Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue

Thursday, March 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cool

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

Yesterday was one of those difficult, frustrating days. By the end of it, I felt beaten down, humiliated, and wounded. I’m tired of online interactions forcing information I do not wish to disclose in order to do a basic transaction. I am dissolving several customer relationships with businesses and organizations because they demand information that has nothing to do with my buying their products. I WON’T give it to them, and they refuse to let the transaction continue until I do so. Therefore, I won’t do business with them.

But at least the six-day migraine eased up by the end of the day.

Worked with a client. Worked on the books for review. I hope to have both reviews done and out the door by tomorrow.

I’m back to work on GRAVE REACH, which needs to get to the editor in the not-too-distant future. I finally figured out what Sam, my male protagonist, does for a living. He’s a forensic psychologist. So now I have to familiarize myself with that profession.

I’m also working on the final proofs for the almanac — they are due early next week. The changes are pretty simple, and the design is lovely. I’m pleased that I was able to participate again. I had a good time. The almanac will drop in August for 2020. I hope the keep me on for 2021.

I’m playing with some ideas for a few things. I need to start carrying around a notebook for random ideas instead of trying to organize everything from the get-go into its own little box. Because some ideas wind up working well together. So I chose one of the notebooks I bought during school season last fall, and its special pen (every notebook needs a special pen, that works best with it), and it’s becoming my “Whatever Ramblings” book. I will carry it around most of the time to jot whatever, and then figure out what fits where.

I need to get back to the Frieda/Lazarus radio play this weekend, and also to the monologues. Plus everything else I’m juggling.

I hope, with Mercury going direct, this sense of gloom and discouragement will lift.

Had a good conversation with a potential client, but I have a feeling they’re looking for someone younger. But the organization would be excellent with which to work.

I’m supposed to pick up a printer in Harwich, which I hope will get me through what I need to print for my workshop at the end of April. I’m hoping, in May, I can buy a new laser printer, since I can’t seem to get my old Brother laser up and going again, even though it has a new drum and new toner. But it won’t grasp the paper properly.

I’m so tired of products built to fail to force you to keep buying newer, lower-quality products.

I’m tired of a lot of things today.

 

Published in: on March 28, 2019 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue  
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Fri. Feb. 15, 2019: Books Make Everything Better

Gwen Finnegan 3B 3D Collage

Friday, February 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site for my mid-February check-in. I was discouraged, because I felt as though I hadn’t gotten anything done this month, but the list isn’t too bad.

I got the 3D versions of my book covers from my publisher yesterday, and I’m really happy with them. I got them as individual covers and collages. Now I can use them in the marketing campaigns. I have to upload them on all the sites.

Nautical Namaste 2B 3D Collage

Sent off my review, and already have my next assignment, which is kind of cool. I’ll pick it up today. Also downloaded a book as part of the Tor book club, and bought KILL THE FARM BOY, by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson.

I’m reading WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix for the Reader Expansion Challenge. So far, I’m enjoying it. I’m going to recommend it to some of my musician friends. If I can, I’m also going to read the other book recommended to me from this challenge – THE BUS ON THURSDAY by Shirley Barrett.

I’m also reading SCRATCH: WRITERS, MONEY, AND THE ART OF MAKING A LIVING, edited by Manjula Martin. All creatives, not just writers, can get a lot out of this book.

Almost ready to send off the comic ghost story radio play. It took another unfortunate turn, and I had to yank it back. I hope to get it out tomorrow or Tuesday. As soon as that’s done, I’ll start the straw hat comic mystery radio play.

Hint: If you don’t know what the Straw Hat Circuit was, I suggest you look it up! 😉

I have some grocery shopping to do, and this weekend, I’ll start planting the first of the tomatoes inside. Bills to pay, too, although this week and next week are tight, financially.

Which means I damn well better get those article pitches out, too, right?

The Narcissistic Sociopath is making an autocratic power grab by declaring a national emergency. He must be stopped.

Have a great weekend. I’m taking the Monday Presidents’ Day holiday. The #UpbeatAuthors post will be up, but Tuesday’s post may be late.

Today is Nirvana Day in the Buddhist tradition. In honor of that, I will light some joss sticks and do extra meditation sessions. Tuesday is the full moon!

Peace!
Coventina Circle 3B 3D Collage

Thurs. Feb. 14 , 2019: It’s the Work

valentines-day-2057745_1920

Thursday, February 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Once I decided to celebrate the holiday in the way I want, rather than the way advertisers told me I should, I was much happier.

Yesterday’s Ink-Dipped Advice post hit a nerve for a lot of people. I’m glad it helped. If you haven’t yet read it, you can find it here.

I’m finally free of 1&1.com. I am so happy I wish I’d had the knowledge, the courage, and the determination to leave them years ago.

Client work was fine. Stopped at the grocery store, and some dumbass white dude thought it would be “funny” to scare me in the parking lot by grabbing me from behind. I used to live on the Deuce, 42nd Street, in NYC. You don’t grab me from behind and scare me. I react. He’s lucky he didn’t need stitches. It’s not funny to go up behind a woman you’ve never met (or even one you have) and grab her from behind. It is not “funny” to deliberately scare someone like that.

Since the 2016 election, this happens more and more and more. And I’m in this little town on Cape Cod. It shouldn’t be happening anywhere, but it definitely shouldn’t be happening here. And it’s always white guys. Of all ages.

Finished reading the book for review. I’m polishing the review and sending it off this morning.

Worked on contest entries.

Today, I have some LOIs to get out, and some article pitches to prepare. I need to finish the polish on the short comic ghost story radio play, work on the novels, work on the monologues.

So, for me, it’s back to the page.

 

Published in: on February 14, 2019 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 14 , 2019: It’s the Work  
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Wed. Feb. 13, 2019: Life is Short

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Waxing Moon

Woke up yesterday morning at 1:30 with a blaring headache, due to the incoming storm, and had trouble getting back to sleep.

The storm hadn’t hit by the time I left for client work; but I figured I might have to leave early to get safely home.

Was shocked to find out that a Twitter pal died on Saturday night. We’d had a few exchanges earlier in the day, when she was sitting in the ER. We’d cyber-met because of politics, and she was witty and incisive and had a huge heart. She will be missed. Another Twitter pal is writing a song in her memory.

Reworking the second half of the radio play is making it stronger. It will be ready to go out at the end of the week.

Working on the monologues. I want to test at least one of them next week, at an open mic, but right now, the monologues need more work. They’re not sharp enough. The softer edge gives a whiny quality that I don’t want.

Working on the review, and on contest entries. Have to finish with a book on Canaletto and his patrons today — it’s due back tomorrow to the Commonwealth Catalogue, and I can’t renew it.

Client work yesterday and today. Wore me out. I’m working on new page for the Fearless Ink site, about social media training and social media packages.

Speaking of Fearless Ink, there’s a new post up about Tools and Resources.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 13, 2019 at 5:56 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 13, 2019: Life is Short  
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Tues. Feb. 12, 2019: Right Decisions Relieve Stress

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Snowing

Stressful few days. Friday was about a lot of running around, and still feeling wiped out.

I had a lot to think about, with my head, my heart, and my gut giving me conflicting messages. But the more I considered, the stronger the guidance from the gut.

For a few hours, it looked like another door would open that would make the decision easier, but it didn’t, so I don’t have an easy out. I have other options, although I can’t finalize them quite as quickly as I’d like. I do, however, have an ever-strengthening gut reaction. I need to go with that, even if at the beginning, it seems like the weaker choice. It puts more pressure on me in other areas, then, at a time when I’m feeling under too much pressure already.

I also had to remove my ego from the decision (with a scalpel, sometimes, it felt like), because my ego pushed me in the direction my gut told me was wrong.

Suffered from stress-related health issues most of the weekend, which slowed me down.

Spent most of the time working on GAMBIT COLONY revisions on the first four of the first six books. Wrote some new material, made some cuts. Re-arranged things. Added a character to take care of an arc that needed to be handled, and will now have to adjust scenes in several places to see that through.

Worked on the comic ghost story radio play, trying to get back from where it derailed. It needs to be sharp and witty, which, since I’m not feeling either right now, is a reach. But I ripped out the section that took the wrong turn and am rebuilding it. It works much better as a comedy. The discarded plot thread for this will wind up as the central plot thread for a darker radio play in the future.

Read Mary Louise Wilson’s memoir MY FIRST HUNDRED YEARS IN SHOW BUSINESS, which was fun. We crossed paths a few times in the NY theatre world, and we’ve worked with a lot of the same people.

Read Jayne Ann Krentz’s UNTOUCHABLE. She’s trying some new things, which are interesting.

Worked on the review, and on contest entries.

The Fearless Ink site finally completed the domain transfer. I’d had to fight with 1&1 about the Cerridwen’s Cottage transfer. So all three domains are now safely with Name Silo. I sent in my cancellation to 1&1 for the account. I’m sure I’ll be in for at least several more months of fighting, and they will try to squeeze more money out of me. And then I’ll have to file against them. Again.

It’s taken me a YEAR to get the sites moved and the domains transferred. A YEAR of fighting with them. If you ever want a place to register a domain or host you, stay away from 1&1. I wish I’d had enough knowledge to break free years ago. They cost me tens of thousands of dollars in lost income over the years.

Yesterday I was onsite with a client, which was fine, and the same today, although I’m expecting it to be more stressful due to weather and other issues. At least I had meditation group yesterday. In general, the next three weeks will be very, very stressful, and I’m trying to put some stress management tools in place.

Working on my personal strategic plan. The dashed possibilities of the past few weeks had derailed it a bit, but now I need to focus and then complete the actions I need to get where I want to go.

Onward.

 

Published in: on February 12, 2019 at 6:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 12, 2019: Right Decisions Relieve Stress  
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Thurs. Jan.10, 2019: Focus on Writing

Thursday, January 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a long, damn day onsite with a client. It was a good day, a productive day, but a long one. I couldn’t face cooking when I came home, so I picked up a pizza on the way.

And I’m still trying to take down decorations!

Put in my responses for the notes on the radio play. Called out the comments I felt were sexist — they’re not happening. But most of the other ones make sense, and I will implement them in the new draft. Of course, this company uses a format completely different from any other radio format I’ve ever worked in, but hey, gaining an additional tool is always valuable.

Got the next book I need to review. And the first shipment of books for the contest arrived. I’m excited to dig into them. They look good. Every time I pick up a book, either to review or for a contest, I want to fall in love with it. Doesn’t always happen, but I’m always excited and optimistic.

Tried adding the exercise bicycle to the fitness routine. I’d tried it a few years ago, and it caused so much pain in my knees, hips, and back that I stopped. But I need more elements in the routine, so I’m trying again. Just a short stint, but I was in pain a good portion of the night and this morning. I’ll give it a week of daily attempts; if it doesn’t feel better, I’ll stop.

Meanwhile, my 94-year-old mother does 20 minutes every day of the week on the bike! That’s her preferred form of exercise.

I’ve stuck to the weight training, though, and that feels good. I even upped the repetitions on one of the lifts. I’ve also added plank position every day back into the yoga sequence. I hate it, but I need it for the core. So I’ll deal.

I have some admin work to do today, and some LOIs to get out. Hopefully, a pitch for an article, and also work on a conference proposal I want to send out tomorrow. I also have a detailed proposal to go to my representatives on the federal level about the government shutdown. This crap has to stop, and if Mitch McConnell won’t do his job and let votes come to the floor, then remove Mitch McConnell. Even if it’s unprecedented. This administration has set the precedent that rules don’t count.

On today’s writing agenda: THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, start revisions on the radio play, and work on the first of the monologues. And write ahead on some blog posts. I’m going to introduce a Reader Expansion Challenge on A Biblio Paradise next week.

On the life agenda: Get the rest of the decorations down from the tree. Fix the printer, if possible.

Have a great Thursday!

 

Published in: on January 10, 2019 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan.10, 2019: Focus on Writing  
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Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
No Retrogrades

I’d forgotten what it feels like not to have retrogrades.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise for my take on “The Book Boyfriend Dilemma.”

Busy few days, and it was a little overwhelming. Friday morning was stressful with a client, then I had some errands in the afternoon. I ended up buying some clothes to freshen up my wardrobe, some pants and skirts. I need to have a bit more of a polished look this year.

When I’m writing at home, I can wear whatever I want (usually yoga clothes, never pajamas. I can’t write in pajamas). But when I actually have to leave the house, I need and want to look professional, even if it’s not to a formal meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived on Friday, a day early, so that was a fun treat.

Saturday morning, I had errands — and wound up doing more clothes shopping — more pants and a few jackets. So I’m all set for the coming season.

Got two sets of notes on the radio play — which they claim they originally sent early in December, and I never received them. I had a conversation months ago, when they claimed they’d sent me something and I had never received it, which is why they didn’t get a response — if I don’t respond in 2-3 business days, it means I didn’t get it, and please follow up. I can’t respond if I don’t know they need something. Which they did not do, again. Now, they want a new draft in a little over two weeks. When I should have had seven.

I’m all signed up for a conference at which I’m a presenter — the schedule hasn’t officially been released yet, so I can’t give out the details. I will, as soon as I get the okay. Got a pitch for another radio play out (to a different company).

Started taking down the decorations. It took me a month to get them up; I don’t know why I thought I could get them down in an afternoon. And I used enough florists’ wire to build a small city.

Got some writing done, and some work on galleys. Not enough, I’m behind, and it frustrates me.

Got yet more contradictory information on my health insurance. I now have four sets of documents, all which contradict each other. I’m turning the whole mess over to Elizabeth Warren’s office. Don’t ever believe the marketing crap that health coverage in the state of Massachusetts works. It shouldn’t cost me several hundred dollars in repeatedly having to send documents via certified mail (which they always claim they never received, even when I have proof) and dozens of lost work hours every year to sign up for health coverage — all with the threat that I’ll have to pay a fine WHEN THEY SCREW IT UP EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Single payer. Anything else is just stupid.

Exhausted on Sunday. Had trouble getting going. Working on finishing up a book for review. Had to do some client work that I couldn’t get finished last week, and which had to be done by Monday.

Worked on taking down decorations. Still not done. The tree only has lights left on it, but it will be another day or two before I can get them off and take the tree apart. I haven’t even stripped the tree in my office of ornaments yet.

I’m just unbelievably exhausted, and don’t see any option for rest coming up. It’s not about sleep. It’s about rest.

Sunday night was a fancy dress party. The reason I’d been shopping earlier in the weekend was to find a dress for this party. I didn’t find one, although I found pieces to freshen my wardrobe. But it turns out that I could fit into my favorite navy blue velvet evening gown. I paired it with my new blue suede pumps, thigh-high stockings (I’m sticking to my resolution not to wear pantyhose anymore), a multi-colored velvet wrap, elbow-length red velvet gloves, and I had my hair up with a tiara. I was pretty pleased with the effect.

The party was fun. It was at a restaurant in Hyannis. There was live music, a dance floor. I had a few glasses of Prosecco, danced, talked to people I knew and didn’t.

When I got home, I changed into pajamas and made scrambled eggs and ham for a late, light supper.

Monday was spent in client work, a couple of other appointments, and then a new meditation class. I desperately, desperately needed it.

I was exhausted when I woke up on Monday, but proud of myself for sticking to the weight training. I do the weights before I do yoga, and that works much better. I used to do it the other way around, and it didn’t work.

My printer is acting up – just when I have A LOT that needs to be done in the next few days. I’m trying to replace the drum and hope that solves it; otherwise, I have to buy a new printer.

With a client today and tomorrow. Thursday, I start digging into the radio script revisions, and focus on some of the other writing.

Usually, even when I’m too tired to physically write much, I can work out plot points and story themes. But I’m so physically and mentally spent that I can’t even string two silent thoughts together. It’s very hard to be vocally coherent with clients.

And maybe, MAYBE this coming weekend, I can get some rest.

I’m going to figure out where I can take a few days off, either later this month, or early next month.

I still have two books coming out quickly that need to be marketed; and get back in the groove of GRAVE REACH, which comes out near the end of the year. And the plays. This year is about a lot of scripts.

I also have to get the registration of the websites shifted over to Name Silo. That means the sites will probably go down for a bit, as 1&1 tries to sabotage the transfer. But I’m happy with A2 as my host, and I want Name Silo to hold the registration. I want to finally be free of 1&1 for good. I wish I’d had the courage and the knowledge to leave them years ago. It’s cost me thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

But most of all, most of all, I am desperate for some rest.

Published in: on January 8, 2019 at 6:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 8, 2019: Please, Just Let Me Rest  
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Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

I need another week of weekend.

Busy times. Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest post.

I have to find someone who can help me re-thread the spool for the weed whacker, so I can keep working on the yard.

I made a stupid mistake on Friday because I was over-tired and careless. I can’t fix it; therefore I’ve lost a good opportunity. That’s my own damn fault. I need to let it go and move on.

Saturday was all about the yard. I worked in the front, I worked in the back. I set down the organic fertilizer that also fights ants and ticks. I planted the tomatoes I’ve grown from seed, re-planted some mints and other plants from the garden store, planted some more seeds, tracked down and destroyed the wasp nest and the wasps that have been tormenting us. Part of me felt guilty for the latter; however, they have an entire yard that remains organic; they don’t have to harass us on the deck. If they won’t respect boundaries, they are gone.

We set up the deck, and it’s lovely. I hope we can spend many wonderful hours out there this season.

I planned Sunday and Monday as writing days, and they were. However, they weren’t on the projects where I’m under the most pressure. I should have been working on MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

Instead, I worked on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I wrote about fifty pages (mostly on Sunday, less on Monday). The shape is a little different than I expected, but I like it. The characters are surprising me in good ways. I’m having fun with the maps and building a dirigible that’s different from the other dirigibles I’ve designed for other stories. I have to adjust the structure — and that means going back and adding a chapter I skipped. I thought I had to rotate points of view and each chapter had to be from a different POV; however, I’m finding certain chapters where two in a row need to be from my primary protagonist. I’m also naming the chapters — something I rarely do. I’m naming them once they’re written, so the title reflects the content. I find if I try to name the chapter first, I then try to bend the chapter to fit the title, and it takes me off the track of the piece.

Thank goodness for my tracking sheets, or I’d never be able to stay consistent.

I heard that my radio play was well-received. I’m glad, and I look forward to hearing it when the link goes up. I also heard from some readers who bought and read my books over the holiday weekend, and enjoyed them. Always glad when something I write makes someone happy.

Worked on the anti-gun violence play. I have the characters, I think. I removed some, because they were pulling the focus of the piece. I have a smaller cast and a narrower focus, but I think it will work for what it is. I have what drives each of them; I have a basic idea of plot. I’m still working on structure, but I’m close. I find that, for a play, I need to work out a lot more in my head before I start writing. For prose, I need to make more notes and outline.

Yesterday, it was difficult to move out of the world of THREE ROADS and back into the contemporary New York of MYTH & INTERPRETAITON and RELICS & REQUIEM. Not to mention my actual reality of Cape Cod and having to work with a client on-site. I’m really tired of the attitude on Cape Cod of “if you’re not sitting in front of me doing the work, you can’t be working.” I’m much more productive working off-site, in my preferred surroundings. Both the quantity and the quality of my work are better when I work remotely.

Back on track with MYTH. Getting there with RELICS. My reward for getting each day’s quota on each is doing some work on THREE ROADS. Working steadily on the play — should be able to start putting something on paper this week.

Some LOIs out yesterday and more will go out today. I’m on-site with a client again, and have plenty of other stuff to get done while I’m gone.

And yard work, whenever I can, because the whole summer will be about yard work.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 30, 2018 at 2:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 30, 2018: Writing Weekend & Rewards  
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Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges

Friday, May 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Sorry this is up late; I had errands to run this morning before the tourons descend on Cape Cod and make our lives hell for the next three months.

The relief I feel at getting out both requested partials to the interested editors ahead of deadline leaves me exhausted. HEART THEFT went out nine days before deadline; NOT BY THE BOOK went out four days before deadline. Neither one were dumped on the editor during a holiday weekend (although I cut it close with NBTB). I lived up to my own expectations for myself AND I’m happy with the quality of work I turned in.

I tried mowing yesterday. The reel mower doesn’t really mow much. It massages, and the grass snaps right back up. I bought a rolling blade. It should damn well cut whatever vegetation over which I roll it. Not happy AT ALL. When it cuts, it does a decent job of it, but there’s too much it’s not cutting.

I’m getting annoyed by the part-time writers who have non-writing day jobs to pay the bills attacking full-time writers who earn our living at it for “writing every day.” This is my profession, not my hobby. If I don’t show up and do the work every day, I can’t pay the bills. Getting paid for my writing doesn’t make me love it any less or make me any less of a writer. Stop attacking people who achieve what you can’t.

And, you know what? Go ahead and DON’T write regularly. Only write “when the muse strikes.” You’ll still be a cubicle slave. I’ll still be earning my living doing what I love — because I show up and do the work.

Spent some time outside, both reading and working on the maps for THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS. I’m moving forward as though my first choice market passed, and not writing it with an eye to their parameters. I’m back to writing it because I really love the piece and want to create this world. It will have to be done in and around other projects, but not having a deadline means less pressure. I’m getting more and more ideas about the world, and making more and more notes. The chapters I’ve written so far have a strong energy and drive, and I like the sprawl. I like weaving the characters, situations, and storylines together, to see where they converge and where they part.

This morning, I worked out a plot and character arc involving one of my five central protagonists with one of the minor characters who’s more complex than I expected. In my first putterings with this arc, it would have derailed the main drive of the piece. But now, I’ve figured out a way to adjust it so it supports the central plot instead of serving as a tangent. It will drive plot, illuminate character, enrich the world. In other words, serve its purpose.

However, this morning, I’m going back to work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, whose deadline is coming up quickly. I’ll be looking at cover choices next week from my publisher and cover designer — hopefully, there will be a cover reveal soon.

I’d also like to sit down with the market list this weekend and come up with some more article pitches to go out next week.

I finished reading Marshall Ryan Maresca’s AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE. I like this series a lot. A MURDER OF MAGES remains as one of my Top Twelve Books across genre. The choices made as the series develops surprise me. I often think, “I wouldn’t do it that way — but I’m really glad HE did!” I enjoy his world building, and I enjoy the way he breaks genre clichés.

There’s such a big difference between turning a trope (I hate that word) inside out and ignoring it. Tropes set up expectations. A talented writer (like Maresca) knows them intimately and knows how to use them beyond the expectations and take the reader somewhere new and exciting. A careless writer would toss it in and not follow through or defy it without providing expansion and payoff.

I admit it, I read Maresca as much for craft as for story and character. I learn a lot about the way he structures his books, about the paths his characters take. There’s always the sense of discovery there, but he’s got such good craft, I’m willing to leap with him wherever he goes, because I know it will be a satisfying, exciting experience. He was also kind enough to point me in the right direction when I had questions about mapping that have been useful.

I heard the radio play went well earlier this week. The cast, crew, and audience had fun with it — that’s music to a playwright’s ears! I’m looking forward to hearing it.

I’m playing with ideas for the new gun violence play that came out of the conversation I had with an actress friend. I’d set out a cast of characters, but they started feeling too much like representations than individuals. So I stripped it back and narrowed the focus. Now, I have something to work with, something to develop. I usually don’t mention the physical characteristics or race of characters in a cast breakdown. With my work, I find that when the actor who connects best with the work is cast, we have an array of physical types, races, ethnicities.

However, in this case, race is part of what the play deals with. Which means I need to specify which characters are black, white, etc. We’re dealing with things people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge, but which have to be acknowledged. This will be a challenging piece to work on, and I’m pulling in advice from all kinds of actors and creatives with whom I’ve worked on Broadway, to make sure it’s not just a banal “I’m presenting a message” piece, but a piece that digs deep in search of the cause of the problem, and also offers more than one solution. The development process will take a looong time. But it will be worth it, if something valuable comes out of it, for those of us in the creation and the experience of the final piece. Flippant responses out of emotion, fear, anger, aren’t necessarily ones that will help. Yet they will also need to be a part of this, as they are a step on the journey to a solution, and sometimes a tangent.

I hope I’m up to the challenge.

In the meantime, I have to tackle the challenge of the Lawn that Refused to Bow to the Mower.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on May 25, 2018 at 9:58 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 25, 2018: Respite & New Creative Challenges  
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Wed. June 7, 2017: A Day in the Life of A Writer

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

My brain was tired yesterday from all the script work. However, I pushed through and sent off a few more article pitches. One of them was accepted within 20 minutes. I’ve written most of the article in my head; I’ll set it to paper later today. I’m hoping I can get a quote from a source in time, but the turnaround is so tight, I don’t know if that’s possible.

Another article pitch that I sent off a few weeks ago was rejected, so I’m re-slanting it and sending it to a different market, and crafting a new pitch for the first market, which is a place I’m determined to crack.

Decided not to pitch to two markets, because they expect you to sign up and participate in the “community” in order to land a paid assignment. Sorry, as a professional, I am hired to write on my ability to deliver the particular assignment, not on spending hours of unpaid time toadying. Next!

Pitched to another gig that is in my wheelhouse and that I would like a lot provided the pay is right and they’re willing to work bi-coastally.

I wrote twenty more script pages on PARALLEL-O-GAME. Definitely a limited run series (which used to be called a mini-series). I’m writing the first draft as one long piece; in subsequent drafts, I will break it down into the correct act structure for each segment. However, while I’m writing, I’m also keeping the act structure — both for each segment, and for the overall piece, in the back of my head, so that most of it will already be inherent in the pace. That’s something that only comes from experience. I’ve outlined a good portion of the next section, and scratched some notes down, although not anywhere near as detailed as for what’s already written.

I managed to write 13 pages this morning, which brings me roughly to the end of Part One.

Still haven’t heard about the edits on the assignment from the other publication. The lag time they have between everything is irritating. I have serious doubts that we’ll have a long association. I want to give it a chance, see if it’s just a case of getting used to their rhythm, but I have my doubts.

Was asked to submit a play to a new works festival north of Boston; on the fence about it, since they didn’t take the last one I submitted. Not sure I want to simply submit so their numbers look good for funding. Their numbers this year must be low, or they wouldn’t have emailed me to ask me to submit.

The radio play was acknowledged; they make their decisions in early September.

I have a short story to finish that’s dragging; I need to get it done and out the door, once the article is done, because the market for that story, should I crack it, would be another solid source of steady work. Even though it’s fiction.

This morning, I’m headed over to Cotuit Center for the Arts for a coffee chat, a new program of theirs. Several people I know will be there, and the set and costume designers will be talking — always fun to talk to colleagues.

Friday morning, I have a meeting for a potential new project that would be a lot of fun. And local. Fingers crossed it goes well. I pitched to them yesterday morning and the interview was nailed down by the afternoon, which is always a good sign.
I hope this creative rhythm continues!

Tues. June 6, 2017: Writing Hangover

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I’d hoped to have the article up on A Biblio Paradise re: The Tempest, but writing about Shakespeare always takes longer than I expect. I hope to have it ready tomorrow or Thursday.

I did one thing yesterday: I worked on the new teleplay I’d outlined the night before. From 7:30 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon, I wrote 84 pages.

I don’t think I’ve ever written that much in one day in my life.

So, the radio play went out today, instead of yesterday, along with some more pitches. I got paid last night for an article I wrote last week, which will run shortly. I like that market, and I hope we can work together again.

The past two days, I’ve watched THE GAME, a British mini-series, starring Tom Hughes, set in 1970s Britain. Eerily reflective of today. Strong writing, excellent acting.

Absolutely in despair about the state of the country. Saddened that there was another attack in London; furious and embarrassed by the Narcissistic Sociopath’s inappropriate response.

However, I did not get caught up in the Ariana Grande spin on the benefit concert in Manchester. Yes, it’s good that she did it. However, immediately after the attack, she ran back home and talked about how “devastated” she was, making it about her instead of about the incident, instead of standing tall and being a leader IN THAT MOMENT. Coming back with a publicity stunt a couple of weeks later doesn’t cancel that out. Glad people enjoyed themselves, but she’s off my list.

Back to the teleplay today — a steady six pages/day will seem like a let-down after yesterday. I anticipate it as four hours, in two chunks. I’m going to write without worrying about page count/running time in the first draft, then cut and shape in subsequent drafts.

I’m working on the next section of THE FIX IT GIRL revision — soon, I’ll be able to use all those books about Hearst Castle, as Mavis and Troy spend some quality time there.

I have an enormous stack to return to the library today, both books and DVDs. But most of today will be about writing, pitching, creating content and finding professional-rate markets for it.

Onward, bad weather and all.

Published in: on June 6, 2017 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 6, 2017: Writing Hangover  
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Mon. June 5, 2017: Productive Writing Weekend

Monday, June 5, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

I finished the short radio play “Axe to Grind” and it goes out today. It always feels so good to finish something and get it out the door!

I read Patricia V. Davis’s COOKING FOR GHOSTS on the Kindle. I liked most of it. Liked the characters, the plot, the social justice issues woven into the narrative. The only thing that didn’t work for me, that kept me from giving it an all-out rave was the shifting POV. Head-hopping and POV shifts within scenes don’t work for me and take away, in my opinion, the focus. It dilutes the piece for me. If she’d kept consistent POVs in each scene, and moved the POV when the scene moved, this would make one of my favorite recent reads. But I’d read more of her work, and I’d like to read the next books in the trilogy.

Sent off the first assignment for my new editor. Expect I’ll have to do some revisions this week, since I am new to the publication, and I need to learn their system and their voice. Heard from a pitch to another publication — they will “eventually” get around to assigning me something. Well, sweetie, when you “get around to it”, I might be otherwise booked! You’re one of the lower-paying publications, and THIS was where I have the time in the schedule.

Revised three more chapters on FIX IT GIRL. These needed some major restructuring and plot changes, which is one reason it’s taken me a couple of weeks instead of a couple of days to revise them. But I’m happy with the result. The POV is more focused, it goes deeper, it’s more interesting, and the sloppy writing’s cut out. In other words, the point of the revision. I’m a little over 38K into the revision. I’d say I’m about half way through, maybe a little past it.

I went over the whole second half of the book, making restructuring notes, that will help as I work chapter-by-chapter. Also created the query template. When the revision is done and polished, I can pop in the word count, do the synopsis, and off it goes.

Got an idea last night for a new screenplay. Actually, I think it will be a four-hour mini-series. Odd fantasy piece, interesting for the portfolio. I outlined almost half, and I know where the end will be. I wrote the first 30 pages this morning.

I want to stay home and write, but there are errands to run and work to do. Better get to it. So I can come back and write.

Have a great week!

I can’t believe it’s June, and it’s so darn cold. Haven’t been able to sit on the deck much; it’s usually in the 40s and 50s. Still, better cool than hot.

Published in: on June 6, 2017 at 9:19 am  Comments Off on Mon. June 5, 2017: Productive Writing Weekend  
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Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear

Monday, May 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Not the productive weekend I’d hoped for, unfortunately.

The stress of the personal issues I’m dealing with hit like a hammer, and it was difficult for me to get anything else done. I managed a little yard work, but not like the marathon hours that my neighbors did. Their lawns are pristine; my mower still isn’t working. I’m hoping the replacement of a simple part or two will do the trick.

I got a little work done on the play proposal, and some plotting work done on the radio play. I need to gear up and get those out the door this week.

On the upside, I re-read Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons mysteries, and enjoyed them. I drafted up some reviews I’ll leave for them. I also read a couple of her earlier books, one-offs, which were also fun.

STILL waiting for my first assignment from that editor who, weeks ago, said I was hired. I could have done THREE assignments (and been paid) in this time frame. I’m irritated. Perhaps it’s time to move on and take other work instead. IF I’m ever contacted, I’ll see what my schedule is, or I’ll bow out. If you’re “constantly” adding people to the team and promising “steady” work, it doesn’t take three weeks to make the first assignment.

Drafting a short article and an article pitch that need to go out today. Also want to tackle the short story — I’d like to get that out by the end of this week. I need to do some reformatting on the Topic Workbooks for an additional release venue, and get back to work on the next Topic Workbook. I’m going to try to release one every three months.

I re-read TIE CUTTER, which needs to get back into the writing mix in the next few months, and also did some more research for the next section of FIX IT GIRL revisions. The revision process on this novel is different than my usual, but it’s working for the particular novel, so I’m going with it.

Managed to get in a bit of yard work this morning before the rain started, although I was bitten several times. I hate ants. I’m in full out war with the ants. I know, I should appreciate them and all they stand for, but they’re not keeping their part of the bargain.

I have errands to run this morning, some things to do at the library, and then, hopefully, I can get back to the page. This week will be very stressful, on multiple fronts, and I’m trying to prepare myself, both mentally and physically.

Published in: on May 22, 2017 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear  
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