Wed. Nov. 20, 2019: Mercury Direct, Please!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
MERCURY GOES DIRECT

I cannot tell you how glad I am that Mercury goes direct today. It kicked my ass. Yet again. I did some good inner work on resolving a few issues, but it kicked my ass.

Hop over to Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ve been having trouble on that site, with posting (and my host is useless). If it worked, there will be a post on The Artist Statement up.

If not, you’ll be able to hear me swearing wherever you are.

They never showed up on Monday to take a look at the deck. Or let me know they weren’t coming. Yes, it makes sense — it was rainy and raw. But they should have contacted me. I changed hours at my client’s, cancelled another appointment that was for billable hours, and didn’t go to meditation.

I’m tired of losing money because these people can’t be bothered to communicate or show up on time.

I had a good proofreading session in the afternoon, which made up for some of the loss, and a good rune study session.

Then, Monday night, started watching GOOD OMENS. I meant to watch two or three episodes. I watched 5 out of the 6. The production values are spectacular. David Tennant and Michael Sheen are amazing. Well, I think David is always amazing, but the little details, the swagger in Crowwley’s walk, the small gestures, the way he tossed off a line, or gives emphasis to a particular word — wonderful.

The library is doing automatic renewals now on materials that don’t have holds on them. I HATE it. Not only is it harder to keep track of the books, but it’s an insult. It assumes that I am not enough of a responsible adult to get my books back on time.

Tuesday was rainy and yucky, too. I was out early, putting the stake in the ground for the septic pumper guy to find the tank.

Decent few pages on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Good proofreading session.

I held the fort down alone at my client’s yesterday. Got some good work done, but also had to deal with things I don’t usually deal with, which got a bit distracting.

Watched the rest of GOOD OMENS last night. AFTER I did a bunch of housework, like vacuuming and mopping floors. And general tidying up. There are times when I feel like all I do is clean, and it’s dirty again in 5 minutes. And we’re not dirty people.

Up early this morning. Writing, proofreading. I’m going in early to my client’s because we’re leaving early to celebrate a colleague’s birthday.

My back is bothering me a lot. I have a feeling I’ll have to go to the doctor, once my insurance is sorted out again. MA insurance, AKA Romney-care is a joke. It’s about having insurance coverage in name only, not at all about actual care.

Meanwhile, one word at a time, one box at a time, one small thing at a time to get things into motion for the changes that need to be made. I want to take a break for the holidays and work more slowly. I need to work quickly on a couple of projects that need to be cleared off by the end of the year. But next year has to be different. Stronger. Better.

Both on the political spectrum for the country, removing the corrupt. And personally, to achieve what I want and need in my life.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on November 20, 2019 at 6:05 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 20, 2019: Mercury Direct, Please!  
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Mon. Aug. 20, 2018: Using Respect to Write a Better World #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, August 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (as of yesterday)

Thank goodness Mercury is finally direct! With all these other retrogrades, especially Mars and Uranus (and Saturn, life lessons), it’s been tough.

Last week, on Upbeat Authors, we talked about the need to respect our work (and ourselves) if we want anyone else to respect it.

This week, we talk about respecting others.

Not the faux “civility” that’s being batted about so often lately. Have you noticed that the ones screaming the loudest about the need for civility are those least likely to practice it toward others?

We live amongst other people (unless we are recluses). There are certain social constructs that allow that to happen, and some of those constructs have to be turned into laws, because too many human beings refuse to treat others well.

We now respect ourselves and our work (or, at least, we’re working on it).

The next step is to respect others. How far to take that has to be an earned quality, but when we meet people, it’s important to meet them on a level ground of basic human respect and dignity.

We are all flawed human beings, and most of us are doing the best we can to get through the day. We will all have bad days. We will all go through patches when it’s more than a day.

We have to monitor our own behavior so that we don’t inflict our bad days on others. We have to LISTEN (a lost art) to those around us – if something is important or hurtful to those around us, it IS our responsibility to remember and speak or act within consideration.

That’s different from “political correctness” – again a term that is too often used to oppress under the guise of being progressive.

What I am talking about is being a decent human being.

If someone tweets or posts or talks about something that makes that individual happy, don’t deride or condescend or criticize (unless it is something that causes harm – if beating someone makes the person happy – yeah, that’s something to criticize).

You might not like what that person likes. You might shudder at what makes that person happy. That does not give you the right to make fun of them or demean them or try to make them feel bad for enjoying it.

That’s not “being honest.” It’s being an asshole.

And when called out, a sincere apology is needed. Not an “if I said something hurtful, I’m sorry.” Just plain, “I’m sorry.”

We all are thoughtless or flippant when it’s not appropriate or say or do something inappropriate at times. But owning it and, when and where appropriate, apologizing, is also important.

That doesn’t mean you need to apologize for holding your boundaries when someone tries to demean you and then make you feel guilty for standing up for yourself. Those are two different issues.

You need common sense and sensitivity.

But then, as writers, that’s what we do. We are able to dissect complex issues and emotions and communicate them in our work to show a broader view of the world, both good and bad.

In our writing, we can explore characters who are nasty, who are mean, who deliberately cause harm. We can take our bad experiences, raise the fictional stakes, and make things right in our work. Without preaching, without screaming, we can create a picture of the world we want, a world in which people learn how to respect each other and work together, even when they come at it from different viewpoints, or don’t always agree.

As writers, we have the ability to take that respect for ourselves and our work, meld it with respect for others, and write a better world.

 

Published in: on August 20, 2018 at 5:02 am  Comments Off on Mon. Aug. 20, 2018: Using Respect to Write a Better World #UpbeatAuthors  
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Tues. Sept. 5, 2017: Into a Fresh Cycle

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
First Day of the Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT

Mercury goes direct today. Today could still be rough, but we’re almost there! It kicked my ass — again — this time around. Although there were also some good things.

We’re gearing up for Hurricane Irma, which might or might not have a huge impact on this area. They “don’t know”. So for all those ass wipes criticizing people for not evacuating Houston — first of all, we don’t get accurate information; second, we don’t get it early enough; third, the evacuation plans around here (I’m not in Houston, I’m talking personally) don’t work. So STFU and don’t criticize.

I don’t care how much the various staffs have been downsized. With the millions of dollars in equipment, they need to give us accurate information in enough time to make informed decisions that can be practically acted upon. In other words, we need information weeks ahead, not hours. 48 hours doesn’t cut it.

And saying you can’t predict the weather — hon, you’re PAID to predict the weather. Any other job with that much error and you’d be out on your ass. So do it, already.

I remember, way back in grade school in the 1970s when they told us about technology in development to fly into the eye of a hurricane and release a chemical that would dissipate the hurricane. Whatever happened to that? Probably found out the chemical killed people.

Anyway, busy weekend. Lots and lots and lots of yoga. Seriously sore.

Finished the proofs for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Let’s hope we caught everything this time around. They go off to the publisher today.

Worked on my review assignment. The book is denser than I expected, and I can’t read it as quickly as I’d like.

Read a lot. Also went through some research books, which, unfortunately, weren’t as useful as I’d hoped. They all go back today.

Worked on the overall series outlines for Nautical Namaste Mysteries and the Picaroon Island Mysteries. Did some more work on the overall outline for Coventina Circle.

Did some more work on “Labor Intensive”, which I think will be re-secheduled for release on September 12. Unless we’re in the middle of a hurricane.

Started preparing for the annual rental inspection, which happens tomorrow.

Got some yard work done, but not enough. The mower is cranky, and it rained quite a bit on Sunday (Harvey remnants), so I’m behind.

Re-reading LEAVING A TRACE, about journals. That gave me an idea for a literary fiction novel, written as diary entries. I wrote a writers’ rough outline and the first twelve pages. I think I have something worthwhile here, but don’t know how to fit it into the schedule. Will have to work on it piecemeal around other things.

Also got an idea for an odd, one-off thriller. Did the writers’ rough outline.

It was nice enough to do some work sitting out on the deck. But I feel like I’m not getting enough done.

I’m waiting to hear back on two gigs this week — one which would be the following week, and the other which would be from now through November. I’d like to do both, but we’ll see if I’m what they want.

I also have to get out at least one essay and one short story, not to mention some pitches and LOIs. I should hear back this week on a couple of pitches I sent to a publication with whom I work fairly regularly, and I’m waiting for payment on two other pieces.

Saturday night, I had a wonderful aha! moment in the evening meditation, that sends me back on the right track. I’ve lost too much of what I worked hard to gain, in personal terms, and I need to be less willing to compromise. But the realization when it all clicked into place — it gives me a huge sense of freedom.

The next few months will include a lot of long-term planning, and that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, for short-term planning, go hop onto the GDR site and see my September To Do List.

This morning, I did a major grocery shopping, and I got the proof of PLAYING THE ANGLES to the publisher. An article I pitched was accepted (for January, but I’ve been trying to break into this market, so great). I accepted the assignment this morning.

Still have a lot to do, and the traffic is still a nightmare (summer people, go home).

But it’s all good.

Published in: on September 5, 2017 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 5, 2017: Into a Fresh Cycle  
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Wed. May 3, 2017: Project Juggling

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde (goes direct today)
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank goodness Mercury goes retrograde this afternoon. This go-round has been rough.

Yesterday, I was under the weather; I ran some errands and did some research necessary for the revisions of the next chapters in THE FIX-IT GIRL.

The grass in the front is long and lush and beautiful. I’ll mow it, probably tomorrow. My neighbors keep their lawns in a buzz cut, but I like to strengthen the roots and have it a little longer, the way my friend at Mass Audubon said was healthier.

Read Deanna Rayburn’s A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING yesterday — so good I read it straight through, couldn’t put it down. It’s her second Veronica Speedwell mystery, and it’s a lot of fun.

Gave myself the day off from most writing yesterday. I felt so lousy that I knew I’d have to toss it all anyway.

Did some research on art colonies in New England — most of the books about the art colonies are so poorly done. There’s an excellent book on Yaddo that I keep checking out, but the others are all dull. I may have to re-read TC Boyle’s EAST IS EAST, which is a satire set at an art colony. Although it’s very different from what I’m doing, it still might be fun to re-read.

Playing with ideas for two more pieces. One is a literary fiction novel, set just after World War I. The bulk of it would be in Maine, with forays into New York, Boston, and England. The other is a pseudo-Gothic, with elements of comedy, mystery, and romance, set in Cornwall. We’ll see where they go.

Heard back from an editor I pitched last week — he’d like some samples. So, off they go today, and, fingers crossed. I need to start another article in the next couple of days, an opinion piece that I’d like to get out next week.

I’m still struggling with “Seven of Swords”. I don’t seem to be fixing the problem with my tweaks, but prolonging it. Very frustrating.

Enjoying a terrific book on Manet’s life and work in 500 images. His paintings, like Edward Hopper’s, often give me ideas for short stories.

There’s finally sunshine. When the puddles dry up, maybe I can get some more yard work done. The yard work will be ongoing until the next snow!

Attorney General Maura Healey held a town hall last night. We are lucky to have her. She is far more active and involved with people than her predecessor. She takes a stand, and she gets things done.

Did about 1K on the Venice section of POWER OF WORDS, and four pages of the pseudo-Gothic outline. Not a bad start for the day.

I have to finish the complaint paperwork regarding AAA and CVS today. Those have to be filed this week.

Never a dull moment, which I guess is a good thing.

Published in: on May 3, 2017 at 9:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 3, 2017: Project Juggling  
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Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art

Monday, January 9, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cold

Mercury is finally direct, thank goodness! This was a tough one.

It started snowing on Friday; I’d planned ahead, so I didn’t go out. We got about 4-6 inches of heavy, wet snow on Friday, which was a pain in the butt to shovel, but knowing another storm was on the way, we did it anyway.

Saturday, the snow started in the morning, and it snowed until well into the evening. Blizzard conditions, white-outs, instructions to stay off the road.

I had to give up my reading slot in the MOBY DICK MARATHON at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, because I couldn’t get there. Disappointing, but not worth risking my life over.

Instead, I stayed home and read and we took down the holiday decorations. It took most of the day Friday and most of the day Saturday. We’d taken in the outdoor decorations on Thursday, before the first storm hit.

I still have to fluff bows before packing them, switch out and wash/iron/fold fabric. I shouldn’t be surprised it took several days to take down — after all, it took a month to put up!

I had a lousy writing week. Last week started like gangbusters, with about half the short story due at the end of the month, and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK, and some other stuff. But every word, later in the week, was a fight, and the ones I wrestled, I don’t like very much.

I’m hoping for a better writing week this week. I NEED a better writing week this week.

It’s tough, because I have no energy. At all.

I had some promising news from my agent over the weekend, which is nice, but nothing is settled until contracts are signed, so I’m not jumping up and down yet. If negotiations work out, great; if not, on to the next.

I also have to do some negotiating on a potential freelance job. We’ll see how that works. Again, until there’s a signed contract and the deposit clears, I’m not counting on anything.

I’ve been re-watching all of M*A*S*H lately, and I’m reminded how wonderful Alan Alda’s work is. I remember, during my theatre days, when he was the ultimate intelligent woman’s sex symbol: in addition to looks, he has intelligence, wit, humor, compassion, and courage. Then, I was lucky to work with him on some benefits, and he’s even better in person — interested and engaged, and KIND. His wife, Arlene, is amazing, too, and they’re wonderful together. He continues to be active, writing and advocating for science. We need more Alan Alda and less reality celebutard.

Adding to that, was Meryl Streep’s beautiful speech last night at the Golden Globes. As usual, she was intelligent, thoughtful, precise, insightful, and truthful.

Narcissistic Sociopath is having a hissy fit, but there again, you see the contrast between a genuine talent and a reality celebutard.

And hey, if the Duck Dynasty Dickheads have a right to spout politics — and they do, no matter how much I might disagree with them — then intelligent, talented artists have that same right.

For those who say actors/artists don’t have the right to speak about politics — ALL art is political. Some is overt, some is not. Great art makes the audience better, even for a few moments. Great art inspires us not to stand by and let people stomp on us. The incoming fascist regime is counting on squashing our spirit, by taking away everything that makes it possible to have a dignified life. We have to fight that, and one of the most effective ways so to do is through art.

You want to write narrow-minded formula pieces just to make money? Go ahead. That is your right. Even in those, though, isn’t there a happy ending? Doesn’t LOVE triumph over scheming and hate? That’s a form of political discourse. The most popular YA books in recent years — Hunger Games, Testing, et al — are political. Harry Potter is about overcoming a dictator. In Nora Roberts’s books, love and good overcome evil and destruction. That is political. Instead of just burrowing into these books (and we all need that escape), it’s time to take the principles that touch our souls in art and bring them forward into life. It is time for US to overcome those who want to break our spirits, take away love and hope, and control every aspect of OUR lives for THEIR profit.

We need to start creating the reality we want, both in our art, and then take it forward to turn it into our reality. It is time to defeat those who would crush our hearts, so they can line their own pockets.

Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 11:01 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 9, 2017: Blizzard, Alan Alda, Meryl Streep & The Power of Art  
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Mon. March 18, 2013: Take a Breath, Mercury is Direct

Monday, March 18, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Direct (as of yesterday)
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

What a relief to have Mercury go direct. This is one of the worst Merc Rets I remember in the last five or six years. Coupled with the Saturn Retrograde, it nearly killed me. I hope I can start getting things back on track, although, according to the astrologer, the upcoming full moon is going to be tough, too. Hopefully, I can mitigate that, and keep it from happening, instead of getting so worried that I make it happen.

Rehearsal Friday night went well. We are getting there, and let’s hope we just keep improving and peak on the show date.

Worked with students. I’m in a good rhythm with two of them and the third had a positive breakthrough and is back on track, so that’s all good. Got out a press release and am waiting for comments on it — if it doesn’t go out in the next day or two, there’s no point in sending it; it won’t print in time.

Speaking of press releases, here is the link to the release about the Author Services expansion with Fearless Ink.

There’s still time to sign up for next Saturday’s Query Clinic — bring in your query letters and get line-by-line support. Information here.

Most of the weekend was spent on the new book, and putting together the materials I promised my agent, that I want to get to her today or tomorrow (because there was no way I was going to send them during a Mercury Retrograde). The introduction, the thumbnails of the first five books in the series, marketing plan, and competition list — all of those are solid. I’m still not happy with the synopsis, and that’s what I’m wrestling with.

I managed to get out of the creative rut I was in — the pressures of chasing down payments soooo late, while trying to land work and rehearse the play and promote the book just released and juggle this project — I was feeling creatively drained. But, by having this project as my central focus, and doing a lot of pacing and muttering, I broke through, and I think I’ll be okay.

I also read several of the books for the contest I’m judging; some good, some weak.

Some idiot contacted me to “hire” me to write articles — at $1.50 per article. Yup, one dollar and fifty cents for an 800-word article, that would appear under the hirer’s name. My response was neither diplomatic nor polite.

So, it’s getting back to it this morning, and getting out some difficult correspondence, along with getting out the proposal, continuing to track down payments, some of which are now nearly a month late, pitching to potential new clients, working with students, preparing for rehearsal, running errands . . .you get the picture.

And, we’re supposed to have another snowstorm overnight — up to a foot of snow in some places!

Devon

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT
Scheduled to post

Mercury goes direct today, thank goodness! This has been an exceptionally rough retrograde for me. I am not sorry to see the back of it. Even by early afternoon yesterday, I could feel the pressure ease.

Yesterday morning was spent sorting out some of the current site problems. It seems that some of them have been resolved, and next week should run more smoothly than this one has. We can hope.

Tried to read a novel by a well-known author whose work, both fiction and non-fiction I’ve enjoyed before. Unfortunately, this novel was too much religion and too little soul, so I put it down. Will put it on Bookmooch. Big disappointment.

Didn’t get much writing done, unfortunately.

People here are preparing for the hurricane, but aren’t panicking, which is a good thing. I’ve scheduled this to post because my relief is supposed to be here early, and I’m out the door, running errands, prepping the house for the hurricane, and doing last-minute things for the Ball.

Mermaid Ball is tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to it, but also worried about the storm. I go back to the site on Sunday (and an interview with me will run on Sunday — link will go up on Monday) for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. I hope all this pavement-pounding is turning into book sales!

I’ll be back on site on Sunday morning, and here all next week, until I head down to CT for a few days. I need to finish polishing my classes. I keep re-arranging the exercises for the Dialogue Workshop. I haven’t found just the right progression yet.

Still trying to figure out which novel I should start next week along with my class. I have an early idea for a kind of a steampunk thing which would be a good way to stretch, but I’m not sure I could sustain it. I could take the safe route and do the third Annabel Aidan. Or I could do one of three urban fantasy novels I’ve been playing with, or the comic urban fantasy noir. Just not sure. I can think about it this weekend. I mean, if there are 120 mph winds, torrential rain and no power, it would be a good idea to think about something other than the storm, right? 😉

I’m looking forward to being home briefly, even though it’s for such a short time. I’m feeling creatively empty right now, and I’m hoping that “home” will give me a boost. I was so careful to set up my new home to be a creatively nurturing environment, and I’m having trouble here on site getting anything done. This was supposed to be a place where I could have large swaths of uninterrupted worktime, and just “be available” if something went wrong. Unfortunately, it’s been nothing but interruption after interruption and unnecessary drama. I can’t wait to be HOME.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT available in print and digital versions from Champagne Books, and digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Published in: on August 26, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (4)  
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009
Pluto Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT
Sunny and pleasant

I have to make a decision on a project, and I kind of want to tell the person on the other side of the table to shove it, but I’ll wait until Mercury is completely direct to make that decision. No reason to cut off my nose to spite my face, right? It could be a case of me being cranky and uncooperative (and I’m usually pretty cooperative, so I’m not sure why I’m having this reaction). Or it could be a power struggle, which is why I’m having this reaction. If it turns out to be the latter, I will walk away without regrets, but if I’m just in A Mood, it would be silly to respond simply out of that. I have to let it play out a bit more before making the final decision.

Yesterday was busy in the morning, catching up on business, doing marketing stuff, sending out a pitch, and running errands. I’m usually very organized when I run errands, figure out the most logical way to go from place to place point-to-point in a way that saves both gas and time. But I was very scattered yesterday, for some reason,and was all over the place wasting time AND gas. Frustrating. And forgot an errand, which means I have to go out and get that done today. It was also rainy and kind of icky, not the kind of day one wants to be out and running around.

On the positive side, I picked up a stack of books to replenish my reading. I’ve been reading a lot of “have-to-reads” and serious reads and client reads lately (which is a good thing), and I wanted something different. So I grabbed a stack of books that look like they’ll be light and fun.

i read the first one yesterday afternoon, giving myself the afternoon off from “have-tos” for a “want-to.” It was DEATH BY CHICK LIT by Lynn Harris, and I really enjoyed it. There’s a lot of wit and fun and warmth in it. A pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

I had a great morning’s work on the Matty book. I haven’t yet worked on the serial — I’m thinking of giving myself the weekend off to let it percolate some more, but I also don’t want to lose the momentum. I do want to get the first draft out (I HAVE to get the first draft out) pretty quickly. But I also don’t want to burn out. We’ll see how I feel as the day goes on.

I’ve got some tweaks to do to a couple of pieces to get them out of the door, and I’ve got a bunch of administrative/housekeeping stuff to get done.

I can’t believe it’s nearly June!

I do intend to have some fun this weekend, so I’m trying to clear off as much as I can this morning, and then relax!

Devon

Published in: on May 30, 2009 at 6:56 am  Comments (1)  
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