Tues. Aug. 11, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 83 — Heatwave, Covidiots, Phase 3 Pause

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image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot, humid, heat wave

I really like this image I used on Friday, so I’m using it again.

It was an up-and-down weekend for me. I didn’t feel well at all during the course of it. The thunderstorms we needed desperately and were promised never showed up.

I did a Target run early on Friday to get the pens and notebooks I needed. People were masked, and I was in and out in just a few minutes. Disinfectant protocols, then a quick curbside pickup at the library.

It was so hot, I had trouble concentrating. I gave myself the time off from working and read. I read THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME by Krista Davis, and really liked it. It made me laugh, more than once, for the right reasons.

I read another mystery by another author. I’d read a book from one of her other series and had mixed feelings about it. Had even more mixed feelings about this one – especially since she misused “witch” in an insulting way. Normally, I’d just cross her off the list, but she’s friends with some acquaintances of mine. I will read one more book by her and then decide. That choice of language usage is a slur and shouldn’t be used any more AND it’s a sloppy language choice.

Reading volume IV of the Paris Review Interviews. Even when I disagree with the writers (especially the white male ones), I wind up learning something.

Read Robert Caro’s WORKING, where he talks about his process of writing his books about Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson. Reading about his research into Moses made me loathe the man even more than I already do. Yes, he was a visionary with parks and road and bridges – but he destroyed a lot of people’s lives, and he didn’t give a damn. Which sounds far too familiar in these days. If someone was rich enough to buy him off, he modified his vision. But if one couldn’t afford to buy him off, he thought they deserved to have their lives destroyed. I’m so glad he didn’t get to put in the bridge between Rye and Oyster Bay. I grew up in Rye while that was being floated around. It would have ruined my hometown.

Did an early morning run on Saturday to Star Market. They are eliminating the position of the door person making sure there aren’t too many people in the store and that people are wearing masks. Which means I have to time my shopping as early as possible, and, when the customers stop masking properly, stop shopping there. Which is a shame, because it’s the only place I can get the white cranberry/peach juice.

The fucktwits are still setting off illegal fireworks in the street every day. But heaven forbid the Town of Barnstable do anything for its residents. Because it doesn’t care about them. With everything as dry as it is, this is a disaster in the making.

Did laundry, changed the beds, cleaned the house. Typical routine.

Sunday was all about organizing the files I’d kept from the boxes I purged. I also cleaned out four file cabinet drawers. Everything I’m keeping is being sorted and organized into five boxes: one for files from the 1900s; another from 2000-2009. The next box only fits the first half of the decade we’ve been here – 2010 – 2014. I had to get another box for 2015-2019. The fifth box is for project manuscripts. I’m thinking of pulling out all the contract files and putting them into a separate plastic file with a lid and a handle.

It was overwhelming. I worked all day and it felt like I got nothing done, because I didn’t go down and clean out any more boxes. I was just dealing with stuff I’d already brought upstairs. I don’t get how people can clean out their attic or basement in a single day.

It was hot and humid and I felt like crap. Yes, there were tears. More than once.

The dumbass neighbors – more than one of them – all had heavy machinery going ALL FUCKING WEEKEND. We couldn’t have the windows open – without air conditioning and in the heat – because there was so much dust flying around we were choking on it.

Again, Town of Barnstable doesn’t give a flying fuck about its residents. There’s no reason that heavy machinery/construction should be allowed 7 days a week from a little after 7 in the morning until whenever they feel like finishing (often 9 or 10 at night). They don’t do anything about illegal fireworks; they refuse to enforce the noise ordinances; they’re not enforcing the state requirement for masks (most of their own workers don’t wear them when they’re out and about, and they’re sure as hell not distancing), they’re not doing anything to enforce quarantine.

The Town of Barnstable is fucking useless.

So it was a disheartening, frustrating weekend.

On a happier note, I fit into a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt Capris on Monday that I haven’t been able to wear for a few years. So there’s that.

Was onsite for a client for a few hours on Monday. I was by myself in the office, so it was all good. Got a bunch done. Did a curbside pickup at the library on my way home. Read in the afternoon. I have another book assigned to review, so I’m looking forward to that.

Sent out a couple of LOIs.

Today, I was out watering by 5 AM. Took me nearly an hour to water the front. No rain in sight. The back took only 20 minutes, because I’d watered it last night.

I have some client work to do this morning, then more LOIs, and work on an article that’s due in September, but I’d like to get out early.

In the mornings, I’ve been noodling on the new idea, trying a very different way of working, just to see if I can shake up the process.

I’m hoping some of that will transfer to getting back on track with BARD’S LAMENT.

But, honestly, I’m feeling overwhelmed and hopeless right now. While I appreciate all the suggestions for “self-care” – at this point, they’re psychobabble for me. Also, I CAN’T “take a walk” anywhere around here, because the fucking tourists WON’T WEAR A MASK OR SOCIAL DISTIANCE and it’s not “self-care” to put my life in danger.

We’re supposedly on pause for Phase 3 of the reopening, and the governor is talking about rolling back some things, which is necessary. But no one is paying any attention because there’s zero enforcement and zero consequences — except people who ARE trying to do the right thing are getting spat on (literally, often) by Covidiots and dying.

“Taking a walk” won’t help. Fucking locking down the country, enforcing masking regulations, and UBI will help.

I’m sick of the Democrats not getting it done. Republicans rammed their agenda through no matter if they were the majority or not. So the Dems need to start getting ruthless. Our lives are on the line. Get it fucking done.

I’m sick of it all. I’m tired of the stupid and the selfish ALWAYS getting away with EVERYTHING, especially when it hurts everyone else. Without consequence.

Fri. Aug. 7: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 79 — Of Notebooks and New Ideas

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image courtesy of FreePhotos via pixabay.com

Friday, August 7, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday seems like a long time ago, somehow.

It was a quiet day. I did the grocery run to Trader Joe’s in the morning. Everyone masked, but too many people allowed in the store, which meant distancing was a challenge. But people tried, and worked together.

Home, full disinfectant protocols, exhausted.

Some client work, an LOI. Freelance chat was fun. I didn’t realize I had so much to say about virtual networking, but I guess I did.

I’d love to find affordable VR software to set up a virtual writers’ café where people could send little icons in that write and read in the virtual space while they’re doing sprints on their actual screen.

But Grief to Art has to be finished first. I hope to get some good work done on that today and over the weekend, and get the article for Llewellyn done, and the book read for review.

Working on the play, tentatively called “Rest Not in Peace” and having fun with it.

Finished my coursework on the introduction to educational neuroscience online with Central Queensland University. Passed the exam (with flying colors, if I might be so self-congratulatory) and received my certification. I definitely want to study more about neuroplasticity. What we discussed about how fear and stress impair learning and shrink the brain is relevant both to me personally during the pandemic, and on a larger scale for schools and the educational system, both in terms of the pandemic and in terms of active shooter drills.

Thinking about years of frustration with cozy mysteries, spurred on again after the stack I got sick of and dumped back into the library’s book deposit. How, in the 90’s, as more women were recognized in the field, they took this wonderful leap into strength and adventure, and how, after 9/11, so many became more and more narrow-minded and about protecting white privilege. It used to be that the protagonist was a misfit who found community with people accepting her for who she was; more and more, the protagonist started conforming to be accepted by the community, and I don’t like that.

Not to mention all these celibate relationships between supposedly healthy adults that are both boring and don’t make any sense.

Partially, I wrote SAVASANA AT SEA, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, as a response to the way yoga instructors were far too often treated as freaks and flakes, the locked-room aspect a cruise ship has, and the fact that I wanted to see characters in a mystery with healthy sex lives, even if every detail wasn’t on the page. Which is why they are marked as “not quite cozy” – because they don’t fit all the restrictions of the cozy. I went with a small publisher for the series because the bigger publishers wanted to edit out all the things that made me write it in the first place.

I will have to deal with the issues the pandemic bring up at some point in the series, and my editor and I are talking about how to handle it and when to handle it. Right now, I have to make the second book in the series work, and that’s a struggle. Although class structure and white privilege are coming more to the forefront with it.

I’ve been thinking about what I’m looking for in a mystery series with an amateur sleuth protagonist, one who is closer to me in age than a younger one. I’ve played with some ideas over the past few months, and some of them are coming together as being possible in the same series, rather than everything being so separate. While there’s definitely a need for simple stories that offer structure and comfort, I want something else.

I found a central point around which I want to start building (it’s at too delicate a stage to write about publicly). So, I’m percolating.

Then, of course, the dilemma was what kind of notebook do I use for the draft and development? Because this is not something I want to type directly into the computer, at least not initially. I need to play with it, to draw it, to sketch it, to write bits and put them aside, to create building blocks. It won’t work to create it on the computer.

I haven’t gone out and bought the “back to school” notebooks I usually get at this point in the year because I still have notebooks left over from last year.

Only none of them are right for this project.

I thought about buying a set of journal books specific to the project, but that’s expensive and feels too formal.

I finally realized (because I AM that bad at math) that it probably makes more sense to buy two five-subject notebooks for the project than six or seven single-subject notebooks. Duh.

I want to keep a diary of the process as I develop it. Eventually, it might be rather Steinbeck-esque, writing the diary on one side of the page and the novel on the other. But I think I’ll do the diary part in green ink, and the novel in black ink.

All of this means I have to actually leave the house and get the supplies. If I order online, it will take about 3 weeks to get here. So I guess I’m going out today, masked up, and trying to avoid the Covidiot tourists, who aren’t paying any attention to travel or quarantine restrictions.

If I can time it properly, I’ll minimize the risk.

I’m also about to finish the latest volume of my personal diary – I have one more matching volume, which I doubt will get me through the year, but I’ll worry about that when I’m closer to the end of the new volume, which I’ll start tomorrow.

My office has gotten cluttered again, so I’ll need to spend some time this weekend tidying it up, so that I can metaphorically tidy my brain. Hopefully, that will give me physical and mental space to work on the book for review, the article, “Rest Not in Peace”, BARD’S LAMENT, Grief to Art site, and any noodling I decide to do on this project development.

I haven’t decided if it will be literary fiction with mystery elements, or a mystery novel that expands genre restrictions.

I’ll develop it for a bit first, spin the ideas out like spun sugar to see what happens. Maybe I’ll find it doesn’t work, and it will be relegated to the Graveyard of Abandoned Projects (the updated Topic Workbook will be released soon). Or maybe it will become a viable project.

Have a great weekend, my friends. I wish you peace and health.
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image courtesy of igorovsyannykov via pixabay.com

Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers

Friday, July 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

For some reason, I feel like one of those big steamrollers went right over top of me! I’m exhausted,physically and emotionally. I’m trying to solve those reasons, and change what needs to be changed, but it doesn’t happen in a day. Heck, it’s been taking me months, and certainly months longer than I’d hoped. But I’ll get there.

Got a little bit of writing done yesterday. Nowhere near enough. I lost the momentum I had on GRAVE REACH, and I’m fighting to get it back. ELLA has slowed down, but at least it’s putt-putting along. Of course it is, because that’s the piece that’s not on deadline.

Conferences with my cover artist and editor yesterday. The cover artist has roughed out the next two Coventina Circle books — THE BARD’S LAMENT (Sylvie’s book) and DEADLY GROVE (Diana’s book). They are kind of cool. I like the black and gray tones on all the Coventina Circle covers, with the yellow/orange lettering.

We’re still going back and forth on the Justice By Harpy books, which is just fine, since they are quite a way down the road. I am being difficult about them. I have a very clear idea of what I want, which my editor and publisher agree will be striking, but how to make it happen, how to layer and color, is a challenge. We may just bring in a painter to do small paintings of the three and then photograph or scan the paintings. Book 1 is close to ready to go into production, but I’m behind on Books 2 & 3, and we want all three ready to release quickly. And we’re discussing the Gambit Colony covers for the first six books.

I’m so lucky that my publisher allows so much input.

Took my mom to the doctor in the afternoon. He’s pleased with her progress. Had to take her over to Osterville for a blood test, only they were closed by the time we got there (it would have been nice to know they were closed before we left the doctor’s office).

Read on the deck in the afternoon, enjoying the yard. Worked on some article pitches I plan to send out early next week. I got some interesting leads, and I’m spinning ideas.

Still trying to chase down the freelance payment from that job I did over a month ago.

Some yahoo from TruGreen scared the bejesus out of us yesterday by pounding on the door like the FBI doing a raid. And then launched into a diatribe on how bad my yard was with all the weeds and how I “had” to pay him to fix it. WTF? Seriously? Why the hell would you dumbass think I would ever, EVER do business with you when you come to my house and try to intimidate me into hiring you? Especially since I have an organic lawn and every so-called “weed” is something that is there on purpose as a pollinator or because it’s good for the soil. TruGreen is getting SUCH a letter from me. I rarely say “never”, but I can say I will NEVER do business with TruGreen again, and the next time this jerk shows up and tries to intimidate me, I’m going to kick him in the nuts and then call the cops.

This morning, I was up early. Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. I really need to type up the chapters written in longhand, because I’m losing some threads in this draft.

Took my mom to the blood test. They were open this time, and it was early.

Then, headed to Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s for grocery shopping, and then Staples. Because notebooks are on sale. I bought 16 spiral bound and 4 composition books, for a grand total of SIX BUCKS.

As a writer, this is one of my favorite times of the year. The school supplies go on sale.

I plan to spend the weekend reading, writing ELLA and GRAVE REACH, roughing out my article for Llewellyn, and maybe starting to shape the opening scene of the play on Canaletto’s sisters. The three Canaletto books I hunted down and ordered because I kept taking them out of the library arrived, and that will make the writing of the play so much easier.

I’m still trying to figure out the plot of the Brighton Pier radio play. I have sounds and jokes, but the plot is weak so far.

I ordered from Chewy this morning — cat food and cat litter. I refuse to shop at Petmart anymore, for multiple reasons. I’ve heard good things about them, but putting the order through was a major PITA. Let’s hope the rest of the customer service experience is better, or it will be a one-and-done.

I also hope to clear out some boxes from the basement. I also have to take the recycling in tomorrow. It’s getting a little crowded.

For the moment, though, back to the page.

Have a lovely weekend!

Published in: on July 26, 2019 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers  
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Tues. Aug. 28, 2018: Design, Create, Purge

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Direct (as of yesterday)
Uranus Retrograde

Sorry I didn’t post on Friday. The day got away from me.

But I bought 18 notebooks in the back-to-school sales, so I’m set for notebooks. For the moment!

Thursday was not a good writing day at all, but at least I got some other stuff done, including early morning grocery shopping.

I tried reading a book from a series by an author who’d come recommended. I wound up skimming through the second half of the book I was reading because the protagonist was such an idiot I wanted her to be the next murder victim, there were copy editing errors as in the wrong character name in a scene that made no sense, and some major revelations happened off the page and were told to the reader in a toss-off sentence.

No. Just no.

I tried a book from a different series by the same author; put it down after the third chapter. I’m tired of dumbed-down, silly protagonists being marketed as “cute” and “whacky” and “spontaneous” and “eccentric.” Sorry, they’re dumb and annoying. I know plenty of cute, whacky, spontaneous, and eccentric individuals who aren’t morons.

An author I’ve crossed off my list. Fortunately, I’m not in contact with her on social media or at conferences. And no, I won’t name her publicly. I don’t bash other authors.

I want the protagonists in the books I read to be smarter, more resourceful, and more inventive than the average person. Yes, I like to see characters grow and change during the course of a book and series, but the change has to start soon after the catalyst, not six books down the road. A protag doesn’t learn from mistakes and keeps making the same one over and over? First of all, I want that protag to be the next murder victim (Donna Andrews calls it the “Too Stupid to Live Syndrome” and I agree). Second, it’s not a person I’d spend time with in real life, so I sure as heck won’t waste my reading time with that individual.

I like living books through characters vastly different than I am, but I demand intelligence and resourcefulness from them. Or I just don’t care enough to take a book-length journey with them.

Dumbing down characters so the reader can feel superior (a reality-tv trend) is not something I buy into. Or buy books of authors who do that.

I managed to get some yard work done Wednesday afternoon, which meant I could sit out on the deck with a lime martini and my writing and some books and not feel guilty. I need to mow and tidy up the front again.

By the time I get the yard where I want it, it will be snowing!

Read Yasmine Galenorn’s SOULJACKER and really liked it. Totally understand why she can’t continue the series. But still really enjoy this book (and it does stand alone).

Got out a couple of article pitches. Working on a radio play pitch and a workshop pitch, and a detailed LOI for a company that really interests me. Doubt they’ll go out before the end of this week.

Friday, I got a bit of writing done, and then I had a stack of errands, including getting a new phone. I went to one store — I told the guy my budget, and he immediately tried to get me beyond by double for a phone that he could only sell me that day. Um, no. That’s more than I can afford for a phone I don’t want. So I shopped around, and finally got something at a different store within my budget, and they were nice about it. So I have a phone I like that works.

I’ve been trying to get onto Vero, a social media network that’s only on one’s phone, that’s supposedly far superior to Instagram, Facebook, etc. Only when I download the app and try to sign up, they tell me the email address I use a dozen times a day is invalid. I complained to support, and they respond quickly, but keep asking the same questions and not solving the problem. So, unless it’s solved by today, I’m done and moving on.

One of the reasons I try new social media networks/apps is because, in addition to my own needs, I run social media platforms for other businesses and creatives. I experiment with them, see how they work, and then, depending on the need of the client, I can suggest one or more network.

If there are glitches and problems and a lot of hoops to jump through, I’m not going to recommend it.

I’m still getting a handle on Tumblr. I really like Ello, but that’s for creating, not really promotion. Which is fine, because it fills the hunger I have for connecting with other creatives about creation, not promotion.

I need and want to be around other working creatives who are creating. Not who are whining about “not having time” or only talking about the business side. The whining and the only-market-driven talk is like a disease among creatives, and it interferes instead of enhances creativity.

The last days of the Mars retrograde were tough. I had to take a breath and step back or I would have burned some bridges that really don’t need it right now.

The weekend was frustrating. Saturday was not a good writing day, and I didn’t get enough done around the house, either. I feel like I have no energy, like I’m in limbo. I can’t wait for other people’s decisions, even though they affect mine. I have to do what I need to do and just adjust. But it all seems overwhelming right now.

Sunday was better, especially creatively, although I’m still not where I need to be.

In addition to necessities like laundry, I also spent some serious time working on unpacking/purging stuff from the basement. Stuff that’s sat down there for far too long that I haven’t dealt with.

Time to deal.

It took me two hours to go through four boxes. I’m trying to deal with each item only once. There are a few things which I’m not yet sure about. Everything else was either toss or integrate. Not merely keep. Integrate.

I have a box for stuff to give away, but nothing from these boxes was appropriate.

If I can do a little every day, and more on weekends, eventually I will have gotten through it. But it’s slow going and it means making decisions that I’ve been putting off, sometimes for years. But it must be done.

It was also much more emotional than I expected. I had to confront my past self, and, again, decide what to integrate and of what to let go.

Difficult, but necessary.

Design work on site with a client yesterday and today. It’s fun, but needs a lot of focus.

 

Published in: on August 28, 2018 at 3:42 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 28, 2018: Design, Create, Purge  
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