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

Image by Joe via pixabay.com

Friday, September 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cold with dense fog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I have to adjust.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good weekend, my friends.

Tues. Sept. 27, 2022: Walking the Project Talk

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, mild, humid

Pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle in for a natter. This weekend had a lot going on.

I’ve posted the questions to help you create and plan your 2023 over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

I managed to get them up early this year. I don’t know about you, but I already have the urge to plan next year, process this year, and build on it. We’ll ponder the questions between now and the end of the year, and then post what we’re comfortable sharing in January over on the GDR site.

Friday felt like a lost day, even though it wasn’t. I mean, I did stuff, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped to get done. I scheduled the episode ad postings on the LEGERDEMAIN site to release all the way through October. I still have to add some content to the site before I’m comfortable with it going live, but that should happen this week, so next week, I can start promoting the site.

Newsletter subscribers will get the link early, when the newsletter goes out later this week. Have you subscribed to my quarterly newsletter yet? If not, you can do so here.

I did some work on the Topic Workbook graphic, and I’m still not happy with it. I need to play some more. I also started the media kit for the Topic Workbook, and I’m pondering the media kit for LEGERDEMAIN.

I looked at running ads on Amazon for LEGERDEMAIN, and the prices are just way out of my budget at the moment.

I ordered a set of signed books by an author whose work I adore for a friend I think would really love them. I bought them directly from the author, and she already shipped them to my friend, and I am so excited.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I should have done three, but I was just too tired. And, when I cover the script, I want to give good, focused attention to the writer. That is the respect each writer deserves.

Canva won’t let me design a bookmark that’s horizontal instead of vertical, and I don’t like the way the verticals look. However, the print store I want to try out lets me design horizontally on their site, and I think I will do that. I will initially order a small batch; if they look good, I’ll order more. I may have them do my direct mail postcards, too, if I can ever get a design on those I can stand.

The Fresh Grass Music Festival was over at MassMOCA this weekend. Can you say super-spreader much? Especially now that Rochelle Wollensky of the CDC has gone full genocidal eugenics on the country. She needs to be removed. And yes, I contacted both my Senators and my Representative yesterday so to do.

But the upside of the music festival is that, at night, when the wind is right, I can hear some of it. Which is kind of cool. The venue is only 5 blocks away, so it makes sense.

Had kind of a slow start Saturday morning. We ended up putting on the heat on Friday – I’m already cringing, because not only has the gas company jacked up my bill over the summer, here in this state, they are telling us to expect a 64% increase. My income hasn’t increased 64%, so why are they allowed to do this?

Yes, that was another set of contacts to the Senators and Reps, on both federal and state levels.

I did not go to the market, or even the grocery store, because with all these people in for the festival, ewww, germy strangers probably not masking shedding virus. Nope.

Played with some ideas for upcoming Ink-Dipped Advice posts, and hope to write them up and schedule them to post this week.

I’ve basically given up on all the short stories I’d hoped to write the second half of September. I need to focus on other work first. Some of the ideas I might still play with and write, and look for other markets. But I can’t look at Sept. 30 deadlines for anything right now, other than already contracted work.

I did rough out a short story outline that was inspired by a call to submission, but they wanted flash fiction and this will be 3-5K. But I love the idea, and it will be fun to spin out.

So, yeah, not given up on the short stories, just on the deadlined submission calls!

It’s been dipping down into the low 40’s,/high 30’s F at night, so it’s time to take in the plants. We took in a bunch, some inside for good, some to the front porch. I will go into that in detail on Thursday’s garden post.

Once that was done, the light was good enough so that I could sew the October-themed curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Willa, who hardly ever comes on the couch, sat along the back of it, alternating watching me sew and looking out the window. I did this, too, by hand.

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

After that, I downloaded the scriptwriting software DramaQueen (the company is based out of Germany). Right now, I can’t make the time to sit with Scrivener. I’ve tried Trelby and hated it. Eventually, I will invest in Final Draft again, but not right now.

It was kind of a PITA to download, but I have no doubt that’s more about my computer than their software. Once it was downloaded, though, and I started playing with it, it worked well.

I imported VISCERAL INVISIBLES into the software and started working on the new draft of that. This will be the 7th draft. Because I’m going to keep at it until it’s right before I submit. The import was wonky from PDF, but just fine out of .doc, so that’s good to know. The software wonked some of the formatting, but not badly, and it’s very easy to adjust with the highlight and tabs.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t used the standard Courier format, but whatever it was I drafted in, so when it converted to the correct format, some of it wonked.

So far, so good.

I rewrote the first 23 or so pages. I’m rearranging a few things, and deepening a few things. That’s what this draft is about. And then I’ll do another pass, and make cuts. According to the software, the page count is 120. However, I think some of that is format wonk, since none of my drafts were ever that long, page-wise. Once I do the rewrites and fix the wonks, I will check the page count (I expect it’s around 115) and then cut, because it needs to hit the sweet spot for the genre, and not be more than 110. So I’ll tighten and cut until I get there.

I knew I had another script I wanted to import – but I couldn’t find it on any of my drives. I nearly panicked, until I realized I’d sent it to my friend Paula for critique a couple of years back. I went back into the emails, found the attachment, downloaded it, and converted it to .doc. I tried importing the PDF version, but it wonked again, so I imported the .doc, and it looks okay.

On the fence about importing STALEMATE DEATH. It might be worthwhile for the portfolio, but I doubt it would go out often. I think it’s just about served its purpose. There’s also the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE and of TALENT. Those need to be reworked, and maybe put into the portfolio. I will use and apply what I’ve learned as a script analyst these past couple of years to make my own scripts stronger.

The one I really need to concentrate on this winter is the pilot for THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT. That’s the one I’m truly excited about, and need to get back to.

I also found a script roster of loglines and information on scripts that all sound good, but according to the document they are written and I look at them and don’t remember some of them. So I’m not sure if that’s a document I wrote as an exercise, or if there’s more spelunking to do in old flash drives.

All of the above is a combination of leaning into the energies of the retrogrades, which is about going back and reworking or finishing older projects, rather than starting something new. This is something I talk about and share techniques for in THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Unfinished projects drain energy. I need to clear the decks to make room for new work. To do that, I have to decide which projects to revive, get into the schedule, and finish; which projects to put in stasis, because it doesn’t make creative or financial sense to deal with them right now; and which ones I need to retire.

That will make room for the new work. It’s also using the information and energy of the retrogrades as something positive, rather than using the retrogrades as an excuse.

I’ve made a rough plan for the marketing of the Topic Workbooks (and including 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS with Nano coming up soon) for October through December. If I can ever get the danged graphic right, I can upload and schedule that. I also figured out the next couple of months of the LEGERDEMAIN campaign, more than just the episode-specific ads. So all of that has to get uploaded and scheduled in the next couple of weeks, in an around all the other stuff.

I also saw that I need to update the buy links on several Topic Workbooks. I thought I’d kept up with that, and am annoyed with myself that I did not.

DramaQueen has several levels of software, but I think I’ll be okay with sticking with the free version. Anyway, so far, so good.

I’ve dumped all the “project management software” programs with which I experimented. None of them have the range I need. I do better with the old-fashioned desk blotter calendar and colored markers. I’ve also kept up with the Work Wins Daily Journal Challenge set out by a colleague. I’m learning that some of the categories he set up don’t work for me. That’s going to be the first October blog post for Ink-Dipped Advice – what I learned from this challenge, and what I’m changing to suit my needs. So much of all these tools and platforms and systems is about compartmentalizing instead of making it holistic. For what I do, that’s detrimental to my productivity, my creativity, and my mental health.

Sunday, I was up at a reasonable time and baked biscuits.

I’d hoped to get the history of Legerdemain written and up on the website, but I don’t know what made me think I could create two thousand years’ worth of a country’s history in a couple of hours. So that’s taking longer than I planned.

In the afternoon, I switched over to plotting and working on my Writers’ Rough outline for the Retro Mystery. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which was frustrating, but better to have that happen now and jot down those details, than to get stuck when I have to draft at speed in November.

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

I created an ad for 30 Tips for 30 Days, and got it uploaded/scheduled through October. November needs a slightly different take; I will either upload/schedule half the month today and half tomorrow, or all today and December tomorrow. Probably half today/half tomorrow and then December on Wednesday. Each month needs a slightly different slant, and there’s a lot to do this week.

I actually did a To Do list for the week, which sets my teeth on edge. To Do lists make me feel constrained, and then I sabotage myself, but there was simply too much for me to be able to look at the calendar and get it done. Urgh.

Read a book on Sunday by a well-known author which came highly recommended, and I was left with “meh.” I am glad to see the author try to tackle social inequity, racism, and domestic abuse in a genre that usually ignores it. But in so doing, she flattened out her central protagonists to make sure they were righteous, and that didn’t quite work. But at least she’s trying, in this genre, which is more than most attempt or fight to do.

Up at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Good journal, yoga, meditation, and tarot sessions. Came up with a mantra for my intent for the week: “I thrive in situations where my work is respected. I remove myself from situations where it is not.” I will use that this week.

Posted the blogs, posted in the Marketing Game, made the social media rounds. Drafted Episode 42 of LEGERDEMAIN, which came in just under 1300 words, and was more fun than I expected.

Did the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the liquor store.

Adapted Chapter 4 of the third draft of ANGEL HUNT into 7 serial episodes, and smoothed out a few things. The chapter was 6500 words. So that was a lot of words handled, all told, yesterday.

Turned around 3 script coverages. One is missing a piece, and I sent in the information. I read what I had, and commented; I just need the missing piece to finish it.

Made turkey Bolognese for dinner, a different recipe than I’ve used before; I like it a lot.

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

Woke up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, did the morning routine, and was out the door before 6 AM and over to the laundromat when it opened. Back by about 7:30. Still have to finish folding the sheets and put them away.

I did a few chapters of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The book is good. I just wish publishers and agents weren’t so determined to ignore the pandemic and racism, which are two very important themes in the book.

I’m going to work on Episode 43 of LEGERDEMAIN. I have to be at the TV station across town by 11 AM, so I have to pull myself together for that. But I’m looking forward to seeing the facility and percolating ideas.

Williams College music department has tightened up the COVID protocols for their performances – proof of vaccinations and masking are again required. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go and listen to some music over the coming months!

There’s a big push in the area to get everyone boosted with the bivalent formula. They’re setting up a lot of free clinics all over the place this week. That, too, makes me feel better. You can tell the tourists have left, because almost everyone in the grocery store yesterday masked.

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Fri. Sept. 23, 2022: Of Words

image couortesy of Daria Glodowksa via pixabay.com

Friday, September 23, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

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

Sunny and cool

I worked on the graphic I need for the Topic Workbooks campaign, and am not satisfied with it. I promoted Episode 18 of LEGERDEMAIN. I worked to look for photos and links for both the Creative Ground profile and to use on my website(s). I put up the Radio Theatre Project’s Sound Cloud links to “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale,” “Horace House Hauntings,” and “Light Behind the Eyes.” If you go on the radio page over at Pages On Stages, you’ll find them, and can listen. I hadn’t heard “Aurora Nightingale” before and it was fun. “Pier-less Crime” should be up soon.Lakes Area Theatre doesn’t have any of my shows uploaded yet, and Post-Meridian Players requires a subscription, so that’s that, at least for now. I found some photos from MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL that I might put up.

I did some work on the newsletter, which will go out next week.

I worked on some other graphic stuff I need. I also copied both LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT folders from the flash drive where I work on them to the hard drive of the computer, backed them up on an external hard drive, and also put them on a drive specific to the serials. Paranoid much? But I want the serials kept separate from the main flash drive I usually work off of, and I want to make sure everything’s backed up multiple times.

I skipped Freelance Chat, because I just wasn’t up to it. I was in too much pain to be able to follow conversations and be appropriately cheerful.

I got more information on an event I’d been invited to participate in, and it’s really not for me, so I will gracefully decline.

I created the logo graphic for ANGEL HUNT. It’s much simpler than I originally envisioned, but I believe it’s more striking.

I worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Didn’t finish as much as I’d hoped, but I’m still well within my deadlines. I grabbed two more, so I will be busy today, and it might spill over into tomorrow. I have to push hard next week. They’re paying us less to do more, and I’m getting a little fed up.

I made Cornish hen with mashed potatoes and peas for our Equinox supper. It was good.

I set the bones to cook down for stock, and headed over to the local indie bookstore for my colleague’s reading. She was someone I met through the Artists Working Group over at MassMOCA. I was interested in her work, plus why be a part of an artist working group if you don’t turn up to support each other?

I got there early and helped set up. The place was backed – a tiny store with about 40 people there. All masked. There was no fuss ever made about it. People simply masked up as they stepped in the door, as though it was the most natural thing in the world. It made me feel good to be part of a community that walks their talk.

The reading was wonderful. The reader was Molly Rideout, and she read from an essay in progress about her experiences relocating to this area, and the concept of being a “good transplant” which provoked interesting discussion. It was nice to be in a group of people who really listen and respond to what is being said, both by the reader and by other audience members, instead of only thinking about the next thing they want to say.

I bought her book TRANSIENT, and she signed it.

It was a fun evening.

Most of the tightly networked artist community meets through various art-related work events. As a writer, mostly solitary, I have to actually make an effort to get out and do things!

Did my Equinox ritual, finished the stock and put it away, and went to sleep. By the end of the night, my ear was in a lot of pain again. It will take time to let the initial trauma heal, and then we’ll find out if there’s permanent damage. I was in pain most of the day, which derailed some of my productivity, too.

Up early this morning. I’m going to write in the morning, on a couple of different projects: LEGERDEMAIN, maybe a couple of short stories. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to the radio play “Owe Me” today or wait until Monday.

I hope I won’t have to read all weekend, for script coverage, but that depends on where I am, earnings-wise, at the end of the day. I have A LOT of bills coming up in October. The plan is to write all weekend, but we’ll see how that works out.

The Fresh Grass music festival is in town this weekend (can you say “super-spreader event”?), so I will stay home.

I forgot to switch over the sheets from bamboo to flannel yesterday (I usually do that on the Equinox, and then switch to fleece at Yule). So that, too, is on today’s agenda.

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

Fri. June 24, 2022: Summer Rain

image courtesy of jackieLouDL via pixabay.com

Friday, June 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Rainy and warmer

Temperatures are going back up this weekend, but at least we had some rain to wash away the pollen.

Got some blogging done yesterday, and a bunch of admin work. Meditation was good, although it was hard to get settled.

After breakfast, I sorted out the book donations I’m making to the local library sale, packed them up, and took them on the library run where I dropped off/picked up books. Mailed some bills, picked up some wine.

Set up folders for each of the ideas generated by Wednesday’s workshop, and also for the new radio play idea I had yesterday morning as I put the coffee on. Notes, etc., all set up, so as soon as I’m ready to work on any of those ideas, I can drop right down. I expanded the notes a little on the three projects calling me with the most strength.

Freelance Chat was fun, as usual.

Gave the newsletter a couple more proofreads and caught typos each time. Hopefully, I got them all before the newsletter went out. Already had to open a new document for September’s newsletter, so I don’t forget what I want to tell people.

The newsletter reveals information on what I’ve been called “The Big Project” over the past few months. I will not be revealing that information for a couple more weeks on the blog and, generally, online and on social media. The project is going to get its own website, too, although that can’t go live until the project goes live, so, stay tuned.

Like you already don’t!

And I appreciate it.

The Friday Journal prompt will go up on my Ello page later this morning.

The Supreme Court continues its right-wing extremist stripping of rights. The Narcissistic Sociopath needs to be charged with treason and every decision and appointment made during that regime voided.

I turned around a script coverage. There’s been very little in the queue, and I’m behind where I need to be, financially for this pay period. Hoping more shows up over the weekend and into next week.

In the meantime, I’m putting my time, focus, and energy on other projects, and also into LOIs.

I have to do a grocery run today (almost out of coffee), but, other than that, the primary focus is on the anthology story. We were given two separate deadlines – one today and one on Sunday. Since I tossed a lot of what I did and started over, I will probably get it in by Sunday, although ideally, it would be today, or, splitting the difference, tomorrow. I  need to get it off my desk and onto the editor’s desk for both of us, and so I can focus on other projects until I get the editing notes back.

I also need to spend time on The Big Project (having to finish a major section by early next week, so it can go through editing while I move on to the next big section), and the Topic Workbooks.

I’m getting contradictory information about a residency that I was interested in, and an organization is giving me one set of information, encouraging me to apply, but the actual application says something else. It’s a little frustrating. I may put that aside until at least next week.

I’m still dealing with sense memory stress from last year. The next 10 days will be rough, since I have to shake off what this time last year was about: travelling back and forth, trying to finish the cleanout in the Cape house, people being hired/paid and not showing up to do the work, the physical impossibilities of doing it all myself, some of the poor decisions I made in getting rid of things, the destruction of the dream of living on the Cape, and the landlord’s incessant fussing. All in extensive heat and humidity. But it got done and we are here, not there, in a better situation all around, and I keep reminding myself of that, and working to layer positive memories over the rough ones. Definitely a process. And last year, I had to suppress a lot of the emotion in order to get it done and just survive. So that’s come back to bite me in the butt, but at least I understand what’s happening and why, so I can take steps to deal with it.

The weekend will focus on the anthology story, The Big Project, and the Topic Workbooks. And, finally, maybe finishing the kitchen island cart that’s still in pieces all over the house.

See you on the other side. Have a good one!

Published in: on June 24, 2022 at 5:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. June 24, 2022: Summer Rain  
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Tues. June 21, 2022: Creativity in Multiple Directions

image courtesy of Chris Martin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere)

Cloudy and pleasant

Friday turned out to be an up and down workday. I spent some time working the class I’m teaching in August, preparing both the Topic Workbook for it and the PowerPoint. Some of my examples have not aged well over the past couple of years, so I’m switching them out.

I hopped onto Pages on Stages to do some updates, and it was an absolute mess. The posts page had somehow detached from News & Updates. Most of the time, I got the white screen of death when I tried to get on or switch pages.

I was lucky to land some excellent techs at A2Hosting, and together, we spent a couple of hours sorting it out. I am very grateful, and told them directly, and on social media. Hey, if I’m going to moan on social media when a company is awful, I have the obligation to praise when a company comes through.

I need to put up a media room page on that site eventually, with links to productions.

I did a library run to drop off/pick up books. It started raining when I left (on foot). I almost turned back, but it stopped within two minutes, so I continued.

Turned around a script in the afternoon. My Llewellyn contract came through, so I’m good to go on that article after 4th of July weekend.

I’m playing with a very dark idea for an anthology call edited by a friend. I don’t know if I can pull it off within word count by deadline, but I will try.

Reading an article in THE NEW YORKER about a new production of HAMLET spawned an idea for a new project that mashes up two genres that seem weird, but just might work. I have to finish what I’m working on first, though, before I hie off on anything else. I made some notes, to capture characters and energy, and now that project has to wait its turn.

Tessa started howling at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday. I moved to the sewing room, but she was not mollified. We no longer leave her food down at night for her 2 AM snack, because the others are eating it, and Willa is putting on too much weight. However, Madame Tessa Is Not Amused. She wants her 2 AM snack.

Got the proof done on “Personal Revolution”, fixed a couple of formatting things, and it is out. The re-release happens June 28. Once I get links and stuff, there will be a push for it.

Now, I have to decide what’s the next Digital Delight to come off Smashwords and switch over to D2D. Probably “Severance.” I want a new cover for that, too. Or maybe I’ll take down “Plot Bunnies” and put it up with the next Twinkle Tavern piece that hasn’t yet released, “Labor Intensive.”

Headed to the Farmers’ Market. I didn’t need much, but made the rounds to chat with the vendors; ran into people I knew from other spaces, such as the library, and we were chatting as to how it’s often hard to place people out of context. You know that you know them from somewhere. . .

Quick grocery shop from the store. Didn’t need much. Home, put it all away, lugged 66 pounds of cat litter up the stairs (Chewy delivery).

Then, I spent the rest of the day trying to put together the kitchen island cart I ordered. I wasn’t even close to finishing after 6 hours (it’s supposed to take 2 people 70 minutes). The directions were incomplete, so I had to hunt for another set online. The drawings aren’t detailed enough with some of the pieces, so then I had to find various videos of similar pieces to figure out the details, so I wouldn’t put something on incorrectly and have to take it apart again.  And the design is so poor that, by following the directions, I had no room to maneuver the tools needed to tighten the next thing in the directions. Very frustrating.

If I ever get it put together, I think it will be a decent piece, though.

Used bounty from the Farmers’ Market to make a pasta primavera in Alfredo sauce (and used our own basil for it).

Started reading a biography of Balzac, before I go and re-read some of the novels.

By evening, every damn thing hurt and I went to bed ridiculously early. I slept well, dreaming of various gardens, which was rather nice.

Worked on an ad and other promotional materials for the re-release of “Personal Revolution” on Sunday. Started getting the pre-order buy links. I’m adding them onto the various websites as I get them. The release is holding to June 28.

Played with some other graphic tools to try to get comfortable. Since I can’t seem to do all of what I need with any single tool, I’m learning how to mix and match bits of what I want to do in different programs to get to the whole. It’s actually less irritating that trying to figure out a single program.

Made a logo for the project inspired by the article yesterday. If THAT’s not putting the cart before the horse and all, right? But it gave me an excuse to play with learning something new.

Worked on the newsletter. If you haven’t yet signed up for it, you can do so here. It will go out later this week. And, hint – in the newsletter, I reveal what The Big Project is really all about! So if you’re interested in finding out what I’ve been yapping about for months, calling it “the Big Project” you will find out before the hoi-polloi.

I created a bunch of ads for the Big Project, too, and they are really cool. I’m having way too much fun creating these ads. I’m trying to capture the voice of the piece in the ads.

One of the best things I started doing is opening a new document for the upcoming newsletter and adding information on projects over the course of the quarter. That way, I don’t have to scramble to remember what I did, and what I want to talk about.

Made more vegetable stock. Because buying all these vegetables from the market means I have lots of bits and bobs left over for stock. Not at a zero waste kitchen yet, but working on it.

Most of the day was spent on working on things around The Big Project, which will save me time and effort once it launches in July. It was a lot of fun.

I couldn’t face the kitchen island cart on Sunday. I needed the time away.

Slept well Sunday into Monday. Got caught up on some blogging, and blogged ahead. There’s a post on healing over on the GDR site, if you’re interested.

Planted some of the borage seeds and more cat grass. Got through nearly 400 emails. Sent out two LOIs. Worked on an anthology story.

The Authors Guild is doing a Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival this September over in Lenox, which is close by. Well, okay, about an hour, but just about everything is at least an hour away. They sent me an invite to attend, and I accepted. It’s in the calendar. I mean, if the COVID numbers are way up again at that point, I’ll cancel, but I know the venue, and they have good protocols in place. I’m hoping it will be safe to attend. I’m sure I’ll be masked, no matter what.

Since I didn’t have any scripts in my queue, I spent the afternoon on the porch, reading the next book for review. This morning, I will send off the review, and hopefully get assigned the next book before my editor goes on vacation.

Made a sausage pasta for dinner, and it was yummy. We have plenty of leftovers for the week (most of them pasta).

The B plotline has switched with the A plotline in the anthology story. It makes it a quieter story, and I hope the editor doesn’t feel it no longer fits the tone of the overall anthology. We’ll see. It’s for a created world, so it’s not like I could use it anywhere else if it’s rejected, not without major, major re-envisioning. But trying to force it the other way wasn’t working. All I can do is send in the best piece I can to this point, and then get notes on it, and apply them.

The other anthology story I need to get out by the end of the month is percolating in the back of my brain. I’ll be making the bed or chopping onions, sorting through plot possibilities: If I do A, with D work, or should I go with E? That type of thing. Hopefully, once the shared world story is out, I will have figured out enough of the other piece to just sit down and draft.

Slept well last night, although I woke up about every two hours (similar to what I was doing last year at this time). By 3 AM, Charlotte and Tessa were fussing. They woke me from a dream where I was temping at a company. I’d brought in blueberry muffins. Their kitchen/breakroom was stacked high with empty/used takeout containers and dirty dishes. They told me to clean the kitchen. I told them I was there to type, not be the maid. They laughed and said they couldn’t get any of the wives to come in and clean. I told them maybe they should stop being sexist and  learn to clean up after their own damn selves.

That definitely happened to me more than once in my temping years, but I didn’t recognize this company or these people. Something about the dream made me think it took place in Chicago, and I never temped in Chicago. New York, Westchester, San Francisco, Seattle, yeah. Chicago, no.

I moved to the couch. Charlotte settled on top of me, Tessa rummaged. I dozed off and dreamed about more boxes (echoes of the move, no doubt). Willa woke me around 5:30, telling me she was Very Hungry, so I got up and fed them.

Plenty to do today, even without scripts in the queue, although I hope some more show up, so I can make my goal this pay period.

Last year today was the day the movers were supposed to show up and did not. I am glad we are where we are (and that it isn’t as hot as it was at this point last year, either).

I have every intention of enjoying the Summer Solstice, even though it’s supposed to rain.

Have a good one.

Thurs. March 31, 2022: For Love of Radio

image courtesy of Lubos Houska via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Dark Moon

Rainy and mild

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty productive day, because I sat down and damn well did the work, without letting myself wander too much. It never feels like I’m doing enough, but that emotional reality is far apart from the actual reality.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about all the seedlings and my experience with my new Rose of Jericho plant. I even have real photos, not stock photos! Hop on over.

There’s also a new post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about a spring refresh on one’s websites/social media/clips/etc.

Anyway, yesterday morning, Charlotte woke me around 3:30, wanting attention, and Tessa stomped in like, well, if she is getting attention, then I want some! So I moved to the bed in the sewing room and dozed off again until about 5:30.

Got some article work done. Wrote the next section of The Big Project. Revised three more chapters on CAST IRON MURDER. I have to update my tracking sheets for both of those, but I have a feeling that won’t happen until tomorrow or Saturday. Did some more research for the retro mystery, but didn’t go down the rabbit hole. The bank I contacted told me that banking was “uniform” at the time, but they “couldn’t” tell me what the laws were. Why not? That bank was around at the time. What were their policies? Useless. Let’s hope the Banking Association is willing to actually give me information.

Managed to book my mom’s 4th Covid shot for today, thanks to Ellen Byron mentioning she just got hers. I can’t get mine yet; I have to wait about another month, because I got mine after Thanksgiving, and it’s too soon. But my mom goes in this morning, and then I will take care of her for the rest of the day, in and around the work that needs to get done. it will be a relief for me to have her protected.

The newsletter went out. I have to check the MailerLite dashboard and do admin on it; remove bounced addresses, check open rates, etc. I’ve already started the document for the June newsletter and will just add information, and then all I have to do in June is edit it down and shape it.

I worked on the grant proposal. I’d hoped to get it out yesterday. In fact, I’m pretty pleased with the answers to their questions, and just need to massage the opening and the final paragraph.

I realized that I need my stage plays and the radio plays up on a website. It’s not appropriate to put them on the business site (except for mission-specific entertainment pieces). I started to put them up on a new page on the Devon Ellington Work site. I copied information that’s on my resumes, and then realized I have to add to it on the site – loglines, how many actors, length, etc., which takes time. I realized even further that it doesn’t make sense to put it on the Devon Ellington website at all. So I started a subdomain under Fearless Ink called Pages on Stages. That’s the link I will put into the grant proposal, and then I’ll build the website this weekend. I uploaded WordPress to the new site, so it’s more about choosing a template and building. Which takes me for-damn-ever because I’m slow. But I can do it.

I just have to sit DOWN and DO it.

The focus today, for all that, though, is to polish the grant proposal and get it out the door. That means walking the talk of the Ink-Dipped Advice post and freshening up my resume. I realized that it’s missing THREE of my produced productions, and I am angry with myself. How did they just fall off my resumes? The audience was full, the response was positive.

The programs, reviews, and other materials are in storage, so I will have to do the best I can from memory and from what I have on the flash drives to put it in the resume and build the websites.

I’m so frustrated with myself.

I turned around two script coverages. I need to do three today, but the grant proposal is the priority. Between the grant proposal and my mother’s booster, I have a feeling neither The Big Project nor the CAST IRON MURDER revisions will get much attention today.

I heard back from Cape Cod Writers’ Center. I am only teaching one class (virtually) for this conference, Developing the Series. It will happen on Sat. Aug. 6, from 2:45-4:45 PM. Of course, I got the information AFTER the newsletter went out, but it will go in the next one, along with the link for registration. I’ve taught this course before, although not at CCWC, so I will look over my notes and prepare a fresh slide presentation for this version. And I’ll have a new Topic Workbook out on the subject by autumn, then.

That’s another thing on the list – get the Topic Workbooks revised and reprinted. Possibly doing a portion of them in print, as well as virtual, and filling orders, if I can figure out how to store them properly in my office. Which would mean building a storefront, which might not be worth it. But at least I can get the digital versions in new editions and out again. Those are steady sellers.

More good news this morning: the producer to whom I submitted the radio plays in early February got back to me and LOVES them. He wants to read all the comic noir pieces, too, so I will get those out to him today. The pay is decent, so if any of them go to contract and get produced, I will be a happy camper. Besides, radio is my favorite format.

It also makes me consider writing a comic horror radio play for my Dramatists Guild project in April. Since, you know, pens up happens tomorrow, and I still have no idea what to write about.

So that gives me a cheerful start to the day, in spite of all the awful things going on in the world, and all the cowards who refuse to do anything about it.

I’m off to meditation, and then it’s back to the page until I take my mom for her shot. Then, it’s back to the page until I get all my work done!

Have a good one!

Tues. March 29, 2022: Washer Woes

image courtesy of Ryan McGuire via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

Fairly quiet weekend. There’s a March wrap up over on the GDR site, posted early, even though we still have a few days left in the month, and I’m just trying to steadily do the work.

It wasn’t a good writing day on Friday, sadly. Oversleeping threw off the morning for me. But I did write and turn in another book review, and cover a script. Did a bunch of admin work. Put the seedlings out on the porch. It’s still too cold at night to leave them. I received an internal promotion and a pay bump from a big client.

Tessa woke me early on Saturday. I moved to the couch and overslept. The sun overcame the clouds, so we could put the seedlings on the porch, at least for a few hours. More seeds are germinating (more on that in Thursday’s garden post.

Had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription. Because the weather was good, I went on foot, and then I took a different route from there to the library, to learn more about the town. I found some interesting restaurants and stores that I will visit at leisure in the future.

Dropped off/picked up books at the library.

In the afternoon, I tried reading a book that was supposed to be an exciting, twisty thriller getting a lot of buzz. I figured it out less than a third of the way through, and lost patience with the characters for not catching on. Checked the ending, to make sure I was right (yes, I was). That’s back in the return pile. Tried another book that came highly recommended, but it’s written in present tense, which I loathe, and, since I’m not being paid to read it, it goes back in the return pile.

Returned to reading contest entries, which was fun. It started raining in the late afternoon, so we brought the seedlings in. Crockpot chicken was a good choice.

Up early on Sunday, baked biscuits. Charlotte, or maybe Willa, chomped on some of the cucumber seedlings, so I’m trying to recuse them. A member of the extended family in Maine is very ill. I’ve kept a distance since the lack of support around the move last year, but I don’t want this person to be ill.

It snowed off and on all day. Sometimes flurries, sometimes intensely. In a break between it, I did a run to the liquor store and to get burgers. Bad choice on the burgers, and I was miserable all afternoon. Red meat and I are no longer friends. And yet, every few months, I crave it. But fresh trout for dinner was a better choice.

I covered a script in the afternoon, and then returned to working on contest entries. I ordered snapdragon seeds and marigold seeds. That means I have to go out and get more pots and soil next week, when I go to get the tomato cages. I set up the acknowledgements file for CAST IRON MURDER and for the retro mystery. Starting a document for acknowledgements early in the process saves a lot of panic later on.

Tessa woke me on Monday at 5:30, which is a perfect time. The usual early morning routine of writing in longhand, yoga, meditation. Blogged.

It started sunny, but too cold to put the seedlings out. More seedlings are sprouting, which is lovely. I got through some admin work. Didn’t get much done on The Big Project. Revised the next three chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Worked on the grant proposal. I need to flesh it out some more today, and put material connected to the proposal up on one of my websites. I don’t have information on the stage and radio plays up on a website, and I should.

I also played with the MailerLite site, and worked on the newsletter, which will go out in a day or so (since it’s the end of the quarter and all). If you haven’t yet signed up and would like to, newsletter signup is here.

Received the next book for review. Started a script coverage. There’s not much in the queue, which worries me a bit, but also takes off some of the pressure. Worked on contest entries.

Noodled with some ideas for the play I have to start on Friday as part of the Dramatists Guild project. Noodled with some ideas for the Monthology story.

The Tamed Wild box arrived. In it, was a Rose of Jericho plant. I’ve put it in water, and it’s unfurling. Fascinating. It’s not a plant with which I have much familiarity.

Up early this morning, before Tessa even got started. Was out of the house and on the way to the laundromat early. Ended up spending more time there than planned, because the machine I used was stuck on “rinse” for 15 minutes, and then didn’t spin out properly, so the wash was soaking wet (no sink in the building, no techs). I had to have it in the dryer on high for an hour. I put a note on the machine, so that no one else has to go through this.

I brought the pages done so far on The Big Project with me, and worked on them while at the laundromat. I got a lot done.

Home to find more seeds are sprouting. It’s very exciting.

Today’s list items include work on The Big Project, revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, another revision of the grant proposal, putting information up on the website, a polish on the newsletter, and a script coverage. I might do some more contest entries, if I get the chance.

It’s supposed to start warming up again over the next few days. Let’s hope this was winter’s last gasp, and I can get the seedlings out on the front porch, and set up the enchanted garden on the back balcony sooner rather than later.

Have a good one.

Fri. Dec. 10, 2021: Just Let Me Hide in a Book Fort, Away From the Incompetents

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, December 10, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We had a dusting of snow overnight. Just enough to be pretty.

Meditation was great yesterday. Charlotte participated the whole time (because, you know, Zoom).

After breakfast, I grabbed the bags with the packages and cards, and with the library books, and headed out. The sidewalks weren’t too bad, heading out, just a few patches of ice, and I went slowly.

There was a line at the post office, but the packages were mailed out, and the postage was about half of what I expected it to be. So that was good. Everything is supposed to arrive in 3-5 days, which means about 10, but should still get there in time for the holidays. The cards all went on their way, too, so, hopefully, they will arrive at some point in the next 10 days.

Headed up to the library to drop off and pick up books. Came back along Church Street, which was quite slippery, at least up until I reached the college property.

Worked on the tracking sheets for The Big Project, because if I lose track of the details, I will be in big trouble.

Finished off the newsletter. There was some wonk in the contact list. It wasn’t a difficult fix, just took a bit of time. Let people know they can still sign up before it goes out – I’ll actually send it this morning. And then block into next year’s calendar when it needs to go out again, and start a document that I can add to as interesting tidbits come up to go into March’s.

As I get more comfortable with the templates in Sendinblue, I can probably bump up the visuals, eventually.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It was about virtual assistants. I used a virtual assistant when I did more online courses, to handle the admin bits, but what I do now doesn’t really need one.

The VW dealer in Pittsfield downright refuses to give me an estimate for the repair, and won’t even estimate how many hours – at over $100/hour – the diagnostic will take. Um, diagnostics take about 35 minutes. My cousin helped design the fucker. So when they tell me it might take “several hours” to run the diagnostic and THEN they’ll be able to give me a detailed repair estimate, I know they’re out to screw me.

On top of that, after ignoring me for two weeks, I’m getting multiple emails every day from different people in the sales department, asking me what I’m looking for in my new car.

THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT. ARE YOU INCAPABLE OF BASIC READING COMPREHENSION? AND YES, I AM SCREAMING.

Seriously, I’ve driven Volkswagens all my life, my cousins was in R & D for years, and I have never dealt with such a bunch of incompetent headcases. Not only do I doubt they’ll fix the car, I am convinced they will screw me as badly as possible through the whole process.

Not a happy camper.

Wrote up three coverages. Read a short story that’s under consideration for adaptation, and two more scripts, all of which I will write up today. And have to get out a review for a book which definitely did not work for me.

Knowledge Unicorns went well, although everyone’s looking forward to the winter holiday break.

Reading Erin Sterling’s THE EX HEX, which is a lot of fun, although there are some logistical glitches that bother me. Still, the writing is energetic, the pacing is good, the premise is fun, and the characters engaging.

It’s supposed to warm up into the 60s by tomorrow. My body does not enjoy the fluctuating weather. The forsythia are already blooming back on Cape Cod, which means it will be a wonky spring down there.

Have a good weekend, my friends. Catch you on the other side.

Wed. Dec. 8, 2021: The Card Writing Process

image courtesy of pinwhalestock via pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Snowing

Yesterday was a frustrating day, on multiple levels.

I STILL can’t get a mechanic to answer me about the car. INCLUDING THE FUCKING DEALER. What the hell is WRONG with these people? If they’re too incompetent, disorganized, and unethical to give me a written estimate, why would I believe they were even capable of fixing the car? No wonder this area is economically depressed, with that level of unprofessionalism.

However, getting the laundry done wasn’t tough at all. That little upright cart is wonderful.

When I got back, I unloaded and put things away; after breakfast, it looked ominous, so off I trundled to CVS to pick up what needed picking up there, and mail some bills at the post office. It wasn’t bad at all – about a mile and a half round trip, and what I had to carry wasn’t heavy.

Got through a ton of email, and got out a few LOIs. Then found out that the Fearless Ink site was glitching. Of course it was, since that was the one I needed up and working for the LOIs. But my lovely host helped me get it fixed.

Worked on the newsletter. I hope to get a test out later today, and then send out the newsletter either tomorrow or Friday. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here.

I’d gotten a good bit of work done on the outline for The Big Project (at least the details of the first third’s arc; the piece has three major arcs, leading into each other, not in tandem). But I hadn’t gotten any actual writing done on it, or on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. By lunchtime, I accepted the fact it just wasn’t going to happen yesterday.

I spent the afternoon, instead, writing the domestic cards, and got them done. I’ve put aside the cards that go in with the packages. I’ll wrap packages today. I want to get everything out to the post office tomorrow. I still have a couple of things to pick up, which I haven’t been able to do because of the lack of a car. Two gifts, I think I can just walk up to the place where I want to get them, so that’s not an issue, but the other is in Williamstown, and I have to drive.

I enjoy writing cards, but I handwrite everything, and every card has something different written in it, because my relationship with each person is different, so it takes awhile. There weren’t that many cards this year – just over 50. I remember years when I had closer to 500, years when I’d worked on multiple shows and was sending cards to everyone on the contact lists.

There’s choosing the right card for the person (I like to buy a bunch of different boxes of cards), there’s writing it, there’s addressing it, there’s putting the holiday stamp on it. Yes, I’m big on choosing specific stamps. It’s quite the process.

As part of my “letting go of the past” process, there were a bunch of names dropped from this year’s list; people to whom I’ve written cards for years, and never heard back, either by mail or email. Some of them are just people with an “I don’t write cards” policy, which is perfectly valid; however, it’s time for me to stop putting my energy there.

There are a bunch of people who stay on the list, because the winter holidays are the only time we’re in touch, but we’re in touch, and it’s a nice catch up.

Holiday cards are a Big Deal for me. Can you tell?

But they’re done, and there’s a nice big stack on the hall table, ready to go out. I thought of a couple more to write this morning. I still have some holiday stamps left over, so it’s all good.

They’re filming something over at the college across the street. I recognized the production trailers. That’s probably why the clock hasn’t been chiming the last few days – can’t have the clock chime interrupting the take!

Part of me was tempted to wander over and see what was going on, and then I realized how disrespectful that was. These people are WORKING. Having spent enough time on sets, where there’s never enough time to get everything done, the last thing they need is some rando demanding attention, even if said rando is me and I used to work in the business.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. There’d been some talk amongst us, now that the adults and teens are vaxxed and boosted, and the younger kids are getting vaxxed, about some of them going back to in-person learning after the winter holidays. But with the numbers going back up (they doubled in this state in the past week), we’re not. The kids are doing well in their studies, they’re learning more and more widely than they would in school, and, as one of them pointed out, they don’t have to worry they’ll be shot. So, the consensus is everyone stays out of the school buildings this year. The ones who live where online learning is not an option, because they’re trying to force the kids back into school (and then act surprised when people are getting sick) have switched to being home schooled.

I see parents on social media talking about how “angry” they are when they send their kid to school and the kid gets sick. What the hell did they think would happen? Come on, people. Have a little bit of common sense.

Several of the parents are switching off days going in to work, so that one parent is home any given day. Other parents are in situations that have allowed them to continue working remotely. Still other parents have changed jobs, because, in a case where they have to choose between their employer and their child, they choose their child, and they have the skills that allow them so to do.

After Knowledge Unicorns was done for the night, I switched Zooms over to the Annual meeting for the food co-op. They’re really well run, with an outstanding general manager and an engaged, active board. Not a lot of people showed up at the virtual meeting, which I thought showed a lack of responsibility on the membership, but I was glad I was there. And Charlotte, who loves Zoom, had a great time.

I’m really pleased I found them, and it’s an honor to be a part of this organization, that’s active not just within the four walls of the business, but actively trying to make life better in the community.

Tessa let me sleep until nearly 6 this morning. I sent another frustrated email to the dealer, and actually got an automated response back, so maybe, maybe this time someone will actually respond and I can get the damn car fixed.

In the meantime, it’s snowing like crazy. I think it will be more than the predicted 2 inches.

I have writing to do today, and script coverage, and some other client work. And there’s Remote Chat. The group is ending in two weeks, which makes me sad. They’ve helped me get through the week for the last few years, and through some tough times. But things change, and I’m grateful for the time I had in it.

In the meantime, in between tasks, I will enjoy watching the snow fall!

Have a good one.

Tues. December 7, 2021: Maybe Your Business is Struggling Because You’re Unprofessional

image courtesy of Matryx via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold; incoming snow

The past few days have been up and down.

I lost far too much of Friday. I tried to find a mechanic to fix the car – no one would get back to me with a response and an estimate, including the dealer. What kind of business model is that?

According to AAA, the nearest of their certified mechanics is in Bennington, VT. I shouldn’t have to cross state lines to get my damn car fixed.

On top of that, I was trying to integrate MooSend, the platform to which I’d exported my mailing list, to my website, so people can easily subscribe on the website, it goes over to the MooSend mailing list, and they get the next newsletter. Only it wouldn’t integrate. I asked tech support for help, and they sent me links to articles where the steps in the article didn’t match what was coming up on my screen. I went into their Live Chat. The guy sent me the same articles. I told him that I’d tried all that already, and that’s why I was on Live Chat. Because it wasn’t working. He kept telling me to do stuff that didn’t come up on my screen. I’d send him screen shots to show him what was on my screen and what I should do with what was actually coming up, and it just went round and round for hours. He walked away from the chat after a couple of hours. Some other guy came on, a few minutes later – and sent me the article. Hadn’t read any of the notes or looked at the screen shots. I told him to forget it, I was going to a competitor.

In meantime, on the website, I got a flash of something that needed to be updated. I tried to update, and it didn’t work. I contacted my host, A2, and asked for the steps, since clicking the update didn’t work. The tech asked permission to enter the account, I gave it, and the glitch was fixed in less than five minutes.

I thought maybe the MooSend integration would then work, but nope. Still the same issues. So I disconnected all the MooSend plug-ins.

I did some research on other platforms. I knew I didn’t want Constant Contact or Robly. I considered MailChimp, and sent them some questions, which were ignored. They weren’t top of my list anyway, so that was no big deal.

So I looked at Sendinblue, and that seemed to have what I needed. I set up an account, which was easy as could be. I imported my contact list, easy as could be. I downloaded the plug-in to the website. Easy as could be. Activated it, set up the new form, and it seems to work.

I’ve written most of the text for the newsletter, and played with templates. Starting from scratch and building it myself seems to work the best for me, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ll play with it some more, send a test to myself. If that works, the newsletter will go out this week, and the quarterly deliveries will start up again, with occasional special announcements in between.

If you haven’t signed up, and you’d like to, you can do so here.

Getting everything set up on Sendinblue took about 30-40 minutes, including all verifications, API keys, plug-ins, etc. Meanwhile, I’d lost three hours with MooSend’s useless “support.”

Hopefully, I’ll remain happy at Sendinblue, at least for a while.

I was grumpy and exhausted by the end of it all. I hadn’t had time to get the promotions for the holiday shorts “Just Jump in and Fly” and “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” up. I did manage to do some work on the notes for The Big Project and for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I did my script coverages. I read the next book for review, which was charming and delightful, and got a good review.

After my pity party, I sat down with Cherie Priest’s GRAVE RESERVATIONS, her newest release. I sat and read until after midnight. I loved it, and did not want to put it down.

Tessa got me up on Saturday around 5:30-ish, which is acceptable. Once I’d fed everyone and they were settled again, I sat on the couch and finished GRAVE RESERVATIONS. Loved it so much. I hope she writes more with these characters, because they are a delight.

I let her know, via tweet, how much I loved the book.

Then, it was time to buckle down to my own work. I did some more work on the outline for The Big Project, and did the first draft of the first chapter, which came in at 1282 words. I’m looking for the chapters to be between 1-1.5K and not more than 2K on any given chapter, and, on this particular project, the structure has to be impeccable, or it will all fall apart. Because it’s complex, I have to keep a careful set of tracking sheets, updating it preferably every chapter, but not more than every three. Or I will get myself into a tangle.

I had a ton of fun writing the chapter, although I had to stop and make decisions on the way about details. They can’t be layered in later, because they are vital to the way the piece builds. Details can be polished or cut or moved in edits, but the first draft has to be what a usual third draft for me usually is.

Still, it was a good feeling to get it done.

The sky looked rather ominous by the time I was finished. I wrapped up for the weather and walked down to the wine store for a couple of bottles of wine, and stopped at Cumberland Farms at the end of the street for eggs and coffee. You know, the essentials: eggs, wine, coffee.

The whole thing was a little over a mile on foot, round trip, and nothing was very heavy. But I’m still not up to full strength after the vaccine booster, and was pretty shaky by the time I got home.

Does not bode well if I have to walk to Big Y and back for a big grocery shop, even with my little upright rolling cart. That round trip would be a little over three miles. Might consider taking a taxi back.

After lunch, I spent some time on the acupressure mat, which I hadn’t done all week. Once I was realigned there, I got up and wrote up the script coverage I had to do.

Leftovers for dinner, and then I did the revision on “A Rare Medium.”

Read some of the Marie Corelli research, but fell asleep fairly early.

Slept through the night, and Tessa didn’t wake me until nearly 6:30 on Sunday. After I fed them, I tried a new banana bread recipe, and, when I didn’t like the way it was turning out, tossed in some chocolate chips, which saved it. Still, not a recipe I’d use again.

I wrote the second chapter of The Big Project, which came in longer than I’d hoped (a little over 2K), but that’s what it needed to be. Felt good. Had lots of fun with it.

Switched over to decorating. We put up some of the Command hooks and put decorations on all the doors. We put multiple garlands on the bannisters, and threaded them through with lights. We put the lights up on the front porch, along with the small tree decorated in silver and blue, that used to be in my office at the other house. I put some battery-operated tall candles in the windows, although I don’t yet have the batteries for them.

It looks really pretty.

I admit, on Friday night, I considered not doing any more decorating this year. No trees, nothing. It all felt like too much.

But then I thought, I’m the one who loves all the decorations, and it’s a form of self-punishment not to put them up. And putting them up on Sunday made me happy, both the actual doing it, and then enjoying it.

It was the Second of Advent, so we lit the two candles. Plus our big, scented Christmas candle. And it was St. Nicholas night – time to put out the shoe, so it can be filled with candy!

Which made for a happy wakeup on Monday.

Charlotte started bothering me at 4:30, but Tessa let me sleep until just after 5.

Morning longhand writing session in, then yoga and meditation. Those practices suffered last week when I was so laid out from the booster, and I suffered as a result. So back to yoga, and I’m slowly expanding my morning practice.

Wrote the third chapter on The Big Project, and had a blast with it. It came in at just under 1800 words, pretty good. Then, I switched over and did just over 1300 words on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, and had fun with that. It’s weird, not working in full chapters with that, but there’s only so much I can do.

In and around those two projects, I was still trying to find a fucking mechanic to fix the fucking car. What the hell is wrong with these “businesses”? Can’t respond or give an estimate. Finally got a response from one – who can’t fix a VW. That mechanic recommended another one, whom I contacted and – no response.

After THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, I put in the revisions on “A Rare Medium”, found a few more things to fix, formatted it properly, got in the needed information, saved as PDF, and got it out the door. Ahead of schedule.

Phew.

I’d forgotten to turn on the crockpot, so it had to be on high all afternoon.

Did my script coverage, and got out a book review. Dinner was great; the recipe worked well. After dinner, I did more Marie Corelli research. I have a good sense of the character; now I need the incident in her life to dramatize.

The lovely chiming tower clock over at the college stopped around mid-morning. I miss it. I didn’t realize how much I used it to keep track of my day, and how much joy it brought me.

Went through the materials for tonight’s Wild Oats Board Meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s delightful. I love it when they include fuzzy socks, and these have little hour glasses embroidered on them.

Sorted the laundry before bedtime. Got up at 5 (Tessa was just doing her warmup scales). Got everyone fed, got myself dressed and the first writing session done. Then piled the laundry and the washing materials and my work bag into the little upright rolling cart that’s been in the family since 1969 and rolled the laundry down the street to the laundromat.

As usual, I was the only one there, but it wasn’t creepy. Got the laundry loaded up, then sat down and worked on tightening the point-by-point notes for The Big Project, so that I don’t go off on tangents. Realized I have to do an insert to the second days’ work, in order to keep one of the running jokes going. There has to be a reference in every chapter. The Big Project relies on impeccable structure, along with engaging characters, quick dialogue, and a rip- roaring plot. So taking the time to polish the outline saves me a lot of pain and time later in the process.

After breakfast, I need to do a run to CVS for a couple of things. Fortunately, it’s in walking distance, but it’ll be about an hour round trip. Debating whether or not I should stop by the library while I’m in that direction, or wait until Thursday.

We have a storm coming in today, and snow tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a mechanic today and schedule the repair for Thursday or Friday. This is ridiculous. If I can’t trust someone to be capable of the technology of answering an email and/or giving me an estimate, why would I think they have the skills to repair my car?

Once I get back, it’s back to work on today’s words for The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I have to get the ads going for the two holiday shorts, and finish the newsletter.

Then, it’s back to script coverage and client work. With any luck, I’ll get out a few LOIs, too.

But, for the moment, I’m back on the pavement, getting my errands done. We’re definitely getting a storm; pre-storm headache in full force.

Thurs. Dec. 2, 2021: Getting Back on My Feet — Slowly

image courtesy of Alkaine via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Rainy/snowy, cold but warming up

I’m starting to feel reasonably functional again, thank goodness. I was better for a little while yesterday, and then I wasn’t.

Yesterday, everything took much longer than it should have. I spent most of the day resting, because I was still fatigued, achy, and had a bad headache. When I felt a little better, I managed to read a script, which I will write up this morning.

I managed to pull my newsletter mailing list off of Gmail. I’m getting fed up with Google. Making everything a 2-step verification sign in, tied to one’s phone has NOTHING to do with security, and everything with data collection. I am not a happy camper.

Anyway, I signed up with MooSend for the newsletter. They keep saying how “intuitive” it is to use their features. No, actually, it’s not. Or maybe it would be if I wasn’t feeling lousy, but it should be much simpler than it is. For all the issues I had working with Robly (for one of my clients), at least Robly was simple.

Wrote a rough draft of the newsletter, which I’m sure will be massive revision, since it was written when I wasn’t feeling well. But I want it to go out next week. Time to get my newsletter life back on track.

Got an email from a recruiter I hadn’t heard from in about two years about a job 4 days/week onsite in Boston, that wasn’t really what I do, nor was the pay what I said I wanted. I emailed back, thanking her for thinking of me, and explaining that I’d moved across the state, and was only doing remote work at this point. The recruiter said I should consider commuting in/renting a room. I said, “only if the company’s paying for all of that” which was met with an “oh, no, of course they’re not. But, you know, this remote-work will be obsolete within a year.”

HA!

NOT FOR ME.

To say I was grumpy by the time I stopped for the day is an understatement.

It cheered me up to read Maria DiRico’s IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE MURDER. I absolutely love this series. It makes me homesick for Astoria (even though I never lived there, only visited friends who lived there).

I actually cooked last night, for the first time this week, making a sort of a shepherd’s pie, using leftover turkey instead of meat. It turned out pretty well, but nearly knocked me out. Went to bed early.

Slept well. Tessa was at it again, early, even though my mom got up at 4:30 to feed her.

It snowed overnight again, just a little. It’s warming up (might go up to 60 degrees F) so it’s all getting slushy.

I was sitting on the couch reading, when I saw movement in my peripheral vision. A minute later, a pair of little black ears and a black nose came over the back of the couch. Tessa was standing on the heater, peering over the back of the couch.

It was pretty funny.

Meditation was good. Charlotte, as usual, sat with me for it. This week’s book is ATLAS OF THE HEART, which I ordered from the library.

I need to write up and send off the script coverage, and then go to the post office, the library, Wild Oats, and I’ll pick up Chinese food for lunch.

This afternoon’s mission is to figure out how to hook up the newsletter sign-up on my website to MooSend (they sent me directions yesterday, so I should be able to do it).

I’ve been working on organizing the notes for the Big Project, and for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I will start The Big Project as soon as the notes are in good shape, and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY will begin on Monday. Because I like writing about the holidays IN the holidays. I’ll work on them in tandem, probably only 1K/each/day, and will only commit myself to 5 days/week on each. If I feel like writing more, I will, but I won’t set myself up for failure to do more, since I have to write between 3-5K of script coverage most days. I also got an idea for a 2ND Big Project, which is just going to have to percolate for a bit and wait its turn.

CAST IRON MURDER is resting (and will until the end of January). I hope to do the revisions on “A Rare Medium” tomorrow and over the weekend, and to write the Marie Corelli play next week.

I still have to finish decorating and write my domestic cards. And, you know, earn a living.

I also have to accept the fact that I can no longer pull fourteen-hour days, physically or mentally. So I need to adjust to that reality, without punishing myself and feeling like aging is a character flaw.

The Cape Cod house sold; for less than the owners asked, but still for a big chunk of change. So that’s a form of closure for all of us, I guess. I genuinely hope the new owners are very happy there. I’m sure there will be renovations (new bathrooms, all the windows need replacing), but, overall, it’s a lovely little house.

Now, off to write script coverage, while I still have some energy. My arm is still sore, and I have a headache, but otherwise, I’m feeling more like myself. The Grumpy Pants version of myself, but myself.

Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Andrew Singer’s wonderful memoir, China Sings To Me.

The 17th Anniversary of 9/11. I knew a lot of people who died that day. I still grieve. I perform my own ceremony of remembrance.

I get annoyed when people book social events, etc. on this day, but it’s not up to me. What is up to me is not engaging, and keeping it a day of remembrance in the way that works for me. People have the right to live their lives. I have the right to live mine.

For me, this day is about remembrance, commitment to those for whom I care, and trying to figure out how to make the world a better place that’s not fear-based. I have a long way to go, but at least I put in the work.

There was some sort of stomach bug prevalent in the house over the last few days. I had trouble Thursday and Saturday; my mom was sick Saturday into Sunday.

I managed to finish this draft of RELICS on Saturday night and get it off to my editor. I’ll get editing notes back later this week, turn it around, and then we go into galleys.

Meanwhile, DAVY JONES DHARMA moves into the Priority slot, with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE moving back into the secondary slot (out of the “I’ll work on it whenever” slot). CRAVE THE HUNT and the rest of what used to be POWER OF WORDS are in the “whenever” slot, and I’m percolating the opening chapter of GRAVE REACH, which goes into the back of RELICS.

GRAVE REACH is outlined, but I’m on a tight schedule for it, and have to get cracking. That will also be in a “whenever” slots.

I read some nonfiction books by an author whose work I’ve followed for decades. Some of her work resonates with me; some does not. She is not someone I want to meet or work with, though. Too many of her quirks annoy me: they’re not honest or endearing; I find them selfish and hypocritical.

But then, as someone pointed out a couple of years ago, we all have areas in which we’re hypocrites. We simply choose our level of hypocrisy. I’m trying to narrow those areas in my own life. Again, work in progress.

Also read an urban fantasy novel by a new-to-me author. I’d read one of her short stories in an anthology and liked it, so I figured I’d try a full-length book. The only book I could get from the library was in the middle of the series. Loved the action. Although, after awhile, it was too much action and not enough happening in between. The sex scenes were necessary to drive the plot, and were pretty well written, but ten pages plus, in my opinion, is too long in this case. Some of the best development of supporting characters I’ve seen in a long time. I wasn’t so thrilled about the protagonist. This was book six and she was in a place I’d have expected in the middle of book one or maybe book two. She doesn’t make a mistake once and then learn from it. She makes it five or six times, finds a solution by accident, but doesn’t apply it moving forward. That bothers me. She found out information and, at the end, it looked like she evolved, but when I read the reviews for the next few books in the series, it seems like she’s doing same old, same old. Also, according to the reviews, the cliffhanger set up at the end of this book still isn’t resolved two books down. I’m not sure I’m willing to go ahead indefinitely with constant cliffhangers, so that each book is like an overlong chapter. Especially since the cliffhanger involves the character that was my favorite in the book.

I rarely use reviews to make a decision about whether or not to read a book, but I had suspicions about where this was going, and wasn’t sure I wanted to put time into it, which is why I hunted down the reviews. I’m on the fence. If I can come across the next two books easily via the commonwealth catalogue or something (they’re not in CLAMS), I’ll try them.

Then I feel guilty, because I should support my fellow writers. However, this woman has plenty of sales — mine won’t matter! And, since a library book is a sale for her, it works all around.

I was really disgusted by the way Serena Williams was treated at the US Open. Men get away with questioning the umpire, but heaven forbid a woman, especially a talented black woman, do the same. The crowd also treated Naomi Osaka terribly. It should have been a glorious day for her, not a misogynistic one.

With Hurricane Florence a threat, I have to finish what I’m doing, cleaning-up wise, on the deck in the next few days. Here I’d hoped I’d have until nearly the end of October to use the deck as a staging area as I clean out, but I guess not.

Rehearsing for the reading, working on the calendar articles.

Onsite client work yesterday, today, tomorrow. Trying to find a new angle for the current and upcoming collections.

The newsletter went out on Friday, with cover reveals for the next three books. Next newsletter is December’s.

Working on my sell sheet for the weekend (and beyond), too.

Sent off a guest blog post. Working on the calendar articles. I want them done by the end of the month.

Got an idea from some of the non-fiction reading I’ve been doing for a novel. Playing with the setting, characters, themes, plot. We’ll see.

Working on the book I have to review.

Working. Working. Working.

I like it.

 

Published in: on September 11, 2018 at 3:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work  
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Thurs. March 8, 2018: (Webhost) Moving, Moving

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Waning Moon
Stormy and snowy
International Women’s Day

I sat down to work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY yesterday morning. I am SO CLOSE to finishing.

And realized the chapter I’d written on Tuesday was from the wrong point of view.

This book is carefully structured in POV shifts in alternating chapters. I screwed up. Odd chapters are supposed to be from Bonnie’s POV, even from Rufus’s. Well, Chapter 31 is from Rufus’s. I’m ready to bang my head against the wall.

I was so tempted just to keep going, but I couldn’t. It changes the action. So I had to go back and rework the material. Something I couldn’t afford on any level on this deadline.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to read the latest post.

And hop on over to the GDR site for a post on Intent.

The Cerridwen’s Cottage site is re-designed. I don’t have all the material uploaded yet, so I’m not officially sending people over there yet. I’m happy with the re-design. It’s giving me ideas to do a few tweaks on the Coventina Circle and the Nautical Namaste sites.

I might add a plug-in on the Devon Ellington site. The Twenty-Seventeen template works for that, but I want to change the background color on the page without writing new CSS code. I’m hoping a plug-in will fix it. If not, I’ll leave it white. White’s easy to read and to navigate, and, considering how much content I have on the page, it makes sense to keep it white. I have to figure out how to activate the social media stuff.

The Twenty-Seventeen Template did not work for the Cerridwen’s Cottage site. I switched to Twenty-Sixteen and am much happier. The Gwen Finnegan and Jain Lazarus sites are on Twenty-Sixteen, and I think I might move Coventina and Nautical Namaste to them, too, mostly so that I can do background colors on the page, and not just the border.

I’m unlocking the Fearless Ink site and prepping for that move. That’s the last of the sites that has to go. I’ll cancel my hosting package with 1&1, once it’s safely moved. Then I’ll be able to move, in 60 days, the registrations for all three domains, over to NameSilo. And I will be free of 1&1.

I will never know how much business that webhost has lost me, because of the lack of customer service, downtime, lost or delayed emails, and then, refusing to let me post jpgs unless I pay a separate monthly fee. I’m well rid of them.

I’m much happier with the new designs on the various sites, and the flexibility being on WordPress gives me. I’ve learned a lot. I still have a lot to learn, but at least I’ve learned a lot.

Once the sites are up, I can get back to writing and marketing. And creating new content.

I’d already rewritten the Fearless Ink content when I tried to move from 1&1 to Green Geeks. So it’s a case of putting in the time to the design, and then uploading the text already written, tweaking as needed. Maybe adding some graphics.

The new logo is back in re-design. As much as I liked it, a good friend pointed out that Freudians would have a field day with it. So, back to the drawing board.

I’m working on the newsletter, which will go out either the end of this week or early next week (probably early next week).

I have a meeting tomorrow morning with a potential new client. I hope it goes well — even in the emails setting it up, we seem to have a good time. Their work is a bit out of my wheelhouse, but it intrigues me.

Later today, I need to head into Hyannis and pick up some bus tickets; heading into Boston this weekend, if the weather holds.

I’m playing with new series title ideas for POWER OF WORDS. I want the double entendre without being cozy-mystery-cutesy. Unfortunately, everything I’ve come up with so far sounds vaguely unsavory and naughty in the wrong way, so no good so far.

I didn’t use the exact word I wanted above so  the bots pick up that term and start posting awful sites in the comments?

Onward.

Which seems to be my mantra lately!