Wed. Jan. 11, 2023: Steady Progress

image courtesy of Piyapong Saydaung via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Over on The Process Muse today, I talk about “Getting Back on Track” with my writing.

With Mars stationary, preparing to go direct tomorrow, it’s like wading through molasses while furious. Not fun, and I constantly remind myself that reacting rather taking a breath and a step back is an unwise choice right now.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I did about 1K in longhand while at the laundromat. After breakfast/putting everything away, I drafted another episode of LEGERDEMAIN. A character who was supposed to be rather one-dimensional and start as a comic red herring is turning into someone more complicated. I guess that’s a good thing, fully developed characters are always a better choice, but I have to make sure this character still works, in the plot, the way I need him to.

I adapted another chapter of ANGEL HUNT into four episodes. I then “created” the story on Kindle Vella, uploaded the series logo and the blurb, and polished, uploaded, and scheduled the first 16 episodes, which gets me through St. Patrick’s Day in March. I updated the Episode Tracking Sheets as I went, to make sure I know what’s going out when. I wrote the episode log lines.

But the more I think about it, the stronger the instinct NOT to do episode-specific graphics. LEGERDEMAIN episodes drop on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with episode-specific graphics. ANGEL HUNT episodes will drop Wednesdays and Fridays. The series logo is striking. I’m worried that too many different graphics will get confusing to potential readers. The episodes are short, by intent. Few are over 1K words. The narrative drive of this piece is narrower, without the sprawl that makes all those LEGERDEMAIN graphics both necessary and fun.  Individual graphics don’t make sense, unless I was good enough to draw original art, or rich enough to commission an artist. The style of graphic that’s been working for LEGERDEMAIN won’t work for ANGEL HUNT, and, frankly, along with not having it in the budget to fairly pay an artist, I’ve left it too late to commission. I would like to get ahead on promotion, but Kindle Vella doesn’t give me the link until the story goes live on launch day. They really sabotage their authors, between not allowing gift cards used as tokens, or allowing authors to put tokens in giveaway packages, or allow authors to put the serials on their author pages. I don’t think BookBub allows the serials on their author pages either, which is annoying. I know it’s because Amazon wants authors to buy ads on the Amazon platform, but I mean, come on, give us some support over here.

At least for the first few months, I’m going to continue with episode-specific graphics for LEGERDEMAIN (along with increasing the general graphics, as I expand the website), but use a consistent graphic for ANGEL HUNT. It’ll give me a chance to compare promotional styles, although the two serials are a bit of apples and oranges.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted, with a blasting headache from it all.

I didn’t work on the script, although I was trying to figure out how to write myself out of this corner. Then, I realized, that I really don’t need to. This is a first draft, and I plan to cut the scene anyway in the next draft. I can make a note to that effect in the “Action” line and just move on. Duh.

I finished reading a book by a new-to-me author, recommended to me by an author colleague I like and respect. The book understands the genre and puts interesting twists on it, although I did manage to get ahead of the plot a few times, and had to wait for the characters to catch up. I like the writing. But then, a minor character used the term “witch” as a derogatory against other women, and I felt slapped in the face. This author, particularly, knows better. I was also a little thrown because the flap copy has incorrect character names. In other words, I’m on the fence about whether or not to read any other books by this particular author. I may try the first book of one of the other series, and see if I encounter the same type of issues.

No scripts in the queue, which has me worried, but I have books to review and will get on the stick about that. Plus contest entries, which I need to start. And I’m behind in reading the book for NYU’s virtual book club.

I did the social media rounds to promote the episode of LEGERDEMAIN that went live yesterday. I’m definitely seeing where I want to scale back on some of the platforms over the coming weeks.

An “offer” landed in my inbox to ghostwrite. $15 for 1500 words, minimum requirement 10 chapters per week (meaning 15,000 words). Yeah, no. Not worth it to work on someone else’s ideas for so little money. If I’m going to write 3K a day for someone else, it’s not going to be for a penny a word.

Slept reasonably well, woke up to coffee. Only got about 500 words done in longhand. I’d lost the thread of that particular story, getting wound up in the other stories on which I worked yesterday. By the time I got back into it, the time I had to work on it was up.

The morning plan is to take some Excedrin for my headache, draft another episode of Legerdemain, adapt another chapter of ANGEL HUNT to serial (it’s so weird, going from serial to chapter back to serial format), promote the new post on The Process Muse, work on my article, hopefully get some scripts in my queue, work on the next book for review, start contest entries. I’d like to work a little ahead on Process Muse and Ink-Dipped Advice, too, but that may get pushed off until the weekend.

Next week, I have to look at the short stories that do not have a home and the plays, and decide where to submit. I need everything out the door by early March (I will wait to start submissions until Mercury goes direct). I looked at my submission and pitch logs for 2022, and I was lax. Time to make up for it this year. If it’s not out there, it can’t find the right match.

What’s on your agenda today?

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.

Fri. Dec. 9, 2022: Catching Up on Baking; Planning the Writing, the Cards, the Decorating

image courtesy of Mylene 2401 via pixabay.com

Friday, December 9, 2022

Waning Moon

Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Yesterday felt slow, although I got a decent amount of work done. I polished, uploaded, and scheduled two more episodes of Legerdemain. I created promo graphics for them. I redid the promo graphic I hated so much on Episode 42. I also redid the graphic for Episode 44. I liked the graphic for Episode 44 a lot, but it was in a style that was completely different than any of the other episode promos, and it was jarring. It also gave the sense that it was an episode that leaned more toward humor, which that episode does not. I uploaded and scheduled all the promos. I also decided, starting with the promo for Episode 45, to stop putting “First 3 Episodes Free on Kindle Vella.” That’s known, especially 44 episodes into it, and the promos will be more useful in the long term without the Vella reference. I think I will leave off the reference on the ANGEL HUNT promos, except for the first 3 episodes which are eternally free.

I’m sitting down to do the 2023 Plan which involved the larger plan for the serials (some of which will run beyond 2023). Legerdemain is sustaining itself well enough to warrant the first three large arcs, and possible one or two more. ANGEL HUNT is finite (and, by the end of this year, I hope I know just how many episodes it will entail. I’m pretty sure it will be over 100, meaning it will run for at least a year). I have to schedule in the radio plays I need to write, and a couple of full-length stage plays. I have a couple of film scripts that need prepping so they can go out to contests. Pretty soon, I will know whether or not I’m going back to the series that went on pause when I got sick. And I want to get CAST IRON MURDER out on submission this spring.

Two more packages of the ten mailed on Monday have been delivered. So, five out of the ten. Of the remaining five to be delivered, two of them having been repeatedly traveling between Springfield and Chicopee, instead of getting out of state to their destinations, so let’s hope they get it together and get going.

That’s why I mailed everything early.

It’s UPS and their lying about an incoming package that gets my goat. The package was out for delivery on the truck with the package that was delivered on Wednesday. Only it never made it off the truck with that other package. And now, UPS keeps telling me it will be delivered “today” but it isn’t.

Slogged through a bunch of email. I need to clean up and unsubscribe from a bunch of stuff instead of just deleting it.

Turned around two coverages in the afternoon. Nothing on the docket for today, which is fine, because that gives me time to catch up on the baking. Hopefully, I’ll get a few more coverages next week, and into the following week.

Too tired to bake yesterday.

Finished reading my friend’s book, and I’ll do the writeup on it I promised her, and get it posted this morning.

Today, I need to get two more episodes of Legerdemain polished, uploaded, scheduled. Then do the graphics for them. Then upload and schedule the ads for those last four episodes, and I’m into the first week of January 2023. Then I can switch to editing the next batch of episodes in this arc, and writing more.

I’ve lost some momentum on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, and need to get that back. I’m fairly close to the end of this draft, and then I want to let it sit for two months, without even looking at it.

I need to do the rounds of the library, the grocery, the liquor store later this morning, and then bake in the afternoon. If I want to get back on track with the plan, I need to bake 3 different kinds of cookies today.

This weekend, we write the domestic cards, so I can mail them on Monday. I have to get the new printer set up, and do a test run on the coffeemaker. We also need to finish decorating: the tree, getting the garlands and lights up on the stairs, the small tree on the porch, the additional lights throughout, the mantel, and decide where the 50+ Santas I’ve accumulated will perch. We have a platoon of the smaller nutcrackers waiting to be deployed in the living room, too. And Tessa’s made a nest of stuffed Christmas animals in the sewing room, near the heater.

Speaking of Tessa, she has decided that since Charlotte eats out of Tessa’s bowl, Tessa will now eat off Charlotte’s plate when she’s in the kitchen. This is the cat who has never eaten anything that wasn’t in her warm, freshly washed bowl. But she has had enough of Charlotte’s food theft. And Charlotte believes everything tastes better out of Tessa’s bowl.

Willa stays out of it.

Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you next week.

Fri. Oct. 21, 2022: The Process Muse Announced

Friday, October 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

This will be fairly short, since I have to get going.

Yesterday was a lot about getting ready for my friend’s visit: running to the grocery store (again), making a batch of black bean soup and a lemon mousse. I’m making devilled eggs this morning.

Dusted, vacuumed, mopped. Tidied up. Filled the new magazine rack (it looks really good). Stashed the bookcases until I can paint them this weekend. Took all the tea and drinking chocolate off the top shelf of the pantry and put it in a rolly cart. Put my grandmother’s china up on the shelf. Tessa is now fascinated by tea. In the other house, it had its own cabinet in the kitchen. But now it’s accessible to her.

I did some promotion for the episode of LEGERDEMAIN that went live yesterday.

I can also announce the project that’s launching next Wednesday, October 26,  over on Substack. It’s called The Process Muse, and will be weekly deep dives into process, especially as its relevant in comparison/contrast to the serials. It also talks a lot about the creation of VIXEN’S HOLLOW/THE CUNNING ONE, which will, in a few months, start running on that platform.

Another plus to Substack is that it’s internationally. Vella is only available in the US, but my international readers can read the serial(s) I run on Substack. Since my international readership is a decent size, and always growing thanks to distribution of certain work in the UK, Australia, France, Italy, and Germany, having serials on a platform with international access is a smart choice.

I got out the newsletter extra blast about The Process Muse. Substack suggests importing one’s mailing list. If one converts a general newsletter over, that makes sense. But I didn’t want to force anyone to get The Process Muse unless they chose it. For me, in this particular situation, I wanted to INVITE my regular, quarterly newsletter readers to subscribe to The Process Muse, if they wanted. Or they could ignore it, if they did not want it. Or they could wait, and subscribe at some future time.

The newsletter went out, and people are subscribing! I’m honored and excited.

The Process Muse is free. That makes the most sense, at this time. The plan is for a weekly post on an aspect of my process, and also talking about things I’ve tried that didn’t work for me. It’s supposed to be fun, as well as a deep dive into the work, which is why the logo for it is on the more whimsical side.

If you’re not on my mailing list, but interested in it, you can sign up for it here.

Made another batch of mac & cheese last night, because, you know, MAC AND CHEESE!

I managed to turn around a script last night. I have two more to turn around this weekend. Not sure if I’ll get one done today and one tomorrow, or do both tomorrow. Next week, hopefully, there will be more in my queue AND I won’t have the distractions I had this week. It all worked out – I took some time off from reading to do other things at the same time there wasn’t much to read. It aligned well. The check from Llewellyn and the incoming money from LEGERDEMAIN next week make up for it (and more).

This weekend is about painting, getting in the plants once and for all, doing some more around the house. I also hope to do some work on LEGERDEMAIN. I didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT this week, so that needs attention. Along with reading a book for review, and reading my friend’s book for feedback. And revising the two short plays and getting them out the door.

Guess it won’t be much about resting!

Peace, my friends, and have a good one. Catch you next week!

Fri. Oct. 7, 2022: Cooking, Noodling, and 100 FREE Episodes/Day

Friday, October7, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday, the temperatures went up into the 70s, but my productivity did not soar along with it, except in terms of cooking. I noodled with some ideas (no pun intended), but didn’t get good words on paper (just mediocre words that will have to be scrapped and/or rearranged).

I made a batch of vegetable stock, I made a batch of Moosewood’s sweet potato and corn soup (which is wonderful), I roasted a chicken and later made stock from the bones, I made mashed potatoes, and my infamous carrot and parsley dish.

I created a marketing campaign for the free Kindle Vella week (which lasts until Oct. 11). You can read up to 100 episodes free per day, which means you can read all the episodes of Legerdemain that have released to date, plus a lot of other cool stuff. The link to Legerdemain is here.

Anyway, I created the campaign, and uploaded/scheduled 3 ads per day between now and the end of the 11th. It was mostly uploading/scheduling, because I used the general ads I’ve created, and rotated them through the slots, with the information. Plus, I had to promote the episode that dropped yesterday on the channels that don’t let me schedule ahead.

I looked through some submission calls. I have one more short play to prep for a call. I don’t have anything ready to go that would fit any of the other calls, and I don’t have the time or the energy to start yet something else and get it in shape in time for any of these calls.

I set up my project on Nano. The title for the first Retro Mystery will be THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which takes the title my friend Lori suggested and then adds “Death” into it to make it clear in which genre it sits. I’m going to use one of my friend Chris’s suggestions for the next book in the series, a play on cocktail titles. I put up a notification on The Enchanted Wordsmiths perch on the Nano site that we would be active in November. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it in the newsletter than just went out. It looks like there’s no ML for the Berkshires, so I guess we’re on our own. Frankly, I don’t have the time or the energy to volunteer.

I’ve spent 45 years of my life doing volunteer work across different organizations, the bulk of it unappreciated, and often, no matter how many hours I put in, there was always a demand for more. Someone else can step up, and I can step back and be careful where to place my time and energy.

I managed to get through some email, and then, it was time to switch over the script coverage. I had trouble focusing, but managed to pull it together to turn around two coverages with the attention they deserved. I couldn’t do the third script justice, so I’ve pushed it off to today, which means I have to turn four scripts around today, and then I’m done until Tuesday.

But it was nearly 10 PM by the time I was done. And I was tired.

At least Charlotte was calmer last night, and we actually got some sleep. She slept curled up against my chest. As long as there’s sleep involved, I’m fine with it.

I tried to get in for an oil change appointment this morning, but they can’t see me until Monday. Fingers crossed all goes well for the storage run this weekend.

I’m going to get some writing in now, then I have to do a run to the post office and the liquor store, then switch over to script coverage. I have a gallery opening I promised to attend at 5 tonight. When I return, I’ll have to finish up whatever script coverages are still left.

So I’ll be awake as long as it takes today.

Have a good, long holiday weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

And don’t forget all those FREE episodes on Kindle Vella!

Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)

image courtesy of Christian Dorn via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and humid

The last week of Mercury Retrograde is always crushing, but with all these other retrogrades piled on, it’s rough going.

I did admin and marketing in the morning, and did not get another episode of Legerdemain written, and that threw my day out of synch.

I left early for the meeting at the television station, in case I got lost. Of course I did, but I eventually found it. They are a very small staff, but very nice. The studio is far better equipped than I expected – even with green screen capabilities, and there’s a lot of flexibility within the space. The radio component is smaller, but also quite good.

It gave me fuel for several different projects. They need to percolate, and then I can write up proposals if any of them are viable. I also have to look into sources of funding, especially for the radio plays. Maybe that’s something I can hit up the cultural council for next year.

I made notes on Ink-Dipped Advice posts into the beginning of December. Now, to sit down and actually write them!

I meant to sit down and do the script coverage. Really, I did. But I decided to take a look at my Play Script Tracker sheet in Excel, and update it with “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By.” That led me to looking at calls for submission, which led me back to some of the earlier plays which are actually ready to go out, and I wound up submitting 5 plays. Which took much longer than it should have, mostly because I realized how few plays have synopses ready to go. I broke one of my own Submission Systems rules, and I paid for it.

Another thing to go on the list: Make sure every play has a blurb AND a synopsis. The blurbs are already up on the Pages on Stages site, but I need the synopsis ready for when it’s called.

A friend contacted me about a collaboration over the winter, which sounds like a ton of fun. I was in touch with another friend, who has both a new novel and a new screenplay he’d love some feedback on, so we’ll get that set up.

By that time, The Authors Guild Seminar on serials started. I did not realize that an author whose work both my mom and I have read extensively was the pseudonym for the chair of English at a major university (and a Board member). So, that was fun. There were two Vella authors, one Substack fiction author, and heads of Vella and Substack. 

I knew most of the information about structuring a serial, etc. I mean, I’ve written serials for decades, off and on. I was interested that Vella has more flexibility with driving readers to other sites (it says, in the guidelines, one can’t). Yet the authors are listing their websites and Facebook groups and other work in their author notes.

So I will start doing that, too. If they send it back for removal, so be it, but at least I’ll try.

The information on gaining traction was too vague for my taste. Great, success stories about tens of thousands of hits and people making the serial their day job. But what are the nuts and bolts of gaining traction? Especially if the price of Amazon ads is out of reach? That was not answered to my satisfaction.

Substack’s pitch interested me. I had not looked at it in terms of fiction. The pitch was very strong, and the author chosen to speak was a ton of fun, and I am definitely signing up for her material. I think I will poke around the site and sign up for a few things and see what it’s about. I might put EARTH BRIDE and REP serials up there, and have LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT on Vella and do a comparison study.

The Substack people also offered more nuts-and-bolts information on growing audience, which was helpful.

Also, Substack is international. A strong portion of my readership is international, and therefore shut out of all things Vella. Having work on Substack  would give them entry.

After all that, it was time to make dinner. I did colcannon tricked out with leek, pancetta, and lots of shredded cheese on top. It was wonderful.

I should have done script coverage after, but by then, it was 9 PM, and I was too damn tired.

So today will be a long day. I have to do follow-up on yesterday, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and catch up on script coverage. There’s more I should do – maybe I’ll sneak in a post or two of Ink-Dipped – but LEGERDEMAIN and script coverage need to be the main focus.

The television/radio stuff can percolate for a few days, before I actually write up those proposals and contact those I want involved, but I will send the thank you out today.

I’m worried about my friends and colleagues in Florida, in the path of Hurricane Ian. Let’s hope the storm decreases in intensity and/or veers into the sea.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on September 28, 2022 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)  
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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.