I want to get the first three major arcs of LEGERDEMAIN up and running, let them run, see if it’s worth continuing for several more arcs for the next year or so. Whenever I decide to finish it, I plan to leave it up for several months, up to a year, just to see how it does, and then I’ll decide if that’s it, or if it will have a life in a different format (after a multi-year break).

Readers who wait for an entire series to publish before they start reading are not my audience (and those readers are also why so many book series wind up dropped by their publishers, and no one gets to read the whole thing).

Worked on revisions for Legerdemain’s episodes 30 & 31. The new episode I need is between 31 & 32, and then the rest of the episodes to finish that arc get pushed back a number. I might break some of those last episodes into more than one episode, to keep the word count tight and the pacing strong. I got a few ideas for some general ads, and got to weave in some of what’s on the website into the episode, so each supports the other.

I ran into the landlord on the way out to do errands. The city inspector is coming around next week, and needs to come in and see our place before I have to take my mom to the doctor, which is not a problem. We’ll mop and vacuum Monday afternoon, and good to go. It was never a problem on Cape; it won’t be here, either. The place looks happy and comfortable. I will rearrange a few things between now and then, but it will all look good by the time he gets here, and it lights a fire under my butt to get it done.

Had to pick up more envelopes, staples for the stapler, some flash drives, a couple of small crochet hooks for the new yarn. It’s very delicate, so it needs a smaller hook than what I have here. Drove down to City Hall to drop off my mother’s ballot, and give them a little nudge because I still haven’t received mine. Picked up a couple of things at the grocery store, swung by the post office.

Home, and got the rest of the episode ads uploaded and scheduled through Episode 29, which takes me into November. I plan to revise, edit, proof, upload and schedule the last episodes for this major arc this week, and then get back to work on the next two arcs next week. There’s a character who died in this arc whose spirit is going to come back in the next couple of arcs, I think, and I’ve got a good idea of specifics I want in each of the two upcoming arcs.

I wrote a new episode, which I’m calling “31.5” in the first draft, but will eventually be Episode 32. It introduced a character who’s important to the murder arc, and sets him up for being central to the next big arc. I then did the multi-colored draft of the last batch of episodes in this arc, which are now ending with Episode 41. Actually, Episode 41 is a bridge episode winding up the last few details of this first large arc and launching the second arc. I’ve broken down episodes where I think it makes sense, structurally, to keep the pace and rhythm. I’ll work on those later this week, to get that whole arc finished and uploaded this week, which gets me through mid-December, as far as episode releases.

I read the next book for review, and need to discuss a few things with my editor before I submit the actual review. To say the book is problematic is an understatement. It was well over 400 pages of awful, and needs multiple content warnings. The content warnings section will be longer than the review itself.

But I was up until 2 AM with that atrocity, hoping at least the ending would make sense. But it doesn’t actually end. Just stops in the middle of a scene and promises a “next book.”

The cats got me up at 6 AM. While 6 hours of sleep is my sweet spot, 4 hours no longer works. However, I do not have the luxury of naps or taking the day off, so I just have to dig in and get things done.

I’d hoped to ease off the final two weeks of August and have some time to recharge, but that’s not happening. I still  hope to take the holiday, though.

Episode 9 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today!

Hope your week starts well and gets better.

Published in: on August 23, 2022 at 7:43 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 23, 2022: Clacking Those Keys  
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Fri. Aug. 19: Migraines and Tension

image courtesy of Kerbstone via pixabay.com

Friday, August 19, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and warm

I had a migraine yesterday, but not the option to lie down until it passed. You can yammer about self-care and health all you want, but the reality, for many of us, is that we can’t just stop whatever we’re doing. Fortunately, since I work remotely, I could at least be grumpy and miserable at home.

The major need was to get the next batch of LEGERDEMAIN episodes edited, uploaded, and scheduled, and get the ads done. Although I’m still behind in the general ads from the last batch.

I’d hoped to get episodes 21-30 done. I got through episode 29. 30 really launches that last act of this first large arc, and it makes more sense to do it with the last batch of episodes. That last batch needs a lot of revision, and will probably wind up broken down into shorter episodes with more drive, which then puts the first major arc over 40 episodes. Which means the initial offering will go over 100. So much for that pretty 90 number! Oh, well. Needs must.

I changed the episode title of one of them. I’m overusing “Welcome” in episode titles.

Anyway, in spite of numerous computer crashes, one of which messed up the dashboard badly and I had to do a lot of work to get it untangled, I got all nine episodes revised. That was nearly 11K words, and I did about 3 drafts on each episode.

I wrote the episode loglines for the nine new episodes, and got to work on the episode ads. I only got five done before I ran out of steam.

Freelance Chat was fun, although I was distracted and a little grumpy. I had rehearsal stuff to deal with for a radio play. I worked on the Shakespeare horror story which has to get out the door this weekend. I’m struggling, because it keeps taking a comic turn, and they were very clear about not wanting comic horror, but horror-horror.

I got some admin done, but not enough. I got a little more done this morning. The Chewy order arrived, so there’s cat food for the next six weeks. And I ordered the tulip bulbs we’re going to try to plant in troughs overwinter and leave on the porch, and then put out on the balcony in spring.

Berkshire Gas hit me with an enormous “settle up” bill for the end of the balanced billing year, and raised my monthly rate yet again. Which is going to make the next few months difficult. So much for thinking I could ever get ahead or get any time off. They also shouldn’t be allowed to double the price per unit IN THE SUMMER, and then probably double it again in the fall, making sure they screw us all to the wall.

Today, I have to run errands. I meant to run some of them yesterday, but never left the desk, so they all have to happen today. It’s supposed to get very hot again during the day, but cool off at night, so we’ll see if I stay here all day to work, or pack up and go somewhere cool.

I need to get the ads done and finish a draft of the horror story. I should turn around a script or two, since I only read two days this week so far, and I have that big ass gas bill to pay. And I need to get the cats to the vet to get their shots updated. And, you know, establish with a vet here.

So I’m feeling stressed and overburdened right now. It will right itself, especially if I make the time over the weekend to get some rest.  But once I get this first big arc uploaded and scheduled, I can focus on writing the next arc. Episode 29 takes me through November 1, releasing twice a week, and the last episodes will get me into December. So that gives me some breathing room to do the next arc, but I also can’t drag my feet.

I also need to do some more work on the Legerdemain website this weekend. I want to be able to start promoting it, but I can’t do so unless there’s fun content on it, not just the episode releases and loglines.

I also need to read the next book for review, so I can send off the review on Monday.

The Topic Workbooks are chugging along nicely, and doing the content calendar/scheduling the ads has taken a lot of pressure off me. Being able to upload some of the Legerdemain ads has also been a help.

I need to get back to work on the next three radio plays, too. One has to go out by the end of the month, and the other two are due in September.

One thing at a time, right? All I can do is the best I can do. But it all has to get done, and I have to be ferociously protective of my time and energy right now.

I’m also not going to chase people down for stuff. I said I could do X within a specific time frame, and needed Y by Z. You don’t get it to me, it’s not happening. You’re not paying me. I said I could help out, but only within a specific time frame. I am not nagging or begging or “sending reminders.”  Be a fucking adult and do what you said you would do when you said you would, or communicate so we can adjust the schedule. Don’t just not do it or makes excuses or  ghost, and then expect me to jump when you get back in touch. I have paying work that takes priority. We set dates. Cough up or shut up. I am moving on to people and projects where any other parties involved step up and supply what’s needed with in the time frame. And pay.

Obviously, I need to make some serious meditation time this weekend.

Back to the page (and later, to the library). Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on August 19, 2022 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 19: Migraines and Tension  
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Thurs. June 30, 2022: Following Through on Creative Risk

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

I talk about what’s new with the garden, especially in terms of taking out the cats in their playpens, and our neighborhood squirrels, on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday started with frustration, moved to creativity, ended in sense memory stress. A day of variety, that’s for sure!

I got some work done early in the morning. Headed out to the library for a pickup/delivery. For some reason, I hadn’t received the email that the books arrived, and there was quite the stack, including several books by the poet/undertaker Thomas Lynch and a couple of Chilean authors who were recently recommended to me.

I stopped at the carrier to whom I hoped to switch my phone service, but they didn’t have the phone I want in stock, and I’d have to pay for another month at my current carrier, at least, while they got it in. So that’s a no-go.

I planned to order it online, but they would only let me order that phone if I started a committed contract, and I don’t want that, because I want the option to switch carriers. Plus, they were charging twice for the phone than listed yesterday.

I found the phone I wanted, supposedly at a nearby store (one at which I loathe shopping) at the price I wanted. I bought the phone, but of course, they wouldn’t activate it or help me with it. So I drove down to my carrier’s store in Pittsfield. They got it activated, and moved the SD card for me (and were nice about it). They couldn’t get the transfer done (said they didn’t have strong enough Wi-Fi), but wrote out the directions. I got it done at home. The photos I thought were all on the SD card (because that’s what I told the phone to do) were scattered throughout my phone, but I managed to corral them and get some of them onto Google Photos (which doesn’t seem to have a download option) and the rest onto my hard drive Photos (who knew I’d posted 888 photos on Instagram?) and will download onto my external hard drive.

I still have to re-enter my contacts. But it’s mostly done, I really like the new phone, I could get my meditation timer app back on it, so fingers crossed.

I have to figure out how to make sure ALL the photos go and stay on the SD card.

A much smoother and less stressful process than the months of hell trying to get my mom’s phone situation sorted out!

It’s a Motorola G Pure, which is what I wanted. I can also unlock the phone and change carriers down the line, should I choose.

But at least I have a working phone again. My other phone still works, to a point, so I’m keeping it handy, even though it’s not hooked up to a carrier anymore. It served me well for four years (all my other phones bit it after a year).

But it took time that I’d planned for other things.

I didn’t even get started on client work until 2 PM. But I turned around three manuscripts with notes for a client. I have four more to do today.

After dinner, I went back to work on the horror story. It truly is horror, and the first piece of mine that I believe needs trigger warnings. And yet, in light of what’s going on, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, which makes it even worse. I did a couple of editing passes on it before I called it a night. I’ll put in the changes this morning, do a final proof, and out it goes, on deadline.

Even if it’s not accepted, I’m proud of myself for taking a creative risk out of my wheelhouse and seeing it through.

Part of me wanted to immediately dive into the play that’s been poking at me since the workshop last week, but I went to bed instead.

And immediately suffered a severe bout of sense memory stress. This time last year, the clock had run out, and I had to negotiate a few extra days to finish clearing out the house, accepting the berating from the landlord. While I understood his frustration, I could have also walked away and left him to deal with everything, and I did not. I communicated and I followed through, even though it nearly killed me. But there were a lot of tears and a lot of feeling like I’d break permanently.

But I didn’t. Even though I may have sense memory stress all weekend, I got through it and I am here now. That’s what matters. Building something better.

My Ello page has over 200K views now, and has led to some intriguing creative conversations. Unlike the bottom of the barrel crap from LinkedIn, there are viable projects over on Ello. A much stronger choice for me.

I’m looking forward to meditation this morning. I doubt I can get my final copyedit/proofread of the story done before it, but it will go out early today. Then I can focus on the client manuscripts, and finishing the book for review. I have one script to read tomorrow, and then I’m taking the weekend. Which will be about The Big Project and finishing the damn kitchen island. I’m not “celebrating” this Independence Day on Monday (although I’m taking it as a day away from client work). How can I celebrate “independence” with a corrupt court is stripping away so many rights?

Back to the page. Have a good one.

Published in: on June 30, 2022 at 6:31 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 30, 2022: Following Through on Creative Risk  
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Thurs. April 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 334 — Earth Day is Ironic Here

photo courtesy of Bela Geletneky via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cool

Earth Day

Earth Day, but they’re still out there in the neighborhood, destroying nature at full blast.

Post about the garden up on Gratitude and Growth.

I forgot to mention, in yesterday’s post, that I’ve been invited to submit a short story to a women’s gothic horror anthology. I have until May 15. I started playing with the opening – it’s very twisted. Even though horror isn’t really my wheelhouse, I do love gothic, and I’m having fun with it. Channeling some frustrations and anger into it, and then will have to hone it. I want to keep it between 1-2.5K. I’ve got a lot of it percolating in my head, so, fingers crossed I can pull it off.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Thankfully, much less stressful than I anticipated. Came home, decontaminated, and participated in Remote Chat, which is always fun.

Didn’t get much packing done. Was worn out, but got some work on contest entries done. I only have 2 weeks to finish the rest of the categories. I want to get the next category done by the end of this week. It’s the biggest one, and it will give me plenty of time for the last one.

It’s colder and windy today, but supposed to get nicer again over the weekend.

More bubble wrap arrived yesterday. I have a lot of packing to do this weekend.

And, of course, house hunting.

Charlotte woke me up a little after 3:30, with her separation anxiety. I moved to the couch in the living room to settle her down and dozed off, but she forgot I was there and went back up to cry outside my bedroom door around the time I usually get up anyway.

I was late getting to the page, and didn’t have as good a first writing session as I’ve had the last week. But I showed up at the page and got words down, so I’ll count it as a win.

Keep on keeping on, right?

At least I have the virtual meditation group today. That should get me back to rights.

Published in: on April 22, 2021 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 22, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 334 — Earth Day is Ironic Here  
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