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

Charlotte and her banana. Photo by Devon Ellington

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Stormy and cold

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

Well, yesterday was A Day.

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

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

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

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

You back? Good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed. Nov. 23, 2022: Almost Feast Time!

image courtesy of Lubos Houska via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Jupiter DIRECT as of tonight

Sunny and cold

Hello! This is a much shorter post today. Less ranting, more celebrating, some sorrow.

If you didn’t see my weird little micro fiction “That Darn Dog” over on Ko-fi yesterday afternoon, you can find it here.

This morning’s post on The Process Muse is about astrology.

So, yesterday I hit 50K on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH and hit the Nano goal. I felt huge relief. Last year, I felt genuinely victorious with CAST IRON MURDER, since last year I was worried I’d never have it in me to write another novel again. Yesterday, I just felt tired. I’m worried that Nano has become, for me, too much about ego, rather than the work. It needs to be about the work first.

This morning, I wrote 2020 words on the book. Just because I hit 50K doesn’t mean I’m stopping. I have a book to finish. I just don’t have to be under the same pressures, and each day’s words can be more organic (although, as always, the goal is a minimum of 1K/day).

I’m definitely ready for the new moon, and even more ready (readier?) for Jupiter to go direct tonight. Since it’s the planet of expansion and material things, this is a good time for it to go direct, especially with my sales taking a hit because of Twitter’s death throes.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. I actually like cooking Thanksgiving dinner. For those of you who just recently joined the daily reading, for over 40 years, we used to go to Maine for Thanksgiving. The extended family rented the VFW Hall, and we usually had around 60 people for dinner. When it first started, everyone made an agreement that, for the day, it was about thanks and being together. No arguments, no drama. For the first few years, I made a box for the front hall with a sign saying, “Drop your egos here. You can pick them up on the way out.” After the first couple of years, we didn’t need it.

We’d cook in the giant, industrial kitchen. My job was the mashed potatoes. The potatoes were cooked in huge pots, and the masher was 4 feet long. I had to stand on a stool to get high enough over the pot to mash.

Large tables were set up in a U shape in the main room, with two buffets off to the side. One had the meal; the other was the dessert table.

As the years went on, I started taking responsibility for Wednesday’s meal, for those who set up the hall. I’d cook a gigantic casserole of something on Tuesday. We’d drive up on Wednesday, and I’d heat it up, and everyone who set up would come over for dinner. I also would bake something for the dessert table.

Even when I was working on Broadway, I made arrangements to take off at least Wednesday and Thursday (I made it back for Friday night’s show). And then I’d work Christmas, so someone else could have off.

We’d leave very early in the morning on the Wednesday, about 5 or 6 AM, and hit the Maine border around 9 or 10. We’d meander up slowly, visiting our favorite stores and places along the way. Once my grandmother died and my great uncle went into a nursing home, which meant the house changed hands, we started staying at a motel in Ogunquit, and getting in pizza from one of our favorite pizza places, rather than going up all the way and bringing the Wednesday dinner. The next morning, we’d drive the rest of the way up, help with the meal, help with the dishes, drive back to the motel,  and drive home early on Black Friday.

We stopped shopping on Black Friday about 20 years ago.

The pandemic, of course, made it impossible to have the dinner the past couple of years. And, by this point, there’s enough death and exhaustion that it’s too much to pull it off. So the extended family now has smaller family dinners. Last year we did a ZOOM dessert, but I think this year, everyone just wants to rest.

Things change. We had a great four decades of large gatherings. I will always be grateful for them. At the same time, something smaller works for me now at this point in my life.

Yesterday, I worked through a ton of email. I’m still behind in my Substack reading, which I will catch up on this weekend. I finally got Hive working on my tablet, although it’s very slow. I managed an intro post, and that’s about it. I have to figure out how I can upload graphics to the tablet and then into Hive. I want to run them off my flashdrive, but the tablet doesn’t always acknowledge the flashdrive.

The coffeemaker arrived. From snowy Buffalo! Isn’t it pretty? So shiny! So much bigger than I expected. And no instruction booklet (the box wasn’t even taped shut). The coffeemaker is complicated enough that I’m baffled, and want to read the instructions before I try anything. So I’m on the hunt on the Cuisinart site for it. I have to get different filters, too.

I turned around two script coverages yesterday, and have one today. I have to finish up a book review this morning, and send it off with the invoice. Clear the desk before the holiday weekend, right?

I intentionally did not discuss the shooting at Club Q in yesterday’s post because I was worried it would get lost in the noise, and it deserves more. It’s not at all surprising that the shooter is the grandson of a Republican politician who supported the insurrection. That is what happens when there are no consequences. No one has the right to go into a club and shoot people up because they make different choices. And when someone does an act of terrorism like this, there have to be serious consequences. Not the shooter and Rittenhouse becoming besties and poster boys for the GOP, which is the next step.

Those murdered and their loved ones deserve better. People deserve to live their lives without interference, and with love and joy.

Then, of course, this morning was news of another shooting, this time in a Virginia Walmart. I mean, that’s slightly more understandable that someone would snap at Walmart, but still not acceptable.

The only reason to have an AR-15 is to kill humans. That means anyone who owns one is premeditating murder, even if the target is yet to be chosen. And they must be so prosecuted.

Not the happiest note to end on before the holiday, so let me add this: may you have a joyful, delicious weekend without family drama.

Peace, friends. Catch you on the other side.

Wed. Nov. 16, 2022: Snow to Icy Rain

image courtesy of Andreas via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Icy rain and cold

I talk in detail about my process for the Writer’s Rough Outline over on The Process Muse. I hope you enjoy it.

I’m always grateful having control of my schedule, and yesterday was another day for it.

I got my Nano words in first thing. I started to do the social media rounds, promoting Legerdemain and doing all the rest. The snowstorm wasn’t set to hit until late at night. But the pre-storm headache got more intense, and the clouds got thicker.

So I stopped what I was doing, and made the store run to get a tarp and some bungie cords a few hours early.  On a whim, I stopped at the thrift store and found three more cute Santas and some more adorable Christmas mice for my collections. Because I love them.

When I came back, we brought in the rest of the plants and decorations and shelves and stuff from the back balcony. I’ll go into that in more detail in tomorrow’s garden post over on Gratitude and Growth. We tarped down the big bench and the bistro chairs folded on it which will stay out all winter. And rearranged what we had to in here.

I got out all the garbage before the snow started. And then started the social media rounds. Mastodon was down most of the day, which is no big deal. They’re doing the best they can. CounterSocial has a lot of Twitgees coming over, trying to cause drama, and nobody’s giving it to them.  Some are flouncing back off to Twitter; others are getting blocked or banned. I’m pretty sure I’m going to dump Cohost before the end of the year. I’m not enjoying it, and the focus/interests of most of those I’ve encountered are very different from what I want and need from a platform.

Turned around two scripts. I’d almost finished with the book for review, and got an extension. I will get that out today. I also have three script to turn around today, so it’s a good thing I’m home all day. I did well for the pay period that ended yesterday, a little higher than my goal. Hopefully, there will be enough in the queue over the coming weeks to make my nut AND take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.

Angry that the Narcissistic Sociopath gets to make another run for President. Merrick Garland has failed the country. He had the chance to defend it, and he chose not to. I’m disappointed in him as a professional, and as a human, and enraged that these traitors keep getting away with it.

This whole “oopsie, Russia hit Poland by mistake” is ridiculous. Russia is testing NATO. And these new reports it was a Ukrainian missile gone astray? I don’t buy it.

The snow was lovely. I spent a chunk of time sitting at the window, watching it. But during the night, it turned to an icy rain. Tessa woke me up around 4 so I could put a bucket under the leak on the front porch. Then, Charlotte didn’t want me to go back to sleep. We battled until I finally got up a little after 6. Miss Thing is, of course, fast asleep on the bed again.

I’ve been playing with the idea I had in a dream a few nights ago that would make a good novel or novella. The premise is strong, the characters work, but I’m not sure how to make the plot work. Something to play with, probably in longhand, after Nano.

This morning’s Nano went well. Chapter 17 of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, coming in at 2461 words. I was worried the chapter was a tangent, but I found a way to make the subplot echo certain elements of the plot and tie together. That was a relief.

If the temperatures hadn’t risen and it changed over to rain, we’d be in a serious snow day by now. But it’s hovering around freezing, so it’s yucky, but not snowdrifts.

Back to the page.

Thurs. Nov. 10, 2022: A Sunny Autumn Day

(image courtesy of Tim Hill via pixabay.com)

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Waning Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I’m late posting, because I was busy writing.

The latest on the garden, and last night’s avian visitor, is over on Gratitude and Growth.

I realized I need to rewrite my cover letter template, the one I use as the basis for sending out LOIs. It’s become outdated.

Did some work on future posts for THE PROCESS MUSE yesterday. Did the SM rounds to interact and promote Process Muse. I’m behind reading other Substackers, and need to build time into the weekly schedule to do that. It’s very much about being a reciprocal community. I’ve blocked off some time tomorrow to catch up.

Did a library run, dropping off books, and picking up the eight books waiting for me. Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. Made chicken enchiladas for dinner, and they were excellent.

I feel better about the election results. I spent a good deal of time yesterday listening to people whose opinions I respect. I’m still wary, but I feel like I have a fuller perspective now. And, as I said, I’m happy about the results in my home state. And I want indictments to happen. NOW. No more excuses. When you crime in real time on video, there need to be consequences.

I was tired and went to bed ridiculously early. Busy in the Dreamscape, putting a garden to bed in front of what looked like a British cottage, only it wasn’t as damp.

Up early, and at the desk. Got in one chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH before meditation. I was on a roll, with the next scene boiling in my head, so I wrote a second chapter after mediation. My total today is 4007 words, and I’ve passed 25K for the month, so I can take a breath. I don’t want to skip any days, but I don’t have to panic, either. At a third of the way through the month, I’ve hit half the word count, so steady work until 50K will mean I can slow down later in the month around Thanksgiving.

Meditation was good, although Charlotte was a pill until she got settled in front of the Zoom screen.

I have a script that needs to be turned around quickly, today, so once I make the social media rounds, I will do that first, before going back to any other writing or reading. I’m in good enough shape that I can take tomorrow off script reading; I have two scripts in my queue for Monday.

I have house-and-hearth stuff to do in the next few days, along with working on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, LEGERDEMAIN, and ANGEL HUNT, and finishing reading/critiquing my friend’s book. I want to get that out to him this weekend. I also need to get back to the radio plays.

If you’re taking the holiday tomorrow, I wish you a good long weekend. If you’re not, we’ll meet again here virtually tomorrow!

Have a good one!

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it!

Wed. Nov. 9, 2022: One Foot in Front of the Other

(image courtesy of pexels via pixabay.com)

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Last Day of the Full Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

I’ve split the post into Writing stuff and Politics, so you can find what interests you under each header, and skip the other part, should you choose.

Writing/Work/Life

I was happy with yesterday’s work on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, but frustrated and worried that I didn’t get anything done on either LEGERDEMAIN or ANGEL HUNT. LEGERDEMAIN is more important, at this point, because in a week or two, I need to upload/schedule the rest of the episodes through December (I’m uploaded/scheduled through Dec. 13). While the episodes are written, the arc is not complete, and I don’t like to upload/schedule until I’ve completed the arc and edited everything multiple times. So this weekend needs to be a big push on Legerdemain. Fortunately, I’m taking the Friday holiday off client work, which means I can focus on LEGERDEMAIN.

I caught up on a bunch of email. I did the social media rounds, promoting Episode 31 of LEGERDEMAIN and trying to build a presence.

Today’s post on The Process Muse is about “Character: The Heart of It All” and you can read it here. I hope you subscribe. It’s free.

Too many creepy dudes trying to get dates on Tribel for my taste so far. One can promote and brand, but there’s a lot of blocking and resetting privacy settings going on for me there. I’m also really on the fence about Cohost. I don’t think it’s the right place for me, but I’ll give it a few more weeks. Maybe.

Ello, of course, is great. Tumblr is getting better, with friendly faces migrating over. I’m enjoying the conversations on Counter Social. There are a few DystopTwitter refugees trying to turn it into another Twitter (the negative elements), but they’re getting shut down pretty quick, and I hope that continues.

I’m surprised by how much I like Mastodon. I’m still learning platform etiquette, but so far, it’s a great mix of finding cool people from all walks of life/interests, and not having to deal with screaming morons. Plus, they encourage artists to promote their work.

While I pulled my information through on Debirdify, I’m taking my time deciding who to follow instead of just insta-following everyone I knew from before. I needed to clean up the Twitter followers/following list anyway, and this give me an opportunity to do that.

I’m making notes and collecting information as I go, so I can make informed decisions by the end of the year as to where I want to stay, for both professional and personal reasons. The two are intertwined with me.

Turned around two script coverages in the afternoon. I have two to do today, and I hope to pick up two for tomorrow, and then be clear until Monday.

Up early, and wrote Chapter 9 of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which came in at 1983 words. The characters are surprising me for the right reasons. The computer decided to update and restart and took over 30 minutes, so I lost part of the time blocked off for the work, which irritated me.

I should have gone to the laundromat, but I suspect they haven’t yet adjusted for the time change. I have to make a library run later. I have books to drop off and a great, big stack waiting for me.

Election

This will be a short section, since all the results aren’t yet in. I caved and doomscrolled far too long last night on Twitter.

I got what I wanted in my state, so at least I know my votes counted.

I don’t get people acting like the Dems did something great. They lost too many key positions to Republicans and, as I write this, House and Senate majorities still aren’t confirmed.

NONE of these races should have been close. Good people don’t vote for Republicans, not in 2022,  and anyone who still defends family members or friends who do so are delusional.

Even worse are those who chose not to vote. There’s a special circle of hell waiting for them.

Just because the Dems weren’t wiped out and didn’t do as badly as usual in midterms isn’t enough of a victory. We lose either the House or Senate, and we’re screwed. We lose both?

This falls squarely on the shoulders of Merrick Fucking Garland for not indicting the Sociopathic Monster and EVERY member of Congress who voted against certifying the election. I’m tired of Dems without balls.

I’m glad for the wins in the blue column, but there weren’t enough of them.

I need to get back to work and try to survive the coming hellscape. Survive, my friends. Concentrate on survival.

Wed. Nov. 2, 2022: Let’s Skip It All and Have Pie

(image courtesy of Hansuan Fabregas via pixabay.com)

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Sunny and warm

We’re supposed to have a stretch of unseasonably warm days the rest of this week, so I don’t have to worry about bringing the plants in. I am worried that it’s too warm to plant the bulbs, though.

While I was pleased with a quick-off-the-mark start to Nano yesterday, 2552 words on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, it was hard to get my head back in the game afterwards.

I slogged through some email. I did the rounds of social media to promote Episode 29 of Legerdemain. I’m back on Ello, which is good, since I have over 265K eyes on my work over there.

I dug in and managed another episode of Legerdemain, which actually went well, once I got going with it.

I started the 30 Days of Gratitude practice with my yoga studio.

The second half of “Won if By Sea” went up on Ko-Fi yesterday afternoon. I hope you enjoy it! If you didn’t want to read the first part without the second part going up, now both are up, and you can read them together.

I turned around two scripts. I signed up with Cohost and with WT. Social. I want to do a comparison/contrast of all these platforms over the next couple of months and then post my experiences and data, probably over on Ink-Dipped Advice in January. By then, I should have enough information. Even early on, it’s fascinating to see which things resonate on different platforms.

All of this social media kerflamma underlines the need for creatives and businesses to have their own WEBSITES, not just social media.

I was invited back to judge the book contest again that I’ve judged for the past few years. The pay is decent, and I enjoy the work, so I said yes.

Did my rituals last night. During these days of tending the dead, I am a cauldron for a lot of grief, and it’s exhausting. But necessary.

Today’s issue of THE PROCESS MUSE is about “Different Structures for Different Mediums.” If you’re not yet subscribed, you can click the link to read it. You can also subscribe (it’s free).

I was up early this morning, with the alarm, which I couldn’t figure out how to turn off. I think I will go back to a traditional alarm clock, and not my phone. Every time it updates, everything goes bonkers.

Out the door just before 6 to the laundromat, got everything done and back a little after 7. Got a few chapters of the multi-colored draft done on CAST IRON MURDER.

No one’s allowed to park on the street from Nov. 1 – March 31, so, at least the first few days of November, I try to keep my car in my spot as much as possible, so no one grabs it. People are pretty good, but there are always a few who don’t believe boundaries and space applies to them.

Wrote the second chapter of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, which came in at 1997 words. Less than yesterday, but better words, and I’m starting to feel the innate rhythm of this piece.

Unfortunately (?) I got an idea at the laundromat, when a couple of characters started yapping at me, so I will make some notes and make it clear that they MUST WAIT THEIR TURN. I have enough going on this month.

Today I have to start taking down the Samhain decorations, along with everything else that has to get done. That includes taking down all the spiderweb curtains, and putting up the red and gold paisley curtains that will be up until we put the lace panels back up in spring. It will take a few days to get everything down and put away, because I also have to get the writing and script coverage done.

But we should have some nice weather these next few days, and Tessa, in particular, will enjoy being out on the porch.

Have a good one!

Fri. Oct. 28, 2022: There Will Be Cake

(image courtesy of Leslie Eckert via pixabay.com)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I spent yesterday morning working on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. It took longer than I hoped, and the Writer’s Rough runs 11 pages. But I feel like I now have a viable book planned, and I can sit down and start writing next Tuesday.

I had to stop a few times and do some research. I had to research stoves in the late 1950’s in trailer homes to make sure my climactic sequence would work (yay, it does). One of the characters I’d layered into the piece to make the twists and turns work turns out to have quite the history. I also have some ideas for character arcs that can grow from here that I will note this morning, especially when it comes to the main subplot concerning my protagonist’s son.

I took care of some email (there’s still way too much in the Inbox), promoted the episode of LEGERDEMAIN which dropped, caught up partially on my Substack reading and responded to comments on my posts, and responses to comments I left on other posts (where appropriate).

I wrote a quick pitch for an article and sent it to an editor who’d put out a call on Twitter. Twitter used to be the place I found some of my highest-paid assignments, but that hasn’t been true for a bit.

Spent some time on CounterSocial, where people have been reading some of my work on various sites, including “Won if By Sea” over on Ko-Fi, and enjoying it.

Since Yegads Muskrat’s purchase of Twitter went through, and he’s going to destroy it, chances are I’ll grit my teeth and sign up for Tribel, even though I’m skeptical about their Terms of Service. They claim they’re a good branding platform, so maybe I can expand LEGERDEMAIN’s reach. The Process Muse is gaining subscriptions nicely just via Substack. The platform I had the most fun on and miss the most is MySpace.

Made soup with red beans, rice, and andouille sausage, which turned out well. I have all these soup cookbooks, so we are going to eat a lot of soup this winter!

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon. One was very near perfect.

In the evening, I lounged on the couch, drinking red wine and re-reading DRACULA (thanks to Lilith St. Crow). It really was fascinating. It’s been so long since I read the original text, I’d forgotten a lot of the texture and the detail. I will go back and read the biography of Stoker I’ve been carting around since before the move (which I bought because I wanted to learn more about his work in the theatre).

I didn’t write up the book review yesterday, so I will do that this morning and get it out. I still have one more book to review for that editor. I didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT, so that will be pushed to next week. I’m in good shape there, so I don’t have to worry. LEGERDEMAIN needs more attention first.

This morning, I will write up the book review, type up some additional notes on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH (well, more general series/character arcs than for that book), and work on LEGERDEMAIN.

I have to do another library run to drop off/pick up books, then go to the grocery store and the liquor store to get what I need for my mother’s 98th birthday weekend (her birthday is tomorrow). I’ll head over to Adams, then, to pick up the cake.

I have two scripts to turn around this afternoon, and then I’m done until Tuesday. I’m taking Monday as my holiday, as I should. We’ll celebrate my mom’s birthday, and I’ll probably do some work on LEGERDEMAIN. I’ll finish reading my friend’s book that he wanted feedback on. And read for pleasure. Make up the treat bags for Trick or Treaters. And prepare for the series of rituals next week. This is always my busiest time of the year.

If you are doing Nano and want to be part of a supportive group, I run Enchanted Wordsmiths over there. Send me a message on that platform, and I’ll send you an invite. We’ll write in company next month.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side!

Thurs. Oct. 27, 2022: A Cat With A Plan

(Charlotte, photo by the author)

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Warm and wet

I hope you’re enjoying The Process Muse. If you haven’t had the chance, you can sign up for it here. (It’s free).

Latest on the garden and our weird weather up on Gratitude and Growth.

Worked on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH and I’m still not happy with it, although it’s grown and is richer than it was. A major arc for a couple of supporting characters is gaining traction, and, if I handle it will be both beautiful and sad throughout the book.

Picked up the rest of the books at the library, and put in for some books with 1950s details that I will need for Nano. The book on fashion is a lot of fun. After all, I have to clothe my characters (and most of my costume books are still in storage).

Went to the DMV (RMV here in MA) to renew the car registration. In and out in under 10 minutes, and they were very nice, just the way I like it. Paid the insurance for the next 6 months, so that is all set.

Ordered in Chinese food for lunch, because I was too lazy to cook.

In the afternoon, I turned around two scripts, and in the evening, I read the next book for review. I will write it up and send it off this morning, after meditation and breakfast.

Charlotte kept bothering me in the night. Around 2 AM, I set up her playpen in the sewing room and put her in it (Tessa came by the snicker at her). I was just falling asleep again when I heard a series of thumps. I got up. Charlotte had rolled the playpen out of the sewing room and down the hall into my office, headed for my bedroom. Gotta give the cat points for ingenuity.

I took her out of the playpen and back in bed. She snuggled down, purring, and was good until Tessa woke us at 6:30 with her howling.

I had a breakthrough on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH – I think I’ve finally figured out the climax and refigured the resolution, so it works better. It means setting up a couple of other characters earlier and planting more clues, and shifting a relationship, but it will make the book stronger, and fix what I was worried isn’t working. As soon as this is posted, I’m going back to work on it, taking a break for meditation, and then finishing it.

I’ll have to decide if I want to work on ANGEL HUNT this morning and LEGERDEMAIN tomorrow, or the other way around. I think I’ll work on ANGEL HUNT, and then work on LEGERDEMAIN all weekend.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today, and I hope you enjoy it!

Published in: on October 27, 2022 at 7:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 27, 2022: A Cat With A Plan  
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The Process Muse Launches!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

It was up in the 70’s around here yesterday, more like spring than autumn. It rained; it was sunny; it rained; it was sunny. All day long. The sunny patches were very humid. I basically ignored the eclipse, because I couldn’t deal with it.

I have a new short story up on Ko-Fi, a short mystery called “Won if By Sea.” It’s been broken down into two parts, one up yesterday and one up next Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday afternoons seem the best days to post on Ko-Fi. I hope you enjoy it.

Today is the launch of THE PROCESS MUSE, the weekly posts over on Substack where I dig into the hows and whys of the way I create. For subscribers, the posts go out on Wednesday mornings at 8 AM; they should post on the site around the same time. Subscription to THE PROCESS MUSE is free, and there’s room to comment and have discussions at the bottoms of the posts. I hope you will join me in this experiment. Substack is available internationally, so my readers outside of the US can enjoy it, too.

Yesterday, I managed to untangle the scheduling issues with the episode-specific ads for Legerdemain, and to get the rest of the ads for the first arc uploaded and scheduled into mid-December. That reminded me that I am behind where I need/want to be on the second arc, and need to get cracking, because at some point in November (which starts NEXT WEEK), I need to upload and schedule the posts for the second arc, then create both the episode-specific and the general ads for them. While juggling Nano and everything else.

Of course, in order to upload and schedule all of that – it has to exist. While I’ve made good progress into Arc 2, it’s not where I want it to be.

I polished, uploaded, and schedule the posts for The Process Muse through the end of November, so at least I don’t have to worry about that, and can write other posts as I wish through the month, upload, and schedule them.

I’m also behind where I wanted to be on ANGEL HUNT, but we’re not going to deal with that at the moment.

I picked up some books at the library, only to discover, when I got home, that they hadn’t given me all the books that were ready. I have to go back this week, because some of the holds will expire. It’s really not a big deal; the library is four blocks away. It’s more the mental energy to get me out of the house than anything else.

Dropped off our ballots at the City Hall ballot box. It was pretty full, which is great, because it means people are voting.

Picked up some puzzle books for my mom; although she paid for a yearlong subscription, they only ever send the books when she asks why she hasn’t received them. Cashing a check for a subscription and not fulfilling it seems like fraud to me.

Went to the post office to buy stamps and catch up.

Turned around two scripts.  Promoted the episode of Legerdemain that dropped yesterday. Took another look at Tribel, since Yegads Muskrat insists he’ll own Twitter by the end of the week. I’m uncomfortable with their privacy policy. It’s probably not worse than any other platform, so I don’t really know why it makes me so uncomfortable, but it does. My gut is telling me not to sign up, while my brain is telling me I need as wide a net as possible.

This morning, I need to type up what I’ve got so far on the outline of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. I still don’t have the climactic sequence figured out, although I’ve got a good idea of the resolution. I think, in this case, it has to be a case of trusting the characters to see how it works out.

And hope I hit 50K in November before I have to figure it out!

I also have to go down to the DMV and renew the car’s registration. So I better get going on things like typing up the outline and working on the next episode of Legerdemain.

Have a good one, friends, and come visit over on The Process Muse.

Tues. Oct. 25, 2022: Life as a Kaleidoscope

image courtesy of Dmitri Posudin via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

New Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Saturn DIRECT as of Sunday

Rainy/Sunny/Confusing

Saturn went direct on Sunday, taking a lot of the life lessons pressure off. Now, we have to implement what we learned on this Saturn Retrograde so we don’t have the same lessons smacked at us next time it comes around, next year.

Enjoy the lull this week, because Mars goes retrograde  on the 30th, and stays there until January 12th. Mars is already in Gemini until March of 2023, causing stress and difficulties. Going retrograde, through all the holidays, means huge additional stresses. It makes it likely people will be more easily argumentative than usual over the holidays, so try to pull up extra patience and compassion. I talk about that in more detail over on the GDR site, with a post on “Breath Under Duress.”

My plan is to have as quiet a holiday season as possible, with very little socializing (especially since there’s a pandemic going on).

Now, down to our usual Tuesday morning natter, to catch up over the weekend.

Don’t forget: The Process Muse launches tomorrow on Substack. It’s free, and you can sign up here.

Friday morning, I hit the ground running; blogging, making devilled eggs, taking out the garbage, doing the last-minute counter wiping and stainless-steel appliance cleaning.

Our friend showed up and we had a good catch up on all that’s new for both of us. Feasted on the devilled eggs, the black bean soup, the lemon mousse. She had to head back to CT after lunch.

We cleaned up and settled in on the couch to rest. When I checked my email, I found some sad news. An old family friend died last week, in Switzerland. We didn’t even know she was ill. I’d been planning to go and visit the next time I went overseas (which will probably be in 2024).

I had nothing left in the tank, so I gave myself the afternoon off. I finished reading THE SECRET SISTERHOOD, about literary friendships, which was good. I read Joy Harjo’s memoir, POET WARRIOR, which was very well done and uniquely structured.

Charlotte, who’d hidden when my friend was there, because she was afraid she would be given away, was Velcro Kitty all afternoon and evening. And woke me every two hours all night, for reassurances.

Up early on Saturday. Did some work on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED MURDER. I’m a little worried, because it’s heavy on character and atmosphere, and light on plot. Also, there are so many period details I’ll have to add in when I do the revision. But I at least have a good idea on the first third, and escalating the stakes for Rita, my heroine. This book will definitely be a case of draft fast, revise slowly. I like THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH better as a title, which, it turns out, was my original title, so I’ve changed it back to that.

Turned around a script.

I filled out a writer-in-residence application that comes with a nice stipend. However, because of that, I’m sure they will go with a much bigger name. But if I don’t try, I have zero shot, so I tried.

Went out and got the paint I needed for the bookcases, and a dropcloth. I painted one bookcase completely and started the second one, but ran low on both paint and time.

Read a book by someone whom I met in passing back in my NYC days. It was one of those people I was advised I “should” know, although we were in different arenas. Anyway, I recently came across one of her books in the library (a memoir) and decided to read it. The writing is good. But I don’t like the person I met in those pages. The privilege and the whining are way too much.

Charlotte woke me at 3:30 on Sunday morning, which was not the start to the day for which I’d hoped. But I made apple muffins. I upped the allspice from ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon, and it was a good choice.

Got a nice chunk of work done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH.

Filled out the ballots for the election. Of course I voted Blue all the way down. I’m not an idiot. Or a supporter of fascism.

Got more paint and finished the second bookcase. Not that I know where to put it yet. The first one fit perfectly on top of the other red bookcases in the kitchen, so I cleaned and rearranged all those shelves, and it looks good.

I kept feeling I “should” work all day (on work-work, not house and home stuff). I also felt the flickers of burnout and decided to rest, so I could focus this week and next week, which will be challenging.

I read Alyssa Maxwell’s MURDER AT BEACON ROCK, which was well done and satisfying and sad, all at once. I really like the series. At one point, I fantasized about writing a series set in Gilded Age Newport, but she’s written a better series than I would have, and I no longer need to write one!

There are flutters that Yegads Muskrat is going ahead to buy Twitter and people are fretting about where to go. Tribel Social Network has been urging people to go on it, but I don’t like their policies/terms of service. I think I’ll stick with CounterSocial. If people want to find me, they will. I still can’t get on Ello, which is annoying, since I built so much on there. I’d hate to leave Twitter, but if I have to, I have to.

This is why one needs a website, not just social media.

Had trouble sleeping on Sunday into Monday, which made Monday a late start. But I got some work done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH.

My priority was turning around the edits for my Llewellyn editor. Eek! Thank goodness for her kindness and patience, because some of the stuff she caught there was a big mess. I sent it in early, in case she needs me to do more work. But she said they’re fine, and she assured me she loves the piece (even with the messes we cleaned up).

I did revisions on “My Side of the Bed” and “Paranormal Paraphrasing” and got them submitted, in spite of the computer repeatedly crashing. I managed to get out six script submissions.

Irritated that the regional ML for Nano only wants to interact on Facebook and Discord. When I do Nano, I want to be able to go to the Nano site and get the information I need, not travel to other sites. I go to the Nano site FOR NANO. I’m irritated. I’ll stick to my Enchanted Wordsmiths group and to hell with the region crap. They’re doing stuff in person and you know they won’t implement any COVID protocols. Pass.

More scripts came up in my queue, so I have enough to read at least through tomorrow, and then, hopefully, I’ll get a couple of Thursday and Friday.

Turned around 3 scripts. Started writing a weird new little, short play. Heard that an odd little play I really love, which I wrote and submitted for a specific call, was not chosen as one of the 5 plays they can use for their event. The company wrote a really kind letter about it, but it makes me sad. I’m fond of the piece, and will have to find another spot for it, which won’t be easy, because it’s so specific.

Stepped in for a colleague who had an emergency and couldn’t do a Zoom talk with a group of young playwrights. It was a lot of fun. They had terrific ideas and great questions. It meant I missed the Artist Working Group, but I knew if they held the WG in the evenings, I’d run into conflicts. If they keep it in the evenings permanently, then I’ll withdraw.

Set the alarm for 5 this morning, and woke up just before the alarm went off, waking from a dream that I slept until 9 and missed the alarm. I was very confused when the alarm went off.

Hauled a fuckton of laundry into the car and over to the laundromat. Three large, industrial-sized machines were going, between the clothes (I’ve been lax about going every week), the curtains, and the other fabric-y stuff that’s been turned over for the season.

Sat in the car working on the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The original plan was that it would be ready for submission this past summer, but that didn’t happen. A longer wait time to work on revisions before I start querying was the right choice for this book. The story and characters are strong, but there’s a lot of sloppy writing (which happens, during Nano).

Cleaning up the sloppy writing makes it an even stronger book. But, again, although it’s an amateur sleuth, it’s not a cozy. The book deals with racism, COVID, and the sex lives of the characters.

Didn’t get enough done on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH before I had to leave for the laundromat, so that’s been pushed off until tomorrow. I have to type up what I have, so far, so that it’s ready to go. I have a strong opening. I have good backstory to integrate. I’ve drawn maps of who lives where, et al, which in a community such as this one, is necessary for the plot. I know who the murderer is and why that individual committed the murder(s). I have some of the clues and the red herrings, and raising the stakes for my protag. I don’t yet have the climactic sequence, but I’ll get there.

I probably need to walk around the Spruces a bit more, on a nice day, and let it percolate. I do know where the first body drop happens. My friends and I poked around that spot near the river when they came to visit a few weeks back.

I have a feeling I’ll have a lot of placeholders in this draft, since I need to go in and layer period detail. I want to go to the library/historical society and read a batch of newspapers from the months in which this book takes place, and then also do some research on the racial and ethnic relations in the area at the time. I’d hoped to get it done before Nano started, but it will have to be a winter project, and part of the revisions, which will, no doubt, make the revisions more extensive.

There’s a post for The Process Muse in all that! (Don’t forget, it drops tomorrow).

I hope to catch a pocket between rain showers to do a library run, drop off my ballots at City Hall, get some stamps at the post office. There was something else I was supposed to do, but darned if I can remember it.

Episode 27 of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it. If you haven’t started reading the serial yet, it starts here.

Have a good one!

Fri. Oct. 21, 2022: The Process Muse Announced

Friday, October 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and cold

This will be fairly short, since I have to get going.

Yesterday was a lot about getting ready for my friend’s visit: running to the grocery store (again), making a batch of black bean soup and a lemon mousse. I’m making devilled eggs this morning.

Dusted, vacuumed, mopped. Tidied up. Filled the new magazine rack (it looks really good). Stashed the bookcases until I can paint them this weekend. Took all the tea and drinking chocolate off the top shelf of the pantry and put it in a rolly cart. Put my grandmother’s china up on the shelf. Tessa is now fascinated by tea. In the other house, it had its own cabinet in the kitchen. But now it’s accessible to her.

I did some promotion for the episode of LEGERDEMAIN that went live yesterday.

I can also announce the project that’s launching next Wednesday, October 26,  over on Substack. It’s called The Process Muse, and will be weekly deep dives into process, especially as its relevant in comparison/contrast to the serials. It also talks a lot about the creation of VIXEN’S HOLLOW/THE CUNNING ONE, which will, in a few months, start running on that platform.

Another plus to Substack is that it’s internationally. Vella is only available in the US, but my international readers can read the serial(s) I run on Substack. Since my international readership is a decent size, and always growing thanks to distribution of certain work in the UK, Australia, France, Italy, and Germany, having serials on a platform with international access is a smart choice.

I got out the newsletter extra blast about The Process Muse. Substack suggests importing one’s mailing list. If one converts a general newsletter over, that makes sense. But I didn’t want to force anyone to get The Process Muse unless they chose it. For me, in this particular situation, I wanted to INVITE my regular, quarterly newsletter readers to subscribe to The Process Muse, if they wanted. Or they could ignore it, if they did not want it. Or they could wait, and subscribe at some future time.

The newsletter went out, and people are subscribing! I’m honored and excited.

The Process Muse is free. That makes the most sense, at this time. The plan is for a weekly post on an aspect of my process, and also talking about things I’ve tried that didn’t work for me. It’s supposed to be fun, as well as a deep dive into the work, which is why the logo for it is on the more whimsical side.

If you’re not on my mailing list, but interested in it, you can sign up for it here.

Made another batch of mac & cheese last night, because, you know, MAC AND CHEESE!

I managed to turn around a script last night. I have two more to turn around this weekend. Not sure if I’ll get one done today and one tomorrow, or do both tomorrow. Next week, hopefully, there will be more in my queue AND I won’t have the distractions I had this week. It all worked out – I took some time off from reading to do other things at the same time there wasn’t much to read. It aligned well. The check from Llewellyn and the incoming money from LEGERDEMAIN next week make up for it (and more).

This weekend is about painting, getting in the plants once and for all, doing some more around the house. I also hope to do some work on LEGERDEMAIN. I didn’t get any work done on ANGEL HUNT this week, so that needs attention. Along with reading a book for review, and reading my friend’s book for feedback. And revising the two short plays and getting them out the door.

Guess it won’t be much about resting!

Peace, my friends, and have a good one. Catch you next week!