Wed. Aug. 26, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 98 — Mail-in Ballot Issues

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image courtesy of andibreit via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

The Ink-Dipped Advice post will go up later today. I’m still working on it.

Had a fun Zoom meeting yesterday morning. We made it work, in spite of my idiot neighbor across the street deciding he had to start using his bulldozer before 8 AM, making enough noise and vibration to rattle the windows. I’m also tired of the view out of my front windows now being piles of gravel and dirt. If I wanted to live in an industrial area, I would have moved to a city that’s transitioning from mills to living space, shops, restaurants, etc. I shouldn’t have to be subjected to heavy machinery in a residential area 7 days a week.

The rest of the morning was given over to client work and LOIs. I got a lot more done in the space of a few hours than I expected, which was a good thing.

It got progressively hotter and more humid. Even with the fans on, we sweltered. And it’s not like we could keep the windows open with the idiots leafblowing dirt all over the place. I tried to work on the back deck, but then the people on the property behind us had TWO leafblowers going – on dirt, not leaves – sending up clouds of dirt. Plus, whatever fuel they used smelled so strong it reached across 1/3 of an acre and made me so nauseated I had to go inside, and thought I would vomit.

I’d woken up around 3 in the morning, yesterday, thanks to pandemic brain. So by 2:30 in the afternoon, I was wiped out. I tried to take a bit of a nap. It was more of a doze.

Reading a book by a new-to-me author that I like so far, but am not completely won over, because she’s using clichés for theatre people instead of treating them as, you know, real people. It’s not too bad, yet, but we’ll see where it goes. I like the protagonist and the situation and the relationships.

Will finish the book for review in the next couple of days to get that out, and also have a book to read for NYU’s virtual book club (which is fun). The book is very serious, but the virtual club is fun.

I’m not watching the RNC Hate Rally. It’s sickening, but then, the whole administration is sickening.

I still don’t have my ballot, the Town Clerk can’t be bothered to respond to any of my requests (no surprise there), and I’m not showing up as registered on the state’s website. But then, our Village doesn’t show up on the state’s website. The list of towns comes up very specifically (we are one of seven villages as part of the town) with the way it has to be entered in the search (village/town/county), but the village/town doesn’t come up as an option and I can’t type it in, and when I go for the town itself, it comes up as an error. I’ve been a registered voter for 10 years, I’ve voted in every single election, I checked my registration a few weeks ago, and I got the paperwork as a registered voter to request the ballot. What the fuck is going on? And why won’t anyone answer any questions? It’s unacceptable. The state site says I have to contact the Town Clerk – WHO WON’T GIVE ME THE COURTESY OF A RESPONSE!!!!

This is not a major city. This is a small town with very little going on – ever, except developers screwing over residents – and completely incompetent town government.

My mother isn’t feeling well. I think the change in medication she got last week was the wrong one. We have a call in to the doctor.

I’d like to just go back to bed, but that is not an option.

At least I have Remote Chat to look forward to. I have to go onsite to a client’s, which I am NOT looking forward to, as they’re laxer every day in following safety protocols.

Please share the information on Grief to Art with those who might need it. The death toll from the virus continues to climb, and no one in the administration gives a damn. We’re all collateral damage to their profit.

Grief to Art Logo

Tues. Aug. 25, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 97 — Rest & Prep

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image courtesy of danigeza via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot and Humid

I gave myself the weekend off. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted, and I’m sick of trying to keep on keeping on. The laptop stayed off; I was on social media a little bit here and there; I ignored emails.

Saturday morning was busy: watered the yard, took garbage and recycling to the dump (way too many Sliding Mask Skanks at recycling), a trip to the Marstons Mills Stop & Shop (where I got things I can’t get at Trader Joe’s), home, full disinfectant protocols, beds changed, 5 loads of laundry, made chocolate mousse. All by 10 AM. Well, laundry took pretty much all day, but the first load was in before 10! Then, around 10:30, I made another curbside pickup at the library.

Sunday, I had to brave a trip into Christmas Tree Shops to pick up some things I knew they carry and haven’t been able to source elsewhere. I was there when they opened, and there weren’t a lot of Covidiots in there yet, so I could zoom around the store, grab what I needed, get out, and do a full disinfectant protocol when I got home.

It was too hot to make baguettes or do any other baking.

I read all weekend, instead. I wrote a little bit, but not anywhere near what I “should” have, and, frankly, I didn’t give a damn. I had the cats out on the deck in their playpens. I read. I napped. I was out on the deck. I stayed away from the chaos as much as possible.

I decided, in that series that started so well, then three books disappointed and angered me, but I’d already ordered the rest from the library – that I would read into each book until I hit a slur or something else stupid, and then skim/stop the rest. After three books that I didn’t like (which is more than I’d give most authors), the next book is back on track. No slurs; the protag was weaker than she was at the start of the series, which I don’t really like; the author got rid of the really great love interest the previous book in a way I didn’t like, without any real resolution, and brought in a new one here – who is basically out of the same mold as the previous one, only in a different profession and with more romance-hero looks. So I’m on the fence about that. But many of the things I’d liked in the earlier books were back in force here.

So we’ll see. And I’m learning a lot, even from that which I don’t like.

Also re-read THE CRUELEST MONTH by Louise Penny. I’m getting a lot more out of the series this time through.

And started reading ROMANCE IS MY DAY JOB, a memoir by Harlequin editor Patience Bloom, which was recommended by a friend of mine, and enjoyed it (finished it yesterday).

I cooked a little, snacked too much (I’m not usually a snacker, but I was this weekend). The cats were happy with lots of extra playtime.

Illegal fireworks in the street again on Saturday night, but at least not right in front of our house. But, you know, no one will do anything because “it’s just innocent fun.” No, assholes, it’s not. Do your jobs and shut this down. Someone in the neighborhood has a horde of tens of thousands of dollars of illegal fireworks, and it’s going to take out half the neighborhood when they do something else stupid and their house explodes.

Monday, I had to go onsite for a client for a few hours. I was on my own for most of it, which is how it should be. I had to contact the Town Clerk because I still haven’t received my mail-in ballot (my mother received hers over a week ago). I suspect it’s because I’m named for my mother, and they assumed it was a duplicate –even though we have different middle initials, different signatures, different registrations,  it’s clear we are two separate people, and we’ve both voted in every election for 10 years. But it’s not a prerequisite to have intelligence or common sense if you work for the town. I contacted via fax AND via certified mail, since I’m still waiting for the town to respond to an email I sent in March, and another sent in June. Because they can’t be fucking bothered. No, it didn’t go astray, and it’s not because of the pandemic, and they’re not “doing the best they can.” This is their pattern.  If I haven’t heard anything by tomorrow, I will have to contact the Secretary of State. Mail-in ballots have to be dropped off by Sept. 1. This is not a big city with tons and tons of work and no staff. This is a small town. Who ignores their residents whenever possible.

And how sexist! Plenty of sons are names for their fathers, especially around here, and no one thinks twice. But because I am named for my mother, there’s confusion?

Setting up a quarantine area in the laundry room on the rolling rack. We’re getting into weather where clothing is not all easy-to-wash cottons. When I strip down in the laundry room for disinfectant protocols, I can toss what I need to in the machine, and put the less-often-washables on the rack in quarantine.

Finally used my Phin filter to make Vietnamese coffee with sweet condensed milk. Lovely.

Re: The Conways. How stupid are the people who are cutting them a break with all of this? This is one of the biggest grifts of the administration – husband and wife playing two sides against the middle, and now bowing out citing “family” issues. Husband and wife have been playing the population since Day 1 and laughing all the way to the bank. Corrupt to the core. Roped in their kid as part of the scheme. I don’t believe anything coming out of any of their mouths. It’s all orchestrated, scripted, and planned, for profit.

Prepped for this morning’s meeting yesterday – it’s at 8:30 this morning, via ZOOM. Nothing like being professionally dressed and in full makeup again that early!

The rest of the day will be a mix of client work and writing. I need to cover a lot of ground on the Llewellyn piece today, get out an email blast for a client, and upload some more pieces to her online shop.

Hope your week is starting well. We’re supposed to get storms today to break the heat and humidity. The last few days have been miserable with it.

And please share the information about Grief to Art. Thanks – greatly appreciated.

Grief to Art Logo

Tues. Aug. 4, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 76 — Tired of Tired, but Writing & Reading

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image by pixamio courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Last Day of Full Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Stormy

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
Busy, frustrating weekend. It was hot and humid most of the time, and I’m sick of this weather.

I couldn’t get much done, although I got out a bunch of LOIs.

I got some reading done; I got a review out and an invoice out. I’m still chasing down two other late payments.

I’m sick of having to “create an account” every damn time I want to buy something online. No. I don’t want an account. I’m not coming back, and I may not buy it now, if you make me “create an account.” Let me check out, give you my damn money, and buy what I want. I don’t’ want any more accounts. I don’t want any more passwords. I don’t want an email every day trying to sell me something else. I don’t want to “review” every damn purchase I make. I want to give you money for a product and get on with my life.

The idiot across the street was out in the heat and humidity every day making noise with his heavy machinery and causing more destruction.

The fucktwits with fireworks were out in the streets every night.

I am so sick of the Town of Barnstable which does NOTHING for its residents. They keep making up more taxes and other things we have to pay for, but they don’t actually give us any services or protections. My Town Councilor is a disgusting waste of space.

I have some challenges with a particular client which I have to decide how I’m going to handle.

On The Plus Side With Writing and Reading
Laundry, baking, nice Lammas ritual early in the morning on Saturday – before the Covidiot short term renter-tourists could ruin everything.

At least I got some good work done on Gambit Colony. Although it should have been on BARD. I’m behind on BARD again, damn it, and I was doing so well there for awhile.

It was so hot, I couldn’t think straight much of the time. I don’t do well in heat and humidity.

I cleaned out a few boxes from the basement. Not enough, but a few, and I have to keep at it. I threw out about 90%, and I bet, when I go to file some of the rest, I can throw out some more.

I found a partial manuscript from a project I started a couple of years back and put aside, due to contracted work. I kind of love it. I also remember having done more work on this particular project. I need to find the other pages and read the whole thing again. The voices are very strong and unique.

Got the notes back from WINNER TAKE ALL. Some interesting points. There are some things I want to achieve and fell short of on this draft. But I don’t want to explain everything, either. There are subtle hints here and there – too subtle, sometimes. I have to find a way to make a few things clearer without being too obvious about it. I might not do changes the way the notes suggested, but I want to make changes that still get me to the same endpoint as suggested, if that makes any sense. It will take some percolation (and a lot of trial and error) to figure it out.

Submitted my review and invoice to my editor over the weekend; got paid first thing Monday morning. That’s why I love working with this company. Got another book assigned already. Will download it today; looking forward to it. Got paid for the article where the payment didn’t go through, initially. So we’re all good on that.

Now, if the Big Publication that is in breach of contract would cough up the fairly good-sized chunk of cash it owes me for a piece I did back in February, around all my medical tests and surgery, we would be all caught up.

Two of the three flash fiction pieces I sent out a few weeks ago have been rejected. I’m not really surprised – they are odd little moments in time. But that’s kind of why I like them. They are neither comfort pieces nor doom pieces – those seem to be the extremes short fiction publishers want right now. I’ll just keep trying. The right match is out there.

Did a curbside pickup at the library (and dropped off a stack of books). All mysteries. The first one, I hated so much I put it down after 20 pages. It was part of the wave when certain cozies went far right wing in the initial years after 9/11. It was awful. Judgmental, small-minded, I hated the characters, and didn’t care if the murderer killed the protagonist. So I put it down.

Read another one, set around the same time, that had a few whispers of some of the same elements, but overall was much better, both in terms of structure and characters. It was a quick read – took maybe two hours, perfect for a hot summer afternoon when too much movement or thought would turn my brains to jello.

Reading the last book I have in a series that I liked initially, but don’t like the turn it’s taken. Instead of growing as people in the series, the characters are getting small-minded and being “less than” instead of better. On top of that, the protagonist had two choices of romantic interest, and chose the one with whom she has zero romantic chemistry. And no, it’s not just a phase in the series, where she then realizes the mistake and ends up with the guy with whom she has chemistry. The author is trying to tamper down the chemistry she has with the other guy, the one she should be with, and force chemistry with the one where there isn’t any, and it throws off the tone and the pace of the series. So I’m done with it. (Yes, I did research to see if she comes to her senses in future volumes – she doesn’t). The author has every right to pair up protagonists as they please; but if it doesn’t work for me, if it frustrates me, I don’t have to stay with the series.

Even reading books in the genre that don’t work for me teaches me a great deal. It clarifies what I’m trying to do, where I’m trying to break out of boxes, yet still satisfy readers on certain points, and clarifies why I make certain choices in plot and character that I make.

Working from home today, for clients and, I hope, getting some good writing done. I might try to run out and do a curbside pickup from my favorite Chinese restaurant (I’ll probably stock up on several meals’ worth) before the big storm comes in today.

I figured I didn’t need to water this morning if we’re having a tropical storm come in.

Peace, friends. Hope you are well.

Fri. July 31, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 72 — Lammas Eve

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image courtesy of Bru-nO via pixabay.com

Friday, July 31, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and humid

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, did some client work, enjoyed Freelance Chat.

Finished reading a book from a series I previously enjoyed, but was disappointed in this particular book. The protagonist got together with a guy who spent previous books behaving like a creepy stalker, and there’s no chemistry between them, and everything in this book was too easy.

Read another book, a first book in a series. Frustrated because the protagonist spent most of the first 100 pages crying and being dizzy. Sorry, that doesn’t make her relatable and cute. It makes me want to smack her upside the head.

So that series is a no-go for me.

So hot and humid that reading was all I could handle yesterday afternoon.

I managed to read and give notes on the latest version of a friend’s script. It really sparkles!

This morning, managed to get the front watered again – and then it rained, so I didn’t have to do anything about the back. Still none of the lovely thunderstorms we were promised, although it looks like a hurricane will find its way up here next week.

Did a grocery run to Star Market for some necessities, then a library run to drop off/do curbside pickup. Full disinfectant protocols. At least everyone was masked at the store and at curbside pickup.

I have a bunch of stuff to get done today, house and home stuff mostly, so I’m going to cut myself a break on the work. I have to re-think how I’m going to make the Topic Workbook example sheets work in the reformatted workbooks, because they’re not holding the formatting – and when they do, I can’t insert them into the text.

I need to get a lot of boxes purged from the basement this weekend, and work on the Grief to Art site. Over 150,000 dead, we need it.

But I’m not feeling hopeful, and I am feeling exhausted and burned out. So we will see.

Still, I’m looking forward to salmon burgers and potato salad tonight, and there’s now plenty of gelato, so there are some small pleasures I can enjoy.

And books, more books.

I have a review to get out today, and I’m writing an article in my head that I hope to get down on paper and out to my editor in the next couple of days.

Chasing down late payments, which is always frustrating.

Tomorrow is Lammas, a special day in my personal calendar. I will make cornbread early in the morning, I have blackberries. I don’t have any beer – might use wine or vodka instead.

First harvest – and I’m out of time on a few things, and not sure what to do.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on July 31, 2020 at 10:09 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 31, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 72 — Lammas Eve  
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Fri. July 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 58 – Feels Like 2020 is Retrograde

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image courtesy of Comfreak via pixabay.com

Friday, July 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s supposed to get brutally hot and humid this weekend. I hope that’s not the case.

Yesterday seems like a year ago. And I wasn’t even all that productive.

Did a run to Star Market for a few things. Not too many people, everyone masked, although not following directional arrows and not distancing in line for checkout. But I was in and out quickly, and did full disinfectant protocols when I came home.

Read a little bit on the deck to get my energy back from all that is expended every time I have to be amongst people.

Did some client work, but didn’t get what I wanted to finish done, so I will have to suck it up and put in a few more hours today. Got out an LOI to an interesting company. Have been debating about sending an LOI to a company looking for YouTube scriptwriters. I doubt they’ll want to pay my rates, but it might be worth a shot.

Spent way too much time and energy trying to chase down a late payment from a major magazine for whom I did a piece back in February. The contract states I’ll be paid “within eight weeks of publication.” The issue dropped April 22. I should have been paid by June 22. It was now July 16 and crickets. I knew my paperwork was all in, because I’d sent it in February, and it was re-confirmed in April. April was the height of the shutdown in this state.

I contacted my editor and was sent new paperwork for direct deposit – but April’s writers are getting paid “next month” and I’d be “up next after that.” So I might get paid by September? Um, no. My contract says within eight weeks. Not five months or more. Pandemic or not. Besides, here in MA, where the ‘office’ is located, accountants and payroll people have been considered “essential” since Day 1 of Stay at Home. I have clients who do direct deposit – they’ve been on time AND their accounting departments have been in touch throughout all of this to make sure everything is smooth while we all work remotely – including the accounting departments. There’s no reason it should take another six weeks to pay via direct deposit. Oh, and if I wanted a paper check, I’d have to wait “indefinitely” since the office is still closed. Hey, I’m all for offices remaining closed (although here in MA, we’re in Phase 3 re-opening, offices are allowed at 50% capacity with safety protocols in place. Most are at 100% without protocols. So kudos to the company for keeping their offices closed), but direct deposit doesn’t take six weeks.

I contacted the accounting department directly and am waiting to hear back. Also, if additional paperwork was needed, why didn’t THEY send it to me as soon as they knew? Why do I have to find out about it because I’m chasing down payment? This is not some little nonprofit lit mag with a single individual toiling to keep everything put together. This is a major publication. The lack of communication is just as inexcusable as the lack of payment.

If I agree to wait six more weeks to be paid, I guarantee they’ll go out of business between now and then and I’ll never be paid.

The article I wrote last week and submitted on Tuesday was accepted. Payment was sent, but hasn’t shown up yet via Paypal. I’ll wait until we’re a few hours further in to business hours, and then contact them to see what’s going on. But look at that – I’m paid promptly, per the terms of my contract.

Freelance chat was fun. It gave me some new ideas. Now I have to schedule the time in which to implement them.

Spent a few hours on the new edition of the Topic Workbook SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM (which fell by the wayside with everything else going on). I have to do some research to update a few points and resources, and decide if I want to keep all the samples/examples in their own section at the end of the workbook, or if I want to put them with the exercises/topics.

The friend serving as a Trusted Reader for the script I sent out a month ago – turns out she never received it! Here I assumed she hated it and didn’t know how to break it to me! So, with her permission, I’ve resent it, and I’m hoping she doesn’t hate it once she actually gets to read it!

You’d think Mercury was still retrograde.

I don’t know, seems like all of 2020 is retrograde.

Have to go to the library this morning to put some books in the book drop and do a curbside pickup. Then, it’s client work, LOIs, work on the Topic Workbooks, work on BARD, work on GAMBIT.

This weekend, I plan to read the book I was sent for review, write, clean, and maybe do a little sewing.

Of course, if it’s hot and humid, I might just lie on the floor in front of the fan!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Wed. May 27, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 9 – The Newest Stupid

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Foggy and humid

In spite of a rocky start to the day, with a mediocre writing session, it didn’t turn out to be too bad.

Oh, and there’s a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice, building on last week’s, and detailing why two companies I was initially interested in, as a consumer, lost any chance of my business in the future.

Teleconference with my doctor was fine. Nothing much to say. I’m healing, she wants me to have more bloodwork done in the coming month to see if the anemia has gotten any better. It’ll be awhile before we can schedule the next surgery, which I figured; same with a mammogram. But I’ll schedule a full physical for autumn.

I went in to the office. I was on my own, as it should be per the state guidelines. I had a good day’s work in there, setting up the next part of an ongoing campaign that will take us through the 4th of July weekend. I worked on setting up the online store for the client. I think we can go live as of June 1. I sent out an email blast (which I’d already put together remotely), and it already generated orders.

Went to Shaw’s for groceries on the way back. It’s a big store, they’re limiting how many people can go in. But the newest Trick of Dumbasses is that they wear masks to get in, and then pull them down while shopping. When challenged, they whine, “But it’s on my body! I’m wearing it!”

So I’m going to try to avoid shopping there for the rest of the summer. Not to mention, there were a lot of empty shelves, and what’s on the shelves is overpriced. The staff is great, but I don’t feel safe because of other customers. They’re also not following the arrows and going every which way.

Came home, followed the full disinfectant protocol. After the shower, I spent some time out on the deck. It was still a little cool to be out there, but that’s okay. The scent of lilacs is wonderful.

The book I was reading started out well, and then sort of fell apart. Oh, well, it happens. I’m making a donation pile as I work through books as I clean out boxes. Some will go to the library, when and where appropriate. Some I want to take down to Niantic, if and when they open again. Some I will find other places to donate.

While I’m hanging on to my nonfiction, because too many libraries cull books I need, there’s plenty of fiction I’ll never re-read, and others can enjoy it.

Collapsing the timeline on the novel, compressing it from spread out over months and weeks into the rest of the action happening within a week or so, is making a big positive difference. Better first writing session this morning.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by a big project. I alternate between “who the hell do I think I am to initiate this?” and “but it’s so necessary for what we’re going through right now” and “to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it, they don’t have to participate.” Not sure what to do. I do believe the project is necessary and will help a lot of people with what we’re going through. I also know there will be a lot of trolls, and I’m not sure I have the emotional energy right now to eviscerate them the way needed.

First cup of coffee on the deck, the air heavy with the scent of lilacs, is wonderful. I am filled with gratitude for it.

Gearing up, mentally and physically, to be in the office, when all three of us will be in, in defiance of state guidelines. I don’t want any crap about staying masked. You make me come in with other people, you keep the fucking mask on and don’t bitch about it.

Tomorrow, I am forced out with other people, too. I have to take in at least the first carload of recycling (the garage is ready to burst at the seams), and then hit Trader Joe’s for the rest of what we need.

I’d hoped to go back to a smaller grocery shop once a week, but it’s just not viable, because of all the Stupids. We have the summer crowding, and, because the earliest hours for grocery shopping are for seniors (as it should be), I can’t shop as early as I normally would. Although AARP considers me a senior, I am still too young to be considered one for Cape Cod grocery stores! Which is fine, and I just have to figure out how to adjust, and where to shop where it’s safest.

The days of running out to pick up one thing one forgot are over. And I forgot a bunch of stuff yesterday because I was so upset about the Sliding Mask Skanks.

Fingers crossed today doesn’t turn out to be hell.

Published in: on May 27, 2020 at 6:22 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 27, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 9 – The Newest Stupid  
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Thurs. May 21, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 3 — Frustration and Burnout

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

There’s a post on the garden over on Gratitude and Growth. We’re making some slow progress.

Yesterday was a nightmare. It is inappropriate to go into public detail here, but it was a nightmare. I’m working on the necessary changes.

At least I had Remote Chat in the afternoon, although I had a martini in my hand by 1:30 PM.

Got some writing done, did client work, sent out a couple of LOIs, worked with my editor on an article that needed some reformatting.

Read a book I was sent for review. My editor hadn’t had anything for a few weeks, so I was glad to get it. Even happier that it was delightful, although the ending was sad, and I was Big Weepy Mess for a bit after finishing.

Working on the review today to send off.

I’m hoping my migraine will ease up.

Will do some client work, get out some LOIs, work on the websites. I did not have a good writing session this morning, which was disappointing. But I’m going to cut myself a break, because I’m physically and mentally exhausted.

The sale for PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA is still on. You can find details here. Each book is only 99 cents.

The library is going to be open for curbside pickup starting next week, by appointment. That’s good news. We can also bring back the books we’ve had during the StayAtHome. I filled two bags with books and one with DVDs and took them to the book drop this morning. It’s maybe half of what I have, so I’ll bring down another load tomorrow. The pick-ups are limited to what is in that home library, and I’m not sure anything I ordered is actually based there, but that’s okay. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of books to read of my own. And I am happy they are safely easing back into operation. Some of the stuff I had here all this time is based out of that library, and other people might want it, so I wanted to get it back as quickly as possible.

The Recycling Stations open next week at the dump. I will wait until the end of next week to take the first carload in. We have a lot of recycling stacked up in the garage, and it’s getting full. Everyone is supposed to be masked to drop things off; I wonder if they will actually enforce it. People weren’t masked during the StayAtHome when they dumped garbage, in spite of the staff being masked.

It’s supposed to be a nice weekend, and I intend to enjoy it. I have the “out of office” going up first thing tomorrow, lasting through Monday. I’m not answering emails or dealing with anything else. I’m going to enjoy nice weather and only do as I wish.

Because the next few weeks will be difficult, while I work on necessary, long-term changes.

I may do a short post tomorrow morning, before sign off for the weekend. In any event, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and colder

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, where I actually felt well enough to add a new post.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Things are what they are.

Remote chat was fun and informative. We talked about how the Corona Virus is changing ways we work and interact. You KNOW it’s only a matter of time until the internet service providers (especially Comcast) jack up their rates and cut people off, making it impossible to work from home without paying extortion fees, because they can and no one ever punishes them when they break laws & regulations. They need to be broken up. We need to have viable options, not a monolith controlling everything.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home; too tired to cook.

Finished reading a book that totally annoyed me. It’s set in an area I know well, that the author obviously does not. The author put in details that don’t exist in that area (but do a state or two over) that made it ring even more false. When the protagonist’s family is threatened, she cowers and waits for a man to save her. Really? If someone threatens one of mine, the towering RAGE I feel would burn down the town until I rooted out that person. And yes, I HAVE fought back against that kind of threat. You threaten one of mine? Honey, you better HOPE the cops find you before I do. Because I will be both relentless and merciless. I expect at least that from a protagonist in a book.

But the most irritating turn-off for me was the author’s eyelid fetish. In every damn scene “lids” were doing something, usually closing. Really? How can you solve a murder when you can’t keep your eyes open? When your response to EVERYTHING, good or bad, is to close your eyes? Especially in such annoying, repetitive language? It’s not a cute character trait.

All of the above completely negated the good things in the book — strong relationships between characters, some gentle comedy, some good descriptions.

Started reading a novel that’s gotten a lot of fuss, but I’m annoyed with all the characters so far. I’ll give it another 50 or so pages, and then I’m done. I don’t care if “everyone” raves about it. If I don’t like it and I’m not being paid to read it, I’m putting it down.

After all, I have a book to review for which I’m getting paid, and the rest of the contest entries arrived, so I have to read those. I’m looking forward to that.

Twitter broke off its relationship with Twuffer. That screws both my scheduled book promotions, and a promotion run I had set for a client. I tried to switch things over to Tweetdeck — and nothing posted as scheduled. Tried to sign up for SumAll, which is supposedly good — couldn’t sign up. Buffer and Hootsuite come highly recommended, but the plans in my current price range don’t have the versatility I need for current clients. I could bump the rate for new clients, but until I do an across-the-board rate hike, I can’t justify the price to current clients.

Mercury Retrograde is NOT the time to make these decisions and sign those contracts, anyway. I’ll wait until next week, and see what happens.

Had an excellent writing morning. Things plugging along. Have to go grocery shopping, then some time at the library, then hopefully another writing session this afternoon, and some reading time.

Lifted too much while grocery shopping early this morning, and paying the price.

Got an issue solved that I’ve been fighting and has been weighing on me for years. Got the paperwork so they can’t suddenly decide the decision never happened. So that’s good. I’ve been considering some other things that have come up through this whole process, and weighing different elements against each other, so I can make the most informed decisions I can.

Meanwhile, I’m doing as much as I can until I run out of energy every day, and trying to get back on track.

Onward.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 9:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 5, 2020: This and that and rest and work  
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Wed. March 4, 2020: Feels Like I’m Just Plodding Along

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Plugging along here, trying to get my energy back up to speed.

Client work was okay on Monday, but I was wiped out by the end of the session. I switched out books at the library, and then went home.

Watching Season 5 of BROKENWOOD, which is fun.

Working on my article pitches, and working on some marketing for the books. I have medical bills coming in soon, along with everything else. I need to up the marketing for the books.

Reading a mystery that’s kind of cute, but I have mixed feelings about it. It’s written by someone in the Midwest, but it’s set in Maine — only it’s obvious the author doesn’t know Maine. Maybe like one week-long visit to sightsee, not really dig in to what it’s about. The characters talk and act like Midwesterners, not like Maine-iacs. Maine has a distinct cadence and set of behaviors. And its own weird humor. It’s different than any of the other New England states, and vastly different than any other area in the country.

Compare it to Barbara Ross’s Clambake mysteries — Barbara lives in Maine; even though her town, too, is fictional, she captures very much what it’s like to live and work in Maine, especially coastal Maine. One can relate to the characters no matter where one lives, but it is definitely Maine-flavored, you couldn’t just pick it up and drop it somewhere else, and the setting and what makes that area of the world unique is vital to making the series work.

Had a good early morning writing session on Tuesday, and another one today. I’m writing in longhand early in the mornings, and then trying to keep up with the typing, so I don’t fall so far behind, the way I’ve done in ELLA BY THE BAY. That has to be untangled, as soon as I get back on track with everything else.

I was happy to come home on Monday to a nice package from Algenist (I like their night cream) and to a package from Mala Prayer — two mala bracelets, one in sandalwood and one in tiger’s eye. They were my birthday present to myself this year.

The next shipment of contest entries should arrive any minute; I’m entering the definite “No” entries already in the computer, so it’s not as much paperwork at the very end. Then, I can put aside those entries, and take a second look at my “Yes” and “Maybe” piles once I’ve read everything, to decide on the winner and the finalists in my categories.

Voted first thing Tuesday morning — for the candidate I feel both represents me the best AND has the best ideas to make the entire country better, and working again. My mother voted, too. Everyone at our little voting precinct is always friendly and helpful. It makes voting fun and positive, which is how it should be.

Onsite with a client yesterday — I got through it, but was exhausted by the end of it. Onsite again today. Hoping I can also participate in the Remote Chat.

I have a short stage script I hope to draft this weekend, and I have to take a look at another script, to see if it makes sense to enter in a “Call for Entries” for a particular company. It might have too many characters. Need to get back on track with the steampunk radio play, and the next Kate Warne play, too.

But first, the focus has to be on the paying work. Because I have to make a whole heck of a lot of money in a short period of time.

Onward, as best I can.

 

Published in: on March 4, 2020 at 6:09 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 4, 2020: Feels Like I’m Just Plodding Along  
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January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short

Friday, January 31, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, for my January wrap-up. I have mixed feelings about my progress. And then hop over to Affairs of the Pen to see a post about how writing about Sophie and her capacity for joy is such a pleasure.

Got some decent work done at the library yesterday, including getting the numbers put in on the US Numbered Format version of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.”
Now, I have to do the same for “Pier-less Crime” and then send them off to the director, so he has the trilogy (since he likes “Horace House” so much).

Got a carload of leaves to the dump. Maybe this weekend, I can do some more yard work, if the weather holds.

Started watched THE BEST BRITISH BAKING SHOW Season 2 last night. Not as tight and funny a group as on Season 1. Competitions just aren’t my thing. When I’m baking, I’m going to keep at it until I get it right, not be forced to do something new to me in a couple of hours. No, thanks. I like this show better than most competition shows (which, for the most part, I loathe). But I still disagree with a lot of the parameters.

Working on the BALTHAZAAR revisions. Tearing out a whole subplot section and rebuilding it, which is a challenge.

I have the short story in my head, clear as can be. But can the words find the page properly?

Absolutely disgusted with the GOP Senators. They all belong in prison. And so disappointed in the Chief Justice.

Today is Brexit, so now the UK economy gets to crash, too. Not a good day, all the way around.

How did I do on my intent for the week, for quiet?

I decided not to attend a networking event. Work prevented me from attending meditation group. I kept my mouth shut at work more than I wanted, but it made sense so to do. There were several online conversations I chose not to enter, because the people involved weren’t worth the aggravation. They didn’t want genuine answers to their questions; they wanted their own views reinforced. Not worth the time and energy. I refrained from responding to an insulting email from the potential client meeting last week, where I’d withdrawn from consideration because we were not a good fit. Wednesday, they sent me a rude email saying they were going with someone else. Of course they did — I already told them I wouldn’t work for them. What are they, six? All about control, yet another indication that we weren’t the right fit.

Lots of reading and writing again this weekend; yard work if the weather holds, purging the basement if it doesn’t.

Have a great weekend! I have a slew of errands and bill-paying, and then it’s back to the page.

Published in: on January 31, 2020 at 10:22 am  Comments Off on January 31, 2020: Month Changeover, Fresh Chances, Achieving, and Falling Short  
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Fri. Jan. 24, 2020: Gearing Up for A Busy Weekend

Friday, January 24, 2020
New Moon
Sunny and mild

There’s a new post on Affairs of the Pen, under the Ava Dunne name, about how we’re all kids eager to look for lost treasure.

Yesterday really felt like a lost day, work-wise. It was frustrating.

I got a little bit of writing done before the rental inspection. The inspection itself takes only a few minutes, especially since everything’s okay and we have an ethical landlord. But the timing of it means I couldn’t really start anything until it was over.

I managed to get to the library and get a few things done, but I was under time constraints. Couldn’t get anywhere near done what I needed to.

Dashed back, bolted down a quick lunch, and then took my mother to the doctor. Where we waited for an hour and a half for a five-minute appointment. So, basically, the afternoon was lost, too.

I got in some reading, and finished the book for review, and started reading a fascinating book on the literary world in 1922, where this author believes everything changed.

Had planned to take a walk on the beach, but by the time we got out of the doctor’s office, it had clouded up and gotten too windy.

Leftovers for dinner, and reading. I’m still working my way through my re-reads of Donna Leon’s Brunetti series.

I have to do some research on Chicago in 1856 to get the correct names of a few things for “A Woman for the Job.”

Started “A Rare Medium” — the next Kate Warne play, about a case of hers where she posed as a medium. I have to dig up my notes on names, but it’s percolating along nicely.

Working on revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Some of it is sticky work, but once I fix the first half, where I got off track (again), the rest should fall into place pretty nicely.

Unpacked and purged a few boxes, and sorted out some clothes. Figuring out what to donate, what to get rid of, what to pack away as stock, and what to keep in the closet.

Yesterday was the first day of full peaceful co-existence for all three cats since Willa and Charlotte came to live here. Even Tessa and Charlotte ignored each other, while being in the same room, which is huge progress.

If Charlotte had ended up in a shelter, she would have been marked unadoptable. Fortunately, MA has only no-kill shelters, or she would have ended up on death row. She can’t stand confinement or closed doors or chaos and doesn’t do well with strangers. I’m glad she’s here and I figured out how to work with her to make her feel safe. The sunnier, sweeter side of her personality is starting to come out.

Willa just kind of does her own thing. She likes company, but refuses to engage when Charlotte has a tantrum. She’s very, very smart, and keeps at something until she figures it out. And friendly. She’s a friendly, easy-going cat most of the time.

Tessa is getting used to them. She doesn’t assert herself enough with them, but there’s peaceful co-existence. As my vet in NY said, it’s healthier for them to be together in the same room and ignore each other than be alone. After all, we took in these cats because Tessa hates being an only cat.

We’re getting there. I hope we’ve turned a corner. There will be some regression here and there, I’m sure, but consistency, boundaries, and lots and lots of affection have brought them a long way.

I had a meeting with a potential client late in the morning, which is why this is posting so late. The conversation was fine, but we are not what each other needs right now.

Now, I’m off to the grocery store, and then back to write the review and start the next book for review.

The weather’s supposed to be bad this weekend, so I’ll stay in to write, read, and purge boxes from the basement. Maybe run the leaves to the dump tomorrow morning, if the weather’s okay.

With a new moon, Burns Night, Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and Chinese Lunar New Year all hitting this weekend, I will be exhausted.

Received the second invitation to work without pay this week, this time a speaking engagement. I gracefully declined. What gets me about both invitations was that it comes from people who are paid and who don’t work without pay — yet they want me so to do.

Put in my share of that.

I looked over my clips and what I use where. I realized that my unpaid clips for “exposure” only resulted in requests for more unpaid work. Clips from paid gigs led to more paid gigs. That’s important information. I will sit down and figure out the exact stats, but it was an important realization.

How did I do with my intent to listen this week? I definitely listened. I definitely did not like a lot of what I heard. The Senate Trial is enraging and disheartening. The Republican Senators are a disgrace.

I listened to a lot of incidental conversations around me. As a writer, I do periodic eavesdropping anyway, as part of my process to catch cadence. But I was discouraged by the amount of intentional stupidity going around.

So, yes, I achieved my “intent” for the week, but the consequences were not what I foresaw. I still have a couple of days to go on the week, but I think I will focus on listening to music!

 

Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?

 Friday, January 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re finally getting the cold weather we need for the garden and to kill off the bugs. Supposedly, a storm coming in, too.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk aboutSecond Book Syndrome.It was supposed to post this morning, but I think I inadvertently posted it yesterday.

I couldn’t get a parking spot at Centerville Library, so I went to the Sandwich Library first. Dropped off books. Used the computer there. Got out some LOIs. Found some great books about books and writers that I checked out and am eager to read.

Circled back to Centerville Library, where I dropped off and picked up.

Did some grocery shopping.

The wind was awful all afternoon. I didn’t dare work on the computer. I did some work in longhand and read, mostly.

We worked for a couple of hours socializing the cats in my room. Willa, Charlotte, and Tessa, all together, hanging out calmly. It worked for nearly two hours, until Charlotte tried to bully Tessa again. But it’s progress. Willa and Tessa are doing pretty well. Willa and Charlotte are doing well, most of the time, because Willa stands up to Charlotte.

Chicken pasta Alfredo with broccoli for dinner. It was good.

Started reading a book and it just didn’t do it for me, so I stopped. Since it wasn’t a contest entry or a book for review, I had that option! Started another book, which intrigues me, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The writing is very good, the situation is interesting, but tying it to a well-known figure was unnecessary, in my opinion. I’m getting a little tired of that trope.

How did I do with my week of the intent of creativity? Honestly, I did better last week. This week, I was slow in the writing (although I plan to make up for it this weekend, with a writing immersion starting this afternoon). I wrote, but not as much or as well as I wanted. I was very creative when it came to client work and LOIs, but not as much as I wanted on my own work.

I did, however, pay attention to everything that was in front of me and give it my full attention. In that respect, I fulfilled my intent. I came up with some new approaches to several different topics, although I did not have the chance to implement them.

I felt tired, emotional, and off my game.

But the week isn’t over, yet, and I hope to steady on.

Today, I have to take my mother to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, go to the library, pick up my mother’s medication at the pharmacy, and then home before the storm.

For an immersed weekend of reading and writing, as the storm rages outside.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on January 17, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?  
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Tues. Jan. 14, 2020: The Skeezy & The Stormy

Tuesday, January 14, 2019
Waning Moon
No Retrogrades

Can you believe it? We have a short window with no retrogrades. It’s going to feel strange.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I have an interview up with historical author Jean Roberts.

I was so, so angry on Friday. I’d gotten a quick response from an LOI, asking me for more information and sending me a link to pre-interview questions on a Google doc.

The “questions” were a demand for me to write a proposal, complete with sources. Unpaid, of course. Another question was about how I’d go about contacting a Big Name this company wants to land for a project.

First of all, I don’t do unpaid work, especially not this kind. The company expects “interviewees” to write full proposals WITH SOURCE MATERIAL. Unpaid. Then, the company will tell each one who did it that they didn’t make the cut. Then, the company has a year’s worth of proposals written without paying for a single one. Can you say scam?

Second, I HAVE the contact information for this particular Big Name. I don’t give it out, certainly without permission. And I sure as HELL wouldn’t give it to a sleazy organization like this one.

Third, none of this has anything to do with the parameters of the job about which I sent an LOI — scriptwriting. They said they wanted scriptwriters to write spots FOR THEIR CLIENTS. Not proposal writers to land new clients, or mine people’s contact lists. Yet that’s what these “pre-interview” questions demand.

Boo, shove those questions right up your ass.

It was a decent writing weekend. I have some ideas on what I want to build the Susanna Centlivre play around. I may use both of them, or I may choose one and make it a shorter, more focused play. I need to do some more research.

Friday afternoon, I worked on the books for review. Saturday morning, into the afternoon, I wrote, getting ahead on blog posts. Spent most of the afternoon doing laundry and starting contest entries. I’m still working on the laundry to finish and put away from the holidays.

Worked with the cats. Tessa and Willa are making progress. Tessa and Charlotte are still having trouble.

Re-read MY STAGGERFORD JOURNAL, Jon Hessler’s account of writing his first novel. I enjoyed it, but was much more aware of white male privilege this time around.

Made rumbledethumps on Saturday night, from the Moosewood recipe. That’s always good.

It was warm and sunny out on Saturday. I should have done yard work, but I was busy doing other work.

It was stormy Saturday into Sunday. Terrible winds. Warm with rain, but the damp made it feel cold. I didn’t dare work on the computer until the afternoon, for fear the power would go out and hurt the machine. It’s old and limping along as it is. I want to be good to it.

Worked on contest entries. Worked on “Trust.” The end still isn’t where I want it.
Worked on the Kate Warne curtain-raiser, which still doesn’t have a title, but is plugging along decently. I got an excellent ten pages on it, which means it will be longer than I expected — a tad more than a curtain raiser.

Worked on contest entries. This year’s entries are strong, with terrific premises. Always exciting.

Monday client work was fine, and I was happy to get to meditation.

Today, I’m with a client most of the day, and then other meetings.

Looking forward to some solid writing time.