Tues. June 19, 2018: Stressors

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

Four planets retrograde, with Mars going retrograde next week. Can I please just stay in bed until it’s all direct?

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for “The Lost Art of Reading Aloud.”

Busy weekend. Most of it was focused on turning around the revisions of MYTH & INTERPRETATION back to my editor. We’re in galleys now. Since it’s a novella, not a novel, and just over 40K, I’m hoping the galley process won’t be as drawn out as with SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Back in the saddle with RELICS & REQUIEM. Going at a good clip with that. I love the way the relationship is unfolding between Amanda and Phineas. It gets my full writing focus (as opposed to revision or proofreading focus) this week, because next week, DAVY JONES DHARMA gets back into the mix. I’m looking forward to spending time again with Sophie and the crew of the Charisma.

Did some work on the anti-gun violence play. It’s slow going. Instead of drafting in a rush, I’m working and reworking each scene, building the piece. It’s a different way of working than I usually use, but this play needs it. You change the process to meet the demands of a specific project.

It makes me shake my head when writers — usually un-published or under-published refuse to try something new because “that’s not my process.” Until you have a published track record, you’re still trying to find your process. And, even then, you have to change it when the work calls for it.

For the anti-gun violence play, all that time I’ve spent in DC working with senators and reps on legislation, talking to various members of Congress and their aides about issues has all come in handy. It allows me to give it texture, to layer in sights, sounds, smells, attitudes.

I’m still in touch with many of the people with whom I worked when I lived in New York, and have added the MA delegations to my contacts since I’ve moved here. Usually about once a day, always several times a week. Just because I don’t post about it all the time doesn’t mean I remain silent. Or uninvolved. Especially now, it’s vital to be immersed in our political process. My mother, who survived Russian prison camp in WWII, is horrified at the way the US is going down the road of Nazi Germany.

I am sickened by separating children from their families and putting them in cages. Every single individual who does this must be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL. No hiding behind “job” or “policy.” If your job or policy requires you to do something inhumane, you refuse. You fight. Period. If you commit an inhuman act because your job “requires” you to do it, YOU are inhumane. And must face consequences.

I take note of so many people who claim they are “religious” and “Christian” who agree with this inhumane policy of degrading people and putting children IN CAGES. Look at the AP reports. Look at John Moore’s photos. It’s happening. In our country. These people who protest outside of Planned Parenthood, want to deny women reproductive rights, are anti-abortion, delight when doctors who provide health care for women are SHOT, all in the name of RELIGION — they think putting children in cages and denying them basic human rights and dignity is just fine. Not only are they disgusting individuals with no moral compass or authority — they are hypocrites.

I saw a suggestion from a Catholic bishop to deny those implementing this inhumane treatment the sacrament. I am fully on board with that. Go further — excommunicate any individual who does not repent, not only in words, but in ACTION.

Ex-communicate Paul Ryan. This granny-starving sleazeball, who delights in taking away healthcare and other rights, posted a tone-deaf tweet for Father’s Day, while doing nothing to help the situation.

I’m deeply disappointed in Susan Collins from Maine. I have family in Maine; spent lots of time there. Have met with her, in Maine and in Washington. She seemed like a fairly reasonable, rational human being. How disturbing to find it was all a facade.

We are losing a generation of children. Physically and emotionally. It is inexcusable and must be stopped.

For all those who turn away and say they “aren’t political.” They’re coming for you next, you spineless pieces of crap. You won’t be spared. You’re useful to them now, because of your inaction. But you will be tossed away as soon as they choose.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS is dealing with some of these issues, as in, when you fight atrocity, how far into similar behavior can you descend without becoming what you fight? Who gets sacrificed? How can anyone come back from it?

Which is, of course, why the piece is pulling at me. Although, I suspect that, once the anti-gun violence play is drafted and goes out to Trusted Readers, I will write a play about this situation.

And, of course, POWER OF WORDS wants attention. We’ve come up with a new series title that we all like. We’ve even named the first six books, and I THINK those titles will stick. Now the question is, how realistically can I finish the material that will be broken into the rest of Book 4 and make up Books 5 & 6, with everything else going on? Books 1, 2 & 3 have been through multiple drafts. They are almost ready to send to the editor. But, because we want to have all six ready at once, I have to finish the rest. I have most of Book 4 done, and part of Book 5 (I skipped ahead). I have Book 6 outlined. But how to fit it in?

On top of that, the Jain Lazarus Adventures must now be factored back in. I need to finish CRAVE THE HUNT, so it can go into edits and be ready to release when HEX BREAKER and OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK re-release. While still staying on track with the Coventina Circle books, the Nautical Namaste books, and the Gwen Finnegan books.

And, you know, client work.

STILL waiting for two checks, one that is now almost a month late. Where the place lied and said it was “sent” and that the accountant wouldn’t be in until this week, and there was nothing they could do about a replacement. You’re a business. You’re telling me that no one can take 5 minutes to write a check? That’s not business.

Feeling pressured and upset and in despair on multiple fronts. All I can do is put my head down and keep writing.

 

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Thurs. June 7, 2018: A Thankfully Creative Period

Thursday, June 7, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I have my notes back on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. That’s the great thing about a novella — turnarounds are quicker.

My editor is pleased with the energy and the character development. But she feels I streamlined a bit too much, kept things a bit too lean. She has some suggestions about developing a few points more deeply and supporting the theme a bit more. An exchange here, a paragraph there. I came in a little under projected word count, so we have a bit of room to maneuver. I can write and then we can cut back some more.

The cover designer has an idea for a tweak on the cover, so we’ll look at that today. We looked at some early ideas for RELICS & REQUIEM, and I think we’ve found what we want. So we’re ahead of the game on that, and she will start work on the cover for DAVY JONES DHARMA soon.

Back matter won’t be difficult to put together for MYTH — I have most of it, I just have to assemble the bits. I’m working on the revisions this weekend, so I can get them out next week. I need to work on the newsletter, and get started on the media kit for MYTH & the overall kit for the Gwen Finnegan series.

A bit of work on RELICS & REQUIEM; I need to get into the groove of that, which will take awhile. I have to figure out a way to move from Gwen & Justin’s world to Amanda & Phineas’s world, since they are both contemporary NYC around the same time.

Did a bit of work on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS, but having trouble settling. I feel like I need to type up what I have in longhand and take a look. I also have to add a chapter, or the new structure I’ve been playing with is off.

Have some material to work on to go with THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

Re-reading parts of POWER OF WORDS. Playing with a new series title; seeing how I can break it up into books/sections that are a comfortable reading length, still complete certain arcs, and yet keep the reader wanting more. We want to put out the books that cover the audition process, rehearsals, filming the mini-series, and the first season in quick succession. I’d like to have the hiatus, the second season, that hiatus, and the third season ready to go, too, but I’m not sure if that puts us so far down the road it doesn’t even make any sense to commit. That will need its new subdomain, and lots of different, interesting material about the business and behind-the-scenes to keep it fresh and interesting. There will also need to be a specific look for the covers, so they can each be eye-catching, yet also tie together to the actual stories.

The titles and subtitles we’ve played with that make it clear what the books are about are so long and convoluted that they’re annoying. I see that far too often: complex titles and subtitles that serve as log lines and wear me out before I even see the blurb. I want to avoid that. I need something ear-catching (yes, that’s deliberate) and quick that pulls a potential reader in.

THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS will also need its own subdomain. That’s a lot of web work.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s all moot if the books aren’t written, then edited properly.

If you didn’t get a chance to read “My Rolodex isn’t Free” yesterday, over on Ink-Dipped Advice, hop on over.

I’m trying to work ahead on a few blogs today, to take off some pressure in the coming weeks. I want to focus on MYTH, RELICS, and see what I can do with THREE ROADS and WORDS.

Hopefully, I can get to yoga. If the weather is nice this afternoon — more yard work.

Back to the page!

 

Tues. June 5, 2018: So Close!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I’m leaving the essay on the “In Death” series up as the lead article on A Biblio Paradise for another week. If you haven’t yet read it, hop on over.

Got yard work done, mostly on Saturday. The front yard and the side front are now under control, although by the end of the week, I’ll have to mow again. I trimmed the beds in the terraced back area.

As soon as the weather clears, I’ll have to mow the terraced back area, no man’s land, and the meadow. But I feel like I’m getting a handle on things, between the push mower and the weed whacker.

I apologize for not posting on Friday. Comcast was down in my area, and couldn’t be bothered to give us an estimated repair window. Because, as they tell us often, “we’re you’re only option, so we get it done when we get it done.” I hate them.

The weekend focused on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It will be ready to go to the editor in a couple of days, and cover art will be ready in a couple of days. I’m happy with the work. It feels good to be back in the groove with Gwen and Justin. It gives me the opportunity to seed the stresses that later explode in BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, and yet it stands fine on its own.

It made a huge difference to show an outline early in the process to my editor, back when we talked about breaking off the section that grew into MYTH off BALTHAZAAR, because it gummed up BALTHAZAAR’S works.

I wrote a Writer’s Rough Outline for MYTH. I showed it to my editor. She came back with suggestions to streamline and focus. As I wrote, I could streamline and focus even more. I kept a nice, lean word count that works for a novella, it has a good story on its own, and it drives forward the series arcs of both Gwen and Justin.

Knowing the four books and the novella in the series have a contractual commitment, being able to work with my editor before I finished a first draft, made a huge difference in the process. It made the writing smoother, more focused, and will save me a few drafts full of tangents.

I could get used to these multi-book contracts.

I also spent a little time on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS and re-reading POWER OF WORDS. I didn’t get any work done on the play, because I’m pushing hard to get the novella out to my editor this week.

I miss POWER OF WORDS. A lot. I don’t know when I can get back to it, though.

I’m still waiting for a check from a gig that was contractually obligated to be here on the 31st. This is the same gig whose ethics (or lack thereof) make me uncomfortable. Once I get this check, I will withdraw, as gracefully as possible. I hate to lose the money, but a two month lag time and the rewrites to turn it into something different than it claims to be make it an unworkable gig for me. I need to let it go and make room for something better.

Hopefully that check and the check from the radio play will arrive shortly.

Yesterday was a chaotic day onsite with a client, and I expect today will be the same. But I got off some paperwork to another client; I have one more batch, and then I’m caught up on that job until next January.

But I had a great writing morning with MYTH, and another one today, so I’m feeling good about that portion of my working life, at least.

Back to the page.

 

Wed. May 23, 2018: Juggling Deadlines Again

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

It’s official. I still hate mowing. Yes, I like the new reel mower better than the other one. But it still has issues — it sticks, it doesn’t cut down certain types of grass. Really, I’m not asking for much. I’m asking that the damn wheels turn in the direction I push, and that the damn blade cuts GRASS. Which is, supposedly, what a lawn mower does. Why is that so difficult?

Big project for the client is stressful. It’ll get done, but the client doesn’t understand that it doesn’t happen by magically pushing a button on the computer.

Sent out a couple of LOIs. The media kit for the Coventina Circle series is done and up in that site’s Media Room. There’s a media kit for each book, and then there’s the media kit for the entire series, which will be updated with each release.

I’m behind on getting the judging sheets done, because of the mowing.

Working steadily on NOT BY THE BOOK, but struggling. The partial has to go out tomorrow, and I’m worried. The voice is strong, but I’m having the same struggle I’ve had in these past months trying to get it back on the roster — it’s not flowing.

Plus, both the serial and THE POWER OF WORDS are pulling at me, and I’m under the gun for MYTH & INTERPRETATION.

I want to get NOT BY THE BOOK out the door and then give myself breathing room, resting room for the long holiday weekend. I’m sure I will write, but I won’t pressure myself as to what.

I want to play with the ideas my actress friend and I discussed. I’ve come up with a couple of working titles. I’m still not sure if it will be one piece, or a pair of one acts hooked together on a common theme to make an evening.

But I need breathing room, thinking room, daydreaming room. I’m just so exhausted. Our country is being dismantled by grifters and criminals, and it’s difficult to create. But I must, or I truly will die.

I have to finish a couple of things for a client today. And then, I need to write and polish. It’s hard for me to write at the end of the day; my best working time is in the morning. But, when I’m under deadline pressure, I have to.

I’m so sick and tired of writers who say you don’t have to write every day. “Writing every day” doesn’t mean you never take a day off or a vacation. It means you choose when and how to take time off, and the rest of the time, you show up like a professional. Writing is a “real job.” Writers deserve to be paid well for what they do, and not derided because they love what they do. Professionals in all fields show up at the job and do the work. You have a major agent who can negotiate with a major publisher so you can take as long as you want to write something? Good for you. You make enough at the day job so you can only write if you “feel like it?” Good for you. You have a spouse or partner who takes care of the bills so you can write when the mood strikes? Good for you. But I — and most of my working peers — need to show up every day and do the work, whether we feel like it or not. It doesn’t make us love it any less. Getting paid doesn’t mean our work is “less than” someone who “writes for love.” We love it, too. We also value our work and demand a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Earning a living at it means it’s our profession. So we act like professionals.

On a happier note, I re-read the first four of Kate Parker’s Victorian Bookshop mysteries. I really like that series. I want to read her two series, too.

Back to the page.

 

Thurs. March 8, 2018: (Webhost) Moving, Moving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onward.

Which seems to be my mantra lately!

 

Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Waning Moon

I moved the Cerridwen’s Cottage website all by myself. I’m so darned proud. For me, a non-IT person, it was a big deal. It’s a big personal milestone for me.

Yesterday, I started building it live. I’m hoping to move the Fearless Ink site late this week, and then maybe get to build it early next week. And then I’ll be done with 1&1 as far as hosting go. They still hold my registrations for the moment.

I also finally understand why I’m having the problem on the Welcome page of the Devon Ellington Work site. Even better, I understand how to fix it!

Now, I still have to learn how to do a drop-down menu . . .

There’s a storm coming in, so I might not get to post tomorrow, although I hope to do so on Friday. I hope it won’t be as bad as they say; I’m getting a little weary of the storms. As long as the power holds . . .

Working steadily on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Playing with ideas to finish POWER OF WORDS. Got re-ignited for NOT BY THE BOOK — there are good bones there. If I can pull it off, it will be a worthwhile book. Working on FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

It’s a good busy.

A potential client liked my pitch, but wanted me to do a proofreading test before talking any further. I did. It was a timed test, full of the errors that set my teeth on edge. So, we’ll see. The money would be great, but I need to know more about the parameters.

My flash drive is full, so I started a new, 32GB drive. I moved over pertinent files from the old drive and sorted them properly. Let’s hope I can keep this drive organized.

I’m reworking the media kits for TRACKING MEDUSA and the Jain Lazarus Adventures, and looking for some fun, additional material to add to the Jain Lazarus site.

I need to put together some more material for the Coventina Circle site, and put together the pieces for the SAVASANA AT SEA giveaway I want to do in a couple of months. I’m also working on some ads for the different books and stories. I want to see if they make a difference. Friends of mine tend to have good luck with Facebook ads, and they’re usually reasonably priced, so we’ll see.

I’ve had a terrible headache for the past few days. I hope it lets up when the storm moves in.

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 2:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 7, 2018: Techno Milestone and Yet Another Storm  
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Thurs. March 1: New Month, A Willed Start

Thurs. March 1, 2018
Full Moon
Sunny and mild

Full moon! No full moons in February, but, once again, two in March. Interesting times, my friends, interesting times.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see my “To Do” list for March.

Check out Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was a good day, working with my client on some ads for her line. We’re juggling the spring 2018 and the fall 2018, and will shortly look ahead to spring 2019. Reminds me of working on the calendars and almanacs, where we’re working two years ahead.

Some good work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY yesterday, and, after a busy day today, I look forward to digging into it this weekend and finishing! I will be so happy to get this manuscript off my desk and to my editor. And then, in a couple of weeks, getting it back and fixing its problems. Clock is ticking on this one.

Once REPOSITORY is done, primary focus is on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, with secondary focus on RELICS & REQUIEM. Those deadlines are looming faster than I’d like, too. But, if I hold to the streamlining my editor and I talked about on MYTH, it should chug along quite nicely. And parts of RELICS have been writing themselves in my head over the past couple of months, plus i have a solid outline for it, so that’s a relief.

THE FIX-IT GIRL and NOT BY THE BOOK are still clamoring for attention; I need to do another pass on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC before we send it out on submission. And POWER OF WORDS (I’m rethinking the new titles for the series yet again, so I keep referring to it by its original title which can’t be used in publication) is pulling.

I don’t mind a strong creative flow, I just have to keep on top of everything.

I’m going to start the webhost move on Cerridwen’s Cottage today; I’m hoping it will be smooth; in the best of all circumstances, I can start building live on it tomorrow; in the worst, sometime next week. I kind of liked building the subdomains live, even though I know it’s not the best choice. But it’s easier than getting a temporary URL, changing everything in the pHp admin, then changing it back, then trying to move it.

I have to praise A2 Hosting for their help. Whereas 1&1 can’t be bothered to provide the tech support for which they’re paid, or even respond to anything with more than “call us” — which is NOT an option for me — A2 has been willing to work with me and find solutions. At least, so far! I’ll know for sure once all three sites are moved!

We’re supposed to get a major storm tonight going into tomorrow. I hope it’s not as bad as they say. I’d like to be able to hold tomorrow’s appointments.

As far as today goes, I have appointments and website stuff in the morning, yoga, taking my mom to doctor’s appointments, and grocery shopping on the way home, just in case the storm is as bad as predicted.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

Hopefully, I can post tomorrow. If I can’t, due to the storm, have a great weekend!

 

Fri. Feb. 23, 2018: Positive Web Host Adventures (For a Change)

Friday, February 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

They told us it would be snowing and raining on Cape this morning, so I changed my off-Cape appointment, and now it’s beautiful. Cold, but beautiful. How annoying.

Yesterday was a lousy day, writing-wise. I could not make SPIRIT REPOSITORY work. The deadline looming doesn’t help, and I feel like I’m chasing my own tail. At the same time, POWER OF WORDS is singing its siren song to me. But I can’t do anything until I have the contracted work back on track.

On the positive side, I got a lot of work done on both the Devon Ellington Work site and the Coventina Circle site. I figured out WHY there’s a problem on the landing page of the DE site, but not how to fix it. At least I cleaned it up! I also realized I had to add an “anthology page” for the anthologies in which I’m included. I realized there’s quite a bit of my work out there — I’ve had a decent output. It’s nice to see it all set out.

As I finish building the subdomains, I’ll have to keep tweaking some of the information on the links, but, for the most part, the DE site is done.

The Coventina Circle site is almost done. I have to tweak and upload the media kit for PLAYING THE ANGLES, and then it can go live.

I plan to do that work on both sites today, and then move on to building the Nautical Namaste site.

I still have to go back and do an article on the goddess Coventina and create the playbill for the show within PLAYING THE ANGLES, but at least there’s enough content to give readers something to enjoy. I have a feeling I can’t call it “playbill”, but have to call lit “show program.”

I’ll do as much as I can today, and then, the weekend is about SPIRIT REPOSITORY, not the websites. I’ll go back to work next week on the websites. I’m hoping I can go live with all the series subdomains by next week and start building Cerridwen’s Cottage, get that moved, get Fearless Ink up and moved on so on. And then, breathe a huge sigh of relief!

I have house-and-home stuff to do this weekend, too. Some yard work, if the weather holds, some errands across the bridge.

But most of the weekend is about finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

And then, the primary focus shifts to MYTH & INTERPREATION, but I have to work on RELICS & REQUIEM in tandem with that. My editor and I talked about stripping MYTHS down quite a bit, which I think is a good idea. I still might overwrite some of it, but she pointed out where the tangents are derailing the story. Since MYTHS was a derail of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE in the first place, I don’t want to wander too far afield.

It’s a good kind of busy, and I’m trying to push other frustrations out of the way and focus on the work that gives me the most satisfaction and is the most career-building.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 23, 2018: Positive Web Host Adventures (For a Change)  
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Wed. May 3, 2017: Project Juggling

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde (goes direct today)
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank goodness Mercury goes retrograde this afternoon. This go-round has been rough.

Yesterday, I was under the weather; I ran some errands and did some research necessary for the revisions of the next chapters in THE FIX-IT GIRL.

The grass in the front is long and lush and beautiful. I’ll mow it, probably tomorrow. My neighbors keep their lawns in a buzz cut, but I like to strengthen the roots and have it a little longer, the way my friend at Mass Audubon said was healthier.

Read Deanna Rayburn’s A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING yesterday — so good I read it straight through, couldn’t put it down. It’s her second Veronica Speedwell mystery, and it’s a lot of fun.

Gave myself the day off from most writing yesterday. I felt so lousy that I knew I’d have to toss it all anyway.

Did some research on art colonies in New England — most of the books about the art colonies are so poorly done. There’s an excellent book on Yaddo that I keep checking out, but the others are all dull. I may have to re-read TC Boyle’s EAST IS EAST, which is a satire set at an art colony. Although it’s very different from what I’m doing, it still might be fun to re-read.

Playing with ideas for two more pieces. One is a literary fiction novel, set just after World War I. The bulk of it would be in Maine, with forays into New York, Boston, and England. The other is a pseudo-Gothic, with elements of comedy, mystery, and romance, set in Cornwall. We’ll see where they go.

Heard back from an editor I pitched last week — he’d like some samples. So, off they go today, and, fingers crossed. I need to start another article in the next couple of days, an opinion piece that I’d like to get out next week.

I’m still struggling with “Seven of Swords”. I don’t seem to be fixing the problem with my tweaks, but prolonging it. Very frustrating.

Enjoying a terrific book on Manet’s life and work in 500 images. His paintings, like Edward Hopper’s, often give me ideas for short stories.

There’s finally sunshine. When the puddles dry up, maybe I can get some more yard work done. The yard work will be ongoing until the next snow!

Attorney General Maura Healey held a town hall last night. We are lucky to have her. She is far more active and involved with people than her predecessor. She takes a stand, and she gets things done.

Did about 1K on the Venice section of POWER OF WORDS, and four pages of the pseudo-Gothic outline. Not a bad start for the day.

I have to finish the complaint paperwork regarding AAA and CVS today. Those have to be filed this week.

Never a dull moment, which I guess is a good thing.

Published in: on May 3, 2017 at 9:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 3, 2017: Project Juggling  
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May 1, 2017: Process and Planning

Monday, May 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Beltane
Rainy and cool

Busy weekend, but good one.

Finished the first draft of the screenplay WINNER TAKES ALL. It took me 19 days to write it from concept through first draft. It flowed well. I’ll have it marinate for about a week, and then hit revisions. The 6 pages/day schedule was good (although I usually averaged 10-13). I like the leaps of craft I’ve made in this. The storytelling is better, and that’s the point.

I had an idea for a new mystery on Friday and started playing with it. We’ll see if it goes anywhere. I wrote a few pages and it seemed distant. This morning, I woke up with the protagonist’s voice very strong in my head, and the realization it needs to be first person. However, I’m worried about yet another mystery of mine in the first person, although I feel Anna’s voice is quite distinct from either Sophie’s or Gin’s. We’ll see.

Disappointing response to a pitch that requested samples. Part of it was my misunderstanding the request, which is entirely on me; the rest of it is the person in charge not wanting/being able to evaluate a writing sample that wasn’t project specific. In my mind, if you look at a writer’s portfolio, you should be able to evaluate voice, style, craft, even if the sample wasn’t written specifically for you — that’s the point of a writing sample. To show breadth and depth, not to provide something for free to the publication. An editor should be able to read a piece and tell if the writer fits the publication. If said individual “can’t” because it’s not specific to that publication, the warning bells go off. It had potential to be a steady gig that could have been fun, but if the editor’s ability to evaluate is so narrow, I’m not a good fit for the publication. Next. I was going to try to fix the misunderstanding, but the more I consider it, the more my gut tells me that I’ve dodged (yet another) bullet.

Did some yard work, and planted some bee-friendly patches on the side of the house and in the stone circle. Arranged the deck, turning it into the Enchanted Garden for summer. There’s still a lot to do, but I’m out of shape, and only have the stamina to do a little bit every nice day. I’m going to have to start mowing this week.

Have an idea for a literary fiction/historical novel. Not sure if it will go anywhere. Again, the protagonist’s voice is strong, and quite different from the other voices. I will play with the ideas.

Made some research notes for FIX-IT GIRL — I start revisions on it today. I need to finish the Venice section on POWER OF WORDS, because I need to get those research books back, since I have oh-so-many other research books on the way out.

Rewatched THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR and liked it. I appreciate Matt Smith’s work more with some distance. When he first started, I missed David Tennant’s work so much, it was hard to connect to Matt Smith’s. They’re very different, but very good, and they were excellent together.

Watching the AGATHA RAISIN series. I am not a fan of the books, and the series doesn’t do it for me, either. There’s a mean-spiritedness in so much of it, and a lack of logic that thinks it’s funny, but just comes across as stupid. I like most of the actors, I love the locations, but I don’t like the tone.

Finished re-reading the Anthony Trollope biography. I’ve always admired his professional approach to his writing. He got up early every morning and wrote five pages, no matter what or where he was. 250 words per page, 1250 words a day. If he finished a novel within those five pages, he pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and started the next one. He got things done, without a lot of fuss and bother, or moaning.

The April wrap-up is on the GDR site, and May’s To Do list will be up tomorrow. The view on May looks very stressful from here — I hope I can get things sorted out to relieve some of the pressure. Otherwise, it will be a very difficult month.

I have some errands to run this morning, and then, this afternoon, I hope to dig back in to the writing. My To-Do list includes NOT BY THE BOOK, THE FIX-IT GIRL, POWER OF WORDS, “Seven of Swords”, and “Axe to Grind”, but I seriously doubt I can get work done on all of them today.

I’m worried I may have missed the window of opportunity for “Seven of Swords.” At the same time, I can’t send out a piece I know is sub-par. I have to try to fix it. I thought I had the key to fixing it, but it’s not quite working. I want to retain some of the ambiguity, but clean up the parts that are a hot mess. I haven’t hit that balance yet. I either over-explain or it’s overly ambiguous. I just have to keep at it until I get it right.

Like so many things.

Onward.

Mon. April 24, 2017: Digging In, Moving On

Monday, April 24, 2017
Waning Moon (Day Before Dark Moon)
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

My lowest energy day of the month, always.

Busy weekend.

I should be used to the deterioration of basic human courtesy around here, but it still surprises me. I remember, when we first moved here, I was so wonderfully surprised because people were “nice.” Well, Trumptattitude has taken over, ever since the election, and you can tell those who voted for them, because they now feel free to be their worst selves all the time. They’re the rudest, the worst drivers, the ones who take without conscience. Just like the one they follow. No patience with that. They need to go crawl back under their rocks.

Friday, I got some admin work done, some research done, and then worked my way through contest entries. Finished my third print category, and got to work on the digital entries. The weather was lousy, so it was nice to be able to stay tucked inside and get paid to read.

Ten script pages done on Friday and six pages on Saturday for WINNER TAKE ALL. I’m galloping toward the climax. Gave myself Sunday off from writing.

Saturday was Earth Day, and also the March for Science. Important. Unfortunately, as I feared, the march out here in Falmouth was poorly organized. If you want a successful event, you have to plan for parking and porta-potties. Never got close enough to check out the porta-potty situation, because they hadn’t made any arrangements for attendees to park. The attitude was “oh, there are public lots”. Well, at the best of times, in winter, parking is nearly impossible in Falmouth. In season, it’s a nightmare. For something like a rally? MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE TOWN SO PEOPLE HAVE A PLACE TO PARK. Make arrangements with public transportation. Or you won’t get the attendance you want. It’s not brain surgery. They estimated a crowd of 600, which is decent, but no wonder there wasn’t any parking!

It is, however, typical of Cape Cod. There isn’t enough parking anywhere, and people ignore it, and then are shocked when they lose business or attendance. The lack of a learning curve around here is one of the reasons I find it frustrating.

Worked and worked and WORKED to fix the problems in “Seven of Swords.” I don’t want to lose all the ambiguity, but when ambiguity=mess, there need to be some clarifications. I sometimes wonder if the play CAN be fixed, or if I should just retire it into a drawer and be done with it.

Finished the Orient Express section on POWER OF WORDS. Now, to deal with the section set in Venice.

I want to travel to Venice probably more than anywhere else in the world right now.

Except, maybe, Bologna, for the Lavinia Fontana play.

Dug in all weekend and finished the contest entries. Now, in the next few days, I’ll go over them and make my choices in each category, finish the admin, and send the information to the organizers, so they can announce the winners on May 1. Read a couple of entries that came close — there was nothing, technically, wrong with them, but they lacked sparkle. They served the genre, they were serviceable stories, but they didn’t stand out against the best of the batch.

My reward for finishing was to re-read a novel I’d read back in 1989 that I’d loved; unfortunately, as I reread it now, I’m impatient with it. Rather a disappointment.

Switched out the winter curtains to lace curtains for summer downstairs — big difference in light. Switched out some of the fabric. Did a few loads of laundry. The amaryllis (which bloomed last July) has decided it’s time to bloom again. Go figure.

Admin work to do this morning, and, hopefully, some yard work in the afternoon. I wrote eight pages on the screenplay: later, I’ll tackle the one act and the short radio play. I’m still not convinced that I’m the right person to adapt the short stories for radio, but I’ll play with them a bit this week and then make my decision.

What I’d like to do is go back to bed and sleep all day, but, after days of rain, it’s far too nice a day so to do.

Time to tackle the week!

Published in: on April 24, 2017 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 24, 2017: Digging In, Moving On  
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Mon. April 10, 2017: Creativity During Retrogrades

Monday, April 10, 2017
Full Moon
Venus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Spare me from the retrogrades! No such luck.

Busy weekend. I started the LA section on POWER OF WORDS, and did some work on the Orient Express section.

I did some further plotting for the revision of FIX-IT GIRL — I have to figure out where I need to put the new material, then write the first draft inserts, then I can go back and start a genuine revision. I’m keeping the ending where it is, on the train from LA to New York.

I did a lot of research, relevant to both projects: books on the studio system, books on various actors and directors, costume research. Also read Joe Eszterhas’s THE DEVIL’S GUIODE TO HOLLYWOOD: THE SCREENWRITER AS GOD. I don’t particularly like him or his work, although I respect what he’s accomplished. I don’t like the arrogant, swaggering persona he projects. I disagree with a lot of what he says — his contempt for many people in the business, and dislike of many manifestations of collaboration.

On the other hand, he has a point, and everything starts from the script. He believes one must fight for the script. I agree, to a point: I think a lot depends on the project. When the script originates with the writer — in other words, as he so often does, the writer writes the script from his own idea/something he wants to do and sells it — then, yes. Defend away, fight, be careful where you compromise. But when you’re brought in to write from an idea or a scenario or a treatment — then you’re hired to bring to life someone else’s vision, and I think you have to be more flexible. Of course, he loathes the idea of rewrites or script doctoring. Again, I understand his position, not messing with another writer’s work. But there are times when it’s the wrong writer for the project, or the notes have gotten things so muddy no one can see or think straight anymore.

Good for him that he’s earned the right not to be flexible, but I think there are plenty of cases where one has to be flexible. Especially when one is paying dues and building credits.

I disagree with many, many things in the book, but his actual advice on the process of writing — six script pages every day on the first draft, how to set work aside and go back and rewrite, that the “first draft” that is shown to anyone is really at least the third draft, writing every day and so forth and so on — that’s all great. It’s such a tiny part of the book — he knows he’ll sell more copies with the more controversial stuff about what he has fun with and/or loathes in the industry — but when he talks about the actual writing, he’s got good, useful stuff to say.

Read some Adrienne Rich poetry and prose, both in honor of National Poetry Month and in preparation for a piece on A Biblio Paradise, which will post tomorrow.

Have working title for the Lavinia Fontana play, but still don’t have the catalyst that will actually put the play into motion. More research required.

In the shower this morning, I had an idea for a new screenplay, set in the late 1930s, as the country comes out of the depression, but before the start of WWII. I’ll have to do some research for it, but I liked the idea — it plays against a lot of the noir ideas of the late 30s/early 40s, and some of their hypocrisies, and yes, the lead role is a woman. A very smart woman. Anyway, I sat down and wrote the outline already this morning, a quick paragraph for almost every scene — a couple of places where I need to figure out where the plant a couple of things.

So, I guess, between the errands and the yard work, and 1K on POWER OF WORDS and 1K on NOT BY THE BOOK and figuring out where to plant additional scenes in FIX-IT GIRL, I better get six pages of script done!

Published in: on April 10, 2017 at 10:00 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 10, 2017: Creativity During Retrogrades  
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