Wed. June 22, 2022: A Day at the Desk

image courtesy of Free Photos via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy, rainy, mild

I expected rain yesterday, so didn’t get up early enough to go to the laundromat.  But it didn’t rain until the evening. That’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s raining today, so I have an excuse not to go.

Plowed through a lot of emails. Got annoyed at a job listing that landed in my Inbox, claiming to be remote – only requiring 2 days/week in the office. Boo, that ain’t remote. It’s hybrid. Stop lying in the listings. Plus, it didn’t pay enough. Big red flag.

Tracked down some information I needed for a couple of different decisions. Worked on the anthology story. Percolated the other anthology story.

Most of the day was taken up with rewriting/updating the Topic Workbook for the Developing the Series class, which I’m teaching in August. I put in more resources, especially for indie authors, and talked about responsibilities when on a contract schedule vs. on one’s own schedule. I took out references to an author I no longer want to include, because I’ve lost respect for that individual. I’ve kept in references to another author whose work had a lot of impact on me, but about whom I’ve learned some disturbing things. I might leave those in, and discuss the way learning more about who an author is impacts the relationship with the work. Or, I might take it all out, and not have that tangent in the class. Because that discussion could be a class all on its own, and there are people whose input and experiences would be valuable. It feels wrong to open that discussion, but not include them.

I have a few days to make that decision.

I still have to check/update/remove resource links, which will take a bit of time. There are a few awkward passages that I need to smooth out. And I have to extract the material and exercises for the slides I want to use in class.

There’s still work to do, but at least it’s well under way, and I’m not leaving it until the last darn minute.

More January 6 hearings and more corruption from the enablers of the Narcissistic Sociopath. That Ginni Thomas, who tried to overthrow the government, gets extra protection, while election poll workers are threatened, is simply not acceptable.

And then SCOTUS telling Maine that taxpayer dollars have to be used to fund religious schools. They only mean faux Christian schools, but, in any event, it’s yet another corrupt decision from them.

And all this crap about “voting harder” doesn’t matter when voting rights aren’t protected.

Texas is talking about seceding. Again. They’ve been yapping about that my entire life. They were an independent country for a few days in the 1840’s (or whenever, I’m too lazy to look it up) and want to go back to that. It’s all performative, for their extremist base. It’s far more complicated, in this day and age, to detach, than it was a couple of centuries ago. Plus, they don’t want to lose the government funding. The blue states carry the red states with funding. It’s all hot air.

The atrocities around the Uvalde shooting get worse and worse. They need to get rid of the entire city government and the police force and start over. May those who stood by and did nothing be haunted into their graves. Which is doubtful, because if they had a conscience or ethics in the first place, they wouldn’t have behaved the way they did. It’s not like they will suddenly sprout a conscience now. Therefore, there must be harsh consequences for all of them.

On a happier note, Summer Solstice was fine, even though the weather was yucky. A CounterSocial pal shared a tarot spread that worked really well. I used my new Ask the Witch deck. When it first arrived, I was worried it wouldn’t read well for me, but working with it, I find it does.

This same pal also told me about the Druidcraft Tarot Deck, by the same team that did the Druid Animal Oracle and the Druid Plant Oracle, two decks I really like. Hmmm. . .like I don’t have a couple of bookcases full of decks!

I put up a new flash fiction piece on Ko-fi, “Discoveries” which is under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name. The dynamic of the marriage between the two characters interests me. I’m not sure if the piece will stand as it is, or if it will lead to more exploration with these characters.

I wrote and turned in my book review, and received my next assignment. I have a script in my queue, which I will turn around either today, or, more likely, tomorrow. There hasn’t been much this week, and I will probably end up doing script coverage over the weekend, if more comes in. Urgh. I was trying to avoid that this summer. But that’s the ebb and flow.

I need to work on the anthology story today, and more on The Big Project. The thing that slows down the writing on The Big Project is that each section of it has to basically be at the stage I usually would be at the third or fourth revision before I can move on to the next section. Even though the basic plot is outlined. It’s a learning curve. But then, each piece has its own  innate rhythm. This one sure as heck does.

This afternoon, I have to put on Real People Pants and makeup and go down to Pittsfield. I’m in a playwrighting workshop hosted by the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Although I’ve been writing prose and radio scripts, the stage play part of my brain feels stale lately, and I’m hoping this will shake things up. It has very strict COVID protocols in place, and I know the venue, so I’m hoping I’ve calculated the risk correctly. I’ll know in 2-5 days, won’t I?

A year ago today, the movers actually showed up on Cape and loaded the truck.

Have a good one, friends. Despite the marketing, yesterday was not the “beginning of summer.” It’s Midsummer. Starting today, the days get shorter.

Enjoy them while you can.

Thursday, June 9, 2022: Unpacking Teapots

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Rainy and cool

Yesterday started rainy, then cleared up and was beautiful. I have a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

I didn’t get much writing done, which was frustrating. My brain decided it was Friday. So I focused on the client work first, after I’d gotten through all the email that stacked up while we were gone on Tuesday.

I turned around three scripts, in and around unpacking most of what we brought back up on Tuesday, and figuring out where to put it.

The box of Johnson Brothers china came up. I adore Johnson Brothers china, and I have a combination of it from my grandmother and that I’ve picked up in thrift stores and yard sales over the years. I can spot a Johnson Brothers design at 50 paces. Some of it is original, and had to be handwashed. Some of it is reproduction and can go in the dishwasher.

I also brought up my Pyrex and corning ware dishes (that are from the 60’s and 70’s), because we needed more of those dishes.

Two boxes of teapots came up. I unpacked one box and washed it, reminding myself of the story behind each pot. There are three more boxes of teapots which will need to come up in the autumn. They have to be all handwashed. Also in the box was a ceramic decanter and a pair of goblets that I picked up in a thrift shop and just love. I’m not sure yet where to put them, but I love them.

I might post the stories behind each teapot on my Ko-fi page.

I ordered an island cart for the kitchen. I need more counter/storage space. I wasn’t going to spend the money right now, but it was on sale right now, so I did. It will arrive on Monday. Not looking forward to putting it together, but the extra prep space and storage space are much needed. It’s on wheels, so I can stash it in front of the cookbook bookcases when it’s not in use.

I’m designing the way the new seat covers are going to work on the kitchen chairs, because traditional recovering isn’t going to work. Originally, I was going to staple the fabric to the frame, and then re-screw the seats into the chair frames. We’ve had problems with those screws since we got the chairs. Instead, I’m going to make like the quick change theatre wardrobe person I am and put snaps on the covers and the seat bottom, so I can remove these and wash them as needed. Then, I’m going to Velcro down the seats to the frames, allowing more stability and the flexibility to remove the seats as needed.

There is measuring and math involved, but needs must.

Somehow, in all of this, I managed to bruise the index finger of my right hand. I’m not sure if this is fallout from the bruising to that hand when I broke the bowl on Monday, of if I hurt it some more in the storage unit or unpacking. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s badly discolored, and definitely gets worse when I type. I’m keeping an eye on it and treating it with arnica cream. It’s not like I bang hard on the keys when I type. If anything, I have a light touch. (I worked with someone a few years back in the office, and she always pounded on the computer keyboard, and I’d think, “what has that keyboard ever done to you?”).

Anyway, meditation this morning, then work on The Big Project and the monthology story, then over to client work.

“The Collector” radio play has been accepted by the producer in New York, so we are talking contract terms. I’m very excited.

I have to do a library run today (books waiting). I’d planned a quick run to Pittsfield, but I think I’ll wait for better weather, tomorrow or over the weekend.

Ellen Byron’s newest release, THE BAYOU BOOK THIEF, is supposed to arrive today, the first book in her new Vintage Cookbook series. That is my treat for the weekend, along with finishing Helen Whistberry’s THE MELODY OF TREES, which is just wonderful. I also have a book to turn around for review, which I will try to do this afternoon.

This time last year, I was in moving hell, and it was so hot and humid, it was difficult to function. I am grateful  to be where I am now.

Have a good one, my friends.

Tues. May 24, 2022: Writing, Reading, Research

omage courtesy of congerdesign via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny and cool

Friday wound up being a lovely day. It was sunny and warm. I started at the library to drop off and pick up books (there were 10 waiting for me).

I headed over to Williamstown, looking for the Historical Museum, and couldn’t find it. I did find the public library, which is sleek and beautiful, with a garden full of blooming lilacs. The staff is lovely, and gave me detailed directions with landmarks. I scoped out the library – it’s definitely a place where I want to spend more time. Lovely, light reading areas, and a sleek work area.

And people are still masking. By choice. Which is great.

The Museum was much farther from the college/town center than it seemed on the map, but I found it. It’s a lovely building. The person staffing it is new, so we had to figure out where things were.

I looked at the exhibit, and found information about a Williamstown resident’s untimely demise that had been told to me as happening up the street from me here in North Adams, which resulted in a ghost in the building that is now the Mason Hall, so I will have to do more research. I also found information on a pair of sisters who farmed around the turn of the century, and want to know more about them.

The staff person found the file (somewhere neither of us would have thought to look), and I settled in. Much of the information was more recent, about the flood that finally wiped out the Spruces, and the rent battles the tenants had with the town leading up to it.

But there was some of the earlier information. I found contradictions and sanitization of information I’d found from other sources, which I found very interesting. It has set off ideas on how I want to build the character who heads the fictional community, and how I want to put him in competition with the real-life guy. Al Bachand, who was the actual visionary behind The Spruces, reminds me, in a lot of ways of David Belasco. My theatre pals will understand the reference. For anyone who doesn’t, I suggest looking up both names in your search engine, and reading some of the biographical information, and you’ll see what I mean.

Bachand was quite a character, a man of many talents and appetites. I want to build the fictional counterpart, who is in deep rivalry with him, to be even more over-the-top. Most of that is because it will suit the story I want to tell better. Part of it is because members of Bachand’s immediate family are still alive, and it would be disrespectful to use him in the series the way I want and need to use the visionary behind my fictional park. So I’m building a character that is somewhat inspired by him, but also very different from what I’m researching on the man, AND a character who is obsessed with the idea of besting Bachand (but can’t ever really do it). I also want to build the geography of my fictional park a little differently than the real Spruces was built, so it can serve the needs to the series.

In order to do this, I’m doing something I call “stretching geography.” By that, I mean creating fictional places and integrating them with real ones. I do that in CAST IRON MURDER, where I created the fictional Berkshires town of Persimmon. It’s got elements of Cheshire and Dalton and Clarksburg in it. While I’m vague about exactly WHERE it is (I talk about neighboring towns, including North Adams), it’s sort of stuffed between Cheshire and Adams, in my mind. I have to figure out the name of the town I want to put in competition with Williamstown and the Spruces community, and where I’m going to shove it. I want it close enough so that there can be actual competition between the two communities. That won’t come up in the series arc in action until several books in, but I’m going to seed the tension from the first book.

Anyway, there were notes in the research file that will lead me to other sources that I will go back and poke around in on another day.

I may have to buy another sketchbook just to draw the maps of my new community! The one I bought recently is dedicated to the maps I need to draw for The Big Project.

The lilacs are in bloom here, and it does my heart good to see and smell them. I still miss the ones I nurtured for a decade, but being around lilacs makes me happy.

On the way home from the museum, I stopped at Korean Garden and picked up chicken tangsooyuk, which was delicious.

There were no scripts in the queue, but I’d sent off my review and the invoice before I left for the museum, and was paid and had my next book assigned by the time I got back, so I decided not to panic.

Instead, I started reading UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by TJ Klune, which is so beautifully written.

Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I let the Retro Mystery percolate, and the monthology story percolate.

I prepared a big batch of black currant tea and put it in jars in the fridge, so I’d have something cool to drink over the very hot weekend.

I put up a one-card reading with the Herbal Tarot up over on my Ko-Fi page.

Saturday was World Meditation Day. I’d been invited to several all-day online sessions. While I was tempted, I was more drawn to not being online all day, and being quiet and internal instead.

I did some more research on the building here in North Adams. Turns out that there was a similar accident within a year of the one mentioned in the museum in Williamstown. Two different women, in similar family situations, killed in automobile accidents, about a year apart. I dug and did more research on both women, their families, and the accidents. I found some papers on them at Academia.edu, which is great, only now they email me multiple times a day with ideas on other stuff.

It also led me to research on Alice Ramsey, who drove across the country in 1909, and I put aside some information on that, because that sounds like fun inspiration.

I finished reading UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR, which is a beautiful, beautiful book. I started reading UNDER SKELETON LOCK AND KEY by Gigi Pandian, which is a delight.

It got quite hot on Saturday. Not unbearable, but hot enough so that I spend the hottest part of the day supine, reading. And letting things percolate.

I turned a script around on Saturday, too, because I was able to grab one. I typed up and revised the flash fiction, “Discoveries” that will go up on Ko-Fi this week. I put up a one-card reading with the Herbal tarot on Ko-Fi here.

Sunday was also hot, and much more humid. I had computer problems again; the computer took an hour to get up and running again, with screen freezes and all the rest. I hate Windows11.

But before that, I had a good day writing, in longhand, on the front porch. I’m going to need a new journal book before the end of the month, my third this year. I also wrote six pages on the idea spawned by the information about the two young women who died in automobile accidents up in Pownal, that I’d been researching. I’m writing my way into it. The plot is taking shape, and, once I’ve written my way into it a little more, I will stop and do an outline, if it’s viable. I figured out a way to connect the two women. It’s fiction, inspired by the real Elizabeth Botsford and the real Mary Houghton, but it’s definitely fiction.

The Houghton graves – and that of the chauffer who killed himself after Mary’s death – are up the street in Southview cemetery. I may go up there and look around, one day when it’s cooler.

Preakness Day was on Saturday afternoon. They should have cancelled, due to heat, and no one in the stands was taking any Covid precautions, which was rather disheartening. I wanted the filly, Secret Oath, to wipe the track with the boys, but she came in fourth, which is still pretty good. Early Voting won, and my baby Epicenter came in second.

I finished reading UNDER LOCK AND SKELETON KEY, which was so much fun. I also read A DEADLY BONE TO PICK by Peggy Rothschild, which was also very good.

I was assigned the word with which to start my poem for the World’s Longest Poem. I figured out the first two lines, and played with them, rhythmically, until they worked. But then I couldn’t figure out where to go with it.

Fortunately, it percolated overnight, and I woke up with the third and final line. We can have up to five lines, but I’m saying what I want to say in three, so there’s no need to witter on.

I worked the final line until it fit the rhythm, so I could send it off by noon. Also wrote two pages on the ghost story, and 1200 words on The Big Project.

More computer problems, especially with the keyboard, which is very frustrating. In case I haven’t said it often enough, I hate Windows11.

This computer is only two years old and has been babied as though it was made of Swarovski crystal. There is no reason for it not to run perfectly.

I’m also sick of people who tell me I should have a “backup computer.” Who can afford that? The computer which I PAID FOR INCLUDING AN EXTENDED WARRANTY should do the job it’s supposed to do, for more than the first couple of months, especially because I take care of it.

Sent off my bit of the poem, which is both exciting and terrifying.

I walked to the library to drop off and pick up books. I was delighted to literally stop and smell the lilacs several times along the way. I took some photos of the Houghton Mansion that I will use in my research, although my fictional mansion will be set up a little differently. I’m not going to have the added-on bulk of the masonic hall, which looks as though it should house a swimming pool. I may have that portion of the house be a ballroom instead. I’d written two more pages on that piece in the early morning writing session. The story is coming out a little differently than I expected, but I like what it’s doing. At least, so far. And I’ve figured out how to tie the two women’s deaths together in fiction, although they were only tied together by location and type of accident in real life.

Went down a research rabbit hole about Mary’s friend, Sybil. The birth, death, and marriage records point out where a lot of the sensational stories appearing on the various haunted house websites bent the truth. Probably through a lack of careful research, but still. It also took a bit of digging to find out what happened to her mother, Cordelia, after the deaths of her husband and daughter, but I found some information from reliable sources. Her two other daughters helped care for her, until she died, several years later. I’m changing that in the novel; the character based on her remarries and starts a new life, and that is tied to the deaths not only of Mary and Sybil, but Elizabeth, in a way that simply does not have evidence that happened in real life.

 Then, I went back to searching a particular record I want in relation to the Retro Mystery, but couldn’t find it. Could find records around it, but not that one. It’s a specific marriage record, and it makes me wonder if that marriage took place out of the county, such as at Niagara Falls or somewhere else. I found out that one of the inspirations for a character in the story is still alive and living in this town, so I have to make even more certain that her fictional counterpart is very different. However, my intent for her is to be a positive, dynamic character in the series.

Finding the facts, and then deciding how I’m going to change things so it works for fiction, and do so in a way that honors the real-life inspirations, is an interesting process.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun. Finals are done; it’s mostly about field trips and running out the clock. And our last session is on Thursday. It’s bizarre to think that we’re done, after more than two years. But they’ve built a strong support system amongst each other, so whatever comes next, they can handle it together, and I can step back.

I’m reading DISORIENTED by Elaine Hsieh Chou, which is by turns, funny and disturbing. The writing is beautiful.

Charlotte woke me up at 4:20, and Tessa rousted me out of bed by 5. So another too-early morning. Got some writing done, and fussed over the plants.

We have Some Plans for today, which hopefully will go well, and I’ll have a lot of fun stuff to share tomorrow.

Peace, friends, and have a good day. We’re headed to a long holiday weekend, and I am ready for it!

Fri. May 20, 2022: Preparing for a Hot Weekend

image courtesy of SplitShire via pixabay.com

Friday, May 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Partly cloudy and warmer

Meditation was good yesterday, although it took me a bit of time to settle into it. Charlotte had no such problems. She loves the weekly Zoom meditations with the Concord Public Library.

Got ahead on some blog work, did the social media rounds, caught up on email, did the necessary admin work. Now that I’m figuring out how to use Counter Social, I’m liking it. And I’ll take an anonymous hacker as the leader of it over a spoiled brat billionaire any time. But Twitter is still my main hangout, at least for now.

Freelance Chat was fun, although the pricing/rate suggestions given by the weekly guest don’t suit what I do.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. I’d been requested, which is always nice. A little worried because my queue is empty. I should be pleased; it opens up the weekend. But I’m below my financial goal for the month with them, which concerns me.

However, I read the next book for review in the afternoon/evening, and this morning I will write up the review and send the invoice for the last batch, so there’s that money. But if scripts are available this weekend, I’ll read over the weekend.

Played with the flash fiction I wrote the other day. I will type it up over the weekend and do a couple of revision passes on it, so that it’s in a decent shape for Ko-Fi. The most intriguing part, for me, about this, is the tension in the relationship between the two characters. Is this something I want to explore further?

It rained on and off all day, sometimes intensely, so I was glad to stay in. But I have to swing by the library this morning on my way to the Williamstown Historical Museum to drop off/pick up books. I have about six to return, and there are ten waiting for me.

Started a book that had come highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, so, nope.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Some of the kids are finished with their exams. The rest have their last ones this coming week. Only two more sessions, and we will be done, after two and a half years of working together. Definitely bittersweet.

I decided not to do the proposal for the project in autumn. It would have to be indoors, and with numbers rising, new variants, and monkey-fucking-pox, it’s not worth the risk.

This weekend is supposed to be in the 90’s, which just makes me cringe. I will clean the fans later today, so they’re ready in case we need to use them in addition to the ceiling fans. Considering that it’s cold enough for the heat to be on this morning, I don’t want that large temperature swing. It does a number on my body.

The plan is, in the cooler portions of the day, that I can get a lot of writing done, especially on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the first draft of the anthology story. I also want to get back to the revisions of “Personal Revolution” and the Topic Workbooks. I realized how to solve a logic problem in “Personal Revolution” by simply changing a character’s job location.

Hopefully, the heat won’t drain every last drop of creativity out of me, and I can get things done, whether or not any script coverage comes through.

Have a good one.

Thurs. May 19, 2022: Decent Day, Creatively

image courtesy of Clip Art Vectors via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and cool

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday turned out to be a strong day, creatively. I wrote a flash fiction piece while I ate breakfast (which I don’t usually do, but I didn’t want to lose the idea). Yes, it was in longhand.

It has characters with whom I might do more. I’m kind of test driving these characters, and will probably post the piece on my Ko-fi page in a few weeks, after it’s gone through some revisions.

I was out the door by 7:30 and over to the mechanic’s on time. They had the part, and got it into the car within twenty minutes or so. The car feels like itself again. Fingers crossed the car is really fixed this time, and nothing else goes wrong.

On the way home, I stopped at Wild Oats, the co-op where I’m a member-owner. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go there since December. Stocked up on some of my favorites. Stopped at Stop & Shop, where I rarely shop anymore, for a few things I can only get there. In both stores, everyone was masked by choice, which made shopping much less stressful.

Got everything home and put away. Went through emails. Did the last four chapters’ worth of revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, finishing this draft. It came in just over 63K, which is around where I want it. I’m going to let it sit for a bit, and next week, start the multi-colored draft.

I contacted the Williamstown Historical Museum about a research appointment that will feed into the Retro Mystery. I’d like to go in this Friday morning. Fingers crossed that I can. I caught up on Ello and am getting more comfortable on Counter Social, where I’m having actual conversations.

I have contradictory information about the guidelines for one of the proposals I want to submit, and I need clarification, because if one set of information is correct, it’s not the right fit for me, and I will move on. I’m debating the other proposal, because it has to be in-person indoors in the autumn, and who knows what the virus numbers will be like?

And now we have to worry about monkeypox? Really? Committing to being a professional recluse looks better and better.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and then went back to reading THE BONE ORCHARD, which was hard to put down, because it’s so unique and interesting. Read it until I was finished, and was still thinking about it when I woke up.

Tessa rousted me around 5:30, as usual, although she’d been fussing a good deal before that.

Did my first writing session, and my normal routine. Willa seems to have settled down a bit, although she’s still being cautious.

I have meditation this morning, and then it’s back to the page. The Big Project, work on the radio plays, maybe looking at the outline for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY to get that back on track. I have a script to turn around this afternoon, and a book to read for review. If I get enough scripts in my queue, I’ll read through the weekend, since I want to take some time off for Memorial Day Weekend.

It’s supposed to get into the 90’s this weekend, which I am not looking forward to, but be cooler and pleasanter next week.

Fingers crossed that the car is Really Fixed this time. That will take a lot of stress out of my life.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. May 18, 2022: Willa Had a Hard Day

image courtesy of Scott Payne via pixabay.com. This looks very much like Willa, although it is a stock photo.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday had to be re-jiggled a bit, because the cats got upset, poor things.

We did a final house clean early in the morning, and I got the garbage out just as the gas company guy and the maintenance guy arrived. Since the focus was the basement, and then the gas stove in the kitchen, we closed the bedroom doors, the door to the laundry room, etc. We made sure the cats weren’t shut away in any of the rooms, because they hate that. They want to know what’s going on.

They also don’t like closed doors.

Tessa was fine about it. She marched around to check the doors, glared at us, and then settled on the sofa. Her Highness refused to acknowledge our existence until late afternoon.

Charlotte wasn’t too pleased, but she made sure she met the newcomers and they told her she was pretty, and then she went in m office and sat on a chair until everything was finished.

Willa, who is usually the mellow jokester, was the one who nearly fell apart. She thought she was being given away again. She was frantic. When she was moved, all those times before she came to us, the people she was leaving must have shut the doors to the rooms where she usually hung out.

Now, the guys who came in were perfectly nice and cat lovers.

But the closed doors triggered Willa.

They were in and out in less than a half hour. But it took several hours to calm Willa down. She was Velcro kitty, and sat quietly close by, staring as if to say, “If I’m very quiet and good, you won’t give me away, will you?” We kept petting her and telling her she was good and everything was okay, but she didn’t believe us, even after we re-opened all the doors. Charlotte promptly curled up on my bed and passed out until late afternoon, and Tessa refused to have anything to do with us, because her routine was upended without her being consulted. But Willa was absolutely terrified.

It was heartbreaking.

So we took whatever time it took to reassure her. It was late afternoon before she was back to her silly self.

I worked through a ton of email. I sent out a W-9 to the theatre doing my radio play next week, and they are eager for more. As soon as I get the two plays for the NY producer ready, I will go back to work on the dirigible play for them.

I sent off the autopay authorization to Prime Storage. I bet they still screw things up for this next pay period. They are horrid.

I caught up over on Ello. I posted a flash fiction, “Angel Auditions” over on Ko-Fi. I tried to figure out how to maneuver on Counter Social.

I contacted Windsor Lake about getting the season pass and found out I can just get it at the gate house starting Memorial Day Weekend, so I’m delighted.

Edited three more chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Four more to go, and I’m done with this draft. Then, I can start the multi-colored draft. I think it will only need one draft after that, and I can decide what to do with it.

A script landed in my queue that needed immediate turnaround. It was pretty good, and I got it done in good time. I have two more to read today. I’m a little worried by the dearth of scripts lately. Thank goodness I had so many at this time last year, when I was desperate for the money. I still have other paid work to finish this week, so I don’t have to worry about the lack of scripts.

The night blooming jasmine finally arrived (the shippers sent a new one to replace the one which had gone astray). It’s much smaller than I expected, but I had a pot the right size for it, and it’s happy in its new home on the front porch.

The weather was wacky, alternating between sun and rain, sometimes raining while sunny, so I had to take down the hanging baskets so they wouldn’t get battered.

THE DRUID PLANT ORACLE and the ASK THE WITCH TAROT both arrived. The former is absolutely gorgeous, and I look forward to working with it and learning it over the coming months. The latter is much harsher than I expected from the blurbs, but also quite fascinating.

Knowledge Unicorns was a lot of fun. Hard to believe next week will be our last.

I have a couple of project proposals to work on, too, and I have to get my profile up on the Creative Ground site. And get back to work on The Big Project. I’m woefully behind where I want to be on that, although it’s in good shape.

But first, this morning, I have to head over to the mechanic to get the car fixed. Hopefully, it will be Really Fixed this time, and we can start our day trips. And run basic errands without holding my breath all the time.

I’m finding THE BONE ORCHARD absolutely fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Off to the mechanic soon. Hold a good thought for me. Hopefully, it won’t take long, and I can get back to start my workday. Have a good one!

Wed. May 11, 2022: House and Home

image courtesy of kmcremeans via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and lovely

I was out the door by 7:15 yesterday morning, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get to the mechanic. I got there in 15 minutes, found it, no problem.

In other words, I was there before they were.

They didn’t mind that I waited for them, and got me settled on their too comfortable couch while they got their day sorted out and then looked at the car. It took four hours, because they had to be methodical about it. The previous mechanic had given a vague code reference, and they had to go down a checklist to find out what the actual problem was. It’s a much simpler fix than the other guy warned (which also means less expensive). They did a temporary fix so I could drive without worry, ordered the part, and I go in next Wednesday for the fix.

During those four hours, I just chilled out on the couch with my book and watched how well they interacted with their customers. They know most of them by name, and have a great rapport. With me, they were nice, straightforward, and everything made sense.

They will also replace the battery in my key that went out a couple of years back, where I was told it could only be done by the dealer and cost $300. They will fix it for $13.

On the way home, I stopped at the store and picked up some stuff, including a hanging birdbath for the back balcony and a rug for the enclosed front porch.

After lunch, we got in the car and headed out to Whitney’s Farm, where we spent too much on plants. But boy, is the place gorgeous! Then, of course, we had to buy more pots for the plants. We weren’t back until well after 3. But I’d blocked off the whole day, and it was nice not to worry about anything.

Spent the late afternoon on the porch, reading. Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Only a few more weeks, and we are done. Of course, that’s what we though in 2020 and 2021.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat. Windows 11 has decided to install, so who knows how long that will take. I’d hoped to get some work done before I head out to the library and the grocery store, but we’ll see.

It’ supposed to get into the high 80’s later this week, so it’s time to switch out from the flannel sheets mid-week instead of over the weekend, and to really set up the front porch and back balcony enchanted gardens.

I don’t have scripts in my queue to worry about, and, while I should worry about that, I’m enjoying taking it a little slow and doing things around the house. Once the Windows Update is installed, I’ll get some writing done, too.

I’ll write about it all in more detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

I have a tarot reading up on Ko-fi about handling the Mercury Retrograde with grace.

Have a good one!

Thurs. May 5, 2022: Finally, Some Sun!

image courtesy of Tim HIll via pixabay.com

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and mild

Yesterday felt kind of lost and scattered. I’m still waking up in the middle of the night ready to fret (sense memory from last year at this time) and there’s nothing to fret about on the scale there was last year, so I have to calm down and get back to sleep. Also, going into yesterday, once I fell asleep again, I dreamed that I wrote several 30 second and one minute commercial spots, and woke up feeling like I’d already put in a full day.

The morning wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, although I caught up on some blogging, answered emails, and got out a grant proposal. I’ve applied for this particular grant for several years, and always told that they really like my work, and I should try again the following year when they don’t give me the grant. As I entered in my credentials this year, I realized that I have built quite a few credentials, and therefore a professional place, in the particular milieu the grant covers, and if they don’t fund me this year, I won’t apply anymore. They have three grant cycles this year to which I’m suited. I will apply, and if I don’t get any of them, I’m done with them. I looked back at their previous recipients, and, so far, I’ve only found people with few or no publication credits who never show up anywhere again, so they get the grant, they work a little, and they vanish. Which, hey, I’m all for supporting writers at any stage of their career, but if the organization doesn’t support working writers who can deliver consistently and actually grow a career and a body of work, then I’m wasting my time on these applications. It’s time better used on my work and/or applying to other organizations that support writers who grow and sustain their work. Otherwise, I’m just bashing my head against a wall for no reason.

I put up o new post on Ko-Fi, a sweet, somewhat romantic flash fiction under the Ava Dunne name called “Floral Arrangements.” I was surprised at the positive response. I’ve always liked it, but couldn’t find a home for it. One friend encouraged me to turn it into a screenplay, and she’s right, it would work, so I’m taking notes as I think of them. I just have to make sure I don’t drop bodies in there, reverting to my usual wheelhouse!

Did some plotting on the anthology story, and I think I’ll be ready to start it next week.

Turned around two scripts, and went back to contest entries. I have two more scripts to turn around today and then, like last week, I’ll focus on contest entries tomorrow and into the weekend, to finish the decisions on this final contest by Tuesday’s deadline. Did some work on a proposal for my elected officials, which will go out tomorrow.

Deborah Blake’s CLAWS FOR SUSPICION arrived the other day, too, and I’m looking forward to reading it once I finish contest entries and the next book for review.

I’d placed a big order for things like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc., and it was delivered early, so there was that unpacking and sorting. I left the box out so the cats could play in it, and will break it down later today. So we’re supplied for another six months or so with all of that.

Meditation this morning, and then I’m off to run errands: library, big grocery shop, pharmacy, liquor store (I ran out of red wine, although I have plenty of white). Then, it’s back to the page. Hopefully, I’ll get everything done and be back in time for Freelance Chat.

There’s a garden post on Gratitude and Growth. It looks like today will be lovely, so I’m going to do some of my work out on the porch.

Have a good one!

Fri. April 29, 2022: Extricating from Tracfone’s Harassment

image courtesy of Alexander Andrews via Unsplash.com

Friday, April 29, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and cold

The Retrogrades are starting, and Pluto goes retrograde today, and stays retrograde until October 8. Pluto’s retrograde works to reveal what’s hidden and force us to face fears, causing long-lasting transformations. Tomorrow is Beltane Eve with a new moon and a solar eclipse, so there’s a lot going on, and if you’re wondering why your emotions are all over the place, take a deep breath and a nap.

I had high hopes for yesterday, which were quickly dashed. I had trouble focusing in meditation. Charlotte had no such issues, spending most of the session quietly on my lap.

Then, Tracfone started again. First, they sent a text saying the phone number transfer was happening. Then, they began a series of phone calls in escalating harassment along the lines of “this is our number and we decide when and if it transfers.” They kept demanding a series of “press this key and that key” – which wasn’t possible, because one of the issues with that smartphone is that the dial pad was dumped and couldn’t be retrieved. Basically making the phone useless. Which has been explained to them, in detail, over a dozen times. Anything that they deemed wasn’t used “often enough” (which, by their definition, is multiple times a day) was removed from the phone. My mom is 97. She doesn’t need to dial her phone every day. So the dial pad was removed and the phone was even more useless than possible. In addition to the whole thing that she doesn’t need a smartphone and it was too difficult for her to learn. They were also trying to force another month’s payment while they ‘considered’ whether or not to release the number.

I turned off the phone, went back to Consumer Cellular, cancelled the transfer and got a new phone number. I was able to end SIX MONTHS of torment and harassment in five minutes.

Tracfone could have solved this issue six months ago in fifteen minutes and kept a customer they’d had for a decade. Instead, they chose harassment, believing if they harassed long and hard enough, we would just cave and pay them whatever they demanded and do whatever they demanded.

As much of a pain in the ass it is to let everyone know her new number, it’s better than Tracfone’s unacceptable harassment. Not to mention the literally thousands of dollars I’ve lost in billable hours/work time because of this.

The service ran out at the end of the day, and we are done with Tracfone. I am filing a formal complaint with the state’s division of public utilities, under which cellphones fall, but at least they’re not getting anymore money out of us, and can’t call anymore.

The new number needs a bit of time to settle down. In the first 12 hours, we had to block 4 scam calls.

At least they’re not like Verizon, which demanded a $4.99 charge every month for every number blocked, so one really couldn’t afford to block numbers.

I was exhausted by the end of that debacle, but also relieved that we’re done. And my mom has a simple flip phone that she can actually use, and that works.

I lost all the time blocked off for writing.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It’s such a great group.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage for something on which I’d been requested, and grabbed another script to read today. I’ll be a little under my nut for this pay period, but I need to focus on the contest entries over the weekend, and possibly into part of next week.

I spent some time on Ello, and put up a tarot post over on Ko-fi.

We did some Monthology brainstorming for a project logo, which we can slap around all over the place on websites and stickers and whatever. I mean, there are 50 of us, we can have an impact and get people interested and excited about the project.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We’ve set our final virtual meeting date for late May, before Memorial Day weekend. More of an online party than anything else, to celebrate what we’ve built over the past two and a half years, and that we survived, at least so far.

I keep talking about how great Ello is, but friends are having trouble signing up. I feel bad about that, since I’ve been hawking the site. But the numbers I get on it are high – well over 100 for most posts, and over 1000 for others. In addition to cross-posting content, I also need to create specific content for that platform. Just not sure what yet.

Speaking of trouble signing up, Prime Storage, which bought the CubeSmart storage facility on Cape, is ignoring my requests for customer service and assistance setting up auto-pay. Their website will not acknowledge me as an existing customer or allow me to sign up as a new customer. It just keeps booting me out. I have no doubt this is intentional – they are trying to make sure there are late payments, so they can charge late fees. So I have to write a check and send it express mail to make sure it gets there on time. And you better believe I’m going to make them sign for it. AND send them the tracking number.

Another hateful company.

Worked on contest entries last night. I’m a little behind where I hoped I’d be, so I have to push hard this weekend. But that’s okay. Everything will get done by deadline, and it’s always exciting to read such a wide range of new work.

Going to hit the page this morning. I need to finish the first draft of the radio play by tomorrow for Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event. I have a seminar with them this afternoon, which should be interesting, on curating one’s archive.

I have to make the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office, and the liquor store.

This afternoon, I’ll turn around another script and go back to the contest entries.

Tomorrow, we’re switching out the winter curtains to the lace panels, swapping out some early spring fabric for more summery fabric, and doing other houseworky things that have somehow become part of Saturday’s routine. I also have an online yoga session tomorrow afternoon.

I’ll have to finish the first draft of the radio play and do contest entries.

Saturday is Beltane Eve, the new moon, the eclipse; Sunday is Beltane and the start of May. Another month whizzing past.

April definitely was more chaotic and less productive than I’d hoped, but I’m looking forward to May and spring and plants and all that good stuff.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on April 29, 2022 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 29, 2022: Extricating from Tracfone’s Harassment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress

image courtesy of mohammad Hassan via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a mixed day. I managed a good bit of admin in the morning; I have to, or the number of emails becomes overwhelming. It rained a good portion of the day, although I managed to get home from the laundromat before it started, and dashed out in a quick pause in the afternoon to get the garbage out.

I went back and started re-establishing myself over on Ello, and remembered why I enjoy that platform so much. I cross-post a lot of what’s here over there; haven’t yet decided how I want to do new content.

On the wave of the work I’d done on The Big Project at the laundromat, I did another section. I am still way, way, waaaaay behind where I need to be on it, and I have to double down on it in May.

I had some additional material to look at for the contest, which was just forwarded to me (late), and dealt with that. One category is now officially finalized. I’d hoped to have the second category done today, but it’s more likely to be tomorrow or Friday (likely Friday). That depends how much script coverage comes in. Right now, I just have one more script to cover today. I’d hoped for two tomorrow and two on Friday to end this pay period close to what I need, but it looks doubtful.

I set up a Ko-fi page. I think it’s a better fit for me than Patreon, because there’s less pressure for tiered content and constant content. I still want to add new material pretty regularly, and use it to play with material that’s out of my wheelhouse a bit, or with pieces that I know are strong, but haven’t found the right market.

For instance, I posted “Fallout” which is one of my favorite flash fiction pieces. It’s received excellent feedback, but never the right market fit. So it’s here, and it’s getting positive response.

I also want to do some tarot pieces, using different decks. I’d considered doing it on Instagram (inspired by other tarot readers who do a great job on that platform). But it’s too complicated to do from my phone, so I’ll do it on Ko-fi instead.

It’s not that I think I’ll make a huge profit or anything on Ko-fi. I figure the money I get can be then used to support fellow creators on the platform. It’s basically going to be the same $3 going round and round forever.

And, it gives me a no-pressure playground.

It’s likely I will leave (or severely cut back to only promotions) Twitter in a few months, once the Muskrat purchase goes through, I intend to enjoy what I enjoy and use it to its fullest potential between now and then.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon and well into the evening.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are in the last few weeks. Some of the kids are graduating high school; no one knows what the next school year will bring. Some of the families plan to continue homeschooling their kids because they’re doing so much better; others are going to wait and see. In any case, they have built among themselves, the parents and the kids, a strong support system, and I can step back at the end of this school year without guilt. I was a strong voice in keeping the kids out of school because there is no such thing as safety in school right now, either from COVID or school shootings. And I helped the parents and kids make it possible to stay as safe as possible for two and a half years. I walked my talk. Now, as their situations have evolved, they need to make a variety of decisions, and it’s time for me to step back.

Still fighting with both Tracfone and Consumer Cellular to get my mom’s number transferred. Both companies are basically crap, but there aren’t any other choices for the simple flip phones anymore. We have to make this transfer to Consumer Cellular happen.

The company who bought the storage facility on Cape where we’ve got the rest of our stuff is AWFUL. Zero customer service and badly disorganized.  So I have to dig in this summer and take on as much extra work as possible so I can afford to bring the stuff up in fall – provided I can even get a storage unit around here. Because CubeSmart pulled such crap, selling us off to someone else out of the blue, announcing it the day after last month’s payment, I will certainly not rent from them in the future. They actually had the gall to send an email stating that they were up for an award and wanted me to vote for them! I don’t think so.

And I still haven’t been able to get an appointment to get the car fixed.

I am royally fed up and ready to go back to bed and tell everyone to fuck right off. I have a horrible headache like creatures dancing inside my head wearing cleats and wielding pickaxes. Tessa woke me at 4 this morning. Not a happy camper.

Instead, I have to go back to the page and work.

Published in: on April 27, 2022 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,