Fri. Oct. 7, 2022: Cooking, Noodling, and 100 FREE Episodes/Day

Friday, October7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday, the temperatures went up into the 70s, but my productivity did not soar along with it, except in terms of cooking. I noodled with some ideas (no pun intended), but didn’t get good words on paper (just mediocre words that will have to be scrapped and/or rearranged).

I made a batch of vegetable stock, I made a batch of Moosewood’s sweet potato and corn soup (which is wonderful), I roasted a chicken and later made stock from the bones, I made mashed potatoes, and my infamous carrot and parsley dish.

I created a marketing campaign for the free Kindle Vella week (which lasts until Oct. 11). You can read up to 100 episodes free per day, which means you can read all the episodes of Legerdemain that have released to date, plus a lot of other cool stuff. The link to Legerdemain is here.

Anyway, I created the campaign, and uploaded/scheduled 3 ads per day between now and the end of the 11th. It was mostly uploading/scheduling, because I used the general ads I’ve created, and rotated them through the slots, with the information. Plus, I had to promote the episode that dropped yesterday on the channels that don’t let me schedule ahead.

I looked through some submission calls. I have one more short play to prep for a call. I don’t have anything ready to go that would fit any of the other calls, and I don’t have the time or the energy to start yet something else and get it in shape in time for any of these calls.

I set up my project on Nano. The title for the first Retro Mystery will be THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which takes the title my friend Lori suggested and then adds “Death” into it to make it clear in which genre it sits. I’m going to use one of my friend Chris’s suggestions for the next book in the series, a play on cocktail titles. I put up a notification on The Enchanted Wordsmiths perch on the Nano site that we would be active in November. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it in the newsletter than just went out. It looks like there’s no ML for the Berkshires, so I guess we’re on our own. Frankly, I don’t have the time or the energy to volunteer.

I’ve spent 45 years of my life doing volunteer work across different organizations, the bulk of it unappreciated, and often, no matter how many hours I put in, there was always a demand for more. Someone else can step up, and I can step back and be careful where to place my time and energy.

I managed to get through some email, and then, it was time to switch over the script coverage. I had trouble focusing, but managed to pull it together to turn around two coverages with the attention they deserved. I couldn’t do the third script justice, so I’ve pushed it off to today, which means I have to turn four scripts around today, and then I’m done until Tuesday.

But it was nearly 10 PM by the time I was done. And I was tired.

At least Charlotte was calmer last night, and we actually got some sleep. She slept curled up against my chest. As long as there’s sleep involved, I’m fine with it.

I tried to get in for an oil change appointment this morning, but they can’t see me until Monday. Fingers crossed all goes well for the storage run this weekend.

I’m going to get some writing in now, then I have to do a run to the post office and the liquor store, then switch over to script coverage. I have a gallery opening I promised to attend at 5 tonight. When I return, I’ll have to finish up whatever script coverages are still left.

So I’ll be awake as long as it takes today.

Have a good, long holiday weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

And don’t forget all those FREE episodes on Kindle Vella!

Thurs. Sept. 29, 2022: Choices

image courtesy of Arek Socha via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny and cool

The latest on the garden is over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday morning, I set up a Substack account and subscribed to some material. I will read for a few weeks/months, to get an idea of the platform and how it can be used.

Found out about some great submission calls. Hopefully, I can fulfill them.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by opportunities and having trouble prioritizing them. It shouldn’t be difficult. The opportunity needs to meet the following criteria:

–Does it pay the bills? Because writing – yes, even fiction and plays – is my BUSINESS, not my hobby.

–Does it present an opportunity for professional growth?

–Does it challenge/stretch me creatively?

–What are the long-term benefits compared to the short-term benefits?

Chasing something because it’s new and shiny and interesting does not build a career. Finishing work and making sure it pays its way, while growing in the process, builds a career.

I drafted an episode of Legerdemain (I wanted to draft two, but that didn’t happen). I stayed current on the marketing game, posted on LinkedIn, made the social media rounds, slogged through some email. In the afternoon, I turned around three script coverages and grabbed a big coverage I will do today and tomorrow, along with a couple of smaller ones, that should get me closer to where I need to be this pay period.

I started reading the next book for review (the review is due tomorrow). Good thing I read fast.

I prepped for this morning Working Artists Group session.

Watching Hurricane Ian destroy Florida is horrifying.

DeSantis, who voted against Hurricane Sandy aid to blue states, should be forced to step down as Florida gets aid. That needs to be the tradeoff. You vote against aid? When you then ask for it for your state, you have to step aside. The aid should go to the people who need it, but the politicians cannot be allowed to remain in office when they’re hypocrites.

I had two weird dreams last night. One was very personal, and I completely understand the message, but it made me very sad. It will keep me sad as I process it. The other dream had something to do with time travel in New Orleans, and I have no idea what that was about.

Online Meditation group this morning. Then, I just have time to gulp down breakfast before I head off to the Working Group, and there’s the morning gone. This afternoon, I have a lot of coverage to do, and to finish the book for review.

It is unlikely I will draft anything for Legerdemain today, which puts more pressure on tomorrow and the weekend.

Episode 20 of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Peace, friends, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on September 29, 2022 at 7:01 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 29, 2022: Choices  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)

image courtesy of Christian Dorn via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

The last week of Mercury Retrograde is always crushing, but with all these other retrogrades piled on, it’s rough going.

I did admin and marketing in the morning, and did not get another episode of Legerdemain written, and that threw my day out of synch.

I left early for the meeting at the television station, in case I got lost. Of course I did, but I eventually found it. They are a very small staff, but very nice. The studio is far better equipped than I expected – even with green screen capabilities, and there’s a lot of flexibility within the space. The radio component is smaller, but also quite good.

It gave me fuel for several different projects. They need to percolate, and then I can write up proposals if any of them are viable. I also have to look into sources of funding, especially for the radio plays. Maybe that’s something I can hit up the cultural council for next year.

I made notes on Ink-Dipped Advice posts into the beginning of December. Now, to sit down and actually write them!

I meant to sit down and do the script coverage. Really, I did. But I decided to take a look at my Play Script Tracker sheet in Excel, and update it with “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By.” That led me to looking at calls for submission, which led me back to some of the earlier plays which are actually ready to go out, and I wound up submitting 5 plays. Which took much longer than it should have, mostly because I realized how few plays have synopses ready to go. I broke one of my own Submission Systems rules, and I paid for it.

Another thing to go on the list: Make sure every play has a blurb AND a synopsis. The blurbs are already up on the Pages on Stages site, but I need the synopsis ready for when it’s called.

A friend contacted me about a collaboration over the winter, which sounds like a ton of fun. I was in touch with another friend, who has both a new novel and a new screenplay he’d love some feedback on, so we’ll get that set up.

By that time, The Authors Guild Seminar on serials started. I did not realize that an author whose work both my mom and I have read extensively was the pseudonym for the chair of English at a major university (and a Board member). So, that was fun. There were two Vella authors, one Substack fiction author, and heads of Vella and Substack. 

I knew most of the information about structuring a serial, etc. I mean, I’ve written serials for decades, off and on. I was interested that Vella has more flexibility with driving readers to other sites (it says, in the guidelines, one can’t). Yet the authors are listing their websites and Facebook groups and other work in their author notes.

So I will start doing that, too. If they send it back for removal, so be it, but at least I’ll try.

The information on gaining traction was too vague for my taste. Great, success stories about tens of thousands of hits and people making the serial their day job. But what are the nuts and bolts of gaining traction? Especially if the price of Amazon ads is out of reach? That was not answered to my satisfaction.

Substack’s pitch interested me. I had not looked at it in terms of fiction. The pitch was very strong, and the author chosen to speak was a ton of fun, and I am definitely signing up for her material. I think I will poke around the site and sign up for a few things and see what it’s about. I might put EARTH BRIDE and REP serials up there, and have LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT on Vella and do a comparison study.

The Substack people also offered more nuts-and-bolts information on growing audience, which was helpful.

Also, Substack is international. A strong portion of my readership is international, and therefore shut out of all things Vella. Having work on Substack  would give them entry.

After all that, it was time to make dinner. I did colcannon tricked out with leek, pancetta, and lots of shredded cheese on top. It was wonderful.

I should have done script coverage after, but by then, it was 9 PM, and I was too damn tired.

So today will be a long day. I have to do follow-up on yesterday, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and catch up on script coverage. There’s more I should do – maybe I’ll sneak in a post or two of Ink-Dipped – but LEGERDEMAIN and script coverage need to be the main focus.

The television/radio stuff can percolate for a few days, before I actually write up those proposals and contact those I want involved, but I will send the thank you out today.

I’m worried about my friends and colleagues in Florida, in the path of Hurricane Ian. Let’s hope the storm decreases in intensity and/or veers into the sea.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on September 28, 2022 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Feb. 2, 2022: Creativity and Imbolc

image courtesy of James DeMers via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Imbolc

Cloudy and a little warmer

Yesterday, it stayed around 10 degrees, so I put off my library run until today, when it’s supposed to be in the 40s, and the snow becomes slush.

I slogged through a ton of emails. There were too many stupid arguments happening on social media, and I decided not to participate. I even muted a few “conversations” which I rarely do. I’m either all in or all out, once I follow someone. But this “discussion” tagging 30+ people stuff is too much. And it wasn’t a discussion. It was moderately bright people insisting that their way was the only way. Which is not only wrong, but boring.

A call for submissions landed on my desk, and I actually have a story of which I’m fond, that I am trying to place, so I wrote the cover letter and sent it off. I’m trying to get back up to “13 In Play” where there are at least 13 pieces out for submission at any given time. I only have 6 out right now, according to my log, but I’m working up to it.

Another call for submission landed on my desk, for radio plays. I think they want something darker than I usually do. I dusted off a trio of 10-minute scripts I’d written, based on old, scary campfire stories, and wove them together. I’m going to work a little more on transitions this morning, and then send it off.

I also started working on something gothic-noir-paranormal that also might be more in the realm of what they’re looking for. I hope to get that out today, too. I’ll pitch my other radio plays, in case they’re interested in a range; if they like the writing, maybe I can be a regular contributor. The pay is decent.

But that ate most of my day. It was around 3 PM by the time I started working on script coverages, and, with a couple of breaks to deal with dinner and celebrating Chinese New Year, and Knowledge Unicorns, I worked until 10 at night.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. In addition to their regular homework assignments, we talked about the Republicans banning books (because only stupid people vote for them, so they want to keep people stupid, as one of the kids put it), and Chinese astrology and New Year traditions and foods. It was fun. I’d made vegetable lo Mein for dinner from scratch, using the long noodles for long life.

I started reading Cynthia Kuhn’s THE ART OF DISAPPEARING, but I was too tired to get very far.

Tessa and Charlotte woke me up at 4. I moved to the sofa and dozed off again, with weird dreams. I wonder if the dreams are triggered by the television the downstairs neighbors have on twenty-four hours a day? It’s not on at a high volume, but I’m hyper-sensitive to sound, so I’m aware of it. I can’t hear it at all in my bedroom, but I can feel the hum when I’m in living room, and hear faint rises and falls in cadences.

Tessa and Charlotte were rummaging around this morning, and then Willa came with a soft paw and a serious face communicating, “Will you please get up? I’m Very Hungry.”

I told her since she asked nicely, I would. It was nearly 6:30 by then.

If they wouldn’t wake me at 4, I’d get up around 5 and they’d get their breakfast on time.

But they are cats, and live in the moment of what they want right now.

Back to the page for now, working on the radio plays. I have to do a library run later this morning (the books are piling up there – I’m getting my own hold shelf, like I had on Cape). I have to mail a few things at the post office, such as the fraud complaint against TracFone. I might put in the seed order at Kitchen Garden Seeds for the rest of the ones I want to order.

This afternoon, I have to enter scores on the contest entries I’ve read lately, work on the book for review, and read two scripts.

I’ll do my Imbolc ceremonial planting later today, and then do the ritual tonight. Bridget, the goddess closely associated with Imbolc, encourages creativity, so I’m going to ride that energy as much as possible.

The groundhog in PA says six more weeks of winter; the groundhog on Staten Island disagrees. Yesterday, I came across a story of the Cailleach winter goddess; if it’s sunny and bright, she is out gathering wood and there will be six more weeks of winter; if it’s cloudy or bad weather, she sleeps in, but then she runs out of wood and spring comes early. It’s cloudy here, and looks like it will rain any minute, so let’s hope we have an early spring.

I’m so happy the chiming clock has started up again. It’s much quieter than it was last summer, but I love the tone, and it’s comforting to have it with me throughout the day.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on February 2, 2022 at 9:14 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 2, 2022: Creativity and Imbolc  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wed. Jan. 12, 2022: Writing In My Head

image courtesy of Chriszwettler via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Yesterday was another day that was kind of all over the place. But I got some good stuff done.

Plowed through a bunch of emails, got out an LOI. There were some interesting submission calls in my inbox. One, I really wanted to do, but I don’t have anything suitable. It’s for a one-act play, 30-40 minutes, 4 characters. All my plays of the correct length have more characters; the ones with four or fewer are too short. I started to adapt a short story into a stage play, but that’s going to be too short, too. I don’t have time to write a new play from scratch, and have it in anywhere near decent shape by deadline.

There’s another call for a short story that got my wheels turning. It only needs to be about 1500 words, so if I can actually sit down and do a rough draft today, and it’s strong enough, I could revise it and have it in by deadline. I started writing it in my head. If it goes on the page as well as it’s unfolding in my brain, I’ve got a shot.

We’ll see.

Wrote a little bit on The Big Project. Not as much as I wanted to, but it was a comic scene that had to be properly structured. The joke lands, so I think it will be okay.

Worked on script coverage and on contest entries.

Charlotte sat down on my keyboard, causing all kinds of chaos, but now the “Editor” function is back in Word. Go figure.

Thank goodness there are plenty of leftovers.

Put in the Chewy order for cat litter. Packed away the boxes of holiday decorations. One box was dripping. I opened it—it contained large, outdoor balls I hadn’t used this year. They were full of water. A small hole in the top, where the hanging loop was put in, meant that, being outside, they could accumulate water inside.

I drained them and have left them on the counter to thoroughly dry. Don’t want them getting moldy inside.

That was weird. Just weird.

Knowledge Unicorns was good. Because everyone’s still remote, the kids don’t have to spend most of their day worrying about active shooters and whether the person next to them will expose them to a deadly virus, they can actually learn. Let’s face it, none of this insistence about forcing in-person learning is actually for the well-being of the kids. It’s all about making sure their parents go back out to Die for Their Employers. It’s disgusting.

I woke up on my own around 5:30 this morning, no feline choir. I’m writing this morning. Then, late morning, I will bundle up, load up as many library books as I can carry, and do a drop off/pick up.

Script coverage, book reviews, and contest entries this afternoon.

Onward.