Tues. Oct. 12, 2021: Am I Really Doing This?

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Saturn went DIRECT on 10/10/2021

Foggy and mild

The weekend turned out quite differently than expected, but I’m doing my work on flow and flexibility, and grateful that my work allows it.

The plan, since it was supposed to be a warm and sunny day, was to go to Holyoke and Hadley (about an hour and a half away) to hit some stores we don’t have around here and stock up on a few things, and check out a few places to see if they’re worth a return visit. It wasn’t that warm, and it alternated between clouds and sun.

But the big thing that jettisoned those plans was that Tessa was limping, badly. Her right front paw was the problem. She wasn’t happy about me checking it, but it wasn’t broken, and she didn’t have anything lodged in it, and it wasn’t an ingrown nail. I figured she landed wrong on one of her jumps, or when she raced up and down the stairs, playing, in the night.

We decided to stay home and watch her, and keep Charlotte away from her, in case I needed to book a vet visit in the next couple of days. She didn’t want me carrying her, and insisted on jumping up and down, even though she still limped. But we managed to keep her quiet most of the day. I stayed next to her on the sofa, and even, sometimes, down on the floor.

Snuck off while she napped to send off my last script coverages for the week, and made my nut and a little over, so I could relax.

Got my book review sent off, but it was too late to get another assignment, so I’m hoping that will come through today. Managed to catch up on a bunch of emails, too, and designed a new ad for Fearless Ink which I will probably launch next week, after both Jupiter and Mercury go retrograde.

Did some research on William Morris Hunt and the female painters and sculptors he trained, in preparation for the steampunk piece.

Over Friday and Saturday, I read WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS by Stacey Abrams. It’s an excellent legal thriller. If Stacy Abrams can be such a purposeful activist to save democracy and still manage her book deadlines, I can shut up and get back on schedule. I enjoy a good legal thriller, and oh, so many fall short, but this exceeded my expectations. Incredible plotting. Just masterful. Along with characters and storytelling and great settings. Top notch in every way.

Friday night, I set up the sofa bed, brought in Tessa’s food, water, and a litter box, and shut everyone else out of the living room. This way, I could be nearby if Tessa needed something, and could make sure she had uninterrupted rest from the others, so her paw could heal. She was pretty happy about it; Charlotte, not so much.

Slept through then night and got up a little before 5 on Saturday. No howling from Tessa, which proves it’s not about food, it’s about loneliness.

Tessa was much better on Saturday, but it was rainy and yucky, so we didn’t go anywhere. We’d hoped to go to Great Barrington, but that will have to wait for a sunnier day. I finished reading WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS, and then made vegetable stock, and hunted down the box of Halloween treat bags. I was sure I’d brought it up, but couldn’t find it the last few days, and was worried I’d have to do another storage run between the time Mercury goes direct and Samhain. But I finally found it, so it’s all good.

Unpacked some of the boxes in the sewing room, filling the new dresser with fabric.

Signed up for a weeklong course called “Expedition to the Soul” by The Sisters Enchanted. I figured that would work well with the whole Chiron/healing theme. They give you a workbook to download, and ideas on putting together an “Quest Pack.” At first, I rolled my eyes, but reminded myself that I’m the one who signed up for it, so I should do as they ask, because there are reasons. When I teach a class, one of the rules is that you do all the assignments as asked, even if you decide to never work in that way again. So, as a participant, I need to show the same respect to my instructors.

 Once I started putting it together, I had a lot of fun with it. It contains items from Goddess Provisions and Tamed Wild that didn’t have placements yet, and were just sitting around until I found something for them to do, but they’re perfect for this.

Worked on some notes and background for a couple of writing projects, but nothing too major.

Made a quick mac and cheese lunch from Annie’s Organic in a box. It’s been a few years since I ate it, and I was not impressed. The sauce mix was lumpy and wouldn’t dissolve into the milk and butter, and, overall, it was too salty. In a week or two, I’ll have to make up a big batch of Moosewood’s cheese sauce and do their mac and cheese from scratch, and freeze a few packets. I used a Campbell’s sweet and sour skillet sauce with leftover chicken (and made rice) for dinner. Again, not impressed. Somewhere, I have the really good sweet and sour recipe my mom’s best friend gave me (she grew up in Macao, and we took a Chinese cooking class with her a looong time ago, but I kept all the recipes). Foodwise, Saturday was a bust.

I couldn’t find any photos of my dad for the Ancestor Altar we’re building, which is really frustrating. I was sure the big box with all our photo albums and scrap books went on the truck, but can’t find it. That’s upsetting; it better be in the storage unit and not lost for good.

But I have the box that was sent after my uncle, my father’s younger brother, died. Going through that, I found a great, happy photo of my dad from 1965 in Chicago, so I’ll use that. I also found photos of both his older and younger brothers (both of them were artists in Europe). And found a bunch of letters and ancestry research. Most of it is in that difficult-to-read German script, so it will take some time for my mom and I to interpret it. Most of the letters are typed, so my mom is going to work on the translation.

A Big Project for the Winter.

My mother’s father had done a lot of ancestral research on that side of the family, but I have very little information about my father’s side.

I slept in the living room again with Tessa, and slept through the night until nearly six in the morning. Heaven. By this time, Charlotte’s separation anxiety was in high gear, so it took a couple of hours to get her calmed down.

Tessa was running and playing at top speed, so it was just a bad landing on a jump, and nothing that needs a vet visit. Sometimes she forgets she’s not still a kitten.

Dreary day on Sunday, weather-wise. Spent the morning writing six short almanac articles, which was a lot of fun. Spent some time with the Quest workbook. Unpacked a tiny bit, and found some stuff for the Quest Pack.

In the afternoon, I read three scripts for coverage, which I wrote up on Monday.

Worked on an outline for a piece that is taking shape in my head. Those characters that were in search of a story? Found one for them. I’m starting to think it would make sense to work on it during Nano. Yes, the siren song of Nano calls. On the one hand, it’s a chance to write an entire project in a condensed period of time, and get back into the groove, and to connect with local chapter writers. On the other hand, I have three plays due at the end of the year in New York, and I need to get back on track with the series books, keep up with the script coverage and the copywriting, and other “in progress” things. Also, in previous years, I found those who quit before the end of the month were exhausting. They were always the ones pulling the most energy from everyone else, and then they quit anyway.

I’m worried that if I do Nano, I’m doing it for ego. I realize there’s a certain amount of ego involved in writing any book. But as much as I’m trying to justify that it’s about finding my rhythm again after stalling during the early part of the pandemic and while I was sick, there’s also ego involved.

Because, let’s face it, I regularly write more than 50K in a month, although not necessarily on one project. And I don’t have to interact on forums – in fact, the last time I did Nano, I found the moderators snippy and awful towards professional writers.

And doing Nano simply because of ego is not the right reason for me to start writing a book.

Writing because I’m pulled by the story and characters (which I am, especially if I can craft a tight outline between now and November), and writing a whole book from start to finish (which would spill over past Nano, because this book needs to be at least 70K. I’d need to keep writing it into December, while finishing off the plays. And juggling everything else.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to use that time and put that energy into something that I SHOUILD be working on?

Or would the WANT TO writing fuel the SHOULD?

If it’s the latter, I can work with the ego elements, ignore the energy vampires, and just write.

I don’t know. I’m having an internal debate. Maybe the Soul Expedition will give me some answers.

I know I CAN write 50K on a project in 30 days; it’s just a case of getting back to doing it, and then continuing it past November 30, to get back to my normal rhythm between 1.5-2K/day on whatever is the “primary” project of the moment. Can I use Nano to fuel it, even with a new project? Or will it just become another obstacle?

I wouldn’t mentor this year; Let 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS take care of that. I’m promoting it all over the place.

Of course, the site’s not letting me sign in, so it might be moot anyway! Update: I managed to get in, under my old password (wrote down the new one, just in case). Updated the profile, set up the novel. Switched regions. Looked at the forums, which gave me a headache. I can still always change my mind.

Then I look at my intent for the week and wonder, is Nano a bad habit I have to break, or is the uneven writing rhythm of the past few months the bad habit I have to break?

I don’t have the answer. Yet.

Did some work on the Fearless Ink ad. I might do two ads. I create a tagline and am sourcing the right images, and I found an image and can create a good tagline.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up a little after 4:30, because she was lonely (Charlotte was thrilled I slept back in my own bed and she could snuggle all night).

Good first writing session, good early morning yoga.

Barbara Moore’s THE WIZARD’S TAROT arrived, and it is spectacular. Looking through the deck gave me chills in the right way. I plan to use this deck and her STEAMPUNK TAROT together on Samhain, when I do the year’s monthly action/energy reading. It takes both decks out of regular usage for the upcoming year, but I think I can do a lot of work with them in the coming year with them as that foundational reading.

(This year’s deck were the Pagan Tarot as the action deck and the Sacred Circle tarot as the energy deck. Pretty accurate throughout the year, although not necessarily in the way they were originally interpreted).

Did another pass through the Nano forums. Some very toxic topics like:

–What’s your day job?

–What’s your favorite hobby besides writing?

–Writers are your competition

So, yeah, not participating in those. Whenever “what’s your day job?” comes up on something like Twitter, I respond “writing” and then wait a day or two to block the toxic poster. Or just skip the question and block.

And other writers are NOT my competition. That’s something the industry promotes to keep writers “in their place” and too many of them underpaid, because traditional publishers only have a finite number of slots. But the reality is that you can’t have too many good writers, because humans have an insatiable need for stories.

I admit it; I was tempted to be an asshat and post a snide response. But then I didn’t. Because I’m a grownup, and I don’t have to give in to these impulses. Being snippy is not in the spirit of Nano, which is for everyone to try to find their way to a regular writing rhythm. I can avoid the toxic, the whiny, and the dilettantes, without being mean.

Wrote four more short almanac articles. Wrote up three script coverages. Used the rest of the slow cooker pork to make pork Lo Mein, which was good, but, for some reason, the sauce turned out spicier than I expected. I’ll have to cut back on the red pepper flakes next time I make that sauce. Spent a couple of hours on the prep for the Soul Expedition stuff, using the journal prompts.

Read four scripts last night, which I will cover today.

Tessa let me sleep this morning until just before 5, but she is now insisting that, when I wash her bowl in the morning, I put the food into a WARM bowl. Okay, Tess, whatever you say, you’re the boss.

Headed over to the laundromat first thing, got both loads done and was back by 7:30, which was pretty damn good.

I used my time at the laundromat to work on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, the working title of this piece. I wrote about 5 pages (I already had jotted about 3 pages of notes). I have the characters (the ones who were in search of the plot a few days ago). I have the situation. I know the murderer. I know why the murderer did it. I even have a couple of red herrings, and some good situations as my characters work to solve the mystery. I need more clues and red herrings, and to tighten it all up, which might not happen until the second draft. I need enough in the outline so I can get the first draft down quickly for Nano, and then, starting next spring or so, massage it and hone it and tone it. I want it to be fairly short – around 70K.

I’m finding I have to do some research, like do persimmons grow in the Berkshires? (They do). And about the casinos in Springfield. I really hope I don’t need to do a research trip, because I loathe casinos.

I feel pretty good about the piece and the prep. What I hope is that the energy used to drive this piece in Nano will spill out to the other pieces on which I’m working, and have a ripple effect. So that I’d work on CAST IRON MURDER first thing in the morning (after the longhand session on the other project, so, well, second thing in the morning), and then, later in the day, work on the plays. Maybe I’ll leverage the Sundance Collaborative writing sessions for that.

Anyway, I need to start my day. I have to do a grocery run in the morning for things like oat milk, eggs, wine, and coffee, and then get back to the almanac articles and the script coverage. I’d hoped to get LOIs out today, but that might have to wait until tomorrow. Working on the ad, too, for Fearless Ink, and the blog for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

So it’s a busy day. Might put off the library and the post office until tomorrow.

Most of the students were away for the weekend, it being a long one, so it was nice and quiet. They’re really not bad, and when there’s noise, it’s for about 20 minutes or so. But there is a difference when they’re not around. I like both ways – the energy when they’re around, and the quiet when they’re not.

Hope you have a good week, friends. Peace.

If you want to grab a copy of the free 30 Tips for 30 Days, you can get the download links here. It’s not on Amazon; they blocked it because they don’t allow free downloads that don’t originate/aren’t exclusive to them. If you need a mobi file, contact me through the website, and we’ll set it up.

Thurs. Sept. 16, 2021: Emotion is a Weird Thing

image courtesy of Arek Socha via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a hot, summer-like day. Enjoy them while we have them, I guess. I hear winters are miserable here.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the start of the autumn colors.

Greylock Federal Credit Union is, once again, making life difficult. There’s no reason for everything to take 10 steps instead of 2. I should be able to deposit a check without it being a production. I should be able to write a check without it being a production. I shouldn’t need FIVE security questions for everything, and constant haranguing by their staff on issues we’ve already settled.

Obviously, I made a mistake choosing them as my bank. I’ve always preferred credit unions, because the reason for their existence is to treat their members with dignity, not have the traps and fees commercial banks use, and to smooth the financial path for their members. Greylock does the exact opposite.

I can’t switch banks again for 90 days, but I’m looking into other banks. I may actually go in and interview them.

Because I am not putting up with this shit.

I went down a research rabbit hole for a project, which was fun, but set me back on a few other things.

Remote Chat was fun, although I was still in Grumpy Pants Mode from dealing with Greylock.

Windows keeps telling me I need an update, and then the update “fails”. I’m frustrated.

I unpacked a few things from the last storage run. One of them is an original sketch, signed by the artist, done in 1969. I’m trying to decipher the artist’s name so I can research the artist. I think it was a gift from my uncle, who was a well-known artist in Europe, done by one of his colleagues, because the name I think is one the sketch comes up connected to Hamburg, near where my uncle was based. I might post the signature on Twitter, so see if anyone can help me decipher it, so I can do the proper research. It’s a very atmospheric black and white sketch, and I want to find a place to hang it here. But I also want to know about it.

Found out that the house in which we lived for the past 10 years is on the market. For a lot of money. The landlord repainted the inside (which it needed, because hey, ten years) in sterile colors downstairs, and didn’t repaint the upstairs bedrooms. The old carpets are still there, and the lawn’s been mowed, but where’s all this “landscaping” he talked about? The broken boards on the steps of the deck where replaced, and the deck washed, and the back windows repainted (which he did while they were still there). But that’s it. So all the fussing at me, about how the work was going to take him six months and I’d put him so far behind wasn’t true. It took six weeks to slap on some paint and put the house on the market.

None of this should matter. But it’s still a wrench, because that place was my home for a decade, and, with all the ups and downs, I did love the house. But he was never going to sell it to me, even if I could have or wanted to buy it. And, with the way the neighborhood was changing, and how the Cape is changing, it’s not where I wanted to live out the rest of my life.

Yet, there are still complex emotions.

I sat with them in meditation last night, which helped a lot.

I do wish whomever buys the place is very happy there, because the house itself encourages happiness.

Meditation this morning, and then it’s back to work. I need to write up the scripts I read last night, and grab some more to read today, write some short articles, and start the next book for review.

And, of course, unpack.

Have a good one!

Published in: on September 16, 2021 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 16, 2021: Emotion is a Weird Thing  
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Wed. March 10, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 292/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 42 — Another Day, Another Stress

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Waning Moon

Sunny and cold

Yesterday was up, down, and all over the place.

I woke up a little after 2 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Got some writing done in the morning, client work, LOIs out.

Took my mom to the doctor in the afternoon. The doctor is pleased with her progress, and delighted that she’s on the road to vaccination.

It was a lovely day, so people were out and about in force, and NONE of them wore masks. It was enraging. And, of course, the leaf-blowing assholes were out in force, because heaven forbid anyone should be able to actually enjoy the nice weather in peace and quiet.

I did, however, open the windows and doors for a bit, to get in some fresh air. It got cold quickly again in the afternoon, and went back down into the 20’s overnight.

The bubble wrap that I ordered arrived. It’s, um, a much bigger roll than I expected. But I’m sure we will use it all!

Worked on research for my article. Wrote a couple of blog articles. Set up some marketing posts for Fearless Ink, more introductory than anything else.

Heard back from a potential script reading job to which I pitched. I’m supposed to do a free sample – um, no. And then, the per script rate is ¼ of my usual rate. So that’s not going to work out. A disappointment.

Should have purged boxes in the basement, but didn’t. Stressed and fretted about several issues, and didn’t come up with any answers.

Worked on some contest entries.

Was wiped out early, and went to bed early, completely spent.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun, but everyone is stressed and exhausted. Trying to force onsite learning before people are vaccinated causes way too much unnecessary pain. It needs to stop.

Managed to sleep until 3:30 this morning, which I guess is an improvement?

Something woke me, something outside. Not sure what it was. It might have been coyotes calling, but far away? I’m not sure. It was a weird sound. Eerie.

So, the House passed the PRO Act. I’m assuming the ABC test was not stripped out? That was the problem with the bill. The rest of it was pretty good, but the ABC test destroys a lot of lives.

Will do some remote work for a client this morning, and then I’m taking my mother to get her second vaccine dose. I’m almost afraid to say so, afraid that something will go wrong. So, fingers crossed it all works as smoothly as it did three weeks ago. We’re leaving early enough to take into account the road work on Rt. 6. The traffic is already as bad around here as it usually is in late May.

Because yes, we are driving to Orleans, and she’s getting vaccinated at the dump.

The rest of the day will be about taking care of her, post-vaccine. We may be in for a rough couple of days. But if all goes well and she actually gets the shot, it means she is fully vaccinated as of March 24, and I don’t have to worry as much every time I leave the house. I still have to worry about myself and follow protocols, but not worry as much about her. I mean, she’s 96, there’s always an element of worry.

But getting vaccinated is a good step towards the next chapter.

I just wish I knew where the next chapter would happen.

Wed. March 3, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 285/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 35 — Steady On, Now.

image courtesy of vertvhul via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Waning Moon

Windy and Cold

Yesterday was busy, but a steady, good busy. I got some writing done in the morning, and got my article off to my editor.

Had to venture out into the world for a basic grocery shopping, put gas in the car, and a curbside pickup at the library. It was too windy to go to the dump; I’ll do that run at the end of the week.

Home, full decontamination protocols.

Lost the daily cage fight to get my mom’s second vaccine appointment. The message came up that “all appointments next week are full.” So what the hell am I supposed to do? She needs to get her second dose next week.

None of this chaos is necessary. I’m so tired of incompetents running the show.

I had to do some online research, got out some more LOIs. The “additional information” the prospective client wanted was, basically, an unpaid proposal of how to revamp their site. In detail.  No, honey, if I’m revamping your site, you’re paying me.

Next.

Got another request for more information from another LOI that was actually a request for more information, so we could have a good conversation. That went out this morning.

I re-read some of the blog posts of where I was at this time last year, when we were just starting to get the information on how deadly the pandemic was, and everyone was scrambling to figure out what to do, and I was just past the first surgery. The level of stress was pretty high, and it actually made me feel better about the level of stress I’m experiencing right now, in a weird way.

Got my review out. Turns out I’d gotten the deadlines for the two books mixed up. The book I reviewed had a deadline near the end of the month; the other one is due at the end of this week. So I started THAT one, and will get in the review on time. Did a bunch of client work; trying to work ahead on a few projects.

Got a quote back from a source after I’d turned in my article. It’s good, so I asked my editor if I could add it in and tweak the article (I wanted to reach her before she started work on it). She’s cool with it, so I’ll get that turned around to her today.

Started working on an article pitch for a magazine that’s a profile of someone about whom I want to write.

Since I surpassed my box purging quota on Monday, I didn’t have to feel guilty about not purging yesterday, and working instead.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. Everyone is tired, and there’s huge pressure to go back onsite, but we are all holding steady. Not this year. The kids are doing very well, and, more importantly, it’s safer.

I actually slept through the night last night. This morning, I’m up early, writing and trying to turn around my article.

We have to be out of the house just after 7 AM; I have to take my mom in for bloodwork, then drop her off and head for the client’s office for a few hours.

Remote Chat this afternoon, and then more article work, LOI work, and finishing the book for review.

Hopefully, it will be another “good busy” day.

Published in: on March 3, 2021 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 3, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 285/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 35 — Steady On, Now.  
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Wed. Feb. 10, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 266/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 14 — More Snow

image courtesy of Suzanne Stockli via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Dark Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

There’s a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about how words are used (and mis-used) in job descriptions.

I was up way too early yesterday, but I got a lot done. I got some photo stuff done for a client, which will be built on today. I have to go in and actually look at the pieces before I can get them up on the client’s website, so that’s on the agenda for today.

Got the second part of the article into PDF format and sent it to those quoted in the article.

Did some research for the next two articles I was assigned. Interview requests start going out tomorrow.

Got out some LOIs.

Have a preliminary meeting (virtual) tomorrow at noon with a potential new client.

Had some good exchanges with some people from high school, in preparation for the upcoming 40th reunion.

Noodled a bit with stuff for the proposal. Will sit down and do some serious writing on that tomorrow and Friday. There’s another grant proposal coming up for which I want to apply, too, and I have to research budget figures for that.

Worked on contest entries. I have all the print books done in the first batch of one category, and am moving to the next category. I will do the digital entries when I’m finished with the print entries.

Got an email that there were two vaccine clinics this week here on Cape. Went to the site – no information live. It kept saying the clinics didn’t exist. But the email link kept sending me to the page that said the clinics didn’t exist. Kept going back over and over all day. Suddenly, there’s a statement that they’re all full.

If I’m not fast enough signing up, that’s luck of the draw. But when the site isn’t even live – how is it getting filled?

The disorganization and incompetence are enraging.

And Governor Baker, smirking in his briefing with “Hang on until you’re a priority.” Fuck you, Baker. People are DYING.

The Senate trial for the Sociopath’s conviction started yesterday. The Republicans have already decided not to convict, and that makes them as traitorous as the Sociopath. All of this, “oh, they’re scared and if it was a secret vote they’d convict” is complete and utter bullshit. They are NOT doing this because they are afraid of retribution or violence from the Sociopath’s supports. They are doing this because they AGREE with him. They wish the insurrection had succeeded the first time, and that their colleagues had been murdered. They have to ALL be removed.

We do not negotiate with terrorists, and they are terrorists, and must be so handled.

Snowed yesterday, but not enough so I have to shovel again. Managed to do a quick run to the library for curbside pickup.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. The kids are doing really well. There’s some confusion about whether or not there will be a break next week, or if there’s going to be classes/homework group. We’ll have more details tomorrow.

Today will be stressful in the morning, but hopefully, I can join Remote Chat this afternoon, and then have a productive afternoon. It was too cold to scrub the basement floor yesterday, so I’m going to try to do that this afternoon. I need to have that space to move the newly sorted boxes.

Lots to get done, in a short period of time, and I need to stay focused.

At least I got some good work done on GAMBIT COLONY the past few days. That serves as a springboard to loosen creativity on other projects.

Published in: on February 10, 2021 at 7:31 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 10, 2021: Die For Your Employer day 266/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 14 — More Snow  
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Thurs. Feb. 15, 2018: Back After A Tough Few Days

Thursday, February 15, 2018
New Moon
Cloudy and mild

It’s been a rough few days. I’ve been out of town, which is one reason why I skipped the post yesterday and on Tuesday.

On Saturday night, we learned a second family member had died, also up in Maine. This was more expected, after a year-long illness. And on Sunday, I learned that an actress I’d worked with as we both made our way up the ladder to Broadway, had died of cancer. Three deaths in about two weeks. It was rough.

On Sunday morning, we packed the car and headed up to Maine in the rain. It wasn’t too bad of a drive, and we made better time than we thought. We made a few stops in Kittery to pick up some things we needed. The hotel we originally planned to stay in was undergoing renovation; even though they were taking in guests, the added stress of the noise and the overall creepiness was more than we could cope with at the moment.

We kept going until we hit the Ogunquit Resort. They had a room at a good rate, we booked in. It was a wonderful room. Bigger than most New York City apartments. Great beds, a desk, a table and chairs, plenty of floor space. Enough floor space for me to roll out my mat and do yoga without hitting anything.

We settled in and tried to have a relaxing afternoon. Reading and research for me. I read Ann Hood’s THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST. I like her writing. I also did some research on New Amsterdam for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I knew I lost writing days, so I wanted to make some use of the time. Pizza from a favorite local joint for dinner, watching the Olympics at night.

Monday morning, up early and into Portland for the memorial service for the family member who died unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. The funeral home and its staff were lovely, although I couldn’t help but think of SIX FEET UNDER. Members of her knitting group were there, telling funny stories. In spite of the sorrow, it was uplifting. Too much religion for my taste, but then, it wasn’t about me, was it?

After, we convened at a brew pub in Scarborough for lunch and to catch up. We raised a glass to the family member who died on Saturday; he gets a graveside military funeral, so he’s on ice (literally) until the ground is soft enough to dig in spring.

Back to the hotel, exhausted. Read a bit, researched a bit, played with the opening to a short story. I have two openings for two different pieces rolling around in my head, and I’m trying to see if they are two sides to the same piece (doesn’t seem that way) or two different pieces (more likely). Also have a story idea spinning based on the past few days (although it will take a different direction, with higher stakes or it wouldn’t be worth reading. Or writing).

More Olympics, which is really the only thing worth watching.

I am sickened by how many commercials for drugs are on TV. And in magazines. And they wonder why people are addicted. It also enrages me that most of these drugs are supposed to be taken “with” another drug that isn’t effective enough. No, dumbass, you don’t take four different things to “help” whose side effects make you nauseated, dizzy, and break out in rashes and could kill you. It means the initial medication ISN’T WORKING and the damn doctor needs to find ONE medication, the RIGHT medication, that solves the problem without side effects.

I am convinced these drugs are created not to work completely, to force people onto multiple medications with horrible side effects, so they have to take even more medications to counteract those effects. Pharma is a scam. It’s not about making people healthy; it’s about keeping people sick in order to make money off them.

Up early and out the door on Tuesday, headed back to the Cape. I tried to time it so I got through the Big Dig in Boston after rush hour, but before the noon traffic. It was still awful, with slowdowns and crashes and roadwork.

I was a wreck with a migraine by the time we got home. We unpacked, comforted the cats (who were upset we’d gone), paid some bills. Did some stretches. Tried to rest.

I was in bed by 8 PM. Woke up with a migraine on Wednesday and felt awful, but dragged myself to work with a client, dropped off/picked up some books at the library, and came home.

Finally started feeling better in the evening.

Today, I have to get some writing done, work on the website (I hope to start the move tomorrow or Saturday), and work with another client. I also have to take down the February decorations and start putting up the spring decorations.

Both the snapdragons and the sweet peas I planted in pos are coming up. I’m going to start the tomatoes and the lettuce soon.

I need to get it together on SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

I also need to buy a new drum for my laser printer. The thing I ordered was the wrong piece. That’s what I get for trying to cut corners.

Onward.

 

Tues. Nov. 14, 2017: Writing and Releases

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea release on November 15. Buy your copy here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about tomorrow’s release, Savasana at Sea!

Quite the weekend.

Friday was frustrating, because I was tired. I managed to get some decent writing done for a client and sent off the materials. I got as much as I could done online, but there were a lot of distractions.

I worked bringing in the rest of the plants that need to overwinter. Some rearrangement had to happen in the house, in order for them to fit; the rest, which overwinter in the garage, are now settled. There’s a kalachoe that’s infested with some sort of bug that I’m leaving out, in the hopes of killing the bugs in the frost; but we may end up losing that one. Which is a shame, because it’s a beautiful plant. I’m letting the Datura die back naturally.

Did some research for a couple of upcoming projects, but, frankly, by Friday afternoon, my brain was too tired to be particularly productive.

I worried that the version of SAVASANA that’s dropping next week is the latest ARC, and not the final corrected draft. I was having difficulty making sure it was the correct version, and had to ask them for help. We’re going through enough as it is without the wrong version of the book releasing. But it’s all good.

Saturday, ran some errands early. Then did six loads of laundry, scrubbed the house from top to bottom, baked six dozen tollhouse cookies, and roasted a maple-cranberry glazed chicken. Which, by the way, is becoming one of our favorite recipes.

Started playing with a new idea. Not sure if it’s a single book, or if there will be several books, or if it will be a flat-out series. It has to do with aging gracefully and making different decisions at one age than at another. The working title is so awful I’m not even sharing it. I’m using it privately until I come up with something better. Wrote about 8 pages (2000 words). It starts slower than I expected, and I may wind up cutting some of the beginning, but that’s where I need to start it in order to make sense of its world. I’m also building my “ideal” small community in the book — which isn’t to say it’s perfect. There’s definitely a dark side.

Also did notes for another book that would become a series if I can pull it off, set shortly after WWII. I’ve set several things in that time period; this shares some of them, but also goes beyond it, because it moves into the period of rapid change in the fifties and sixties. We’ll see if it’s an idea that flares out, or if it has potential. I like the core characters. I think I can do some good things with them.

Sunday, wrote a bit on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I feel like I have to type up most of Willow’s section before I can effectively work on Doug’s. There’s a lot of cross-referencing and same-situation-from-different point-of-view stuff, and it’s too hard to navigate in longhand.

Wrote ten more pages on the aging novel.

Managed to get a little bit of yard work in before the rain started.

In the afternoon, I went to a healing sound meditation class at the yoga center down the street. As someone who is highly sensitive to sound (I have a condition called “hyperaccussis”, as well as “misophonia”), I thought it would be good to be around positive sound instead of the damn repetitive machine sounds that make me want to choke someone with the cord of the leaf blower.

The session was terrific, but intense. It took awhile to get back to normal after, and driving was definitely a challenge! But I sure as heck slept well on Sunday night!

Monday was cold and rainy. The septic tank was pumped out. I did some prep for my client meetings and some writing.

I also wrote the opening for SERENE AND DETERMINED, the Lavinia Fontana play, and I’m on a roll. Working out most of it in my head ahead of time works, for this particular project.

Today, I’ll spend the bulk of the day with one client, and then have another meeting in the afternoon.

Published in: on November 14, 2017 at 9:29 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 14, 2017: Writing and Releases  
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Fri. Sept. 22, 2017: Jose’s Sit-N-Spin, Writing Weekend

Friday, Sept. 22, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hurricane Jose still here
Autumn Equinox

Jose’s doing a sit-and-spin over us. It’s not anywhere near as bad as how other areas have suffered. It will, however, require a good bit of clean-up when it finally moves on. I am grateful for the lack of force and fury, but tired of the steady rain and wind.

I have a few difficult days coming up, and my coping skills are not at their best. But not coping is not an option.

Worked on the back matter for SAVASANA AT SEA; started working on the opening chapter of the next book in the series, DAVY JONES DHARMA, which will be in the back of this one. I’m having a lot of fun with the chapter. The premise of this book is going to allow for a lot of adventure, mystery, comedy, and romance.

Wrote a little over 1K on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN.

Did some research, took some notes.

Turns out an article I’d submitted at the end of July never arrived; good thing I contacted the editor to follow up. I re-sent it, and it is scheduled to run in about six weeks — longer than I’d like, mostly because of the pay, but at least it’s all sorted out, and neither of us wonders if the other party is unreliable.

Heard back from a script pitch — basically, as part of the interview process I’m supposed to become a customer of the product I pitched to write about. Um, no. Honey, that’s not how it works. You bring in a professional to write about the product for other people. You don’t pretend you’re hiring someone to enlarge your customer numbers. Next!

I have promotion and research to do today, and then a lot of work to get done over the weekend. I have two books to review — I’ve been dragging my feet on one of them, because it’s a draft in desperate need of an editor, not a finished book one can charge money for — and I’m trying to figure out how to review it properly without being that blunt. But I must get on with it, and then move on to the other book. I’d like to get them both done and the reviews submitted by early next week.

I have a couple of short pieces to work on, that should also go out next week, finish up the backmatter for SAVASANA, so that can go off to my editor early next week, and work on FIX IT GIRL. Two of the research books I needed are in, so I can settle in with those chapters, and maybe return the books once and for all by the end of next week.

The book Willow works on in THE MARRIAGE GARDEN is so interesting that now I want to write it, too. Since I have to do the shadow research in order to properly write about the research she does for the book, I’ll have enough material to write the actual book!

Feeling discouraged on several fronts, and overwhelmed. I hope that the Equinox ceremony this afternoon will set me back to rights.

I have a meeting early on Monday, so I will be late posting.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Published in: on September 22, 2017 at 8:34 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 22, 2017: Jose’s Sit-N-Spin, Writing Weekend  
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Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was busy, but, ultimately productive. I skipped the mowing (I’m going to pay for skipping so much mowing soon).

But I got a stack of books back to the library, and returned with another stack.

I submitted a short story and got out a couple of pitches. I got some necessary research done, and caught up on the correspondence that had come in yesterday.

I sorted out the information when I got home, so it’s where I need it when I need it, and I don’t have to go hunting it down.

I got some weeding done in the terraced bed, and then some writing, before the morons with power tools destroyed my afternoon.

I managed to get to work on an essay that needs to go out today. I finished another essay and a short story, which also have to go out today. On one essay, I had to cut over 300 words (I’d mis-remembered the word count limit as 800 when it was 600; my draft had 927 words, so there was some seriously red pen action). On the other essay, I had to come up with an additional 100+ words to meet the lower end of the limit. Two different topics, so I couldn’t take the cut words from one and rework them into the other.

The short story (actually flash fiction) is a fun, weird little piece. I hope it hits. The first line of it came to me while I was doing something else. It was so weird, I jotted it down and then off we went.

I should have completed the copy edits on “Ramsey Chase”, but my eyes were too tired. I’ll have to get back to it today. I also have to complete an assignment for the editor and get it out the door tomorrow, so he can tell me what he hates over the weekend.

I’ll be offline from about mid-day tomorrow until Wednesday morning. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the break. I’ll be writing of course — that’s part of the reason I’m disconnecting. I want to finish the FIX IT GIRL edits. I’d like to write another essay and finish the short story that’s giving me trouble, too, but that might be too ambitious.

Plus, I need to finish “Ramsey Chase” edits and get the back matter into the manuscript.

Plus, there’s a big fat book I really want to read as a reward for all this hard work.

And the yoga. And the meditation. And the garden.

So I’d better get to work and get it all done, hadn’t I?

Published in: on June 29, 2017 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 29, 2017: Writing Frenzy to Prep for a Long Weekend  
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Wed. June 28, 2017: Trying to Line Up Ducks Before the Holiday Weekend

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Monday was busy. I re-slanted and re-sent two pitches; sent out two new pitches; caught up on correspondence. Somehow, the day flew by.

I did research on several new-to-me markets. Some, I need to do some more in-depth digging; a couple, I think I can craft pitches and send them.

My mom has to have surgery in July, on her foot. Results of the biopsy done a couple of weeks ago. I want to know why her first doctor — the one that dropped her because she wasn’t making enough money off my mom — didn’t diagnose this wound properly a year and a half ago, when my mom showed it to her?

And, of course, I have to come up with the co-payment. Another expense I wasn’t counting on. Not to mention that my mom is 94 and any surgery is worrisome.

There’s a possible new-to-me micro-fiction market. They pay, but I have to figure out the details and ratio of word count/payment/frequency of assignment to see if it’s something I want to or can take on. They seem to be more legitimate and a better payer than the other company I talked to last week. We’ll see. There’s a humor market that could become a regular gig, but I’m not feeling particularly witty or funny right now.

Read Barbara Ross’s ICED UNDER, another Maine Clambake book. I really like this series.

Quite a contrast to another book I tried to read (by a different author). It was a mystery. The protagonist was a narrow-minded, unlikable little twit. The story was dumbed down, the characters were ciphers instead of people. The author was anti-artist and anti-anyone who chose more than being a traditional housewife. I made it to page 35, closed the book, and have put the author on my Will Not Read list. She insulted my intelligence AND my profession. Next!

I really want to take this upcoming holiday weekend as a writing/reading/yoga retreat. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.

Did a little bit of work on the Scottish mystery with the older protagonists on Tuesday, after running errands early enough in the morning so I didn’t get caught up in tourist traffic. That threw off my writing schedule, though.

Finished DRINKING THE RAIN by Alix Kates Shulman. Liked it a lot. And loving Helen Bevington’s THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING.

Worked on the June wrap-up, July’s To Do list, and, soon, I’ll have to do the mid-year assessment. We’ll see how far I’ve strayed.

Worked on the media kit. It’s always such journeyman work, but it’s important, and I always discover something I didn’t realize about my own work, because I have to look at it as though I’m handling someone else’s.

I came up with a series title for Playing the Angles and The Spirit Repository — but that makes me wonder if I should change the name under which the books appear. At the same time, I’m not completely sure I’ve hit exactly what I want with the series title. I’m feeling creatively drained.

The project in Orleans isn’t going to work out — they’re going with someone younger. That’s not what they said (which would be illegal), but that’s what they’re doing. Heaven forbid they hire someone with experience who expects a professional rate! Well, they’ll get what they paid for. I was having second thoughts myself — the money, the refusal to commit beyond the summer, and a few other elements. My ego’s bruised, but, deep down in my gut, I know it’s for the best.

Fretting because I’m waiting for two checks that are late. Not happy, because there are bills that need to be paid before the end of the month, and then I have to focus both on next month’s bills and on the co-payment for my mother’s surgery.

Got about half of “The Ramsey Chase” proofread. I’m creating the tracking sheets and character bible for the series as I go, which also slows me down.

Worked my way through a stack of research books that I hoped would be helpful as background for a project. Unfortunately, they were mostly self-indulgent navel-gazing masquerading as “self help.” There’s quite a stack to go back to the library.

I’m gathering questions for the Q&A section of the Devon Ellington media kit. Colin Galbraith had two interesting ones that I’m going to use. I’m hoping other people will post questions on Facebook, Twitter, and/or in the comments here on Ink.

I did quite a bit of work on the media kit yesterday afternoon. I’m through most of the fiction/series/shorts section. I’ve got some more Digital Delights to add in, make the links live.

Still fretting about the series title. That series title means it makes more sense to have the books appear under the Cerridwen Iris Shea name rather than the Annabel Aidan or Devon Ellington name. Also, the more I think about it, the more that series title fits a different series — one I’ve yet to write. So I’m on the hunt for another series title. Some of the books are set in New York, or at least start in New York and move outward. So the title needs to have a bit of an urban edge, but also fulfill the books when they move beyond the city limits. I came up with another series title, but it might also be a bit too soft. I’ll pull out the Thesaurus (the print one, not look online) and browse.

During this morning’s meditation, a new set of characters and situations dropped into my head. I still don’t have the plot, although I have a premise. I think it will be set on the outskirts of Portland, Maine.

Finished a science fiction short story this morning. Will revise it later today and tomorrow, and it can go out the door tomorrow. Now, have to turn my attention back to the more complicated, contemporary one and finish that to get it out the door.

I’m going to take the holiday weekend as a writing/yoga/meditation retreat. I need the mental and the physical break. If I can get my ducks in a row, and my deadlines met by Friday (gulp), that’s what I’ll do. Be offline from Friday afternoon until sometime on Wednesday.

Yet I’m sure there will be mowing in my future. I’ve been bad and haven’t done any this week, although the weather’s been good for it.

Errands, admin, and correspondence to do, and then, it’s back to the page.

Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)

Personal Revolution Cover

Thursday, June 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Promotion starts today for “Personal Revolution”, a short mystery set in a town near Concord, MA, that takes place around Independence Day. It’s only 99 cents, available on Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, and more.

Blurb:
When a man is hanged from the oak tree in a Redcoat uniform at an historic house just before the Independence Day program, Glenda is determined to both solve the murder and protect the newly-opened museum. What she finds is much darker — and more personal — than she bargained.
(End blurb)

I hope you enjoy it. I’m playing with the idea of doing more with these characters.

Yesterday seems very far away, somehow. Maybe it was all those mass shootings, and the ridiculous and irresponsible way they were covered by the press.

What did I do yesterday? Sent out some pitches. Worked on the 30 second script. Did more research for the article that I hope to finish, polish, and get out the door today. Checked email incessantly to see if another pitch was accepted (haven’t heard back yet). Looked at a website that’s been fallow for the past few years, with an eye to starting up that platform again.

The Ridiculous Request of the Day was from an “author” who “generously offered” (his words) to pay me $350 to do a line edit on his “blockbuster” novel — that runs 120,000 words. Um, no. 120,000 words breaks down to 480 pages in Standard Manuscript Format, and I bet his wasn’t. Bet it’s single-spaced. Sweetie, $350 gets you to page 70, and I’m on the low end of the editing price range. It’s not “generous”. It’s not even a professional rate. Plus, I’m taking on very few of that type of editing client — more for scripts than for novels at this point, unless it’s at the top of my rate. Now, I am sympathetic to someone’s tight budget. But don’t boast it’s a “blockbuster” (because if it was, you’d be under contract to an agent and one of the Big 5). Look for an editor where appropriate to your budget, such as a grad student in English, who can both use the cash AND potentially use it for credit in an independent study.

On a happier note, “The Ramsey Chase”, the first Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure, will be ready for re-release sooner than I expected. The cover design will be done soon, and I should have the galleys shortly for a final proof read.

However, that means that I have to have the opening of the second Cornelia True/Roman Gray adventure ready to pop into the back of it, have the darned thing outlined, and meet a deadline for its release!

Considering that I also have to get moving on the next Twinkle Tavern comic mystery, which needs to be ready to release by Labor Day, that’s a new (but positive) pressure. That will feature the characters from “Plot Bunnies” and release under the Ava Dunne name.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Cornelia and Roman. It’s a satirical fantasy/adventure series, involving time travel and an alternate universe that’s somewhat familiar and somewhat not. There’s a wry, arch tone to it that’s a blast to write. I have a lot of fun turning genre formula inside out with it, and making pointed social commentary. When first released, in 2008, it was kind of relevant; it’s even more relevant now.

We’re also in talks to set the re-release date for Playing the Angles (which used to be Assumption of Right, or, as I joked, When Bad Titles Attack). Early October is looking good, with The Spirit Repository then releasing in May of 2018. This means we have to make sure the cover is ready sometime in July. Since we’ve been having difficulty finding the right cover image, that worries me.

I should have mowed yesterday, but didn’t. So guess what I had to do first thing today? Yup, side yard needs it.

So, there were two mass shootings yesterday in the country, one on the East Coast, one on the West. The UPS shooting is hardly getting any coverage, because only ordinary people were hurt and/or killed. The one involving a Congressman, a lobbyist, and other political types is getting attention, because of the GOP’s propaganda machine. The two Capitol police personnel who put themselves in the line of fire are being mostly ignored, while politicians who weren’t even there are tearful about their own “narrow escape.” The press is covering it irresponsibly, as usual. The GOP is blaming the left, because the shooter volunteered on the Sanders campaign. Of course, the fact that the Narcissistic Sociopath repeatedly incited and encouraged violence during his campaign and actually called for Hillary Clinton’s assassination is being ignored. As is the fact that the GOP is the party who votes to allow the mentally ill access to guns (because they expect shooting victims to be outside their own party — yesterday shocked them because they think only unarmed liberals will be shot). Paul Ryan is being lauded for the speech he gave on the floor; people are saying it was wonderful. I disagree. For the man who is determined to make inhuman cuts to healthcare, Social Security, Medicare and food stamps to declare “We don’t shed our humanity when we enter the Chamber” is hypocrisy. It’s typical of Lyin’ Ryan, but it is still hypocrisy.

They all make me sick.

On that not-so-happy note, I need to go and mow, and then it’s back to the page, because, no matter what the external stresses, I have to keep showing up at the page and getting it done.

Don’t forget to hop over to the GDR site, where I have the mid-month check-in posted. I can’t believe we’re half way through June!

Published in: on June 15, 2017 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 15, 2017: Tightening Deadlines and Ridiculous Request of the Day (RRD)  
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Wed. June 14, 2017: An Attempt To Bully Me Into Unpaid Work

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday wasn’t as productive as I would have liked. I got out some pitches; I did research for an article I’m writing (the whole thing is taking much longer than I would have liked).

I withdrew from a project that interested me, because we couldn’t come to terms on money. I have bills to pay; this is how I make my living. Just because I love what I do, doesn’t mean I don’t get paid for it. The person in charge of the project understood, and we parted on good terms.

On a different project, the producer who wanted me to write unpaid corporate spec scripts started arguing with me about it. I re-iterated that the samples of previously produced work, in the style and tone they claim they want, are enough for them to make a decision. The producer insisted it wasn’t; that they were getting “commercials”, which they didn’t want — they wanted fun scripts. I pointed out that the samples I gave them were specifically that — mission-specific entertainment, where actual information is wrapped in engaging stories and characters, NOT commercials. The team should READ those samples, and look at the two script concepts I pitched, and then decide whether or not to hire me. If I’m not the right person for the job, fine; we both move on.

The argument came back that the client isn’t willing to read “other people’s samples”, but only spec scripts pertinent to their product, and that I should write two of them, and that the client wanted to talk to me ON THE PHONE — not about the concept, but about why I should write for them for free.

I have yet to find a so-called business phone conversation of more than 90 seconds anything but a complete waste of time. Most phone calls are about the ego of the person insisting on the call, who either wants to talk through the noise in his own mind because he couldn’t be bothered to do proper prep, or simple, straight up ego because he likes the sound of his own voice so much. It interferes with my work and is a complete waste of my time. That is why I charge for phone time, in 15 minutes increments, like a lawyer. If you’re going to work my last nerve and waste my time and interfere with the progress on your project, it’s going to cost. The time is billed and paid upon completion of the phone call. That is non-negotiable. I also only accept phone calls on appointment. I have my voice mail set up NOT to take messages; I don’t return phone calls. If you insist on talking to me by phone, we set up an appointment via email. We talk in that designated time frame. Period.

A single useless phone call ruins an entire day of creative work, so I have very strict boundaries about phone time.

I set out my phone terms, and, of course, got more argument, about how I “owe” the client unpaid phone time.

Honey, I don’t “owe” your client anything. I’ve never met the client. I looked at the previous videos and thought they were crap — poor writing coupled with bad, vapid acting. Yeah, if you want to use “fun” videos to sell your product, you’ll have to do some major fixes, starting with the writing.

I’m not doing it for free. This is how I earn a living — writing.

Another big red flag: “If you do this, there’s the chance for more work down the pike.” Um, is that unpaid, too? Because that’s not something I need or want. Besides, that false carrot is one of the best-known ruses to get new-to-the-biz writers to do unpaid work. Granted, this “You should be grateful to work without compensation” is the norm for Cape Cod; however, this supposed client is supposedly in a major city, and therefore should know better.

The producer admitted that several writers that were interested in the gig had brought up concerns about writing product/project specific material on spec. I don’t know if every professional writer who pitched received the same kind of bullying attempt, or if, for some reason, I was singled out.

Again, the pressure was “They want to make sure you understand it’s not a commercial and we plan to shoot at the end of next week, so we’re in a time crunch.”

YOUR time crunch is NOT my problem; I already said the deadline was not an issue (it’s not; I’m a seasoned script writer, I’ve fed doctored script pages to a film set across the country during a shoot). If YOU READ MY SAMPLES, you’ll see that I understand what you want.

Read the samples. If you like the samples and the concepts I pitched, hire me. If you don’t, then move on to someone else. Or, you demand unpaid work. I say no. We both move on.

But this insistence that I wouldn’t even be considered without project-specific spec samples, and then arguing when I refuse to do them is ridiculous, unprofessional, and guarantees that, when I see your product advertised in the future, I associate it with unprofessional behavior and avoid it.

In the interim of all this back-and-forth, which wasted half my work day (and oh, I am SO tempted to bill for wasted time, but that’s going a bit too far even for me), I landed another assignment. A very short script, no argument about my regular rate, no phone time, all sorted out within two hours of the pitch.

I withdrew from consideration from the PIA potential gig, explaining that I was contracted on another job within the same time frame, and that’s the one I’ve accepted.

More argument, that it’s “not fair” I took another job when I was talking to them about their job, and they’re in a time crunch. I was tempted not to respond, but I did, pointing out that I hadn’t been contracted by them, and we were at an impasse. I was not going to write product-specific scripts on spec. I would only do so if hired, contracted, and the deposit paid, and every hour that they argued this instead of hiring a writer was an hour that made their time crunch tighter. Also, if we started from such different positions on what our working relationship should be, I could only see it degenerating; obviously, I am not the right person to work with them, so we say goodbye and move on to better partnerships for both of us.

MORE argument that they wanted a professional writer and liked my credentials, but wanted to see spec scripts on their product before they made a decision.

Those spec scripts aren’t coming from me, as I made clear over and over and over again. I didn’t even bother to reply.

Instead, I went to work on the job for which I was contracted, for which I had been paid a deposit, and made decent progress on it. It’s a 30-second spot, something with which I have a lot of experience, so it’s a case of writing visually and aurally, and then cutting down as many words as possible.

The afternoon was so hot I wasn’t much use. The cats were little fur puddles, and I split time between doing research for a project and working on my next assignment for my new editor. AND, the second part of the afternoon was listening to the Congressional Hearings — more about that later.

I didn’t get any work done on fiction yesterday, because I fell into the trap of working on nonfiction first thing in the morning instead of fiction, which requires a completely different headspace, and never worked my way back to the fiction.

A good reminder that:
–I must always work on fiction early in the day; sometimes I can work my way back to another fiction session later in the day, but only if I’ve launched the day with it;
–I must always do my own fiction, my daily 1K quota, FIRST, before I work on any other assignment, no matter what the deadline or the pay. Otherwise, it throws my creativity out of whack.

A new-to-me author followed me on Twitter (always fun to widen the author circle). I followed back. I immediately got a DM hawking his book. Unfollow. That’s not how you get me to buy your book. That’s how you get on my list of I Don’t Read Your Work. SOCIAL media is about building the relationship first, and then telling me about your book. And then, if we’ve been having pleasant interactions, heck yeah, I’ll buy it, because I believe in buying as many books as I can afford from my contemporaries. But if I’ve only just heard of you and you privately hit me up for money, that guarantees me striking you off ALL my lists.

If you only came here for the writing commentary, click away, because I’m about to talk about politics. This blog is about balancing life and writing; the poisonous political situation, unfortunately, affects my writing (negatively, for the most part).

Jeff Sessions was always unqualified to be Attorney General, and yesterday’s hearings solidified his incompetence. He repeatedly perjured himself, both in this hearing and in previous hearings. He “can’t remember” meetings that should be pretty memorable. He claims possible future executive privilege that hasn’t been invoked, which any first year law student knows is crap. He stonewalls, rambles, and attempts misdirection. He refuses to answer questions, putting him in contempt of Congress. To hell with Congress — he holds the American people in contempt, especially those who aren’t white men. I don’t believe, for one minute, that he attended a legitimate law school or has a legitimate law degree. It’s far more likely he sent away for it on the back of a matchbook. I expect the top law enforcement official in the country to be ethical, intelligent, capable of coherent and rational reasoning, able to discern fact from fiction, secular, tolerant, fair-minded, committed to justice and the Constitution, and well-spoken. Jeff Sessions is none of those things. He should have never been confirmed, and he needs to be removed.

Senator Kamala Harris was brilliant, and those old white men who keep trying to shush her should have their mouths duct-taped. She was a prosecutor. SHE should be our country’s Attorney General.

We have lovely thunderstorms last night, and it’s cooler. That means I need to get back to mowing today, along with working on fiction, working on my essay, and my article, getting out some more pitches, and following up on some more pitches that have been out for awhile.

I am desperate for a few days off, but I need to hit my earnings for the month. Then, hopefully, I can take Fourth of July days as a holiday and rest my brain and my soul.

Watch out — I’ll be promoting the Independence Day-themed short mystery “Personal Revolution” starting tomorrow.

Out to the mower, and then back to the page. A migraine is coming on, and it’s slowing me down.

Published in: on June 14, 2017 at 9:20 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 14, 2017: An Attempt To Bully Me Into Unpaid Work  
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Tues. May 30, 2017: Hamster on the Wheel

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

It was kind of a lousy weekend here on Cape, weather-wise. That didn’t stop it from having a back-up trying to get off Cape yesterday from Orleans (the elbow of the Cape) all the way to the Sagamore Bridge. Three hours for a trip that should take about 45 minutes.

It’s going to be a challenging season.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, so you can see how I’m using books by Claire Cook and Jeff Vandermeer on this Recalibration journey.

With the mower now working again, I got some work done on the yard before the weather changed. I got the front and the side front yard mowed. I’d hoped to get the terraced back area done, so I could start on the meadow today, but no such luck. I’m hoping it will clear up a bit this afternoon, so I can start that.

I did my first assignment from my new editor. I don’t know how long my association will be with this publication. I have some issues with contract and payment terms. Either we’ll work them out, or we won’t, and I’ll leave. I’m no longer accepting situations that don’t work for me. Especially when there’s an unacceptable time iag in payment.

Heard back last night from another pitch I sent last week — the editor wants to buy the article. So I have to get that off to her as quickly as possibly (while writing something good).

I also need to do some follow up on other pitches.

Last night, I got an idea for two flash fiction stories, on the light-hearted side. I’d like to draft them, so I don’t lose the energy.

I worked on the story inspired by the photos of the abandoned Connecticut town I came across online. I got 49 pages written, in longhand, getting all the way into chapter four. So I think the idea is viable. I like working in longhand on this particular piece. I’m at a point where I need to stop and type up the first three chapters, and also where I need to stop and write my Writer’s Rough outline.

Trying to get back into the rhythm of NOT BY THE BOOK, and trying to sort out some things for the next section of FIX IT GIRL.

Worked my way through some research books. I have a big stack to take back to the library today. Hopefully, I can get done everything I need to get done in an hour or so, and then get back to the page.

I thought I had two deadlines today for radio scripts, but it turns out that one is actually the end of next month, and the other is in a window — I have a feeling I’ll get the latter (which is further along) out the door later this week. Here, I thought I’d have to drop one possibility, and push hard for the other one. Glad I don’t.

The most important thing this morning is to dig down and get the article done, then polish the piece for the other editor and send it off.

I won’t be posting here tomorrow — I’m off on an adventure. But I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say when I come back on Thursday!

Published in: on June 1, 2017 at 10:48 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 30, 2017: Hamster on the Wheel  
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