Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

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

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

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Tues. Nov. 7, 2017: Settling into a New Schedule

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for pre-release orders. Releases on Nov. 15, 2017.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise. The prolific Rhonda Pollero is my guest this week, with her newest release, Trapped.

I broke a toe Thursday night. Not a big deal, just painful and distracting, and about the 6th time I’ve broken this poor toe. Not fun.

Busy weekend.

Spent a few hour with a client on Friday morning, then dashed off to another meeting and did errands. Worked on the book I have to review next — will send that off today.

Also did a dump run first thing Friday, and then scrubbed out our garbage bins.

Didn’t get much work done on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. Got some done on Saturday — it’s interesting how differently Doug sees many of the same situations as Willow does. The contrast is interesting, and fun to play with. He’s very much himself, and not a stereotype, which makes him more interesting.

We treated ourselves to fish and chips for dinner. We so rarely eat fried food. Worth every bite.

Watched LOCH NESS (first series) over the weekend. Loved the production values, the writing, the actors — until the ending. The ending didn’t quite satisfy me. But, overall, I liked it. If they do another season, I’d watch it.

Saturday, I did some work in the morning, including some yard work (not that one can tell — there’s far more to do), scrubbed the house from top to bottom.

Then, I went Over the Bridge — a big deal for most people on Cape — because Edible Landscapes Cape Cod did a workshop at the Wildlands Trust in Plymouth.

Wildlands Trust isn’t far from where we did the Mermaid Ball for a couple of years. I’d never been there before — it’s beautiful. There was also someone there from Terra Cura, who’d written an article in Edible South Shore. She talks about creating an Herbal Spiral — something I’d like to try in the spring.

The workshop was in two parts — Medicinal Herbs by Marina, and then Seed Saving by Dave. Marina talked about infusions, tinctures, salves, oils, etc. I’ve always struggled with tinctures, but she presented the information in such a way that it suddenly made sense to me. She also talked about local plants considered weeds (certainly by my neighbors) such as dandelion, burdock, red clover, stinging nettle, and their uses. Then, Dave talked us through seed saving, and taught us how to winnow — a way to use wind to separate the seed from whatever’s protecting it. It was pretty cool.

I bought rue seeds and lobelia seeds for next season, and, from the winnowing, got some scarlet runner beans, anise hyssop, and shiso seeds. Can’t wait! Also learned how to store the cherry seeds I saved, and why the squash kept making blossoms and going no further (other than the fact some critter really liked to snack on the blossoms).

All in all, a great few hours spent in a beautiful location.

Home, wrote up some notes, got some writing done.

My mom is having a hard time with the post-op care. We have to constantly change the dressings (which is painful — no matter what type of tape we use, it hurts her). She can’t lift or bend, which means she can’t do even the most basic tasks, like feeding the cats. An independent person, it’s difficult for her. She gets out her stitches on Thursday, but there are still about six weeks of post-op care after that — hopefully less painful and complicated.

Sunday was all about grocery shopping. I made an Indonesian Rice Salad for lunch at the on-site client’s this week (Moosewood recipe), chocolate mousse (because one doesn’t need a reason to have chocolate).

Finished the book I have to review. Did research on San Simeon for this next, complex section of THE FIX IT GIR. Started one final pass on the proofs for SAVASANA AT SEA, which drops on the 15th.

Up early Monday. Wrote a few blog posts for clients. Site work with one client for the bulk of the day, then a couple of virtual meetings with other clients. Finished the review, which will go out today. Also trying to figure out the problem signing into PR Log, so I can get out the press release for SAVASANA.

Other than client work, the focus this week is on making sure there are no copyediting errors in SAVASANA, whipping into shape the next section of FIX IT GIRL, and starting the Lavinia Fontana play.

Plus, pre-release promotion for SAVASANA, and continuing promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES.

We decided FIX-IT GIRL won’t go out on submission until January. It’s too close to the holidays to dump anything on an agent’s desk, and I have a policy of not submitting between December 15 & January 15. First queries should go out around the 15th of January, which gives everyone a week or so to settle back in after the holidays.

Also, with TRACKING MEDUSA re-releasing on January 13, I have my hands full.

The deadline for the Lavinia play remains the end of December. It’s mostly shaped in my head; at this point, it’s more getting it down on paper, which means large swaths of uninterrupted work time. I will have to carve some out later this week.

I’ve also got to spend some time on “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which needs to drop by the end of the month. And I need to draft the flash fiction holiday piece I want to put into the newsletter that will go out in December.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing!

Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for advance purchase.

Friday, November 3, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and mild

I managed to get 1K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN yesterday morning.

I also updated 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the Nano cheerleading workbook. I tried to upload it to the Devon Ellington site, but Microsoft won’t let it then download when someone tries to click on it, calling it a “double escape” and citing “security” issues. Which is, of course, complete and utter crap. So it’s available on 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd. It is free — I hope it helps encourage those who are doing Nano.

Got some other work done as well, and then had yoga, which was bliss. I hadn’t realized how tight everything had gotten over these past two weeks. I also signed up for a crystal sound bowl meditation class on November 12 with the same teacher.

Took down the Samhain decorations, which included switching out the curtains from the black lace spiderweb curtains to the winter velour curtains.

My poor mother has another week of complicated dressing changes to go through before she gets her stitches out.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot — blood everywhere, but I can’t find a cut. However, the toe in question is badly bruised and it’s difficult to put weight on it. Fun and games all around.

Today, I have work to do early on at one site, then three hours on site with a client, then possibly back to the first site.

My article on “Conference Follow-Up” is live at Authors Publish. I also have to prepare the clip and send it to those who allowed me to quote them in the article.

I have more client work to do this afternoon, plus finish a book for review (I want to get it out tomorrow). I have to set a couple of posts up on various blogs, and type up some material for a client.

In addition, I have to do one more pass on SAVASANA and get some other writing of my own done.

There’s a full moon meditation up on Cerridwen’s Cottage in honor of the full moon, and tomorrow, a new post will go up on Kemmyrk, that ties in.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Plymouth to support one of my clients who has a speaking engagement, and I also have to get in a lot of writing. If the weather cooperates, some yard work has to happen, too.
Never a dull moment, but that’s the way I like it.

Don’t forget! SAVASANA AT SEA is available for pre-release orders and PLAYING THE ANGLES is available for purchase.

Have a great weekend. I won’t be able to post on Monday — a post will go live on Tuesday, talking about the weekend and Monday.

Playing the Angles available now.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Published in: on November 3, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules  
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Fri. Oct. 27, 2017: Post-Op, CVS & Instafreebie Fail

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for pre-order here.

Friday, October 27, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday day was a tough day all around. If it nearly wiped me out, I can only imagine how hard it was for my mom, who is in her nineties.

Dropped her off early for the surgery. Went to the library to get some work done, such as updating the buy links on the websites, et al. SAVASANA AT SEA is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Put together some materials for a client and sent it off, in preparation for Monday’s meeting.

Went home to wait for the call that I could pick up my mom from surgery. For some reason, they couldn’t get through, and wound up contacting the landlord, who managed to get hold of me. So much for the new damn phone. Seriously, as soon as I can afford it, I’m sucking it up and buying an iPhone. They seem to be the only phones that work.

I was told she’d be ready to come home by 2. I went back early, hoping I could spring her earlier. No such luck. They’d had to do additional surgery on the foot in order to get out all the cancerous cells. Which meant she had to go back in for a skin graft to patch up the foot. It was frightening and painful. Plus, she wasn’t hungry and had refused to each lunch, which meant she nearly passed out during the graft surgery.

Let me emphasize that the surgeon and her staff were great throughout. They made it as comfortable as possible. It’s just that it was a complicated and unpleasant procedure.

I finally got her in the car by about 3:30. The surgeon gave us a long list of post-op care for the next two weeks, and her office called in an antibiotic prescription to the pharmacy. She wanted me to get it immediately, so my mom could start taking it right away.

I get to the pharmacy, and they have no interest in filling the prescription. First, they denied getting the call. When I said I was standing next to the person who called (I was), she strolled across the floor, picked it up, put it back, shrugged, and said, “Yeah, we’ll get to it. Come back in an hour or so. We’re busy right now.”

Busy. Supposedly serving customers. Six customers, four people behind the desk and you’re too “busy” to fill the prescription.

I asked how much it would be. She refused to tell me. I asked to give an estimate. She refused. She said I should call in about an hour to see if they’d filled it and maybe they’d tell me the price then.

Now, every other pharmacy in the world I’ve dealt with, when you arrive with a prescription that’s been called in will ask if you want to wait and gives an estimate of the waiting time, and can tell you the range of the drug price.

But, you see, at CVS in Centerville, the customer is an inconvenience.

Had I said I would wait for it, ahe would have intentionally NOT filled it for at least an hour, probably longer.

I came home (because I couldn’t do any of the other errands until I knew how much this prescription was going to cost). I contacted the regional manager, who’d helped us a few months ago, when the pharmacy overcharged for the shingles shot that was supposed to be free (after refusing to give the shot six times), and dragged their feet/argued on other prescriptions. He said if there was ever a problem with them, I should get in touch. I did. I also told him we were getting the same runaround with the pneumonia shot. He took care of it.

I went back in an hour. They had the prescription put aside. I could tell they were FURIOUS that I’d complained and they’d been called out by the head office. Well, if they’d done their job in the first place, I wouldn’t have.

When we moved here, they were so nice, helpful, nothing was ever a problem. For the past two years or so, every prescription pick up or anything else is a major fight. They always act like serving a customer is beneath them and maybe they’ll deign to do it if they happen to feel like it. They’re required to ask if there are any questions for the pharmacist, but the answer is ALWAYS, “I don’t know.” Nor are they willing to find out.

I’m wondering if any of them actually went to school for pharmacy — all they do is stare like zombies at screens and fill bottles. When they can be bothered.

I’ve never had this poor attitude in any pharmacy, no matter where I’ve lived. And it’s not the fault of the insurance companies or the doctors, no matter how the right will howl about it. It’s this particular pharmacy can’t be bothered. They need new management and new staff.

I’m looking into moving the prescriptions elsewhere. It will be inconvenient, but dealing with a pharmacy that offers basic customer service — like actually filling a prescription or answering a question –might be worth it.

So, I finally had the antibiotic and could run the other necessary errands, and then get back and make sure my mom ate (because the antibiotic has to be taken on a full stomach) and do everything else that needed to be done post-op.

I was going to cheer myself up by taking advantage of an Instafreebie offer that an acquaintance was involved with. First of all, I saw this several days ago, and “claimed” my books. It took three days for them to show up in my email. Then, after 45 minutes of hoopjumping and having to sign in and “send” or “forward” files between multiple email addresses to get it to my Kindle – nothing. So I contacted Instafreebie – well, I have to download a specific program to a computer in order to get the book then sent to the Kindle. Um, no. I told them I needed to be able to open my email on my Kindle and pick it up on said Kindle, the way I do with any other book sent to me. I basically got a big fuck you from them, so fuck them.

I’m sure some will argue, well it’s free, so why complain because you have to do some work? Sorry, I’d rather pay for the book and actually be able to GET IT, then be promised the book free, waste more than an hour of BILLABLE TIME (so now it’s costing me money) for a “free” book I can’t access anyway. And then be told I have to download this program and that program to a desktop computer and THEN connect it with the Kindle in order to get the book. NO. And THEN be automatically signed up for authors’ email lists when I don’t even know if I like their work or want to keep in touch.

Again, I’d rather pay for the book.

My process with free deals is that I use them to try out new-to-me authors. If I like them, then I start buying their books. Unlike many people, who only read someone if they’re free. I believe in supporting living authors, and I buy as many of their books each month as my budget allows.

Also, as I’m trying out as a customer for various services, it gives me an idea of how they work. BookFunnel and Instafreebie have both been nightmares for me, on multiple occasions. Going forward, I will ignore their promos. It also means I won’t sign up for them as an author. I’m all for promos and giveaways and stuff, but I need to be convinced that if I use one of these “services”, interested readers can actually get what’s promised to them. Not happening with either BookFunnel or Instafreebie.

So they are crossed off my list of organizations with whom I want to do business as either a reader or an author.

Started watched season three of BROADCHURCH last night. Riveting. Just love David Tennant and Olivia Coleman.

My mom had a bad night. She’s in pain. Which means, she is at the stage where most people would be taking morphine and she’s taking liquid Tylenol. No, she wasn’t even offered painkillers after the surgery. Just Tylenol. Which is fine, because she doesn’t like painkillers and wouldn’t have taken them for more than a day or so. But when you think how many people take a narcotic the second they get a hangnail and she’s not even offered a painkiller after cancer surgery — something is wrong with the system.

I have to get a review out today, and do a few other things, but, mostly I want to stay close to home.

I’m STILL waiting for that freelance check. Yet, the client I worked with on Wednesday has already paid me. Unprofessional, meet professional.

I won’t get to post until sometime on Tuesday. Monday, I have client meetings all day.

Hope you have a great weekend. My mom’s birthday is on Sunday; I hope she’s feeling up to at least a small celebration.

I hope I can get some writing done.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Tues. Oct. 24, 2017: Strange Skies & Pre-Op

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles buy links here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was basically a waste of food yesterday. I got a few things done, but it was difficult to focus. Had a bad case of both the blahs and the worries. Again, waiting for a payment from a particular publication that arrives later and later each month does not help. Hopefully, I can wind things up with them by the end of the year and be done.

I have an article about building momentum up over on Writers Weekly that’s gotten some good buzz, and readers are still discovering and enjoying the “Tracking Your Banged Bucks” article over on WOW-Women on Writing. I’m glad my experience can give others some fresh ideas.

PLAYING THE ANGLES also got a 5-star review on Amazon, which is a great start.

Yesterday, I got some work done on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN (in a tricky bit here). I worked on notes for the next review I have to write; it’s tricky, because the book pretends to be one thing when it’s really another, and I have to find a good way to express it. Did some research on material I’m gathering for a client for next Monday’s meeting.

Got back a request for edits from the editor to whom I’m trying to adjust (just happens to be the same publication where the payment lags. Gee, what a surprise. Not). I will turn those around today.

I also did some promotion work for PLAYING THE ANGLES.

SAVASANA AT SEA is now up for pre-order (Barnes & Noble and Google Play as of this morning). I still want to do one more proofreading pass before it releases, but I have to get the press out on that, too — probably at the end of this week.

Got the outdoor decorating done for the upcoming holiday. It’s kind of cute. I posted some photos to Facebook and Twitter.

This morning’s sunrise was amazing and eerie. I’ve never seen those shades of orange in a morning sky, and the atmosphere was a grey-green. Very odd. Wonderful, but odd.

Tomorrow, I won’t get to post on this blog — I’m with a new client most of the day, and we’re going to map out how we’re going to work together for the next few months.

Today is my mother’s last pre-op appointment and Thursday is the surgery. I hope to post while she’s there, and Friday should be a regular, late-morning post. Monday, then I won’t get to post at all — with one client most of the day and immediately into another meeting. So, after the weekend, it will be late in the day posting for Tuesday.

Posting times will be wonky for the next few weeks, until I get the schedule smoothed out. My apologies, but it’s all part of the upcoming transitions.

I see the next months as having three planned-for transitions. One is now, one will be in either March or April, with a major one next summer/late fall. Those are the planned ones — who knows how many unplanned will happen during that time? Many things happen during the course of a year!

In any case, off to get things done and then back to the page, and to prep for tomorrow. I’ve got a beef stew cooking in the crockpot, and I have to make a couscous salad, so I have something to bring with me for lunch.

Onward.

 

Published in: on October 24, 2017 at 10:04 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 24, 2017: Strange Skies & Pre-Op  
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Mon. Oct. 23, 2017: Preparations for a Stressful Week

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles digital buy links

Monday, October 23, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was wiped out by Friday afternoon. I read a good deal, and did some work on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. Did some work for one of my clients, and solidified our next meeting. Also worked on the next book for review, and picked up my next assignment.

It was even nice enough to sit outside for awhile.

Saturday wound up being a hearth-and-home day. Five loads of laundry, scrubbed the house from top to bottom, changed the beds, etc. I mean, I change the sheets on the beds regularly, but it always seems like something worth celebrating!

Read a bit — two books by John Scalzi, FUZZY NATION and THE GOD ENGINES. Loved the first one. The second one was exceptionally well-written and made me think, but to say I “enjoyed” it is a stretch. Definitely “appreciated” it, but not sure I “enjoyed” it.

Sunday, finished the book I have to review. Will write up the review later today and send it off tomorrow. If the book was meant as a satire, it fell short.

Wrote nearly 3K on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN yesterday.

Did another proofread of SAVASANA galleys. Found a couple of typos, and decided I had to change a date in the opening chapter of DAVY JONES DHARMA for it all to make more sense.

I considered moving the “Cast of Characters” to the back of the tale, but a survey on Facebook suggested that most readers prefer the front, so it stays in the front.

In spite of my sense that participating in Nano this year is the wrong choice, there’s a part of me that wonders if that’s a good way to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track. I only need another 44K on it. But with the release of SAVASANA and “Miss Wintston Apologizes” and the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA and finishing FIX IT GIRL and writing the Lavinia Fontana play and my two new clients, it feels like taking on too much.

Nano sings a siren song like the Lorelei.

(If you don’t know who Lorelei is, on the Rhine River, look it up).

Slow start today; I’m having trouble getting my act together. Did a grocery run this morning and forgot a couple of major things, so I guess I’ll be doing another run later on.

This is the week of my mother’s surgery, with her final pre-op appointment tomorrow, client meetings this week, and the surgery itself on Thursday. I’m trying to prepare myself both mentally and physically.

Hope you had a lovely weekend, and that it’s a good week for you.

 

Fri. Oct. 20, 2017: Glad A Tough Week Comes to a Close

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles

Friday, October 20, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday morning was stressful; dealing with the Best Buy fiasco, trying to get back on track with the work.

I desperately needed the noon yoga class. It was great — the teacher is wonderful. A fellow Hob-Nobber was there, and I had a great conversation with another woman who also absolutely loved the class. I hope I can go to the teacher’s crystal sound meditation session in November.

Came home and worked on the next book for review. Mixed feelings about it.

A new editor and I are going through an adjustment process. We’ll see if we can make it work. I may depart in the next few months.

Dragging in the reading of a book I wanted to read for pleasure. Only, sadly, it’s not a pleasure. I don’t respect a protagonist who doesn’t pass on information or take action because she’s “tired” or “hungry”, and then someone dies, or evidence is destroyed. That means the protag is directly responsible for the death (not that those protags ever have a prick of conscience). In my universe, I’d want her karma to even it out by her being the next victim, because she’s too much of a fucking moron for me to respect her as a protagonist. I see more and more of this lamentable excuse to create inorganic plot complications in a way that makes me loathe the protagonist.

I might just skip to the end to see if I’m right about the murderer (I usually am), and then call it a day with this author.

I picked the book because I was interested in the location. That part is rendered pretty well; too bad the rest of the book is so annoying.

I contacted the “staffing service” that I felt pulled a bait-and-switch on me a few weeks ago, getting me in under false pretext, making me fill out all that paperwork, talking about the job in financial terms that were nearly 1K/week less than the listing, and promising to set up a meeting for said job — and I never heard from them again. I decided to behave the way I believe is professional, which was to contact them and tell them that, since I had never heard about the actual meeting set up or anything else, I assumed I was no longer in the running for that “job”, and that my situation had changed. My availability has changed, and I’m only available for freelance or short-term clients that required little on-site time, and it is a X rate. I received a somewhat polite response, thanking me and telling me that, in 25 years of doing HR, this was the only client she ever had looking for a writer! Hmm, and how does she think all those materials are created that those businesses she deals with use? I was right; they are a bait-and-switch, typical Cape Cod scam. Try to get in qualified people, then convince them to work shit jobs at even worse shit rates. Next!

Need to get back on track, writing-wise this weekend. I’m way too far behind on several projects.

Hopefully, I can also nail down the new design for A Biblio Paradise. I’m sure I’m making far too big a deal out of it. Just make a decision and do it, for goodness sake!

It’s supposed to be a nice weekend, so I can put up the outdoor decorations, and also do some more yard work. I swear there are a pair of squirrels sitting in one particular tree practicing their throws by aiming acorns at my head!

Gathering some material for an upcoming meeting with one client (a week from Monday, but I want to send the material ahead of time), and next week, I start with another new client, who will be a regular several-days-a-week writing and marketing gig for the next few months.

Working on replacing the gig I’ve been so unhappy with the past few months with something that works better for both of us, so I can ease out of that one.

Getting out some pitches for a few more one-offs to fill in here and there and round out the roster.

While doing all this, I have to keep promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, keep the release of SAVASANA on track, finish the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA and get that to my editor, and get the digital shorts back on track. I’ve got “Miss Winston Apologizes” coming up, and I have to get the release of “Labor Intensive” done.

Heap on top of that finishing the last few chapters of THE FIX-IT GIRL and getting it out on submission, writing the Lavinia Fontana play, and getting the manuscripts that were derailed back on track.

Not to mention finish THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so that can go to the editor after the holidays.

Deadline pressure much?

Somehow, it will all get done.

The focus of both my physical and emotional energy next week will be my mother’s surgery. I posted on Facebook yesterday how I couldn’t believe how many so-called “well-meaning” people said things like “well, she’s old, you can’t expect her to survive the surgery.” Excuse me? Not helpful. Not comforting. It’s not being “honest”, it’s being cruel.

May YOUR weekend be filled with kindness.

Thurs. Oct. 19, 2017: Best Buy’s Third Strike — Detailed

Thursday, October 19, 2017
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday ran the gamut.

The morning sucked. My phone had pinged at me all night, and then, when I actually needed to check it in the morning — black screen of death.

The damn thing is four months old.

I don’t drop it or throw it. I don’t get it wet.

I went back to Best Buy, where I’d bought it, and where the woman who sold it to me had been so helpful. She was there, but her (male, white, condescending) manager “helped” me instead.

Help. Yeah, right.

He told me it was the operating system, and there was nothing they could do. I could either send it back under warranty and be without a phone for the WEEKS it would take, or I could buy another phone, only that one would be double what I paid for this one, plus an SD card for storage, which was double again. Oh, and I shouldn’t expect the phone to work for more than six months, and “you get what you pay for.” Then, he DARED me to find a better deal.

This was Best Buy’s third strike. This is the third phone in three years I’ve bought from them that’s lasted a year or less.

Actual customer service would have been to walk ten feet to the rack with these phones, swap it out, and send the defective phone in to the manufacturer, who would replace it with a fresh phone and balance out the inventory.

Customer service is working within the customer’s budget, not humiliating them because they ARE on a budget. Customer service is making things right, not smirking and saying that you don’t deserve a working device because you can’t afford the more expensive ones.

Also, if these phones have such a limited time span, it needs to be clearly marked ON THE BOX, and it needs to be made clear upon the sale. Anything less is fraud. Or, better yet, don’t sell the product, and leave it for the gas stations that sell burner phones.

Let me also point out that the other customer in the store with me got her phone replaced after she admitted it was broken because she threw it against the wall, and her service had been disconnected for non-payment. They just swapped it out and re-established her service.

I walked out.

I was practically in tears by then.

I was just going to leave and, I don’t know what. But then I figured, hell, my carrier is AT&T, I’ll go talk to them. So I walked a few hundred feet in the mall (I hate malls), to AT&T. I figured I’d look, price, clear my head.

The guy at AT&T was also male, young, African American, and not at all condescending. Great sense of humor, listened to me, responded to what I had to say, didn’t make me feel like I was less deserving of service because I wasn’t rich. I explained the situation and apologized for being so upset. He understood, and the first phone he picked up to show me was not only the next generation up from my phone, but was less expensive than the one that died. The SD card was less than half of what Best Buy had quoted me for the exact same size and make card.

I explained about being a freelancer on a budget. He said he totally understood, and he set me up WITHIN MY BUDGET (which was stretched tight anyway, since I hadn’t counted on having to shell out for yet another damn phone this month, with my mom’s medical costs and all). I told him as soon as I could afford it, I was going to suck it up and get an iPhone. He told me there are iPhones on my current plan, and the price is less than half of what I expected or I’d been quoted elsewhere. And it’s not just a deal for the week — I can come back in two, three months when I’ve got the cash put aside, and he’ll get me set up.

He couldn’t pull my information from one phone to the other because the phone wouldn’t turn on, but, other than about four photographs, I have everything else WRITTEN DOWN. It’ll take me awhile to put in my contacts again, but I’ll deal. I might even be able to transfer them from two phones back.

He gave me the information for the warranty — because I’m damn well going to demand satisfaction on a phone that died after four months.

I had contacted Best Buy and tweeted them before I left for the store. I got a response to the tweet stating they hoped everything was resolved. When I tweeted back that it wasn’t, with some of the details . . .no response. Not surprising at all.

Their nickname is “Worst Buy” for a reason. I have friends who work in management with them in Michigan who have high standards, and I doubt, had they been in charge of this store, I would have faced the same bad experience. But they are where they are, and I am where I am, so, sadly, buh-bye Best Buy for me.

I’m learning the new phone, and I don’t entirely trust it, but at least I have a working phone. Yes, I had to cough up some cash, but it was half of what Best Buy intended to part me from, and the guy at AT&T both gave me customer service and didn’t try to shame me into spending more than I could afford. It still puts me in a bad position for the rest of the month, with my mom’s surgery coming up, but I’ll deal.

So that was my morning. You better believe Best Buy corporate, AT&T corporate, and the consumer protection agencies (including AG Maura Healey) are going to hear about this. In addition to me not ever setting foot or spending another dime at Best Buy again (and yes, when I make these claims, I follow through).

I went home to calm down a bit, and then headed out for a meeting with a potential client. We hit it off, both as people, and because I like and respect what she does. She hired me on the spot, and we start working together next week.

So that was on the plus side.

I got very little writing or promotion or anything else done yesterday, since the time put aside for that was eaten by dealing with dolts.

Today is a lovely day. I’ve got some work to do at the library, and then yoga, and then, this afternoon, both writing and starting the next book for review. I’m putting together some information for another client, doing more promo on ANGLES. This weekend, I have to do another proofreading pass at SAVASANA, so it can go into pre-order, and next week, the media kit needs to be finished and the initial press releases go out.

I’d also like the redesign for BIBLIO PARADISE to happen today, if I can pull it off. I need to upload some author spotlights and schedule them for release.

While I’m both physically and emotionally exhausted, I’m excited to work with these new clients, and looking forward to settling in with my own writing. Next week will be difficult, with my mom’s pre-op appointment and then surgery; but we will get through it.

Enjoy the day!

Mon. Oct. 16, 2017: Stressful Weekend, but Good Writing

Monday, October 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Late posting today, due to more medical appointments for my mom.

I’m so angry at the insurance company. After telling me everything was fine, they contact me late on Friday afternoon with an encrypted message I can’t open — so I don’t know if there’s a problem. And they refuse to send it in a way I can access and read it, and refuse to give me the information that’s in it. So I don’t know if we’re on track or there’s a problem. That is not “customer service.” That is unethical, inhumane crap. And, because it was Friday, after a certain point, they simply ignored my contact.

In spite of all that chaos, I did another proofread of SAVASANA AT SEA. Caught another set of errors. I’m convinced the copy editor and I fixed some of them last go-round, but they didn’t save. So, in they go again. I got in the fixes on Saturday, and am sending this draft off today. Let’s see what we find this go-round. I need to get it up for pre-order and get the media kit finished.

I polished and sent off my article; I was paid by the end of the weekend.

I also did a couple of interviews connected to PLAYING THE ANGLES. Will let you know, as soon as the links go live. Every copy sold, every review that appears, makes a big difference.

The weather was vile on Saturday. I wrote 2700 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. It’s taking some interesting twists and turns. It might decide to wind up in a different direction than I planned. Or maybe it will circle back to the original ending after some tangents. I’m letting this draft lead me, instead of the other way around.

I spent most of the afternoon immersed in books on Renaissance artists, as background for the Lavinia Fontana play. The book on TITIAN’S WOMEN also gave me material I will wind up using in THE MARRIAGE GARDEN.

I also baked my favorite chocolate walnut butter bread — yum, yum! And, for dinner, it was maple-coriander-marinated pork chops, that had marinated overnight. Pretty darned good, too.

Sunday, more work on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I couldn’t seem to stop work on it. By the end of the weekend, I’d written nearly 10K.

Worked on new material for A Biblio Paradise, which will go up shortly, and the mid-month check in for the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

Finished the book for review, and it was excellent. Best I’ve read for this particular publication since I’ve worked for them. Wrote and polished the review this morning; it will go off today, and then I start reading the next book in the queue.

Read REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi. Definitely a “ha-ha-ow” book, that makes you think and rethink multiple realities and their consequences, especially if you’re a writer.

I have a couple of meetings in the mornings during these next few days, so, chances are, I will post late.

Here’s hoping my copy editor and I finally caught ALL the typos in SAVASANA!

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on October 16, 2017 at 11:57 am  Comments Off on Mon. Oct. 16, 2017: Stressful Weekend, but Good Writing  
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Fri. Oct. 13, 2017: Lucky Friday & Trying to Make Sense of Things

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Playing the Angles available now!

Friday, October 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I love Friday the 13th!

Yesterday was difficult, but ultimately worked out. I realize yesterday’s blog was focused on the feigned outrage in the entertainment industry rather than on the writing life, but it affects my writing life, and affected my work life for decades.

Difficult few days; not happy with the writing progress. Plenty of pitching. Frustrated at the usual lack of professionalism here in this area.

Absolutely horrified by the wildfires in California. I spent a great deal of time in Santa Rosa and Calistoga and Sonoma when I lived in San Francisco. How can we help? Not just with the physical rebuilding, but how can we help the trauma of those who’ve lost everything? For the lives, both human and animal, that are being consumed?

And what’s this about giving Puerto Rico “loans” to rebuild while awarding “grants” to Florida and Texas? Oh, yeah, Puerto Rico isn’t white. I’m tired of this racist government.

The world is falling apart, and those in DC just laugh and grift more to line their own pockets. It’s disgusting.

Sold an article yesterday on the basis of its pitch. Wrote it, will give it a polish, and it goes out today. Waiting to hear back on a couple of other things.

Fighting with the insurance company again about my mother’s upcoming surgery. I sent a fax from the library. The machine at the library had the wrong date, so the insurance company THREW THE FAX AWAY. Didn’t look at the contents or the signature or the fact that it came out of their fax machine on the right date. Not only that, they couldn’t be bothered to let me know, so if I hadn’t nagged them about where the answer was, I wouldn’t have known, the paperwork wouldn’t have been done, and we would have been screwed when we showed up for the surgery.

The insurance industry is the biggest fucking scam in this country. Again, let me re-iterate that one of my first temp jobs, many years ago, was typing jewelry policies for an insurance company. They were delivered to my desk via handtruck, several hundred at a time. This was in the days before computers, when I used an IBM Selectric.

The agents who worked around me had, posted above each desk, the direction, “Always Say No the First Time.” They were instructed to refuse EVERY claim the first time it was sent in. They were told not even to read it, just to say no. The theory behind it was that 75% of the people refused wouldn’t fight it, and the company would save millions of dollars a year. Only if a claimant challenged the refusal would anyone bother to read it. How is that legal or ethical? It’s not. That’s yet another reason why all insurance companies should be non-profits. CEOs of insurance companies should not be making millions of dollars a year and bonuses off of other people’s misfortunes, especially when their sole purpose is to refuse claims.

The entire industry needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

That won’t happen in this corrupt administration.

Pleased that this next book I’m reading for review is very, very good. Probably the best I’ve had to review from this publication since I started working for them.

Got my next round of proofs back on SAVASANA AT SEA. Will have to go over them again this weekend. I’m so grateful to my copy editor!

Need to do more promo on PLAYING THE ANGLES and start the promo for SAVASANA. Have a very long list of other things that “have” to be done as well.

Playing with a story idea that’s more blowing off steam than anything else. But, if it releases stress, it’s worth taking some time over. I like the idea and the characters and situation — it makes me feel like there ARE solutions to all the horrible things happening in the world. Solutions that don’t just benefit the corrupt, racist grifters at the top.

I’m feeling a little more optimistic today than I have the past few days. Hope I can ride the wave and make some good things happen.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wed. Oct. 11, 2017: I WILL This to be a Better Day

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Playing the Angles

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cooler

Yesterday was just one of those days that one is happy is done. Dozens of frustrations and incompetent people adding up to annoyance.

But it’s done, it’s over, and today will be better. I will MAKE it better.

Got out some pitches, heard back from a few places in the negative. Was supposed to have a meeting scheduled for today, but the person never bothered to get back to me as promised, responded when I asked, or let me know that the meeting had to be postponed. That individual better not think I will jump if suddenly that party decides the meeting should happen today. Some basic courtesy and professionalism is appreciated. Of course, that’s another strike against this potential gig. I already feel it was a bit of bait-and-switch. The signs point more and more to potential nightmare.

I’m working on the survey for working writers, which I think will be interesting both for those taking it and for me. I’m not yet sure how I’ll use the information, possibly as a basis for an article.

Matched the copy edit errors I caught with those my copy editor caught on SAVASANA. Of course, she caught more. Thank goodness. Put in all the fixes, and the manuscript goes off today for another proofread.

Then, I can turn my attention to the fixes I need to do on the edition of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM for the new distributor.

I also have to prep the other workbooks for new distribution, and figure out when to schedule in the new ones.

I did a little bit of work on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but couldn’t concentrate.

I have to take a look at the BBC version of the radio play LIGHT BEHIND THE EYES, and maybe do some tweaks for a potential market over there.

Some promo on PLAYING THE ANGLES (it never feels like enough, does it?) and on the Topic Workbooks.

Started reading one of the two new books I need to review. I like it a lot, which is a relief. So far, anyway, it’s very well done.

Finished reading a memoir of a mucky-muck in the art world. The book is well-written, but I don’t think I’d have liked the person very much. Happy to admire his skills from afar.

I have some new article ideas to pitch to several publications, more promo to do, some permissions to hunt down for quotes I want to use in an article, and follow-ups.

I took twenty research books back to the library yesterday. Smaller stack today; small stack tomorrow, but big books. All in prep for the next slew of books coming in.

Also, have to clean out the garage while it’s still warm enough; give everything a good scrub, so that, as I bring in plants for the winter, they have a clean, safe place to sit until next spring. Might make bread later on, too.

Hoping I’ll be able to tackle the FIX IT GIRL section today and tomorrow. The end of the book is fairly close — maybe seven chapters? But this section is tricky to rewrite. Then, off it goes on submission. Long journey for this book, but worth it. My protagonist makes some choices that might shock some readers — which is why it falls into literary/historical rather than a genre with a tighter formula.

By next week, I hope to get back to the TRACKING MEDUSA edits. I need to get that out so we can turn around the galleys before the holiday madness.

Still trying to figure out when we can reschedule the release of “Labor Intensive”. That’s negatively affecting the Digital Delights schedule in general. I don’t want to take away from PLAYING THE ANGLES or SAVASANA AT SEA sales.

Also need to finish the media kit for SAVASANA AT SEA. I need to figure out one more excerpt, do the press release, and finish the Q & A, and then it can go out.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

 

Fri. Oct. 6, 2017: Busy Day Segues into Writing Weekend

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a good busy. Two short stories and some pitches out.

Yoga at the library. I liked the class a lot — I’ve studied with this teacher before. I had a chance to work on alignments. The alignments in my personal practice have gotten sloppy.

On the frustrating level, my FOUR MONTH OLD PHONE is already giving me grief. It’s all such a scam — forcing updates, then forcing one to buy more storage. Also, this phone won’t let me delete apps I don’t want. Not happy at all.

Came home, showered, changed, and went to my meeting. The person who set it up in response to my pitch did not give me information that was vital to this meeting, and then didn’t even meet with me. I don’t like bait-and-switch, so that put me on my guard. Talking with the person who DID speak with me opens some new possibilities. We’ll see. I’m delivering some requested information.

Read John Scalzi’s LOCK IN. So far, it’s my favorite of his, with OLD MAN’S WAR a close second.

This weekend is about finishing the SAVASANA galleys, working on FIX IT GIRL revisions, writing the first scene of the Lavinia Fontana play, and working on a short story and an essay. So much for a weekend!

Speaking of weekends, in a moment of shameless self-promotion, the weekend is the perfect time to read PLAYING THE ANGLES. Buy links here.

And have a good weekend, even if you don’t read my book! 😉
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Published in: on October 6, 2017 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 6, 2017: Busy Day Segues into Writing Weekend  
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Thurs. Oct. 5, 2017: The Good Kind of Busy

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy/sunny/mild

Yesterday seems so long ago, somehow!

Got out a few pitches, prepared for today’s meeting. Polished the short story, and it goes out today. Worked on promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Worked on the galleys of SAVASANA AT SEA — about halfway through. Again, I’m mortified by the copy editing errors. And deeply grateful for my copy editor.

Finished reading John Scalzi’s COLLAPSING EMPIRE. I liked it a lot, but felt it ended on a cliffhanger. Not sure if this is part of a series? Anyway, in the acknowledgements, he talks about the stress of the 2016 election. Amazing how things have gone downhill from there.

As usual, I get most of my best gig leads from Twitter — two were sent on to me by contacts that look really, really cool; one of them I already pitched to; the other, I need to read the guidelines thoroughly, but I think I have something that might fit. Very exciting.

The opening of the Lavinia Fontana play is taking shape in my head. Soon, I’ll be ready to put it on the page.

I’m late posting today; went grocery shopping early this morning, the rounds of the four stores I frequent, all in one swoop. I keep the prices and quality for each in my head, and then can juggle and create recipes and menus by what looks good and what’s at a good price.

I LOVE grocery shopping.

I also love cooking and creating menus with what I buy.

I’m at the library later this morning working, because I want to stay for the yoga class. Then, I’ll just have time to run home, shower, change, and make my meeting.

Today is one of those busy days, but I love it!

Back to the page.

Don’t forget to get your copy of PLAYING THE ANGLES!

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Published in: on October 5, 2017 at 10:00 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 5, 2017: The Good Kind of Busy  
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