Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress

image courtesy of mohammad Hassan via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a mixed day. I managed a good bit of admin in the morning; I have to, or the number of emails becomes overwhelming. It rained a good portion of the day, although I managed to get home from the laundromat before it started, and dashed out in a quick pause in the afternoon to get the garbage out.

I went back and started re-establishing myself over on Ello, and remembered why I enjoy that platform so much. I cross-post a lot of what’s here over there; haven’t yet decided how I want to do new content.

On the wave of the work I’d done on The Big Project at the laundromat, I did another section. I am still way, way, waaaaay behind where I need to be on it, and I have to double down on it in May.

I had some additional material to look at for the contest, which was just forwarded to me (late), and dealt with that. One category is now officially finalized. I’d hoped to have the second category done today, but it’s more likely to be tomorrow or Friday (likely Friday). That depends how much script coverage comes in. Right now, I just have one more script to cover today. I’d hoped for two tomorrow and two on Friday to end this pay period close to what I need, but it looks doubtful.

I set up a Ko-fi page. I think it’s a better fit for me than Patreon, because there’s less pressure for tiered content and constant content. I still want to add new material pretty regularly, and use it to play with material that’s out of my wheelhouse a bit, or with pieces that I know are strong, but haven’t found the right market.

For instance, I posted “Fallout” which is one of my favorite flash fiction pieces. It’s received excellent feedback, but never the right market fit. So it’s here, and it’s getting positive response.

I also want to do some tarot pieces, using different decks. I’d considered doing it on Instagram (inspired by other tarot readers who do a great job on that platform). But it’s too complicated to do from my phone, so I’ll do it on Ko-fi instead.

It’s not that I think I’ll make a huge profit or anything on Ko-fi. I figure the money I get can be then used to support fellow creators on the platform. It’s basically going to be the same $3 going round and round forever.

And, it gives me a no-pressure playground.

It’s likely I will leave (or severely cut back to only promotions) Twitter in a few months, once the Muskrat purchase goes through, I intend to enjoy what I enjoy and use it to its fullest potential between now and then.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon and well into the evening.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are in the last few weeks. Some of the kids are graduating high school; no one knows what the next school year will bring. Some of the families plan to continue homeschooling their kids because they’re doing so much better; others are going to wait and see. In any case, they have built among themselves, the parents and the kids, a strong support system, and I can step back at the end of this school year without guilt. I was a strong voice in keeping the kids out of school because there is no such thing as safety in school right now, either from COVID or school shootings. And I helped the parents and kids make it possible to stay as safe as possible for two and a half years. I walked my talk. Now, as their situations have evolved, they need to make a variety of decisions, and it’s time for me to step back.

Still fighting with both Tracfone and Consumer Cellular to get my mom’s number transferred. Both companies are basically crap, but there aren’t any other choices for the simple flip phones anymore. We have to make this transfer to Consumer Cellular happen.

The company who bought the storage facility on Cape where we’ve got the rest of our stuff is AWFUL. Zero customer service and badly disorganized.  So I have to dig in this summer and take on as much extra work as possible so I can afford to bring the stuff up in fall – provided I can even get a storage unit around here. Because CubeSmart pulled such crap, selling us off to someone else out of the blue, announcing it the day after last month’s payment, I will certainly not rent from them in the future. They actually had the gall to send an email stating that they were up for an award and wanted me to vote for them! I don’t think so.

And I still haven’t been able to get an appointment to get the car fixed.

I am royally fed up and ready to go back to bed and tell everyone to fuck right off. I have a horrible headache like creatures dancing inside my head wearing cleats and wielding pickaxes. Tessa woke me at 4 this morning. Not a happy camper.

Instead, I have to go back to the page and work.

Tues. April 26, 2022: A Reasonably Restful Weekend

image courtesy of haegenmatteORG via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

For once, this Tuesday post won’t be pages and pages. There’s a post over on the GDR site about putting together the pieces that have been discussed there over the past few weeks.

I picked this photo because people love their hammocks around here, and are starting to put them up again for the summer.

Friday, we set out the plants on the porch for the day. It was quite lovely, and I walked to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription and stopped at the liquor store on the way back. I was testing a pair of cute flats, rather than the boots I’ve worn all winter. While the cute shoes are fine if I drive somewhere, walking a three-mile round trip didn’t work in them. I had bleeding blisters and my ankles hurt from the concrete. Live and learn. I need to invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

Expanded the pitch to my Llewellyn editor and sent that off. Hopefully, she’ll want one of the two ideas. Of course, I thought of a third idea once I sent it off; I can either save that for next year, or, if she doesn’t like either of my ideas, counter with this one. Although I would prefer to do some practical work on the idea this year so I can more accurately write about it.

Spent the whole day Friday on contest entries. I was so happy I could work on them out on the porch.  One category is complete. The second category should be done tomorrow, or Thursday latest, and the final category by next Monday. I truly enjoyed the work, although more and more of the admin is being pushed onto the judges, without the pay going up. But we’re paid, which is more than most contests do.

At the end of the day, I oiled the other Adirondack chairs. It makes me laugh that I bought these chairs out on the Cape, the first summer we lived there. And yet here, where we are close to the actual Adirondacks, they’re selling Hyannisport rockers! (Hyannisport is an upscale enclave on the water, near where I used to live).

Juggling several books to read for pleasure, in addition to all the contest reading. I absolutely loved PROVENCE, 1970 by Luke Barr, about MFK Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, et al, who convened there for several weeks of cooking and talking. They were at turning points in their lives and careers, and the food world was also at a turning point. The talk about Sonoma County, in California, at that time, kind of reminds me of what’s going on here with the farm-to-table movement.

The plants had to come in overnight, because it’s still going down to the thirties at night.  They went out on the porch on Saturday, came back in Saturday night. I had the chance to oil the bistro table. Sunday, it was too cloudy and cold to put them out at all, but we brought them out again on Monday, while it was sunny. And today, I will oil the small table.

I still have to oil the bistro chairs and the bench out on the back balcony, but I have to wait until the temperature stops going down so low at night, or the wood will crack.

Saturday, I read and puttered and arranged and rearranged a few things around the house. I took it easy, feeling weary, and needing the time to rest. I did a good bit of percolation on several projects, just letting my mind roam freely through them, poking at different aspects and seeing what came out. I’ve narrowed too much of that creative time out, and I need to create space for it again, because the work is so much better when I do.

I treated myself, on Saturday, to smoked trout with a touch of horseradish cream on buttered rye bread and prosecco (making like a Venetian with the latter). It was perfect. Saturday night dinner was very simple – leftover ham (I feel like we’ll never be done with the leftovers) with vegetables turned into a ham pot pie.

Sunday morning, I made biscuits, and, later in the day, I did an easy chocolate mousse. But the rest of the day, I puttered around, noodled with ideas, and re-read APPETITE FOR LIFE, the wonderful Julia Child biography. I’d read it when it first came out, in 1997, and enjoyed it. I appreciate it even more this time around.

I broke my “day of disconnect” to keep an eye on the elections in France and Slovenia. Glad to see the fascists lost, at least for the moment. Would that we could remove them from positions of power here, too. The lack of consequences for crimes committed publicly in real time is appalling.

While I understand that people want to reconnect, the photos of people who should know better behaving irresponsible at conferences, festivals, and events are deeply disturbing. No one better act surprised when they get sick. Because it is “when” and not “if.”

Yesterday morning, Tessa got me up early, awakening me out of “busy dreams.” They weren’t bad dreams at all, but I was very busy in them, and woke up exhausted. Still, we got our morning routine done, and the plants out.

I tried to get in contact with the mechanic, and they were closed yesterday. I’m getting really frustrated. Also, the transfer of my mom’s number was initiated on Thursday, late in the day, and it’s still not complete. This let’s-screw-the-customer-because-we’re-the-only-choice is revolting.

I got some blogging done, working ahead a bit. I need to start spending more time over on Ello and build up that platform. If Elon Musk buys Twitter, and it looks like he’s succeeded, that’s it for me over there, which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. Don’t like FB, and resent that I feel forced to be on it. Instagram has so many scammers on it that it harms my pleasure in it, although I block daily. I never even bothered to join Reddit, because all I see from it are people being awful to each other.  My website posts are connected to Tumblr, but I rarely spend much time on it.

We’ll see. Don’t borrow trouble, right? Keep my own sites going. Limit my time on sites that no longer serve my needs. Do the work. I’m reconfiguring my relationship to work, in general, so I might as well reconfigure it with social media, too.

The weather was gorgeous. Walked up to the library to drop off/pick up books. Trees and bushes and flowers are coming into bloom, and it’s gorgeous. The smells are wonderful, too.

Did my script coverage sitting on the porch, enjoying the nice weather. Did a 20-minute mid-day meditation, which was also good. And then went back to working on more contest entries.

Up around 5 this morning, thanks to Tessa. Who needs an alarm clock, when one has a Tessa? Although she’s more about what she wants when she wants it, then consistent time. It wasn’t raining yet, so once I did my yoga, I bundled up the laundry and hauled it over to the laundromat. Got it turned around quickly, although forty-five minutes in, other people showed up to do their laundry. They were perfectly fine; we acknowledged each other and did their own thing. I’m just proprietary about the laundromat early in the morning, because I can get so much work done.

And I did get good work done, on The Big Project, which I hope to continue this morning, in and around trying to get an appointment with the damn mechanic, and some other admin stuff, and more script coverage.

I got home before the rain started, so I’ll call that a win!

Have a good one!

Fri. April 15, 2022: Piling On

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Friday, April 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was sunny and pleasant. Today is sunny and cooler. By tomorrow night, it will be below freezing. Totally wacky weather.

I had trouble settling into meditation, mostly because I felt so bad, but once I did, it was fine.

I got the next three pages written of “Owe Me” which feels good. I know where I need it to end, but now I have to figure out how to get from where I am now to where I need to be at the end. Not quite sure how to get there yet, but I’ll figure it out. I hate writing in small bits like this. I prefer writing longer sections, but each of these small portions sets up new challenges (which is the point of the piece), but I don’t yet know how to solve them.

Had a late morning video conference with a potential new client. We had a great talk, and he likes my writing a lot. I don’t do much work in his area of specialization, so that might knock me out completely, which is fine. It was definitely worth the conversation, and I sent off additional materials asked for as soon as we finished.

Headed off to the store for round colored lights for the kitchen window, plant stakes, a new small rug for Tessa’s room, and an outdoor rug for the back balcony. We couldn’t find one we liked for the front porch yet.  Came back, took down the winter curtains in the kitchen (no curtains up in summer). Took down the white lights. Got the rest of the spilled wax scraped off the sill and the window (without damaging either). Got the new lights up, which are so pretty, even in daylight, because the light makes them sparkle. The new rug looks great in Tessa’s room. She’s still not sure about it, but Charlotte and Willa both love it.

In the afternoon, I sat on the porch working. First, I finished reading the next book for review (which I will write and send off today). Then, I started reading LEGENDS AND LATTES by Travis Baldree, a cozy fantasy that Deborah Blake recommended. Absolutely loved it. It’s clever and fun and the world building is lovely and the characters are wonderful.

The weather changed (as it does). We are high enough to be able to watch thunderstorms roll around between the mountains, which is really cool. We are even high enough so I got to drive through a raincloud the other day, something I didn’t even know was possible. Which was also really cool.

Part of me felt guilty for taking part of the afternoon off to read a book because I wanted to, but that’s why I freelance: to work my own schedule. I was achy and headachy, and would not do my best work on script coverage, and those writers deserve better from me. So, I adjusted the task to the energy.

Didn’t feel like cooking, so I ordered Chinese, and it was perfect. I felt well enough to run Knowledge Unicorns, and it was a good session. Many schools are either closed or doing half day tomorrow, and April break is next week, so no sessions.

After dinner, I felt much better, and could focus on script coverage. Turned around the two scripts I needed to get done. It meant working until 10 PM, but that was fine. Freelance. Can work any hours I want, and I felt better and working then made sense. The whole point of not working 9-5 is NOT WORKING 9-5.

Once I was done with the coverage, I could settle in and finish LEGENDS AND LATTES, which I did a little before midnight. Charlotte put herself to bed earlier than that, and Tessa was thrilled to have me all to herself.

So this whole Elon Musk/Twitter thing is disconcerting. He is NOT a supporter of free speech – his actions against his own workers prove that. If he ends up buying Twitter, yes, then I will have to leave. I would miss people, but I functioned before social media, and I can function without Twitter. I will start spending more time on ello.co again, which I’ve always liked, but it takes more time and deeper interactions than Twitter, and I’ve neglected it lately.  I spend very little time on FB and the only reason I haven’t cancelled my accounts is because I have some friends who are only on FB and I’d lose regular touch with them. I’m on the fence about Instagram because of all the fake accounts and scams, although I’d hate to lose my “fun” account that has little to do with marketing and promotion, and is just my playground.

We’re all going to be signing up for a lot of newsletters over the next few weeks, aren’t we?

Besides, if Musk destroys Twitter, some other social media platform will start up. I mean, there was a time when MySpace was one of the few choices, and look what’s sprung up since.

Slept well. It’s cooler today, but I could still do my first writing session on the porch. My storage facility on Cape has been sold, and I don’t like the new owners. So, somehow, over the summer, after I get the car fixed, I’ll have to put together the money and find a unit out here and hire movers and get it all brought across the state. Not looking forward to the expense.

Had to set some boundaries with a project. The editor is setting up yet another place to check for information, this time on a platform I loathe. It’s so scattered; I shouldn’t have to check multiple sites/apps to stay up-to-date on where things are. I was ready to burst into tears at the very thought of it. There needs to be ONE central source of information. It’s too damn much. It’s too much “ooh, shiny” and not enough focus. Handling the large group writers involved is huge work, and the editor is doing an amazing job, but things are getting more and more scattered and fractured. Maybe that’s the way it has to process for this particular project, but I am at my outer limits of being able to add any more on. I turned in my lore on my characters and on my organizations, so all I have to do is sit down and write my story (which I’ve blocked time off to do in May). Once I do the roughest of first drafts, I will go back in and layer the details that are affected by what the other collaborators have created that affect what I do, and double-check details (as I’ve made myself available for any of them, if they need information from me). But I can’t spend hours every day making the rounds of multiple sites as things change. We’ve created the world; now we have to inhabit it. And so much that’s been created is color and flavor for the stories, rather than trying to put everything into the stories all at once.

The reason I’ve been able to have a lifelong career in the arts, earning my living at it, instead of creating “on the side” is because I am ruthless about cutting out what interferes with the creative work. I have no regrets. I make no apologies.

Most places around here are taking this as a four-day weekend, or starting their weekend after a half day. Monday is a state holiday here (Patriots’ Day) and the Boston Marathon. I’m thinking of taking it as a holiday from client work, and focusing on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the CAST IRON MURDER edits. I also want to get through a lot of contest entries this weekend. I have a pretty good idea in two categories of who’s shaping up to be finalists, but need to hone it down some more, and then I can focus on the third category.

I also want to rest a lot. While I’m starting to get back on my feet, I still have lingering effects from Shot 4, which are not fun. Part of it, too, is accepting that I am not twenty anymore, and can’t push the way I used to. And that I don’t WANT to be in a constant state of overwork and hustle. We were sold that bill of goods, and it was false. It’s time to learn from that and create something better.

Anyway, have a lovely Whatever You Celebrate, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Tues. April 5, 2022: Curl Up & Catch Up

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cloudy, and chilly

I hope you all had a good few days. Grab a favorite beverage and curl up for the catch-up.

Thursday wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I got the most important things done. I got a wonderful email from a producer to whom I’d submitted some radio plays. I wasn’t sure if what I submitted was dark enough for what he was looking for, but he said he loved the pieces, and wanted to read the comic noir mystery plays, too. In other words, he’s willing to expand his original guidelines because he enjoys the writing. Which thrills me. He sent me the link to the first broadcast. I have it on today’s agenda to listen to, because that gives me more of an idea of material to pitch to him, too. Yes, he pays. And he said he’s planning to make me an offer.

It also made me wonder if maybe I should try to write a comic horror play as my Dramatists Guild project this month. Then, of course, some characters started wandering into my brain. . .

While that all started percolating, I went to the online meditation group I attend on Thursday mornings. The regular leader wasn’t there; the sub kept using computer lingo, like “downloading inspiration” which really annoyed me. I am not a computer. I am a human being. One of the reasons I attend meditation is for a break from technology. I believe tech-speak in the space is destructive, not “relatable.”

By the time breakfast was over and I’d gotten some admin done, it was time to take my mom for her 4th vaccination. We left early enough so I could dop off and pick up books at the library. We were early to the pharmacy, and I felt bad, because CVS corporate cut staff there, and they were run off their feet. They are the best CVS staff we’ve ever known, and it’s so unfair to them (so yes, I will complain to corporate that an excellent staff is being punished for their skills). The pharmacist who gave her the shot was lovely.

While my mom was under her 15 minutes of observation, I dashed next door to Big Y to pick up a few groceries, including a Boston cream pie that I couldn’t resist.

Took my mom home. She barely had any side effects. Her arm was a little achy, starting about 7 hours after the shot. If anything, it was more like I had the side effects, while she had the shot. I felt like absolute crap all day.

However, I pulled myself together and did a script coverage. I have a nice long list of scripts in my queue, so after a couple of months of worrying and not making my projected income from this client, I think the first pay period in April will be close. March’s second pay period is lower than I’d hoped, but still a decent number. And it means my quarterly taxes won’t be so high.

Participated in Freelance Chat, which was fun.

I polished the materials for the first round of the major grant proposal. I was actually pretty happy with the quality of the materials. I also added the three missing productions to my theatre resume (will have to add them to my writing resume soon).

Of course, the actual application asked for additional materials that weren’t in the informational handout, so I had to take time to create and polish those, which meant the application timed out and I had to start all over again, even though I’d saved it as I went. Which was frustrating.

But I finally got it all entered, and submitted it. I got the confirmation.

By then, I was completely wiped out. I have to remember how much writing a good grant application takes out of me. As in a good piece of writing or performance, I leave it all out there and am spent. If I leave out the passion and commitment behind, under, and around the words, then the energy of the piece is lost, and there’s no way it can get funded. The language is clean and professional, but the subtext has to have energy.

Ordered pizza, because I was too tired to cook. I’d also expected my mom wouldn’t feel like eating, as neither of us have the day of the shot, but she was in good appetite, and I hadn’t planned anything except maybe scrambled eggs. So I ordered pizza. We’re lucky in that we have three excellent pizza parlors within 5 blocks. We ordered what I call the “comfort pizza” from the place about 3 blocks away.

Read a little in the evening, but was wiped out. Knowledge Unicorns was fine; even though it takes plenty of energy, so much energy is created and exchanged, that it’s worth it.

Was awakened about an hour after I went to bed by an enormous crash. At first, I thought it was thunder, since there was an intense rainstorm happening. But there was only one clap and no lightening. Then, I was worried part of the building had collapsed (not that there’s any reason for it). But everything seemed fine. No idea what that was all about.

Tessa got me up early on Friday. I stayed off social media most of the day, because I hate the way cruelty is dressed up to look like humor on April Fool’s Day.

What I did instead was build the Pages on Stages website, for the scripts I write. It took all day, with only one 20-minute break for lunch. It took 9 templates until I found one that I could make do what I wanted and needed. I hunted down as much information on the older productions as I could. A lot of it is in storage, not digitized, and I don’t have access to it right now. But there’s enough on the sites to point grant makers and producers toward it. It’s not a site I plan to heavily promote, the way I do the fiction sites. It serves a specific purpose for the scriptwriting.

I still have to add bio information on the “About” page and add contact information, but I will do that next week.

I managed to start the comic horror radio play for the Dramatists Guild End of Play event, and wrote about a page and a half. It’s out there, even more me. But the beats are building and the jokes are landing the way I want them to, so we’ll see how it goes.

The only side effect my mom had from her second booster was some fatigue toward the end of the day. She’s never had particularly strong reactions to the shots, but this was the lightest yet.

I missed going to the art opening Friday night. By the time it started, I’d just finished the day’s work on the website and hadn’t even showered yet, much less put myself together mentally or physically. The exhibit runs for about a month, so I’ll stop by later in April. I hadn’t promised anyone to attend, so at least I didn’t let anyone down.

Tessa woke me up before 5 this morning out of dreams about Greek myths and peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving with one of my cousins. The brain is a weird instrument.

Caught up on some of the 500+ emails which had come in on Friday.

I walked down to the Farmers’ Market in the morning. It’s still on winter hours, which means that it’s only the first Saturday of the month still for April and May, and it’s indoors, with a limited number of vendors. But such wonderful vendors! I wish I could have bought from everyone.

I bought from three of them, had conversations with several, and next time I go, I have to carry business cards, because they were interested in my books (which came up in conversation when I signed up for the various mailing lists).

I was thrilled with the bounty from the market. We immediately ate the espresso coffee cake muffins from Bohemian Nouveau Bakery, which were outstanding. For lunch, we had slices of baguette with butter, fresh spinach, and sliced radishes (with just a hint of salt and pepper). I don’t know the name of the artisan who baked the baguette, but it was the best I’ve ever had – perfect crumb, lovely crust, and there was a little bit of salt in the crust that was exquisite. The spinach and radishes came from Red Shirt Farm.

For dinner, I added some spinach to the sausage pasta I made, and we finished the rest of the baguette. Because baguettes only last a day.

I took it easy on Saturday. I needed to rest. I did a little bit of noodling on the comic horror radio play, mostly planning rather than writing. I read books I wanted to read, and didn’t worry about any sort of work for anyone else.

There’s so much atrocity happening in Ukraine. The Russians are behaving just as badly as they did in WWII to the citizens. The world stands by and allows the slaughter. And these spoiled brats on social media, who’ve never experienced anything worse than a hangnail, are whining about being “triggered.” They have the privilege to look away, and they are part of the reason this is happening. We need to be riding our elected officials every day about doing more to stop the atrocities AND remove all the Russian assets in Congress. World War III started when The Narcissistic Sociopath was installed as the GOP nominee. The war has a different trajectory than previous wars, but we are deeply, deeply in it. What is happening to citizens in Ukraine WILL happen here if the GOP is allowed to continue. Remember people in cages? Migrants chased on horseback and whipped? Rapists given control of their victims’ bodies? All of that is part of the same playbook.  ANYONE who has the privilege to look away contributes to the problem. We have to look. We have to feel the horror. And then we have to do something about it.

Tessa woke me around 5 AM on Sunday. I got my act together and was out to run errands early, including getting more potting soil and pots. And the tomato cages.

We repotted the peace lily. My friend and I bought the peace lily at Stop & Shop on the Cape in a 4” pot for the very first party in the Cape House, way back in 2011. I just repotted it into a 14” pot. Let’s hope it can thrive in this pot for the next few years!

In the afternoon, I read for pleasure, and did a little bit of research for a couple of different projects. I took a break from the comic horror play, and the other writing. I read THE VANISHING MUSEUM ON THE RUE MISTRAL by M.L. Longworth, set in Provence, which I really enjoyed.

Tessa was such a drama queen on Monday. I didn’t get up fast enough to suit her. My mom finally got up to feed all of the feline monsters. Tessa wrestled the bowl away from her in the pantry and insisted on eating right there (instead of on her little Sherlock Holmes pub towel in her room). She was So Hungry she could not wait one more second. It was hilarious. Like they’re not fed regularly twice a day.

Did some admin work and paid some bills. Headed to the bank (never fun) to make a deposit. Let’s see how long they keep this one. On to the post office to mail the bills and a birthday card for a friend. On the way back, stopped at the liquor store. Dropped everything off, picked up the two bags of books that had to go back to the library, and drove there. Dropped off/picked up books. Home. Moved the seedlings out to the porch. It was sunny/cloudy every few minutes, but at least they’d get more light out there.

Elon Musk bought a stake in Twitter, so my time there is probably drawing to a close. Which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. But it’s already gone vastly downhill in the last few weeks, pushing right-wing crazy posts from people I don’t follow into my timeline (which I immediately block). And I’m finding way too much emotional labor on there, thanks to a lot of the privileged spoiled brats. Cutting back my time there is necessary anyway. We’ll see how the next few weeks play out and what changes happen. I highly doubt they will be positive. I’ve cut back my FB time; I’m only still on it because of a few people with whom that’s the main way we stay in touch. Instagram is my playground, but there are so many creeps on there lately that I’ve considered changing how I use it, or leaving entirely.

We’ll see what happens. If it becomes only a work-related set of interactions, then so be it.

As corporate greed destroys what is good about social media platforms, new ones will spring up.

Covered two scripts in the afternoon. Read for pleasure. Wrote a few pages on the comic horror play and tossed them, because they don’t work. No, it’s not a case of temporary insecurity. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something like that doesn’t work. It took a turn that’s not appropriate for the genre or the other parameters needed in the script to fit the target market. Therefore, it has to go.

Got another idea for another radio script, more psychological ghost story. I might alternate between the two pieces and see which one flies.

We’re still eating the fresh spinach from the market, because it was a lot of damn spinach. But it’s good.

Charlotte woke me out of nightmares around 1:30. Around 3, as I was finally getting back to sleep, Tessa started in. I moved to the bed in the sewing room so that she would quiet down, and then had a series of dreams set backstage, in a hair salon, and in a pet salon. Go figure. But at least they were positive.

Hitting the page first thing, then a big grocery run, then back to the page, and more script coverage and contest entries in the afternoon. It was supposed to rain all day, but the sun is peeking out, so maybe I’ll put the plants out on the porch. I need to oil the teak furniture soon, and keep going with the spring cleaning, which moves forward erratically. I have to spend some quality time with the inbox, too. It’s well over 600 emails again that didn’t have to be answered quickly, and I have to get it down.

My experience moving the newsletter to MailerLite has been positive so far. They sent me a report on the mailing – good open rate, good click rate, and they’re not micromanaging contacts. So that’s all good. I’ve started the document for June, so I can add information as it comes up, and then rewrite it so it’s pretty when it’s time to send it out.

That’s what’s going on in this neck of the woods. We’re in that between-times of seasonal change, where it’s too warm for the heat to kick on regularly, but too chilly to be really comfortable without layers. I’m excited for my first Berkshires spring.

I hope there are lilacs.

Wed. Feb. 16, 2022: Some Days Are Rougher Than Others

image courtesy of LeoNeoBoy via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Full Moon

Partly sunny, partly cloudy, starts cold and gets milder

Yesterday was one of those sucky days. Everything was ten times harder than it should have been.

I dealt with an unpleasant situation with a big client. It took most of the day, draining emotional and creative energy. I think we’re on better ground now, but I still want to expand my client pool. I sent out a few LOIs; already heard back from one, up in Bennington, who wants more information. So that’s promising, at least.

A submission call for short plays landed on my desk. I had two which would fit the bill (and did a quick revision on one of them, to tighten it). But I decided to send the funnier one, since they admitted they favor comedy.

A friend has recommended me for a type of gig I’ve always wanted to try. The pay’s kind of low, but it’s steady, and might do as a stop gap for a few months. I’m willing to have a conversation with the potential client about it, at the very least.

I made the trek to the library, returning 8 books and picking up 13. I was annoyed when the librarian whined about having to move the books from the shelf to the checkout desk. Hon, that’s your job. I’m carrying them over a half a mile there and back on foot, so don’t go whining when you have to move books, two or three at a time two feet. If it’s too difficult for you, maybe you should be out on sick leave, or maybe you should ask someone to carry them for you, or maybe you shouldn’t be in the job (because I saw the job description, and one of the requirements is being able to lift up to 25 pounds. And I worked in a library, where I was regularly expected to lift a lot more than that). But what is NOT okay is to whine at a patron because books arrived from different places at the same time, and those checkouts are what keeps the library funded.

Got an email from a company of which I’d never heard, congratulating me for registering, and that the monthly fee would be $55. Say what? I went to unsubscribe and they wanted my credit card information. No, tell me what credit card you think you’re going to pull this from. Talk about a scam. I warned my bank, sent the company’s customer service department an email demanding to be removed from their list and asking what card they thought they had on file. Since they didn’t even have my name, just my email address, and I never gave them any information, we should be okay. I received a cancellation message.  But the bank and I will keep an eye on the account.

Filled out the Artist Census for the city, which is getting information from working artists on what they need to thrive here. Hopefully, that will open up new possibilities. Just from the Census alone I learned about a half a dozen or so opportunities that I am now following up.

I’ve somehow injured my foot, to the point where I can barely put weight on it, and I have no idea how, which is disturbing on multiple levels.

I have to finish reading ARTCURIOUS for book club. I love it. I’m going to have to buy myself a copy, because it’s a book I’ll keep using.

Knowledge Unicorns were fine. The kids were having a tough day, too, as were a lot of my colleagues all over the place. I guess it was just one of those days.

Since I cleaned up my Twitter account, I was able to have actual, interesting conversations with several people yesterday, and it was terrific. I also blocked a twat who called herself a writer and posted the faux engagement “what is your hobby besides writing?” Writing is not a hobby, you moron. Calling yourself a writer and asking such a question is insulting. It assumes no one makes their living writing. Just because the questioner isn’t good enough and won’t put in the work so to do doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of us who can and do make a living at it. I have full respect for part-time writers who work while carrying full-time work in other careers. I have full respect for writers who love writing as a hobby. I have no respect for people calling themselves “writers” who insult other professioanl writers because those “writers” can’t earn a living, and assume no one else can, either. Not worth engaging with such a person, so block and move on. And not just scrolling past, either, because it’s never just one dumbass “question” from someone like that. And I am just DONE with these jerks.

Got an idea for a couple of sets of short pieces – flash fiction, prose poems, short plays – tied to specific visuals. It’s one of those things that when I see something that sparks it, I’ll write it, and then collect the pieces on a theme to submit. . .somewhere. It’s a long-term, undeadlined project to let me stretch and experiment.

Up early this morning (after weird dreams set in a hotel, but a different hotel that’s shown up in previous dreams). Fed the cats, did some yoga and writing, was at the laundromat when they opened at 6 AM, had everything washed, dried, folded and home by 7:30.

I have to head to the grocery store again later today. MA is dropping the indoor masking recommendation, because they’re idiots. I’m going to keep masking until spring or summer.

I don’t have that much on my grocery list this time, so hopefully, it won’t be too difficult to get it all home.

I started the initial re-read for revisions on CAST IRON MURDER. It holds up better than I thought it would. Although there are plenty of details to smooth out, and writing to tighten.

I have a lot of script coverage to do today (didn’t get much done yesterday), and I want to work on the Big Project.

So I better get going, hadn’t I?

Tues. Feb. 15, 2022: Murky Obstacles

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

First Day of Full Moon

Cold and clear

Tiring weekend.

Friday, it was mild and bright. I got some work done early, and then packed up the rolly cart and headed to the grocery store. There were lots of empty shelves, again, mostly national brands. Also, because both the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day fell this weekend, a lot of people were looking at it as a long holiday weekend and stocked up.

The sidewalks were messy, but mostly slush, not ice. However, with the snow banked on either side of them, and the middle melting, there as no place for the water to drain, so a lot of it was walking through ankle-high slush. When the next storm comes in, it will freeze over and be ice rinks again. Because the Cape was so sandy, the ground absorbed the water until it couldn’t (by about March), and then it got all squishy. Here, there’s no place for the water to drain, and the ground isn’t sandy, it’s loamy and hits capacity quickly, so the ice layers.

It was not easy to hump the cart full of groceries back, although it would have been impossible without the cart.

Got everything put away, rested up a bit, and then headed back out to the liquor store to re-stock. It was busy, because people were prepping for football and Valentine hopes.

Decided to give myself the afternoon off. It went up into the 50s. You can always tell we’re in New England, because the minute the temperature goes above 35, the guys go back to shorts and hiking boots. The front porch was sunny and pleasant. I cut back dead growth on some of the plants. I’ll detail that more in Gratitude and Growth on Thursday.

Charlotte was delighted to be back out on the porch.

Read for a bit. Over the weekend, I re-read the two books released so far in Kit Rocha’s The Mercenary Librarians series. Looking forward to the third. I rarely read dystopia (I mean, we’re living in it), so it’s unusual that I would like this series. But I do.

Some family conflicts exhausted the hell out of me Friday night, not to mention depressed me.

Saturday morning, it was raining, so I decided not to go to the library. Instead, I got the script coverages done. And then was requested for another coverage, so I didn’t have to worry about taking on a script whose logline didn’t particularly excite me, just to make my nut for the pay period. And I finished reading the book for review.

Went to bed very early Saturday, and slept 11 hours. Even the cats couldn’t get me up.

Sunday was a good writing day – 3K on one project, a little over 1600 words on The Big Project. I planted the first seeds. I baked a chocolate cake with chocolate chips and raspberry liqueur. Made pork chops for dinner in a mushroom-thyme gravy, with red cabbage and leftover mashed potatoes. Planted seeds.

I used to give a Super Bowl party most years; it was the only game of the year I watched, because football just isn’t my thing. But I stopped doing that when we moved to the Cape. Most of the time now, I don’t even watch the game, just try to catch the half-time show and some of the commercials. Or focus on the Puppy Bowl. This year, it was more fun just to watch different reactions to whatever on Twitter. I saw clips of the half-time show, and it looks like it went well. Still, for me, nothing has yet beaten the grace, style, and professionalism of Prince’s half-time show.

All the photos I saw from the game show 70K people in close quarters unmasked. So we’ll have mini-surges of the virus all over the country in the next two weeks. Why would I applaud such reckless, thoughtless behavior? Not doing it. Even if being vaccinated was a requirement for entry, we are not at a point where being that packed in together is rational.

I usually love the Winter Olympics, but didn’t watch them this year, either. I think they should have been canceled, due to the pandemic.

I’m not going to rant about either of those things on social media. Why bother? But I’m going to place my time where I feel it earns it, and neither of those two events did this go-round.

The cats woke me around 5, a reasonable hour, so I got up and started the day. Was at my desk by 7, which helped. It was snowing. Hopefully, this is the last storm of the winter. The cats are shedding like crazy and running around for no reason at all hours, so spring is coming.

Wrote another section on The Big Project. It will need some tweaking, but you can’t tweak what’s not on the page.

Tried to head for the library, but it was snowing and intensified, so after a couple of blocks, I turned back.

Slogged through a bunch of email. Got out an LOI to something that sounded kind of interesting, but we’ll see. Another job description landed in my inbox calling for an experience science writer and scriptwriter willing to both write and do research – at $8 an hour. Nope. So insulting on so many levels.

Downloaded the first set of digital contest entries, cross-checked the list. Caught up on entering scores for what I’ve been reading. Caught up with the Monthology posts, so I don’t fall behind. How other people are crafting their monsters, and the mapmaking that’s going in will affect how I develop my piece. Plus, it’s a wonderful community.

Started reading the script for which I was requested. I will finish it and turn in the coverage tomorrow.

The problem with a big client is not going to go away, unfortunately, so I have to look at alternatives. A possible other big client is on the horizon, but if the pay is too low, that’s not going to be possible, especially for the amount of work involved. I don’t want to take on something that will break me, physically or psychologically. At the same time, I need to expand the clients with which I’m working, and ease away from this big client, because the longer I work for them, the more red flags are popping up. They were a life saver around the move, in a very real sense, but in the long run, they are just not working out. I am very displeased by an email from them that landed in my box this morning.

Wrote up the book for review; got two more assigned. One I will download; the other is in print, and being sent.

Tried reading an eBook I’d bought a few weeks back, that looked interesting, but I’m frustrated with it. I’m getting a little tired of all these authors jumping on the magic bandwagon for the cash, not doing any research on how magic works, not being creative enough to design their own system, and just echoing right wing crap, pretending that their protagonist is, actually, magical.

Switched back to contest entries instead.

Spent longer than I planned cleaning up my Twitter account, on the “Following” side of the equation. Dumped about 400 accounts that I’ve followed at one point or another. A lot of them started as mutual follows, especially among other writers, who then unfollowed when I wasn’t an ATM for their books, or because my posts go beyond writing. Some were politically-oriented mutual followers, who don’t feel I’m political enough, and unfollowed. People get to follow or not follow whomever they please, for whatever reasons they please, so I cleaned up that side of the equation to suit what I want/need right now, and will work on the other side of the equation later on.

I’m feeling rather discouraged about everything right nw. But it’s sunny, and I have to head for the library today. I have 8 books to return and 13 to retrieve. All on foot. Sigh.

I’d rather just go back to bed.

Weird dreams last night, about being in an apartment on Central Park West in NYC, and a small, yappy, brown and white puppy escaped from its apartment and I was trying to catch it.

Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 120 — When the Day Levels Out

image courtesy of MiraCosic via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

There’s a garden post over on Gratitude and Growth. Check it out.

Also, if you love reading serial fiction, I’ve created a survey. I’m curious what draws other people into reading serial fiction (and I miss writing it). If you get a chance, I hope you’ll fill it out here. It’s 12 questions. Thanks in advance.

Yesterday was all over the place. I was at my client’s for a few hours – we talked about some strategy for the new round of ads I’m creating. At this point, she’s just trying to ride it out, as other similar businesses panic and fail. There were internet issues at the office, and the new payroll company, who tries to upsell “human resources” services the company doesn’t need, spends all their time calling us about them, and then screws up the payroll, which is their actual job. She’ll be moving companies in December. Vile, vile payroll company.

Hootsuite and Facebook are at odds, which means I’m going to have problems using Hootsuite to schedule client posts on FB & IG. Looking for another affordable platform.

Depending on how many social media packages I handle for different clients, I might need to invest in a platform that can handle the multiple channels for multiple clients and build that subscription money into my fee structure. Right now, I’m just using whatever platforms the client wants/can get and setting them up there, because I don’t stay with clients forever, and they can keep the platform that’s in their name when we go our separate ways. But logging in and out of a half a dozen different platforms and tools every few hours is not efficient.

I’ve been researching the tools. So far, I can’t find any that does what I need it to do at a price I can afford and build into my fee structure in a fair way. The platforms’ business fees are structured for corporations, not social media professionals handling multiple clients across multiple channels.

There’s a part of me that wants to move away from social media packages and focus more on copywriting and long form, but I have to see where the work is, and what gigs I land. I need to be versatile.

Home, decontamination protocols, fought with Twitter to get back into my account so I could participate in Remote Chat, which was fun.

Realized I’d mis-figured the time difference with LA. The NYU-LA meditation event wasn’t at 3 PM EST, but 9 PM EST.

Which meant I had time in the afternoon to get some other stuff done. And spend quality time with Tessa. Tessa finds our afternoon “quality time” sessions very important, since Charlotte gets me so often the rest of the day.

My package arrived from Fed Ex – finally. It would still be sitting in MS if I hadn’t bugged them, which is not okay, and I was not happy with the store’s response.

However, the contents were great. I’d ordered two Banana Republic dresses, and a pair of wide-legged, side-tied navy pants. Banana Republic’s clothes look good on me. I’d ordered two dresses because they were on sale, and I couldn’t decide between the gray and the red. The gray looks good and goes everywhere, but I’m totally in love with the red, and it looks fabulous on me. And yes, I will wear them in video conferences. I feel fantastic in them.

The pants fit and drape well, but the fabric wrinkles easily. They do seem a bit like Phryne Fisher-style pants, which is one of the reasons I like them.

Since I haven’t actually buckled down and sewn any of the pile of projects waiting to be made, at least I have a few pieces to get through the next few months of video conferences, along with all the fuzzy, comfy sweaters coming out.

I attended, via Zoom, of course, the Community Bookshop event for Melissa Monroe’s new book of poetry, Medusa Beach. It was a great evening of conversation, poetry, and process. The book arrived yesterday, so I haven’t had the chance to do much more than skim it. I look forward to really digging in.

Willa was fascinated by the Zoom event. Usually it’s Charlotte who participates, but Willa thought it was great (although the speakers were the only ones on video).

I had a quick break and then the meditation session with NYU-LA Alumni. The meditation leader’s name was Crystal because it’s LA and of course it was. But she was excellent. It was a good session. I didn’t stay for the chat after – I wanted to carry the calm into going to bed early.

So although the first part of the day was frustrating, it levelled out.

I slept much better than usual. Up early this morning, getting a few things done, including cleaning out the box quarantine area in the garage, because that’s where the wood has to go.

I signed up for a morning meditation with Concord Library – they do a regular Thursday morning session, and I’d like to try it. Then, I have to do a Target run – we’re getting low on toilet paper.

Then it’s client work, writing, work on Grief to Art, some social media scheduling, maybe some more LOIs.

I’m increasing my time on the exercise bicycle by one minute per day. Not my favorite form of exercise, but I need it. Adding in weights twice a week again, too.

Slowly, slowly, we will get there.

Reading a terrific book called SELF-CARE FOR INTROVERTS. Made me realize just how abusive a former boss was, who always berated me for being an introvert, forced me into extroverted situations that were painful (which allowing another employee to opt out of anything she didn’t feel like doing, claiming “anxiety” and not redistributing the work, but making me do the extra – without compensation), and, every time I disagreed with her, telling me I “must” be on the autism spectrum or I wouldn’t disagree. Talk about a toxic situation. I’m well out of it.

Anyway, I don’t agree with everything in this book – several techniques I’ve tried and they don’t work for me, but I like the book, and there’s a lot of useful information.

I need to get going on my day. It’s a new moon in Virgo, good time to get organized!

Have a great day.

Thurs. July 23, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 64 — The Need For a Good Storm

thunderstorm-3417042_1920

Thursday, July 23, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Rainy and oppressively humid

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday started out as a pretty optimistic day, but a few obstacles got thrown in the way. Not appropriate to discuss them publicly. I will have to find a way to deal with them like a professional, while still holding my boundaries.

Onsite for a client early; got a good bit done. I was worried about a particular campaign, but it’s started to show results, and that’s a relief.

Swung by CVS to pick up my mother’s prescription. It was packed, but at least everyone wore their mask PROPERLY.

I am so sick of these fucktwits pulling their masks down below their noses. Cover your NOSE AND MOUTH, you fucking morons. The disregard for other people is revolting.

Remote chat was fun.

Solved a client problem remotely.

It was so humid and I wasn’t feeling well, so the afternoon was nowhere near as productive as it needed to be. Will have to make up for it today. Managed to get a few LOIs out.

One client is trying to figure out why payment hasn’t gone through. Another client, a late payer, is ignoring my emails. This is a major publication, now in breach of contract. Not happy about it.

Frustrated with the state of the country and the supreme selfishness and greed that’s allowed.

I seriously want to become a professional recluse.

In the evening, I got dressed up and in full make-up for two virtual Zoom events.

One was a fashion industry event, that I attended on behalf of a client. The hosts did a good job. Some of the guests, however, seem to have forgotten that a Zoom event requires interaction. Yeah, when we were in an actual party room, you could stand there and pose and people would admire you. But at an interactive chat, everyone’s gong to move on to someone who is, you know, actually interesting.

It sort of reminded me of Studio 54’s fading days, when it was trying to be relevant and cool, and failing.

But I’m glad I went. I managed to meet some interesting people and get information that is useful in shaping this particular client’s marketing strategy.

Then, I switched over to another Zoom event, this one literary. That was kind of fun and raucous, very much like the old time literary events in NYC, but virtual. Had some decent conversations with various people about things that matter. I actually got some information relevant to the client for whom I attended the fashion industry event. So that’s 2 for 1.

I’m trying to limit my Zoom time, because it’s so exhausting, but I’m glad I attended these events.

I got a nice compliment on Twitter from someone who likes that I tweet to congratulate and encourage people and wish them well. To me, that’s a big part of being on a social media platform – celebrating the good things, offering a helping hand when I can. Still, it was nice to hear. Because I’m so enraged about what’s going on politically and trying to do something about it, I sometimes worry I’m too negative on social media. I’m trying to keep it balanced.

What I should do is take a break from social media completely for a few days.

Tessa woke me up around 1 AM. She was hot. She woke me, walked over to the fan, looked at me, looked at the fan. I put it in the window, turned it on, she stretched out on the floor in front of it, and went back to sleep.

Fell asleep and had weird dreams. Charlotte woke me a little after 4, although I refused to go downstairs and feed everyone until 5. I wish they’d let me sleep until 5. Waking up at 4 every day is just a little too early.

Horribly humid today. The air is thick and won’t move. It’s supposed to storm, and I hope it does. A good thunder storm would do a world of good.

I have a busy day of writing, client work, course work, and unpacking ahead of me. I hope the humidity eases up a bit so I can actually do it, and not act like one of the cats, lying on the floor in front of the fan.

I had a nice first writing session out on the deck this morning, playing with an idea that might or might not go anywhere. But at least I eased those characters yapping in my head.

Feeling kind of blue and discouraged today, on multiple fronts. I hope a storm will break both the humidity and my mood.

Wed. Sept. 18, 2019: Saturn Finally Goes Direct

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Direct (Today)
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

I hope that Saturn going direct takes some pressure off.

I talk about Saturn going direct over on Kemmyrk. There’s also the latest chapter of “Fred Needs a Writer” up on Ink-Dipped Advice. We’re nearing the end of that little parable. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more about which to write!

Meditation was good on Monday afternoon, although there were heart openers, and that’s still tough. I’m still too deep in grief to want to open my heart; it still needs protection. But it reinforced that not going last week was the right decision — I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes without breaking down.

Going along with GRAVE REACH edits. I’m happy with them, I just wish I could make them happen faster. We’re getting down to the wire. Plus, I immediately have to dive into revisions for BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and then DAVY JONES DHARMA. I’m wondering if I’ll have to work on one of the books in the morning and the other in the evening. I’ll do what I have to do in order to get it done.

I’m scrolling past a lot of the stupid on Twitter, because people get to say what they want, and I don’t have to respond. Quietly unfollowing some, blocking others. I don’t have to make big public drama about it. We follow each other on recommendations or follow hashtags; as we get to know each other, we’re going to decide we don’t want to interact. That’s life.

I’m unfollowing several traditionally published, so-called “best selling” authors because they’re whining about their careers. Careers other people would kill for. Careers other people would handle with grace (even when tired and frustrated) and for which they’d have gratitude. We all get tired. We all get frustrated. We all need support. So many of us are generous with our support in this community. That’s a good thing. When one of us does well, it’s good for everyone. But a constant pattern of whining and ingratitude turns me away from both the person and the writing.

Again, there’s no need to get into a big public spectacle about it. I’m a Pisces; I quietly swim away and go on with my life.

And don’t waste any more of my money on that author’s books.

Hey, plenty of people don’t want to read my books because of my political activism, and the fact that I walk my talk. That’s their choice. That’s the positive about having the freedom to make that choice. It doesn’t have to be a debate or a public shouting match.

I’ve been a conscientious consumer for years (now called “hold your wallet” among other things). If I feel a company supports something unethical, I stop buying their product/spending my money with them. I’ve done that with Wal-Mart for decades. I will (and have) drive 150 miles out of my way to avoid spending even a penny there. When I see lists demanding boycotts of businesses that support the far right — I stopped wasting my money on them years ago.

I feel badly for my elderly mother, who’s now lost her favorite show, DANCING WITH THE STARS, because they hired that lying idiot Sean Spicer. She won’t watch it anymore. And she won’t start watching again, even after he’s voted off; even in subsequent seasons, because they’ve broken her trust and proven they have no ethics. I’m not the one who told her she “can’t” or “shouldn’t.” She made that choice on her own. She doesn’t like many of the current shows, but that was one she usually liked (she had plenty of problems with a lot of the fools they’ve hired over the seasons). I ignored the social media posts about him. He doesn’t get any more real estate in my life. It was bad enough when he had a job where I had to pay attention to him.

Onsite with a client yesterday. In early today, for a meeting about reconfiguring one of the client’s websites. I have most of the content; we just have to keep up with something she likes for the visuals with the web designer, something that also meets our needs.

Other than that, it’s back to the page on GRAVE REACH, “Pier-less Crime”, ELLA BY THE BAY, and a couple of things with which I’m playing. I’m trying to come up with a title for the play about Canaletto’s sisters; I think I have to cut some characters. But that’s starting to come together.

I shouldn’t work on GAMBIT COLONY, but that’s the best stress release valve I have, so I am.

As always, it’s back to the page.

Published in: on September 18, 2019 at 6:23 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 18, 2019: Saturn Finally Goes Direct  
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Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap

Friday, September 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

For some reason, yesterday seems far away.

Got some work done at the library in the morning, including sending out a bunch of LOIs. Did the big grocery shop before the incoming storm. Couldn’t find everything I wanted. How could the store be out of flour? So I guess I’m not baking this weekend, once the storm passes, unless I go shopping again.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the blog under the Ava Dunne name, where I talk about how I’m building the ensemble for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries. This week’s post talks about how I developed Sophie’s friends on land: her housemates Fawn and Bianca, her friend Freddie the painter, her family, the supporting characters that help set up and support certain aspects of her character.

Participated in the Freelance Chat on Twitter yesterday, which was a ton of fun.

Worked on “Pier-less Crime” in the afternoon. It’s going more slowly than I’d like, but okay. Crafted a pitch for a magazine for which I’ve wanted to write for years, and I finally came up with something I think is suited to them. That goes out today.

Meeting this morning, which I was not looking forward to (and why this post is going up late).

I’ve set up a separate Twitter account for Fearless Ink. I still will talk about anything on the @DevonEllington account, but @ink_fearless will be focused just on business writing and freelancing. I hope you will follow me on both.

Got a little bit of work done on ELLA. But, because I’m blank paging most of it instead of following a detailed outline, this last third of the book is a mess and difficult to sort out. I feel like I have to type up everything I’ve written so far, so that I can effectively write the last third. This process has been fun and I’ve learned a lot; however, it reminds me why I prefer to work from detailed outlines.

The plan this afternoon and for most of the weekend is to work on GRAVE REACH and finish “Pier-less Crime.” I need both to go out next week. I also have to revise the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, so it’s in good enough shape to be part of the back matter for GRAVE REACH.

There are personal stresses with which I’m dealing with and can’t yet discuss. They are wearing on me, and I hit patches in the day where I feel like I am flat out of coping skills.

Of course, in times of stress, I always want to work on GAMBIT COLONY, because it soothes me. But I can’t do that during this deadline period. I need to focus on what’s on deadline.

But all I can do is the best I can do. And I have to get back to the page.

Have a great weekend. Monday’s post will be a full one, about challenging yourself, for Upbeat Authors.

 

Published in: on September 6, 2019 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap  
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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. Aug. 21, 2018: Back into a Creative Groove

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days.

Since V.S. Naipaul died a few weeks back, I’ve read Paul Theroux’s IN SIR VIDIA’S SHADOW. Interesting book. Reinforced my dislike of the man (although I respect his talent and his craft). I don’t like that he expected others to always pick up the tab at restaurants and the way he treated women, both in life and on the page. What I do agree with is his demand that he be paid the same as “the lawyer or the astrophysicist.” And his belief that the work is what is important, not the author.

Authors are not and should not be performers (unless it’s something they enjoy). The forcing of authors to do dog-and-pony shows because marketing departments “don’t know how to sell” a book — honey, it’s time to hire new marketing people, who actually know what they are doing. When I worked for a publishing company in New York, it angered me when, in meetings, an editor was passionate about a book, but the marketing department shrugged and said they “didn’t know how to market it.” In my opinion, then the marketing department is sub-par and needs to be replaced.

Friday was hot and humid and awful. Got a few things done (not as much writing as I wanted). I started putting together a proposal for a new gig I’d like to land.

We also visited the Cahoon Museum. I had visited, with my friend Artie, several years ago, before they did their renovation. They did a beautiful job. The original portion of the house, that Ralph and Martha worked on, is still lovely, and their painting, especially Martha’s furniture painting, is exquisite. The photos of them working in their studio, and just the entire sense of fun prevailing the place, is lovely.

I remember last time I visited, I felt that Martha was not given equal footing with Ralph, but that’s been adjusted. The vibe of the place is very positive and fun and beautiful.

There’s now an additional gallery, where they exhibit other artists. This one is Herman Maril, an artist with whose work I was not familiar. I liked it, and I loved his sketches of his cats.

They had other artists in one of the upstairs rooms; and, again, I was drawn to the luminescence of the oil paintings.

Friday night, I attended a sound bath at the yoga studio. Basically, it’s Savasana, but with crystal bowls and rain sticks and drums and other sounds. Last time I attended, I let it all wash over me. This time, I was actively absorbing certain tones, using some to heal specific aches and pains (my acupuncturist used to use tuning forks on me), and bending some sounds for intentions. It was an interesting process, but definitely a night to go to bed early!

Saturday, I got out two proposals for gigs I’d like to land; we’ll see what happens. I wrote. I wanted to do yard work, but it was too hot and humid. I did several loads of laundry, and worked with the cats.

Sunday was the first day the cats ate in the kitchen at the same time. They were pretty calm about it — hunger will do that. Tessa got annoyed with Lucy shortly thereafter, and we had some growlies, but nothing major. We got it all calmed down. I think Tessa feels that Lucy gets too much attention. So I gave Tessa extra playtime, and we smoothed it over.

It takes about four months, in my experience, for cats to adjust to each other in a new configuration. Of course, it took Iris a year to even remember Tessa lived here, and that it wasn’t a new cat every day.

Sunday, I did really good work on RELICS. Very happy with it. Feel good about the book again, and see the end of this draft. Had a wonderful writing session with it on Monday morning, and hopefully that will continue.

I’m very frustrated with Facebook. I’m sick of them trying to dance around the concept that the platform is free. Now, they don’t want authors to talk about their books, except on their “business pages.” Even though they’ve proven they can’t be trusted with personal information, now they’re making more demands, pretending it’s about “fake” accounts — when it isn’t. They want you to buy an ad in order for your posts to be seen.

I’d hate to lose touch with some of my contacts on FB. I use FB and Twitter for different things. But I am not going to compromise what I’m comfortable with because FB wants information I’m not going to give them. If they kick me off, so be it. I’ll find alternatives. I’m looking into a couple more of them this week.

Time with clients yesterday, today, tomorrow. Wears me out right now, but necessary. Studio work, which I really enjoy, but it leaves me worn out. Tonight is Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki. Next week is our last session, and I will miss it.

I already heard back from one proposal I sent out on Saturday, and we’re negotiating. Good times.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on August 21, 2018 at 4:39 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 21, 2018: Back into a Creative Groove  
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Wed. March 28, 2018: Writing And Other

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see the latest post for business owners on how to write an ad that attracts the right writer.

I’m clipping along on MYTH & INTERPRETATION. It’s great to be back with Gwen and Justin. Keeping in mind what my editor and I discussed about the outline helps me keep it moving without it getting too unwieldy. After all, this is a between-the-books-novella, not the second book in the series.

The fact it’s not the “second book” is probably part of why I’m not struggling to write it (so far, anyway). I struggle with every second book in a series, it seems, and wind up unhappy with it. The outline helps a lot, too.

Breaking this section off and developing it, keeping it separate from BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, was the right decision.

The notes are due back from my editor on SPIRIT REPOSITORY today, and I’ll have to start digging in to make our release date. I’m nervous about the notes.

Working on the Writer’s Rough Outline for the serial project. It’s coming along more slowly than I would like, but it’s coming. Even if the pitch isn’t contracted, it gives me clarity on where I want to go with this piece, and that’s a good thing.

Working on the Writer’s Rough of another outline for a piece that’s been bugging me. I want to get the notes down so it will leave me alone, but when I decide to go back to it, the bones are there.

The work on the outline is making me refine the pitch, which is a good thing.

Client work the past few days has been challenging. Not the work itself, but some of the personalities. All in day’s work. Especially when both Mercury and Jupiter are retrograde.

I did some promotion on both Facebook and Twitter for all the novels in all the series yesterday. I usually don’t do batch promotions like that, but I had the chance, and I did it. I’m not too worried about it; I spent a LOT of time promoting, re-tweeting, and encouraging other authors.

With all the anger at Facebook for the way they sell data on their users (well-placed anger, I might add), I’ve been looking at other social media possibilities. I prefer Twitter to Facebook for many things anyway. But I wanted to see what else is out there. So, far, not impressed by what I’ve come across. Again, they want too much control over my content and too much information.

I had a typical Mercury Retrograde experience on Monday. I spent hours on a supposedly stable computer reconfiguring the TRACKING MEDUSA media kit, tweaking content, adding content, switching out some of the excerpts, etc. And the damn computer crashed, so I lost the new material. I’m frustrated. But then, that’s what I get for working on a PC. It seemed it would make more sense to work on it than on my aging Macbook, but it wasn’t.

More on-site client work today, and then, I’m sure I’ll have the notes for the final big REPOSITORY edit waiting for me. Once I get over the shock of all the red marks (because, no matter how hard I worked on the draft, there will be plenty of red marks), I’ll get to work and make it better.

To the page.

 

Published in: on March 28, 2018 at 2:28 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 28, 2018: Writing And Other  
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