Tues. Feb. 7, 2023: Variety as Spice and Obstacle

image courtesy of Reimund Bertrams via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Last Day of Full Moon

Sunny and cold

Well, that was quite the weekend. Let’s sit down and have a catch-up, shall we?

Friday, I did the blogging. I drafted two episodes of Legerdemain. That felt good, and the arcs I have intersecting and weaving in this second big arc are coming together. I’ve adjusted the outline slightly. I know where I’m headed; I’m just not sure how many episodes it will take to get there. I’m also using Legerdemain in the Writing Wonders game over on Mastodon, which is fun.

I took care of a bunch of admin. I finished a script coverage and did a scoring sheet on another project. I did some research on some residencies, and there’s one for which I’d like to pitch, but I have to decide which of my projects makes the most sense to apply there.

I finished reading a book in the late afternoon/evening that was recommended, but I lost patience with the self-sabotaging protagonist who wasn’t very bright and didn’t grow. She wasn’t someone I wanted to spend that much time with, and she wasn’t interesting enough to hold my attention once she lost my respect.

Started re-reading Anne Truitt’s DAYBOOK. If you’re not familiar with Anne Truitt’s work, she was a visual artist/sculptor/painter/writer. I was first introduced to her work through her books, published diaries and musings about her relationship to her art in the 1990s, when working on a collaborative theatre piece about women’s diaries. I re-read her books DAYBOOK, TURN, and PROSPECT regularly. If you do any type of creative work or enjoy others’ creative work, I recommend these books. They will give you a lot of insight into process.

On a trip to Washington, DC, a few years before moving to Cape Cod, there just happened to be a retrospective of her work at one of the museums along the Mall, and I was thrilled to spend quality time within the physical pieces about which I’d read over the years.

It was -10 when I went to bed on Friday night and -17 when I got up. The power held overnight, but the internet fluctuated (which was fine, because I slept through the whole thing).

I made vegetable stock on Saturday morning. I did the rounds putting up the day’s prompt, and then I sat down and drafted a couple of first drafts of short stories inspired by the prompts. Most under a thousand words.

I had three ideas for the first one, at the airport bar. The first two worked pretty well (especially the second one, set in the TWA Sunken Lounge). The third, I literally lost the plot. I had an idea Friday night, and lost it, although I remember the opening. The story for the second prompt used a character from one of the first stories, and had a unique twist, but I haven’t yet decided where I want to do with it. The third prompt was a lot of fun, kind of a sweet story, and the 4th is okay, but needs more of a climax. But that’s what first drafts are for, for me. To figure out what I’m trying to say.

I don’t know if I’ll use all the prompts, but these were fun. If I can take the character in the middle story I wrote for Prompt 1 and used in Prompt 2 and come up with fun interlinked stories all month (aside from whatever else I do), that would be a good challenge.

A lot of paying markets now want speculative and horror, and, of course, none of these so far are that. Oh, well, it just means looking at the markets. The linked stories are action/thriller; the others are contemporary women’s fiction.  They’re under three different bylines, at this point, because the tones of the pieces fit those bylines.

I’m writing all month, then going back to rewriting, and not even thinking about submitting until later in the spring. I doubt I’ll do something for every prompt, but it’s a nice warmup.

Turned around three coverages on Saturday. Read one of the books for review.

Went to bed early, because I was tired. Slept decently, and up at the usual time on Sunday. I went out a did a big grocery shop in the morning, restocking staples we’ve used up, and getting stuff for recipes I want to try this week. Five overflowing bags. That should keep us going for a while.

I read up on Corsica, which is where the next section of the Heist Romance script takes place, with the focus on the romance portion, rather than the heist portion. I realized  that they can’t take the ferry out of Nice, it has to be Toulon. Researching Toulon, I found out about Mont Faron and the cable car ride, and used that as a setting for a couple of scenes. Wrote 8 pages, and they’re on the ferry to Corsica now.

I have more research to do on Corsica (and I watched a bunch of great videos) before I can write this section. I came up with a way to tie it in to the main plot at two points, too, and I might even send them across to Sardinia for a day or two.

Obviously, I am doing this script as high-concept, big budget and not limiting my parameters at all. Which is kind of fun.

Turned around three coverages. Spent some time on Spoutible. When it runs, I have to say I enjoy it. It’s like Twitter without all the screaming and trolling, although I suspect that will change when it opens up to the general public this week. There are still some glitches, and it’s clunky moving between screens, but they fix problems and listen when people bring something up. So we’ll see. And I’m having a lot of fun on the Writing Wonders game over on Mastodon.

As I’ve said before, Twitter mostly makes me sad now. The algorithm hides followers from each other, unless they pay the monthly fee. There are a few people I regularly interact with, and I just go to their feed and see what they’re up to, but it’s even making that more difficult. Of the “writers” that are still there, most of them are posting either faux engagement questions they got off a clickbait list,  or expecting other writers to do their work for them. I’ll have the data by May or June to see if the promotional posts are even driving traffic anymore (I doubt they are), and then I’ll make my decision.

Because, for me, social media can’t just be about hanging out. It’s part of my business. It needs to drive traffic back to the websites, and translate into purchases or other forms of mutual support. Sites that don’t do that need to fall off the daily rounds, because my time and energy needs to be spent elsewhere. I love hanging out and chatting with people on a wide variety of topics, but when it’s all one-sided (as in chatting, and I’m supporting their projects, but they’re not supporting mine), it becomes an unbalanced relationship. Since I”m being far more careful to avoid those in real life, I also need to avoid them virtually.

Started reading the next book for review.

Honored the full moon.

Slept reasonably well, was up earlier than usual on Monday, and had to override the automatic start time on the coffeemaker because I couldn’t wait that long.

Drafted an episode of Legerdemain.

Revised/edited the next four episodes of Legerdemain, with the multi-colored draft, followed by two more rounds of revision and a polish. Uploaded those four episodes, which gets me to the beginning of March. Now I can draft a bigger batch of episodes, and that will help, if, in revisions, I have to plant something earlier than I thought.

Put in a couple of big orders for things I need (cleaning supplies, etc.) shipped. Still waiting for the Midnight City Tarot that should have arrived last week, but the “tracking” doesn’t show where it is; just says “moving through network.”

I hate DeJoy and he should be in prison, not running the post office.

Picked up the stack of books waiting for me at the library.

I got a coverage turned around and was almost through the second when I was hit with a bunch of admin stuff that had to be done immediately. Some of it is tax-focused (a company for whom I’ve freelanced a lot this past year is screwing me on the 1099 – I really need to find a replacement for that client). And there’s other paperwork that’s come through for a big project, and I’ll share details as soon as I’m allowed and everything is signed.

Of course, the printer ran out of ink during all of this.

I was too out of sorts to go back to coverage. I made Eggplant Mykonos for dinner (from Moosewood, of course), using graffiti eggplant rather than the usual dark eggplant, because that’s all that was in the store. I really liked it.

I read more of the book for review in the evening. I couldn’t settle back into coverage, and I’ll pay for that today. It means I have 5 coverages that HAVE to be turned around today, AND I have soup class tonight.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s wonderful.

Slept well until Charlotte woke me at 1, then had trouble getting back to sleep, and had stress dreams until the coffee started. Hauled the laundry over to the laundromat and got that done. I did some work in longhand on a project – I’m a little over 50 pages in to that one. I need to type it up and then outline, because I’m flailing, and it needs an outline. Also read some of Victoria Glendenning’s biography of Edith Sitwell.

I have to give tomorrow’s Process Muse post a polish and get it up, work on Legerdemain, and do the social media rounds. Then, I’ll spend the rest of the day on script coverage, and finish the admin work tomorrow.

Hope you had a good weekend, and are having a good start to the week.

Newest episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Thurs. Feb. 2, 2023: Blessed (Cold) Imbolc

image courtesy of NoName_13 via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Waxing Moon

Bitterly cold

Imbolc

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for more on the garden.

Yesterday was kind of all over the place. I had a bunch of admin work to do in the morning. Then I did the social media rounds to promote Angel Hunt, Ink-Dipped Advice, The Process Muse posts, and the day’s #28Prompts.

I got an email from Barnes & Noble stating I had to update payment information for an upcoming order. Which I did. And they WOULDN’T – not couldn’t, but WOULDN’T, due to ‘security reasons’ —  connect the updated payment information to the order. I have never worked with a company where, once I updated payment information, the order wasn’t simply put through with the new payment info that’s now default on the account and that was that. I’ve done with every account I have, from the storage unit to Amazon to the webhost, because Greylock issued new debit cards last fall for no damned good reason, and no one has a problem. I put in the new information, it’s confirmed, it’s marked as “default” and then we’re good to go. They get their money; I get my order. Basic business. I argued back and forth with them for TWO HOURS, and they finally said the best they could do was to cancel the order and have me put It through again, with the new information. Which also meant additional shipping charges.

No, mofo. Your antiquated system that won’t update from my end and then you REFUSE to update it on your end is not my problem. Cancel the order and lose me as a customer.

I will put the order through elsewhere. It’s for books by a friend of mine, and I just told her I’d pre-ordered them ages ago (which I had). So I want the damn books.

But I won’t be ordering anything from B&N anytime soon (if ever). I’d used them as an alternative to Amazon (along with Bookshop.org), but now it’s Bookshop, even though I don’t like the shipping fees.

And there was my morning, lost, without the writing I needed to do on Legerdemain or anything else. Because they wouldn’t tie the updated credit card information on the online account to the actual order. I’d cancel the whole account, but there’s no function to do so.

I switched over to reading some pitches and scoring sheets. And then I remembered Spoutible launched today, so I went over to get that all set up. I pre-registered MONTHS ago, and don’t like that we didn’t get any immediate link launch information. Signing up/in was a pain in the butt, because the server kept crashing (people are excited to be there). Then they want to verify my phone number. Let me be very clear – NOTHING about 2-factor verification using the phone is about security. EVERYTHING is about collecting data. I resent having everything tied to the phone. I wouldn’t even have a phone if I could get away with it. And the authentication wouldn’t go through, it kept saying it “couldn’t verify” my phone number.

I was about to tell them to bite me, too, but then it went through and everything was settled.

The server is running slowly because so many people tried to sign up all at once (rolling the launch over a few weeks like Post did would probably have made things smoother).

So many people are raving about how good it is, and how similar to Twitter it is and I’m like, meh? Probably because of the initial crush, but it’s very hard to move between screens. For instance, if I search a topic, I then have to wipe it from the search bar after I’ve dealt with it, because going back to “timeline” only gives me the search results again, instead of the overall timeline feed. I’m hoping things will smooth out, but with all the hype, especially the way they were talking in the live session yesterday, I expected more.

But I’ll give it a chance. I’ve already found some old writer pals and made some new ones.

I also think it’s ballsy that Spoutible does so much of their admin on Twitter, when their goal is to get people to leave Twitter for them.

I managed to get the prompt for the day even up on Hive, although that was another way-too-much-wasted-time event.

But I’m telling you, I was In A Mood by the end of it all. Not in the mood to do the one short coverage I had, but it wasn’t due, so I put it off. I want to give the script and the writer  full focus and solid attention, not grumpy pants attention. I’ll go back to it today. Writers put their hearts and souls into the work, and I want to make sure to give every piece I read, whether it’s coverage reading or reviews or contest entries, a fair shake.

On a happier note, answers to the interview questions started to come in, and I have to make an appointment over at MassMOCA next week or so to get some background for the article.

I’m getting very excited about the article.

I found some interesting submission calls for plays that I sent off to a friend. There’s one, at a playhouse I know, that I might also send something in for. There was another one that interested me, but the deadline is today, and I’m not sure I have the right material for it. Some residency application deadlines hit my desk – and were due yesterday or today. I wish they’d let people know about them earlier.

I did a quick revision on one short play I thought would be good for one organization and got that in. So we’ll see. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I still have time for the other.

I also signed up for the Dramatists’ Guild “End of Play” event in April. I will write one of the full-lengths I started developing in the workshop sponsored by Williamstown Theatre Festival last year.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, I spent some quality time with the virtual alumni book group, talking about THE READING LIST, and it was a lot of fun. And a local theatre’s moved to a new space, inviting me to their open house at the end of the month. If the weather is okay, I think I will go.

Later in spring, I think we’ll do a day trip to Hobart, NY, which has a ton of second hand bookstores. A friend sent me an article about the place. It’s about two and a half hours away, which means it could be a reasonable day trip, when the weather is nicer.

The stores sound luscious.

I considered renting a place for a few days as a change of scenery to write, but honestly, if it’s not a residency with a private studio and meals provided, I might as well stay home and work, where I have my pots and pans and magic coffeemaker. Because if I have to do my own cooking in a different space (which, I admit, can be fun), I will be taking crates of equipment with me and spending more time in the kitchen than on my work. Especially since I’m not doing indoor dining yet.

I had the Black Screen of Death on the computer this morning, but managed to get it up and running. Told ya they hadn’t fixed it properly. How much do you want to bet it will have to go out again soon for repair?

Meditation this morning, then off to pay some bills before the weather turns too brutal. Then, I’ll spend some quality time on the page, finish off the coverage, and switch over to contest entries and the books for review. I’ll also do the social media rounds promoting today’s episode of Legerdemain, #28 Prompts, etc.

The Chewy delivery didn’t get here yesterday (which is fine, I always try to order early enough so it’s not a problem). The Midnight City Tarot is supposed to arrive tomorrow, and I’m very excited. I’m hoping to do some work later today with the Rackham Tarot on recent dreams, and I plan to set out and post a tarot spread for Imbolc.

I did some candle work last night, and today I will do the first planting.

Have a good one!

Wed. Feb. 1, 2023: Hello, February!

image courtesy of tlparadis via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Waxing Moon

Grey and cold, turned to sunny and colder

Yesterday’s weather was all over the place. One minute it was snowing, then it was sunny, then there were flurries coming down in the sun. Pretty, though. We’re supposed to get a wave of absolutely brutal cold Thursday night into Saturday night, and they’ve advised people not to be out. I cancelled my weekend plans, although I still hope to get out Sunday for a big grocery shop.

There’s a tough love post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about how to follow your dreams, and a post over on today’s Process Muse about plots and subplots. Check them out when you have a minute.

I drafted another episode of Legerdemain and figured out the next few episodes (within the context of the larger outline). I did the social media rounds promoting Episode 55. I uploaded/scheduled the promotions for this week’s episodes of Angel Hunt and adjusted the graphic sizes on the Legerdemain episodes for the Instagram posts.

I did my errands: drop-off/pick up at the library; coffee, eggs, and bread at the grocery store; a bottle of wine. The people I encounter on this regular round of errands are really very nice, and I’m grateful.

I was feeling tired and grumpy, though, anyway, although I made sure not to take anything out on the people I encountered on my errands.

I put through the Chewy order for cat litter.

I attended the pre-launch live Q&A for Spoutible on Twitter (which is just weird to me, but whatever). Some of their policies are creating red flags for me. We’ll see. It’s supposed to launch today.

I honed and tweaked interview questions for an article and sent them off. I’m looking forward to this piece.

I created a new logo for The Process Muse. This one feels more like me. I’ve even updated it in the sidebar for this blog!

I started writing up the notes/scenes on the Urban Fantasy romance and hit an issue with the character names. The names that I’ve been using have meanings contrary to themes in the story (because who the fuck knows what the plot is at this point). But when I tried to change the names, I got stuck. So I guess the names are the names, at least for now. Again, trust the subconscious. It knows what it’s doing, even when the rest of me doesn’t. However, writing scenes when there’s no plot to hang it onto is difficult. I think I’ll add notes in parentheses about vaguely what should happen and then, the character interactions that are clear in my head, I can write as scenes.

A fantastic opportunity showed up on my desk in the afternoon, but I don’t know if I can put something together to take advantage of it by February 12th. But it is totally in my wheelhouse and would be hella fun if I could pull it off. Plus lucrative. Plus good for my career.

Worked on contest entries yesterday afternoon and evening, since I didn’t have any script coverages. The cat litter order from Chewy should arrive today, and the Midnight City Tarot shipped and should be here by Friday.

The third episode of ANGEL HUNT drops today (the last free episode). I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be making the social media rounds today to promote that, to promote The Process Muse and Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ll also be doing the rounds to post the first of the #28Prompts (it will drop on Twitter at noon EST). I’m hoping I can upload them to Hive via the tablet, but who knows?

Tues. Jan. 31, 2023: Starting With More Snow

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

This won’t be as long as our usual Tuesday morning chat, because I just don’t have that much to say.

The month wrap up is over on the GDR site.

I wrote two book reviews on Friday morning, sent them in, invoiced, was paid, did a library run, came home. The weather was yucky. I had some scoring sheets and some pitches for coverage, that was it.

I have to say, these scoring sheets where the instructions are only to read the first page of the screenplay and score on that are teaching me a lot about how to open my own scripts.

I was done by mid-afternoon. My back hurt a lot, so I moved to the couch with the heating pad, and stayed there, reading for pleasure, pretty much all weekend. The weather was gray and icky.

Saturday’s reading was re-reading the 4th book of my own GAMBIT COLONY project and what I have of the 5th, on which I wanted to figure out and rework a few bits. I made some notes and did an insert scene. It’s not traditionally viable, so I’ll have to pitch it to a small publisher, and I have to make sure I have all the ducks in the row for the series. There’s a lot that works in it, and there’s also a lot that pushes boundaries. And there are cuts that need to be made, or information integrated differently, in order to let the focus remain on the large and ever-growing ensemble.

But in the late afternoon/evening, I switched over to reading for pleasure, and basically read all day Sunday.

There were some books that I started and went back in the return stack for the library after a few chapters because they just didn’t do it for me. But I read LAST TRAIN TO MEMPHIS by Elizabeth Peters (another Vicky Bliss), Lana Harper’s BACK IN A SPELL (which is really good), and AN UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS by M.E. Hilliard, which I think I’ve read before, but it was a pleasure to re-read (and order the next books in the series), and an early book by an author whose work I’ve read a lot of under various names; this one was a little on the cutesy side for me.

I should have dived into the books on Malta’s history for the Heist Romance screenplay. I did look through the travel guides and watched some local videos, and decide where I’m putting some of the key scenes, though. I should have worked on contest entries.

But I was in pain and feeling grumpy and unsettled, so I didn’t. I did, early on Saturday morning, dash out to get more ink. Getting in and out of the car was hard. But it had to be done.

Monday I had to get up and actually function, so I did some prep for Imbolcc, blogged, worked on Process Muse posts, and took the car in for inspection in the morning – new-to-me place, in and out in 12 minutes, which is less time than it took to drive there. But I’m all set until next year.

I only had a stack of scoring sheets to do in the script coverage, so I did that, and started working ahead on the Process Muse posts.

I have an idea tickling at the back of my brain. I thought it was going to be historical alt-fantasy or epic fantasy, but the characters have decided it is urban fantasy romance, so that’s what it will be. If I ever figure it out. Because some key scenes basically dropped into my head, and I have the story with the emotional arcs for the two protagonists, but not the plot. So I’ll make notes on the scenes (or maybe write them, there are not many of them), and let it percolate on the back burner of my brain to see if a plot evolves. All of last night’s dreams were in the world of that story, and through those characters’ experiences (rather than me being myself in one of my Dreamscapes), so there’s obviously something in there my subconscious believes is viable.

I ordered the Midnight City Pocket Tarot and am very excited to get it. The artwork is based on NYC locations, so it will have a resonance for me.

Soup class was fun – we did mulligatawny soup, and it was great. I missed the last couple of weeks of class, and missed the camaraderie, as well as the skills I’m learning. Once the food is created, everyone just hangs out and chats, and it’s fun. The best of Zoom (and makes Charlotte so happy).

I did a reading with the Spirit Allies Oracle deck, which came in the Goddess Provisions box a couple of months back. I don’t know why I’m surprised when it’s so accurate. It’s a terrific deck, by the way.

Anthony Lemke talked about a book he read that he really loved. It’s been on my TBR list for awhile, but I’m moving it up, because he’s never steered me wrong when it comes to books or good work!

We had a little snow overnight, maybe just over an inch. We have an ice warning out, and it’s kind of flurrying. I’ll wait until mid-day to do my library-grocery-liquor store run. I need more coffee. And I have to put in a Chewy order for cat litter.

The cats have adjusted to the whole not-being-fed-until-coffee. But the second the coffeemaker starts (it’s set for a specific time the night before) and the smell wafts through the house, all of them are making demands that I Get Up and Feed Them. It’s kind of hilarious.

I need to get my act together and focus today. There’s writing to do, interview questions to create and send off, contest entries to read, a book to start reading for review. No scripts in the queue, at least so far. I’m not in terrible shape this pay period, but I’m under what I hoped, and I’m very, very frustrated at the pressure to “double volume” when there aren’t enough scripts at a decent rate in the queue. So I need to add in other options.

#28Prompts starts tomorrow. I hope you have fun with it. I had fun coming up with the prompts. It will drop on Twitter at noon EST every day, and on the other social media channels (where I can’t schedule ahead of time) whenever I can get on them.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it. Be well, my friends.

Fri. Jan. 27, 2023: Just Keep Typing

image courtesy StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, January 27, 2023

Waxing Moon

A little sun, a lot of clouds

Could that be a peek of sun, before the next storm comes in this weekend?

Meditation was good, and then I wrote 20 pages on the Heist Romance script. I did the entire section in Monte Carlo, and they’re back in Nice now. When I do break the script down into episodes (it’s definitely limited series, not a single screenplay), I think I’ve found the place to end the first episode in Monte Carlo. For this first script, I’m doing One Giant Overlong Script, and then I’ll break it down, once I see what I have, and structure each episode properly. As I write, I’ll keep an eye out for natural stopping points at the approximate page counts.

Not the way one is supposed to do it as a professional (write the pilot, don’t write more until it’s contracted), but it serves this piece better, so hey.

The second episode of Angel Hunt goes live today. I hope you enjoy it.

My lower back was in terrible pain yesterday, so bad I had to take something for it. Stretching helped a little. Figures downward dog, one of my least favorite asanas, is the one that helps the most.

I’m getting more and more frustrated with Twitter. Between one set of assholes just being right wing assholes, another set expecting us to do free administrative labor on their accounts (“tell me if I’m not following you” – no, mofo, look at your followers/following lists and  figure it out your damn self), and another set bullying (“if you follow X, I will unfollow you” – boo, just blocked ya, it’s all taken care of), I am getting sick of it. The same faux engagements questions showing up, over and over and OVER again. Numbnuts “sharing” snippets from an early draft and blowing first rights. Asking for resources, but really wanting perfect strangers to put themselves on the line to get you work when you have no intention of following through. No. Just stop. The other platforms have different focuses, depending on the platform, and there’s nothing, right now, with Twitter’s former reach.

But then, I also have to remind myself, I was on Twitter for 13 years, building community/a following. It’s not going to happen in two weeks anywhere else. I have to put in the work, which is just exhausting.

I managed to hop in for some of Freelance Chat, which was fine, and I did the social media rounds to promote yesterday’s episode of Legerdemain.

I turned around three coverages, and then read the two books for review. One was an absolute delight. The other had some good qualities, but the logic fell apart at the end. I will write up those reviews this morning, send them off, and invoice. I have a stack of scoring sheets, a pitch, and a treatment to read this afternoon. I really don’t want to read over the weekend; let’s hope something comes in for Monday and Tuesday, since Tuesday’s the end of this pay period.

I have a library run to do – plenty of books to drop off, and a stack’s come in since my visit earlier this week. But the priority is to find a place to get the car inspected and the bulb fixed. The bulb was Mercury Retrograde’s final middle finger in the shadow. Bad retrograde for all my tech, this time around.

And I need more ink for the printer, because of course I do. Black AND color.

Did some noodling notes on something in between projects yesterday. It’s turning out to be quite different than I expected from the initial idea (which is something I’ve played with on and  off for a couple of years, and couldn’t get to work). So we’ll see.

Back to the page.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. Jan. 26, 2023: Grey Days

image courtesy of Lena Lindell via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Waxing Moon

Gray and cold

I like to spell the color both ways: “grey” and “gray” depending on mood and contest. “Grey” fit me better today.

The latest garden post is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Did the social media rounds early yesterday, promoting The Process Muse and the Angel Hunt launch. Now that I finally have the direct link to the serial, I can start uploading/scheduling each episode’s logline. And, since I’m using the same graphic, it makes things simpler. I updated the links on various webpages.

Went out early to mail some letters and grab some groceries before the next storm came in. One of my lamps is out on the car, which means I have to find a place to fix it before the inspection. Which has to happen by Jan. 31. Argh. But I grabbed a few things (how did I run out of onions, for crying out loud?) and made it back before the snow started up again.

Considered signing up for a six week yoga program at the library in Williamstown. It’s on Thursday mornings, which means soon after the Zoom meditation with the group at Concord Library was finished, I’d get in the car and drive over to Williamstown. Which is doable; it just means rearranging my Thursdays to write extra early in the morning before meditation, and Thursdays mornings are All About Me. I kind of liked that idea. But, investigating the details of it, there are no COVID protocols in place, and it’s happening inside in the winter.

Nope.

We’re being pressured by the script coverage company to “double our volume” this year. Okay, first of all, then pay me more. Second of all, I’m already reading 10-15 scripts/week when they are available, and if I try to read 30, I’ll burn out even faster than I am now. Third, if you want us to work full time, that means salary AND BENEFITS INCLUDING PAID VACATION AND HEALTH CARE. Working 40 hours a week for a single company without a stable salary or benefits would just make me an idiot.

I mean, I know all of the readers are just part of the sausage factory, but we bust our asses, and the pay gets lower, but the volume of work gets higher. So I’m upping the LOIs (especially in the break between retrogrades) to get a wider range of clients over the coming months.

Because I’m burning out on this, and increasing the pressure on me is only going to make me burn out faster.

Went down a research rabbit hole on abandoned towns for sale as background for a piece, and it was a lot of fun.

Turned around four coverages and scores on a pitch.

Should have started reading the next book for review; instead, I read a book for pleasure, WELL TRAVELED by Jen DeLuca, which takes place at a series of Ren Faires. Deborah Blake recommended it, and I’m glad she did. It’s lots of fun.

The cats slept all day during the snow, and then were up all night causing trouble. I had to get up several times in the night to scold them. Then, they tried to blame each other, even though I fully knew all three were involved in the various escapades.

Busy times in the Dreamscape. All good, but it’s starting to feel like I’m leading a double life, and I’m tired of waking up tired.

Meditation this morning, and then some writing. I need to work on the article, get some more work done on LEGERDEMAIN, I think I’m just about ready to write the next section of the Heist Romance script. Have to do the social media rounds to promote the episode that goes live today. I have three coverages to do this afternoon. Tomorrow are dribs and drabs of score sheets and pitches. I think that’s all I’ll take, so I have room to finish the books for review tonight and tomorrow, and try to find a place to get the car done. I also need to do some extra yoga today; my lower back is unhappy from the shoveling, and then the sitting and couch potato-ing from the last few days. I need to stretch out the kinks.

Not sure if I’ll do coverage this weekend or not; I have to see what comes in, and what my energy levels are like. I’m under where I want to be, money-wise (in spite of a higher “volume” this pay period), but I’m also tired. And I want to focus on my own work this weekend. And maybe get some extra sleep.

We’ll see how today and tomorrow go. In the meantime, I hope you’re having a good day, easing into a good weekend.

Enjoy the next episode of Legerdemain!

Fri. Jan. 20, 2023: Snow’s Here!

image courtesy of  Jörg Vieli via pixabay.com

Friday, January 20, 2023

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Yesterday was a good, if somewhat weird day.

After meditation, I sat down to layer in what I’d come up with in the Heist Romance script to make it more interesting. I usually push through a draft, but I needed to set up a few things to pay off further down the line, and because of the somewhat episodic nature of the piece, building each section properly is important.

Also, this is the opening. It needs to hook the reader/viewer immediately. How often have I received scripts to cover where the instructions were to only read the first page, the question was “does this first page make you want to read more?” and my answer was “No.” In the last few weeks, more often than not. I don’t want to fall into the same trap. And that’s something that’s come up a lot in the discussions I’ve had lately with fellow scriptwriters, analysts, and show runners – the best scripts capture the reader from the first page. If you need more than a page to “set it up” you need to go back and rewrite.

I got it where I wanted it, fixed the first six pages, established two more characters necessary for the rest of the piece. However, when I revised those first six pages, I kept going. By the time I hit a good stopping point, I was 27 pages in. I’d finished the section in New York, done the first section in London, and am ready to send one of my pair of central protagonists to Scotland (I still have to write a section in the British Museum Library reading room before he heads off).

I figured I’d worked for about an hour, until I looked at the clock.

I’d worked four hours.

It felt like nothing, although I was physically tired. It’s not as though the pages don’t need work, but it’s a solid foundation.

I turned around four script coverages in the afternoon, and a quick scoring sheet. There was nothing in the queue to grab, but overnight the missing materials from a script earlier in the week came through, so I will work on that today. And consider the rest of the time a gift.

I didn’t make the social media rounds yesterday to promote Legerdemain (I’m so grateful to the friends who saw the promotional graphics drop and boosted them). So I have to catch up on that today.

When I first woke up, it was barely snowing, and I thought I could do a library run to pick up the big stack of books that finally showed up. But the snow is intensifying, so I think I will just stay put, and hope I can dash out between storms tomorrow. We’re supposed to get 6 inches between now and tomorrow morning, and another storm coming through Sunday into Monday, and another midweek. Winter in New England.

 I do have to create the graphics for the next 4 episodes of Legerdemain and get them uploaded and scheduled. I did the loglines yesterday.

I want to do a little more on the Heist Romance, since it’s running hot in my brain, and then switch over to Legerdemain, and maybe upload some more ANGEL HUNT episodes (although I might leave that until tomorrow). I also want to get a jump on the next couple of weeks’ worth of The Process Muse.

Have a great weekend, and we’ll catch up next week.

Published in: on January 20, 2023 at 8:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. Jan. 19, 2023: Incoming Snow

image courtesy of Pexels, via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Day Before Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Incoming storm

I don’t understand why I’m so slow this week. Everything is taking much longer than it should.

Post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Post on Ink-Dipped Advice about why I like using Direct Mail.

I did the social media rounds promoting the Process Muse post and Ink-Dipped Advice. I’m enjoying Post more and more, although they are moving to a system of “trust metrics” which just sounds like another version of a popularity contest. So we’ll see. There’s not much interaction there, but there’s a lot of good reading material, and I enjoy my time there. CounterSocial and Mastodon, so far, are the best for genuine interaction.

I drafted a new episode of LEGERDEMAIN, which was a lot of fun. I have to work on the graphics for the episodes for the next two weeks, which are already uploaded and scheduled. I thought I wrote the loglines, and am puzzled that I can’t find them.

I turned around five script coverages. I’m glad I have four in today’s queue because, you guessed it, the rest is blank. I may have to read over the weekend, which I do not want to do. Motivation to get the new Fearless Ink postcard out, and the new brochure designed.

I figured out a way to make this first section of the Heist Romance script more logical, more creative, and funnier for the audience. Even though I SHOULD NOT DO IT, I am going back and rewriting, so that I can move on a few days down the line. Because, over there? In that other corner? The LUCKY NUMBERS script Is Not Happy.

Caught up with some correspondence with friends yesterday, too, which was nice. Did a little reading for pleasure (when I should have been reading for review). But it will all get done, and I need to give my brain rest from critical reading with pleasure reading, or I get burned out.

We’re supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow today. Originally, the storm was supposed to come in tonight and into tomorrow. Now, they’re saying it will start at 11 AM this morning and continue through Saturday morning. Sunrise this morning was a sky on fire. I have the pre-storm headache. And when I stepped outside, I could feel the storm coming in.

Because I pulled myself together when the alert came in, and went to the grocery store at 7 AM, when they opened, to pick up potatoes, orange juice, and toilet paper. Because, you know, priorities.

I’m going to make the stuffed eggplant tonight for dinner, which uses a lot of potatoes. I thought we had potatoes when I went grocery shopping earlier in the week, only to discover that we had ONE potato. But now we have enough for the recipe.

Online meditation this morning, and then, after breakfast, it’s back to the page!

Have a good one, and enjoy Episode 52 of Legerdemain, which drops today.

Wed. Jan. 18, 2023: Trying to Move Past the Lethargy

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com of a painting by Franz Winterhalter

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Mercury goes Direct today

Rainy and cold

The week’s post is up on The Process Muse, and it’s about building the ensemble. It was hard to write, and it still wasn’t where I wanted it when I ran out of time. But it’s there. I have to finish the Ink-Dipped Advice post and get that up this morning.

Because it was sunny, once I got The Process Muse post up, I pulled myself together and did the errands: library drop-off/pickup, pharmacy, grocery store, liquor store. People were cheerful for a brief respite of sun in between storms, and soon after I got home, the sky darkened, and it began to rain again. I bought two small pots of primroses, which made me happy.

Home, got everything unpacked, realized I forgot to get potatoes and orange juice, so I guess I’ll be going out later this week again. Finished the book I’d been reading the previous day. It’s pleasing the writer’s fanbase, but it’s a little too formula for me, in spite of being a page turner. I respect what she’s done, but some of her other books have had a much stronger impact, both for pleasure and in engaging my emotions.

Turned around two scripts and some scoring. One is missing materials, so I can’t finish the coverage and submit until I get the missing material, or am told not to worry about it.

Did the social media rounds to promote Episode 51 of Legerdemain.

I’m spending less and less time on Twitter, because it just makes me sad. The feeds are all screwed up. I’m tired of people whining about the feeds being screwed up and demanding everyone else provide free administrative labor on their timelines. Do your own damn work. If you have “too many followers” to be able to deal with it, maybe you haven’t earned them. I have my hands full adminisrating my own feed. I’m not working on other people’s because they think they’re so important. There are also too many right-wing trolls. My time is better spent elsewhere.

I’m skipping spending time on Cohost until February, when I’ll put up, daily, the #28Prompt posts. And then I’ll probably stop spending any time there. Tried navigating Hive on my poor old tablet (which now has a cracked face) and it’s just so frustrating.

I did not work on any of the scripts, because everything else took too long. Nor did I draft on Legerdemain or adapt any of ANGEL HUNT. Which is frustrating. I was logy and frustrated all day.

Started the next book for review. The premise is interesting, but so far, I’m less than thrilled with the execution. Put it aside to read a book for fun, the second in a series by an author I like, and it’s fine, but I couldn’t concentrate at that point, because I was too tired.

Fell into bed, tired. Slept decently, but was busy in the Dreamscape, everything from attending a writer’s conference to redecorating a house, so I woke up tired. Well, Tessa and Charlotte woke me up, once the coffee started burbling.

Wrote a couple of pages in longhand on a project, and then came up with a working title for the piece whose outline I started (eleven pages’ worth) on Saturday. Went down a fun research rabbit hole about women writing speculative and science fiction in the so-called “golden age.”

We’re under all kinds of weather alerts today, it will switch between snow and rain, although we don’t get much accumulation until tomorrow, where 3-6 inches are predicted. I’m hoping I can sneak out between the switch tomorrow morning to get potatoes and orange juice.

Today, I have to shake off the lethargy and focus. I have a lot on the agenda, both for myself, and script coverages.

I’m glad Mercury is going direct today, but the transition day is always a slog for me. Plus, tomorrow is the day before dark moon, always a low energy day. Still, needs must, and I needs must get my act together and get to work.

Have a good one!

Tues. Jan. 17, 2022: When A Project Takes Control

image courtesy of M. H. via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus and Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Time for our usual Tuesday morning catch up. The mid-month check-in is not yet up on the GDR site, but I hope to get that done later today.

Friday was pretty much a lost day. I did some blog work in the morning, made the social media rounds, and then headed out for the usual errands: post office, library, grocery store.

I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I was out and about.

Got things done, came home, unpacked, tidied up the living room (which involved rearranging stacks of books for various projects, and I wound up with a book fort).

I decided to give myself the day off and stayed in the book fort.

I noodled a little in long hand on an idea that started percolating a couple of days ago, and wrote a few outline notes.

I wrote up the two reviews, turned them in, and received my next books for review.

I finished reading THE READING LIST, which I really liked, and I’m looking forward to discussing it in book group.

Started reading another book that was recommended to me, but it was in present tense and lost me at the end of page one, so back to the library it goes, unread.

We were well enough to eat a decent dinner, and relax in the evening, reading and listening to Chantal Chamberland.

Slept reasonably well Friday into Saturday, although I had weird dreams. It was snowing again on Saturday morning (this after the weather reports said Saturday would be a “bright” day and the best of the weekend). Did the usual household chores.

Wrote about 12 pages on the outline I started the previous day. I know what has to happen for the last bit, but I’m not sure how to get there, so that will back burner percolate for a bit.

Roughed out ideas for two future “seasons” of ANGEL HUNT, if this one goes well, although the plot will be tighter and less sprawling. The seeds for both are set in ANGEL HUNT, although that was not my original intention. But we’ll see if it’s worth getting them past “idea” stage.

The damn new little printer wasn’t working properly, and I was ready to drop kick it out the window. I know better than to buy anything Canon anymore, be it a camera or a printer. They used to be a good company, but haven’t been for at least ten years now.

I want my big printer to work again.

Okay, whine over.

I set up the folders for the judging sheets in the three categories I’m judging, and put the correct sheets in the correct folders. I use paper sheets as I read, and then as I finish each book or a few books, I enter the data. It saves work rather than trying to enter all the scoring at the end. This way, I can finish the Batch 1 print in each category, then Batch 1 digital in each category, hopefully before Batch 2 gets there, and then I just have the final decisions to make, once I’ve read and entered Batch 2. I keep the Yes and Maybe piles on the worktable in my office for final decisions, and keep winnowing them down as I go. If it’s digital, I keep the physical sheet in the pile, so I can refer back to it when it’s time to make decisions.

I turned around a script, and started work on contest entries.

Sunday, I was up early, enjoying coffee, cats, and writing in longhand. Made biscuits. Had some sad news from a friend that a friend of hers, with whom I worked, has died of COVID. An online acquaintance is going through a rough time; I’m trying to be supportive, but also wondering if we’re being manipulated. That’s always the risk, when you only know someone online. Still, kindness from afar costs nothing, and can make a big difference.

Had to write a new Episode 56 for Legerdemain, because I needed to plant a character in a specific location to set up a plot intersection, and it needs to happen here. So the next set of episodes is misnumbered in the 1st draft now, and I’ll have to be careful drafting and editing forward. But I fixed a plot hole I knew was coming up, and set up a good intersection, even though it won’t happen for a few episodes. Polished and uploaded the episodes, which gets me into the beginning of February. Writing ahead on the first draft while polishing the second to upload requires intense concentration and specificity. I am grateful for my Tracking Sheets, Style Sheets, and the Series Bible, and I am diligent about adding in new information as soon as it’s created, and then changing it if it changes in the edits.

That process is different than with a series of novels, where I have tracking sheets as I write, but I don’t update the Series Bible until the final galleys are done on the book.

Had to put in more ink in the little printer, because, of course I did.

Turned around some script scoring. The pay for that is insulting, but that’s all that was in the queue, and the pay period ended on Sunday, so there we are.

Yeah, I’m getting on top of the LOIs and the direct mail as soon as Mercury goes direct this week.

Finished reading SILHOUETTE IN SCARLET, the Vicky Bliss mystery, and loved it. It got me thinking about some tropes I want to turn inside out. I ended up staying up until 11:30 writing 11 pages of a script outline in longhand.

Yesterday morning, I wrote another 9 pages, and then typed it up. Basically, the whole day was on this outline, which is really more of a treatment. I think it will be a limited series script, not a single screenplay. And there’s research to be done, and some beats to be fleshed out, even beyond the 10K of this outline. But it’s fun. And because each section needs a different type of research, it will be worked on piecemeal around other projects. I’ll reward myself for finishing work on other projects by doing a section of this piece here and there.

I have scripts in my queue for the next few days, too, so although I’m worried about the small amount of money from the pay period ending on Sunday, I’m hoping this pay period will be better. And I have to get off my duff and pitch for some new gigs.

I turned around two coverages. I was too tired for soup class. I wrote the opening 6 pages of the script on the treatment I’d written. It’s doing what I want it to, at least for this draft, although there will be a lot of cutting and layering in future drafts. I don’t yet have a title for it. For myself, I’m referring to it as the “Heist Romance” script.

It was very difficult to pull myself out of that fictional world (even though some of the settings are places I know very well). I felt disoriented and out of place.

I should have started the next book for review or worked on contract entries. Instead, I started reading a book by an author who’s work I’ve read for years. Her new book is the first of a new series. It’s still a little too predictable, formula-wise (but that’s what her readers want) and I keep getting too far ahead, but I like the central pair of protagonists, so it was worth staying up until 11:30 reading (I hope to finish it today).

I overslept this morning, and Tessa Was Not Amused. I fed everyone and settled down to write in longhand for a bit. Still felt disoriented, and a bit addled. My brain is already rewriting those initial six pages, and I took the red pen and marked up what I printed out.

The priority this morning needs to be the post for tomorrow’s Process Muse. I started it a few days ago, and then got distracted, so I have to get back to it. I need to draft another episode of Legerdemain, adapt another chapter of ANGEL HUNT, and maybe upload the next month’s worth of episodes. I have to create the graphics for the four episodes of Legerdemain I uploaded on Sunday, and draft tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice post. The two posts for tomorrow were supposed to be on yesterday’s work schedule, but the Heist Romance pushed everything else to the side. I don’t regret spending the whole day on it at all, but it means reshuffling the rest of the week’s work. And the other script, that I started a couple of weeks ago, with the working title LUCKY NUMBERS, is standing there, tapping its inky foot, demanding attention. Since I figured out how to get out of the corner into which I’d written myself, I can do so. The question is when? I don’t want to lose its rhythm, or get its rhythm diluted by the Heist Romance.

I have errands I planned to do on Thursday, but we’re supposed to get the 3-6 inches of snow on Thursday that everyone else got the past couple of days. Today is bright and sunny. The SMART move would be to do all the errands today, and then hunker in the rest of the week, and push off some of today’s work to tomorrow. If I do that, I’ll wind up only working on the two blog posts (and the GDR post) and turning around the two scripts in my queue for today.

I like the flexibility of my schedule, but it also calls for prioritizing and rearranging tasks and making decisions, and today, my brain is filled with mashed potatoes, so that is not an easy task. Perhaps the errands will help clear it.

I’m talking in circles now. I’m going to stop yammering and get to work.

Episode 51 of Legerdemain drops today. Hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one.

Fri. Jan. 13, 2022: A Slow, Rainy Start

image courtesy of ini kvaratskhelia via pixabay.com

Friday, January 13, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus and Mercury Retrograde

Chilly rain

I love Friday the 13th, so I’m looking forward to the day.

And my friend Paula’s play is being read tonight by a theatre company down in Florida. Woo-hoo! It’s a terrific play, and I’m delighted for her.

Yesterday wound up being more of a practical day than a creative day. I got some blogging done. I attended the online meditation group. I did some tidying up on the desk. I worked drafting some future blog posts.

I did the rounds promoting Episode 50 of LEGERDEMAIN, and uploading/scheduling the graphics for next week’s episodes. The teasers for ANGEL HUNT are also starting to drop, so I dealt with those, too. I cleaned up the additional pages on this blog, did some cleanup on the Legerdemain website, and polished the #28Prompts, which will run in February.

I also did a media kit for LEGERDEMAIN, and I’m happy with the way it came out. I got to use some of my favorite general graphics along with a set of thumbnails from episode-specific graphics, and present the information about the series. I kept the bio very simple and might beef that up a bit. I did not put in an excerpt from the first episode, because the first three episodes are free and available to everyone. I’m wondering if I should at least put in the opening paragraphs, which carry the hook.

I made some notes on an idea. It needs to percolate more. I have the characters and the basic situation, but that’s not enough. That’s been pushed into another section of the brain to work on a low boil.

A box came from a friend, with knitted lovelies, a citrine, tea, lip balm, and chocolate truffles. The perfect care package for a snowy winter day.

I finished reading a colleague’s book, and I finished reading the book for review. I have two reviews to get out later today, and tell my editor I’m ready for the next assignment.

I started reading THE READING LIST by Sara Nisha Adams, for the NYU Alumni Book Club. It’s quite wonderful. It’s even more fun, because it lets me revisit books I’ve read and enjoyed (I’ve read all the books mentioned in the novel).

Both of us were up sick most of the night. Not ordering takeout from THAT place again anytime soon, are we? The cats were good little nurses. I feel rather hollow and tired this morning.

Another idea started bubbling up. I’m making some notes, but there are some obstacles to the story, so once I make the notes, they need to go to an even further back burner.

I have a script in today’s queue, which I will read this afternoon. I hope some more will come in over the weekend; even though I try not to do script coverage on weekends, there’s been so little coming in lately that if it shows up, I’ll read it. I also have to start on the contest entries. I don’t want to get behind. I know I have a stack of blank scoring sheets left over from last year. Somewhere.

I need to get to the library. A stack of books has finally come in. Some of them are research books that will serve two projects on the boil. I also have to mail some bills, and get in a few groceries. We’ll do some easy things this weekend, until we get back on our feet. I’m hoping I can find a decent chicken, and do a gentle roast chicken.

The weather is supposed to be nasty, on and off, next week, so I’m glad I work at home. I’m going to try to get some writing in on LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT today, but I have a feeling I might put it off until tomorrow. By the end of the weekend or first thing Monday, I’ll be able to upload and schedule another two weeks’ worth of LEGERDEMAIN and another month’s worth of ANGEL HUNT.

 The next section of LEGERDEMAIN going up is in decent shape, it’s mostly cleaning up sloppy writing. But the logic and the narraive drive of the story are there. The following section is a more intimate and sadder one that I want to take another look at before I upload it. The piece I’m working on now is driving the main arc forward, and I need to get way ahead on that before I can go back to polish and upload it, because there are things later on I might need to plant in episodes coming up soon.

This next section of ANGEL HUNT needs a good bit of revision, but I figured it out, tossing and turning in discomfort last night. But I have to be on my game to actually write it. Knowing what needs to be done is a good half the battle.

It’s already late, and I need to head out soon. I’m just going to take it slow today, and listen to what my body needs.

Have a good weekend, my friends, and I’ll catch up with you on the other side of it.

Fri. Jan. 6, 2023: Deep in That Mars Retrograde Energy

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Friday, January 6, 2023

Full Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Rainy with temperatures dropping

Yesterday was kind of all over the place.

Meditation was canceled. I mailed some bills, did a big grocery shop, picked up books at the library, got more ink for the inkjet printer.

Came home, unpacked everything, wrote my reviews, submitted the reviews and the invoice, and was paid within ten minutes (love that). I even got a holiday bonus! Was assigned my next two books for review.

Makes me feel better about the lack of script coverages in my queue lately.

Did the social media rounds to promote Episode 48 of Legerdemain.

Was annoyed by an email with the subject line saying: “Set New Year’s Resolutions If You Want to Fail.”

My response to that is “fuck you.”

Resolutions work for me. If they don’t work for others, fine. But don’t tell people that it makes failure the only option.

This is from an organization (not local) from whom I took a few online courses when I first moved here, but they have a very cliquish system, where unless you pay to be part of their group and agree to work within their system, you’re excluded.

No, thanks. I believe I will unsubscribe to their mailings and constant invites to buy in. I got a few good things out the work with them that set me off some interesting paths, but this “do it OUR way, it’s the RIGHT way” is pretty fucked up.

Buh-bye.

I unsubscribed from a boatload of nonprofit mailing lists at the end of the year, and continue to do so as I wade through the ridiculous amount of email that comes in every day. When the day before New Year’s, I opened my email to find almost all of it demands for money, I just hit unsubscribe, over and over again. I have told every nonprofit to whom I give money that they get ONE ask per year. Segment your fucking mailing lists (it’s not hard, I did it for clients for years) or lose any future support.

Done.

I rarely unsubscribe from author newsletters unless the work no longer works for me (such as the author starting to use “witch” as a derogatory term toward women, or the work moving toward right-wing values). Even if I don’t get to read the newsletter for a few weeks, the metrics and numbers matter, so I try to open it, even if I have to read it later. In fact, I tend to increase sign-ups to author newsletters, because it’s a way to support them.

Read something online that made me angry. Someone made a series of dumbass decisions that ended in a tragedy, and then came online wanting to be told she did the right thing (when she did not). Of course, people told her she did. And yes, she knew better. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knew better. The choices were made out of selfishness (which is different than self-care or self-preservation) and now she pretends to be surprised and heartbroken at the outcome, and wants reassurance that she did “the best she could” (when she did not). The universe offered her a beautiful gift; she spit in its face and destroyed it. And now feigns surprise that her actions had fatal consequences. I have zero sympathy for her. Mostly disgust. Trying to find compassion, but so far haven’t succeeded.

I was definitely deep in the Mars retrograde energy yesterday.

I set up ornament hospital in the afternoon and fixed a bunch of stuff, since it has to start getting boxed up for the year again.

Willa helped.

Hot glue and a helpful cat. You can imagine.

She’s smart enough and I’m careful enough that there was no hot glue on the cat. But it meant everything took longer than it might have otherwise.

The 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project is no more, which is both frustrating and saddening, after writing ten plays with them, and then being in limbo last year. I need to remember the good work that project launched, instead of being frustrated with the now of it.

I gave myself the afternoon off yesterday. I worked out, in my head, the next couple of sections of the screenplay (I’ve come almost to the end of my notes).

I had the sudden urge to visit a particular thrift store in the afternoon. The storm hadn’t started yet, so I nipped out and over. I found a small leather trunk with a curved top, lined inside with burgundy fabric.  It’s delightful. I’m so happy I found it. No idea what I will put in it yet, or where I’ll put it, but I’m glad I found it. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise frustrating day.

I finished reading a Kindle book where the premise was good, but the execution/structure/worldbuilding were weak and inconsistent. I think I need to make a list of the digital books that don’t work for me, so I can delete them from the Kindle, but not risk buying them again. I don’t return digital books; that’s a lousy thing to do to an author. I bought it; if I don’t like it, it’s on me.

We enjoyed the last night of the Yuletide decorations. Today, we start taking them down (although it will probably take the whole weekend).

Didn’t sleep well last night, and it wasn’t Charlotte’s fault (for once). I woke up around 1:30 and just couldn’t get back to sleep. To say I am at less than my best today is an understatement.

I started trying to figure out how to channel my anger about consequences for the needless suffering the dumbass caused, transformed into fiction. I came up with the premise and the catalyst, but everything I came up with as a way for the protagonist to make it right is either trite or too easy. This morning, I came up with an idea to up the protagonist’s stakes and pain. It will take a few weeks to figure it out so I can write it, and it may not ever be something that can go out into the world, but it will channel the anger, and maybe turn it into something that has some sort of meaning, at least for me. Better than letting it fester.

Looking at the situation around the Speaker of the House votes is both frustrating and somewhat ironically funny. The wanna-be had lost the 11th vote by the time I went to bed. First of all, he and a good portion of the other GOP members sitting there are insurrectionists and belong in prison, not Congress. Second, I would love it if the Dems held firm throughout, and I’m pleased that they have so far, but I’m not hopeful.

This has been rather a downer of a post, hasn’t it? Not the best way to end the holiday season and the week.

Let’s look at some good stuff, shall we, and end the week and the post on a better note?

Packing up the decorations will take time and care. The place will look bare, but I’m kind of looking forward to it as a rest period before spring starts things up again. I need to start ordering seeds soon, and I put in a Chewy order yesterday, because those little furballs need to be fed properly.

I’m going to take breaks in the packing up with writing over the weekend, working on Legerdemain, ANGEL HUNT, and the screenplay. I want/need to start uploading and scheduling the ANGEL HUNT episodes next week, and get that promotional campaign going.

Tonight, I will make bouillabaisse in the Dutch oven. Tomorrow, I’m making the Moosewood Mac & Cheese again, and on Sunday, I will make turkey meatloaf. We are still up to our eyeballs in rum cake and stollen.

I will also carve out some extra time to sit in meditation and shake off the anger and frustration that have built up lately. I will get back to the stillness and start over, in order to create a better week next week.

So much for the intent of easing into the year with grace, huh? I managed at the beginning of the week, but then things deteriorated. I will work to do better next week.

Have a good weekend, my friends.

Tues. Jan. 3, 2023: Getting Started For the New Year

image courtesy of Engin Akyurt via pixabay.com

Tues. Jan. 3, 2023

Waxing Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Foggy and freezing rain

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend, and that you took off yesterday as part of it, too.

I’ve spent so many New Year’s Eves being unhappy that a quiet one was just what I wanted. I did some noodling on two projects as I try to find out if they are viable. I uploaded what I feel comfortable sharing with my 2023 Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions over on that site.

I cleaned the house, vacuumed, changed the beds, did the dishes, mopped the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, granite counters (with its special cleaner) and stainless steel (with those special wipes). I like going into the New Year with a clean house.

I made devilled eggs and small rum cakes with rum glaze. I was worried I’d put in too much rum (I tweaked the recipe), but it came out just right. I put the rum IN the mix and the glaze, rather than soaking the cakes later. I like it better the way I did it.

I’ve been asked, over the years, why I bother putting up a lot of decorations and doing big meals and cleaning for the holidays when I don’t have lots of people over. I do it for us. I do it because the years I haven’t done it, I was unhappy. Making the places festive for various holidays makes me happy, so why not do it? Why must everything always be for someone else?

I made the salmon with cumin glaze, and we had sweet potatoes with it, for the Eve meal. We stayed up, watched the ball come down in Times Square (to think, I used to be able to watch from my apartment window, I lived so close; glad not to be in that madness now). It was very discouraging to see all those people crammed in there unmasked.

I stayed up until a little after one. Tessa was delighted. Charlotte and Willa were confused. It is lovely to live somewhere that locals aren’t setting off illegal fireworks in the streets and putting us in danger.

Up early on the Day. Did the fire and ice ritual. Noodled a bit on the two projects with which I’m playing.

I made traditional Eggs Benedict for breakfast, which was good.

I set up the new, small inkjet printer. Finally. It took 3 damn hours. It should have taken 20 minutes, but the printer drivers wouldn’t load properly, and the laptop wouldn’t recognize the printer, even though it was connected by USB. What a nightmare. It’s such a lightweight piece of lousy plastic, I’ll be lucky if it lasts a week. But the scanner works well, and it’s better than not having a printer at all.

I printed out the last three chapters of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, so at least that’s all in the binder, and I can put it aside to rest for two months, while I work on other things.

I had to rearrange my office space to fit the second printer (the big laser printer is sitting there like a lump until I can get someone over to fix it). At first, I hated the rearrangement, but now I kind of like it. I still have to find a convenient place to put the file folders I need regularly, but I can make this configuration work.

Started reading a book that I hoped would be wonderful, by a Very Prominent Author. The premise sounded great, and it started off well. Then, a few chapters in, for no discernable reason, it switched into present tense and stayed there. I hated it, so I stopped reading.

So much for the first book of the year holding deep meaning. I thought I’d chosen so well!

Started reading one of the books I received as a holiday gift, and that was fun. Read the next book for review, which was interesting, but completely shifted genres for the last third of the book, and structurally couldn’t support the shift.

I have a few scripts in my queue to start the week, but not enough, so I hope more will come in.

Slept in a bit on Monday. Technically, it’s a holiday, but I needed to get some work done.

Many of the businesses and organizations around here close for the first two weeks of January, and I fully support that. Everyone is tired. It’s winter. We need rest.

I did some work in longhand on two projects: one I’m writing the actual story, and the other, I’m making outline notes. The second is pulling to start “writing into” so that I can finish the outline, but I want to do the other one first.

Posted the “Intent for the Week” here. Polished the Ink-Dipped Advice post that goes live tomorrow, and the Process Muse post that does the same, and wrote the Process Muse post for next week. It’s up and scheduled.

Did a quick round of the social media sites.

Revised, polished, uploaded, and scheduled Episodes 49 & 50 of Legerdemain, which go live next week. They needed a good bit of work, as, I believe, the next episode will.

Swung by the post office to mail a few things, and then the liquor store to stock up. In the afternoon, I turned around a script. In the evening, we had the online soup class with Chef Jeremy. Good thing it’s online, with the number of attendees who “got COVID for Christmas.”

Class was fun, and there are techniques I can and will use when I make the bouillabaisse later this week.

Did not sleep well, because Charlotte woke me up every two hours (including throwing up in the bed at 2:30). So that was a lot of cleanup and comforting her. I tried shutting her out of the bedroom, but she had a panic attack.

I had a series of weird dreams – in one, I was lost in a large school in which I’ve had dreams before; another was about writing a rent check to a person I know only from online, because I was subletting from him; the third was kind of a mess; a fourth had to do with an important scene for the outline I’ve been working on in longhand (which I wrote up this morning).

Which meant I overslept, and am getting a late start this morning.

The plan is to work ahead on Legerdemain today, first. On the social media rounds, I will post links to the regular Tuesday material, including the episode of Legerdemain that drops today, and one of the Topic Workbooks. I also have to work on some interview questions that need to go out this week for an article, create the episode graphics for the episodes that uploaded yesterday, and turn around two scripts. I hope I’ll get out a few LOIs, too. I have to swing by the library, but it’s just a quick drop off/pick up, nothing major.

I need to buckle down and focus today. Which is difficult, because I’m sleep-deprived. But we keep on keeping on, right?

Have a good one.