Fri. April 16, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 328 — Pen To Paper

image courtesy of Stock Snap via pixabay.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Bucketing down rain

I’m so grateful for the rain. We need it. A good, all-day soak would be a boon for this area.

I didn’t do the grocery run yesterday. I had a really, really bad feeling I shouldn’t go, as I got ready to leave. So, I trusted my instincts and didn’t. I don’t know why; there wasn’t news of a serious crash down the street until later in the day. But I trusted my instincts.

Meditation was fine, although I had trouble focusing and staying in with it.

Did some client work, looked at rental listings, heard back from a place that they didn’t have the unit available we’d need, noodled with a couple of pitches I hope to get out today.  I want to get something to my Llewellyn editor for the 2023 almanacs.

Freelance Chat was interesting, although it was about working with agencies as a freelancer. While I’m poking into that, I really didn’t have much to contribute to the actual conversation. It was about listening and learning yesterday for me, which is a good thing.

Got a response from an LOI, and we are having a conversation next week. The company interests me, and if the parameters and the way they treat people are as well as they claim, we’d be a good fit. I might, actually, visit their calendar and try to move the conversation earlier in the week.

Did some work on the Topic Workbook revision of THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. I need to get the Topic Workbooks revised and out again. When they are available and I promote them properly, they are steady sellers. I keep them affordable, but not so cheap I resent it. Once we move, I might look into getting some print copies of them, too, not just digital.

Worked on contest entries.

I’ve read two books in the past few weeks (not contest entries) that are different – from each other and from what’s out there – and enjoyable. WHO IS MAUD DIXON? by Alexandra Andrews is twisty and fun (although I did figure it out ahead of time, but was interested enough to find out how the characters would navigate). BEACH READ by Emily Henry was also fun, a nice twist on the standard romantic comedy formula. Hits all the points, but goes beyond, with a lot of heart. I recommend both.

I also, finally, got back to some writing, working on three ideas that have been playing in my head. I had hoped to find a way to combine them, but they are three definitive sets of characters on different projects.

One is contemporary, slightly alt-reality, with elements of romance and paranormal. I have the characters and the catalyst, and part of the setting (the house in which most of it happens is very clear, but I don’t yet know where that house IS). I’m looking for a one-word title for it, a word that encompasses self-confidant solitude. I threw out the request on Twitter yesterday, and got some interesting responses, but nothing with quite the right shade of meaning yet.

The second idea is something I’ve been playing with, off and on for years, inspired by the breakfasts at Cole’s Farms in Maine, and some of the other wonderful breakfast-only places in Maine that are so well-loved. I want to start in the 1970’s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and have one section in each decade for about five decades. Built around a breakfast-only restaurant in Maine. Cole’s Farms closed this past January, after 68 years in Maine. I’d been eating there, when I visited my family up there, since I was 10.

The third idea I suspect will grow into a mystery series, and needs the most research. It will start in the aftermath of WWII, a former ferry girl pilot and the shattered soldier with whom she had an affair during the war. I don’t want to say too much about it until I know where it’s headed. There are a few scenes very strong in my head that I will get down as a foundation, and then develop.

And yes, I’m aware that I still need to write the stand-alone suspense novel about the former ferry girl who becomes a barnstorming pilot just after the war, the one I started developing in a workshop during the Cape Cod Writers Conference a few years back. That’s in the queue.

Once we’ve moved, I can look at the queue of books that need to be written, sort them, and get back to it. But for now, under all this stress, I will work on what pulls me.

I’m going to take a look at THE GHOST IN THE BREAD MACHINE and see if that’s viable, or needs to be put into stasis. I’ve been thinking about it the last few days.

Because writing even for a couple of hours made a huge positive difference in my psyche and coping skills. I need to stop the self-flagellation about not knowing where we will move, and keep writing so I have the energy to move.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We’re taking another break next week — many of them have next week as the spring break. Everyone is burned out. We all need a massive month-long vacation. But too many companies have learned NOTHING from the pandemic, and are trying to force the same old crap. No. Just no. All the way around no.

Staying in today in this mucky weather, to work on articles, pitches, LOIs, client work, contest entries, the Topic Workbooks, story ideas, and, of course, pack and look at rental listings. I have another book to read for review, and I hope to finish the next category of contest entries this weekend.

At least I slept through the night for the first time in a bit.

Another mass shooting, this time in Indiana. More murdered black children. The cops need to stop murdering people based on skin color, while letting white domestic terrorists roam free. And, in general, American society needs to stop murdering its children.

Have a good weekend.

Tues. March 23, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 305 – Stress Accumulates

image courtesy of pen ash via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Waxing Moon

Spring is here

There’s still frost on the ground in the mornings, but the days are sweet and sunny. Still a little cool here, but nice.

It was an incredibly stressful weekend. I’m just not comfortable sharing the details publicly, Things hit a real crisis point Sunday/Monday. I managed to negotiate a bit of a reprieve, but I will be under intense stress for the next couple of months.

I managed to do a lovely Ostara ritual. Goodness knows, I could use some rebirth.

Packing like crazy, even though we don’t yet know where we will wind up. It looked as though we had it settled at one point over the weekend, but it all fell apart on Sunday, so back to the hunt.

There are so many scams out there. The legitimate listings want proof of income 3X the rental price. I don’t know many people who earn $9k/month, do you? I’m sure as heck not one of them.

Went into the client’s office yesterday to do some work with no one there. As it should be. Had to get in touch with my mom about something. When she didn’t answer her phone, I was worried and came racing back; turns out she was upstairs packing and had left her phone downstairs. At least she was okay. At 96, one worries.

I was wrecked for the afternoon. The stress of the last bit caught up with me. Instead of packing or doing client work, I finished a book for review. I have to think about it a bit before I write the review. I had mixed feelings. I want to be honest about it, but I also want to be fair.

I worked on contest entries. I’m almost done with one of the three categories. I hope I can finish it today or tomorrow, and send off the choices for that category by Thursday, latest.

I did some work on GAMBIT COLONY as a stress release valve.

Today will be about client work, LOIs, house hunting, review work, contest entries, and packing. I have to make a quick grocery run – we’re out of bread and a couple of things.

We’re back to daily mass shootings again? Too many white guys running around with guns and the sense of entitlement that they can play God. Without consequence. I’m really tired of the lack of consequence.

Keep on keeping on. That’s all I can do.

Published in: on March 23, 2021 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 23, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 305 – Stress Accumulates  
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Tues. Aug. 6, 2019: Life And . . .

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

It’s been nearly a week since I blogged about daily life. I needed the break.

Today is Lucy’s first anniversary since she came to live with us. She’s grown from being a shy, terrified cat into a friendly, inquisitive lovebug. She makes every day better.

Late last week, I struggled with stress and motivation. My client kept telling me the check was mailed; it kept not arriving. It finally got here yesterday, just as I was getting ready to send a second invoice with a late fee. I’ve already cut this client too many breaks: didn’t require a deposit due to past work together; didn’t charge when one of the venues to which I uploaded the information changed and did it on my own time; gave 5 extra days past the 30 days before sending the invoice with the late fee. Needles to say, I won’t be cutting the client ANY breaks in the future. Deposit up front, late fee on the day it’s late. I no longer trust this client. That it’s typical of local clients doesn’t change the fact that it is unacceptable.

Work on both ELLA and GRAVE REACH was shaky. Had an idea that combined other ideas with which I’ve played for several years. Made some notes, but it’s the type of piece that won’t be done much faster than a page or two a day. I’m trying to combine themes from several other projects that haven’t quite worked. It’s percolating, but not really ready to be written yet, which is fine, since there’s plenty that HAS to be written at this point.

I’m having a lot of fun with the Upbeat Authors posts this month about inspiration. I’m playing with the #31Prompts posts, and it will probably take me a couple of years to write the projects inspired by them all. Having fun with the serial parable I’m doing on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Did house and hearth stuff. Have some worries on the home front, but we’ll see what happens.

Had a good meeting with a potential new client. I definitely have the skills and versatility they need, but it depends if they want versatility and skill, or merely a drone.

Went to a sound bath at the yoga studio on Friday night, which was good, although my back was giving me trouble.

Got my hair cut, finally, on Saturday. A totally different style than I’ve ever had, and it looks good. Fun, flirty, professional, a little retro. It goes with the way my hair naturally waves at this point (considering it used to be stick straight). It feels much, much better. Make-up updated, wardrobe freshened, new hair. Getting the changes started.

My hairdresser was an artist-turned-hair-art guy, and his boyfriend is an aspiring YA writer, studying for his MA. I reeled off a bunch of local writing resources. I always prefer to talk about my stylist than myself when getting my hair done. I’m not one to gossip about myself in the chair.

Read Soniah Kamal’s UNMARRIAGEABLE. Wow, is that a good book! Absolutely loved it. Will shelve it with the set of Jane Austen from my grandmother, and re-read it often. Soniah asked for a photograph of the shelf. Once I dust and light it properly so it photographs well, I’ll do it!

Started the book I’m reading for review. Started the next radio play, tentatively called “A Pier-less Crime.” It’s the next Frieda/Lazarus comedy.

Delved into art books for both the month of Upbeat Author posts on inspiration and the Canaletto play. Started re-Feng Shui-ing some of the house. Did more research on Caribbean recipes to incorporate into my writing. On the flip side of that, also made some more smoked trout pate, because it’s a good cool dish to eat on a hot day. And we had tiramisu, although I bought that. I’m not confidant enough to try making it — YET.

Read a couple of cozies (from two different series) by an author who always leaves me with mixed feelings about her work. There’s a lot of charm and warm detail. But her protagonists are too dependent on the men in their lives, cry too much, repeatedly get “tired” as a plot device to miss important information, and are always rescued by men during the climactic sequence instead of participating in their own survival.

Focused mostly on writing and reading on Sunday. I’m reading a mystery by a Spanish writer. Again, so different from the way US/British/Australian mysteries are structured. So interesting. With an unusual pair of detectives. I also read THE ABOMINATION by Jonathan Holt, set in contemporary Venice, dealing with the war crimes, especially against women, when Yugoslavia was split up. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a huge book, and I read it in one day.

Worked on my Llewellyn article, the play, GRAVE REACH.

Angry and heartbroken over the shootings in El Paso and Ohio. The Narcissistic Sociopath dances with glee that he can incite such violence, and his Russian handlers are delighted. The corruption in this administration is astonishing, although it’s been building since the Reagan years. None of this is a surprise. The lack of will to change it is disgusting.

Yesterday, had to go into my client’s early, so someone would be there to receive a shipment. Challenging day.

Meditation was much-needed.

But Sunday and Monday were good writing days, and this morning was, too. Onsite with a client for most of the day, before other appointments. Getting out some article pitches this week that I hope will hit their marks and create some additional income.

Back to the page.

Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)

Personal Revolution Cover

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Promotion starts today for “Personal Revolution”, a short mystery set in a town near Concord, MA, that takes place around Independence Day. It’s only 99 cents, available on Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, and more.

Blurb:
When a man is hanged from the oak tree in a Redcoat uniform at an historic house just before the Independence Day program, Glenda is determined to both solve the murder and protect the newly-opened museum. What she finds is much darker — and more personal — than she bargained.
(End blurb)

I hope you enjoy it. I’m playing with the idea of doing more with these characters.

Yesterday seems very far away, somehow. Maybe it was all those mass shootings, and the ridiculous and irresponsible way they were covered by the press.

What did I do yesterday? Sent out some pitches. Worked on the 30 second script. Did more research for the article that I hope to finish, polish, and get out the door today. Checked email incessantly to see if another pitch was accepted (haven’t heard back yet). Looked at a website that’s been fallow for the past few years, with an eye to starting up that platform again.

The Ridiculous Request of the Day was from an “author” who “generously offered” (his words) to pay me $350 to do a line edit on his “blockbuster” novel — that runs 120,000 words. Um, no. 120,000 words breaks down to 480 pages in Standard Manuscript Format, and I bet his wasn’t. Bet it’s single-spaced. Sweetie, $350 gets you to page 70, and I’m on the low end of the editing price range. It’s not “generous”. It’s not even a professional rate. Plus, I’m taking on very few of that type of editing client — more for scripts than for novels at this point, unless it’s at the top of my rate. Now, I am sympathetic to someone’s tight budget. But don’t boast it’s a “blockbuster” (because if it was, you’d be under contract to an agent and one of the Big 5). Look for an editor where appropriate to your budget, such as a grad student in English, who can both use the cash AND potentially use it for credit in an independent study.

On a happier note, “The Ramsey Chase”, the first Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure, will be ready for re-release sooner than I expected. The cover design will be done soon, and I should have the galleys shortly for a final proof read.

However, that means that I have to have the opening of the second Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure ready to pop into the back of it, have the darned thing outlined, and meet a deadline for its release!

Considering that I also have to get moving on the next Twinkle Tavern comic mystery, which needs to be ready to release by Labor Day, that’s a new (but positive) pressure. That will feature the characters from “Plot Bunnies” and release under the Ava Dunne name.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Cornelia and Roman. It’s a satirical fantasy/adventure series, involving time travel and an alternate universe that’s somewhat familiar and somewhat not. There’s a wry, arch tone to it that’s a blast to write. I have a lot of fun turning genre formula inside out with it, and making pointed social commentary. When first released, in 2008, it was kind of relevant; it’s even more relevant now.

We’re also in talks to set the re-release date for Playing the Angles (which used to be Assumption of Right, or, as I joked, When Bad Titles Attack). Early October is looking good, with The Spirit Repository then releasing in May of 2018. This means we have to make sure the cover is ready sometime in July. Since we’ve been having difficulty finding the right cover image, that worries me.

I should have mowed yesterday, but didn’t. So guess what I had to do first thing today? Yup, side yard needs it.

So, there were two mass shootings yesterday in the country, one on the East Coast, one on the West. The UPS shooting is hardly getting any coverage, because only ordinary people were hurt and/or killed. The one involving a Congressman, a lobbyist, and other political types is getting attention, because of the GOP’s propaganda machine. The two Capitol police personnel who put themselves in the line of fire are being mostly ignored, while politicians who weren’t even there are tearful about their own “narrow escape.” The press is covering it irresponsibly, as usual. The GOP is blaming the left, because the shooter volunteered on the Sanders campaign. Of course, the fact that the Narcissistic Sociopath repeatedly incited and encouraged violence during his campaign and actually called for Hillary Clinton’s assassination is being ignored. As is the fact that the GOP is the party who votes to allow the mentally ill access to guns (because they expect shooting victims to be outside their own party — yesterday shocked them because they think only unarmed liberals will be shot). Paul Ryan is being lauded for the speech he gave on the floor; people are saying it was wonderful. I disagree. For the man who is determined to make inhuman cuts to healthcare, Social Security, Medicare and food stamps to declare “We don’t shed our humanity when we enter the Chamber” is hypocrisy. It’s typical of Lyin’ Ryan, but it is still hypocrisy.

They all make me sick.

On that not-so-happy note, I need to go and mow, and then it’s back to the page, because, no matter what the external stresses, I have to keep showing up at the page and getting it done.

Don’t forget to hop over to the GDR site, where I have the mid-month check-in posted. I can’t believe we’re half way through June!

Published in: on June 15, 2017 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)  
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