Tues. Aug. 13, 2019: Keep on Keeping On

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter DIRECT (As of Sunday)
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days.

Got some stuff done at the library Friday morning, then went to the yoga studio. Class was packed (I usually can’t take that session). In fact, there was someone I hadn’t seen in about three years there.

I was a little too relaxed when I got out of yoga class. I still had a lot to do that day, and all I wanted to do was nap!

Friday afternoon was about housework and cooking. The downstairs is quite tidy now.

Saturday, I finished up some more food. We had company in the morning, from Greenwich, and a nice catch-up. I drove them to the ferry — they’re on their way to Nantucket. After years of summer rentals, they actually hope to buy something.

Read in the afternoon and evening, and percolated a bit on some stories that want to be told.

Heard about the Jeffrey Epstein “suicide.” Yeah, right. Just way too convenient, especially for the Narcissistic Sociopath. And Barr in charge of the investigation? What a joke. The whole thing is disgusting.

Finished reading a thriller trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book. I got ahead of the story a bit on the second book. It happened even more in the third book, and I anticipated the ending I hoped wouldn’t wind up the way it did. I was disappointed. I feel the author cheated his trio of protagonists (and his readers) from the ending they earned. While the first book was fantastic, the trilogy as a whole left me depressed and unsatisfied. It was a very male ending, meaning that it was what I expected from a male writer, and disappointed when it happened. It was what all those middle-aged male writers trying to be hip do to punish their characters (especially their female characters) and act like they’re creating great fiction. Would a female writer have made the same choices with that plot? Possibly, but most of the women writers in the genre I admire would have done it differently, I believe, and in a more satisfying way.

Also read a book by an author about whose work I have mixed feelings. I’ve read several of her books, and every one leaves me with mixed feelings. They’re a little too cutesy-wootsy for my taste. Her protagonists rely on being rescued by men too much, instead of saving themselves or the partners working together to survive . She’s a writer, but with such a limited vocabulary that she misuses words like “witch” — if you use “witch” to mean a nasty woman instead of a spell-caster, you’re knocked off my reading list. It’s insulting and careless. It’s bad writing. Also, in this particular book, she had characters who were supposedly involved in theatre. She might have gone to one community theatre production in her life, but she sure as hell didn’t do any research. She knows nothing about how theatre works and nothing about actors or tech people. Her tone in writing about them was condescending — along with not having done her research. I have one more book ordered via Commonwealth Catalog that I can’t cancel. I’ll try a few pages before I send it back. But I am DONE with her.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but Saturday night into Sunday, I had a nightmare about a mass shooting. I’m not going to detail the dream here, but it unnerved me for the rest of the weekend. in my personal journal, I wrote about it in detail, and I intend to use bits of it in a new piece I’m developing. But I would have rather never had the dream in the first place. It was too vivid. Too many sensory details.

Worked on the article for Llewellyn. That will go out in a couple of days. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Worked on ELLA. It’s slowed down, and I have to figure out a few things to make this last third of the book work. Played with some ideas for DEATH OF A BROKEN MAN, which has a very broken (female) protagonist who relates to the dead body she trips over a little too much.

Getting some good work done on GRAVE REACH. I need to get this draft done this week and off to the editor, so we can go into galleys.

Playing with the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which has to go into the back of GRAVE REACH.

Worked on the book I’m reviewing. I’m also reading the book for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge.

Need to spend more time on Ello this week.

Working on a couple more article pitches. They’re not quite where I want them in order to go out. But I hope to get them out this week.

I can’t seem to shake this lethargy and exhaustion. All I want to do is sleep, but I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up.

I had terrible allergy problems on Sunday with the ragweed and goldenrod coming into bloom. Constant sneezing, runny eyes. I finally broke down and took a Benedryl, which knocked me out and I slept for 11 hours. Felt a little better on Monday. Even non-drowsy anti-histamines knock me out.

Monday was fine onsite with a client, and I expect today and tomorrow will be challenging.

Monday afternoon’s meditation group was much-needed.

Back to the page.

 

Tues. June 25, 2019: Weird Weather & Rest

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

June is such a short month, but, for some reason, this year, it feels long.

Basically, I took the weekend off. I needed to, or else I would be ill, on multiple levels, and not be able to function.

The Solstice as good, although it rained all day and into the night. But it was still possible to honor the hours of daylight, and realize that now it starts to turn.

Saturday dawned clear and beautiful. I got some errands done in the morning. I ran some books down to the library in the late morning, which was a mistake, because the Congregational Church next door was having a tag sale, and there was no place to park. I had to park in the lower lot by the ice cream shop and walk several dozen steep steps back up the hill to the door. But it worked out.

I wrote a little bit, but my neighbor across the street was busy making noise and cutting down two perfectly healthy trees (again). All he ever does is destroy. And the noise was awful. For someone who suffers from hyperaccusis, like I do, it nearly killed me (literally).

I spent as much time on the deck as I could, mostly reading. I read Ellery Adams’s THE WHISPERED WORD, which was quite lovely. I read a book by someone who is a mild acquaintance. I wanted to support the work. Unfortunately, there were a lot of copyediting errors and misused words, and there were some major logistical lapses that took me out of the story. I finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s CITY OF GIRLS, which I thought was well done. I had mixed feelings about it at several points in the story, but I wound up liking it.

I had an idea for a novel, which grew out of my frustration at someone’s hypocrisy. This individual has positioned herself as almost a cult-like figure, and pretends modesty when, in actuality, there is a lot of manipulation and she craves attention. Her work is good; I just don’t like or respect her as a person. Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with her, so it’s none of my damn business.

But it got me thinking. What if? What if? What if? What if she used that manipulation and glory to commit a crime and blame someone she felt wasn’t giving her the attention she desired? I wrote a rough outline. There are still questions to answer, but I have the bones of it, and it’s rather interesting. The character has evolved quite far from the individual who inspired it, which is a good thing and means I’m doing my job as a writer. It’s something I want to explore.

I don’t know when, but it’s something I want to explore.

Not much work on ELLA. I’m at the point where I need to make a final decision on certain key place names and draw a map of this fictional Caribbean island.

I meant to work on the Brighton Pier research so I could start that radio play this week, but I didn’t. The big book has to go back at the end of this week, so I better get to it.

Worked out some obstacles in GRAVE REACH, so hopefully, I can get back on track with that, and get to work on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Sylvie’s book, #5).

My next book arrived for review, a book of poetry, and it’s quite wonderful.

We had weird weather on Saturday. Thunderstorms. It would rain in the backyard, but be clear at the front of the house. Very odd.

Sunday was a pretty day, albeit a bit humid. It was quiet, thank goodness. I got some writing done. Not enough, but I decided I needed the rest more.

Managed to get the garbage to the dump, though. Always a good feeling to get that out.

Read Val McDermid’s BROKEN GROUND, which was excellent. I really enjoy her work.

Started reading another book on the Kindle I’d recently downloaded, from another acquaintance. It was fun, and upbeat, but the Kindle ran out of juice, so I have to finish it another day.

The grass is growing — definitely ready for the guy to mow it this week.

Treated the deck with the tick repellent on Sunday, so it could really soak in and not get washed away by the rain.

Che Guevara Chipmunk was on the rampage on Sunday, complaining about everything. We have three bunnies now in the yard. I keep patches of dandelion and purslane that they like, and they leave the lettuce alone. They rest and enjoy the twilight at night, knowing they are safe here. It’s fun to watch them.

Monday, they were next door, making noise again with heavy machinery. As if last week’s septic tank replacement wasn’t enough. They destroyed the beautiful garden that my neighbor worked on for years. Now they’re dumping a bunch of dirt back on it.

With a client Monday, then off to do work for another client, get out some LOIs, get some writing done, and meditation. Today, I’m onsite with one client, then off to work with another client. I was invited to a wine event tonight, but I’m just not up for it. I’m really tired of networking events where 60% of the attendees are solopreneurs trying to sell supplements. They don’t want to pay anyone for the marketing materials they need — they want to provide supplements instead.

Yeah, no. Eversource, National Grid, and the landlord want cash. Not pills.

And I don’t trust anyone who hawks something I’m supposed to take every day for the rest of my life.

Let’s hope this is a strong writing week. I’m in limbo on a couple of projects, and wish we’d get them sorted, so I can plan the next few months.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 25, 2019 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 25, 2019: Weird Weather & Rest  
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Fri. May 17, 2019: Inspiration & Focus

Friday, May 17, 2019
First day of Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

For some reason, yesterday seems far away.

I got some work done at the library. Sent out notes to the person who organized the panel and my fellow panelists, thanking them for including me. Worked on articles.

My brain needed a break in the afternoon. I did a little bit of trimming and pruning in the yard, but, most of the day, I just read.

SHELL GAME, by Sara Paretsky, is one of the best books I’ve read lately. A social justice mystery, she reminds us how to seamlessly integrate what’s happening in the world with a heart-pounding mystery around great characters. I’ve always liked her work, but this is probably my favorite of all the books.

Doing some research on a couple of different projects. Working on articles, working on pitches. My main focus this weekend will be GRAVE REACH, the new play, and polishing “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” so it can go out next week. If the weather is decent, I’ll do more yard work.

Yoga was good yesterday; I’m glad I went.

Next week will be stressful on several fronts. I’m hoping a strong, productive writing weekend will counteract some of the stress.

The Go Fund Me is still on for a few more days; I’m hoping next stage car repair can happen next week.

Ran some errands, got out some pitches. I’m ready for a nap.

But first, I write.

Published in: on May 17, 2019 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 17, 2019: Inspiration & Focus  
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Thursday, May 9, 2019: Phases of Stress

Thursday, May 09, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Well, I just feel beat up six ways from Sunday.

If you get a chance, I’d appreciate if you could share my Go Fund Me link for the car repair.

With no car, and public transportation less than wonderful in this area, I switched around my day on site with a client. I’ll go in tomorrow instead. I walked down to the library (only about a mile and a third); it was a pleasant day, I didn’t mind.

Got some work done there. One of the volunteers was kind enough to drive me home when she left (and it meant I could take home the heavy books that came in).

I brought out some of the big pots onto the deck and did some pruning. I should have done more, but I was exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Got a pitch out to a high-paying consumer magazine. Got out a couple of other pitches and LOIs.

Trying not to let the stress of the situation incapacitate me, because that won’t solve anything.

Cooked a lovely dinner of chicken in garlic and wine, served with mashed potatoes and spinach. A friend gave me an amazing bottle of Blood Orange Rose – one of the best wines I’ve ever drunk.

Up early this morning. Got some good work in on ELLA BY THE BAY, and will put in some work on GRAVE REACH later today.

The driver was over an hour late to pick me up, but I got there. Phase One of the car repair is done. I can drive it short distances, but I have to be careful on construction, bad roads, etc., until Phase Two is done. Then, there will be Phase Three and Four, but at least we’ve broken up the repairs over time. And I can get to my local client, although I can’t visit any long distance clients or go over the bridge until it’s all done.

Getting out a couple more pitches this morning. I’ll have to mow the front yard this afternoon (it’s supposed to rain tomorrow). I’m onsite with my client tomorrow for a few hours, then have a lot of local errands to run. Saturday I’ll have to take the garbage to the dump; we’re at capacity.

I have a book to read for review, and I also want to do a push on finishing “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and the first draft of a short play that’s due in NYC at the end of the month. I’m trying to pick up some extra one-and-done high-paying assignments.

I can’t go away for Memorial Day, but I’m going to take some time off and decompress. Memorial Day isn’t that far away!

Sent in the winners and finalists on the contest; invoiced today.

The worst part of this experience is it makes me feel worthless as a human being. I realize that most people don’t have a spare $2300 sitting around, and it’s not unusual to be panicked by something like this. But it still makes me feel like a failure.

That ridiculous USA today article that accused “most people” of “typically” spending $1800 month “they don’t need” – by the way, lunch and personal grooming was included in that – enraged me.

First of all, I don’t know many people who have $1800 they can spend on non-essentials. Second, “essentials” has a wide range. Plus, we need some joy in our lives or we can’t survive. Who is this study to decide what is “essential” and not? And, if one more person does the whole, “For a cup of coffee, you can . . .” or “just don’t buy your $5 cup of coffee and you’ll be financially solvent in six months.”

Total B.S.

Especially since I don’t go out and buy $5 coffees every day. Most of the time, I make coffee at home – that tastes better. A coffee at a coffeehouse? A great treat. I might do it once every few months, meeting a friend or colleague. I hardly ever eat out. I bring my lunch with me when I work onsite – both because of cost and because it’s too isolated to effectively go out to lunch. I don’t take taxis or rideshares; I don’t need them.

Nor do I feel deprived by not doing those things. I LIKE the coffee I make at home (and it keeps the experience of coffee out as a treat). I’m a cook. I like it and I’m good at it. I like cooking at home and eating at home, and cooking for friends. I don’t keep a standing appointment to get my hair cut mostly because I don’t like the way most of the salons do it here.

It’s a bogus study meant to economically shame people who are barely getting by, and who might indulge themselves in a meal out or a treat once in awhile. It’s ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll have a decent weekend of writing, gardening, and reading. And I’ll do extra yoga and meditation to de-stress.

I’m reading Emily Nagoski’s Burnout. Every two or three pages I burst into tears because it’s so relevant to what I’m going through right now. Hopefully, I can learn some good coping techniques.

In any case, for me, today, it’s back to the page.

Published in: on May 9, 2019 at 10:23 am  Comments Off on Thursday, May 9, 2019: Phases of Stress  
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Thurs. May 2, 2019: Trying to Get Back in The Groove

Thursday, May 2, 2019
Day Before Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and chilly

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

I’m still struggling to get my energy back. Still feeling burned to a crisp. I’m going to take a little extra time around Memorial Day Weekend and just relax. But that’s still four weeks away. I have to find pockets of rest in there, or I won’t make it.

Onsite work with a client was fine. I played with some ideas for a new marketing campaign. Threw out most of them, because I couldn’t see how we’d get a worthwhile return. There were a couple of minor irritants, but nothing that was a big deal. The long term picture is getting sharper, and I’m more aware of the pieces I have to rearrange to achieve what I need and want.

Picked up a few groceries. I was so tired in the store that I stood holding a can of tuna wondering why the label made no sense — until I realized it was cat food, not people food.

Came home, worked on contest entries, made dinner, re-watched THE NEWSROOM. Played with some ideas.

Woke up around 3 AM, managed to get back to sleep for a few hours. Wrote 1K of a new project. I’m going to write about four chapters to see if it’s viable. Then my 1K on GRAVE REACH. I actually have to up the 1K/day on GRAVE REACH this month, in order to get everything done.

Headed for the library to get some work done, bring back some books, pick up some books. Then, there’s yoga. I might swing by a client’s quickly in the afternoon to take care of one thing so it’s not hanging over me.

Then, it’s back to contest entries. I’m doing a big push on them this weekend, so I can start making my final decisions next week. They’re due on the 10th, and I want to make sure everything is in good shape. I’m also starting to fill out the electronic scoring sheets. It’s a process.

I’m working on the Tip Sheet for the panel discussion for the event I’m doing on the 15th.

At some point in the next few days, I have to make multiple dump runs for the household garbage, recycling, and yard waste. Don’t like doing it in the rain, though.

Doing more Caribbean research, and continuing with classic ocean liner research.

Need to get some LOIs out, and work on an article, and an article pitch. Also have to make requests for a couple more article quotes. I have to finish and send off some letters in support of an organization with which I used to be affiliated, and also prepare some interview questions for a writer who’s guesting on the blog.

Never a dull moment. Which is a good thing. If I can beat this fatigue, I’ll be fine. It’s hard to think straight when I’m so tired, and I’m making stupid mistakes.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 2, 2019 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 2, 2019: Trying to Get Back in The Groove  
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Wed. March 6, 2019: Getting Back on Track

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
New Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cold!

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about guidelines.

Monday, I felt awful. I had both an old-fashioned tummy ache and an earache. I was not a happy camper.

After working with a client, I went to the library. I did some work in the front room, but it was chaotic, so I went in the back, in a big chair near the window. I read a bit, some authors who had been recommended to me, but who were new to me.

I also started working on ANOTHER, the strange idea that’s been pulling at me. I can already tell it’s going to be a book that doesn’t write quickly. No 1K daily quotas on this one. It’s going to be my reward when I finish what I have to do each day; then I get to spend some time on this novel.

I’ve brainstormed some of it with the Women Write Change group. They’ve been very helpful. Also gave some feedback on another member’s play.

The meditation group helped a lot. Gave me a chance to quiet down and focus on healing. There’s also a Wednesday afternoon restorative yoga class that I’d like to add to my schedule.

Came home and made scrambled eggs with spinach and corn for supper, which was perfect for a dicky tummy.

Yesterday, up early. Got some work done on pitches and a novel before I had to head out to work with the client.

I had weird dreams, Monday going into Tuesday. With an ensemble of characters with whom I was well-acquainted in the dream, but can’t identify when I’m awake. Part of a progressive dream series I’ve had about these people, although I have no idea who they are when I’m awake, or why I’d dream about them.

Then, picked up a few things at the grocery store before heading to the library. Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, so it was pancakes for supper. I’m not a big pancake fan, but my mom loves them, and this seemed like a good reason to have some.

Today, I’m with a client, and then back to the page (unless I manage to get to yoga). I want to focus on the monologues a bit, and keep working on the pitches. I’d like to get a couple of them out tomorrow.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on March 6, 2019 at 6:41 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 6, 2019: Getting Back on Track  
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Fri. Aug. 31, 2018: A Flying Poodle & Beer Nuts

Friday, August 31, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Finally, a break in the heat and humidity.

August wrap up is up on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. September’s To-Do List won’t go up until Wednesday.

Yesterday, after I was done at the library, I went to the liquor store (of course I did). Or, as we call it here, “the Package store.” Two Ladies of Certain Age were in there. Old-school, with wigs, dark make-up, oversized sunglasses, blinding cocktail rings. One of them had a male, black, toy poodle on a leash. They’re either having a party or they plan to be drunk for the next five days, because in addition to one woman with a full shopping cart of bottles and the other woman’s arms full of vodka bottles, a staff member had two cases of wine on a hand truck. Good customers, nice sale.

I’m about to step up to the next counter with my own bottle of vodka when the poodle yanks his leash out of his human’s grip and leaps into the air at me. I tossed my vodka bottle to the clerk, who caught it like an infielder, and the poodle landed in my arms, whereupon he wriggled with joy and licked my face.

The woman was embarrassed, but I told her no problem, I love dogs, and it was an honor that he wanted to make friends. I put him down and she pulled him back to her counter so she could finish paying.

Only there are rows of snacks under the counter.

So the poodle grabbed a bag of beer nuts. Which he shouldn’t have. The two women and several employees were alternately trying to scold and coax him to drop the beer nuts. But he’s got it by the corner of the packet, backing away and growling at anyone who comes near.

I got on my knees (technically Hero Pose in yoga, with my feet tucked under) and the poodle bounced over to me. I held out my hand and asked, “Will you share?” He dropped the bag onto my lap and did that two-step bounce back dogs so often do when they bring you something. I told him he was a good boy and he danced around, wagging his tail, happy as could be.

It was hilarious.

I didn’t keep the nuts.
When I came home smelling of boy poodle, both Tessa and Lucy were displeased, so I had to scrub the poodle scent off.

I’m reading the anthology WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE, and enjoying. Donna Andrews has a great story in it called “The Haire of the Beast.” I laughed out loud when I read it.

Managed to unpack four basement boxes yesterday. Sorted some stuff, found some really cool stuff, am airing out and cleaning some things, and there’s stuff to throw out. Slowly, but surely, if I keep at it, I’ll get the whole thing tackled and done. I should have been doing it since we moved in, but should have doesn’t solve anything. I’m now DOING.

Percolating some story ideas as I work. We’ll see what happens. Fitting them into the schedule is the big thing right now.

Ari Meghlen needs the blog post earlier than expected, because of a schedule change, so I will write it this weekend and get it out early next week.

Finishing this draft of RELICS is on the agenda, making good progress on DHARAMA and calendar articles. More box-purging, and sorting and integrating what I’ve unpacked that I’m keeping so far. Writing ahead on the month’s posts for Upbeat Authors and for Ink-Dipped Advice. Doing yard work, if it’s not too hot. Meditating.

It’s interesting how GRAVE REACH, the fourth and next Coventina Circle book, is taking more and more shape the closer I get to the end of RELICS. I’ll revisit the outline for it shortly.

Hopefully, I’ll also have some time for relaxing!

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

Thurs. Oct. 5, 2017: The Good Kind of Busy

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny/mild

Yesterday seems so long ago, somehow!

Got out a few pitches, prepared for today’s meeting. Polished the short story, and it goes out today. Worked on promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Worked on the galleys of SAVASANA AT SEA — about halfway through. Again, I’m mortified by the copy editing errors. And deeply grateful for my copy editor.

Finished reading John Scalzi’s COLLAPSING EMPIRE. I liked it a lot, but felt it ended on a cliffhanger. Not sure if this is part of a series? Anyway, in the acknowledgements, he talks about the stress of the 2016 election. Amazing how things have gone downhill from there.

As usual, I get most of my best gig leads from Twitter — two were sent on to me by contacts that look really, really cool; one of them I already pitched to; the other, I need to read the guidelines thoroughly, but I think I have something that might fit. Very exciting.

The opening of the Lavinia Fontana play is taking shape in my head. Soon, I’ll be ready to put it on the page.

I’m late posting today; went grocery shopping early this morning, the rounds of the four stores I frequent, all in one swoop. I keep the prices and quality for each in my head, and then can juggle and create recipes and menus by what looks good and what’s at a good price.

I LOVE grocery shopping.

I also love cooking and creating menus with what I buy.

I’m at the library later this morning working, because I want to stay for the yoga class. Then, I’ll just have time to run home, shower, change, and make my meeting.

Today is one of those busy days, but I love it!

Back to the page.

Don’t forget to get your copy of PLAYING THE ANGLES!

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Published in: on October 5, 2017 at 10:00 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 5, 2017: The Good Kind of Busy  
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Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was busy, but, ultimately productive. I skipped the mowing (I’m going to pay for skipping so much mowing soon).

But I got a stack of books back to the library, and returned with another stack.

I submitted a short story and got out a couple of pitches. I got some necessary research done, and caught up on the correspondence that had come in yesterday.

I sorted out the information when I got home, so it’s where I need it when I need it, and I don’t have to go hunting it down.

I got some weeding done in the terraced bed, and then some writing, before the morons with power tools destroyed my afternoon.

I managed to get to work on an essay that needs to go out today. I finished another essay and a short story, which also have to go out today. On one essay, I had to cut over 300 words (I’d mis-remembered the word count limit as 800 when it was 600; my draft had 927 words, so there was some seriously red pen action). On the other essay, I had to come up with an additional 100+ words to meet the lower end of the limit. Two different topics, so I couldn’t take the cut words from one and rework them into the other.

The short story (actually flash fiction) is a fun, weird little piece. I hope it hits. The first line of it came to me while I was doing something else. It was so weird, I jotted it down and then off we went.

I should have completed the copy edits on “Ramsey Chase”, but my eyes were too tired. I’ll have to get back to it today. I also have to complete an assignment for the editor and get it out the door tomorrow, so he can tell me what he hates over the weekend.

I’ll be offline from about mid-day tomorrow until Wednesday morning. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the break. I’ll be writing of course — that’s part of the reason I’m disconnecting. I want to finish the FIX IT GIRL edits. I’d like to write another essay and finish the short story that’s giving me trouble, too, but that might be too ambitious.

Plus, I need to finish “Ramsey Chase” edits and get the back matter into the manuscript.

Plus, there’s a big fat book I really want to read as a reward for all this hard work.

And the yoga. And the meditation. And the garden.

So I’d better get to work and get it all done, hadn’t I?

Published in: on June 29, 2017 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend  
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Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

It still goes down into the 30s at night. We had to bring the tomato plants in.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise. Jamieson Wolf is a guest, and he talks about his new release LUST & LEMONADE.

Yesterday was kind of all over the place; grocery shopping; trying to get some work done at the library, but it was both noisy and full of the crazies.

I did some research for a handful of projects; figured out that an article I was working on actually needs to be broken down into two articles in order to keep a solid focus; wrote most of an outline for a new piece and the first ten pages of it, so I can figure out what it is and if it will work (so far, so good). I’m working on a proposal packet for a slot with a producer who wants to develop a new play. It’s a different way of working — I’m trying to develop enough of the idea to create an exciting package, while, at the same time, leaving enough room for collaboration. I usually put the proposal together with a finished, polished script, but that’s not what this theatre wants. Good to work differently. Keeps one from getting stale.

It was interesting reading the research book I’ve been reading the past few days. It feeds into three different projects, and I’d read a passage and think, “that will work with X” and a few pages later, “That will work for Y” and a few pages later, “I can use variants of that for X AND for Z.” Then, of course, I had to jot down notes in the various outlines referring to the research notes so I wouldn’t forget!

I’m in article mode now, and I had an idea for another spate of articles. Unfortunately, so far, the research I’ve done into the markets — the publications most geared to the topic — not only refuse to pay, they want their contributors to write numerous articles per month FOR FREE. I’m getting a little tired of the “Gimme Culture” instead of a sustainable Reciprocal Culture. Nope. Next. Bye. If I was starting out and looking to build my portfolio, maybe. But not at this stage in the game. So I have to dig a little deeper into other markets, and see what’s what.

I’ve been asked by two organizations I used to be associated with for marketing advice. I don’t mind throwing them a few ideas, but I’m not working for either one for free anymore. I put in my time. No matter how much I did or how much of my own work suffered, it was never enough; in fact, my thanks from one organization was metaphorical multiple slaps in the face, so, no. You get a short email with some ideas, and then it’s up to you, unless you plan on hiring me as a marketing consultant at my regular rate. In fact, I’m writing an article on just that topic. 😉

I’m working on a couple of other pitches to send out. I’m in negotiations for one particular gig which I think would be fun, and I have a meeting tomorrow about another one.

I’ve been working on FIX IT GIRL rewrites. Unlike some rewrites, I’m not putting all the changes into chapters every day. I find, with this, as I work on the hard copy of the first draft, I need to stop and research this detail and that detail and the other detail; expand, contract, restructure; get rid of sloppy writing. About every three chapters, I pull up the document and put in the new material. On the one hand, it’s slower; on the other hand, it means more goes into this draft, which means fewer drafts, because I’m not doing separate passes for separate elements.

I’ve done my prep to dig into the revisions of WINNER TAKE ALL. I’m hoping I can read through it this afternoon and get started. I already know one character/subplot I need to cut, and there are some other cuts, along with a new scene I need to add to have it make sense. As long as I can keep the script 120 pages (I’d like to get it down to 112-115), I’m okay. But 120 pages — where it is now — is the top of the limit. I want some more room in the draft, so I have to see what I can cut. There are a few scenes that could use some trimming. I want to raise the sense of danger for my protagonist in a couple of scenes, too. She sails through it all with a bit too much serenity. Yes, she’s smarter than most of those around her, but, as we all know, stupid people can be dangerous. Look at what’s going on in the country right now.

Speaking of which, Sally Yates was amazing in her testimony. Talk about someone with ethics, intelligence, and integrity. She put Ted Cruz in his place, that slimy piece of corrupt garbage. Then the Narcissistic Sociopath fires the FBI Director — on the advice of the corrupt, racist AG who supposedly had recused himself from the situation because he’s involved. Granted, Comey needed to go. There were two major conflicts/investigations going on with the elections last fall, one with each party. He made a partisan choice that affected the outcome. For that, he should have been sacked by November 10, and then prosecuted. For far too much of his recent testimony recently before Congress, he sounded like a whiny moron, not the head of a legitimate intelligence agency. But to be fired by the people he was investigating AT THIS POINT, is also suspicious. Nor should the people under investigation be allowed to appoint his successor until the investigation is complete. The level of corruption in this administration is astonishing.

It reminds me of the research material I’ve been reading, about the 1920s. Harding’s administration was pretty damn corrupt, too, and that ended in the Crash of 1929.

Re-reading Elizabeth George’s WRITE AWAY!, which is a book I assign to my writing students. The more I write, the more my process evolves away from hers. I don’t do the detailed character profiles she does — if I write down too much ABOUT a character before I write a piece, my subconscious believes I’ve already written the book and moves on. All I do is stare at a blank page. You can ask me anything about a character, any detail, and I know it, but I can’t write it all down. By trying her method, I lost what could have been a good book. Maybe someday, I’ll get it back, but so far, no luck. However, she has good points about knowing one’s setting and putting butt in chair and getting it done. I’ve always been on the fence about her books — some work for me better than others. I always loathed the character of Helen.

A little over a year ago, when I tried to book her as a speaker at the library for which I then worked, the person who handles her bookings quoted me a rate that would have wiped us out for nearly three years, and then was rude about us not booking her, although I politely explained the “why”. The booker berated us for having a small budget, for thinking a “name” author could be bothered with us, and for not being willing to go into debt to pay her anyway. By the way, we had plenty of name authors come in within our budget. Yes, have your “team” play the bad guys, but when they behave that way, don’t be surprised when it touches how people respond to your work. Now, every time I see a new release of hers, I remember how nasty her booker was, and, since I was already on the fence about the book, I pass. I respect what she’s achieved, but she is no longer on my “must read” pile. That could change, with time and distance, but that’s where I am right now. I do, however, respect and admire her work ethic. She gets things done. She does them well, and she makes a living from it. Good for her!

Tried re-reading a memoir of Paris, which is well done, but I wasn’t in the mood for the exploits of a young, drunken, male Aussie. So I went back to re-read Claire Cook’s IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. I met Claire two years ago at the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and we had some great chats. In fact, I’m going to dedicate TIE CUTTER to her. Her novels are a good pick-me-up when things look bleak. I also respect the way she gets things done, like Elizabeth George and Jayne Ann Krentz and just about every other writer making a go of it. She doesn’t whine or waste time in negativity. She writes her books, she respects her readers, she doesn’t bow to the changing winds. She’s comfortable in her own skin, and that’s always something to admire.

Tonight, I’m going to a reading in which my friend’s daughter has a part. I’m looking forward to it. I missed the last production she was in, and I want to support her and her mom.

At least there’s a lot of creativity going on!

Published in: on May 10, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 10, 2010: Research, Writing, Nasty Bookers, and Project Juggling  
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Fri. March 27, 2015: Inspiration and World Theatre Day

Friday, March 27, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold
WORLD THEATRE DAY

Busy day yesterday, with PubServe meeting in the morning. Everyone liked the baked goods, which is always satisfying!

Busy afternoon at the library, trying to catch up on everything on the desk that didn’t get done in the morning! Also, prepping for World Theatre Day – getting posters made, doing a display, etc. Interacting with international theatres – who seem more involved than US theatres. Good thing I can get by even in my ill-used, high school French! 😉 Seriously, it’s been a joy to interact with other theatres all over the world, who have a passion through creating positive change in performance. Theatre is given a much higher purpose of place in other countries.

Why do we need theatre? Why is it so different from prose or film? Because nothing can replace the live experience, the exchange of energy between performer and audience. You can do a show eight times a week for years, but every single performance is different and can never be exactly replicated because it is LIVE. There is a deep satisfaction, from the soul, in a good piece of theatre, both on a performance and an audience level. Nothing else comes close. I

Ran home, ate too much, and then headed back for Tango. I had fun, but I also had trouble catching on during the lesson. I don’t know why I was having trouble – I overcomplicated things, and I was fighting years of dance training. Instead of a simple pivot, my legs wanted to go into fourth position. It was hard to listen to the leader’s body, rather than relying on a count. I have to think of this as a different style rather than thinking of it as “unlearning” and relearning”.

Came home, and had an idea, inspired by World Theatre Day, to rewrite one of the Prague chapters in COLLABORATIVE BIRTH. Up too late, but it was worth it.

Dreamed additional rewrites (hopefully, I won’t lose the thread). Overslept, and had to scramble to get ready for work.

Today will be busy at the library. I’m going to write tonight. Tomorrow’s my day “on”, so I’ll be working in the mid-day.

The rest of the days will be tied up in writing, doing the last pass on the radio play (which goes out next week), and do the microfilm research. I also have to do some basic things, like laundry and getting in cat food and cat litter.

Today, during World Theatre Day, we’ve got radio plays running all day (I brought in my CDs). Hoping that having the radio play rhythms running in the background will keep me on track for the next radio plays coming up.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on March 27, 2015 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 27, 2015: Inspiration and World Theatre Day  
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Wed. March 4, 2015: And We Keep Getting Pounded By The Weather (So I Write)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy weekend. Saturday was my Saturday “on” at work — had to go in there early for a meeting, we had a program, it was busy.

Ran as many errands as possible on Saturday, since another storm was expected on Sunday. Came back home, exhausted.

Sunday, ran a couple of final errands, and then got to work on revisions for INSPIRED INVENTION, the renamed first book of the behind-the-scenes series I’ve been working on sporadically for the past few years.

Also made beef stroganoff for dinner — played with the recipe and liked it.

It snowed again, Sunday night, about three more inches. I was up early Monday shoveling. Then, I attended a reception at the Barnstable Law Library for the 200th anniversary of signing legislation for the law libraries. It was lovely. I met the new head librarian, and re-acquainted myself with the other librarian. People don’t realize how important these law libraries are — not just for lawyers and paralegals doing research on cases, but for regular people to research aspects of the law, and for writers to do background work for pieces. They’re vital to our information accessibility.

Home and more revisions on INSPIRED INVENTION. Managed to get 145 pages total, revised.

Tuesday, made it as far as the post office. The side roads still suck. Came back, worked on revisions, and read through the 500+ pages I have for the series, which has to be broken down into manageable, book-length parts.

Revised up to page 188 of INSPIRED INVENTION. I’m also working on the tracking sheets, to keep things consistent. These chapters, that talk about casting discussion and the casting shuffles, are going to be the most difficult to track. This series is not for people who only like four characters in their stories — this has a huge ensemble and it’s a show-within-a-show, so the actors are also themselves and the character they play. These books break a lot of rules, and I have to stick to my guns about my vision for them. Which is why I haven’t yet submitted them — not just because I believe they need more work to be as entertaining as possible, but because it’s going to take a unique publisher to position them, and I need to make sure I’m positioned in a way to call the shots. There’s no rush; it will happen when it’s the right time.

Watching WEST WING episodes through all of this. Finished Season 5 and started Season 6.

More snow last night — when I went to bed, I was depressed, because about three more inches had fallen. But it turned to rain overnight, so the driveway and the path are fine. Some of the snowbanks in the yard are shrinking a bit.

Some more work on INSPIRED INVENTION. I need to get back to the second draft of the radio play, too, because once that’s done, I’ll have to let it sit for a few weeks, so I can make the necessary cuts with an unjaded eye.

Long day today, and then I have to bake tonight for tomorrow morning’s meeting. Read some books over the weekend — some about the business, getting me back into the right frame of reference for INSPIRED INVENTION, and others, novels, were just disappointing. Not even worth mentioning. I’ve had a run of reading disappointing novels lately; hope that shifts soon. I want to read something very good.

Off to work and back into programming head rather than writing head for a few days. I’m quite weather-weary, and it’s hard to stay optimistic when we keep getting pounded by storms. I keep telling myself that it could be a lot worse, and at least it started in late January, rather than last October. Be grateful for the good portions, right? But everyone is tired, and nerves are frayed.

Hope you’re having a great week.

Devon

Published in: on March 4, 2015 at 10:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Feb. 11, 2015: Writing on Snow Days

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Direct
Snowy and cold

Snowy bunch of days since I last wrote. We’re all suffering from snow fatigue. I keep reminding myself at least it started in late January and not in October.

Mercury goes direct today, thank goodness.

I’m getting a little sick of the so-called DPW Updates, where they say how hard they’re working. You want to know my experience? They’re sure as hell not working on my street. Yes, the plows drive back and forth. Most of the time, the plow is up, not actually plowing — and it’s not like I’m on a through street. The few times the plow deigns to have the blade DOWN, all they do is scrape the surface and shove it into people’s driveways. No sand trucks have gone through since the first blizzard two weeks ago. The rutted snow in the street melts a bit, freezes over at night, melts a bit, freezes over at night. It gets worse every day and is almost impossible on which to drive. There are two more storms coming in the next week. The main roads have been pristine since two days after the blizzard two weeks ago. Come on, people! Actually CLEAR the side streets. And stop piling it in my damn driveway — which, by the way, I’ve repeatedly cleared all the way down to pavement, far more than the plow trucks have done. Enough already!

I see plenty of the “heavy equipment” they talk about driving on the already cleared roads. I haven’t seen ANY of it actually clearing any of the streets that need it.

Saturday’s Courtship Tea was lovely. I’m glad I brought my china cups. It was lots of fun. It was snowing again by the time I got home.

Sunday was outside a gloomy day. Inside, I read, a couple of Ellen Pall’s Nine Muses Mysteries, which were pretty good, set in New York. I started another mystery, by another author, and put it down by page 7 because it was so poorly done.

Finished watching Season 3 of THE WEST WING and started watching STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. Love both shows.

I’ve been listening to Argentine Tango music since Saturday — have it on almost all the time, trying to get it into my body, and been working on some of the steps. Last week, I concentrated on steps and trying to communicate with m partner, but didn’t actually get to feel the music. I prefer to work from music, so I figure if I immerse myself in the music for the next few weeks, that will help me get the steps and communicate with my partner better.

The music is also helping me with ideas for the radio play.

I have to go another pass at one of the TV pilots and send it off next week — that will be interesting. I have to decide which one to submit. I think the pilot for THE BROWNSTONE might work better for this particular venue than TALENT, which is the pilot for the Sparkle & Tarnish series, but I need to re-read both of them and see.

I did a lot of research for the historical play over the past few days, especially since Monday we were pretty much snowed in again and yesterday I only went out to pick up a new prescription for my mother and get some more ice melt). The play itself will only focus on one case in this individual’s life — it’s got a limit of 60 pages, and I can do one episode well or do an overview poorly. I’d rather focus on one episode and do it well. But I’m gathering a wealth of material, and will either do a novel, or I’ll take some of the most interesting incidents in her life and do an historical novel on each.

I’m about ready to really dive in to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE again, and get serious about it. I did a lot of percolating about it the past few days. I can’t find the original outline I wrote for it, so I’m just going to rethink the whole piece. I know the basic themes I’m going to explore, it’s just plot and story points that need modification. They already needed some because the character of Alec sauntered in.

Anyway, I have a long day at the library today, with meetings and the cozy mystery book group. I have to talk to Tango’s organizer — we’re supposed to get slammed again tomorrow night, and we have to decide when to call it tomorrow or go ahead and meet.

I have press releases to write for the library, for NMLC, and for the Writers Center this week. I’d like to finish a draft of the radio play by the end of next weekend.

I scored some terrific equipment that will help me enormously in my research, but I have to drive two hours upstate to pick it up. Obviously, that’s not going to happen for awhile! We’re supposed to get another storm tomorrow, and then another one on Sunday into Monday. Fortunately, Monday is President’s Day, so most people were planning to stay home or to escape. I have a feeling staying home might be in the mix for a lot of us.

The power went out briefly, but only for a couple of minutes, so it wasn’t a big deal. We’ve been very, very lucky so far through all these storms.

I’m rationing the firewood, because pretty much every vendor is completely out of firewood. If the power goes off, I want to make sure I have enough. If it stays on, I can have fires through spring and summer. So it all works out.

Stay safe and warm, all! I’ll have an update on the GDR site either at the end of the week (since the 15th is a Sunday) or next week sometme.

Devon