Thurs. Dec. 28, 2017: Holidayish Reading (How Very Icelandic of Us)

Thursday, December 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Bitterly cold

This week is gosh darn cold!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. I’ve been up and down emotionally since the Solstice, for no discernable reason. Just hit with the blues and the blahs, and then manage to pull myself out of it.

Saturday, I gave myself a much-needed break. I needed time off. I read a lot. I’m keeping a notebook of my reading. Not to boast about it or make people who read differently feel bad, but because I’m interested in how I read and how what I read leads me to other books. Some of the entries in the notebook will be developed into “Conversations with a Book”, a new section for A Biblio Paradise.

I read several books over the weekend, some good, some mediocre. One was just awful. The protagonist was nasty and not very bright. The book was anti-environment, anti-gay, pro-church-style conformity, anti-city, pro-stupidity. A pet cat was needlessly murdered — and the protag called the cat “stupid.” A dog was shot without cause or any believable repercussions. And I’m supposed to like this protagonist? Root for her? I kept hoping she’d be the next murder victim. This particular writer has a long-running series; I’ve read some of the books and thought “meh.” This book has turned me off her completely. Kill the pets and don’t heavily punish the perpetrators and you lose me for life.

Read some interesting books, including some fiction and non-fiction. It’s because I found myself “arguing” with one of the books and taking notes that I came up with the idea of “Conversations with a Book” for A Biblio Paradise. With all the webhost shifting and email address shifting coming up, it will probably debut in February.

Christmas Eve was fun. Quiet. The roast beef turned out well, but next year, I’m making plum pudding instead of buying one. This one didn’t cut it. We always open our gifts on the Eve, so that was fun — since there were more books, and, in Icelandic tradition, we read well into the night and ate chocolate!

I wrote. Quite a bit. But not on SERENE AND DETERMINED, whose deadline is coming up this week.

The Day was nice, although started out stormy. We have the stockings on the Day. I made scrambled eggs to go with the pannettone. I made the devilled eggs for the dinner party, and we went out to dinner with friends up the street, who’d also invited other friends, a philosophy professor and his wife, a special ed teacher. Good conversation, good food, good times.

Tired, though, coming back.

Tuesday, I ran errands (including picking up pieces of Winterberry china on sale, a pattern I’ve loved for years) and did some revisions.

Wednesday, I was onsite for most of the day with a client, as I will be today. Late Wednesday, the December newsletter went out, including a holiday story that’s just for subscribers. It’s much longer than I planned, and gentler, but I like the characters, and think it might, somewhere down the line, grow into something else.

Working on finishing and polishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, which should go out tomorrow, but, in a pinch, could go out on Saturday.

I’m tired with “end of year exhaustion”, but must keep going. There’s stuff that needs to be finished, and things that need to be sorted for 2018 on many fronts.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the Year-End Wrap of the Goals-Dreams-Resolutions. On Tuesday, the new ones for 2018 will post, and Wednesday, the To Do List for January goes up.

I have to sort out my schedule so I stay on track, but build in enough room for creative percolation time and to play with new ideas.

Hope you’re having a great week!

 

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Published in: on December 28, 2017 at 3:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 28, 2017: Holidayish Reading (How Very Icelandic of Us)  
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Wed. Dec. 20, 2017: Almost Solstice! Writerly Preparations

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

We’re having a mini-thaw, which means it feels colder, because it’s the wet cold instead of the dry cold. I hope we have just a dusting of snow this weekend, for the holiday.

I was saddened by the Amtrak accident in Washington State. When I moved back east from Seattle, back in the mid-80s, I took the train from Seattle to New York. It was an amazing journey.

Of course the Narcisstic Sociopath tried to make it all about him. What a waste of food that moron is.

Cookie platter deliveries are going out; I’m trying to get my e-cards out; I’m working with one particular client on site most of this week, and then my full focus goes back to SERENE AND DETERMINED. It’s chugging along, just more slowly than I’d like, and it’s due at the theatre next week.

Doing another pass on the TRACKING MEDUSA proofs. When those go out, and SERENE AND DETERMINED is out, I have to look at two other manuscripts (should just be a proof-read). I have to finish FIX-IT GIRL, so it can go out on submission early next year; I have to prepare workshop proposals for a couple of places that are interested; I have to ramp up the submission of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC; I have to get both THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and NOT BY THE BOOK back into the daily work queue. THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY is due in February to my editor; NOT BY THE BOOK doesn’t have a hard deadline, but I want to finish it and get it out the door by spring.

Next week, I have to sit down and figure out the manuscript schedule for 2018, both hard and soft deadlines. Yeah, because THAT was so successful last year! But with some contracts settled and the promise of a new webhost who actually gives me what I pay for, maybe I can get back on track.

I have to build in time for new ideas that are worked on in tandem with what I have scheduled. It means being even better at time management. I’m decent at time management now, but I need to be brilliant.

I also have to remember to build in time for what looks like “doing nothing”, but is actually the creative process at work.

Tomorrow is the Solstice. I’m looking forward to celebrating!

Published in: on December 20, 2017 at 3:07 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 20, 2017: Almost Solstice! Writerly Preparations  
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Tues. Dec. 19, 2017: Holiday Hamster Wheel

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not as productive, writing-wise, as I wanted.

I wasn’t able to get the rest of the cookie platter deliveries done on Friday, due to weather. I knew most people wouldn’t be around over the weekend, so they’ve been bumped to this week.

I was exhausted by the car repairs Friday, even though it went well. I find it stressful. But the car purrs like a tiger, and is happy.

I turned around the proofs for TRACKING MEDUSA, and have the next set to proof. Hopefully, we’ve caught everything. I should have done them this weekend, but I wanted to come back to the text with fresh eyes. Yeah, right. I needed a break and procrastinated!

Continued decorating Friday, Saturday, and it was Sunday by the time the decorations were all up and the boxes put away. Took me a month to decorate the house, but it looks great! It feels good, too, and that’s so important. For all I love to travel, I’m very much hearth and home.

Friday afternoon, I finished the gifts that had to be mailed and got them to the post office. We are so lucky — the people who work at Centerville Post Office are amazing!

Saturday, I sat my butt in the chair and wrote the holiday cards. Once I actually sit down, I enjoy the process. I love to reconnect with people; while I send cards to many of those with whom I interact regularly, there are also those where we only connect that once a year.

I realized I should do a direct mail piece, once the two novels move distributors and the new websites are up, about my books to this targeted list. They know I write, but I haven’t given them enough information.

Because my webhost, 1and1.com, is so slimy — I mean, have you ever heard of a webhost that won’t allow simple jpgs to go up on a site without additional charge? Anyway, it’s put the kybosh on the holiday promotions I’d planned. I lost the holiday market this year, because I couldn’t properly promote. Because of the distribution move, I need to be able to have the information, along with the covers and media kits, ON MY WEBSITES. And my host won’t allow it. The repeal of net neutrality early for their customers, I guess.

I didn’t expect to make a gazillion dollars on holiday sales, but I usually make a reasonable amount that helps push me through January and February. Not this year.

I’m going to demand my money back for this final quarter. They did not deliver the services promised in the contract.

Anyway, once everything is moved, I’m going to do a direct mail promotion to my holiday list, and then I’m also working on some other cool promotions winter going into spring, with a nice big one for the Coventina titles while THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY releases, joining PLAYING THE ANGLES on the shelf.

I ran out of stamps on Saturday — I’d miscalculated. Well, math has never been my best subject. The post office was open an extra hour and I ran down to re-stock. Well, the line was out both doors into the parking lot! I couldn’t believe how many people were mailing stacks and stacks of packages! Most people mailed at least five; many mailed at least ten! Everyone was in a good mood, though, and we were laughing and joking and talking about how great our post office is, and how we love supporting them.

Came back, finished the cards. One mail carrier took the first batch when he dropped off a package; our regular guy arrived just a few minutes after I finished the last card. All good!

Did some work on the aging novel. I’m going to add menopause into that. Too often, it’s depicted as cute and funny when, in reality, it’s miserable and interferes with life.

Sunday, we finished decorating and put things away –which took nearly all damn day.

In and around that, I wrote the first chapter and a half of a piece I’m playing with — it could be a valid novel in its own right, but it also serves a more personal purpose, as in trying to figure a few things out.

Yes, I SHOULD have worked on other things, but I needed the break.

Monday, was back to work on SERENE AND DETERMINED — I’ve figured out at least part of the second act, and where I want to go with it, but I need a good ending. I have to trust that, as I write, I’ll get there. This play has been quite a challenge. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s amazing how every play, every script, every novel, takes on its own life and demands its own process. If I tried to force everything into the same process (which I have tried — and it’s failed), it takes the life out of the work.

I needed an infusion of Janet Malcolm’s writing. I like her work. Over the weekend, I re-read THE JOURNALIST AND THE MURDERER, and am reading THE SILENT WOMAN. Both fascinating, and both bring up issues about journalist and subject that are more relevant today than ever.

I’m about two issues behind on my NEW YORKERS, but I’m hoping to catch up next weekend! (When I’ll be three issues behind).

One client meeting was cancelled yesterday, so I was on site with another client, and then has some other meetings.

I’m working on a proposal for a workshop — they might have their full roster, but just in case, I’m going to pitch to this organization.

This is a busy week, especially with the Solstice on Thursday, and Christmas next weekend into early next week!

 

Fri. Dec. 15, 2017: More Snow = Writing Weekend

Friday, December 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

How much do I love my mechanics in Plymouth? Car is all set. What a relief. And they loved the cookies!

Yesterday, cookie deliveries were cancelled due to weather. But I took my mom to her appointment — they’re happy with her progress.

I got the edits in to my editor on the short piece. I got my galleys back for TRACKING MEDUSA and am working on those. I’m getting some work out to a client ahead of our Monday meeting.

I’m hoping to reschedule some of the cookie deliveries for this afternoon — tomorrow we’re supposed to get more snow. But it may wind up happening next week.

This weekend is about TRACKING MEDUSA galleys, writing holiday cards, and finishing SERENE & DETERMINED.

Have a great one!

 

Published in: on December 15, 2017 at 11:27 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 15, 2017: More Snow = Writing Weekend  
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Thurs. Dec. 14, 2017: First Accumulated Snow of the Season!

Thursday, December 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold

Late getting on today, because we had three inches of snow this morning! Very pretty.

Busy day with a client yesterday. Lots of social media work, promotions, et al. I’m tracking to see what kind of return these promotions get. I’m doing that with the books, too. As an author, I am as much of a small business as anyone else. If the marketing dollars I put out don’t show a TANGIBLE return — meaning book sales — I will put them elsewhere.

Cookie platter deliveries in the morning, before meeting with my client. I was almost out of cupcakes (which I knew would happen, they have to be baked just before they go out). So, in the afternoon, I baked another 3 dozen chocolate chip raspberry cupcakes and frosted them.

A couple of gifts arrived from friends, which is always fun.

Got some writing done in the evening. An editor wants a revision done on a piece — I disagree with it, but I’m going to do it anyway. This is on the difficult gig, from which I hope to extricate myself in a few months.

The snow this morning means my morning cookie platter deliveries will be moved until after it clears up.

Finishing up the work on the new opening for BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, so that TRACKING MEDUSA can go to the publisher. Then, it’s back to finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, and the FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

I’ve captured the text I need from my websites; there are some changes I will make in the re-design and the move. By late January, I hope to have the new designs on the new host. I’m also looking at getting some logos designed. Fearless Ink needs a more unique logo — and a more unique look for the website. I still want to keep everything simple, but the graphics need to be more striking, and more to the point.

When I put up the ocean graphics for both Fearless and the main Devon Ellington Work sites, that’s where I was, that’s who I was. At the edge of the ocean. The work and I have both evolved, and the websites need to reflect that.

So, today is about digging in to the work, about revising for an editor, about my mom’s appointment with the surgeon, and delivering cookie platters. I’m also digging in to the holiday card writing later — I need to get that done!

Tomorrow, I will be late blogging — car repairs will take up the morning, and then more cookie platter deliveries! But then, I should be done with the platters, and can focus on finishing the cards, and finishing up some work for a client meeting on Monday.

I love sitting here, watching the snow fall! (Although I dread going out in it later — there’s much more snow than predicted)!

 

Published in: on December 14, 2017 at 1:24 pm  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 14, 2017: First Accumulated Snow of the Season!  
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Wed. Nov. 6, 2017: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy few days.

My late-paying client turned out to be a life-saver, paying me for the month that was late and the monies not due until the end of December. That will go to car repairs. I’d hoped to have money to adopt another cat before the end of the year, but no such luck. Guess Tessa’s not getting a new friend until the new year!

Work on SERENE AND DETERMINED is going slowly, but going. My deadline to turn in the play is the end of the year. I’d hoped to get in in sooner, but it’s slow. When the information on someone indicates she was determined to keep a lack of drama in her life so that she could focus on her art, well, it’s difficult to dramatize! 🙂

But it’s been a joy to immerse myself in Renaissance art for a year. I learned a lot, but there’s still so much more to learn!

The idea for the Winter holiday short that goes out with the newsletter that will go out early next week hit me in the shower yesterday. I have the characters, the situation, the story. Now, if I can only keep it to under 1000 words! I wanted it to be 500 words, but I doubt I can do it justice in that.

Got more lights up, and the Santa collection out. Still have to decorate the back room and my office. Things get a little elaborate in my office.

Also have to start the baking and finish the cards this week. Too much to do, too few hours in the day. Just like everyone else.

This morning was the joy of a candy-filled shoe! I love the morning after St. Nicholas Night! Yum yum!

Lots to do with my clients.

Busy time.

I’ll be blogging late tomorrow; National Grid is coming in to change out the meter, and then I have yoga.

Be well, be kind. Remember, Mercury is retrograde!

Published in: on December 6, 2017 at 3:32 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 6, 2017: Keeping On Keeping On  
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Tues. Dec. 5, 2017: And We’re Definitely in Mercury Retrograde

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Yeah, Mercury’s Retrograde — AGAIN, and it looks like it’ll be a rough one.

Hop over to the GDR site for the November wrap-up.

Hop on over to the Kemmyrk site for some background on today, one of my favorite days, St. Nicholas Day.

I’m still recovering from the events of Friday and the car. I contacted my regular garage, and they’re putting together an estimate for me. I contacted a friend who knows the best places to get tires around here, and he gave me some suggestions.

Got a bunch of admin stuff done Friday, and then I went off to Nirvana in Barnstable to meet a friend for coffee. And was stood up. I had to dig deep — I don’t like that type of disrespect, and it’s a pattern between this individual and me.

But instead of sitting there feeling angry and hurt, I acknowledged I was both of those things, and I sat and enjoyed my mocha latte for a half hour. It was quiet, it was pretty, it was a nice atmosphere. Why shouldn’t I enjoy myself, since I was there? So I did.

Then, I went next door to Barnstable Market, and I found the plum pudding, Dresden stollen, and leibkuchen I wanted for the holidays.

I let the person know I’d waited for a half hour and then left. I didn’t hear anything until mid-morning on Saturday (since I know this person is intimately connected to mobile devices at all times, that didn’t help my attitude). She claimed she’d sent me an email, because a crisis at work came up, and she hopes to reschedule. Well, I never got it (Mercury Retrograde), and it is what it is. These things happen, and things get mixed up. Later in the afternoon, she forwarded the missing email — it had never left the Inbox. If she’s serious, she can contact me after the holidays.

This is huge progress for me, acting like a grown-up in this situation. I’m not striking out in anger. I’m also not committing to putting myself into a situation again that’s bad for me. I’m being polite, and giving the benefit of the doubt to a point, adding it to the balance sheet.

It builds on removing myself from a work relationship that had been toxic last year, where I’d done the equivalent of $150,000 of pro bono work over several years for an organization that repeatedly refused my professional suggestions because they were “too New York” (um, no, they’re “professional” which is why they WORK in New York) and then turned around and paid someone else to do the exact same thing I’d been doing for free. Truly a case of “why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” And yet, without that client, my life contains much less stress and unhappiness, although there are aspects of the work with them that I miss.

But aren’t balance sheets in relationships always uneven? To a point, yes. Relationships, friendships, the like, all go through cycles where one party tends to do more of the heavy lifting. If and when it gets out of balance, that’s when the relationship has to be reassessed. Either there are ways to get it back in balance, or it needs to end. And only the individuals within the relationship understand its unique balance.

In January of 2016, my promise to myself was “reciprocity” — because I feel that in this area of the country, most interactions lack reciprocity. One party demands everything and gives nothing in return. In New York, believe it or not, there was far more reciprocity, especially among professionals. Cape Cod is the epitome of how and why the “Trickle Down” fantasy the GOP keeps pushing DOESN’T WORK. It doesn’t let people break the cycle of poverty (on either financial or emotional levels), and, after awhile, people start living a “gimme” life. What the GOP claims is created by social services (such as SNAP and Medicare) — laziness, refusal to work, grabbiness, expecting handouts — is actually CREATED by THEIR policies when they remove those safety nets. But, because they’re being paid off to push the policies, they don’t care.

It’s been hard work these last two years to put the Reciprocity Model into action in my life. I often fail. But I’m more aware of it now, I’m better at saying “no” upfront when an unequal demand is made, or, once I realize it’s getting way out of whack, trying to rebalance and/or make the decision that is best for ME and walk away.

There’s definitely more work to do, but I’m making progress. Not the least of that progress is not letting the hurts and anger fester and dwell on them, rather than letting go and moving on. I remember, and I use what I’ve learned to make better choices.

Anyway, Saturday was about finishing up both a review and an article. I also raked another 270 gallons of leaves — still in the front. I haven’t made any progress anywhere else yet! Got a bit of decorating done, but there’s still so much more to do.

Thought about SERENE AND DETERMINED, but didn’t get anything written on it. I tried to make up for it yesterday and today. I don’t know why I’ve had such a difficult time getting the play on paper this year.

Thought about a few other things I want to create next year — long-term business plans.

I sent out a bunch of questionnaires to potential web hosts. My current web host 1&1, did nothing but insult me and give me the runaround instead of taking 15 minutes to answer my questions. I need a new web host!

Behind on TRACKING MEDUSA, too. Behind on “Miss Winston Apologizes” — release date moved back on that. Although the new cover is pretty cool.

My mom’s foot is taking a long time to heal. We still have a lot of post-op care.

Outlined two new ideas. Don’t know when I’ll get a chance to work on them, but the premises intrigue me.

Over the past month, my mom and I have read all of Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop Mysteries and her Cupcake Bakery Mysteries. They’re fun, and I like the way she grows the character relationships from book to book, so they’re all of a piece. That’s what I’m trying to do in the Nautical Namaste and the Picaroon Island mysteries.

Tessa loves the Christmas Tree. She’s very gentle with it, but she loves to spend time under it — especially when it’s lit.

Session with the client went well yesterday. Hopefully today will also be great, and forward progress.

A lot of deal with this week. During Mercury Retrograde. I’d rather hide in my bed, but I guess that’s not an option!

 

Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Quite the busy holiday weekend. And yet, it feels like I got very little done.

We didn’t go to Maine for the holiday, like we usually do. Usually, the first few days of Thanksgiving week, I’m finishing my Nano word count, cooking up a storm of desserts and other things. Then, we usually drive up on Wednesday, making our favorite stops. I bring up the dinner and dessert for twelve I prepared at home, and that’s what I serve those who set up the Hall that’s always rented for Thanksgiving on Wednesday night. Thursday, I can usually get a bit of writing done in the morning, then help with the food prep at the hall (mashing vats of potatoes is my speciality), help with the clean-up, and preparing the snack for Thursday night. Because we have anywhere from 37 to 64 in the hall for the actual meal. And Friday, we head back while everyone else runs around shopping.

Not this year, because there’s too much post-op care after my mom’s surgery, and she still can’t fit into a shoe.

My mom had her doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning. He’s worried about her accelerated heart rate and is changing her medication. I took her home, got her settled, and spent a few hours on site with a client.

Then, home, and ready to dig in for the weekend.

Thursday morning, I was up early. The turkey was stuffed and in the oven by 7:30 in the morning. I read, and got some reading done, checking on the turkey and preparing the other dishes. We ate around 3. Maple-cranberry glazed turkey, my own stuffing recipe, mashed potatoes, my own carrot-parsnip in mushroom gravy, peas. Apple pie for dessert.

My mother wasn’t feeling well, with bouts of dizziness from her medication. So, all of the cooking, the set-up, and the clean-up was on me. I put away the leftovers, took apart the turkey. I’d gotten a bit overzealous with the turkey — over 22 pounds, and just for the two of us. We’ve got a good bit of leftovers. I then boiled down the bones to make stock. Once the stock was done, I added onion, celery, carrots, herbs, garlic, etc. and some turkey meat and made turkey soup. Once that cooled, I put everything in jars and labelled it.

Basically, I was in the kitchen for about 13 hours.

But it was an outstanding meal.

Friday, I was up early. I got a few things done around the house, and I emptied the Christmas closet and stacked the boxes by category in the back room.

I had to take my mom to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, and then we dumped a stack of books in the book drop at the library, and picked up her new medication. Then, we headed to Country Gardens, where I got the wreath I’ll decorate for the door, a small tree for the barrel in the front yard, and a cyclamen.

Home, and got the laundry going. Then, I ironed all the holiday fabric, took off the Thanksgiving fabric from all the surfaces that were covered, and replaced them with the Christmas/Yule fabric. Stripped the mantel and the hearth, wrapped the iron candle stands in gold ribbon, set up the Advent Table. Put up the musical fabric over the fireplace, set up the garland, the gold bells, and the caroler collection on the top, and the herd of deer on the bottom. Got some of the Advent table done.

That took all damn day.

Watched a rather pointless documentary on Stonehenge and did some reading.

Saturday morning, up early, outlined the next section of the Lavinia Fontana play. Changed the beds, vaccuumed, moved things. Hauled the big tree down. Got it into the stand (worst stand ever). Put the tree together. Got the lights on. Even though I tested them before I put them on, once they were on, half the strand at the top didn’t work. Took them off. Tested them again. They worked. Put them on. Now they didn’t. Went to the store to get a replacement strand. Got them home. Tested them. Three quarters of the strand worked; one quarter didn’t. Went back to the store. Swapped them out. This strand worked. Got them on the tree, and it all worked.

Lost two hours on the damn lights.

Unpacked a lot of the ornaments. Got some of the windows decorated. Finished the Advent Table (since Sunday was the First of Advent). But didn’t get the tree done. Didn’t even get the ornaments on it.

We’re rearranging things this year, and a lot of it is trying something, deciding that’s not what we want and changing it.

Honestly, it was easier in the small apartment where everything only fit one way!

But I do enjoy the decorating process.

I was tired that night, though. Too tired to do much. I did get the Norfolk pine planted in the barrel. But the neighbors are doing yard work and I am not. I am doing the inside first.

I couldn’t find the recipe I wanted, so I invented on. Hello, chocolate espresso spice cake. It turned out well, but I think I want to tweak some of the proportions and make it better.

We had power fluctuations on Saturday. Power kept going on and off in the evening and all night. Good thing it happened AFTER the cake was done!

Sunday, I gave myself the morning off to read and play with the cats.

Then, I had to do some work for one of my clients. I was behind, and we were meeting yesterday to finalize some photos for the rough of the media kit and the brochure.

We also did a photo shoot in the cemetery for the cover of “Miss Winston Apologizes”, since everything we’ve come up with so far isn’t quite right. Hopefully, what we came up with will now work.

Didn’t sleep well Sunday night into Monday. I’m dreading when Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Managed to get some good work done yesterday morning on SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Had to help my client untangle computer issues most of the day yesterday. How much do you want to bet there will be more today? Scary when I’m the most IT-savvy person in any room! 😉

Busy week – I feel like I’m falling behind, so I’ll have to add in extra writing sessions, probably late at night.

And so it goes . . .

Published in: on November 28, 2017 at 2:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track  
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Wed. Nov. 22, 2017: In Prep for the Holiday

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Yesterday was busy. I managed to get some writing done in the morning, then worked on-site with a client for the bulk of the day, prepping samples for her 2018 collection (she’s a designer, and I’m learning the collection so that I can write about it).

Not much writing done on either day on SERENE AND DETERMINED, although I think I’ve got the rest of it plotted out in my head. But when I put it on paper, the characters keep surprising me in the best ways possible.

A bit of work done on the aging novel.

More questions to my webhost to see if we can resolve our issues; also wrote up a list of what I want and need that I’m sending to the web hosts I’m “auditioning.”

Got some work done for another client, that was sent off in the afternoon.

No raking — now there’s a surprise! If the weather holds, I’ll have to do it over the weekend.

This morning, my mom has a doctor’s appointment, so I’m taking her over. After I bring her back, I’m working onsite with a client for a few hours, and then I’m off for the weekend.

Not that I won’t be working! In and around the holiday, I have a book to read and review, the edits on TRACKING MEDUSA to finish, work on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and some client work for a Monday afternoon meeting. Plus, the polish on “Miss Winston Apologizes.” Which also means I have to write the teaser for the next Cornelia True and Roman Gray piece. Which is as yet untitled, although I’ve got a decent idea of the plot. It will be the last story for the moment set in this era. At the end of it, they leap into the future — and miss. Roman thinks they’re going to his time period — but they don’t quite get there.

I’m hoping to get TRACKING MEDUSA to my editor by mid-week next week.

I’m keeping track of the sales that are coming in tied to the promotion for SAVASANA last week. It’s interesting. All this tracking information helps me make decisions on future promotions. By not running multiple promotions at once, I can see how each one pays off in tangible terms, and then make the choice to use or not use them again. The spin of “we can’t guarantee sales, but your name gets out there” — um, sorry, if I’m paying you, I expect you to promote to people who actually buy books. I expect that to manifest in sales. If the promotion doesn’t pay for itself and a little extra — moving on. An unpopular stance to take, but there are too many companies soaking authors without aren’t getting results.

Charles Manson is finally dead. For those of us alive during that awful era of the murders and their aftermath, it is an enormous relief. There was always the fear he’d con the parole board into getting out, and then the atrocities would start again.

I’ve heard mixed stories about David Cassidy’s death or just that he’s near it. Either one makes me sad. And makes me feel old. I was never a particular fan of his music or had posters of him up or anything, but he was a part of my growing up years. And, later on, he was active in helping a horse racing charity in which I was involved.

I’m looking forward to this holiday weekend, and then we descend into the holiday madness. I’m determined to pace myself. I want this to be a happy and peaceful holiday, because next year presents a lot of challenges and transitions for me.

Have a great weekend! I’ll catch up with you again next week.

Published in: on November 22, 2017 at 3:26 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 22, 2017: In Prep for the Holiday  
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Tues. Nov. 21, 2017: So Much Going On!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and get to know my guest for the week, Patsy Collins.

Friday afternoon, I raked and bagged 180 gallons of leaves. And that was only half of the front yard! But I wouldn’t trade my trees for anything.

Also, Friday, I was irritated by trolls. At this point, one expects them regarding politics. But now there’s a cadre of people attacking writers who write regularly (every day or most days), claiming “most” writers don’t write every day, they’re living their lives, and people in the industry should stop talking about writing every day. Oh, and if you’re writing that much, you’re a hack and can’t possibly care about quality.

I have no idea if the attackers consider themselves writers or not. I sure as heck couldn’t find any published credits. But most professional writers I know write on most days. I couldn’t keep a roof over my head if I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it or that I don’t care about quality.

But it my job. It is my business, not my hobby. I don’t do it on the side. It’s how I pay the bills, how I keep a roof over my head. No matter how much I do write in any given day, there’s still more that needs to be written.

I don’t wait for inspiration. I hunt it down.

Some whiny wanna-be who wants to be praised for not writing isn’t going to get cut a break from me. Do it. Don’t do it. Your choice. But stay out of my way. And don’t attack me because I love my job, I’m good at it, and I earn a living at it.

And guess what? I have a pretty terrific life along WITH the writing.

Hey, if you’ve got a high-powered agent who gets you six figure advances and CAN take five years to write a book, more power to you. But I need to show up every day and do the work.

Speaking of inspiration, another conversation on Twitter about a powerful medieval woman, inspired an idea for a new play, which I will pitch to 365 Women in January. Here, I’d decided four plays in three years were enough with them, but I’ll pitch one more. The person who extolled this particular woman was shot down — she’d gotten her people mixed up — but there were enough sources for me to start my research. I will reveal the name of the woman and a bit about her if the pitch is accepted.

Saturday, I finished a guest blog article for someone kind enough to host me, and sent it off with various information. I went to the post office to find out what happened to the package that was supposedly delivered on Thursday. Turns out it was delivered in another state. When I went on the site to rate the seller, it turns out that five other people have had the same issue THIS WEEK. There were no such reviews when I placed the order. I contacted Amazon. They are opening and investigation, and the lovely customer service rep filed an A-Z refund request on my behalf. Hopefully, I’ll get my money back. I can’t just cancel the card before that happens, or I won’t get the refund. But, as soon as I have it, I need to cancel that bankcard and get it replaced. I’m worried. I don’t want this person to make false charges on my account.

In the interim, I’ve cancelled my outstanding orders on Amazon, and I don’t plan on doing any of my holiday shopping through them. I wasn’t planning to do much anyway — I prefer local businesses with unique items. But there were a few things where Amazon seemed like the best deal. But now, I don’t trust the transactions. If things are resolved quickly and to my satisfaction, I may re-order; at this point, I doubt it.

I raked another 240 gallons of leaves. The front yard is now done. It took two trips to the dump to get them out.

Read a little, wrote a little in the afternoon. Watched travel documentaries in the evening, and did some plotting on some outlines.

It looks like I’m going to have to move all my websites soon. Not to a different host, but because the host “upgraded,” I am basically fucked. Because heaven forbid THEY take care of it when they’re the ones who make changes. What am I paying for again? I really need to start auditioning new webhosts. I have to go back to the questionnaire I started a few months ago.

Sunday was a day to dig in and write. Worked on the aging novel. I’m rewriting what I’ve got so far in third person to first person. The protag is talking in first person, and I need to go with it.

It was pouring with rain, so I couldn’t do any yard work. I did some housework, but I’ll do the big scrub right before the holiday.

I wrote about 1K of new material on the aging novel and then went to type up he first handwritten chapter. When I rewrote it in first and actually got into what I was trying to say and how to say it, it wound up being two chapters. Massive rewrite — not the way I usually work, rewriting as I go. But every book needs its individual process, and you have to honor the work.

Anyway, I wound up writing 29 pages on the book.

Then, I switched over to the play, SERENE AND DETERMINED. It seemed like I’d done massive amounts of work on that, but it turned out to be only 12 pages. Frustrating, since that deadline looms. But those pages are good pages, so I should be happy. Even if I wish I’d managed 29 pages on the play and would have been content with only 12 pages on the novel.

It means I have to dig deeper this week, and will probably add late night writing sessions in, along with the early morning sessions.

I worked on site with one client for a few hours, got some work done at the library, and did some writing for another client, which I added to this morning, and which goes off this afternoon, in advance of our next meeting after the holiday.

Started raking the side front lawn, but didn’t get very far. In yesterday’s storm, a bunch of the leaves from the side blew back onto my newly-cleaned front. Of course, it doesn’t help that the neighbors use leaf blowers to blow their leaves into the street, which then blow into my yard. So I’m basically raking leaves for the entire neighborhood.

In addition to digging down on both the play and “Miss Winston Apologizes” over the holiday weekend, I have a book to read for review, and I need to finish the TRACKING MEDUSA edits, which have to go out next week.

Somewhere in there, I’ll be doing the cooking for Thanksgiving and starting to put up the holiday decorations. The tree will make it into the stand and the Advent Table will go up, if nothing else. Plus, the overseas cards need to be written — they have to go out next week if I want them to arrive before February. For some reason, from the Cape it takes for damn ever for an airmail card to actually take air.

We’re still changing the dressings on my mother’s foot regularly, adn she goes back to her regular doctor tomorrow morning.

Onward.

Published in: on November 21, 2017 at 2:41 am  Comments Off on Tues. Nov. 21, 2017: So Much Going On!  
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Fri. Nov. 17, 2017: Writing, Errands, and Amazon Delivery Fail

Friday, November 17, 2017
Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a busy day. That seems to be the mantra, isn’t it? The Books and the Bear promotion went out for SA.VASANA AT SEA

Day before dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month. Dark moon, I start feeling better again.

I had to contact my webhost — the book covers aren’t showing up on my website for SAVASANA, nor is the Media Kit downloadable. That’s not acceptable. The host switched over to a Microsoft Server, and, Microsoft is claiming my uploads are “double escapes” and they are forbidden for “security”. Which is complete and utter crap.

So, again, just when I have a release, and it’s vital everything work, my host lets me down. Because 1and 1 sucks.

Moving everything and/or rebuilding the websites from scratch will be a nightmare, but I really don’t see what else I can do. 1and1 doesn’t deliver on the package for which I’m paying. Every “improvement” makes it more and more impossible for me to do what I need to do, and everything that’s supposed to be included then suddenly becomes an additional monthly fee.

I need a stable webhost that lets me do what I need to do. I need to be able to run multiple domains at a reasonable price, along with multiple subdomains.

So, I’m on the webhost hunt again.

Caught up on a lot of web and admin stuff yesterday, and uploaded next Tuesday’s post to A Biblio Paradise. My guest is Patsy Collins, whose newest book is set in both South Wales and Capri, which sounds interesting. Anyway, on Tuesday, I hope you’ll hop over. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you! 😉

I set up the Questions for 2018 on a separate page on the GDR site. I figured that makes more sense than having to constantly scroll down and look for it. The questions have shifted a bit from the past few years, because, well, people change. Life changes. Things evolve.

I’m having a series of interesting small “aha” moments lately. They are adding up to the major shift that will happen next spring. Clues along the trail. I still don’t know what the ultimate outcome of it all will be, but the journey is intriguing.

Did some client work. I’ve kind of done all I can on a couple of projects for this client until they get back to me with the information I requested in order to go further.

Yoga mid-day yesterday. It was a good class. I was achy and tight all over. It made me realize that, on days when I’m working onsite with my clients, I have to come home, immediately change into yoga clothes, and do a solid, forty minutes or so of yoga or I get out of alignment and tangled up. I can’t sit for so long, especially since the desk and chair are the wrong heights for me on one particular site.

My mom’s medical appointment was moved a few hours earlier, so I dashed home from yoga, packed her into the car, drove her over in the pouring rain. While she was in there, I ran a couple of errands nearby, then picked her up, and off we went home. She’s healing well. It’s slower than she would like, and she can’t do much, which frustrates her, but the nurses assure her she’s doing well and is right on track.

By the time we got back, I was done for the day!

I’ve been expecting a book I ordered from an Amazon-connected vendor. It was ordered on Oct. 31, and supposedly shipped on Nov. 1. The delivery was marked between Nov. 8-15. Now, since I paid full price for the shipping, that seemed a bit long. But, most of the time, the stuff arrives on the front end of the estimate. I’d ordered two other books from different vendors the same day. At cheaper shipping, I might add. One arrived THE NEXT DAY with a nice note — you know I’ll be doing business with them again), and the other arrived less than a week later.

I’m still waiting for this book. The tracking said it would be delivered by 8 PM on the 15th. Well, the mailman was there around 3:30, and, no package. Then, yesterday, it’s marked “delivered.” Where? Sure as hell not to me. I was home when the mail was delivered, so it’s not like anyone had time to steal it off the doorstep. I walked around and don’t see it anywhere. If it was misdelivered to a neighbor, the neighbor would have brought it over. We run back and forth a few times a week with misdelivered mail. So where is it? And why the hell would it be my job to walk the neighborhood to try to figure out where it was misdelivered? I paid for it to be delivered in a timely fashion TO MY HOUSE.

I contacted the seller when it didn’t arrive the first time, and then again last night. I’m going to the post office with the tracking number today. Hopefully, the seller will put some pressure on it from that end, and we can figure out where the heck it is.

Not happy about it at all. On the one hand, I don’t want to blame the seller for something that happened on this end. On the other hand, I paid full price for shipping, so why wasn’t it sent via first class mail? And what good is the tracking number if it doesn’t accurately track?

Time to visit the post office. My post office people are very nice, so I know they will at least TRY to figure it out. But it’s frustrating. And it makes me not want to order again.

It’s not even holiday madness. If it was holiday madness, I’d give it more leeway, but this is basic mail delivery.

And, of course, crickets from the seller. Not even an acknowledgement that I contacted with a problem. However, it might be overzealous to expect a response in less than 48 hours. That IS the standard business response time. So I really don’t have a right to be annoyed with the seller until, like, Monday.

Enough of the cranky today, right?

I ran a ton of errands this morning. By accident, I found the turkey of my dreams on sale at a great price, so I hauled that home and it’s waiting patiently for Thanksgiving. Found the cookie tray packaging I need for my annual cookie tray event, and a couple of small gifts for my mom. And I have almost everything I need for the dinner next week – just have to pick up some fresh vegetables and the pie the day before. Picked up some yarn my mom needed, and a few other things.

Yard work after lunch, although it’s windy, and I hope my piles of leaves don’t blow into my neighbors’ pristine yards before I can bag them!

Only then will I be able to dig back into SERENE AND DETERMINED. I am determined — pun intended — to finish the first act this weekend.

A friend sent me some raw material that he’s wondering how he can shape, so I’m going to give him some advice, too.

I’m going to try to stay offline all weekend, and that includes social media, in order to really dig in to SERENE AND DETERMINED, and also, hopefully into a few other projects.

And get yard work done on any day that isn’t raining!

I won’t be able to post about the weekend’s writing until Tuesday’s post. Monday will, again, be an “intent” post.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on November 17, 2017 at 11:43 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 17, 2017: Writing, Errands, and Amazon Delivery Fail  
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Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Wed. Nov. 15, 2017: Good Neighbors, Good Clients, Good Writing and SAVASANA AT SEA RELEASE!

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Release day for Savasana at Sea! Buy Links here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

SAVASANA AT SEA releases today!

I’m excited about this book, because I wrote the book I wanted to read and couldn’t find. It’s got a large, international cast, humor, mystery, romance, yoga, murder.

Busy days, but the right kind of busy.

Good work with two of my regular clients. Both in very different professions; both are lively, engaged, and have great products, stories, and information to share with the world. I’m delighted to be working with them.

Septic tank pumped out Monday morning, more complicated than expected, but it’s done and everything works. The truck blocked my neighbor’s drive, and he was having trouble getting past with his equipment. He was so thrilled that I came over and said I’d ask the truck to move. Sort of basic neighborliness, isn’t it? I’m glad I made him happy. The new puppy was also happy.

SERENE AND DETERMINED, the Lavinia Fontana play, is coming along. It’s funnier than I expected. I’m planning for it to be a full-length.

Working on both THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and the aging novel. Little bits here and there.

Working on the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, and on “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which will probably drop at the end of the month. TRACKING MEDUSA is still on track (no pun intended) for mid-January release, but through a different digital publisher/distributor.

Books & the Bear is doing a promotion for SAVASANA tomorrow. I’ll be walking my talk, tracking results, to make sure I get bang for my buck, just like in the article I wrote for WOW-Women on Writing.

Yesterday was a lot about client work; some follow-up for one client, but the bulk of the day was spent on site with the other client. I’ll be there today as well — she’s a clothing designer, and the spring samples just came in. So we’re doing the prep work that needs to be done so that I can write about them, while I’m still trying to write about this year’s fall line.

I will be a guest on a fellow author’s blog soon, and I’m working on that post, which I’ve promised her by the end of the week. Also finishing up an article for another publication that is scheduled to go live in early January. And I’ve got another book to review.

Plus, I have to get organized for Thanksgiving, and do yard work on any day where it doesn’t rain.

Busy in the best possible way!

 

Published in: on November 15, 2017 at 3:34 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 15, 2017: Good Neighbors, Good Clients, Good Writing and SAVASANA AT SEA RELEASE!  
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