Tues. Nov. 12, 2019: Yes, the Weather is Changing

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not as productive, writing-wise, as I hoped. Mostly because I was exhausted. Hop on to Kemmyrk, for some thoughts about a full moon in Mercury Retrograde.

We got everything in from the deck, except the big round table that overwinters there. The plants that need to overwinter are in the garage; the other pots have had the annuals pulled out and been put away. The furniture was oiled, dried, and put away — some in the basement, some used in the house during the winter. I have a couple more things to put away that are still on the table, and decide when to bring in the chimes.

The landlord is having someone coming to look at the back of the house to see what needs to be fixed. A few boards on the deck need it, but I bet they take the whole thing out. I don’t want to lose the covered part of the deck. It’s wonderful. But who knows what the landlord will decide?

Anyway, all of that took much longer than I hoped, but it’s done. It needed to be done in decent weather. I did a little of the pruning, but I have a lot more to do. Plus, we have all the leaves. So, every dry day, we’ll be doing some raking. It’s supposed to be miserable today, rain switching over to snow.

Ran some errands. Did laundry.

Wrote and sent off the speech I was asked to do. I’m pleased with it. It was carefully structured to fit the event.

Did a lot of work with the cats. They are getting better. Tessa’s spending more time out, but there’s still suspicion between Tessa and the others, especially with Willa, whose the noisiest of the three. Charlotte is settling in the best. Considering she had the most, noisiest tantrums when she came in, that’s interesting. Yesterday morning, we had major progress — all three sitting with me in my office while I wrote. Napping. Peaceful co-existence.

Re-read THE TIE-CUTTER. Every time I look back at it, I love it more. I have to find a way to get back to work on it, when these next deadlines are cleared.

I’m re-reading Donna Leon’s mysteries set in Venice. Re-read DEATH AT LA FENICE. It was excellent. Read a biography of Maggie Smith, which was interesting, but a little too fawning.

Got some ideas for a couple of sequences in GAMBIT COLONY.

Worked on edits. Gave myself a break from THE BARD’S LAMENT.

Did three loads of laundry.

I got fed up on social media (for a lot of reasons). Specifically, there’s an unpublished author working on a piece that’s so long it should be broken up into a series, and she’s telling published authors who earn their living at it how to write. Fuck off, kiddo. Try listening and learning something.

Went in, yesterday, to my client’s, although it was, technically, a holiday. It was not as productive a day as I wanted.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” and the edits, mostly. That’s what I did this morning, too. I hate to break the rhythm I’m building with THE BARD’S LAMENT, but I need to get these two pieces done first. Excellent editing session on Monday morning, though, which set a good tone for the week.

I also need to take a look at the stage plays I’ve written and decided which ones to submit where. I’m thinking of putting together the short Kate Warne play and the short Jeanne de Clisson play with a third play about a strong woman as an evening. Or maybe do another Kate Warne? I was originally going to do three short Kate Warne plays, about three of her cases. Not sure. But I have a stockpile of scripts from the past few years, and they need to go out and earn their keep.

Worked on the GDR questions.

Mostly, I’m exhausted. I need a break. I need a real vacation, where I can rest and restore. Not just a day off here and there, but genuine time off, where I can rest and not worry about money. Which isn’t going to happen any time soon.

 

Fri. Nov. 8, 2019: Cold Weekend for Hot Writing

Friday, November 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

There’s a possibility we’ll get our first snowflakes today. I’m hoping it will be cool and dry the rest of the weekend, so I can work in the yard. In spite of taking 3000 gallons of leaves to the dump yesterday, the yard is full of more leaves.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, where I talk about SAVASANA AT SEA being a case of writing the book I wanted to read.

Yesterday was busy. After two trips to the dump for leaves and recycling, and a massive grocery shop, we brought in some of the plants to overwinter, and put some of the big pots away. The garden ornaments are cleaned and put away for the winter. We have more plants and pots to put away today, and then I have to oil the teak.

I baked a chocolate chip raspberry cake, prepping the filling for chicken pot pie and for Indian stuffed eggplant. I didn’t hear from my friend until 3:30 that yes, we were still on for tonight, and she hadn’t gotten any of my emails in the past week, asking for information, so I could draft up the piece she needs help with.

Mercury Retrograde strikes again.

She got here, and we worked socializing the cats. All three did really well. Even Tessa came out for a bit. Willa was happy to have a playmate, and Charlotte handled having a stranger around really well.

The dinner went well, we discussed what needs to be done. I’m writing/revising the speech today and will send it off tomorrow. She’s giving it in NYC next week, as part of a fundraising conference.

This morning, I wrote the review for the absolutely delightful book I read, and will send it to my editor this morning, telling her I’m ready for the next one.

Driving from errands to the library on Phinney’s Lane, we were all stopped in our tire tracks as a flock of wild turkeys took their time strolling across the street. It was hilarious.

The bulk of the day will be spent working on the speech, but I had a few errands this morning, work on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and edits on another project. I’m hoping to sneak some work in to finish “Pier-less Crime.”

The weekend is about writing, reading, working with the cats, cleaning up the yard, cleaning out some boxes from the basement. I want to finish “Pier-less Crime” and get the opening of the play about Canaletto’s sisters right, along with finishing my edits, and continuing a decent pace on THE BARD’S LAMENT. My goal is only 2 pages a day for it, but I usually write 4-6.

I’d like to get some more of ELLA BY THE BAY typed up — I don’t have much more work to do on that first draft, but I need to see what I’ve got so far so I can wrap it up. Because I blank-paged it instead of plotting it, I’m in a muddle for this last third. The next draft will be a pretty major tear it apart and restructure it.

I’m hoping, by next week, to get back into revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, too.

I also plan to work on the GDR questions for 2020, so I can post them next week.

Onward, one word at a time.

Thurs. Nov. 7, 2019: Incoming Storm

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

There was no post on Ink-Dipped Advice this week. My back has limited the amount of time I can spend at the desk. I was working on the week’s post and was in so much pain, I had to stop. It’s a post on client voice, and it will go up next week.

This month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived and it was delightful. I’m thrilled with every single piece in it. This box has become vital to my self-care routine.

Willa and Charlotte are getting along much better. Now, we just have to re-integrate Tessa back into the mix. Time and patience. I keep reminding myself it takes time and patience, and for something this important, “no time” is not an option. I make sure to spend quality time with Tessa every day, so she doesn’t feel neglected.

Charlotte was on my lap on Tuesday night and Willa tried to hop up, which didn’t quite work. Charlotte was good — no hissing or growling. Willa complained, but that was it.

They also call a truce for Bedtime Snacks, which is pretty funny.

They’re starting to remember that they CAN get along. The more positive time they spend together, the more they’ll associate each other with good things. They have to learn that yoga/meditation time means QUIET, not climbing-all-over-the-human time, but they’ll get there.

Season 4 of SHETLAND is just heart-breaking. What a terrific show.

Excellent writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT on Wednesday morning, and this morning. Some good editing work, too. Made a decision to cut yet another subplot of GRAVE REACH, and streamline it a bit more. Late in the game to be doing it, but necessary for the flow to work.

Client work. I’m always tired by Wednesdays. Great Remote Chat about stress.

Stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Worked on the book for review (I hope to get the review out either today or tomorrow). Worked on another client project. I’m meeting with the client tonight. Sent out an LOI for an exciting new position. I’m a long shot — I’m sure they want a Big Name for it. But I’d be a strong choice, and would love the opportunity. If I don’t try, then I can’t succeed, right?

Sent an LOI to work remotely with a client in Michigan on email campaigns. They sent back an online “test” — so, no, they’re out. If you’re too lazy to read my portfolio and expect free labor as part of the interview process, you’re out. Sent another LOI to a company in Colorado who says they’re “open” to working remotely with the right candidate, although they’d prefer someone local. There are plenty of good writers in Colorado, so I doubt I’ll get that, but again, I liked the company and the product, so it was worth the LOI. Am prepping an LOI to a company in Boston with a terrific mission, but I’m not sure if we could work out the logistics of the work.

Doing research on a publication so I can put together a good pitch for them.

Working on the questions for the 2020 GDR.

Good session on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning. And a decent editing session. Because it’s not due until next year, I only set the goal for 2 pages a day. But I’m regularly writing more. Wouldn’t it be nice to get ahead on this draft, without dropping the ball on the other contracted projects? I’m enjoying the process. I also love doing research on harps.

Doing the work, putting in the time, redefining what I want from my work life.

 

Wed. Nov. 6, 2019: One Step at A Time

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

They’re predicting snow for the end of the week. Snow!

Glad we got some raking done. Time to start bringing in the plants, before they die of the cold out there.

The past few days have been difficult. The Doubt Demons attacked, and I questioned my value in relation to just about everything.

My back is also giving me a lot of trouble. I had difficulty with some of the gentle movement in meditation class on Monday, and had to take a pain pill when I got home. Of course, when it wore off in the middle of the night, I was left sore and with the beginnings of a migraine.

The cats were doing really well for a few days, but were grumpy on Tuesday.

Tuesday, it rained. I had a good writing session on THE BARD’S LAMENT, and a good editing session. Went onsite with a client. Worked at the library. Worked on the book for review and another client project. Started pulling in the big plants that overwinter in the garage.

One foot in front of the other. I’m trying to keep my head down and enjoy the work. I’m not enjoying social media right now, and spending less time on it. One group, in particular, has become too non-reciprocal for me to continue. I’d made the decision to leave in December a few months ago, but there was part of me hoping something would shift and I would decide to stay. But, no. The person who’s supposed to be leading the group just can’t be bothered. So why should the rest of us shout into the void? I’ll fulfill my commitment through December, and then I’m done.

Sent an LOI to a potential client about whom I’m on the fence, but it might be worth it to do a few projects together. Sent out another LOI to a place that sounded interesting. Their response is that I’m supposed to take a personality test and rewrite three pages of their website as part of the interview process. No, thanks.

Basically, at this point, I’m just trying to survive Mercury Retrograde.

I’m working on the questions for GDR 2020. The theme is “Transition and Transformation.” That should be interesting. I’ll let you know when they’re up.

It feels almost blasphemous to admit it, but I don’t miss Nano. It was the right choice for me this year, and not fraught with unnecessary ego and guilt.
Read THE UNWRITTEN LIBRARY by AJ Hackwith. I was worried, early on, it would get too religious for my taste. But it didn’t. It’s weird and wacky and wonderful. I loved it.

Back to the page.

 

Tues. Nov. 5, 2019: Nice Start to November

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

A friend arrived on Thursday afternoon. We had cocktails and snacks. Homemade chicken pot pie for dinner, with orange rye bread. Gingerbread for dessert.

The weather was pretty vile, so there were only 8 Trick or Treaters.

At least I had enough candy.

We watched TEA WITH THE DAMES, talked. I’d done my ritual in the morning. I did my Tending the Dead ritual once everyone was asleep.

Willa bonded with my friend immediately, which was good. Charlotte behaved better. Tessa came out a little bit.

I tried anti-anxiety medicine on all three cats. It did nothing for Willa. It confused Tessa. It made Charlotte less aggressive, but more nervous. I kept Charlotte on it for a few days, but she was miserable.

A Letter to the Editor I ghost-wrote for a client appeared in the local paper. I felt a bit smug, and she was very pleased.

The weather was bad all night into Friday, although it started clearing up Friday mid-morning.

I cooked a big breakfast. We stopped at the library.

Then we went to the Cahoon Museum. It was delightful, as always, although it was between exhibits. I was sad they took down my favorite oil painting. But Ralph and Martha’s work always delights me. One of the two new exhibits, by a weaver, was beautiful. I’m trying to decide if I’ll go the opening reception this next week. It’s the last exhibit of this year, before they close for the winter.

We came home, and I made bahn mi for lunch.

Then, we headed up to Sturgis Library, and then over to the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth. I hadn’t been there in several years. It was delightful, as always.

The guy at the front desk is someone I recognized from one of the local reading series where I’ve tested new work. He had no idea who I was. I’ve attended often enough that one would think he’d recognize me.

That’s what gets me here. It’s a small community, so “everyone knows everyone.” Yet, in professional contexts, they don’t retain information. They’ll remember gossip about the friend of a friend’s neighbor’s cousin like they know them and it’s first=hand information, but not remember someone with whom they interacted professionally.

Stopped at Parnassus Books on the way back, always a pleasure. Then, went to Tumbleweed Quilts so my friend could buy some novelty fabric for her sister.

It was nice enough to have a cocktail on the deck. I made a Venetian pasta out of THE BRUNETTI COOKBOOK. We watched the first, very dark episode of Season 4 of SHETLAND.

The cats behaved pretty well. Tessa needs to stay out more, so they all get used to being together. She holes up in my office all the time.

Saturday morning, up early. My friend was looking for something for her mom. We drove around all over Hyannis, three different stores, and finally found it at a yard sale down the street.

My friend left in late morning. I brought in the Halloween decorations, cleaned them off, packed them away. We packed all the Samhain decorations and put them away. We switched out the spider web curtains for the winter curtains and changed Halloween fabric coverings to Harvest fabric. Re-made the beds. I did laundry.

Charlotte and Willa discovered the basement, and had adventures.

They didn’t like empty boxes coming out, but once they were filled, the settled down. Tessa always avoids the chaos when decorations go up or come down. She hates it.

Finished reading MISS BUNCLE MARRIED by D.E. Stevenson, and started THE UNWRITTEN LIBRARY, which is quite wonderful and weird, but I’m worried it’s going to wind up being too religious for my taste.

Remembered to turn the clocks back.

Up early. Spent a good portion of the day working on edits. This draft is in good shape, and I’m happy with it. I have to smooth out a couple of things, and then I can get back to BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DHARMA. I need to come up with an entire new outline for DHARMA, and I need to outline THE BARD’S LAMENT. I only have the most basic idea of where I want to go with it.

Yesterday morning, up early, trying to get back into the routine. Willa and Charlotte don’t really understand the concept yet of yoga and meditation time. They’re constantly up to something when I sit. It’s pretty funny.

Worked on my edits. Worked on THE BARD’S LAMENT. Worked more on it than I expected, but it’s flowing. Worked on site with my client. Bagged 30 gallons of leaves from the front yard.  Took a big stack of materials back to the library. Went to meditation. Worked on a book for review. Worked on a piece I’m doing for NMLC.

This morning, another writing session, another editing session, then off to my client. I’m debating whether to grocery shop today or tomorrow. Doing some more work on the piece for NMLC. I’m working with the Executive Director on it later this week.

Have to do some raking and yard work. I need to cut back a bunch of stuff, put the pots away from the deck (either cleaned and stacked, or, for the big plants, to the spot where they overwinter in the garage). I figure, if I do a little bit every day, eventually, it gets done.

I’m also doing some sorting and purging. Again, trying to do a little bit every day. Set the time for 15 minutes here and there, make a commitment to unpack a box or two. I want to get rid of a lot of stuff that’s not relevant to me anymore. I’ll keep most of the books, especially non-fiction, but release what I no longer want to define my life.

I’m redefining my life right now, which feels good, is scary, and most definitely necessary.

Meanwhile, I keep the writing steady. So it’s back to the page.

Wed. Oct. 30, 2019: Prepping for Company

Wednesday,October 30, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Tired. I’m getting plenty of hours of sleep, but I don’t feel rested.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest.

Working with the cats.

My mom had a nice birthday.

Turned in my review, got paid, got the next book. I like working with this company.

Working on some article pitches. I hope to get them out tomorrow. Even though Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, and I’d much rather just hide.

Remote chat is today. I’m looking forward to it.

Then, I’m doing a final scrub of the house and making bread. My friend from NY arrives tomorrow for a couple of days. She just got back from London. I’m looking forward to seeing her.

Good writing session this morning. I’m trying to balance the work on the revisions of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DAVY JONES DHARMA along with drafting THE BARD’S LAMENT, so I don’t get behind on that or lose momentum.

One word at a time. The best I can do.

Tues. Oct. 29, 2019: Happy 95th Birthday to My Mom!

cake-1776661_1920
image by Bernadette Wurzinger via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Today is my mother’s 95th birthday. She still does really well. Rides her exercise bicycle 20 minutes a day. Does her puzzles. Plays with the cats. Drives.

I am lucky to have her with me still.

Busy weekend, but, as usual lately, not in the way I expected.

The bulk of the weekend was spent on novel revisions. What wasn’t taken up in novel revisions was taken up working with the cats. Charlotte is the aggressor, most of the time. She’s picking on both Tessa and Willa. They don’t actually hit each other, but there’s lots of noise and raised paws and running. It’s much better than it was, and we go through long stretches of peaceful co-existence in the same room. Then Charlotte gets nasty, and we have to start again. The positive stretches are getting longer and longer.

It will take a few months.

On Saturday afternoon, when I got into the car to go to the yoga studio, the battery was dead. It’s close enough to I could walk down and still make it in time.

The sound bath was great, and I walked home to a good dinner of turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables. Then, kitty playtime and positive socializing, and watching the SNOOP SISTERS, which I’d seen years ago when I was a kid. I get many more of the jokes now.

Tessa was with me in the night, Willa with my mom, and Charlotte in the rest of the house, which meant Charlotte was cranky on Sunday morning. But we got them settled after breakfast.

Worked on the November posts for Upbeat Authors, novel revisions, the book for review.

I read a cozy mystery, the third in a series by this particular author. While I enjoy some of the interactions between the characters, the protagonist is such an idiot, and too often a nasty piece of work, that I’m done with the series. Her romantic interest should dump her. He’s great. She’s an idiot.

I gave the series three books. I was frustrated by all three. So I’m done. Moving on.

I still have to read my friend Arlene’s newest book. But I haven’t felt as though I earned a treat lately.

Now, why don’t I just call AAA, you ask? Remember, last time my battery died, I had AAA. They were supposed to come to the house (the battery died in the garage again, thank goodness). First of all, they gave me a hard time about sending someone, because I wasn’t on the road. They told me I had to push the car out of the garage, down the driveway, to the road. I refused. When the guy finally showed up, he insisted it wasn’t the battery, but something much more complicated. He refused to change the battery. He gave me a jump and I made it to Tracy VW, where, of course — it was the battery. And I had to pay more than the service AAA promised to give me.

When I complained to AAA about it — they STILL haven’t answered. And this was in January 2015. They ignore all the correspondence. Their rates kept going up exponentially. And they refuse to come to my house, even though everyone else I know who has AAA gets house calls without a hassle.

When I had the major car repair in spring, my insurance company told me I had Roadside Assistance. So I tried to make arrangements through them for someone to give me a jump on Monday morning. Only now they’re telling me I DON’T have roadside assistance.

So there I am. With no one to help. Typical around here.

I contacted the place close by where I got my car fixed a few months ago to ask them who they could suggest. They told me to call Buckler’s Towing. They were very nice, and got me started.

I made it to the mechanic. They drove me to my client’s.

I hear back from the mechanic. Not only is the battery more than double than it was the last time they put a new one in, they came up with another $1800 worth of work they want to do on the car.

No. This attitude that every time I come in, they find thousands of dollars’ of repairs to do, and that I have tens of thousands to throw into the car, needs to stop.

I told them to just do the battery.

It should have taken a half hour. They couldn’t get it done until after 2.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment. She’d called the ride service that’s supposed to take seniors to their appointments, for a $5 donation. No one ever got back to her.

My client lent me her car — a big Audi. So I could take my mom to her appointment. By the way, the doctor said those were some of the best lab results he’s ever seen. I am to be commended for making sure she eats right.

I returned the car to my client, with effusive thanks. The mechanic came and got me. I picked up the car. It drove better after the jump start than it does now with the new battery.

Yes, I know I have to work on putting the resources together for another car, but I’d hoped to get another year or two out of this one. I love this car. It’s the first new car I ever bought myself, and I’m very attached to it.

Picked up my mother’s birthday cake and fixings for her birthday dinner.

Barely made it to meditation, but I needed it.

Dinner, finished the book for review. I turned in the review this morning, and my invoice. I’m ready for the next one.

Tessa stayed with me last night. Charlotte was cranky and aggressive with both Tessa and Willa this morning. Lots of noise. By the end of each day, we achieve peaceful co-existence, but overnight, it all falls apart. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we have a lot more to make.

With a client all day today, and then to the library, to get the work done I didn’t get done yesterday.

And to figure out the way to put together money for a new car.

At least I had a great session this morning, working on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Coventina Circle #5), which releases next year.

Onward.

Thursday, October 24, 2019: Backwards and Forwards

Thursday, October 24, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was up and down at the client’s. I’m working on the campaign through the end of the year, and prepping the Fall 2020 collection for photographs. We also have an issue with FedEx — they lost over a thousand dollars’ worth of stuff, and don’t want to pay the claim. They have been a nightmare. I’m putting together all the case notes and going to the Vice President in Corporate who was helpful last time we had an issue.

Remote chat was a lot of fun. It always is. I learn a lot.

Came home, worked with the cats. Charlotte is aggressive with both Willa, and especially Tessa, which is not good. She and Tessa were on the road to being friends, so I don’t know why that changed. Tessa is unhappy that Charlotte no longer recognizes her as dominant cat. We’re working on it. It takes time.

When Charlotte has company and plenty to do, she’s fine. I have a feeling, when she got aggressive before, she was shut away and isolated, which makes her frantic and even worse when she gets out. So we’re working on them associating good things when they’re all in a room together.

Charlotte and Willa learned fast that if they want their bedtime snacks at night, they can’t fight or fuss at each other. So they always call a truce for bedtime snacks.

We will get there. But it takes time, work, and patience. Patience I’d never have with humans.

Finished a novel draft yesterday morning, and got to work on the next one in the queue. Yes, they’re contracted, and I’m behind where I need to be.

I have some serious revisions to turn around this weekend, and then it’s off to galleys. Then, I go back to finishing “Pier-less Crime”, working on the Venetian play, and going back into revisions for THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

I’m working on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Coventina Circle #5) and I don’t want to lose momentum on that, either, but BALTHAZAAR and DAVY JONES DHARMA have to take priority.

My morning meeting was moved to the afternoon, so I got a chance to post this earlier than I thought, and get some other work done.

After my meeting, I have to clean the house — the new cats’ first encounter with the vacuum, which will not be pretty — and then back to revisions.

I also have a book to review this weekend.

I got one of the rudest responses to an LOI this morning. It was from a company out in Utah that claimed they were willing to work remotely with a writer. I was chastised for not doing “the exercise” (it was an LOI; no exercise involved. Plus, I don’t do unpaid labor); I was chastised for not including samples (the LOI includes links to both my Clippings.me portfolio and to the Clients/Publications page on my website. Plus, hey LOI); they stated “we are not thrilled with your work history.”

Really? You’re “not thrilled” that I have twenty-nine years’ worth of credits as a published writer? Take your lack of thrills, and you know where you can shove them.

I don’t disagree that we are not the right match. I do disagree with the lack of professional courtesy in the response. And the admission that it was an automated response, which means they never even read the LOI.

Now, why would there be an automated response like that to an LOI?

Put them on the “No Way in Hell” list, unless there’s a change of leadership.

Yesterday’s security breach in the Congressional hearings need to have consequences. Instead of shooting unarmed people of color for merely existing, how about law enforcement growing some balls and arresting those old white men (and a couple of women) who put our national security at risk? As in, actually PROTECT us?

It is disgusting that there continue to be no repercussions for continually breaking the law. It’s flaunted. Step up and take down these traitors already.

This country has turned into a sick joke. And those who can stop it lack the courage and the backbone so to do.

Back to the page.

Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap

Friday, September 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

For some reason, yesterday seems far away.

Got some work done at the library in the morning, including sending out a bunch of LOIs. Did the big grocery shop before the incoming storm. Couldn’t find everything I wanted. How could the store be out of flour? So I guess I’m not baking this weekend, once the storm passes, unless I go shopping again.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the blog under the Ava Dunne name, where I talk about how I’m building the ensemble for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries. This week’s post talks about how I developed Sophie’s friends on land: her housemates Fawn and Bianca, her friend Freddie the painter, her family, the supporting characters that help set up and support certain aspects of her character.

Participated in the Freelance Chat on Twitter yesterday, which was a ton of fun.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” in the afternoon. It’s going more slowly than I’d like, but okay. Crafted a pitch for a magazine for which I’ve wanted to write for years, and I finally came up with something I think is suited to them. That goes out today.

Meeting this morning, which I was not looking forward to (and why this post is going up late).

I’ve set up a separate Twitter account for Fearless Ink. I still will talk about anything on the @DevonEllington account, but @ink_fearless will be focused just on business writing and freelancing. I hope you will follow me on both.

Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. But, because I’m blank paging most of it instead of following a detailed outline, this last third of the book is a mess and difficult to sort out. I feel like I have to type up everything I’ve written so far, so that I can effectively write the last third. This process has been fun and I’ve learned a lot; however, it reminds me why I prefer to work from detailed outlines.

The plan this afternoon and for most of the weekend is to work on GRAVE REACH and finish “Pier-less Crime.” I need both to go out next week. I also have to revise the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, so it’s in good enough shape to be part of the back matter for GRAVE REACH.

There are personal stresses with which I’m dealing with and can’t yet discuss. They are wearing on me, and I hit patches in the day where I feel like I am flat out of coping skills.

Of course, in times of stress, I always want to work on GAMBIT COLONY, because it soothes me. But I can’t do that during this deadline period. I need to focus on what’s on deadline.

But all I can do is the best I can do. And I have to get back to the page.

Have a great weekend. Monday’s post will be a full one, about challenging yourself, for Upbeat Authors.

 

Published in: on September 6, 2019 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap  
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Wed. Sept. 4, 2019: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was sad to hear that Valerie Harper died over the weekend. I was lucky enough to work with her, on DEATH DEFYING ACTS off-Broadway, when she took over for Linda Lavin. She was lovely

I’m going to watch all the season of the Mary Tyler Moore show again. I want to see them with my adult perspective.

Yesterday was very productive at my client’s. Got a lot done. I have a feeling today might not be quite so productive.

Worked on GRAVE REACH, “Pier-less Crime” and ELLA. Worked on the chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT that will go in the back of GRAVE REACH.

The review went out this morning to my editor.

Working on article pitches and LOIs.

Just trying to stay on top of everything and get some forward motion going.

Trying to make some decisions on several fronts. Directions in which I’ve been moving on a few things aren’t really what I want, so I have to correct the course.

Published in: on September 4, 2019 at 5:20 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 4, 2019: Keeping On Keeping On  
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Tues. Aug. 13, 2019: Keep on Keeping On

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter DIRECT (As of Sunday)
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days.

Got some stuff done at the library Friday morning, then went to the yoga studio. Class was packed (I usually can’t take that session). In fact, there was someone I hadn’t seen in about three years there.

I was a little too relaxed when I got out of yoga class. I still had a lot to do that day, and all I wanted to do was nap!

Friday afternoon was about housework and cooking. The downstairs is quite tidy now.

Saturday, I finished up some more food. We had company in the morning, from Greenwich, and a nice catch-up. I drove them to the ferry — they’re on their way to Nantucket. After years of summer rentals, they actually hope to buy something.

Read in the afternoon and evening, and percolated a bit on some stories that want to be told.

Heard about the Jeffrey Epstein “suicide.” Yeah, right. Just way too convenient, especially for the Narcissistic Sociopath. And Barr in charge of the investigation? What a joke. The whole thing is disgusting.

Finished reading a thriller trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book. I got ahead of the story a bit on the second book. It happened even more in the third book, and I anticipated the ending I hoped wouldn’t wind up the way it did. I was disappointed. I feel the author cheated his trio of protagonists (and his readers) from the ending they earned. While the first book was fantastic, the trilogy as a whole left me depressed and unsatisfied. It was a very male ending, meaning that it was what I expected from a male writer, and disappointed when it happened. It was what all those middle-aged male writers trying to be hip do to punish their characters (especially their female characters) and act like they’re creating great fiction. Would a female writer have made the same choices with that plot? Possibly, but most of the women writers in the genre I admire would have done it differently, I believe, and in a more satisfying way.

Also read a book by an author about whose work I have mixed feelings. I’ve read several of her books, and every one leaves me with mixed feelings. They’re a little too cutesy-wootsy for my taste. Her protagonists rely on being rescued by men too much, instead of saving themselves or the partners working together to survive . She’s a writer, but with such a limited vocabulary that she misuses words like “witch” — if you use “witch” to mean a nasty woman instead of a spell-caster, you’re knocked off my reading list. It’s insulting and careless. It’s bad writing. Also, in this particular book, she had characters who were supposedly involved in theatre. She might have gone to one community theatre production in her life, but she sure as hell didn’t do any research. She knows nothing about how theatre works and nothing about actors or tech people. Her tone in writing about them was condescending — along with not having done her research. I have one more book ordered via Commonwealth Catalog that I can’t cancel. I’ll try a few pages before I send it back. But I am DONE with her.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but Saturday night into Sunday, I had a nightmare about a mass shooting. I’m not going to detail the dream here, but it unnerved me for the rest of the weekend. in my personal journal, I wrote about it in detail, and I intend to use bits of it in a new piece I’m developing. But I would have rather never had the dream in the first place. It was too vivid. Too many sensory details.

Worked on the article for Llewellyn. That will go out in a couple of days. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Worked on ELLA. It’s slowed down, and I have to figure out a few things to make this last third of the book work. Played with some ideas for DEATH OF A BROKEN MAN, which has a very broken (female) protagonist who relates to the dead body she trips over a little too much.

Getting some good work done on GRAVE REACH. I need to get this draft done this week and off to the editor, so we can go into galleys.

Playing with the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which has to go into the back of GRAVE REACH.

Worked on the book I’m reviewing. I’m also reading the book for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge.

Need to spend more time on Ello this week.

Working on a couple more article pitches. They’re not quite where I want them in order to go out. But I hope to get them out this week.

I can’t seem to shake this lethargy and exhaustion. All I want to do is sleep, but I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up.

I had terrible allergy problems on Sunday with the ragweed and goldenrod coming into bloom. Constant sneezing, runny eyes. I finally broke down and took a Benedryl, which knocked me out and I slept for 11 hours. Felt a little better on Monday. Even non-drowsy anti-histamines knock me out.

Monday was fine onsite with a client, and I expect today and tomorrow will be challenging.

Monday afternoon’s meditation group was much-needed.

Back to the page.

 

Wed. July 31, 2019: Learning, Growing, Planning

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
New Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury goes DIRECT today (thank goodness) — but it’s almost midnight by the time it does so
Hot, humid, storms in the evening

I don’t do well in this heat and humidity. I’m like the cats — all I want to do is lie around and do nothing.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see the second chapter of Fred’s adventures trying to hire a writer for his small business.

Meditation was great on Monday afternoon. A big group, and a great session.

I’m reading Jean Claude Izzo’s Marseilles trilogy. It’s quite wonderful. His tone reminds me a bit of Ron MacLean’s in HEADLONG.

I’m learning a lot from reading these international novels in translation. Not books by Americans set overseas, but books by writers about their own countries. The tone, the pace, the structure is very different from what we consider the “formula” for the genre, and it works.

I hope my little tiny publisher grows to the point where it can sell/negotiate international rights. I already know my plays do better in the UK and Australia than in the US; my friends in France, Spain, and Germany think my books would do well there, if translated properly.

Up early on Tuesday. Great session on ELLA, mediocre one on GRAVE REACH, but I’m determined to get back into its groove. I need to get it out to my editor soon. Fortunately, THE BARD’S LAMENT and DEADLY GROVE are properly percolating, so I hope not to get behind on those. Although I have to jump right back into the next round of revisions for BALTHAZAAR and then for DHARMA when GRAVE REACH goes out.

I’ve figured out where I want the next two ELLA books to go (it was always meant to be a trilogy), and how to make each book stand alone, while the three will be satisfying together. After that, I can decide if I want to write more ELLA books, or if I’ve said everything I have to say. I’m nearly at the two thirds point with ELLA. It’s been fun to write steadily, but not have a daily quota or a deadline on it.

My friend was pleased with the blurb I wrote for his book. I’m glad; it’s a lovely book and deserves to do well.

Still trying to pull myself out of the mire of discouragement. Client work yesterday was challenging, and will be so today. I’m working on my article for Llewellyn — that will probably go out early next week. I’m polishing some pitches. They’re taking longer than I expected, but I’d rather do them well than rush them and alienate a potential new-to-me editor.

Tomorrow is Lammas, one of the biggest days in my personal calendar. I’m trying to decide if I want to take a few days to disconnect and focus on writing, yoga, meditation, and the changes I’m trying to make.

Next Monday, the upbeat authors posts start on inspiration for the month of August. Believe me, I have plenty to say about that!

Have a lovely day. If I do decide to take a break, also have a lovely weekend as we slide into August.

 

Published in: on July 31, 2019 at 5:13 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 31, 2019: Learning, Growing, Planning  
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Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers

Friday, July 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

For some reason, I feel like one of those big steamrollers went right over top of me! I’m exhausted,physically and emotionally. I’m trying to solve those reasons, and change what needs to be changed, but it doesn’t happen in a day. Heck, it’s been taking me months, and certainly months longer than I’d hoped. But I’ll get there.

Got a little bit of writing done yesterday. Nowhere near enough. I lost the momentum I had on GRAVE REACH, and I’m fighting to get it back. ELLA has slowed down, but at least it’s putt-putting along. Of course it is, because that’s the piece that’s not on deadline.

Conferences with my cover artist and editor yesterday. The cover artist has roughed out the next two Coventina Circle books — THE BARD’S LAMENT (Sylvie’s book) and DEADLY GROVE (Diana’s book). They are kind of cool. I like the black and gray tones on all the Coventina Circle covers, with the yellow/orange lettering.

We’re still going back and forth on the Justice By Harpy books, which is just fine, since they are quite a way down the road. I am being difficult about them. I have a very clear idea of what I want, which my editor and publisher agree will be striking, but how to make it happen, how to layer and color, is a challenge. We may just bring in a painter to do small paintings of the three and then photograph or scan the paintings. Book 1 is close to ready to go into production, but I’m behind on Books 2 & 3, and we want all three ready to release quickly. And we’re discussing the Gambit Colony covers for the first six books.

I’m so lucky that my publisher allows so much input.

Took my mom to the doctor in the afternoon. He’s pleased with her progress. Had to take her over to Osterville for a blood test, only they were closed by the time we got there (it would have been nice to know they were closed before we left the doctor’s office).

Read on the deck in the afternoon, enjoying the yard. Worked on some article pitches I plan to send out early next week. I got some interesting leads, and I’m spinning ideas.

Still trying to chase down the freelance payment from that job I did over a month ago.

Some yahoo from TruGreen scared the bejesus out of us yesterday by pounding on the door like the FBI doing a raid. And then launched into a diatribe on how bad my yard was with all the weeds and how I “had” to pay him to fix it. WTF? Seriously? Why the hell would you dumbass think I would ever, EVER do business with you when you come to my house and try to intimidate me into hiring you? Especially since I have an organic lawn and every so-called “weed” is something that is there on purpose as a pollinator or because it’s good for the soil. TruGreen is getting SUCH a letter from me. I rarely say “never”, but I can say I will NEVER do business with TruGreen again, and the next time this jerk shows up and tries to intimidate me, I’m going to kick him in the nuts and then call the cops.

This morning, I was up early. Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. I really need to type up the chapters written in longhand, because I’m losing some threads in this draft.

Took my mom to the blood test. They were open this time, and it was early.

Then, headed to Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s for grocery shopping, and then Staples. Because notebooks are on sale. I bought 16 spiral bound and 4 composition books, for a grand total of SIX BUCKS.

As a writer, this is one of my favorite times of the year. The school supplies go on sale.

I plan to spend the weekend reading, writing ELLA and GRAVE REACH, roughing out my article for Llewellyn, and maybe starting to shape the opening scene of the play on Canaletto’s sisters. The three Canaletto books I hunted down and ordered because I kept taking them out of the library arrived, and that will make the writing of the play so much easier.

I’m still trying to figure out the plot of the Brighton Pier radio play. I have sounds and jokes, but the plot is weak so far.

I ordered from Chewy this morning — cat food and cat litter. I refuse to shop at Petmart anymore, for multiple reasons. I’ve heard good things about them, but putting the order through was a major PITA. Let’s hope the rest of the customer service experience is better, or it will be a one-and-done.

I also hope to clear out some boxes from the basement. I also have to take the recycling in tomorrow. It’s getting a little crowded.

For the moment, though, back to the page.

Have a lovely weekend!

Published in: on July 26, 2019 at 9:24 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 26, 2019: Figure, Configure, Reconfigure & Unethical Businesses Who Demand Phone Numbers  
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