Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)

image courtesy of Christian Dorn via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy and humid

The last week of Mercury Retrograde is always crushing, but with all these other retrogrades piled on, it’s rough going.

I did admin and marketing in the morning, and did not get another episode of Legerdemain written, and that threw my day out of synch.

I left early for the meeting at the television station, in case I got lost. Of course I did, but I eventually found it. They are a very small staff, but very nice. The studio is far better equipped than I expected – even with green screen capabilities, and there’s a lot of flexibility within the space. The radio component is smaller, but also quite good.

It gave me fuel for several different projects. They need to percolate, and then I can write up proposals if any of them are viable. I also have to look into sources of funding, especially for the radio plays. Maybe that’s something I can hit up the cultural council for next year.

I made notes on Ink-Dipped Advice posts into the beginning of December. Now, to sit down and actually write them!

I meant to sit down and do the script coverage. Really, I did. But I decided to take a look at my Play Script Tracker sheet in Excel, and update it with “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By.” That led me to looking at calls for submission, which led me back to some of the earlier plays which are actually ready to go out, and I wound up submitting 5 plays. Which took much longer than it should have, mostly because I realized how few plays have synopses ready to go. I broke one of my own Submission Systems rules, and I paid for it.

Another thing to go on the list: Make sure every play has a blurb AND a synopsis. The blurbs are already up on the Pages on Stages site, but I need the synopsis ready for when it’s called.

A friend contacted me about a collaboration over the winter, which sounds like a ton of fun. I was in touch with another friend, who has both a new novel and a new screenplay he’d love some feedback on, so we’ll get that set up.

By that time, The Authors Guild Seminar on serials started. I did not realize that an author whose work both my mom and I have read extensively was the pseudonym for the chair of English at a major university (and a Board member). So, that was fun. There were two Vella authors, one Substack fiction author, and heads of Vella and Substack. 

I knew most of the information about structuring a serial, etc. I mean, I’ve written serials for decades, off and on. I was interested that Vella has more flexibility with driving readers to other sites (it says, in the guidelines, one can’t). Yet the authors are listing their websites and Facebook groups and other work in their author notes.

So I will start doing that, too. If they send it back for removal, so be it, but at least I’ll try.

The information on gaining traction was too vague for my taste. Great, success stories about tens of thousands of hits and people making the serial their day job. But what are the nuts and bolts of gaining traction? Especially if the price of Amazon ads is out of reach? That was not answered to my satisfaction.

Substack’s pitch interested me. I had not looked at it in terms of fiction. The pitch was very strong, and the author chosen to speak was a ton of fun, and I am definitely signing up for her material. I think I will poke around the site and sign up for a few things and see what it’s about. I might put EARTH BRIDE and REP serials up there, and have LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT on Vella and do a comparison study.

The Substack people also offered more nuts-and-bolts information on growing audience, which was helpful.

Also, Substack is international. A strong portion of my readership is international, and therefore shut out of all things Vella. Having work on Substack  would give them entry.

After all that, it was time to make dinner. I did colcannon tricked out with leek, pancetta, and lots of shredded cheese on top. It was wonderful.

I should have done script coverage after, but by then, it was 9 PM, and I was too damn tired.

So today will be a long day. I have to do follow-up on yesterday, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and catch up on script coverage. There’s more I should do – maybe I’ll sneak in a post or two of Ink-Dipped – but LEGERDEMAIN and script coverage need to be the main focus.

The television/radio stuff can percolate for a few days, before I actually write up those proposals and contact those I want involved, but I will send the thank you out today.

I’m worried about my friends and colleagues in Florida, in the path of Hurricane Ian. Let’s hope the storm decreases in intensity and/or veers into the sea.

Have a good one, friends.

Tues. Sept. 27, 2022: Walking the Project Talk

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, mild, humid

Pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle in for a natter. This weekend had a lot going on.

I’ve posted the questions to help you create and plan your 2023 over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

I managed to get them up early this year. I don’t know about you, but I already have the urge to plan next year, process this year, and build on it. We’ll ponder the questions between now and the end of the year, and then post what we’re comfortable sharing in January over on the GDR site.

Friday felt like a lost day, even though it wasn’t. I mean, I did stuff, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped to get done. I scheduled the episode ad postings on the LEGERDEMAIN site to release all the way through October. I still have to add some content to the site before I’m comfortable with it going live, but that should happen this week, so next week, I can start promoting the site.

Newsletter subscribers will get the link early, when the newsletter goes out later this week. Have you subscribed to my quarterly newsletter yet? If not, you can do so here.

I did some work on the Topic Workbook graphic, and I’m still not happy with it. I need to play some more. I also started the media kit for the Topic Workbook, and I’m pondering the media kit for LEGERDEMAIN.

I looked at running ads on Amazon for LEGERDEMAIN, and the prices are just way out of my budget at the moment.

I ordered a set of signed books by an author whose work I adore for a friend I think would really love them. I bought them directly from the author, and she already shipped them to my friend, and I am so excited.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I should have done three, but I was just too tired. And, when I cover the script, I want to give good, focused attention to the writer. That is the respect each writer deserves.

Canva won’t let me design a bookmark that’s horizontal instead of vertical, and I don’t like the way the verticals look. However, the print store I want to try out lets me design horizontally on their site, and I think I will do that. I will initially order a small batch; if they look good, I’ll order more. I may have them do my direct mail postcards, too, if I can ever get a design on those I can stand.

The Fresh Grass Music Festival was over at MassMOCA this weekend. Can you say super-spreader much? Especially now that Rochelle Wollensky of the CDC has gone full genocidal eugenics on the country. She needs to be removed. And yes, I contacted both my Senators and my Representative yesterday so to do.

But the upside of the music festival is that, at night, when the wind is right, I can hear some of it. Which is kind of cool. The venue is only 5 blocks away, so it makes sense.

Had kind of a slow start Saturday morning. We ended up putting on the heat on Friday – I’m already cringing, because not only has the gas company jacked up my bill over the summer, here in this state, they are telling us to expect a 64% increase. My income hasn’t increased 64%, so why are they allowed to do this?

Yes, that was another set of contacts to the Senators and Reps, on both federal and state levels.

I did not go to the market, or even the grocery store, because with all these people in for the festival, ewww, germy strangers probably not masking shedding virus. Nope.

Played with some ideas for upcoming Ink-Dipped Advice posts, and hope to write them up and schedule them to post this week.

I’ve basically given up on all the short stories I’d hoped to write the second half of September. I need to focus on other work first. Some of the ideas I might still play with and write, and look for other markets. But I can’t look at Sept. 30 deadlines for anything right now, other than already contracted work.

I did rough out a short story outline that was inspired by a call to submission, but they wanted flash fiction and this will be 3-5K. But I love the idea, and it will be fun to spin out.

So, yeah, not given up on the short stories, just on the deadlined submission calls!

It’s been dipping down into the low 40’s,/high 30’s F at night, so it’s time to take in the plants. We took in a bunch, some inside for good, some to the front porch. I will go into that in detail on Thursday’s garden post.

Once that was done, the light was good enough so that I could sew the October-themed curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Willa, who hardly ever comes on the couch, sat along the back of it, alternating watching me sew and looking out the window. I did this, too, by hand.

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

After that, I downloaded the scriptwriting software DramaQueen (the company is based out of Germany). Right now, I can’t make the time to sit with Scrivener. I’ve tried Trelby and hated it. Eventually, I will invest in Final Draft again, but not right now.

It was kind of a PITA to download, but I have no doubt that’s more about my computer than their software. Once it was downloaded, though, and I started playing with it, it worked well.

I imported VISCERAL INVISIBLES into the software and started working on the new draft of that. This will be the 7th draft. Because I’m going to keep at it until it’s right before I submit. The import was wonky from PDF, but just fine out of .doc, so that’s good to know. The software wonked some of the formatting, but not badly, and it’s very easy to adjust with the highlight and tabs.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t used the standard Courier format, but whatever it was I drafted in, so when it converted to the correct format, some of it wonked.

So far, so good.

I rewrote the first 23 or so pages. I’m rearranging a few things, and deepening a few things. That’s what this draft is about. And then I’ll do another pass, and make cuts. According to the software, the page count is 120. However, I think some of that is format wonk, since none of my drafts were ever that long, page-wise. Once I do the rewrites and fix the wonks, I will check the page count (I expect it’s around 115) and then cut, because it needs to hit the sweet spot for the genre, and not be more than 110. So I’ll tighten and cut until I get there.

I knew I had another script I wanted to import – but I couldn’t find it on any of my drives. I nearly panicked, until I realized I’d sent it to my friend Paula for critique a couple of years back. I went back into the emails, found the attachment, downloaded it, and converted it to .doc. I tried importing the PDF version, but it wonked again, so I imported the .doc, and it looks okay.

On the fence about importing STALEMATE DEATH. It might be worthwhile for the portfolio, but I doubt it would go out often. I think it’s just about served its purpose. There’s also the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE and of TALENT. Those need to be reworked, and maybe put into the portfolio. I will use and apply what I’ve learned as a script analyst these past couple of years to make my own scripts stronger.

The one I really need to concentrate on this winter is the pilot for THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT. That’s the one I’m truly excited about, and need to get back to.

I also found a script roster of loglines and information on scripts that all sound good, but according to the document they are written and I look at them and don’t remember some of them. So I’m not sure if that’s a document I wrote as an exercise, or if there’s more spelunking to do in old flash drives.

All of the above is a combination of leaning into the energies of the retrogrades, which is about going back and reworking or finishing older projects, rather than starting something new. This is something I talk about and share techniques for in THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Unfinished projects drain energy. I need to clear the decks to make room for new work. To do that, I have to decide which projects to revive, get into the schedule, and finish; which projects to put in stasis, because it doesn’t make creative or financial sense to deal with them right now; and which ones I need to retire.

That will make room for the new work. It’s also using the information and energy of the retrogrades as something positive, rather than using the retrogrades as an excuse.

I’ve made a rough plan for the marketing of the Topic Workbooks (and including 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS with Nano coming up soon) for October through December. If I can ever get the danged graphic right, I can upload and schedule that. I also figured out the next couple of months of the LEGERDEMAIN campaign, more than just the episode-specific ads. So all of that has to get uploaded and scheduled in the next couple of weeks, in an around all the other stuff.

I also saw that I need to update the buy links on several Topic Workbooks. I thought I’d kept up with that, and am annoyed with myself that I did not.

DramaQueen has several levels of software, but I think I’ll be okay with sticking with the free version. Anyway, so far, so good.

I’ve dumped all the “project management software” programs with which I experimented. None of them have the range I need. I do better with the old-fashioned desk blotter calendar and colored markers. I’ve also kept up with the Work Wins Daily Journal Challenge set out by a colleague. I’m learning that some of the categories he set up don’t work for me. That’s going to be the first October blog post for Ink-Dipped Advice – what I learned from this challenge, and what I’m changing to suit my needs. So much of all these tools and platforms and systems is about compartmentalizing instead of making it holistic. For what I do, that’s detrimental to my productivity, my creativity, and my mental health.

Sunday, I was up at a reasonable time and baked biscuits.

I’d hoped to get the history of Legerdemain written and up on the website, but I don’t know what made me think I could create two thousand years’ worth of a country’s history in a couple of hours. So that’s taking longer than I planned.

In the afternoon, I switched over to plotting and working on my Writers’ Rough outline for the Retro Mystery. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which was frustrating, but better to have that happen now and jot down those details, than to get stuck when I have to draft at speed in November.

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

I created an ad for 30 Tips for 30 Days, and got it uploaded/scheduled through October. November needs a slightly different take; I will either upload/schedule half the month today and half tomorrow, or all today and December tomorrow. Probably half today/half tomorrow and then December on Wednesday. Each month needs a slightly different slant, and there’s a lot to do this week.

I actually did a To Do list for the week, which sets my teeth on edge. To Do lists make me feel constrained, and then I sabotage myself, but there was simply too much for me to be able to look at the calendar and get it done. Urgh.

Read a book on Sunday by a well-known author which came highly recommended, and I was left with “meh.” I am glad to see the author try to tackle social inequity, racism, and domestic abuse in a genre that usually ignores it. But in so doing, she flattened out her central protagonists to make sure they were righteous, and that didn’t quite work. But at least she’s trying, in this genre, which is more than most attempt or fight to do.

Up at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Good journal, yoga, meditation, and tarot sessions. Came up with a mantra for my intent for the week: “I thrive in situations where my work is respected. I remove myself from situations where it is not.” I will use that this week.

Posted the blogs, posted in the Marketing Game, made the social media rounds. Drafted Episode 42 of LEGERDEMAIN, which came in just under 1300 words, and was more fun than I expected.

Did the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the liquor store.

Adapted Chapter 4 of the third draft of ANGEL HUNT into 7 serial episodes, and smoothed out a few things. The chapter was 6500 words. So that was a lot of words handled, all told, yesterday.

Turned around 3 script coverages. One is missing a piece, and I sent in the information. I read what I had, and commented; I just need the missing piece to finish it.

Made turkey Bolognese for dinner, a different recipe than I’ve used before; I like it a lot.

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

Woke up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, did the morning routine, and was out the door before 6 AM and over to the laundromat when it opened. Back by about 7:30. Still have to finish folding the sheets and put them away.

I did a few chapters of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The book is good. I just wish publishers and agents weren’t so determined to ignore the pandemic and racism, which are two very important themes in the book.

I’m going to work on Episode 43 of LEGERDEMAIN. I have to be at the TV station across town by 11 AM, so I have to pull myself together for that. But I’m looking forward to seeing the facility and percolating ideas.

Williams College music department has tightened up the COVID protocols for their performances – proof of vaccinations and masking are again required. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go and listen to some music over the coming months!

There’s a big push in the area to get everyone boosted with the bivalent formula. They’re setting up a lot of free clinics all over the place this week. That, too, makes me feel better. You can tell the tourists have left, because almost everyone in the grocery store yesterday masked.

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Wed. Sept. 21, 2022: Digging in the Archives Of Law

image coourtesy of svklimkin via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Mars is still in effing Gemini

Cloudy and humid

I pushed a little too hard yesterday. I wasn’t as fully recovered from the booster as I hoped.

I was out of the house a little after 8, but had not budgeted enough time for the school busses and the road construction. Mercury Retrograde, even though I gave myself extra time. It just wasn’t enough time.

Then, I went to the wrong building first. I navigated decades through the five boroughs of New York, yet Pittsfield baffles me. It makes no sense.

Anyway, I ended up in the state office building, at the RMV. There was a long line and grumbling when I went to the head of it to talk to the security guard. But when I said, “I need help. I’m lost” everything shifted, and everyone had an opinion to help me get where I was going. Which was basically across the street, but I had to go all the way up the street around the common and back down. Because, you know (gestures). Anyway, I thanked them all and they were smiling when I left.

I texted the librarian to let him know I was on my way, and got there a few minutes later. I had to park waaaaay down the street, because parking in Pittsfield is a nightmare. Plus, the street along which the court buildings sit has the music school and a whole bunch of other buildings with people coming, going, and needing parking. And one has to move the car every three hours. I sincerely hope jurors get their own lot somewhere.

Everyone is funneled through a single doorway in the basement of the building, through the metal detector. The very nice female security guard asked where I was headed, I told her the library, and she asked if I knew where it was. I told her I was lucky I found the building. She laughed and said, “Let me fix that for you” and gave me directions.

The library is on the top floor.

The restrooms are in the basement, which made restroom breaks a hike.

The library is lovely, and so is the librarian. He’d pulled some books for me, showed me how to read the statute indexes and where to find what I needed. I spent the morning going from book to book. I had to go back to the 1932 Statutes to sort of find what I needed.

He suggested that the bank POLICY might be different than the actual LAW, and I’m inclined to agree with him. The law talks about “persons” without regard to gender. So basically, it was bank POLICY to be misogynistic jerks, and no wonder they refused to give me the information.

Just for that, I’ll kill a few bankers over the course of the series.

The information I found will send me back to the historical society to dig through some more of their files.

I left just before noon, a little dizzy from all the concentration. I stopped at Adams Market to pick up some groceries, and then did a few more errands, including the library, before I got home, completely wiped out.

We had a late pizza lunch, and I finished reading A MURDER OF MAGES. I never get tired of that book.

I turned around two scripts in the afternoon and evening (should have been more, but I was too tired). I have to make up the difference today. Spent some time online with a fun group of colleagues on a six-week “marketing game” in which I’m participating.

I haven’t spoken about Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. I’m an American; the monarchy is not part of my heritage, and I have never been a royal watcher/gossiper. It’s always been my position that what the family does is not my business. I don’t take joy in gossiping about them, and when I see Americans being snarky and nasty, I lose respect for them. I have a great deal of empathy for my British friends who mourn her. British subjects and those who’ve been colonized by the British are directly impacted by all this, and I’d rather listen to them than squawk my own meaningless opinions.  The history of the event intrigues me, and her long reign was astonishing. The way the world changed while she was Queen was astounding. When you look at the history that took place under the three major Queens: Elizabeth I, Victoria, and Elizabeth II – it’s quite astounding.

I started re-reading AN IMPORT OF INTRIGUE, the next Satrine/Minox book, and love it, too.

Awakened a little after two by coyotes yipping at each other, up on the mountain. This is the first time I’ve heard coyotes since I moved here. I’m only four blocks from downtown, but I figure they’re up by the lake, which is less than ¾ of a mile up the mountain at the end of the street.

I see Joyce Carol Oates has yet again said something unfortunate on social media. I will always admire her work ethic. I keep re-reading her early diaries on process. But the work itself has always been problematic, and the mix of attention-seeking ego/insecurity is exhausting. It was old in the 90s and is still eye-rolling now.

Trouble getting my act together this morning. I need to get some admin. I need to catch up on some stuff that’s come in thanks to my Creative Ground profile up, and do some website updates. Creative Ground is so much more useful to me than LinkedIN. The debit card clusterfuck begins today, and I am not looking forward to it. Plus, I have to argue with Berkshire Fucking Gas about the bill. Do not fuck with me during a Mercury Retrograde when Mars is in Gemini because I will be more like a rabid bear than a feral cat.

I want to finish up the last few chapters of the novel version of ANGEL HUNT, but Shelley has demanded some attention on LEGERDEMAIN, so I have to see how I can move between the two for a few days. And make up the script coverages that I didn’t get done yesterday.

There was a great quote in today’s note in the Mercury Retrograde journal: “Be so committed to creating your own Universe and the Universe will start to form around you.”

Damn right I am forming my own Universe.

I need to prepare for Mabon, too, since it happens tomorrow, whether I am prepared or not.

Tessa and her Scout Crow buddy are still having their morning chat at the living room window. There must be a lot going on out there.

I also need to contact the local community television/radio station about an appointment. I want to check out the facility before the next Artist Impact Coalition Working Group meeting.

I have Ideas.

Be very scared.

Catch you tomorrow, friends, and have a good one!

Tues. Sept. 20, 2022: The Boostered Couch Potato

image courtesy of Agata via Pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Yup, Mars is still in Gemini (until March 2023)

Cloudy and cooler

Anyone else find all these retrogrades exhausting?

This will be short, because it was close to a Lost Weekend. Not due to alcohol (hopefully, I’ve matured beyond that by now). Due to Covid Shot #5, the bivalent booster.

I got it on Friday morning, at good ole Stop & Shop. It hurt. My arm hurt immediately. My mom drove us home. She hasn’t driven much here in the Berkshires since we’ve moved (and her license is good until she’s 101).

I was woozy, but not too bad, for most of the day. I’d blocked it off for rest, so I spent the day on the couch, reading. I read Kwana Jackson’s KNOT AGAIN, the second book in her series about a group of foster brothers who inherit their foster mother’s knitting shop in Harlem and are determined to keep it a community hub. The series is a lot of fun.

I didn’t feel bad until about 12 hours after the shot. Then, it hit. I’d gotten steadily colder during the afternoon, but by 12 hours post shot, I was so cold I was, very literally, shaking. That was a new and different reaction. I piled quilts and cats on the bed, did a hot water bottle, and snuggled in.

That warmed me up, but I was awake most of the night with terrible body aches, headaches, and nausea, but I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed to get the Tylenol.

I finally managed to hoist myself out of bed around 11 AM on Saturday and took Tylenol, which helped, although I continued to feel nauseated. Again, new and different. Usually, I am all kinds of hungry after the shot.

I spent Saturday on the couch, reading and dozing. I read Roselle Lim’s SOPHIE GO’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB, which was delightful. I do love her books so much.

I barely ate anything all day (just some chicken soup), drank a lot of black-raspberry-flavored water, and hot tea when I started getting cold again. I alternated between a slight fever and chills.

I went to bed at 7:15.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me up at 5 AM on Sunday. I had a blazing headache, which makes sense, since I hadn’t had any coffee the day before (just the thought made me queasy, and rarely do I skip coffee). I made coffee, fed everything, retired to the couch.

Where I spent the day.

I read Michelle Sagara’s CAST IN SHADOW, which I really liked. It was published in 2005, and there are 16 books in the series, so I have a lot of pleasurable reading ahead of me. Not sure how I missed it back then, but I’ve found it now, and am happy about it.

In one of my half-dozed states, I figured out the climactic sequence and resolution for ANGEL HUNT. It’s quite different than I originally planned (I am sure), but I’m using what I’ve learned about craft and character in the ensuing years, so I believe it’s stronger.

I also worked out a few threads for LEGERDEMAIN. Let’s hope they haven’t fled when I sit down to write!

I decided that I’m not going to the Authors Guild Festival in Lenox next weekend due to lack of COVID protocols. They’re taking the cowardly “Masks recommended but not required” which means having high numbers means more to them than having healthy attendees. Nope. Not doing it. To say I am disappointed in them is an understatement. I emailed them on Monday, releasing my tickets (so someone else can take the risk) and telling them why. Rather than going there, getting upset, and leaving, I will withdraw now. Because, fuck you, you CANNOT be in a seminar claiming you give two shits about equality and justice when you can’t be bothered to wear a piece of cloth over your face for an hour. That’s hypocrisy. I won’t condone it or be around it. At least 500 people are dying a DAY. That calls for stricter protocols, not fewer, and I have zero tolerance for cowards.

I started re-reading A MURDER OF MAGES by Marshall Ryan Maresca, which remains one of my favorite books ever. I’m re-reading the whole Maradine Constabulary series, and then probably all his Maradine books. They hold up.

Monday, I woke up feeling semi-human. Still not great. Fed the cats, caught up on the journal, went back to the page. Typed up the notes for ANGEL HUNT’S climactic sequence. The notes were 2K, so the sequence will be long, and then cut. I made a placeholder for the resolution saying “figure it out” which will bite me in the butt, but hey.

I was saddened by an email that the yoga studio is closed for a couple of weeks, because the owner came down with COVID. This is the one place I felt safe indoors, because everyone had to have proof of vaccination. And still . . .just proves there’s no safe place outside of home.

Wednesday, we have to “activate” our new debit cards with Greylock Federal Credit Union. Having the entire base activate their debit cards on the same day during Mercury Retrograde would be a clusterfuck even if they didn’t always get everything wrong the first time. Not looking forward to it.

I was going to run some errands, but I had a slight fever, so I decided to stay home.

After typing up and printing out my notes for the rest of ANGEL HUNT, I went back and adapted chapters two and three of the third draft into Episodes 9-15 of the serial. The pace is good, it works structurally. I mean, it was designed to be a serial, then adapted into a novel, so adapting back isn’t all that much of a stretch. These episodes are shorter than the original episodes. So far, they are all under 1K, except for one of them, and shorter than LEGERDEMAIN’s episodes. I want to look at the contrasting metrics for the two serials, especially during the stretch they run concurrently.

I should have switched over to script coverage, although I am fine with my deadlines. Instead, I went back and re-read all of ANGEL HUNT. It holds together, I’m happy to say, but I can see why I stopped where I did. I spun out multiple arcs when it looked like the serial would continue indefinitely. When it was clear the company was in decline, I tried to tie things up before the company collapsed, but was not able to do so. When I adapted, I had some good ideas, but didn’t know how to pull it all together without cheating an arc or going on for too long.

Hopefully, in the intervening years, I’ve developed the craft to fix that. We’ll see, won’t we?

I was starting to think, between the climactic sequence and the resolution, I might have as much as 8K left to write, but I think I can keep it within the original 5K vision.

So I guess that’s what I’m doing later this week, when I’m not doing client work.

Shelley, over at LEGERDEMAIN, is tapping her foot with impatience.

I stayed up way too late re-reading A MURDER OF MAGES. I have no regrets.

This morning, I am up and out of the house early, headed to the Berkshire Law Library in Pittsfield, where their librarian will point me toward the books on banking law in 1957 for the retro mystery. I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

On my way back, I’m getting in some groceries, doing the errands I didn’t do yesterday, and getting in some cash, in case the whole banking think goes cattywampus tomorrow, as is inevitable.

Speaking of LEGERDEMAIN, Episode 17 drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Wed. Aug. 23, 2022: Real Calendars Are Still Best

image courtesy of Open ClipArt Vectors via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy, warm, humid

Uranus goes retrograde today, so now we’ve got six retrogrades, with the next Mercury Retrograde looming over us.

Got some work done on the new Episode 32 and on Episode 33, along with some admin. Made a curried chicken salad, and used the leftover cilantro to make cilantro pesto, using the method Jeremy Rock Smith taught us a few weeks back.

My 1 PM meeting cancelled, so I then kept working on LEGERDEMAIN, revising episodes 34 & 35, and working on script coverage. I also put in a slide show on the landing page of the Legerdemain site, with the ads for all the episodes released so far, and will update that slide show with the new episode ads every few weeks. I started a slideshow on the businesses and the fun little quirky ads, which I will do on the business page, but ran out of time.

Had a good conversation with an editor about something I was worried about, and wanted to run past her before submitting. It’s all set now, and I can do that this morning.

Ordered pizza for dinner, kept working on the script coverage. The script I read last night is good, but it’s a 1400-word coverage, and I didn’t get it finished last night. I will finish it this morning (I’m fine, deadline-wise).

Yesterday’s meeting is moved to this afternoon, which is fine, but I have to spend less time on it. I have another coverage to turn around today/tonight, but the report is shorter.

Six more episodes to revise on LEGERDEMAIN, and this first big arc will be uploaded and scheduled. These are tricky episodes to revise and structure, because there are certain plotlines that have to be resolved, while others that were planted for future arcs have to be brought forward, so it’s clear where things are headed.

I did some promo on the episode that dropped yesterday, in addition to the promos already scheduled. I’m considering doing a giveaway package of weird, fun little stuff connected to LEGERDEMAIN in late September or early October, and playing with ideas for that. I may do it on Google Docs, but I put out a question to see how complicated it is. It’s always been easy as a contestant, but I want to hear from people on the other side of the table. So far, I have ideas for three little fun pieces; I want to come up with six or seven, put in a nice presentation, and then use it as a way to drive traffic to the Kindle Vella page. Contestants have to answer questions that are tied to details in each of the first three episodes (which will then get those numbers up, and help my algorithm. Amazon, of course, makes it as difficult as possible to actually market the serial. But I’m trying. I wanted to buy a bunch of tokens and add them to the giveaway, but Amazon doesn’t allow tokens as a gift. Gift cards can’t be used, either. Both of which suck, but hey, it’s Amazon, not at all unexpected.

I sent an email off to the artists’ working group, to make sure they are actually meeting tomorrow, and find out where. I have a few ideas (because, of course I do).

I actually slept pretty well, in spite of the humidity. I’m doing some work on LEGERDEMAIN this morning, and do a few other things before the afternoon meeting. Then, it’s script coverage. The next few days will be a mix of errands, LEGERDEMAIN, script coverage, and rearranging a few things in the house with the inspector coming next week.

Next week is crazy busy, and then, I am looking forward to the holiday weekend.

I also have to get ahead on some of the blogs that are starting up again after the long holiday weekend. I want to brainstorm topics, and always try to stay a little ahead.

The content calendar – the print version – is saving my ass daily. I’m finding the online project management tools, like Asana, Todoist, ClickUp and more, add several extra steps to everything, instead of streamlining. So I might delete Asana. Still on the fence about trying Hectic.

With my paper calendar, I write it down once, it’s there, I look at it, I do it. With an online project management tool, I have to:

Set up every project

Put in all the different steps

Tie them into the main calendar

Go back in every day after I’ve completed what’s to be done on that day’s list and mark it complete

Move the task to the complete column, because the platform doesn’t move it once it’s complete

With my big desktop blotter calendar, I just look at the calendar and know where I am. Much more efficient.

None of the “systems” out there have the flexibility I need for the range of projects, services, and mediums in which I work.

I do want to look into a social media scheduling tool that isn’t a kazillion dollars that lets me upload my content once and then schedule it across multiple platforms, not have to upload/schedule each day separately. I want to upload the content and be able to set different dates/times AND different platforms, all in one go, not separately.

Old-school desk blotter calendar works better! So be it. I need more ink for the printer; maybe I’ll go down to Staples tomorrow in person to pick up the ink, get more notebooks for the back-to-school sale, and get next year’s desk blotter calendar.

Have a good one!

Thurs. Aug. 18, 2022: This & That

image courtesy of Dzoko Stach via pixabay.com

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Cloudy and cooler

Garden post on Gratitude and Growth.

Because I had so little sleep Tuesday going into Wednesday, it was hard to get my act together. But I sort of did. I got everything done at the laundromat (and got in some work on LEGERDEMAIN).

When I came home and got the laundry put away and the couch cushions wrestled back on, I finished the next set of episodes for LEGERDEMAIN, at least the multi-colored draft, so now I can get started on those ten episodes and get them polished, uploaded, and scheduled over the next few days.

The last set of episodes in this arc are going to need some serious revision. But that’s okay, because it makes them work better.

Once that was done, we headed to Norad Mill, where the Spin-off Yarn Shop had a clearance sale. They are closing their physical store this week, so our first visit was, sadly, also our last. We’ll have to drive to Lenox or Bennington for a yarn shop now. I got some beautiful alpaca wool blend. Most of it is in a heathery rose. There were just a few skeins of teal and one of purple, so I grabbed those, too, and I’ll make something different from them. I asked my mom to do something with the rose for me. Since she doesn’t use patterns, I just sort of say, “I want it to do this” and she creates it.

A friend of mine was part of a yarn-bomb installation in Garrison the past few days. She posted photos and it looks like it was lots of fun.

Got off a grant application. I have a very small chance of this one, but if I don’t at least try, I have no chance. So I might as well give it a shot. Nothing tried, nothing gained.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. Read a book in the evening that had come recommended, but I found it flat, dull, the pace was off, and it didn’t adhere to the internal logic of the fictional world.

No meditation group this morning; the leader is on vacation until after Labor Day, I’ve been bad about my daily yoga and meditation practices, and have to get back on top of them.

Wrestling with a few things, and then realized, of course it’s coming up now with Saturn (the planets of life lessons) and Chiron (the wounded healer) both retrograde.

Went to bed early. Slept fairly well, but woke up with a terrible headache. Working on LEGERDEMAIN and script coverage and whatever else comes up today. I need to work on the Shakespeare horror story, and get back to work on the next radio play, too.

Have a good one.

Published in: on August 18, 2022 at 7:29 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 18, 2022: This & That  
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Fri. June 17, 2022: Project Juggling

image courtesy of Theodore Moise via pixabay.com

Friday, June 17, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy, foggy, humid

Meditation was fine yesterday, and Charlotte really enjoyed it, too. Managed to get through some email after breakfast, get out an LOI, and get some other admin work done. Wrote and submitted my book review; got another assignment. Freelance Chat was fun.

“Personal Revolution” is in pretty good shape. There are a couple of formatting things I need to tweak, and then a final proof, and it should be ready to go by the end of the day (or, latest, tomorrow), and release on time on June 28.

Time to turn some attention to the Topic Workbooks, and to the PowerPoint presentation for my class in August.  I’ve also roughed the outline for the Llewellyn almanac article in my head, and I should be able to start writing it just after Independence day. So at least all that is on track.

I need to do a big push to finish and polish the Monthology story this weekend, so I can get it out next week.

There are some red flags coming up on a project; I will fulfill my commitment to it, and then not take on any more.

Since I’m on a bunch of mailing lists around here, so I can keep up with what’s going on and where I want to participate, I’m also starting to get invitations to gala events. The liberation I feel from realizing I never HAVE to attend another one of those again is delightful.

I need to update the Pages on Stages website with the latest information on the radio plays. I hope to get ahead on some blog pieces.

I turned around two scripts yesterday and have one to do today, and then I’m done for the weekend. Hopefully, enough come through next week and the following week, so I can make my earnings goal for the end of June.

Still struggling with the sense memory stress from last year’s move. Lots of emotional flashbacks as to where I was at this point last year. The Pluto/Saturn retrogrades add even more weight to those emotions. I’m acknowledging, releasing, and trying to focus on the reality of where I am now.

There’s some cool stuff going on at MassMOCA this weekend. However, doing the risk assessment, it looks like too many people in too small a space for me to feel comfortable, and too high a risk for me to take right now. I will, regretfully, pass. I already have the Farmers’ Market and grocery shopping on Saturday. They’re fairly low risk, but any interactions around people involve risk.

Today is supposed to be the hottest day for a stretch, but it’s still much cooler than it was last year at this time, and for that I am grateful. I have to do a library run to drop off/pick up books. I didn’t get the borage planted yesterday, so now I have to wait until Sunday, the next planting day. For those wondering what I mean by “planting day”, I have a calendar marking which days are planting days and which days are harvesting days on any given week.

The January 6 hearings were not all that surprising, while still emphasizing just how corrupt and awful that sociopath’s entire administration was and is. The fact that the wife of a Supreme Court Justice is part of it is unacceptable. Even more so that she is getting extra security, paid by my tax dollars. She could afford to finance the coup attempt. Let her pay for her own damn security. Better yet, put her in prison, where she should be.

Keep an eye on the people both-siding through all of this, or telling us we should make more efforts to “understand” and “communicate” with Republicans. I understand them just fine. They want to destroy anyone who doesn’t agree with them. And I also understand that the both siders are those who will stand by and let atrocities happen and then be surprised when it happens to them. Gotta watch your back around both siders even more than the blatantly extremist.

Today is Starhawk’s birthday! I am deeply grateful for all I’ve learned from her over the decades, and for her commitment to education and community building.

Better get going. Lots to get done today, and I also plan on plenty of enjoyment throughout the weekend.

Have a good one, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Tues. June 7, 2022: When You Break The Important Bowl

image courtesy of Chuttersnap via Unsplash.com

Tuesday, June 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Saturn Retrograde

Partly sunny and warm

Talk about a weekend that was all over the place.

Mercury went direct on Friday, thank goodness, so there was a huge burden lifted. Don’t talk to me about the shadows of the retrograde; we’d spend far too much time in trouble if we had to tack on two extra weeks at each end of already too many Mercury Retrogrades every year.

But, of course, as Mercury turned directed, Saturn (the planet of life lessons) prepared to turn retrograde on Saturday, and they squared. Which caused tension.

Did a library run to drop off/pick up books, and then out to Wild Oats for eggs, guacamole, wine. You know, the basics. Turned around two scripts.

Read a book from an author whose work I’ve read a great deal of, over a great many years. Wasn’t that thrilled with this one. It was within her formula, but missing the sparky quality that usually sets it apart in the genre. It felt like she dampened it down to please a more conservative audience, and it didn’t quite work.

Up early Saturday morning, fussing over the plants. First thing, when they opened, I went to the Farmers’ Market, which is now in the outdoor location, and weekly through October. Got some great stuff, enjoyed talking with the vendors and the other shoppers. One woman starts at the Williamstown market, then hits North Adams, and keeps going. Saturday is her Farmers’ Market day.

Since I was out in that direction, I hopped into Big Y and filled in the other groceries I needed for the week’s meals, built around what I got at the Farmers’ Market.

Good thing I’d decided to drive.

Hauled everything home and upstairs, and put it away. Made a big salad for lunch.

Turned around two more scripts in the afternoon, and played with the next Monthology section. Had to deal with an issue with the storage facility on Cape.  They tried to put through the autopay early and whined that it was refused. Yup. That is correct. I put in a safeguard so it can’t be pulled early. The new owners suck, and I need to make arrangements to get things moved up here as soon as I can afford it (and find a storage facility not too far away. They are not plentiful here).

Read REAL MEN KNIT by Kwana Jackson, which is delightful. THE ENCHANTED MAP ORACLE arrived, which I like, although it’s very different than I expected, when I ordered it.

Dinner was salmon with softened onion, tomato, and red pepper aioli on romaine, with buttered steamed spinach. It was good.

There was an extra Zoom meditation session this week with Be Well Be Here, and I practiced with the group. Definitely helped me sleep.

Up early on Sunday, thanks to the cats.  Breakfast consisted of delicious blueberry muffins from Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery. But we also were out of the house early to visit Natural Bridge State Park, which is only a couple of miles away (and in the same town). The park entrance is right next to a mill where I’d attended a chamber event a few months back.

It’s absolutely beautiful. I posted some of the photos on my Instagram feed. It used to be a marble quarry. I hadn’t realized we had marble quarries here in New England, and I don’t even think I’ve ever seen marble out in the wild. Pretty stunning. The dam and the waterfalls are lovely.

The bridge itself is shut off right now, awaiting inspections. I assume there are safety issues. We’ll go back another day, when it’s all opened back up. A conspiracy of ravens was in one of the large trees on the cliff. They didn’t mind when we walked past first (as the only humans around), but when some others arrived, they were carrying on like they were having a group nervous breakdown. I guess they’ve learned humans are bad.

They were definitely ravens and not crows; much bigger than my local murder of crows, and the call is different.

Read Fiona Leitch’s MURDER ON THE MENU, the first book in her Nosey Parker series set in Cornwall. Although it’s set in a fictional town, there were also lots of familiar touchstones from places I’ve visited. The writing is great, the characters are fun, the plot is good. I wanted to read more in the series. Turns out, although it was only released last year, the whole series undergone a rebrand. This book is now THE CORNISH VILLAGE MURDER and all the covers are redone. The whole series has new titles and new covers to play up the Cornish village aspect. I wound up buying the whole series for Kindle, and pre-ordering the 5th one that will come out in August.

I’m noticing how the traditional authors are being pushed to release multiple books a year, often several in the same series within just a few months of each other. I have a sneaking suspicion they’re being paid less to work harder. Even before I got sick, that was one of the things that was killing me with my small publisher – being pushed too hard to write too much too fast for too little money. Pay writers enough and let them keep a sane schedule.

The publishing industry needs to make a lot of changes in order to be sustainable. Part of that is getting the corporate overseers out, and having a renaissance of smaller publishers with actual vision, who also have enough resources to pay their writers, editors, production people, artists enough on which to survive.

Started reading Jennifer Weiner’s THE SUMMER PLACE, which is a different style than many of her other books I’ve read before. Good for her, not sticking to formula, but writing what interests her.

The big drama for Sunday was a fire across the street, in the historical building that houses student apartments. There was a kitchen fire in a supposedly empty apartment. A couple of guys showed up and tossed burning things onto the pavement and poured water on it, and didn’t want the fire department to show up. But someone called them, because two cars of cops, and EMT, and two fire trucks showed up. The firemen were not amused by the way the guys packed smoldering materials in garbage bags and just poured water on them. Everything had to be undone and checked to make sure it didn’t catch again, thank goodness. And the fire department went in and brought out the blackened stove and several rods’ of burnt curtains. How did it even start? The apartment’s been empty since late May.

The building itself has Historic Preservation status, having been built in 1899, and it’s gorgeous. But this is the third time since we’ve lived across the street that the Fire Department has had to visit.

Dinner was chicken with honey barbecue sauce, in the crockpot, and potato salad.

The cats got me up before 5 on Monday morning. I was not amused. All three of them ganged up on me. At least there were lemon muffins from the Bohemian Nouveaux Bakery to which to look forward!

Slogged through a bunch of email, blogged, did the rounds, wrote a little over 1K on The Big Project, worked on a social media ad, worked on a blurb and log line for a project. Turned around only one script, not two, which means I have three to turn around tomorrow, because I can’t turn any around today.

Broke a beautiful vintage bowl from the 1950’s, the one I use to let the bread rise. I’m furious with myself, and have no sympathy for the fact that my hands are banged up. “Oh, it’s an accident, these things happen” doesn’t cut it. It was my responsibility to take special care of that bowl. And I failed, after making sure it was safe for decades. Which is unacceptable. I’m going to try to piece it together again; I think I’ve retrieved all the pieces.

Today will be challenging, and there’s no use talking about it ahead of time, so we’ll catch up tomorrow. Spare a good thought my way if you can, and we’ll catch up soon.

Thurs. April 28, 2022: Dealing with the Creative and the Inept

image courtesy of Kranich 17 via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

Cloudy/sunny/cold

Buckle up, buttercups. Retrogrades start again tomorrow.

The latest on the garden hijinks is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday, I pushed hard in the morning and had to ease off in the afternoon, because I wore myself out.

I got a good chunk done on The Big Project, one section of a little over 1400 words, and a start on the next section. I need to get back into its rhythm and push hard in May, because I have to be in good shape in June, when it needs to start going live. I was worried I’d lost the voice there a bit, but I haven’t. The writing itself takes much, much longer than a normal 1400 words of an outlined piece would take because of the level and structure that has to be in the first draft, or I can’t move on to the next section. Each part has to compress the process of what would normally be the first three drafts for me. It’s been a learning curve.

Tracfone and Consumer Cellular are both being dicks about the phone transfer. Tracfone, after sending multiple texts confirming that the transfer was going through, is holding the phone number hostage. They won’t finish the transfer unless I pay for an additional month (the month is up today). Consumer Cellular SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN IN TOUCH as soon as there was a problem, but, of course, heaven forbid they actually provide customer service. I was trying not to be a nudge and waiting for the 3-5 business day period they said it could take before I followed up. When I should have been riding their inept asses from Day 1.

Summary: avoid both these companies if you have the choice.

It’s a shame, because Tracfone used to be a great, no fuss company. I hope they go out of business soon. They don’t deserve to have customers.

I’ve been trying to set up the autopay for the storage unit with the company who bought the facility, and I can’t get into their system to do it. Nor does anyone at the facility or the main office respond. This is intentional, of course, so they can charge late fees. Horrible company. I didn’t think anyone could be worse than U-Haul, but this company just might be.

I FINALLY got an appointment with a mechanic that’s not afraid of working on a VW. It’s for May 10. I have basically been without a car for six months, which is getting frustrating. It didn’t matter so much in the winter, because the weather kept us from doing much, but there are things that need to get done out of walking radius.

I got in touch with the landlord about the gas company wanting to do an inside service line inspection. The gas company couldn’t give me a straight answer about what they needed to see for the inspection, and I suspect it has to do with how lines come into the building in the basement, which is a landlord thing, not a me thing.

I gave myself the day off from script coverage. I worked on contest entries and read for pleasure instead. I was completely worn out from dealing with the stupid and the incompetent.

Tessa woke me up at 4 again (I am not a happy camper). She didn’t want me on the bed in the sewing room and fussed at me until I moved to the couch.

But I’m not complaining too much, because I heard about a friend whose elderly cat recently died, and I want to enjoy every moment I have with mine. Even when they’re being little pills.

Meditation this morning, then back to the page, then Freelance Chat, then script coverage and contest entries. Oh, yeah, and by late morning, fighting some more with Consumer Cellular and Tracfone. The number of billable hours I have lost because of their incompetence is infuriating.

Have a good one! Catch you tomorrow.

Published in: on April 28, 2022 at 7:18 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 28, 2022: Dealing with the Creative and the Inept  
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Tues. Feb. 1, 2022: Happy Chinese New Year!

image courtesy of CDD20 via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

New Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Venus Direct (as of Saturday)

Chinese Lunar New Year – Year of the Water Tiger

Sunny and cold

Time for our Tuesday catch up, so curl up with your favorite beverage and we’ll have a natter.

I have the January wrap-up over on the GDR site. I have a mistake in it – I said I wrote two short stories this month, but it turns out I wrote three. I finished the third (after I’d posted) and got it in a day before the deadline. So that’s three short stories, two poems, and a lot of words on The Big Project. I may have felt like I got nothing done in January, but it’s simply not true.

The weekend was quiet. Since we were prepared for the storm, we just sat and read and let it snow. We only got about six inches. We were nowhere near as slammed as they were on the coast. We also kept power, for which we were grateful.

Had we been in the old house, we would have been without power and had to rely on the woodburning fireplace. Plus, we would have had to try to dig out from two feet of snow on our own. I much prefer where we live now, where shoveling is handled by the landlord, not us.

I do miss having a woodburning fireplace, although I do enjoy our fireplace façade.

Venus going direct takes a lot of pressure off. There are still three days for Mercury to make everything go cattywampus, but I’m hoping I can proceed with caution and keep my head down.

I read a lot all weekend. I finished reading the last book in a series of 20 books, where I got tired of them about 10 books go, but kept hoping the protagonist might actually grow and change. No such luck. But they were quick reads, maybe an hour and a half to two hours per book, and I learned from them what I don’t want to do in my own work.

I read some contest entries.

I went through seed catalogs (I will go into more detail about that on Thursday’s Gratitude and Growth post), and put in one of my orders.

I started reading Cynthia Kuhn’s other series, the one that starts with THE SEMESTER OF OUR DISCONTENT, and I really like it. I’m grateful to Ellen Byron for suggesting Cynthia’s work.

It was nice to have a full weekend of rest. No running around, no extra work, none of that. I’d worked late on Friday to finish off all the script coverage that was due through yesterday, just in case. It meant I had to bow out of a virtual poetry event in which I’d hoped to participate, but I couldn’t take the risk of a power outage and not getting the coverage in.

And, as I said, two whole days of genuine rest made a big difference. I need to stop admonishing myself that rest is a luxury.

Charlotte woke me up Way Too Early on Saturday morning, because the snow made it appear so light. Tessa let me sleep in until 5:30 on Sunday, which was fine, and I got up and baked biscuits after I fed them. They had me up at 5 yesterday morning, which was fine, because I use the hours from 5-7 for yoga, meditation, journal writing, writing in longhand, etc.

Got a couple of boxes unpacked in my office on Saturday. Once things are unpacked (even if I need to buy more things in which to put them), I’ll put the extra boxes up on Craigslist.

There are boxes that should have come up on the truck that didn’t, so I will have to dig around in the storage unit in spring, when we make our run to find them.

Yesterday, Charlotte and Tessa tag-teamed to get me up a little after 5, which was fine. I’d originally planned to do a library run, but it was -7F, and I was not about to go out in that.

I plowed through about 200 emails, and got out an LOI to a company who immediately sent an automated series of “tests” which they can shove right up their collective ass. I did some blog posts, for myself and a couple of clients.

I made another big batch of black bean soup for lunch, this time adding in corn, and it was delicious.

In the afternoon, I finished off the short story on which I’d been working, which took some interesting twists, polished it, and sent it off.

In the evening, I read a script coverage for which I’d been requested. The author took the notes and did a genuine re-envisioning, in an exciting way. I’ll write that up today.

It’s a little warmer today, so I will suit up and head to the library to drop off/pick up, then write up script coverage.

Today is Chinese Lunar New Year, and it’s the Year of the Water Tiger, which is what I am. It’s supposed to be a year of massive change. I just had two years of that, and I would prefer a year of peace and tranquility.

But I’m making Chinese food tonight, especially long noodles for long life.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me up at 4. I moved to the sofa and went back to sleep, in spite of their fussing. I dreamed of a renaissance of small presses and magazines, run by diverse individuals, who actually pay their writers and staffs a living wage.

That’s the future toward which I want to work.

Have a good one!

Published in: on February 1, 2022 at 8:50 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 1, 2022: Happy Chinese New Year!  
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Fri. Jan. 28, 2022: Blizzard Warning

image courtesy of WildOne via pixabay.com

Friday, January 28, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus & Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Charlotte sat on my lap for meditation yesterday. It was funny.

After breakfast, I bundled up and headed out. It was all the way up to 9 degrees. Ashland Street was better, except for a few difficult spots. The ice mounds that are at property lines on the sidewalks make it difficult to navigate.

Mailed a big stack of cards and notes. Headed up to the library, where I picked up my books, and got an extension on a book I need for a project. Piled all the books in my backpack and walked back on Church Street, literally in the street, because the sidewalks were so bad. When cars came past, I stepped as close to the curb as possible and stopped until they were past. Once I hit college property, the sidewalks were walkable again.

I’ve craved peanut butter for lunch for the past couple of days, and have indulged myself. I’m grateful that I’m not allergic to nuts. I love them.

Got some reading and research done, and some script coverage written up.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. Because of the book banning insanity, now they all want to read MAUS (as they should). Some of them have read it and want to re-read it. So that is our next group project, along with juggling the individual homework assignments.

Tessa woke me at 2:45 this morning, but I fell asleep on the couch again almost immediately.

Today, I’m doing a run to the liquor store, and will stop at Cumberland Farms for a loaf of bread (although I also hope to bake a loaf or two). I want to get it done before the storm stars, and finish writing up my last coverages for the week. I may have to bake bread, if the store is already sold out.

They’d walked back storm predictions yesterday to 3-5 inches for this area. This morning, they are back up to at least a foot, with up to three feet further east and blizzard warnings. People are out and about doing storm prep. I have my pre-storm headache, so although it’s not supposed to start snowing until 11 PM tonight, it might start earlier, according to the pressure in my head.

Venus goes direct tomorrow, thank goodness. Then we just have to hang in there for a few more days of Mercury Retrograde. Once that goes direct, we actually have a little bit of breathing room until April.

Tuesday is Chinese Lunar New Year. Because I worked on so many shows with Asian or mostly Asian casts, that’s become an important day in my personal calendar. This is the year of the Water Tiger, which is what I am, so let’s hope that bodes well!  Wednesday is Imbolc, and I have to decide what will be planted as part of the ritual.

Next week is supposed to be in the forties, so hopefully I can dig out the car, and also get down to the grocery store and do a decent sized shop (although we don’t need that much).

Meanwhile, this weekend, I’m cleaning things up and hopefully getting some more unpacking done. Also working on contest entries, and maybe reading the book for review. I have a stack of books from the library that I want to read just because I want to read them.

I’m worried about the power going off, since we have neither a working fireplace nor a generator. On Cape, we were the only house on our street without one (landlord didn’t feel it was necessary), and National Grid’s attitude was that if we didn’t have a generator, that was on us. Since we haven’t lost power here since we moved in (except for about 5 minutes during a storm), I have no idea how it’s handled. Technically, the gas stove should work, even if the power goes out (It did on Cape). But who knows?

I guess we’re about to find out.

Plenty of blankets and books at the ready. I will adjust what I write to whether it has to be in longhand or can be on the computer.

Have a good one. Catch you next week.

Wed. Jan. 19, 2022: Enjoying The Hermit Energy

The Hermit card from The Zenned Out Journey Tarot by Cassie Uhl, Quarto Publishing

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and milder (still cold, but not frigid)

Got some client blogging done yesterday morning, and some admin work. I need to move the admin work back to afternoons, because it interferes too much with create work. The wind picked up, so I decided to skip going to the library. I have to go to the public library today to pick up books that have come in. It’s all about the weather at this point.

I got out some necessary correspondence. I ordered the set of 4 free Covid tests from the post office. Although we are a multi-family dwelling, each apartment has a different street number, so we will all be able to order tests. Still, it’s very messed up. It should be every individual getting tests (and not just 4), not every address. Again, it discriminates against multi-family households, or roommate situations. And lets people who have more than one house get more than their share of tests (which they could afford to buy anyway).

TracFone is still trying to force my mother to buy a new smart phone instead of replacing her phone as they promised. I’m filing a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.

I wrote up two script coverages and read three more scripts, which I will write up today. Knowledge Unicorns was fine. They have a bunch of projects and papers coming up over the next few weeks, so we will do some more discussion on primary and secondary sources, how to research in libraries and archives, and how to critically read sources and check the backgrounds of the sources. And yes, they’re all already smart enough to know that Wikipedia is not a reliable source or can be used in bibliographic references. We’re also talking about what museums we want to take virtual tours of next. Because that’s kind of fun. One of the kids, who’s going to start college in fall, is now thinking of majoring in art history because of these tours.

I did some work with the Journey Tarot. At first, I wasn’t sure I connected with the deck, mostly because the card stock is so flimsy, and I was worried it wouldn’t hold up. But the more I work with it, the more I like the deck. It’s joyful, but honest, and reads well.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me at 4:30 this morning. I refused to feed them that early, although I moved to the couch and dozed off again. They woke me again, just before seven, grumbling at each other. They were grumpy and hungry. I pointed out that they would have been fed on time, had they not woken me too early. That does not fit in with their Cat Logic, but too bad for them.

Hopefully, the sidewalks are clear enough for smooth going to and from the library. Then, I’ll decontaminate, and get back to work. If the weather is okay, I have to walk to the grocery store tomorrow for a few things before the next storm coming in.

Between the Venus and Mercury Retrogrades making it make sense for me to stay home and quiet, the bad weather, and the virus requiring more isolation, I’m enjoying The Hermit vibe. Pulling The Hermit card out of various tarot decks and using them in meditation and pathworking.

The Medium Project is starting to percolate, but it’s still in the asking questions and choosing possibilities, kind of like cleaning out one’s closet.

Have a good one.

Published in: on January 19, 2022 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 19, 2022: Enjoying The Hermit Energy  
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Tues. Jan. 18, 2022: Planets, Cards, Pages

collage by Devon Ellington via pixabay and Canva

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Last Day of the Full Moon

Venus and Mercury Retrograde

Uranus DIRECT

Sunny and cold

Uranus goes direct today. Uranus is “the Awakener” energy, so when it’s retrograde, things that need to be shaken up in your life are stymied. It also is about what makes you unique. While having it direct helps you get out of your own way, shaking things up in the already chaotic Venus/Mercury retrogrades isn’t fun. The full moon was in Cancer last night, which meant emotions were heightened.

Friday morning, the two scout crows from my local murder were in the tree outside my office window, telling me the news. They’re very chatty. The squirrels were running around, too, preparing for the storms. They are constantly knocking down the bird feeder, and I keep moving it and trying to figure out where I can put it where it won’t be taken down and dragged all over the balcony, but so far, no luck.

I got some work done early in the morning. Later in the morning, I layered up and did the pre-storm errands: dropped off/picked up library books; mailed bills and cards, and bought stamps; picked up a couple of bottles of wine at the liquor store. We may live in a city, but it often feels like a small town, because people like to chat (masked and at a safe distance).  I always know that if I head out for errands, I’m going to have to talk to people. Which is fine, because they are interesting and nice, and, let’s face it, everyone’s felt so cut off and isolated going onto three years now, they just want to know there’s another human being out there who’s not a complete and utter jerk.

But errands aren’t something I can do if I’m in a rush. I build time to chat into all the errands time. And, even though I’m an introvert instead of an extrovert, I don’t mind. Like I said, the people are nice, and they’re interesting.

I was looking at the artwork on various tarot decks. I don’t need any more decks, goodness knows, but I still love them. Three decks in particular have my attention right now: Ask the Witch Tarot, Tarot de la Nuit, and the Gilded Tarot.

I was scrolling through social media and saw a book cover – that was almost exactly like one of the tarot cards in the Tarot de la Nuit deck, although the blurb had nothing to do with tarot. I pulled up the image of the deck and put it next to the social media post. The only difference was the way the man’s hand wrapped around the sword. Other than that, the cover artist had used the tarot image. Now, maybe the artist had permission. Or bought the image. I don’t know. But I still found that disturbing. The tarot artist’s style on the deck is very distinctive. It’s not like the typical stock Rider Waite image that’s widely available. The tarot image I used for the collage at the top of this post is a typical Rider Waite free image.

Spent some time on the acupressure mat in the afternoon. Wrote up two script coverages and answered some questions on another one. I’m below my nut for this pay period, but that’s the way it is. I’ve just been too exhausted to take on more.

Worked my way through some more contest entries.

Was up until nearly midnight, and then had trouble getting to sleep. Tessa would rather I stay up and play with her, but at least I slept in until after 7 on Saturday.

Mercury has gone retrograde in Aquarius. In my birth chart, Mercury sits in Aquarius. Aquarius is about independent thought, and Mercury is about quick thinking. So when it’s retrograde in the place it sits in my birth chart, no wonder my brain is mushier than usual. Layer pandemic brain over that, and it is not a good thing.

Saturday was sunny, bright, and cold.  I polished the short story and got it out by deadline. I’ll hear by May if it’s what they’re looking for or not. I wrote two book reviews and sent them off. I worked on contest entries.

I made colcannon for dinner, adding leeks, Canadian bacon, and shredded cheese to the traditional cabbage and potatoes. It was wonderful.

Weird dreams lately, set in a city I don’t recognize as knowing in real life, but it’s where I live and work in the dreams. They are busy dreams, not stress dreams, so by the time I wake up, I feel like I’ve put in a full day.

Tessa got me up before 6 on Sunday. I made muffins with cranberries and chocolate chips, refining a recipe on which I’ve been working, and they turned out well. Which is good, because some days I feel like I’ve forgotten to how cook or bake properly.

Worked on contest entries. It was sunny and cold. I’d prepped as much as I could for the incoming storm, so I just rested and worked on the entries. I did take out the garbage, so we wouldn’t be stuck with garbage in the house during bad weather, but that’s as ambitious as I got, as far as going out and about. Read a script.

Charlotte woke me up before 4 AM on Monday. I think the storm upset her. Tessa was in the doorway with her, “You’re up? Do I need to start vocal exercises?”

I got up and fed them, then grabbed the featherbed and moved to the couch, where I fell asleep again. It had snowed quite a bit by then. I woke up a little after 7, and the snow was serious.

Still, people were out with shovels and plows, getting things done. Men shoulder their portion of the work better here than they did on Cape. The Cape was full of white men who would moan that they “couldn’t” shovel or carry groceries or do anything because they had a “bad back” and then immediately go play golf all day.

The past few weeks, I’ve landed in the same place in my dreams, as I mentioned above. I don’t remember much about the dreams, but I do know they take place in the same location. It’s a small city, that I don’t recognize when I’m awake, but is my home city in the dreams, and I’m comfortable. Lots of brick buildings, three and four stories. Coffee shops, restaurants, bookshops, small theatres, museums, a library, etc. No virus, as far as I can tell. The me inhabiting that dream space is a younger me (thirties?), and I’m happy there, with friends and work I like, although I don’t know what my work there is (I suspect it’s similar to what I do here, or I wouldn’t be happy). So far, I only recognize one person in that circle of people from my circle of people on this side of the dream scape, and that’s someone I knew when I first started working on Broadway, and who has since died. The dreams are pleasant, although they are busy, so I always feel as though I’ve put in a full day by the time I wake up. I’d like to try entering the space in lucid dreaming, so I have a better idea of where it is and why I keep visiting.

Eggs Benedict for Monday’s breakfast, because why not on a cold, snowy day?

I’m thinking of investing in Scrivener, after all these years. As long as I can save into .doc, .rtf, PDF, and create script templates, I should be fine. I’m unhappy with Word. I have a 50% off coupon from Nano, so I might as well use it. Not until Mercury goes direct, though, because that’s just asking for trouble.

Spent Monday morning working on The Big Project, and got two sections done.  I need to catch up on the tracking sheets for this piece (I’m now four sections behind) or I will be in trouble moving forward. In the afternoon, I worked on writing up the script coverage for the script I read the night before, and then, in the evening, I read two scripts for which I will write up coverage today.

A Twitter pal and I talked about a tarot reading she did, and the deck she used was so pretty that I ended up ordering it (Mystic Mondays Tarot, in case you’re wondering). I don’t need another tarot deck, goodness knows, but this one called to me.

It might be time to sit down and write my tarot book. I’ve been working with the cards for nearly forty years now.

Had good yoga and meditation sessions this morning. When I make the time to sit for a decent stretch, it starts the day in a more focused, grounded way.

I’m debating whether or not to head over to the college library later this morning. There aren’t a lot of students around, so it seems like a good time to poke around and find the materials I need to develop two different, but art-related projects.

I will do some more work on The Big Project this morning. I have contest scores to enter, script coverages to write up, and a couple of client blog posts to write. I might try to get some LOIs out, too, and I have two more scripts to read.

A friend has a new call for submissions out that got me thinking, although she works in a genre that would be a stretch for me, especially as I don’t read much in it. But I like the premise of the anthology call, and it’s only a 1K piece, so it’s worth thinking about. The deadline is the end of the month, which is do-able, if I find the right story and characters.

Had an idea for another piece in the same general family as The Big Project, only it wouldn’t be as big (The Medium Project as a working title?). The central protagonist and the premise came to me when I was writing in my journal this morning. At first, I thought it could be a spin-off to The Big Project, but it insists that it inhabits its own world, and I need to trust the work.

The power held, and I’m glad the storm wasn’t as severe as predicted. We’re supposed to get another one this coming weekend, so I have to figure out when to go out and about to take care of whatever needs out-and-about-ing, and then hunker back down next weekend.

Which suits me just fine.