Wed. April 20, 2022: Pizza Woes

image courtesy of zuzana gazdikova via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment, all around. I started fairly strong: pitched my Llewellyn editor, got a new book for review, reviewed the agency contract and asked necessary questions, had yet another positive interaction with the NYC radio producer. I caught up on some emails with friends.

I was getting ready to work on the radio play when I was hit with a wave of nausea. Out of nowhere. Just felt awful. And my injection site from the vaccine started hurting again, too, but it’s been over a week since the vaccine, so that didn’t make sense.

I dosed myself with ginger tea, which helped, but the energy was gone. I had to fight my way through the rain and the wind to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes, and stopped at the bank on the way back to deposit the check from the radio play from the company in Minnesota.

Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to stay upright. I got through a few hundred emails. I withdrew from the Dramatists Guild networking session that evening, because I didn’t feel well enough. I turned around only one script. I’m fine on deadlines, but I’d wanted to do two. I worked on a few contest entries. But that was it.

The contract points were smoothed out, so I have to sign the initial contract and the NDA and get them in this morning. My Llewellyn editor wants more information on the article pitches, and will make her decision next week. I have to send a couple of scripts to the NYC radio producer; he’s excited to read something fun and frothy.

I’m still trying to pin down the mechanic to get the car fixed.

I decided to order in pizza, which might not have been the smartest choice on a queasy stomach, but I wanted pizza. So I ordered it. And it never showed up. Two hours later, I asked for a refund. The ordering happens through AllHungry.com, not directly with the restaurant. It took a dozen exchanges before they even tried to get me a refund. They said the pizza place told them it was delivered, and it was no longer their problem. I said it hadn’t been delivered to me, and if their delivery guy is handing off orders to randos on the street, that is not my problem, and, at this point, they were an accessory to fraud. A dozen exchanges later, they claimed I would get a refund, but it would take 10 days. Which is just ridiculous. They take it out of my account instantly, but it takes 10 days to go back? And it’s not like I was trying to get anything except my order, for which I paid, in the first place. So I don’t want to use AllHungry again to order, and, as much as I like this pizza place, I am reluctant to order again.

Fortunately, there are two other good places in town, although only one of the others delivers.

But AllHungry? More like Stay Hungry and get ripped off.

Now, we’re all human. We make mistakes. We’re in a pandemic, and places are short staffed (which is why I tip 40-50% when I order delivery). My life is not ruined because I didn’t get a pizza.  But when a mistake is made, then fix it. All I did, when I contacted them, was politely tell them the order had never arrived, and to please issue a refund. It was inappropriate for them to accuse me of lying. The correct response is to find out what happened, and then issue the refund. They have my record of orders. I don’t order things, pretend I haven’t gotten them, and request a refund. AllHungry’s response was inappropriate. It shouldn’t take 12 exchanges and a filing with the BBB to get them to fix a problem.

I dreamed about working on a dance piece and taking dance notations down last night. No idea where that came from.

I was up early and off to the laundromat first thing. Two loads of laundry, and back quickly. While I was at the laundromat, I used the time to work on The Big Project. I was worried I’d gone off-tone, but it’s holding together. I just have to get more done on it, and fast. And I have to turn around two scripts today, because they’re due first thing tomorrow.

At some point, I have to take a break and go to the grocery store. They’ve offered me a small tree as a thank you for being a regular customer. I do not know where I am going to put the small tree, but I want the small tree (separation anxiety much from my lilacs)? So if they still have any small trees, I will accept mine, and deal with the consequences later.

It looks like another storm is coming through, so I’ll work on The Big Project and “Owe Me”, turn around the contract, and send the extended pitch to my editor, and go later in the morning. Unless it’s snowing.

Have a good one.

Tues. Dec. 14, 2021: A Twisty Weekend

image courtesy of WaldNob via pixabay.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Waxing Moon

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and mild

Well, let’s just say, it’s been quite the few days.

Friday, I decided to do a hail Mary pass on the car and see if putting in a new battery solved the issues with the EPC light coming on, which my research indicated was sometimes the case. I joined AAA at the tier which promises roadside battery replacement back in November. Not that they’ve sent me my membership card. I’m still carrying around a printout of the email.

So I jump through all the ridiculous hoops on the AAA website to get the quote, to approve the quote, to get them to email me the quote, and to put through the request.

The guy shows up in 20 minutes.

To jumpstart the car.

“They no longer do” battery replacement in the Berkshires.

Then WHY DID I HAVE TO DO ALL THAT FUCKING PAPERWORK?  And why was not told this when I specifically chose the AAA tier that included the promise of this service?

The way companies based outside the Berkshires take money from us without providing the services for which we pay around here is appalling.

The guy didn’t even need to give me a jump. The car started.

I took it down the street to the mechanic I trust. Turns out my battery is fine. They ran a diagnostic. Didn’t find anything wrong with it. So the dealer in Pittsfield strung me along for weeks, and I’ve been without a car for WEEKS for no damn reason.

In case the light goes on again, I now have the information of a local guy who specializes in foreign cars.

Because I’m not taking it to the dealer in Pittsfield unless there’s no other choice.

Came home exhausted.

But got back to work in the afternoon, with script coverages, catching up on emails, getting out some LOIs, and the like.

Sendinblue has flagged my entire mailing list for the newsletter. They said there were too many bounces, and it had 0% opening rate. You know when they flagged it? THREE MINUTES after it was sent. I don’t know about you, but it’s often a week or more before I open and read newsletters. According to the dashboard, no one opened the newsletter. Yet I was hearing on social media and via email from a good portion of the list how glad they were the newsletter was up and running again. Also, what my dashboard shows as bounces (which I can either delete or research for updated emails) and what they’re telling me bounced don’t match. At all.

And they won’t let me just fix the bounces. They 86’d the entire list. Including the people who signed up via their contact form on my website.

It’s ridiculous.

I’ve worked with several email platforms over the years, both for myself and for clients. None of them have ever pulled this crap. Sendinblue’s response is they “can’t” only flag the bounced emails. If a certain number (and their number is higher than what shows up on my dashboard) bounce, the whole list is gone.

So I signed up for MailerLite (after several conversation with them), exported the whole list, ditched the Sendinblue contact form on my website and put in the MailerLite, and it looks like we’re good to go. I’m not sure if I should re-send the newsletter – Sendinblue claimed they only allowed it to go to a “sample” before 86-ing the entire list, but they won’t tell me to which addresses. I might do a “Take 2” with new information on the top, and tell people where they can stop reading if they already got the list.

Let’s hope MailerLite actually does what they claim to do.

So that puts MooSend and Sendinblue on my “no way do I want anything to do with them ever again.”

I mean, I do a quarterly newsletter. It’s not like it’s a big strain on any platform. Which was another problem with Sendinblue – quarterly wasn’t going to be enough for them. The list would have been flagged for inactivity after a month– and needed to be deleted and re-entered yet again.

No, thanks.

The company is not willing or able to meet my needs, so I will find someone else who can.

Saturday was a rainy, yucky day. Cold and raw. The storm let up for about a half hour, and I did a run over to Big Y and did a big grocery shop, including what I need for the baking, except for the candied peel, which I’m still struggling to find.

Got everything home and unpacked. Read a bit in the afternoon. Worked on script coverages.

Totally enjoyed PAYBACK’S A WITCH by Lara Harper. Very well done.

A little squirrel came up on the back porch, climbed up onto the bench and knocked on the window. He wanted our apples. No, I didn’t feed the squirrel. I don’t want it to go out on the Squirrel Collective Mind that I feel squirrels, or we’ll be overrun.

Sunday was mild and sunny. Got some script coverage done in the morning. We headed out with the last of the cards, dropped off some library books. The dashboard lights came on again in the car, and it gave a bit of a hiccough. I was worried it would stall out, but it smoothed out again. We went to Colonial Alpaca in Williamstown, so my mom could buy a gift for her friend. Then, it was off to Wild Oats to stock up.

They had a small Dresden stollen, so if I can’t get my hands on candied peel and make my own, at least we can have a little stollen. They also had the Nuremberg Gingerbread that I absolutely love. And it was fresh, not stale and left over from years before.

Got home, and we put up the big tree in the doorway between the living room and the sewing room. It looks like a normal-sized tree in this house. It always dominated the Cape house. But it’s just. . .nice here. The stand, as always, was a pain in the ass to put together. I have to see if I can find a stand that works for artificial trees that isn’t so awful.

But it’s much sturdier here than it was on the floor back on Cape, and I might not even need to tie off.

We only got the tree up and the lights on, and lights up on the mantel and the front windows. That was as much as we could get done.

Besides, it gives the cats a chance to get used to the tree. We’re lucky; they’ve always been good with it. I mean, they check it out and they sit under it, but they haven’t been destructive, at least not yet. We let them hang out and “help” when we unpack the decorations, and their special Yuletide toys come out and go under the tree, and we have stuffed ornaments for the bottom branches, so it all works out.

Read two scripts, and most of the next book for review.

Tessa actually let me sleep on Monday morning, until after 6. Progress.

Reshuffled my morning yoga sequence. It didn’t work in the way I expanded it, so I put some of the new sequence at the front of the session, and it works better than sticking them on the end.

I had an excellent morning meditation session. Did not want to get up. Could have sat much longer, instead of 30 minutes.

Got blogs up for the Intent for the Week, for the GDR blog, and for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

Found over 800 emails in my inbox, which is not the way I wanted to start my Monday. I got a couple of “we invite you to apply” emails from companies I’ve never heard of. I will have to see what that’s about. How about, if you like my website so much, we have a conversation about what you’re looking for, and whether we’re a good fit? Instead of “invite to apply.” Which, sent out on a Saturday night, sends off warning bells.

Found a couple of things that should have gone into a friend’s holiday package where Willa “helped” pack it – and she swiped those two things and put them in her stash. I retrieved them, wrapped them, and packed them. My mom packed the gift for her friend. I headed down to the post office (on foot) to send them off. Huge line, but moved fast. Told the clerk how grateful I was that the packages mailed last Thursday were already arriving. She was delighted.

Whenever there’s a line, everyone starts chatting with everyone. Like I said, the post office is the happening place around here. Where you go to find out what’s going on. In Lee, it’s Joe’s Diner. Here, it’s the post office.

Home, and back to work. Wrote up some blog posts. Worked on the tracking sheets for The Big Project. Wrote up two script coverages. Started doing some planning and scheduling for blog posts on various blogs for the new year. I need to start batch blogging for some of the blogs (not this one or Gratitude and Growth, which are dependent on the moment) and work ahead.

In the afternoon, I baked 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies for the holiday baking. Much easier and less stressful in this kitchen than it was on Cape, for some reason. Also, because I’m not doing all-day baking marathons, I think that eases up some of the stress, too. And my feet don’t hurt as much working in this kitchen.

I did use up most of the tins I brought up. I thought I’d brought up another box of them, but maybe not.

On the list for spring’s storage run: More tins for the cookies.

I miss my special china and the snowflake cups/plates/pot I got last year. Oh, well, I’ll get it on one of the summer or fall trips to storage, and we’ll have it for next year.

Read the script for which I’d been requested; it was veery good. It will be a pleasure to write it up. Finished reading the book for review. Will write the review, send it and the invoice off today. Ordered a couple of things off Etsy, from an artisan whose work I like, for something I’m working on for the new year.

Started reading Trisha Ashley’s ONE MORE CHRISTMAS AT THE CASTLE, which Deborah Blake recommended. Thoroughly enjoying it. I wonder if this is the book that will convince my mom to read some of the books she likes on Kindle? She’d love this. I stayed up way too late reading.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:39 this morning. Fed everyone, and curled back up on the couch with the book, instead of doing what I should be doing.

Got through a little over 500 emails. I have to hope the car holds up to do an errand, and then get back to work on the review and the script coverage. Or maybe I’ll do the review/invoice first, and then attempt my errand.

I need to write up a long, complicated report on the script I read last night. On this afternoon’s agenda are the orange-cranberry cookies and the oatmeal lace currant cookies. Then, it’s two more scripts to read.

Those emails “inviting me to apply” that I received over the weekend? Bogus. Had nothing to do with anyone actually paying any attention to what I do or my skills. It was a series of automated emails from several different “recruiters” who are just looking to bump their numbers, not actually looking at actual talent to fill roles. Waste of my time to even open the emails.

Off to attempt productivity, when all I want to do is read that book!

At least my work for copyediting clients is done for the year. It’s only script coverage and the last two plays on deadline, both of which I’m writing in my head a good deal before I try to put anything on the page. The Marie Collier play is only a ten-minute play, so once I sort out some more possibilities in my head, I can just sit down and write it. I’m still working on some Dawn-and-Dorothy arcs, and I need to go back into the research materials a bit. Because the latter is so specifically stylized, it’s harder to pull off.

Have a good one.

Mon. March 20, 2017: Trying to Stay Equitable for the Equinox

Monday, March 20, 2017
Waning Moon
Venus Retrograde
Sunny, cold, windy
Spring Equinox

It snowed yesterday, although we were lucky enough not to have accumulation. Windy, though, and some hail and wet snow.

Busy weekend, mostly writing, working on contest entries, and researching. Also, doing things like starting the spring cleaning and doing mounds of laundry. Chop wood, carry water, keep yourself grounded. All in all, a productive weekend. I’m hoping it will warm up a bit this week, so I can do yard work.

The tree is still suspended over the yard. Hopefully, the tree people will show up in the next week or so and take it down, because I will be worried until it’s done. Too much room for additional damage.

Angered by a demand that I do substantial work on someone else’s project for free with payment “maybe someday” in the future. Same person who never said “thank you” for the free critique. Not only a demand, but a demand for instant response. First of all, I don’t work for you and I’m not on your schedule. Second of all, nagging gets you a “no”, as if there weren’t a dozen other reasons to say no. When I saw the initial email (on a Friday night, no less — only my agent gets to made demands on the weekend), and then, continued badgering all weekend — not appropriate. I took my time to compose a firm, but still (barely) polite response, which went out this morning. An actual, legitimate offer would have come via the agents, and would have contained a project proposal and a fee schedule. I knew I was angry, but didn’t realize how angry until I’d actually sent the email. But that’s done, and I’m done with this individual.

Had some irritating admin to do this morning, and some other things to take care of, and then it’s back to the page. The Equinox ceremony was nice, but I’m feeling a little under the weather, and I want to get back home and dig in.

So the GOP stance on cutting arts funding is, “You can’t expect a coal miner to pay for the arts.” Why not? First of all, the arts have romanticized and celebrated coal miners through film and song. Second, my tax dollars are going into the pool for services for coal miners, so why shouldn’t coal miners support the arts? They need the arts as much or more than any corporate executive. The whole argument is ridiculous. Gee, there’s a surprise. Not.

There’s plenty of work to do, and only a finite number of hours in the day. Writing time is necessary, but so is percolation time. I’m always surprised by how much percolation time something needs to really come together.

I am having an awful lot of fun with my sketches, though, and now that I have a sense of geography, architecture, how they’re moving through the workplace where they spend about 18 hours a day, how it’s decorated, the contrasts between the choices different personalities make, how those choices affect character, response, plot. The little details that make a piece special.

There is so much cutting and reshaping in future drafts, but it’s fun to go for the basic skeletal structure in the first draft, to set the groundwork, and then hone, hone, hone.

I really do love the craft of writing as much as the art.

By stepping back and taking some time to work on pieces through multi-layered drafts instead of just putting out material to feed the machine, the work is better, and I’m enjoying it more. When contract demands and payments need me to speed up, I will do so, but when those aren’t in place, and I can take the time (though still doing a minimum of 1K/day – I’m doing more like 3K right now) to do the drafts and the re-envisioning that revisions need, the result is much more rewarding on all levels.

Let’s hope we have a lovely soft, warm, spring.

Published in: on March 20, 2017 at 10:10 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 20, 2017: Trying to Stay Equitable for the Equinox  
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Wed. Nov. 28, 2012: “Just Jump in and Fly” — a fun twist on Yuletide Myths!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Here’s the cover for “Just Jump in a Fly” a romantic comedy/fantasy re-working of the Yuletide Myths that went up yesterday under the Ava Dunne name.

Blurb:
Samantha Wright has a problem. The attractive Kris Teague crash- landed his sleigh and eight not-so-tiny reindeer in her driveway. His uncle Nick happens to be THAT Nick – as in Claus – and they need Samantha Wright’s help to turn back the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at one of the Universal Gates not only to save Christmas, but keep Earth turning. A fresh, romantic comedy turn on Yuletide myths and traditions!

For an excerpt and Buy Link, go to the Ava Dunne page. It’s only 99 cents!

I love this story — I had such a great time playing with the myths of the season. I’m planning to do more with these characters for each turn of the wheel. Which means the next piece has to be released by February1!

I figured out how to do better covers in Pages. I realized, for the PDFs, I don’t have to work in .doc. I also learned how to save into PDF and transform that into a JPG. Unfortunately, the back cover fill doesn’t convert from Pages to PDF, so, while the stand-alone cover I’m using to promote the book has the background color I want, the download is in simple black and white.

I tweaked the cover for “Tumble”. I think it looks much better. Again, I can’t replace the cover in the PDF, but it’s close, and this looks better for promotion. It’s much easier to work with photographs than anything else, so I need to go find some mistletoe and re-do the other cover. The Nina stories are too much fun to suffer from poor covers!

And yes, I’m hiring a cover ARTIST for the Nina Bell book release on April Fool’s Day! 😉

My bio’s up on the Indie Book Award site, and I look forward to being one of their judges this winter/spring. Exciting!

Had a good writing session in the morning, both yesterday and a little tougher one today. Ran errands — had to find a new tree topper — it’s hard! Finally found one that I think will be pretty.

Got some raking done in the back — the terraced back area and one side of the house. That’s all we could get done before the sleet started. Took seven bags of leaves to the dump. Most of the day was about getting “Just Jump in and Fly” done.

Good meeting in the evening. I’m going to change the way we handle the mailing list, and set up a gmail account for the organization, which will make more sense and give us more flexibility. I’m also going to set up a WordPress site for them. We need to have an internet presence, and be able to link to other sites in the town, etc.

Started packing for the NY trip this weekend. Worked with tarot students. Set up a Tarot Lounge on the workshop board so that we can continue the conversation once class ends, and set up a Yahoo loop called “Myth-Drunk Writers” so we can continue the conversation once the Greek/Roman Mythology class is over.

I’ve got an article to write today, and I’ve got to prep “That Man in Tights” to upload, and get the lights on the darned tree — I finally found them. Tessa spends a lot of time playing with the tree — it makes her feel like outdoor kitty! Also have to go to the local library and Sandwich, and find mistletoe to photograph!

Busy times. But happy ones.

Devon

Don’t forget to sign up for Flash 7 — Write, revise, and submit 7 flash fiction pieces in 10 Days! Info and registration here.