Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 141 — Charlotte’s First Anniversary With Us

Charlotte

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, and Mars Retrograde

Stormy

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday wound up being a more interesting day than I expected. I was up early and got some writing done.

Headed off to the client’s. Got a lot done on my own. The client herself called and wasn’t coming in, so we updated each other. She’d left me nearly two cases of cat food – expensive wet food she bought for her cat and he won’t touch it, because he likes the cheap stuff! If Charlotte and Willa like it, we’re set for wet food until the end of the year, between that and the case that arrived a few weeks ago.

My other colleague arrived – we worked masked and safely in separate rooms and got a few things figured out.

Home, decontaminated, and online for Remote Chat, which was fun.

My back and neck hurt from sitting at the client’s. As I lay on my acupressure mat to release the knots, I mulled the guidelines for a flash fiction contest a friend told me about.

The first line burst into my head and the rest started tumbling out. I jumped up (much to Tessa’s dismay) and ran downstairs to the computer to pound out the first draft.

It’s wild and wacky and out there, but I kind of love it, even though it needs work.

It also broke through the creative torpor I’ve felt lately, which is a big step. And it was great to sit down and get an entire piece drafted.

I will put it away for a few days – the ending needs a bit more pizzaz, and I need a better title. I have a few weeks before the deadline, although I want to get it in before Mercury goes retrograde next week. It doesn’t work for me to submit something the same day it’s written, at least not for fiction (I can do it for journalism, but not fiction).

This morning, I woke up with ideas for the ending, that tie in more with the vision that the publisher wants. I didn’t use up the word count limit, so I can still play a bit, and I will also cut and adjust.

I’ll put those in today, then put it aside for another day or two, and look at it again.

The storm knocked out the power last night, so no debate-watching for me. Not enough juice in the phone. The power came back on during the night, thank goodness.

Today is Charlotte’s first anniversary with us. Both she and Willa have been anxious the past few days, almost as though they’re having sense memory of when they arrived last year. All three of them are getting extra cuddles.

I have meditation this morning with Concord Library. The bulk of the day will be devoted to the revisions on SERENE AND DETERMINED. If I can do a good job on them, the play has to go out tomorrow, or I miss the deadline for this particular submission.

I would like to have a quiet day dedicated to creative work. Fingers crossed I can achieve it.

Hope your day is good, too.

Wed. Aug. 5, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 77 — Isias Barely Kissed Us

dark-clouds-332779_1920
image courtesy of ChristopherPluta via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

I’m on a podcast today! I’m a guest on the Merry Writer Podcast. You can listen here.

019 Instagram

That storm was weird yesterday. We had bands of wind coming through, where we’d have high winds for a bit, then eerie silence. Then more wind.

We didn’t get anywhere near the rain we needed, which is disturbing.

We were on tornado watch starting a little after noon, but, thankfully, nothing formed.

Power outages on and off more of the evening, but nothing too terrible.

It was just a weird storm, and it didn’t bring the sense of relief a storm usually does when it breaks, yowls, and then clears out.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas about scope creep.

I got my client work done in the morning, in spite of the heat. Got out an LOI, and did three ads for a client, which I will send off this morning.

I had to shut everything down during the tornado watch and the flickering power and heat and humidity in the afternoon, so I read. I seem to be in a stack of mediocre books right now. I may skim some of them and return them, since I’m not being paid to read them, and life is too short to voluntarily read books I don’t like.

Was hit by ideas for three plays thanks to a call for submission. One idea I really love, but it has too many characters for this particular company, so it will have to be submitted elsewhere. The second idea will fit their production needs, and a third can be done pretty much anywhere, because it’s simple.

The play for the submission call is only 30 minutes, and most of the play has unfolded in my head, so I will get to work on it later today, and hopefully have it done fairly quickly.

I am working remotely all day today, not going on site. I don’t feel great, and it’s not worth the risk, being around other people. Especially since our cases went, in 24 hours, from 165 new to 438 new. No surprises. NY, NJ, CT, and RI are back on the quarantine list.

Not that anyone around here is paying attention to it.

Hopefully, the humidity will let up soon, we will have a good rainstorm, and we can get back on track.

In the meantime, it’s back to the page.

Feels good to finally say that again.

Wed. June 24, 2020: Isolation to Quarantine (Pre-Op)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid/storms expected

Up and down day yesterday. Didn’t feel very productive.

Got out two LOIs. One is a very long shot, but it’s interesting, so I thought I’d give it a shot, and hope they read my cover letter.

Got the first pair of A/B ads done for a client. Will work on the second pair today, along with a stand-alone ad.

Looking for another survey platform. I have two or three I’m interested in trying. I’ll let you know if any of them actually work.

Got my call in the early afternoon yesterday. My COVID test this morning is at 10 AM. If it comes back negative, I will get the time for tomorrow’s surgery and get started on the pre-op prep (that’s different from the isolation/quarantine). I already know the medication I have to take for several hours will make me seriously nauseated. Not looking forward to it.

As soon as I’ve taken the test, I’m quarantined away from anyone else in the house. I’ll spend the rest of the day in my office, sleep in the living room, have exclusive use of the downstairs bathroom (which I’ve scrubbed down this morning).

Cleaned the house yesterday, so that everything is in good shape for the next few days.

Put in the Chewy order yesterday. They were out of a few things I needed, but I adjusted. The order already shipped. They have been the best company to deal with throughout this whole pandemic. When they needed to slow things down, they did, they communicated clearly, and they fulfilled what they said they would do. I wrote them a couple of times to thank them.

The Comcast bill arrived yesterday. Payment has to clear by next Tuesday or else. So payment goes out today. I can’t believe how much I had to fight with them to get a damn bill. They want you to pay, but won’t tell you how much. Because they want you to go on AutoPay, so they can take whatever amount of money they feel like out of the account. They are an awful company.

Finished the book for review, wrote the review, sent it off. There will hopefully be another assignment in the next few days.

Reading C.E. Murphy’s MAGIC AND MANNERS, which is an interesting re-imagining inspired by PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

For the record, the Aunt Jemima bottle was never allowed in our house growing up because it was racist. Even in the 60’s and 70’s, my parents felt that way.

I want it to be Friday. The next 48 hours will be difficult.

One step at a time. That’s the best I can do. Hopefully, I can get in some decent writing, although I feel as inspired as wilted lettuce.

I can smell the storm coming in. Hopefully, it won’t hit full force until after I get back from the COVID test.

See you on the other side.

Fri. Oct. 18, 2019: Storm Day = Cat Socialization Work

Friday, October 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Clear and cool

Sorry about yesterday. No Ink in My Coffee. No Gratitude and Growth. But there’s a short post over on Affairs of the Pen today on shipboard activities.

The power went out around 1 AM on Thursday. We called it in, even though it was during the storm. Better to get in the queue early than to wait until it’s over and then have to wait even longer.

Tried to go back to sleep, but didn’t do more than doze. The winds screamed more than the new cats when they’re arguing about something.

It kept the cats quiet, that’s for sure. They didn’t like it.

I got up at the usual time, although it was still dark. The flashlight got me to the candles. I made coffee. The gas stove works in power outages (although the oven does not). The heat, also gas, does not work because it’s powered by an electric switch, which annoys me on multiple levels.

I fed the cats by candlelight. Charlotte was so cute. I told her I couldn’t see in the dark the way she could. She would run ahead of me a few feet, then come back and touch my leg with a paw, then run ahead a few feet, then come back. Like a seeing eye cat.

Willa and Charlotte have not been socialized much. It’s obvious their original human adored them and spoiled them. But they’ve never really learned how to interact, although they want to. So we’re working on that.

Willa is more outgoing. She’s already a lap cat, and loves to play and interact. But she gets oversitmulated, and then, even on a lap, can get yowly and growly. She nipped the first few days, but we’ve gotten her past that. She’s very sweet, for the most part, although she needs to learn to be a Writer’s Cat — I need BOTH hands to type, and will pet her in between paragraphs.

Willa does start the yowling and screeching with both of the others. I think she wants to be dominant cat. She might be dominant over Charlotte (although I suspect Charlotte only lets her think so sometimes), but Tessa is Head Cat in this house, and Tessa is not putting up with Willa’s antics.

Willa does back down from Tessa, though. Which is good.

Willa is also fascinated by running water. She likes to be on the bathroom counter when the tap is going, and she’s trying to learn how to turn it on herself. Fortunately, one needs thumbs for that. She doesn’t like closed doors, especially not bathroom doors. She loves the new perch we made for her on the old tea cart from Chicago’s Pump Room that’s in my office and usually holds plants. We put a fleece blanket on the top, which is even with the windowsill. She sits and watches the squirrels and neighborhood dogs and cars. Her behavior has vastly improved since we set that up.

She needs a lot to do. Lots of playtime, interaction. I’m thinking of getting her some battery-operated toys.

Charlotte is at the stage where she wants company, but she doesn’t know how to interact with people or other cats. She sits and watches most of the time, which is fine. She comes and asks for attention, but still won’t let anyone pet her.

I think she and Tessa will make friends first. They barely growl at each other anymore, and, when they do, it’s half-hearted.

Charlotte likes to be up — on the behemoth, on the bureau. She likes to be on the bed with me. Unfortunately, so do the others, so it can get a little dicey.

Tessa stomps around, keeping them in line.

Willa and Charlotte swat each other sometimes, but not Tessa. And they swat each other with soft paws. It’s more vocal than physical, thank goodness.

They’re getting lots of individual playtime, but now they want to be involved in each other’s playtime. But then they get upset that the other cats are there, and run away. But it’s already better.

Today is only two weeks since Willa arrived, and a little less for Charlotte. Tessa is much happier with them here, even though she’s telling them off. My cat vet in NY said that once, “It’s better for two cats to live together than alone. As long as they don’t attack each other, even if they don’t like each other, it gives them something to do.”

So this weird insistence here in MA shelters that adult cats have to be “only cats” makes no sense.

The Storm Day was good for socializing. With no power, no street lights, library closed, many businesses closed, and the sirens going for police and fire all day, I was lucky I could stay home.

Even without power, it wasn’t too cold. We bundled up in sweats & sweaters & socks & blankets. The cats settled in with us. We read and played with them. It was quiet (except for the neighbors’ generators). They got used to all being in the room together and associating good things with it.

Willa and Charlotte learn fast. They already know that “bedtime snacks” means treats and then I head upstairs for meditation and bed. Now, they gobble their snacks and get there ahead of me.

Charlotte is fascinated by the meditation space. Sometimes, she sleeps on the cushion when I’m not there.

The power came on for a few minutes in the early afternoon. Then it waved, off and on, until it steadied later in the afternoon. Cell service was out for most of the day. Most of the batteries I stockpiled for just such an emergency were new, yet didn’t work.

Candles are much more reliable.

The batteries in the radio worked, though, so we could get news, which was a help.

I finished reading MISS BUNCLE’S BOOK, which was odd and charming and delightful. I read a mystery by an author whose earlier work I adored, but whose turn into puritanical mystery in locations with no flavor and stock caricatures instead of characters disappoints me. I’d skipped her last few books, but thought I’d
try again. It didn’t work for me. The relationships, including the supposed romantic ones, are flat and bloodless. No, thanks.

Started reading a mystery by a new-to-me author who has a lot of books in the series (how did I miss her )? The location is unusual and well-rendered, the human-animal relationships are good, but I’m not sure about the rest yet.

My treat for myself this weekend is my friend Arlene Kay’s newest release, Homicide by Horse Show. Once I get everything done.

Made a Kripalu recipe of roasted eggplant, tomato, raisin, and mint over couscous for dinner. It was good. Hope to make cowboy cookies (from the Moosewood recipe) later today.

There’s a lot of yard cleanup to do. Plenty of branches came down, although I don’t think any big limbs did. Some idiot was out in the nor’easter yesterday using his leafblower.

I have some client meetings to finalize for next week, and some other work to get done at the library, along with pickups/drop-offs. The furnace guy is coming this afternoon for yearly maintenance. I have stuff to put away.

I didn’t turn around the edits for my Llewellyn article; will do it this weekend and send it off on Monday. I have some other edits to finish this weekend, too.

I gave myself yesterday off for the storm and cat socializing. Now, I need to get back to work.

Have a great weekend!

 

Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about my next adventure in the Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy weekend.

I didn’t get in as much yardwork as I wanted. I got a little bit done on Friday, before the rain started, and then again on Sunday, before the rain started.

I had a meeting Friday afternoon, which left me feeling lukewarm about the whole situation. It should have been very simple, but wasn’t.

Also, unless someone is planning to date me or sleep with me, asking about my marital status is irrelevant. I find it an insulting question. And I’m starting to push back when people ask. I thought that was not allowed anymore in interviews.

Saturday morning, up early, and got Tessa to the vet to get her shots updated. She was vocal in the car — first time ever. I guess, since Iris is no longer around to yowl, Tessa feels she has to pick up the slack. The visit went well; Tessa was good. Then, we headed home, and she was fine.

The day was rainy and yucky, so I focused on working on contest entries.

Sunday morning, I did a little bit of work on GAMBIT COLONY. I worked on contest entries. I went grocery shopping. It was a gorgeous day.

Took yard waste to the dump.

I went to Country Gardens and got pansies for the front, three kinds of lettuce, and parsley, then got potting soil. I potted the herbs and vegetables, put pansies in the front baskets and the barrel, and raked out the front beds. Cut back a lot of invasives that took up residence over the winter.

Sat outside on the deck for a bit, reading. Steven Axelrod’s newest, NANTUCKET COUNTERFEIT, is excellent.

Dinner, more WEST WING. I did not watch the premiere of the last season of GAME OF THRONES. It’s a magnificent production, but I stopped watching a few years ago due to the unrelenting cruelty. It’s great that people love it so much; always glad when art has that power. But I choose not to watch it anymore. I don’t denigrate those who love it; I don’t accept anyone denigrating me because I don’t.

Storm started Sunday night, and was bad into Monday. Monday was Patriot’s Day here in MA, and the Boston Marathon. I felt for the runners. Miserable weather. And tornado warnings in New York.

Got some work done on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” but I’m still not satisfied. I have to keep working it until I get it right. Also worked on “Dashed Dreams” the Straw Hat Circuit radio play.

Worked with a client for a few hours yesterday on site, and am back there again today.

Have to get material to the organizers of the talk I’m giving in mid-May. It’s a panel discussion. Should be interesting, but part of me is wishing I hadn’t committed. But I did and I’ll see it through.

Am reconciling myself to disappointment on a couple of fronts, and feeling a bit discouraged.

Considering going to an event this evening, but I have to see how I feel. I don’t know if I can summon up the energy for yet another new group of people.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 5:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. March 1, 2019: Stormy Writing Weekend

Friday, March 1, 2019
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

This will be a short post; I’ve got to prep for a double storm whammy this weekend.

I already ran some errands and did the big grocery shop. I forgot to grab the cat food, so I guess I’m heading out again!

Yesterday, I got out some LOIs. Got an enthusiastic response from one almost immediately, BUT — they sent me a link with a series of hoops and a “test” project to write – without pay, so that’s an immediate no deal. AND, the link to do all of this is part of a conglomerate run by someone I think is a charlatan and wouldn’t work for anyway. NOTHING about this guy was on the website or in the original information about the marketing person they claim they need. Or I wouldn’t have pitched in the first place.

No. Just no, on so many levels.

Now, there’s also a big controversy about Contently starting to charge their writers to access the money they earned. Um, no. Writers do not pay to access the wages they earned. If there’s an agency fee, it’s added as part of the customer invoice, not taken out of the writer’s fee. How much you want to bet Contently already does this, and this is their way of double-dipping? I think the Contently writers should check with their AGs to find out if it’s even legal.

It also makes me glad I never signed on with them.

Yesterday afternoon, I met a writer pal at a bar a few towns over. Nothing like sitting at an almost empty bar at two in the afternoon to make you feel decadent! But I was early and he was totally on time. And we had Bourbon Plums, which is a mixture of bourbon, plum wine, pomegranate juice and lime. Yummy! And hey, it has pomegranate juice, so it’s healthy, right?

I paced myself, and I’d eaten a HUGE lunch, so I was okay to get home.

But it was great to sit with a fellow writer who also travels (he’s a travel writer as well as a novelist) and brainstorm ideas and share stories and just figure things out.

This weekend, I dive into the writing, especially if the weather’s bad. I got an idea for a totally weird piece that I have to work on in and around the other stuff because it’s just so darn weird.

Off to buy cat food and then back to the page.

Have a great weekend and happy March!

 

Published in: on March 1, 2019 at 10:08 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 1, 2019: Stormy Writing Weekend  
Tags: , , ,

Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Sleeting and cold

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post.

Had a decent writing day yesterday, and a good session onsite with a client.

Got out the comic ghost story radio play (numbered draft), along with some other paperwork for them. Waiting to hear back from that company on a few different things, including my contract.

The weather was turning, so I came home after the client session, and worked on contest entries.

SCRATCH, the book about writers and money, is really wonderful. And the experiences can be applied across disciplines in the arts. Someone on social media couldn’t understand how a book about writing could apply to any other art. If everything has to be spelled out directly in your own reference, how can you possibly create art? Art is about going beyond the expected, and knowing how to make connections beyond the obvious.

Also reading A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN, edited by Eleanor Brown, which is a wonderful anthology of writers and their experiences in Paris. It also lists their books. Some of them I’ve read; many I haven’t.

I’m also determined to track down a book by Jeannie Moon. She was disparaged by a person calling herself an author who said that a romance novel where the woman is ten years older than the man is “gross.” How sexist and ageist is that? So now I’m determined to read the book.

Between the lists of Parisian books and Jeannie Moon’s book and recommendations from the post on A Biblio Paradise’s Reader Expansion Challenge, I have a wealth of choices for the next challenge!

Did some work on Gambit Colony.

Watched HIDDEN FIGURES. What a beautiful, beautiful movie! Made me both laugh and cry. I can’t believe it took me so long to sit down and watch it.

Worked on the monologues.

I planned to test one or two of them last night, but decided not to because of the weather. Of course, then the weather didn’t get bad until later, but it would have been a challenge to get home.

Public reading is not something I can do off the cuff. I write for performers; I am not one. But, of course, a professional writer has to give readings. It’s even more layered when it’s from a stage piece that I have no intention of professionally performing — the actors cast will perform it.

However, the monologues from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE have served me well over the years — both in the professional productions where actors have performed the monologues, and in readings all over the world, both live and on radio. Those monologues have been around and performed since the mid 1990’s. The evergreen ones can be called up and spoken/read at the drop of a hat.

I need to test the monologues I’m creating for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. At some point, when I have a batch of them, I might call upon some local actors to come over for a session and read. Or hire a rehearsal studio for a few hours, where we can read. Maybe hire a space over at Cape Space.

But right now, it’s too early in the process. I need to speak them myself and gauge a reaction. I need to feel the rhythm in my body in order to revise properly.

When there’s a script with multiple parts, it works better for me to bring in actors and listen to them read. That way, I can feel how individual rhythms develop and make adjustments. (And yes, I’ve often paid actors to come in, sit around a table, and read an early draft of a script).

But with monologues, unless I’m developing a piece with a specific group of actors (which needs time, access to the talent pool, and money), I need to read aloud the initial drafts myself. I need to feel the rhythms in my own body.

After a few drafts of the monologues, then I’ll bring in some actresses, and we’ll work in the room. But I need to test the initial drafts with an audience, once I’ve read them aloud myself a few times. Whenever possible, I also tape the reading, and listen to it for objectivity. I do this when I rehearse readings from my books as well.

By listening, I can figure out rhythm. Where do I need to take a breath? Where can I speed up? Where should I slow down? Is there anything that needs to be cut, because it doesn’t work in the piece?

Anything that is spoken needs to be heard. Simply looking at words on the page isn’t enough. Even when I have enough experience to feel the beats as I write them, I also need to hear them. That’s true of radio, stage, or screenplay. Having actual actors (not just random people) read the words out loud during the development/drafting process makes a huge difference.

Obviously, it was easier to do that in NY than it is here. First, the talent pool is smaller here. Second, even though there are some wildly talented people here, theatre is a “side” not a “priority” and getting people to commit and fulfill that commitment — even for a one-shot reading — is not easy. Anything shiny dangled in front of them will take priority.

It gets frustrating. But it is also vital to the process.

But I can’t just decide at the last minute whether or not I’ll read. I have to feel confident that the draft I have is ready for comment. In other words, it will have gone through several drafts, and I will feel it’s solid enough to have feedback.

Then, I have to rehearse it, so it feels natural when I speak it, and I’ve found its innate rhythm and show it off as best as I, a non-performer, can.

Had I gone last night, I would have read “Smile!” and possible “Emotional Lifting.”
“My Life in Quicksand” is still an unfinished first draft; while I’m having fun with it, it’s nowhere near ready to be read yet. Most likely, I would have just read “Smile!”

I’d rehearsed, to the point where I felt as comfortable as I can feel when reading. Which is “never very.”

But then, I have to gear up myself emotionally. I need the focus of my emotional energy to be set aside for that reading. For several days leading up to a reading date, I pace myself differently, and I store up the necessary energy, so I can tap into it during the reading. I do this when I teach in person, too, or attend a conference.

Even though I wrote during the day. Even though I did client work during the day. I had to pace myself and save myself.

So add in a storm to the mix, snow and sleet, and bad road conditions at night, in an area where people are lousy drivers on a good day — I made the decision the night before, based on the weather forecast that said it would start getting nasty in the late afternoon, not to go.

In other words, that saved emotional energy was then released and dissipated into other projects.

I kept waiting for the storm to start. It didn’t.

Part of me was tempted to just drive to the open mic and read.

Only I’d used up the emotional energy I needed in order to read well on other projects during the day, because I’d made the decision not to read that night. Could I have read?

It would have been flat. It wouldn’t have given the audience something worthy of response, which meant I wouldn’t have gotten what I needed for the next draft.

It was snowing a little after eight, so it was a moot point anyway. I wouldn’t have gotten home until nearly ten (I don’t read and run — I stay for everyone’s work, and then we usually chat).

Have I ever just stepped in and stepped up to an unexpected opportunity? Or a request to fill in for someone who backed out at the last minute?

Of course I have. I’ve done well. Because I dig deeper, making like a hockey player, and use the adrenaline rush. I’m wiped out after, but I can do it.

I can do it not with new material, but because, after all these years, I have a wealth of material and experiences I can use to draw from in a spontaneous talk. It’s been hard-won, but it’s there.

So that was my Wednesday night.

Today, I have lots of admin and LOIs to do, then yoga, then, hopefully, a good afternoon writing and working on contest entries and the book I’m reviewing. I also am prepping for my client meeting tomorrow.

Which means that tomorrow’s post will go up late, probably in the early afternoon.

We have more storms this weekend, so I’ll tuck in to read and write.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Feb. 7, 2019: No Need to Rant About Some Things, Need to Rant About Others

Thursday, February 7,2019
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cool

I’m scheduling this to post because I have meetings all morning and don’t know when I’ll get online.

I’m getting frustrated with A2 hosting. I have to be able to access my websites from different computers in different locations, as I need to. They keep refusing me access to my account, because they don’t recognize the IP address. My log-in information should be enough. If this situation isn’t resolved, I’ll be host-hunting again. I’m very happy with the way WordPress works on the host, but if I can’t access my sites when and where I need to, we have a problem.

They have no problem allowing my sites to be hacked; just with letting me get into the sites for which I pay. That has to change.

Still fighting with Fed Ex on behalf of my client. Fed Ex customer service refuses to deal with the problem and just keeps passing me and another colleague around and around and around. So I complained to the executive office in TN. Let’s see if anyone there gives a damn.

Otherwise, work on site was fine yesterday.

I think I may have taken a wrong turn in the ghost story radio play. I think I’ve gone too dark (it’s a comedy). It’s not really Ha-ha-ow anymore. It’s taken a turn. I’ll finish the draft, and then see if I need to completely rewrite the second half.

I wrote a rant about something that really bothers me, writer-wise. Then, I realized that the people behind it don’t actually matter in my day-to-day life. Writing the rant made me feel better. There’s no need to post it. I can now move on and shrug off the idiots.

I’m tired, with a blaring headache due to the incoming storm. I’m going to experiment with some new makeup before tomorrow’s client meetings — can’t be experimenting right before I leave and THEN discover it doesn’t work!

Think good thoughts for my meetings today. There’s a lot that has to shift in the coming months, and I’m not yet sure what’s going to wind up where.

But it will all work out for the best in the end.

Published in: on February 7, 2019 at 6:26 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 7, 2019: No Need to Rant About Some Things, Need to Rant About Others  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for some ideas on “The Social Media Conversation.”

I am exhausted, and I have to reconcile myself to being so until at least the end of the month.

Monday was busy — I went in early to work with my client, who was leaving for an international trip later that day. I had company when I came home — a writer with whom I’m acquainted who happened to be in Boston and came down to visit.

We were having a good visit when an email came through — the person who was scheduled to post on one of my sites the next day (which was uploaded and ready to go) wanted to postpone because one of the links wouldn’t be live. ONE of the links. The others were fine.

I was angry. You don’t pull out the day before guesting. Not unless you’re offering other content for the slot. Plus, as a guest, YOU don’t tell ME when to post your piece. You’re a GUEST. You can request a preferred date and I’ll do what I can. But you don’t make the decision when it runs. My house, my rules. Not to mention that I was off the clock for the day, had company, and wasn’t near a computer. There’s a reason I schedule posts ahead of time. I run multiple sites. I have X amount of time. I plan ahead, schedule ahead, and that’s that.

I said no and vented to my guest and to another friend.

On the other hand, I had some empathy. I had a book where I’d spent months lining up release-day promo for its release. Many of the sites were reluctant to include me, because they had trouble with that particular publisher before and considered the publisher unreliable. The caveat was that they would run my posts provided I could guarantee the links would be live on release day. I discussed it with my publisher, and was promised everything would be on time. I even turned in final galleys early to make sure everything on my end was done.

Book release day came. My posts were up on multiple sites. As soon as I woke up, I received a barrage of angry messages from the site masters — the book had not released. I had not been warned by my publisher that there would be a delay. If I had, I could have let the site masters know in time and offered other content. I contacted my publisher, who got back to me hours later with a shrug that “it happens” and “they didn’t have time” to get it up when they said they would. And that “that’s the way it is with digital releases; you better get used to it.”

Meanwhile, my posts had been pulled down by the site masters and they’ll never trust me again. I lost all the publicity I’d set up, I lost future publicity. I never got as much as an apology from my publisher. The book went up nearly a week later, and they refused to give me any marketing support. As far as they were concerned, I should have “known better” than to expect the book to be ready on release day. This is the same publisher who felt I wasn’t spending enough money to promote my books, and didn’t spend a dime.

Yeah, not a publisher I want to keep working with.

I remember how upsetting that was. I’d never told this particular guest that all the links had to be live, just that I needed links.

So, I’m sitting outside the restaurant, on my phone. I managed to get into my site on my phone and reschedule the post. Fortunately, I was still deciding which post would go up on the next requested day. I sure as heck wasn’t going to bump someone else.

THEN I had to take down all the scheduled promotional posts/tweets/et al I’d put up to promote it.

THEN, I had to figure out how to get substitute content for the next day.

But I told my guest I’d moved it, and that I needed the new links by Thursday noon. I’m on a brutal deadline right now. From Thursday noon through next Monday, I’m on a writing retreat/no or limited internet. I’m not blowing my deadline because someone else’s publisher didn’t come through for them.

No response. Not a thank you. Not a sorry. Nothing.

I was angry at myself for not just saying “no” and sticking with it.

I still needed content for the day, even though it would go up late.

I invited my in-person guest to write something.

She was terrified. She’s early in her writing career, no website, no blog, no contract. But she’s a good writer and she does the work. She came up with a post, I made a few suggestions, and yesterday it went up.

She’s already received an invitation to guest on another blog from it, so everything worked out.

And I got an idea for Ink-Dipped Advice on “Guest Post Etiquette.”

Between us all, we made it work. Was it a hassle? Yes. Was I frustrated and angry? Yes. But it worked out. I learned from it and moving on.
So that was Monday into Tuesday. The rest of Tuesday was busy at my client’s site. Even with her out of the office, there’s plenty to do. It’s interesting, but exhausting.

And, I’m working steadily on HEART THEFT, because I need to get out what I have this weekend. I like the work, I’m enjoying it, but I’m pushing. Especially because the characters in the serial won’t shut the heck up, and the other deadlines are looming as well.

Did a grocery run, trying to get home before the storm and forgot half of what I needed. As one does.

The storm wasn’t anywhere near as bad here as it was in New York. Some hail during the day, thunder, lightning, and rain at night. Power flickered, so I couldn’t write on the computer, and we didn’t watch anything.

Today, I’m with the client again, then picking up the missed groceries. Then, it’s back to HEART THEFT. Big push today, tomorrow, and Friday for that. I doubt I will post on Friday here, or if I do, it will be a post saying I’m not posting! 😉

HEART THEFT needs to go out this weekend, and then it’s NOT BY THE BOOK, which needs to go out by the end of next week.

And then, the editors either want them or they don’t. And my focus goes back to juggling MYTH & INTERPRETATION and RELICS & REQUIEM.

And preparing for another career evaluation/assessment over the Memorial Day weekend, where we will meet, talk, discuss, plan, and relax, while plotting out my next moves.

Have a great day!

Published in: on May 16, 2018 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 16, 2018: When It Works Out Anyway  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. March 21, 2018: AND We Have Another Storm

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Day before Mercury turns Retrograde

Exhausted, and we’re in the midst of another storm.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for tips on how to scare away a good writer.

It looks like it’s a kidney issue troubling my mom. That means more tests and more of all kinds of everything. She’s upset, understandably. We’re trying to deal with it as best we can.

Mercury goes retrograde until April 15 — Tax Day. Yuck. I wish I had the option to just stay home under the covers. Sadly, I do not.

On a happier note, the writing on MYTH & INTERPRETATION is going well. It’s great to be back in Gwen and Justin’s world.

I’m planning to start digging in to RELICS & REQUIEM today, and NOT BY THE BOOK goes back into play tomorrow.

I got two of the submission packets out for interesting gigs late on Monday. The third one requires a synopsis, where I see something going for which I’ve only written the first four chapters. That’s usually where I pause to write my synopsis anyway, but I ‘d put the project aside due to other contracts. So, I need to sit down and write it. That’s not something that can be slapped together in an hour or two. I have to take time to sit and work out the different threads, where they weave, where they part. I figure it’ll take me a couple of weeks to get it put together. I’d rather do it well than only do it fast. Especially for something as complex as this particular project.

I’m working on the synopsis in long-hand, so I can keep going if and when the power goes out.

With a client on site today, then home to recover and write.

I’ve been working through the new contest entries pretty steadily, and I’ve got a book to review for another site. I want to get that done over the next couple of days so that I can send it off on Friday, earlier than deadlined.

Fingers crossed this storm won’t be as severe as last week’s. And that it is our last one.

 

Published in: on March 21, 2018 at 6:58 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 21, 2018: AND We Have Another Storm  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tues. March 6, 2018: In Between Storms

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Waning Moon

It’s been quite a ride the past few days, and looks to be the same going forward.

The storm Thursday night into Friday into Saturday was bad. At the same time, we were much luckier than many others on Cape.

I stayed put on Friday. Couldn’t work on the computer, because of power fluctuations. It could hurt my old Macbook, reliable as it is. But there was no way in heck I was going out in that storm, unless absolutely necessary. And it wasn’t. We cleared off the deck, so only the large, metal table is there. We moved the two potted evergreens on the front steps next to the step, back against the house, so they wouldn’t blow over.

The storm worsened all through Friday, and, a little before 8 PM, we lost power. Losing power here means we can still cook (gas stove). However, even though we have gas heat, an electric switch controls it, so we lose heat if the power goes out.

Went to bed very early. Woke up at 10 PM, with the winds screaming. I like to lie in bed and listen to a storm, but this was pretty extreme. Woke up again around 3:30, and it had quieted down. I started making a list of everything I needed to do once it was light enough to see. The cats huddled on the bed with me, not liking the noise.

We were lucky to get the power back on a little before 5 AM. Plenty of places on the Cape will probably be out until at least tomorrow.

And there’s another storm set to come in tonight/tomorrow.

The wind and rain were still pretty bad on Saturday, so I didn’t go anywhere. We had a few more power fluctuations, so again, no computer. A neighbor’s stockade fence was uprooted, and twisted bits of it littered the street. They’ve lived here for nearly two years (bought the house from a long-term resident), but made it clear they don’t care to get to know any of us on the street, so no one has the contact information to let them know what’s going on.

Sunday, it was clearer, although cold and blustery. I ran some errands, like getting in cat food. It was too windy and sleeting off and on, so I couldn’t really get outside for any clean up. Plus, I was tired, which makes no sense, but I was. I did a couple of loads of laundry.

So what did I do, when I couldn’t use my computer and work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which is behind again? As someone who has always been good at staying on top of deadlines, this is very frustrating.

I re-read POWER OF WORDS, the material that will comprise three of the four books covering auditions through filming the end of the first season. It holds up; I like it. The way the relationships ebb and flow, the collaborative, creative energy between them, works. I need to find a way to get the writing back on schedule, so that I can get the fourth book finished. I may need to write the fifth book, covering the second season, and then I want to release them one-a-month over five or six months. They are of a piece. They are not quite a serialized novel. They are more of a serial novel, in that they all are puzzle pieces. I found satisfying places for each to stop, but there is always more story. I’d like to go through several years’ worth of filming, with other creative projects blooming for them all. I might write the books covering the second and third seasons, and then write an epilogue.

But first, I need to finish the first books. Books 1 and 2 have had numerous rewriters, and are close to ready to go. Book 3 needs some more work, and I have to decide where to break it to create Book 4. Probably at the midseason break.

I need to find a new series title, and new titles for each of the books in the series. I need to figure out if they get their own subdomain, or if I just add a page to the Devon Ellington Work site.

But first, the books have to be finished.

But before THAT, I have to finish THE SPIRIT REPOSITTORY, the one that’s actually on deadline.

The problem I’m having is that my subconscious mind thinks it’s done and has moved on to other stories. Plus, I got a new idea for a thriller that won’t let go.

Somehow, I have to corral these creative impulses and creatively focus them so I can stay on track without dampening anything.

I’m so, so close to finishing REPOSITORY. Now, I just have to get it done.

I had a good morning session on the book yesterday, and then, again, today. I’ve almost hit the predicted word count — I think I will go two chapters over, which will still put me in the wheelhouse for the genre.

Yesterday was an up-and-down day at a client’s, but, on the good side, I wrote and designed four solid ads for them.

Back at the client’s today; I’m hoping it will be a calm day.

Published in: on March 6, 2018 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 6, 2018: In Between Storms  
Tags: , , ,

Wed. Jan. 17, 2018: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Stormy and cold

We had some light snow on Monday, during the day. Just a couple of inches, but enough to make the drive home unpleasant. And, heaven forbid, DPW even come through with sand or salt on our little street. I can understand not plowing, because it was so little accumulation. But the tire tracks in the snow, which then freeze, cause a risk. But, you know, that would mean we actually get services for our taxes. I guess I’ll have to ride the new Town Councilor for this district — the one I didn’t vote for — to see if he lives up to his “promises.”

I went directly home after working with my client on site, curled up in the big chair with hot tea, honey, and lemon, and read while I rested. I felt awful. I was in bed just after eight.

At least I’d written a full chapter on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY that morning!

Tuesday, I was up early. Still felt bad. Wrote another chapter on SPIRIT REPOSITORY before heading out to work with my client.

Also had to write and polish my review, which will go out today. I have another review due early next week, so I’ll get to work on that book either today or tomorrow.

Did some work for another client.

Worked on the Fearless Ink Website Re-design. We’re just about ready to move. There will definitely be some tweaking once it’s live, but until it is live, I can’t do much more.

I’m terribly disappointed that I won’t be able to keep the look for www.cerridwenscottage.com. I love that interior page design look. But my new web host doesn’t have a template that can replicate it, and I haven’t been able to find another template that does. I’m disappointed.

I’ve found a pleasant enough template that will do — very simple, and in keeping with the theme of the site. I will set it up on that, along with the new logo/header, and then keep searching for The Template of My Dreams. The site doesn’t generate enough income for me to hire in a custom design, nor is it meant so to do. So I can’t justify the expense.

The Devon Ellington Work site is the design/move that concerns me the most, because of all the subdomains. I have a feeling I will have to lose all the subdomains connected to the site when I move the main site, and then have to rebuild them/send them live. I don’t see how I can get it all done before the end of the month.

So, I’m going to try to get the three main sites rebuilt and moved by the end of the month, cancel my contract with my former, awful webhost, and then build and go live with the sites for each series as best as I can do it and still do it right.

I can do it fast and sloppy, or I can build something that’s worthwhile, that will actually be a viable tool for my work. I’d rather do the latter.

I’m learning a lot with the Fearless Ink build, but it IS learning a foreign language, and learning a language I don’t particularly enjoy.

But, every profession grows and changes. You can learn the new tools and figure out how to make them uniquely yours, or you can get left behind.

Being sick while being under such deadline pressure doesn’t help.

This morning, I worked on SPIRIT REPOSITORY again (manuscript deadlines are not suggestions, especially when they are contracted). I’ll be working onsite with a client, and doing additional work for another client, before going back to working on my own websites. Hopefully, Fearless Ink will move either tomorrow, or on Friday.

One of these days, I’ll get healthy and can focus for more than a few minutes.

 

 

Published in: on January 17, 2018 at 2:23 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 17, 2018: Keeping On Keeping On  
Tags: , , , ,