January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short

Friday, January 31, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, for my January wrap-up. I have mixed feelings about my progress. And then hop over to Affairs of the Pen to see a post about how writing about Sophie and her capacity for joy is such a pleasure.

Got some decent work done at the library yesterday, including getting the numbers put in on the US Numbered Format version of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”
Now, I have to do the same for “Pier-less Crime” and then send them off to the director, so he has the trilogy (since he likes “Horace House” so much).

Got a carload of leaves to the dump. Maybe this weekend, I can do some more yard work, if the weather holds.

Started watched THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW Season 2 last night. Not as tight and funny a group as on Season 1. Competitions just aren’t my thing. When I’m baking, I’m going to keep at it until I get it right, not be forced to do something new to me in a couple of hours. No, thanks. I like this show better than most competition shows (which, for the most part, I loathe). But I still disagree with a lot of the parameters.

Working on the BALTHAZAAR revisions. Tearing out a whole subplot section and rebuilding it, which is a challenge.

I have the short story in my head, clear as can be. But can the words find the page properly?

Absolutely disgusted with the GOP Senators. They all belong in prison. And so disappointed in the Chief Justice.

Today is Brexit, so now the UK economy gets to crash, too. Not a good day, all the way around.

How did I do on my intent for the week, for quiet?

I decided not to attend a networking event. Work prevented me from attending meditation group. I kept my mouth shut at work more than I wanted, but it made sense so to do. There were several online conversations I chose not to enter, because the people involved weren’t worth the aggravation. They didn’t want genuine answers to their questions; they wanted their own views reinforced. Not worth the time and energy. I refrained from responding to an insulting email from the potential client meeting last week, where I’d withdrawn from consideration because we were not a good fit. Wednesday, they sent me a rude email saying they were going with someone else. Of course they did — I already told them I wouldn’t work for them. What are they, six? All about control, yet another indication that we weren’t the right fit.

Lots of reading and writing again this weekend; yard work if the weather holds, purging the basement if it doesn’t.

Have a great weekend! I have a slew of errands and bill-paying, and then it’s back to the page.

Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I’ve got a very short post up on Gratitude and Growth, about the garden.

I started writing on Medium. I’m not using it as a daily blogging platform — I have this blog for that purpose, where I natter on about whatever is in my head at the moment. I’m using Medium to write essays on things that matter to me or bother me, where they don’t fit in traditional publications. Well, they would, if I were famous; there are similar essays in all kinds of magazines, such as VICTORIA and YANKEE, but they’re all by people who are Names. Medium gives me the chance to experiment. I’m not sure if it’s actual “essay” format — I don’t think I really stick to the essay formula. But I’m writing focused pieces about what I want to write.

The first one is “The Tree is My History”and went up earlier in the week. Publishing might be easy, but setting up the account was not.

I figure I’ll write something every 2-3 weeks there, as long as I have something to say. The curation/payment system has gotten complicated. There are people who are pounding content on the platform every day, and only 35 curators. So I’m not counting on that. But I signed up for the Partnership Program, which means if it’s chosen for something or read enough or something like that, I’m eligible for payment.

But I’m not counting on it for a source of income. I’ll be grateful for it, of course; but it will also allow me to expand some writing chops in a slightly different direction, with less pressure than I’d find in other venues.

We’ll see.

Yesterday, the overnight rain turned into snow by the time I got up, so it was not fun getting to my client’s. Honestly, I was dreading it. We’ve prepped everything for an event she’s doing at the end of next week, and she’s on a tear about a couple of other things. We’re ahead of where we need to be at this point, so there’s nothing to worry about.

I had a decent, but not brilliant, first writing session yesterday, and a slightly better one this morning. I’m still working on cards, and trying to get a few other things sorted out. There’s still plenty of decorating to do, and two books for review, and the play to finish.

The radio play, “Pier-less Crime” has been accepted for production down in Florida. I’m excited. That’s a good track record. They will have produced all three of the Frieda/Lazarus radio plays by next year.

I’m trying to sort out the writing projects for next year, to make sure everything stays on track. I want to get all the stage plays out on submission, so they’re earning their keep, and look at additional markets for the radio plays. I’d like to write a couple more radio plays, and at least two stage plays. (one of which is the one about the two female writers, which I couldn’t get done this year). And I have to stay on track with the novels, both for the series, and for the other novel ideas with which I’m playing. Honestly, I don’t know where short stories fit into next year.

So, I’ll have fixed deadlines, and then other pieces I’ll want to fit in as I can.

Plus, some new directions for the freelance/business/marketing writing, and solid financial points I HAVE to hit, because of the other changes and demands happening. So, it’s a lot to sort out, and I want to do it in a way that makes sense and is attainable, not do it in a way that overwhelms me and then I get frustrated.

I’m off to take my mom to a doctor’s appointment, then write more cards, work on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and do some more decorating. And maybe some more cookie deliveries.

Back to the page.

Published in: on December 12, 2019 at 9:43 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing  
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Tues. Dec. 3, 2019: Catching Up on the Dailies

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Nasty weather

It’s been nearly a week since I shared my daily life. And quite a week it’s been.

Tuesday night, we decided not to go to Maine for the big 60-people-for-dinner-at-the-rented-hall. Between plumbing issues and furnace issues and car issues and traffic issues and my back issues, it didn’t make sense.

They were disappointed, but they understood.

Wednesday morning, the plumber showed up early. Put a new faucet in the kitchen sink, new valves, worked on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. I scrubbed out under the sink (where it had also leaked) and left it open, so it could dry

By the time he left, it would have been too late to get on the road anyway, and the traffic was dreadful. So was the weather. I was grateful to be at home. Popped out to get a couple of things we needed to cook the meal at home.

Managed to get out the polished version of “Pier-less Crime” out and the company is excited about it.

Watched ROMAN HOLIDAY with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It’s been years since I saw it, and I’d forgotten a lot of it.

Sketched out some story ideas (in words, not actual sketches). Figured out more of THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, which is the play about Canaletto’s sisters.

Up early on Thursday morning. Made the stuffing, got the turkey in the oven. Wondered if maybe I went overboard buying a 20 lb. turkey.

For some reason, the meal prep upset Charlotte. She was very agitated. I wonder if she was moved after a large family meal more than once?

We had a high wind advisory with warnings of power outages, so I put it in a little early, to make sure the oven was on and we could actually have the meal. We had cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas with it. Tiramisu for dessert. We ate about a half hour or so earlier than normal (in Maine, we usually sit down around 1 PM).

The meal was excellent, absolutely perfect. The weather outside howled and was frightful.

I felt like I did dishes for hours, though. My own damn fault, because we used some of our favorite old pieces, all of which have to be hand-washed. Which is just fine.

Make stock out of the bones, and then turkey soup. We also have plenty of leftovers. Yum, yum!

Too tired to watch anything on Thanksgiving night. Read. My back was bothering me. Everyone on our little street was away for the holiday. It was blissfully quiet.

Up early Friday morning. Put in the Chewy order. That was the extent of my Black Friday shopping. Put away the washed dishes. Two runs to the dump, one for household garbage and one for leaves.

Got the decorations out of the Christmas Closet and sorted them. Got the tree down and put it up, just the tree and the lights. Tied in place, because we don’t know how Willa and Charlotte will react to it.

Switched out the fabric on the various surfaces to Winter Holiday fabric, everywhere but in my office. My office is where everything we don’t know where to put while we’re decorating goes, so it will be the last to be decorated.

Put up the musical instrument fabric over the fireplace. Put up the red ribbons around the doors and windows (we hang cards from the ribbons around the doors and the ribbons look pretty around the windows).

Got the Advent table set up with the wreath, four silver candle stands, and the centerpiece this year is the Broadway snow globe.

Believe it or not, that took all day.

In my NYC apartment, everything only fit one way. Here in the house, we have the option to do things differently from year to year, which is fun.

Fish and chips for dinner, which is always fun to make and eat.

Re-watched A ROOM WITH A VIEW on Friday night. Much more critical of it this time around, although the locations and the camerawork are gorgeous.

Up early again on Saturday morning. Paid some bills. Had to go to Home Depot for something I couldn’t get elsewhere, and was so disgusted I left without buying anything. I hate Home Depot. I don’t like to spend money there anyway because the owner is a rightwing lunatic, so I avoid it unless I have no other choice.

Went to AC Moore. Will be sad when they close after the holidays. I like them as an alternative to Michael’s. Found a few things I needed. Went to Trader Joe’s for a few things, and to Christmas Tree Shops, where I ended up spending more than I planned, but I would have done so over the course of the month, so might as well get it all done in one go.

Went to put gas in the car — and couldn’t get the tank flap unlocked. I still had a half a tank of gas, so no reason to panic yet, but I was upset. I can’t afford another car repair. Headed to Country Gardens to get the plain wreath for the front door, so I could decorate it. Then the hatch wouldn’t open. I was furious. That was just fixed a few months ago. I’m tired of them fixing stuff and then, a few months down the line, it needs to be fixed again.

Driving away, suddenly the tank latch worked. So I turned around, headed back to the gas station, and filled up, just in case. The hatch started working again, too. At no point in any of this did any warning lights come on.

Decorated the wreath for the front door. Finished decorating the fireplace mantel. We put the carolers up there again this year, against the backdrop of the musical instrument fabric. The blue poinsettia garland hangs below the carolers. We have gold bells hanging center top, and, above that, by the ceiling, holly and ivy and gold ribbon and a gold musical instrument swag.

Unpacked a few other boxes of ornaments, but it took a long time and not a lot seemed to get done.

Got four loads of laundry done, though, and outlined two novels. Decided an idea that was going to be a Thanksgiving story would really be a Solstice/Christmas/New Year story.

Worked on the book for review.

Instead of cooking what I planned to for dinner, Twitter pals raving about Turkey leftover sandwiches inspired me to make gigantic dinner sandwiches with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry. Delicious!

Read and made notes on a few projects.

Up early on Sunday. Worked on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT for a few hours, before I started back in on the decorating.

The Santa collection was set up on the Behemoth. Ornaments top the ribbons on the doors and windows. Pine cones will be added later. More ornamentation was added to the mantel. Most of the tree is decorated, but that usually is a work in progress until it comes down. But enough is on so that I could put on the tree skirt. The kitchen tree and the kitchen nutcracker are done, and I unpacked and washed the holiday mugs. Which means I have to pack away the same number of day-to-day mugs, so there’s room in the cabinet.

Turkey pot pie for dinner, a little reading and writing in the night. I was exhausted and my back hurt, so I went to bed early.

The weather turned on Sunday — rain, sleet, then back to rain by Monday morning.

Up early on Monday, morning routine and some writing. Getting ahead on blog posts. Writing a letter to fight for insurance again. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars and begging in order to get onto insurance every year. Romney-care DOES NOT WORK. We need a single-payer system.

I’m updating my freelance contract, and will update the website to reflect that. Rates are going up for 2020. When the locals balk, I just add more remote clients, who understand that skill and quality are worth the money. I have never lived anywhere that skills are so disregarded as they are here. The only thing respected is coming in rich.

Working on the release information, media kit, excerpts, promotion, etc. for GRAVE REACH, which releases on Thursday the 5th. I’m very excited about this book. I achieved what I set out to do with it. I learned a lot from this book, and that will feed in to the rest of the books in the series.

Working on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and also getting back into the revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Worked on the book for review. I hope to have the review out either later today or tomorrow, latest.

Was onsite with a client yesterday, getting into the holiday madness. Onsite again today. Finally got back to meditation group after missing the last two weeks. It was much-needed.

The sink is working just fine, but the toilet in the downstairs bathroom is still leaking, so the landlord is going to have to deal with it.

Still lots of decorating to do, especially in my office.

I’m enjoying the Advent calendars, though.

Need to start writing cards this week. The overseas cards need to go out on Friday.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.

Tues. Nov. 26, 2019: Trying to Clear the Decks

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Friday, I put in the changes and reformatted “Confidence Confidant” back into stage format. Tweaked a couple more things. It makes me want to both expand the play into a full-length, and also to create an evening of one-acts about some of Kate Warne’s cases. That needs to go on the agenda for the 2020 GDRs.

I was a wreck by the time I got home, exhausted, only to find the plumber arrived. He fixed the toilet leak and taped the sink, because the faucets and the valves need to be replaced, and he didn’t have the right parts in his truck.

Worked with the cats, cooked dinner, read. Too tired to do anything but read something light-hearted.

Read a cozy by a new-to-me author. Again, the protagonist is, as Donna Andrews jokes in her series, “Too Stupid To Live.” I liked the premise of the piece, but not the execution.

Up early on Saturday. Did a final proof of “Confidence Confidant” and fixed some formatting errors. Sent it to the director, along with the dramaturgy, and she acknowledged it a few hours later. Whichever way it works out, I’m glad that it got me back into the world of Kate Warne again.

Jumped on a sale at one of the few stores from whom I’m buying holiday gifts.

Came home, did four loads of laundry, dealt with the landlord on the plumbing issues. The toilet started leaking again. The landlord is not sure when the new furnace will be installed, so now I have to worry every cold day until it is. He decided to wait to repaint the house and replace the deck until next autumn. That’s a relief.

Worked with the cats. Raked a few more bags of leaves. Started working on the galleys. Baked tollhouse cookies. Created a new recipe with eggplant, cauliflower, and broccoli in a mushroom sauce. It tastes good, but looks awful. I have to figure out a way to make it look more appetizing.

Worked on galleys until I went to bed.

Up early Sunday. Baked fig muffins. They were good, but not as great as I hoped. Worked with the cats. Finished the galleys and put the changes in. The weather was dreadful.

Took a break, and then worked on “Pier-less Crime.

Ended up outlining two new stage plays. One already has a target market and a date. I will get to work on it in and around the other deadlines.

Worked with the cats some more in the afternoon. Made a dish from the Brunetti cookbook that I’ve made and enjoyed before, and was craving again.

Up extra early on Monday. Had a bad night — woke up around 1 with a bad cough. Took some honey to calm it down, but it took me awhile to get back to sleep. At my client’s by 8 AM, to get ahead on the holiday promotion marketing.

Sent off the galleys. By the end of the day, got back the final set of proofs. Decided to skip meditation in order to turn them around as fast as possible. Did some more work on “Pier-less Crime” because I need to get it out the door ASAP.

This morning, I’m onsite at my client’s again at 8 AM, working on the holiday marketing. I am not working on-site tomorrow — I have several things to do to prepare for the holiday. Tackling each thing as I can, and trying not to feel overwhelmed.

 

Published in: on November 26, 2019 at 6:13 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 26, 2019: Trying to Clear the Decks  
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Fri. Nov. 22, 2019: When Everything Takes Longer Than I’d Like It To Take

Friday, November 22, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Hop on over to the Ava Dunne blog, Affairs of the Pen, where I talk more about Twinkle, Vermont.

Yesterday was up and down. I was fairly optimistic at the top of the day, although everything took ten times longer than I wanted to. I managed to get the proofread manuscript to my editor. Did not manage much work on the “Confidence Confidant” revision or “Pier-less Crime.”

My landlord arrived at two. I showed him the two leaks we’ve sprung, and then the builder came. They walked around the house, talking about the work that needs to be done. The whole thing will be painted, The deck will be replaced. The back of the house re-shingled. The door in the garage replaced. And so on and so forth. A big magilla. My fear is that they’ll start in spring and we’ll never get to use the deck next summer. So we’ll see. Plus, they’re going to rip out the gorgeous pink azalea, the lovely forsythia, and the two boxwoods. I said the bushes should be taken out, wrapped in burlap, and re-planted, but no one seems to think that’s possible. I think they don’t want to take the time and put the care in.

The guy was really nice, though, and answered all my questions.

Then, the furnace guy showed up. He and my landlord know each other from way back, so they had a good natter. They might replace the furnace with a more energy-efficient option, which would make sense — and add air conditioning, which means they have to tear a vent into the back wall. Again, a magilla, and something that needs to be done in the next few weeks. It will take a day to a day and a half. At this time of year, a full day without heat will not be fun.

Again, he was really nice and good about answering questions. He’s also going to get someone in to fix the leaks sooner rather than later.

I keep reminding myself to be grateful that the furnace is replace BEFORE it breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm.

Charlotte was completely calm as people tromped around. Willa kept running up to check us out, and then running away.

I was wiped out by the end of it all, and feeling discouraged and disheartened. Not just by all the chaos that will be going on in the coming months, but because of all the other things I have to accomplish in and around the chaos.

Too bad for me, right? Part of being a grown-up.

Trying to catch up on a flood of emails that came through yesterday, almost a week’s worth, that were stuck somewhere in the ether. Nearly 400 of them. And here I thought it was quiet just because of the upcoming holiday! Silly me! I’m going through them as fast as I can.

Didn’t sleep well. Up early this morning. Errands, then to the library to get some work done there, then more errands. I’m hoping to get the pain patch for my back, to see if that helps at all.

Got a little bit of writing done (not enough, never enough) and a bit of work on “Confidence Confidant.” I am going to do a big push on it.

IF it stays dry, will try to get some raking done later. Then, in the afternoon, I’m going to take some galleys upstairs, open the door to the room, and give Tessa, Willa, and Charlotte some supervised time together. Willa and Charlotte have re-adjusted to each other, for the most part, so it’s time to get Tessa back into the mix. She needs to assert herself as dominant cat, and she hasn’t been dominant enough yet. We got Willa and Charlotte, after all, to keep TESSA company and be her companions.

Will probably be late at the desk tonight with “Confidence Confidant.”

The weekend will be about raking, working with the cats, working on galleys, and finishing the play and the radio play. Next week, I’m onsite early with the client on Monday and Tuesday, and then it’s all about the holidays.

Of course, I’ll be writing over the holidays.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on November 22, 2019 at 11:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 22, 2019: When Everything Takes Longer Than I’d Like It To Take  
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Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: Schedule Adjustments

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly sunny and cold

Mercury went direct yesterday, thank goodness. So I’m feeling a bit more optimistic, at least for the moment.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on what is, and isn’t, happening in the garden.

Went in to my client’s early, so I could finish off a few things before we took a colleague to lunch for her birthday. We went to The Black Cat, down by the waterfront in Hyannis, and had a lot of fun. The food was good, too.

It was bucketing down with cold rain, the kind that gets into your bones when it hits. Came home, relaxed for awhile, played with the cats.

Then, we did a big vacuum and floor mop. The guy comes to look at putting in a new furnace today, and we have to talk to the landlord about a couple of leaks that sprung in the bathroom and kitchen. I still have some more tidying to do this morning.

Spent some time with Tessa upstairs. She wants to stop being confined to one room. If she’s ready to make friends with Willa and Charlotte, that can happen. Tomorrow, I will spend a couple of hours working in my room, with the door cracked open, and we will see how those supervised introductions/playtimes go.

Started watching the German production of the BRUNETTI series, based on Donna Leon’s novels. It’s very strange to watch German and Scandinavian actors speaking German on a piece set in Italy, where they’re supposed to be Italian. But, overall, it’s very well done, and the Venice locations are fantastic. I will be very disappointed if I do some research on the production and find that some other place is substituting for Venice!

Up early this morning. Worked on the proofread. I’m at the last big push. I hope to get it to my editor today or tomorrow.

Library time, then back to work on the revisions of “Confidence Confidant” that have to go out ASAP, and on “Pier-less Crime.” I hope to get a lot done before the landlord and the furnace guy come to walk around, sigh, shake their heads, and waste my time. Look at it, measure, write it down, make a decision.

But perhaps I’m being unfair, and tomorrow, I will need to post an apology.

I want to spend some time this afternoon working with the cats.

Tomorrow, I have a lot of errands to get done AND writing AND library time AND cat time, and who knows what will come out of today’s meeting — how much do you want to bet they’re going to swap out the furnace next week, at the worst possible time? I’m working long days at a client’s Monday and Tuesday.

I shouldn’t borrow trouble. I should just see what they say and then handle it. After all, it’s better to replace the furnace before it conks out than be stuck without heat in the middle of a blizzard.

And I’m glad they didn’t try to do this during Mercury Retrograde!

Reading the book for the online book club from my alma mater. I’m reading the comments and the posts. There are more men than women in the group, but the men try to dominate the conversations. The book we’re reading is by a man. There’s a choice by a woman for the next go-round that I think would be really good, but the men in the group are pushing for a man’s book because it’s “important.” Um, the woman’s book about family dynamics is also IMPORTANT. Stand down, bro, and if this is the way the club is run, it is the WRONG place for me.

On a positive note, a second jury found Dr. Scott Daniel Warren, of No More Deaths, not guilty yesterday in Arizona. The government prosecuted him (twice now) for leaving water out for immigrants in the desert. Since the government’s current policy is concentration camps and human trafficking when it comes to non-whites, they put Warren on trial TWICE for being a decent, compassionate human being and walking his spiritual path.

Twice, now, juries have found him not guilty. Being a decent human being should NEVER be considered a crime. The whole exercise in justifying cruelty is appalling.

Let’s hope these impeachment hearings actually get some momentum to get these corrupt, self-serving traitors OUT.

So Microsoft Office 365 had a global outage yesterday. Not a surprise. Again, I don’t want my life run by apps, not do I want to be forced on be online all the time. I work and live OFF LINE. I want to CHOSE when to go online to send things out or interact. Stop forcing me, and then charging me, and then it either doesn’t work or you cut me off because you decide I’m not rich enough to get service. The inequity in technology has to be addressed — and solved.

I’m working on my 2020 plan, with room for flexibility, but targets for what I want to do. I like having a plan, even when I have to change it along the way.

One step at a time, one word at a time, one page at a time.

Published in: on November 21, 2019 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 21, 2019: Schedule Adjustments  
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Tues. Nov. 12, 2019: Yes, the Weather is Changing

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not as productive, writing-wise, as I hoped. Mostly because I was exhausted. Hop on to Kemmyrk, for some thoughts about a full moon in Mercury Retrograde.

We got everything in from the deck, except the big round table that overwinters there. The plants that need to overwinter are in the garage; the other pots have had the annuals pulled out and been put away. The furniture was oiled, dried, and put away — some in the basement, some used in the house during the winter. I have a couple more things to put away that are still on the table, and decide when to bring in the chimes.

The landlord is having someone coming to look at the back of the house to see what needs to be fixed. A few boards on the deck need it, but I bet they take the whole thing out. I don’t want to lose the covered part of the deck. It’s wonderful. But who knows what the landlord will decide?

Anyway, all of that took much longer than I hoped, but it’s done. It needed to be done in decent weather. I did a little of the pruning, but I have a lot more to do. Plus, we have all the leaves. So, every dry day, we’ll be doing some raking. It’s supposed to be miserable today, rain switching over to snow.

Ran some errands. Did laundry.

Wrote and sent off the speech I was asked to do. I’m pleased with it. It was carefully structured to fit the event.

Did a lot of work with the cats. They are getting better. Tessa’s spending more time out, but there’s still suspicion between Tessa and the others, especially with Willa, whose the noisiest of the three. Charlotte is settling in the best. Considering she had the most, noisiest tantrums when she came in, that’s interesting. Yesterday morning, we had major progress — all three sitting with me in my office while I wrote. Napping. Peaceful co-existence.

Re-read THE TIE-CUTTER. Every time I look back at it, I love it more. I have to find a way to get back to work on it, when these next deadlines are cleared.

I’m re-reading Donna Leon’s mysteries set in Venice. Re-read DEATH AT LA FENICE. It was excellent. Read a biography of Maggie Smith, which was interesting, but a little too fawning.

Got some ideas for a couple of sequences in GAMBIT COLONY.

Worked on edits. Gave myself a break from THE BARD’S LAMENT.

Did three loads of laundry.

I got fed up on social media (for a lot of reasons). Specifically, there’s an unpublished author working on a piece that’s so long it should be broken up into a series, and she’s telling published authors who earn their living at it how to write. Fuck off, kiddo. Try listening and learning something.

Went in, yesterday, to my client’s, although it was, technically, a holiday. It was not as productive a day as I wanted.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” and the edits, mostly. That’s what I did this morning, too. I hate to break the rhythm I’m building with THE BARD’S LAMENT, but I need to get these two pieces done first. Excellent editing session on Monday morning, though, which set a good tone for the week.

I also need to take a look at the stage plays I’ve written and decided which ones to submit where. I’m thinking of putting together the short Kate Warne play and the short Jeanne de Clisson play with a third play about a strong woman as an evening. Or maybe do another Kate Warne? I was originally going to do three short Kate Warne plays, about three of her cases. Not sure. But I have a stockpile of scripts from the past few years, and they need to go out and earn their keep.

Worked on the GDR questions.

Mostly, I’m exhausted. I need a break. I need a real vacation, where I can rest and restore. Not just a day off here and there, but genuine time off, where I can rest and not worry about money. Which isn’t going to happen any time soon.

 

Published in: on November 12, 2019 at 6:16 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 12, 2019: Yes, the Weather is Changing  
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Fri. Nov. 8, 2019: Cold Weekend for Hot Writing

Friday, November 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

There’s a possibility we’ll get our first snowflakes today. I’m hoping it will be cool and dry the rest of the weekend, so I can work in the yard. In spite of taking 3000 gallons of leaves to the dump yesterday, the yard is full of more leaves.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about SAVASANA AT SEA being a case of writing the book I wanted to read.

Yesterday was busy. After two trips to the dump for leaves and recycling, and a massive grocery shop, we brought in some of the plants to overwinter, and put some of the big pots away. The garden ornaments are cleaned and put away for the winter. We have more plants and pots to put away today, and then I have to oil the teak.

I baked a chocolate chip raspberry cake, prepping the filling for chicken pot pie and for Indian stuffed eggplant. I didn’t hear from my friend until 3:30 that yes, we were still on for tonight, and she hadn’t gotten any of my emails in the past week, asking for information, so I could draft up the piece she needs help with.

Mercury Retrograde strikes again.

She got here, and we worked socializing the cats. All three did really well. Even Tessa came out for a bit. Willa was happy to have a playmate, and Charlotte handled having a stranger around really well.

The dinner went well, we discussed what needs to be done. I’m writing/revising the speech today and will send it off tomorrow. She’s giving it in NYC next week, as part of a fundraising conference.

This morning, I wrote the review for the absolutely delightful book I read, and will send it to my editor this morning, telling her I’m ready for the next one.

Driving from errands to the library on Phinney’s Lane, we were all stopped in our tire tracks as a flock of wild turkeys took their time strolling across the street. It was hilarious.

The bulk of the day will be spent working on the speech, but I had a few errands this morning, work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and edits on another project. I’m hoping to sneak some work in to finish “Pier-less Crime.”

The weekend is about writing, reading, working with the cats, cleaning up the yard, cleaning out some boxes from the basement. I want to finish “Pier-less Crime” and get the opening of the play about Canaletto’s sisters right, along with finishing my edits, and continuing a decent pace on THE BARD’S LAMENT. My goal is only 2 pages a day for it, but I usually write 4-6.

I’d like to get some more of ELLA BY THE BAY typed up — I don’t have much more work to do on that first draft, but I need to see what I’ve got so far so I can wrap it up. Because I blank-paged it instead of plotting it, I’m in a muddle for this last third. The next draft will be a pretty major tear it apart and restructure it.

I’m hoping, by next week, to get back into revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, too.

I also plan to work on the GDR questions for 2020, so I can post them next week.

Onward, one word at a time.

Published in: on November 8, 2019 at 9:47 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 8, 2019: Cold Weekend for Hot Writing  
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Thursday, October 24, 2019: Backwards and Forwards

Thursday, October 24, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was up and down at the client’s. I’m working on the campaign through the end of the year, and prepping the Fall 2020 collection for photographs. We also have an issue with FedEx — they lost over a thousand dollars’ worth of stuff, and don’t want to pay the claim. They have been a nightmare. I’m putting together all the case notes and going to the Vice President in Corporate who was helpful last time we had an issue.

Remote chat was a lot of fun. It always is. I learn a lot.

Came home, worked with the cats. Charlotte is aggressive with both Willa, and especially Tessa, which is not good. She and Tessa were on the road to being friends, so I don’t know why that changed. Tessa is unhappy that Charlotte no longer recognizes her as dominant cat. We’re working on it. It takes time.

When Charlotte has company and plenty to do, she’s fine. I have a feeling, when she got aggressive before, she was shut away and isolated, which makes her frantic and even worse when she gets out. So we’re working on them associating good things when they’re all in a room together.

Charlotte and Willa learned fast that if they want their bedtime snacks at night, they can’t fight or fuss at each other. So they always call a truce for bedtime snacks.

We will get there. But it takes time, work, and patience. Patience I’d never have with humans.

Finished a novel draft yesterday morning, and got to work on the next one in the queue. Yes, they’re contracted, and I’m behind where I need to be.

I have some serious revisions to turn around this weekend, and then it’s off to galleys. Then, I go back to finishing “Pier-less Crime”, working on the Venetian play, and going back into revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

I’m working on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Coventina Circle #5) and I don’t want to lose momentum on that, either, but BALTHAZAAR and DAVY JONES DHARMA have to take priority.

My morning meeting was moved to the afternoon, so I got a chance to post this earlier than I thought, and get some other work done.

After my meeting, I have to clean the house — the new cats’ first encounter with the vacuum, which will not be pretty — and then back to revisions.

I also have a book to review this weekend.

I got one of the rudest responses to an LOI this morning. It was from a company out in Utah that claimed they were willing to work remotely with a writer. I was chastised for not doing “the exercise” (it was an LOI; no exercise involved. Plus, I don’t do unpaid labor); I was chastised for not including samples (the LOI includes links to both my Clippings.me portfolio and to the Clients/Publications page on my website. Plus, hey LOI); they stated “we are not thrilled with your work history.”

Really? You’re “not thrilled” that I have twenty-nine years’ worth of credits as a published writer? Take your lack of thrills, and you know where you can shove them.

I don’t disagree that we are not the right match. I do disagree with the lack of professional courtesy in the response. And the admission that it was an automated response, which means they never even read the LOI.

Now, why would there be an automated response like that to an LOI?

Put them on the “No Way in Hell” list, unless there’s a change of leadership.

Yesterday’s security breach in the Congressional hearings need to have consequences. Instead of shooting unarmed people of color for merely existing, how about law enforcement growing some balls and arresting those old white men (and a couple of women) who put our national security at risk? As in, actually PROTECT us?

It is disgusting that there continue to be no repercussions for continually breaking the law. It’s flaunted. Step up and take down these traitors already.

This country has turned into a sick joke. And those who can stop it lack the courage and the backbone so to do.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 24, 2019 at 9:31 am  Comments Off on Thursday, October 24, 2019: Backwards and Forwards  
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Thurs. Sept. 19, 2019: Focus Back on the Writing

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image courtesy of voltamax via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cool

Hop on over to see the latest on the garden in Gratitude and Growth.

I had terrible nightmares Tuesday night into Wednesday. I dreamed someone was casting fishing line and I got a fishhook in my face.

Good work on ELLA yesterday morning and this morning. GRAVE REACH is going well, too.

Yesterday was a loooong day at my client’s, not just because I had to go in an hour early for a meeting. Part of it was that I had a migraine; another was that I’d had an excellent session directly before on GRAVE REACH, and it was difficult to switch headspaces.

As usual, the Remote Chat was outstanding. Owl Labs has put together a report on remote work. I downloaded it and look forward to reading it.

NIGHTMARE IN PINK, the next Travis McGee, was also frustrating when it comes to the female characters. There’s some gorgeous writing, such as calling cubicle offices “people kennels.” But the women in the books are awful. And McGee self-romanticizes his obsession with sex. He pretends not to objectify the women he screws and leaves, but he does. He justifies it to himself. He can lie to himself; he can lie to them; I’m not buying what he’s selling. I might have when I was twenty. But I know better now.

I listened to the radio broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” that was done in Florida last spring. It went well. In spite of the gaffe made by one of the actors, who was so charming he took the audience along with him and they applauded when he recovered, overall, it went well. So I damn well better get “Pier-less Crime” polished and out to them.

I have a commitment tomorrow, so I may not blog here. But you can hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk about creating the passenger ensemble for Savasana at Sea. Another Upbeat Authors post will be up on Monday, which is the Equinox. Then we’ll really notice how early it gets dark.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on September 19, 2019 at 9:27 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 19, 2019: Focus Back on the Writing  
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Fri. Sept. 13, 2019: A Pretty Day

Friday, September 13, 2019
Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and lovely

Today is a lovely autumn day, and I’m trying to get myself steady.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about how I built Sophie’s shipboard friends and foes.

Yesterday, I got a lot of work done on LOIs, posts, and I’m working on a free promotional download packet of my series. The formatting is a bit of a slog, but it matters. When I pick up a book, be it print or ebook, and the formatting is amateur hour, I cross the author off my list.

Got some work done on ELLA. The work is slow, but steady. This first draft is kind of a mess because I’m blank paging instead of using an outline, but I’m learning a lot. I think I’m going to outline the next two books in the trilogy. It’s easier to have at least a loose idea of where I’m going.

Didn’t get enough work done on GRAVE REACH or “Pier-less Crime” but I hope to fix that today.

I did some more research and am working out the plot of the play on Canaletto’s sisters. I still need a good title. But the characters are coming together, and I have at least one of the conflicts, with two of the smaller conflicts figured out. So that’s a help. I may have to cut some characters.

I cancelled this morning’s phone meeting. The deeper I dug into their work and values, the more uncomfortable I was with how they work. I have other opportunities that are more suited to the way I work.

I have a lot to do this weekend, writing and review-wise, but I’m actually looking forward to it.

We are still grieving Lucy’s loss, though, and will for a long, long time.

Published in: on September 13, 2019 at 8:54 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 13, 2019: A Pretty Day  
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Thurs. Sept. 12, 2019: Trying to Get Back on Track

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Monsoon-like rains

Sorry this is late, but the weather’s thrown a monkey wrench into things this morning. Tomorrow’s post will be late, too, because I have a morning meeting.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, for the latest on the garden. And if you didn’t see Monday’s post about Flexibility on the GDR site, it’s here. I’m working on the questions for 2020, and they will be posted soon.

It’s been a tough week. We miss Lucy terribly. Tessa steps up, trying to take care of everyone in the household, but she misses Lucy, too.

One of my clients was at a luncheon with the head of Bide-A-Wee, where I adopted several of my cats when I lived in NYC. She got us in touch, and Leslie looks forward to helping me find the next member of our feline family when we’re ready. It means going to NY, but I’m established with Bide-A-Wee, and they don’t automatically mark every cat as “must be only pet” as they do here.

We are, of course, open to a cat coming to us from another source, but it’s nice to know we have options.

The writing has been a struggle. I’m close to the end of this draft of GRAVE REACH and am pushing through. I’m working slowly but steadily on ELLA BY THE BAY. I’m working slowly and not quite as steadily on “Pier-less Crime”. I’ve also been playing with another idea that’s pulled at me and pulled at me.

I have a meeting early tomorrow morning. I like what I know of the company, but wasn’t thrilled with the interactions with the person I’ll be talking to tomorrow. We’ll see. I’m getting jaded. Most of these appointments are a complete waste of time. They’re about putting quotas into the statistics column, not actually finding the right person for an assignment or a marketing campaign. It’s a waste of time.

I’m getting more and more frustrated with A2 hosting. Now, when I have a question, I have to jump through multiple levels of “security” that has nothing to do with actual security and everything to do with asking me questions that are none of their damn business. Not to mention not actually reading my questions and answering them. Or providing any actual security against spam or anything else. Any random hacker can do whatever they want to my sites. But me? The owner who actually pays for them? Not so much.

A social media contact sent me the link to an article about how A2 has had security breaches since May of this year and isn’t fixing them. Yeah, that’s about when the problems started.

So I’m back to interviewing hosts again. I like what I see and hear so far with Site Ground. I want to have a more detailed conversation with them and maybe move everything over in a few months.

Working on LOIs and some more article pitches. Just so, so weary and sad.

But the Fearless Ink Twitter account I started to keep the business writing part of my social media life separate from everything else is working out well. And the Remote Chat yesterday was tons of fun, as usual. I feel very lucky with these colleagues.

Yesterday, September 11, was difficult, as it is every year. What was especially sickening was that the Narcissistic Sociopath tried to make it all about him, and those damn GOP hypocrites, talking about honor and remembrance, when just a few weeks ago, they tried to deny health care to those who came in and worked on the pile. I hope they all burn in hell for eternity.

I’m nearly finished reading Nancy Martin’s Blackbird Sisters mysteries. They are a lot of fun. I like her writing. It has a lot of energy, warmth, and humor in it. Plus, she’s a good plotter. It’s also fun to read books set in an area I know — Philadelphia and Bucks County.

I made chocolate chip cookies last night just because. Sometimes, you just need a chocolate chip cookie.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 12, 2019 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 12, 2019: Trying to Get Back on Track  
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Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap

Friday, September 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

For some reason, yesterday seems far away.

Got some work done at the library in the morning, including sending out a bunch of LOIs. Did the big grocery shop before the incoming storm. Couldn’t find everything I wanted. How could the store be out of flour? So I guess I’m not baking this weekend, once the storm passes, unless I go shopping again.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the blog under the Ava Dunne name, where I talk about how I’m building the ensemble for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries. This week’s post talks about how I developed Sophie’s friends on land: her housemates Fawn and Bianca, her friend Freddie the painter, her family, the supporting characters that help set up and support certain aspects of her character.

Participated in the Freelance Chat on Twitter yesterday, which was a ton of fun.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” in the afternoon. It’s going more slowly than I’d like, but okay. Crafted a pitch for a magazine for which I’ve wanted to write for years, and I finally came up with something I think is suited to them. That goes out today.

Meeting this morning, which I was not looking forward to (and why this post is going up late).

I’ve set up a separate Twitter account for Fearless Ink. I still will talk about anything on the @DevonEllington account, but @ink_fearless will be focused just on business writing and freelancing. I hope you will follow me on both.

Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. But, because I’m blank paging most of it instead of following a detailed outline, this last third of the book is a mess and difficult to sort out. I feel like I have to type up everything I’ve written so far, so that I can effectively write the last third. This process has been fun and I’ve learned a lot; however, it reminds me why I prefer to work from detailed outlines.

The plan this afternoon and for most of the weekend is to work on GRAVE REACH and finish “Pier-less Crime.” I need both to go out next week. I also have to revise the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, so it’s in good enough shape to be part of the back matter for GRAVE REACH.

There are personal stresses with which I’m dealing with and can’t yet discuss. They are wearing on me, and I hit patches in the day where I feel like I am flat out of coping skills.

Of course, in times of stress, I always want to work on GAMBIT COLONY, because it soothes me. But I can’t do that during this deadline period. I need to focus on what’s on deadline.

But all I can do is the best I can do. And I have to get back to the page.

Have a great weekend. Monday’s post will be a full one, about challenging yourself, for Upbeat Authors.

 

Published in: on September 6, 2019 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap  
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