Wed. Nov. 30, 2022: A. Day. And then Another. Day

Charlotte and her banana. Photo by Devon Ellington

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Stormy and cold

Here’s a picture of Charlotte and her banana, because someone should have a good day.

Well, yesterday was A Day.

Sorry this is late, but today is shaping up to be A Day Again.

The transit chart warned me this would be a week of chaos and conflict influenced by the heavens, and drawing the Nine of Swords as my Advice Card for the day was another warning.

On the positive side, we talk about The Right Form For the Story over on the Process Muse.

I also posted a Holiday Mindfulness Oracle Reading over on Ko-fi.

You back? Good.

The worst thing that happened yesterday was that my giant Brother Color Laser Printer, which was expensive and so heavy it needs two men to life it, died. It turned itself off in the morning, and the power won’t go back on. You can tell Twitter is dying, because I posted a request for troubleshooting suggestions there and it was silent. Normally, I’d have a mix of actual help and mansplaining. CounterSocial and Mastodon offered suggestions, but most of it was what I tried, and both that and the stuff I hadn’t tried but then did, did not work. But I appreciated that people saw the post and genuinely tried to help. That’s always appreciated, and I made sure to thank and acknowledge them.

I will be heartbroken if a printer that was that expensive and under warranty at only two years old is dead for good.

Now, of course, I have to fight to get them to honor the warranty.

It’s not like I can load it up into the car and take it for repair. The tech has to come here.

So, no printer yesterday, and research for a small interim printer until we figure out what to do with the laser printer. I was going to buy a small printer anyway, that I could take with me on residencies. I just didn’t expect to get it right now, and lose the big laser printer, which is a necessity for my work.

I had A LOT of stuff I needed to scan this week, along with the regular printing, so it’s an issue.

I did the rounds to promote Legerdemain, and check in and interact here and there. Making the rounds of all the sites takes from 1 ½-2 hours, which I now need to build into the workday. Whether or not I “have” time doesn’t matter. It’s a necessary part of the job. People running around saying they “don’t have time” or “the spoons” to learn these new platforms are speaking from a place of privilege I do not have.

Twitter is mostly screaming right now, anyway. It makes me sad.

I turned around two script coverages in the afternoon. We got an issue with a misplaced synopsis sorted out, which I will deal with today. I have to sit through another “evaluation” soon. My numbers have gone up in the last months, I have a 100% on time rate, and I’m requested 5% more often than the average for readers, so what is there to talk about? Leave me alone to do my work or give me a raise.

I found out that library holds expired yesterday. I contacted the library to ask them to hold them over until I could pick them up this morning, but didn’t hear back. With the library closed for four days over the holidays, we should get a little extra time. All the same, my world will not stop if I don’t get a library book I ordered. I can order it again.

Centerville Library’s staff would just check them out and send me a note telling me they were ready whenever I wanted to pick them up, but then, I built relationships with those librarians over ten years. The turnover at this library is much higher, and while all the librarians know me, sort of, by this point, they don’t really know me. It’s whatever. I will cope.

A colleague asked for recommendations on something, and, having dealt with her requests before, she wants me to do initial introductions and labor on it, which I won’t do. I’ll give her the information. Someone else is nagging me to review her book, which I just received – give me a minute, would you? Paid work comes first.

I’m behind on getting out some other admin stuff that needs to be done this week, and I don’t want to let it slide.

It took me 45 minutes to upload my profile picture on Hive, between my tablet being slow and the site running slow. Hopefully, everything will even out soon.

On a happier note, I received a tax refund from the state. In this state, when there is a surplus of taxes collected, they don’t sit on it. They are required, by law, to return it to the taxpayers. So I got an unexpected refund check. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to cover the little interim printer I have my eye on. That little thing made me feel cared for by the Universe.

As far as writing went, I chose not to work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH yesterday, because I was working on the holiday story instead. However, as I passed the 2K mark and realized how much story there still was, this is not appropriate for the newsletter subscribers. So I have to come up with something else that can be a flash (I already have the idea) and switch over to writing the flash for the Ko-fi page in the next couple of days (that idea is a little weird, but fun. Ko-fi is where I do weird and fun).

This morning, I only did 1151 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but they’re decent. I have to come up with a few more pages tomorrow morning to round out this chapter, and then we are where we need to be for the chapter I wrote last Friday, and that sends us careening toward the climactic sequence and resolution. It will come in short, on word count, for this draft, but as I revise it next spring, I will layer in the necessary period detail so it will hit the count organically (hopefully without info dumping).

I’m finishing NaNo at 59,736 (part of me says, come on, write another 300 words before midnight and hit 60K), but we’ll see.

I did not sleep well, between worrying about things and the cats being impossible.

Up a little after 5. Tessa is doing a Houdini act. I heard rummaging, and found her in a closed bureau drawer (that has not been opened for months). How did she get in there when there are no holes in the back of the bureau? It’s a mystery, but I’m glad I was home to get her out.

My back was spasming when I woke up, but a longish yoga session (under Tessa’s supervision) helped.

I dashed out early when the store opened that carried the printer I wanted. In and out in a few minutes with the printer, a 2-year warranty, and a hole puncher (I can’t find my other one, and Staples sent me the wrong case of paper).

Wolfed down breakfast and headed out again, just as the storm started. Hit up the library – they’d held my books for me, knowing I’d show up when I said I would. I am very grateful. Liquor store (gotta stock for a storm). Bank, to put in the refund check I’d just spent on the printer.

All the errands done in 20 minutes and home. Car safely slotted. Back to work. The winds are supposed to pick up seriously over the next few hours and be high until tomorrow night. The temperatures are in the 40s now, but will drop into the 20s tonight, so the rain might switch over to snow. They are positioning plows and utility trucks around the city.

Lots to do, so off I go. Have a good one.

And hey, all you who busted your ass for NaNo – good work! Cheers to you!

Wed. Oct. 19, 2022: Rearranging Words

image courtesy of Willi Heidelbach via pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Partly cloudy, foggy, and cold

Yesterday wasn’t as much of a words-on-paper as I hoped, but I still got a good deal done. I need to shift my idea of “productivity” and allow myself to be happy with what I get done, instead of obsessing on what I don’t get done.

I put up a tarot reading on my Ko-Fi page, using the Halloween Tarot. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, hop on over and check it out.

I got the blogging done, I slogged through some email. I did the social media rounds to promote the next episode of LEGERDEMAIN. With permission, I went into a friend’s website and did some fixes. The site is under construction, but there are enough relevant visuals and placeholder text so she can apply for grants that will allow her to hire a web developer and get exactly what she wants.

I had to dress like a Real Person and run errands: library, grocery store, post office, the liquor store, the bank. Of course, as soon as I got home, more books arrived at the library, and the check arrived from Llewellyn for last year’s almanac that comes out this year. More people are masking than did even a week ago, which is encouraging.

I uploaded and scheduled the posts to drop every day through November and into December for 30 Tips for 30 Days.

I haven’t yet fixed the problem with the LEGERDEMAIN ads, but I will do that today and tomorrow. It will just mean more episode-specific ads dropping for a few weeks in November, that’s all.

I set up the site for the project that launches next week over on Substack. It was, of course, more complicated than I’d hoped. But I got it done. I’m going to do some tweaking before I make the official announcement.

I did some interacting with other Substack authors, to introduce myself and get more of a feel for the site. One of the authors spoke about how Substack had given her a “business audit” with advice for monetizing her site better. And yet, EVERY piece of advice they gave her is something that would turn me off to becoming a paid subscriber.

I want to be invited, not nagged.

In fact, I’m unsubscribing from a couple of lists over there, because I’m tired of being nagged and a sense of bait-and-switch. I also don’t want to get into a non-reciprocal situation with a bunch of authors where I’m paying them, but none of them are supporting me.

Some will say, well, that cuts into the profit margin of their own site, and well YEAH, but part of being in a community of writers, to me, is buying each other’s books, or, at the very least, boosting each other’s social media about the work so we all expand our reach. It’s something that will be front and center when I clean up my Twitter feed and get rid of a lot of other “writers” (most of whom aren’t doing  this to earn a living) who never support my work. Supporting is not just forking out cash; there are fellow writers who either can’t afford to buy everything I do, or some of what I do (maybe all of it) isn’t to their taste. Yet they still support me with boosts and likes and comments and recommendations and other interactions. My budget, too, is limited; I can’t give money monthly to every other writer I’d like to support. But I do as much as I can each month. I at least try to do SOMETHING. But if I’m not getting any type of interaction or support back, it’s draining me on multiple levels.

Because the best way to reach people who are readers, not writers (and whom writers need to sustain their work) is via other writers. Most readers read work by multiple writers. We’re not competing for audience. That’s a corporate traditional publishing line, to keep writers scared. Yes, people have limited budgets and have to choose where to put their reading dollars. But they also usually read more than one writer.

I mean, basically, Substack is a streaming service for writers.

Did a quick revision on “My Side of the Bed” and “Paranormal Paraphrasing” so I could send them to my friend Paula for comment.

Turned around a really fun script that took familiar tropes and did something new with them in clever, skilled ways.

While I was cooking dinner, I came up with an hilarious sequence for LEGERDEMAIN. Now, I just have to figure out where to put it so it supports the overall arc, rather than is a tangent.

I set up a Serials page on the sidebar of this blog. Right now, it only has LEGERDEMAIN up, because that’s what’s running. It will have more entries as more serials drop.

Read for pleasure in the evening.

Overslept this morning, after weird dreams where I was a different person in the dream. Not myself. I mean, I was very much the person I was in the dream, but that person wasn’t the me I am when I’m awake. Does that make sense at all? There’s got to be a way to use that in something.

Tessa Was Not Amused. She composed and performed her song of hunger and abandonment relentlessly until I got up, with Charlotte and Willa singing backup. She plans to record it in Nashville and hit the charts, so she can afford minions who will feed her On Time.

Paula’s comments on the plays were terrific, and now I have to figure out the best way to implement them.

I have to travel down to Pittsfield at some point today (hey, taking the advice of yesterday’s reading that’s up on Ko-Fi) and get some stuff done.

But I’m hoping to get at least a few words on the page before I have to leave.

Have a good one!

Fri. July 1, 2022: Summer Weather

image courtesy of Rustu Bozkus via pixabay.com

Friday, July 1, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny and hot

Another month starting. Time accelerates.

I got the horror story submitted yesterday before meditation. Meditation was good, although Charlotte promptly fell asleep and snored throughout. It was pretty funny, and this is why we mute ourselves during Zoom meditation.

Got a few things done, and then headed to my favorite thrift store in town. I’d been there earlier in the week, seen a few things I liked, and didn’t get them because I don’t really need them. But I haven’t stopped thinking about them, so I went back, and they were all still there. So I got them. The “they” were three lovely vases (like I don’t have several boxes of vases in storage). But I have very few vases here. And these are different from the ones I have. One is a heavy, leaded crystal vase, just gorgeous. There’s also a clear, beveled glass vase and a deep blue vase. There was also an adorable little yellow flowerpot. In addition to the things I’d seen before, I got a red glass vase, and a lovely copper lantern.

Freelance Chat was fun. A Twitter colleague shared a link to an open submission, and I just happened to have a story that fits. So off it went.

SCOTUS gutted the EPA, after denying Native Americans their sovereign status yesterday. Corrupt as fuck.

At lease Justice Jackson is now sworn in. That gives me hope.

A couple of other colleagues forwarded interesting information for things that require proposals; I will take a look and see if I want to try for any of them. I heard back from my state rep, to whom I’d written yesterday on a matter of concern. I was impressed that his office responded so quickly, and that it was a personal response, not a cut-and-paste one.

In the afternoon, I turned around four manuscript analyses. I’m well below what I’d hoped for this pay period from that client, but still okay. Let’s hope there’s more work from them in the next month.

I did a tarot reading for the Ko-fi page, but didn’t get a chance to post it, so that has to happen today. The Friday journal prompt will go up on my Ello page around mid-day.

Plus, it’s July, which means it’s time for #31Prompts. I have to schedule those to go up at 11 AM on Twitter, and then post them on other social media channels whenever. I will not post them daily on this page, but you can find the whole list on this site here.

I took a break from work in the early evening to attend a Zoom event put on by The League of Professional Theatre Women, an interview with Emily Mann, done by Alexis Greene. Emily was the Artistic Director of The McCarter Theatre for 30 years. I remember when she got the job, in 1990. I was working at The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation then, and she did several wonderful programs for us. She has always been an inspiration.

The interview was, of course, wonderful, and then we had the chance to all chat after, which was also fun. One of the fellow attendees was another colleague from my SDCF days, with whom I used to spend a lot of time, and with whom I’d lost touch. So that was all terrific, inspirational, and soul refreshing.

One of the things Emily talked about was how she has no regrets that she “dedicated her life to theatre.” That phrasing is very important. I feel the same way (although my career is nowhere close to what Emily’s built). But I made the choice to dedicate my life to theatre, which meant saying “no” to a lot of things that would have derailed that, and I have no regrets.

Read the book for review in the evening. Will write the review this morning, send it off with the invoice, and there we are. It’s a new month.

As soon as I got into bed last night, I was hit with another wave of sense memory stress. Last year’s July 4th weekend was incredibly stressful, on both physical and emotional levels as I did the final clear out of the house, so I may be in for a rocky road this weekend. But let’s hope that layering on new, positive memories and riding out the remembered stress by not denying it will open the way for a healthier July!

Up early this morning. It’s supposed to be very hot. I have one script to turn around, and a grocery run, and the book review. I’m hoping to start my weekend fairly early. While I will be working this weekend, it will be on non-client projects. And on finally getting that darn kitchen island finished.

This morning’s tarot card was the 9 of Pentacles (from THE GREEN WITCH TAROT), one of my favorite cards in any deck. I intend to live by it today!

Have a good one, and catch you on the other side.

Wed. May 11, 2022: House and Home

image courtesy of kmcremeans via pixabay.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto and Mercury Retrograde

Sunny and lovely

I was out the door by 7:15 yesterday morning, because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get to the mechanic. I got there in 15 minutes, found it, no problem.

In other words, I was there before they were.

They didn’t mind that I waited for them, and got me settled on their too comfortable couch while they got their day sorted out and then looked at the car. It took four hours, because they had to be methodical about it. The previous mechanic had given a vague code reference, and they had to go down a checklist to find out what the actual problem was. It’s a much simpler fix than the other guy warned (which also means less expensive). They did a temporary fix so I could drive without worry, ordered the part, and I go in next Wednesday for the fix.

During those four hours, I just chilled out on the couch with my book and watched how well they interacted with their customers. They know most of them by name, and have a great rapport. With me, they were nice, straightforward, and everything made sense.

They will also replace the battery in my key that went out a couple of years back, where I was told it could only be done by the dealer and cost $300. They will fix it for $13.

On the way home, I stopped at the store and picked up some stuff, including a hanging birdbath for the back balcony and a rug for the enclosed front porch.

After lunch, we got in the car and headed out to Whitney’s Farm, where we spent too much on plants. But boy, is the place gorgeous! Then, of course, we had to buy more pots for the plants. We weren’t back until well after 3. But I’d blocked off the whole day, and it was nice not to worry about anything.

Spent the late afternoon on the porch, reading. Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Only a few more weeks, and we are done. Of course, that’s what we though in 2020 and 2021.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat. Windows 11 has decided to install, so who knows how long that will take. I’d hoped to get some work done before I head out to the library and the grocery store, but we’ll see.

It’ supposed to get into the high 80’s later this week, so it’s time to switch out from the flannel sheets mid-week instead of over the weekend, and to really set up the front porch and back balcony enchanted gardens.

I don’t have scripts in my queue to worry about, and, while I should worry about that, I’m enjoying taking it a little slow and doing things around the house. Once the Windows Update is installed, I’ll get some writing done, too.

I’ll write about it all in more detail in tomorrow’s Gratitude and Growth post.

I have a tarot reading up on Ko-fi about handling the Mercury Retrograde with grace.

Have a good one!

Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress

image courtesy of mohammad Hassan via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a mixed day. I managed a good bit of admin in the morning; I have to, or the number of emails becomes overwhelming. It rained a good portion of the day, although I managed to get home from the laundromat before it started, and dashed out in a quick pause in the afternoon to get the garbage out.

I went back and started re-establishing myself over on Ello, and remembered why I enjoy that platform so much. I cross-post a lot of what’s here over there; haven’t yet decided how I want to do new content.

On the wave of the work I’d done on The Big Project at the laundromat, I did another section. I am still way, way, waaaaay behind where I need to be on it, and I have to double down on it in May.

I had some additional material to look at for the contest, which was just forwarded to me (late), and dealt with that. One category is now officially finalized. I’d hoped to have the second category done today, but it’s more likely to be tomorrow or Friday (likely Friday). That depends how much script coverage comes in. Right now, I just have one more script to cover today. I’d hoped for two tomorrow and two on Friday to end this pay period close to what I need, but it looks doubtful.

I set up a Ko-fi page. I think it’s a better fit for me than Patreon, because there’s less pressure for tiered content and constant content. I still want to add new material pretty regularly, and use it to play with material that’s out of my wheelhouse a bit, or with pieces that I know are strong, but haven’t found the right market.

For instance, I posted “Fallout” which is one of my favorite flash fiction pieces. It’s received excellent feedback, but never the right market fit. So it’s here, and it’s getting positive response.

I also want to do some tarot pieces, using different decks. I’d considered doing it on Instagram (inspired by other tarot readers who do a great job on that platform). But it’s too complicated to do from my phone, so I’ll do it on Ko-fi instead.

It’s not that I think I’ll make a huge profit or anything on Ko-fi. I figure the money I get can be then used to support fellow creators on the platform. It’s basically going to be the same $3 going round and round forever.

And, it gives me a no-pressure playground.

It’s likely I will leave (or severely cut back to only promotions) Twitter in a few months, once the Muskrat purchase goes through, I intend to enjoy what I enjoy and use it to its fullest potential between now and then.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon and well into the evening.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are in the last few weeks. Some of the kids are graduating high school; no one knows what the next school year will bring. Some of the families plan to continue homeschooling their kids because they’re doing so much better; others are going to wait and see. In any case, they have built among themselves, the parents and the kids, a strong support system, and I can step back at the end of this school year without guilt. I was a strong voice in keeping the kids out of school because there is no such thing as safety in school right now, either from COVID or school shootings. And I helped the parents and kids make it possible to stay as safe as possible for two and a half years. I walked my talk. Now, as their situations have evolved, they need to make a variety of decisions, and it’s time for me to step back.

Still fighting with both Tracfone and Consumer Cellular to get my mom’s number transferred. Both companies are basically crap, but there aren’t any other choices for the simple flip phones anymore. We have to make this transfer to Consumer Cellular happen.

The company who bought the storage facility on Cape where we’ve got the rest of our stuff is AWFUL. Zero customer service and badly disorganized.  So I have to dig in this summer and take on as much extra work as possible so I can afford to bring the stuff up in fall – provided I can even get a storage unit around here. Because CubeSmart pulled such crap, selling us off to someone else out of the blue, announcing it the day after last month’s payment, I will certainly not rent from them in the future. They actually had the gall to send an email stating that they were up for an award and wanted me to vote for them! I don’t think so.

And I still haven’t been able to get an appointment to get the car fixed.

I am royally fed up and ready to go back to bed and tell everyone to fuck right off. I have a horrible headache like creatures dancing inside my head wearing cleats and wielding pickaxes. Tessa woke me at 4 this morning. Not a happy camper.

Instead, I have to go back to the page and work.

Published in: on April 27, 2022 at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress  
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Tues. March 1, 2022: Scattered

image courtesy of ulleo via pixabay.com

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Dark Moon

Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras

Cloudy and cold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in: on March 1, 2022 at 8:04 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 1, 2022: Scattered  
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Wed. June 12, 2019: Could There Be Some Relief in Sight? Don’t Want to Jinx It!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Over on Ink-Dipped Advice, I talk about interviews being more of information exchange sessions.

I don’t feel like I have many interesting things to say on the blog right now. There’s plenty going on; but much of it is inappropriate to discuss publicly at this point. It’s taking a toll, but until certain things are settled, it’s counterproductive and potentially harmful to discuss them here. So I hope you will be patient. I will share what I can as I can.

On the upside, I managed to get the final piece finished on the car — the hub cab. I can’t believe they charge that much for a plastic piece of crap that’s going to pop right off again the next time there’s a pothole. Which, by the way, is how most roads in MA operate — full of potholes. They spend months narrowing traffic lanes and causing delays to pave the roads. Two days later, some utility company rips it all up, puts a bad patch on it, and everything’s right back to where it started. It’s not about throwing money at infrastructure — it’s about coordination, and making the utility companies fix what they rip up.

I’ve been getting estimates from lawn care companies about the mowing. No luck finding a woman-run business so far. Hit and miss on the others. This attitude that I don’t have the right to decide what is done and when has got to stop. I’m not hiring someone who shames or demeans me. Why would I pay for that?

I finally found a really nice guy who is responsive, friendly, listens. He came by yesterday morning to take a look and talk about it. He’s going to start today, and then come every other week. It’s a reasonable price, and it takes a lot of worry off my back (and pain out of my back). What a relief.

Working with a client on a big event next week. Working with another client on a marketing campaign for a series of talks given at different locations. Trying to pin down the meeting in Boston with a potential new client. Working on a couple of articles. Following up on an article I submitted nearly two weeks ago to a publication — they pay on acceptance. In the past, it was always accepted the same day I submitted and paid. I’m happy to make any changes they want, but I can’t make them unless they communicate. Got out some more LOIs. Working on some pitches. I don’t feel I can send them out until I have a few other things finalized, because those projects will change my schedule and limit my flexibility.

Meditation was great on Monday afternoon. Even managed to get home before the rain started. It wasn’t anywhere near as big a storm as predicted.

ELLA BY THE BAY is chugging along nicely. GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like. I’m getting out the gift books to the donors on the GoFundMe campaign.

My “action card” for the month is the Eight of Swords, and that’s exactly what this feels like. All I can do is keep my head down, keep moving forward, and handle each thing as it comes in, so I can make the next necessary thing happen.

I’ve had a couple of good nights’ sleep in a row, which helps, but I really, really, REALLY need some time off. That’s not going to happen until 4th of July weekend.

Back to the page.

Published in: on June 12, 2019 at 6:02 am  Comments Off on Wed. June 12, 2019: Could There Be Some Relief in Sight? Don’t Want to Jinx It!  
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Fri. Aug. 1, 2014: Lammas, Power, Creativity

Friday, August 1, 2014
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy day at the library yesterday. My boss had to leave early on a family issue, but we had enough staff to make it all work. The computers and printers are all cattywumpus again, and the new computers aren’t yet in, so I’m still floating around from terminal to terminal to get things done. But they’re getting done, and that’s what counts in the long run.

One of the doors in the library wasn’t properly shut on lock up and the alarm went off. I coded in and called the alarm company, who told me I’d caught it before any damage had been done, but, had the alarm made it all the way to the center, I would need to give a specific word in order for them not to call the police! Of course, I couldn’t remember the word or where to find it, but she said it was fine (since the alarm was stopped by an authorized code before it made it to the call center), and now I knew for next time! Glad the cops didn’t have to come out on a nothing call, and I’ve since hunted down and memorized the proper word. In other words, I didn’t have to call anyone to get bailed out! 😉

Headed to Stop N Shop for some groceries, dropped them off home, off to PetSmart to get cat food and cat litter. Swung by Cape Cod Beer one minute before closing — told them I totally understood if it was too late to get a refill, but they were gracious and lovely, filling my growler with Cape Cod Blonde. I love Cape Cod Beer – they’re so supportive of local organizations like the library and the Marine Life Center. So whenever I can spend some money there or bring people to the place to have them spend money, I do. Then off to Cape Cod Package store, to pick up another bottle of raspberry vodka, and some wine. Cape Cod Package Store is also very supportive of the community.

Home, drinks on the deck, cooked dinner. Updated the websites (Devon Ellington, Hex Breaker, Gwen Finnegan Mysteries, Delectable Digital Delights page on Facebook). That was it. Could not get anything else done. Was completely wiped out. In bed before 9.

Overslept this morning, which meant I didn’t get to bake the traditional cornbread I always do on Lammas morning. Did the morning ritual. The cards that came up are all about fire, creativity, long-term commitments, etc., which is interesting.

Only got 750 words done on INITIATE, which made me cranky. I think this is still part of Chapter one, and these chapters will be closer to 20 pages each than 10. I really want to spend some quality time on this manuscript this weekend, along with knocking out a few more chapters of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I have a lead on someone who can help me with the wreck diving info, which is very exciting.

Came into work to some annoyances, but, ultimately, they’re not my problem or decision, so I just do what I do and stay out of it, trying not to get too frustrated. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the Writers Conference next week — it’s going to be difficult to get into such a public frame of mind when all I want to do is delve down into the books. Somehow, I’ll figure out a way to navigate it.

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Wed. Feb. 5, 2014: Ideas Come From Everything

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Snowy and cold

Update on all the teeny little plants we’ve got going here, over on Gratitude and Growth.

Worked yesterday, pitching jobs, working with students, etc. Did the week’s work for my Environmental Law and Policy class. Totally love that class.

Worked on the play — still not happy with it.

Finished reading Jake Arnott’s THE HOUSE OF RUMOURS. I liked it, especially structurally, although some of the chapters felt as though they meandered a bit too much before all tying back together. It was an interesting conceit, though. I’ve played with the idea of structuring something along the Major Arcana, but haven’t found what works for me, yet. I think I’d approach it differently, so it was interesting to read this approach.

Started another book, a thriller by a well-known author, and it just didn’t work for me. So I put it down. I’ve hit the point where I only push through on a book that doesn’t engage me if I’m paid to read and review it.

Played with some characters and ideas. Would like to do another serial, but not sure which outlet I’d pitch to. I’m not interested in one of the sites where you only get paid if you get enough votes. This is my business, not my hobby. I get paid for the WORK, not a popularity contest.

One story idea came because of a job pitch. I made the first cut (it’s a very, very competitively sought position and I’m the “out there” choice), and if I get it, I’d have to spend a certain amount of time each month out of town. That could align with another project in which one of my former professors wants me to work with him on, in the same area. I was idly looking at shares in the area (it’s too far to commute, and doesn’t make sense to stay in a hotel), and found a dream share — not that I could contact them until the details on the job were finalized. The photos and the tone of the ad gave me an idea for a story. So, you see, ideas are everywhere, and even if these projects don’t work out as jobs, they’ve served a purpose!

Plenty to do today. The snowstorm is worse than predicted; not sure I can get my mom to her doctor’s appointment this afternoon. I’m getting sick of shoveling — ready to hibernate and come out when it all melts!

Making some decisions on some changes I want to make, both personally and professionally. Feels good.

A-writing we will go!

Devon

Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 8:39 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 5, 2014: Ideas Come From Everything  
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Fri. Oct. 19, 2012: Gearing for a Busy Weekend

Friday, October 19, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Last chance to sign up for The First Three Pages: Dynamic Openings, which runs tomorrow. Registration closes at 5 PM today.

I had a horrible migraine all day yesterday, and was a total waste of food. I managed to follow up on a few things from the previous day. I tried to get work done, but couldn’t focus. I suffered a case of foot-in-mouth disease with a colleague, apologized, and haven’t gotten a response, so there’s nothing else I can do at this point. I’ve spent all my life with theatre people; I’m not used to civilians and their rules and their assumptions of dire motivations. It was a genuine apology on my part, and that’s what’s in my control right now.

I did book a day to go trailing around the Marine Life Center to learn the dailiness of the routines. The date we picked is election day, so I’ll have to go to vote early!

I pulled it together by the evening and we had a terrific live chat/distance reading hour and change with the tarot class. Truly inspirational. We got to work on everyone’s questions and read each other and interpret — it was great. We’ll meet in a few weeks to do a Q&A type of chat, and then another distance reading evening.

I went to bed early and feel better after a good night’s sleep. I HAVE to get my hair cut today — I can’t stand it anymore; I have a phone conference with an agent, and then it’s working with students, the finishing touches on tomorrow’s workshop, and catching up on my own schoolwork. I got a little bit done yesterday, but not nearly enough.

Busy, busy weekend ahead, filled with writing and schoolwork and teaching and editing, so I better get going!

Devon

Published in: on October 19, 2012 at 8:25 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. Sept. 24: The Autumnal Roll!

Monday, September 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy, busy, busy weekend. I was on the road, supposed to have internet, but THAT didn’t work out! I felt guilty about my tarot students, but, for the rest of my work, it was fine. I’d cleared a lot of work off my desk before I headed out.

The most important thing was that I finished the edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK and got them back to my editor a couple of days early. The cover (again by the amazing PJ Friel) is set to be ready on October 5, and once it’s approved by the publisher, I’ll post it. The latest word I have on the DEATH SPARKLES anthology (in which you’ll meet one of my favorite new characters, Fiona Steele), is that it will release in October.

I’m working away on CRAVE THE HUNT, and the new book (which is still in too delicate a state to really discuss) is flying out of my fingers. I’m ready to do my first chapters for the mystery I’m using as one of my sustainability projects, and ready to do the opening on the aviation book. I’m putting together the article due Oct. 1 (I need to get it out by Friday, before I hit the road again on Saturday), and this morning, I have a write-up to do for Confidential Job #1.

On Friday morning, I had to get out the door early and drive to CT. The traffic was dreadful — for some reason, we were stuck around Fall River for nearly an hour, and then it was bad again around Stratford. Got there, exhausted. Since I didn’t have an internet connection, I concentrated on writing and on the materials for Confidential Job #1 (which were really good). To bed early, up early, more writing, back on the road later that day, and home.

Saturday was the Equinox, and I managed to get back in time to do my sunset ceremony.

Sunday, couldn’t get in to the forum where I’m teaching for some reason, which meant I couldn’t catch up with the tarot students — must to that today. However, I managed to watch the last lectures for both classes and take the quizzes and do my short weekly paper (whew). Also went to Country Gardens to pick up a few things so I can put the garden to bed for the winter.

The Sustainability Course is half-way through (we start Week 5 this week), those of the original 26,000 who are still there. Of the 70,000 in the World History class, we seem to be hanging in there. The Greek and Roman Mythology class, taught by Dr. Peter Struck of the University of Pennsylvania, starts today, and there are 50,000 of us in the class!

I have a LOT of writing to do this week. Tomorrow night’s meeting was cancelled, thank goodness, but I have a meeting on Thursday directly after yoga — I’ll have to make sure I bolt a quick snack between yoga and the meeting. Friday night, my one-act is going to be read at the Play With Your Food Festival at Tilden Arts Center, and Saturday, I hit the road again — I’m working in CT next week. Busy, busy, and keeping on top of the articles and the writing deadlines and the coursework, and I still have some manuscripts to read for that acquaintance’s submission overflow (I rarely say “never”, but in this case, I’ll say “not again without major payment”).

Costume Imp is coming down late in October, I’ve got to settle a few days for Fast & Fun Workshops and finalize the information for the Playwrighting Class, so that the application can go up.

One word at a time – -that’s how it all gets done!

The guy’s here to clean the furnace this morning, and then I have to pick up/drop off some books at a couple of the local libraries. Other than that, it’s a day of being chained to the desk (but loving it).

Did you have a good Autumnal Equinox? I’m so grateful for the many good things in my life!

Devon

Mon. June 11, 2012: Busy Start to the Week

Monday, June 11, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy, busy, busy weekend. Worked hard all day Friday, trying to stay on top of things, get out all the promo stuff, etc., etc. Working in the garden. It took most of the weekend to get the meadow mowed. We’re still having trouble with trespassers. I’ve got to get out there and confront them and tell them that next time, I’m calling the cops. The lack of respect by these particular neighbors is appalling. But what do you expect from people who tie a sex doll dressed in a bikini to a tree and leave it there for months?

Got a stack of books out of Sturgis Library — what a great place. We are so lucky with our libraries around here.

Anyway, the scratch of I’ll Have Another in the Belmont caused all kinds of chaos. Something about that whole situation feels off to me. On top of that, they had the horse lead the post parade for the race, which was so incredibly unfair to the horse — he didn’t understand why he wasn’t being warmed up and sent to the gate, the way he’s used to. Badly handled all the way around, in my opinion. Union Rags finally had a good day, and paid off for his loyal fans, though.

Stanley Cup game at night — NJ Devils vs. LA Kings. NJ staved off elimination. Let’s see what happens next.

Last night was the Tony Award Presentation. Reminds me of why I went into the business in the first place, and, just a little, made me miss it. There’s nothing like working at or attending the Tony Awards. It’s the most fun of any of them, because it’s truly a community, not just a bunch of strangers preening in front of each other. I watched a lot of people I’ve worked with over the years, and texted with friends on the show. Fun. After the Awards, of course, we all did the party circuit, winding up eating breakfast in a 24-hour diner as the sun came up, still in our fancy clothes. Tons of fun.

Wrote a bunch, read a lot this weekend, but most of the weekend was just for ME. I needed that. I’m gearing up for the Tarot Workshop this weekend – hope it goes well. Haven’t done one of those in person in a long time. Tessa was outside with me a lot yesterday, in her crate, enjoying the sun, the fresh air, and the company. Read some disappointing books (those always make you think, “how the hell did they ever find an agent or a publisher?”) and read some good ones, including an interesting book by Nancy Thayer and two unique, charming books by Sarah Addison Allen.

I’ve got a ghost writing quote to get off today, some more PR for a client, and two blog posts to write. Plus, hopefully some of the places to which I’ve pitched will respond positively, and I’ll have to get out some more pitches.

Billy Root’s blog comes up later today, and I’m putting the finishing touches on “Town Crier” for release later this week. Better hop to it!

Devon

Taste of the Tarot is for artists in all media interested in the art and archetype of the cards. Learn how to do basic readings and use the cards for inspiration and to push through blocks. Sat. June 16, 2-5 PM, $60, Three Fish and a Ram Community Art Center, Mashpee. More information here.

Mon. March 5, 2012: Weighing Contradictory Information


Heading here later today for some solitary time.

Monday, March 5, 2012
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend, both good and tiring.

Friday, after getting out the materials requested in the morning, I caught up with one of my classes, caught a few hours’ of sleep, and staggered around the house the rest of the day. The emotional exhaustion was worse than the physical exhaustion. Especially since all that work might not pay off anyway — which is the problem with fiction. You don’t know until it’s done. And, of course, when you’re tired, the Doubt Demons see you as easy prey.

The tarot was not much comfort. I’d already drawn The Crossroads from the Well-Worn Path. The tarot cards drawn Saturday morning — Death and the 5 of Wands. Could ya give me a little support here, cards? 😉 Crossroads — yeah, I figured that one out all by myself; Death — yes, I’ve been talking about new business plans, new directions for the career, re-envisioning what I want and need. So the card of transformation makes sense. 5 of Wands — redefining identity and career — yeah, pretty much where I am.

At least it wasn’t The Tower!

To bed early Friday (since I was pretty incoherent anyway). Up early Saturday and to a conference here on the Cape. It was a day-long conference on epublishing and marketing. It was great to be amongst my fellow writers again, and meet some new ones. We had a lovely group at our table.

The first part of the program was about the steps an ebook has to go through from text to purchasable copy. It was pretty technical. I thought it was interesting, and much easier to follow than I expected. But you could see the room — some people found it interesting, as I did. Some people struggled, unfamiliar with the terms, but were determined to understand. Some just couldn’t be bothered.

Which is of course why the speakers were there — they do formatting and preparation. For a price. It’s still up to the author to distribute, but they handle the coding, etc. You still have to give them edited, proofread copy because they don’t handle that aspect, and that’s where a lot of writers who indie publish drop the ball. They think because they’re indie-publishing and their story is so brilliant, it doesn’t matter if it’s a mess. Wrong. If I buy your indie-published book and there are errors all over it, it indicates to me you don’t respect me as a reader, you piss me off, and, not only will I resent forking out even a small amount of money for it, I won’t buy anything by the author again.

There was some murmurings that the speakers purposely complicated the presentation to drum up business; I disagree. I thought it was very clear, and I’m a techno-phobe. So, if I could understand it, it was clear. I was also very grateful for the coaching Colin Galbraith’s given me in HTML coding — I could apply it here. Yes, Colin, I actually retained it — shows you’re a good teacher.

A group of us had a very lively lunch in Hearth ‘N Kettle — good conversation, good food. What I love about this writers’ organization is that the members are interesting. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, they’re intelligent, observant, have a sense of humor — and they buckle down and write. They’re not there to write maybe-Someday. Either they had a writing career, took time off, and are getting back in the saddle, or they had other careers and now want to add writing in — but they WRITE.

Afternoon presentation was on marketing. The presenter was a little too hard-sell for me. “Buy my book, come to my class and you’ll learn how to market.” Honey, I paid for today’s seminar. I want useful information TODAY or you aren’t going to see me at anything else you do. I’m not here for a teaser — I’m here for information.

Fortunately, she got to that. She talked about business models for writers and the importance of marketing taking 50% of your time. I was not a happy camper to hear this — I was hoping to get away with 30%. I realize she’s being practical. Me not wanting to hear it doesn’t change its value. A lot of what she talked about, I already do. I just have to do more of it. So there was good information.

What was interesting about this day was the completely opposing point of view to the industry and its direction than I had from the conversations this past week from someone deep in the trenches with a long, well-established career in it. On the one hand, it was fascinating to hear both points of view, very passionately presented, so close together.

It was also a little overwhelming. By the time I got home on Saturday night, I was ready to curl up into a fetal position. It takes awhile to sort through contradictory information and weigh the different elements as to what’s best for one’s own life.

Up early Sunday, read the papers, checked in with my students, caught up on some work. I didn’t write. I feel like I’ve used up my week’s quota of words. Fortunately, I had material to read, and could refill the creative well. I’ve got a polish this morning on a piece for Confidential Job #1, and a polish for a deadlined article. I’m also wrapping up 5 in 10 and starting the Sensory Perceptions class. A friend is speaking at a local museum, and I’d like to get there this afternoon, but I’ve got errands, and I’ve got to get the headlight on the car fixed. The week’s busy — new class starting, my mother’s surgery, continuing classes and private students, and some other stuff coming up.

50% of the time marketing. Between 1 and 3 AM, maybe. But I have to figure out how to get a higher ratio done, whether it’s a bit every day, or set aside one day a week primarily for marketing.

At least today’s tarot card was The Wheel of Fortune — upright, so turning in my direction!

And my witch hazel’s bloomed — it’s gorgeous. The morning glories I planted last week are also starting to poke up. Carlos the woodpecker is back, and you can hear the owls crooning their mating calls. Spring is on the way.

Devon

Published in: on March 5, 2012 at 7:26 am  Comments (2)  
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