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

image courtesy of Mylene 2401 via pixabay.com

Friday, December 9, 2022

Waning Moon

Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

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

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

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

That’s why I mailed everything early.

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

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

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

Too tired to bake yesterday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Willa stays out of it.

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

Thurs. Dec. 8, 2022: Following the Packages

image courtesy of E. Muhammad via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Last Day of the Full Moon

Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

The latest garden update is over on Gratitude and Growth.

I had a slow start yesterday, and did not get anywhere near what I hoped to get done accomplished. I got the blogging done, and did the social media rounds, and promoted The Process Muse.

I was accepted on the Post.News site, so I had to get that signup sorted out, do my profile, start posting. It seems Very Serious over there. But there’s a lot of interesting content, so we’ll see.

Took a lot of books back to the library, and returned with a smaller stack, but one of them was a medieval bestiary so huge it needed its own slipcase. It looks beautiful, though. I posted photos online yesterday. I have it sitting on the worktable in my office, because it’s too big to curl up with on the sofa.

I was too tired to bake, but I turned around two more scripts. I have two for today, but nothing for tomorrow, so I might use tomorrow as a baking day, instead, and hope there are scripts early next week.

I kept getting distracted by the notifications on where the various packages I mailed on Monday were, at any given moment. Originally, most of the ones on the East Coast were supposed to hit yesterday, with those in the Midwest hitting today, and the one for the West Coast on Saturday. No problem.

But, although I kept getting notifications that the East coast packages would be delivered yesterday by 9 PM (impossible, since most of them were still in Chicopee midafternoon), the package to New York City, the one to Maine, and the one in California were all delivered. Go figure. Anyway, there’s no stress involved, because that’s why I mailed them early. But it’s fun to watch their progress.

We were supposed to receive 3 packages yesterday, but only one showed up: the red fleece sheets for my mom.

I ordered one last gift for my mom from LL Bean. She really wanted a particular shirt (again, in red) and she never asks for anything, so, of course, I ordered it.

Read my friend’s book last night (didn’t finish it). It’s very well done, and I’m happy for her.

Meditation didn’t happen this morning. The regular group leader is away, and the person who was supposed to step in either forgot or had technical difficulties. It happens. I’ll sit on my own later.

I HAVE to do the new promo graphic for the episode of Legerdemain that drops next Thursday; I really hate the one I did earlier this week. It would be good to get a couple more episodes uploaded and scheduled today, and a couple more tomorrow, and then I’m fine through the first week of January. I have enough episodes through January, but I need to get more drafted, so I can get ahead of things a bit more, in case I need to drop a seed in one of the earlier episodes.

Maybe this weekend, along with work on “Comfort, Then Joy” and THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH.

Anyway, back to work. Have a good one, my friends.

And don’t forget, the next episode of Legerdemain goes live today!

Wed. Nov. 30, 2022: A. Day. And then Another. Day

Charlotte and her banana. Photo by Devon Ellington

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Stormy and cold

Here’s a picture of Charlotte and her banana, because someone should have a good day.

Well, yesterday was A Day.

Sorry this is late, but today is shaping up to be A Day Again.

The transit chart warned me this would be a week of chaos and conflict influenced by the heavens, and drawing the Nine of Swords as my Advice Card for the day was another warning.

On the positive side, we talk about The Right Form For the Story over on the Process Muse.

I also posted a Holiday Mindfulness Oracle Reading over on Ko-fi.

You back? Good.

The worst thing that happened yesterday was that my giant Brother Color Laser Printer, which was expensive and so heavy it needs two men to life it, died. It turned itself off in the morning, and the power won’t go back on. You can tell Twitter is dying, because I posted a request for troubleshooting suggestions there and it was silent. Normally, I’d have a mix of actual help and mansplaining. CounterSocial and Mastodon offered suggestions, but most of it was what I tried, and both that and the stuff I hadn’t tried but then did, did not work. But I appreciated that people saw the post and genuinely tried to help. That’s always appreciated, and I made sure to thank and acknowledge them.

I will be heartbroken if a printer that was that expensive and under warranty at only two years old is dead for good.

Now, of course, I have to fight to get them to honor the warranty.

It’s not like I can load it up into the car and take it for repair. The tech has to come here.

So, no printer yesterday, and research for a small interim printer until we figure out what to do with the laser printer. I was going to buy a small printer anyway, that I could take with me on residencies. I just didn’t expect to get it right now, and lose the big laser printer, which is a necessity for my work.

I had A LOT of stuff I needed to scan this week, along with the regular printing, so it’s an issue.

I did the rounds to promote Legerdemain, and check in and interact here and there. Making the rounds of all the sites takes from 1 ½-2 hours, which I now need to build into the workday. Whether or not I “have” time doesn’t matter. It’s a necessary part of the job. People running around saying they “don’t have time” or “the spoons” to learn these new platforms are speaking from a place of privilege I do not have.

Twitter is mostly screaming right now, anyway. It makes me sad.

I turned around two script coverages in the afternoon. We got an issue with a misplaced synopsis sorted out, which I will deal with today. I have to sit through another “evaluation” soon. My numbers have gone up in the last months, I have a 100% on time rate, and I’m requested 5% more often than the average for readers, so what is there to talk about? Leave me alone to do my work or give me a raise.

I found out that library holds expired yesterday. I contacted the library to ask them to hold them over until I could pick them up this morning, but didn’t hear back. With the library closed for four days over the holidays, we should get a little extra time. All the same, my world will not stop if I don’t get a library book I ordered. I can order it again.

Centerville Library’s staff would just check them out and send me a note telling me they were ready whenever I wanted to pick them up, but then, I built relationships with those librarians over ten years. The turnover at this library is much higher, and while all the librarians know me, sort of, by this point, they don’t really know me. It’s whatever. I will cope.

A colleague asked for recommendations on something, and, having dealt with her requests before, she wants me to do initial introductions and labor on it, which I won’t do. I’ll give her the information. Someone else is nagging me to review her book, which I just received – give me a minute, would you? Paid work comes first.

I’m behind on getting out some other admin stuff that needs to be done this week, and I don’t want to let it slide.

It took me 45 minutes to upload my profile picture on Hive, between my tablet being slow and the site running slow. Hopefully, everything will even out soon.

On a happier note, I received a tax refund from the state. In this state, when there is a surplus of taxes collected, they don’t sit on it. They are required, by law, to return it to the taxpayers. So I got an unexpected refund check. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to cover the little interim printer I have my eye on. That little thing made me feel cared for by the Universe.

As far as writing went, I chose not to work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH yesterday, because I was working on the holiday story instead. However, as I passed the 2K mark and realized how much story there still was, this is not appropriate for the newsletter subscribers. So I have to come up with something else that can be a flash (I already have the idea) and switch over to writing the flash for the Ko-fi page in the next couple of days (that idea is a little weird, but fun. Ko-fi is where I do weird and fun).

This morning, I only did 1151 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but they’re decent. I have to come up with a few more pages tomorrow morning to round out this chapter, and then we are where we need to be for the chapter I wrote last Friday, and that sends us careening toward the climactic sequence and resolution. It will come in short, on word count, for this draft, but as I revise it next spring, I will layer in the necessary period detail so it will hit the count organically (hopefully without info dumping).

I’m finishing NaNo at 59,736 (part of me says, come on, write another 300 words before midnight and hit 60K), but we’ll see.

I did not sleep well, between worrying about things and the cats being impossible.

Up a little after 5. Tessa is doing a Houdini act. I heard rummaging, and found her in a closed bureau drawer (that has not been opened for months). How did she get in there when there are no holes in the back of the bureau? It’s a mystery, but I’m glad I was home to get her out.

My back was spasming when I woke up, but a longish yoga session (under Tessa’s supervision) helped.

I dashed out early when the store opened that carried the printer I wanted. In and out in a few minutes with the printer, a 2-year warranty, and a hole puncher (I can’t find my other one, and Staples sent me the wrong case of paper).

Wolfed down breakfast and headed out again, just as the storm started. Hit up the library – they’d held my books for me, knowing I’d show up when I said I would. I am very grateful. Liquor store (gotta stock for a storm). Bank, to put in the refund check I’d just spent on the printer.

All the errands done in 20 minutes and home. Car safely slotted. Back to work. The winds are supposed to pick up seriously over the next few hours and be high until tomorrow night. The temperatures are in the 40s now, but will drop into the 20s tonight, so the rain might switch over to snow. They are positioning plows and utility trucks around the city.

Lots to do, so off I go. Have a good one.

And hey, all you who busted your ass for NaNo – good work! Cheers to you!

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. Nov. 15, 2022: Incoming Snow

image courtesy of Tomasz Proszek via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold. Snowstorm on the way.

Time for our regular Tuesday catch-up.

It was a steady weekend.

Friday, I got my words done on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, and then did a run to the pharmacy, the grocery store, the post office (mailed stuff, even though it was closed), and the liquor store.

A new contact on Mastodon, who is also over on Ravelry, shared a pattern with me that might work for that very thin alpaca yarn. I’m also working up one of my own designs, and will see which makes the most sense. Or maybe try to combine them, if I can pull it off. By accident, I cam across another yarn on sale that I want, and I have to remind myself that I have an ENTIRE TRUNK (a vintage trunk from the late 1800s) full of yarn that needs to be worked up, plus several bins of yarn still in storage. I do not need more yarn.

Yeah, like that’s gonna stop me.

Rested in the afternoon, because I am weary on multiple levels. Part of it is grieving for Twitter. Its destruction is a financial blow to my work. But there’s also the community element. I’m building different experiences on other platforms, but the platforms are different and the experiences will be different. And I’m enjoying some of the platforms, and getting ready to remove myself from others in a few weeks, when I reassess where my time and energy is best placed, on both professional and personal levels. Which isn’t a bad thing, but those of us who were hooked into top level Twitter usage, for business and personal reasons, need time and space to grieve. The fact that Yegads Muskrat is destroying it intentionally for his own ego makes it even worse.

My writing is very much a part of who I am, and how I make sense of the world. Any platform that gets squiffy about me talking about my work is the wrong place for me.

But I also read for pleasure. A brain candy book, instead of what I “should” have read, but I needed the break.

The rains at the outer edges of Tropical Storm Nicole came in the evening. It’s such a different experience here in the mountains than it was at the coast. Still, the leaks on the porch were bad, and we had to empty buckets and bowls a couple of times, and also get up overnight and do it. I wish they’d hurry up and fix the porch roof.

It was bucketing down in the morning, which meant our plans to head to Great Barrington were scuttled. Next time I head down that way, I want to visit Karen Allen’s Fiber Arts store and see what’s there. It sounds like an amazing store.

1827 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, and they were a struggle.

Read a book that’s getting a lot of buzz and everyone thinks is wonderful. I was not impressed, and annoyed that I wasted several hours with these characters.

Finished taking notes on my friend’s manuscript. He’s been traveling, so I’ll type them up and see when he’s ready for them. Started reading another friend’s book that came out recently.

Finished switching out fabric from Samhain into November, including the kitchen table. Finally took down the pumpkin lights. Getting that all washed and put away. Soon it will be time to put out the Solstice fabric.

Baked potatoes for dinner, with bacon and Moosewood’s cheese sauce. Been a long time since I had a layered baked potato.

The Dems held the Senate at 50. Let’s get in Warnock in the runoff and make it 51.

Weird dreams on Saturday into Sunday, closer to the stress dreams from before the move and when we first moved here than the better dreams I’ve had lately.

Baked biscuits.

2078 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, including an insert in the previous chapter. The first few hundred words were difficult, and then it started flowing again. I managed to beat the little voice saying, “You’re ahead. You can take time off.” I’ll take time off when I hit 50K. I’m a little over 31K now, breaking 30K two days before I needed to, for my own schedule.

Did some stuff around the house. We finally got the bulbs planted (which I will go into in more detail on Thursday’s garden post). I was annoyed that Scheeper’s shorted me a half a dozen bulbs. The bulb packets I bought were supposed to have 12 each in them, and had only 10. Which meant, over the three packages, I was shorted a half a dozen bulbs.

Definitely going back to Color Blends next year.

Started reading the next book for review, and also read for pleasure. Just felt tired all the time. There were plenty of things I “should” have worked on, but I needed rest more. Why is it so difficult for us to allow ourselves to rest, so that we can do better work after? Not just better work, but better life?

Tessa woke me up at 3:30 on Monday morning, because it was windy, and the porch door banged. I got it fastened, and then she tried to convince me to feed her. Nope. She and Charlotte bothered me until I finally got up a little after 6.

I had resistance to sitting down to write, but once I did, I got Chapter 15 drafted of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH at 2073 words. I’m a little over 33K, and broke 30K early. 17K left to go for Nano; I suspect the draft will run 70-80K. 82 is the sweet spot for this, once it’s edited.

If you didn’t see the Mid-month check in over on the GDR site yesterday, you can hop on over ad check it out here. Did the social media rounds. Kind of skipped Cohost; pretty sure I’m going to ditch that account without waiting until January. It’s more geared to a gaming and fanfic demographic than what I do.

Had 11 books to drop off at the library, and a bunch of local history to pick up, which I will make notes on and use in TREES, and can also use some of the information for CAST IRON MURDER. Picked up a few things at the grocery store. Only one person wasn’t masked while I was out and about, which made me feel better about things.

It started cold, and then warmed up enough to open the porch and bring the tomatoes back out. I have a feeling I’ll be hauling plants back and forth a lot on sunny days.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon, got some reading for pleasure in. Had a great soup class online with Jeremy Rock Smith. It’s always such fun to participate in his classes. Lots of laughter, while building skills.

Dreamscape was good last night, and I might have the basis for a new novel or novella. I have to make some notes on what I remember, and, when I have a little more breathing room, see if it’s viable.

Slept in until 6:30 this morning, but felt rested when I got up, which has been rare lately. Did the next chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. It came in at 2226, and now I’ve broken 35K. Character development, b-line stories, red herrings. Typical middle stuff.

Once I do a quick social media round, I have to head for the store and get a tarp. We need to get the rest of the plants and furniture in from the back balcony today, since tonight we’re supposed to get our first snowstorm, and it could be up to 5 inches. I planned to go to the laundromat tomorrow, but I’ll put it off.

I have two more scripts to turn around this afternoon, and that’s it for this pay period. I’m happy with what I hit. I also have to write a book review later this afternoon and submit it, so I can be assigned the next one.

Tomorrow, since I’ll be home all day in the snow, I hope to do some catching up on Legerdemain. The last few episodes of the year are in decent shape, and can go up soon, but I need to finish the rest of the second arc.

I’ve been working on a media kit for it, too.

Speaking of which, the next episode of Legerdemain goes live today. I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one, friends, and stay warm!

Thurs. Nov. 10, 2022: A Sunny Autumn Day

(image courtesy of Tim Hill via pixabay.com)

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I’m late posting, because I was busy writing.

The latest on the garden, and last night’s avian visitor, is over on Gratitude and Growth.

I realized I need to rewrite my cover letter template, the one I use as the basis for sending out LOIs. It’s become outdated.

Did some work on future posts for THE PROCESS MUSE yesterday. Did the SM rounds to interact and promote Process Muse. I’m behind reading other Substackers, and need to build time into the weekly schedule to do that. It’s very much about being a reciprocal community. I’ve blocked off some time tomorrow to catch up.

Did a library run, dropping off books, and picking up the eight books waiting for me. Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. Made chicken enchiladas for dinner, and they were excellent.

I feel better about the election results. I spent a good deal of time yesterday listening to people whose opinions I respect. I’m still wary, but I feel like I have a fuller perspective now. And, as I said, I’m happy about the results in my home state. And I want indictments to happen. NOW. No more excuses. When you crime in real time on video, there need to be consequences.

I was tired and went to bed ridiculously early. Busy in the Dreamscape, putting a garden to bed in front of what looked like a British cottage, only it wasn’t as damp.

Up early, and at the desk. Got in one chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH before meditation. I was on a roll, with the next scene boiling in my head, so I wrote a second chapter after mediation. My total today is 4007 words, and I’ve passed 25K for the month, so I can take a breath. I don’t want to skip any days, but I don’t have to panic, either. At a third of the way through the month, I’ve hit half the word count, so steady work until 50K will mean I can slow down later in the month around Thanksgiving.

Meditation was good, although Charlotte was a pill until she got settled in front of the Zoom screen.

I have a script that needs to be turned around quickly, today, so once I make the social media rounds, I will do that first, before going back to any other writing or reading. I’m in good enough shape that I can take tomorrow off script reading; I have two scripts in my queue for Monday.

I have house-and-hearth stuff to do in the next few days, along with working on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, LEGERDEMAIN, and ANGEL HUNT, and finishing reading/critiquing my friend’s book. I want to get that out to him this weekend. I also need to get back to the radio plays.

If you’re taking the holiday tomorrow, I wish you a good long weekend. If you’re not, we’ll meet again here virtually tomorrow!

Have a good one!

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it!

Wed. Nov. 9, 2022: One Foot in Front of the Other

(image courtesy of pexels via pixabay.com)

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Last Day of the Full Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I’ve split the post into Writing stuff and Politics, so you can find what interests you under each header, and skip the other part, should you choose.

Writing/Work/Life

I was happy with yesterday’s work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but frustrated and worried that I didn’t get anything done on either LEGERDEMAIN or ANGEL HUNT. LEGERDEMAIN is more important, at this point, because in a week or two, I need to upload/schedule the rest of the episodes through December (I’m uploaded/scheduled through Dec. 13). While the episodes are written, the arc is not complete, and I don’t like to upload/schedule until I’ve completed the arc and edited everything multiple times. So this weekend needs to be a big push on Legerdemain. Fortunately, I’m taking the Friday holiday off client work, which means I can focus on LEGERDEMAIN.

I caught up on a bunch of email. I did the social media rounds, promoting Episode 31 of LEGERDEMAIN and trying to build a presence.

Today’s post on The Process Muse is about “Character: The Heart of It All” and you can read it here. I hope you subscribe. It’s free.

Too many creepy dudes trying to get dates on Tribel for my taste so far. One can promote and brand, but there’s a lot of blocking and resetting privacy settings going on for me there. I’m also really on the fence about Cohost. I don’t think it’s the right place for me, but I’ll give it a few more weeks. Maybe.

Ello, of course, is great. Tumblr is getting better, with friendly faces migrating over. I’m enjoying the conversations on Counter Social. There are a few DystopTwitter refugees trying to turn it into another Twitter (the negative elements), but they’re getting shut down pretty quick, and I hope that continues.

I’m surprised by how much I like Mastodon. I’m still learning platform etiquette, but so far, it’s a great mix of finding cool people from all walks of life/interests, and not having to deal with screaming morons. Plus, they encourage artists to promote their work.

While I pulled my information through on Debirdify, I’m taking my time deciding who to follow instead of just insta-following everyone I knew from before. I needed to clean up the Twitter followers/following list anyway, and this give me an opportunity to do that.

I’m making notes and collecting information as I go, so I can make informed decisions by the end of the year as to where I want to stay, for both professional and personal reasons. The two are intertwined with me.

Turned around two script coverages in the afternoon. I have two to do today, and I hope to pick up two for tomorrow, and then be clear until Monday.

Up early, and wrote Chapter 9 of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which came in at 1983 words. The characters are surprising me for the right reasons. The computer decided to update and restart and took over 30 minutes, so I lost part of the time blocked off for the work, which irritated me.

I should have gone to the laundromat, but I suspect they haven’t yet adjusted for the time change. I have to make a library run later. I have books to drop off and a great, big stack waiting for me.

Election

This will be a short section, since all the results aren’t yet in. I caved and doomscrolled far too long last night on Twitter.

I got what I wanted in my state, so at least I know my votes counted.

I don’t get people acting like the Dems did something great. They lost too many key positions to Republicans and, as I write this, House and Senate majorities still aren’t confirmed.

NONE of these races should have been close. Good people don’t vote for Republicans, not in 2022,  and anyone who still defends family members or friends who do so are delusional.

Even worse are those who chose not to vote. There’s a special circle of hell waiting for them.

Just because the Dems weren’t wiped out and didn’t do as badly as usual in midterms isn’t enough of a victory. We lose either the House or Senate, and we’re screwed. We lose both?

This falls squarely on the shoulders of Merrick Fucking Garland for not indicting the Sociopathic Monster and EVERY member of Congress who voted against certifying the election. I’m tired of Dems without balls.

I’m glad for the wins in the blue column, but there weren’t enough of them.

I need to get back to work and try to survive the coming hellscape. Survive, my friends. Concentrate on survival.

Thurs. Oct. 27, 2022: A Cat With A Plan

(Charlotte, photo by the author)

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Warm and wet

I hope you’re enjoying The Process Muse. If you haven’t had the chance, you can sign up for it here. (It’s free).

Latest on the garden and our weird weather up on Gratitude and Growth.

Worked on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH and I’m still not happy with it, although it’s grown and is richer than it was. A major arc for a couple of supporting characters is gaining traction, and, if I handle it will be both beautiful and sad throughout the book.

Picked up the rest of the books at the library, and put in for some books with 1950s details that I will need for Nano. The book on fashion is a lot of fun. After all, I have to clothe my characters (and most of my costume books are still in storage).

Went to the DMV (RMV here in MA) to renew the car registration. In and out in under 10 minutes, and they were very nice, just the way I like it. Paid the insurance for the next 6 months, so that is all set.

Ordered in Chinese food for lunch, because I was too lazy to cook.

In the afternoon, I turned around two scripts, and in the evening, I read the next book for review. I will write it up and send it off this morning, after meditation and breakfast.

Charlotte kept bothering me in the night. Around 2 AM, I set up her playpen in the sewing room and put her in it (Tessa came by the snicker at her). I was just falling asleep again when I heard a series of thumps. I got up. Charlotte had rolled the playpen out of the sewing room and down the hall into my office, headed for my bedroom. Gotta give the cat points for ingenuity.

I took her out of the playpen and back in bed. She snuggled down, purring, and was good until Tessa woke us at 6:30 with her howling.

I had a breakthrough on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH – I think I’ve finally figured out the climax and refigured the resolution, so it works better. It means setting up a couple of other characters earlier and planting more clues, and shifting a relationship, but it will make the book stronger, and fix what I was worried isn’t working. As soon as this is posted, I’m going back to work on it, taking a break for meditation, and then finishing it.

I’ll have to decide if I want to work on ANGEL HUNT this morning and LEGERDEMAIN tomorrow, or the other way around. I think I’ll work on ANGEL HUNT, and then work on LEGERDEMAIN all weekend.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today, and I hope you enjoy it!

Published in: on October 27, 2022 at 7:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 27, 2022: A Cat With A Plan  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Process Muse Launches!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

It was up in the 70’s around here yesterday, more like spring than autumn. It rained; it was sunny; it rained; it was sunny. All day long. The sunny patches were very humid. I basically ignored the eclipse, because I couldn’t deal with it.

I have a new short story up on Ko-Fi, a short mystery called “Won if By Sea.” It’s been broken down into two parts, one up yesterday and one up next Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday afternoons seem the best days to post on Ko-Fi. I hope you enjoy it.

Today is the launch of THE PROCESS MUSE, the weekly posts over on Substack where I dig into the hows and whys of the way I create. For subscribers, the posts go out on Wednesday mornings at 8 AM; they should post on the site around the same time. Subscription to THE PROCESS MUSE is free, and there’s room to comment and have discussions at the bottoms of the posts. I hope you will join me in this experiment. Substack is available internationally, so my readers outside of the US can enjoy it, too.

Yesterday, I managed to untangle the scheduling issues with the episode-specific ads for Legerdemain, and to get the rest of the ads for the first arc uploaded and scheduled into mid-December. That reminded me that I am behind where I need/want to be on the second arc, and need to get cracking, because at some point in November (which starts NEXT WEEK), I need to upload and schedule the posts for the second arc, then create both the episode-specific and the general ads for them. While juggling Nano and everything else.

Of course, in order to upload and schedule all of that – it has to exist. While I’ve made good progress into Arc 2, it’s not where I want it to be.

I polished, uploaded, and schedule the posts for The Process Muse through the end of November, so at least I don’t have to worry about that, and can write other posts as I wish through the month, upload, and schedule them.

I’m also behind where I wanted to be on ANGEL HUNT, but we’re not going to deal with that at the moment.

I picked up some books at the library, only to discover, when I got home, that they hadn’t given me all the books that were ready. I have to go back this week, because some of the holds will expire. It’s really not a big deal; the library is four blocks away. It’s more the mental energy to get me out of the house than anything else.

Dropped off our ballots at the City Hall ballot box. It was pretty full, which is great, because it means people are voting.

Picked up some puzzle books for my mom; although she paid for a yearlong subscription, they only ever send the books when she asks why she hasn’t received them. Cashing a check for a subscription and not fulfilling it seems like fraud to me.

Went to the post office to buy stamps and catch up.

Turned around two scripts.  Promoted the episode of Legerdemain that dropped yesterday. Took another look at Tribel, since Yegads Muskrat insists he’ll own Twitter by the end of the week. I’m uncomfortable with their privacy policy. It’s probably not worse than any other platform, so I don’t really know why it makes me so uncomfortable, but it does. My gut is telling me not to sign up, while my brain is telling me I need as wide a net as possible.

This morning, I need to type up what I’ve got so far on the outline of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. I still don’t have the climactic sequence figured out, although I’ve got a good idea of the resolution. I think, in this case, it has to be a case of trusting the characters to see how it works out.

And hope I hit 50K in November before I have to figure it out!

I also have to go down to the DMV and renew the car’s registration. So I better get going on things like typing up the outline and working on the next episode of Legerdemain.

Have a good one, friends, and come visit over on The Process Muse.

Tues. Oct. 11, 2022: Serial Musings, Creative Inspiration, and Dishes

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Pluto direct as of Oct. 8

Cloudy and cold. Second frost.

I started out stressed on Friday, but then calmed down. As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I hoped to get an oil change, but had to schedule it for yesterday instead.

I came home, got some work done, had trouble logging into Ello, which bothered me, since that platform has one of the highest metrics for me.

I picked up some books at the library, swung by the post office to mail some cards and bills, picked up some wine at the liquor store, filled the gas tank.

I jumped in the shower when I got home, and I thought, “what if I just don’t worry about everything that still has to be done today? What if I just get it done without the worry?” And that made things flow better.

I worked on script coverages up until the time I had to get dressed and go to the art opening. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t stay long; I made sure my colleagues knew I was there and that I thought they did a great job; I had a short conversation with the artist; I looked at the art five or six times, seeing something new each time. And then I left, as it got more crowded. The turnout was good, which is always heartening.

Home, made fish and chips for dinner, then finished the script coverages, which took until nearly 10 PM. But I made my goal and a little over this week. But I was tired.

Overslept on Saturday morning, after weird dreams.

I did a lot of promotion for the Free Vella Binge days. I promoted my serial, and I also read a lot of other writers’ serials, and it was a lot of fun. I hope they do a binge week a few months down the line again. Today is the final day of the binge – which means you can even read the episode dropping today, Episode 23.

It also means I have to start a different type of promo as of tomorrow.

And I’m behind on the Topic Workbook promos, which have to get done, since they pay at least one of my bills per month!

I wrote more on the next LEGERDEMAIN episodes – about 3K, and it felt good. This arc is taking some interesting twists and turns for me as the writer, even as I sort of stick to the general outline I made for the arc.

A character started talking to me. She’s kind of a cross between Marion Ravenwood and Morticia Adams, and I kind of love her. I listened to her for awhile and made some notes. Where I originally planned to start turns out to be further into the piece. My character told me the action starts IN an action scene earlier. So I listened.

I think this will be a short serial, to dip my toe into the waters of Substack. I have some questions to ask them about pricing, and if one can put bundling serials into the tiered pricing system. It’s a combination of action, magic, fantasy. With, of course, some humor. The voice is VERY different from LEGERDEMAIN.

Anyway, the series is called Vixen’s Hollow, and this first “season” is called THE CUNNING ONE. If I stick to the outline, it will be 12-20K. That way, I can dip my toe in while prepping EARTH BRIDE (which needs a fuckton more revision than ANGEL HUNT) and developing REP. While keeping LEGERDEMAIN going on over at Vella, as long as the metrics for work it, and also putting ANGEL HUNT up there in January.

Then, by midyear next year, I’ll have enough data and metrics to compare, contrast, and see if either platform grows the way I need it to grow for this to be viable on both financial and creative levels. And can make informed decisions.

While I’m juggling the other prose, script, and business writing. I think it’s do-able, if I stay focused, and if everything is outlined properly. Then, in each project’s time slot, I drop down and work. Hit my quota, take a quick break to clear my head, and move on.

We also did some more decorating on Saturday, putting up the autumn lights (which is always a bigger PITA than I’d like) on the front porch, in the living room, and in the kitchen. I wanted to wait to do the stair lights until after the storage run.

Sunday morning, we were up at 4:30, and on the road by 6, even though I had to scrape frost off the windows. It’s our first frost, which means the colors will begin to pop soon.

The drive to the Cape wasn’t bad at all, in spite of some sun glare for a bit. There wasn’t much traffic, and it was pretty to see where the colors are throughout the state. Mid-state has the strongest color now.

We made it in 3 ½ hours instead of 4, and spent about an hour in the storage unit, trying to organize and rearrange what shifted. We still haven’t found the photos and scrapbooks from our trips, and I’ll have to take another look at spring’s trip. I also forgot the shepherd’s pie dishes, which annoys me, and I didn’t have the energy to move enough boxes to get to the books I wanted.

But we brought back teapots, my grandmother’s china, the snowman china, lots of pictures and a couple of paintings, more sewing baskets, my wardrobe kit (which I will clean out and make functional for current project life), plant pots, and some miscellaneous stuff. It was a full car.

We stopped at a favorite store, which has things I haven’t yet been able to source here, and stocked up.

We were back on the road  a little after 11. We hit a bad pocket of traffic from Worcester to Sturbridge, but then, even though it was busy, traffic moved. We stopped at Adams Fresh Market for things like pizza, bread, and pie (their bakery is wonderful), and filled the tank up the street at Cumberland Farms. The gas was 4 cents more a gallon on Sunday than it was on Friday, when I filled the tank in preparation for the trip.

We were home with the car unloaded by 3:30, and kind of tired, even though it was a much less stressful day than I expected. Ate pizza, unwrapped some of the pictures. Some we will hang up; others we will put aside and maybe switch out, if we get tired of what’s up on the walls.

So tired, I went to bed at 7:30 at night. Slept until midnight. Woke up because my hip hurt. Moved to the bed in the sewing room and slept until the alarm went off at 6. Weird dreams, including that my laptop was stolen, with the flash drive holding the serials. I guess I better back it up on the external hard drive, too.

Tessa was beside herself, claiming we were starving them to death.

Fed the beasts, fed myself, pulled it together and was out the door and at the garage by 8 for my oil change appointment.

I’d brought CAST IRON MURDER with me, to work on the multi-colored draft, and got a couple of chapters done while I waited. The change was easy-peasey, reasonably priced, and they always do right by me. The car is purring like a contented cat.

Came home and started unpacking/washing china. Of course, now we have to figure out where to put it. And now, in addition to working on a flash fiction idea about a haunted doorbell, I want to write another about dead ladies’ china. Because ideas come in batches, like cookies.

Some of the pieces could go into the dishwasher, but most of the older, fragile, bone china needed to be handwashed and set out on the mats to air dry, then get wiped.

Of course, I don’t have a place to put some of it, although I think I’ve come up with a temporary solution that involved buying another rolly cart for the shelf full of tea and chocolate, and then putting some of the dishes up there. Until I can get a china cabinet that will fit into one of the corners in the living room or my office.

Because there are still two boxes of china that need to come up in spring. And who knows how  much I’ll rescue out of thrift shops over the winter?

While batches of china dried, I did Kindle Vella promotion and finished the first draft of the first episode of THE CUNNING ONE. It needs some tweaks, but the bones are good.

One of the things I noticed while reading serial episodes is that many of them are long, because the author is simply posting book-length chapters in preparation for the book’s later release. I’m intentionally keeping the episodes shorter and crisper than I would for a book because serial structure is different from book structure. It’s not just a bunch of chapters slapped up there, one at a time.

LEGERDEMAIN’S sometimes run longer than I would like, although if we get up to 1700 words, I try to break it down and restructure it. I can’t always do that without losing the rhythm, but I try, and as I write forward, in this second arc, I’m much more aware of structure as I write, rather than writing and then revising to fit structure.

ANGEL HUNT was originally created as a serial, then opened out as an (unfinished) novel, and now being adapted back into a serial. The episodes are short and tight, shorter than the original serial episodes. But it fits the rhythm.

THE CUNNING ONE, at least so far, is a little longer than ANGEL HUNT’s, but still less than LEGERDEMAIN. I want to keep the episodes between 900-1100 words, not more than 1200.

EARTH BRIDE’s will be more complicated, since that was originally written as a novel, and the chapters run long even for my usual chapter lengths. I have a feeling those will run around 1500 words each.

No idea about REP yet. Since it’s a science fiction comedy, probably short, precise chapters that build in comedic beats and then pay off.

Anyway, in addition to that, I did some noodling on two Christmas story ideas, which I need to draft before November. One is aimed at the newsletter subscribers; the other will go up on Ko-fi. My friend Chaz Brenchley has a really cool piece called HITHER that he releases a page at a time over there. You can read HITHER here (and buy Chaz a coffee).

We’re all experimenting across formats, trying to earn a living practicing our craft.

I tidied up some of the text on the Legerdemain site yesterday afternoon, too. I will work on the city’s history and the People content, and hope to get them up this week. I want to start promoting the site.

Slept decently last night, although, again, I had the dream that my laptop was stolen with the serial flash drive in it. Note to self: back up serial flash drive on external hard drive AND make sure the flash drives are out of the laptop and put away at night, or when away for extended times.

Back to the page; there’s a lot that has to get done this week. The To Do lists I made the last two weeks only depress me. But I have a lot that has to get done. So I better get to it, huh?

Anyway, Episode 23 drops today for LEGERDEMAIN, and I hope you enjoy it. The direct link to the series is here.

Wed. Sept. 7, 2022: Meal Planning for the Weekend

image courtesy of Thorsten Blank via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, humid, cool

It was pouring for most of the day yesterday. I was worried about floods, but, fortunately, it didn’t happen.

I did some work on Ink-Dipped Advice (the post will go live later this morning), and work on the Legerdemain site. I hope to start promoting it next week, but it might take longer, because there’s still a lot of information that needs to go in. Promoted the episode that dropped yesterday (along with the scheduled promos that are running). I have to look at the budget and see where to place paid ads.

The Topic Workbooks are selling well. The money that came in from those yesterday pays the electric bill. May they continue to sell steadily.

I went out in the rain to the library (by car) to drop off a big stack of books. Nothing’s come in for me in the last few weeks (I’m on waiting lists for books), so I have to order some more older books. I’m nearly caught up with everything I have out.

The cats are much perkier now that it’s cooler. Tessa has decided that the catnip turnip (which was originally Charlotte’s toy) is now her favorite, and she tosses it up in the air and chases it around. So that’s all good. Charlotte doesn’t care. Except for her catnip banana (which we can’t find right now), she doesn’t play often with toys. Willa is racing around like a kook.

Got the dietary preferences for the friends coming this weekend, so I can cook stuff they actually like. This morning, I’m going to do a big grocery shop (I haven’t done that in at least two weeks, and we are down on lots of stuff, not just what I need for the visit). Friday and Saturday I’ll pick up some stuff that needs to be fresh. Sunday, I’ll pick up a couple of things at Wild Oats, and we’ll be good to go. Planned the menu, made the shopping list. I’ll prepare some of the desserts on Saturday.

I still have to finish recovering the kitchen chairs, and fix that one chair, so we have enough chairs to eat around the table.

Everything’s still pretty tidy from the rental inspection, so it’s only a case of making up the beds with fresh sheets, vacuuming, mopping floors, dusting, and doing the regular upkeep.

I can’t wait to see my friends.

I decided to skip Open Studios at MassMOCA on Thursday night, because I don’t want to risk being exposed to the virus right before they arrive.

I basically have been isolating since late last week (mostly because I didn’t want to be around people on a holiday weekend), and didn’t mind at all. I’m looking forward to hunkering down for the winter.

This morning is big grocery shopping, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and turn around two scripts. I have two more to turn around tomorrow; I’m still waiting on a replacement from an incomplete script. I will probably just read one on Friday and none on Saturday. I’ve pushed hard enough early in the week so taking off Monday and even possibly Tuesday is not going to be an issue.

Closing some of the windows, at least partially, at night, and boy, does that block out a lot of sound. It’s not that noisy anyway, but the first weeks of a new semester are always a little louder, because the students are settling in. The idiot who moved into the house next store and is always yelling in the afternoons and evenings – honestly, I can’t tell if he’s jerking off or gaming and yelling at the computer – is annoying, but I yelled out my own window yesterday to shut up, and he did, so that’s progress. He can yell all he wants if he closes his windows and I don’t have to hear him. There are quite a few guys coming into the school this semester who are aggressive about taking up more than their space and they will have to be knocked back.

There’s a jay yelling outside my window, so I better go see what’s gotten him so upset.

Lots to do, so better get to it.

Published in: on September 7, 2022 at 7:22 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 7, 2022: Meal Planning for the Weekend  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. Aug. 9. 2022: Grief Intrudes

image courtesy of Tumisu via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Hot and humid

Friday feels so far away, I’m not even sure what I did. Fixed SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM, and it released. Polished my presentation. Uploaded DEVELOPING THE SERIES for the final proof.

It was so damn hot, that’s all I could do.

I was up early Saturday morning, to go to the Farmers’ Market before my class. It was so hot and humid that I nearly passed out. I got to the air-conditioned grocery store and it took me awhile to cool down enough so that I could think enough to shop.

Home, hauled everything up the stairs, put it away, and had to lie down.

I joined the Zoom for the conference’s keynote speech (with my video off), and it was good. Showered and dressed for my own class. Went over the class materials.

I had the worst possible slot for me (and for everyone else) – 2:45 – 4:45 on a hot Saturday afternoon. But I dug down and found the energy. The participants were enthusiastic and jumped into the exercises and had good questions, so it was a good class.

I was wiped out afterwards, though. Made tacos for dinner. That’s become a go-to for me.

Went to bed early, but it was too hot to sleep. I moved to the sofa in the living room halfway through the night, because there was a breeze.

Thank goodness we have good water pressure, because I’m taking multiple showers a day, just to hose down.

Sunday, I read in the morning (DAVA SHASTRI’S LAST DAY, which is a wonderful novel). A little after noon, I got in the car and headed back to the Edith Wharton homestead, where I went to see a play reading by a local professional company that interests me.

I was there early enough to take a photo of my favorite sculpture in this installation, a dragon.

The play was in the converted stable. The chairs were too close together, and, although it was a requirement to stay masked while inside, too many of the audience members kept slipping their masks down around their chins constantly, when they thought no one was looking. Only white audience members, of course, with their fucking sense of self-entitlement.

The play itself was wonderful, Caryl Churchill’s ESCAPED ALONE. The four actresses were amazing (and all of 70). Truly a professional performance, even as a reading, that gripped the audience and didn’t let go. The stage manager was one of the poets from The World’s Largest Poem, and how I found out about it, and I thanked her for letting me know. She was delighted that I actually followed through and showed up.

There was a really interesting talk back after the reading. Although it was not lost on me that one of the (white) women who talked about how important it was for the community of women to look after and connect and care for each other was one of the ones who’d kept sneaking her mask down during the show. Fucking hypocrite. Don’t give an impassioned speech about the importance of caring in community when you refuse to wear your fucking mask properly for seventy fucking minutes, showing that you actually do not give a fuck about anyone around you. I truly wanted to punch her in the throat, but I refrained.

As we exited the theatre, the skies opened and we were caught up in a downpour. In the few hundred yards to the car, I was completely drenched.

The original plan had been to stay through for a poetry event that started in the same location at 5. It was now just a few minutes after 3. I’d hoped the Terrace Café was still open, to get a drink and a snack, but they closed at 3. It was pouring, so wandering the gardens was not an option. I could sit in my car and be wet for an hour and a half, but then I’d be miserable and couldn’t enjoy the event.

So, I started up the car and drove home. There were times, driving through Lenox and parts of Pittsfield, I thought I would have to pull over, because the rain was so intense, I couldn’t see beyond the hood of the car. By the time I hit Cheshire, I needed my sunglasses again.

It had never even rained at home.

I got out of the car and wrung out my dress as best I could while still wearing it. Yes, I was truly that drenched, even after an hour’s ride in the car. When I got upstairs, I peeled the clothes off, toweled off, and put on other clothes. I’d done a crockpot chicken, so at least I didn’t have to worry about cooking.

Again, to bed early. Again, too hot to sleep well.

Up early on Monday, feeling exhausted. Did a run to the library to drop off/pick up books, mailed some stuff at the post office and got more stamps, and then we headed over to the quilt shop in Williamstown. It is amazing. Truly a fabric wonderland.

I got the fabric I will attach to the back of the Kitchen Island Cart From Hell, and for the new curtains. Because let’s face it, cute little blue curtains with mice who are sewing don’t really work in the kitchen.

Home, lunch, and just could not move through the humidity to work in the afternoon. The computer was glitching. I couldn’t concentrate.

I finally (after a Twitter poll – yes, I was so desperate and in such cognitive dissonance, I asked TWITTER what to do), packed everything up and headed back out to Williamstown to the library there.

Because most people mask.

I’m not sure what they’re doing across the street at the college library. The public library four blocks away no longer requires masks and asks that patrons respect those who choose to wear them (which shouldn’t need to be said). The library in Williamstown “recommends” them, and 98% of the patrons are respectful enough to do so.

So I set up in their hipster lounge and did my script coverage work. I was only there for the last hour and a half of their open hours, but I did more than I usually get done in 4 hours of home heat and humidity.

When I came back out, it was sunny as all get out, with 98% humidity, and puddles everywhere. There’d been a downpour while I was inside.

Drove home, and made a pasta primavera with produce from Saturday’s shopping.

Found out that the extended family member who went into hospice a couple of weeks ago died. I was planning to finish and send off the materials to Saturday’s students, but family stuff needed attention, to I let the conference organizers know it would be a few more days.

The family member who died was elderly. He’d been vaxxed and boosted, but had to go into the hospital and then rehab for non-COVID-related issues. But he’d caught COVID in rehab, and never recovered. He was a quiet, thoughtful, kind, sweet man. He and his wife had been together for 65 years, and have three great sons, all of whom are married, and a passel of terrific grandchildren. He was my grandmother’s brother’s stepson — yeah, I don’t know what that means, either, but we called each other “cousin.”

He could fix anything and was always the first to offer help when someone needed a driveway plowed or a lawn mowed.

The service itself is being kept small, because we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. Instead of flowers, I’m going to respect the family’s wishes and give a donation to their local public library.

I have kept somewhat of a distance from that extended family since the move. When we were stressed and frightened about having to move out, without any idea how to pull it off, the advice from that quarter (though not this particular cousin) was that I should put my mother in a home (because “she’s old, she only needs one room”), get rid of the cats, get rid of all my books and everything else, rent a room in someone’s house, and get a minimum wage job in the hospitality industry. Um, no. While we did not want nor ask for financial help, some emotional support would have been appreciated.

But then, even when I worked on Broadway, that section of the family has always considered me a loafer who should buckle down and get a “real job.”

When we managed to pull off the move (thanks to my theatre friends and writing friends, to whom I will be forever grateful), they were surprised. My mother kept in touch with them, but I really have not, other than Christmas and birthday cards.

However, there’s still a sense of grief and loss. There were lots of good times, since we started going to the big, 60+ people Thanksgiving dinners at the Legion Hall, starting way back in 1972, right after my dad died.

Emotions are layered and messy and more than one thing.

They’re also exhausting.

It’s still terribly hot and humid, and I have a lot to get done today. I’ve written a ritual for a friend who needs some help navigating a difficult situation, so that goes off this morning. I need to write and send off a review for a book I disliked. I need to finish proofing the workbook, so one version can release tomorrow, and the slightly different version can go out to the students.

I need to upload the next episodes for Legerdemain (and promote the episode that drops today).

I have a cooking class tonight with Chef Jeremy (which I love), and the radio play rehearsal was cancelled, so there’s one less thing.

I have to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting with a local baker, where I’m going to help her with some grant possibilities.

I need to polish my poem for Thursday night, and work on the Shakespeare horror story.

I have two scripts and some follow up questions in today’s queue.

I have to make another run to the quilt shop, because there were a few things there we kept thinking about, so we’re just going to go back and get them.

I may pack up this afternoon and work in the library again. I’m not sure yet.

I also need to give myself room to grieve. There were plenty of things the Victorians were overzealous and controlling about, but at least they has a process for mourning, instead of expecting it to be compartmentalized into a day or two.

Hopefully, you are not suffering in the heat, and things are going well for you.

Wed. July 27, 2022: Clearing The Desk

image courtesy of donterasse via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST releases today. I’m excited to have these Topic Workbooks going back out into the world.

Yesterday was busy, although I didn’t get as much done as I hoped.

Worked on CREATIVE STIMULUS in the morning. It needed more rewriting than I’d hoped. Wondering if I should move the release date.

Got rid of a massive amount of email.

Ran an errand at Wild Oats, dropped off/picked up at the library, mailed some stuff at the post office, went to the bank,  put gas in the car, and hit up Cinnamon Girl Apothecary for a few necessary crystals.

Turned around three coverages. Wrote and sent in a book review. Found out the artist working group to which I was invited is Friday, not Thursday, which means I can go! I’m delighted. And it’s outside, even better. It means being up very early on Friday, to write before I leave, and getting a lot of work done in the afternoon, before I head off to yoga that evening.

I’m playing with an idea for a short story submission to a Shakespeare horror anthology, which is right up my alley. I sent them an email, because I would like to try something that might push the guidelines a little too far. I’ve got a handful of ideas, so if they don’t want me to do that which I’m asking permission, I have some others to play with. I want to work with some of my favorites, who aren’t as well-known as, say, the characters from MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. I’m sure there will be many entries tied to that. But no. . .I have other ideas! (And those of you who know me well are laughing, because you know exactly who it’s going to center around).

It’s due in mid-August, so I want to get it drafted next week, as soon as I get my article off to Llewellyn.

The producer who’s doing “The Collector” radio play let me know they’re going into casting for it, which is very exciting.

I’m playing with an idea for a poem for one of the upcoming Word X Word events. Not sure I’ll get in, but I pitched. That’s also in mid-August. I’d actually started playing with the idea driving back from Saturday’s event. If they don’t have room for me, I can massage it into flash fiction.

We’re eating leftovers out of the freezer right now until I can get to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday. I’m looking forward to weather cool enough to I can do up another batch of Moosewood’s mac and cheese and Moosewood’ ratatouille, two of our standbys around here.

Chef Jeremy at Kripalu posted a recipe for a watermelon gazpacho that I just might have to try. I’m excited to be in his class again next week. In addition to being a magnificent human, he’s a wonderful teacher.

Finished packing/repacking my bags in the evening. This morning, I did a few things out and about online, like the prompts and my Italian lesson. And now, I am on the road!

We’ll catch up when I get back!

Published in: on July 27, 2022 at 4:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 27, 2022: Clearing The Desk  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,