Thurs. Dec. 1, 2022: Boxes. And More Boxes.

image courtesy of Davie Bicker via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Getting sunnier, and very cold

There’s a post on decorating and garden-y things over on Gratitude and Growth.

If you missed Ink-Dipped Advice’s post yesterday on vetting potential clients, that’s also up.

I have not yet unpacked the new printer. Of course, I haven’t started using the new coffeemaker yet, either. It took 4 days to read the manual. But that’s on the agenda for the next few days going into the weekend. Along with another big decorating push. There are many decorating boxes strewing the space. There are boxes/bags that need to be packed and shipped with gifts. There are things, such as the printer, which need to be unpacked. Do I feel boxed in? More like boxed out.

I managed to get home from errands yesterday before it started bucketing down. I sat down and wrote THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. 1151 words. Which brought me to 59,736 for NaNo. I did some other stuff, but it bugged me to be so close to 60K and not at 60K, so I went back, wrote 481 words to finish the chapter, and made it to 60,217 for the month. That feels better.

That was the final interim chapter. Now, I can renumber the chapter I wrote last Friday, put that in, and start on the next chapter, which hurtles us toward the climactic sequence and the end of the book. I think it’s more likely this will come in around 75-77K, and that gives me room in the edits to layer on historical detail, while also putting in some more twists.

In the afternoon, I turned around 3 coverages, which means I ended the pay period close to where I hoped. I have to push hard the first half of December, so that I can relax around the holidays. Then I have to push hard at the beginning of January, because quarterly taxes are due mid-January. It’s great to say “save 30% of your income for taxes” but that is not always the reality.

This morning is meditation. After breakfast, I will sit down and write THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. The natural rhythm of the piece is between 1100-1700 words, rather than pushing over 2K in each session.

I have to get some comments out on a friend’s book and set up the interviews for January for the article I’m doing. I need to get back to another colleague with information.

I have two coverages to do this afternoon (starting the new pay period), and I have two for tomorrow, so I’m set for the week. Hopefully, enough will come in next week for a full week. I also need to get the next seven episodes of Legerdemain uploaded, scheduled, and the ads created. They’re written, they’ve had a couple of editing passes, but I need to get them up, and hope that I don’t need to plant anything there as I finish the arc (I’m behind where I want to be on that). If I hit a point like that, I’ll have to make do planting it somewhere else. The joy of serial writing.

In any case, the next episode goes live today, and I hope you enjoy it. I’m certainly not getting rich on the serial, but at least the last couple of months, it’s been earning its run. Have a good one!

Tues. Oct. 11, 2022: Serial Musings, Creative Inspiration, and Dishes

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Pluto direct as of Oct. 8

Cloudy and cold. Second frost.

I started out stressed on Friday, but then calmed down. As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I hoped to get an oil change, but had to schedule it for yesterday instead.

I came home, got some work done, had trouble logging into Ello, which bothered me, since that platform has one of the highest metrics for me.

I picked up some books at the library, swung by the post office to mail some cards and bills, picked up some wine at the liquor store, filled the gas tank.

I jumped in the shower when I got home, and I thought, “what if I just don’t worry about everything that still has to be done today? What if I just get it done without the worry?” And that made things flow better.

I worked on script coverages up until the time I had to get dressed and go to the art opening. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t stay long; I made sure my colleagues knew I was there and that I thought they did a great job; I had a short conversation with the artist; I looked at the art five or six times, seeing something new each time. And then I left, as it got more crowded. The turnout was good, which is always heartening.

Home, made fish and chips for dinner, then finished the script coverages, which took until nearly 10 PM. But I made my goal and a little over this week. But I was tired.

Overslept on Saturday morning, after weird dreams.

I did a lot of promotion for the Free Vella Binge days. I promoted my serial, and I also read a lot of other writers’ serials, and it was a lot of fun. I hope they do a binge week a few months down the line again. Today is the final day of the binge – which means you can even read the episode dropping today, Episode 23.

It also means I have to start a different type of promo as of tomorrow.

And I’m behind on the Topic Workbook promos, which have to get done, since they pay at least one of my bills per month!

I wrote more on the next LEGERDEMAIN episodes – about 3K, and it felt good. This arc is taking some interesting twists and turns for me as the writer, even as I sort of stick to the general outline I made for the arc.

A character started talking to me. She’s kind of a cross between Marion Ravenwood and Morticia Adams, and I kind of love her. I listened to her for awhile and made some notes. Where I originally planned to start turns out to be further into the piece. My character told me the action starts IN an action scene earlier. So I listened.

I think this will be a short serial, to dip my toe into the waters of Substack. I have some questions to ask them about pricing, and if one can put bundling serials into the tiered pricing system. It’s a combination of action, magic, fantasy. With, of course, some humor. The voice is VERY different from LEGERDEMAIN.

Anyway, the series is called Vixen’s Hollow, and this first “season” is called THE CUNNING ONE. If I stick to the outline, it will be 12-20K. That way, I can dip my toe in while prepping EARTH BRIDE (which needs a fuckton more revision than ANGEL HUNT) and developing REP. While keeping LEGERDEMAIN going on over at Vella, as long as the metrics for work it, and also putting ANGEL HUNT up there in January.

Then, by midyear next year, I’ll have enough data and metrics to compare, contrast, and see if either platform grows the way I need it to grow for this to be viable on both financial and creative levels. And can make informed decisions.

While I’m juggling the other prose, script, and business writing. I think it’s do-able, if I stay focused, and if everything is outlined properly. Then, in each project’s time slot, I drop down and work. Hit my quota, take a quick break to clear my head, and move on.

We also did some more decorating on Saturday, putting up the autumn lights (which is always a bigger PITA than I’d like) on the front porch, in the living room, and in the kitchen. I wanted to wait to do the stair lights until after the storage run.

Sunday morning, we were up at 4:30, and on the road by 6, even though I had to scrape frost off the windows. It’s our first frost, which means the colors will begin to pop soon.

The drive to the Cape wasn’t bad at all, in spite of some sun glare for a bit. There wasn’t much traffic, and it was pretty to see where the colors are throughout the state. Mid-state has the strongest color now.

We made it in 3 ½ hours instead of 4, and spent about an hour in the storage unit, trying to organize and rearrange what shifted. We still haven’t found the photos and scrapbooks from our trips, and I’ll have to take another look at spring’s trip. I also forgot the shepherd’s pie dishes, which annoys me, and I didn’t have the energy to move enough boxes to get to the books I wanted.

But we brought back teapots, my grandmother’s china, the snowman china, lots of pictures and a couple of paintings, more sewing baskets, my wardrobe kit (which I will clean out and make functional for current project life), plant pots, and some miscellaneous stuff. It was a full car.

We stopped at a favorite store, which has things I haven’t yet been able to source here, and stocked up.

We were back on the road  a little after 11. We hit a bad pocket of traffic from Worcester to Sturbridge, but then, even though it was busy, traffic moved. We stopped at Adams Fresh Market for things like pizza, bread, and pie (their bakery is wonderful), and filled the tank up the street at Cumberland Farms. The gas was 4 cents more a gallon on Sunday than it was on Friday, when I filled the tank in preparation for the trip.

We were home with the car unloaded by 3:30, and kind of tired, even though it was a much less stressful day than I expected. Ate pizza, unwrapped some of the pictures. Some we will hang up; others we will put aside and maybe switch out, if we get tired of what’s up on the walls.

So tired, I went to bed at 7:30 at night. Slept until midnight. Woke up because my hip hurt. Moved to the bed in the sewing room and slept until the alarm went off at 6. Weird dreams, including that my laptop was stolen, with the flash drive holding the serials. I guess I better back it up on the external hard drive, too.

Tessa was beside herself, claiming we were starving them to death.

Fed the beasts, fed myself, pulled it together and was out the door and at the garage by 8 for my oil change appointment.

I’d brought CAST IRON MURDER with me, to work on the multi-colored draft, and got a couple of chapters done while I waited. The change was easy-peasey, reasonably priced, and they always do right by me. The car is purring like a contented cat.

Came home and started unpacking/washing china. Of course, now we have to figure out where to put it. And now, in addition to working on a flash fiction idea about a haunted doorbell, I want to write another about dead ladies’ china. Because ideas come in batches, like cookies.

Some of the pieces could go into the dishwasher, but most of the older, fragile, bone china needed to be handwashed and set out on the mats to air dry, then get wiped.

Of course, I don’t have a place to put some of it, although I think I’ve come up with a temporary solution that involved buying another rolly cart for the shelf full of tea and chocolate, and then putting some of the dishes up there. Until I can get a china cabinet that will fit into one of the corners in the living room or my office.

Because there are still two boxes of china that need to come up in spring. And who knows how  much I’ll rescue out of thrift shops over the winter?

While batches of china dried, I did Kindle Vella promotion and finished the first draft of the first episode of THE CUNNING ONE. It needs some tweaks, but the bones are good.

One of the things I noticed while reading serial episodes is that many of them are long, because the author is simply posting book-length chapters in preparation for the book’s later release. I’m intentionally keeping the episodes shorter and crisper than I would for a book because serial structure is different from book structure. It’s not just a bunch of chapters slapped up there, one at a time.

LEGERDEMAIN’S sometimes run longer than I would like, although if we get up to 1700 words, I try to break it down and restructure it. I can’t always do that without losing the rhythm, but I try, and as I write forward, in this second arc, I’m much more aware of structure as I write, rather than writing and then revising to fit structure.

ANGEL HUNT was originally created as a serial, then opened out as an (unfinished) novel, and now being adapted back into a serial. The episodes are short and tight, shorter than the original serial episodes. But it fits the rhythm.

THE CUNNING ONE, at least so far, is a little longer than ANGEL HUNT’s, but still less than LEGERDEMAIN. I want to keep the episodes between 900-1100 words, not more than 1200.

EARTH BRIDE’s will be more complicated, since that was originally written as a novel, and the chapters run long even for my usual chapter lengths. I have a feeling those will run around 1500 words each.

No idea about REP yet. Since it’s a science fiction comedy, probably short, precise chapters that build in comedic beats and then pay off.

Anyway, in addition to that, I did some noodling on two Christmas story ideas, which I need to draft before November. One is aimed at the newsletter subscribers; the other will go up on Ko-fi. My friend Chaz Brenchley has a really cool piece called HITHER that he releases a page at a time over there. You can read HITHER here (and buy Chaz a coffee).

We’re all experimenting across formats, trying to earn a living practicing our craft.

I tidied up some of the text on the Legerdemain site yesterday afternoon, too. I will work on the city’s history and the People content, and hope to get them up this week. I want to start promoting the site.

Slept decently last night, although, again, I had the dream that my laptop was stolen with the serial flash drive in it. Note to self: back up serial flash drive on external hard drive AND make sure the flash drives are out of the laptop and put away at night, or when away for extended times.

Back to the page; there’s a lot that has to get done this week. The To Do lists I made the last two weeks only depress me. But I have a lot that has to get done. So I better get to it, huh?

Anyway, Episode 23 drops today for LEGERDEMAIN, and I hope you enjoy it. The direct link to the series is here.

Fri. Sept. 30, 2022: Inner and Outer Fog

Image by Joe via pixabay.com

Friday, September 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cold with dense fog

I could not shake the sadness triggered by the dream yesterday, to the point where getting through the day was a struggle. It was a case of actual reality not aligning with my emotional reality.

Meditation was lovely (Charlotte participated). I then had time to bolt breakfast and head for MassMOCA for the Working Artists Group, which was also good. They’re talking about moving sessions to after traditional work hours, which does not work for me. I can go to the next meeting – I think –even though it’s at 5, but if it moves to evenings, I will have to give it up. These meetings are part of my job, not a hobby; and if people are going the “day job comes first” route, then it’s not the right group for me.

Got the newsletter out. I like using MailerLite. The newsletter has a good feel to it. Of course, since that newsletter is out the door, it’s time to start the document for December’s newsletter!

The missing piece for one of the script coverages arrived, so I read that, updated the notes and sent it off. Started to turn around another coverage; it was missing a piece. Sent off the note. Received an “updated draft” that was still missing a piece, so I asked the support team for guidance. I have a feeling this particular author does not know the difference between a “preface” and a “synopsis.” Did half of the big coverage that’s due today, and will finish the rest this afternoon. That piece is pretty good.

Got 3 writer satisfaction bonuses, so at least the feedback’s been helpful.

Finished the book for the review that’s due today. I’ll write it up and get it out this morning.

I’m woefully behind in what I needed to get done this week, especially when it comes to Legerdemain and the next radio play. However, I have a lot of bills that have hit and need to be paid, so the script coverage has to take priority. But I’m discouraged with myself. I just don’t have the stamina and the mental capacity for long days that I used to.

So I have to adjust.

I’ve been invited to three events next week. I’ve already bowed out of one, because it will be inside, a large group, and unmasked. Nope. Not with the way the numbers are going up. I’m not yet sure about the other two.

I’ve also made peace with the fact that it might be years before I go to another in-person conference, if at all. If they’re not going to have safety policies and enforce them, I won’t be there.

On this morning’s agenda are the book review, Legerdemain, some blog posts, hopefully some work on “Owe Me.” The afternoon is about finishing the large script coverage and doing a shorter one. And that’s the pay period.

I’m trying to get in touch with various friends and colleagues in Florida, to make sure they are okay.

This weekend, I hope to get some more work done on Legerdemain and on the outline for the Retro Mystery. We’re also turning over the curtains/fabrics to October and getting out the decorations.

I am so ready for Mercury Retrograde to be damn over.

Have a good weekend, my friends.

Published in: on September 30, 2022 at 7:05 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 30, 2022: Inner and Outer Fog  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Fri. Dec. 10, 2021: Just Let Me Hide in a Book Fort, Away From the Incompetents

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Friday, December 10, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We had a dusting of snow overnight. Just enough to be pretty.

Meditation was great yesterday. Charlotte participated the whole time (because, you know, Zoom).

After breakfast, I grabbed the bags with the packages and cards, and with the library books, and headed out. The sidewalks weren’t too bad, heading out, just a few patches of ice, and I went slowly.

There was a line at the post office, but the packages were mailed out, and the postage was about half of what I expected it to be. So that was good. Everything is supposed to arrive in 3-5 days, which means about 10, but should still get there in time for the holidays. The cards all went on their way, too, so, hopefully, they will arrive at some point in the next 10 days.

Headed up to the library to drop off and pick up books. Came back along Church Street, which was quite slippery, at least up until I reached the college property.

Worked on the tracking sheets for The Big Project, because if I lose track of the details, I will be in big trouble.

Finished off the newsletter. There was some wonk in the contact list. It wasn’t a difficult fix, just took a bit of time. Let people know they can still sign up before it goes out – I’ll actually send it this morning. And then block into next year’s calendar when it needs to go out again, and start a document that I can add to as interesting tidbits come up to go into March’s.

As I get more comfortable with the templates in Sendinblue, I can probably bump up the visuals, eventually.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It was about virtual assistants. I used a virtual assistant when I did more online courses, to handle the admin bits, but what I do now doesn’t really need one.

The VW dealer in Pittsfield downright refuses to give me an estimate for the repair, and won’t even estimate how many hours – at over $100/hour – the diagnostic will take. Um, diagnostics take about 35 minutes. My cousin helped design the fucker. So when they tell me it might take “several hours” to run the diagnostic and THEN they’ll be able to give me a detailed repair estimate, I know they’re out to screw me.

On top of that, after ignoring me for two weeks, I’m getting multiple emails every day from different people in the sales department, asking me what I’m looking for in my new car.

THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS ISSUE IS ABOUT. ARE YOU INCAPABLE OF BASIC READING COMPREHENSION? AND YES, I AM SCREAMING.

Seriously, I’ve driven Volkswagens all my life, my cousins was in R & D for years, and I have never dealt with such a bunch of incompetent headcases. Not only do I doubt they’ll fix the car, I am convinced they will screw me as badly as possible through the whole process.

Not a happy camper.

Wrote up three coverages. Read a short story that’s under consideration for adaptation, and two more scripts, all of which I will write up today. And have to get out a review for a book which definitely did not work for me.

Knowledge Unicorns went well, although everyone’s looking forward to the winter holiday break.

Reading Erin Sterling’s THE EX HEX, which is a lot of fun, although there are some logistical glitches that bother me. Still, the writing is energetic, the pacing is good, the premise is fun, and the characters engaging.

It’s supposed to warm up into the 60s by tomorrow. My body does not enjoy the fluctuating weather. The forsythia are already blooming back on Cape Cod, which means it will be a wonky spring down there.

Have a good weekend, my friends. Catch you on the other side.

Tues. December 7, 2021: Maybe Your Business is Struggling Because You’re Unprofessional

image courtesy of Matryx via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold; incoming snow

The past few days have been up and down.

I lost far too much of Friday. I tried to find a mechanic to fix the car – no one would get back to me with a response and an estimate, including the dealer. What kind of business model is that?

According to AAA, the nearest of their certified mechanics is in Bennington, VT. I shouldn’t have to cross state lines to get my damn car fixed.

On top of that, I was trying to integrate MooSend, the platform to which I’d exported my mailing list, to my website, so people can easily subscribe on the website, it goes over to the MooSend mailing list, and they get the next newsletter. Only it wouldn’t integrate. I asked tech support for help, and they sent me links to articles where the steps in the article didn’t match what was coming up on my screen. I went into their Live Chat. The guy sent me the same articles. I told him that I’d tried all that already, and that’s why I was on Live Chat. Because it wasn’t working. He kept telling me to do stuff that didn’t come up on my screen. I’d send him screen shots to show him what was on my screen and what I should do with what was actually coming up, and it just went round and round for hours. He walked away from the chat after a couple of hours. Some other guy came on, a few minutes later – and sent me the article. Hadn’t read any of the notes or looked at the screen shots. I told him to forget it, I was going to a competitor.

In meantime, on the website, I got a flash of something that needed to be updated. I tried to update, and it didn’t work. I contacted my host, A2, and asked for the steps, since clicking the update didn’t work. The tech asked permission to enter the account, I gave it, and the glitch was fixed in less than five minutes.

I thought maybe the MooSend integration would then work, but nope. Still the same issues. So I disconnected all the MooSend plug-ins.

I did some research on other platforms. I knew I didn’t want Constant Contact or Robly. I considered MailChimp, and sent them some questions, which were ignored. They weren’t top of my list anyway, so that was no big deal.

So I looked at Sendinblue, and that seemed to have what I needed. I set up an account, which was easy as could be. I imported my contact list, easy as could be. I downloaded the plug-in to the website. Easy as could be. Activated it, set up the new form, and it seems to work.

I’ve written most of the text for the newsletter, and played with templates. Starting from scratch and building it myself seems to work the best for me, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ll play with it some more, send a test to myself. If that works, the newsletter will go out this week, and the quarterly deliveries will start up again, with occasional special announcements in between.

If you haven’t signed up, and you’d like to, you can do so here.

Getting everything set up on Sendinblue took about 30-40 minutes, including all verifications, API keys, plug-ins, etc. Meanwhile, I’d lost three hours with MooSend’s useless “support.”

Hopefully, I’ll remain happy at Sendinblue, at least for a while.

I was grumpy and exhausted by the end of it all. I hadn’t had time to get the promotions for the holiday shorts “Just Jump in and Fly” and “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” up. I did manage to do some work on the notes for The Big Project and for THE KRINGLE CALAMITY.

I did my script coverages. I read the next book for review, which was charming and delightful, and got a good review.

After my pity party, I sat down with Cherie Priest’s GRAVE RESERVATIONS, her newest release. I sat and read until after midnight. I loved it, and did not want to put it down.

Tessa got me up on Saturday around 5:30-ish, which is acceptable. Once I’d fed everyone and they were settled again, I sat on the couch and finished GRAVE RESERVATIONS. Loved it so much. I hope she writes more with these characters, because they are a delight.

I let her know, via tweet, how much I loved the book.

Then, it was time to buckle down to my own work. I did some more work on the outline for The Big Project, and did the first draft of the first chapter, which came in at 1282 words. I’m looking for the chapters to be between 1-1.5K and not more than 2K on any given chapter, and, on this particular project, the structure has to be impeccable, or it will all fall apart. Because it’s complex, I have to keep a careful set of tracking sheets, updating it preferably every chapter, but not more than every three. Or I will get myself into a tangle.

I had a ton of fun writing the chapter, although I had to stop and make decisions on the way about details. They can’t be layered in later, because they are vital to the way the piece builds. Details can be polished or cut or moved in edits, but the first draft has to be what a usual third draft for me usually is.

Still, it was a good feeling to get it done.

The sky looked rather ominous by the time I was finished. I wrapped up for the weather and walked down to the wine store for a couple of bottles of wine, and stopped at Cumberland Farms at the end of the street for eggs and coffee. You know, the essentials: eggs, wine, coffee.

The whole thing was a little over a mile on foot, round trip, and nothing was very heavy. But I’m still not up to full strength after the vaccine booster, and was pretty shaky by the time I got home.

Does not bode well if I have to walk to Big Y and back for a big grocery shop, even with my little upright rolling cart. That round trip would be a little over three miles. Might consider taking a taxi back.

After lunch, I spent some time on the acupressure mat, which I hadn’t done all week. Once I was realigned there, I got up and wrote up the script coverage I had to do.

Leftovers for dinner, and then I did the revision on “A Rare Medium.”

Read some of the Marie Corelli research, but fell asleep fairly early.

Slept through the night, and Tessa didn’t wake me until nearly 6:30 on Sunday. After I fed them, I tried a new banana bread recipe, and, when I didn’t like the way it was turning out, tossed in some chocolate chips, which saved it. Still, not a recipe I’d use again.

I wrote the second chapter of The Big Project, which came in longer than I’d hoped (a little over 2K), but that’s what it needed to be. Felt good. Had lots of fun with it.

Switched over to decorating. We put up some of the Command hooks and put decorations on all the doors. We put multiple garlands on the bannisters, and threaded them through with lights. We put the lights up on the front porch, along with the small tree decorated in silver and blue, that used to be in my office at the other house. I put some battery-operated tall candles in the windows, although I don’t yet have the batteries for them.

It looks really pretty.

I admit, on Friday night, I considered not doing any more decorating this year. No trees, nothing. It all felt like too much.

But then I thought, I’m the one who loves all the decorations, and it’s a form of self-punishment not to put them up. And putting them up on Sunday made me happy, both the actual doing it, and then enjoying it.

It was the Second of Advent, so we lit the two candles. Plus our big, scented Christmas candle. And it was St. Nicholas night – time to put out the shoe, so it can be filled with candy!

Which made for a happy wakeup on Monday.

Charlotte started bothering me at 4:30, but Tessa let me sleep until just after 5.

Morning longhand writing session in, then yoga and meditation. Those practices suffered last week when I was so laid out from the booster, and I suffered as a result. So back to yoga, and I’m slowly expanding my morning practice.

Wrote the third chapter on The Big Project, and had a blast with it. It came in at just under 1800 words, pretty good. Then, I switched over and did just over 1300 words on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, and had fun with that. It’s weird, not working in full chapters with that, but there’s only so much I can do.

In and around those two projects, I was still trying to find a fucking mechanic to fix the fucking car. What the hell is wrong with these “businesses”? Can’t respond or give an estimate. Finally got a response from one – who can’t fix a VW. That mechanic recommended another one, whom I contacted and – no response.

After THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, I put in the revisions on “A Rare Medium”, found a few more things to fix, formatted it properly, got in the needed information, saved as PDF, and got it out the door. Ahead of schedule.

Phew.

I’d forgotten to turn on the crockpot, so it had to be on high all afternoon.

Did my script coverage, and got out a book review. Dinner was great; the recipe worked well. After dinner, I did more Marie Corelli research. I have a good sense of the character; now I need the incident in her life to dramatize.

The lovely chiming tower clock over at the college stopped around mid-morning. I miss it. I didn’t realize how much I used it to keep track of my day, and how much joy it brought me.

Went through the materials for tonight’s Wild Oats Board Meeting.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it’s delightful. I love it when they include fuzzy socks, and these have little hour glasses embroidered on them.

Sorted the laundry before bedtime. Got up at 5 (Tessa was just doing her warmup scales). Got everyone fed, got myself dressed and the first writing session done. Then piled the laundry and the washing materials and my work bag into the little upright rolling cart that’s been in the family since 1969 and rolled the laundry down the street to the laundromat.

As usual, I was the only one there, but it wasn’t creepy. Got the laundry loaded up, then sat down and worked on tightening the point-by-point notes for The Big Project, so that I don’t go off on tangents. Realized I have to do an insert to the second days’ work, in order to keep one of the running jokes going. There has to be a reference in every chapter. The Big Project relies on impeccable structure, along with engaging characters, quick dialogue, and a rip- roaring plot. So taking the time to polish the outline saves me a lot of pain and time later in the process.

After breakfast, I need to do a run to CVS for a couple of things. Fortunately, it’s in walking distance, but it’ll be about an hour round trip. Debating whether or not I should stop by the library while I’m in that direction, or wait until Thursday.

We have a storm coming in today, and snow tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a mechanic today and schedule the repair for Thursday or Friday. This is ridiculous. If I can’t trust someone to be capable of the technology of answering an email and/or giving me an estimate, why would I think they have the skills to repair my car?

Once I get back, it’s back to work on today’s words for The Big Project and THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I have to get the ads going for the two holiday shorts, and finish the newsletter.

Then, it’s back to script coverage and client work. With any luck, I’ll get out a few LOIs, too.

But, for the moment, I’m back on the pavement, getting my errands done. We’re definitely getting a storm; pre-storm headache in full force.

Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: It’s Getting C-c-cold!

photo courtesy of Ginny via pexels.com

Thursday, November 4, 2021

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Partly sunny/cloudy/cold

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about our first frost last night.

The days are kind of mashing into one long day.

But I had a couple of good writing sessions, blogged, checked in with my Nano Writing Buddies, updated Enchanted Wordsmiths, checked in with the Berkshire Region writers. The usual.

It looks like we’ve got my mother’s insurance/medication issues sorted out, thanks to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office. Her staff guided us to the resources/people who could help us. So that’s a relief. I still have to tell Tufts Health to shove their demands for additional payments (even though they discontinued insurance) up their collective ass, but that’s for next week.

Switched out books at the library, mailed bills at the post office, picked up eggs and coffee at Wild Oats, and, since I was in that direction anyway, got duck Lo Mein from the Chinese restaurant I like out that way. It was sooo good.

Someone on social media, who’d spent months begging for followers, is now whining that, having reached the 5K she wanted, she no longer feels safe and is deleting approximately 200/day. She made a list of all the hoops people need to jump through in order for her to “keep” them.

I solved it for her in my case by disconnecting. Zero patience for that shit.

I’m tired of the bullying so many people who claim they are working for tolerance, justice, and equity constantly do to the rest of us. If I do something inappropriate or hurtful, definitely let me know, so I can make it right. But don’t tell me who I can follow and what I can put on my own timeline. You don’t like it, scroll past or disconnect.

Too many self-righteous jerks.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, to some really cool companies, so, fingers crossed.

Remote Chat was fun.

Needed time on the acupressure mat. All this desk time causes pain.

Worked on script coverages in the afternoon. Got the two out for the scripts I’d read the night before, read another script and got that coverage out. Read two more scripts at night.

Found out disturbing information about a theatre institution I’ve revered since I made my commitment to theatre. Distressing and heartbreaking, but better to know the information and make decisions with that knowledge moving forward, than to remain in a deluded bubble.

Was supposed to attend an NYU event on Zoom, but I never received the link, so I guess they must have filled up before I signed up. Oh, well. It happens.

Charlotte and Tessa did really well yesterday. After sleeping in the living room all night without fussing the previous night, they had peaceful co-existence all day. Charlotte slept on the bed with me last night, and Tessa let me sleep in until 5:30 this morning. Tessa even let Charlotte into the kitchen for breakfast without fussing.

Unfortunately, a little later, while I was writing, they had a spat. Two steps forward, one step back. But every bit of progress helps.

Meditation group on Zoom was great this morning. Charlotte sat on my lap for most of it and participated.

Wrote the next chapter of CAST IRON MURDER, at 2418 words. I like the way it’s shaping up, even though there’s a great deal of revision in the piece’s future.

Now, off to write up script coverage and try to get ahead on the emails. It’s astonished how much email pours in each day, even with all the unsubscribing I’m doing. Also time to make the rounds of Nano buddies, et al. No point in being a listed as a buddy if you’re not going to actually be supportive, right?

I hope I can finish my work early enough to day to get in some reading for pleasure. And I also hope to get some work done on “A Rare Medium.” I’m so close to the finish line with that play!

It was 28 degrees out last night. Brrr. But it’s so pretty!