Wed. Feb. 21, 2018: Web Host Stress & Writing

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Waxing Moon

The Tactile Muse finally has a new post up, about removing wax from fabric.

I’m finally back in the rhythm of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and it feels good. This is why I love to work with a good editor. I’ve been lucky with most of my editors. There was the one who hated the word “said” and removed it from the manuscript (without replacing it or suggesting replacements) and was ready to turn it in to the publisher until I pitched a fit. But, other than that, most of my editors, especially when it comes to the books, have been great at spotting problems, helping me figure out solutions, and, overall, making the work better.

We’re galloping into the home stretch with SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which is a relief. I’ll be glad to get the manuscript off my desk and onto my editor’s.

The focus is on that rather than MYTH & INTERPRETATION this week, although I’m working on that book, too. And, as soon as REPOSITORY goes off to the editor, I open a new file, pull up a blank page, and start RELICS & REQUIEM. The life of a series writer.

Saturday, in particular, was a productive day. I wrote 2600 words on REPOSITORY. I did a partial clean out of my closet and did 8 loads of laundry. I removed wax from various cloths (see the latest post on The Tactile Muse for more information on how to do that). I put the watery-looking fabric back up over the fireplace (since I don’t have a mirror that fits, I put fabric that looks like it’s underwater up — good feng shui. Never, EVER put your TV up over the fireplace. Bad feng shui). I baked two loaves of spiced pear bread, a new-to-me recipe from a French cookbook. I read.

I also had a three hour argument with my old webhost, the awful 1&1.com. Take my advice and stay away from them. My new host told me to expect a confirmation email about the DevonEllingtonWork transfer at a particular address. An address I haven’t had for eight years, and that I changed when I moved with my old host. I went into my account — even though I’ve regularly updated my information with them for ICANN, they had old information listed. Now, I’ve updated the information multiple times over the EIGHT YEARS since I moved. And, when the registration renewal document is sent to me, it’s correct on that. But it’s wrong in the information supposedly submitted to ICANN. Which makes no sense at all. So I updated it, and then they told me the domain was “locked” for 60 days and I couldn’t move off the host because I entered a “new registrant.” No, you fucking dumbasses, I’m the same person. I entered the correct information that’s been entered regularly FOR EIGHT YEARS, you incompetent jackassses. Now, 1 & 1 is notorious for not letting people move off the host.

I ripped them a new one, and I filed a complaint with ICANN directly.

Supposedly, the lock is off the site and it can move. We will see.

Of course, it doesn’t work. 1&1 blames A2; A2 blames 1&1.

It seems to FINALLY be resolved. The Devon Ellington Work site is on the new host, but it still needs some work. I will make an announcement when I feel it’s ready for visitors.

As soon as the DE site goes live, I have to go in and customize permalinks and add the links so it can move smoothly between the pages on the site. That will take some time. Then, I rebuild the subdomains for each series, one at a time, and I do so live, which is a risk, but will be quicker than the temp link and then switching it.

One the sites for the Coventina Circle, Nautical Namaste, Gwen Finnnegan Mysteries, and Hex Breaker go live again, I’ll set up a temporary URL for Fearless Ink, reload what I built when I tried to move it last time, switch the link back to the permanent link, and then initiate that transfer. I’ll do the same last, but not least, for Cerridwen’s Cottage. It won’t all be done by the end of this month, unfortunately (I wanted to demand some of the quarterly fee back), but maybe I can get it done by next month. I’m thinking I might move Cerridwen’s Cottage first. I have to see if I can get any of the damn sites moved, if any of these hosts WILL DO THEIR DAMNED JOBS.

I am sure 1&1 will create yet more ridiculous obstacles. I wish I’d had the courage to leave them years ago. Thank goodness I learned how to build and work in WordPress, even if I can’t do the fancy stuff. Once everything is on the new host, I think my life will be much easier, at least as far as my web life goes!

On Sunday, I wrote more, again on SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Another 2600 words.

I also finished taking down the February/winter decorations and putting up some of the spring decorations (switching out fabrics on tables, etc). I have the heart off the front door, and the shamrocks up on it. The Ostara/Easter stuff will go up after St. Patrick’s Day.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around Easter and April Fool’s Day being the same day.

Monday, I was onsite with a client. No President’s Day holiday for me! And spent most of the day fighting with both 1&1 and A2.

Fortunately, I had written 3000 words on SPIRIT REPOSITORY in the morning, before the frustration resumed. That’s one of the worst parts of the webhost problems — not only are both these hosts interfering with my ability to earn a living (in addition to trying to extort additional money from me), they interfere with my creativity. The unnecessary stress they put me under by not doing the jobs for which they are paid make it difficult for me to create. But I have a deadline coming up, and I have to push through.

Yesterday, I was also onsite with a client. After I’d woken up at 5 AM because I was so upset about the webhosting issues I couldn’t sleep.

But at least I got a good chunk of SPIRIT REPOSITORY done on both days. Yesterday was more of a struggle, due to the webhost stress.

But I’m exhausted.

I’m also furious about the refusal of Congress to pass reasonable gun reform because they’re paid not to. I’m disgusted by Congress, and by the idiots on the right who are criticizing kids who saw their friends and classmates die. Kids who have the guts to stand up for more than adults ever have.

I know several people who own guns. Some of them hunt for food. They do not have automatic weapons. In fact, most of the hunters I know are bow hunters. They are responsible and eat what they hunt. They are careful to keep their weapons locked up when not in use. They understand that they have a responsibility to the community around them by owning and using these weapons.

The gun owners I know who go around thumping their chests about their rights to gun ownership aren’t smart enough to own guns, or responsible enough. Listen to any of them talk for five minutes, and you don’t want them owning a gun, because they are not capable of intelligent, responsible decisions. They want the rush of knowing they can end a life. They claim it’s for “protection,” but it’s easy to see through both the lies and the delusion. It’s about having power over someone else’s life. Having a power they do not have the right to have and for which they do not have the intelligence, ethics, or responsibility to act appropriately.

In the meantime, while I’m fighting on those fronts, I have to waste time and energy fighting with webhosts. Which in the scheme of the bigger picture means little, but in my personal universe, is huge.

I can walk into a store or a gun show and walk out with a weapon no civilian should be allowed to own faster than I can most a WEBSITE. It’s ridiculous.

At least the first hurdle, webhost-wise, seems to be handled, and I’m fixing the DE site, and building the subdomains. When that is done, in a week or so, I’ll start working on the Cerridwen’s Cottage and Fearless Ink sites.

Fingers crossed!

 

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Thurs. Feb. 15, 2018: Back After A Tough Few Days

Thursday, February 15, 2018
New Moon
Cloudy and mild

It’s been a rough few days. I’ve been out of town, which is one reason why I skipped the post yesterday and on Tuesday.

On Saturday night, we learned a second family member had died, also up in Maine. This was more expected, after a year-long illness. And on Sunday, I learned that an actress I’d worked with as we both made our way up the ladder to Broadway, had died of cancer. Three deaths in about two weeks. It was rough.

On Sunday morning, we packed the car and headed up to Maine in the rain. It wasn’t too bad of a drive, and we made better time than we thought. We made a few stops in Kittery to pick up some things we needed. The hotel we originally planned to stay in was undergoing renovation; even though they were taking in guests, the added stress of the noise and the overall creepiness was more than we could cope with at the moment.

We kept going until we hit the Ogunquit Resort. They had a room at a good rate, we booked in. It was a wonderful room. Bigger than most New York City apartments. Great beds, a desk, a table and chairs, plenty of floor space. Enough floor space for me to roll out my mat and do yoga without hitting anything.

We settled in and tried to have a relaxing afternoon. Reading and research for me. I read Ann Hood’s THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST. I like her writing. I also did some research on New Amsterdam for THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I knew I lost writing days, so I wanted to make some use of the time. Pizza from a favorite local joint for dinner, watching the Olympics at night.

Monday morning, up early and into Portland for the memorial service for the family member who died unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. The funeral home and its staff were lovely, although I couldn’t help but think of SIX FEET UNDER. Members of her knitting group were there, telling funny stories. In spite of the sorrow, it was uplifting. Too much religion for my taste, but then, it wasn’t about me, was it?

After, we convened at a brew pub in Scarborough for lunch and to catch up. We raised a glass to the family member who died on Saturday; he gets a graveside military funeral, so he’s on ice (literally) until the ground is soft enough to dig in spring.

Back to the hotel, exhausted. Read a bit, researched a bit, played with the opening to a short story. I have two openings for two different pieces rolling around in my head, and I’m trying to see if they are two sides to the same piece (doesn’t seem that way) or two different pieces (more likely). Also have a story idea spinning based on the past few days (although it will take a different direction, with higher stakes or it wouldn’t be worth reading. Or writing).

More Olympics, which is really the only thing worth watching.

I am sickened by how many commercials for drugs are on TV. And in magazines. And they wonder why people are addicted. It also enrages me that most of these drugs are supposed to be taken “with” another drug that isn’t effective enough. No, dumbass, you don’t take four different things to “help” whose side effects make you nauseated, dizzy, and break out in rashes and could kill you. It means the initial medication ISN’T WORKING and the damn doctor needs to find ONE medication, the RIGHT medication, that solves the problem without side effects.

I am convinced these drugs are created not to work completely, to force people onto multiple medications with horrible side effects, so they have to take even more medications to counteract those effects. Pharma is a scam. It’s not about making people healthy; it’s about keeping people sick in order to make money off them.

Up early and out the door on Tuesday, headed back to the Cape. I tried to time it so I got through the Big Dig in Boston after rush hour, but before the noon traffic. It was still awful, with slowdowns and crashes and roadwork.

I was a wreck with a migraine by the time we got home. We unpacked, comforted the cats (who were upset we’d gone), paid some bills. Did some stretches. Tried to rest.

I was in bed by 8 PM. Woke up with a migraine on Wednesday and felt awful, but dragged myself to work with a client, dropped off/picked up some books at the library, and came home.

Finally started feeling better in the evening.

Today, I have to get some writing done, work on the website (I hope to start the move tomorrow or Saturday), and work with another client. I also have to take down the February decorations and start putting up the spring decorations.

Both the snapdragons and the sweet peas I planted in pos are coming up. I’m going to start the tomatoes and the lettuce soon.

I need to get it together on SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

I also need to buy a new drum for my laser printer. The thing I ordered was the wrong piece. That’s what I get for trying to cut corners.

Onward.

 

Wed. Feb. 7, 2018: So Lucky with My Editor

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Waning moon
Stormy and cold

Challenging week. Even when I try to rest, I’m having trouble recharging.

So, Super Bowl Sunday — congratulations to the Eagles. It was a well-deserved win. I prefer close games, because they are more interesting. I’m not a football fan, so the Super Bowl is usually the only game I pay much attention to all year.

I know people have many reasons for disliking Tom Brady, but I was disappointed and perturbed by the viciousness with which he was attacked. He’s good at his job and has been for years. He’s skilled. He has five rings to prove it. I’m not a particular fan of his, but I respect his skills.

Didn’t like the halftime show. I’m not a particular fan of Justin Timberlake any
way — again, I respect what he’s achieved, but I don’t go out of my way to listen to or buy his music. I disagreed with the choice to have the projection of Prince included. Prince was vocal about not agreeing with that choice while he was still alive. His halftime show in 2007 (I think that was the year) was one of the best performances I’ve seen anywhere. Pouring rain, he came out and did his thing, no muss, no fuss, and he was brilliant. No other halftime show, in my opinion, has ever come close.

Got some decent work on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. I’m taking my editor’s concerns about the outline into account and finding places to simplify, combine elements to drive the narrative better, and to cut things completely. It’s great to be back with Gwen and Justin again.

Figured out why I’m struggling with SPIRIT REPOSITORY. It’s not just that I have the deadline looming. It’s that I made a major mistake in the logic. I have to go back and untangle the mistake in order to move forward. It’s not something where I can put in a placeholder to fix “later” because of the way it affects everything that happens later.

Talked to my editor and got a 10-day extension on the deadline. Now, I feel like I can meet it with something worthwhile. That pushes the start of RELICS  & REQUIEM back ten days — I’m not sure how I’m going to make that up, since the schedule for that is already tight. But I have a solid outline for it, which will help. And scenes with Amanda and Phineas are spinning in my head, and some of the scenes between Bonnie and Amanda in SPIRIT REPOSITORY will plant seeds for R & R, even while driving the plot of REPOSITORY.

Saw yet another agent on Manuscript Wish List asking for diverse manuscripts. I pointed out my own experience and that of other writers I know who submit such manuscripts — the notes that come back are all about whitening it up so “mainstream readers” can relate. Characters described in Starbucks coffee colors, acting like white people, names that aren’t “too ethnic” and the like. Complaints that heroines are “too independent.” Notes that don’t add to the structure or story, but strip out the diverse elements that make a book unique. The elements that these agents and writers claim to want.

When actual diverse books are published, promoted, and hit the best seller lists, instead of “thrillers” about white male assassins who sometimes sleep with a beautiful ethnic villainess who is then killed off, I’ll believe that’s what the agents and editors really want.

Ilona Andrews and I had a conversation about this several months ago — always be wary when they make a point of asking for diversity. It’s usually hollow.

Monday was a long day with clients – wound up being a twelve hour day. Tuesday was long, too, including website rebuilding. Today will be long, too. The weather is bad, so I may go straight home after I work with my client – I’ll have to see how it goes.

But I feel optimistic again about THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and even figured out a way for Phineas to make a cameo in it, ahead of taking his place as one of the central protagonists of RELICS AND REQUIEM.

 

Wed. Jan. 24, 2018: Web Host Hell

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and colder

Sorry I didn’t blog yesterday or earlier today.

I’ve been in Web Host Hell.

I wrote about it, 5K worth, that I will either turn into an article or a series of posts here, once everything is settled.

The short version is that Green Geeks reneged on the promises made in writing that were a condition of signing with them. After spending TWENTY SIX HOURS of hell with them over the weekend, getting contradictory information and information that didn’t work, I stopped the domain transfer of the Fearless Ink site (which had failed the first time anyway) and cancelled my account with them. The kicker was getting an email from tech support stating it “wasn’t their job” to give me tech support. WTF??? When I vented on social media, their social media person told me to DM them, but of course, their account is not set up to receive DMs. Social media massage so they look like they’re providing the service they refused to provide. I was with them for twelve days, well within the 30-day-money-back-guarantee period. But they’re not giving me a full refund. They’re keeping part of it as a “set-up” fee. Supposedly, the balance will be returned by tomorrow or Friday. I have my doubts. How much do you want to bet I’ll have to contact the Attorney General’s office to get my money back?

Going with them would have been going from an already bad situation to a worse one, and not being able to get out. I dug deeper and found bad reviews that hadn’t turned up in my initial research. More bad than good, especially when it came to tech support or to moving off them when they proved untrustworthy.

In a bout of Stockholm Syndrome, I asked my current host about switching to their WP platform. I figured hey, stay with them another quarter, build on WP, do more research, and THEN move. At first, hey, sure, here are the directions and so forth and so on. Then, I get another email stating that the Microsoft Platform to which they moved me from the Linux platform WITHOUT MY PERMISSION doesn’t support Word Press, and I have to move back to the Linux Platform (with its fee), and will lose ALL SEVEN SITES AT ONCE. I can’t build and move, build and move. Everything goes dark. I can’t build fast enough to make the downtime make sense. I don’t have the skills. On top of that, they started trying to make unauthorized payment pulls from my account, even though my invoice for the next quarter isn’t due for another two weeks.

I’ll have to cough up another quarter’s fees, but I can’t stay with them long term.

Before I cancelled with GreenGeeks, I backed up the new material I’d created for the Fearless Ink site. Although I can’t post any images or downloadable content, at least I updated the services and moved a few things around. I can’t add the new logo.

I’ve been in talks with a couple of other hosts. Host Gator has come recommended, but they don’t respond to my requests for information, so how can I trust them? Dream Host seems decent enough, but, if I interpret the answers to my questions, they won’t help me set up the WP for multiple domains. They have the capacity to run them, but won’t tell me how to set it up. A2 has been helpful in our discussions, and has asked thoughtful questions in return. So I don’t know what to do.

I contacted a colleague who is tech savvy and builds sites to see if I can hire her for a consult.

Every day I stay on my current host, I lose the ability to market my books, which means losing readers and losing income. At the same time, if I make a decision out of panic, I’ll end up worse off than I am now.

In the meantime, I’ve tried to stay on track with THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, whose deadline is coming up fast. I’ve kept up with client work. I’ve kept up with my reviewing duties. I’m reading contest entries. I’ve been sick as can be, and having trouble getting well, because of the stress with the Web Host situation. I’ve been purging boxes and unnecessary stuff from the basement — slowly, but it’s happening.

I haven’t sent out many LOIs this month, which is bad. That’s going to bite me in the butt down the line. There are other opportunities I wanted to take advantage of that I’m also missing.

All because Web Hosts lie.

Published in: on January 24, 2018 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Jan. 17, 2018: Keeping On Keeping On

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Waxing Moon
Stormy and cold

We had some light snow on Monday, during the day. Just a couple of inches, but enough to make the drive home unpleasant. And, heaven forbid, DPW even come through with sand or salt on our little street. I can understand not plowing, because it was so little accumulation. But the tire tracks in the snow, which then freeze, cause a risk. But, you know, that would mean we actually get services for our taxes. I guess I’ll have to ride the new Town Councilor for this district — the one I didn’t vote for — to see if he lives up to his “promises.”

I went directly home after working with my client on site, curled up in the big chair with hot tea, honey, and lemon, and read while I rested. I felt awful. I was in bed just after eight.

At least I’d written a full chapter on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY that morning!

Tuesday, I was up early. Still felt bad. Wrote another chapter on SPIRIT REPOSITORY before heading out to work with my client.

Also had to write and polish my review, which will go out today. I have another review due early next week, so I’ll get to work on that book either today or tomorrow.

Did some work for another client.

Worked on the Fearless Ink Website Re-design. We’re just about ready to move. There will definitely be some tweaking once it’s live, but until it is live, I can’t do much more.

I’m terribly disappointed that I won’t be able to keep the look for www.cerridwenscottage.com. I love that interior page design look. But my new web host doesn’t have a template that can replicate it, and I haven’t been able to find another template that does. I’m disappointed.

I’ve found a pleasant enough template that will do — very simple, and in keeping with the theme of the site. I will set it up on that, along with the new logo/header, and then keep searching for The Template of My Dreams. The site doesn’t generate enough income for me to hire in a custom design, nor is it meant so to do. So I can’t justify the expense.

The Devon Ellington Work site is the design/move that concerns me the most, because of all the subdomains. I have a feeling I will have to lose all the subdomains connected to the site when I move the main site, and then have to rebuild them/send them live. I don’t see how I can get it all done before the end of the month.

So, I’m going to try to get the three main sites rebuilt and moved by the end of the month, cancel my contract with my former, awful webhost, and then build and go live with the sites for each series as best as I can do it and still do it right.

I can do it fast and sloppy, or I can build something that’s worthwhile, that will actually be a viable tool for my work. I’d rather do the latter.

I’m learning a lot with the Fearless Ink build, but it IS learning a foreign language, and learning a language I don’t particularly enjoy.

But, every profession grows and changes. You can learn the new tools and figure out how to make them uniquely yours, or you can get left behind.

Being sick while being under such deadline pressure doesn’t help.

This morning, I worked on SPIRIT REPOSITORY again (manuscript deadlines are not suggestions, especially when they are contracted). I’ll be working onsite with a client, and doing additional work for another client, before going back to working on my own websites. Hopefully, Fearless Ink will move either tomorrow, or on Friday.

One of these days, I’ll get healthy and can focus for more than a few minutes.

 

 

Published in: on January 17, 2018 at 2:23 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 17, 2018: Keeping On Keeping On  
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Tues. Jan. 16, 2018: Steady Writing Gets There

 

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
New Moon

Busy few days.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my article over on Write Naked, about being an “Anti-Niche Writer,” you can visit it here. And leave a comment!

TRACKING MEDUSA (above) has re-released digitally. New buy links here and on the Books page of this blog.

There’s also a piece about the re-release over on A BIBLIO PARADISE here.

Because of issues with my old webhost, I can’t upload either the new cover or the new media kit to the website for the Gwen Finnegan mysteries or on the main Devon Ellington Work site (although the buy links will go up); when the webhost move is complete, a newly designed site with all the relevant information will go up. I thank you in advance, for your patience.

PLAYING THE ANGLES has moved distributors, and the new buy links are here. The information is up on the Books page of this blog; I’m updating the links on the Devon Ellington and the Coventina Circle site. Again, because of the webhost issues, the cover and the media kit will not be available until the host move is complete.

SAVASANA AT SEA will complete its distribution move and be available here as of today. Again, I will update the links on the Books page and on the Nautical Namaste website, but the cover and the media kit will not be available for download until the host move is complete at the end of the month.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

I will be boosting posts for all of the above on FB once the website moves are complete, because I want to send readers to the websites, which have all kinds of fun stuff and cool information — which will actually be accessible, once the web host move is complete and the new websites are built and go live.

So, this month is frustrating, but will ultimately be worthwhile.

Re-building the Fearless Ink site is going well, albeit more slowly than I would like. I like the new logo a lot. It’s clean and simple. The site will be much the same. No need for a lot of bells and whistles. The words are what matters.

I was feeling miserable on Friday; well enough to whine, so I obviously wasn’t THAT sick. After working on the website building for a few hours, and posting the details about the TRACKING MEDUSA re-release, I went home. Scratchy throat, achy, headache, tired.

I read; some for my own research/pleasure. The first batch of books arrived for contest judging, so I’ve also started on them.

One of Janet Malcolm’s pieces in FORTY-ONE FALSE STARTS: ESSAYS ON ARTISTS AND WRITERS inspired a new piece, set in the 1990s in the New York City arts culture, with the protagonists a painter and a choreographer. I don’t know when I’ll get time to WRITE the damn thing, but I made notes for the outline.

Friday night, the storm came in. It was unnaturally warm for the season, but the rain pounded and the wind howled. More naturally, the power went out, so we went to bed early.

It was restored pretty quickly, but the weather was still vile on Saturday. I put a pot roast in the crock pot and settled in to work on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’m behind where I want to be on it, and wanted to catch up.

Saturday, I was sick and miserable. However, I managed to run some errands, and then wrote two chapters on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. That felt good, being back in the world.

In the evening, I had a glass of wine by the fire and read. I’d made pot roast in the crackpot, which was good.

I’ve started reading the books submitted for the contest. They are good. This year will be fierce competition. Which is great. But it also means, when I go back over the books I think are the best, it’s going to be the details that decide which book is chosen.

Sunday, I was truly sick and miserable. I got the laundry done, but the rest of the day, I was huddled in bed, reading. Which is not a bad way to spend the day, but not the way I wanted/needed to spend it.

One of the books was one for review; big disappointment. The entire book was “telling” narration without active scenes. It was impossible, as a reader, to engage or care about the characters. It read like the outline for the novel, not the novel itself.

Yesterday, although it was technically a holiday, I was onsite with a client (even though I felt awful).

Got some more work done on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, though, early in the morning, so I don’t lose that momentum. I have a draft due on February 15, and I can’t drop the ball.

This will be a busy week, including the weekend, with two big events coming up.

All I really want to do is curl into a ball and sleep!

Not an option. Not right now.

Onward.

Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 1:14 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 16, 2018: Steady Writing Gets There  
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Fri. Jan. 12, 2018: Re-Release TRACKING MEDUSA!

Tracking Medusa Cover 1

Tracking Medusa is available through multiple digital formats here.

Blurb:

Archaeologist Dr. Gwen Finnegan is on the hunt for her lover’s killer.  Historical researcher Justin Yates bumps into her, literally, on the steps of the New York Public Library, and comes to her aid when she’s attacked, sparking an attraction between them in spite of their age difference.  After avoiding a cadre of pursuers at the Met Museum, Gwen impulsively invites Justin to hop a plane with her to the UK.  The shy historian, frustrated with his failing relationship, jumps at the chance to join her on a real adventure.  That adventure takes them through Europe, pursued by factions including Gwen’s ex-lover and nemesis, Karl, as they try to unspool fact from fiction in a multi-generational obsession with a statue of the goddess Medusa.

Friday, January 12, 2018
Waning Moon
Rainy and mild; turning colder

Well, I’m sick, which totally sucks, because I have so much to do.

On the positive – it’s re-release day for TRACKING MEDUSA! Not that I can post covers or media kits on anything on the Gwen Finnegan website – because, hey, that would mean 1and1.com actually gave me the services for which I’m paying! But no, unless I bow to their extortion of additional payments every month for every site ON TOP OF what I regularly pay – I don’t get to have photos on my sites.

Which is, of course, why I signed with a new webhost and why I’m in the process of moving everything.

But TRACKING MEDUSA is a re-release – and will be featured on A BIBLO PARADISE on Tuesday. If you have the original release, either digital or print – the text is the same (albeit with some stylistic changes to the new “house style”), and it contains the beginning of MYTH & INTERPRETATION and the beginning of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. Other than that, there are no major changes.

I’m also over on Write Naked! with the article “The Anti-Niche Writer.” Check it out here. Doing this article was a joy from pitch to release.

In spite of being sick, I’m trying to update the release links for TRACKING MEDUSA, promote its release, and do some more work on the new Fearless Ink website. I want it to go live next week. Because then I have the Cerridwen’s Cottage website to build and move, and the Devon Ellington Work website with all its subdomains – including the Gwen Finnegan mysteries, where TRACKING MEDUSA belongs.

I have a book to read and review this weekend, and I want to start reading the books sent for the contest.

I also have set a high goal of word count on THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY because I’m behind where I want to be (although still within the wheelhouse of the deadline).

Somewhere in there, I need to rest with hot tea and brandy, so I don’t get sicker!

We are expecting two days of heavy rain, resulting in flooding, and then turning to ice. Keep your fingers crossed we don’t lose power.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on January 12, 2018 at 10:05 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 12, 2018: Re-Release TRACKING MEDUSA!  
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Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018: Stress For A Cause

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold (but milder than the past few weeks)

The past few days have been stressful.

Signing with a new webhost and getting oriented has been tough. But I believe, in the long run, it will work better.

The Fearless Ink website is the first one undergoing the overhaul and move; I’m hoping, as I learn my way around, each site will get easier. And I’ll get faster at putting things together.

Fearless Ink is also getting a new logo.

Because I’m under a time crunch (everything has to move by the end of the month), I’m worried it won’t be as good as it can be. But I need to get something up and moved, and THEN I can tweak and hone. So it might be awhile before I do a big reveal on any site, although it may go live sooner.

Tomorrow is the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA. As soon as I’ve verified the new buy links, they will go up. I also have to tweak the media kit.

PLAYING THE ANGLES is moving through its new distribution channels, and as soon as I have the buy links, I will make the appropriate changes, on the websites, here on the Book page of the blog, and in the media kits.

SAVASANA AT SEA goes off to the new distributor today, and will follow the same process.

1and1.com’s extortion (telling me the only way I can have book covers and downloadable content on the websites is to pay an extra $140/month on top of my plan) and my refusal to cave in to them has hurt my sales — I lost ALL my holiday sales, and, since I can’t put the new media kits up or the new covers up — I won’t see decent results until the website/webhost moves are complete. Because the Devon Ellington site is the most complicated, with all the subdomains, that will be the hardest. I have a feeling that once the main DE domain moves, the subdomains will all disappear, so I’m trying to get them as streamlined as possible before.

It’s overwhelming if I look at all of it, so I’m looking at it one piece at a time.

Lots of client work this week, and trying to support a colleague who’s going through a challenging time. I feel a little guilty, because the situation has inspired a piece of writing. I don’t know when I’ll actually get to write it, but I’m working on the outline. I’m going to change enough to make it stand apart from the personal information, but it’s also one of the dangers of knowing a writer. Everything is material.

Managed to go out yesterday afternoon and spend time with a friend I hadn’t seen for awhile, and catch up on life, the world, and everything. That was fun. We went to the Dolphin, in Barnstable, which was the perfect place for our chat.

Had to try to explain creative process to someone who didn’t understand why people won’t just “create” in front of him. Because it’s intimate and comes from a private place. Otherwise, you’re just taking down dictation. Too many people around here claim they want a marketing professional when what they really want is a secretary.

I’m supposed to go out tonight, too, but I woke up with a scratchy throat, so I’m going to have to see how the day goes. I’ve been feeling off most of the week, trying not to get sick. I might have to take some time to rest.

The first shipment of books has arrived for judging in the contest. I’m very excited. I’m reading three categories again this year. I also have three books to review in the next three weeks, so I better get to it!

Trying to get back in the groove of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY along with everything else.

If I can get some rest this weekend and not get sick? That would be a good thing.

It’s supposed to be a miserable day tomorrow, so I’m trying to stack all my errands in today, and not have to dash around in the bad weather tomorrow.

Onward!

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 9:38 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 11, 2018: Stress For A Cause  
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Wed. Dec. 20, 2017: Almost Solstice! Writerly Preparations

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

We’re having a mini-thaw, which means it feels colder, because it’s the wet cold instead of the dry cold. I hope we have just a dusting of snow this weekend, for the holiday.

I was saddened by the Amtrak accident in Washington State. When I moved back east from Seattle, back in the mid-80s, I took the train from Seattle to New York. It was an amazing journey.

Of course the Narcisstic Sociopath tried to make it all about him. What a waste of food that moron is.

Cookie platter deliveries are going out; I’m trying to get my e-cards out; I’m working with one particular client on site most of this week, and then my full focus goes back to SERENE AND DETERMINED. It’s chugging along, just more slowly than I’d like, and it’s due at the theatre next week.

Doing another pass on the TRACKING MEDUSA proofs. When those go out, and SERENE AND DETERMINED is out, I have to look at two other manuscripts (should just be a proof-read). I have to finish FIX-IT GIRL, so it can go out on submission early next year; I have to prepare workshop proposals for a couple of places that are interested; I have to ramp up the submission of DEATH OF A CHOLERIC; I have to get both THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY and NOT BY THE BOOK back into the daily work queue. THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY is due in February to my editor; NOT BY THE BOOK doesn’t have a hard deadline, but I want to finish it and get it out the door by spring.

Next week, I have to sit down and figure out the manuscript schedule for 2018, both hard and soft deadlines. Yeah, because THAT was so successful last year! But with some contracts settled and the promise of a new webhost who actually gives me what I pay for, maybe I can get back on track.

I have to build in time for new ideas that are worked on in tandem with what I have scheduled. It means being even better at time management. I’m decent at time management now, but I need to be brilliant.

I also have to remember to build in time for what looks like “doing nothing”, but is actually the creative process at work.

Tomorrow is the Solstice. I’m looking forward to celebrating!

Published in: on December 20, 2017 at 3:07 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 20, 2017: Almost Solstice! Writerly Preparations  
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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!

 

Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017: Writing, Releases, Posts on Sites

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea is on sale. Buy it here.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy couple of days.

Hop on over to Kemmyrk, where I talk about The Night of Hecate that’s celebrated tonight.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see how I’m getting along with my November To Do List.

I’ve also decided to put the questions for 2018 on a separate page for the site, at least for now. That way, people don’t have to search for it. Take a look here.

I’m delighted that SAVASANA AT SEA has released (under the Ava Dunne name), and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. There’s a lot for cozy readers to enjoy, but it does break cozy formula in certain places, so be warned!

Books & the Bear is running a Twitter promotion for SAVASANA today. I’m curious and interested in how that will translate into sales.

The good thing about juggling three series that are so very different from each other is that I skew the marketing a bit for each, and it gives me the chance to try different things. I can see what works best for me, and what doesn’t.

Not doing Nano was the right choice for me this year. I hope everyone who’d doing it is having a wonderful time, but if I’d let my ego rule and committed and dug in, I would have been miserable. I’m working with two new clients, SAVASANA released’ I’m still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES; I’m finishing SERENE AND DETERMINED, so it can go off to NY on deadline in December; I’m doing the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, so that can release on time; I’m working on “Miss Winston Apologizes” and the pushed back release of “Labor Intensive”; We’re talking new covers for some of the holiday shorts.

It also means, as soon as TRACKING MEDUSA and SERENE AND DETERMINED go out the door, that I have to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, DAVY JONES DHARMA, MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE.

Thank goodness for outlines and series bibles, or I’d be lost!

All this while I’m playing with THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, the novel on aging, and trying to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track (which I think I’m going to move to January just to take some pressure off).

It’s a busy time. But it’s the right kind of busy, so I’m going to enjoy it.

Yesterday was a good day’s work onsite with the client, and finding a good website design/tutor contact for another client. Productive day.

I’m reading Jenn McKinlay’s Hat Shop mysteries, which are fun. As I read them, I’m passing them on to my mom to read as she recuperates. They cheer her up. So does the knitting.

Today, my mom goes back to the surgeon, so they can make sure the foot is healing properly. She is sick and tired of the long healing process, and the fact there’s still so much she can’t do.

I’ve also got to take the recycling to the dump, and I have yoga, and I have to get out a guest post to someone who is kind enough to host me, and finish uploading and scheduling next week’s post for A Biblio Paradise.

I’m hoping, over the weekend, to do some yard work. Mine is the only yard that still has leaves in it. Atmospheric, right? I at least want to get the front tidied up, and then I can work on the back as I can.

But, most of all, I need to get the first act of the Lavinia Fontana play finished, so I can tackle Act II next week, do another revision, and get it out the door the first week of December.

Onward!

 

PLAYING THE ANGLES available here.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Fri. Oct. 20, 2017: Glad A Tough Week Comes to a Close

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles

Friday, October 20, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday morning was stressful; dealing with the Best Buy fiasco, trying to get back on track with the work.

I desperately needed the noon yoga class. It was great — the teacher is wonderful. A fellow Hob-Nobber was there, and I had a great conversation with another woman who also absolutely loved the class. I hope I can go to the teacher’s crystal sound meditation session in November.

Came home and worked on the next book for review. Mixed feelings about it.

A new editor and I are going through an adjustment process. We’ll see if we can make it work. I may depart in the next few months.

Dragging in the reading of a book I wanted to read for pleasure. Only, sadly, it’s not a pleasure. I don’t respect a protagonist who doesn’t pass on information or take action because she’s “tired” or “hungry”, and then someone dies, or evidence is destroyed. That means the protag is directly responsible for the death (not that those protags ever have a prick of conscience). In my universe, I’d want her karma to even it out by her being the next victim, because she’s too much of a fucking moron for me to respect her as a protagonist. I see more and more of this lamentable excuse to create inorganic plot complications in a way that makes me loathe the protagonist.

I might just skip to the end to see if I’m right about the murderer (I usually am), and then call it a day with this author.

I picked the book because I was interested in the location. That part is rendered pretty well; too bad the rest of the book is so annoying.

I contacted the “staffing service” that I felt pulled a bait-and-switch on me a few weeks ago, getting me in under false pretext, making me fill out all that paperwork, talking about the job in financial terms that were nearly 1K/week less than the listing, and promising to set up a meeting for said job — and I never heard from them again. I decided to behave the way I believe is professional, which was to contact them and tell them that, since I had never heard about the actual meeting set up or anything else, I assumed I was no longer in the running for that “job”, and that my situation had changed. My availability has changed, and I’m only available for freelance or short-term clients that required little on-site time, and it is a X rate. I received a somewhat polite response, thanking me and telling me that, in 25 years of doing HR, this was the only client she ever had looking for a writer! Hmm, and how does she think all those materials are created that those businesses she deals with use? I was right; they are a bait-and-switch, typical Cape Cod scam. Try to get in qualified people, then convince them to work shit jobs at even worse shit rates. Next!

Need to get back on track, writing-wise this weekend. I’m way too far behind on several projects.

Hopefully, I can also nail down the new design for A Biblio Paradise. I’m sure I’m making far too big a deal out of it. Just make a decision and do it, for goodness sake!

It’s supposed to be a nice weekend, so I can put up the outdoor decorations, and also do some more yard work. I swear there are a pair of squirrels sitting in one particular tree practicing their throws by aiming acorns at my head!

Gathering some material for an upcoming meeting with one client (a week from Monday, but I want to send the material ahead of time), and next week, I start with another new client, who will be a regular several-days-a-week writing and marketing gig for the next few months.

Working on replacing the gig I’ve been so unhappy with the past few months with something that works better for both of us, so I can ease out of that one.

Getting out some pitches for a few more one-offs to fill in here and there and round out the roster.

While doing all this, I have to keep promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, keep the release of SAVASANA on track, finish the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA and get that to my editor, and get the digital shorts back on track. I’ve got “Miss Winston Apologizes” coming up, and I have to get the release of “Labor Intensive” done.

Heap on top of that finishing the last few chapters of THE FIX-IT GIRL and getting it out on submission, writing the Lavinia Fontana play, and getting the manuscripts that were derailed back on track.

Not to mention finish THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so that can go to the editor after the holidays.

Deadline pressure much?

Somehow, it will all get done.

The focus of both my physical and emotional energy next week will be my mother’s surgery. I posted on Facebook yesterday how I couldn’t believe how many so-called “well-meaning” people said things like “well, she’s old, you can’t expect her to survive the surgery.” Excuse me? Not helpful. Not comforting. It’s not being “honest”, it’s being cruel.

May YOUR weekend be filled with kindness.

Wed. Oct. 4, 2017: Reasons I Should Not Do Nano

Playing The Angles Cover Sm
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Thank you to everyone who has purchased PLAYING THE ANGLES. I hope you’re loving it. I’m getting some wonderful feedback. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, a variety of digital links are here and the website is here.

Busy day — pitches, promo for PLAYING THE ANGLES, updating sites, research for articles, etc.

Finished writing a weird little short story — for me, very weird and out of my wheelhouse. But I like it. Have to type it up and polish it.

Got in the two reviews, and requested two more books to review.

Heard back from a pitch and have a meeting about it tomorrow afternoon, which will be fun. Looking forward to it.

Playing with an idea for a story, a way to channel current rage and frustrations. I started playing with it last night. Not only did I enjoy working the idea, but I felt better about things in general. It’s evolving away from the original inspiration into something much more complex and interesting, which is what a good bit of imagination partnered with craft does. I like even the unlikable characters, and it has a weird humor to it. It’s also out of my usual wheelhouse, which makes it an interesting challenge.

Added a challenging yoga sequence before last night’s meditation. I’m sore this morning, but slept better. Upped this morning’s yoga practice, too. Important to keep it fresh.

Of course, the Nano debate is coming up again, for me and for most writers I know. To Nano or not to Nano? Everyone, of course, has different reasons for doing or not doing Nano. I need to separate my ego at writing 50K in 30 days away from what’s on my schedule.

First and foremost, I know I can write 50K in 30 days. I proved that over 5 bouts of Nano, and, at this point, that’s basically a normal month, although usually spread over several projects.

Second, the Lavinia Fontana play has to take center stage as far as drafting, since it’s due to the producer by the end of the year.

Third, I’m promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES, and by November, will have to get back into finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, so it can release in May.

Fourth, SAVASANA AT SEA releases on November 15, so I’ll be working on pre-release and release material for that WHILE still promoting PLAYING THE ANGLES.
Fifth, I’ll be working on the research and finishing the outline for DAVY JONES DHARMA, so I can start writing it after the first of the year, since it releases in November of 2018.

Sixth, “Miss Winston Apologizes”, the next Cornelia True/Roman Gray story is set to release in November. Which means writing the opening of the following story to go in the back matter.

Seventh, we still have to re-schedule the release of “Labor Intensive”, the next Twinkle Tavern short.

Eighth, the galleys for the re-release of TRACKING MEDUSA will be in full swing by then (since it releases in January) — which also means I’ll have to reshape the material for the opening of MYTH & INTERPRETATION (which drops next July) and the opening of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (which releases in January of 2019).

Ninth, I have article and review deadlines to keep the bills paid and a roof over my head.

Tenth, my mother will just have had surgery, and we don’t yet know the next steps.

Eleventh, FIX-IT GIRL has to go out on submission.

Twelfth, I have other original novels that got derailed with this new writing/release schedule that have to get back on track.

Those reasons are all in the “don’t do it this year” column.

In the “gosh I’m tempted column”:

I like riding the wave of creative energy. The air tingles with excitement;

The new novel I’m playing with wants attention; it would give me a chance to write a bit over 1600 words/day to see if it’s actually viable, or just a release valve for the moment;

I love the space where the local Nano group is meeting, and I’m tempted to go and write in community.

The Nano definition has gotten much looser in the last few years, but I still stick to the original definition.

“Doing” Nano means you start a new project on Nov. 1 and you write 50K in 30 days. If you’re not done with your first draft then, you keep going until you’re done, using the Nano momentum.

“Writing Along With” Nano means you’re working on something in progress. Some people use it to work on revisions. Personally, I find the first-draft energy generated by millions of people scribbling for a month too intense for anything but first-draft work.

So why not “Write With” on more than one project?

Technically, one isn’t supposed to work on a script — this NOVEL writing month. The Lavinia Fontana script must take priority. There used to be Script Frenzy in the spring, but I think that petered out. Plus, I can’t be held to a daily word count with Lavinia. She is bound and determined to do things her way, just like she did in life — serene and determined (which I’m seriously thinking of using as the title).

First-draft energy would mean either finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY or using it to push DAVY JONES DHARMA (since I’m already immersed in the world of that series).

Or, it could be used to get NOT BY THE BOOK back on track. Since that’s only got a 55K word limit, it’s do-able.

Or I could use it to keep working on MARRIAGE GARDEN, but that’s developed a solid, innate rhythm, sometimes as much as 3K/day, and I don’t want to disrupt it.

Or, I could work on the first 50K of the new piece I’m noodling with — but DOING Nano would mean I can’t work on it between now and November 1, which just isn’t going to happen. I’m pretty sure this book will run to just under 100K.

Last time I “wrote along with” Nano, about two years ago, I was already working on TIE-CUTTER, but then I wanted to “do” Nano, too, so I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC — and wrote the whole damn thing while writing daily on TIE-CUTTER, doing what I called “Tandem Nano.” CHOLERIC is out on submission; TIE-CUTTER was put aside to work on other projects, and will go back in the queue late next year.

On an emotional/ego level, I want to do it. On a practical level, it is going to work against me instead of for me. Which should make the decision easy.

We’ll see what happens come November 1.

Lots of fiddly things to do today, and then it’s back to the SAVASANA galleys, polishing the short story, and working on articles.

Back to the page.

I’m glad so many of you are loving PLAYING THE ANGLES! It means a lot to me.