Tues. June 16, 2020: Die For Your Employer/Die for Tourist Dollars Day 29 — Bone Weary

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It was cool enough last night for the heat to kick on.

There’s a post over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, “Just Rest”, which I have to take to heart this week.

Up and down weekend. Not as productive as I wished, but I got work done. It just wasn’t what I needed to get done.

I felt as creative as wilted lettuce on Friday, so I concentrated on admin tasks. Cleared out a couple of inboxes, dealt with things, got out some LOIs.

I can’t remember if I made the new curtains for the bedroom on Thursday or Friday. Sheers with small roses on them, a little out of character for me, but they’re nice.

Saturday morning, geared up and went to Star Market early (after dropping my library books in the bin). People were masked, and there weren’t a lot in there, so it wasn’t bad, even though they don’t always follow the arrows.

On the way home, I saw lots of people out and about. All unmasked. All acting like nothing’s happened.

Basically, we stayed home to give the powers that be time to come up with solutions to keep us alive, and they did nothing. Now, they just want us to go back out there and die for their profit.

Still getting daily emails claiming my package will be delivered that day (whatever day it is). Of course, it’s not. Now, UPS marks the excuse as “emergency or natural disaster.” Um, no. There haven’t been any emergencies or natural disasters in the 11 miles between the facility and the house in the past ten days. It was either Friday or Saturday when the UPS truck drove right past the house, but didn’t stop.

Absolutely unacceptable.

If my package isn’t important enough for them, then they should hand it off to USPS, like they did the last one. At least USPS can be bothered to deliver.

UPS seems to forget that the only reason they exist is to deliver packages. If they can’t do that, then they need to be broken up.

Most of the weekend was taken up by GAMBIT COLONY revisions. I planned to spend an hour or two in re-reads. That piece is my favorite stress reliever. But I got caught up in it. I revised books 3 & what I have of 4. Book 4 is nearly finished. Book 5 is an interlude book, and I have bits and pieces of it done, and Book 6 is in basic outline.

Once all six books are done, I will do a big pass over them for continuity and hand them off to the editor. As we do the editor-based revisions, I will do the Series Bible, which is complex.

The plan, once the first six books are edited, is to release one a month over the course of six months. Although I have ideas for a few more books in the series, whether or not anything will come of them remains to be seen, and will be contingent upon how well the first six books do. They are of a piece; while they don’t act as cliffhangers, each book is a specific part of the journey.

I’ve been joking about the series being a “creative soap opera” since it deals with the behind-the-scenes filming of a television show. But, really, that’s what it is. And not your typical, clichéd, bitchy idiocy. But an exploration of creative process under pressure; some of it is a creative utopia I wish existed, some is about the actual conflicts that come up.

We’re looking at a 2022 release, but it could get pushed back, again, because of other contracts that need to be finished first.

If there are further books down the line, they will have to deal with the pandemic and how it affects the show. Maybe by then, I’ll have a better idea of how things actually work out.

Providing I survive. Which, when your government and your bosses are doing what they can to make sure one doesn’t, becomes a challenge.

I got a bit of yard work done. Not as much as I should have. Cut back some invasives. Did not get the front finished, which is something I need to do this week if the weather holds.

A lot of this week is getting in what I need for next week’s surgery and recovery. I think I have most of it; will get a few last things at the end of the week, and then play it as safe as I can until I have my COVID test next week, and, if it comes back negative, the surgery.

At each phase of the process, depending on what happens, there are different sets of protocols to follow, so it’s just one step at a time.

I decided, since GAMBIT COLONY is my stress-relief project (as complex as it is), that it will be my carrot. If I finish what I need to write that day, I get to spend some time on GAMBIT COLONY. If I don’t, no GAMBIT.

That should motivate!

Had weird dreams all weekend. Sunday night into Monday I had a good one, which was working on a Shakespeare production with Peter Dinklage. That would be great, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Decent first writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Monday morning.

Headed in to the office. It was quiet for most of my stint, and I was on my own. A bit of overlap with a stressed out co-worker. There’s nothing I can do to help her. I’ve tried. I attempt to lend a sympathetic ear to her venting, but I leave feeling bruised from the negativity.

Home, got out some LOIs, had a really nice preliminary online interview with a company based in Australia. I don’t have enough expertise in their field, so I doubt they’d hire me, but the actual process was a pleasure. That is so rare when so many of these recruiters and application places either bait and switch or are so demeaning in the initial contact that I stop the process right there.

I’m so weary, weary all the way into my bones, running deep. Having a migraine didn’t help, either.

I took a two hour nap (I’m not a napper). It didn’t help.

Slogged through making dinner. Read a bit, went to bed early. Felt no better after nine hours of sleep.

The UPS package finally arrived. It wasn’t delivered for so long because it was small (smaller than I expected). Therefore, not important enough. They should have just handed it off to USPS, and not lied every day that it was going to be delivered.

I already decided NOT to buy a couple of things in the past few days because the companies use UPS to ship.

Ron Perlman taking Ted Cruz to the woodshed was funny as hell. Cruz behaved completely inappropriately for a sitting Senator – especially one who allowed the Sociopath to publicly trash both his wife and father. Perlman is smart, talented, and has integrity – everything Cruz does not.

The Supreme Court decision saying the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT was important. I was not impressed with Gorsuch’s opinion on it, and Alito’s disagreement was appalling and from the past century. But it passed, and the Supreme Court actually served justice and our population, which it hasn’t always done.

I’m hoping to have a good day both on the fiction front and the client front today, and mentally prepare for a difficult day onsite tomorrow.

But I still have a migraine, I’m weary unlike any exhaustion I’ve ever had before, and it will be a struggle. Hope it’s all better on your end.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cool.

If you didn’t get a chance to read the review with the wonderful, talented, and successful Linda Rettstatt on Saturday, it’s the post below this one, and well worth reading, for both readers and writers. She has some wonderful insights. Drop her a comment and let her know you stopped by! It SHOULD have been up on Friday, but I somehow got dates mixed up, and I offer her my deepest apologies.

Saturday was busy. Ran errands, mowed the terraced back section of the lawn (it looks awesome), did some pruning and cutting back in the beds. The tomatoes are just starting to bloom, but I’m pretty sure it’s too late in the season to get much. However, I’m still getting a handful of ripe strawberries every morning with my breakfast (second crop, who knew?), and there are some cucumbers and green peppers struggling to mature.

Spent time with my students. Worked on the Harpy book. There’s a writer named Mackenzie who has a series featuring a Fury as her main character, set in Boston. I want to read them, but I’ll wait until this book is written, edited, and on submission. Plus, mine is set in NY! Well, kind of an Alt-NY! 😉

Sunday, I was out early to get the newspapers. Read the papers (with the cats). Tidied up the living room and cleaned off the coffee table to decorate it for autumn. Amazing how stuff accumulates on it! But now it looks really nice. Washed the slipcovers, put on the ones for autumn, rearranged the pillows so the cats can curl up on cushions and look out of windows.

Spent the rest of the day either on student work, but most of it working on the outline of the Harpy book. I’ve got it roughed out; there are still some holes, but I’ve got enough of a foundation so writing the book should go pretty logically. The first draft will inform a lot of the plot, and it’s interesting to see how certain characters became more important and certain ones less so as the book develops.

Emmys were fun last night. Jane Lynch was good as host, but I thought, overall, sometimes they were just trying too hard to be hip and funny. I was thrilled that Peter Dinklage won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for GAME OF THRONES. His work in that is fantastic.

Today, I’ve got yet more errands — some books to return to the library and some other running around. The bulk of the day is spent with students, and, hopefully, getting some other writing done. I’m also in deep prep mode for next month’s class and for the Write Angles Conference. I look forward to being a presenter!

Devon

Published in: on September 19, 2011 at 7:30 am  Comments (4)  
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Summer Solstice
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a dedicated work day. I got a lot of writing and business done; it’s never enough, but it helps. I got a good chunk done on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, got out a couple of proposals, made a manuscript submission, and worked on the backlog of short stories that needed to go out.

In the late morning, Costume Imp and I drove to Hyannis to check out Tim’s Books, right on Main Street. We both found some great stuff. And found parking about two doors down from the store! Imp went on to meet a friend of his he’d recently learned moved to the Cape, and I went on to run errands, get some work done in the garden, and go back to do more work.

We had a craving for Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner and gave in to it. Sometimes, you just need the fast food!

The evening was about reading (SACRED GROUND by Mercedes Lackey for me, very good), and then watching the repeat of the GAME OF THRONES finale. It was well done, and hopefully, the way they’ve left it means there will be a lot more of Peter Dinklage’s character in Season Two next year. His work is always good, but he’s outstanding here. And the scene between Jamie and Caitlyn was great. I’m debating whether or not to read the books in the interim.

Someone’s coming to fix the downstairs toilet this morning, my students have their next exercise due, and then we’re hitting a couple of farmers’ markets and natural food places. I’ve got a meeting tonight, and then we’ll do our Solstice ceremony.

In the meantime, I better get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and do my quota for the day! 😉 I hated to stop yesterday, but there were other things that had to get done. I’m hoping over the weekend, I can block off five or six hours just to work on the book.

Devon


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHTavailable from <a href="http://www.champagnebooks.com” target=”_blank”>Champagne Books.
Annabel Aidan webpage here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool
Boston Marathon
Patriots Day

I got my second round of revisions done and off to my editor on Saturday morning, along with the front matter. She’s going over it again early this week, and then, it’s off to the copy editor! From there, I await the final galleys — shiver, shiver! Whenever I hit the “send” on final galleys, I always want to throw up, because I’m sure I’ve missed something Really Important.

Did a library run, some errands, etc. The box of irises arrived from White Flower Farm (Wednesday’s Gratitude and Growth will have more on that).

Wound up the workshop. Two weeks of shouting into the abyss complete. I have to accept my portion of the responsibility in what didn’t work. Hopefully, I learned from my mistakes this time around and can apply it moving forward. I was the wrong teacher and it was the wrong format for this particular group. It happens. Fortunately, I am the right teacher in the right environment for a lot of people. I know I should focus on that, but it always takes awhile to get over something like this. Holding onto the anger, frustration, and disappointment doesn’t do anyone any good, and it goes beyond just a simple “oh, it’s Mercury Retrograde.” Let’s face it, if you can’t commit to two weeks of making writing a priority, how are you going to have a career?

The bulk of my teaching experiences are positive, but a trusted friend is right — I need to adjust certain things, especially the amount of time I put in as equated with the money. If these classes were being taught in person, they would be $425 and up. Online, they are considerably less, but I’m putting in the same, or even more time and energy, than I would in person. For instance, this last class took between four and six hours per day, plus the additional admin work the formatting problems brought up and trying to keep track of who still had material due. So I spent more than 84 hours on this class. I’m not being paid even a fraction of my hourly rate when you break it down like that. Turning around 15K or more in exercises with relevant comments takes time, and I’d even cut the word count on most of the exercises. Usually, classes take two hours or a little over per day, which is reasonable. I look at classes taught by some of the others, where material is posted (sometimes the entire course is posted the first day) and there’s only about 20 minutes of interaction a day. As a student in a class like that, I don’t get a whole lot out of it. I want my students to walk away from my classes with a short story that’s close to submission ready or a chunk of a novel that is in good shape. I want them to have something tangible they honed in class AND a set of skills they can apply to most of their writing moving forward. All of our time is valuable, and when students are willing to put in the time to hone the work, they leave the class with a feeling of accomplishment and more confidence, along with a piece of actual, almost submission-ready work. Students who do not put in the time or make excuses or ignore the notes do not. I want the students who do the work to have the best and most complete experience possible, while not getting drained by the small percentage one winds up with in class who suck the life out of everyone. I don’t want the students to have less of an experience because of the time factor on my part. There’s an imbalance there, and it’s up to me to address it and get back in balance in a way that’s positive for both myself and my students.

I enjoy teaching, especially when my students go on and publish and succeed, but I need to re-think where and how I accept bookings, factor in price more than I have, and, where appropriate (such as for advanced classes), institute an application process. Also, after the current teaching commitments expire at the end of Summer 2012, I may take a break and not teach for awhile.

Read the manuscript I promised my friend I’d read, and sent back comments. Enjoyed it very, very much, and was honored to be a Trusted Reader. Had to catch up with my Senators and my Rep, who actually represented my interests in a recent Congressional vote. Wanted to thank them and brainstorm a few more ideas. Before 9 AM on Saturday, 15 minutes after I’d sent off the email, one of the offices got back to me, wanting the proposal, so had to work on that.

Dealt with someone trying to stir shit to both get attention and cause trouble. I have a very low tolerance for the self-involved and manipulative. I just don’t have the time and patience for it.

In other words, it was a rough weekend! 😉

I have a few days before the next workshop starts, the Setting as Character one. I’m going to tweak the exercises a bit. But most of these next few days will be spent writing SPIRIT REPOSITORY, working on edits for ANGEL HUNT, and figuring out what I want to say in my new freelance brochure. The sooner I get that done and start that mailing, the sooner I pick up new clients.

My preferred clients are always small historical societies and non-profits. Again, I have to make sure I keep in balance the money and the work. A lot of these places can’t pay much, and, again, if I take them on, I have to make sure the ratios stay in balance for both sides.

I wrote a query and sent off the pitch for an article to a well-paying publication; let’s hope they pick it up. If they don’t, I have a half a dozen other pubs that pay just as well to whom I can pitch it. I may actually write some of it while the idea is still fresh. I got another idea for a different topic in the same field of interest that I will write up and pitch today to another publication in the field. And I’ve got to finish and polish the proposal package for my Senators. It’s a relationship, not a monologue for either side. That’s the only way one can effectively practice democracy. I was fortunate in New York to be represented, in both houses of Congress, by people who welcomed my ideas, listened to me, took my views under advisement, and sometimes even used my material in their legislative battles. It seems I am in a similar situation here, which is good.

I bet you dollars to doughnuts I get called in for jury duty this summer here! I get called regularly, and I’ve been put on a case every single time I’ve been called. Which is fine.

Watched GAME OF THRONES last night. I have mixed feelings about it. I adore the production design. It is gorgeous. They use Ireland and Malta to create alternate worlds in a beautiful way. The costume design is exquisite. However, I am so happy that I am not a wardrobe person on that show — continuity must be a nightmare. The crew is outstanding, because the continuity in last night’s episode was very, very good. My problem with the show is the direction (as in, the director’s work, not the way the story is headed). It. Feels. Very. Heavy. Every. Word. And. Scene. Is. Important. They’re very aware they’re Making an Epic, instead of just living the piece and letting it BE epic. That falls on the director.

The exception, and the actor who absolutely blazes through the piece with dynamics and layers is Peter Dinklage. I really like his work anyway — if I see his name in the credits, I know I can count on a complex and nuanced performance. He’s got a surprise for the audience in every scene and delivers it, and moves through the piece with an ease and a fluidity that the other actors haven’t yet mastered. Even Sean Bean’s a bit stodgy in this (and I’m a big fan of his work) — although, to be fair, that costume probably weights about forty pounds, and that’ll slow you down. Some of the camera angle choices also left me with a “what the hell are they thinking?” feeling. Other choices were gorgeous.

By the way, I’m fully expecting Sean Bean’s character to get killed off this season, since he’s already cast in the new Ashley Judd series. Although, given the size of the cast and the screen time given to each story, something might be worked out schedule-wise. I haven’t read the books, and I don’t know how closely the series plans to follow the books. If the director lets the actors stop taking everything so seriously and encourages dynamics instead of the current monotone, it could be good. Also, HBO lived up to its reputation for a particular style of sex scene, and I’m wondering if the scenes in the pilot were kept true to what was in the book or where written by a man who’s bad at writing sex scenes and that’s why they were all the same, no matter who participated, or were demanded in that position by HBO. I understand the choice not to make any of them about love or romance, but at least have a little variety, the way actual humans do! There was one scene with a hint of something else, but again — obviously written by a man in a way insulting to women. If you’re going to claim you have strong female characters, it needs to follow through in ALL aspects of their lives. Jane Espenson, whose work I adore, wrote one of this season’s upcoming episodes, and I have high hopes for it.

Of course, so far, all the reviews I’ve read so far, written by men, love it.

Mixed feelings. May watch the second episode, if it fits into my schedule. If I can find out which episode is Espenson’s ahead of time, I’ll make sure I watch that one.

Back to the page today.

And I really, really, REALLY want to spend some time in the yard today! A shrub to the left of the house has burst into deep magenta blooms. I have no idea what it is, but it’s pretty!

It’s Patriots Day AND the Boston Marathon today, both of which are a really big deal here.

Devon