Tues. Jan. 24, 2023: Digging Out

image courtesy of Richard Duijnstee via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Waxing Moon

No Retrogrades

Snowy and cold

Whew! Finally, we are done, for a brief shining moment with retrogrades, since Uranus went direct on Sunday the 22nd.

Which was also Chinese Lunar New Year, and we are now in the Year of the Water Rabbit.

Which is why tomorrow was chosen as the launch day for ANGEL HUNT.

Got all that?

Good. Now we can sit down for our usual Tuesday natter.

Friday seems oh, so very long away. It snowed all day. I did the section of the Heist Romance set in Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland (yes, I’ve been there, too), back in London, and on the Eurostar to Paris. I spent about an hour and a half putting together a list of resources for a close friend of mine, who’s feeling stuck, and sent that off. Heard from a friend of a friend, who recently moved to the area and is now working at Williams College; we will get together when she feels more settled.

In the afternoon, I read both books for review, and then read for pleasure in the evening.

We got closer to 3 inches than six inches of snow overnight, but because of the constant freezing and snowing, digging out the car was not fun. But I did so, and got to the library to pick up the stack of 8 books waiting for me. So at least I have those in before the next storm.

The rest of the materials for the incomplete coverage arrived, so I read them and started the coverage. Did the usual Saturday chores, like changing the beds, etc. Made pasta with sausage for dinner.

Read Evelyn Salter’s memoir of her years working as Edith Sitwell’s secretary, which was very interesting, and relevant to one of the projects with which I’m noodling in longhand. And makes me want to read Evelyn Salter’s crime novels, which I’m having difficulty finding. Time to haul out WorldCat. Between the regional CW Mars network, the Commonwealth Catalog (all of the state), the ILL system of WorldCat, and the Gutenberg Project, I should be able to do it. I managed to finally find Alice Campbell’s JUGGERNAUT on Gutenberg, and order some of her other titles via Commonwealth Catalog. Her work was popular around the time of Agatha Christie’s work, though she was not as well known.

Speaking of Agatha Christie, I joined the reading challenge over on her website (run by her descendants). January’s title is SAD CYPRESS, which I haven’t reread in ages, so that will be fun.

Figured out how to plant a real clue and some red herrings in the section of the Heist Romance script set in Paris, and researched the neighborhood/architecture of the neighborhood where I want it to happen, so I can choreograph the action in a way that makes sense.

Up early on Sunday to make chocolate chip banana bread. The weather advisory shifted to up to 10 inches of snow falling between Sunday night and Monday evening.

So, instead of taking Sunday off, I finished the coverage and sent it off, wrote both book reviews and sent them off, and said I’d be ready for more, hoping the power would hold on Monday morning so I could download them and read them during the snow.

Wrote 16 pages on the Heist Romance screenplay, doing the Paris section, the train to Nice-Ville, and the train to Monte Carlo. Set up clues and red herrings.

Made spicy peanut noodles and dumplings for lunch, so we could celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year. I miss being included in family celebrations for this as I was during my Broadway days, working on shows like MISS SAIGON and FLOWER DRUM SONG.

Treated myself by reading the next Vicky Bliss book, TROJAN GOLD (I love that series so much), and working on contest entries.

It started snowing around dinnertime on Sunday, and snowed all day on Monday. I was glad I’d gotten everything out the door Sunday, although I got my next two books for review on Monday.

I also got a big stack of coverages to do today and tomorrow, for which I’m grateful, but it will keep me busy. Let’s hope the power holds.

I worked on The Process Muse post which drops tomorrow. I’m trying to keep the posts a little shorter than they’ve been thus far.

I polished, uploaded and scheduled the next four episodes of LEGERDEMAIN, which gets me through mid-February. I polished, uploaded, and scheduled the next eight episodes of ANGEL HUNT, which gets me through mid-April.

ANGEL HUNT goes live tomorrow, so I have to block off a few hours to promote, and to upload/schedule promotions on the first episodes, since Kindle Vella doesn’t give us the direct link to the serial until it goes live.

I have to write episode loglines for all 12 episodes, and do the graphics for the LEGERDEMAIN episodes.

Starting this week, people can read new episodes of mine Tuesdays through Fridays: LEGERDEMAIN episodes drop Tuesday and Thursday; ANGEL HUNT episodes drop Wednesday and Friday.

I went out to try and dig out the car once we hit 12 inches. It was still snowing, and I gave up after a bit; it was too difficult, and the plow had pushed large chunks of snow behind the car. I will try again today. We have another storm coming in tomorrow, although instead of the 8 inches predicted, now they’re only saying 4.

One of the few things I miss about living on Cape is the garage.

Worked on contest entries. Got some other reading done.

Chef Jeremy did a fundraising class for No Kid Hungry; I couldn’t attend the session (even though it was on Zoom), but I made a donation.

Frustrating when the premise is excellent, most of the writing is strong, and the protagonist is an idiot one wishes was the next murder victim.

Listened to the HADESTOWN cast album last night. It’s one of my favorite scores, and one of the shows I wish I’d had a chance to work on before I left working backstage.

Busy night in the Dreamscape. Nothing bad, just busy. Work up tired and grumpy. I have a feeling a good portion of the grumps is because I know I have to shovel out the car later, before the next storm hits. The very thought of it is exhausting.

And, somewhere between all the storms, I have to get the car inspected.

I plan to get some drafting done on the next LEGERDEMAIN episodes this morning, and maybe a few pages on the Heist Romance screenplay, before digging out the car and switching to script coverage. I’m grateful for the work, but I’m tired.

Have a good one! Enjoy today’s LEGERDEMAIN episode!

Fri. Jan. 20, 2023: Snow’s Here!

image courtesy of  Jörg Vieli via pixabay.com

Friday, January 20, 2023

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Yesterday was a good, if somewhat weird day.

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

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

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

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

I’d worked four hours.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image courtesy of Pexels, via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Day Before Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Incoming storm

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

Post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image courtesy of M. H. via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus and Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want my big printer to work again.

Okay, whine over.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good one.

Thurs. Jan. 12, 2023: Unexpected Snow Day

image courtesy of  Kati via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus and Mercury Retrograde

Mars Direct (but still in Gemini)

Snowy and cold

Huh. We were supposed to get a storm coming through with rain tonight. Instead, I woke up to snow. Oh, well. Life in the Northeastern Mountains, right?

Garden post is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Decent writing day yesterday. Although I only got 500 or so words on the novel in longhand, I drafted the next episode of LEGERDEMAIN and adapted the next chapter of ANGEL HUNT into five serial episodes.

I did the rounds on social media, promoting the latest Process Muse post, and spending time on the sites designated for that day. There are two sites I’m pretty sure I’m going to drop soon. I spent some time on Bookbub. Since they don’t allow us to list our serials in our booklist, I put the serials in my bio.

A book arrived for review, and it’s lovely, so lovely. Such beautiful design elements. I’m excited to get into the text. Read half of another book for review. It’s perfectly serviceable for the genre, but lacks sparkle.

Switched to reading some books for pleasure. One of them (I’m not sure how I ended up with it) is just awful. Everything in it is so completely disconnected from each other and a flat trope that I suspect it was run through AI. If I’d paid for the book, I would be angry, but I seem to remember it was sent to me free.

Read most of another book by an author whose work I know well over years. It was trying to fit a market niche, but she’s too much herself to be niche-restricted, and I could see where she was fighting the expectations. I mean, I enjoy it, but other books, where she can just let it rip, work better for me. And for her, since she doesn’t plan on continuing with the series.

Slept well, for once, although woke up after some weird dreams. But I woke up to coffee and snow, so it’s all good. I’ll put off my errands until tomorrow. There’s nothing urgent for today.

In my morning noodling session, suddenly and idea I’d played with off and on since last summer started coming into focus. I took a few notes. It will be a bit down the schedule before I can actually work on it. The idea was prompted by a submission call. I couldn’t make it work within the guidelines within the time frame, but I liked the idea, and hoped I could figure out what to do with it. I think I have, in a format with which I want to play more anyway. I’m playing with some character and plot notes, and then I’ll have to see how it fits into the structure and adjust.

I missed working on the other piece on which I usually work in longhand in the morning, so I may sneak in a few pages later today, between other bits and bobs.

Meditation this morning, then more LEGERDEMAIN, more ANGEL HUNT, making the rounds to promote today’s new episode of LEGERDEMAIN, the start of promotion for ANGEL HUNT, work on the article, finishing up books for review. Still no scripts in the queue, which is a worry, so I’ll also get out some LOIs.

I need to work on the direct marketing post card this weekend and get it to the printer (since my big printer is out of commission, and it would look awful on the inkjet).

I love watching the snow come down. I love even more that it gives me an excuse not to go out!

Have a good one, my friends!

Published in: on January 12, 2023 at 8:08 am  Comments (4)  
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Tues. Nov. 22, 2022: Of NaNo Wins, Social Media Platforms, and Holiday Prep

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Dark Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and a little warmer

Curl up with your favorite beverage, because we have a long catch-up this morning, over a wide variety of topics.

If you missed my post on the GDR site about the reminder that holidays are supposed to be fun, you can read it now.

Everything took longer on Friday than I wanted. It was frustrating. But I got my words in, and then we headed out to errands.

I had quite the stack of books waiting for me at the library. Of course, as soon as I got home, I got the notice that there were more. Because that’s how it works. We headed off to the local Toy and Candy shop in Norad Mill, to get ideas for holiday shopping. It’s very cute, and I ended up buying one of my mom’s gifts there, but it didn’t solve this year’s gift-giving challenges.

Then, it was off to Wild Oats. A local coffee company had a tasting, and the guy running it was really nice, enthusiastic, and a fellow French Press enthusiast. So we had a good conversation, and then I got the rest of what I needed.

Hit Stop & Shop on the way back for a few things, and it was disgusting. Hardly everyone masked, and everyone sneezing and coughing all over everything. I stayed about 10 feet away and got out as fast as I could. Ick.

If I end up getting sick, I’ll know where it happened.

Negotiated a contract for a new-to-me publication. It’s still not the fee I wanted, but I really want to do the article, the timeline works, and, while it may be a one-and-done for me, it will also be a good opportunity to get my byline in front of a different audience.

Struggled with the script coverage in the afternoon. I’ve gotten used to the shorter write-ups, so doing a longer one was a challenge. I only got one done, not two, which meant I had to do another one over the weekend.

Gathering contact info and saying goodbye on Twitter is sad. Maybe it will course correct, who knows, but it will never be what it was. Not that it was perfect. There were plenty of times it was a toxic hell site. But it was an important marketing outlet, and a place for people to find each other, and come across fun, weird little pockets of interest. While the positive is that it gives one a chance to build something new, it’s still sad. Recognizing the grief and allowing ourselves to mourn is vital.

The people who are screaming how it negatively affects their income are going to have to buck up and learn other platforms, or lose that income permanently. People can moan that Twitter is similar to a public utility all they want, but the fact is that it is owned by an individual who takes glee in destroying it for his own ego. Either you put in the time to learn other platforms, and see what serves your business best, or you lose your income.

I’m as frustrated as anyone else. The Topic Workbooks were steadily paying the electric bill. Other sales were growing, and filling in other expenses. Legerdemain was gaining traction. A solid section of that audience came via Twitter. Since Yegads Muskrat started destroying the company, my sales took a 75% hit.

I have to absorb that and recalibrate over the next few months, until I figure out which platforms do what the best and can aim my marketing appropriately.

If all I do is scream that I’ve lost sales, I won’t learn what I need to learn, and can’t regain them. So it’s been a case of rolling up the sleeves and getting to work.

Do I “have” time? Of course not. But if I want to sustain and grow my writing business, it’s necessary. It means working even longer hours right now, and too bad for me.

The platform doesn’t “owe” it to me to stay the same because I’ve gotten used to marketing a certain way and making use of it.

There’s a learning curve with these other platforms. I’ll make mistakes, and will pay the price in lost sales. But I have to put in the work and learn.

Even if another company tries to put together a replacement platform, it will be different. This was something unique in its space and time, for all its flaws. We mourn, and we rebuild.

Things don’t stay the same in life. That’s reality. I mean, I was on the platform for 13 years. That’s centuries in tech terms.

Whining doesn’t change it.

I’m sad. I’m angry at Yegads Muskrat for taking glee in destroying something that was important to thousands or tens of thousands of people. I also think the Board shouldn’t be let off the hook. They didn’t HAVE to sell to him. They CHOSE to, out of their own greed. I want their names, and I don’t think any of them should be allowed to ever be in a position of authority over something like this again. Let them live off their spoils of this. Don’t allow them another penny again.

How does that affect my signing up as a beta for Bluesky? Because I don’t trust Jack Dorsey farther than I can throw him, even though he left the company in 2021, and the BOD earlier this year. I want to see what he’s built, and make my decisions from there, knowing that it’s likely he will throw everyone under the bus again. Will it be free? I heard rumors it will be tied to crypto. No, thanks. Will it be a useful marketing tool? Who knows? Once it goes live, I’ll try it out, weigh the pros and cons, and all of it against my opinion of Dorsey, his ethics, and what we know he’s capable of doing.

But Twitter’s demise changes the marketing game for all kinds of companies and creators. Anyone who’s positioning themselves as a transition guru is lying.

Enough about that. In the evening, I read for pleasure, and played with the cats. I finally unpacked the tote bag of toys we brought up from storage. Charlotte doesn’t understand how to play.

Didn’t have a good night Friday into Saturday. Weird dreams, and Charlotte kept waking me up. Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny, cold day, and it would have been perfect to drive down to Great Barrington. But I couldn’t get it together to get it done. I was absolutely exhausted. So we decided not to go.

The words for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH were a struggle. Not to mention there weren’t a lot of them. 1672, so I hit the day’s necessity with a handful over, but not my personal goal.

I stitched the fleece curtain for the back door. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, between the door curtain and the heavy drapes from the 1950s we put on the windows. It keeps the place warmer by several degrees, which means the heat doesn’t have to work as hard.

I did some stuff around the house. We can’t find what we hoped to find to send out as gifts this season, so we have to figure something else out. We think we have another option; hopefully, I can make it work.

The poor coffeemaker I ordered is shipping out of Buffalo – who had 5 FEET of snow. So that’s not showing up anytime soon. Those poor delivery people. This is why I ordered early. I don’t need it for another month. It’ll get here when it gets here; if it’s late, that’s the way it goes.

There were so many things I should have done, and just didn’t.

I did read IRON AND VELVET by Alexis Hall, which was a lot of fun. How have I missed this series?

I checked into Twitter a few times, but it just made me sad.

I helped a friend set up on Mastodon. I don’t find it the be-all and end-all some do, but the instance on which my friend and I signed up is primarily screenwriters, so we can talk projects together. It’s harder to come across random cool people with different interests, but I am blocking whiners and screamers and bullies much faster on this platform.

I still like CounterSocial for in-depth conversation. There are Twitgees trying to scream and bully. When they scream, they are ignored. When they bully, they are removed. But I’m also quick to block there.

I’m not a muter. I’m a blocker. I’m either all in with someone’s different facets, or all out.

But I spent very little time on SM. I want to try to cut back severely on weekends.

Up early on Sunday, mostly because Charlotte was impossible. I made the cinnamon honey coffeecake with orange marmalade filling from one of the Moosewood Cookbooks. I didn’t have wheat flour, so I substituted rye, which made it a little too dense. I should have stuck with all white flour. But it’s still good.

The day’s words went better with THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. 1928 words. Still under what I hoped for my own personal goal, but I’m on track. I doubt I’ll hit 50K before Thanksgiving, but I will by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

It snowed on and off, mostly off, although we kept getting Winter Advisory Alerts. All around us, it was much worse, but in this little bowl in the mountains, we were protected.

Did some hearth and home stuff. Turned around a script coverage (the one I hadn’t done on Friday). We sat down and wrote the overseas cards. There aren’t a lot anymore; so many people have died. I’m still waiting for a couple of requested addresses, but if they don’t arrive, I’ll just let it go. I have way too much to do over the next few weeks to chase people around begging for addresses; if they don’t want to hear from me, that’s fine.

Checked in with Twitter again. It’s glitching like crazy. People are screaming about how “ethical” creators and companies have to pull their ads. Boo, if you’re running around to conferences unmasked and on airplanes (whether masked or unmasked) and eating indoors unmasked, STFU, you ableist hypocrite. You’re in no position to talk ethics with anyone.

I tried to get on in the evening to join ScriptChat, but the glitches were too much.

Death throes.

As far as my own strategy, I’m holding course with the promotions planned/scheduled through the end of the year, and then reassessing. There isn’t a platform that promotes the way Twitter did to the audience Twitter did, so I have a feeling, at least for the first few months, promotions will be piecemeal and staggered across platforms. As I learn what works where, I will re-align as needed. Most of my audience has fled Twitter, but there are still some stalwarts, and they might find something they missed in the noise of a busier platform.

If someone whines it’s not behind a content warning, I’ll just block them.

The whiners tend to fall into two groups: those who have a huge, well-paid marketing machine behind them, and those who can’t get published because they never finish anything, but keep talking about “someday.”

Dianne Dotson suggested Hive as a good platform. They look like fun, and if she’s comfortable there, it means it’s a good place to promote work (she’s excellent at promoting her work). It doesn’t look like I can do them from the desktop, which would knock them out of contention. I don’t have the capacity OR the desire to do all of this from my phone.

I resent having to have a phone in the first place.

I looked at POST, but basically, they want people to create content for them without pay. Which is part of what social media is, but they want long and short form articles on the site itself, not links driving traffic back to one’s work on other sites. I think I’ll pass.

Started reading the next book for review.

Also read MURDER BY THE BRUSH, S.E. Babin’s first Psychic Cleaner Mystery, which was a lot of fun. It’s a novella, not a novel, but I liked the energy and the characters and the plot and the heart of it. I liked it so much I went and bought the second novella in the series, MAID FOR MAYHAM, and read that. Like I said, novellas. Quick reads. The climactic sequences tend to be a little rushed, but other than that, they are a lot of fun. I’d read more in the series, when they release.

It’s interesting that there are so few category mysteries anymore, in the 50-60K range. Most of them are 80K+.

These novellas ran around 135 pages, which brought them in around 33K. So, while I read for fun, I was also learning.

More snow overnight, but nowhere near as much as predicted.

Monday, I overslept because Charlotte kept waking me up. It was the day before dark moon, which is my lowest energy day of the month anyway. I had weird dreams about working on a project with David Tennant (which would be great, I’ve always wanted to work with him) and discovering what an intense listener he is. I mean, that’s obvious from his work, but being on the receiving end of it in the dream was interesting.

Had trouble getting going, but once I got myself to the page, the next chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH trundled along decently at 1951 words. I broke 48K, so if I keep going the next few days, I can hit 50K and then drop back to whatever the natural pace is for this book, which I think is around 1200 or 1300 words/day. As I said, I’m figuring the sweet spot is around 82K, but this draft might have fewer words, and give me room to layer in details in full drafts.

I’m kicking myself for leaving the box of costume books in storage over winter. I only have a couple up here. Although I took out a bunch of relevant fashion books from the library, I’ll have to get them out again when I do revisions.

Bibliographic notes are a must.

After breakfast and blogging, I headed out for errands. Library first, to drop off and pick up. The one day I’m in a time crunch, they have a line of people who want the librarians to look things up for them, instead of going to a terminal and doing it their damn selves.

But it was fine. I got my stuff and got out of there in longer than usual, but not too bad an amount of time. It was a bright, sunny day. Although it was cold, people were in a pretty good mood.

Big Y next, for Thanksgiving shopping. I was happy to see that almost everyone was masked. It took a lot of stress out of shopping.

Post Office, where I bought more overseas stamps, mailed the cards we’d written, and got stamps for the domestic cards. (The Elves, in case you’re curious).

Liquor store, and then home. Hauled everything up the stairs. Put it all away, made lunch, did the SM rounds. Being on Twitter made me sad.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. Another one, that had a problem with additional materials, was cleaned up, and that will be my one for tomorrow. I have two for today, so I’m okay. I have three days in the pay period next week, after the holiday, so as long as there are scripts to grab, I’ll be okay.

Soup class with Jeremy Rock Smith last night. Tons of fun, as always. I learned a lot, and got a lead on where to get my knives sharpened around here.

Got the wonky tablet up and running, because I should be able to run Hive off the tablet, since I don’t want it on my phone. I downloaded the app and established an account, but have to figure out how to get the photos I want on it. I was too tired to do much more than establish an account. And I have no idea how to find anyone. I’ll learn. Enough writers are migrating there that it sounds like it’s viable, if I make the time to figure it out. I still wish it had a desktop option.

I have to charge the tablet through my phone cord, because the charger that came with it no longer works.

Up early, although out the door later than usual to the laundromat, just in case they haven’t yet adjusted to the time change. They had. The washing machines were fine, but the dryers not only ate up double the money, but didn’t dry properly. So we have laundry draped all over everything.

Tessa disapproves. She likes things tidy.

I managed to get a good chunk of edits done on the next section of Legerdemain, which as to be uploaded and scheduled this weekend (or, at the latest, early next week).

It was later than usual when I sat down to work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but it went pretty well, the chapter coming in at 2287 words. That brought me over 50K, which means I’m an official NaNo22 Winner, a nice boost to my ego. And a relief, because I can do the remaining 30K at a slower pace. And I hit my personal goal of hitting 50K before Thanksgiving.

So this is up late. There will be a whacky little piece of Thanksgiving flash fiction up later this afternoon on Ko-fi.

Don’t forget, the latest episode of Legerdemain drops today. Enjoy!

Wed. Nov. 16, 2022: Snow to Icy Rain

image courtesy of Andreas via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Icy rain and cold

I talk in detail about my process for the Writer’s Rough Outline over on The Process Muse. I hope you enjoy it.

I’m always grateful having control of my schedule, and yesterday was another day for it.

I got my Nano words in first thing. I started to do the social media rounds, promoting Legerdemain and doing all the rest. The snowstorm wasn’t set to hit until late at night. But the pre-storm headache got more intense, and the clouds got thicker.

So I stopped what I was doing, and made the store run to get a tarp and some bungie cords a few hours early.  On a whim, I stopped at the thrift store and found three more cute Santas and some more adorable Christmas mice for my collections. Because I love them.

When I came back, we brought in the rest of the plants and decorations and shelves and stuff from the back balcony. I’ll go into that in more detail in tomorrow’s garden post over on Gratitude and Growth. We tarped down the big bench and the bistro chairs folded on it which will stay out all winter. And rearranged what we had to in here.

I got out all the garbage before the snow started. And then started the social media rounds. Mastodon was down most of the day, which is no big deal. They’re doing the best they can. CounterSocial has a lot of Twitgees coming over, trying to cause drama, and nobody’s giving it to them.  Some are flouncing back off to Twitter; others are getting blocked or banned. I’m pretty sure I’m going to dump Cohost before the end of the year. I’m not enjoying it, and the focus/interests of most of those I’ve encountered are very different from what I want and need from a platform.

Turned around two scripts. I’d almost finished with the book for review, and got an extension. I will get that out today. I also have three script to turn around today, so it’s a good thing I’m home all day. I did well for the pay period that ended yesterday, a little higher than my goal. Hopefully, there will be enough in the queue over the coming weeks to make my nut AND take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.

Angry that the Narcissistic Sociopath gets to make another run for President. Merrick Garland has failed the country. He had the chance to defend it, and he chose not to. I’m disappointed in him as a professional, and as a human, and enraged that these traitors keep getting away with it.

This whole “oopsie, Russia hit Poland by mistake” is ridiculous. Russia is testing NATO. And these new reports it was a Ukrainian missile gone astray? I don’t buy it.

The snow was lovely. I spent a chunk of time sitting at the window, watching it. But during the night, it turned to an icy rain. Tessa woke me up around 4 so I could put a bucket under the leak on the front porch. Then, Charlotte didn’t want me to go back to sleep. We battled until I finally got up a little after 6. Miss Thing is, of course, fast asleep on the bed again.

I’ve been playing with the idea I had in a dream a few nights ago that would make a good novel or novella. The premise is strong, the characters work, but I’m not sure how to make the plot work. Something to play with, probably in longhand, after Nano.

This morning’s Nano went well. Chapter 17 of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, coming in at 2461 words. I was worried the chapter was a tangent, but I found a way to make the subplot echo certain elements of the plot and tie together. That was a relief.

If the temperatures hadn’t risen and it changed over to rain, we’d be in a serious snow day by now. But it’s hovering around freezing, so it’s yucky, but not snowdrifts.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 16, 2022 at 9:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 16, 2022: Snow to Icy Rain  
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Tues. March 29, 2022: Washer Woes

image courtesy of Ryan McGuire via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

Fairly quiet weekend. There’s a March wrap up over on the GDR site, posted early, even though we still have a few days left in the month, and I’m just trying to steadily do the work.

It wasn’t a good writing day on Friday, sadly. Oversleeping threw off the morning for me. But I did write and turn in another book review, and cover a script. Did a bunch of admin work. Put the seedlings out on the porch. It’s still too cold at night to leave them. I received an internal promotion and a pay bump from a big client.

Tessa woke me early on Saturday. I moved to the couch and overslept. The sun overcame the clouds, so we could put the seedlings on the porch, at least for a few hours. More seeds are germinating (more on that in Thursday’s garden post.

Had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription. Because the weather was good, I went on foot, and then I took a different route from there to the library, to learn more about the town. I found some interesting restaurants and stores that I will visit at leisure in the future.

Dropped off/picked up books at the library.

In the afternoon, I tried reading a book that was supposed to be an exciting, twisty thriller getting a lot of buzz. I figured it out less than a third of the way through, and lost patience with the characters for not catching on. Checked the ending, to make sure I was right (yes, I was). That’s back in the return pile. Tried another book that came highly recommended, but it’s written in present tense, which I loathe, and, since I’m not being paid to read it, it goes back in the return pile.

Returned to reading contest entries, which was fun. It started raining in the late afternoon, so we brought the seedlings in. Crockpot chicken was a good choice.

Up early on Sunday, baked biscuits. Charlotte, or maybe Willa, chomped on some of the cucumber seedlings, so I’m trying to recuse them. A member of the extended family in Maine is very ill. I’ve kept a distance since the lack of support around the move last year, but I don’t want this person to be ill.

It snowed off and on all day. Sometimes flurries, sometimes intensely. In a break between it, I did a run to the liquor store and to get burgers. Bad choice on the burgers, and I was miserable all afternoon. Red meat and I are no longer friends. And yet, every few months, I crave it. But fresh trout for dinner was a better choice.

I covered a script in the afternoon, and then returned to working on contest entries. I ordered snapdragon seeds and marigold seeds. That means I have to go out and get more pots and soil next week, when I go to get the tomato cages. I set up the acknowledgements file for CAST IRON MURDER and for the retro mystery. Starting a document for acknowledgements early in the process saves a lot of panic later on.

Tessa woke me on Monday at 5:30, which is a perfect time. The usual early morning routine of writing in longhand, yoga, meditation. Blogged.

It started sunny, but too cold to put the seedlings out. More seedlings are sprouting, which is lovely. I got through some admin work. Didn’t get much done on The Big Project. Revised the next three chapters of CAST IRON MURDER. Worked on the grant proposal. I need to flesh it out some more today, and put material connected to the proposal up on one of my websites. I don’t have information on the stage and radio plays up on a website, and I should.

I also played with the MailerLite site, and worked on the newsletter, which will go out in a day or so (since it’s the end of the quarter and all). If you haven’t yet signed up and would like to, newsletter signup is here.

Received the next book for review. Started a script coverage. There’s not much in the queue, which worries me a bit, but also takes off some of the pressure. Worked on contest entries.

Noodled with some ideas for the play I have to start on Friday as part of the Dramatists Guild project. Noodled with some ideas for the Monthology story.

The Tamed Wild box arrived. In it, was a Rose of Jericho plant. I’ve put it in water, and it’s unfurling. Fascinating. It’s not a plant with which I have much familiarity.

Up early this morning, before Tessa even got started. Was out of the house and on the way to the laundromat early. Ended up spending more time there than planned, because the machine I used was stuck on “rinse” for 15 minutes, and then didn’t spin out properly, so the wash was soaking wet (no sink in the building, no techs). I had to have it in the dryer on high for an hour. I put a note on the machine, so that no one else has to go through this.

I brought the pages done so far on The Big Project with me, and worked on them while at the laundromat. I got a lot done.

Home to find more seeds are sprouting. It’s very exciting.

Today’s list items include work on The Big Project, revisions on CAST IRON MURDER, another revision of the grant proposal, putting information up on the website, a polish on the newsletter, and a script coverage. I might do some more contest entries, if I get the chance.

It’s supposed to start warming up again over the next few days. Let’s hope this was winter’s last gasp, and I can get the seedlings out on the front porch, and set up the enchanted garden on the back balcony sooner rather than later.

Have a good one.

Tues. March 15, 2022: Don’t Get All Stabby On Me

Image courtesy of Thomas B via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

If you’re familiar with Julius Caesar and The Ides of March, you’ll get the reference.

The March mid-month check-in post is over on the GDR site.

Anyway, on Thursday, I got some work done in the morning. I then did the rounds of the library, picking up my birthday cake, post office, liquor store. I participated in Freelance Chat. As I did, I realized that everything I HAD to do before Monday was. . .done.

I’d expected to be working until well into the evening to “justify” taking a three-day weekend. But there wasn’t anything in my script reading queue, I was waiting to hear back on a few things, I’d written my reviews. I could have started the next book for review, or worked on contest entries.

But I didn’t want to.

So I started my weekend on Thursday afternoon. I read books I wanted to read, including THE LOFT GENERATION by Edith Schloss, about abstract and modern artists who started living and working in lofts in NYC in the 1940’s. Excellent book.

Friday morning, we had smoked salmon Benedict as my birthday breakfast, which was excellent. We got into the car to head out for the birthday adventures. One of the windshield wiper blades snapped off, and the check engine light came back on. Really? The car only worked for four days?

I was not a happy camper.

We decided to truncate the day’s plans. We only went to Pittsfield, to the big book sale at the Atheneum. People were still masked, thank goodness, but it was very crowded, and I was uncomfortable. We didn’t stay very long. I bought some jazz and world music CDs, and a couple of books. My mom bought a few books. I couldn’t get near the older, interesting books, because a triad of dealers were there, scooping them up and blocking regular buyers from them.

On the way back, we stopped to get some cleaning supplies, more pots, potting soil, and some groceries to get us through the stormy weekend. People were talking about this storm with more concern than any of the storms so far this winter.

Home and settled in with the new books. I started reading a mystery, didn’t like it after 50 pages, read the ending; liked it less. It was everything that doesn’t work for me in a mystery: a dumb, nasty protagonist; smarmy, vicious ensemble of characters who don’t support the protagonist nor deserve the protagonist’s help; used “witch” as a slur against women; and an undercurrent of racism that I found sickening, like how dare the few black characters encroach on this safe white world. The book goes into a bag of donations I’m putting together for another book sale, and someone else can have it. It is not staying in this house, and I will not read something by this author again.

I had to wash my hands after putting it in the box, to get the stench off me.

I read the other book I’d bought, a paranormal urban fantasy with romantic elements. It worked better. It was a several books into a series I haven’t read, but it was clear about the story (without info dumping on the past). I read the blurbs for the next several in the series; not sure I’ll read them, because I don’t really like the overall series arc. But at least this was a few hours of reading pleasure.

Then, I started THE DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan. Wow. Just wow. I read it Friday and finished it Saturday, even though it’s a pretty big book. But the writing is gorgeous. So beautiful. The worldbuilding, the characters, the storytelling. All wonderful. It’s a completely unique fantasy novel. The copy I read is from the library, but I think I will buy my own copy, because this is a book I will re-read.

I’d been stressing out about what to order for dinner on Friday night, worried I’d be disappointed in it. The restaurant I’d planned to order didn’t have anything on its changing menu that I really craved. So, instead, we ordered from the Freight Yard Pub, which isn’t far from us at all, and a couple of people have recommended it to me. My mom ordered her favorite fish & chips. I had stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, and roasted vegetables. The portions were huge, and it was quite good. Not a brilliant, life-changing meal, but good. I had prosecco with it, because it’s my birthday and I will damn well drink prosecco.

Although I’m seriously considering making like a Venetian and drinking prosecco regularly when the lunch is fancy enough.

I got so many lovely and loving birthday wishes via social media and email. It really made the day special.

Tessa got me up around 6 on Saturday. It was raining, but quickly changed over to snow. I thanked people for their good wishes, and answered birthday emails.

I spent the day going through books. Reading or rereading some, when I’d finished DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS. Going through some research books I’d gotten out of the library; I extracted what I needed, and they’re in the pile to go back.

I went through some of the art books that are here (I will have to retrieve others from storage, if and when the car is fixed so we can do a storage run). I’m looking for pieces that will inspire the short pieces under the three categories I’ve set aside for them. I looked at some terrific work – I’d forgotten how much impact Judy Chicago’s work has – but nothing that was a catalyst for any of those pieces. I’ll get some books from the college library this week, and see.

The snow kept pounding down, a heavy, wet snow. One of the books I’m assigned for review arrived, and it looks wonderful. I’m eager to dig into it this week.

I rested a lot. It’s a combination of birthday blues, stress about the car, worry about work, and general burnout.

I got a rejection on a short story, which was not unexpected, because it was a stretch market for me, and they were very nice in the letter. I’m going to take a look at it, see what needs to be tweaked, and find another market for it. Because I like it (or I wouldn’t have submitted it anywhere in the first place). It’s a combination of speculative fiction & mystery, with a dose of humor. But not a flash piece, it’s too long for that. And most of the paying markets now seem to want flash.

Had to change all the clocks before bedtime on Saturday, which made me grumble. I hate springing forward. When we fall back, I have extra energy for weeks. When we spring forward, I drag for days.

Up around 6 on Sunday, regular morning routine. Traditional eggs Benedict for breakfast, since it was still birthday weekend.

I rewrote a short story which had been rejected a few weeks back for being “too genre.” Hmm, when the submission call says they read regardless of genre as long as it fits the theme, then say something is too genre, gives me important information.

Anyway, I like the story, it’s a ghost story set in a theatre. I rewrote it a bit, to move it away from the submission call’s theme, and changed the protagonist’s name (which was part of the guidelines, and it didn’t suit her). I was looking for another market for it, but it seems ghost stories are now considered horror. This is more of a traditional ghost story, more paranormal with touches of mystery, than horror. I don’t think it’s dark enough for the horror markets I researched. I could go a little darker, but going too much darker would go in a direction I don’t really want.

However, there’s a middle section that’s set outside of the theatre (the beginning and end happen in the theatre). It underlines a theme and places a red herring. But maybe if I change that and keep all of it in the theatre, it might work better, and skew dark enough to fit some of the horror submission calls without going darker than I want for this particular piece.

I have to percolate on that a bit.

A friend sent me a list of markets, and, researching through those, that might be the way to go, so that it’s still within my vision, but still suited to one of these paying markets.

There’s no deadline on this, so I can let it simmer for a bit.

Did a little bit of work on Gambit Colony. If I get pulled down into that rabbit hole again, it will throw too much other work off track, but, as is typical, when I’m under stress, that’s the piece that soothes me best to work on. I’m writing a section set in Venice right now, which makes me happy.

Started work on a short piece that’s been rolling around my brain for a bit, inspired by a submission call. Not sure where it’s going yet. I want it to be short, no more than 1500 words, but it’s hitting the right 1500 words that’s the trick. 1000 words would be even better. The deadline’s not for a couple of months, so we’ll see.

I put together chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. I’d forgotten to start it right after breakfast; it was late morning before I remembered, but that’s what the “high” cooking speed is for, right?

I planted the cherry tomatoes and the mini cucumbers directly into their final pots. No need to transplant. I’m going to have to get more potting soil, because I still have hollyhocks, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, tansy, sweet peas, and mallow to plant. And the night-blooming jasmine coming in at the end of the month or early April, which will need repotting. I also planted more cat grass, since Charlotte and Willa only have a few stalks left. I put them in a different pot; I will alternate between the two pots, but I need to order more seeds for that. I’ll order the bigger batch this time.

There’s a new combination of plant center/art gallery opening up next month on Main Street, in walking distance. I am very excited.

The afternoon and evening were spent reading contest entries, with Norah Jones on the CD player. Finished the bottle of birthday prosecco, too, that I opened on Friday.

Charlotte started poking at me around 5, but Tessa was quiet until 6. Because it’s darker now in the morning, she’s staying quiet. Although that doesn’t explain why, so often, she woke me at 4 over the winter, because it was darned dark then.

Good yoga session. I’ve been hit and miss on the morning yoga the past few weeks, and need to get back into that routine. I feel better when I stick to it.

The side table to the left of my desk, in front of the large windows, has always been one of Charlotte’s favorite’s hangouts, but Tessa has discovered it. She can see more birds from it, and she is very excited.

I sent out some LOIs; got back some auto-responses for tests, which meant I shrugged off those companies and put them on The List. If they’re not going to read my cover letter, where I clearly state I don’t do unpaid labor as part of an interview or pre-interview process, and that I have a specific contract for it, then it’s not a company with whom I want to work.

Did some work on The Big Project, but not enough. I feel I’ve lost the tone of the piece, and I need to get that back.

It was warm enough on the front porch to move out the seedlings, to encourage them.

Took a big load of books back to the library; they only had one for me to pick up. It was bright out, and things are melting. We’re supposed to actually move into warmer weather this week, in the 50’s and 60’s, which would be nice.

Made my favorite comfort Chinese peanut butter noodles for lunch. I’m so grateful not to have nut allergies.

In the afternoon, I did some brainstorming on the Monthology piece, caught up on some emails, did some client work. Stepping back from interacting with someone online, because she continues to make harmful decisions, then whines about them, in spite of having a network of professionals around her giving advice on better decisions. I can’t participate anymore. She’s made her decisions; they are hers to make; I’m not spending time putting together ideas and resources that she won’t bother to use, but will whine about being exploited, because she went against advice and made those choices. It’s a never-ending circle of frustration, and I don’t need to participate. I no longer respect her, and I’m beginning to actively dislike her, which is not a relationship worth maintaining. “Oh, she’s young” is not an excuse, because one of my editors is several years younger than this individual, but several decades smarter.

 I re-subscribed to THE NEW YORKER, which I’ve missed since my subscription lapsed last July. They offered me a great rate, so I was delighted to accept it. Which means I need to get some more magazine holders.

Turned around a script coverage. I should have started the spring cleaning, but I did not. I’d hoped to put in about two or three hours each weekday, and then three or four on the weekends, but I don’t know how that will shake out. The Chewy food order arrived early, and the cats were happy to play in the box. A pair of Nine West flats I’d bought on sale also arrived, earlier than expected. They look much better in person than they did in the picture, thank goodness, and fit. I still need a good pair of cross trainers in which to run errands on foot, and walk in the various parks, but the flats will be good for going to museums, networking events, etc.

Read contest entries in the evening. It will take me several hours today to enter the scores.

Tessa woke me at 4:30 this morning. I moved to the couch, dreamed about some sort of undercover operation where I had to be a flower arranger (if you know how bad I am at that, you’ll see why there’s no way I could pull it off). I overslept until seven, which put back my day.

I might rearrange my day anyway today, to go off and do some research later this morning. I want to work on The Big Project first. Then, I ‘ll go do my research. I have another script to turn around this afternoon, and more contest entries. And I need to get in touch with the mechanic about the next appointment for the car. I’m dreading that, but it needs to be done.

Almost all the snow has melted, so let’s hope this is it for the winter. Yeah, we’ll move into mud season next, but that’s still better than snow.

Lots to do today, so I better get to it. Have a good one!

Thurs. March 10, 2022: Yet More Snow

image courtesy of Marketa Morchova via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and snowy

There’s information on the seedlings, ordered seeds, birds, and more, over on Gratitude and Growth.

It snowed most of the day, with much more accumulation than predicted. It’s a heavy, wet snow, and will be hard to dig out my car, especially since the plow is pushing snow up behind it even as we speak.

But I need to pick up my birthday cake, and do not get between me and cake.

Yesterday was kind of a slow day. I sent out three LOIs, and got back two demands for unpaid labor as part of the process. I responded with my contract for tests/samples/assessments, and I’m sure I’ll never hear from them again. I also added them to The List.

I slogged through way too much email, but I’m determined to keep it at manageable levels. I did some work on The Big Project, but not enough, and certainly not as much as I hoped.

Things have been slow with the big client. The contractors supposedly got a raise, yet the work since the “raise” has been much sparser, although there are “options” for pieces at a lower rate. No, thank you. I’ll just work on finding other clients that pay the proper rate to fill the gap.

Turned around a script coverage. Worked on contest entries. Read a book for fun, which had come highly recommended. It was okay, but for the first half, I kept getting too far ahead of the plot, and waiting impatiently for the characters to catch up. The book was okay, hit the genre expectations, but it didn’t grab me the way it did those who recommended it.

Tessa and Charlotte had been doing well there, for a few days, but now they’re fussing at each other again. And someone knocked over the cat grass plant overnight (most likely Willa), so I had to clean that up this morning.

But Tessa let me sleep until six, when she actually came into my room to wake me up. She hates my room here. She loved my room in the other house, because it was huge and carpeted. This is small (it’s fine for sleeping), and there’s a small rug by the side of the bed, but no carpet, and Madame Tessa Does Not Approve. Charlotte is just happy she can sleep on the bed with me here.

Meditation group this morning. Then, after breakfast, I will dig out the car, pick up my cake (and get more eggs, we’re out of eggs). I don’t have any scripts in my queue; if I don’t get another one, my long weekend starts early, at least as far as script coverage goes. Then, I’ll do contest entries and work on The Big Project today.

I’m taking a three-day weekend tomorrow, for my birthday. I have a few loose plans, but mostly, I will do exactly as I wish, and create the days.

The COVID tests I ordered a few days ago are supposed to arrive on Monday, which is fast. The ink was supposed to arrive yesterday, but the snowstorm caused an understandable delay, and it will get here today or tomorrow. The tansy seeds should arrive Saturday.

Next week, we start the big spring cleaning, in and around whatever work has to get done.

Tessa loves the new, fluffy dark green rug in the bathroom. Like I said above, she likes rugs/carpets.

Off to start the day. Hope it’s a calm one. I’m looking forward to being mostly disconnected from online for the next few days. I’m sure I’ll check messages and emails here and there, but I’m going to try to keep away from the horrors going on for a few days, so I can return renewed.

Have a good one.

Thurs. March 3: Grateful For Flexibility

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

We had some more snow, which means I have to dig out the car again before taking it to the mechanic this afternoon. There’s news about the sprouting seeds on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday morning, I caught up on some stuff. I’m so far behind in dealing with a lot of emails, it’s ridiculous. I run my eye down the list several times a day, dealing with what needs quick response, but there’s other stuff that doesn’t need quick response, but needs to be dealt with at some point. And those emails are stacking up.

I ran errands in the morning: library run to drop off/pick up books; post office to mail bills and buy stamps; hit up another store in walking distance for some plant pots and organizational supplies; pick up a few things at Cumberland Farms.

I wasn’t careful enough and ingested something that triggered a minor food allergy, so that slowed me down, too.

In the afternoon, I finished up the materials the editor needed for the anthology (one set of lore on my new clan, and two sets of organizational points). That took all afternoon, because I had to cross-check what’s been established and make sure I was working within that.

I also wrote up the review for the book I enjoyed so much and sent it to my editor. Culinary noir is becoming a favorite genre.

I covered a script in the evening. I’m so grateful that my schedule is flexible so I can decide what to work on when my energy is best suited to specific kinds of work.

I’m keeping an eye on the coverage of Ukraine and getting frustrated at countries talking about sending help, but not getting things there and not stepping up and stepping in with manpower. We ARE all at war. At this point, it’s a race to stop the guy before he hits the button. Standing by isn’t going to help.

Continuing to give The Narcissistic Sociopath and his cronies a pass will not end well for us. He and his cohorts need to be indicted and neutralized BEFORE the midterms.

I am so tired of stupid people who appease until it’s too late.

Today, I will work on The Big Project in the morning, dig out the car, and then spend the afternoon at the mechanic’s. Fingers crossed I can afford the repair. I’ve put aside a good chunk of cash these past few months, but I also was too burned out to push hard in February and hit the earnings goals. I hope that doesn’t come back to smack me.

Back to the page.

Published in: on March 3, 2022 at 8:13 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 3: Grateful For Flexibility  
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Tues. March 1, 2022: Scattered

image courtesy of ulleo via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Dark Moon

Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras

Cloudy and cold

The weekend was all over the place. The February Wrap-up post is over on the GDR site.

Was disappointed at a submission call on Friday. I loved the theme. But they want 6-8K words, on “revenue share” which means, basically, the writers will never get paid. If it was a shared royalty after the initial payment or just a one-time payment, that would be one thing; that’s hit or miss. But the whole thing being revenue share? Nope. On top of that, there was a bitchy comment about how revenue share will only happen if the authors put in the work. So unpaid labor for writing a longish piece that’s close to novelette length, and then additional unpaid labor to do the publisher’s work? I think I’ll pass.

I managed to get about 3K done on The Big Project, some of which was tearing apart and re-structuring the last couple of sections before writing the next one. This is a strange project in that I can’t just write the whole first draft and then go back and edit, which is the way I prefer to work. Because each section of the project builds the next, in a different way than a traditional novel or novella or short story would, it has to be strong, structurally, and with details, before I can move to the next section. That’s part of the reason I’m behind where I want/need to be at this point. The other element is slowing it down is word choice. I’ve never worked on something where the exact shade of meaning to a word choice is so important. I can’t put in a place holder and move on. I have to find the right shade-of-meaning word before I can move on. It’s a different way of working, and a little disconcerting at times, but it is what serves this particular work the best, and therefore, that’s how it has to be done.

So, I roll with it. Every project demands something different in order to be something different; if all you do is scream “that’s my process” and aren’t willing to grow and change, you miss out on a lot.

It snowed and snowed and snowed on Friday, so it was nice not to have to go out. Since the town declared a snow emergency, public buildings and a lot of businesses were closed, and people were advised to stay home.

Saturday was cold and clear. I suited up and packed the backpack to head up to the library, with 10 books to drop off and 5 to pick up. The sidewalks were pretty clear; the sun’s higher angle means it’s melting better, even when it’s cold. When I came back, I shed the books, picked up a shovel, and dug out the car.

Yeah, definitely not in my twenties anymore. Couldn’t work as hard and as fast as I could when younger, but slow and steady got it done, and it clear all around the car, so it can’t freeze in again.

Spent way too much keeping an eye on the news from Ukraine. My mom has firsthand experience with the Russians, having escaped from a Russian prison camp during WWII. She knows of what they’re capable. The GOPers who went to Russia on July 4 a few years back need to be barred from security briefings, because they’ll report to their handlers. They, along with anyone else who backs Putin, needs to be removed from government and prosecuted for treason. Or we’re going to have firefights in the streets here, too.

Between family-related stuff (some of which I’m just discovering through genealogical research), international arts colleagues, and what I learned from studying the ICC a few years ago, it’s all far too complex on both intellectual and emotional levels for a simple blog post.

I am grumpy about going out of my way for someone (not involved with the anthology) and writing up a big ole patch of background information, turning it around in less than 24 hours when I had other deadlines, and not even getting a thank you. Learned about this individual, and won’t make the same mistake next time. Because it takes 10 seconds to type “Thanks” in a DM or an email.

Sunday was again sunny. It was supposedly warmer, but felt colder. I ran some errands, but mostly I took it easy. I did break my “day of disconnect” rule, because I wanted to keep up with what’s going on in Ukraine. I couldn’t pull it together to cook, so ordered pizza.

Tessa woke me up at 2:30 (out of a dream about colonoscopy, so no loss there). I got back to sleep. She woke me again at 4 (out of a dream where I worked on the set of an action heist film starring Dame Maggie Smith, which was very cool). I moved to the couch and dozed off, only to wake up again a little after 6 from some other weird dream that had to do with books and cannoli. Yeah, I don’t get it, either.

I had a LOT to do, since I took the weekend off, and I also had cut back on some work in February, and therefore made less $$.

I still spent too much time watching the news out of Ukraine, but that’s necessary. If the Narcissistic Sociopath had his way, we would now be aligned with Russia, and with the rest of the world against us. I talked about that during the past few years, when he was intentionally shredding our international alliances. He and the GOP may have given Putin overblown promises about how much of the US would just roll over even now. Or Putin plans to continue the push into the Ukraine and further (it will always be further) until the Republicans are back in power. They will simply hand the country over to him.

Which is yet another reason we have to make sure that they don’t get back into power in November.

I’m glad the ICC is taking action. There’s more information here.

Hey, Merrick Garland, when are you gonna get off your ass and do your job? Look how fast the ICC is moving.

I managed to work on The Big Project, somewhere around 1600 words. I’d hoped each of the three major arcs would take up a specific amount of space; I think I have to expand on that a bit.

In the afternoon, I answered some questions from a writer whose script I’d covered, and read/wrote up coverage on another script. We’re getting a raise, which is nice, and hopefully better lines of communication are opening.

Ordered Chinese food for dinner. Door Dash “adjusted” the order so many times, I had no idea what would show up. The right items showed up; today, I have to check the bank account, to make sure I was only charged once. I was involved in various conversations on Twitter while I was waiting, and inadvertently got several people heavily invested in my dinner. On the one hand, I felt frivolous with everything going on. On the other hand, I think the people who joined the conversation needed the distraction.

Math. I have to do math today. (Shudder).

I got another monster in the shared world anthology, and another organization. I have to write up the information and turn it in by tomorrow.  

This morning, I was up and out of the house early, humped the laundry to the laundromat, and was back with everything washed, dried, and folded before 7:30. I’m getting it down to a system.

I edited about 70 pages of CAST IRON MURDER at the laundromat. This is a first pass edit, not the deep edit. I have, however, decided to cut a subplot. While it served the murderer, I cannot do it justice in the book without putting that plot front and center, and that’s not what I want to use to drive the book. So I’m cutting it, and adjusting the murderer’s motivation accordingly. It affects a few places in the book, where I wound it through, so I have to make sure I’m consistent.

A friend sent me a new tarot deck as an early birthday present. The Rackham deck. Very different than the others I have, and it will be interesting to work with it.

It looks like it will either rain or snow today. I’d considered doing some errands, but I might just stay in and work on the Big Project, the materials for the anthology, the grant proposal, and more script coverage. I need to get out the vacuum, too. The cats are shedding like crazy.

When I woke up, Kyiv was still holding on. I hope the supplies promised come in fast enough to deter the 40-mile Russian convoy headed their way to destroy them.

Let’s all do what we can on every front that we can. If we sit and do nothing, we will fall next.

Published in: on March 1, 2022 at 8:04 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 1, 2022: Scattered  
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Fri. Feb. 25, 2022: Snow Emergency

image courtesy of cocoparisienne via pixabay.com

Friday, February 25, 2022

Waning Moon

Snowy and cold

It wouldn’t surprise me if we got more than a foot of snow today. It’s coming down hard, and the city is on snow emergency, so most places are closed, and people are staying off the streets.

Yesterday, I spent the morning working on material for my friend’s grant proposal, and the turning around the edits for the 2023 Spell-A-Day. I thought it would take all day, but it didn’t. It was mostly proofing, and clearing up language on a couple of pieces. One had to be completely rewritten, and another, the editor and I went back and forth a couple of times to get it as specific as possible. But it’s all done, and ahead of the March 1 deadline.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage.

We didn’t do much anthology brainstorming, because everyone’s affected by what’s going on in Ukraine. The world needs to do more, instead of standing around with thumbs up collective asses and talking sanctions. Putin needs to be crushed immediately, or it will just get worse. The Putin assets in the US need to be jailed and cut off at once, and then prosecuted for treason.

The Ukraine soldiers and people, who actually have courage and heart, make the MAGA QAnons look even more like pathetic cosplayers.

This is all hard on my mom, who escaped from a Russian prison camp in Czechoslavakia in WWII. She knows of what they’re capable.

I went to bed ridiculously early last night, and Charlotte woke me up a little after 5, because the snow made everything look light.

I should push hard today on a few things, but I just don’t want to. I will watch the snow. I will work on my grant proposal. I may do some work on the Big Project. If a script comes up that looks intriguing, I might cover it. Or I might give myself the day off from it. This weekend, I want to work on The Big Project, and on contest entries.

I can’t believe it will be March next week. I’d rather hibernate for a couple more months.

One day at a time. One word at a time.

Published in: on February 25, 2022 at 8:07 am  Comments (5)  
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