Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It was a busy weekend. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and none of the busy-ness could be in the yard. I really have to mow on the next sunny day, no matter what else is going on in my schedule.

Along with errands like grocery shopping and filling the car with gas, and taking my mom to get her blood pressure checked, I got out some LOIs and wrote.

I didn’t spend much time on social media, and it was a nice break.

But the bulk of the time was spent finishing up the contest entries. Going back over my top choices, and making decisions. One category is done. All the scoring sheets are entered. The winner and five finalists chosen. I still have to write the review, but it’s percolating in my head. The second category’s choices will be made today, and the final category no later than Thursday. The quality of entrants improves every year, and it’s exciting.

I did a lot of work on the new idea, which I’m calling, at least for the moment, ELLA BY THE BAY. It will need cutting in some parts, expansion (especially sensory) in others. But I like what I’m dealing with in it, and how the characters are expanding.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like, but it’s going, and that’s always a good thing. Once the contest score sheets are all entered, I can pick up the pace on it.

I’m feeling a little better, overall, although still feeling overall burned out. Only I can’t take the time off I need. So I’m trying to find packets of restorative time, so that things don’t come to a nasty breaking point.

The Kentucky Derby was on Saturday. Omaha Beach was scratched due to breathing issues. Maximum Security was by far the best horse in the field, but he was disqualified, and Country House, the 65-1 shot who came in second, named the winner. It was a crap decision and has tainted this race forever. I’m saying that as someone who put money on Country House as my longshot pick. He did better than I expected, but he wasn’t the best horse on the field that day.

The stock market crashed yesterday morning, because the Narcissistic Sociopath threatens more tariffs on goods from China. Hmm, shortly after boasting about a phone conversation with Putin. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Was with a client yesterday. Had to skip meditation group because I had to be in Bourne for their Town Meeting. But car trouble derailed it all.

Came back later than I would have liked, and worked on the contest entries some more.

Today, I’m with a client, then at the library, then I make my decisions on the second category. I need to get some more LOIs out.

I’m deeply disappointed the Vermont gig didn’t work out, but I have to keep it in perspective in the bigger picture. It will make sense in the long run, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I need to keep my head in the game and get focused.

Of course, that meant my engine coolant light went off and I’m totally freaking out.

Left the car at the mechanic this morning. Scared to death it’s something serious. If it happened next week, no worries. I’ll have a big freelance check coming in. This week? It’s an issue. Thus goes the life of a freelancer.

Back to the page.

Published in: on May 7, 2019 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. April 2, 2019: Regaining Equilibrium & Grabbing Opportunities

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Waning Moon

I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Mine was all over the place. The drama surrounding what should have been something simple intensified, and I’m fed up. In addition to being hurt and frustrated because I said if these particular actions were taken, these would be the results, and I would be the one who had to pay for it both financially and emotionally. That was ignored, I was hit with consequences for something that was not an action of MINE, and now I’m supposed to jump through more hoops to fix it, instead of the person who caused the issue in the first place. No. Just no.

Human beings make mistakes. It happens.

When I make a mistake, I apologize, first and foremost. Then I take actions to correct the mistake. Then I work to rebuild any trust that was broken because of the mistake. Especially the latter takes time, and isn’t always successful. But I make the effort.

Yet in this situation, when the other party made a mistake that affected me in more than one area of my life — I had to fight to get an acknowledgement and then a half-hearted apology. And then I was told the hoops I had to jump through to get it fixed with a third party– again, this was NOT my mistake — which I had told the person who made the mistake wouldn’t work in the first place, because I actually have worked in this field and know the manipulations. As I predicted, it did not work, I was badly treated, shamed, and mansplained to. The situation is still not resolved. We are now in Day 5 of something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and could have been fixed in FIVE MINUTES.

Even if it is, any future interactions will be tainted. What used to be in the life balance column is now in the life stressor column.

I don’t need that, especially not this month, when things are stretched to the max anyway.

In addition to the whole situation making me angry, I am so, so hurt. This was someone I trusted.

But now I know better.

And I’ve lost a sanctuary I deeply value. Which is painful.

So, basically, most of the weekend was spent in emotional pain management, trying to heal, and, every time I took a step to try to resolve the situation, getting another metaphorical slap in the face.

I didn’t get a lot of writing done, although I got some plotting, and I’m back working on GRAVE REACH this week. At least I can relate to Lesley’s pain and sense of betrayal. I’ll find a way to funnel it into the work.

I read my friend Arlene Kay’s DEATH BY DOG SHOW, which was really fun. Made me laugh a lot.

I worked on the books for review. I worked on contest entries. I got quite a bit done on the contest entries.

I started working in the yard. Saturday was so beautiful. I got the terraced area in the back raked out. I didn’t get as far as the border bed on the terraced area, but I got the rest of the beds raked out, did some pruning and cutting back. Got rid of a lot of bindweed that’s been creeping around. And some of the roses are taking over, so I’m going to have to do some serious hacking back in the next few weeks.

Worked on the proofs for the almanac. They went out yesterday morning.

Was with a client on Monday, and will be so today. Wednesday, Thursday, and maybe into Friday, I have an adventure. I’ll be able to share some of the details next week. And then I go into another intense weekend of writing and, next Saturday, going to see my radio play performed live in Boston.

My entire intent on Monday was to keep my head down. I don’t like April Fool’s Day. I don’t like that people feel liberated to be cruel — although, since the 2016 election, they feel that every day, and, especially around here, regularly act on it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on April 2, 2019 at 5:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 2, 2019: Regaining Equilibrium & Grabbing Opportunities  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. March 21, 2019: Reading and Aftermath

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I feel like I got hit by a truck! Not necessarily in a bad way.

Tuesday night into Wednesday, I heard the coyote calling. Only this time, no one answered. I’m worried that other members of his pack were shot since their last party in the backyard, and the thought of it breaks my heart.

Wednesday was fine with my client. Busy day.

I had a final rehearsal in the afternoon, and dealt with a bad bout of nerves. But that’s the gig.

Heard from a friend of mine, right before showtime, that one of her childhood friends had been murdered by the woman’s crazy ex-husband. And my friend had to go and do a reading, too. How awful.

When will the violence against women stop?

Violence against women is definitely another monologue,

Went to the venue. Ran into a friend of mine in the bathroom — we hadn’t seen each other in ages and had been thinking of each other. She was on her way to the reading. So it was great to catch up. And there’s another monologue there.

I also ran into someone I knew back when I worked in the library. Her sister was performing that night. It was good to see her again.

It was an interesting roster of performers. I was in the first half of the evening, which I prefer, because once I’m done I can relax and really enjoy all the other performers. The reading went well. I landed the jokes. The twist in the first, more light-hearted one worked. The second one made people more uncomfortable in the right way, although I’m going to cut one phrase to let the line land better in the next draft.

With words written for performance, it’s so important to get them on their feet. It’s so different than seeing the words on the page. That’s why I rehearse so much. Mark the breaths, work on where in my vocal range I want to pitch it. It makes a huge difference.

I still would rather have actors speak my words than me do it!

We had some good conversations and there was feedback afterwards, mostly positive. A jibe or two, but I didn’t let it rattle me. Which rattled the jiber.

Came home, wiped out. Checked in with a musician friend who’s given me a lot of support, and with the Women Write Change pals.

Today, I’m having a hard time getting it together.. I have too much to do, and not enough time. More keep getting piled on. All I can do is one step at a time.

I’ve got some new monologues percolating, I have to get some information together that I promised someone, I hope to make it to yoga, and then I have a ton of stuff to get done later today and tomorrow.

Onward.

 

Published in: on March 21, 2019 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 21, 2019: Reading and Aftermath  
Tags: , , , ,

Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Sleeting and cold

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post.

Had a decent writing day yesterday, and a good session onsite with a client.

Got out the comic ghost story radio play (numbered draft), along with some other paperwork for them. Waiting to hear back from that company on a few different things, including my contract.

The weather was turning, so I came home after the client session, and worked on contest entries.

SCRATCH, the book about writers and money, is really wonderful. And the experiences can be applied across disciplines in the arts. Someone on social media couldn’t understand how a book about writing could apply to any other art. If everything has to be spelled out directly in your own reference, how can you possibly create art? Art is about going beyond the expected, and knowing how to make connections beyond the obvious.

Also reading A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN, edited by Eleanor Brown, which is a wonderful anthology of writers and their experiences in Paris. It also lists their books. Some of them I’ve read; many I haven’t.

I’m also determined to track down a book by Jeannie Moon. She was disparaged by a person calling herself an author who said that a romance novel where the woman is ten years older than the man is “gross.” How sexist and ageist is that? So now I’m determined to read the book.

Between the lists of Parisian books and Jeannie Moon’s book and recommendations from the post on A Biblio Paradise’s Reader Expansion Challenge, I have a wealth of choices for the next challenge!

Did some work on Gambit Colony.

Watched HIDDEN FIGURES. What a beautiful, beautiful movie! Made me both laugh and cry. I can’t believe it took me so long to sit down and watch it.

Worked on the monologues.

I planned to test one or two of them last night, but decided not to because of the weather. Of course, then the weather didn’t get bad until later, but it would have been a challenge to get home.

Public reading is not something I can do off the cuff. I write for performers; I am not one. But, of course, a professional writer has to give readings. It’s even more layered when it’s from a stage piece that I have no intention of professionally performing — the actors cast will perform it.

However, the monologues from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE have served me well over the years — both in the professional productions where actors have performed the monologues, and in readings all over the world, both live and on radio. Those monologues have been around and performed since the mid 1990’s. The evergreen ones can be called up and spoken/read at the drop of a hat.

I need to test the monologues I’m creating for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. At some point, when I have a batch of them, I might call upon some local actors to come over for a session and read. Or hire a rehearsal studio for a few hours, where we can read. Maybe hire a space over at Cape Space.

But right now, it’s too early in the process. I need to speak them myself and gauge a reaction. I need to feel the rhythm in my body in order to revise properly.

When there’s a script with multiple parts, it works better for me to bring in actors and listen to them read. That way, I can feel how individual rhythms develop and make adjustments. (And yes, I’ve often paid actors to come in, sit around a table, and read an early draft of a script).

But with monologues, unless I’m developing a piece with a specific group of actors (which needs time, access to the talent pool, and money), I need to read aloud the initial drafts myself. I need to feel the rhythms in my own body.

After a few drafts of the monologues, then I’ll bring in some actresses, and we’ll work in the room. But I need to test the initial drafts with an audience, once I’ve read them aloud myself a few times. Whenever possible, I also tape the reading, and listen to it for objectivity. I do this when I rehearse readings from my books as well.

By listening, I can figure out rhythm. Where do I need to take a breath? Where can I speed up? Where should I slow down? Is there anything that needs to be cut, because it doesn’t work in the piece?

Anything that is spoken needs to be heard. Simply looking at words on the page isn’t enough. Even when I have enough experience to feel the beats as I write them, I also need to hear them. That’s true of radio, stage, or screenplay. Having actual actors (not just random people) read the words out loud during the development/drafting process makes a huge difference.

Obviously, it was easier to do that in NY than it is here. First, the talent pool is smaller here. Second, even though there are some wildly talented people here, theatre is a “side” not a “priority” and getting people to commit and fulfill that commitment — even for a one-shot reading — is not easy. Anything shiny dangled in front of them will take priority.

It gets frustrating. But it is also vital to the process.

But I can’t just decide at the last minute whether or not I’ll read. I have to feel confident that the draft I have is ready for comment. In other words, it will have gone through several drafts, and I will feel it’s solid enough to have feedback.

Then, I have to rehearse it, so it feels natural when I speak it, and I’ve found its innate rhythm and show it off as best as I, a non-performer, can.

Had I gone last night, I would have read “Smile!” and possible “Emotional Lifting.”
“My Life in Quicksand” is still an unfinished first draft; while I’m having fun with it, it’s nowhere near ready to be read yet. Most likely, I would have just read “Smile!”

I’d rehearsed, to the point where I felt as comfortable as I can feel when reading. Which is “never very.”

But then, I have to gear up myself emotionally. I need the focus of my emotional energy to be set aside for that reading. For several days leading up to a reading date, I pace myself differently, and I store up the necessary energy, so I can tap into it during the reading. I do this when I teach in person, too, or attend a conference.

Even though I wrote during the day. Even though I did client work during the day. I had to pace myself and save myself.

So add in a storm to the mix, snow and sleet, and bad road conditions at night, in an area where people are lousy drivers on a good day — I made the decision the night before, based on the weather forecast that said it would start getting nasty in the late afternoon, not to go.

In other words, that saved emotional energy was then released and dissipated into other projects.

I kept waiting for the storm to start. It didn’t.

Part of me was tempted to just drive to the open mic and read.

Only I’d used up the emotional energy I needed in order to read well on other projects during the day, because I’d made the decision not to read that night. Could I have read?

It would have been flat. It wouldn’t have given the audience something worthy of response, which meant I wouldn’t have gotten what I needed for the next draft.

It was snowing a little after eight, so it was a moot point anyway. I wouldn’t have gotten home until nearly ten (I don’t read and run — I stay for everyone’s work, and then we usually chat).

Have I ever just stepped in and stepped up to an unexpected opportunity? Or a request to fill in for someone who backed out at the last minute?

Of course I have. I’ve done well. Because I dig deeper, making like a hockey player, and use the adrenaline rush. I’m wiped out after, but I can do it.

I can do it not with new material, but because, after all these years, I have a wealth of material and experiences I can use to draw from in a spontaneous talk. It’s been hard-won, but it’s there.

So that was my Wednesday night.

Today, I have lots of admin and LOIs to do, then yoga, then, hopefully, a good afternoon writing and working on contest entries and the book I’m reviewing. I also am prepping for my client meeting tomorrow.

Which means that tomorrow’s post will go up late, probably in the early afternoon.

We have more storms this weekend, so I’ll tuck in to read and write.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Feb. 8, 2019: Thoughts, Decisions, Weights

Friday, February 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Rainy and mild

Yesterday’s meeting went well in some respects, but gave me a lot of to think about. There are facets to weigh, positives, negatives, possibilities.

My head says one thing, my heart another, my gut a third.

So we’ll see.

I read Barbara Ross’s STEAMED OPEN, which was a lot of fun. I like that series a lot, and she mentions Wiscasset, one of my favorite places in Maine.

I’m pretty sure I’m off track with the radio play, so I have to rip apart the second half and fix it.

Working on the book I have to review. Sending out a bunch of LOIs. Working on contest entries this weekend, along with the monologues, the radio play, and the novels.

I feel discouraged on several fronts, like there are obstacles pushing me in a direction I’m not sure I want to go. But I can’t stay where i am, either. There has to be movement. But perhaps it’s in a direction I haven’t yet explored.

So this weekend will also contain a lot of reflection.

And planting. There are seeds that need planting!

And writing.

And reading.

Have a good one.

Published in: on February 8, 2019 at 9:50 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 8, 2019: Thoughts, Decisions, Weights  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Fri. Jan. 18, 2019: Writing, Reading, Resting, Repeat

Friday, January 18, 2019
Waxing Moon
Snowy and cold

Although I managed to get a few things done yesterday morning, it wore me out and I had to rest in the afternoon. Coughing up a lung the entire time.

Just worn out.

I did finish the book for review and wrote the review. That is off today, along with the invoice for the last batch of reviews.

I plan to do more writing, in and around resting. Write a chapter, rest for an hour, write a chapter, rest for an hour, and so forth and so on.

We’re supposed to get another big storm tomorrow night, through Sunday and into Monday, so that will be interesting. We have wood for the fireplace and groceries and wine, so I think we’ll be okay.

I’ll be writing, reading, resting. Repeat.

Have a lovely weekend.

Published in: on January 18, 2019 at 10:30 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 18, 2019: Writing, Reading, Resting, Repeat  
Tags: , , ,

Tues. Dec. 4, 2018: Writing and Annoyances

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

Saturday morning, I met friends at the Cahoon Museum’s open house. We wanted to see the fiber art exhibit again, and revisit some of our favorite paintings. It was a wonderful way to spend the morning, and it also allowed me to plot a scene for a piece I’m playing with.

Ran some errands on the way back. Got a new carbon monoxide detector to replace the one that gave up the ghost in the basement. Had to go to multiple stores to find the red and green candles I need for the Advent table, because heaven forbid a store had them in stock. And DON’T tell me to “order online” when I’ve made the effort to support your brick-and-mortar store. That really annoys me.

Home, wrote a few pages of another project, read a bit, more decorating.

I also finalized the recipe for the Stained Glass Cupcakes. They are really, really good. I’m glad I could get them right. It took a few months, but it was worth it.

Finished reading the second book in a series. I’d loved, loved, loved the first book (it makes me “favorites” for the year). I loved the beginning of the second, but the further the story went, the angrier I got. The craft was great, but the plot — it reinforced anti-female clichés that I found personally insulting, and I found the female characters’ revenge justified, not that they were villains. There was also too much unnecessary animal murder in it. I nearly decided not to read the third book in the series — although it takes place backstage at a theatre.

Slept in on Sunday, which was nice, and then got to work. Managed 6 1/2 chapters of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, which puts me in a good position. Wrote about 4 pages of another project, and plotted out some more of the erotic adventure story in space with which I’m playing.

I have to finish the short for the newsletter; I want to get the newsletter out next week.

More decorating; finally starting to get some of the boxes put away. But it takes awhile. My office and the back room are still in chaos, and need to be sorted out; I still have no idea where I’ll display the angels, the nutcrackers, and some other ceramic figures. And the tree topper’s not working, so I have to come up with something else.

It will all work out. It always does.

Finished a book I had to review, and wrote the review yesterday. I wanted to like it more than I actually liked it. It has serious logistical problems.

The first Bush president died over the weekend. The photo of his service dog lying in front of the coffin is heartbreaking. But now everyone acts like he’s a saint. He wasn’t. He was part of the GOP long game that brought us Trump. He did it more for country than self, and I wish his family peace, but I worked as a military case worker volunteer for the Red Cross during Desert Storm. I was furious about the way he handled it, and how it led to 9/11. Not to mention all the other typically-Republican positions he took. Just because he was a better human being than the Narcissistic Sociopath (and that bar is pretty low) doesn’t make him a shining light.

Monday morning’s first writing session was derailed by idiots with leafblowers who started at 7:30 in the morning—even though everything was soaked from the storm the night before. I am so sick of them. Two hours later, when I left to work with my client, they were still there.

Worked with a client yesterday. Exhausting. Today and tomorrow will be more of the same. Some changes are going on with this client that will make life difficult for the first few months of next year.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on December 4, 2018 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 4, 2018: Writing and Annoyances  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Fri. Sept. 21, 2018: Exciting Invitations

Friday, September 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

It finally feels like fall! So happy about that.

Have to go in to my client’s for a few hours to do some more coordination for the event ceremony next week. Have been invited to another networking breakfast the following day. Still debating whether or not to go to that one.

Got some client work done yesterday, and some reading, but not enough writing. Had to get some political activism work done — there’s too much at stake right now to shrug and claim that I don’t have time. It was raining off and on, so I couldn’t get yard work done.

Got some work done on what used to be POWER OF WORDS. Have a lot of thoughts about what I still need to do to polish the last three books in this first major arc, and then ideas for the next books. I’ve made some decisions about the Mia-Evan arc that incorporates a lot of what I felt had to be either/or, but now see can be worked into an interesting conflict between them.

Getting ready to dig into the edits for RELICS AND REQUIEM. Have a review to finish, and also want to polish at least most of the calendar articles — that deadline is looming. Plus get some decent work done on DHARMA.

I’ve been invited to participate in a virtual global human rights conference, put on by the university where I’ve been studying the International Tribunals and the UN. I’ve even been invited to contribute a piece for their “Ideas Bazaar” on one day of the conference. We have to work out the details, especially with the time changes, but that’s exciting. I’d really like to do it.

I wanted to participate in the local yoga festival this weekend in Falmouth. But they’re so unclear about costs, etc., that I hesitate. I wanted to buy the three day pass that supposedly gives access to everything. But I look at some of the workshops and they’re marked as “sold out.” So that would mean I’d be paying, but not able to attend what I want to attend, unless a certain number of slots are being held for 3-day pass holders. Because why should I pay for 3 days when the entire first day and most of the things I want to do the other two days are marked “sold out”? I asked about it, and no one organizing it has a definitive answer.

So I’m not buying something that may or may not be honored.

Because if you’re selling a 3-day pass, it means the holders can attend whatever they want on those days. Not be shut out of events for which they’ve already paid. It doesn’t make sense.

And, this being Cape Cod, they’d just shrug and keep my money and not let me in to the workshops. So I’ll pass. I have enough to keep me busy this weekend. Plus, there are dozens of other things going on. Everyone tries to pack September to the gills, because the damn tourists are still here.

It’s also the Equinox, and I have ritual.

So it will be a busy, but hopefully happy weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Published in: on September 21, 2018 at 8:39 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 21, 2018: Exciting Invitations  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Sept. 13, 2018: Just the Stead Work

Thursday, September 13, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy, warm, humid

Tired.

Work onsite with a client yesterday, then got some grocery shopping done.

Had a good day on DAVY JONES DHARMA yesterday; so far not too good today, but I’m hoping it will get better.

Having fun with the unscheduled, uncontracted piece I’ve been playing with, set on a retreat center in New Mexico.

I’m starting another semester of studying the process of the International Courts at the Hague. This semester will be in English, rather than French, so I expect it will be easier. I’m still only auditing. I might take the classes again in a year or two for credit. There’s so much information, I don’t absorb it all the first time around.

Put down a novel I started yesterday because it was in the Angsty Young White Man Whining category, and I’m tired of them.

I have some LOIs to get out today, and some other proposals to work on, along with the regular writing. I should get my editing notes for the next round of RELICS & REQUIEM, so I will start those tomorrow or Sunday. Probably Sunday.

Rehearsing and prepping for Saturday’s reading. I shouldn’t be nervous at this point, but I always am.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 13, 2018 at 9:03 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 13, 2018: Just the Stead Work  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about Andrew Singer’s wonderful memoir, China Sings To Me.

The 17th Anniversary of 9/11. I knew a lot of people who died that day. I still grieve. I perform my own ceremony of remembrance.

I get annoyed when people book social events, etc. on this day, but it’s not up to me. What is up to me is not engaging, and keeping it a day of remembrance in the way that works for me. People have the right to live their lives. I have the right to live mine.

For me, this day is about remembrance, commitment to those for whom I care, and trying to figure out how to make the world a better place that’s not fear-based. I have a long way to go, but at least I put in the work.

There was some sort of stomach bug prevalent in the house over the last few days. I had trouble Thursday and Saturday; my mom was sick Saturday into Sunday.

I managed to finish this draft of RELICS on Saturday night and get it off to my editor. I’ll get editing notes back later this week, turn it around, and then we go into galleys.

Meanwhile, DAVY JONES DHARMA moves into the Priority slot, with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE moving back into the secondary slot (out of the “I’ll work on it whenever” slot). CRAVE THE HUNT and the rest of what used to be POWER OF WORDS are in the “whenever” slot, and I’m percolating the opening chapter of GRAVE REACH, which goes into the back of RELICS.

GRAVE REACH is outlined, but I’m on a tight schedule for it, and have to get cracking. That will also be in a “whenever” slots.

I read some nonfiction books by an author whose work I’ve followed for decades. Some of her work resonates with me; some does not. She is not someone I want to meet or work with, though. Too many of her quirks annoy me: they’re not honest or endearing; I find them selfish and hypocritical.

But then, as someone pointed out a couple of years ago, we all have areas in which we’re hypocrites. We simply choose our level of hypocrisy. I’m trying to narrow those areas in my own life. Again, work in progress.

Also read an urban fantasy novel by a new-to-me author. I’d read one of her short stories in an anthology and liked it, so I figured I’d try a full-length book. The only book I could get from the library was in the middle of the series. Loved the action. Although, after awhile, it was too much action and not enough happening in between. The sex scenes were necessary to drive the plot, and were pretty well written, but ten pages plus, in my opinion, is too long in this case. Some of the best development of supporting characters I’ve seen in a long time. I wasn’t so thrilled about the protagonist. This was book six and she was in a place I’d have expected in the middle of book one or maybe book two. She doesn’t make a mistake once and then learn from it. She makes it five or six times, finds a solution by accident, but doesn’t apply it moving forward. That bothers me. She found out information and, at the end, it looked like she evolved, but when I read the reviews for the next few books in the series, it seems like she’s doing same old, same old. Also, according to the reviews, the cliffhanger set up at the end of this book still isn’t resolved two books down. I’m not sure I’m willing to go ahead indefinitely with constant cliffhangers, so that each book is like an overlong chapter. Especially since the cliffhanger involves the character that was my favorite in the book.

I rarely use reviews to make a decision about whether or not to read a book, but I had suspicions about where this was going, and wasn’t sure I wanted to put time into it, which is why I hunted down the reviews. I’m on the fence. If I can come across the next two books easily via the commonwealth catalogue or something (they’re not in CLAMS), I’ll try them.

Then I feel guilty, because I should support my fellow writers. However, this woman has plenty of sales — mine won’t matter! And, since a library book is a sale for her, it works all around.

I was really disgusted by the way Serena Williams was treated at the US Open. Men get away with questioning the umpire, but heaven forbid a woman, especially a talented black woman, do the same. The crowd also treated Naomi Osaka terribly. It should have been a glorious day for her, not a misogynistic one.

With Hurricane Florence a threat, I have to finish what I’m doing, cleaning-up wise, on the deck in the next few days. Here I’d hoped I’d have until nearly the end of October to use the deck as a staging area as I clean out, but I guess not.

Rehearsing for the reading, working on the calendar articles.

Onsite client work yesterday, today, tomorrow. Trying to find a new angle for the current and upcoming collections.

The newsletter went out on Friday, with cover reveals for the next three books. Next newsletter is December’s.

Working on my sell sheet for the weekend (and beyond), too.

Sent off a guest blog post. Working on the calendar articles. I want them done by the end of the month.

Got an idea from some of the non-fiction reading I’ve been doing for a novel. Playing with the setting, characters, themes, plot. We’ll see.

Working on the book I have to review.

Working. Working. Working.

I like it.

 

Published in: on September 11, 2018 at 3:17 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 11, 2018: Sad Anniversary; Steady Work  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tues. Aug. 28, 2018: Design, Create, Purge

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Direct (as of yesterday)
Uranus Retrograde

Sorry I didn’t post on Friday. The day got away from me.

But I bought 18 notebooks in the back-to-school sales, so I’m set for notebooks. For the moment!

Thursday was not a good writing day at all, but at least I got some other stuff done, including early morning grocery shopping.

I tried reading a book from a series by an author who’d come recommended. I wound up skimming through the second half of the book I was reading because the protagonist was such an idiot I wanted her to be the next murder victim, there were copy editing errors as in the wrong character name in a scene that made no sense, and some major revelations happened off the page and were told to the reader in a toss-off sentence.

No. Just no.

I tried a book from a different series by the same author; put it down after the third chapter. I’m tired of dumbed-down, silly protagonists being marketed as “cute” and “whacky” and “spontaneous” and “eccentric.” Sorry, they’re dumb and annoying. I know plenty of cute, whacky, spontaneous, and eccentric individuals who aren’t morons.

An author I’ve crossed off my list. Fortunately, I’m not in contact with her on social media or at conferences. And no, I won’t name her publicly. I don’t bash other authors.

I want the protagonists in the books I read to be smarter, more resourceful, and more inventive than the average person. Yes, I like to see characters grow and change during the course of a book and series, but the change has to start soon after the catalyst, not six books down the road. A protag doesn’t learn from mistakes and keeps making the same one over and over? First of all, I want that protag to be the next murder victim (Donna Andrews calls it the “Too Stupid to Live Syndrome” and I agree). Second, it’s not a person I’d spend time with in real life, so I sure as heck won’t waste my reading time with that individual.

I like living books through characters vastly different than I am, but I demand intelligence and resourcefulness from them. Or I just don’t care enough to take a book-length journey with them.

Dumbing down characters so the reader can feel superior (a reality-tv trend) is not something I buy into. Or buy books of authors who do that.

I managed to get some yard work done Wednesday afternoon, which meant I could sit out on the deck with a lime martini and my writing and some books and not feel guilty. I need to mow and tidy up the front again.

By the time I get the yard where I want it, it will be snowing!

Read Yasmine Galenorn’s SOULJACKER and really liked it. Totally understand why she can’t continue the series. But still really enjoy this book (and it does stand alone).

Got out a couple of article pitches. Working on a radio play pitch and a workshop pitch, and a detailed LOI for a company that really interests me. Doubt they’ll go out before the end of this week.

Friday, I got a bit of writing done, and then I had a stack of errands, including getting a new phone. I went to one store — I told the guy my budget, and he immediately tried to get me beyond by double for a phone that he could only sell me that day. Um, no. That’s more than I can afford for a phone I don’t want. So I shopped around, and finally got something at a different store within my budget, and they were nice about it. So I have a phone I like that works.

I’ve been trying to get onto Vero, a social media network that’s only on one’s phone, that’s supposedly far superior to Instagram, Facebook, etc. Only when I download the app and try to sign up, they tell me the email address I use a dozen times a day is invalid. I complained to support, and they respond quickly, but keep asking the same questions and not solving the problem. So, unless it’s solved by today, I’m done and moving on.

One of the reasons I try new social media networks/apps is because, in addition to my own needs, I run social media platforms for other businesses and creatives. I experiment with them, see how they work, and then, depending on the need of the client, I can suggest one or more network.

If there are glitches and problems and a lot of hoops to jump through, I’m not going to recommend it.

I’m still getting a handle on Tumblr. I really like Ello, but that’s for creating, not really promotion. Which is fine, because it fills the hunger I have for connecting with other creatives about creation, not promotion.

I need and want to be around other working creatives who are creating. Not who are whining about “not having time” or only talking about the business side. The whining and the only-market-driven talk is like a disease among creatives, and it interferes instead of enhances creativity.

The last days of the Mars retrograde were tough. I had to take a breath and step back or I would have burned some bridges that really don’t need it right now.

The weekend was frustrating. Saturday was not a good writing day, and I didn’t get enough done around the house, either. I feel like I have no energy, like I’m in limbo. I can’t wait for other people’s decisions, even though they affect mine. I have to do what I need to do and just adjust. But it all seems overwhelming right now.

Sunday was better, especially creatively, although I’m still not where I need to be.

In addition to necessities like laundry, I also spent some serious time working on unpacking/purging stuff from the basement. Stuff that’s sat down there for far too long that I haven’t dealt with.

Time to deal.

It took me two hours to go through four boxes. I’m trying to deal with each item only once. There are a few things which I’m not yet sure about. Everything else was either toss or integrate. Not merely keep. Integrate.

I have a box for stuff to give away, but nothing from these boxes was appropriate.

If I can do a little every day, and more on weekends, eventually I will have gotten through it. But it’s slow going and it means making decisions that I’ve been putting off, sometimes for years. But it must be done.

It was also much more emotional than I expected. I had to confront my past self, and, again, decide what to integrate and of what to let go.

Difficult, but necessary.

Design work on site with a client yesterday and today. It’s fun, but needs a lot of focus.

 

Published in: on August 28, 2018 at 3:42 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 28, 2018: Design, Create, Purge  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. July 6, 2018: Ongoing Artists Retreat

Friday, July 06, 2018
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I wish this darned storm would just break so we’d get some relief.

Impromptu artists’ colony continues. It’s great, I’m getting so much inspiration and things worked out on different projects. But I am behind on word count for both RELICS and DHARMA. I’m hoping that all this brainstorming and refilling the creative well will then catapult me ahead so it goes more smoothly.

Some guests were supposed to leave this afternoon, but if the weather is bad, they might leave tomorrow. The rest will leave tomorrow, heading up to their rental in Maine.

It’s one of those situations where so much is percolating that I have to figure it out for myself, before I can talk about it publicly. Some wonderful new ideas and possibilities and solutions are opening. I need to mull them over for myself first, before any sort of public brainstorming.

Next week will be stressful on site with clients, and, hopefully, I’ll catch up with the wordcount on the two books.

I needed this creative interlude, even though it puts me behind on word count. It’s also nice to talk to artists working in different disciplines,  to see new ways to looking at the world. A sculptor sees things differently than a writer than an actor than a filmmaker. There are points of intersection, but the individual lens is different. It’s so interesting!

In breaks between creating and discussion creating, I’ve been reading. I’m reading Donna Andrews’s series featuring her protagonist Meg Langslow, which are fun. There are some things that hit me the wrong way, when the author has her characters patronize the theatre profession, but, for the most part, I enjoy them.

Tried to read another book that came highly recommended, but . . .it was in present tense. I find novels written in present tense unreadable. I don’t care how famous or revered the author. I can’t stand them. I was so frustrated by page three that I stopped. Read half of another book by an author whose name I’d heard, but whose work I hadn’t read – put that down, too. The author and her protagonist were parading as “quirky” and “liberal” –while in reality, promoting racist, misogynistic views pretending to be wrapped in tolerance. Her protagonist was a nasty piece of work and not very nice – not someone I want to spend a mystery series with. Tried to read a book by a very well-known author who tried something in a new direction. Some of her other books have worked for me, some have not, as happens with a prolific author who tries new things. This didn’t do it for me – I read about three chapters, and that was it. At the same time, I applaud her for not allowing herself to be boxed in by what she’s done before.

So I haven’t had much luck on the reading front. But I just got my hands on two novels by a novelist whose newest book blew me away, so here’s hoping.

Back to my guests, to creating, to the page. I’m hoping the storm will be gone by the time I’m supposed to go to a friend’s art gallery reception tonight.

 

Published in: on July 6, 2018 at 8:48 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 6, 2018: Ongoing Artists Retreat  
Tags: , , ,

Mon. May 28, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors Pleasurable Indulgences

Monday, May 28, 2018
Day Before Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Memorial Day

It’s fitting that today’s post for #UpbeatAuthors should be about pleasurable indulgences.

In the past two weeks, I met four major deadlines. My pleasurable indulgence is doing exactly what I want this weekend! 😉

What gives me pleasure and makes me feel indulgent?

Writing always gives me pleasure. I prefer the writing to the “having written.” Of course I have difficult days, but they make the good ones even better. But an indulgence is to work on an undeadlined project. I’ll be doing that on two projects this weekend, a novel and a play.

Reading gives me pleasure. I read widely, both for research and for pleasure. I have a stack of books in my TBR pile, including Amanda Quick’s newest, and one from Marshall Ryan Maresca.

Gardening — there’s a case where the “having gardened” gives me more pleasure than the actual gardening. I especially hate to mow. But I will garden and then indulge in the pleasure of a beautiful space.

Cooking — I love to cook.

Yoga and meditation — although those are not indulgences for me, but necessities.

Unstructured time is my favorite indulgence. I need it in order to create. I seek some of it every day.

I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

 

Published in: on May 28, 2018 at 5:50 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 28, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors Pleasurable Indulgences  
Tags: , , , , , , ,