Tues. Oct. 29, 2019: Happy 95th Birthday to My Mom!

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image by Bernadette Wurzinger via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Today is my mother’s 95th birthday. She still does really well. Rides her exercise bicycle 20 minutes a day. Does her puzzles. Plays with the cats. Drives.

I am lucky to have her with me still.

Busy weekend, but, as usual lately, not in the way I expected.

The bulk of the weekend was spent on novel revisions. What wasn’t taken up in novel revisions was taken up working with the cats. Charlotte is the aggressor, most of the time. She’s picking on both Tessa and Willa. They don’t actually hit each other, but there’s lots of noise and raised paws and running. It’s much better than it was, and we go through long stretches of peaceful co-existence in the same room. Then Charlotte gets nasty, and we have to start again. The positive stretches are getting longer and longer.

It will take a few months.

On Saturday afternoon, when I got into the car to go to the yoga studio, the battery was dead. It’s close enough to I could walk down and still make it in time.

The sound bath was great, and I walked home to a good dinner of turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables. Then, kitty playtime and positive socializing, and watching the SNOOP SISTERS, which I’d seen years ago when I was a kid. I get many more of the jokes now.

Tessa was with me in the night, Willa with my mom, and Charlotte in the rest of the house, which meant Charlotte was cranky on Sunday morning. But we got them settled after breakfast.

Worked on the November posts for Upbeat Authors, novel revisions, the book for review.

I read a cozy mystery, the third in a series by this particular author. While I enjoy some of the interactions between the characters, the protagonist is such an idiot, and too often a nasty piece of work, that I’m done with the series. Her romantic interest should dump her. He’s great. She’s an idiot.

I gave the series three books. I was frustrated by all three. So I’m done. Moving on.

I still have to read my friend Arlene’s newest book. But I haven’t felt as though I earned a treat lately.

Now, why don’t I just call AAA, you ask? Remember, last time my battery died, I had AAA. They were supposed to come to the house (the battery died in the garage again, thank goodness). First of all, they gave me a hard time about sending someone, because I wasn’t on the road. They told me I had to push the car out of the garage, down the driveway, to the road. I refused. When the guy finally showed up, he insisted it wasn’t the battery, but something much more complicated. He refused to change the battery. He gave me a jump and I made it to Tracy VW, where, of course — it was the battery. And I had to pay more than the service AAA promised to give me.

When I complained to AAA about it — they STILL haven’t answered. And this was in January 2015. They ignore all the correspondence. Their rates kept going up exponentially. And they refuse to come to my house, even though everyone else I know who has AAA gets house calls without a hassle.

When I had the major car repair in spring, my insurance company told me I had Roadside Assistance. So I tried to make arrangements through them for someone to give me a jump on Monday morning. Only now they’re telling me I DON’T have roadside assistance.

So there I am. With no one to help. Typical around here.

I contacted the place close by where I got my car fixed a few months ago to ask them who they could suggest. They told me to call Buckler’s Towing. They were very nice, and got me started.

I made it to the mechanic. They drove me to my client’s.

I hear back from the mechanic. Not only is the battery more than double than it was the last time they put a new one in, they came up with another $1800 worth of work they want to do on the car.

No. This attitude that every time I come in, they find thousands of dollars’ of repairs to do, and that I have tens of thousands to throw into the car, needs to stop.

I told them to just do the battery.

It should have taken a half hour. They couldn’t get it done until after 2.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment. She’d called the ride service that’s supposed to take seniors to their appointments, for a $5 donation. No one ever got back to her.

My client lent me her car — a big Audi. So I could take my mom to her appointment. By the way, the doctor said those were some of the best lab results he’s ever seen. I am to be commended for making sure she eats right.

I returned the car to my client, with effusive thanks. The mechanic came and got me. I picked up the car. It drove better after the jump start than it does now with the new battery.

Yes, I know I have to work on putting the resources together for another car, but I’d hoped to get another year or two out of this one. I love this car. It’s the first new car I ever bought myself, and I’m very attached to it.

Picked up my mother’s birthday cake and fixings for her birthday dinner.

Barely made it to meditation, but I needed it.

Dinner, finished the book for review. I turned in the review this morning, and my invoice. I’m ready for the next one.

Tessa stayed with me last night. Charlotte was cranky and aggressive with both Tessa and Willa this morning. Lots of noise. By the end of each day, we achieve peaceful co-existence, but overnight, it all falls apart. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we have a lot more to make.

With a client all day today, and then to the library, to get the work done I didn’t get done yesterday.

And to figure out the way to put together money for a new car.

At least I had a great session this morning, working on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Coventina Circle #5), which releases next year.

Onward.

Wed. Oct. 23, 2019: Progress

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over for the latest at Ink-Dipped Advice.

I needed Monday’s meditation group. I felt discouraged and out of sorts, on various fronts. The cats had regressed in their progress. I was tired.

Meditation group helped.

Between client work and meditation, I did some work at the library. It was noisy and hard to concentrate. I wish they’d designate one of the computer areas as a quiet area. I’m all for libraries as community gathering places, but there also needs to be room for quiet work.

I finally decided I was too tired to concentrate. I found a new book by an author whose work I’ve read for years. I settled into an armchair in a nook in a relatively quiet corner. There’s no rule that says all time spent in a library has to be on the computer or doing research, does it? I read for about a half hour.

Unfortunately, this author is now writing sections of the book in present tense. She’s doing multiple points of view, some in present, some in past. It’s not working for me at all. Every time I hit a section in present tense, I want to throw the book across the room. I don’t care how many books it sells, how many awards it wins, if it’s a novel written in present tense, and not an epistolary or diary-format, it doesn’t work for me. I appreciate that this particular author feels, after twenty-plus books, the need to experiment with style. But moving into this style doesn’t work for me. I can’t enjoy the book, because the stylistic choice keeps pushing me out of the actual novel. So, if this continues, I will sadly have to stop reading this author. It makes me sad; I’ve enjoyed her books for over twenty years. But I read to enjoy and learn, not to be enraged because the author stands between me and the text screaming, “Look what a cool stylist I am” instead of letting me experience the book.

Every author must choose the style they believe best serves their story. That doesn’t mean I have to read it or accept it. I don’t believe in telling authors NOT to write a certain way. But I retain my right not to read something that doesn’t work for me.

But the loss of this author in my reading queue makes me sad.

Was too tired to cook, so I picked up dinner on the way home. That was nice. I’d also bought some room sprays at the yoga studio, and used them in the house, which calmed everyone down. One is cedar and lavender; the other is rosemary and mint.

I also bang two pots together like gongs if they get aggressive toward each other, which scatters them. I want them to associate aggression with a noise they don’t like.

They settled down after supper. Tessa in the big reading chair; Willa on her perch; Charlotte between us on the couch. Charlotte allows limited petting now, and finds she likes attention. When she feels bored and rejected, she gets aggressive. If we keep her busy and with company, she’s fine.

I’m reading a book I don’t particularly enjoy, but I kind of want to see where it goes.

A book I need to review arrived; I will turn that around this week.

I’m preparing a pitch to a new-to-me magazine editor. The idea I’m most excited about may not be the right fit for her, but I have a couple of others, and I’ll batch pitch. Then, she can pick what she wants and see if we’re a good match.

Tessa won the who-gets-to-sleep-on-the-bed lottery on Monday night.

Up early Tuesday. I had to drive my mother to Osterville at 7 AM for a blood test. We hopped next door to Earthly Delights, one of my favorite places, for coffee and muffins. Their goods are always outstanding.

Charlotte and Willa both want to be with me when I write, but neither wants the other there. So we are working on a way so they can both be with me, get along, and I can actually get some writing done.

Charlotte likes the computer and typing; she thinks she’s better at this stuff than I am.

With a client most of the day Tuesday, then some work at the library.

My first writing session of the day was out of sync, because I got up at 5:30 and barely got out of the house by 7 to drive my mom to her appointment. In order to get in an hour of writing, I’d have to get up at 4:30, and, just no. As it is, it was still dark enough to need headlights on the car when we left.

I’m so close to the end of a novel draft I can taste it, and all these obstacles keep cropping up in my path. But I will get there.

Even though we keep to the daily routines, with three cats who are figuring out how they fit together, it takes longer, so I have to build in more time in the morning and at night. They still all need play time to be separate, and they all need good sessions of play time.

We are working it out.

Client work was fine. We’re in that slow patch before the holidays.

Early morning writing session today, and then dropped off something for my mom on my way in to work. With a client most of the day. Hoping I can join in the Remote Chat.

Wednesday night has evolved into pizza night, so that’s something fun to look forward to.

Tomorrow’s post will be late. I have a 10 AM phone meeting with a potential new client.

One word at a time. Eventually, you have enough words to make something.

Tues. Sept. 3, 2019: And It’s September

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend. But I needed it. Check out the September list over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

There were plenty of things I should have done on Friday, once I was finished with my work at the library, but I didn’t. I read instead. I’m really enjoying all three series by Elaine Viets.

Played with some ideas, developing them. Have to figure out how to fit them in between everything else I have going on.

Sat outside for awhile on the deck, reading. It was lovely. I want to enjoy every minute I can.

Ordered some books, some for research, and Lauren Dane’s Books 4 & 5 of her Goddess Blade series. That was my treat — only allowed to dip into them once I finished my quota for the day.

When I woke up Saturday, it smelled like autumn. The leaves are starting to turn and fall. The tiger lilies have faded and the chlorophyll has already receded. I’ll have to pull the dry stalks soon. That shouldn’t happen until well into September. The birds are starting their migrations, too. They congregate in the front yard, have a snack, and move on.

Concerned about my friends and colleagues down in Florida, and my contacts in the Bahamas. SAVASANA AT SEA is set in the Bahamas, and so it THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I’m worried about what’s happening there.

Worked on GRAVE REACH. Not enough, but we’re getting there. I’m running out of time for it, though, and that’s setting back the BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA revisions, too, so I’m a little stressed.

Worked on the adaptation to radio for BEHIND THE MAN. Anyone who thinks it’s “easy” to adapt a stage play to a radio play is an idiot. They are two different mediums. It’s not about just changing the format.

In the adaptation, I start by changing the format, scene by scene. I take a scene and change the format. Then, I take out all the visual cues and replace them with aural cues. Then I go over the scene however many times I need to for pace, plot, and character, and layer in additional cues to drive the piece. Putting in sound cues isn’t just about adding noise — it’s about picking the right aural stimulation that drives plot and supports character.

It takes a long time.

But BEHIND THE MAN is one of my favorite plays, so, to me, it’s worth it.

Didn’t finish “Pier-less Crime” which is annoying. I keep changing my mind on certain plot points.

Read more than I should have. More of Elaine Viets’s books. Read Lauren Dane’s GODDESS WITH A BLADE Book 4(the twist at the end made me sad). Worked on the book for review. I should have that done and out by tomorrow.

Worked on some article pitches that will go out this week. I have to scan a couple of clips that aren’t available online to attach with one of them. That’s always a pain the butt.

Spent far too much time on Saturday pruning. I did a big prune on the forsythia bushes in the front. They were really getting out of control. Managed to free an enormous hydrangea around the side that was being choked. Also pruned one of the shrubs in the front bed that’s gotten a little out of control. Watered the front and back lawns, too. I still have to prune in the back (the forsythia and the bittersweet) and hack back the roses (but I’m told I should wait until the first frost to do that).

Also replaced the dying pansies in the front baskets and in the front barrel with large marigolds and chrysanthemums for the autumn. Bought a new mat for the front door (the old one was growing moss; it was beyond time to get rid of it). Did tons of laundry and changed out some of the fabric from summer to autumn.

Didn’t start refinishing the sewing cabinet or the small, drop-leafed table, although I should have. There were plenty of things I should have done this weekend, and just didn’t.

Saw the black cat, who was tucked in amongst the rose bushes. She looked a little worse for wear, but wouldn’t let me near her. I left out food and water on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night, and it was all gobbled up when I got up. I hope it’s the cat and not some other critter.

Feel absolutely weary, both physically and emotionally. Until we know if we’re getting a lease renewal for one more year, I am going to be worried.

Kept an eye on Hurricane Dorian. It’s terrifying how it just stopped moving over the Bahamas.

Re-watched CASABLANCA. Every time I see it, I’m reminded how good it is. So many lines have gone into the lexicon of daily conversation, it’s easy to forget how good the movie is as a piece.

Also watched NORTH BY NORTHWEST. I hadn’t seen it since we studied it in film school, and I’d forgotten a lot of it. The ending was a bit abrupt for my taste, but the rest of it was interesting. Although I wondered how Cary Grant’s character just happened to have enough cash on him to race around the country like that. The logic didn’t quite work.

I’m with a client today and tomorrow. Have a ton of errands on Thursday, and then, hopefully, I can go to yoga. Friday morning, I have an important meeting. So we’re hitting the ground running for September.

In and around all of that, I have to meet my writing deadlines, get some promotions going for my books, and get out a bunch of article pitches and LOIs. I also have to do my postcard for my quarterly freelance mailing. That usually gets a good response and I land some decent repeat work from clients.

Never a dull moment.

But I still wish I could take a couple of weeks of vacation.

Back to the page.

Published in: on September 3, 2019 at 9:09 am  Comments Off on Tues. Sept. 3, 2019: And It’s September  
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Tues. June 25, 2019: Weird Weather & Rest

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

June is such a short month, but, for some reason, this year, it feels long.

Basically, I took the weekend off. I needed to, or else I would be ill, on multiple levels, and not be able to function.

The Solstice as good, although it rained all day and into the night. But it was still possible to honor the hours of daylight, and realize that now it starts to turn.

Saturday dawned clear and beautiful. I got some errands done in the morning. I ran some books down to the library in the late morning, which was a mistake, because the Congregational Church next door was having a tag sale, and there was no place to park. I had to park in the lower lot by the ice cream shop and walk several dozen steep steps back up the hill to the door. But it worked out.

I wrote a little bit, but my neighbor across the street was busy making noise and cutting down two perfectly healthy trees (again). All he ever does is destroy. And the noise was awful. For someone who suffers from hyperaccusis, like I do, it nearly killed me (literally).

I spent as much time on the deck as I could, mostly reading. I read Ellery Adams’s THE WHISPERED WORD, which was quite lovely. I read a book by someone who is a mild acquaintance. I wanted to support the work. Unfortunately, there were a lot of copyediting errors and misused words, and there were some major logistical lapses that took me out of the story. I finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s CITY OF GIRLS, which I thought was well done. I had mixed feelings about it at several points in the story, but I wound up liking it.

I had an idea for a novel, which grew out of my frustration at someone’s hypocrisy. This individual has positioned herself as almost a cult-like figure, and pretends modesty when, in actuality, there is a lot of manipulation and she craves attention. Her work is good; I just don’t like or respect her as a person. Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with her, so it’s none of my damn business.

But it got me thinking. What if? What if? What if? What if she used that manipulation and glory to commit a crime and blame someone she felt wasn’t giving her the attention she desired? I wrote a rough outline. There are still questions to answer, but I have the bones of it, and it’s rather interesting. The character has evolved quite far from the individual who inspired it, which is a good thing and means I’m doing my job as a writer. It’s something I want to explore.

I don’t know when, but it’s something I want to explore.

Not much work on ELLA. I’m at the point where I need to make a final decision on certain key place names and draw a map of this fictional Caribbean island.

I meant to work on the Brighton Pier research so I could start that radio play this week, but I didn’t. The big book has to go back at the end of this week, so I better get to it.

Worked out some obstacles in GRAVE REACH, so hopefully, I can get back on track with that, and get to work on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Sylvie’s book, #5).

My next book arrived for review, a book of poetry, and it’s quite wonderful.

We had weird weather on Saturday. Thunderstorms. It would rain in the backyard, but be clear at the front of the house. Very odd.

Sunday was a pretty day, albeit a bit humid. It was quiet, thank goodness. I got some writing done. Not enough, but I decided I needed the rest more.

Managed to get the garbage to the dump, though. Always a good feeling to get that out.

Read Val McDermid’s BROKEN GROUND, which was excellent. I really enjoy her work.

Started reading another book on the Kindle I’d recently downloaded, from another acquaintance. It was fun, and upbeat, but the Kindle ran out of juice, so I have to finish it another day.

The grass is growing — definitely ready for the guy to mow it this week.

Treated the deck with the tick repellent on Sunday, so it could really soak in and not get washed away by the rain.

Che Guevara Chipmunk was on the rampage on Sunday, complaining about everything. We have three bunnies now in the yard. I keep patches of dandelion and purslane that they like, and they leave the lettuce alone. They rest and enjoy the twilight at night, knowing they are safe here. It’s fun to watch them.

Monday, they were next door, making noise again with heavy machinery. As if last week’s septic tank replacement wasn’t enough. They destroyed the beautiful garden that my neighbor worked on for years. Now they’re dumping a bunch of dirt back on it.

With a client Monday, then off to do work for another client, get out some LOIs, get some writing done, and meditation. Today, I’m onsite with one client, then off to work with another client. I was invited to a wine event tonight, but I’m just not up for it. I’m really tired of networking events where 60% of the attendees are solopreneurs trying to sell supplements. They don’t want to pay anyone for the marketing materials they need — they want to provide supplements instead.

Yeah, no. Eversource, National Grid, and the landlord want cash. Not pills.

And I don’t trust anyone who hawks something I’m supposed to take every day for the rest of my life.

Let’s hope this is a strong writing week. I’m in limbo on a couple of projects, and wish we’d get them sorted, so I can plan the next few months.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 25, 2019 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Tues. June 25, 2019: Weird Weather & Rest  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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