Tues. Oct. 13, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 146 — Covidiots Run Loose

image by Peter Lomas courtesy of pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars, and MERCURY Retrograde

Yup, Mercury goes retrograde today and stays that way until election day. With Mars retrograde.

It won’t be pretty.

Technically, tourist season ended here yesterday, so we are only expected to die for our employers. But boy, howdy, did they expect us to Die For Tourist Dollars all fucking weekend, because there was NO enforcement of the mask mandate.

To say I am angry about the domestic terrorists that tried to kidnap the governor of Michigan is an understatement. We need Bill Barr impeached. We need the 25th Amendment now. We need that vile SCOTUS nominee removed.

I got SERENE AND DETERMINED out on submission before 8 AM – with a full proofread and some tweaks. Either this place will take it or not. A long shot is better than no shot.

Honestly, until I actually hit “send” I didn’t think I could make the deadline.

Did a few more drafts of the short story and got that out, too. I don’t think it’s exactly what they’re looking for – I think I might have used a slightly wider lens than they want – but I’m  happy with the story, and if they don’t use it, I have a list of other markets to which to pitch it.

Did another drop-off/curbside pickup at the library. As soon as I got back, more books had arrived, so I picked those up on Saturday.

We got our ballots of Friday, so we filled them out, and I took them to the secure drop box in Hyannis on Saturday morning. We’ve voted. We’ve done our civic duty.

It was great to see so many others dropping off ballots, too.

It was not great that I was the ONLY ONE wearing a mask.

Main St. Hyannis is supposed to be a masked zone. NO ONE is supposed be on the street unmasked. No one is supposed to be in any public space in the entire state unmasked.

Yet, there they all were, dancing around in public, no masks. No distancing. Tourists sashaying out of the packed motels, no masks, no distancing.

No enforcement.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Since the pandemic started, I have not seen a single cop EVER wear a mask around here. All the construction and DPW workers – who would normally wear masks and goggles as part of their safety gear – aren’t. And they’re all up in each other’s faces all the time and not distancing. It’s disgusting.

And we wonder why MA numbers are going up.

Broadway is shuttered until May of 2021. Heartbreaking, but necessary. You know the producers are going to try to use this to bust the unions. The unions must hold firm. It’s going to take a decade or more for theatre to recover. But it WILL recover. Hopefully, a lot of these corporate entities will go away from theatre, and old-style impresarios, who actually love the format, will return.

I shouldn’t be surprised by the vicious remarks from snide people saying, “Well, now you have to get a REAL job” – the same people who say that the arts isn’t a real job, and that “no one” makes a living writing.

Nice to know who I can cut out of my life.

All these people binge-watching their streaming shows all pandemic — how do you think those are created? You think they magically appear out of the ether?

I’m reading SENSE OF OCCASION by Harold Prince, and he has a line that resonates: “. . .the theatre has been dying for as long as it’s been living, so its problems are not irrevocable.”

I was lucky enough to work directly with him on one show, at the Public Theatre. The hopes were that it would move to Broadway. It didn’t, but working with him was an amazing experience. The intensity of his joy, his craft, and the way he listened and valued EVERYONE in the company was wonderful.

Didn’t get much done on Saturday other than laundry, taking in the ballots, picking up the candy for Halloween, and doing the library run.

Sunday, I was up early to take the garbage and recycling to the dump. The staff, as always, were masked and great. The fucktards dumping garbage weren’t.  Disgusting. At least at the recycling area, people wore masks as required.

Since I was over in that direction, I dashed over to the nearby Stop N Shop to pick up a few things I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s.

Home, decontaminated, had trouble with the laptop as I was trying to get work done. This laptop is barely six months old. I shouldn’t be having trouble with the keyboard already, especially since I have a light touch on the keys.

Wrote, revised, and polished the two articles for which I’d been contracted last week by the same editor.

Started the third contracted article, for a different editor, but had run out of steam by then.

Monday was the end of my few days of sleeping through the night. I woke up around 1 AM, again at 2:44, and then for good at 4:36.

I got some writing done, and headed to my client’s. I knew no one would be there. I got a lot done in a few hours, as much as I could get done there. I prefer to work on the ads at home. It’s easier.

Swung by Star Market, because that is the only place I can get the Cranberry-Peach juice and stocked up. Everyone was masked and careful in the store, which was good, since there were more people in the store than they should have let in.

No one outside the store was masked. Everybody’s dancing around the streets, not distancing, not masked. It’s really out of control in my neighborhood, and is irritating. I have made it clear to the neighbors that they don’t come near me unmasked. I am not participating in their insanity and disdain for each other. It’s a shame our neighborhood, which used to be tight and be about people taking care of each other, has devolved so badly.

Home, decontaminated, tried to work on the third article. I wanted to get it out the door before Mercury turned retrograde, but that’s just not going to happen. Switching between the various drafts of the stage play and the radio version to pull the right examples gets confusing.

We are having High Kitty Drama.

Someone on Twitter suggested the catnip banana as a great toy. I bought one for Tessa in this last Chewy order, and other toys for Willa and Charlotte.

Well, everyone wants the banana.

Charlotte tried to steal it and caused arguing and caterwauling and chasing and hissing.

Willa and Tessa now steal it back and forth, but they are sort of friends now, so it’s more playful than nasty.

But I couldn’t stand the drama and ordered two more catnip bananas, so each has her own. They should arrive by Thursday.

I bet the still steal them from each other.

I saw a publication that does both podcast and print. I asked the editor if in the next submission style, I could submit in radio format, and they were intrigued.

The next cycle is in December, which gives me some time to play with ideas. I have a few – it’s fantasy. There will be comedy. I don’t think there will be dirigibles in this one – I think I’m going in another direction. But you never know when a dirigible might show up in my work.

I asked, on Twitter, for recommendations for romance novels where children aren’t the end game, where a healthy HEA involves NOT having children BY CHOICE (not by infertility) and that is treated as a valid choice. I’m so sick of books about supposedly “independent” women who get pregnant by accident (“everything solved by a ‘magic penis’ as one person said on Twitter) and then turns into a puddle of ecstatic goo. Of course those books should exist. But other books, where happy lives without children should exist, too, and those are the books I want.

I got a pile of suggestions, which I wrote down. I ordered some from the library. I bought one, so far, on Kindle, because it’s set against horse racing.  I don’t read much romance (although I enjoy books in other genres with strong romantic elements and love) because too often I find the tropes cringeworthy.  For instance, I can’t stand the whole billionaire boyfriend trope, because I have yet to meet a billionaire who wasn’t a complete ass. That’s how he got to be a billionaire. Not by being secretly a good guy. Yes, it’s fantasy, but it stretches believability too far for me.

Also bought WITCHING TIME, Yasmine Galenorn’s newest WILD HUNT book, and have read about half of it so far.

Got my next book assigned for review. Looking forward to starting that by Thursday.

Today, I need to finish the article and get it out.  I will do client work, and get out some LOIs. I will finish tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice post and schedule that, and maybe get up a post for A Biblio Paradise.

Once the article goes out, I need to turn my attention back to the novel revisions, and work on the Susanna Centlivre play.

I have the Knowledge Unicorns this afternoon, too. We’re starting later than usual, because I’m taking a cooking seminar via Kripalu with Jeremy Rock Smith. I love the way he teaches, and I love his recipes, so I’m excited!

Don’t get me started on the SCOTUS hearings, or I’ll just turn into a rage monster. What an unqualified, unprincipled piece of crap that nominee is.

Off to start my day. Have a good one. Keep your head down during this retrograde.

Fri. Oct. 9, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 142 — All Writing

image courtesy of mozlase via pixabay.com

Friday, October 9, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cold

Yesterday was all about SERENE AND DETERMINED. I worked through it, scene-by-scene, line-by-line. I changed, cut, added. I had my friend’s notes next to me, and figured out how to make them work. I added a scene in the second act, to balance it out more, bringing back an antagonist I’d used in the first act.  Lavinia shows more flashes of temper now, and Gian Paolo has a stronger arc as he takes over the contract negotiations from her father.

I’m awfully tempted to write a play in the future centering around the three noblewomen who gave her so much support. Each of them was extraordinary for their time, or for any time, too, and they’re such fun to write.

I took a break for the Freelance Chat. I’d considered skipping it this week, and I should have, because it was difficult to get back to Bologna in the late 1500s after yapping about Buffer and social media tools.

But I got there. It took all damn day to get this revision finished, but I did it.

I then looked over the paperwork for the submission and realized I had to write a “Statement of Objectives” to go with it. Urgh. So I knocked that out. I might have laid it on a little thick, but the passion underlying the words and the process is real.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. A Twitter pal sent me a fun link for more octopus stuff, and it was Octopus Day, so we talked about both the octopus and the bat. We worked on various assignments. There’s less fear and more resignation and determination amongst the kids now, which I think is a good thing. They know continuing remotely is the best choice in this situation; they also realize that they are privileged in ways other kids who don’t have the support they have from their parents and the Knowledge Unicorns aren’t. Several of them are helping kids in their classes, using techniques we’ve been using in the Knowledge Unicorns. And a lot of their classmates are doing homework in the car, driving somewhere that has a Wi-Fi signal, because they don’t have internet at home.

Their bond with each other is growing, and that helps them when kids who are going back to in-person learning (and the parents of those kids) try to bully them. As I said early on, most of the kids in the group didn’t know each other before – they are scattered all over the country. Most of their parents only met once, that time we all were together and down in the house on the beach waaaay back when the parents were kids.

But they’re in communication with each other regularly outside of our sessions, helping each other, hanging out virtually, and I think that’s a positive.

Keith Olbermann is back as a political commentator. He is one of my favorites. He is so smart, so strong, so determined to call out bullshit. I’m absolutely delighted to watch him again every night. I missed the way he puts together and offers information.

Slept through the night, which was nice, although Charlotte was fussing at me way too early in the morning.

Today, SERENE AND DETERMINED gets a final proofread. Then I finish the paperwork and submit it. I know this conference gets thousands of submissions, but if I don’t try there’s no chance. If I try, there’s a 50-50 chance – either they take it, or they don’t.

So I’ll try.

As soon as that goes off, I have to do a curbside drop-off/pick-up from the library.

Then, I will turn my attention to the short story, and work on that. I plan on working through the weekend this weekend. I want to get the short story and all three articles written, polished, and out before Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Because that, my friends, with Mars retrograde at the same time, will be a bumpy ride.

Peace, friends, have a great weekend, and see you on the other side.

Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on why word choice matters.

Heads up: Venus goes direct on Friday WHILE Mercury turns retrograde. In other words, that’ll be one messed up day. And then I’ll have to spend the next three weeks keeping my mouth shut!

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS is up as a free download (how’s that for contradictory language?) here. Although originally geared to National Novel Writing Month, you can decide any day is “Day 1” and go for it. I’m committed to keeping it free, since Nano is free, and that was the catalyst for it.

I got the center front yard raked on Monday afternoon, before the storm started. Tuesday was nasty; I’m hoping to get all those bags of leaves (nearly 800 gallons’ worth) to the dump (excuse me, transfer station) either today or tomorrow. And then get some more raking in before Friday’s storm hits.

Steady work on DAVY JONES DHARMA, although slower than I’d like or need. I’m not sure how to step it up. I need to push harder, but right now, the tank on that project is pretty low. Truly, I’m trying to make like a hockey player and dig deeper, but I’m struggling!

Drafted about half of a short story, inspired by a conversation I had over Veteran’s Day weekend and some of my own experiences back when I did a lot of work with Vietnam vets. There’s a lot of pain in the story, but it’s in subtext, not text. That means each word has to be chosen even more carefully than in a typical short story. There’s also a twist in the last couple of lines that I hope I don’t foreshadow too directly, but I want readers to be hit with it, then go back and not feel cheated. It’s a good craft stretch for me.

Tuesday was a day onsite with a client, and today will be the same.

Looks like the Democrats picked up another Senate seat in Arizona. Maybe the gap in the Senate will be closer than predicted, even with Heitkamp and McCaskill losing.

Meanwhile, the Narcissistic Sociopath continues to be a corrupt embarrassment to the office and the country.

And California continues to burn.

Took a look at two projects I’d worked on a few years back and put aside. They’ve got a good foundation, great characters. I need to think about when I can get them back into the writing queue. They have temporary end points, so they wouldn’t drain creative energy. But I really like what I’m trying to say in them.

While doing some research for one of my projects, the song from 1984, “Obsession” by Animatron, started running through my head. I found the video and watched it — I don’t remember ever seeing it. But then, I don’t remember plenty of things from the 80s. I do remember having a lot of fun to that song and others when I lived on the West coast during that time. I’m grateful it was before the time when going out to blow off steam meant it showed up on social media. In the context of the time, I wasn’t particularly wild, but when I tell stories from those days, people around here seem to think I was. I was passionate and determined, and seized life for everything it had. I have no regrets.

Later that night, I put on the iPod and started dancing around the kitchen, just blowing off some steam. Hadn’t done that in awhile. Tessa, the older cat, looked at me, rolled her eyes (as only a feline can), and stalked out. Lucy, the newer rescue, was terrified and ran away. It was pretty funny.

I want to weave more dancing into some of my projects. I haven’t had the chance to go out dancing much here. Of course, when I worked on Broadway, we made our own dance parties regularly. Anywhere we went had potential to turn into a dance party.

In one of those weird creative synchronicity things, when I checked my Twitter feed the next morning, one of my Twitter pals had posted a video of him dancing in his kitchen. It was wonderful! Made me smile and reminded me that happiness is contagious.

He’s invited his followers to shoot videos dancing in their kitchens and will edit it together. Since I don’t do on-camera stuff, I won’t shoot one, but I’ll sure as hell enjoy watching what he compiles. He’s wildly creative, and I’m sure it will be a blast.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 14, 2018 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity  
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Wed. Nov. 6, 2017: Keeping On Keeping On

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

Busy few days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots to do with my clients.

Busy time.

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

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

Published in: on December 6, 2017 at 3:32 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 6, 2017: Keeping On Keeping On  
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Wed. Oct. 4, 2017: Reasons I Should Not Do Nano

Playing The Angles Cover Sm
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank you to everyone who has purchased PLAYING THE ANGLES. I hope you’re loving it. I’m getting some wonderful feedback. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, a variety of digital links are here and the website is here.

Busy day — pitches, promo for PLAYING THE ANGLES, updating sites, research for articles, etc.

Finished writing a weird little short story — for me, very weird and out of my wheelhouse. But I like it. Have to type it up and polish it.

Got in the two reviews, and requested two more books to review.

Heard back from a pitch and have a meeting about it tomorrow afternoon, which will be fun. Looking forward to it.

Playing with an idea for a story, a way to channel current rage and frustrations. I started playing with it last night. Not only did I enjoy working the idea, but I felt better about things in general. It’s evolving away from the original inspiration into something much more complex and interesting, which is what a good bit of imagination partnered with craft does. I like even the unlikable characters, and it has a weird humor to it. It’s also out of my usual wheelhouse, which makes it an interesting challenge.

Added a challenging yoga sequence before last night’s meditation. I’m sore this morning, but slept better. Upped this morning’s yoga practice, too. Important to keep it fresh.

Of course, the Nano debate is coming up again, for me and for most writers I know. To Nano or not to Nano? Everyone, of course, has different reasons for doing or not doing Nano. I need to separate my ego at writing 50K in 30 days away from what’s on my schedule.

First and foremost, I know I can write 50K in 30 days. I proved that over 5 bouts of Nano, and, at this point, that’s basically a normal month, although usually spread over several projects.

Second, the Lavinia Fontana play has to take center stage as far as drafting, since it’s due to the producer by the end of the year.

Third, I’m promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, and by November, will have to get back into finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so it can release in May.

Fourth, SAVASANA AT SEA releases on November 15, so I’ll be working on pre-release and release material for that WHILE still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES.
Fifth, I’ll be working on the research and finishing the outline for DAVY JONES DHARMA, so I can start writing it after the first of the year, since it releases in November of 2018.

Sixth, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story is set to release in November. Which means writing the opening of the following story to go in the back matter.

Seventh, we still have to re-schedule the release of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern short.

Eighth, the galleys for the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA will be in full swing by then (since it releases in January) — which also means I’ll have to reshape the material for the opening of MYTH & INTERPRETATION (which drops next July) and the opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (which releases in January of 2019).

Ninth, I have article and review deadlines to keep the bills paid and a roof over my head.

Tenth, my mother will just have had surgery, and we don’t yet know the next steps.

Eleventh, FIX-IT GIRL has to go out on submission.

Twelfth, I have other original novels that got derailed with this new writing/release schedule that have to get back on track.

Those reasons are all in the “don’t do it this year” column.

In the “gosh I’m tempted column”:

I like riding the wave of creative energy. The air tingles with excitement;

The new novel I’m playing with wants attention; it would give me a chance to write a bit over 1600 words/day to see if it’s actually viable, or just a release valve for the moment;

I love the space where the local Nano group is meeting, and I’m tempted to go and write in community.

The Nano definition has gotten much looser in the last few years, but I still stick to the original definition.

“Doing” Nano means you start a new project on Nov. 1 and you write 50K in 30 days. If you’re not done with your first draft then, you keep going until you’re done, using the Nano momentum.

“Writing Along With” Nano means you’re working on something in progress. Some people use it to work on revisions. Personally, I find the first-draft energy generated by millions of people scribbling for a month too intense for anything but first-draft work.

So why not “Write With” on more than one project?

Technically, one isn’t supposed to work on a script — this NOVEL writing month. The Lavinia Fontana script must take priority. There used to be Script Frenzy in the spring, but I think that petered out. Plus, I can’t be held to a daily word count with Lavinia. She is bound and determined to do things her way, just like she did in life — serene and determined (which I’m seriously thinking of using as the title).

First-draft energy would mean either finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY or using it to push DAVY JONES DHARMA (since I’m already immersed in the world of that series).

Or, it could be used to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track. Since that’s only got a 55K word limit, it’s do-able.

Or I could use it to keep working on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but that’s developed a solid, innate rhythm, sometimes as much as 3K/day, and I don’t want to disrupt it.

Or, I could work on the first 50K of the new piece I’m noodling with — but DOING Nano would mean I can’t work on it between now and November 1, which just isn’t going to happen. I’m pretty sure this book will run to just under 100K.

Last time I “wrote along with” Nano, about two years ago, I was already working on TIE-CUTTER, but then I wanted to “do” Nano, too, so I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC — and wrote the whole damn thing while writing daily on TIE-CUTTER, doing what I called “Tandem Nano.” CHOLERIC is out on submission; TIE-CUTTER was put aside to work on other projects, and will go back in the queue late next year.

On an emotional/ego level, I want to do it. On a practical level, it is going to work against me instead of for me. Which should make the decision easy.

We’ll see what happens come November 1.

Lots of fiddly things to do today, and then it’s back to the SAVASANA galleys, polishing the short story, and working on articles.

Back to the page.

I’m glad so many of you are loving PLAYING THE ANGLES! It means a lot to me.

Thurs. June 22, 2017: Primal Scream Therapy Would Be Good About Now

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Got out some pitches, did some research. Worked on some articles. Got my errands done in a timely fashion–I was early enough to avoid the worst of the tourist traffic.

Mowed the terraced back area; it looks much better. Today, it’s back to tackling the meadow. If I’m lucky, it’ll be done by fall. 😉

On the drive to Orleans in the afternoon, I wrote a story in my head; will try to get it on paper today. I started this morning. I thought it would be an 800 word, rather upbeat piece under one particular name. The characters are taking it in a different direction, so I may have to re-think my target market, and what name it would go under.

The meeting went well. I liked the person I’d be working with. There are a few things that make me hesitate, and that I think will make them hesitate, and I’m disappointed by the money (or lack thereof). So I’m not sure what will happen. But I’ll know early next week.

Sat on the deck reading when I got back and got bitten to pieces by mosquitoes.

The new-to-me editor sent me another round of contradictory revision requests. This is just not going to work. I doubt I’ll even do all three of the assignments I told myself I’d do in my self-imposed trial period. Not the right fit, and the time/money ratio just doesn’t work.

Today is mowing, pitching, research, writing. I’m behind on a couple of things, especially THE FIX IT GIRL. I need to catch up this weekend.

I’m frustrated and discouraged this morning, and I’ll have to find a way to write myself out of that.

To the page (my mantra, it seems).

Published in: on June 22, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. June 22, 2017: Primal Scream Therapy Would Be Good About Now  
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Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear

Monday, May 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Not the productive weekend I’d hoped for, unfortunately.

The stress of the personal issues I’m dealing with hit like a hammer, and it was difficult for me to get anything else done. I managed a little yard work, but not like the marathon hours that my neighbors did. Their lawns are pristine; my mower still isn’t working. I’m hoping the replacement of a simple part or two will do the trick.

I got a little work done on the play proposal, and some plotting work done on the radio play. I need to gear up and get those out the door this week.

On the upside, I re-read Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons mysteries, and enjoyed them. I drafted up some reviews I’ll leave for them. I also read a couple of her earlier books, one-offs, which were also fun.

STILL waiting for my first assignment from that editor who, weeks ago, said I was hired. I could have done THREE assignments (and been paid) in this time frame. I’m irritated. Perhaps it’s time to move on and take other work instead. IF I’m ever contacted, I’ll see what my schedule is, or I’ll bow out. If you’re “constantly” adding people to the team and promising “steady” work, it doesn’t take three weeks to make the first assignment.

Drafting a short article and an article pitch that need to go out today. Also want to tackle the short story — I’d like to get that out by the end of this week. I need to do some reformatting on the Topic Workbooks for an additional release venue, and get back to work on the next Topic Workbook. I’m going to try to release one every three months.

I re-read TIE CUTTER, which needs to get back into the writing mix in the next few months, and also did some more research for the next section of FIX IT GIRL revisions. The revision process on this novel is different than my usual, but it’s working for the particular novel, so I’m going with it.

Managed to get in a bit of yard work this morning before the rain started, although I was bitten several times. I hate ants. I’m in full out war with the ants. I know, I should appreciate them and all they stand for, but they’re not keeping their part of the bargain.

I have errands to run this morning, some things to do at the library, and then, hopefully, I can get back to the page. This week will be very stressful, on multiple fronts, and I’m trying to prepare myself, both mentally and physically.

Published in: on May 22, 2017 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear  
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Tues. May 16, 2017: Breakthroughs and Restructuring

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Finally, a sunny day! Now, if I could only get that mower going! Otherwise, I’ll be sitting on the grass with the pruning shears, cutting a few inches at a time.

Yesterday wasn’t as productive in terms of words on paper as I would have liked, but it was good in terms of creativity.

I got out the short story and a re-slanted pitch. I was about to send out a filler; I checked the guidelines one last time, and found the publication is ceasing — something which wasn’t on their website last week! So I have to rethink and re-slant.

Did some research. Was going to give myself the day off from writing completely (except for the work I’d done on the short story in the morning), but didn’t want to lose momentum on WINNER TAKE ALL. So I did the next 20 pages of revisions on that, and it felt good. I should be able to finish this second draft in a day or two, and then put it aside to marinate.

Had a breakthrough on the proposal for the play set in Boston. All of a sudden, it came clear, it started shaping. I can write the synopsis, I’ve written several sample pages, the artistic vision of what I want to explore and why is clear. I even found the right title, at least for while it’s a work-in-progress. I love those kinds of epiphanies!

I wrote a good chunk of the proposal this morning. I have to type up what I scribbled for sample pages and finesse them before I finish the proposal and send it off.

I’m preparing for tomorrow, when there is a big sit-down to figure out how I want to reshape my career. I’m tired of the “everybody does” and “this is THE way it has to be. It’s obviously not working. The big 5 are dumbing down way too many of their releases; independent authors are struggling, and I know several who are ready to give up; the small publishers who do POD are shut out of too many venues that could be profitable; even Harlequin is shutting down five of its lines. Not that I have anything with Harlequin, but for the authors who’ve been paying their bills with those five lines, it’s a shock. There are things that “everybody does” that I don’t agree with, that I don’t like, and that don’t work for me.

So we have to sit down and find other ways. The Topic Workbooks do well, but they can do better. I want PLAYING THE ANGLES to have a good shot at market share when it re-releases, because it’s a good book, and I want the books that are set/planned for that world to build on each other. I want TRACKING MEDUSA to have a good re-release, so I can complete the books I see with those characters. Only then can I decide what I want to do with the Jain Lazarus books, which are in a weird limbo with their current publisher. I want to do more with the delectable digital delights, and I have a batch of short stories whose rights have reverted, and maybe I can do something with them that will serve them well. The Justice by Harpy trilogy is sitting around gathering dust instead of earning its keep, are EARTH BRIDE and ANGEL HUNT. They need to get out the door. I want to take the Sophie Batchelder books in the direction I believe is best for them, not the current constant dumbing-down, and I need to see if there’s also a place in the world for the Gin Adams books. These are stories that interest me, that I wrote because there wasn’t anything else like it on the market.

THE FIX IT GIRL is going to be solid; it’s going to need one more revision after this current draft, I think, but it should be ready for submission sometime in summer. I want to get back to NOT BY THE BOOK and HEART SNATCHER, which are geared to a specific, traditional market, and also get back to SONGBOUND SISTERS and the 1940s aviation mystery, both of which have early chapters which excited people.

At the same time, I have to balance and hustle and juggle the freelance work, which pays for everything else. I have to freshen the scripts in my portfolio, and get those back out in the pipeline. And keep up on the play commissions and the radio scripts.

All the while, I have to plan both long-and-short-term marketing campaigns, both financially and conceptually, and then have impeccable follow-through.

It’s a lot. A lot of juggling, a lot of brain time, a lot of physical time, and needs a very big calendar. I need to market in a way that highlights the best of each separate element/pseudonym, but also tie it all together.

So tomorrow will be a long, difficult day, but important to implementing the vision of the next phase of my creative life.

In the meantime, I have to fix the mower!

Published in: on May 16, 2017 at 8:44 am  Comments Off on Tues. May 16, 2017: Breakthroughs and Restructuring  
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Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

We had snow yesterday! Enough to cancel my evening plans, although not so much we were stuck and had to be rescued. Again.

Busy day yesterday. Short story out to the anthology, the Constitutional Law textbook arrived and I can dig in. Worked on contest entries. Worked with my elected officials.

Not enough writing done, which is something that has to be remedied this month.

Contract negotiations that were seemingly settled blew up last night on the ghostwriting project– after I’d sent out the paperwork at the author’s request. The other side came at me with new terms — even worse than the terms to which I’d agreed. Not only that, but I was accused of “imaginary research” — for a non-fiction project. We’d talked about research — the author wanted me to do research, handle photo permissions, and all that — and then decided she didn’t want to pay for it. Um, no. I put in the work, you pay for the work, and for any permissions fees. So we agreed to a provision where I wouldn’t put in any time or incur any costs without prior written permission from her on specific parameters. So she comes back with capping “imaginary research” at a specific fee.

I don’t know of a single professional working in non-fiction who doesn’t research the topic in question. I can understand if she was talking to advisors and that term was bandied about in conversation — but to try to put that language into a contract?

I wrote a rebuttal and formally withdrew from the project. She’d already kept scaling back and scaling back — trying to get out of a fair rate. No. Line. Crossed it. Done. Find someone on craigslist who’s going to do substandard work and screw you six ways from Sunday. Because it sure as heck won’t be me working on this.

My lawyer warned me it would come to this, back when she negotiated back the fee the first time. He gets to do the “I Told You So” song, and I’m going to have to acknowledge that, as usual, he was right.

This is the second referral from the same person who tried to screw me on money. I’m going to tell this individual to not give out my name and information any more.

I’ve got my To-Do list for February up on the GDR site. Let’s hope I’m more productive in February than I was in January!

Back to the page — and to the Constitutional Law textbook!

Published in: on February 1, 2017 at 10:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 1, 2017: The Lawyer’s “I Told You So” Song  
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Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance

Friday, January 27, 2017
New Moon
Chinese Lunar New Year — Year of the Fire Rooster
Cloudy and cold

Temperature’s going down again, but at least the rain’s let up for the moment.

Yesterday, I got some work done on the short story. I think it will be ready to go out on Monday (it’s due on Wednesday). As I was going to sleep last night, I had an “aha!” moment about it, which I will have to work in to the text today.

I sent off my proposals and we’ll see what happens next. I also worked on a counter proposal to the other contract negotiation. We’ll see if that works for both of us. If not, we part ways and wish each other well. I’m done accepting work for so far under my rate that it costs me. Pay me a fairly for a fair day’s work, or hire someone off Craigslist with no credits who mixes up possessives and plurals.

Turning over and over the themes and actions for the play. I hope to get a good chunk of it written this weekend, once the short story is done and simmering, prior to its final polish.

Worked on contest entries yesterday, and also on the research for the Italian Renaissance play. Found a tangent to my research — something very, very cool, but off-topic. However, it’s so cool that I made note of the sources and started a fresh file, so that I can go back and build a project just around that in the future.

Fascinating tangents are a pitfall of research. Many sniffily advise to “just ignore them.” I take notes, especially for sources, so I can go back to them once the project I’m researching is done. I find that works better for me — I don’t waste time on tangents (fifteen minutes to note sources is reasonable, in my opinion), and I don’t resent losing something interesting.

Did some political work, and have more to do today, including a potentially contentious encounter with someone whom I don’t think is living up to the obligations of the job.

One of my favorite authors, Nicole Peeler, has started a virtual book club as part of her activist and educational work. I joined, and ordered the first book. I’m looking forward to it — she’s putting together a smart group of people, and I think we can have some invigorating discussions.

I’m re-reading AS Byatt’s novel POSSESSION. I re-read it regularly, and it remains one of my favorite novels, although I wasn’t crazy about the film adaptation. I always get something new and nourishing from the text, as one does from well-written material.

I had hoped to get to Cape Cod National Seashore today, since our National Parks are about to be sold off, and I’d like to see it one last time. I don’t think I’ll make it until next week, but I’m determined to get there, thank the rangers in person, and take one last look before the destruction.

Back to the page.

Published in: on January 27, 2017 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 27, 2017: Trying to Get Back in Balance  
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Thurs. Jan. 26, 2016: Contracts, Decisions, Opportunities

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Dark Moon
Rainy and cold

At least it’s not snow, although I’m getting a little tired of rain. And it’s been so mild that the shrubs aren’t sure whether to stay dormant or to bud.

Got some work done on the short story yesterday, and on two proposals. Had a nice lunch at Captain Parker’s in Yarmouth, which is a fun restaurant with good food. Worked on contest entries.

Worked with my elected officials. We are differing on a couple of things, but are keeping it a civil discussion. Working with my elected officials, I don’t expect to get everything I want just because I ask for it; but they can’t represent me unless they know where I stand on things. When they make decisions counter to what I believe is the right choice, we discuss it. If their decisions are counter too often, I vote for someone else in the next election. But a good channel of communication is helpful. Even when I disagree, at least I know I’m being heard and not just ignored, especially when discussions hit specifics. And that’s the point of public services — you are representing many individuals, trying to make decisions that benefit as many as possible, within the value system of those who want you to represent them.

Walked away from a bad contract offer yesterday with the full support of my agent and lawyer. The offer was unacceptable as presented. Our side suggested changes, as one does. The other side said they don’t make any changes. Well, then, I’m not working with you. The first offer is where negotiations START, at least in the professional world. These smaller publishers who expect authors to sign boilerplates are delusional, and the authors so desperate they’re willing to give everything away just to get their names in print usually wind up regretting it.

A second contract negotiation on a different project walked back the money a LOT. We’re talking about walking back the workload to match. Otherwise, I won’t be doing that project, either. Which is fine, since I’d only even agreed to talk to the person as a favor to a friend. You’re not paying? I’m not working. This isn’t my cute lil hobby on the side.

Worked on a couple of proposals last night and this morning, and feel pretty good about them. We’ll see where they end up. This is in follow-up to Tuesday’s meeting.

Writing to do today, and research. The play I’ve been outlining gnaws at me. The last few scenes are very, very clear in my head. I may have to write them down so I don’t lose them.

I’d like to have the short story ready to submit by tomorrow or Saturday so that I can write a bit of the play and get it out of my head — and my heart. This one will be a gut-wrencher to write, which means I’m probably on the right track.

I forgot yesterday that it was both Burns Night and Virginia Woolf’s birthday. Salutes to both of them!

Back to the page.

Published in: on January 26, 2017 at 11:25 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 26, 2016: Contracts, Decisions, Opportunities  
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Wed. Jan. 25, 2017: Meetings & Negotiations & National Parks

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild

Yesterday morning was about contract negotiations on two projects. We’ll see. At this point, either the terms will be accepted, or they won’t. I’m fine with either. I’m not willing to sign something detrimental to my interests. I’d rather walk away.

Got some work done on the short story. I feel good about what’s there, and where it’s going. It was nice to get in some solid writing time.

Drove to New Bedford in the afternoon for my meeting. Drive wasn’t bad, although the fog was thick and it was raining. I need to replace my windshield wipers. I don’t understand the idiots who’ll drive in that weather, refusing to put on their lights. It’s the law to have one’s lights on in this weather; would be nice if it was enforced. It would prevent a lot of accidents.

The meeting went very well. I have some materials to put together by tomorrow and we have to negotiate money. Hopefully, it will work.

On the way back, I plotted out a new play, and worked on the outline last night. It’s a rather bleak, dystopian piece. In other words, contemporary.

Had my orientation for Constitutional Law. I really like the professor. While I believe the class will be challenging, I think it will be worth it.

Picked up Chinese food on the way home, and worked on contest entries. The last couple have been very good.

Love watching WEST WING, but it makes an even starker contrast to what we’re facing.

Kudos to the National Park Service and the employees who are standing up to climate change facts being censored. The Park Service reports to the PEOPLE, who pay for them.

I have a lot of work to do today, along with errands and a lunch mid-Cape. I’ve been invited to an early morning coffee tomorrow morning by a networking organization. I’m tempted to go, but it’s during my best writing time, so I hesitate.

The White House is still ignoring the devastation caused by the tornadoes this weekend. In the states who voted for him. That is not okay. Too busy abusing executive order power and gagging federal agencies.

Published in: on January 25, 2017 at 10:10 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 25, 2017: Meetings & Negotiations & National Parks  
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Tues. Jan. 3, 2017: Writing and Books

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Ninth Day of Christmas
Rainy and cool

If you want to see my To Do List for January, visit the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site here.

I also have an article up about my favorite “Comfort Books” — books I re-read regularly — up on A Biblio Paradise here.

Yesterday, I wrote nearly 2300 words on the 5K short story that’s due at the end of the month, so that’s well on its way. It’s surprising me in a good way; I just hope it’s what they want.

I also wrote an article (the one on comfort books), and started rehearsing for this weekend’s MOBY DICK marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

I should have worked on NOT BY THE BOOK, but I didn’t. I’ll have to make up for that today.

I read a book called SKIN LIKE SILVER by Chris Nickson, and I really liked it. I definitely want to read more of his work. I ordered a bunch from the library. Once I read some more, I will decide which ones I’ll buy. Important to support living writers and all that.

I have more admin work to do today, and then it’s back to the page — both the short story, and NOT BY THE BOOK. Then, it’s more rehearsal for MOBY DICK.

Started a new training regimen of strength & cardio work to go along with the yoga and mediation. Yesterday was strength training. The circuit was challenging without being disheartening, and I felt much better once I did it. Today is cardio — I’m supposed to walk in this bad weather. Too bad for me, right? The only way I’m going to achieve what I want and need to is to get back in shape and stay healthy.

So the House of Representatives wants to gut the Congressional Ethics Panel, does it? The House GOP isn’t even pretending to have any ethics any more. Then it’s up to the few ethical Congress members left to hire private investigators and prosecute the unethical Congressional members through the court. Don’t make our entire system a mockery.

As of January 20, our government WILL be a mockery.

Onward.

Devon

Published in: on January 3, 2017 at 10:33 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 3, 2017: Writing and Books  
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