Fri. Nov. 12, 2021: Rain (At Least It’s Not Snow)

image courtesy of Sam Willis via pexels.com

Friday, November 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Neptune Retrograde

Rainy and mild

Raining pretty hard this morning, so I’ll put off the trip to the post office and the library until tomorrow.

Yesterday, I stayed in and worked. I’d hoped to get enough cleared off my desk by lunchtime so I could go to the lake in the afternoon, but it was already getting cloudy, so I skipped the lake.

Got in my Nano words, got out some LOIs, checked on my Nano Buddies, caught up on some email, did some research for a project, wrote up script coverages. Wrote the thank you notes to the people at all the different agencies who helped sort out my mother’s insurance and medication stuff. It was quite a stack by the time I was done. Pretty soon, I have to do the annual Freshening of the Websites, and I need to print up my new business cards for Fearless Ink. I don’t think I have any with the new logo on it.

My Ipsy bag arrived, with lots of good stuff for the month.

Read a new book by an author whose previous work I really enjoyed. This is in a different genre than the other work I’ve read. It hits the genre expectations, is more inclusive than typical in the genre, and the writing’s fine, but there’s a fire missing in it that was there in this author’s other work. I’m annoyed with myself for not loving it, but I don’t. Of course, it’s in a genre in which I don’t read much because the genre parameters often annoy me, but I wanted to see what the author would do. I want to love it, but I just don’t.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. The kids are getting vaccination appointments.

Cape Cod’s virus numbers are way up. Which is not surprising at all.  Vermont’s are, too, which is surprising, since they have such a high vaccination rate. I guess that’s it for us in Vermont until the spring. I got an email from the Credit Union that an employee tested positive at one of the branches (not the one I frequent), and the branch is closed for deep cleaning, and everyone with whom that employee was in contact will be tracked down so they can be warned and tested. I’ve noticed some sloppiness about masking lately around here, especially in CVS, where the customers tend to pull their masks down to lean over the counter and talk to the pharmacists. Because those customers are morons. If I do get sick, I’ll have caught it at CVS.

We have one more out-and-about trip planned, late next week, to do a sweep of a bunch of small artisan stores to get the gifts we need to ship. Then, we’re done for the holidays and for the winter, and it’s just the grocery store and the library until spring. Although I’m not at the point where I’m back to decontaminating all the groceries when I come back from shopping, I think I’ll start jumping in the shower and decontaminating myself again. I’d just gotten back into the habit of only the morning shower. So I guess I’m adding in an extra one on grocery days. Can’t take the risk, with numbers going up.

And I’ll get my booster as soon as it’s allowed.

Willa wanted to play last night. Charlotte was willing to play with her, only they were playing by different sets of rules and ended up in a fight. Tessa glared at them from the chair, glad to be out of it. Poor Charlotte’s feelings were hurt. It’s not her fault she didn’t understand Willa’s rules for the game. Charlotte doesn’t really understand playing, except with her catnip banana. We’re working on that.

Read two scripts last night, which I will write up today. Only one to read tonight, and I’ll write it up tomorrow, and then not read again until Sunday. This pay period closes Monday, so I can read Sunday, write it up Monday, and make my nut for the pay period. Several monthly bills are going up, and I need to make sure I hit at least my target, if not a little more. Plus, I want to ease up between Christmas and New Year’s, although I doubt I can take that week completely off.

Slept in until 6. Tessa fussed at 4:23, but I ignored her. My mom got up to feed the cats just before 6 and Charlotte started headbutting me at 6.

2689 words on CAST IRON MURDER. Tough first 400 or so, and then it flowed well. I plan to write every day this weekend on it, not to lose the flow. If I can get more than 50K done by the end of the month, and then finish the draft by the end of the year, that will be a good way to get back on track with the other projects, too.

I’m writing the overseas cards this weekend, so we can mail them just before American Thanksgiving. Not taking any chances on them not showing up until, say Valentine’s Day.

Have a good weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side. Hopefully, I can get some more unpacking done.

Fri. Nov. 5, 2021: Hands On Keyboard

image courtesy of Pexels.com

Friday, November 5, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

The nights are getting cold here, into the twenties. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that we’ll get snow next week. I’m excited!

I also have to find my gloves. I have enough of them, and they’re up here, not down in storage.

Did my Nano quota yesterday, did the rounds of the buddies, etc. to check in on everyone and make sure they’re okay.

Got through some email. Did some script coverage (not as much as I hoped), and read two more scripts. I have two more to read tonight, and to write everything up over the next couple of days, and I’m done for this week, then start back up Sunday night. Got out a couple of LOIs.

Took down the rest of the lights from the front porch. Put the lights away, and all the spider web curtains away. I still have a little bit of fabric to switch out. Damn lot of laundry to haul to the laundromat next week.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun last night. The kids are actually excited that they can get vaccinated, even though they’re not happy about the whole needle thing.

Wrote Chapter 5 of CAST IRON MURDER this morning, 2439 words. Broke 10K the first 5 days, so I’m on track. I’m hitting my 2K minimum for my own purposes, but not the 2.5K I hoped. But it’s getting done.

Out on errands most of the day, then back to write up script coverage. I’ll write CAST IRON MURDER throughout the weekend, so that I stay on track to hit 50K by Thanksgiving, and then take Thanksgiving weekend off, or at least have a lower daily quota, so I can enjoy the holiday.

I also want to finish “A Rare Medium” this weekend, and finish the research for the Marie Collier play, so I can start it next week.

I’m back in touch with an old friend from Broadway days, with whom I’d like to collaborate on an international project, and write a proposal to develop it at an artists’ colony in France in a year or to. So I need to find my original notes and improve them this weekend, too.

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

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: It’s Getting C-c-cold!

photo courtesy of Ginny via pexels.com

Thursday, November 4, 2021

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy/cold

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about our first frost last night.

The days are kind of mashing into one long day.

But I had a couple of good writing sessions, blogged, checked in with my Nano Writing Buddies, updated Enchanted Wordsmiths, checked in with the Berkshire Region writers. The usual.

It looks like we’ve got my mother’s insurance/medication issues sorted out, thanks to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office. Her staff guided us to the resources/people who could help us. So that’s a relief. I still have to tell Tufts Health to shove their demands for additional payments (even though they discontinued insurance) up their collective ass, but that’s for next week.

Switched out books at the library, mailed bills at the post office, picked up eggs and coffee at Wild Oats, and, since I was in that direction anyway, got duck Lo Mein from the Chinese restaurant I like out that way. It was sooo good.

Someone on social media, who’d spent months begging for followers, is now whining that, having reached the 5K she wanted, she no longer feels safe and is deleting approximately 200/day. She made a list of all the hoops people need to jump through in order for her to “keep” them.

I solved it for her in my case by disconnecting. Zero patience for that shit.

I’m tired of the bullying so many people who claim they are working for tolerance, justice, and equity constantly do to the rest of us. If I do something inappropriate or hurtful, definitely let me know, so I can make it right. But don’t tell me who I can follow and what I can put on my own timeline. You don’t like it, scroll past or disconnect.

Too many self-righteous jerks.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, to some really cool companies, so, fingers crossed.

Remote Chat was fun.

Needed time on the acupressure mat. All this desk time causes pain.

Worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Got the two out for the scripts I’d read the night before, read another script and got that coverage out. Read two more scripts at night.

Found out disturbing information about a theatre institution I’ve revered since I made my commitment to theatre. Distressing and heartbreaking, but better to know the information and make decisions with that knowledge moving forward, than to remain in a deluded bubble.

Was supposed to attend an NYU event on Zoom, but I never received the link, so I guess they must have filled up before I signed up. Oh, well. It happens.

Charlotte and Tessa did really well yesterday. After sleeping in the living room all night without fussing the previous night, they had peaceful co-existence all day. Charlotte slept on the bed with me last night, and Tessa let me sleep in until 5:30 this morning. Tessa even let Charlotte into the kitchen for breakfast without fussing.

Unfortunately, a little later, while I was writing, they had a spat. Two steps forward, one step back. But every bit of progress helps.

Meditation group on Zoom was great this morning. Charlotte sat on my lap for most of it and participated.

Wrote the next chapter of CAST IRON MURDER, at 2418 words. I like the way it’s shaping up, even though there’s a great deal of revision in the piece’s future.

Now, off to write up script coverage and try to get ahead on the emails. It’s astonished how much email pours in each day, even with all the unsubscribing I’m doing. Also time to make the rounds of Nano buddies, et al. No point in being a listed as a buddy if you’re not going to actually be supportive, right?

I hope I can finish my work early enough to day to get in some reading for pleasure. And I also hope to get some work done on “A Rare Medium.” I’m so close to the finish line with that play!

It was 28 degrees out last night. Brrr. But it’s so pretty!

Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 162 — My Mom’s 96th Birthday

image courtesy of Pexels via Pixabay.com

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy and raw

Happy 96th birthday to my mom! I’m lucky she’s still here, and doing well.

Latest garden post is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

The powers-that-be want to clear cut 170 acres of trees (which we need to, you know, breathe) near an aquifer in order to build a machine-gun training range.  I think that’s one of the dumbest ideas they’ve had lately.

170 acres destroyed for guns.

The stupid never stops around here.

Kids are getting sick in Barnstable and Bourne, yet they refuse to close the schools. They shouldn’t have opened them in the first place.

In-person learning is not more important than children’s lives. Or the lives of their teachers. Or the families, who then are exposed.

Dropped off a big bag of books at the library on my way to my client’s. it was quiet there, for most of my time, as it should be, with me on my own. Got a lot done. The boss came to overlap for the last hour or so, so we could catch up and do some planning. Our other colleague was out with a stomach bug.

There were two possible places to pick up the specific kind of cheesecake my mom likes. The first place – the entire large parking lot was filled. No line outside the store. Which meant that they were over capacity, not enforcing protocols, and not distancing.

I didn’t even get out of the car. I drove out of the lot and drove a few towns over, where a different store carries the same kind of cheesecake. It’s a bigger store, and there were only a few people in it, with plenty of space for all of us. I was in and out in just a few minutes, with only minor worries.

But the traffic! Backed up in both directions.

We’re in a pandemic, people. And it’s nearly November. We shouldn’t have traffic issues as though it was high season.

And people wonder why our numbers are steadily increasing. Yesterday was the 5th day in a row of new cases over 1000.

The Boston Marathon in April 2021 was postponed until at least fall. The right decision, absolutely, but it means they know we won’t be even close to out of this by next April.

Came home, decontaminated, was a little late for Remote Chat, but caught up.

The cats were all in a tizzy that I was gone all morning, so a good portion of the afternoon was spent with them.

I managed to get some admin work done, though.

I was up early this morning, wrapped my mom’s gift and wrote her a card. She’ll find it when she comes down.

I have meditation group with Concord Library via Zoom. Then, I’m making my mother Eggs Benedict (with salmon, not pork) for breakfast.

I’ll write most of the day; for dinner, she asked for my special turkey meatloaf, one of her favorites. And we have her cheesecake.

It should be a nice, quiet, but special day.

I need to buckle down and write a lot today. Let’s hope I can keep up the focus. I’d also like to finish the book for review, and write the review either later today or tomorrow, and get that off. That way, tomorrow, I can work on the pair of pitches I need to get out next week.

The last few days, researching companies, there haven’t been any to whom I wanted to send an LOI, so more research is needed.

Knowledge Unicorns tonight, which should be fun.

It’s amazing how Nano Prep Sense Memory always kicks in during October, ideas spinning, even when I have no intention of participating.

Just a reminder, if you are doing Nano and feel like you need some encouragement, 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS has prep suggestions and daily encouragements. It’s always free here.

Peace, friends!

Published in: on October 29, 2020 at 5:42 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 162 — My Mom’s 96th Birthday  
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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. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on why word choice matters.

Heads up: Venus goes direct on Friday WHILE Mercury turns retrograde. In other words, that’ll be one messed up day. And then I’ll have to spend the next three weeks keeping my mouth shut!

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS is up as a free download (how’s that for contradictory language?) here. Although originally geared to National Novel Writing Month, you can decide any day is “Day 1” and go for it. I’m committed to keeping it free, since Nano is free, and that was the catalyst for it.

I got the center front yard raked on Monday afternoon, before the storm started. Tuesday was nasty; I’m hoping to get all those bags of leaves (nearly 800 gallons’ worth) to the dump (excuse me, transfer station) either today or tomorrow. And then get some more raking in before Friday’s storm hits.

Steady work on DAVY JONES DHARMA, although slower than I’d like or need. I’m not sure how to step it up. I need to push harder, but right now, the tank on that project is pretty low. Truly, I’m trying to make like a hockey player and dig deeper, but I’m struggling!

Drafted about half of a short story, inspired by a conversation I had over Veteran’s Day weekend and some of my own experiences back when I did a lot of work with Vietnam vets. There’s a lot of pain in the story, but it’s in subtext, not text. That means each word has to be chosen even more carefully than in a typical short story. There’s also a twist in the last couple of lines that I hope I don’t foreshadow too directly, but I want readers to be hit with it, then go back and not feel cheated. It’s a good craft stretch for me.

Tuesday was a day onsite with a client, and today will be the same.

Looks like the Democrats picked up another Senate seat in Arizona. Maybe the gap in the Senate will be closer than predicted, even with Heitkamp and McCaskill losing.

Meanwhile, the Narcissistic Sociopath continues to be a corrupt embarrassment to the office and the country.

And California continues to burn.

Took a look at two projects I’d worked on a few years back and put aside. They’ve got a good foundation, great characters. I need to think about when I can get them back into the writing queue. They have temporary end points, so they wouldn’t drain creative energy. But I really like what I’m trying to say in them.

While doing some research for one of my projects, the song from 1984, “Obsession” by Animatron, started running through my head. I found the video and watched it — I don’t remember ever seeing it. But then, I don’t remember plenty of things from the 80s. I do remember having a lot of fun to that song and others when I lived on the West coast during that time. I’m grateful it was before the time when going out to blow off steam meant it showed up on social media. In the context of the time, I wasn’t particularly wild, but when I tell stories from those days, people around here seem to think I was. I was passionate and determined, and seized life for everything it had. I have no regrets.

Later that night, I put on the iPod and started dancing around the kitchen, just blowing off some steam. Hadn’t done that in awhile. Tessa, the older cat, looked at me, rolled her eyes (as only a feline can), and stalked out. Lucy, the newer rescue, was terrified and ran away. It was pretty funny.

I want to weave more dancing into some of my projects. I haven’t had the chance to go out dancing much here. Of course, when I worked on Broadway, we made our own dance parties regularly. Anywhere we went had potential to turn into a dance party.

In one of those weird creative synchronicity things, when I checked my Twitter feed the next morning, one of my Twitter pals had posted a video of him dancing in his kitchen. It was wonderful! Made me smile and reminded me that happiness is contagious.

He’s invited his followers to shoot videos dancing in their kitchens and will edit it together. Since I don’t do on-camera stuff, I won’t shoot one, but I’ll sure as hell enjoy watching what he compiles. He’s wildly creative, and I’m sure it will be a blast.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 14, 2018 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity  
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Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Tues. Oct. 31, 2017: Samhain

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Samhain/Halloween

Pretty intense few days.

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to see its new look and please, drop a commment!

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the October wrap-up.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, the blog tied to the Cerridwen Iris Shea work, to read a few ruminations.

The bulk of the weekend was the aftermath of my mom’s surgery. She’s doing really well, don’t get me wrong. She only took the Tylenol the first day — says she doesn’t need it now. But there’s a lot of post-op care to make sure the foot and the place under her collarbone where the skin was grafted heal properly. Plus, she’s exhausted, which makes sense, since surgery is a big trauma on the body.

Then, I’m exhausted, and I feel guilty about it, because I didn’t go through surgery.

But I feel what I feel, so I acknowledge it and try to let it go, while continuing on.

Friday I was wiped out. I did some research for yesterday’s meeting. I sent off my next review. But that was the extent of getting any writing done. I couldn’t focus.

I also have notes on multiple projects that I have to sort out and put into folders, or I’ll lose them and not have them when I need them.

There was a glitch with the car insurance, but it turned out the agent gave me the wrong information, and we got it all sorted out, thank goodness.

We watched season 3 of BROADCHURCH the past few days. Wow. Just wow.

Saturday, I had to run more errands, and then, finally, that check I’ve been waiting for arrived. That was a big relief. So, on that level, things are sorted out.

Started reading Hillary Clinton’s WHAT HAPPENED. It’s an exceptionally well-written book. I don’t know why that surprised me. Maybe because Tony Blair’s memoir, and so man other political tomes I’ve read weren’t? Over the decades, there have been times when I’ve disagreed with her, but so far, I agree with most of what she says in the book. And it would have been so nice to have a qualified, intelligent human being in the office instead of a narcissistic sociopath.
Also read a translation of Marc Levy’s PS FROM PARIS. I hadn’t read any of his work before. It’s joyful and surprising and wonderful. Loved the book, and am now eager to read more. It also makes me want to get my French back up to speed so that I could read it in its original language (although Sam Taylor’s translation was excellent).

ALSO read Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES. The Gamache series is intriguing. Penny is one of the few authors who I feel can pull off third person omniscient, although there was too much head-hopping in this book, and it wasn’t as smooth as usual. But her explorations into people and their motivations interest me.

One of my rocking horse statues broke while I was using the central vaccuum. It got caught in the hose — very frustrating. It will take me several weeks to put it back together properly — filling the cracks, getting the pieces to fit just right, layering it back on, then sanding down the fixative and doing some paint touch-ups.

Tessa is far too curious, and I’m worried she’ll get glue all over her.

We had quite the storm Sunday night into Monday. Lots of people without power, still, even. We were lucky — it flickered at 4 in the morning, but then came back on.

Yesterday was spent with clients — one for the bulk of the day, then came home to change my mother’s wound dressings, and then the other for a couple of hours. Two very different projects, but both terrific, engaging, and let me be creative. I’m very grateful.

Today is Samhain, a big day on my personal calendar. I have lots of running around in the morning (buying things like candy and cat food). Hopefully, we’ll have some trick or treaters tonight — the house is all dolled up!

Then, of course, the big ritual. Today is the end of the agricultural year, and tomorrow starts the new one. We’ve harvested the last of the tomatoes and herbs. Now, I still have to finish putting the yard to bed, and soon, we’ll take in the rest of the plants that overwinter inside or in the garage, and the deck furniture. And rake leaves forever, and cut back the beds.

Next spring, I either have to buy a new mower or hire someone in.

Lots and lots and LOTS of errands, et al to do today, then handing out candy tonight and then . . .ritual. The next few nights will be taken up with ceremonies for the dead — there’s an article about that over on Cerridwen’s Cottage.

I won’t post here tomorrow, but the November To-Do list will be up over on the GDR site.

I keep promising myself that I will NOT do Nano because of my deadlines, only stand at the sidelines, cheering others on. We’ll see what happens when November 1 hits. I’m definitely wavering. My ego is at war with my practicality. Because that’s what it is for me this year — ego. I want the satisfaction of another Nano win. It has nothing to do with the realities of what I HAVE to get done this month. And there’s no room for that type of ego in my life right now.

I got a little bit of MARRIAGE GARDEN done yesterday and today. I need to do a big push on THE FIX IT GIRL the rest of this week.

Back to the page.

Wed. Nov. 2, 2016: Listening to Your Work

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cool

Ran errands yesterday morning, including discovering the location of Cape Cod Coffee, which was fun. Had an unfortunate lunch at a highly regarded place that was highly mediocre.

Worked on the revisions of CHOLERIC in the afternoon. Then realized, in the middle of the night, that I made a huge logistical error, so I have to go back six chapters and fix it, and carry it through. So much for making progress! But I’d much rather discover it NOW than once the piece is on submission.

People seem to be happily sailing into Nano this year, and I’m glad. I’m also at peace with not doing it myself. For me, it was the right decision this year.

One of the biggest challenges is learning how to respect the innate rhythm each novel naturally has, while still keeping on track schedule-wise. Before contract, it’s not to hard, since one’s deadlines are one’s own, and you can adjust as necessary. Within a contract, it’s more challenging. You have to stay true to the book’s integrity, but also meet the schedule of the dozens of people who are depending on you to get it done within a finite space of time, so they can do their jobs.

That’s where listening becomes so important. Listening to the team with whom you’re working, of course (and getting EVERYTHING in writing). But also, listening to the book. If you start going off the mark, tonally or in pace, you’ll hear it. That comes with experience.

I read a very disappointing true crime book yesterday. It was written by a supposedly award-winning journalist, but I didn’t see much journalism in it. It was a partisan rant with very little factual evidence set out, sloppy writing, and little to no journalism, much less investigative journalism. Although, looking at for whom the writer supposedly was a “journalist” before, I’m not surprised.

Lots to do today, on many different fronts. I got the outside Samhain decorations put away yesterday. Celebrated Day of the Dead last night, and more ceremonies for the dead. The rest of the decor is packed today, although I still have more ceremonies over the next few nights. Also have to wash out the empty pots, scrub down the deck furniture, oil it, and let it dry before putting it away. I’ll have to repaint one of the plant stands, too, and do quite a bit more yard work before the first snow falls. Bits and pieces, doing it all in bits and pieces, gets it done.

The plays are percolating; hopefully, they will be in shape to put down on paper soon.

Devon

Published in: on November 2, 2016 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 2, 2016: Listening to Your Work  
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Tues. Oct. 25, 2016: Writing, Traveling, Interviewing, Nano Musings

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

I haven’t meant to abandon the blog the past few days. A lot is going on, and only some of it can be discussed. As someone who loathes it when people tease, on social media or on websites, “I have news, but can’t tell you”, I haven’t wanted to post anything until it was a sure thing.

Week before last, things were in huge turmoil; some of it was sorted out by the beginning of last week, but then I had to play catch-up on a variety of life chores. That got done early in the week.

Midweek, I had to take the obligatory workshop at the Career Center — I chose one on how to use one’s age to one’s advantage. I was pleasantly surprised to find a talented group of people in the room, including one person who, once we started talking, it felt as though we’d known each other for years.

Immediately after the workshop, I headed to the Berkshires. I attended a networking function in Springfield on the way, which was interesting. We booked into the Black Swan Inn again, in Lee. This time, my phone worked perfectly — good thing I switched carriers — but the Kindle wouldn’t connect to the inn’s internet. So that was frustrating.

But we had a lovely dinner in Mint, the Indian restaurant in the hotel, and then watched the final debate. I don’t see how anyone could be “undecided” at this point. You’re either voting for someone who is rational, even if you don’t like her or always agree with her; or someone who is an insane narcissist.

The lower profile races are very interesting. And we’ve got some pretty important questions on our ballot as well. The great thing about being an Independent voter is that I feel no guilt about voting for the individual I believe will do the best job, no matter what the party. This is especially true in the local races, where I’ve taken the time to know the candidates. I switched my choice on one race, because the incumbent, while not perfect, is doing his best under almost impossible circumstances and making progress, while the challenger whines, in a high-pitched voice. Sorry, no whiners for me.

Thursday morning, I got to visit the Book Loft in Great Barrington. It’s been mentioned as a “best bookshop” online and in a book of essays about writers’ favorite bookshops. I can see why. Great space, wonderful selection, nice staff. Yes, I bought a few things there — how could I not?

I like Great Barrington a lot. I like the vibe there.

I had some meetings in the late morning and early afternoon, which went well, and then we drove to Sturbridge, and booked into one of my favorite places to stay in the entire U.S.

It’s called the Publick House and Historic Inn. The main building is an old, historic inn and tavern. And then they have the funky 1950’s style lodge in the back, which is where we stayed. The last time I stayed there everything was decorated in red toile — wallpaper, curtains, bed spreads. Considering how much I loathe toile, I had to laugh when I walked in. They’d redecorated — walls are now a warm beige, and the only toile is the curtains! But the rooms are large, comfortable, and reasonably priced. And the food is terrific. We had chicken potpies that were the best I’ve ever tasted.

Terrible fog the next morning delayed the return, but, finally, it was get on the road or be stuck in Friday traffic, so we got on the road. Once we broke past the traffic, it wasn’t a bad ride back to the Cape.

The cats were very happy to see us!

Unfortunately, the writing suffered, and I lost the rhythm on the two projects that had been going so well. I need to get back into the groove on them.

Over the weekend, I mainly focused on the revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. They are going very well, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. This revision is nearly done; I’ll let it marinate for a bit while I work on submission materials, do another pass, and I hope to have it out sometime in November or December.

I had an important meeting yesterday morning, and got everything dealing with that sorted out, but it wore me out. I managed to get some work done in the garden in the afternoon.

Most of the front is decorated for Samhain, but I have to put up the orange lights and carve the pumpkins.

Last night, my poor neighbors! All of a sudden, we see a slew of fire trucks outside their house. I went over to see if they were okay, if they needed to bring their dogs over out of the commotion, or all needed a place to stay. The bricks in their chimney were staying hot, even after the embers burned down, so the fire department was going to have to remove bricks from the chimney to find what caused the hotspot. Will need some massive repair work, but it’s better than having fire between the walls. We are so lucky in our fire department here.

I have to get the car re-registered today, get a LOT of writing done, and check some links on the back matter for the free download of “The Possession of Nattie Fillmore.” Yes, it will be available for download from Oct. 28 – Oct. 31. I’m thinking of adding in a coupon for “Just Jump in and Fly” to be available for the first couple of days in November. That has to get all sorted out.

I got a lovely email from someone who just read ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, loved it, and wanted more copies. Unfortunately, I’ve sold through on everything I had left when it went out of print, but I’m in the process of tweaking it for re-release as PLAYING THE ANGLES. But I’m thrilled that it still holds up and people love it. It’s one of my favorite books, and I was disappointed when it went out of print. The title didn’t help, I’m sure! I’m about a fifth of the way through the revisions on that, and I have a list of potential places for re-release, if I don’t release it myself.

I’m behind on the plays, and I’m behind on the two projects that I have to get drafted by the end of the year. I think I will skip Nano this year, although I’ll probably “write along with” Nano, even if I don’t do it.

It always feels weird doing it, but not doing it also feels weird. However, if I DO it, I feel I should DO it, which means starting a new project on the first of November and writing 50K, not working on something I already started. But I’ve got several projects I HAVE to juggle right now, that I don’t think starting something new would be useful. It would muddy the waters. Yet the book I started during Nano last year, DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, has now gone through multiple drafts and is almost ready for submission, so last year it served a purpose.

I was also put off by the forums last year. I found many of the moderators rude, and the posters spent too much time either whining or talking about how they were so great no one understood them and that’s why they self-published. In previous years, I found the forums a fun, energizing break. Last year, they were draining and annoying.

I think most writers should try Nano at least once in their lives — and finish it, writing 50K in 30 days. It’s not that hard — 6 pages a day. What it does is get one into the daily writing/quota rhythm. It does focus on quantity over quality, but, especially early on, as you search for your voice and your rhythm, you won’t find it unless you get into a daily writing rhythm, and Nano is a good catalyst for that.

Right now, though, I don’t feel it serves me. I have to focus on pieces that already have established their own rhythms, and meet pre-existing deadlines that are separate from Nano. I also need to put together some good marketing for my books for the holidays. It would probably be a good idea to put out a newsletter again one of these days.

So there it is — a nice long catch-up before I get going on a busy day and what is sure to be a busy week!

I’ve got an Artists HobNob Event tonight, which should be tons of fun. Can’t wait to see everyone again.
Have a great week! I’ll remind everyone on Friday about the free download, and it will also be on Facebook and Twitter.

Devon

Published in: on October 25, 2016 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 25, 2016: Writing, Traveling, Interviewing, Nano Musings  
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Tues. Sept. 27, 2016: Threads of Words

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy times, and difficult to keep up here. Much of my focus right now is on the revisions for DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. In the notes I made over the weekend, there are plans to cut quite a few characters and several secondary plot lines. I’m going to weave them into the series later on. I’ve revised about nine chapters over the past few days.

However, in order for certain procedural things to make sense, I also have to add two or three characters and fix a few things. I also want to go darker with this draft. When I started writing the first draft last year, I was thinking in terms of cozy. The more I wrote, the more I realized I don’t want to go in that direction, or be limited by that formula. I want a darker, more political, realistic mystery.

There’s a large ensemble cast because that’s what I like, as both a writer and a reader. Be it agent, editor, or reader, if someone does not like large casts, “can’t keep track” of more than six people — well, we are not a good match! 😉 Move along, nothing to read here!

I’ve also been working on the full-length version of CONFIDENCE CONFIDANT. I’m not particularly happy with the work there. Especially in one scene, between Amelia and Nathan while Nathan’s in jail. I’ve written as text what needs to be subtext. I’m glad I wrote it, but now I need to rip it all out, and figure out the words that they CAN say to cover the unsaid. Otherwise, it’s just melodramatic and blatant. I’ve got time constraints on this, so I have to figure it out sooner, rather than later.

I’m having the annual Nano dilemma — do I do it this year, or not? Last year, I did it, because That Place where I worked was hosting write-ins. I felt I should participate, and I was in a writing rut. I did the Tandem Nano — working on a piece already in progress and starting the first draft of CHOLERIC. Last year, that worked. This year, I’m preparing CHOLERIC for submission and have other deadlines and other distractions. I’m worried that my ego will get in the way of both practicality and good work.

I already know I can write 50K in 30 days. I proved it over and over again. I don’t need to prove anything. What I need to do is focus on style and language to go with the stories, to polish and hone and make my work sparkle in my unique voice. At this point in my development, I don’t think Nano helps with it. It’s great to encourage words on paper every day, but I already do that. So should I use Nano to write book 2 in either the Sophie Batchelder series or the Picaroon Island series? It’s tempting, but again, it throws my schedule off even more — and my writing is way off schedule with what happened this summer. While I realize the necessity of flexible scheduling to make the most of unexpected opportunities, I also don’t want to put aside work that’s in a groove to start something on an arbitrary date (unless I’m being paid a sweet amount of money so to do).

I’ve been catching up on the second season of GOTHAM. I’m disappointed. The production design is stunning, but I find the whole thing overwrought.

The debate last night ridiculous. The possibility that the raving, lunatic, oversized toddler could get anywhere near the nuclear codes is terrifying. Yet, people will continue to vote for him. Because you can’t fix stupid, and two generations of the GOP defunding education worked.

Gave me some good ideas for the series in which CHOLERIC is the first book, though. There’s a lot of politics in the mystery — on purpose — and it’s not something I’m willing to dilute.

We’re getting some much needed rain, and I had to put on the heat yesterday. We’re finally into autumn, my favorite season. I have a lot of work to do in order to put the yard to bed for the winter. I have a lot of work to do on many fronts, and I’m tired of dealing with idiots and assholes.

But at least I get to HobNob tonight! I haven’t seen those friends and colleagues all summer, and I’ve missed them.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week.

Devon

Published in: on September 27, 2016 at 8:46 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 27, 2016: Threads of Words  
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Thurs. Dec. 3, 2015: Running on Fumes

Thursday, December 03, 2015
Waning Moon
Foggy and mild

Thank Goodness I finished Nano before Thanksgiving, or I’d have had a nervous breakdown!

Thanksgiving was good – we stayed in Ogonquit, even got to walk the beach, and then headed up to Gray for the dinner with 46 people – none of whom are Trump supporters, thank goodness.

The hotel was lovely, we managed to avoid traffic, and, all in all, had a terrific time.

The cats were upset – they still miss Violet, and I think they were worried we weren’t coming back. A good part of the weekend was spent soothing them.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving was my Saturday “on” at work, so that was busy. Sunday, I was trying to get the decorating going – I’d started Friday, and was just too tired on Saturday after work to get anything done.

Monday, we hit Spectacle of Trees flat out. Loaded up the car at the library, headed over to the JFK Museum. Bounced between helping with the library tree and the Marine Life Center tree – although, to give credit where credit is due, I didn’t do much on the Marine Life Center tree. They had it down!

Ran some errands for the trees, came home, tried to get some decorating done. If I never see another twinkle light, it will be too soon. Well, until next year, anyway!

First thing Tuesday was a dump run, and then over to the museum to consult on the tree before heading to yet another funeral – for the mother of a fellow NMLC Board member. Several of us went together. It was a lovely service, with beautiful, fun remembrances by family members.

Then, I headed to Target, running more errands for Spectacle – and back to the museum to drop things off.

Home for a quick bite, then took my mother to the knitting group, where she had a good time, while I tried to get some other work done –Including fighting with TMobile. The card I bought to refill the phone couldn’t be read – the PIN was too faint – and they didn’t want to credit me, although I had both the serial number from the card and the activation code from the purchase site. It took over an hour to get it sorted out, and then it was a mess again the next morning, and I had to fight again. I’m tired of these customer service reps who lie when they get tired of dealing with a situation. Fix the damn problem, or pass me on to a supervisor, as you are required to do BY LAW. Too bad you’re outsourced elsewhere – you have to abide by US LAW.

I bought this phone when my TMobile phone died because I could switch carriers, so that’s what I’ll do in January. Fresh start for the new year.

Wednesday morning, dropped off both wreaths for tonight’s VIP Reception at the Hyannisport Club. Then headed to the JFK Museum, helped fluff both trees. We had lunch at the British Beer Company – surprisingly good – and back to work, where we were exhausted. The adrenalin faded, and we were melting over the furniture. There was a Development Committee meeting until the end of the day, but we were all fried by then.

Home. Baked the gingerbread and the lemon tea cakes for today’s Victorian Tea. Dinner, and to bed early. Baked scones this morning and hit the ground running – four events today. Just thinking about it makes me tired.

Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season!

Devon

Published in: on December 3, 2015 at 11:37 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 3, 2015: Running on Fumes  
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Post Nano Tip: Dec. 2: What You Learned

You might not be able to answer this yet. You might be too tired, and not have enough distance. But it’s worth evaluating your Nano experience.

What did you learn about yourself and your writing?

If one of your writing obstacles is not scheduling daily time to write, did the parameters of Nano help you do that?

Were you too ambitious? Did you make it too easy on yourself?

Are you happy with getting down words on paper? Remember, this is a FIRST DRAFT. It’s not submission-ready. Nor will it be submission-ready if you do a single pass and then run it through spell check.

If you’re not finished, you need to keep up a daily pace, with scheduled days off, until you’re done.

If you finished within Nano, and WHEN you finish outside of Nano, you need to put the draft aside for a long enough period so you can get some objectivity.

Genuine revisions mean you re-envision your novel. It’s about more than just fixing typos and putting in the proper punctuation and smoothing out discrepancies. It’s about restructuring, if necessary. Cutting scenes, characters, chapters, if necessary. Following trails you abandoned originally, because they serve the overall piece better. Adding scenes, if necessary. Re-shaping. Making every sentence sing.

That takes time and commitment. It’s a totally different headspace than is needed to create a first draft.

I prefer to draft in the morning and edit a different project in the afternoon. That way, I can give my full attention to a project in the form in which it needs attention.

What do I believe I learned this Nano?

I learned that 1667+ words a day is not, for the most part, a natural pace for me. I worked on two very, very different projects. Their natural pace was either around 1400 words a day, or around 2000 words a day, depending on whether it was a good day or a mediocre day.

Working on two different projects (minimum) is the norm for me. So the fact that I moved between the two projects wasn’t an obstacle, for the most part. It was a positive in that, when I felt tired or stuck on one, I could move to the other, and keep going. It made it easier to reach the 50K. The downside was that I sometimes I felt I lost focus.

I was worried that, because both novels are in first person, I would muddy the voices. Fortunately, both the characters and genres are different enough that I didn’t. But sometimes I felt I was copping out by moving from one to the other.

However, I still got a great deal of work done on both. The words counted didn’t even include all the character tracking sheets and research I had to stop and do on the way.

I was also inspired to write an outline for a third project, which I did not count in Nano, an historical novel with touches of romance and mystery. I admit, I was tempted to call it “Rebel 2” and work on it. I wrote an outline and basic character relationships – mostly so my protagonists would shut up and let me write the other pieces. But it wasn’t part of my word count.

Another helpful thing I did was sit down with my roster of projects and set deadlines into the future. Some are dictated by my publishing schedule; others I fit in and around those contracts. I am frustrated with the amount of time given for each book, feeling I am not working fast enough; however, it is a realistic schedule to make sure each book is GOOD enough.

The quality is more important than the quantity.

That seems counter to Nano, which focuses on quantity, but it’s actually an outgrowth.

The other helpful thing about this year’s Nano was that I used it to break poor writing habits I’d fallen into over the preceding months. Again, this sounds counter to Nano. But I had been lazy – writing at odd moments or skipping too many days in a row and then binge writing. Nano got me back on a daily writing quota schedule.

I didn’t spend much time on forums this year, which had been one of my great joys in previous years. I got to hang out with other writers in my region, which was nice. Our ML was terrific, and our group was both fun and supportive. I didn’t enjoy myself on the general forums, mostly because I’m at a different place in my writing life than most of them are. I have different obstacles and concerns. I’ve also gone from having low tolerance for whiners to zero tolerance for whiners, and a necessary part of forum interaction is giving people a place to whine.

I need to be around people DOING, not whining, or planning. DOING. Active, not passive. Anything else is too energy-depleting for me right now.

So there were a lot of positives in the past month.

Will I do it again?

Every December, I swear I won’t. However, I won’t really know until November 1 of next year.

I hope you had a wonderful experience and that you keep writing.

Devon

Published in: on December 2, 2015 at 5:41 am  Comments Off on Post Nano Tip: Dec. 2: What You Learned  
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