Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Nor’easter Coming

Out of the house early yesterday. Tried to make a bank deposit at the drive-through ATM, but the bank down the street “couldn’t” print receipts, so I didn’t make the deposit. The three times I’ve done it anyway, the bank has denied the deposit was ever made, and then after fighting with them for weeks, they suddenly “found” it. So I never make a deposit without getting the receipt. TD Bank sucks, and when I move in spring, we will switch banks and be better for it. I used the branch by the mall, instead.

To Shaw’s, where I couldn’t find everything I needed, but picked up a few things I knew I couldn’t get at Trader Joe’s. I stood in line, with my six things, behind people who had 106 things. The manager opened the fast lane and took me over. The woman standing behind me started complaining that she should have been taken first because she’d “been waiting.” The manager pointed out that I was in line AHEAD of her, and, therefore, I would be checked out first.

To Trader Joe’s, where there were at least fifty people in line ahead of me. They’re shopping in packs again, not honoring the request that only one person from a household shop. That means one waits in line longer because if a pack of four is waiting, four people have to come out, and then they’re allowed in, but those of us who DO honor the request are still waiting until someone else comes out, because only X amount of people can be in the store at a time.

Behind me were a trio of college girls, from the moneyed side of town, with fake Valley Girl accents, supposedly home for break from Ivy League schools. If that’s what Ivy Leagues are accepting, we are doomed. What a bunch of idiots. For a few minutes, I hoped they were pulling a prank, but no, they’re actually that inane.

Forty-five minutes of their prattle in line gave me a massive headache, but I’ve also figured out numerous ways to kill them off in stories, so that cheered me up.

Whipped through the store with my list pretty fast. Didn’t need all that much, although I found some good stuff I wasn’t expecting and grabbed that, too.

Except for some fresh things I need to pick up on Tuesday, and then a quick stop at the food mart down the street for things like milk, we’re set through New Year’s. That feels good.

Home, decontaminated.

A short rest, then client work, LOIs, and the ad for “Lockesley”, and then daily posts about it scheduled through the first of the year. “Fly” is already scheduled.

Pizza for dinner. I need to start making it from scratch again. The frozen pizzas get smaller every week. They used to be big enough so we could have dinner one night, and lunch the next day. Now, it’s barely enough for dinner. Soon, they’ll be the size of an appetizer. Price keeps going up, though. I’m better off making it from scratch.

Had to contact Crystal Bar Soap to ask where my order was. It’s been FOUR WEEKS since I placed it and nothing. By the end of the evening, I got the shipping confirmation – but if I hadn’t asked about it, it wouldn’t have shipped until January, probably. It shouldn’t take four weeks to ship an order. And I shouldn’t have to beg to get my order shipped.

I keep saying I won’t order from them anymore. Then, I get the order and love it and keep ordering. But I need to stop for a few months, until they get the shipping sorted out. It’s too frustrating.

We’re supposed to get a massive Nor’easter tonight into tomorrow. If the power goes out, I won’t be able to blog tomorrow. Or do anything else online. Which is fine. I was going to attempt a run up to Plymouth on Friday to get the car inspected, but now I’m thinking I have to wait until next week.

Today, I have to go into the office with a client for some overlap, which has stressful potential. Then, I’m home to sit out the storm. I want to work on the polish for the two short plays and get them out by Friday. I also have to work on the revisions for “Mistletoe” so I can sign off on that by Friday.  We’ve talked about a different framing device for the stories (and, later, the books) that I think will work, adding more humor and some nostalgia to the pieces.

Three interesting calls for submission hit my desk yesterday, too. They’d all be due on the 31st. Not sure I can get it together to write and polish them in time, but I will let the ideas percolate. Two of them are new-to-me markets. The third is a new-to-me market, but I talked to them back in October about submitting in radio format and they were interested. Now, I have to find the notes I took for that piece, so I can create it.

I still have major brain fog, which is frustrating but okay at home, but not so great when I’m in the car.

Let’s hope the storm isn’t too bad – I don’t want to shovel, and I’m running low on ice melt!

Have a great day.

Published in: on December 16, 2020 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 16, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 210 — Everybody’s Tired  
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Tues. Dec. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 209 — Good News and a Re-Release

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Waxing Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Today is the re-release of “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall” a romantic holiday novelette. There’s a post about it up on A Biblio Paradise, and you can also find links on The Stories page here.

Thursday, I went over to the hospital early for the COVID test – drive-through, easy peasey. It’s a few seconds of discomfort, but worth it. Then home, and working on client work and making sure “Lockesley” was set to go.

Talked to the hospital in the early afternoon for my final instructions, and then had to do the prep. The doctor had insisted on the high-end medication, not the generic this time. It didn’t make me sick and convinced that I wouldn’t survive to make it to the surgery, much less through the surgery. It was much better, all the way around. I even got a few hours of sleep.

I didn’t have to go to the hospital until late morning, so I just stayed home and read. It was nearly 36 hours without solid food by the time I got there, and I was a little loopy. I also had my temperature scanned four times before I was allowed into pre-op., I even had some of the same nurses.

Everyone was very nice, pre-op went smoothly, and the IV even went in on the first try. Pre-op was busy; it was the last day of surgeries before the state closed down to any but emergency surgeries due to the pandemic.

The doctor and I chatted, I was put under, and next thing I knew they were bringing me out.

Coming back out was a little eerie, because they were disinfecting and then shutting down the bays. Only two lights were left on when I came out — mine and the person who was still in surgery. Everything else was dark and silent.

And I have the all-clear. They got all the cancer, and there was no recurrence in the past six months. I am the poster child for early detection.

I have a sheaf of instructions what to look for, but I don’t need to worry about another check for five years, if none of the symptoms recur. What a relief!

A few more tests for other things in January, and I might actually be on the road to healing, after a year of two different cancer scares.

I’m loopy as all get out, though, and can’t seem to lose the brain fog from anesthesia, even several days later.

I’m still a little uncomfortable, and will be for about a week, and who knows how long I’ll have brain fog?

Went home and rested on Friday. Saturday morning, I woke up feeling a little loopy, but pretty good. The hospital called to check on me, and warn me to take it easy for a few days.

Of course, I didn’t.

I dived into the baking. I baked 10 dozen orange cranberry cookies and 9 dozen oatmeal lace cookies, and was wiped out. I spent the afternoon in bed again.

Sunday, I didn’t feel great, but I hauled myself to the grocery store, where the clerk gave me a hard time about shopping for more than one person and paying separately. Now, I’ve been doing this since the pandemic started. If I do a grocery run, I contact neighbors, and if they need something, I get it. I’m often shopping for three or four people, keeping it organized separately, and pay separately. Trader Joe’s always thinks it’s cool, and none of the other stores have ever given me a hard time.

But this clerk did. And I was not up for it. But I just nodded and smiled. She’s having a bad day – she has a lot to deal with. I’ll just avoid her if we’re in the store again at the same time.

Home decontaminated everything and myself. Prepped the dough for the molasses spice cookies and for the chocolate crinkle cookies. Rested, then started baking in the afternoon – 11 dozen chocolate chip, 9 dozen molasses spice, 11 dozen chocolate crinkle.

I made a mistake on the chocolate crinkle, which I will talk about in Comfort and Contradiction this week, but it worked anyway.

But I was exhausted.

I made a pasta and vegetable dish, and used pesto made with basil from our garden, which was delicious.

But I was wiped out.

Yesterday, I felt a little woozy, but I went into the office on my own and got some of the shipping done. Home, decontaminated, and spent the rest of the day in bed.

I moved back upstairs to sleep last night (although the sofa bed is still out – will probably keep it out for another day or two, so I can rest during the day). This morning, I have to do a Trader Joe’s run, since we have a major storm coming in tomorrow.

I have some client work, promotion for “Lockesley”, and then I have to work on “Mistletoe” and the revisions on the two plays that need to go out this week.

Plenty to do. Let’s hope I have the energy.

But the good news from the doctor is such a huge relief. I still have some more challenges after the first of the year, but this cancer is gone. Early detection, friends, never discount it.

Thurs. Dec. 10, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 204/Isolation Day 5 into Quarantine — Preparations

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

We had a little more snow yesterday evening. It was lovely – just enough to be pretty, not enough to shovel.

I had a strong creative day. I wrote the entire first draft of the Isabella Goodwin play, “Family Layers” in the morning. It’s only 20 pages, but it’s a good piece. It still needs some work, but it holds together, and it’s flowing well, so there we are. I’m happy with it, and I will be even happier when I do another few drafts over the weekend and early next week, and send it off.

Two short plays written in two days. That feels good. That makes me feel more like myself again.

I also got a bit of client work done – the big marketing proposal is polished and out. One client refuses to make the decisions she needs to make in order for me to plan the campaigns she needs to generate income. That’s on her, not me. Got some LOIs out. Remote chat was fun, using photo prompts.

I got an acceptance for the flash fiction piece I wrote for the WEIRD CHRISTMAS anthology about the Icelandic Yule Cat. I’m pleased. It’s a goofy little piece, but the editor said it made him laugh, which was the point.

The hospital called to set my COVID test for today – 7:45 this morning. As soon as I post this, I have to go get dressed and head out. It’s over at the hospital, not up at the college, although the scheduler said they’ll be moving the site in the next few days to accommodate more people. But, for today, I go to the hospital where they have drive-through testing set up in the parking lot.

Then, I got a text message from the hospital about Friday with the time – later than I’d like, but too bad for me. Unfortunately, they had it down as the wrong procedure. I called the pre-op nurse, and we got it sorted.

I go in later than I’d like, which means I’ll be home later than I’d like, which means today and tomorrow will be very long, stressful days. One step at a time, that’s all I can do.

I hope to come back from the test and decontaminate this morning in time to join the Zoom meditation, but who knows? Then I’m in full quarantine, even from other household members (except the cats) until I walk into the hospital. We set up the fold out couch for me to use today and tomorrow. Charlotte is delighted. It will be nice to recover sleeping next to the Yule tree.

One step at a time.

I was on a restricted diet yesterday, and I’m on a liquid diet today, and then the medication starting this evening, which means I’ll be up and miserable all night. And tomorrow will be a long morning until I get into the hospital.  But I really want to get it over with before they shut surgeries down in the state tomorrow.

My landlord let me know that the rent check turned up yesterday – the one that was supposedly lost – AFTER I ran another check up to his house. Of course it did. Heaven forbid he miss a chance to pile on more stress whenever I have a medical procedure coming up. Remember in March, when I had to have the “assessment” done on the day of my follow-up from the first surgery, and then, later, he admitted it wasn’t even necessary? I’m so sick of this.

I hope to get back to tackling Lockesley again this afternoon. If I can get enough work on it, and sign off, I won’t have to worry about it while I’m recovering, and can turn my attention to the Nina Bell pieces.

The best thing I can also do for myself in the next few days is limit my time on social media. I just can’t take the emotional labor right now. There are plenty of people with whom I interact who are a joy, but too many morons push their way into positive interactions in order to poison them, and I can’t handle it right now. It’s bad enough that I am the ONLY one on my street who ever wears a mask.

I have some books to read to get me through the next few days, including the book for review, and Yasmine Galenorn’s new release, Starlight Web, along with a stack of magazines on which I need to catch up.

I need to do whatever I need to do in order to get through the next few days. I should have been baking this week, but I didn’t have the physical or emotional energy to do so. I will start over the weekend, I hope, and then deliver cookies next week. Fewer than usual, but they will get done.

Peace, friends, have a good weekend, and I’ll catch up with you on the other side. If you can spare a positive thought for me today and tomorrow, I could use it. The results of the surgery could go either way. Thanks.

Wed. Dec. 9, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 203/Isolation Day 4 — UPS Compromises My Safety

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

There’s a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about giving yourself a break.

Yesterday started pretty well, but went downhill.

I did some client work in the morning and got out a couple of LOIs. Then, I switched over to working on the Susanna Centlivre play, and I finished this draft. That felt pretty good. It’s short, a one-act. It will wind up a little longer – in the next revision, I need to expand on Susanna’s debate with George Powell, even while cutting a few things. But the draft is done, and I believe I can get it polished and out sometime next week. It feels good.

I worked on a marketing plan for a client as a palate cleanser, and then I switched over to going through and expanding on the research for the Isabella Goodwin play. I got distracted by some interesting family information around her daughter, and followed some tangents, which brought up interesting questions. Because there are family members still alive, it is inappropriate for me to detail those questions, but it’s interesting enough to form the foundation for a piece – a novel? A play? I’m not sure yet. I need to let it percolate. I’d have to change enough details so it would be clear it is NOT about Goodwin’s family, but fiction.

Still, it was fascinating.

Got some reading done. Put down a book that pretends to have a Wiccan protagonist, but it’s obvious the author thinks the belief system is crap and hasn’t done her research. It’s insulting to anyone on that path. Cross that author off my list.

Started reading John Lahr’s JOY RIDE – this is a book that needs to be on my shelf. It gave me ideas to incorporate into GAMBIT COLONY. I will have to hunt down a copy.

I was just thinking about how much stress is removed from my life when I’m in isolation and can actually, truly work remotely. And then the landlord contacted me to let me know that the rent check – which the mailman picked up in person a week ago – hasn’t arrived yet.  He knows I have surgery this week. We have paid on time every month for ten years. He couldn’t give me a few more days? It’s not like this is his livelihood.  But, no. I had to fill out reams of paperwork to stop payment on the missing check, and this morning, I have to drive up to his house and drop off a new check (although there will be no contact, so I’m not breaking isolation).

On top of that, in spite of the lights being on to illuminate the house numbers, UPS delivered someone else’s package to the house – leaving it under the illuminated wrong number. When I masked up and ran out to return it – the jerk wasn’t masked.

We’re wondering why there’s such a spread? Because the delivery drivers REFUSE to mask up when they interact with customers, and this is unacceptable. UPS is the worst. Since the pandemic started, I have only seen three instances of masked drivers. I daily see unmasked drivers making deliveries, interacting with customers, and not distancing. This is unacceptable. FedEx drivers have been much better – I’ve only seen 2 that were not masked in the past months. USPS – hit and miss.

ALL of them should be masked any time they leave their vehicles. It’s mandated in this state, and I’m sick of it being ignored. I’m sick of so many people lacking basic human decency because it’s not “convenient” for them.

The Governor has declared that surgeries will stop as of Friday, due to rising COVID numbers. So does that mean my surgery is cancelled, or that they are going to push me through, since it has to do with cancer? No idea.

I’m on a restricted diet today, waiting for the phone call as to when to go in tomorrow for the COVID test. After that, if it’s going forward, I hear when to go in on Friday, and go on the medication to prep Thursday night.

I want to get it over with, even though I’m nervous about being in the hospital with rising COVID numbers. I will have to trust that whichever way it shakes out is the best way.

In any event, the next 48-72 hours will be high stress.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine yesterday, although everyone is stressed and tired. One of the parents will take it tomorrow night. I can’t handle it the night before surgery.

But, on a happy note, I started the Isabella Goodwin play this morning, tentatively called “Family Layers” and it is flowing well. Once I run the replacement rent check up to the landlord, I hope to do a few more pages on it. Then, I’ll have to switch over to finish the client’s marketing plan. Then, back to the play, and maybe get some revision work done on “Lockesley” – that piece is not cooperating, and I’m behind.

Have a great day, everyone.

Wed. Dec. 2, 2020: Die for Your Employer Day 196 –Head Down, Working

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

New post up over on Ink-Dipped Advice about year-end planning and assessments.

Yesterday was still stormy and icky. I worked remotely, which is always a better use of time. Got some client work done, some LOIs out.

Worked on “Lockesley Hall” without getting as far as I would like. Approved the new cover for “Too Much Mistletoe.” Did an ad to promote “Just Jump in and Fly” (it’s the image I used for today’s post). I really do love, love, love the piece.

I added in the newest buy links for it to the Delectable Digital Delights Page, the Ava Dunne page, the Bazaar page, and here, on the Stories page, which seems the most stable of them all.

I submitted my review and received the next book for review, to which I’m looking forward.

The Chewy order I placed on Monday arrived yesterday.

I finished reading a mystery by Hannah Dennison I enjoyed, and started one by another new-to-me author, set in Cambridge.

I did a little bit of decorating, but not much. I also didn’t finish the cards.

I will judge three categories next year for the contest where I’ve been judging for several years. I’m doing mystery and novella again (both of which I love), and they asked if I would add in paranormal. I’m excited. In a situation like this, whether it’s contest judging or book reviewing, I always hope to fall in love with each book.

We semi-finalists were supposed to hear from the Body Be Gone people who won the contest by Monday, but haven’t. They’re probably a bit behind with Thanksgiving. At least my friend and I, who are both semi-finalists, know we’ll be included in the anthology.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. Everyone had a good, albeit small, Thanksgiving. None of the families were dumb enough or selfish enough to travel, thank goodness. There’s a lot of pressure around assignments before Christmas break, and everyone is exhausted – students, parents, teachers. It’s stunning to me how much administrations are failing everyone who counts on them. But our little group is holding on, and working together to keep on track with the assignments, keep up the grades (they are all doing better than they were last year), and keep afloat emotionally.

Watched MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARS last night. The script was all over the place, and needed a few more drafts. Plus, they chose to play up the weakest part of the Phryne-Jack relationship – the arguments where they hurt each other – instead of playing to their strengths, where they work as a real team, and it’s affectionate banter. It didn’t fulfill the promise it made at the end of season three.

Today is the overlap day with my client, so it will be stressful. Then, after decontamination protocols, at least I’ll be home for Remote Chat, which is always fun, and then back to work on “Locksley” and the cards.

The gifts I sent off on Saturday morning are starting to arrive. Yay! People are happy, which is always a good thing.

Deep breath. Focus on what’s right in front of me, while trying to keep long-term goals in vision.

Have a great day.

Tues. Dec. 1, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 195 — Re-release Day and Trying to Keep It Together

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Last Day of Full Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold/storm aftermath

One of my favorite short pieces ever, “Just Jump In and Fly” – which is a combination of comedy, romance, adventure, fantasy, and Yuletide myths, has re-released digitally. There’s a post with an excerpt and buy links over on A Biblio Paradise.

I wrote the piece I wanted to read and couldn’t find.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and long weekend. Ours was quiet, and at home, as it should be in a pandemic, and, in some ways, less stressful than all the driving and cooking usually involved.

We started getting the decorations up. We had to rearrange the living room, because the cat condo is in the corner the tree usually occupied, and won’t fit anywhere else. So it’s in the middle of the side window, next to my big reading chair, which is kind of nice. Some of the ornaments are up. There’s plenty more to do.

The iron candlestands are wrapped, the fireplace mantel is done with the fabric and swags and our carolers. The ribbons are up around the doors and windows, and some of the lights are up around the windows.

In the apartments, both growing up in Rye and then later in NYC, everything only fit one way. Living in a house, even though we’ve outgrown this house, it’s nice to be able to do things differently each year, as feels right.

The stress of months of trying to survive a pandemic amidst too many who don’t give a damn is taking a toll, and there was some family strife over the weekend. I found a way to use it, though, as the basis for a new novel that somehow needs to be fit around everything else that needs to get written over the coming months. I wrote 5K on it on Sunday, and another 500+ words on it yesterday, and will write more on it today.

The packages are all packed and sent off. I’m still trying to finish S-Z on the holiday cards (I aim to finish it by tonight).

I received wonderful artwork from a friend of mine as a gift. I’m so delighted with it! I love what he’s doing with his art!

While I’m trying to keep up my spirits, my emotions are all over the place. I feel old and tired, and find myself often slipping into despair. I have mixed feelings about the upcoming surgery next week: on the one hand, I want to get it over with; on the other hand, with the way the virus cases are rising, how can it possibly happen? I’m worried that the car won’t pass inspection, and that I’ll have another repair I can’t afford. I’m worried I can’t get everything together for the move in spring. I’m worried we won’t survive until spring.

One day at a time, and as careful as possible. That’s all I can do. My shopping and packing and mailing are pretty much done – I don’t need to go to the post office or any stores other than grocery stores until next year.

The paella cookbook is so great, I ordered my own copy, and also ordered a paella pan. I tried to get it from Sur La Table, a company I used to love, but trying to checkout was such a nightmare, I gave up and bought it from Williams Sonoma instead. WS had the pan I really wanted (other than SLT, who was sold out, so I would have had to compromise), at a price that suited me, and the whole checkout was smooth as could be.

Put in another Chewy order, because those monsters eat a lot. It already shipped.

Went in to my client’s office yesterday and got some work done all on my own, which was nice. No interruptions, everything I needed, got it all done.

Having trouble with the remote on the TV/DVD – and, of course, RCA has been sold and resold and split up and I’m being sent from pillar to post because heaven forbid they continue to support their products, and a general “universal remote” won’t work on this. I’m so sick of these companies trying to force me to buy new products all the time. I take care of my stuff.

We didn’t lose power in last night’s storm, thank goodness. But I’d turned off the computer and we didn’t watch anything, just in case. Nor did I bake the cake or make turkey pot pie with the last of the leftovers (I made turkey stroganoff instead).

Today is about writing and baking and client work. “Lockesley Hall” and “Too Much Mistletoe” need to be finished by Friday and signed off on – it would be good if “Tumble” was finished by then, too. The Susanna Centlivre play needs to be finished this coming week, too, and the Isabella Goodwin play finished next week.

So much for planning properly so I don’t have end of year deadlines!

I will try to do better next year. The pandemic threw everything for a loop, and there’s a lot to clear off before January 1 that got backed up, and a lot to get done early next year.

It all seems overwhelming right now, but just one foot at a time. Just one word at a time. That’s all I can do.

Peace, friends.

Published in: on December 1, 2020 at 7:34 am  Comments Off on Tues. Dec. 1, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 195 — Re-release Day and Trying to Keep It Together  
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Fri. Nov. 27, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 191 — Black Friday Will Live Up To Its Name This Year

image courtesy of Open Clipart Vectors via Pixabay.com

Friday, November 27, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and mild

My thoughts and best wishes are with all the retail workers who are being forced to work today with the Covidiots, because this country prizes greed over human life every time. How many more people have to die so big box stores can make some more money?

I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a good one yesterday.

I don’t celebrate it as building on the pilgrim myth – more evangelical white people causing destruction and death, not much has changed in 400 years. I use it as a day of gratitude. I also try to do more to support Native American organizations, such as the Wōpanãak Language Reclamation Project right here on Cape Cod. As a writer, who believes in the power of language, reclaiming and teaching the language of the Wampanoag tribe matters.

I’ll have a post up on Comfort and Contradiction with suggestions for leftovers soon.

Wednesday was stressful. I was at my client’s early, hoping to get in a lot of work before anyone else got in. But, of course, the client herself came in early. My other colleague came in, too. There was only just over an hour where all three of us overlapped, but I find it discomfiting, even when we’re all masked. It’s just too small a space for me to be comfortable, especially since they’re out and about so much.

But I got through it, got social media posts scheduled through Christmas Day, and was glad to get out. I took extra time decontaminating.

Remote chat was fun.

I was wiped out for the rest of the day, so I relaxed. The stress of the past months is catching up to me. I just need to keep my head down and be careful.

I keep thinking, “Oh, I’ll just run into store x for y” and then I remind myself that I don’t really need to do it THIS year. Do the minimum, be smart, so we have future years of celebrations.

Biden’s Thanksgiving address was good, but, again, too much religion in it. I don’t want to hear about his “God.” And look at what Amy Covid Barrett did, the deciding vote that houses of worship can’t be closed due to COVID. Well, then, they need to pay for everyone who gets infected there. And, since it’s a case the Supreme Court shouldn’t have accepted anyway, due to separation of Church & State, it’s time to tax the churches.

I woke up at 1:27 on Thanksgiving morning, fretting, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally gave up around 4:30 and started my day.

I did what I usually do in times of stress. I worked on GAMBIT COLONY.

I cleared away and rearranged some stuff in preparation for this weekend’s decorating.

Then, I made the stuffing and got the turkey into the oven before 9 AM. Checked in with some people to make sure they were okay. Wrote domestic holiday cards. Managed to get through “R” before I had to clear off the table so we could eat.

The turkey came out well, along with most of the sides and the gravy. The peas were a little crispy because I misjudged how much liquid they needed, and they ran out of it while I was focused on the gravy.

We ate a little after 1, and it was lovely.

The turkey was so tender the meat fell off the bones easily, so stripping it down and putting things away didn’t take long. Made stock from the bones and tried to stay awake for the afternoon and into the evening.

Zoom dessert party with extended family was fun. Although, I have to admit, the store-bought pie was a bit of a disappointment after the homecooked meal.

Once the stock was drained, cooled, put into jars and put away, it was a struggle to stay awake. I went to bed pretty early.

image courtesy of pixabay.com

Slept through the night, and was up a little before 5, which is now my usual time. Getting the blogs done, then packing up the domestic packages and finishing the cards before rearranging the furniture so we can put up the tree (with just lights) before the serious decorating starts this weekend. I’d rather be doing what the individual in the hammock is doing today, but no such luck.

I might have to make another run to the chocolatier for a couple more things. I’d rather not go anywhere today – I make it a point not to shop on Black Friday. I don’t like what it’s become, and this year, it should be banned, unless it’s online. But if I’m going to have to get something, to make the bigger schedule work, I’d rather it was my independent chocolatier.

A big storm is coming in; I’m trying to decide if I take everything to the post office tomorrow morning, or later next week. I’d rather get it out, but we’ll see how the weekend shakes out.

We have to put the tree in a different spot this year because of the giant cat condo that can’t go anywhere else. It means moving some furniture in the living room and finding a place to stash it for the next six weeks, but we’ll figure it out.

In between all of that, I have to get “Lockesley Hall” finished and proofed, and the first draft of the Susanna Centlivre play finished.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Tues. Nov. 24, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 188 — Too Much (Web) Traffic

image courtesy of Steven Liao via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

The last few days have been more chaotic than I hoped. It happens.

I have a Very Long Post Full of Context on Thanksgiving Prep over on Comfort and Contradiction. A long post to try to simplify the holidays sounds contradictory, but there you have it.

Yesterday, I also posted on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions about worrying less about the “perfect” holiday and living it more from the heart.

The food post took longer on Friday than I meant it to, and then I had to rush to CVS, where they’d screwed up my mom’s prescription. We got it sorted out and they were nice; it just took time, and I got increasingly nervous having to be around people. I’m doing my best to avoid people right now.

Swung by the library for a curbside drop off/pick up. Came home, decontaminated, was exhausted.

Got an ad live for a client.

Just Jump in and Fly cover

Went through the final proofs for “Just Jump In and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne byline) and signed off on it. It’s coming live for pre-orders slowly – except Amazon doesn’t want to carry it because it’s available through other channels. Amazon is used as a distributor, not a publisher, and I’m not part of any exclusive program with them, so they can get over themselves. Well, they only wanted to give me 29 cents royalty on every sale anyway, which is pretty insulting.

I’m looking at platforms where I can sell mobi files (since I can’t get the WP site to acknowledge the plug-in). Setting up a Square Store would make sense – only that platform can’t do instant downloads. Most of the commerce sites are too expensive – I couldn’t generate enough to make them pay for themselves, much less make any profit.

I absolutely love “Just Jump In and Fly” even after all this time. It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.

I managed to get Trinity of Teasers up, too, for free download. It contains the first three chapters each of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA. You can download the PDF here.

I started work on the revision of “Lockesley Hall” which is pretty damn funny in its own right, even though it needs work. Didn’t get very far, because I was so damn tired.

Saturday morning, I was all set to get a lot of writing done and promotion, and all the rest.

I received an email late Friday night from my editor that my piece was up on Script Mag. So I had to prep it for my clip file, get it up on Clippings.me, but when I tried to add it to my Fearless Ink website, it wouldn’t save the edit.

I contacted A2. They told me that my websites have “too much traffic” and that I exceeded CPU capacity. Lots of people are finding my work on WOW – Women on Writing, and coming over. Even more are finding me through SEO searches.

That’s a good thing, right? This is what I’ve worked for the past few years, WHY I moved hosts. To have a stable platform and grow traffic.

Only now, they’re trying to force me to upgrade my plan to something I can’t afford right now AND hire one of their “web developers.”  They suggest switching things onto Cloudflare, but it’s out of my price range right now.

Come on, people! My sites are gaining traffic, but it’s just that THAT much.

And, of course, they’re doing this while I’m trying to get the holiday pieces out and doing lots of promotion, such as with TRINITY OF TEASERS, that drives traffic to the sites. They know they have me over a barrel. It makes me so angry.

I looked at some other hosts. Hostinger seems affordable, but then I have to learn a whole new control panel. They’re supposed to be reliable and good, but do a lot of upselling, which I don’t like.

I also think I might have to split the websites on different hosts. The Devon Ellington Work site and its various subdomains might need to be on one host, since they get the most traffic and are ever-expanding. While the Fearless Ink, Cerridwen’s Cottage, and Grief to Art sites might need to be on a different one. If I can find reasonable plans, it will be about the same price as what I have now, which is affordable.

If Grief to Art gains traction, eventually, it will need to spin off on its own host, because it will need a lot of room.

So I lost most of the day dealing with that, which was so frustrating. I was in tears by the end of it, even though A2 was nice and had some good ideas. But every suggestion ended with the upsell.

The bottom line is that the websites need to pay for themselves. They’re doing that right now. But if I upgrade to a plan I can’t really afford, I’m in trouble. They need to show the actual monetary gains in book sales, more article work, etc. BEFORE I upgrade, not putting in the money where I’m not sure it can grow fast enough to pay for itself.

I also don’t want to make a stupid decision out of panic and regret it.

Thank goodness I’ve always kept the websites separate, or I’d be in real trouble.

I ran down to do a curbside pickup at the library. The Congregational Church next door was having a leaf cleanup on their property. Too many people, more than half unmasked, no social distancing. In flagrant violation of state mandates. Why are they allowed to get away with this? Why is nothing enforced around here?

Sunday morning, I was out the door early, early to go to Star Market before too many people were out. I didn’t need much, but the turkey was the most important thing. I found a nice turkey – only 14 pounds this year. Put gas in the car, too. Hauled everything home, disinfected it, disinfected myself.

Sat down and wrote holiday cards. Got all the overseas cards out, except a few where I had to email people for their addresses. Got a good start on the domestic cards. But it took a long time, and I was tired.

Up early yesterday. Off to the client’s, where I worked on my own. Got some orders shipped out (I hate that part of the job; I don’t mind helping out, but I am not a shipping clerk). The postman “forgot” to stop at the office, so I had to run down the street after the truck, waving the packages, even though the flag was up, and I’d put in an electronic pickup request. Got out holiday email blasts; worked on the ad that needs to go live. The ad that went live on Friday is getting a lot of traction, so hopefully it’s converting well into sales. We’ll know next weekend.

Was getting ready to work on some social media posts for the client when a Tornado Warning came through on my phone, followed a few seconds later by a screaming Tornado Alert – Seek shelter! Message.

The building I was in was flimsy, and the car unprotected. I looked outside, and didn’t see any funnels. I locked up and risked driving home. The rain came in, hard. I could barely see the road sometimes. But I made it home, got the car in the garage, before the worst of the deluge and the thunder. We hunkered down for the next hour and a half. It was a bad storm, but no funnels around here, thank goodness.

But I was worn out by then.

Read in the afternoon. Finished reading a biography of Elaine Stritch. As talented as she was, I kept a safe distance from her when we were both working in NYC. She was nasty and manipulative, and I stayed away as much as possible.

Also read my first Kit Rocha book, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, one of the Mercenary Librarians series, and liked it. I usually avoid dystopia because we’re living it, but this one was recommended by several people, and I liked it a lot.

Gearing up for a round of errands today. I have to make a Target run for some things I can’t get anywhere else and can’t do for curbside pickup, because I have to look at things and make a decision. Then, to the post office to get more stamps and mail an overseas package; to the liquor store and the library; and to the chocolatier to get gifts we are sending to several friends.

Even the thought of it upsets me, being out around people, but I hope I’ve mapped it out and timed it so I’m around the fewest people possible and can whip in and out everywhere with minimal contact.

Major, major disinfectant protocols when I get back.

Then, it’s writing more domestic cards, getting a client ad live, and working on “Lockesley Hall.”

Tomorrow will be stressful, because I have to overlap with other people at the client’s, but it’s only for a short time, so, fingers crossed.

At least that seditious GSA administrator finally signed the transition papers. She needs to go to prison anyway. We can’t let ANY of these corrupt individuals slither away.

Of course, I’ve been sneaking in a few thousand words here and there on GAMBIT COLONY, my major stress-reliever of a project. Someday, I’ll be satisfied with those first six books of the series, that cover from auditions through filming the first season, and actually submit them! Well, I’m hoping to submit them in 2021, so they’ll be out by 2022, but who knows. There are other books that need to be finished first.

Take care, and have a safe day.

Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 183 — Tired of the Slurs Considered “Cute”

image courtesy of phoenixsierra0 via pixabay.com

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

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

Shoutout to my Twitter pal Jake, who has birthday today!

Yesterday was just all over the place. I got some decent writing done early in the morning. I headed out to my client’s. Unfortunately, we all overlapped and it was not comfortable. They are simply too lax for me to feel comfortable, especially with the way the numbers are rising.

I was glad to get home and do some serious decontamination. But it was unnecessarily stressful.

Remote Chat was fun.

My back bothered me, so I spent some time on the acupressure mat. But when I came back down, Office crashed AGAIN. This time, I didn’t get as skilled a tech and I ended up losing the afternoon while we tried to fix it. Finally, I managed to fix it, but by that time, I was in tears and so tired and frustrated I couldn’t get any more work done.

Office shouldn’t crash every damn week. This is why I hate PCs – they’re unreliable. I often said that investing in a Macbook was the reason I could switch to fulltime freelancing, and I stand by that. I regularly lost half my workday with the PC problems, and here it’s starting again. This computer – and the software – are barely six months old. I shouldn’t have constant problems. Nor should I have problems getting things fixed – I bought and paid for three years’ worth of coverage for everything.

As soon as I can afford a Macbook again, I will get one.

I lost all the time I had put aside to do the final proof of “Just Jump in and Fly” and to revise “Lockesley Hall.” I have to make up for that today, plus do at least one, maybe two ads for a client, plus write the next section on the Susanna Centlivre play.

I put down yet another cozy mystery and crossed yet another author off my list because she used “witch” as a slur. I’m sick of these white women pretending to support diversity and inclusion and then pulling this shit. In the same way “gypsy” and “Red Indian” are now recognized as slurs, calling someone “she’s such a witch” when you mean a mean person rather than a spellcasting badass who makes the world better is a slur. Not only is it a slur, it is a personal insult to me.

It’s one thing if a character uses it and the protag or core ensemble calls that person out or there’s accountability. But to act like it’s “just an expression” and something cute, fun, and contemporary that makes your character cool is unacceptable.

It proves you are NOT inclusive, promoting diversity, or tolerant. You’re a sham.

Write whatever you want – that’s your prerogative. But I will not purchase, read, or support authors who are hypocrites and who insult me. As is my right.

I am not your audience.

Zoom Meditation was great and helped a lot. I have bread on the rise – started it around 6 this morning. If I’m lucky, it will be done by noon.

A friend shared a sonnet she’s writing with me, for feedback. I was so honored. It’s a lovely piece, and i gave her the two points where it’s didn’t feel right, and she said it helped. Always glad to help friends with their work!

Peace, friends, and have a good day!

Published in: on November 19, 2020 at 9:04 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 183 — Tired of the Slurs Considered “Cute”  
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Wed. Nov. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 182 — Trying to Stay Balanced

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

It’s been snowing in Western and Central MA.

There’s a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about not begging for work.

Yesterday was pretty satisfying, on a creative level. I started finally writing the Susanna Centlivre play yesterday, and I like the way it’s going, at least for a first draft. Working out a lot of it in my head before actually writing was helpful. I’m really delighted by the relationship between Susanna and Joseph.

I had to do a Trader Joe’s run. The lines are back to the length they were in April. The store was pretty well stocked, although, even on a Tuesday, already some items were selling out.

Since I was in the same plaza, I also dashed next door to Christmas Tree Shops for some more cookie tins. They’d sold out of the cute little trucks, but I found some others that are pretty and will do.

And bought some things I didn’t really need, but liked.

Came home, put the CTS stuff in quarantine, decontaminated the groceries and myself. And there was the morning. We’re back to it taking a half a day to do a couple of errands.

I got some client work done, some admin done. I’m spinning ideas for holiday ads for a client, but haven’t landed on the right one. Something with sparkles, but not sure how to pull it off yet.

Then, I worked on the revisions for “Just Jump in and Fly” which will be re-released after Thanksgiving for the upcoming holiday season. It’s a magical fantasy/comedy/romance short under the Ava Dunne name, playing with Yuletide myths, and is still one of my favorite pieces I ever wrote. I need to do one more proof, and then I can sign off on it.

I re-read “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall”, which is a holiday ghost story/romance I wrote a few years ago. I still like most of it. I need to add a couple of scenes to put in some more conflict, but that should be ready to re-release by the end of November, too.

Which, of course, meant I had to make changes on the links on the websites and, as new buy links go live, keep them updated.

I’m also working on the promo campaign for the shorts, and figuring out how to promote the TRINITY OF TEASERS, which is a free read of the first three chapters of the first book in each series.

It was a busy day. I should have gotten out some more LOIs, but I didn’t.

I reached for the pizza pan and somehow hurt my back again, which made me feel old and grumpy.

Received the next book for review, which is good.

Knowledge Unicorns was about steady work yesterday. They’ve had a lot of assignments piled up, with the workload increasing. It’s as though they’re being punished for learning online. But we spent some time on everyone’s assignments, offered support to each other and ideas, and I think they’re in good shape. ALL of their grades have gone up this year, since we’ve been working together. We – meaning the parents, the kids, and I – are working hard to make sure that this isn’t a negative, non-learning, back-sliding time, the way the “experts” who’d rather see kids go to school and die, just so they get their reopening numbers, claim. I spent a LOT of time every day looking for additional resources and tools and fun stuff to add to their curriculums, and to expand on what they’re supposedly learning. I don’t want them to feel restrained by online learning, but expanded.

The parent session after the kids are done is useful, too, and it’s nice to see the parents making virtual friends with each other and able to offer support.

But I admit, by the end of the sessions, I’m tired. So I can only imagine how exhausted the parents must be every day.

Watched AUNTIE MAME on DVD, the Rosalind Russell version. Wow, she’s good. Her timing, her ability to communicate multiple layers of meaning in a gesture, a glance, a pause. Truly wonderful. I didn’t like the way Ito was portrayed most of the time, although he had a couple of good scenes. The way Mame fought back against the anti-Semitism was good, but would be considered too subtle nowadays. It was a movie with a lot of contrasts and some inconsistencies, but Rosalind Russell was terrific.

Tired when I finally fell into bed.

Slept well, though. That’s a positive from the curfew. No drag racing to wake me up at 2 in the morning.

Getting some writing done this morning. Then I have to spend a few hours onsite at a client’s, then home to decontaminate, join Remote Chat, and proofread in the afternoon. Maybe, if the onsite escapade hasn’t stressed/worn me out completely, I can get some more writing done.

Onward, and trying to be safe.