Fri. Sept. 13, 2019: A Pretty Day

Friday, September 13, 2019
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Today is a lovely autumn day, and I’m trying to get myself steady.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about how I built Sophie’s shipboard friends and foes.

Yesterday, I got a lot of work done on LOIs, posts, and I’m working on a free promotional download packet of my series. The formatting is a bit of a slog, but it matters. When I pick up a book, be it print or ebook, and the formatting is amateur hour, I cross the author off my list.

Got some work done on ELLA. The work is slow, but steady. This first draft is kind of a mess because I’m blank paging instead of using an outline, but I’m learning a lot. I think I’m going to outline the next two books in the trilogy. It’s easier to have at least a loose idea of where I’m going.

Didn’t get enough work done on GRAVE REACH or “Pier-less Crime” but I hope to fix that today.

I did some more research and am working out the plot of the play on Canaletto’s sisters. I still need a good title. But the characters are coming together, and I have at least one of the conflicts, with two of the smaller conflicts figured out. So that’s a help. I may have to cut some characters.

I cancelled this morning’s phone meeting. The deeper I dug into their work and values, the more uncomfortable I was with how they work. I have other opportunities that are more suited to the way I work.

I have a lot to do this weekend, writing and review-wise, but I’m actually looking forward to it.

We are still grieving Lucy’s loss, though, and will for a long, long time.

Thurs. Sept. 12, 2019: Trying to Get Back on Track

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Monsoon-like rains

Sorry this is late, but the weather’s thrown a monkey wrench into things this morning. Tomorrow’s post will be late, too, because I have a morning meeting.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on the garden. And if you didn’t see Monday’s post about Flexibility on the GDR site, it’s here. I’m working on the questions for 2020, and they will be posted soon.

It’s been a tough week. We miss Lucy terribly. Tessa steps up, trying to take care of everyone in the household, but she misses Lucy, too.

One of my clients was at a luncheon with the head of Bide-A-Wee, where I adopted several of my cats when I lived in NYC. She got us in touch, and Leslie looks forward to helping me find the next member of our feline family when we’re ready. It means going to NY, but I’m established with Bide-A-Wee, and they don’t automatically mark every cat as “must be only pet” as they do here.

We are, of course, open to a cat coming to us from another source, but it’s nice to know we have options.

The writing has been a struggle. I’m close to the end of this draft of GRAVE REACH and am pushing through. I’m working slowly but steadily on ELLA BY THE BAY. I’m working slowly and not quite as steadily on “Pier-less Crime”. I’ve also been playing with another idea that’s pulled at me and pulled at me.

I have a meeting early tomorrow morning. I like what I know of the company, but wasn’t thrilled with the interactions with the person I’ll be talking to tomorrow. We’ll see. I’m getting jaded. Most of these appointments are a complete waste of time. They’re about putting quotas into the statistics column, not actually finding the right person for an assignment or a marketing campaign. It’s a waste of time.

I’m getting more and more frustrated with A2 hosting. Now, when I have a question, I have to jump through multiple levels of “security” that has nothing to do with actual security and everything to do with asking me questions that are none of their damn business. Not to mention not actually reading my questions and answering them. Or providing any actual security against spam or anything else. Any random hacker can do whatever they want to my sites. But me? The owner who actually pays for them? Not so much.

A social media contact sent me the link to an article about how A2 has had security breaches since May of this year and isn’t fixing them. Yeah, that’s about when the problems started.

So I’m back to interviewing hosts again. I like what I see and hear so far with Site Ground. I want to have a more detailed conversation with them and maybe move everything over in a few months.

Working on LOIs and some more article pitches. Just so, so weary and sad.

But the Fearless Ink Twitter account I started to keep the business writing part of my social media life separate from everything else is working out well. And the Remote Chat yesterday was tons of fun, as usual. I feel very lucky with these colleagues.

Yesterday, September 11, was difficult, as it is every year. What was especially sickening was that the Narcissistic Sociopath tried to make it all about him, and those damn GOP hypocrites, talking about honor and remembrance, when just a few weeks ago, they tried to deny health care to those who came in and worked on the pile. I hope they all burn in hell for eternity.

I’m nearly finished reading Nancy Martin’s Blackbird Sisters mysteries. They are a lot of fun. I like her writing. It has a lot of energy, warmth, and humor in it. Plus, she’s a good plotter. It’s also fun to read books set in an area I know — Philadelphia and Bucks County.

I made chocolate chip cookies last night just because. Sometimes, you just need a chocolate chip cookie.

Back to the page.

Tues. Sept. 10, 2019: RIP Lucy

20190705_085358

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

RIP Lucy

It was an awful weekend.

We lost our darling rescue cat Lucy, who’s only been with us for 13 months, on Saturday, to an inoperable liver tumor.

Her behavior had changed last week, and we were worried about her. She started eating less and less. On Thursday and Friday, she refused food completely. I tried to get in with my regular vet, and got no response. I tried to get in with the vet to whom I’d hoped to switch. No response.

On Saturday afternoon, I took Lucy to the emergency vet in Dennis. They were so kind and attentive, but the news was bad. Even if we did all the procedures to help her, surgery, etc., she might not survive the surgery and she would only have about three months of pain left.

The only humane thing to do was to let her go.

I made the wrong choice with Olivia, Felicia, and Elsa, when each of them was sick. I kept them going medically too long. I wasn’t going to do that with Lucy. I always adopt rescues, and there’s always a risk with rescues that there will be medical issues. But I don’t regret any of the adoptions.

It hurt so much to say goodbye to our beautiful girl. She came to us last summer as a terrified rescue, who’d never had a toy and didn’t understand any words. In the past 13 months, she blossomed into a sweet, funny, affectionate, smart little girl. She and Tessa got along beautifully, and she was my elderly mother’s constant companion.

We are devastated.

I’ve always said that the story the guy who gave her up told didn’t make sense with her behavior. Now, I’m pretty sure he knew she was sick, and that’s why he rehomed her. He knew she was dying.

And my regular vet didn’t catch it. That makes one mis-diagnosis (Iris) that I figured out and Iris managed to have a good life until she was 21. And one missed diagnosis that cost Lucy her life. Definitely time to change vets.

At least we managed to give Lucy 13 months of happiness. After the first week with us, when she was scared, she truly was a happy cat. As sad as I am at losing her, I wouldn’t change those 13 months where she was happy and loved and brought joy into the house.

Tessa looks for her, and worries. She also takes her job as “companion” now very seriously, splitting her time between my mother and me. Tessa hates being an only cat.

But I need to establish Tessa with a new vet before I can adopt again.

It’s frustrating here, because so many of the shelters don’t socialize the cats and mark the adoptable cats that they have to be the only pet in the house. That doesn’t work in this household, where we have multiple cats. Also, I have nearly three decades of experience at this point integrating new cats into the household. I know how to do it. I certainly have more experience than an arrogant 20-something in her first job.

So I’m considering going back to one of the organizations where I adopted before. I’m still established and still in contact with some of them.

But it’s still too early. We need to grieve. Tessa was an only cat for just a week when Iris died, before we brought Lucy in, but it might be longer this time. We have to make sure it’s not too hard on her.

Needless to say, not a lot of writing got done. I managed to get a pitch out to one of the slicks (high-paying print mags on glossy paper) on Friday morning, and I’m proud of it. I hope they take it. I got some work done on “Pier-less Crime” and not enough work done on GRAVE REACH. ELLA was hit and miss, but it’s not on deadline, so it can take as long as it takes.

We barely got spanked by Hurricane Dorian. A little bit of damage to some of the plants on the deck, but that’s it, thank goodness. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as they predicted, although the ferries to the islands were cancelled.

I could barely get out of bed yesterday. The thought of going in to work onsite with my client was too much, but I can’t afford to take a day off.

I didn’t go to Meditation yesterday. They would have been kind, but focused on heart-opening work, and my heart needs protection right now.

We grieved for Iris last year, but she was 21 and died of old age after a long, happy life (I had hand-raised her since she was 4 weeks old). Lucy was only 8. I wish we’d had more time with her. She was our little love bug. Our cuddler. We loved her very, very much.

We are heartbroken.

Published in: on September 10, 2019 at 6:27 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano

Relics 4

Friday, November 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Busy week.

RELICS & REQUIEM is out; if you haven’t yet bought a copy, I hope you do! As I’ve said a million times, I’m very fond of Amanda and Phineas.

There’s an article about cabinets of curiosities that’s only available in the book, and the first chapter of the fourth book, GRAVE REACH, which comes out next October. That book is Lesley and Sam’s.

Monday was caught up with my mom’s health issues. Tuesday, I was back onsite with a client, and also got some decent work on DAVY JONES DHARMA. Plus, doing some interaction on the Women Write Change forum.

I also got an idea for a new novel — something I don’t need right now. But the characters are insistent, and it was sparked by something I experienced this week. I’ve been playing with it, in and around other projects. I love my two protagonists. It deals with both gun violence and the opiod crisis, which means it could fit as something that can be developed in the Women Write Change project. Along with the other stuff I’m doing there. I just feel like I need to blow off some steam with this project.

Wednesday was a crazy-making day, having to run around and do errands at 7 AM, meet my client early to load up the vehicle for Thursday’s event, work onsite, and then get home and finish the prep for the holiday.

I picked up extra candy, and I’m glad I did, because we had more kids this year than we’ve ever had — around 30. We had two little ones early on, and I was worried they would be the only ones who showed up. But the rest came in large groups, later in the evening, much later than usual. There were some teenagers, and they seemed worried that they’d get flack for being out. But they had creative costumes and were interesting people, so I chatted with them for a bit and sent them on their way. There was also a flatbed truck, filled with about a dozen kids from toddler to about eight. The truck parked at the top of the street, and the kids went from house to house, then climbed back in and sang their way to the next street. It was adorable. And what a great idea!

I have to say, the fathers stepped up this year. I’m guessing the moms stayed home to hand out candy and the dads went out with the kids. Made me wish I’d prepped a pot of coffee or batch of hot chocolate in take-out cups for them.

Anyway, it was very cute.

And it turns out Lucy, our newish rescue cat, loves trick-or-treaters and they loved her! She wasn’t scared at all. She wanted to meet everyone. Tessa, my black cat, kept herding her away from the door.

Now that Lucy’s not afraid all the time, she’s starting to understand more and explore her freedoms. And she’s starting to understand us more when we talk to her. She and Tessa aren’t snuggling up together yet, but they’d rather be near each other than apart.

Samhain ritual was good. I kept it simple this year, and had done part of it earlier in the afternoon, and then the rest of it late at night. The next few nights are ceremonies for the dead.

Thursday was a long day. The cats got me up early. We had our morning routine, I remembered to put on the new registration sticker on the car and the new insurance cards in the glove compartment.

Then, I wrote. I worked on a new edition of 30 Tips for 30 Days, which I think I will release as a permanently free book via Draft2Digital. I need a new cover and maybe some graphics, but it could be a good tool. Since Nano is free, I wouldn’t feel right charging for anything that talked about Nano.

Thursday afternoon, I met my client, and we set up for the big event. I have to say, it was one of the worst organized events I have ever been involved with. That was not on my client – we were participating vendors. It was on the organizers.

Basically, it was set up like a trailer park yard sale. If I’d been a ticket buyer, I would have demanded my money back.

As a vendor, we were promised a designated space. Even though we bought a middle tiered slot, we were put in the back corner, facing away from the bulk of the events. We took out the ugly accoutrements they had and put up our own displays. So at least we looked good.

Our entry fee was supposed to include dinner. When I asked about when we were supposed to eat, I was told, “oh, just go to the food table whenever and bring it back to your booth.”

First of all, we can’t eat in the booth. Around clothes. Second, even if there wasn’t danger to the clothes, it’s tacky and unprofessional to be chowing down in front of customers.

So we wound up not eating.

Ticket holders were annoyed because it was advertised as serving drinks as part of the ticket (nothing about cash bar). Not only was the bar cash, but it was, literally, cash only. No cards.

The carpeting in the “ballroom” was old and dirty and disgusting. They’d set up a speaker next to us and we couldn’t hear our customers, and they couldn’t hear us. When we asked them to turn it down, they turned it up.

We weren’t asked to participate in the “fashion” show – my client is a clothing designer, how is that appropriate? They had a few box stores participating. Although, when you saw how the models clomped around and didn’t even bother to stand straight, maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

The organizers were passive aggressive. Everyone was supposed to do a raffle. Every time, in the prep weeks, I’d asked about the raffle, I was told something different. When I went to have the winner announced over the speaker system, the organizers told me that wouldn’t happen and we had to “figure out how to get people back to your booth and do it there.” WTF?

I hunted down the DJ myself and asked nicely. He was lovely, and, of course, agreed to do it.

Fortunately, we loaded out in about ten minutes as soon as it was done.

Nightmare.

Not worth our time.

Anything this particular “media group” runs around here is trash.

Not only will I not work another of these, I will advise my clients not to waste their money participating.

Home, exhausted.

Up late this morning, which means I’m behind on everything.

I’m meeting a new contact for coffee, which should be fun. I need the break. Then some more running around in the afternoon, and then writing and working on a couple of things for Women Write Change.
Took down the exterior decorations before the heavy rain started. It will take most of the weekend to put away the interior decorations and get the curtains switched out from spiderwebs to the heavy winter curtains.

Onward.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2018 at 8:56 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano  
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Thurs. Aug. 23, 2018: Lucy Learns to Play

Thursday, August 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny/cloudy/hot/humid

Overslept, which is setting me back quite a bit today.

Couldn’t get to the grocery store on my way home from work yesterday because there were so many accidents. Streets blocked off all over the place.

Client work was okay, but a little tiring. The individual who left (the shit-stirrer) turned out to have made a LOT of expensive mistakes that we now have to fix. I know that my life on site for that particular gig is much less stressful now that she’s gone.

Some more client work today.

Working on my calendar articles.

RELICS is chugging along well. Now, when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, I work scenes out in my head and then they’re ready to type when I get up in the morning. I plan to dig in hard over the next few days.

When I do the next editing pass on it, I’ll work on all Amanda’s chapters first, then all of Phineas’s chapters, then do another pass to make sure they integrate properly.

If the weather holds this weekend, I’ll catch up on yard work (I hope).

DHARMA is behind where I want it to be, but it’s going along, too.

I was thinking, yesterday, about how much I miss days spent scribbling in notebook while sitting in a coffee shop. We have few coffee shops around here, and none close enough not to be a major planning operation to get up and get to it. Nirvana is my favorite.

I remember reading, in one of Natalie Goldberg’s later books, how she, too, misses the days that inspired WRITING DOWN THE BONES, when she didn’t know any better!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love what I do. I just need to find a way to build in some more unstructured creative time that’s not focused on any one creative project.

Lucy is learning how to play. Imagine a six year old cat who doesn’t know how to play! She’s finding she quite likes it. She learns by watching Tessa, and then I take time to introduce her to some of the other toys, too. We have a ton of toys; Tessa is partial to one in particular that she doesn’t want to share right now, so Lucy has plenty of others to keep her busy.

I have a couple of article pitches to get out, a couple of workshop proposals to get out, and some more LOIs. When I’m done with client work, of course.

Then, it’s yard work and back to the page.

I won’t be able to post tomorrow until the afternoon. My morning is caught up with appointments.

 

Published in: on August 23, 2018 at 8:58 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 23, 2018: Lucy Learns to Play  
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