Tues. July 21, 2020: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 62 — Heat Wave

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image courtesy of klimkin via pixabay.com\

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Hot and humid

Busy weekend.

Friday, I got some blogging and LOIs done. I dashed down to the library in the rain to drop off some books in the book drop and do a curbside pickup.

I did the update on SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM. I still have to do a few little tweaks in the script section, and I added information on radio and corporate scripting.

Unfortunately, the formatting on the examples doesn’t hold. I’m either going to have to save them as PNGs or JPGs and insert them, or provide a link for a downloadable PDF of the examples. I hope it’s not the latter, because that’s just more trouble for everyone all the way around.

Revised THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS. Will do one more proof, and then upload it to the system.

Starting updates on THE SERIES BIBLE this week. Again, that has example sheets, and I need to figure out how to do those so they hold the formatting. Otherwise, they’re useless.

Did some client work, but didn’t get what needed to be done finished, so had to put in some time over the weekend on it, and then do a test run yesterday, to make sure it works.

Saturday, I wrote 24 pages on Gambit Colony. Sunday I wrote more, finishing Book 4. Finally. Too bad it’s not the book I needed to finish. But it’s done. Book 5 is an Interlude book, much shorter, and I’ve written a bunch of material for it already, so that should go pretty fast.

Famous last words.

I cleaned the house, did three loads of laundry, caught up on the classwork for the Book of Kells class.

I got a negative response on an LOI. Kind of a rude email, actually. But I did what I always do: thanked them for getting back to me, saying I’d rather get a disappointing response than no response at all. I got an almost immediate note in response thanking me for being so gracious. Which surprised the hell out of me.

I was saddened by the death of John Lewis, and enraged by the Gestapo-like troops deployed to Portland. They must be stopped.

My Trusted Reader gave me her notes on the VISCERAL INVISIBLES script. They are the best notes I’ve ever gotten on a script, and that includes by producers. It was interesting that the two atonal things she picked up on had been added at the behest of a producer, and I’d felt they didn’t work. She sent two pages of single-spaced notes and I can use ALL of them. I see ways to integrate all of it, without completely having to break down and rebuild what I have.

I’m excited to get back to work on it, although I’m not sure when I can do so.

Up way too early on Sunday.

Wound up finishing the 4th Book of the Gambit Colony series. There’s always a high that follows (even though that wasn’t the book I should have been working on). I did the first chapter of the 5th book.

I should have done a bunch of other stuff. I didn’t.

Instead, I sat outside on the deck with a Very Strong Martini and read the latest issue of The New Yorker. Because I felt like my brain was rotting.

Monday, I went onsite to do work for a client. I got a lot done, and was on my own for most of it; when I overlapped with a colleague, we took precautions.

Swung by the library to drop off/pick up books. Came home, decontaminated, caught up on email, then worked on a website project. I’m trying to take it off line while I build it, because the stress of building live is hurting my ability to make good choices. I struggled with a lot of the templates, because they would not do what I wanted.

So the airlines are whining that they’re losing money. What did they think would happen? First of all, anyone with any sense is not travelling. Second, those who travel aren’t the people anyone wants to be around anyway. Third, the airlines aren’t paying attention to health and safety protocols, such as when they let Ted Cruz fly without a mask. So, again, anyone with any sense is going to stop flying for the moment, especially with the infection rate soaring. Fourth, the airlines got billions of dollars in bailout money. Instead of investing in their workforce and long-term protocols, they paid off executives and did stock buy backs.

The airlines have only themselves to blame. Several of them SHOULD go under. Airlines have made flying a nightmare ever since they monetized the 9/11 attacks. It’s not about security – it’s about finding ways to make people spend more money once they’re through security and on the place.

They deserve to go under.

New airlines need to start up that actually give a damn about the people paying the bills.

I’m headed out early this morning for blood work; later, I’ll have to do a Trader Joe’s run for basics like bread, milk, and eggs, and a few other things. Then it’s client work, writing, course work.

Wed. Sept. 5, 2018: Trying to Fuse the Past and Present Selves

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Saturn goes direct tomorrow, thank goodness.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I have a post up about teachers.

Busy weekend, and, emotionally difficult.

The writing went well, although it wasn’t enough, it’s never enough. But Sunday, in particular, was strong on RELICS, writing two and a half chapters.

Cleaning out boxes from the basement. It’s slow going, because there are many, many boxes. And I want to deal with EACH ITEM in each box, and make a decision on it. I’m tossing a good deal; found a few things to sell or give away. Some of the books are dusty and damaged, and I’m trying to restore them and repack them so I know what I have and where it is.

I’m finding a lot of mysteries, especially those written by women, from the 1990s. Books when Sisters in Crime was just coming to prominence, when the writing was fast and fresh and determined. I really feel that women’s rights, in general, have gone backwards since 2001. There have been some writers that have managed to break out, but so many have been forced into an ever-tightening formula that dumbs down the characters to make the readers feel better about themselves. There were so many more books dealing with different approaches to real issues. Definitely not enough diversity in either the writers or the characters. But when I look at these books and I look at a lot of what’s out there now, we’ve definitely backslid. Formulas are more restrictive; where characters used to be non-conformists and were accepted by the community by the end of it because of what they brought to the table, too many now are conforming by the end of the books. I see a loss of the independence we strove so hard to gain.

I wonder where some of these authors, who were so important to me then, have gone. Are they still writing? Did they give up or move onto other things, when they said all they felt they had to say in this arena? We all move and change. But I’m wondering what happened and where they are.

Once I started working on Broadway, I wasn’t active in most writers’ organizations for a long, long time. They met in the evenings; I worked. Even though I wrote, and I wrote every day, the bulk of my life was caught up with the theatre. The saying “Theatre is a jealous mistress” is not just words.

I still read a lot and constantly bought books (hey, Broadway salary, I could afford it). But, as I go through these boxes of books, I see that particular authors fell off my radar. It was the days before social media; heck, re-reading my 1995 diary, I’d just started on CompuServe.

Speaking of which, I found and re-read my journal form 1995. I was making the transition from off-Broadway to Broadway (which is huge; don’t ever let anyone tell you that different types of theatre aren’t vastly different). I was getting into the habit of writing every day (or, at least, most days). I was working 8 shows/week. I was also out at least 5X week at museums, gallery openings, screenings, music, other shows, etc., etc. A very full NYC life. I had a lot of energy, although I lived in a perpetual state of exhaustion.

I’d forgotten how much I’d dated that year. And, looking back, I’m grateful I didn’t wind up long-term with any of them!

I cry for my younger self, who, depending on how you look at it, was either naive or stupid. But I’m grateful for those experiences.

The problem with finding so many books is that I want to sit down and re-read most of them! That slows things down, too.

This cleanout is a combination of wonderful and painful.

I’m so close to the end of this draft of RELICS. And it feels like the horror movie where you run down the hall and it keeps getting longer.

Sad to hear about the death of Carole Shelley. We worked together on WICKED. A talented, formidable woman both on and off stage who did not suffer fools a all.

There are so many other issues I want to discuss – THE NEW YORKER acting like idiots offering a headline slot to a white supremacist – cancelling didn’t solve the issue. The joke of SCOTUS hearings – Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley are an embarrassment to the Senate. If Kavanaugh was actually worthy of the slot, he would request the hearings postponed and all the records released. The fact that he’s not demanding transparency tells us all we need to know.

 

Published in: on September 5, 2018 at 2:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 5, 2018: Trying to Fuse the Past and Present Selves  
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Tues. Dec. 19, 2017: Holiday Hamster Wheel

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend, but not as productive, writing-wise, as I wanted.

I wasn’t able to get the rest of the cookie platter deliveries done on Friday, due to weather. I knew most people wouldn’t be around over the weekend, so they’ve been bumped to this week.

I was exhausted by the car repairs Friday, even though it went well. I find it stressful. But the car purrs like a tiger, and is happy.

I turned around the proofs for TRACKING MEDUSA, and have the next set to proof. Hopefully, we’ve caught everything. I should have done them this weekend, but I wanted to come back to the text with fresh eyes. Yeah, right. I needed a break and procrastinated!

Continued decorating Friday, Saturday, and it was Sunday by the time the decorations were all up and the boxes put away. Took me a month to decorate the house, but it looks great! It feels good, too, and that’s so important. For all I love to travel, I’m very much hearth and home.

Friday afternoon, I finished the gifts that had to be mailed and got them to the post office. We are so lucky — the people who work at Centerville Post Office are amazing!

Saturday, I sat my butt in the chair and wrote the holiday cards. Once I actually sit down, I enjoy the process. I love to reconnect with people; while I send cards to many of those with whom I interact regularly, there are also those where we only connect that once a year.

I realized I should do a direct mail piece, once the two novels move distributors and the new websites are up, about my books to this targeted list. They know I write, but I haven’t given them enough information.

Because my webhost, 1and1.com, is so slimy — I mean, have you ever heard of a webhost that won’t allow simple jpgs to go up on a site without additional charge? Anyway, it’s put the kybosh on the holiday promotions I’d planned. I lost the holiday market this year, because I couldn’t properly promote. Because of the distribution move, I need to be able to have the information, along with the covers and media kits, ON MY WEBSITES. And my host won’t allow it. The repeal of net neutrality early for their customers, I guess.

I didn’t expect to make a gazillion dollars on holiday sales, but I usually make a reasonable amount that helps push me through January and February. Not this year.

I’m going to demand my money back for this final quarter. They did not deliver the services promised in the contract.

Anyway, once everything is moved, I’m going to do a direct mail promotion to my holiday list, and then I’m also working on some other cool promotions winter going into spring, with a nice big one for the Coventina titles while THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY releases, joining PLAYING THE ANGLES on the shelf.

I ran out of stamps on Saturday — I’d miscalculated. Well, math has never been my best subject. The post office was open an extra hour and I ran down to re-stock. Well, the line was out both doors into the parking lot! I couldn’t believe how many people were mailing stacks and stacks of packages! Most people mailed at least five; many mailed at least ten! Everyone was in a good mood, though, and we were laughing and joking and talking about how great our post office is, and how we love supporting them.

Came back, finished the cards. One mail carrier took the first batch when he dropped off a package; our regular guy arrived just a few minutes after I finished the last card. All good!

Did some work on the aging novel. I’m going to add menopause into that. Too often, it’s depicted as cute and funny when, in reality, it’s miserable and interferes with life.

Sunday, we finished decorating and put things away –which took nearly all damn day.

In and around that, I wrote the first chapter and a half of a piece I’m playing with — it could be a valid novel in its own right, but it also serves a more personal purpose, as in trying to figure a few things out.

Yes, I SHOULD have worked on other things, but I needed the break.

Monday, was back to work on SERENE AND DETERMINED — I’ve figured out at least part of the second act, and where I want to go with it, but I need a good ending. I have to trust that, as I write, I’ll get there. This play has been quite a challenge. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s amazing how every play, every script, every novel, takes on its own life and demands its own process. If I tried to force everything into the same process (which I have tried — and it’s failed), it takes the life out of the work.

I needed an infusion of Janet Malcolm’s writing. I like her work. Over the weekend, I re-read THE JOURNALIST AND THE MURDERER, and am reading THE SILENT WOMAN. Both fascinating, and both bring up issues about journalist and subject that are more relevant today than ever.

I’m about two issues behind on my NEW YORKERS, but I’m hoping to catch up next weekend! (When I’ll be three issues behind).

One client meeting was cancelled yesterday, so I was on site with another client, and then has some other meetings.

I’m working on a proposal for a workshop — they might have their full roster, but just in case, I’m going to pitch to this organization.

This is a busy week, especially with the Solstice on Thursday, and Christmas next weekend into early next week!

 

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

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

Lots of ground to cover. Lots went on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making time for all of this is the key.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’d really like a few more days off.

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

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

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

Buh-bye.

On to other pitches.

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

Onward.

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