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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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Thurs. Nov. 2, 2017: Work Rhythm & Tips for Nano

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS – a cheerleading workbook for Nano. Download 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd.

Tuesday was an intense day. Good, but intense. Helped me focus on certain things I want to accomplish on multiple levels in the coming year.

We only had two trick or treaters! But they were adorable. Most people on our street no longer decorate because we get so few, but I decorate for all of us, not just the trick or treaters.

I have a lot to clean up, though, from Monday’s storm. Some of it looked good for the holiday, but now it has to be cleaned up and the yard put to bed.

Yesterday, I was with a client for the bulk of the day. Got quite a bit done. Wiped out by the time I got home, though.

I’ve managed to write close to 1K in the mornings before I go to the client site, though, and this morning I wrote closer to 2K. Both on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I’ve finished Willow’s first winter section and started on Doug’s.

I’m working on a couple of articles, and on shaping some material for another client. I’ve got another pass to do on SAVASANA AT SEA — it releases on November 15, I’m getting excited. I also have another book to read in the next couple of days to review, and edits on a review to turn around. Plus, I need to get the edits turned around for TRACKING MEDUSA.

Yesterday, the To-Do List for November was posted on the GDR site. Today, there are questions to think about for 2018.

For those of you doing Nano, I have the 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS cheerleading booklet available as a free download 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd I hope it helps you, and I hope you have a wonderful Nano! I tried to offer it through the website, but Microsoft claims it’s a “double escape” and won’t allow access via the website, citing “security.” Because Microsoft sucks.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 2, 2017: Work Rhythm & Tips for Nano  
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Tues. Oct. 31, 2017: Samhain

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Samhain/Halloween

Pretty intense few days.

Hop on over to Biblio Paradise to see its new look and please, drop a commment!

Hop on over to the GDR site to see the October wrap-up.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, the blog tied to the Cerridwen Iris Shea work, to read a few ruminations.

The bulk of the weekend was the aftermath of my mom’s surgery. She’s doing really well, don’t get me wrong. She only took the Tylenol the first day — says she doesn’t need it now. But there’s a lot of post-op care to make sure the foot and the place under her collarbone where the skin was grafted heal properly. Plus, she’s exhausted, which makes sense, since surgery is a big trauma on the body.

Then, I’m exhausted, and I feel guilty about it, because I didn’t go through surgery.

But I feel what I feel, so I acknowledge it and try to let it go, while continuing on.

Friday I was wiped out. I did some research for yesterday’s meeting. I sent off my next review. But that was the extent of getting any writing done. I couldn’t focus.

I also have notes on multiple projects that I have to sort out and put into folders, or I’ll lose them and not have them when I need them.

There was a glitch with the car insurance, but it turned out the agent gave me the wrong information, and we got it all sorted out, thank goodness.

We watched season 3 of BROADCHURCH the past few days. Wow. Just wow.

Saturday, I had to run more errands, and then, finally, that check I’ve been waiting for arrived. That was a big relief. So, on that level, things are sorted out.

Started reading Hillary Clinton’s WHAT HAPPENED. It’s an exceptionally well-written book. I don’t know why that surprised me. Maybe because Tony Blair’s memoir, and so man other political tomes I’ve read weren’t? Over the decades, there have been times when I’ve disagreed with her, but so far, I agree with most of what she says in the book. And it would have been so nice to have a qualified, intelligent human being in the office instead of a narcissistic sociopath.
Also read a translation of Marc Levy’s PS FROM PARIS. I hadn’t read any of his work before. It’s joyful and surprising and wonderful. Loved the book, and am now eager to read more. It also makes me want to get my French back up to speed so that I could read it in its original language (although Sam Taylor’s translation was excellent).

ALSO read Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES. The Gamache series is intriguing. Penny is one of the few authors who I feel can pull off third person omniscient, although there was too much head-hopping in this book, and it wasn’t as smooth as usual. But her explorations into people and their motivations interest me.

One of my rocking horse statues broke while I was using the central vaccuum. It got caught in the hose — very frustrating. It will take me several weeks to put it back together properly — filling the cracks, getting the pieces to fit just right, layering it back on, then sanding down the fixative and doing some paint touch-ups.

Tessa is far too curious, and I’m worried she’ll get glue all over her.

We had quite the storm Sunday night into Monday. Lots of people without power, still, even. We were lucky — it flickered at 4 in the morning, but then came back on.

Yesterday was spent with clients — one for the bulk of the day, then came home to change my mother’s wound dressings, and then the other for a couple of hours. Two very different projects, but both terrific, engaging, and let me be creative. I’m very grateful.

Today is Samhain, a big day on my personal calendar. I have lots of running around in the morning (buying things like candy and cat food). Hopefully, we’ll have some trick or treaters tonight — the house is all dolled up!

Then, of course, the big ritual. Today is the end of the agricultural year, and tomorrow starts the new one. We’ve harvested the last of the tomatoes and herbs. Now, I still have to finish putting the yard to bed, and soon, we’ll take in the rest of the plants that overwinter inside or in the garage, and the deck furniture. And rake leaves forever, and cut back the beds.

Next spring, I either have to buy a new mower or hire someone in.

Lots and lots and LOTS of errands, et al to do today, then handing out candy tonight and then . . .ritual. The next few nights will be taken up with ceremonies for the dead — there’s an article about that over on Cerridwen’s Cottage.

I won’t post here tomorrow, but the November To-Do list will be up over on the GDR site.

I keep promising myself that I will NOT do Nano because of my deadlines, only stand at the sidelines, cheering others on. We’ll see what happens when November 1 hits. I’m definitely wavering. My ego is at war with my practicality. Because that’s what it is for me this year — ego. I want the satisfaction of another Nano win. It has nothing to do with the realities of what I HAVE to get done this month. And there’s no room for that type of ego in my life right now.

I got a little bit of MARRIAGE GARDEN done yesterday and today. I need to do a big push on THE FIX IT GIRL the rest of this week.

Back to the page.

Wed. Aug. 23, 2017: Ground To Cover, Books to Write

Wednesday, April 23, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Lots of ground to cover. Lots went on.

Friday was a prime example of Mercury Retrograde. The negotiations broke down with the gig I’d been offered and the offer was rescinded. It could have been worked out, but the other side’s position of not allowing disagreement or discussion made it impossible. Although the whole situation left me feeling bruised, better to know early on and not go on than be mired in it and have it worse later on. I also found out something, that, had I known it about the company, I wouldn’t have pitched to work there in the first place. That is totally on me — I did not do my due diligence on the company. I looked at the parts of the job that appealed to me, rather than looking at the whole thing.

Mercury Retrograde is a time when people are likely to mis-communicate and mis-understand each other. It is also a time when one is supposed to avoid signing a contract. I’d hoped I could circumvent the possibilities with it this go-round and it didn’t work out.

I did some research for another publication with whom I’m in discussions. Coming up with suitable pitches for them will be an intriguing challenge.

Worked on the proofs for PLAYING THE ANGLES. Grateful to the copy editor for the catches, and annoyed with myself that I didn’t catch them. But that’s why one puts another pair of eyes on it, isn’t it? Also, reading the digital proofs on the Kindle, and then looking at the manuscript/Track Changes made me realize more than just looking at the manuscript on the screen.

I’m learning a lot with this process, which is great. Each book should teach something. The craft in each book needs to build on the previous books.

The cover for “Labor Intensive” is done — finally, I think we’ve hit on the style and tone for these covers. The cover of “Plot Bunnies” was then re-worked, to fit the series.

Now I just have to finish the damned piece! I’m cutting it a little too close for comfort.

Friday night into Saturday morning, we were woken by the most intensive rainstorm we experienced since moving here. Torrential. By the time we got the windows closed, water was across half the room. Dried pretty quickly, thank goodness. But it was hard to get back to sleep.

Saturday was the counter protest to the so-called “Free Speech Rally” in Boston. After Charlottesville, and the Narcissistic Sociopath’s response on Tuesday, supporting the white supremacists, I was worried that the violence would be worse in Boston than it had been in VA. I was wrong, and glad to be so proven.

100 people showed up for the rally. 40,000 showed up in an anti-hate counter protest. The “rally” lasted a little less than an hour. There were some arrests — 33 was the last number I heard on the news — and protestors were afraid of people playing the tuba.

The counter-protest had music (tuba, drums, bagpipes), dancing, and anti-hate chants. Had the rally ACTUALLY been about “free speech” and not “hate speech” — the organizers would have welcomed the counter protestors and invited some of them to speak at the “rally”.

I felt the mood was much darker and more cynical than at the Women’s March in January — or maybe that’s because my mood is so much darker and more cynical. Still, I think we can all be proud of how Boston behaved — a mostly peaceful protest standing against hate.

The Narcissistic Sociopath tweeted against the march at first, calling it “anti-police”, and then somebody changed his tune, and he started praising Boston. There was a lot of discussion on social media about mis-spelling “heal” as “heel”. Yes, it could have been a Freudian slip; it could also have been Auto-Incorrect. I certainly struggle with that enough when I’m typing on my phone. Even when I check it before hitting send, Auto-Correct sometimes changes it just as I hit “send.” So the spelling is not an issue where I feel I have any right to criticize. Content, yes. Spelling — when I’m able to overcome Auto-Incorrect on a regular basis, then I can.

I read over the short story I’m not sure where to place, the one where a friend thinks it’s the germ of a novel. I see possibilities. At the same time, I wonder how I can possibly expand a piece intentionally tightly written to be under 8K to novel length. With a good plot and outline. Strengthen the supporting characters. Add a couple of subplots. The potential is there; it’s just making the time in the schedule to get it all done without dropping the ball on anything else. I’ve already pushed back several manuscripts that I fully believed I could have out the door this year.

I put in the changes to PLAYING THE ANGLES — it can go back out today. I still want to look at it again before it goes to publish.

Monday was my “day off” — just like in theatre days. I enjoyed myself, preparing for my trip, and reading E.J. Kahn’s memoir of his years at THE NEW YORKER, and having fun, both virtually and in real life, with the eclipse. We only had a partial here, but it was interesting — the birds upset, the cats restless, everything going quiet except for the crickets, the quality of light all wispy, shadowy, and textured. Eerie silence. Then, getting brighter — Bratty Bird, our resident nuthatch, was the first to start yelling. When I stepped onto the deck, the Murder of Crows who hangs out around here came right up to tell me all the news. They are so funny!

Things brightened up quickly, and, of course, the damn neighbor started right back up with their damned power tools. Could we have 24 hours without them once in awhile, please?

There was a passage of only a couple of paragraphs in Kahn’s memoir, but it sent me on a fun “what if?” for either a section of a piece I’m already outlining (mostly likely) or its own piece.

Making time for all of this is the key.

Tuesday, we were up at 4:30 AM and out of the house by 5:30. After a bit of parking lot kerflamma, we were on the 6:30 AM ferry to Nantucket. It was great — only about ten people and a dog on the whole big ferry. Mostly truck drivers, who settled themselves onto the benches and went to sleep. Beautiful and quiet.

I meant to write on the 2 hr. 45 minute ride — I got about a page written. But it was so beautiful that I just sat back and enjoyed it.

A friend met us at the dock. We went to breakfast at Met on Main, which was terrific. We sat outside and I had the enormous and delicious “Met Muffin”. We toured around the town — too many tourists, to which we helped contribute, I’m afraid. Library, Whaling Museum, Oldest House and its Kitchen Garden, etc. Drove around the island, seeing the sites. Spent the afternoon at the house the friends rented for their vacation, sitting out on the deck, looking at the water, and talking. It was fun.

Steven Axelrod’s books will make ever so much more sense now! 😉

5:30 PM ferry back — many more people this time, and lots of dogs. Among the passengers was a pack containing 5 standard poodles — one white (the King), one black and white, one black, and two brown. They were gorgeous and regal and beautifully behaved — better behaved than some of the children on that boat, that’s for sure.

It was still a decent ride back, although not as good as the ride out. The crew on the ferry is always terrific, and boy, they sure know their stuff.

Home a little after eight. The cats were upset, and relieved we were back. Although we had to grovel appropriately.

Hard to get back into the swing of things today. I liked having a couple of days off. I was disgusted by the rally in Phoenix last night. Others are articulating the event far better than I can, so I’ll leave them to it.

I’d really like a few more days off.

But, the manuscript needs to go back to the publisher with the accepted changes. That’s the most important.

I also have to withdraw from consideration for a gig. It sounded like a fun topic and steady work. I was asked for my rate, and gave them a range for the range of work they claim to want. They came back with an offer that’s 1/3 of the lowest number of my range, and said they assign articles to those with the lowest rate first, and higher-paid writers get assigned anything “left over”, while insisting they hired “fantastic writers.”

Um, no. First of all, I don’t know ANY “fantastic” writer who would work for the rate quoted. “Fantastic” writers are paid professional rates and have enough self-esteem not to work for rates that are barely above content mill level. Second, I don’t work for 1/3 of what I told you was my lowest rate. Third, if you’re going to put me on staff for “steady” work, I don’t wait around for the leftover crap assignments, simply because I get a decent rate.

Buh-bye.

On to other pitches.

I’d like to take a few more days off, but work (especially “Labor Intensive”) dictates otherwise.

Onward.

Published in: on August 23, 2017 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 23, 2017: Ground To Cover, Books to Write  
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Thurs. March 16, 2017: Between Storms

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Somehow, Monday’s post vanished. Not quite sure how that happened. So there’s lots of catching up to do.

It was a cold weekend; I stayed in and wrote most of the time. The rest of the books arrived for the contest, so I also worked on contest entries.

Re-watched the first two LIBRARIAN movies. I hadn’t thought much of them before, and that still holds. The series is much better.

Friday, we had about six inches of snow. It was a day snug inside. Hard to shovel, though, because it froze — had to count on the sun’s help.

Another storm was expected to hit Monday into Tuesday– blizzard. .

Saturday was my birthday. Kept it a nice, quiet day. I don’t do well with birthdays — my own, that is. I was grateful for many good wishes from friends and colleagues, and tried to keep it a quiet, even-keeled day.

Ran around doing errands Monday morning, making sure everything was done before the storm hits. Then, we’ll hunker down and emerge later in the week.

Still a little stunned at the rudeness of a distant acquaintance who nagged for a favor and then couldn’t even say thank you. Well, cross that person off the list and move on. No room for that behavior. Someone takes time out of their work to help with yours, especially someone with more experience/credits? Say “thank you”, even if it’s not what you wanted to hear. Stop leading with your ego, and you might actually learn something.

I can’t believe the Equinox is coming up soon! Although the days are getting longer (I dislike springing ahead — I’m exhausted for weeks).

Fortunately, Tuesday’s storm started as snow, then changed over to hail, then rain. Otherwise, we would have been hammered, the way Western Mass and Maine were hammered.

Unfortunately, one of the scrub pines in the backyard splintered and is teetering. A forty-foot tree being held off the ground by two companion oaks. I was scared to death. Called the landlord, who called the Tree Frogs. The landlord came over and checked it out — he’s convinced that, even if it crashes down, it won’t hit the neighbor’s house behind us, although it might hit the side neighbor’s fence. I warned the neighbors, and told them we were getting it taken down as soon as we could get someone in. They were much more nonchalant about it than I am.

The Tree Frog guy came yesterday to check on it. He swears it’s not going anywhere, and isn’t an emergency. It’s going to be a challenge to get to the tree and get it down, so who knows when they’ll get here.

As of this morning, it’s still sort of up — but we’re getting more storms this weekend, and it worries me.

I’ve been watching travel documentaries and doing research. My protagonist in POWER OF WORDS is going to Venice for the holiday break, (Paris first, then Venice via Orient Express), and I want to make sure I get the emotional geography as correct as the physical geography. The emotional geography of Paris is still imprinted from my own experience, but I need to get Venice right.

Also, she’s climbed a few echelons of recognizability and creativity, so even though she thinks she can travel anonymously, she really can’t.

I’m also doing research on the Hollywood studio system. Part of it is for POWER OF WORDS, where an impresario is setting up a modern-style studio system, melding the best of what worked in the old system — a creative home base and resources — with the more individualized creative styles that artists want and need. Part of it is because I’m reworking THE FIX-IT GIRL and finishing it, with an eye to getting it out on submission at some point this year, and I need to get my details right.

I’m still researching the Italian Renaissance. There’s information on what Lavinia Fontana did, but not really on who she was. I haven’t found that pivotal moment that will make good drama. I found many for Kate Warne; I found those moments with both Giulia Tofana and Jeanne de Clisson. But I haven’t yet found it for Lavinia. So I keep digging.

I hope to spend most of the day writing and working on contest entries. I also have to get going on my spring cleaning.

I have hope that spring will eventually arrive!

Published in: on March 16, 2017 at 9:17 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 16, 2017: Between Storms  
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