Mon. March 9, 2020: Intent for the Week – Building Strength

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image courtesy of Alan9187 via pixabay.com

Monday, March 9, 2020
Full Moon
Mercury Goes Direct

 

I’m feeling better, most of the time, but I still need to build strength. Let’s hope the weather is good, so I can do some walking.

I’m also increasing my yoga practice, slowly, trying to work up to what it was before, and then beyond.

I’m eating well, trying to stay out of stressful situations as much as possible, and rest.

I’m behind where I need to be in other areas of my life, so I need to build strength to get back on track.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on March 9, 2020 at 5:53 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 9, 2020: Intent for the Week – Building Strength  
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Mon. Jan. 27, 2020: Intent for the Week: Quiet

sea-1031470_1920
image courtesy of freephotos via pixabay.com
Monday, January 27, 2020
Waxing Moon

This does and doesn’t tie into the post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site about “Precipice” other than the fact that I feel as though I’m on the edge of one.

My intent for this week is “Quiet” which will be a challenge on every front.

Client work will be busy and chaotic this week. I won’t have exterior quiet, so I will have to work on the interior quiet.

With everything going on politically, there will be even more noise than usual. I will keep up with my trusted sources of information, and back away from a lot of other noise. I need to do some work and make some decisions that can’t be distracted by other people’s noise or agendas.

I will carve out additional time this week for solitude and meditation, extending my morning and evening meditation times.

If the weather is decent, I hope to add in a couple of solitary walks.

I’m fed up and done with situations on several fronts. Rather than be reactive, I want to step back, be quiet and thoughtful, and work on decisions from there.

What is your intent for the week?

Published in: on January 27, 2020 at 6:33 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Jan 2, 2020: A Long, Catch-Up Natter

Thursday, January 2, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
8th Day of Christmas (last night’s dream is August’s Oracle)
Hanukkah Finished (as of Dec. 29)
Kwanzaa Finished (as of Jan. 1)
Sunny and cool

Welcome to 2020!

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Site, where I’ve answered the questions posed for 2020, which I consider the year of Transition and Transformation.

Starting Monday, for the next cycle (90 Days or so), I will begin this blog’s Monday with an intent for the week here, and some tools and suggestions for achieving goals over on the GDRsite.

Pull up your favorite beverage; it’s been nearly two weeks since we sat down for a natter. Last daily post was the Friday before Christmas, although the 23rd and the 30th had Upbeat Author posts. I planned to post on the 27th, but I had so much going on that I decided to cut myself a break. So this will be a loooooong post!

The Winter Solstice celebration on the 21st was lovely. We sit without electric lights as the sun sets; then we start by lighting the fire (with greens from last year’s Solstice season). Once the fire catches, we light the candles, put on the trees and the other lights (working clockwise from the North), and then put on the outside lights. Once all the lights are up, a simple ritual welcoming the return of the sun, and a wish for peace, joy, and prosperity in the coming year.

Dinner was Cornish hen with sweet potatoes and spinach. It was yummy.

Sunday night was both the 4th of Advent and the First Night of Hanukkah. We lit the fourth candle on the Advent table. I still haven’t found my lovely silver-plated Menorah (haven’t seen it since we moved, although I know it went onto the truck). But, in honor of the first night of the celebration, and because I miss my Jewish friends from New York who always included me in their celebrations, I made potato latkes. They were pretty damned good.

We watched MISS FISHER’S MODERN MURDER MYSTERIES, where Phryne’s niece takes over in the 1960’s. If it wasn’t connected to the original, I would have liked it better. But that constant referencing kept reminding me that it didn’t quite measure up.

It was difficult to get up early and out early to my client’s. But I was there. I took in a shipment — with one box missing. I had other stuff to do, of course, wrapping up before the holiday, but we’d hoped to get everything in. I promised to come in Christmas Eve, at least for a few hours, to wait for the box.

It was Nameless Day — I’m going to start incorporating that into my celebrations. A day for Potential. I have not lived up to my potential in the last few years, and I intend to change that in the New Year and the New Decade.

After I was finished there, I went to the library, to drop off and pick up. Was tired of computer work, so sat in a corner and read for awhile, just enjoying how lovely it was to be in a building full of books.

Went to meditation group. It was a small group, led by a sub this week. One of the attendees was The Woman Who Tests My Compassion. She shows up now and again, and is an energy vampire. She sucks all the energy we generate as a group into herself. I try to be generous, maybe she needs it, I don’t know what she’s going through, etc. But she is such a black hole of energy that it hurts everyone else’s practice. But I put up my shields and focused on my own work. The teacher taught a new exercise for the lower back that helped me enormously. First time I was pain free in weeks.

Another furnace company came by to look at the work that needs to be done. I respect getting multiple estimates, but the day before Christmas Eve? Really? Not happy about it.

Baked and frosted the Red Velvet Cake. It looks glorious. I rarely make them, because they are such a pain and need to be eaten so quickly. But I wanted to do something different for this holiday.

I wrote steadily through all this, even if it was only a few pages in the morning.

Up early again on Christmas Eve. Went to my client’s, waiting for the Fed Ex shipment. Basically, for most of the day, the tracking had no information, just that it was scheduled “before 4:30.”

Well, honey, I was leaving at noon.

I waited five extra minutes past noon, feeling down about it all. I’d gotten a bunch of work done for the client, and I was the only one in the office, which meant uninterrupted work time, my favorite. I locked up, turned on the alarm, pulled out of the lot — and looked in the rearview mirror to see Fed Ex turning in. I reversed up the road and turned back. (Luckily, there was no traffic).

The driver had done his best to get there by noon, and it was only a few minutes after. I unlocked the door, turned off the alarm, signed for the package, shoved it into the warehouse in back, set the alarm, locked up, and went home – where I fixed myself a nice, big Sidecar.

So it all worked out.

Put in the pork roast, played with the cats, enjoyed the tree and the drink. The dinner turned out perfectly — roast loin of pork, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, green beans with Hollandaise. The lovely red velvet cake for dessert.

We cleaned up and put the leftovers away, and opened presents. The new coffeemaker made me especially happy.

I put the new clothes into the washer, and we settled down with new books to read, Icelandic-style. I read Val McDermid’s updated NORTHANGER ABBEY, set in and around the Edinburgh Festival, which was delightful. Burned down the bayberry candle, and had a lovely, cozy Eve.

I was sad to read, on social media, all the racist drama around the RWA. I’m not surprised, but I’m disappointed. I’m also disappointed in white colleagues I know who are heavily involved in the organization who aren’t saying a word. Or, even worse, defending the racism. Again, in many cases, I’m not surprised. But I am disappointed, and have lost respect for several people. I’ve always been leery of RWA — to me, it always looked like a pay-to-play organization. A group that charges high fees and expects a lot of unpaid time put in. While I’ve had good experiences teaching at NECRWA, I’ve noticed the racial imbalance on the national level, and also a great deal of economic segregation.

It’s so painful for the many people who’ve spent countless hours of their time, unpaid, working to make the organization better. Working FOR the organization, without compensation instead of on their own books. How many tens of thousands of dollars have writers lost through their volunteer work with the organization? How many books will always remain unwritten? And now, they find the trade-off wasn’t worth it. What they worked for didn’t happen, and, in fact, they are being slapped in the face for working toward it.

I’ve been there, with other organizations. I know how much that hurts.

Releasing their statement the day before Christmas Eve was a deliberate strategy on their part, hoping their members would be too busy to notice. Then, trying to walk it back on Christmas Eve, when there was a furor — how could they believe the members who feel so betrayed would ever trust them again? It should never have happened in the first place, the process was skewed, and, without a clean sweep of everyone involved and a fresh start, how could they ever rebuild trust?

Or do they believe that their primarily white membership won’t care or even agrees with them?

How sad and painful.

Anyway, along rolls Christmas Day. Stockings, scrambled eggs, panettone, a quiet day of reading and writing.

For the big dinner, I made a rib roast, with mashed potatoes and peas. I don’t eat red meat often anymore. As good as it tasted while eating, I was uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

I took off Boxing Day from all obligations. Read and wrote and played with the cats. My oracle dream for January was a mishmash that basically boiled down to, “You will find allies in unexpected places.” So I have to remember that in January and be on the lookout.

Watched ON THE TOWN, which I hadn’t seen in years, and was kind of fun, except for the number in the museum, which was a little inappropriate.

I did a lot of running around on Friday, the 27th, especially when it came to grocery shopping. I had an encounter in one of the grocery stores what just depressed me.

When I got to the self-checkout, there was a $20 bill hanging out of it. I called over the store worker supervising the self-checkouts and said it had been left. She thanked me for turning it in, took it out of the machine, and said she would take it to the Customer Service desk in case anyone came back looking for it. I was glad about it — everyone’s overtired and stressed, and that $20 could be important to someone. Plus, I knew this worker, we talk often at the store, exchanging pleasantries and cooking tips.

When she walked away, the woman beside me said, “You’re in idiot. You should have kept the money. She’s just going to put it in her own pocket. You know how those Hispanics are.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “I’m glad I’m not you,” I said.

“Practical?” she sneered.

“A racist,” I replied.

She started sputtering.

“Don’t you start clutching your pearls at me,” I said. “You’re the one making a racist comment.”

“I’ve never been spoken to like this in my life!”

“Get used to it. Or change your behavior.” I went about my checkout as she huffed off, but the whole thing depressed me.

I went to Michael’s to take advantage of their sale. I found a small, artificial tree, and some white fabric roses I want to use to decorate it. I found a Santa on sale (for my collection) and a pineapple ornament. And candles (one of the few places that still sells tapers) and thank you notes.

Then to another grocery store, home, unloaded, to the library to drop off and pick up, home to read and write, because that’s all I felt up to.

However, in the late afternoon, I saw a vanity table go up on Craigslist just a few miles away. I jumped into the car, raced over, and wrestled the table and its chair into the car. I’ve always wanted one.

Watched CALL ME MADAM, which I’d never seen before. It was a lot of fun. Now I’ve got the song, “You’re Not Sick, You’re Just in Love” stuck in my head. For days.

Woke up Saturday, having lost the dream that was February’s oracle. I know it had something to do with organization and was positive.

Got the vanity table and chair out of the car and up the stairs. The chair is too high for the table, but that’s okay. It was a stage prop and had a fake mirror on it, but the real one came with it, and I swapped them out. It’s a really cool piece. I have to repaint it in spring and touch up the gold edging, but I like it.

Tessa wasn’t sure about it, but within two days, she was sitting on top of it, lording it over Charlotte on the floor.

I didn’t remember March’s dream, but I woke up calm, so I hope that’s a good sign for March.

Put together a platter of baked goods and drove it to the Emergency Vet to thank them for their kindness through tough times. Took 6A back, to enjoy the nice day.

Read and wrote. Made pork banh mi for a late lunch, which meant we really didn’t want much dinner.

I’m reading Lucy Worsley’s biography of Jane Austen, which is quite good. Came across information on Susanna Centlivre, the most famous female playwright of the 18th Century. Jane Austen and her family used to perform her plays as part of their theatricals. Susanna will be my top choice to write about for 365 Women next year.

Woke up late on Sunday. Couldn’t remember my dream, so let’s hope that means a quiet April, too.

Wrote. Did laundry. Finished THE QUALITY OF LIGHT. What a relief to get it done. It’s a one act, and I barely scratched the surface of time and place, but I picked one dramatic incident in their lives and, hopefully, did it justice. I hope I have the chance to do more research, especially on the Bibiana family of theatrical scene painters. I would love to do a piece about them.

We watched THE ROYAL WEDDING. It has two of Fred Astaire’s most famous dances in it — the one with the hatrack, and the one where he dances up the walls and on the ceiling. Great filmmaking there, but the rest of the movie didn’t work for me. I especially hated the character of Ellen. What a whiny, unprofessional little brat. There’s no way she could have achieved success with her brother as a team with an attitude and behavior like hers.

Didn’t remember my dream when I woke up on Monday morning, so I hope that means May will be calm!

Up at 5, morning routine, did a final proofread of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT so I could send it out. Got it off my desk and onto the company’s desk.

Was at my client’s by 8. Worked on Year-End stuff. Got out a mailing for next week’s big trade show.

Followed up with a colleague with whom I want to do an interview for Biblio Paradise. He’d never gotten the materials, so I re-sent them.

The weather was awful. Raining, switching to sleet, switching back.

Meditation was cancelled, sadly. Swung by the library to drop off and pick up. Went home and sat zazen on my own.

Dinner, reading. I read Elinor Lipman’s essays, I CAN’T COMPLAIN. They are lovely.

Up early on the 31st. At my client’s by 8 AM. Got out two more email blasts, worked on some appointments for the trade show. Didn’t remember my dream, so hopefully that means a quiet June.

Got the information on the first shipment of contest entries that is on its way. I’m only doing two categories, not three, this year.

Downloaded a bunch of Susanna Centlivre plays onto my Kindle from Project Gutenberg.

Interacting on Twitter with a fellow author, I decided I wanted to feature her on A BIBLIO PARADISE, too. Plus, I have to ask my friend Arlene if she wants a slot for the book that released a couple of months ago.

Receipt of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT was acknowledged. I’m glad.

Stopped at the grocery store and the liquor store on my way home from the client’s. Made the chocolate/honey/almond/fig bites and a peppermint/chocolate cake. Dinner was salmon with a brown sugar/lemon/mustard/cumin glaze, mashed potatoes, and spinach. Yummy.

Read LISTENING VALLEY by D.E. Stevenson. Love the line, “You need to make friends with your life.” I want to do that in the coming year.

Finished LV and started THE TWO MRS. ABBOTTS, by the same author. I really love her work.

Burned down the bayberry candle. Let the old year out of the back door, welcomed the New Year in by the front door. I wish they did First Footing here.

Raised a glass as we watched the ball go down on Times Square. I’m grateful I used to be able to watch from my living room window, and grateful I no longer live there.

Slept well, up at a decent hour. The day did not start off well. I’d forgotten to make ice, which delayed the Fire and Ice ritual. The bathtub stopper didn’t work properly, so the Abundance bath bomb dissolved before I could soak in it. I fixed the drain and made my own concoction. But by then, we were out of hot water, so I splashed around in lukewarm water. I hope it’s a case of “bad dress rehearsal, good opening” and not “2020 is gonna suck.”

Especially because I came into the year feeling better and more centered than usual. Instead of forced optimism out of desperation, I felt much better at the end of 2019. Glad to see it gone, but able to release the ghosts of past mistakes. I realized, as I fretted over mistakes I made back in the 1980s, for goodness’ sake, that the people involved probably don’t even remember who I am anymore. I am some random chick who was in their lives for a few months, not someone important. They lived their lives, I lived mine. I don’t have to still feel bad about fleeting mistakes from 40 years ago. That gave me a sense of liberation.

So Jan. 1 starting off with things going wrong was upsetting. But, again, none of it was monumental. So I don’t get the bath the way I wanted it. So what? I came up with an alternative and it worked. It’s not important in the scheme of the universe.

The Eggs Benedict was delicious. I love Eggs Benedict.

I sent in my proposal to 365 Women. I had to pick three possible women to write about, so I picked Susanna Centlivre, Isabella Goodwin, and Frances Marion. I can’t write about all three (and said so) this year, with my plans to do the additional Kate Warne plays and the play about the two female authors. So we’ll see what happens.

I wrote 8 pages of a new play called “Trust.” It’s a short play, based on an idea I had last month. I have to do some research on a couple of myths, and then I can finish it. It’s only going to be about 10-12 pages. I have it aimed to at least one market so far.

I took a half hour walk because it was such a nice day and I’m trying to walk more. Wandered around the neighborhood and found a warren of streets and sweet houses I never knew existed. People waved as I walked past and I waved back.

Started reading Lauren Dane’s BLOOD AND BLADE, her latest Goddess of the Blade series, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Dinner was ham glazed with bourbon and molasses, mashed potatoes, and my special carrot-parsnip in mushroom sauce concoction. It was good.

Made bourbon balls that will be given as gifts to the work colleagues I’m having over on Friday. They turned out well.

Watched THE BELLE OF NEW YORK. What a hot mess. Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen’s dancing was good, but there wasn’t much story. It started as a rip-off of GUYS AND DOLLS and went. . . nowhere. The women’s costumes were lovely, though. The dresses designed for the dances were superb. Helen Rose designed the women’s costumes. There was a different designer for the men’s costumes. More than half the movie is dance numbers, which is a relief, because the rest of it is a mess.

Up early this morning. Didn’t remember my dreams, so here’s hoping for a quiet August!

Wrote a few pages on the Winter Solstice romance. Started weight training again, before my yoga/meditation practice. I’d stopped late last summer when my back started bothering me. But I need to start up again. I definitely felt it by the end of it. I will be sore tomorrow!

I am happy to say that I meditated at least once a day EVERY day in both 2018 & 2019. It’s made a huge difference.

Library this morning, getting out some interview questions to people, posting ahead on some of the blogs, and then I have to track down a few things for tomorrow’s get-together.

I’ll clean the house this afternoon. And make the rum cake for tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, early, I’ll go to the grocery store for the last few things, prepare them, and swing by the library for a bit.

The weekend is about taking down the decorations and packing them away. I’m doing it a few days early this year (I prefer to wait until Jan. 6). But the 6th is a Monday, I’m not throwing a Twelfth Night party this year, and it makes more sense to take everything down over two days of weekend. After all, it took 3 weeks to put up!

Hope all of you had a great holiday season. New Year, New Decade!

So starts The Year of Transformation.

 

Tues. Nov. 19, 2019: Weekend of Work

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge on a family-oriented novel.

And a happy, happy birthday to my Twitter pal Jake! Have a beautiful day!

Friday afternoon, once I got back from errands and the library, it was about yard work. I hacked back the overgrown roses on the side of the house, took out the invasive oak and bindweed. It took a good portion of the afternoon, and I came away scratched and bleeding. I prefer the Sleeping Beauty look, and it discourages cutting through the property. But my landlord complained, and, knowing these damn men who will put in the new furnace, I guarantee they will insist on going down that side of the house, with the narrow path, rather than the side of the house with the driveway and the flat area to get to the bulkhead to load in the furnace. Because it’s “shorter.”

Only in your dreams, buddy.

But it’s done.

I didn’t write enough on Friday, and it threw off the rhythm of my day. The editing session was good, though.

I started reading my friend’s book, which is fun. I finally feel I’ve done enough work to earn that treat.

I moved Tessa up to my room to take some of the pressure off her with Willa and Charlotte. We got them to be company for her, but their issues are causing problems. I’m giving Tessa a break of a week, and then we’ll start re-integration under supervision again.

What’s funny is that Willa, who bothered Tessa the most, ran around the house looking for her and howling once I brought Tess upstairs, and now spends a good portion of the day sitting outside my bedroom door. Maybe they’ll make friends through the door.

Charlotte ran and hid when I picked up Tessa to take her upstairs; she thought she would be next, and she would be moved again.

I’ve had weird dreams the last couple of weeks. Positive, for the most part, but still weird.

Saturday, got up a little after 6 (late for me). Adjusted the morning routine so Tessa still got fed on time. Charlotte thought she could now eat in the kitchen in Tessa’s spot — no, honey, Tessa will be back there soon. You still eat in your spot.

Yoga, meditation, the first load of laundry in before 7.

Then, to writing. I finished editing a draft of a book late in the morning. I started doing the final proof, so I can send it to my editor for final galleys.

In the afternoon, tried to rake, but it was too windy. Scrubbed the railings and the deck. The landlord said it had mold — no, it was dirt. No mold. Some of the paint is coming off, because the last time it was painted was when we moved in in 2010.

Monday was supposed to be pouring with rain, so I don’t see how they’ll muck about and figure out what needs to be done. But that’s up to them, not me.

My back was killing me.

Spent some time with Tessa and studying runes. Read. Finished reading a memoir where the writer tries to present herself as the heroine, when in reality, she’s a manipulator who was caught out. Worked my last nerve.

Sunday, worked on a new recipe for muffins. They came out pretty well, although I’m going to add vanilla next time around.

Wrote all the posts for December for #UpbeatAuthors. Feel a sense of relief and completion.

Pulled the last bits in from the deck, and worked in the basement on Sunday.

Also made orange marmalade oatmeal bread. It was a lot of work, and I don’t like the result. It’s too dense and heavy. If I do it again, I will try it with just oats, not cooked oatmeal. I was very disappointed.

Scrubbed the basement floor.

Read some more in my friend’s book. Kept getting interrupted.

Did a good chunk of proofreading.

Overslept on Monday morning. I didn’t want to get up when the alarm went off (I’m usually up a half hour to an hour before it goes off). The storm wasn’t as bad as predicted, or at least it seemed so when I woke up.

Morning routine, and then to editing. Went in to my client’s a little early, because I had to leave early because the landlord had the builder coming to look at the deck and the back of the house.

I’m scheduling this to post, so I don’t know what the workday/builder, etc. actually brought yet. I know I plan to be up early on Tuesday, finish the proofs, and get them to my editor.

I haven’t written any new material in a few days, and it’s throwing me off my game. But I need to get these edits done.

I did, yesterday, indulge myself in a few pages of THE BARD’S LAMENT. That helped.

Onward.

 

Wed. Nov. 13, 2019: Progress & Incoming Winter

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

We’re supposed to have rain turning into snow early this morning. Since I’m scheduling this to post, I wonder if it happened? Yesterday morning was nasty when I woke up.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, for a post about Creating Client Voice.

There was no meditation on Monday, and I missed it. But I came home and helped bag 6 more 30-gallon bags of leaves just from the center front yard before the storm. I’ll be making a trip to the dump on Thursday or Friday. I’m hoping it clears up later today, so we can start raking the side yard and back tomorrow and into the weekend. Every dry day, we do a little, and, eventually, it will all get done.

I’m pleased with the way the edits are going, although the fresh writing has slowed down while I focus on edits.

Got my next book to review. The pace and characters are good, the plot a bit convoluted, and easily-checked facts (about an area in which I grew up) are wrong, so it won’t get as high a review as it would if those facts were correct. We all make genuine mistakes; this is carelessness.

Reading books about Verona, Italy, and it’s giving me ideas for way down the line on GAMBIT COLONY.

Worked onsite with a client yesterday, trying to get ahead on a few projects, with Thanksgiving coming up. Doing the same today: up early thanks to the cats, writing, editing, on site with a client. While yesterday, I made a stop at the library on the way home, today I will pick up a couple of things at the grocery store and head straight back. I rarely go to the library on Wednesdays.

Still working on the GDR questions for 2020. Hope to have them up by tomorrow.

Remote Chat today. Looking forward to it.

I’m really proud of the progress the cats are making. Willa and Charlotte are starting to believe maybe they can stay after all, maybe they truly have a home and won’t be shoved around any more. Their behavior and demeanor has improved remarkably. They still get a little fussy with each other, but they are much better. When they find something new to explore (like the basement), they call a truce and do it together. We are trying to get Tessa re-integrated back into the mix, instead of her being separate, but she is not an alpha cat (although she needs to be, with these two). That will take some more time, but she, too, is getting more determined. It’s only been a little over five weeks, but it’s been a world of difference. I also think it’s hilarious that they prefer French and French Canadian jazz, rather like Celtic music, but dislike traditional classical and pop. Not that we play much pop in the house, but I wanted to see how they’d react.

I feel a little guilty for not missing the Nano participation this year. However, this year, doing Nano would be an obstacle, not an asset. And, this year, I’m enough of a grownup not to let my ego get in the way.

Live and learn, right?

Happy mid-week!

 

Wed. Oct. 23, 2019: Progress

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over for the latest at Ink-Dipped Advice.

I needed Monday’s meditation group. I felt discouraged and out of sorts, on various fronts. The cats had regressed in their progress. I was tired.

Meditation group helped.

Between client work and meditation, I did some work at the library. It was noisy and hard to concentrate. I wish they’d designate one of the computer areas as a quiet area. I’m all for libraries as community gathering places, but there also needs to be room for quiet work.

I finally decided I was too tired to concentrate. I found a new book by an author whose work I’ve read for years. I settled into an armchair in a nook in a relatively quiet corner. There’s no rule that says all time spent in a library has to be on the computer or doing research, does it? I read for about a half hour.

Unfortunately, this author is now writing sections of the book in present tense. She’s doing multiple points of view, some in present, some in past. It’s not working for me at all. Every time I hit a section in present tense, I want to throw the book across the room. I don’t care how many books it sells, how many awards it wins, if it’s a novel written in present tense, and not an epistolary or diary-format, it doesn’t work for me. I appreciate that this particular author feels, after twenty-plus books, the need to experiment with style. But moving into this style doesn’t work for me. I can’t enjoy the book, because the stylistic choice keeps pushing me out of the actual novel. So, if this continues, I will sadly have to stop reading this author. It makes me sad; I’ve enjoyed her books for over twenty years. But I read to enjoy and learn, not to be enraged because the author stands between me and the text screaming, “Look what a cool stylist I am” instead of letting me experience the book.

Every author must choose the style they believe best serves their story. That doesn’t mean I have to read it or accept it. I don’t believe in telling authors NOT to write a certain way. But I retain my right not to read something that doesn’t work for me.

But the loss of this author in my reading queue makes me sad.

Was too tired to cook, so I picked up dinner on the way home. That was nice. I’d also bought some room sprays at the yoga studio, and used them in the house, which calmed everyone down. One is cedar and lavender; the other is rosemary and mint.

I also bang two pots together like gongs if they get aggressive toward each other, which scatters them. I want them to associate aggression with a noise they don’t like.

They settled down after supper. Tessa in the big reading chair; Willa on her perch; Charlotte between us on the couch. Charlotte allows limited petting now, and finds she likes attention. When she feels bored and rejected, she gets aggressive. If we keep her busy and with company, she’s fine.

I’m reading a book I don’t particularly enjoy, but I kind of want to see where it goes.

A book I need to review arrived; I will turn that around this week.

I’m preparing a pitch to a new-to-me magazine editor. The idea I’m most excited about may not be the right fit for her, but I have a couple of others, and I’ll batch pitch. Then, she can pick what she wants and see if we’re a good match.

Tessa won the who-gets-to-sleep-on-the-bed lottery on Monday night.

Up early Tuesday. I had to drive my mother to Osterville at 7 AM for a blood test. We hopped next door to Earthly Delights, one of my favorite places, for coffee and muffins. Their goods are always outstanding.

Charlotte and Willa both want to be with me when I write, but neither wants the other there. So we are working on a way so they can both be with me, get along, and I can actually get some writing done.

Charlotte likes the computer and typing; she thinks she’s better at this stuff than I am.

With a client most of the day Tuesday, then some work at the library.

My first writing session of the day was out of sync, because I got up at 5:30 and barely got out of the house by 7 to drive my mom to her appointment. In order to get in an hour of writing, I’d have to get up at 4:30, and, just no. As it is, it was still dark enough to need headlights on the car when we left.

I’m so close to the end of a novel draft I can taste it, and all these obstacles keep cropping up in my path. But I will get there.

Even though we keep to the daily routines, with three cats who are figuring out how they fit together, it takes longer, so I have to build in more time in the morning and at night. They still all need play time to be separate, and they all need good sessions of play time.

We are working it out.

Client work was fine. We’re in that slow patch before the holidays.

Early morning writing session today, and then dropped off something for my mom on my way in to work. With a client most of the day. Hoping I can join in the Remote Chat.

Wednesday night has evolved into pizza night, so that’s something fun to look forward to.

Tomorrow’s post will be late. I have a 10 AM phone meeting with a potential new client.

One word at a time. Eventually, you have enough words to make something.

Published in: on October 23, 2019 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 23, 2019: Progress  
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Wed. Oct. 9, 2019: The Feline Adjustment Process

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on the business side of things.

I needed meditation group on Monday! Felt so much better when it was done. Came home. Cats were fine. They had a quiet day, mostly sleeping, which is good for them. They’ve had a rough few days.

Had fun opening the latest Goddess Provisions Box. It’s such a treat. My prize arrived from last week’s remote chat, which was fun, too.

New Kitty #1 came out and we even played a bit. She’s very sweet. I thought she was striped, but she’s not. She’s a gray-and-white tuxedo. She’s very pretty. After a few minutes, though, she had enough interaction. She took refuge in my reading chair in the writing room, and contemplated possible names. She did a few half-hearted hisses, but no one would engage.

Tessa got into the toy box that came with New Kitty #2. She took every single one out, marked them, played with them, and left them all over the living room. She feels it’s a job well done. When I put them back, she took them all out again. Now, we have LOTS of toys all over the house. She has her favorite toy, with which we play every day. But she had to show who is boss.

I was exhausted and went up early to read in bed. After awhile, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. To my surprise, it was New Kitty #2. She looked as shocked as I did. She growled, and I said, “Okay, I won’t look at you if you won’t look at me.” Well, Diva Princess that she is, that doesn’t work. I went back to my book. She explored the room, checking to look at me sometimes. I looked at her when she was busy. She finally sailed out of the room, tail high. First periscope tail since she moved in. Progress.

Quiet night. Up early yesterday. I spilled a cup of coffee on the light-colored carpet in my bedroom, so they got to hear me swear and watched as I scrubbed.

Good writing session. New Kitty #1 still has a fort in my office, but she likes to watch me at the computer. Tessa sits and keeps me company, as she always has.

Tessa feels secure because we are maintaining the routine. The other cats are learning it, and the fact that (in spite of freelancing and ME doing different things every day) THEIR routine is consistent helps. Tessa sets a few boundaries and makes it clear she is in charge. After being bossed for years by Iris & Violet, she likes being the boss.

They both are really nosy, now that they’re not terrified. They’re starting to seek engagement with us. That makes a smoother transition than if we tried to force it on them. Cats always prefer it when it’s their idea.

It makes us miss Lucy and Lucy’s sunny personality even more, though.

I think we have New Kitty #2’s name. One that suits the little diva princess, and to which she responds. New Kitty #1 is being more particular. There were several names I tried which she definitely does NOT like.

Got some good writing done in the morning. Onsite at the client’s. Only one in the office, which meant I got A LOT done. Set some appointments/meetings for later in the week. Got out some more LOIs.

New Kitties are venturing out more to explore, so I think we have some more hissy-spitty and growly days ahead of us as they work it out.

Today, I’m onsite with the client again. I’m looking forward to the Remote Chat (it’s become one of my favorite parts of the week). Thursday and Friday have the potential to be a good busy.

Hoping some other pieces fall into place, but I’m making Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. Having multiple plans works for me. That way, I can mix and match elements as I need, and have options while still being flexible.

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “too many options.” I have no time for people who whine about that. Fine. Too many options for your comfort. Get out of my way, because I intend to make full use of them.

And showing up at the page every day keeps things steady, and gives me tangible progress.

Have a great day!

Published in: on October 9, 2019 at 6:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 9, 2019: The Feline Adjustment Process  
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Wed. Sept. 18, 2019: Saturn Finally Goes Direct

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Direct (Today)
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

I hope that Saturn going direct takes some pressure off.

I talk about Saturn going direct over on Kemmyrk. There’s also the latest chapter of “Fred Needs a Writer” up on Ink-Dipped Advice. We’re nearing the end of that little parable. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more about which to write!

Meditation was good on Monday afternoon, although there were heart openers, and that’s still tough. I’m still too deep in grief to want to open my heart; it still needs protection. But it reinforced that not going last week was the right decision — I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes without breaking down.

Going along with GRAVE REACH edits. I’m happy with them, I just wish I could make them happen faster. We’re getting down to the wire. Plus, I immediately have to dive into revisions for BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and then DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m wondering if I’ll have to work on one of the books in the morning and the other in the evening. I’ll do what I have to do in order to get it done.

I’m scrolling past a lot of the stupid on Twitter, because people get to say what they want, and I don’t have to respond. Quietly unfollowing some, blocking others. I don’t have to make big public drama about it. We follow each other on recommendations or follow hashtags; as we get to know each other, we’re going to decide we don’t want to interact. That’s life.

I’m unfollowing several traditionally published, so-called “best selling” authors because they’re whining about their careers. Careers other people would kill for. Careers other people would handle with grace (even when tired and frustrated) and for which they’d have gratitude. We all get tired. We all get frustrated. We all need support. So many of us are generous with our support in this community. That’s a good thing. When one of us does well, it’s good for everyone. But a constant pattern of whining and ingratitude turns me away from both the person and the writing.

Again, there’s no need to get into a big public spectacle about it. I’m a Pisces; I quietly swim away and go on with my life.

And don’t waste any more of my money on that author’s books.

Hey, plenty of people don’t want to read my books because of my political activism, and the fact that I walk my talk. That’s their choice. That’s the positive about having the freedom to make that choice. It doesn’t have to be a debate or a public shouting match.

I’ve been a conscientious consumer for years (now called “hold your wallet” among other things). If I feel a company supports something unethical, I stop buying their product/spending my money with them. I’ve done that with Wal-Mart for decades. I will (and have) drive 150 miles out of my way to avoid spending even a penny there. When I see lists demanding boycotts of businesses that support the far right — I stopped wasting my money on them years ago.

I feel badly for my elderly mother, who’s now lost her favorite show, DANCING WITH THE STARS, because they hired that lying idiot Sean Spicer. She won’t watch it anymore. And she won’t start watching again, even after he’s voted off; even in subsequent seasons, because they’ve broken her trust and proven they have no ethics. I’m not the one who told her she “can’t” or “shouldn’t.” She made that choice on her own. She doesn’t like many of the current shows, but that was one she usually liked (she had plenty of problems with a lot of the fools they’ve hired over the seasons). I ignored the social media posts about him. He doesn’t get any more real estate in my life. It was bad enough when he had a job where I had to pay attention to him.

Onsite with a client yesterday. In early today, for a meeting about reconfiguring one of the client’s websites. I have most of the content; we just have to keep up with something she likes for the visuals with the web designer, something that also meets our needs.

Other than that, it’s back to the page on GRAVE REACH, “Pier-less Crime”, ELLA BY THE BAY, and a couple of things with which I’m playing. I’m trying to come up with a title for the play about Canaletto’s sisters; I think I have to cut some characters. But that’s starting to come together.

I shouldn’t work on GAMBIT COLONY, but that’s the best stress release valve I have, so I am.

As always, it’s back to the page.

Published in: on September 18, 2019 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 18, 2019: Saturn Finally Goes Direct  
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Wed. Aug. 7, 2019: Ups and Irritations

Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Who Know What the Weather Will Be Like?

I scheduled yesterday’s post on Monday afternoon, when we were promised a nice but humid day on Tuesday, and thunderstorms today. Of course, Tuesday morning by 8 AM, it was bucketing down. Hence, the weather line this morning (I’m scheduling this to post Tuesday afternoon).

Yes, I am once of those people who uses “hence” in everyday speech.

I was so excited by my Goddess Provisions box that arrived on Monday afternoon! It contained a singing bowl. I’ve wanted one for years. It’s small, but with a lovely tone. Now, of course, I have to learn how to work with it, but my friend is adept with them, and she will guide me. Spending time with it, practicing, like one would with any instrument, is part of it, I’m sure. Eventually, I want a whole set (and a set of crystal bowls), but I’m taking it slowly.

Meditation was great on Monday afternoon. We have such a great group. Got lots of compliments on the hair cut, too, at meditation, from my clients, at the library.

Had a typical local encounter at the library on Monday afternoon. I was telling the librarians how great UNMARRIAGEABLE is, and how much I loved the book. They hadn’t yet read it, but were interested.

An Old White Woman butted into the conversation. She looked at the cover and said, “Why would I want to read about dirty Pakistanis?”

“This book is beautiful and brilliant and clever and universal,” I said. “If you like Jane Austen, you’ll love it.”

She sniffed and said, “Jane Austen is overrated.”

“I can’t help that you’re both a racist and a barbarian,” I replied.

She stomped off. After all, how could she deny she was a racist after her initial remark? I’m sick and tired of the racism, and I’m sick and tired that the racists think it’s okay to behave this way — of course, they’re getting it from the Occupant.

Who, by the way, delivered a bland, meaningless, teleprompted speech on Monday, and then didn’t even have the basic decency to name the right town where the mass shooting happened in Ohio.

Mitch McConnell won’t call the Senate back from recess to pass legislation. He claims it’s because he fell and broke his shoulder. He was home in the same day. Wearing a sling for the shoulder doesn’t mean his brain can’t work and he can’t lead a vote. It’s all an excuse. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the shootings, his campaign staff built a graveyard for programs like Social Security and for his opponent. Disgusting. Young white boys, of course. Boys, not men. Doesn’t matter how old they are chronologically, they will never grow beyond ill-behaved boys, especially with this type of encouragement.

Client work was challenging. Appointments after were fine.

Slowing down on ELLA — only two pages a day instead of four. But that’s okay, because the pace is picked up on GRAVE REACH, and that’s the one under serious deadline.

Client work today, then errands. Hoping for a productive upcoming four days.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see the latest chapter, where Fred interviews the potential writer candidates.

I’ve been doing an extra yoga session every night before bed, and that’s helping my back.

 

Published in: on August 7, 2019 at 5:25 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 7, 2019: Ups and Irritations  
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Tues. July 23, 2019: Physical Manifestations?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy, hot, humid

The weekend was brutally hot. It was bad. Difficult to get anything done.

I also fretted and stressed all weekend about this week with one of my clients, which I knew would be off-the-charts stressful. It’s easy to say “don’t think about it” or “detach” — but it doesn’t work that way, at least not for me.

I worked hard in the early mornings (usually up by four) to get the fans going and cool down the place. I had to shut everything by 7 AM, and then keep fans going inside. The humidity and lack of breeze kept everything heavy and oppressive.

Of course, there were power outages. Why should Eversource actually provide the services for which they exist and overcharge?

Read a lot. Jean-Luc Bannalec’s THE MISSING CORPSE, set in Brittany, which was interesting. The way the book is structured is so different from the way an American or British or Australian mystery is constructed.

Re-read Susan Cheever’s AMERICAN BLOOMSBURY, which I enjoyed even more this time around.

Tried to stay quiet and cool, and keep the cats the same.

I’d done some research on Friday about possible article markets, and I’m working on pitches. I hope to get at least some of them out this week.

The 2020 SPELL-A-DAY ALMANAC author copies arrived. They look wonderful! My work is in there under the Cerridwen Iris Shea byline. I’ll have to do some updates on that website, and on the blog.

I’m still waiting for payment for a freelance job for a local client I did nearly a month ago. It was invoiced on July 1. On July 15, the client apologized for the delay and promised to take care of it. It’s still not here. That is not okay. That money is marked for specific bills that need to be paid.

I’m sick of the attitude in this area that paying for work is optional. That, along with the attitude of hiring the cheapest person who is also the least threatening, instead of the best person for the job has gotten real old real fast.

I got out some LOIs. There was a communications job at a theatre in Maine that looked interesting. Unfortunately, instead of accepting a resume and letter, they demand filling out a specific application that is one of the most insulting things I’ve ever read. Some of the questions are also now illegal. So I’m not even going to pitch to them.

I had to go onsite at my client’s early yesterday and stay late. Same today. It went better than expected, but was still a tough day.

I’m having terrible trouble with my back. Every movement causes pain. I’m wondering if my frustrations from the past few weeks are manifesting in this particular type of “stuck” pain.

Meditation was much needed.

Between the heat and the stress, I’ve lost some of the momentum on GRAVE REACH. I hope to regain it in the next few days.

Awakened last night by tornado alerts. Got things together in case we had to go down to the basement. Lots of thunder and lightning, but it passed.

Back to the page.

Published in: on July 23, 2019 at 8:48 am  Comments Off on Tues. July 23, 2019: Physical Manifestations?  
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Mon. May 20, 2019: Inner Peace in Times of Adversity #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, May 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Hey, when you have a handle on today’s topic, share, will you?

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been struggling with this. I had an unexpected car repair, and I had to ask for help, including starting a Go Fund Me. I was worried I couldn’t get the car back on the road, or that it wouldn’t survive long if I did, and I didn’t know what to do.

If it wasn’t for my daily yoga and meditation practice, I would have had a complete breakdown.

I came pretty darn close, as it was.

But every time I was sure I would lose my grip on “the edge of the verge” as a theatre colleague used to say, I would go to the mat or I’d go to the zafu and try to find a few minutes of peace. Those few minutes of either movement or stillness helped me steady. Helped me refocus. Helped me think clearly, so I could do what was necessary to take action and make decisions to deal with the situation.

I still had sleepless nights.

I still had days when I fell into bed early, because I couldn’t function any more.

There were tears and fears.

But, with the help of friends and colleagues, and the help of my daily yoga and meditation practices, I survived.

It clarified a few harsh realities of my life, and means the upcoming changes for this year may need to happen sooner rather than later.

I wouldn’t say I found “inner peace” — but I found a few moments of reprieve, and those helped me cope.

How do you cope when life throws adversity your way? How do you try to achieve “inner peace?”

 

Published in: on May 20, 2019 at 5:32 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. April 30, 2019: Conference Wrap-up and New Ideas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ever so much to talk about, and some things about which I’m not yet ready to talk about, because I’m still mulling them over.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the April wrap-up. It should be up within a half hour of this post.

This past weekend, I was a presenter at the #NECRWA conference in Burlington, MA. It’s one of my favorite conferences, because it’s relaxed and upbeat. It always gives me a lot to think about.

I re-connected with some people I knew from before, met new people, met some people I knew from online and this was the first time we’d met in person.

The weather was awful on Friday. I had the car packed early, and left a little before noon. Usually, it takes me about 3 hours to get there (and it’s only outside of Boston) because of traffic. I’d managed to time it so it only took two hours.

My room was ready; I checked in and it took 2 luggage cart trips from car to room to get everything up. Made me think maybe I brought too much stuff.

The hotel had a renovation. It’s very upscale business traveler with dark wood and shiny counters and a huge TV. My room had a kingsized bed AND a chaise longue, with which I immediately fell in love. The bathroom was all shiny counters and frosted glass.

I unpacked, tried to rest up a bit, looked through the conference materials. I also worked ona book I have to review.

Freshened up and went downstairs for the cocktail hour. They served us a buffet dinner, too, courtesy of Red Feather Romance. That definitely got our attention — feed us! 😉

I had some interesting conversations. One with a writers’ group who’d travelled here together to attend — their members were from Western MA and upstate NY. I had another conversation with some early career writers who didn’t even try to hide their contempt that I’m with a small publisher and that I talked about craft and the importance of a good editor, and how much I value both my editor and my copy editor. They plan to self publish, and, according to them, “craft doesn’t matter, because Kindle readers don’t care.”

I beg to differ.

I found that arrogance rather off-putting, and wondered if that would be the tone of the conference.

The Literacy signing was after the dinner. I prefer it when it’s at the end of the weekend, when I’ve gotten to know some of the authors and have an idea of their books. I felt like I “should” buy a lot of books, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and I felt guilty when I browsed a table without buying.

I went back upstairs to decompress a little and read more of the book for review.

I also set up my rolling rack for tomorrow, went over the presentation again. Second-guessed myself on every item I brought and every slide I chosen; wondered if I should revise the presentation. But that way madness lies.

Tried to watch television, but it was lousy. I’m not missing anything by giving up cable.

Got an email from that new-to-me editor who wanted yet more information about why the topic — an underused resource that can generate more income for freelancers — is relevant to his site, which is supposed to be about generating income for freelancers. I have now written more than twice the word count ABOUT what the actual article would run. For a publication for which I’ve written a half a dozen times, and where I never had to jump through all these hoops for the other editor.

Makes me think we are no longer a good fit, and perhaps it’s time to move on to another dance partner.

The bed had one of those pillow top or memory foam things. I felt like I sank so far down it would cover me and smother me. It was comfortable; I’m just used to a much firmer mattress.

I woke up once at 4 AM with a horrible headache, but got back to sleep, and got up just before 6. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. I like writing in hotel rooms. There aren’t many distractions.

On my way to the first session, I stepped outside for a few minutes — and the headache went away. I realized that I can’t open the windows in my room, and I always sleep with my window cracked. I’m not used to recycled air.

A few minutes outside, even in the rain, helped.

Before the first session, I talked to some people who live in Central MA about the benefits of living there. They love it, because one can get to anywhere from there. It was great to hear them talk about what they loved about the area, how it’s changing, what frustrated them. The arts community seems much more vibrant and able to earn a living than it is here.

The first session was great, about burnout. Emily Nagoski was the presenter. Her handouts and worksheets were great. The timing couldn’t be better, considering the crossroads I’m facing right now. I also want to get a quote from her for an article I’m writing.

Went outside for a few minutes in between sessions, then went to a panel discussion where the participants frankly discussed money. We all agreed not to share these authors’ actual financial details outside of the room. But some of their approaches and concepts were interesting.

I was surprised — at this panel and elsewhere in the conference — by how large a percentage of the incomes are via Amazon’s Kindle direct. I’ve always avoided them because I don’t like the contract. My small publisher distributes digitally through Amazon, but my contract is not directly with Amazon, but via my publisher.

Also, the volume at which some of these authors are turning out books. There’s one full-time author who has published 70 books in the last 11 years. She’s earning money, she’s winning awards. She’s turning out quality work. She’s got audio books and translations out.

I always thought I wrote reasonably fast, but I couldn’t keep up that pace, unless I had a full staff to run the rest of my life.

I’m wondering if I should run an experiment, and have something that is more typically genre run through KDP/Unlimited to see how the returns differ.

The downside to that (apart from the qualms I have about the KDP contract) is that having only one book in that pipeline isn’t going to do much. I’d need at least three.

Three books that are separate from anything I currently have on contract, when I’m already on a brutal contract schedule.

Of course, a new pseudonym and a new idea for a series, even its title, came bursting forth almost immediately.

Whether I choose to go KDP or not, I’m kind of in love with this idea. It fuses with a couple of other ideas I’ve been playing with, and mixes the mystery and romance genres in a beautiful location.

I even have the opening line, which is a kicker.

The problem is — when will I be able to write it? We’ve already rescheduled THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m on track for GRAVE REACH, but I can’t let the other two fall by the wayside.

I have to get back into the Jain Lazarus Adventures later this year, revising CRAVE THE HUNT, and my editor and I have to go over the first two, seeing if we need to make any changes.

I have to get back on track with the JUSTICE BY HARPY books. The first book is in great shape; the second two, not so much. Since all three have to release close together, that’s a challenge.

I want to get THE FIX-IT GIRL out on traditional submission, and work on THE TIE-CUTTER.

And, of course, there’s always GAMBIT COLONY that pulls whenever I’m stressed to blow off steam.

I have a radio play going live in May. I have another radio play due in Florida in the next couple of weeks, and requests for more; I have ANOTHER radio play to send to MN as soon as I’m done with it.

I have a play due in NY at the end of May for a contest.

I have to get into the MFA to research Canaletto and the Bibiana families so I can start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters that’s due at the end of the year.

I have to finish the anti-gun violence play (because it’s not like that issue will be solved any time soon).

I have to keep working on WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST, and test the monologues.

I have to write the play about the two infamous women authors.

I have articles to pitch and write, and other marketing writing that keeps a roof over my head. I have contest entries to finish, books to review, a couple of speaking engagements coming up.

I have to come up with a new marketing strategy for my books.

How do I make it all work? Especially when, right now, I’m exhausted? And deal with the garden? And I probably have to face some major life changes in the upcoming months.

I’m not sure. I have to take some time to sit and think. To prioritize. To push myself to get it all done.

To do it without killing myself.

Hence why the burnout workshop was so relevant.

Outside, took a few breaths of fresh air, then back in for a seminar on ebook pricing. Some of which directly contradicted what worked for some of the authors in the last seminar.

One interesting thing that came up was to set the first book in a series perpetually at 99 cents. I’ve played with that idea. I don’t want the people who are excited by a new release to feel screwed if I lower the price of the first book to 99 cents and keep it there. My publisher is open to discussing pricing changes, but is more in favor of limited-time discounts than a permanent change.

A few months ago, I was advised that I should lower the price of ALL the earlier books whenever I have a new release out. I balked at that idea, as did the publisher. Because then why should people order the book when it first comes out? They know it’ll come down in price a year later when the next one comes out. In the interim, I might lose them anyway.

It was also brought up that $1.99 is an awful price. I put my Delectable Digital delight shorts at 99 cents (making sure people understand they are SHORT). My publisher usually has novellas or short novels at $1.99 or $2.99 if they’re almost up to category length. Now I’m wondering if we should go up to some funky price like $2.09 or $2.49?

Yeah, this is just what my publisher wants. Me to come back from a conference full of ideas that aren’t new books! 😉

The lunch buffet was fun. I got to catch up with a friend who has nine books out under one of her names, and is about to launch a cozy mystery series under another. Can’t wait to read all of them!

Met another author, Jillian David, whose presentation I missed (and I felt guilty for so doing, because I really liked her). I now can’t wait to read her books, either.

The lunchtime keynote was Penny Reid, who was funny and heartfelt, and now I have another new-to-me author to read. That’s one of my favorite things about conferences — finding new-to-me authors whose work I can gobble up.

I found Kilby Blades, who was presenting the two sessions before mine in the salon we would all share, to ask if she minded that I brought my rack down and stashed it before her session started. She was cool with it. I didn’t want to just show up with a bunch of stuff and presume I could take up space.

I attended both of her marketing sessions which was useful. She navigates how to use best business practices in marketing and then morph them for the weirdness that is the book business. It helped me rethink some strategies, and I will have a lot to discuss with my publisher’s new marketing director soon!

There were some elements that gave me a headache. Charting daily sales–I know it’s useful, but I’d much rather look at weekly or monthly breakdowns. But as we work on new marketing strategies, the daily fluctuations and the importance of serious testing matters. The same way it does when I do it for other people.

I wish it wasn’t so much easier to market for someone else than to market myself!

Then, it was my turn.

My audience was great, but I was not happy with my performance. I talked too quickly. I didn’t share enough anecdotes from the set (only two or three). I meant to talk about heirloom pieces that are passed down and how they have meaning, and didn’t. I meant to tie in to some of the other sessions, and it flew right out of my mind.

I was frustrated with myself because it wasn’t as good as it could have been, and the only one to blame was me.

I shouldn’t have cut reading the passage from a friend’s book about how a couple of characters cleaned up for a funeral. That would have been a good addition. But when I timed a rehearsal, it made the session run long without time for questions.

As I said, my audience was great. I could have been better. I did not live up to my own expectations.

I packed up, took everything back up to the room, and changed for dinner. I wore Cupcake International pieces all weekend — I was a walking advertisement for them. But the pieces were fun and comfortable and flattering.

Dinner was good. I sat with some people who’d been in my session, and another woman from NH who was lovely. We had a great talk about life in New Hampshire and a whole lot of other things.

Sonali Dev was our Keynote, and she was wonderful. She said something that resonated. “We write because we refuse to be silent.”

Again, gave me a lot to think about.

I was exhausted and my mind going a mile a minute after dinner. I didn’t join the debrief sessions; I went upstairs. I finished reading the book for review, and made notes.

I made some notes on some new ideas. I tried watching TV, but there was nothing I wanted to see. Packed everything up.

I pondered all the information I’d gathered. It will take me awhile to sort it all out and decide how best to put it to use.

Woke up at 1 AM and got back to sleep. Woke up a little after six. Yoga, meditation, a little writing. Breakfast.

Had the car loaded and was gone a little after 8. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was home by 10:30.

Unloaded. Put stuff away. Unpacked. Sorted laundry. Unpacked the handouts and bookmarks and other things I picked up at the conference. It will take me a few days to go through them.

I usually go through them the day of or the day after. But I was too tired.

I don’t get why — I hardly drank at all. I usually spend more time at the bar at conferences, and I didn’t this time around. But I feel more worn out than when I spend most of my free time in the bar. Here I tried to take good care of myself and be healthy, and I’m still wiped out.

Probably because this was at the end of a long, stressful month.

Tried to rest on Sunday. Wrote the review. Read some other books. I gave myself the day off from contest entries.

Monday was back to the normal routine, although I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.

Got some writing done in the morning, although it wasn’t very good. Played with my new idea. That world is coming into focus surprisingly clearly. Although I don’t want to be arrogant about it, so I ordered a bunch of research books from the library.

Returned what I’d borrowed for the conference. Spent time onsite with a client. Turned in my review.

Cancelled out of my mid-afternoon appointment because my brain was mush and I was making stupid mistakes.

I’d walked out of the house without my phone. Meant to pick it up after the session with my client and before leaving for meditation group. But, of course, I walked out without it — mostly because the cats caught a little, tiny mouse, and I felt horribly guilty about her demise. I mean, I don’t want mice in the house, and I’m glad the cats did their feline job — but I still felt awful about that poor little mouse, and buried her in the yard.

Meditation was good. I felt better and more focused after, although still tired.

Read a couple of Tracy Kiely’s Nic and Nigel Martini books over the past two days. They’re a lot of fun.

Went to bed early; overslept this morning.

Got some writing done, but not enough. Still mulling things over in my head.

Onsite with a client most of the day, then I have to get some work done at the library.

More contest entries to work on tonight, and I’m starting to enter the scores into the digital sheets.

Was assigned my next book for review.

I have to get going on the thank yous and follow ups from the conference today and tomorrow. I don’t want to let that slide.

And I have to get on a more productive writing schedule. I think I have to add a second writing session into the evening for the next few months. The morning at 1.5-2K is okay (although it makes me feel very slow). But if I can add in another 1K session in the evening, I should be able to get back on track. Maybe I can up it a little on weekends.

Mostly, though, I’m so, so tired. My body is tired and my brain is tired. I’m seriously thinking of taking a few days off this weekend, except for contest entries, and then starting up again with the new moon.

But the conference was great, and it gave me a lot to think about. Now, I have to sort through it, and, most importantly, APPLY WHAT I’VE LEARNED.

Because otherwise, it’s just time spent without gain.

Back to the page.

 

Wed. March 27, 2019: Gearing Up for the Right Kind of Busy

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

No post today on Ink-Dipped Advice.

I had the worst headache on Monday. Meditation helped, but it kept threatening on Tuesday.

I heard from the production in Florida that the night went well and the audience loved the play. They said there was “one big acting gaffe” that they’d fix in post-production before they uploaded the audio file. I’m not sure what that means, but I have to trust them to do their thing.

Production-wise, my attention is now focused on the piece that runs in Boston the first two weekends in April.

Worked on books for review Monday night and Tuesday. Did a little writing Tuesday morning and some editing.

A potential client wanted to have a phone conversation yesterday or today, but the only available times where when I was onsite, and I felt that was inappropriate, so I requested to set it, at their convenience, Thursday or Friday. She was happy to do so. I’m looking forward to it, tomorrow morning, but it means tomorrow’s post will go up late!

Got the proofs from my editor from the almanac articles. She’s asked for a couple of tweaks. No problem. I’ll work on them in the next few days, and turn them around.

Client work onsite yesterday, and then other writing and review work, to try to keep on top of deadlines.

Tired. Client work today. Then, if the weather still holds, maybe some yard work. It might get as high as 70 degrees this weekend, which means definite yard work.

But for now, it’s back to the page. And waiting to hear what’s going on between the WGA-ATA conflict.

 

Published in: on March 27, 2019 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 27, 2019: Gearing Up for the Right Kind of Busy  
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