Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about my next adventure in the Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy weekend.

I didn’t get in as much yardwork as I wanted. I got a little bit done on Friday, before the rain started, and then again on Sunday, before the rain started.

I had a meeting Friday afternoon, which left me feeling lukewarm about the whole situation. It should have been very simple, but wasn’t.

Also, unless someone is planning to date me or sleep with me, asking about my marital status is irrelevant. I find it an insulting question. And I’m starting to push back when people ask. I thought that was not allowed anymore in interviews.

Saturday morning, up early, and got Tessa to the vet to get her shots updated. She was vocal in the car — first time ever. I guess, since Iris is no longer around to yowl, Tessa feels she has to pick up the slack. The visit went well; Tessa was good. Then, we headed home, and she was fine.

The day was rainy and yucky, so I focused on working on contest entries.

Sunday morning, I did a little bit of work on GAMBIT COLONY. I worked on contest entries. I went grocery shopping. It was a gorgeous day.

Took yard waste to the dump.

I went to Country Gardens and got pansies for the front, three kinds of lettuce, and parsley, then got potting soil. I potted the herbs and vegetables, put pansies in the front baskets and the barrel, and raked out the front beds. Cut back a lot of invasives that took up residence over the winter.

Sat outside on the deck for a bit, reading. Steven Axelrod’s newest, NANTUCKET COUNTERFEIT, is excellent.

Dinner, more WEST WING. I did not watch the premiere of the last season of GAME OF THRONES. It’s a magnificent production, but I stopped watching a few years ago due to the unrelenting cruelty. It’s great that people love it so much; always glad when art has that power. But I choose not to watch it anymore. I don’t denigrate those who love it; I don’t accept anyone denigrating me because I don’t.

Storm started Sunday night, and was bad into Monday. Monday was Patriot’s Day here in MA, and the Boston Marathon. I felt for the runners. Miserable weather. And tornado warnings in New York.

Got some work done on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” but I’m still not satisfied. I have to keep working it until I get it right. Also worked on “Dashed Dreams” the Straw Hat Circuit radio play.

Worked with a client for a few hours yesterday on site, and am back there again today.

Have to get material to the organizers of the talk I’m giving in mid-May. It’s a panel discussion. Should be interesting, but part of me is wishing I hadn’t committed. But I did and I’ll see it through.

Am reconciling myself to disappointment on a couple of fronts, and feeling a bit discouraged.

Considering going to an event this evening, but I have to see how I feel. I don’t know if I can summon up the energy for yet another new group of people.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 5:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done  
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Tues. April 9, 2019: Catching Up on the Adventures

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Waxing Moon

I bet you want to hear about my adventures last week, don’t you?

Which I’ll get to in a minute.

There are all kinds of games to connect writers now on Twitter. Which is great and fun and interesting. But too many of them demand information from WIPs. That does not work for me. If I talk the book, it takes away from writing the book. It dilutes the creativity. Not to mention that actually posting something from a draft blows the ability to sell first rights (and, for the series under contract, they are specific NOT to post anything from a draft, just excerpts from edited, contracted work), and early draft material splattered on the internet is more likely to turn readers off than engage them. It harms the work. It harms the quality. And talking about switching places with the MC or putting them in a different situation — no. Just no. They are part of the construct of their world. Putting them in a different world doesn’t add anything to them or the book. It hurts everything.

So I skip those questions. Because people can post whatever they want on their own timelines.

But I will not put the work at risk. The work is central. The work is what’s important. I’ll talk process until the cows come home, but I only post excerpts and lines and information from the actual work when it’s ready to go out into the world. — once it’s under contract and has been edited.

Wednesday morning, we left early for Vermont. The stretch from the Cape to Worcester is always the worst, but once we got past that, it was nice driving. We drove out of a storm and into sunshine (once we were over the bridge onto the mainland, it was already better weather).

Turned north at Springfield and went into Vermont.

It took a lot longer than I expected it to take. Vermont is interesting, because, although there’s not much traffic, the roads are long and often windy, and you have to drive around things instead of straight shots between destinations.

The quality of light is very different, and the quality of air is very different.

We ended up in a small hotel in Quichee Gorge, which was fine. Drove around to get oriented. Everything seems quite far away from everything else. Weathered and funky rather than ostentatious.

Dinner meeting, took care of some other business. Watched some TV in the room at night, but really, I so prefer watching DVDs. The sound and image got out of sync on one particular station, and it was annoying.

Up early the next morning. Stuck to my morning yoga and meditation routine (I’d brought my travel mat). It was another sunny, lovely, beautiful day.

The hotel served a hot breakfast as part of the stay, which was great. Then I headed off for a day of meetings, some with potential new clients, some with those for whom I do some remote writing. There’s a lot of solar and wind energy, people are dedicated to recycling and doing better for the planet. Fox Disinformation doesn’t play in public areas. People are committed to doing good work while maintaining a high quality of life. I met with a lot of smart people who are good at what they do, which was nice.

It was interesting, busy, creative, but I was tired by the time I was done in the mid-afternoon.

We drove back as far as Sturbridge, and checked into my favorite Publick House. We were up in the Lodge, with all its toile, which always makes me laugh. The room was great, the food in Ebenezer’s Tavern was terrific, and it was a nice way to wind down after a busy couple of days.

Friday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, then drove home. I ran around and did some grocery shopping, and then, exhausted, just worked on contest entries and thank you notes.

Saturday morning, I was up early trying to get things done, and then on the 9:45 bus to Boston. Another gorgeous, sunny day, and much warmer than I expected. It was a lovely ride.

Amazing how much the city coping skills come back instantly. The focus, the confidant stride, the “don’t mess with me” vibe. Even though I’d never ridden the T before (imagine, I’ve lived here for nine years, and it was the first time I took the T), I got my Charlie card, found the Red Line, and off I went.

Of course, it’s public transportation, and nothing is easy. So, at Harvard Square, we had to get off the T because of construction, and were taken by shuttle bus to the next stops.

It was nice to be above ground and get a sense of Harvard and Cambridge and all that.

The theatre was only a few blocks from the Davis Square stop, in Somerville. Somerville reminds me of Queens a bit, and I mean that as a compliment. Lots of great little restaurants and shops, busy, lively, upbeat. People of all ages and diverse — very different from down here on Cape.

Everyone was very nice. They were genuinely happy to see me, which was nice. Because so often, the writer is considered an obstruction to the production instead of an asset.

They did a wonderful, wonderful job with “Confidence Confidant.” Their commitment to the piece, their talent, their excitement, their creativity — it was all great.

I met the director, assistant director, producer, house manager/board member. It was an excellent experience. It was great to meet everyone, and meet some audience members who were excited about it. It was a good-sized house, which thrilled us all, and a very responsive audience. The laughs hit where I hoped they would. I want to tighten the scene in the garden for future productions, and beef up the role of Bill. That role was woefully underwritten, and I’m grateful that the actor made it work.

They suggested I submit “Horace House Hauntings” for their October show. I don’t think it exactly fits the guidelines, since it’s not adapted from legend or folklore, but, you never know. I’ll think about it.

The other play on the bill was also fun, having to do with airships and bank robberies and mistaken identities, adapted from a silent film.

All in all, a lovely afternoon.

Headed back to the shuttle bus, which took me back to the Red Line at Harvard Square, which took me back to South Station. The subways have far fewer seats here than the ones in NYC. People expect to stand.

I tell you, though, there’s even more walking involved in this transit system than in New York. I’d be back in shape within a month if I had to do it every day.

Caught the 5:15 bus, and was back home by 7. Some traffic coming out of Boston, but I just sat on the bus and read my book. The bus was nearly full from the airport when it hit South Station, and those on the bus were disgruntled that more passengers got on, and, heaven forbid, their luggage couldn’t have its own seat. Sorry, sweetie, it’s people before purses.

But P&B has made the bus as a quiet zone — yes, you can call to tell someone which bus you’re on and what time you’ll arrive, but no ongoing conversations during the ride. Makes it much better.

Tired, but happy tired. Still re-watching WEST WING. Worked on more contest entries. Heated up leftovers for dinner. Fell into bed, exhausted.

Had trouble getting up on Sunday, but got there. I should have gone out and done yard work. Instead, I worked on contest entries, planted the rest of my tomato seeds, wrote.

I finished the first draft of the radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.” I need to let it sit a few days, because it needs work. Started a draft of “Organizing the Dead” which is a darker paranormal comedy that I might also submit to PMRP. I want to take the idea that derailed the original draft of “Horace House Hauntings” and took it out of farce, and see if I can develop it here. We’ll see.

I’m getting back into the rhythm of GRAVE REACH, which is pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to diving further into this book. Lesley is growing into herself, and Sam is an intriguing character.

This week will be stressful, on a lot of fronts, so I’m trying to mentally prepare.

Worked with a client yesterday, which wore me out, although we did good work. Had another appointment, and then skipped meditation, because I wasn’t feeling well. With a client today, too, and then another location after. Trying to keep all the flaming coconuts in the air and still keep my sanity.

I should go out tonight, but, honestly, I don’t feel up to it.

Back to the page.

Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I read for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy, intense weekend.

Worked on contest entries and books for review on Friday.

Saturday, I wrote 20 pages on GAMBIT. I planned to keep going, or to switch to one of the other novels, but then I got an email.

The radio theatre company in Florida, where I pitched “Horace House Hauntings” a couple of weeks ago wants to perform/produce it. On March 25th.

Now that’s quick!

So, on March 25, “Horace House Hauntings” will be performed in Florida. The first two weekends in April, “Confidence Confidant” will be performed in Boston. On May 10, “Light Behind the Eyes” will be performed in Minnesota.

That’s a pretty good run of productions.

The company in Florida wants more with Frieda and Lazarus, my protagonists from “Horace House Hauntings.”

So, on Saturday afternoon, I wrote the half of the first draft of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” which puts them on an ocean liner headed for England.

Page total for Saturday: 35.

I was wiped out.

Watched some of Season 3 of THE WEST WING. Worked on the books for review.

Fell into bed, exhausted.

Sunday, I sort of slept in. I was back at my desk by 8 AM (late for me). I wrote 21 pages on GAMBIT. I wrote a couple of blog posts. I wrote a 7-page letter to an old friend. I finessed two monologues: “Smile” and “Quicksand” from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST and rehearsed them for Wednesday night.

I’m still not happy with the last beat on “Smile.” It’s not there, and I have to have something better by tomorrow night. I tossed it to Women Write Change, and hope they can help.

“Quicksand” takes a nice turn and ends on a gut punch.

“Emotional Labor” isn’t quite ready to test. I’ll do it next month. And I’ll have to decide which other piece to write and prepare.

Exhausted Sunday night, and behind where I want to be in the books for review (although I’m well within deadline).

Monday, I was with a client, and then to meditation group. Today I’ll be with a client and, if the weather holds, I’ll have to get started on yard work later in the afternoon.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. And the full moon. And Mercury Retrograde. And a reading.

Overwhelmed much?

I’d say yes!

Published in: on March 19, 2019 at 5:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend  
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Wed. Feb. 27, 2019: Gigs, Etc.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Waning Moon

Monday’s windstorm was a little scary. We didn’t lose power, thank goodness, but driving was tough.

I got caught up in a work thing and missed meditation group, which was kind of a bummer.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where we’re working on the personal strategic plan.

Worked on contest entries, the book I’m reviewing, wrote some more on GAMBIT COLONY. Figured out a conflict that needs to deepen in one of my other books. I need to compare the numbered and unnumbered drafts of “Horace House Hauntings” before I send the unnumbered draft to another radio production company. They’re in completely different areas of the country, so there’s no conflict.

Didn’t get a particular gig for which I’d pitched, but it was a stretch, and no big surprise. I’ve got some other irons in the fire in that particular direction; one of them will hit true.

Saw an ad to ghostwrite romance novels. They pay $15 per 1000 words. That works out to one and a half cents per word. That’s beyond insulting. Especially in light of the controversy where a “romance author” was accused of plagiarism and then said it was her ghostwriter’s fault.

I’ve always wanted to write juvenile series fiction (like Nancy Drew) for a book packager, but I sure as heck wouldn’t do it for rates like that.

Worked on an ad campaign and a mailing for a client. Did some more work on one of my own promotional campaigns. Gotta say, I’m loving the Twuffer platform. Also pleased that the campaign I’ve been running for one of my clients on Twuffer is getting about a solid, daily return.

I had trouble booking the room online for the conference at which I’m teaching, so I sent them a letter with a check for deposit instead. Hopefully, that will work.

We’re supposed to get more snow tonight into tomorrow. Tomorrow’s post may be late, depending on how much snow we actually get and how long it takes me to shovel.

Totally loving watching THE WEST WING for the umpteenth time. Those little detail moments between the characters are brilliant. I love the fast delivery and that they’re smart.

I always learn so much from watching well-written, well-acted, well-produced shows.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 27, 2019 at 6:01 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 27, 2019: Gigs, Etc.  
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Tues. Feb. 26, 2019: Cleaning the Virtual House of the Toxic

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Waning Moon

Busy weekend, but in the right way.

When I finally finished my meeting on Friday morning, and then the grocery shopping and headed to Centerville Library, the parking lot was full. I had about 20+ heavy research books to return. There was no way I was going to park in the lower lot and haul them up 40 stairs.

So I went to Sturgis library in Barnstable Village instead. It’s a lovely old library, one of the oldest (maybe the oldest) on the Cape. Returned my books, did some work on there instead.

Checked out their book sale.

I found an enormous, red Collier’s Atlas from 1960 for 50 cents. It’s wonderful! Yes, there are differences in country names and political situations. But there’s still a lot of relevant information. On top of it, when I write anything set before 1960 or near 1960, it’s a good reference.

That book makes me so happy!

I did a lot of reading Friday night, including contest entries and the book I’m reviewing.

Started re-watching THE WEST WING. The integrity and optimism of that show are a stark contrast to what we have now.

Saturday morning, I was wide awake, so I hit the page early. Got nearly 40 pages written. On GAMBIT COLONY, which isn’t what I was supposed to be working on, but it was wonderful. It was wonderful to be able to get deep into the work again.

Worked on more contest entries.

Got annoyed on Sunday by someone on social media (I checked before I clicked off for much of the day), whining that libraries should be open at night so people have options other than bars or isolation at home.

Lady, where the hell have you been?

Anywhere in the country where I’ve lived and worked, libraries are open at least a couple of times a week at night. They have a plethora of programs and coffeehouses and lectures and training sessions on just about everything. Only most people in the community can’t be bothered to attend, so then the funding is cut, the programs are cut, the hours are cut. I know this because I worked in a library for a couple of years, and our funding was based on circulation numbers and program numbers. People didn’t check books out across our desk? People didn’t bother to show up for programs? Our funding was cut. Personnel was cut. Hours were cut. We couldn’t buy as many books and DVDS. We had to spend less time providing service to our patrons and more time begging other sources for money.

You want options at the library? Then USE the library. Support the library. Check out books and videos. Attend programs.

Better yet, CREATE programs. Stop the hell expecting everyone else to do your work while you sit there and whine.

If you’re not willing to work to create the type of community you crave, get the hell away from me, because I’m working to create the life, the community, and the work I want.

I wound up reading more than writing on Sunday. My wrist hurt and my brain was tired. Plus, I needed to do some percolating.

I used the Oscars telecast to remove some toxic people from my social media feeds. It’s one thing to have an opinion about whether or not a piece worked for you, or to agree or not agree with winner choices. It’s quite another to denigrate the profession. I’ve dedicated my life to the arts; anyone who denigrates art & artists denigrates ME. It’s personal. And it’s usually done by cubicle slaves who never had the guts to follow their dreams and turn them into reality.

Buh-bye. You’re out of my life, and my life is better for it.

People who work in the arts tend to be intelligent, hardworking, dedicated, curious. They are able to learn many things and live many lives in order to share a wide range of experiences with audiences. To make the audience view the world in a new and different way.

Artists are not, overall, stupid, shallow, lazy, or lack knowledge, skills, or empathy.

There are smarter and less smart people in every profession, but this constant contempt against artists claiming they can’t know anything beyond themselves or have the right to speak out and make the world a better place — usually coming from people who are too stupid, narrow-minded, and lack the courage to do anything beyond their own selfish interests, often out of jealousy, envy, and spite — out of my life. I’ve worked too hard, my colleagues have worked too hard. Go f&ck yourself.

I’m not going to argue. I’m not going to engage. I’m going to remove them from my life. Social media is what I do IN ADDITION to my life, not INSTEAD of my life.

Art provokes change. Art can take down regimes — look at Vaclav Havel. If you don’t know who that is, look him up.

So, the side effect of award shows in my industry is that certain toxic people show their true colors, and can be removed.

Lively debate over whether something works or doesn’t work, or how a story was handled or whatever — that makes sense. We like different things, we have different frames of references, and it’s not always about “fair” or “best” — so when someone or a group of someones create something extraordinary and it gets recognized, it’s fantastic.

There were a lot of great people getting recognized last night, and they deserved their moments of happiness.

Did I agree with all the choices? No. I would have chosen some differently. But I am happy for everyone who won.

I’d considered not paying attention this year, when they threatened to give out technical awards during commercials instead of broadcasting them. The wins for costume design and production design proved why those awards need to be broadcast. I was thrilled for Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler.

I was also thrilled for Olivia Colman’s Best Actress win. She’s one of my favorites.

There are all kinds of reasons to disagree with the competition aspect and the apples/oranges comparison between projects. But it’s important for kids who dream of a life in the arts to see it’s possible — both on the technical end and on the acting/directing end. That ‘s why broadcasting more than just the actors and directors is so important.

The Narcissistic Sociopath’s attack on Spike Lee was disgusting. The lack of class and basic human decency in that creature are appalling.

Bad night, woke up too often. Up late on Monday, and trying to get things sorted out.

Client work Monday, client work today and tomorrow. Plus a lot of admin stuff that needs to be dealt with. Technical issues on different fronts make it feel like Mercury already went retrograde.

Then, more writing. I’m behind on too much, and need to catch up.

I am NOT looking forward to most of March being Mercury in Retrograde.

And people keep messaging me on FB, in spite of my constant reminders that I can’t open the messages and NOT to contact me that way. Email me.

Back to the page.

Published in: on February 26, 2019 at 6:48 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 26, 2019: Cleaning the Virtual House of the Toxic  
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Wed. Jan. 11, 2017: Steady Writing

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Day Before Full Moon
Sunny and mild

I finally had a better writing day yesterday, although I wouldn’t call it a “good” one. I did a good day’s work on SONGBOUND SISTERS, though. I’m getting back into the protagonist’s soul. It’s slow, but it’s getting there.

I’m still struggling with NOT BY THE BOOK. I did some research for a potential play I’m debating on whether or not I should do; I’m interested, but I’m a little commitment-shy right now. I looked at what I’d written so far on the new pilot, and it’s solid. I have to decide the direction I want for the rest of it. Looked back at another pilot I wrote last year; wondering if it needs a little tweaking.

So it was a decent, if not a brilliant, writing day.

Kept track of the Senate hearings on Jeff Sessions, who is I believe is unfit to be Attorney General. My elected officials know how I feel; all I can do is trust them to do the right thing. Some of the others involved in the decision? Not so much.

Started re-watching THE WEST WING last night, because I’ll take a fictional president who has intelligence, heart, courage, and ethics over a reality celebutard any day.

On a creative level, I love ensemble casts. Shows that are nothing more than a “vehicle” for one particular actor usually bore me. Especially if the show is named for the actor in the lead role, who is playing a character with the same name. Ick. To me, it shows a lack of imagination.

I’m not even going to comment on the latest disgusting rumors surrounding Swamp Thing Elect. But if there’s actual treason at the root of it, something better be done about it, instead of this constant shrugging and turning the other way on the part of Congress and law enforcement.

The genuine President’s Farewell Address last night was a reminder of what we’re losing: a man with dignity, ethics, intelligent, heart, and class. Have I agreed with all his positions over the past eight years? Absolutely not. In fact, I’ve been frustrated because I felt he was too conciliatory most of the time. But he was always someone I could respect.

Errands to run today, trying to get things done between the storms. Last night’s rain got rid of a good portion of the snow pack. We have more rain coming. It’s supposed to be in the 50s today and tomorrow — far too warm for this time of year. I have a feeling there will be a lot of illness with the fluctuating temperatures.

I’m hoping for another good day on SONGBOUND SISTERS, and maybe NOT BY THE BOOK. I’m way behind on the latter.

The first batch of books for contest judging arrived last night. I have to sort them (I’m doing mystery, fantasy, and novella again), and then get down to it. It’s much better to have them come in batches, because then I can give each one more attention.

I’m reading THINGS I LEARNED WHILE TALKING TO MYSELF by Alan Alda. What a terrific book, especially in these dark times. He reminds me of issues I’d forgotten in the 80s and 90s, things that upset us then. I wish there were young actors coming up with the commitment to both art and justice that people like Alan Alda and Meryl Streep have. Emma Watson is really the only one I can think of.

Off to try and have a creative, productive, positive day.

Published in: on January 11, 2017 at 11:56 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 11, 2017: Steady Writing  
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