Thurs. Jan. 19, 2023: Incoming Snow

image courtesy of Pexels, via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Day Before Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Incoming storm

I don’t understand why I’m so slow this week. Everything is taking much longer than it should.

Post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Post on Ink-Dipped Advice about why I like using Direct Mail.

I did the social media rounds promoting the Process Muse post and Ink-Dipped Advice. I’m enjoying Post more and more, although they are moving to a system of “trust metrics” which just sounds like another version of a popularity contest. So we’ll see. There’s not much interaction there, but there’s a lot of good reading material, and I enjoy my time there. CounterSocial and Mastodon, so far, are the best for genuine interaction.

I drafted a new episode of LEGERDEMAIN, which was a lot of fun. I have to work on the graphics for the episodes for the next two weeks, which are already uploaded and scheduled. I thought I wrote the loglines, and am puzzled that I can’t find them.

I turned around five script coverages. I’m glad I have four in today’s queue because, you guessed it, the rest is blank. I may have to read over the weekend, which I do not want to do. Motivation to get the new Fearless Ink postcard out, and the new brochure designed.

I figured out a way to make this first section of the Heist Romance script more logical, more creative, and funnier for the audience. Even though I SHOULD NOT DO IT, I am going back and rewriting, so that I can move on a few days down the line. Because, over there? In that other corner? The LUCKY NUMBERS script Is Not Happy.

Caught up with some correspondence with friends yesterday, too, which was nice. Did a little reading for pleasure (when I should have been reading for review). But it will all get done, and I need to give my brain rest from critical reading with pleasure reading, or I get burned out.

We’re supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow today. Originally, the storm was supposed to come in tonight and into tomorrow. Now, they’re saying it will start at 11 AM this morning and continue through Saturday morning. Sunrise this morning was a sky on fire. I have the pre-storm headache. And when I stepped outside, I could feel the storm coming in.

Because I pulled myself together when the alert came in, and went to the grocery store at 7 AM, when they opened, to pick up potatoes, orange juice, and toilet paper. Because, you know, priorities.

I’m going to make the stuffed eggplant tonight for dinner, which uses a lot of potatoes. I thought we had potatoes when I went grocery shopping earlier in the week, only to discover that we had ONE potato. But now we have enough for the recipe.

Online meditation this morning, and then, after breakfast, it’s back to the page!

Have a good one, and enjoy Episode 52 of Legerdemain, which drops today.

Fri. Jan. 6, 2023: Deep in That Mars Retrograde Energy

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Friday, January 6, 2023

Full Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy with temperatures dropping

Yesterday was kind of all over the place.

Meditation was canceled. I mailed some bills, did a big grocery shop, picked up books at the library, got more ink for the inkjet printer.

Came home, unpacked everything, wrote my reviews, submitted the reviews and the invoice, and was paid within ten minutes (love that). I even got a holiday bonus! Was assigned my next two books for review.

Makes me feel better about the lack of script coverages in my queue lately.

Did the social media rounds to promote Episode 48 of Legerdemain.

Was annoyed by an email with the subject line saying: “Set New Year’s Resolutions If You Want to Fail.”

My response to that is “fuck you.”

Resolutions work for me. If they don’t work for others, fine. But don’t tell people that it makes failure the only option.

This is from an organization (not local) from whom I took a few online courses when I first moved here, but they have a very cliquish system, where unless you pay to be part of their group and agree to work within their system, you’re excluded.

No, thanks. I believe I will unsubscribe to their mailings and constant invites to buy in. I got a few good things out the work with them that set me off some interesting paths, but this “do it OUR way, it’s the RIGHT way” is pretty fucked up.

Buh-bye.

I unsubscribed from a boatload of nonprofit mailing lists at the end of the year, and continue to do so as I wade through the ridiculous amount of email that comes in every day. When the day before New Year’s, I opened my email to find almost all of it demands for money, I just hit unsubscribe, over and over again. I have told every nonprofit to whom I give money that they get ONE ask per year. Segment your fucking mailing lists (it’s not hard, I did it for clients for years) or lose any future support.

Done.

I rarely unsubscribe from author newsletters unless the work no longer works for me (such as the author starting to use “witch” as a derogatory term toward women, or the work moving toward right-wing values). Even if I don’t get to read the newsletter for a few weeks, the metrics and numbers matter, so I try to open it, even if I have to read it later. In fact, I tend to increase sign-ups to author newsletters, because it’s a way to support them.

Read something online that made me angry. Someone made a series of dumbass decisions that ended in a tragedy, and then came online wanting to be told she did the right thing (when she did not). Of course, people told her she did. And yes, she knew better. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knew better. The choices were made out of selfishness (which is different than self-care or self-preservation) and now she pretends to be surprised and heartbroken at the outcome, and wants reassurance that she did “the best she could” (when she did not). The universe offered her a beautiful gift; she spit in its face and destroyed it. And now feigns surprise that her actions had fatal consequences. I have zero sympathy for her. Mostly disgust. Trying to find compassion, but so far haven’t succeeded.

I was definitely deep in the Mars retrograde energy yesterday.

I set up ornament hospital in the afternoon and fixed a bunch of stuff, since it has to start getting boxed up for the year again.

Willa helped.

Hot glue and a helpful cat. You can imagine.

She’s smart enough and I’m careful enough that there was no hot glue on the cat. But it meant everything took longer than it might have otherwise.

The 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project is no more, which is both frustrating and saddening, after writing ten plays with them, and then being in limbo last year. I need to remember the good work that project launched, instead of being frustrated with the now of it.

I gave myself the afternoon off yesterday. I worked out, in my head, the next couple of sections of the screenplay (I’ve come almost to the end of my notes).

I had the sudden urge to visit a particular thrift store in the afternoon. The storm hadn’t started yet, so I nipped out and over. I found a small leather trunk with a curved top, lined inside with burgundy fabric.  It’s delightful. I’m so happy I found it. No idea what I will put in it yet, or where I’ll put it, but I’m glad I found it. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise frustrating day.

I finished reading a Kindle book where the premise was good, but the execution/structure/worldbuilding were weak and inconsistent. I think I need to make a list of the digital books that don’t work for me, so I can delete them from the Kindle, but not risk buying them again. I don’t return digital books; that’s a lousy thing to do to an author. I bought it; if I don’t like it, it’s on me.

We enjoyed the last night of the Yuletide decorations. Today, we start taking them down (although it will probably take the whole weekend).

Didn’t sleep well last night, and it wasn’t Charlotte’s fault (for once). I woke up around 1:30 and just couldn’t get back to sleep. To say I am at less than my best today is an understatement.

I started trying to figure out how to channel my anger about consequences for the needless suffering the dumbass caused, transformed into fiction. I came up with the premise and the catalyst, but everything I came up with as a way for the protagonist to make it right is either trite or too easy. This morning, I came up with an idea to up the protagonist’s stakes and pain. It will take a few weeks to figure it out so I can write it, and it may not ever be something that can go out into the world, but it will channel the anger, and maybe turn it into something that has some sort of meaning, at least for me. Better than letting it fester.

Looking at the situation around the Speaker of the House votes is both frustrating and somewhat ironically funny. The wanna-be had lost the 11th vote by the time I went to bed. First of all, he and a good portion of the other GOP members sitting there are insurrectionists and belong in prison, not Congress. Second, I would love it if the Dems held firm throughout, and I’m pleased that they have so far, but I’m not hopeful.

This has been rather a downer of a post, hasn’t it? Not the best way to end the holiday season and the week.

Let’s look at some good stuff, shall we, and end the week and the post on a better note?

Packing up the decorations will take time and care. The place will look bare, but I’m kind of looking forward to it as a rest period before spring starts things up again. I need to start ordering seeds soon, and I put in a Chewy order yesterday, because those little furballs need to be fed properly.

I’m going to take breaks in the packing up with writing over the weekend, working on Legerdemain, ANGEL HUNT, and the screenplay. I want/need to start uploading and scheduling the ANGEL HUNT episodes next week, and get that promotional campaign going.

Tonight, I will make bouillabaisse in the Dutch oven. Tomorrow, I’m making the Moosewood Mac & Cheese again, and on Sunday, I will make turkey meatloaf. We are still up to our eyeballs in rum cake and stollen.

I will also carve out some extra time to sit in meditation and shake off the anger and frustration that have built up lately. I will get back to the stillness and start over, in order to create a better week next week.

So much for the intent of easing into the year with grace, huh? I managed at the beginning of the week, but then things deteriorated. I will work to do better next week.

Have a good weekend, my friends.

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!

Thurs. Dec. 1, 2022: Boxes. And More Boxes.

image courtesy of Davie Bicker via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Getting sunnier, and very cold

There’s a post on decorating and garden-y things over on Gratitude and Growth.

If you missed Ink-Dipped Advice’s post yesterday on vetting potential clients, that’s also up.

I have not yet unpacked the new printer. Of course, I haven’t started using the new coffeemaker yet, either. It took 4 days to read the manual. But that’s on the agenda for the next few days going into the weekend. Along with another big decorating push. There are many decorating boxes strewing the space. There are boxes/bags that need to be packed and shipped with gifts. There are things, such as the printer, which need to be unpacked. Do I feel boxed in? More like boxed out.

I managed to get home from errands yesterday before it started bucketing down. I sat down and wrote THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. 1151 words. Which brought me to 59,736 for NaNo. I did some other stuff, but it bugged me to be so close to 60K and not at 60K, so I went back, wrote 481 words to finish the chapter, and made it to 60,217 for the month. That feels better.

That was the final interim chapter. Now, I can renumber the chapter I wrote last Friday, put that in, and start on the next chapter, which hurtles us toward the climactic sequence and the end of the book. I think it’s more likely this will come in around 75-77K, and that gives me room in the edits to layer on historical detail, while also putting in some more twists.

In the afternoon, I turned around 3 coverages, which means I ended the pay period close to where I hoped. I have to push hard the first half of December, so that I can relax around the holidays. Then I have to push hard at the beginning of January, because quarterly taxes are due mid-January. It’s great to say “save 30% of your income for taxes” but that is not always the reality.

This morning is meditation. After breakfast, I will sit down and write THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. The natural rhythm of the piece is between 1100-1700 words, rather than pushing over 2K in each session.

I have to get some comments out on a friend’s book and set up the interviews for January for the article I’m doing. I need to get back to another colleague with information.

I have two coverages to do this afternoon (starting the new pay period), and I have two for tomorrow, so I’m set for the week. Hopefully, enough will come in next week for a full week. I also need to get the next seven episodes of Legerdemain uploaded, scheduled, and the ads created. They’re written, they’ve had a couple of editing passes, but I need to get them up, and hope that I don’t need to plant anything there as I finish the arc (I’m behind where I want to be on that). If I hit a point like that, I’ll have to make do planting it somewhere else. The joy of serial writing.

In any case, the next episode goes live today, and I hope you enjoy it. I’m certainly not getting rich on the serial, but at least the last couple of months, it’s been earning its run. Have a good one!

Fri. Nov. 18, 2022: Words, Grief, and Mars Retrograde Influences

image courtesy of Enrique Meseguer via pixabay.com

Friday, November 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy and cold

Yesterday was just kind of weird and all over the place. Meditation was good, and Charlotte was thrilled and sat on my lap the whole time. Between meditation on Thursdays and soup class on Mondays, she feels very well adored. Because, of course, Zoom is all about her.

I was late getting my Nano words in on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but managed 2051, with an interesting twist to the story. I’m veering farther from the outline, which is why an outline is a roadmap, not a prison. I’m not thrilled with that day’s work, but it opens up some interesting arcs. I will have to decide if they all need to be wrapped up in this book, or some of them go a few books into the series. I’m leaning toward the latter.

Over 40K now, so the finish line is in sight. About halfway through the book’s sweet spot for the genre.

Did the social media rounds to promote Legerdemain, and to interact. Because they both go hand in hand.

Put in the Chewy order. Ordered the new coffeemaker in a pre-Black-Friday sale.

One of the things I don’t miss about Twitter that I liked about other platforms is that we are more responsible for curating our own feeds. I was so sick of the “if I haven’t followed you back, give me a shout” or “prove you’re not a bot”. No, bitch, I’m not your administrator. Fix your own timeline. I’ve got enough work handling mine. I’m not doing unpaid labor on your accounts.

Of course, the bullies and the trolls are trying to invade the other platforms, demanding what others can and can’t post about and how. Counter Social handles it well. Mastodon, because it’s so many different servers, and each has different protocols, is harder to navigate.

However, one thing I am firm about is not putting “content warning” on something because it’s a project I’m talking about or promoting. While I am more than my work, being on social media is about the work. If you don’t like it, we’ll just do a mutual block and not come up on each other’s timelines.

One traditionally published author was ranting about how writers “have to” put content warnings on anything that might sound like promotion (which is, basically, any time a writer talks about their own work), because she “didn’t want a timeline full of promotions like on Twitter.” Then curate your timeline, you dumbass. Again, don’t expect other people to do your work for you. You don’t want to read promos? Filter, block, mute, or hey, JUST SCROLL BY. Don’t bully others who are trying to keep a roof over their heads because you have a traditional publishing PR machine behind you.

Blocked. Noted the name so I NEVER buy or take one of her books out of the library. I rarely say never, but in this case? Never.

I completely forgot it was Freelance Chat day on Twitter and missed it.

In the afternoon I saw a post asking if anyone knows a video editor to “chop up” a large block of video into chunks.

Bitch, that’s not what video editing is.

How insulting to anyone who is an actual editor. Video editing is about nuance and precision timing, and restructuring the smaller blocks so they stand alone while feeding the whole arc.

Mars Retrograde much?

The Mars Retrograde definitely influences me wanting to punch so many people in the throat right now. And I have to watch myself.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon, not three. One has a problem, which I hope will be fixed. Grabbed a couple more for early next week. I have two very long coverages to do today, but I’ll do what I need to do.

Got the next two books for review.

Twitter is in its death throes. A lot of us were on there last night, saying goodbye. Some people I’m okay with letting go. I figure the ones with whom I’m really tight, we are already connecting through other means.

There’s talk about creating “another Twitter” but I don’t think that can be done. It was unique. For all its flaws, it did a lot for connection and communication. I’ve been on there since March of 2009, for goodness’ sake. That’s 13 years, which is a long time.

Other platforms are different and serve different purposes. Sarah Kendzior pointed out how this is different than other platforms fading away because this is intentional destruction. I’m sad I couldn’t save my Fearless Ink archive (I have my DE archive). But if I sign out of the DE account, I won’t be able to sign back in, and I won’t be able to sign into the FI account anyway.

I’m sad. It’s definitely meant my sales take a hit, as far as the Topic Workbooks, the Delectable Digital Delights, and the serial. But I will figure out other marketing paths and regain lost ground.

There are things I won’t miss, but there’s a lot that I will. But this is what happens when it’s owned by someone else, and why it’s so vital to have one’s own website and space, apart from social media.

With all the grieving, I also look forward to trying to create something different elsewhere. I will probably try and leave several platforms, or have to use different platforms for different things. But the work will continue.

Former clients are contacting me in a panic, wanting consults on what to do next. I’m telling them to hold tight, because entire marketing strategies will have to be re-devised, and we’re all making it up.

This morning, the cats let me sleep until a quarter to six, which was nice. The work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH took longer than I would have liked, but came in at 2831 words. It’s a complicated ensemble chapter, but sets up some necessary dynamics, and I’m pleased with the bones of it.

I was supposed to be part of a state legislative session on the arts this morning, but they didn’t send me the link, and I’m not chasing it down, so there’s that.

I need to pick up a lot of books at the library, and head out to Wild Oats to pick up a few things. Script coverage this afternoon. It’s snowing and not every few minutes, so hopefully the weather won’t be too bad for errands.

I hope tomorrow’s weather is good enough for the jaunt down to Great Barrington. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week.

Have a good weekend, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

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!

Fri. Nov. 4, 2022: Prepping For a Pretty Weekend

(image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday felt kind of all over the place. No one came to look at the weird ceiling stain, but it stopped growing and doesn’t look wet. Fingers crossed.

Meditation was good, although I had a hard time settling.

I got some work done, did the social media rounds, especially to promote the next episode of Legerdemain. Someone on Twitter mentioned how they’re grieving the loss of Twitter, which is definitely something I feel. It’s the best platform for crossing paths with people from all walks of life and varying interests. The other platforms are too narrow.

I took myself off WT. Social. I’m trying to delete the account, but at least it’s deactivated. The misogynistic comments were appalling, and the dudes boasting about how they “rewrite” posts that were “badly written” infuriating. First of all, they don’t have the right to “rewrite” someone else’s work. Second, those doing the rewrites weren’t all that, and certainly didn’t make anything better. Even though I had my posts set to where they couldn’t be rewritten, it made me mad. That was the reason for at least some of the misogyny directed toward me. All, I might add, by bros who don’t do this for a living, like I do.

Nope. Gone.

The Cohost approval came through, so I’ll poke around there. Tribel is getting easier to navigate. Because it’s all about the metrics, that may be a good platform to promote my work. Counter Social ran into some issues, but fixed them fast, and I still really like them best for deep conversation. Lilith St. Crow mentioned Pillowfort, which I’d never heard of. I took a look, but I think it’s geared to much younger dynamic.

My work has to be out across as many platforms as possible so people can find it.

I had to run some errands: library, liquor store, pick up a tension rod for the fleece panel I’m making for the back door.

Staples sent me a coupon for $20 off that I had to use by today. I went to order more 3-hole punch paper. Not only did it refuse the coupon, it added a carrier fee of $12.95. I tried to change it to store pickup, but, as usual, it’s not available in Pittsfield, and I’d have to drive to ANOTHER STATE. No. I shouldn’t have to pay a “carrier fee” because the nearest store NEVER has ANYTHING I need. That’s not my fault. And Staples calling us rural? That’s why they add the carrier fee, because we’re listed as “rural.” We’re a fucking CITY, not some little town with one stoplight.

I pitched a fit on Twitter. I actually got a customer service person who fixed it, instead of like last time, when I contacted CS directly and they just said there was “nothing they could do.” This rep applied the coupon and took off the fee.

So I’m getting another case of paper. Which is good, because I’m down to my last three reams.

Turned around two scripts. Was too tired to do much reading after dinner.

Rituals were strong, but also exhausting.

Up just before 5 this morning, and at the desk by six. Wrote the fourth chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which came in at 2223 words, and the first time it felt really good. Doug, Rita’s youngest son, is a lot of fun, and a bit of a troublemaker. I’ve set the foundation to make him a suspect in the murder, which, when he confronts the murder victim in the next chapter, will be strengthened.

I was worried I couldn’t make Nano work anymore. Usually, I’m quick out of the gate and don’t stumble until the second week. This time, I stumbled early on, so we’ll see how it progresses.

Today, I have to concentrate on work: more Legerdemain, script coverage, hopefully more reading/comments on my friend’s manuscript. I also have to catch up on Substack reads. I’m behind reading/commenting on others’ work. The weekend is supposed to be beautiful. After the big grocery shop tomorrow, we’re going on a jaunt up into Vermont and upstate New York. On Sunday, we might go to the quilt shop to get the border and backing for the library quilt. The fabric is so gorgeous. It will make a lovely quilt.

I may talk about the details of that, reviving The Tactile Muse. Between the quilts I plan this winter, and the crocheting/yarn projects, it may be enough to get Tactile Muse up and running again, and use that website on Ravelry, instead of my others. I don’t want to get too fractured, but I also don’t want to pile everything into gigantically long posts here.

And let’s face it, I do a lot of stuff. Even when I’m battened down for the winter.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Thurs. Oct. 20, 2022: An Interesting Mystery Dropped Into My Lap

image courtesy of Julia via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

A little cloudy and cold

The latest on the garden is up on Gratitude and Growth.

A piece on expanding the definition of freelancer is up over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Yesterday was basically a day off writing and writing-related work. I blogged, took care of some email, did the social media rounds, noodled with the notes Paula gave me on my plays. They have to go out the door soon. I can’t waste any time.

But by mid- morning, we were out the door. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and it was absolutely beautiful to be out and about.

After the first errand, I had a feeling we should stop at the local thrift store. I’ve been looking for another jewelry box to stack on top of the ones I have, a magazine rack for the unread magazines before I file or pass on the read ones, and, of course, more bookcases. Always more bookcases.

All of those items were at this thrift store today, along with another glass chimney for the pillar candles. The magazine rack, in particular, is a piece I fell in love with. Maple, beautifully made.

All for a very low price.

Loaded the car and headed for another store that was between the thrift store and home, to pick up some basic supplies like project binders, divider sheets, and I found my great, big desk blotter calendar for sale at 1/3 of the price I’ve seen it elsewhere.

We unloaded everything at home, and then headed down to Pittsfield, where we had a series of stores on the list to visit. We batch shop when we go down there. The candle store, the kitchen store, the bookstore, etc. I’m almost finished with my personal journal book and had to buy a new one – the 5th journal book for this year. I also bought 4 books for next year, and they are gorgeous.

It was after 2 by the time we got home and unloaded. So I decided to give myself the day off script coverage. There hasn’t been much coming in, and my next piece isn’t due until Friday, so rather than pressuring myself, I gave myself the day off.

I cleaned and polished the jewelry box and the magazine rack. I found a maker’s mark on the magazine rack that said “George B. Bent, Gardner MA.” I did a quick look up and discovered the company was in business from 1946 to 1990, but little else except a note about a fire at some point.

I did a little more digging. Turns out Gardner was known as “Chair City” for its furniture making. There was also a furniture company called “S Bent” in business from 1867 to 2001.

George was the brother of the current “S” Bent when he started his own company.

There’s a play in there somewhere. I need to do more digging.

Anyway, researching the piece, I found a high-end furniture company selling a similar one for– $599. As in nearly six HUNDRED dollars. I did not pay that much at the thrift store. There’s another similar piece on eBay for $75. Still far more than I paid.

I found the Gardner Museum, and emailed them for more information. The was also a strong theatre community there at one point, and I want to know more about them, too.

I have a feeling there is a trip to Gardner in my future in the spring.

An old family friend got in touch in the afternoon. We have not seen her since pre-plague. She wondered if she could come up and visit tomorrow, and we said sure.

Which means I have to make up for all the work I didn’t get done yesterday AND work ahead to do everything for tomorrow. Plus make the food and clean the house.

That’s the way it goes sometimes. Good thing it was a light coverage week!

I finished unpacking the rest of the stuff we brought up from storage. I realized I forgot to buy a tarp and another rolly cart yesterday, but my mom said she didn’t see any rolly carts. We’ll deal.

My back is bothering me again, from all the hauling stuff around yesterday. I also have to check the paint/primer situation. The two bookcases still need some TLC, which includes new paint. I have to see if I have any, or need to buy it. I thought I had some primer, but I might have used it. Since it will be in the 60’s this weekend, I can paint.

I’m looking forward to meditation again. I have to make another trip to the grocery store. I decided I’ll make up another batch of black bean soup, and serve it with ciabatta. I know our friend loves my devilled eggs, so I’ll make some of that, and more mousse. Maybe lemon instead of chocolate? That might balance better with the eggs and the soup. Keep it simple, right?

And try not to hurt my back any more with the cleaning.

Have a good one!

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. Direct link here. Enjoy!

Thurs. Oct. 13, 2022: Working Through the Back Pain

image courtesy of Wolfgang Claussen via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold (rain coming in)

Read up on what’s going on, garden-wise, over on Gratitude and Growth.

I had a pretty good day workwise, yesterday, and my back didn’t give out until the evening.

In the morning, I wrote another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, updated the style sheet and series bible. That usually takes longer than writing the episode (okay, it doesn’t. It just feels like it). I’m having a lot of fun, and working hard to keep the rhythm of the chapters more consistent, and closer to the 1200-word mark.

Then, I switched over and wrote the next episode of VIXEN’S HOLLOW/THE CUNNING ONE. It’s a lot of fun. I think people will enjoy it. I updated the series bible for that (I won’t have a style sheet until I revise/edit, as I prep it for release). But I am creating a “Work Diary” that gets into the details of each episode, the inspirations, the changes as the writing flows, etc. That will be part of the subscription element when the series goes live.  For my personal definition, the central protagonist, Esmeralda Santini, is a cross between Marion Ravenwood and Morticia Adams. The series itself is somewhat like WAREHOUSE 13 meets LEGENDS AND LATTE. Yeah. That far out there.

It’s a helluva lot of fun to write, and I think readers will enjoy it. Again, it’s specifically written as a serial, as is LEGERDEMAIN, not releasing chapters of a book one at a time. Which means if I ever do decide to take them down and turn them into a book, it will be a bit of a PITA to adapt it back.

I poked around some more on Substack. There are so many different ways to do this. It looks like the most sensible way is to start building an audience before launching the serial and the “extras” that would be part of a subscription. Another thing to keep up. But I have some ideas, and if I can batch write posts and schedule them, It should work. It definitely feels better than Medium, which had so many obstacles to get over that it became a chore, rather than something joyful. There’s also more of a sense of writers supporting each other’s work over on Substack, which I like. So we’ll see. It means at least a year’s commitment, before I’d know whether or not to keep going. And before I have enough metrics to compare to Vella.

While juggling the shorter-term work that pays the bills every month. I’m playing with several different approaches, and I will see what works best. I look at the way Lilith St. Crow runs her career, and she’s doing pretty well running her serials on Patreon and Gumroad, but those are written with the intent to put them out later as books.

It’s a lot to think about and plan. Especially with the pressure from Nano coming up, and the need to keep up with immediate-paying work. I don’t want to drop the ball on radio plays or stage plays. I have plans for those for next year.

I looked at Linktree, which seemed like a good idea, but it drives traffic to Linktree instead of my website, so I think I’ll keep it to the website, which then has links to everything else on its landing page. It keeps my metrics higher.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. I liked both of them a lot, which is always a nice way to end the day.

There were computer issues on and off. By next spring, no doubt, I’ll need a new laptop. This one will be 3 years old, and I never had a PC make it more than a week past its warranty.

After dinner, I was on the couch with a heating pad on my back, reading the next book for review. I like the writing style – until it hit a trope that just sets my teeth on edge.

Didn’t sleep well. Woke up several times because of back pain, and used the yoga blocks and the foam roller. Had weird, bad dreams. Their messages are very clear, but it makes me weary.

Meditation this morning, and then it’s back to the page. I also have to do a library/grocery/post office run. This afternoon, more coverage. I’m hoping to have a light coverage day tomorrow, because I want to spend some time updating my websites.

Episode 24 of Legerdemain drops today. It’s not all-free anymore, but if you haven’t yet started to read, the first 3 are still free. The link is here.

Have a good one!

Published in: on October 13, 2022 at 7:29 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 13, 2022: Working Through the Back Pain  
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Thurs. Oct. 6, 2022: Adopt-A-Versaries and Free Vella Reads

Willa (photo by Devon Ellington)

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Foggy and mild

It’s still gray and foggy. Yesterday, it rained on and off all day. I guess we’re having a damp autumn. Latest on the garden is at Gratitude and Growth.

There’s also a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about the Work Wins Journal experiment, and what did and did not serve my work.

Today is the 4th Anniversary of Willa’s adopt-a-versary. She’s come a long way from the scared little cat who arrived four years ago. Saturday will be Charlotte’s 4-year anniversary. Charlotte’s been an even bigger challenge. They were with two different people, which is why they arrived on different days. I’m glad we have them both. Tessa isn’t so sure on some days.

Charlotte, photo by Devon Ellington

I mostly got admin and some marketing done yesterday morning. Then, I went to Big Y and did the Big Grocery Shop that sets us up for most of the month, and we just have to fill in here and there with fresh things. I was relieved to see so many people masked. But I had six large bags when I was finished (the reusable big bags I take with me).

Got everything home, up the stairs, put away. Did a few more things before  my meeting with a  client. It should have taken an hour and took three, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Dug in after the client left and turned around three scripts. Which meant I was working until nearly 9 PM, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Had trouble settling into sleep. Charlotte was impossible. I ended up kicking her out of the room so I could sleep. I woke up around 2:30 and let her back in, and then we settled down to sleep and I overslept until 7:30. The bed looks like a battlefield this morning.

I had weird dreams about being in a writers’ residency with a famous author, where we shared living space that had a studio for each  of us in it, but we cooked together and had a common room together.

Today needs to be about writing and cooking (and, in the afternoon, three more scripts to turn around). I doubt I’ll make it to open studios tonight at MassMOCA. I won’t be able to turn around three scripts early enough without cutting into my writing time, and I’m never in any shape to concentrate on coverage after open studios, because I’m too excited about the work.

I was thinking about the request to move the artist working group meetings to evenings because of “day jobs.” If that becomes the norm, then this is not the right group for me. Art IS my day job, and I consider these meetings part of my job. I’m not interested in being part of a group where the day job is the priority, not the art. The reason I’ve been able to earn a living in the arts since I was 18 was that the only purpose any non-arts “day job” had was to SERVE the art, not the art pushed aside for the day job. And any time a day job conflicted with the art, it was the day job that was dropped. I’ve participated in groups of part time artists before. All they do is whine about the world not accommodating them, rather than making their art a priority. That is not what I want and need now.

If you don’t make your art a priority, you will never be given the opportunity by others for it to be a priority.

So we’ll see how this unfolds. It may well not be the right group for me at this point in my journey. It may well be the right group for the other members where they are, and if that is the case, so be it.

Meditation as good this morning. Now, it’s back to the page, and also the stove. There’s a lot of cooking that has to happen today, along with the writing.

Have a good one, friends.

Episode 22 of Legerdemain drops today. On top of that, from Oct. 5-11, eligible accounts can read up to 100 episodes per day for free. That means you can read ALL of the released episodes of Legerdemain (and give them thumbs up if you like them) FOR FREE this week. “Eligible” means you have an active Amazon account, and have spent $50 on Amazon at some point. The link to the serial is here.

Fri. Sept. 30, 2022: Inner and Outer Fog

Image by Joe via pixabay.com

Friday, September 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cold with dense fog

I could not shake the sadness triggered by the dream yesterday, to the point where getting through the day was a struggle. It was a case of actual reality not aligning with my emotional reality.

Meditation was lovely (Charlotte participated). I then had time to bolt breakfast and head for MassMOCA for the Working Artists Group, which was also good. They’re talking about moving sessions to after traditional work hours, which does not work for me. I can go to the next meeting – I think –even though it’s at 5, but if it moves to evenings, I will have to give it up. These meetings are part of my job, not a hobby; and if people are going the “day job comes first” route, then it’s not the right group for me.

Got the newsletter out. I like using MailerLite. The newsletter has a good feel to it. Of course, since that newsletter is out the door, it’s time to start the document for December’s newsletter!

The missing piece for one of the script coverages arrived, so I read that, updated the notes and sent it off. Started to turn around another coverage; it was missing a piece. Sent off the note. Received an “updated draft” that was still missing a piece, so I asked the support team for guidance. I have a feeling this particular author does not know the difference between a “preface” and a “synopsis.” Did half of the big coverage that’s due today, and will finish the rest this afternoon. That piece is pretty good.

Got 3 writer satisfaction bonuses, so at least the feedback’s been helpful.

Finished the book for the review that’s due today. I’ll write it up and get it out this morning.

I’m woefully behind in what I needed to get done this week, especially when it comes to Legerdemain and the next radio play. However, I have a lot of bills that have hit and need to be paid, so the script coverage has to take priority. But I’m discouraged with myself. I just don’t have the stamina and the mental capacity for long days that I used to.

So I have to adjust.

I’ve been invited to three events next week. I’ve already bowed out of one, because it will be inside, a large group, and unmasked. Nope. Not with the way the numbers are going up. I’m not yet sure about the other two.

I’ve also made peace with the fact that it might be years before I go to another in-person conference, if at all. If they’re not going to have safety policies and enforce them, I won’t be there.

On this morning’s agenda are the book review, Legerdemain, some blog posts, hopefully some work on “Owe Me.” The afternoon is about finishing the large script coverage and doing a shorter one. And that’s the pay period.

I’m trying to get in touch with various friends and colleagues in Florida, to make sure they are okay.

This weekend, I hope to get some more work done on Legerdemain and on the outline for the Retro Mystery. We’re also turning over the curtains/fabrics to October and getting out the decorations.

I am so ready for Mercury Retrograde to be damn over.

Have a good weekend, my friends.

Published in: on September 30, 2022 at 7:05 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 30, 2022: Inner and Outer Fog  
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Thurs. Sept. 29, 2022: Choices

image courtesy of Arek Socha via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Partly sunny and cool

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday morning, I set up a Substack account and subscribed to some material. I will read for a few weeks/months, to get an idea of the platform and how it can be used.

Found out about some great submission calls. Hopefully, I can fulfill them.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by opportunities and having trouble prioritizing them. It shouldn’t be difficult. The opportunity needs to meet the following criteria:

–Does it pay the bills? Because writing – yes, even fiction and plays – is my BUSINESS, not my hobby.

–Does it present an opportunity for professional growth?

–Does it challenge/stretch me creatively?

–What are the long-term benefits compared to the short-term benefits?

Chasing something because it’s new and shiny and interesting does not build a career. Finishing work and making sure it pays its way, while growing in the process, builds a career.

I drafted an episode of Legerdemain (I wanted to draft two, but that didn’t happen). I stayed current on the marketing game, posted on LinkedIn, made the social media rounds, slogged through some email. In the afternoon, I turned around three script coverages and grabbed a big coverage I will do today and tomorrow, along with a couple of smaller ones, that should get me closer to where I need to be this pay period.

I started reading the next book for review (the review is due tomorrow). Good thing I read fast.

I prepped for this morning Working Artists Group session.

Watching Hurricane Ian destroy Florida is horrifying.

DeSantis, who voted against Hurricane Sandy aid to blue states, should be forced to step down as Florida gets aid. That needs to be the tradeoff. You vote against aid? When you then ask for it for your state, you have to step aside. The aid should go to the people who need it, but the politicians cannot be allowed to remain in office when they’re hypocrites.

I had two weird dreams last night. One was very personal, and I completely understand the message, but it made me very sad. It will keep me sad as I process it. The other dream had something to do with time travel in New Orleans, and I have no idea what that was about.

Online Meditation group this morning. Then, I just have time to gulp down breakfast before I head off to the Working Group, and there’s the morning gone. This afternoon, I have a lot of coverage to do, and to finish the book for review.

It is unlikely I will draft anything for Legerdemain today, which puts more pressure on tomorrow and the weekend.

Episode 20 of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Peace, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on September 29, 2022 at 7:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 29, 2022: Choices  
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