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

image courtesy of  Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

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

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

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

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

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

Didn’t sleep well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fri. Dec. 30, 2022: Happy New Year!

image coourtesy of Oleksandr Pidvalnyi via pixabay.com

Friday, December 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus, Mars, and Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was about getting ahead on various blog articles. I spent far more time than I planned on them, which means this afternoon, I need to focus on getting the next episodes of LEGERDEMAIN uploaded and scheduled.

The first batch of contest entries arrived, but no inventory sheet; I’m hoping they sent me one via email, so I can check in the books and see which ones I need to download. I will get started on those this weekend, probably. Those that arrived as print submissions look good, and I’m excited to get started on them.

I did some planning work/notes/noodling on a project. It’s going to be fun, and I think I’m going to set in in Northumbria, one of my favorite places. I’ll create a fictional town between Morpeth and Bamburgh. I’ll get to have some fun in London locations, too.

The Artists Working Group has been disbanded, which is one less stress on my monthly schedule. As much as I had hopes and liked the people I met through it, it felt like organizations were coming in looking for free labor for their projects and events. My own work comes first; once I’ve done my own work and filled in client work to meet the financial needs for the month, THEN I can volunteer on other people’s projects. Not before. Getting guilted into putting other people’s work first and doing free labor for them under the guise of “building community” or “for the good of the organization” is part of the reason I was so unhappy on Cape Cod.

Charlotte decided to sleep in a chair in the office last night (after doing another Catzilla through the Christmas village), so at least I got some sleep until 4 AM, when she decided to come and wake me up for attention. I got up a little before 6, coaxed out of bed by the smell of coffee and Tessa’s complaints.

I went to the laundromat (we do not start the New Year with dirty panties in this house), and got two big loads done and back and put away. While the clothes did their thing, I wrote about 1K of a project on which I’m writing my way in to see if it’s viable. So far, so good. After a few more chapters I’ll sit down and write my Writer’s Rough Outline, and then decide where it can fit into the schedule. It’s flowing well, and I like the characters and situation.

Once I came home, put the laundry away (or hung up what needs to air dry), and had breakfast, I headed back out again. I went around the corner to drop off some mail that I been misdelivered to me. I headed for the grocery store and bought what we need for the weekend’s festivities.

Tomorrow night, I’ll do the salmon with cumin and orange glaze that’s become a New Year’s Eve tradition. I like to make a duck for the Day, but they were hard to get this year, and I don’t have the energy to go dashing around. Instead, I’m doing a roasted chicken sausage with kale, apple, and cranberries. We will, of course, have a traditional Eggs Benedict for the day (pork before noon, my friends, is a family tradition).

On the eve, another family tradition is to have herring before midnight. Not a big fan, but hey, whatever brings luck, right? I’ll also make some devilled eggs, and there’s an orange and fig spread and an assortment of cheeses. Plenty of prosecco for the Eve and the Day, and a bayberry candle to “burn to the socket to bring cash to the pocket.”

New Year’s Day will start with the Fire & Ice ritual, but overall, both the Eve and the Day will be quiet. I spent many years working on the Eve (working in theatre means you work nights and holidays). When I worked on Broadway and lived a block off Times Square, even if I got out of the show before midnight, I couldn’t get to my apartment, because the streets were sealed off. So I was forced to go to an overpriced restaurant or someone’s party. Even if I was with people I liked, it was too much, and not the way I wanted to start the year. After a few too many years of that, I started taking New Year’s Eve off work and going upstate to a yoga/meditation retreat, and that made a huge, positive difference, even if I had to race back down to the city to work a show or shows on New Year’s Day. Now that I don’t work backstage anymore, I can create the quiet, reflective New Year tranSItions and traDItions that work for me, and I’m much happier.

Monday is a day off, and then I plan to EASE into the year, instead of trying to race into it and overload myself at the beginning.

What are your plans for the transition? Whatever they are, I wish you joy.

Peace, my friends, and Happy New Year.

Tues. Dec. 13, 2022: Busy in the Cold

image courtesy of 0fjd125gk87 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Waning Moon

Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and COLD

It is ZERO degrees F this morning. Brrrr!

I hope you have a cup of your favorite beverage, so we can curl up to catch up.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about “Flexible Gratitude” which is what I’m working on this week, in addition to trying to hold steady and get things done.

Friday, I had the day off from script coverage. I did the blogging, the social media rounds, picked up books at the library, got a couple of things from the grocery store. I had trouble getting going, because I was tired.

However, after lunch, I started baking, and I baked 25 dozen cookies (orange cranberry, oatmeal currant, molasses spice). Once I got going, I had it down to a system, and it went pretty fast. I did two batches of each kind of cookie; if I need more, I can always whip up another batch.

Since I have 7 baking trays, I can prep the trays and just rotate them through the baking while I keep working on the next batch.

Got them all packed up in their tins, once they cooled. But I was definitely tired by the end of it.  I ran out of wax paper while I was packing the tins, but I had parchment paper, so it was all good.

Really, though, it took about 4 ½ hours, that’s all.

And I made more vegetable stock in the slow cooker, too, because I needed the space in the freezer that was taken up with the bits that go into the stock.

Saturday, I was up early. I had to get a few things like more ginger and more wax paper and Crisco for some of the cookies, and a few things I’m stockpiling for the holiday meals.

I made the dough for the coffee spice cookies and for the brown sugar maple cookies. While that chilled in the fridge, I handstitched the holly curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell, because we must be festive in the kitchen.

Baked the cookies. The coffee spice cookies are from a companion cookbook to Phillip R. Craig’s mysteries set on Martha’s Vineyard. If you’ve never read them, I recommend them. I read them first years ago, and then re-read them (and got the cookbook) when I lived on Cape.

The cookies are good, but I want to bump up the flavor. The next batch I try will split the batch and put some anise extract in one half and some allspice in the other. The nutmeg is a little too subtle.

The brown maple sugar cookies are good, but it doesn’t make a lot, which is a concern. I think I’ll have to make another batch in the next couple of days. The maple glaze is good, too. These will be a good addition to the platters.

I was tired, so I made turkey enchiladas for dinner. No, not from Thanksgiving leftovers. We finished all those!

I was happy to see that all the packages I mailed last Monday were delivered. Whew! Of course a package UPS was supposed to deliver last Wednesday is still out there somewhere, and every day, UPS lies and says it’s “out for delivery” and every day it doesn’t show up. I hate UPS. It’s fine if there’s a delay, but stop lying.

I made a chocolate glaze and put it on the coffee spice cookies. Yup, that gave it enough of a boost to go into this year’s cookie platters, while I work on the recipe. Only I ran out of confectioner’s sugar, and have to make another batch of glaze. So one batch of cookies needs 3 batches of glaze (I made 2, which will get me through the first few platter deliveries).

While the glaze set, we sat down and wrote the domestic cards. Only around 50 this year. So many have died. I’m at that age, plus COVID, means a lot of loss. I also let some names on the list go, when I haven’t heard from them at all for several years.  There were years, in New York, when I wrote as many as 500 cards (it took most of the month).

There’s a whole set of people with whom I only interact during the winter holidays. That’s fine; we manage to keep in touch. Someone, a few years back on social media, raged that if the only time one keeps in touch is winter holidays, it’s not worth it, and I disagree.

But then, the whole ritual of holiday cards is very important to me. Choosing the cards. Choosing the stamps. Sitting down with the list. Writing something in the card. Addressing the card. It’s taking a moment to honor the friendship and connection with each individual. And, while there are definitely times postage is a frightening expense, I believe each of these people is worth spending the cost of a stamp and some time on, once a year.

Some people choose not to send cards, for whatever reason. It’s up to them. Some of those who don’t like the whole card ritual keep in touch in other ways at other times of the year. Which I also appreciate.

But when there’s no interaction over a long period of time, it’s time to let go.

That’s a big change for me; there were people on the list to whom I’ve written for ten or more years and not heard from at all. Ever. Definitely time to let go. My position in their lives is clear (as in “non-existent”). I can retain positive memories and let go of the current connection.

As someone who was always designated “Kin Keeper” of various groups of friends and colleagues over the years, the letting to AND BEING OKAY WITH IT, is a big step.

In the afternoon, we finished decorating the big tree in the doorway between the living room and the sewing room. Because one can see all around the tree, the back of the tree is as important as the front, and it’s fun to decorate in 360.

Added the musical instrument garland and lights to the garland on the mantel. I bought the musical instrument garland for 50 cents in December 1980 in Woolworth’s, Tallahassee, Florida, when I was at FSU that first year (I transferred to NYU the following spring). I love that silly little garland, and have hung it up every year in Florida, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Cape Cod, and now here in the Berkshires.

Put up the lights in the living room window. Set up a shelf full of snowmen behind one of the big reading chairs. Put up the small tree over my desk, behind Seshat, my goddess of scribes, who has pride of place over my desk.

The Santas are still packed; we have to figure out where to put 50+ Santas. All over the house, no doubt.

Once the stacks of cookies are on platters and out the door, I will set up my mix-and-match Holiday Village on the big table in my office. I still have to put up the lights on the front porch, in the kitchen, and on the stairs, along with the garlands.

It started snowing around 11 on Sunday morning and snowed all day. We got about 5 inches. I perched on the couch in the evening, enjoying the candles and lights (3rd of Advent) and reading.

I have a lot of holiday stuffed animals (especially reindeer. I love reindeer). One of them, which I picked up at a thrift store for about 50 cents, has a music box on it. Only I don’t know how to make it work. Charlotte, on the other hand, keeps setting it off. It’s hilarious.

I had weird dreams, Sunday into Monday, about an immersive theatre experience in a stadium-sized theatre. Charlotte woke me up from it.

Slow start Monday, wanting it to be a snow day. No scripts in the queue. I decided to be grateful instead of worried. I could do other things!

I did the Monday blogging, and the social media rounds.

To my absolute joy, the big laser printer which hasn’t worked for the past few weeks, turned itself on and started printing, like nothing was every wrong. Okay, it thinks it is May 17, 2020, but other than that, it’s working. I am so grateful. I guess it needed a vacation?

I haven’t even set up the other printer yet.

I caught up on all the printing on which I’d gotten behind, got some scanning done. I created the Cookie Cheat Sheets to go with the cookies. I figured I should get as much done as possible, in case it decided to stop working again.

I went out and dug out the car. The parking lot was plowed already, and the snow was light and fluffy, so it wasn’t a big deal. The sun came out later on and helped, too.

I edited, polished, uploaded, and scheduled Episodes 47 & 48 of Legerdemain. I wrote their episode log lines, created the episode graphics, and uploaded/scheduled that content to drop on the appropriate days. I’m good through the first week of January, which gives me a little breathing room, since I won’t get to write new episodes until sometime next week. I’ve written through Episode 58, but I need to go further and finish the arc, so that I can make sure I don’t need to plant information in earlier episodes to make sense later.

I put release dates into the January calendar for Legerdemain and ANGEL HUNT episodes (I’m behind where I want to be on that, too), and other deadlines in January. This is in the big calendar. I didn’t use different colors in January, which I’m kind of regretting. Everything is in black ink, and it looks rather dull.

I was about to finish my witchy charm bracelet and my talisman necklace when I realized I need to get jump rings.

The trust paid off and more scripts came in for the week. I have 3 coverages today and 2 tomorrow. If I can pick up a couple more each day Thursday and Friday great; if not, that’s fine, too. I hope to get some coverages next week for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and maybe one on Friday, and then I am on vacation!

Today, I need to do the rounds to promote the Legerdemain episode that’s dropping. I want to work on “Comfort, Then Joy” and I have a tarot reading to set, write up, and post on Ko-fi later. I have to go out and get more maple syrup and more confectioners’ sugar, so I can do another batch of the brown sugar maple cookies, and make another batch of glaze for the coffee spice cookies. I hope to give the batches of cookies to the neighbors in the building later today, and then start delivering the other cookie platters tomorrow. I also need to drop off the cards at the post office. Writing them is great, but if they’re not mailed, it doesn’t mean a whole lot, does it?

A package arrived a week late yesterday, but it’s here, so that’s all good.

There’s another storm coming in on Friday, so I need to figure out if I can get the laundry done today or tomorrow, and all the cookie deliveries out by Thursday, then grab a few groceries to get us through the weekend. I was going to do the stocking stuffer shopping this weekend, but might put It off until next week. I also have another book to review this week, and need to get moving on that.

The Christmas novella wants to be worked on, but that will have to wait until next week. The newsletter story and the Ko-fi flash have to take priority. Then, I’ll mix working on the Christmas novella next week, along with work on Legerdemain, ANGEL HUNT, and finishing THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH.

Fingers crossed the printer keeps working!

On a personal level, there’s some rough work going on. The Chiron retrograde energy presses down, forcing me to face some painful memories and past choices, deal with them, and gain perspective. While making sure I don’t make the same mistakes again. Necessary work, but not easy and often painful.

Have a good one, friends. Enjoy the next episode of Legerdemain! This one wraps up the first large story arc and leads into the second one.

Tues. Nov. 22, 2022: Of NaNo Wins, Social Media Platforms, and Holiday Prep

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Dark Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and a little warmer

Curl up with your favorite beverage, because we have a long catch-up this morning, over a wide variety of topics.

If you missed my post on the GDR site about the reminder that holidays are supposed to be fun, you can read it now.

Everything took longer on Friday than I wanted. It was frustrating. But I got my words in, and then we headed out to errands.

I had quite the stack of books waiting for me at the library. Of course, as soon as I got home, I got the notice that there were more. Because that’s how it works. We headed off to the local Toy and Candy shop in Norad Mill, to get ideas for holiday shopping. It’s very cute, and I ended up buying one of my mom’s gifts there, but it didn’t solve this year’s gift-giving challenges.

Then, it was off to Wild Oats. A local coffee company had a tasting, and the guy running it was really nice, enthusiastic, and a fellow French Press enthusiast. So we had a good conversation, and then I got the rest of what I needed.

Hit Stop & Shop on the way back for a few things, and it was disgusting. Hardly everyone masked, and everyone sneezing and coughing all over everything. I stayed about 10 feet away and got out as fast as I could. Ick.

If I end up getting sick, I’ll know where it happened.

Negotiated a contract for a new-to-me publication. It’s still not the fee I wanted, but I really want to do the article, the timeline works, and, while it may be a one-and-done for me, it will also be a good opportunity to get my byline in front of a different audience.

Struggled with the script coverage in the afternoon. I’ve gotten used to the shorter write-ups, so doing a longer one was a challenge. I only got one done, not two, which meant I had to do another one over the weekend.

Gathering contact info and saying goodbye on Twitter is sad. Maybe it will course correct, who knows, but it will never be what it was. Not that it was perfect. There were plenty of times it was a toxic hell site. But it was an important marketing outlet, and a place for people to find each other, and come across fun, weird little pockets of interest. While the positive is that it gives one a chance to build something new, it’s still sad. Recognizing the grief and allowing ourselves to mourn is vital.

The people who are screaming how it negatively affects their income are going to have to buck up and learn other platforms, or lose that income permanently. People can moan that Twitter is similar to a public utility all they want, but the fact is that it is owned by an individual who takes glee in destroying it for his own ego. Either you put in the time to learn other platforms, and see what serves your business best, or you lose your income.

I’m as frustrated as anyone else. The Topic Workbooks were steadily paying the electric bill. Other sales were growing, and filling in other expenses. Legerdemain was gaining traction. A solid section of that audience came via Twitter. Since Yegads Muskrat started destroying the company, my sales took a 75% hit.

I have to absorb that and recalibrate over the next few months, until I figure out which platforms do what the best and can aim my marketing appropriately.

If all I do is scream that I’ve lost sales, I won’t learn what I need to learn, and can’t regain them. So it’s been a case of rolling up the sleeves and getting to work.

Do I “have” time? Of course not. But if I want to sustain and grow my writing business, it’s necessary. It means working even longer hours right now, and too bad for me.

The platform doesn’t “owe” it to me to stay the same because I’ve gotten used to marketing a certain way and making use of it.

There’s a learning curve with these other platforms. I’ll make mistakes, and will pay the price in lost sales. But I have to put in the work and learn.

Even if another company tries to put together a replacement platform, it will be different. This was something unique in its space and time, for all its flaws. We mourn, and we rebuild.

Things don’t stay the same in life. That’s reality. I mean, I was on the platform for 13 years. That’s centuries in tech terms.

Whining doesn’t change it.

I’m sad. I’m angry at Yegads Muskrat for taking glee in destroying something that was important to thousands or tens of thousands of people. I also think the Board shouldn’t be let off the hook. They didn’t HAVE to sell to him. They CHOSE to, out of their own greed. I want their names, and I don’t think any of them should be allowed to ever be in a position of authority over something like this again. Let them live off their spoils of this. Don’t allow them another penny again.

How does that affect my signing up as a beta for Bluesky? Because I don’t trust Jack Dorsey farther than I can throw him, even though he left the company in 2021, and the BOD earlier this year. I want to see what he’s built, and make my decisions from there, knowing that it’s likely he will throw everyone under the bus again. Will it be free? I heard rumors it will be tied to crypto. No, thanks. Will it be a useful marketing tool? Who knows? Once it goes live, I’ll try it out, weigh the pros and cons, and all of it against my opinion of Dorsey, his ethics, and what we know he’s capable of doing.

But Twitter’s demise changes the marketing game for all kinds of companies and creators. Anyone who’s positioning themselves as a transition guru is lying.

Enough about that. In the evening, I read for pleasure, and played with the cats. I finally unpacked the tote bag of toys we brought up from storage. Charlotte doesn’t understand how to play.

Didn’t have a good night Friday into Saturday. Weird dreams, and Charlotte kept waking me up. Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny, cold day, and it would have been perfect to drive down to Great Barrington. But I couldn’t get it together to get it done. I was absolutely exhausted. So we decided not to go.

The words for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH were a struggle. Not to mention there weren’t a lot of them. 1672, so I hit the day’s necessity with a handful over, but not my personal goal.

I stitched the fleece curtain for the back door. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, between the door curtain and the heavy drapes from the 1950s we put on the windows. It keeps the place warmer by several degrees, which means the heat doesn’t have to work as hard.

I did some stuff around the house. We can’t find what we hoped to find to send out as gifts this season, so we have to figure something else out. We think we have another option; hopefully, I can make it work.

The poor coffeemaker I ordered is shipping out of Buffalo – who had 5 FEET of snow. So that’s not showing up anytime soon. Those poor delivery people. This is why I ordered early. I don’t need it for another month. It’ll get here when it gets here; if it’s late, that’s the way it goes.

There were so many things I should have done, and just didn’t.

I did read IRON AND VELVET by Alexis Hall, which was a lot of fun. How have I missed this series?

I checked into Twitter a few times, but it just made me sad.

I helped a friend set up on Mastodon. I don’t find it the be-all and end-all some do, but the instance on which my friend and I signed up is primarily screenwriters, so we can talk projects together. It’s harder to come across random cool people with different interests, but I am blocking whiners and screamers and bullies much faster on this platform.

I still like CounterSocial for in-depth conversation. There are Twitgees trying to scream and bully. When they scream, they are ignored. When they bully, they are removed. But I’m also quick to block there.

I’m not a muter. I’m a blocker. I’m either all in with someone’s different facets, or all out.

But I spent very little time on SM. I want to try to cut back severely on weekends.

Up early on Sunday, mostly because Charlotte was impossible. I made the cinnamon honey coffeecake with orange marmalade filling from one of the Moosewood Cookbooks. I didn’t have wheat flour, so I substituted rye, which made it a little too dense. I should have stuck with all white flour. But it’s still good.

The day’s words went better with THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. 1928 words. Still under what I hoped for my own personal goal, but I’m on track. I doubt I’ll hit 50K before Thanksgiving, but I will by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

It snowed on and off, mostly off, although we kept getting Winter Advisory Alerts. All around us, it was much worse, but in this little bowl in the mountains, we were protected.

Did some hearth and home stuff. Turned around a script coverage (the one I hadn’t done on Friday). We sat down and wrote the overseas cards. There aren’t a lot anymore; so many people have died. I’m still waiting for a couple of requested addresses, but if they don’t arrive, I’ll just let it go. I have way too much to do over the next few weeks to chase people around begging for addresses; if they don’t want to hear from me, that’s fine.

Checked in with Twitter again. It’s glitching like crazy. People are screaming about how “ethical” creators and companies have to pull their ads. Boo, if you’re running around to conferences unmasked and on airplanes (whether masked or unmasked) and eating indoors unmasked, STFU, you ableist hypocrite. You’re in no position to talk ethics with anyone.

I tried to get on in the evening to join ScriptChat, but the glitches were too much.

Death throes.

As far as my own strategy, I’m holding course with the promotions planned/scheduled through the end of the year, and then reassessing. There isn’t a platform that promotes the way Twitter did to the audience Twitter did, so I have a feeling, at least for the first few months, promotions will be piecemeal and staggered across platforms. As I learn what works where, I will re-align as needed. Most of my audience has fled Twitter, but there are still some stalwarts, and they might find something they missed in the noise of a busier platform.

If someone whines it’s not behind a content warning, I’ll just block them.

The whiners tend to fall into two groups: those who have a huge, well-paid marketing machine behind them, and those who can’t get published because they never finish anything, but keep talking about “someday.”

Dianne Dotson suggested Hive as a good platform. They look like fun, and if she’s comfortable there, it means it’s a good place to promote work (she’s excellent at promoting her work). It doesn’t look like I can do them from the desktop, which would knock them out of contention. I don’t have the capacity OR the desire to do all of this from my phone.

I resent having to have a phone in the first place.

I looked at POST, but basically, they want people to create content for them without pay. Which is part of what social media is, but they want long and short form articles on the site itself, not links driving traffic back to one’s work on other sites. I think I’ll pass.

Started reading the next book for review.

Also read MURDER BY THE BRUSH, S.E. Babin’s first Psychic Cleaner Mystery, which was a lot of fun. It’s a novella, not a novel, but I liked the energy and the characters and the plot and the heart of it. I liked it so much I went and bought the second novella in the series, MAID FOR MAYHAM, and read that. Like I said, novellas. Quick reads. The climactic sequences tend to be a little rushed, but other than that, they are a lot of fun. I’d read more in the series, when they release.

It’s interesting that there are so few category mysteries anymore, in the 50-60K range. Most of them are 80K+.

These novellas ran around 135 pages, which brought them in around 33K. So, while I read for fun, I was also learning.

More snow overnight, but nowhere near as much as predicted.

Monday, I overslept because Charlotte kept waking me up. It was the day before dark moon, which is my lowest energy day of the month anyway. I had weird dreams about working on a project with David Tennant (which would be great, I’ve always wanted to work with him) and discovering what an intense listener he is. I mean, that’s obvious from his work, but being on the receiving end of it in the dream was interesting.

Had trouble getting going, but once I got myself to the page, the next chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH trundled along decently at 1951 words. I broke 48K, so if I keep going the next few days, I can hit 50K and then drop back to whatever the natural pace is for this book, which I think is around 1200 or 1300 words/day. As I said, I’m figuring the sweet spot is around 82K, but this draft might have fewer words, and give me room to layer in details in full drafts.

I’m kicking myself for leaving the box of costume books in storage over winter. I only have a couple up here. Although I took out a bunch of relevant fashion books from the library, I’ll have to get them out again when I do revisions.

Bibliographic notes are a must.

After breakfast and blogging, I headed out for errands. Library first, to drop off and pick up. The one day I’m in a time crunch, they have a line of people who want the librarians to look things up for them, instead of going to a terminal and doing it their damn selves.

But it was fine. I got my stuff and got out of there in longer than usual, but not too bad an amount of time. It was a bright, sunny day. Although it was cold, people were in a pretty good mood.

Big Y next, for Thanksgiving shopping. I was happy to see that almost everyone was masked. It took a lot of stress out of shopping.

Post Office, where I bought more overseas stamps, mailed the cards we’d written, and got stamps for the domestic cards. (The Elves, in case you’re curious).

Liquor store, and then home. Hauled everything up the stairs. Put it all away, made lunch, did the SM rounds. Being on Twitter made me sad.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. Another one, that had a problem with additional materials, was cleaned up, and that will be my one for tomorrow. I have two for today, so I’m okay. I have three days in the pay period next week, after the holiday, so as long as there are scripts to grab, I’ll be okay.

Soup class with Jeremy Rock Smith last night. Tons of fun, as always. I learned a lot, and got a lead on where to get my knives sharpened around here.

Got the wonky tablet up and running, because I should be able to run Hive off the tablet, since I don’t want it on my phone. I downloaded the app and established an account, but have to figure out how to get the photos I want on it. I was too tired to do much more than establish an account. And I have no idea how to find anyone. I’ll learn. Enough writers are migrating there that it sounds like it’s viable, if I make the time to figure it out. I still wish it had a desktop option.

I have to charge the tablet through my phone cord, because the charger that came with it no longer works.

Up early, although out the door later than usual to the laundromat, just in case they haven’t yet adjusted to the time change. They had. The washing machines were fine, but the dryers not only ate up double the money, but didn’t dry properly. So we have laundry draped all over everything.

Tessa disapproves. She likes things tidy.

I managed to get a good chunk of edits done on the next section of Legerdemain, which as to be uploaded and scheduled this weekend (or, at the latest, early next week).

It was later than usual when I sat down to work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but it went pretty well, the chapter coming in at 2287 words. That brought me over 50K, which means I’m an official NaNo22 Winner, a nice boost to my ego. And a relief, because I can do the remaining 30K at a slower pace. And I hit my personal goal of hitting 50K before Thanksgiving.

So this is up late. There will be a whacky little piece of Thanksgiving flash fiction up later this afternoon on Ko-fi.

Don’t forget, the latest episode of Legerdemain drops today. Enjoy!

Tues. Oct. 25, 2022: Life as a Kaleidoscope

image courtesy of Dmitri Posudin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Saturn DIRECT as of Sunday

Rainy/Sunny/Confusing

Saturn went direct on Sunday, taking a lot of the life lessons pressure off. Now, we have to implement what we learned on this Saturn Retrograde so we don’t have the same lessons smacked at us next time it comes around, next year.

Enjoy the lull this week, because Mars goes retrograde  on the 30th, and stays there until January 12th. Mars is already in Gemini until March of 2023, causing stress and difficulties. Going retrograde, through all the holidays, means huge additional stresses. It makes it likely people will be more easily argumentative than usual over the holidays, so try to pull up extra patience and compassion. I talk about that in more detail over on the GDR site, with a post on “Breath Under Duress.”

My plan is to have as quiet a holiday season as possible, with very little socializing (especially since there’s a pandemic going on).

Now, down to our usual Tuesday morning natter, to catch up over the weekend.

Don’t forget: The Process Muse launches tomorrow on Substack. It’s free, and you can sign up here.

Friday morning, I hit the ground running; blogging, making devilled eggs, taking out the garbage, doing the last-minute counter wiping and stainless-steel appliance cleaning.

Our friend showed up and we had a good catch up on all that’s new for both of us. Feasted on the devilled eggs, the black bean soup, the lemon mousse. She had to head back to CT after lunch.

We cleaned up and settled in on the couch to rest. When I checked my email, I found some sad news. An old family friend died last week, in Switzerland. We didn’t even know she was ill. I’d been planning to go and visit the next time I went overseas (which will probably be in 2024).

I had nothing left in the tank, so I gave myself the afternoon off. I finished reading THE SECRET SISTERHOOD, about literary friendships, which was good. I read Joy Harjo’s memoir, POET WARRIOR, which was very well done and uniquely structured.

Charlotte, who’d hidden when my friend was there, because she was afraid she would be given away, was Velcro Kitty all afternoon and evening. And woke me every two hours all night, for reassurances.

Up early on Saturday. Did some work on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED MURDER. I’m a little worried, because it’s heavy on character and atmosphere, and light on plot. Also, there are so many period details I’ll have to add in when I do the revision. But I at least have a good idea on the first third, and escalating the stakes for Rita, my heroine. This book will definitely be a case of draft fast, revise slowly. I like THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH better as a title, which, it turns out, was my original title, so I’ve changed it back to that.

Turned around a script.

I filled out a writer-in-residence application that comes with a nice stipend. However, because of that, I’m sure they will go with a much bigger name. But if I don’t try, I have zero shot, so I tried.

Went out and got the paint I needed for the bookcases, and a dropcloth. I painted one bookcase completely and started the second one, but ran low on both paint and time.

Read a book by someone whom I met in passing back in my NYC days. It was one of those people I was advised I “should” know, although we were in different arenas. Anyway, I recently came across one of her books in the library (a memoir) and decided to read it. The writing is good. But I don’t like the person I met in those pages. The privilege and the whining are way too much.

Charlotte woke me at 3:30 on Sunday morning, which was not the start to the day for which I’d hoped. But I made apple muffins. I upped the allspice from ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon, and it was a good choice.

Got a nice chunk of work done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH.

Filled out the ballots for the election. Of course I voted Blue all the way down. I’m not an idiot. Or a supporter of fascism.

Got more paint and finished the second bookcase. Not that I know where to put it yet. The first one fit perfectly on top of the other red bookcases in the kitchen, so I cleaned and rearranged all those shelves, and it looks good.

I kept feeling I “should” work all day (on work-work, not house and home stuff). I also felt the flickers of burnout and decided to rest, so I could focus this week and next week, which will be challenging.

I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT BEACON ROCK, which was well done and satisfying and sad, all at once. I really like the series. At one point, I fantasized about writing a series set in Gilded Age Newport, but she’s written a better series than I would have, and I no longer need to write one!

There are flutters that Yegads Muskrat is going ahead to buy Twitter and people are fretting about where to go. Tribel Social Network has been urging people to go on it, but I don’t like their policies/terms of service. I think I’ll stick with CounterSocial. If people want to find me, they will. I still can’t get on Ello, which is annoying, since I built so much on there. I’d hate to leave Twitter, but if I have to, I have to.

This is why one needs a website, not just social media.

Had trouble sleeping on Sunday into Monday, which made Monday a late start. But I got some work done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH.

My priority was turning around the edits for my Llewellyn editor. Eek! Thank goodness for her kindness and patience, because some of the stuff she caught there was a big mess. I sent it in early, in case she needs me to do more work. But she said they’re fine, and she assured me she loves the piece (even with the messes we cleaned up).

I did revisions on “My Side of the Bed” and “Paranormal Paraphrasing” and got them submitted, in spite of the computer repeatedly crashing. I managed to get out six script submissions.

Irritated that the regional ML for Nano only wants to interact on Facebook and Discord. When I do Nano, I want to be able to go to the Nano site and get the information I need, not travel to other sites. I go to the Nano site FOR NANO. I’m irritated. I’ll stick to my Enchanted Wordsmiths group and to hell with the region crap. They’re doing stuff in person and you know they won’t implement any COVID protocols. Pass.

More scripts came up in my queue, so I have enough to read at least through tomorrow, and then, hopefully, I’ll get a couple of Thursday and Friday.

Turned around 3 scripts. Started writing a weird new little, short play. Heard that an odd little play I really love, which I wrote and submitted for a specific call, was not chosen as one of the 5 plays they can use for their event. The company wrote a really kind letter about it, but it makes me sad. I’m fond of the piece, and will have to find another spot for it, which won’t be easy, because it’s so specific.

Stepped in for a colleague who had an emergency and couldn’t do a Zoom talk with a group of young playwrights. It was a lot of fun. They had terrific ideas and great questions. It meant I missed the Artist Working Group, but I knew if they held the WG in the evenings, I’d run into conflicts. If they keep it in the evenings permanently, then I’ll withdraw.

Set the alarm for 5 this morning, and woke up just before the alarm went off, waking from a dream that I slept until 9 and missed the alarm. I was very confused when the alarm went off.

Hauled a fuckton of laundry into the car and over to the laundromat. Three large, industrial-sized machines were going, between the clothes (I’ve been lax about going every week), the curtains, and the other fabric-y stuff that’s been turned over for the season.

Sat in the car working on the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The original plan was that it would be ready for submission this past summer, but that didn’t happen. A longer wait time to work on revisions before I start querying was the right choice for this book. The story and characters are strong, but there’s a lot of sloppy writing (which happens, during Nano).

Cleaning up the sloppy writing makes it an even stronger book. But, again, although it’s an amateur sleuth, it’s not a cozy. The book deals with racism, COVID, and the sex lives of the characters.

Didn’t get enough done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH before I had to leave for the laundromat, so that’s been pushed off until tomorrow. I have to type up what I have, so far, so that it’s ready to go. I have a strong opening. I have good backstory to integrate. I’ve drawn maps of who lives where, et al, which in a community such as this one, is necessary for the plot. I know who the murderer is and why that individual committed the murder(s). I have some of the clues and the red herrings, and raising the stakes for my protag. I don’t yet have the climactic sequence, but I’ll get there.

I probably need to walk around the Spruces a bit more, on a nice day, and let it percolate. I do know where the first body drop happens. My friends and I poked around that spot near the river when they came to visit a few weeks back.

I have a feeling I’ll have a lot of placeholders in this draft, since I need to go in and layer period detail. I want to go to the library/historical society and read a batch of newspapers from the months in which this book takes place, and then also do some research on the racial and ethnic relations in the area at the time. I’d hoped to get it done before Nano started, but it will have to be a winter project, and part of the revisions, which will, no doubt, make the revisions more extensive.

There’s a post for The Process Muse in all that! (Don’t forget, it drops tomorrow).

I hope to catch a pocket between rain showers to do a library run, drop off my ballots at City Hall, get some stamps at the post office. There was something else I was supposed to do, but darned if I can remember it.

Episode 27 of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it. If you haven’t started reading the serial yet, it starts here.

Have a good one!

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

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, mild, humid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

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

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

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

So far, so good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

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

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

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

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

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

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Wed. Aug. 17, 2022: Work Stacking Like Wood

image courtesy of pexels via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Drizzly and humid

Yesterday was busy. I had trouble getting my act together. The fatigue is a lot, but I have to push through, at least for the next few weeks. Deadlines wait for no one.

I got out an LOI for an intriguing, but slightly odd position that would run about five months over the winter. We’ll see.

I got the two sessions I wanted for the Authors’ Guild WIT conference in Lenox in mid-September. Supposedly, they have strict protocols. But that’s what the other theatre claimed, and the audience didn’t do their part. So I will show up, and if I feel uncomfortable, I will leave.

I did some promotion for Episode 7 of Legerdemain. I did some prep work on a couple of grant applications that need to go out. I have to take some photographs, and I keep putting it off, but I can’t put it off much longer. I want to tweak a little in the project proposal, so that it’s tighter.

Cleaned the house, with a thorough vacuuming, scrubbing floors, tidying things up, burning some incense so it all smelled good.

Tessa Was Not Amused.

My friend came over and we worked mostly on her bio, and explaining the difference between a bio and a vision statement and the other pieces one needs to assemble. Before she can apply for grants, she has to get the domain registration and web hosting sorted out, because the grants all want a website as part of their process. She has a list of assignments of the pieces that need work before it makes sense to meet again. I sort of felt like I was giving homework, but she has to learn how to do this and be self-sustaining. She’s not a client. And I’m juggling this WITH all my other work, not instead of it. I have to have boundaries, or I’ll end up working as a consultant, researcher, copywriter, and grant writer for free and resenting it, and that’s not what this is about. It’s about teaching her how to find the resources and sustain those aspects as she builds her business.

In the evening, I attended the virtual launch of Roselle Lim’s new book, SOPHIE GO’s LONELY HEARTS CLUB with The Ripped Bodice LA. Which was a lot of fun. I’m so glad she invited me, and I’m looking forward to reading the book.

We wrestled off the couch pillow covers, which is always a not-fun chore, and stuck them in the laundry bag. I didn’t sleep well last night – as soon as I’d drifted off, the downstairs neighbor sounded like they were rearranging the furniture at midnight, and then I couldn’t fall asleep again. So when the alarm went off at 5, I was tired and grumpy.

But I hauled everything in the rain over to the laundromat. There were people there, unmasked, and I wasn’t about to sit in a humid, poorly ventilated space with unmasked strangers, so I spent the time the laundry was going through in the car, editing the next set of episodes for LEGERDEMAIN.

Managed to get a grant application out first thing this morning.

Now, I have to get the clean cushion covers back on the cushions, which will be a wrestling match, and then go on with the rest of my day.

The DEVELOPING THE SERIES Topic Workbook releases today, so I also have to get all those links updated. And turn around two scripts. And work on Legerdemain, both the episodes and the website. And start the next book for review. And. . .

Published in: on August 17, 2022 at 7:54 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 17, 2022: Work Stacking Like Wood  
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Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity

image courtesy of Darkmoon Art via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and hot

The SERIES BIBLE Topic Workbook releases today. This edition has information on the use of Tracking Sheets and Style Sheets. I hope you like it.

I uploaded and scheduled the content calendar for it yesterday. I updated the websites with the individual buy links across a bunch of the Topic Workbooks, and will have to do so for the next few weeks, as more links, international links, and library links go live. I haven’t yet updated the Topic Workbook page on this blog site, but I will next week.

Then I did the rounds of the channels where I couldn’t schedule content, to push Episode 3 of LEGERDEMAIN, which dropped yesterday.

Once that was all taken care of, I started converting the most important points and exercises for the upcoming DEVELOPING THE SERIES Workbook for Saturday’s class.

By that time, I had to do a library run, and I picked up bagels and smoked salmon for lunch. I had a great converation about poetry, Thomas Lynch, and John Milton with one of my favorite librarians.

After lunch, it was time to turn my attention to the script coverage. I only got one script covered in the afternoon (it was a longer coverage than I expected). I took a shower and then participated via Zoom with Chef Jeremy’s cooking class at Kripalu. It was wonderful. He’s such a great teacher, and he’s so much about encouraging people to make substitutions in recipes based on what they like, and learn from it. He also encourages people to try new things, like unusual vegetables at the market, and just play. He’s very much about playing and learning and expanding. It was a great class, and I learned a lot.

I’ve been invited to attend the rehearsal of one of my radio plays next week via Zoom, right after the next class with Chef Jeremy, so that’s great. I’m looking forward to that.

Turned around another coverage after dinner, and then I was too tired to get the third one in, so that means I have to turn around 4 today, not three.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat when I opened. I got a good chunk of edits done on upcoming LEGERDEMAIN episodes while I was there.

When I came back, I found that Tessa had pulled the pants I’d worn to my friend’s place out of the laundry and was dragging them around (because they smelled of Ben, no doubt). We had some plant kerflamma on the front porch – something made several of the plants sick. We cut them back and isolated them; hopefully, we’ve stopped it from spreading to everything out there. I would be sad to lose all the plants. I don’t think we can save the impatiens. I think they’re gone. Anyway, that, and the hole the squirrel tore in the kitchen screen before Willa chased him away will be detailed in tomorrow’s garden post.

I was so pleased that Jon Stewart managed to shame the Republicans into mostly voting for the PACT Act to provide veterans with health care. It takes a lot to shame Republicans – basically they can’t be shamed; they can only be afraid their wallets get thinner. And Kansas voted to protect abortion rights. Good.

I’m tired, but there’s a lot to do this morning. I have to work on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM Topic Workbook, and finish the slides for the class. I have to do a run out to the market for coffee and oat milk. I hope to do a little bit of work on my poem, but that might have to wait until Friday.

This afternoon is all about script coverage.

It’s supposed to be brutally hot today, and, especially tomorrow. We may have to move camp to the Williamstown Library for the afternoon on both days.

Stay well and happy, my friends.

Published in: on August 3, 2022 at 8:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity  
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Wed. June 1, 2022: A Day Out

image courtesy of Pete Linforth via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and a little cooler

Yesterday was hot and humid. Not unbearable, but uncomfortable.

I wrote 1K in longhand early in the morning, had a discussion about the new cover/new look for the Topic Workbooks, did some research on resources, and revised the first 25 pages of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM.

By then, it was time to leave for our rescheduled day out. We swung by the library first, to drop off and pick up books, then headed down to Pittsfield, and across to Hancock to visit the Hancock Shaker Village. We were there when it opened, so it wasn’t yet crowded. The staff was masked; locals were masked. You can always tell the tourists around here, because they don’t mask and don’t care if they make other sick.

The Village itself is beautiful. They’ve done a lovely job of setting up walkways and organizing a flow. It’s easy to go from building to building, to go through the medicinal gardens, see the art installations, and visit the buildings.

The Round House is amazing, stone and wood. The construction artistry, melding beauty and function, is breathtaking. Of course, we visited the animals, too: calves, goats, sheep, pigs and their piglets. One of the chickens slid out of the chicken coop and strutted around like she was giving a tour. Turns out her name is Trixie, and this is HER property. She graciously allows visitors. It was pretty hilarious.

When we went to the Discovery barn, the woman working there was childhood friends with a Broadway dresser (who’s still working in NYC). I was the only other Broadway dresser she’s ever met. Talk about a small world.

We came home, had a late, light lunch, and rested in the afternoon. I read Susan Mallery’s SUMMER GETAWAY, which Deborah Blake had recommended. I also found out that Lilith St. Crow’s beloved dog, Miss B, died, and my heart hurts for her and her family.

I have four scripts in my queue for today and tomorrow, so hopefully, this next pay period will be more lucrative than the last couple. I’m grateful for the break, but I don’t want to lose the cushion I was building up.

Up early today, and to the laundromat. Got about 25 more pages of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. It’s slow going, because every word has to be weighed. I hope to work on the first few chapters I’ve already marked later today.

There’s road construction up on Church Street, and they’re redirecting the traffic down our street, ignoring that it’s one way in the other direction. Someone’s going to get killed. I’m glad I got back so early from the laundromat, or my car would have been hit by one of these ignorant yahoos driving 60 mph down a residential one-way street IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. Yeah, Town Council’s gonna hear about this. It’s not that the drivers don’t know; it’s that they don’t care and do it anyway. Typical Masshole drivers.

I need to work on The Big Project and The Topic Workbooks and the radio play this morning, before I switch over to script coverage this afternoon. I also want to get the book review out this morning, so I can get my next assignment. We’re supposed to get the powerful thunderstorms that never arrived yesterday. Let’s hope so. I have a pre-storm headache to beat the band.

Have a good one.

Published in: on June 1, 2022 at 6:51 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 1, 2022: A Day Out  
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Wed. May 25, 2022: Roadtrip!

image courtesy of 453169 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was road trip day. We travelled over to Lake George, a day trip to make sure the car was working, and to get a few things out that way we couldn’t source around here.

We drove Rt. 2 across to Troy (New York), which was pretty, but the curvy mountain roads required intense concentration, especially since I haven’t driven much since December, and I’m not used to the mountain roads yet. I mean, they’re not the Alps, but still have challenges (mostly yahoos in rusty pickups who want to speed).

Troy is an interesting, historic city, and we picked up Rt. 9 North from there. Once we got around Saratoga Springs, I was back in familiar territory, although I hadn’t been out that way since before we moved to the Cape a little over a decade ago. It’s gotten more built up, of course, but it was still good to see familiar places with happy memories.

Somehow, we got sidetracked onto Rt. 9N north, instead of N, and took the roundabout way to Lake George which was . . .kind of retro kitschy? Very built up with games and “fun” parks and stuff, and one can barely see the lake for the tourist stuff. We’d hoped to grab some takeout and picnic near the lake, but there wasn’t anything we wanted to eat, and a plethora of school field trips, so we decided not to.

We stopped at the Timberland outlet and I got new walking shoes – black with purply-pink trim. I had my last Timberland walking shoes for nearly 15 years before they fell apart during the move last year. These feel great, and will be terrific for running errands. I doubt they’ll last as long as the others, between concrete city streets and hiking trails, but I have every intention of enjoying them. We stopped at a couple of other stores, too, and bought a few things, but mostly didn’t, and didn’t stay in stores where people weren’t masking. We, of course, stayed masked.

We picked up I-87 and dropped down to Albany, then went across on the Pike, and came back up through Lee and Lenox. We stopped at the kitchen store in Lenox; I hadn’t had a chance to do my birthday shopping there in March. One of the (unmasked) cashiers was walking around on her cell phone, talking about how she was “recovering” from COVID and how much she loved the anti-viral drugs. I grabbed two pretty blue bowls, went to the other cashier, and we got the heck out of there ASAP, sanitizing like crazy. Bitch should have still been home, or, at the very least, masked in the store, instead of spewing germs everywhere.

We stopped at a food market that advertises all over the place and is always crowded (90% were masked, thank goodness)). I’d heard so much about it. I found them overpriced. Their prices are $2-$4 higher than the food co-op and $3-$5 higher than the other grocery stores in the area, for the same brands.

I bought some of their own brand to try it. The take-and-bake pizza had no taste. Not even a cardboardy taste. Completely bland, until I put some of the fresh basil from the garden on it. That brought out the cheese and tomato flavors, but the crust was still bland. The organic chocolates were flat, too. The texture was okay, but they lacked taste. This morning’s chocolate croissants were okay, but not brilliant. Let’s hope the rest of the stuff I bought there has more flavor, or I am going to be Annoyed.

Doubtful I’ll shop there again, unless the cheese I bought from the cheese monger is terrific.

But at least we know it’s hype without substance, and don’t have to shop there again.

We did full decontamination protocols on ourselves and everything we brought into the house, just in case.

Charlotte and Willa had missed us, and were glad we were home. Tessa had ensconced herself on the porch, and was like, “Eh, you’re home earlier than you said.”

Read in the evening, still reading DISORIENTED, which is such a strong book. Definitely has a lot of ha-ha-ow! to the satire.

Tried to re-order the cat food, but they are out of stock for the only food Tessa will eat. We still have a few weeks’ worth, which is why I usually order early. I can wait a few days before figuring out something else.

Was heartbroken and enraged by yet another school shooting in Texas. Every politician who blocks gun control and removing the filibuster is personally responsible for these daily killings, and should be charges as accessories to the homicides.

Up early this morning, confronted by a very angry Tessa. When we refilled her bowl before bedtime, we left it on the kitchen counter. She did not get her 2 AM snack, and she was enraged. For once, she didn’t even care that I was headed to the laundromat. Her attitude was, “Just go! You’ve done enough!”

Laundromat was fine. Lots of laundry, but got it done in a reasonable amount of time. I drove, because there was so much, and refilled the gas on the way back. I’d only had to fill the car once before since January, so I feel like I have no right to gripe about gas prices. Besides, it’s still cheaper here than, say, in the UK, where they pay for a litre what we pay for a gallon.

I haven’t had any scripts in my queue since Saturday, and am trying not to panic. I am way under my nut for this pay period. I’m still okay, but I’m trying to get ahead, not just stay afloat. I have some other paid work to do, fortunately, this week, but it irritates me that they gave us this big song-and-dance about wanting us to take on more work and put more of our focus on them, but then they can’t give us enough to meet our needs.

Time to add a few more clients into the mix. Another editor wants to know if I want to work with her again (it would be for a project coming out in 2024, although it would be due this August and paid next October, which is the way it works for the almanac). I’m going to say yes. I have a book to read for review, and radio scripts to do for producers. Plus, the Big Project, the monthology story, revising “Personal Revolution” and the Topic Workbooks, and the next edit on CAST IRON MURDER.

Speaking of CAST IRON MURDER, I started the multi-colored draft at the laundromat, and wow, is there a lot of sloppy language in it. It’s part of one character’s cadence, but I’m going to clean up the rest of it. Yikes.

If you’re not familiar with my multi-colored draft, my article on the layered editing process is here.

Back to the page. I have a headache from the driving yesterday, but there’s too much to do today to take another day off.

Have a good one.

Thurs. April 21, 2022: Customer Dis-Service Causes Migraine

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was another frustrating day. It started well – laundry, work on The Big Project, signing the contract with the marketing agency and setting up the appropriate virtual and physical folders, expanding the pitch to my Llewellyn editor.

I did a quick grocery run, and the store gave me my little Norway spruce seedling as my Earth Day gift, which made me so happy. I know, it cost them nothing, but it made me happy. And a library run to drop off/pick up books.

I researched new phones for my mom. Tracfone refuses to fix the problem, which is that they forced a smartphone on her that she can’t use and is afraid of. They will not give her one she can use. They won’t even let me buy one. And her plan runs out next week. I’m not going to put money into a phone she can’t use. So I researched companies to see where I could get her a phone that she can use. Most companies only offer smartphones, so that wouldn’t work. One company had the perfect phone, but the company was recently acquired and it looks like it will be dissolved by June, and I’m not going through this whole process again. I found another phone that looks like it will work, and a reasonable plan. I had a live chat with a representative, everything seemed fine, I put through the order – and then the “billing” department started making demands and accused me of – I don’t even know what they’re accusing me of. Why do businesses now attack customers and assume they’re all criminals? Why do I want to do business with a company who treats me like crap?

It was a nightmare. A completely unnecessary nightmare. Not to mention ableist, misogynistic, and elder abuse bullshit.

Supposedly the phone shipped and we will have it tomorrow. Switching over the number better not be another nightmare. Because I want it to be done – I am not doing this anymore. I am, however, as soon as everything is properly transferred over, going to tell Tracfone to shove it up their ass, and filing a complaint against them with the FCC.

So that took hours when it should have taken minutes, and wrecked me for the day. But I still had to get client work done. So I dug in and did it.

You know what I’m getting sick of? Writers based in cities writing about agriculturally based environments and ignoring the weather. The weather decides the structure of the day. One can ignore weather in cities, in fact it’s often a point of pride to overcome weather, but not where the weather determines if there’s going to be a harvest or not.

I had an online yoga class in the evening with a group specifically geared to busy professional women without children. I’m glad I did it, but it made me realize that I need to go back to class in a studio, once I feel comfortable. No idea when that will be, but I need to be in class where I can get adjustments from the teacher. I’m trying to figure out if I should expand my home practice with longer sessions, or several sessions broken up over the course of the day.

By the end of the day, I felt awful, with an excruciating migraine, which hasn’t abated at all today.

I have meditation this morning, and then it’s back to work. Got to catch up from what was derailed yesterday, and try to work ahead.

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth on how the plants are coming along.

I just want to go back to bed, but that is not an option.

Tues. March 22, 2022: Challenging Start to the Week

image courtesy of Paul Barlow via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post on the GDR site about being the architect of your life.

I hope you had a good weekend, and a blessed Equinox. Now, we’ll really see the gains in daylight, since it’s tipping toward longer light.

Friday was a mixed day. Very foggy in the morning. Not fun to make my way to the mechanic when I couldn’t use the broken windshield wiper. But I got there.

The wiper was easily fixed. But the engine light issue, not so much. As long as the light stays steady and doesn’t blink, I can continue to drive short distances. The mechanic thinks it’s a fuel pump issue, but they can’t even get me in for a diagnostic for another month. They suggested a mechanic in Williamstown, who specializes in foreign cars. It’s the second time that mechanic has been suggested to me. I am trying to get an appointment.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and restocked our food supply.

Moved the plants back out on the porch, and even opened the windows once it warmed up enough.

Did some client blogging, and roughed out the next edition of Devon’s Random Newsletter, which should go out this week. I think I wrote too much, so will probably edit it back.

Worked on a recipe for strawberry-vanilla mousse. It tastes quite good, but doesn’t look appealing. Nor did it set properly. Ever. I think the acid from the fresh strawberries had something to do with it. So I need to adjust the recipe, and figure out how to make it look better without using artificial colors.

In the afternoon, one neighbor was working on a new piano composition. Another neighbor was on her front porch, playing her guitar. I worked on script coverage. It was a great vibe. Everyone in their own space, but knowing people around them were doing creative work.

Fresh cod for dinner on Friday night, with rice and steamed spinach. Yummy.

Throughout the weekend, I did some cleaning here and there, but nowhere like the intense spring cleaning I planned. The Plan was to start in the kitchen and work forward doing intense deep cleaning. But I spent more time unpacking and organizing things than in deep clean mode.

It kept raining and then not on Saturday, and I didn’t feel like going out, so I didn’t. I did regular housework and changed the beds and did some unpacking and organizing. I made more vegetable stock. I finished reading a novel I’d started that was recommended by an acquaintance over at VOGUE. I liked a lot of the book, especially relating to the characters and what they were going through. I got ahead of the plot a little too quickly, and there were some chapters where way too much backstory was info-dumped, instead of being integrated into the overall story. I liked more than I didn’t, but it’s not a book I’d rave about. Went through some other books for research on various projects, and put them back in the pile for the library.

Percolated on the retro mystery for a bit. I’m creating a new name for my fictional community and putting in some lines as to how the creator of it is in competition with The Spruces. This will give me the flexibility I need for plot and character and even some geographic deviations. The application for The Spruces was careful and thorough. I want my fictional community to be a little more raucous and freewheeling. On Monday morning, I did some research on different mobile homes, and I found the one I want for my central protagonist: a three bedroom, with a second story for her main bedroom and a roof deck, with a patio downstairs, two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen, and the living room. I need to go back to the library and look at the dimension widths for the homes that remained in the park. On the road, they could only be 8’ wide, but if they weren’t meant to move? Could they be 10’? When I did my research, I wrote down the length, but not the width.

Sunday was the Spring Equinox. I kept the celebrations simple. It was cloudy most of the day, so I decided not to run errands that day, either. I did some more unpacking and organizing.

I spent a good portion of the day going through a research book I’ve had out of the library for months (I am allowed 99 renewals on it). But I felt like I should go through it thoroughly and return it. I got 9 pages of notes on one project, and images that are relevant to three projects, so it definitely was worth taking the time with it.

I did a chipotle chicken in the crockpot, which was yummy. I do love my crockpot.

I’m slowly working my way through ATLAS OF THE HEART, which was recommended by the leader of the Thursday meditation group. It’s not an easy book. There are things which resonate strongly with me. There are other things with which I disagree. The third category is the most problematic because they resonate, even though I don’t like them! But they make sense. Definitely a worthwhile book, albeit not an easy one.

Up early on Monday, on my own. Got the morning routine going, in spite of going down another research rabbit hole with The Spruces.

I had a long list of errands that needed to happen. On the way to the first set, I stopped at the credit union to make a deposit for my mother, in the joint account, on which I am named with Power of Attorney. The teller and the teller supervisor accused me of trying to scam my elderly mother. Even though I have POA, and my mother signed the check (since it was made out to her), and marked it for deposit. Because I am named for my mother, and therefore must be trying to scam her, because heaven forbid a daughter have the same first name as a mother. If I was a man named for my father, this would never be a problem. Because misogyny. I had to go home, get the check stub and the letter that came with the check TO MAKE A DEPOSIT INTO A JOINT SAVINGS ACCOUNT. On top of that, they’re going to hold the money until the end of the month “to make sure the check is real.” It’s from a major company in the Midwest. On top of that, they said she should have come in to make the deposit herself. First of all, she’s 97. That’s why it’s a joint account and I have POA. So that she doesn’t have to come in herself. Second, none of the staff is masking. Why would I put her at risk in a pandemic? As usual, they are inappropriate.

EVERY interaction with Greylock Federal Credit Union since we opened the account has been unnecessary drama. Why would I want to keep our money in an establishment that treats me like a criminal instead of a customer? The whole point of being with a credit union is because their mission is to treat their members like individuals.

Not Greylock.

As soon as I can legally move the money, I will. It will be a nightmare to open yet another account and switch everything over.  I’m starting the research now. But it’s necessary. Because my mother is 97. I hope she’s around for a long time, but when she does go, how much you want to bet they’d refuse access to the JOINT ACCOUNT so I could pay the bills for the funeral? What about when I start traveling again? How much do you want to bet they’ll leave me stranded somewhere, even though I will have given them the information about the trip in advance? Not to mention that, as a legal adult (for decades now), I shouldn’t have to get the bank’s “permission” to travel.

NONE of this is about security. ALL of it is about control.

The Annual Meeting is tonight. Part of me is exhausted at the very thought of attending. Part of me wants to go in there and tell them off. Yet again. I have brought up these issues before, and they “feel bad” that I have a bad experience with them, but never adjust their behavior.

I have ALWAYS been polite in dealing with them, even when they frustrated and insult me. And EVERY transaction is an absolute nightmare of unnecessary drama.

If I was rich and laundering money through them, they’d let me do anything I want.

Part of being the architect of my own life is only dealing with businesses that treat me with basic human respect and decency. The credit union does not. Therefore, I need to take my business (small as it is) elsewhere.

After it took the hour plus to get sorted what should have been a basic deposit, I did the rest of my errands: the liquor store, the library. Did a pass through the thrift store, hoping for some cute plant pots, but they didn’t have any in stock. Went to another store, where I found pots, potting soil, and even got some morning glory and moonflower seeds.

It meant I didn’t have to drive to another store I thought I’d have to visit, for the soil and the pots. So that saved time, energy, and stress on the car.

After lunch, I planted eight pots with seven kinds of seeds (I’ll discuss it in detail in this Thursday’s post on Gratitude and Growth). It was lovely out on the porch, so we moved all the pots out there in the sun. I updated the plant journal. I’m trying to be more consistent with it. Keeping it in a 3-ring binder instead of a spiral-bound notebook makes it easier.

There were plenty of things I “should” have been doing in the afternoon, although I was well in the zone, deadline-wise. So I cut myself a break, read a book I really wanted to read for fun, and watched the clouds roll by. Being up in the mountains is fun, because the clouds are low enough to really observe.

Tessa started howling as soon as I went to bed. I got up, sat with her while she ate her bedtime snack, and waited until she fell asleep before sneaking off to bed. I was awake on my own just before five this morning, and she was happy.

Took the laundry to the laundromat in the rolly cart. The moon was still out and shining brightly when I left. They’d adjusted the lights to the time change, finally, although the clock is still an hour behind. Got a nice chunk of edits done on CAST IRON MURDER, in spite of some guy coming in to do his laundry who kept trying to talk to me. What is it about men that they can’t stand to see a woman involved in something that isn’t them? I had my folder open with a full manuscript of several hundred pages, I was editing hard copy in red pen, it was obvious I was working. Basic greeting and acknowledgement make sense; trying to engage me in conversation when I am obviously working is not. I was polite, but minimal, and made it clear that I WAS WORKING, and not there to hang out and socialize.

I mean, it’s a lot better here than it was on Cape, but still. Read the room, guys. Not everything is about you.

Home, put the clothes away. I only have about two chapters left to edit on CAST IRON MURDER, so I might just go ahead and do that, and then put in some of the fixes I noted in pen this morning, before switching over to The Big Project, and then client work in the afternoon.

Trying to decide if I want to do a run to the library – six books came in after I had done my drop-off/pickup yesterday.

The tansy seeds finally showed up after travelling from Missouri to Massachusetts to Chicago back to the Berkshires. I hope to plant them today. Otherwise, I have to wait until Friday, which is the next planting day.

By the way, any business that is running around with an unmasked staff behaving like the pandemic is over does not get to use “the pandemic” or “supply chain issues” as an excuse for not being competent or fulfilling their responsibilities. Either they acknowledge we are still in a pandemic and follow protocols, or they forfeit the right to use it as an excuse. It doesn’t work both ways.

The Republican racists are in full sail in the hearings for our new SCOTUS. People need to believe them when they show who they are, and remove them.

The week has barely begun and I’m exhausted.

I will make the time for extra meditation today.

Wed. March 16, 2022: Research Day

image courtesy of Foundry Co. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Waxing Moon

Mild and cloudy, supposed to turn sunny and gorgeous

In spite of a rocky start to the day, yesterday morning went well. I dealt with some email. I worked on the next section of The Big Project.

I headed up to the library to do some research in the local archives on The Spruces, a self-governed community in Williamstown begun in the 1950’s that has fascinated me since we moved here. It took a bit to track down the material, but once I had it, I sat and took plenty of notes. I have some names to research further. I have physical details of the layout, looked at photos.

I think I will use it as the inspiration for what I want to write based on a place very much like it, set in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. I need to do more research, but as I walked back from the library, the core ensemble of characters, and the two protagonists who will drive the piece and/or series became clear.

Some of the names, and that people in positions of authority were married couples holding multiple positions in the community cause questions. And also open opportunities for the kind of conflict I want to create here.

I also want plenty of cocktails, chain smoking, and cool clothes.

I’ve set up the physical file folder to keep the notes as they evolve, and any additional research I come up with.

The sweet pea and mallow seeds arrived. I need more pots and soil in order to plant them. I need at least a half a dozen more pots, and probably three more bags of soil. Hopefully, the tansy seeds will show up today.

Ordered more ink for the printer. Then I’ll have a full complement of color tanks. I think I can wait to order more black ink for about another month or so. The tanks are good for about 1300 pages; while I go through a lot with the black tanks (and tend to order the ones that can run more pages, when I can afford to), the color tanks last me nearly a year.

In the afternoon, I went down another rabbit hole of research on The Spruces, thanks to the Williamstown Historical Society’s online archives. I found some wonderful photographs and got some more names to research. The Society has a DVD about the place, which, once the car is fixed (again), I will make arrangements to go over and view.

The characters are telling me their stories, and I am taking notes. Out of this will come the conflicts that I need to create the mystery, and then I can outline. I need to do some more research, especially in newspaper archives. I have to find out if The Berkshire Eagle’s morgue is online, or if I have to go and visit them in person.

Reading newspaper files will also help me decide in what year I want to start the series. It will be sometime between 1957-1960.

I also found out (again, thanks to the Berkshire Eagle, who will be thanked in the acknowledgements, no doubt), that there used to be a horserace track over in Hancock, Berkshire Downs, in the 1960’s. I will have to find a way to incorporate that, if I can.

I got my script coverage done, and I worked on a grant proposal. I also worked on contest entries.

It was a pretty good day, all around.

Charlotte woke me up at 4 this morning. I refused to get up, but then I overslept until 5:30, which meant I had to scramble to get out the door to the laundromat. I went on foot, with the rolly cart. It was open on time, and the machines worked, but they didn’t have the lights over the washing machines calibrated to the time change, so I had to use the flashlight on my phone. Why yes, I will be getting in touch. It was a little creepy.

But I got 60 pages of CAST IRON MURDER revised.

If it’s as mild as they predict, I’ll put the seedlings out on the porch for the day. I need to go over to the college library to get some art books out I need for the series of short projects. I plan to work on The Big Project, maybe put in some of the fixes I caught on CAST IRON MURDER, and do more research, in and around script reading and going to the library.

I’m watching the news on Ukraine, and donating what I can to World Central Kitchen, which, for me, is the best place to put my funds right now. One of the most important things we have to do NOW, not months down the line, is to remove the Russian assets in Congress and prosecute them.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The seniors are already talking about how this would be spring break for them next year. I wonder how fast the new cases will rise in the next two weeks? Since we’re not getting real numbers. Supposedly, the transmission rate in the Berkshires is down to 1-1/2%, and new cases have gone down by 34% in the past two weeks, but with free testing stopped, who knows how accurate that is? I am still masking indoors in public spaces (like the library, the grocery store, etc.).

The Ipsy bag arrived, full of great stuff for a fun spring look, including lipstick from one of my favorite brands. I started cleaning, by giving the copper molds a good scrub in the kitchen, because I’ve decided I want to hang them up around the stove. If you’ve ever been to the Cape house, they were on the wall by the door to the garage, next to one of the cookbook bookcases (yes, I have two tall bookcases full of cookbooks in my kitchen, and two shelves of a bookcase in my office are also full of cookbooks. And there are more in storage). Hanging up the molds and tidying up the now three bookcases in the kitchen (two with cookbooks, one with bins of different flours, etc.) is on today’s list. I have to figure out how to get the red wax off the window (long story). Looks like someone met with a fatal accident in the kitchen.

If you’re curious about the shared world anthology I keep mentioning, the Monthology website is now live here. You’ll find my Valkyries in the District of the Dearly Departed, and my Gorgons running a theatre in The Amalgamate. There will be lots of fun blurbs and ads and all kinds of information coming out about it in the coming months.

Have a good day, my friends.