Tues. April 18, 2023: A Productive Weekend of Scribbling

image courtesy of Queena Deng via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Day Before Dark Moon

Rainy and cold

The temperature’s already fallen 45 degrees since late last week, and they predicted snow tonight.

Did you have a good weekend? Are you ready for our usual Tuesday morning natter?

I fixed a big plot hole in Thursday’s pages on FALL FOREVER, and that allowed the scene to move forward. I wound up writing about 6 pages on Friday.

Worked on material for June’s newsletter because there’s actually material for it already.

I wrote, revised, polished, and sent off the materials for the August residency. Either they feel I’m a good fit or they don’t. And if I get something definite on one of the other applications, before I hear one way or another from this one, I’ll have to make a decision. Chances are, I’ll take the definite. If I’m offered the August slot and know early enough, then I can build other plans around it.

Did a library run to drop off/pick up books. It was pretty damn hot out there.

Turned around two script coverages.

Read PAT IN THE CITY, Patricia Fields’s memoir about her life in fashion which then turned into a career in costume design (most famously for SEX IN THE CITY). It was very interesting. Although we overlapped a good deal in NYC, especially in the late 80s/early 90s, I was far too shy to be part of that crowd, and drugs were a big part of their scene, which was not mine at all. I mean, I was aware of her store and what was going on in the area (after all, I was at NYU, and then, once I came back from the three years on the west coast, I worked off-Broadway, climbing my way up to Broadway). I was just busy elsewhere.

Fortunately, Saturday wasn’t quite as hot. It’s pleasant enough to have my first cup(s) of coffee on the front porch, to write in my journal, and, Saturday morning, to write a few more pages of notes on REP. The big challenge with REP is going to be building the comedy properly, so it’s funny, but doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the story. And, since the ambition for it is to eventually adapt it back into either novels, or a series of novellas (the latter is more likely), I have to build the humor in a way that it doesn’t read as frantic in a flow.

I created a Serial Writers Questionnaire that I’m going to post around the various channels, to get an idea of what other serial writers are doing. It might grow into a blog post or an article at some point.

I winnowed down the inbox for my main email account to something I can deal with. I have to get on top of one more email inbox, and I’ll be on track.

I’ve been chasing down payment from a prestigious publication that pays a pittance, but claims that paying writers is important. I was supposed to be paid at the end of March. When I hadn’t received payment by the beginning of last week, I contacted the editor. The interactions have been pleasant, but so far, I’ve had excuses, trying to shift responsibility to me, and still no payment. I mean, I’d already decided I wouldn’t work for them ever again, since the payment is about 1/10th of what I’d get at the other publications I usually write this type of material for. But no. Don’t say you care about paying writers and then not pay them.

FALL FOREVER was a bit of a slog on Saturday, and I only wrote 3 pages. But I showed up and did it, and that’s what matters. In the first 15 days of the program, I wrote 71 pages, so I’m on track. I expected to be somewhere between pages 45-60 at this point, so a rough day here and there is not going to make me whine. Pushing through to the end of this draft, rather than skipping days and catching up because I’m ahead at the moment is a better choice for me, I think.

Drafted two episodes of Legerdemain. Did the log lines for this week’s episodes and the episode graphics. Did some more work on the 2000-year history of Legerdemain that will go up on the website. I need to get more original content up on the website to enhance the serial for readers, and to intrigue new readers. But it takes time, brain energy, and tech maneuvering.

Revised, polished, uploaded, and scheduled the next two Process Muse posts.

Rubbed one of the Adirondack chairs on the front porch with teak oil, prepping it for summer. Re-painted a copper and crystal whirligig so it’s all shiny and pretty. Cleaned the crystals and put them back in on Sunday, when the paint was dry. That will look pretty once we can get the back door open and out onto the back balcony.

Finished reading a book I thought was great for the first few chapters. Then, the author, via her trio of female protagonists started slagging off other women with the term “witch” as a derogatory. Nope, nope, nope. I’ve been a supporter of this author’s work for several years, but no more. Referring to women who are mean and bullying as “witches” is inappropriate in a contemporary novel for 2023. Don’t pretend you give a flying fuck about equity and inclusion if your protagonists (who supposedly do care) use the term, you hypocrite.

Ordered Chinese food because I didn’t feel like cooking.

Finally got to watch THE LOST CITY. It was a lot of fun, for the most part, but the logistical lapses bugged me. I mean, there was a lot that was wacky, because it parodied this type of film, but the internal logic of this wacky created world needed to be stronger. A couple of the jokes were milked too long and the air went out of the scenes. One scene, for a supporting character, that was supposed to plant information for a final scene visual needed a rewrite. The actress did what she could with the material, but the words weren’t enough. It could have been an hilarious scene and wasn’t, because it was a badly written monologue that didn’t build properly.  A supporting character had an arc with potential set up, and then it was dropped as the film continued with a really weak exit for him, which was a shame, because it would have added texture. Sandra Bullock was a lot of fun. Her timing was impeccable. Channing Tatum was fine, doing his thing. Daniel Radcliffe had a good time chewing scenery (his role reminded me a lot of his role in NOW YOU SEE ME 2). Brad Pitt’s cameo was hilarious. And his schtick of eating in a scene (this time off camera, in the first phone call) was one of those things that the OCEANS movie viewers will get and love. The plot twist at the end of his cameo was unexpected, and I’m glad I hadn’t seen any spoilers. The way the movie sends up conferences was hilarious.

So, overall, I had fun. It also taught me a few structural things I want to stay away from in the Heist Romance script.

Had trouble getting to sleep on Saturday; Charlotte got me up Sunday. Morning coffee on the porch with the journal, then a few more pages of outline notes for REP.

Wrote 3 ½ pages on FALL FOREVER.

Sunday was the day I put aside to devote mostly to ANGEL HUNT. However, I still had to draft an episode of Legerdemain first. I drafted the episode, and then switched headspaces to ANGEL HUNT’s world.

I adapted two chapters into serial episodes, for a total of 8 episodes. I uploaded the next eight episodes to Vella, which gets me through the second week of June, and I have episodes drafted well into the summer. I need to work on ANGEL HUNT one day per week, in and around other stuff, until all the episodes are polished, uploaded, and scheduled. Somehow, I hadn’t written the episode loglines for the upcoming 8 episodes, so I wrote episode loglines for 16 episodes, which gets me through everything that’s scheduled. I updated the Style Sheet and Series Bible. I’m up-to-date with characters on that, but behind on plot points, and was too tired to backtrack, so I’ll have to catch up with that, too. Some of the stuff I adapted today needs better follow-through with the arcs down the line; I may have to insert some material into the chapters I’m adapting. I’ve got just over 60 episodes drafted, and I think I’m at the halfway point, maybe just a tad beyond it. I’ve uploaded episodes through Episode 40. The sooner I can get the serial finished, edited, uploaded, and polished, the sooner I can work on the plan for it.

Read the latest NEW YORKER. Felt tired and burned out. Got some of the painting done on the wind chimes. I need to do the small bits later this week, when it’s dry.

Worked on contest entries.

Yoga was terrific. The conversation is as worthwhile as the practice itself.

Home, finished the leftover Chinese food, read for a bit.

Slept pretty well. Woke up in the middle of the night, worried I had a fever. But I was sandwiched in between Charlotte and Tessa, both of whom are very warm.

I forgot to set the coffeemaker Sunday night. We were all very confused Monday morning.

Felt burned out on Monday morning. It was hard to get going. Which frustrated me, because I’d been looking forward to this holiday Monday all last week.

I snuck in a little work on GAMBIT COLONY.

Showed up to the page at FALL FOREVER, even though I wasn’t feeling it. Once I got into it, though I wrote 4 pages. Finished the scene.

I’m moving into the last few scenes. Maybe three or four more. I’d like to finish the draft before our company arrives at the end of next week.

Drafted another episode of Legerdemain, which makes me feel, finally, like I’m pulling a little ahead. I need to keep it up all week, and then I’ll make some real progress. I will be able, when I upload more episodes this week, to get a few weeks’ worth scheduled, instead of just next week’s. Got up this week’s promos.

Drafted the first three episodes of REP. I want to write about 10 episodes to see if this is actually a viable project, or if it’s just something silly to work on as a stress reliever. These episodes are more dramedy with slight satiric elements than straight-up comedy. I may layer some jokes into it, but I might let the voice that’s coming through prevail, since it’s working. And I’m trying to keep the episodes close to 1K/each (a little over/under is fine). So, in terms of episode length, it’s between the very short bites of ANGEL HUNT and the longer LEGERDEMAIN. Although I’m trying to keep the Legerdemain episodes a little shorter, too. Metrics show readers prefer to spend 10-15 tokens per episode, but not more than 20. (Which means 1-2K words for episode length, with 1-1.5K being the sweet spot).

It’s very much a valentine to theatre.

But it also means I wrote 5-damn-K words yesterday, and by 2 PM, I was TIRED.

I couldn’t paint because it was raining, and it wouldn’t dry properly.

I took up residence on the couch, and Charlotte took up residence on me (I’m one click away from adding “cat furniture” to my resume). I read SPARKLING CYANIDE, the Agatha Christie read for this month. Some of it was clever. But the young heroine fell firmly in the “too stupid to live” category and I was almost sorry when the hero managed to rescue her at the end.

Soup class was a lot of fun. It will end in mid-May, and then start up again, with a slightly different format, in November.

I jolted awake in the middle of the night with sense memory stress, but Tessa purred me down. When I finally got up this morning, I felt tired and burned out. I mean, I worked all weekend, even if it wasn’t client work.

I feel good about my work (although I wish I’d gotten more done on Legerdemain’s website), but I’m tired.

This morning, first priority is the next pages on FALL FOREVER, then another episode of Legerdemain. Then, I’ll see where I am timewise, and what I can get in before I head off to the library and the pharmacy. This afternoon, I have two scripts to turn around. I don’t have any other scripts in my queue for the week yet, and I’m trying not to let that worry me.

I also need to backup my drives before Mercury goes retrograde, put up this week’s Angel Hunt promos, put together a list of collaborative tools for a friend, and send out some pitches. A friend asked me to blurb her upcoming release, and I’m excited about that. I won’t get to read the book until sometime in May (my schedule, not hers), but I’m looking forward to it. I also want to work on contest entries.

I’m looking forward to yoga tonight, even if it kicks my ass.

Episode 77 of Legerdemain goes live today!

Have a good one, my friends! I hope your week starts well.

Fri. March 17, 2023: Shamrocks for Luck, not Liquor

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Friday, March 17, 2023

Waning Moon

Cloudy and milder

St. Patrick’s Day (eye roll)

It was sunny, off and on, yesterday, so at least that made the errand-running pleasanter. But good golly, did people want to TALK! You’d think we’d been trapped inside for months instead of a couple of days. It was pretty funny. And I’m not in that big a rush that I can’t stop and chat here and there. Even though yesterday, it wasn’t just here and there, it was everywhere.

Did some of the social media rounds before errands, and then did the rounds to promote Legerdemain after I came back. People like to start the day reading the blogs, article links do better late morning, and the fiction links do best in the afternoon or evening.

One of these days, there will be a scheduling tool that actually lets us schedule posts across more than FB/Twitter/Insta and then it will save me hours. Some of that time I can spend on sites you know, actually interacting more.

Polished and uploaded next week’s Process Muse post.

The library weeded out reference books about children’s art illustrators. I gathered up the three volumes they let go, covering 1744-1966. I have a feeling they will come in handy for various projects. Even though I don’t yet know which ones.

Bought more at the grocery store than I planned (gosh, I bet you’re shocked, SHOCKED), along with buying coffee AND restocking the “emergency coffee.”

What, pray tell, is emergency coffee?

Since I often buy small-batch, locally-roasted whole bean coffee and grind it for the Magic Coffeemaker, that’s become “regular coffee.” But if the power is out, or, for some reason, I can’t get to the store, I keep “emergency coffee” on hand. That is ground rather than whole bean, and usually one of the brand name espresso strength coffees. I use it when I make Vietnamese coffee. And, when the power is out, I can heat up water on the gas stove and use it in either the French press or the Melitta pot.

I am not a big fan of St. Patrick’s Day for oh, so many reasons. Back in my NYC days, I’d started taking it as a personal day and staying in, because people come in from all over to celebrate and are drunk and sexually harassing anyone in their path and  puking in the streets by 8 AM. Cape Cod has some pretty intense celebrations, so I always made sure, if I was doing site work, that I was home by mid-afternoon, and then stayed put.

Last year was the first time we were here in the mountains for it, and it seemed pretty low key. Even the bar down the street (which has since closed), wasn’t too rowdy. I expected the college students to be out of control, but, for the most part, they weren’t too bad, even at the frat house down the block.

We’ll see how it goes this year, since so many people think the pandemic is over.

Charlotte is trying to learn how to play. She came to us not really understanding toys, except for the catnip banana and a few catnip sticks. Which is weird, because she came with a whole box of toys. Most of the time, she just watches Willa and Tessa play from a safe distance. If one tries to engage her, she backs away slowly.

But Wednesday night, she picked out a couple of toys and tried to play with them. It was a bit awkward, but I kept encouraging her, and she kept trying, until she realized that Willa and Tessa stopped what they were doing to watch her. But it’s progress. Let her get comfortable in her own time.

Willa loves mice and stick toys, and sometimes the balls with the bells in them. Tessa loves mice, pom poms, and stick toys. Considering Tessa is the Grande Dame of the household at age 12, it’s amazing how much she likes to play. And whenever she wants play time, she gets it.

I have three scripts in Monday’s queue, so that’s a good thing.

I did the social media rounds for yesterday’s episode of Legerdemain. I edited, polished, and uploaded two more episodes, wrote their loglines and made their episode graphics. Today I will schedule the promos, along with next week’s episodes of Angel Hunt.

Updated the tracking sheets. Tried  to set up character cards for Legerdemain in Scrivener, since there’s a lot to track. While I have the character sketch thing down, the only way I can work plot arcs is via “Untitled Document” or some such shit. Even creating a template, there’s no place to put the damn thing. Unless I completely work from a blank binder, but then I can’t mix and match the character, location, and plot arc cards.

Just fucking let me choose/create  my categories and create new index cards. I hate it when software micromanages me. I looked up a few sets of instructions to “create new index card” and the way it’s shown and what’s coming up on my screen are, of course, different. I’ll play with that. It’s not that big a deal.

Or, I’ll go back to my old-school tracking sheets, which, you know, actually work the way I need them to because that’s how I created them.

A book on AMERICAN WOMEN STAGE DIRECTORS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY arrived (fast, I only ordered it a few days ago). I bought it for the chapter on Jessie Bonstelle, but flipping through it, there’s information on a lot of the women with whom I’ve worked in theatre throughout the years. I’m very excited to sit down and enjoy the book.

I heard from a theatre to which I’d submitted a play about a month ago, acknowledging receipt. I heard from another company, to whom I’d submitted formatting questions for the one-minute radio plays and never heard back. They answered, I thanked them and said I’d watch for the next open call (since I missed this submission call because I hadn’t heard back). They responded and said they felt bad that they hadn’t responded in time for me to make the deadline, and I could go ahead and submit this week; even though they got a lot of submissions, they’re interested in looking at mine.

Which means my focus changes this morning to getting those micro-plays polished and out the door today.

Their call for 10 minute plays opens in two weeks, and I have something to submit to that, too.

I need to look at the science fiction horror western that used to be called “Severance” and find a new title, get a new cover, and re-upload it as a Delectable Digital Delight in the coming weeks/months. It was ahead of the fashion when it first came out, Of course, researching the titles that make the most sense, there are pieces out there with those titles. Even though one can’t copyright a title, I’m trying to come up with something different (and why I’m changing the title it released under before, because of the TV show of the same name).

Put in an order for office supplies, and ordered a double tarot deck I absolutely do not need but wanted (and will make use of, in writing and articles).

By accident, I found an article I wrote a few years back, and I need to add it to my portfolio. Clip file, and up on the site.

Soup class (which had been postponed from Monday) was a lot of fun. Someone’s cat was being very vocal, and then my three had a few choice opinions, and then someone’s dog added to the mix, so it was a very pet-friendly class.

Finished reading the material for the coverage and will write it up today. I did not sleep well last night; the time change is still messing me up, big time. I have to put in an order at a nearby store for curbside pickup today, and hopefully, I can finally schedule my haircut for next week. I want to get it cut before the grant reception, and there’s about 14 inches of hair to hack off.

I will polish and send off the short radio plays, and then get back to Legerdemain. This weekend will be a lot of work on Legerdemain, and also the polish/re-upload of “Plot Bunnies.” I want that to release the first week of April, which isn’t all that far away. And by re-releasing “Plot Bunnies” it means I’m committing to writing “Labor Intensive” and having that ready by the end of summer. So I need to get back into that world, set up the series bible, tracking sheets, etc. (not in Scrivener, but in my own system).

And, you know, get going on spring cleaning that I didn’t do because of the storm, and maybe, just maybe, starting to work on taxes, although I’ll probably push that off to next weekend.

Last year’s taxes shouldn’t be too complicated (famous last words). This year’s will be more so, with the grant and the residency and some other stuff, so I will utilize the help that’s offered in this region for working artists. I’m diligently tracking everything used for the grant down to the smallest detail as it happens, instead of just dropping it into a file and compiling it next winter, so that will help, too.

There’s an artist meetup next Tuesday, but it’s indoors, and I’m not comfortable with the (lack of) COVID protocols in place, so I’ll skip it. Thursday is a tossup between a theatre open house and MASSMoCA’s open studios. A lot will depend, again, on the weather.

Monday is the Equinox. It will BE spring, even if it doesn’t yet feel like it. Hopefully, I can do some planting this weekend, too. Sunday’s the next planting day.

Enjoy today’s episode of Angel Hunt!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side of it!

Wed. March 15, 2023: It’s STILL Snowing

image courtesy of janeb13 via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Waning Moon

Snowing

The Ides of March

It still snowing. Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, but the power fluctuated, and the internet was out most of the day.

I hope you had a great weekend. We get a Wednesday catchup. Curl up with a beverage. This is a long one, because it’s been six days since we were last in contact.

Friday was a lovely, sunny day. I went out early in the morning to pick up my cake.

Then, we headed over to The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. They have free admission for the month of March, so it seemed like a good time to check them out.

What an amazing space. It’s huge, and a little overwhelming. In addition to the multiple museum buildings and the research library, they have 140 acres of trails with sculptures.

Definitely something that needs more than a day.

We spent most of the time at the Promenades on Paper exhibit, sketches on loan from the Bibliotèque Nationale de France. Wow. The curation was exquisite, including the color choices for the walls. I was especially fascinated by the Opera sketches and the sketch of a “private theatre” that looked like it was a railroad car. I need to learn more about it. I  wish I’d taken notes.

We wandered over to the permanent collection, but there was just too much to take in, all at once.

Definitely going back. Often.

The reception for regional grant awardees is there at the end of the month, so now I know where to go.

I bet the gardens and trails are gorgeous in spring, summer, and fall. Probably a good place to go and write.

We came home and I ordered A Whole Lot of Chinese food, just in case the weather was so bad on Saturday that I couldn’t get my birthday dinner.

I read in the afternoon, re-reading a book about the antiquarian book trade (my copy’s in storage). It was so nice that we could sit and read out on the front porch. All three cats joined us.

I did some research on the two antique books I picked up at Thursday’s book sale for a dollar each and it looks like they might have some value. Not the kind of value pristine first editions would have, but value, nonetheless. One is by James M. Barrie, who is most famous for PETER PAN, but wrote a bunch of other stuff, too. They are also earlier editions, probably closer to the turn of the twentieth century or late Victorian printings, rather than the twenties I’d figured. And one of the publishers had apprenticed with the other, so the two books are connected.

I will get some archival white cotton gloves to handle them when I read them, and then put them in a safe place while I do more research. Neither book fits the first edition descriptions, but they are nicely made pieces I will enjoy.

I had a leisurely reading evening, too. I want to know more about Anne Baldwin, who ran a print shop in the 17th century.

Slept fairly well. Had weird dreams about clay figures that had been slathered with a particular type of red paint. A former toxic boss was in the dream, asking for forgiveness. That’s how I knew it was a dream; she’d never do that in real life!

I somehow hurt both wrists in the dream, and woke up with sore wrists.

Saturday was my birthday, and it was snowing when I woke up.

I made smoked salmon eggs Benedict, which we had with Prosecco.

I did a library run, dropping off and picking up books ahead of the storm.

I started working on the revision for the upcoming “Plot Bunnies” re-release, and then I thought, why am I working on my birthday?

So I stopped.

I read. I’m reading a biography of actress Katharine Cornell that’s very fawning, but it has necessary information on Marian de Forest and Jessie Bonstelle. I can’t believe how few people remember Jessie Bonstelle, when she was such a force in touring companies and creating regional theatre as we know it.

I made notes for a couple of upcoming projects.

I re-read THE MOVING FINGER by Agatha Christie, which is the March “Read Christie” choice. It’s been years since I read it (it’s the one about poison pen letters).  Christie is remembered for Poirot and Marple, and, although this is, technically, a Marple story, it’s told through the first person POV of another character, Jerry, and the structure is interesting.

I ordered and picked up dinner from a local restaurant I wanted to try, that touts itself as an upscale farm-to-table place. Um? When I went to pick up the food, the restaurant itself is small, dark, and dingy with cheap furniture, and the staff was more interested in talking about their dating lives than in their customers. The food was okay, but I wanted better than okay. I had a supposed “Bolognese” sauce that was more of a Roman-style meat sauce without the tomato sauce, but definitely not “Bolognese.” There wasn’t even a smidge of cream in it, and none of the seasoning that sets apart a Bolognese sauce. I mean, it was an okay meat sauce over a glop of overcooked spaghetti (not even fettucine). Not great (mine are better). But it wasn’t a layered Bolognese, and for that price, I expected layered taste.

My mom had what was supposed to be cordon bleu chicken in puff pastry, with sides of mashed potatoes and green beans, with a cheese sauce over it. There was chicken wrapped in pastry, with maybe a thin slice of ham and cheese around it, like deli-sliced. It was in some sort of dough sheet, but not the puff pastry stated in the description. The mashed potatoes were heaped over the pastry, and a basic alfredo sauce poured over it, with four undercooked green beans sticking out of the bottom. Huh?

The ”garlic bread” that came with  my pasta was a few tiny (I’m taking 1/8” wide, and maybe 2” long), limp slices of leftover narrow baguette which had been dumped in warmed garlic-infused olive oil and wrapped in aluminum foil. It was dissolving and nearly inedible when I unwrapped it. That is not how one makes garlic bread.

And there was zero presentation. I mean, yeah, it’s a pickup, it’s going to be in containers (I’d brought an insulated bag). But don’t just glop it in the dish. At least try to make it look nice? A spring of parsley isn’t going to break the bank.

It’s not like they were overrun with customers.

It’s not that the food was bad. It was serviceable diner food. If I’d ordered it from a diner, I would have been satisfied. But it wasn’t a diner, and I didn’t want diner food. I wanted something special. This wasn’t it.

I won’t be eating there again any time soon.

But the cake made up for it. I’d bought a chocolate truffle bomb cake from a different place, and we’ve been eating the cake all weekend. It’s very rich, so we only have a small slice at a time.

Overall, it was a lovely birthday, filled with good wishes from friends online and off (and a package, from one friend, with a cat toy the cats love). I have such a tumultuous relationship with my birthday, it was nice to genuinely enjoy it and not work to enjoy it for anyone else’s benefit.

We “sprung ahead” for Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, which always screws me up for weeks.

Sunday was bright and sunny. I did a run to the post office to mail some stuff that needed to get out. We sat on the porch and read. I did some re-reading of GAMBIT COLONY material. When I do the next (and hopefully final) editing pass on these first sections, I need to set up better tracking sheets and do a more detailed Series Bible. I’m losing important elements, especially as I layer in other important elements.

I always wind up blocking a lot of oafs on social media on Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award nights because they start pontificating about the business when none of them could last an hour on an actual set or backstage. It’s WORK, that requires enormous physical and mental capacity, so others can play. If the result isn’t your bag, that’s one thing. You like what you like, you don’t like what you don’t like, and that’s part of the risk creatives take when putting work out there. Not everyone will like it.  But when they act like creatives don’t work for a living, and it’s not “real work” and they can pass judgement on what it’s like to DO the work when they’ve never spent a day on set, or done anything creative with high stakes to it, I’m done. They know nothing, NOTHING, about what it takes to get it done, so shut the fuck up you lazy, untalented, snarky coward.

Of course, when they show their asses like that and get blocked, my overall life is better without them, so better knowing sooner than later.

As a wardrobe person, I was a little unsettled with some of the red carpet choices. I’m all for wearable art, especially for something like the Met Gala. But award shows are about the creative artists who did the work, and too many of the choices on the “champagne carpet” (how pretentious was that?) were about the stylist’s ego and not about making the creative artist look good. There were some wonderful gowns and radiant individuals, but there were also choices that were not about making the wearer look their best, and often the hair and makeup didn’t work with the gown. And one could tell who used the same stylists, because the looks were too similar and about the stylist, not about the individual being styled, which I disagree with. On the positive side, I liked that there were many bold color choices. Too often, the palette is too similar, and people wear colors that don’t suit them because that’s the color trend for that year.

I read the book for review, and sent off the review on Monday morning, before the storm got too intense.  Emails came in steadily, with cancellations and closures in the area for most of the week.

The storm started just after 8 AM. It started as snow, got heavier, then switched over to rain for most of the rest of the day.

Tuesday’s yoga class was cancelled, and Monday night’s soup class was moved to Thursday, because Jeremy had to travel and decided to get out while the storm wasn’t so bad.

I could not get my act together on Monday. I got through a lot of email. I updated my Creative Ground profile. I did some social media networking. I wrote up some project notes. I managed to get the first 20 episodes’ worth of Legerdemain graphics up on Pinterest. It’s such a pain, because when I try to arrange them in the correct order, after about 5 minutes, I have to log out and log back in. Getting all 60+ episode graphics up will be a PITA.

A director who’s worked on a bunch of my radio plays emailed me to say they miss me and would like more, so I sent off two they haven’t yet done. I still owe them a dirigible play. I guess I should get back to that. I haven’t heard from the other producer in absolute ages, so I’m not sure what’s going on with the play he has, and the other ones he wants. I’m assuming there’s a delay.

I finally gave up on getting anything on the “should” list done. I’m fine on my deadlines, so I didn’t have to worry.

I buried myself in another re-read of the GAMBIT COLONY material. Which of course, means taking the red pen and cutting or adding or making adjustments. There’s a vital position in the production team that I’ve ignored in all these drafts, and I have a feeling I have to suck it up and layer in another character. I also worked a big chunk before I realized that I was working on THE WRONG DRAFT. I’d picked up the wrong binder. When I got back to the correct draft, I’d already put in most of those changes! At least I know I’m on the right track.

It hadn’t started snowing by the time I went to bed on Monday. I woke up around 3:30 (feline shift change), and it had just stared; there was about an inch on the ground, but it came down hard.

When I woke up again just before 6, the power was out. I figured, because there was no scent of coffee.

The cats, however, Weren’t Having it, so I hauled myself out of bed and fed them, then went back to bed for a bit, watching the snow. The lights were on at the college, because they have emergency power generators, so I use the sound of the heaters (or lack thereof) to know if the power is on or off. That, and the fact that I don’t hear the hum of the downstairs neighbor’s television, which is on 24/7.

I finally dressed in layers – fleece-lined leggings under velvet leggings, oversized handknit sweater over turtleneck, thick socks. The snow was intense!

The gas stove still worked, when I lit the individual burners, so I made coffee in the French press and made tea for my mom. We could have a cooked breakfast and all, so it wasn’t too bad.

I’d unplugged the laptop the night before, and I powered it down. There was no internet, but occasionally the phone signal was strong enough to post a picture. The power went off and on all day.

We bundled ourselves under layers of blankets and cats in the living room, so we could watch the snow come down. I had the binders with GAMBIT COLONY and just kept reading. I layered in the missing character (this is a cast of Many, dealing with life behind the scenes shooting a large television series), and, by the time I got to re-reading the latest draft of book 3 in the series, realized I had to change her name because it’s too similar to that of two other characters. While one often works productions where multiple people have the same name, I only do that in this series when there’s a plot-or-character related reason for it, and I try to keep the names of people who are often in the same scenes together different enough not to be confusing.

The original GAMBIT COLONY Series Bible is a hot mess with all the drafts over the years. I know I need to start a fresh one. I’m also considering doing a corkboard type of document to track characters and make sure I’m following through on arcs, much as I would if it was a scripted series. I did a little digging, and it looks like there’s a way to do that in Scrivener. Since I own Scrivener software, and it doesn’t work for me to draft (since it won’t let me draft in standard manuscript format, and that’s a deal breaker for me), maybe I can at least use the corkboard function. I found a tutorial on creating a binder and ditching the document file so it allows one to just use the corkboard, so when I get to that point, I will try.

I’d hoped Office had an index card format, but it only has one for Windows10. I’d have to buy the NoteDex app, and it doesn’t have the flexibility I need. No, thank you. I’ll figure out how to use the board in Scrivener. I’ll also look at DramaQueen, the script software I use, and see if my version has one. I’m still dithering whether I should just suck it up and use some of the grant money (when it arrives) for Final Draft. That would be the professional thing to do. I know Final Draft has the board option. Plus I’d use it for, you know, scripts.

It was great to submerge myself in that GAMBIT COLONY world for a couple of days, but now I need to finish books 5 & 6, and do a big overall revision/organization, because they are all of a piece, and all have to be done before any of them can release, much less get submitted. I have stacks of notes on what happens next; I just have to work it into the schedule.

I heard from a market I’d forgotten I’d contacted that yes, I could submit to them in radio format. Now, I have to go back through  my notes and figure out what it was I meant to send them.

The snow is still coming down hard, and will be all day. I expect the power and internet will continue to fluctuate. If it does, I’m still on top of deadlines. If I can get some work done – on Legerdemain, and making the rounds for yesterday’s episode of Legerdemain, and today’s episode of Angel Hunt and the latest Process Muse (which is about research), I will do so. I have one script in the queue due Friday, and a novel they asked me to read and comment on for adaptation due Saturday, which I hope to finish by Friday. So we’ll see.

I feel guilty that I was in GAMBIT COLONY world during time I could have been working on the Heist Romance, but since the power was out and the internet was out, I couldn’t have accessed the software anyway.

I HATE cloud-based everything. I want it in my damn computer, so I can work offline.

Anyway, breakfast, then back to the page. I need to get back to work drafting new episodes of Legerdemain. I have episodes for the next couple of weeks, which I’ll upload later this week, but I want to get farther ahead.

I am NOT looking forward to digging the car out from nearly three feet of snow. If it lets up mid-day, I’ll start. Otherwise, I’ll wait until tomorrow and take as much time as I need to do it, in sections. The car looks like a baby igloo, with al the snow piled over it.

Hope you are well, warm, and happy!

Back to the page.

Tues. Jan. 10, 2023: Good Start to the Writing Week

image courtesy of  Peter H via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Time for us to curl up with a favorite beverage and have our Tuesday catch-up natter.

The GDR post this week is about “More Me” rather than the mantra thrown at us every year about a “new me.”

Busy weekend. As you saw from reading Friday’s post,  I was not in a good mood on Friday.

I scuttled the idea of getting anything done, and, instead, spent most of the day taking down and packing the holiday decorations. I didn’t get it all done on Friday; there was still about 1/3 of the tree left, and few other things scattered around. But I got most of it done.

I was tired and sore by the end of the afternoon. I made bouillabaisse for dinner, in the new Dutch oven, and it was delicious. I read for pleasure in the evening.

Didn’t sleep well.

Saturday morning, I wrote about 1K on a project with which I’m noodling in longhand, and wrote in my head on the screenplay.

I spent most of the day finishing getting the ornaments packed and reorganizing where to stash all these various boxes of ornaments, getting the tree taken apart, and the new stand apart (took 2 minutes to get this stand back in the box, yay), and everything put away. I broke one glass ornament, from 1982, which makes me sad, but when I took it off the tree, the top metal part that was attached to the hanger detached from the glass ball and that was that. Got it all cleaned up, so that the cats wouldn’t step on any shards.

Started switching out all the different fabrics from the holiday to more general January/winter fabrics – kitchen table, the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell, other tables, etc. Didn’t get them all done, but made good progress.

The heat stopped working around midday. I put in a call, got no response, but it started working again in the late afternoon, so who knows. As long as it works.

Made Moosewood’s mac & cheese for dinner, which was good. Was too tired to read much in the evening, although I’m enjoying another of Elizabeth Peters’s Vicky Bliss series. Went to bed early because I was tired and sore.

Up early on Sunday and, for the first time since about Christmas, we had real sunshine. What a big difference! That made me feel better, too.

I wrote about 2K on the project in longhand, which wound up being all of Chapter 4. I’m starting to realize what this book is, how it’s shaped, what the narrative drive needs to be, which is very different than what I thought it was about. I think (hope) it will be a standalone. I have a lot of placeholders (which I don’t usually do), and I’m at the point where I have to type up these pages to really get an idea of what’s what. I SHOULD outline, but I don’t think I will, this time around, even though it will necessitate more rounds of revision. I started typing up the pages written (because otherwise it’s too overwhelming at the end). I am doing a lot of rewrites as I go, on this draft I’m calling “1A” that goes beyond adding in the information from placeholders and going to some restructuring as I’m learning the shape.

I wrote ten more pages on the screenplay. There are already all kinds of notes in the margins of what I’ve printed out, where I need to fix things in the next draft. And this draft will be too long, so cuts will have to be made, and some structural work done. But I’m telling the story I want to tell. I need to tell this version to completion, before I can make it fit the format better.

At the same time, part of me suspects I will eventually adapt it into a novel, because that is more likely to go somewhere. But the ideas are coming in as a screenplay, and I’m learning from it, so whatever it winds up being, I will have gained from starting in this format.

Made turkey meatloaf for dinner. Added a bit of Worcestershire sauce and tabasco to the mix, and that made a big, positive difference.

Read in the evening, but went to bed early, because I was tired. Tessa tried to get me out of bed at 3, but I told her no breakfast until the coffee starts. So the minute the coffeemaker started at its designated time, she was in full voice.

It’s amazing how something as small as having a coffeemaker one can program to start before one gets up makes such a big difference in starting the day.

Wrote about 1K on the longhand project. Drafted a Legerdemain episode. Got next week’s episodes uploaded, and created graphics. I wrote the loglines in the evening.

Mailed bills, dropped off and picked up books at the library, went to the grocery store I don’t like much to pick up a few things I couldn’t get at the other place. Sang the grumpy pants song to myself to get myself out of my worsening mood. It’s a silly little jingle I made up to sing to the cats when they were grumpy, and now I use it on myself at times, to get over myself and get back on track. Because it’s silly, and it’s hard to stay grumpy singing it.

After lunch, I did some scoring for the script coverage place – quick but low paid, and I’m a little worried about having enough work for this week.

In the meantime, I polished the first 16 episodes of ANGEL HUNT, created the Episode Tracking Sheet, the Style Sheet, and the Series Bible. I polished the blurb. I can start uploading those first two months’ worth of episodes today. Then, I’ll have to write the log lines and do the episode-specific graphics. I’m only using the series logo as a general graphic (unlike LEGERDEMAIN, where I have a plethora of general graphics to support the ongoing worldbuilding).

I wrote two pages on the script, which will have to be cut. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to cut this whole subplot. It’s too much of a tangent. I have a bit of a subplot in there already that is stronger for the piece.

I made some notes of general ad graphics for LEGERDEMAIN. I have a slew of general ads along with the episode-specific graphics, but I need to do some more, as more weird little shops and places work into the story.

Soup class with Chef Jeremy was fun, although his Zoom cut out partway through. But everyone just hung out and chatted until he got the tech on his end up and running. I’ve learned a lot in that class, and it’s fun to apply it.

My mom hasn’t been feeling well the past few days, which, since she is 98, is a concern. She’s a little better this morning, so hopefully, taking it easy for a few days will help.

Up early, before coffee, and had to coax the coffeemaker along. Tessa was thrilled she didn’t have to start howling to get breakfast. Got my act together to leave for the laundromat early, and was the only one there. It was wonderful.

While the laundry was going through, I got 1K written in longhand on the one book, and then read a bit, as the laundry finished in the dryer.

Home, hauled it up the stairs, got it folded and put away.

The plan for today is to draft another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, adapt the next chapter of ANGEL HUNT to serial episodes, and get those first 16 episodes uploaded and scheduled. I’ll write the loglines, and maybe start the episode graphics, but we’ll see how long all that takes. I also want to do some work on the LEGERDEMAIN website. I also have to do the promotional rounds for the episode going live today.

I want to get out some LOIs today; I’ve been lax on that, and am paying for it, now that the script coverage has slowed down so much. They keep telling us they want more commitment as far as hours per week – well, then pay us better and have enough scripts ready for us.

I have a book to review, and can start on contest entries, if nothing comes in, script-wise, and I have some work to do on an article, too.

Episode 49 of LEGERDEMAIN goes live today – I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one, my friends! I’m headed back to the page.

Tues. Oct. 18, 2022: Riding a Creative Wave

image courtesy of Kaneori via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

Ready for our long, Tuesday natter? I also have the Mid-Month check-in up on the GDR site.

Decent weekend. Friday was a little all over the place. It wasn’t focused writing time, which was frustrating. Lots of admin work. Wrote and submitted a book review, and received the next two books to review. Wrote 2 ½ blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice, working ahead. Poked around on Substack, honing my plan. Covered a script. Started another coverage.

The inspiring thing I did on Friday afternoon was to put on real people clothes and makeup and go to MASSMoCA for the Boiler House Poets reading. I met Joanne, the poet who invited me to the reading, and several of the others. Eight poets were on this year’s retreat, working together. The voices and experiences were all very different, but there was still a flow to the overall reading. It was exciting, and I’m so honored I was invited to it. I’m looking forward to next year’s reading already!

Home, made dinner, read in the evening, for fun. Read a new book in a series where I’ve read most of the series. This one was just too formulaic and similar to the others to be satisfying. I mean, I enjoyed it, it worked as relaxing brain candy for the night, but I didn’t love it, and some of the other books in the series I really loved.

Slept well Friday into Saturday, mostly because Charlotte stayed on the couch until nearly 5 AM. It was Tessa who jumped on the bed in the morning to wake me up – the first time she’s been on the bed since we moved here. Charlotte came in a little later and was horrified.

I drafted a short play in the morning, “My Side of the Bed” which was fun. I unpacked more boxes from the storage run, washed some pieces, and finished the last script coverage of the pay period. I made some notes on a couple of projects, where the ideas are flowing.

The tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs arrived. We’ll plant them in a week or two, and hope for the best in spring. So I guess the tussling with John Scheeper’s worked. Still not sure I’d deal with them again.

Forced myself to read the book I’d put aside from the author whose series I’d previously liked until she used “witch” as a slur in this one. I didn’t like it for more reasons than the slur. Overall, it was bland. On top of that, the protagonist, in the last few books, is regressing. I was drawn to the series because the protagonist was smart, resourceful, strong, and fun. She paired up with a romance-worthy guy, and the first few books post-marriage were fun. But in the last few, she gets weaker and weaker and more and more dependent on him and frantic/anxious, in a way that doesn’t make sense the way her character was established in the previous books. It’s like the editor encouraged the writer to make the character more “relatable” by giving her more anxiety when there’s nothing to worry about.  I’ve lost respect for the character, and not just because of the witch slur. Instead of growing, she’s regressing, into a state of helplessness beyond where she was in the first book. So, I’m done with the series and the author. It’s not like losing me as a reader is going to make a dent in her sales. I am no longer her target audience.

Tried to start another book that came highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, and I’m not being paid to read it, so it’s going back to the library unread. I loathe novels written in present tense. I want to hurl them against the wall. It’s the author standing between me and the text screaming, “Look at me! I’m such a brilliant stylist!” when they’re not, instead of letting me experience the story. Again, I’m not the target audience. If a writer believes that’s the best voice in which to tell the story, they should absolutely do it. But I am not the audience for it.

I’m reading a few nonfiction books right now, which I enjoy. One I did not, too much religion and not enough about what it claimed the book was about, so that’s going back.

Started the next book in the Elantra series, and I’m enjoying that.

Alternated reading and unpacking in the afternoon.

Charlotte woke me up too early on Sunday morning. But I got up, fed everybody, and wrote two episodes of LEGERDEMAIN, about 3K all told. Updated the Style Sheet and the Series Bible. I bitch and moan to myself (and the cats) about updating the sheets after drafting every episode (for a novel, I’d wait until galleys to update the Series Bible). But it sure as heck saves me a lot of time and frustration as I move forward.

I did some puttering and reading, and planning for a project I realized has to go live next week (just after the new moon). I meant to just create the opening for it and jot more notes, but I wrote the first four pieces. This will all make sense later this week, when I formally announce the project. Until I upload it and schedule it to post, I don’t know if I can promote it before it goes live, or if I have to wait. I hate vague-posting, and apologize. I’m also not talking about it on social media, because I hate it when people say they have good news, but can’t share it yet. STFU until you can.

Crankypants much? I better sing myself the Crankypants song until I laugh and get over it.

All told, I wrote a little over 5K on the new project and 3K on LEGERDEMAIN, so I wrote nearly 8K on Sunday. I haven’t done that in a long time, and I was tired and achy by the end of the day.

To my horror, when I was looking at the content calendar of scheduled upcoming posts, I realized that I have not uploaded/scheduled the episode ads for the final 11 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN’s first big arc. So that’s on the list for this week. I’m behind in the overall series marketing, and I have to update the Topic Workbook links before the new project drops next week, because I link back to the Topic Workbooks. I also have to create a newsletter blast so it’s ready to go when the new project goes live.

And I’m way, way behind on LOIs. As in, hadn’t sent any this month. Which I didn’t realize until I compiled the information for the Mid-Month post over on the GDR site on Monday.

But the writing itself felt good, and that’s what’s important.

I joined #scriptchat on Sunday night, and it was fun. Sunday nights are usually bad for me to do stuff online, but I’d already blown the attempt at a day of disconnect, so why not do something fun?

Monday morning, I was irritated by the amount of email that piled up. I have a lot of admin to catch up on this week.

I wrote another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, which is a good thing. But I’m pretty sure this arc will run closet to 40 episodes than 30, as originally planned. But the structure of the arc has embedded in me as I write, which will make the revisions and edits easier.

I got an email for my editor with the suggestions for the article that will be in the 2024 Llewellyn almanac. She loves the piece, which makes me so happy, because it’s one of the riskiest and most personal pieces I’ve ever written, and I worried I screwed it up. Her suggestions, as always, are right on the mark. I’m so grateful to have her as my editor.

Payment came through from the last two weeks’ of script coverage, and I transferred that over to the bank.

I think I figured out a solution for the LEGERDEMAIN ads which won’t be too much of a PITA. On some platforms, it’s just about adjusting dates. On channels that don’t allow edits, it’s about adding in the correct episodes on the correct dates, and having more overlap between episodes. It will be a slog, but it’s fixable.

The hardest thing was to take a breath and not berate myself for the mistake. I’m human, I made a mistake. It wasn’t huge, it’s fixable, it didn’t hurt anyone. It was on my own work, not client work. Mistakes happen.

I updated the links on the Topic Workbooks on the Devon Ellington site, so those are all current. Since the workbooks are steady sellers, I need to stay on top of that. I still have to create, upload, and schedule the marketing campaign for that through December. And upload/schedule the ads for 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS during November and into the first week of December (October is done and dropping on time).

I did another piece for the project launching next week, because I was in its groove. I can start uploading/scheduling on Thursday, I think. I also created the announcement in MailerLite, which will either go out this week (preferable) or on the day of the launch, depending on when I can get a legitimate link.

I turned around one script coverage, and started a second. I realized I was behind where I hoped/needed to be, so I withdrew from an online event I was scheduled to attend.

However, while I was cooking dinner, I got an idea. The title came first (which is unusual for me). Originally, it was going to be a piece of flash fiction, a ghost story with humor and maybe a touch of horror. But as I percolated, I realized it make more sense as a play.

After dinner, instead of returning to script coverage, I sat down and wrote the first draft of “Paranormal Paraphrasing” which turned out to be a 10-minute play.

As I finished the draft, an email came in from my friend Paula, who’d come across some more play submission calls, and one of them looks like it will be a good fit.

I was so tired by the time I was finished that I was shaking. But I’m glad I rode that creative wave.

I didn’t sleep well; too many different ideas mashing, but not meshing, in my dreams.

Up early. One of the cats was hurling, but I haven’t stepped in it yet, which means I haven’t yet found it.

Got into a lively Twitter discussion about being baffled when people refuse to wear clothes more than once. For me, it’s not only a sustainability and an economic issue, but also, when I love a piece of clothing, I take good care of it and keep wearing it. I mend it. I clean it the way it needs to be cleaned. I honor it. Most of us on the thread felt the same way, thank goodness.

I also sew, and can build my own clothes. I realize not everyone can or wants to do that, but basic mending is a necessary life skill. It’s worth MAKING the time to learn.

Anyway, I actually have to leave the house today. I should have gone to the laundromat, but the weather is too yucky. I’ll go tomorrow. I do, however, have to return a stack of books, hit the grocery store, pick up my mother’s prescription, mail some bills, hit the liquor store.

I need to get some writing in before I leave, help a friend with her website, and then, later on, finish the coverage I started yesterday and turn around another one. There hasn’t been much in the queue this week, which concerns me.

Time to get out some more LOIs. I’ve been lax on it for the past few weeks.

Have a good one! The next episode of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity

image courtesy of Darkmoon Art via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and hot

The SERIES BIBLE Topic Workbook releases today. This edition has information on the use of Tracking Sheets and Style Sheets. I hope you like it.

I uploaded and scheduled the content calendar for it yesterday. I updated the websites with the individual buy links across a bunch of the Topic Workbooks, and will have to do so for the next few weeks, as more links, international links, and library links go live. I haven’t yet updated the Topic Workbook page on this blog site, but I will next week.

Then I did the rounds of the channels where I couldn’t schedule content, to push Episode 3 of LEGERDEMAIN, which dropped yesterday.

Once that was all taken care of, I started converting the most important points and exercises for the upcoming DEVELOPING THE SERIES Workbook for Saturday’s class.

By that time, I had to do a library run, and I picked up bagels and smoked salmon for lunch. I had a great converation about poetry, Thomas Lynch, and John Milton with one of my favorite librarians.

After lunch, it was time to turn my attention to the script coverage. I only got one script covered in the afternoon (it was a longer coverage than I expected). I took a shower and then participated via Zoom with Chef Jeremy’s cooking class at Kripalu. It was wonderful. He’s such a great teacher, and he’s so much about encouraging people to make substitutions in recipes based on what they like, and learn from it. He also encourages people to try new things, like unusual vegetables at the market, and just play. He’s very much about playing and learning and expanding. It was a great class, and I learned a lot.

I’ve been invited to attend the rehearsal of one of my radio plays next week via Zoom, right after the next class with Chef Jeremy, so that’s great. I’m looking forward to that.

Turned around another coverage after dinner, and then I was too tired to get the third one in, so that means I have to turn around 4 today, not three.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat when I opened. I got a good chunk of edits done on upcoming LEGERDEMAIN episodes while I was there.

When I came back, I found that Tessa had pulled the pants I’d worn to my friend’s place out of the laundry and was dragging them around (because they smelled of Ben, no doubt). We had some plant kerflamma on the front porch – something made several of the plants sick. We cut them back and isolated them; hopefully, we’ve stopped it from spreading to everything out there. I would be sad to lose all the plants. I don’t think we can save the impatiens. I think they’re gone. Anyway, that, and the hole the squirrel tore in the kitchen screen before Willa chased him away will be detailed in tomorrow’s garden post.

I was so pleased that Jon Stewart managed to shame the Republicans into mostly voting for the PACT Act to provide veterans with health care. It takes a lot to shame Republicans – basically they can’t be shamed; they can only be afraid their wallets get thinner. And Kansas voted to protect abortion rights. Good.

I’m tired, but there’s a lot to do this morning. I have to work on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM Topic Workbook, and finish the slides for the class. I have to do a run out to the market for coffee and oat milk. I hope to do a little bit of work on my poem, but that might have to wait until Friday.

This afternoon is all about script coverage.

It’s supposed to be brutally hot today, and, especially tomorrow. We may have to move camp to the Williamstown Library for the afternoon on both days.

Stay well and happy, my friends.

Published in: on August 3, 2022 at 8:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity  
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Wed. July 20, 2022: TypeTypeTypeTypeType

image courtesy of Nattanan Kanchanapratt via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy, hot, humid

Since yesterday was the big reveal for LEGERDEMAIN, today is the usual natter we have on Tuesdays.

Chiron went retrograde yesterday, too. The Wounded Healer.

Quite the weekend! There’s a mid-month check in over on the GDR site from Monday.

Friday was good; I got the prompts posted, and did a big chunk of work on the new edition of ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE,  then headed down to Pittsfield for the book sale at the Atheneum. The weather was warm and gorgeous.

Even though I got there just after the doors opened, I had to park waaaaay down the street (around the corner from the Colonial Theatre – that far)! But it’s such a pretty street, with graceful, old, multi-family houses that have all done lovely, cheerful, whimsical things with their gardens.

I met a woman exiting the parking lot, with a huge bag of books clutched to her chest. “Good haul,” I said, and she grinned. “They’ve got great stuff this time around,” she told me.

I grabbed a basket as soon as I went in. Almost everyone was masked, which made me more comfortable, and, even though it was crowded, people were respectful about distancing. I did the rounds of the main room. The back room, with the older, larger nonfiction was too small and crowded for my comfort, even though people masked. A business called Blue Q donated zippered tote bags made out of recycled plastic. The bag is bigger than it looks (which meant I only needed a single bag for my haul). I bought 13 CDs (a mix of jazz and replacements for stuff I had on cassette and then tossed in the move, when I should have kept them), some research books, some fun books, and a stack of books for my mom. The total was just under ¼ of what I’d budgeted for the day.

Dropped off the books at home, picked up my mom, and we headed to Wild Oats, where the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership did a cheese tasting, featuring Von Trapp Farmstead cheese. I’m not that into cheese, but my mom is, and I figured it would be something fun for her. She’s not comfortable being out and about much, even masked, but the co-op is good with safety features (such as the tasting being in the outer portion of the store, so people could actual step outside to unmask and taste).

The cheese was amazing. I even thought so, and, like I said, I am usually not that thrilled by cheese. My mom, of course, loved the bleu cheese. I preferred the Mt. Alice (kind of like a soft brie) and the Oma cheese (soft and like nothing I’ve tasted before). So I bought blocks of all 3. And blueberries (which are so, so good). And coffee. Rolls. Wine. You know, the essentials.

Our lunch consisted of the rolls with butter, the cheeses, and the last of the Red Shirt Farm huge tomatoes. And a glass of rosé, because hey, my weekend.

I gave myself the afternoon off to read a book and play with the cats. I enjoyed the book up until the character got pregnant after one night with the love of her life Yes, I understand biology and know this happens. But, come on, people, birth control. Especially since the character was established as sexually active. I know that might not be a realistic choice in the future, if the GOP has their way, but this book was published several years ago. Birth control. And I’m over the trope of the only way to happiness and family for a woman is to breed. I want some HEAs where the couple chooses not to have children. Really sick of the accidental pregnancy trope. The book worked for me up until that point. But after it, I resented the rest of it and felt cheated.

Saturday morning, I was off to the Farmers’ Market, for my usual rounds. I had a delicious haul, and, of course, all the good conversations that make going to the Farmers’ Market so much fun. In early August, after I teach at the conference, I’m going to sit down with a couple of people and help them brainstorm on grants.

Got the revision done of the Topic Workbook ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE and uploaded it. It needs the final proof, but should be good to schedule for next week’s release.

The woman running for re-election for D.A. stopped by the house in the afternoon, and we had a good chat. She’s doing a lot to counter what the corrupt, extremist SCOTUS is doing, and has my firm support.

Read a fun book in the afternoon/evening. Some of the author’s style was a little annoying, but the overall arc of the book was a lot of fun.

Sunday was all about LEGERDEMAIN. I drafted the last 7K of the serial’s first big arc. There’s one episode that I’m going to break down into 2 episodes, because it’s going on too long, and the climactic fight scene has more comedy in it than I expected, but it’s fun. The first big arc runs 38 episodes (it’ll be 39 when I break that other episode up). It does what I want it to do, winding up the murder/theft arc, and launching the next arc. I’d hoped to get it all into 30 episodes, but too much had to be established and integrated, and seeds had to be dropped for the next two big arcs, and for things that might or might not grow into future arcs (should the serial run beyond its initial 90 episodes).

I also worked on episode ads for the first four episodes.

It was a lot. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was a good tired. I went to bed ridiculously early, and slept straight through the night.

Up early on Monday. Did yet another layered revision on the first six episodes of LEGERDEMAIN. Set up the serial on Kindle Vella. Uploaded,  proofed, fixed, proofed again, fixed again, wrote the author notes, and sent them off. They cleared the content review within a few hours (I have specific, odd spellings and was worried I’d have trouble; ergo, I created a Style Sheet).

I did the episode ads for episodes 5 & 6 (I’m particularly proud of the ad for #5). I did tag lines for the first 6 episodes. I did an episode tracking sheet (because Vella doesn’t show the schedule once things are uploaded). I uploaded and scheduled the posts for the first six episodes. I might modify some of those post, should I ever get a direct link to them. But at least they’re up. I started the email blast that will go out on Monday, specific to LEGERDEMAIN.

I update the Series Bible as I draft each episode, which is unusual. But because each episode has to be built properly before I can draft the next, each episode goes through what would normally be a 3-draft process as its first draft. Once I get to the uploaded draft, I check and make sure to update anything necessary in the Series Bible, so that’s consistent.

I also have a style sheet, because there are unusual spellings, and I want to keep them consistent.

I set up an episode tracking sheet, so I know when I’ve uploaded and when an episode is scheduled to release. I also keep final word counts of each episode in there. My ideal episode target is 1K, but most episodes run around 1.3K, and some a little over.

I wanted to go ahead and start the website, but I forced myself to stop. I had to turn around two scripts in the afternoon/evening (which I did). Again, I then had to stop myself from going back and working on the website. Hyper productivity can end in a crash, and I have too much to do this week to crash.

I made myself rest.

That’s progress.

I kept up with posting the 31 Prompts, and with the Italian lessons.

We got the sad news that a member of the extended family in Maine is coming home for hospice care. This is a case where COVID was the final straw for him. He’s elderly, 4x vaxxed, always masking, very careful. But he had to go into the hospital a few months ago, for something non-COVID related, and then into rehab. He caught COVID in rehab, and, although he technically “recovered” from COVID, it made his other issues worse.

Up early on Tuesday. It’s more seasonably hot and humid than it’s been. Tessa is busy shedding the winter coat that she grew in a few weeks back, when it was cooler. In other words, lots of vacuuming happening in this house.

And lots of fur balls.

Started building the website for LEGERDEMAIN. Cycled through at least a dozen templates. The one I really want doesn’t post the newest posts firsts unless I buy an upgrade. So I went back to a template that I don’t really want, but have used on other sites – and it won’t post the newest posts first. This time, the person I landed at A2 hosting was not helpful. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. It’s configured exactly the way it is on the site where it’s working. Very frustrating.

Worked on the SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM revision/update. Getting the examples into JPGs and inserting them is a major PITA. I’ll get there, but it’s not fun. Today, I have to do the final proof/changes on ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE, so it can upload for release.

Took my mom to her new doctor, over in Williamstown. It’s taken us a year to find a new doctor. But they are very nice, the building is clean and comfortable, and masks are required. She likes her new doctor, which is good. The doctor is worried about her blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are too high. So some medication adjustments are coming. She misses going to the firehouse to get her blood pressure taken every week (they don’t do that here).

Turned around a script in the evening. Made myself stop for the night.

Up early this morning, woken by a thunderstorm, rather than cats. It didn’t do anything to break the humidity. Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the next few weeks.

We have our final instructions for Saturday’s performance at the Edith Wharton homestead. I have to find my poem and rehearse. Let’s face it, even if I mess up, it’s only 3 lines/30 seconds. It’s not about me. It’s about our collective experience creating something, and then sharing it.

But I still want to hold up my end.

Back to the page with revisions today, mostly on the Topic Workbooks. I have to do a library run and pick up a prescription and a new blood pressure monitor for my mom later, and then a script coverage or two in the afternoon.

Have a good one.

Tues. July 21, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 62 — Heat Wave

flower-887443_1920
image courtesy of klimkin via pixabay.com\

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

Busy weekend.

Friday, I got some blogging and LOIs done. I dashed down to the library in the rain to drop off some books in the book drop and do a curbside pickup.

I did the update on SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM. I still have to do a few little tweaks in the script section, and I added information on radio and corporate scripting.

Unfortunately, the formatting on the examples doesn’t hold. I’m either going to have to save them as PNGs or JPGs and insert them, or provide a link for a downloadable PDF of the examples. I hope it’s not the latter, because that’s just more trouble for everyone all the way around.

Revised THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. Will do one more proof, and then upload it to the system.

Starting updates on THE SERIES BIBLE this week. Again, that has example sheets, and I need to figure out how to do those so they hold the formatting. Otherwise, they’re useless.

Did some client work, but didn’t get what needed to be done finished, so had to put in some time over the weekend on it, and then do a test run yesterday, to make sure it works.

Saturday, I wrote 24 pages on Gambit Colony. Sunday I wrote more, finishing Book 4. Finally. Too bad it’s not the book I needed to finish. But it’s done. Book 5 is an Interlude book, much shorter, and I’ve written a bunch of material for it already, so that should go pretty fast.

Famous last words.

I cleaned the house, did three loads of laundry, caught up on the classwork for the Book of Kells class.

I got a negative response on an LOI. Kind of a rude email, actually. But I did what I always do: thanked them for getting back to me, saying I’d rather get a disappointing response than no response at all. I got an almost immediate note in response thanking me for being so gracious. Which surprised the hell out of me.

I was saddened by the death of John Lewis, and enraged by the Gestapo-like troops deployed to Portland. They must be stopped.

My Trusted Reader gave me her notes on the VISCERAL INVISIBLES script. They are the best notes I’ve ever gotten on a script, and that includes by producers. It was interesting that the two atonal things she picked up on had been added at the behest of a producer, and I’d felt they didn’t work. She sent two pages of single-spaced notes and I can use ALL of them. I see ways to integrate all of it, without completely having to break down and rebuild what I have.

I’m excited to get back to work on it, although I’m not sure when I can do so.

Up way too early on Sunday.

Wound up finishing the 4th Book of the Gambit Colony series. There’s always a high that follows (even though that wasn’t the book I should have been working on). I did the first chapter of the 5th book.

I should have done a bunch of other stuff. I didn’t.

Instead, I sat outside on the deck with a Very Strong Martini and read the latest issue of The New Yorker. Because I felt like my brain was rotting.

Monday, I went onsite to do work for a client. I got a lot done, and was on my own for most of it; when I overlapped with a colleague, we took precautions.

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up books. Came home, decontaminated, caught up on email, then worked on a website project. I’m trying to take it off line while I build it, because the stress of building live is hurting my ability to make good choices. I struggled with a lot of the templates, because they would not do what I wanted.

So the airlines are whining that they’re losing money. What did they think would happen? First of all, anyone with any sense is not travelling. Second, those who travel aren’t the people anyone wants to be around anyway. Third, the airlines aren’t paying attention to health and safety protocols, such as when they let Ted Cruz fly without a mask. So, again, anyone with any sense is going to stop flying for the moment, especially with the infection rate soaring. Fourth, the airlines got billions of dollars in bailout money. Instead of investing in their workforce and long-term protocols, they paid off executives and did stock buy backs.

The airlines have only themselves to blame. Several of them SHOULD go under. Airlines have made flying a nightmare ever since they monetized the 9/11 attacks. It’s not about security – it’s about finding ways to make people spend more money once they’re through security and on the place.

They deserve to go under.

New airlines need to start up that actually give a damn about the people paying the bills.

I’m headed out early this morning for blood work; later, I’ll have to do a Trader Joe’s run for basics like bread, milk, and eggs, and a few other things. Then it’s client work, writing, course work.

Tues. June 23, 2020: Pre-Op Isolation Day 1: That’s Writer Bitch To You

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

That enough retrogrades for you? Not fun.

But it’s a good time for sorting things out, and I certainly need that.

Weekend was good, and productive in ways I didn’t plan.

Got some work done on Friday afternoon. Worked with the cats. Charlotte is making progress, most of the time. Willa is settled in. Tessa still isn’t sure about those two. But most of the time, Tessa and Willa are fine. Willa tries to play with Tessa.

Spent time on the deck, which is always nice. Willa loves her playpen. Che Guevara Chipmunk gets right up in her face, though. She’s learned to chase him in the playpen by making it roll like a snowball. It’s pretty funny.

Our town has decided to add yet another layer of economic segregation by charging for recycling. Buy the expensive sticker; you’re all set. Have a big enough car to load in your garbage AND your recycling in one load, pay the whole thing. Have a small household, a small car, and try to be responsible by recycling? Ha, ha, ha! Too bad for you.

Using Covid as an excuse to charge more and make it harder to recycle is yet more lies on their part. They’ve been trying to do this for years.

Saturday was laundry day. Got some reading done.

I’ve been playing with a couple of ideas. Some twists on the old-school gothic novel (different from what I tried in THE LUCY GOTHC a few years back)

One of the ideas took flight, so to speak, and I would up writing 17 pages on it. It’s sort of fantasy, sort of steampunk, sort of gothic, some mystery, lots of adventure, a few romantic elements, some pansexual characters, explorations of social and economic justice and injustice. The world was very clear to me, and very specific, even though I had to stop here and there to do some research and figure out phrasing, et al.

I had to start the Tracking Sheets right away, so I can keep details consistent. I don’t want to get into info dumps. I want meaning to be clear within context. At least this way, if it does turn out to be a series, I have the basis for the Series Bible.

I outlined the next few sections, and I have a good idea where I want to go. It may stand alone; it may be the first of a series. I’m not yet sure.

Of course, it wasn’t what I was supposed to write.

Played with a few article ideas; still haven’t hit on the right one.

Worked on the book for review, which I need to get done in the next day or so.

Read a lot. Tried to stay off social media, except for a few bouts here and there. I need to be ruthlessly selfish this week and take care of myself.

Satisfying Solstice ritual.

Up early on Sunday. Took some clippings from the big lilac and the puffy pink rhodie. Dipped them in rooting powder and planted them, so, fingers crossed. Got the peas planted.

Che Guevara Chipmunk ripped out some of the lilac cuttings to hide acorns. We had words. I replanted the cuttings and moved the pot where I hope he can’t get at it.

It’s awfully early for all the beasts to be hoarding for winter. It’s not even July.

Took the pressure off myself on Sunday. Let myself read and work on the DRAKECLIFF outline. It was lovely to work on the deck.

Up early on Monday. I hope the guy comes to mow the lawn this week. It’s looking a little raggedy. We’re getting into the fourth week since his last visit. If he’s not here by Wednesday, I’ll have to prod. He’s usually very reliable, and I paid him the day I got the invoice, so. . .

Worked on a survey about Serial Fiction. I miss writing it. I’ve looked into some of the platforms out there and am leery of them. They don’t pay enough. Some don’t pay anything.

A couple of people suggested using Medium as the platform (since there’s a pay scale). I have not utilized Medium well thus far. Not sure if this would be a way to do it.

I mean, first I’d need something to put up. Like a 6 week run of a piece (2-3X/week) that would be complete within the six weeks to see if it would fly. That would mean novella length, about 30K words. And then I’d need a longer piece ready to go if it worked.

I’d considered doing THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS as a serial, but it’s complex with a large, ensemble cast (although the primary protagonists are a quartet), so I’m not sure that would work. Expecting the readers to hold so many characters in their heads over time might not make sense (even if there was a website to which to refer).

I’m curious as to how people view serial fiction and what they’re looking for, which is why I’m developing the survey. Information is always a good thing.

I’ve been encouraged to start a Patreon, but I don’t think I can take that on right now. I’d want to have 18 months of multi-tiered material stockpiled before I started. The time/money ratio doesn’t make sense right now.

Still no bill from Comcast – that supposedly was sent on the 16th and must be paid by the 30th or else. I hate Comcast.

How am I supposed to pay a bill they don’t send?

I won’t be forced into AutoPay. Comcast pulls any amount they want out of the account multiple times a month and won’t return it or credit it. Been down this road before with them.

Had to hunt down the thermometer. For 14 days after the surgery, I have to track my temperature twice a day. Hopefully, hot flashes won’t skew it.

Doing my first writing session of the day out on the deck, which is nice. Charlotte doesn’t like it, though. She wants to be with me for that writing session; but she doesn’t go outside.

Buzzed by the office quickly yesterday morning; got a few things sorted, then ran my final errands before surgery.

Followed full disinfectant protocols, and went back to work for a few hours. I’m working on some ads for a client.

Heard from a colleague at the office – we just missed each other. Phones & internet went down around 11. Comcast has to come out and fix it on Wednesday. So that means everything that has to be done from the office – emails, shipping, etc. – is delayed. Plus, when I checked with the client for some last minute details for tomorrow’s email blast – some challenges have come up, so we’re holding the blast for a few days. I’ll focus on ads instead.

Finished the survey for the serials. I set up the survey on Survey Planet, a platform I’ve always liked. But then, when I tried to make it go live, I was told certain features wouldn’t show up unless I “upgraded my plan.” Why didn’t that come up when I added them into the survey in the first place? Because you think, after I did all that work, I’ll just cave and pay more? Get stuffed.

So I’m off to find another survey platform. No, it won’t be Survey Monkey. They’re too limiting. I might do Google Forms, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Why I thought doing something like this during Mercury Retrograde was a good idea, I’ll never know. Wasted afternoon.

On a happy note, someone on Twitter recommended Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries. I read an excerpt and liked it so much that I ordered the whole series from Titcomb’s Books in Sandwich. They’ll be in sometime next week, and I’ll go over for a curbside pickup. I get to support an author AND a local independent bookstore. AND get to read five really fun books.

Makes me happy.

More client work today. All remote, as I’m required to be in isolation today and tomorrow. I have to keep the phone handy, because they will call me to tell me what time my COVID test is tomorrow at the testing center up at the Community College. If it comes back negative, we move forward with the surgery (and I have to take the medication and have a Very Bad Day and then surgery on Thursday). If the test comes back positive, we have to follow a whole different set of protocols.

I find these constant “do you still wear a mask?” questions on social media insulting. OF COURSE I WEAR A MASK, YOU IDIOTS. I ACTUALLY GIVE A DAMN ABOUT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.

In the general sense of humanity, because I’ve certainly lost patience with “people” in general.

Stop asking, you idiots. We can tell if someone’s wearing a mask or not. It’s obvious. At this stage of the game. You can also tell by their posts.

Let’s dismantle the toxic myth that this is about a “difference of opinion.” It’s not. It’s about giving a damn about other people, or aggressively putting them in danger (aka attempted murder).

I think I will unfollow, and possibly block, people who ask this.

I already unfollow and/or block people who boast about not wearing masks. Why would I engage with people who consider it their right to assault others and attempt murder, while saying wearing a mask – something so basic and simple – is an “assault” on their liberty?

The other truly disgusting question going around is “what’s your day job?” from other people who are supposedly writers.

My day job is WRITER, Bitch. Or, perhaps it’s Writer Bitch.

I’ll be doing more unfollows/blocks on those morons.

Bad enough non-writers run around acting like it’s not a profession. When other “writers” do it? Then they’re not writers. They’re dilettantes. It’s one thing for another job to come up in conversation. We do what we need to do in order to survive. It’s quite another to assume that NO writer makes a living at it, and perpetuate that toxicity. Hey, part-time writing is perfectly valid. Every stage of a career, and every career trajectory is valid. But don’t insult those of us busting our ass and making a living at it. Fuck right off. Stop contributing to the toxic myth that writers shouldn’t get paid for their work.

Will be a tough week on multiple fronts. At this point, I’m just trying to get through it.

While getting a lot of writing done. I hope to get some serious work done on BARD’S LAMENT and DRAKECLIFF, with Gambit Colony as my reward if I do it all. Then, it’s scrubbing the house down in preparation for setting up the living room tomorrow for my recovery.

I’m starting to have some ideas on how to shape the Susanna Centlivre play. I hope to start tackling it this weekend (because I need to turn my attention to the Isabella Goodwin play soon).

The book on harps and their history arrived yesterday, which I need for THE BARD’S LAMENT. So that’s a good thing.

Have a good one. I’m buckling up for a challenging rest of the week.

Wed. July 10, 2019: Daily Pages Add Up

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

 

 

There are plenty of things that are worrying me and infuriating me on several fronts. However, I am grateful for some of the small, but important pleasures.

One of the biggest of those is my first writing session of the morning out on the deck. I take my coffee, Tessa usually comes with me, and I write my first 1K or so outside, enjoying the yard.

It’s not always 1K on this particular project. Sometimes it’s only 500 words. Sometimes it’s more than 1K. But it’s in longhand, in a series of notebooks, and it’s uncontracted and not on deadline.

Which is one reason I’m having such fun with it. There’s no pressure. I can just let it rip.

I recently started my second notebook on this project. The first notebook contains the first 10 chapters, a little over 130 pages, approximately 1/3 of the book for this first draft. I love seeing the tangible evidence of these past few months’ work.

I’ve done some research for this book, but as I continue, I keep finding more things I’ll have to look up, and I’m using more placeholders than usual to keep the momentum. I’ll regret that when I hit the next draft, but it’s working for me in this first one.

After my yoga/meditation and my shower, I go to the computer, and I work on the next book that’s contracted. I do at least 1K, although at this point, it’s more like 1.5K, and with a deadline looming, I have to up my game to closer to 2.5K a day. That’s the reality of deadlines. But the steady, daily work, even on days I don’t feel like showing up to the page, builds momentum, keeps me in the world of the book, and makes this book better than the previous books in the series (which is my goal).

I print out my pages every day, both because I’m paranoid about losing work (even backed up work has been corrupted) and because it’s easier for me to edit on the page still. It’s easier for me to make the tracking sheets I need and the notes I need for the Series Bible when I can physically flip between the pages.

I print material on 3-hole punch paper and keep each draft in a 3-ring binder. I do refer back and forth between different drafts in the editing process, especially when my editor and/or copyeditor find discrepancies. Or when I cut characters or subplots, and decide to re-introduce them in other books, where they fit better, further down the line in the series. I use the final galleys to update the Series Bible.

(If you want more information on how I create and maintain a Series Bible, I have a workbook available, based on my workshops).

Again, I have (and need) the tangible evidence of the pages adding up.

While this contracted novel is with my editor, a few weeks down the line, I’ll switch to the next book in the next series that has to be torn apart and rewritten, because the last few drafts I wrote haven’t hit the mark. It has to get fixed and get in the publication queue — we already pushed back the dates for it, and for another book, and now we’re playing catch-up. But I’d rather push the release date back a reasonable amount of time than release a bad book.

At the same time, in the evenings, I’m playing with pieces inspired by #31Prompts.

Again, there’s not pressure on these pieces. They’re not contracted. They’re taking all kinds of different formats. I’m stretching and having fun.

By the end of the month, I have to write a short radio play set on Brighton Pier in the 1920s, and I have to start writing the play about Canaletto’s sisters, which is due in NYC by the end of the year.

Showing up at the page every day for whatever project I’m working on is vital to me. I can’t write in spurts and then go away for stretches. I lose the innate rhythm, the heartbeat of the piece.

I need to see it through.

I need the dailiness of the writing. It keeps the rest of my day in perspective, and makes me feel better and clearer about the entire day.

I change my writing process every few months. I make adjustments as to the where and when I write.

But I show up.

What is your process?

Published in: on July 10, 2019 at 6:20 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 10, 2019: Daily Pages Add Up  
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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

Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions

Monday, July 24, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Intense weekend. Still dealing with personal issues.

Worked on the article; it should be ready to go out tomorrow. Roughed out two more articles and two flash fiction pieces I hope to get done this week.

Most of the weekend was spent working on the Coventina Circle series. I’ve got the edits done on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I have a bit more backmatter to add in over the next few days, and then it goes to my editor and copy editor.

Worked on the information for what will be the Coventina Circle Series Bible. I have most of the character information in there; now I need to do the place information.

We’ve roughed out the cover for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, the second book in the series, too. The central protagonists are Bonnie and Rufus, and it deals with both contemporary times and with New York City’s history as New Amsterdam. The first chapter of SPIRIT REPOSITORY will be included in the back of PLAYING THE ANGLES.

I re-read what I have on the book. I thought I was nearly finished with it, but it’s really only about a third. I have to get cracking, since we now have a May 2018 release date for it. But I got a good sense of it, and have to sit down and work out some plot complications. It will take a few days to finish outlining it and then I can get back to work on it. That book has to go into the regular, daily writing schedule.

I also spent time doing Writers Rough Outlines on other books in the series. I have basic notes on the Lesley/Sam book and the Diana/Greg book. I spent most of my time focusing on Book 3 in the series, which has the tentative title of RELICS & REQUIEM. That book focuses on Amanda and Phineas.

Because the lives of these characters are so entwined, and I’ve set up some strong relationships in ANGLES, I find I need to work on the outlines in tandem. Things that happen further down the line need seeds planted in the earlier books. Each book stands alone, and has a different central pair of protagonists, as paranormal romantic suspense does, but they feed on each other.

It’s an interesting process, and I understand so much more about structure than I did when I first wrote ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT. Growth in a writer is a good thing.

Started reading WORDS ON THE AIR, which is the collected letters of poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. It’s gotten me thinking about writing an epistolary novel. Supposedly, that’s out of fashion, but it’s a style I enjoy. Made some notes. I think I want it to cover several decades of history. The characters are talking to me, telling me about their lives and how they want it to work. It will take quite a bit of research, I think.

Getting back into writing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY means re-visiting some of New York City’s earliest history. I ordered some books from the library, then looked up and realized I owned one of them. When I first percolated the novel, I used Washington Irving’s diaries. I also bought a good biography of him, but didn’t read it. It’s sitting on the shelf next to his diaries. Time to read it.

One of the late payments arrived; the smallest one (of course), and only part of it. But better than nothing. The other payment better arrive in the next few days. This is ridiculous. “Processing” means the check will be written and mailed, not that you’re deciding to maybe someday pay or not pay. Use the right language.

The actor John Heard died. I was sorry to hear it. We worked together off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club on an Arthur Miller play quite a few year ago. He had a meticulous process approaching his work. He had the reputation for being difficult, but we got along well.

Watched PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES again this weekend. I liked it better this time around. My favorite scene is still the Bennett girls getting ready for the ball, hiding their weapons in their gowns. My 94 year-old mother, who doesn’t like paranormal movies, loved it. She’s re-reading Jane Austen right now, and we’re watching all the movies, and I wanted to see this one shortly after seeing the definitive PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Colin Firth.

Lots to do today. I’d like to stay in the cocoon of the Coventina Circle books, but I have to deal with the real world in order to keep a roof over our heads. I have a project meeting on Thursday that I’m looking forward to.

I have to do some rearranging of front matter for a play that a producer is interested in; more to do with renumbering the pages than anything else. I gave it a proofread yesterday, and it holds up better than I remember, which is a good thing.

Already did a grocery run this morning (to avoid the tourists), and wrote two drafts on a flash fiction piece I’ve been turning around in my head for a few days. I hope to get it out the door soon. While I drove to the grocery store, I had another flash fiction idea about a butcher and his vegetarian customer who shops for her elderly neighbor. Will work on that when I’m done with the articles.

Because, you know, ideas come in batches.

Published in: on July 24, 2017 at 9:13 am  Comments Off on Mon. July 24, 2017: Time in Fictional Dimensions  
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Mon. May 13, 2013: All About the Book

IMG_1034
Tessa enjoys the sun

Monday, May 13, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Had to take in the tomatoes,etc. last night. It’s in the 30s overnight for the next few days. Brrr.

I’ve tackled the first ten chapters of the CHARISMA KILLINGS revision. Ripped them apart, moved around story lines and subplots, got some more “detecting” in there, planted some more red herrings.

As I’m doing the revisions, I’m also setting up the Series Bible. Normally, I don’t do that until a piece is in final galleys, but, since this is the first book in the series, I’m doing it early, and I’ll make tweaks as the book progresses through production.

Worked in the garden, worked on the book. That defined my weekend.

Celebrated Mother’s Day by giving my mom a cheesecake (what she wanted most) and cooking her a steak.

Re-reading Susan Witting Albert’s TOGETHER, ALONE.

We had some heavy rain over the weekend. I’ve gotten into the habit of putting out buckets on the porch steps to capture some of the water and use it in the garden. I have enough containers for 26 gallons — makes a difference when you’re gardening. And the grass! We could genuinely see it GROW over the course of the weekend. No pause in the mowing for me!

Lots of admin and other stuff to do today, including pitching some ideas to one of my former editors who is interested in having me work for her again.

And, of course, the book. Right now, everything is about the book.

Devon

Published in: on May 13, 2013 at 7:03 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 13, 2013: All About the Book  
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