Fri. April 19, 2019: Trying to Stay On Track

Friday, April 19, 2019
Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was not as productive as I’d like. I got out a few LOIs, handled some admin work, worked on “Aurora Nightingale” and my presentation. I still can’t get those two scenes where I want them. It’s very frustrating. But I have to keep at it. I’m going to go some more research on current events. That should help.

Worked on contest entries in the afternoon and evening. Just felt tired and discouraged, but better for being off line for a good part of the day.

I’m trying to juggle everything that has to be done before I leave for the workshop. The hotel stuff gets more and more frustrating and complicated. I’m remembering why I dislike that hotel so much.

But the workshop will be fun.

I’m trying to track down monies owed that are late — so sick of this. We all have bills to pay. Pay on time and let everyone else pay their bills on time.

We had rain yesterday afternoon, so I couldn’t do yard work. It’s sunny now, but we’re supposed to get another storm. I have things away from home that I can’t put off this morning; I’m hoping the weather will hold for the afternoon.

The weekend is supposed to be a little nasty. But maybe they’ll be wrong, and I can get some yardwork done.

Playing with some ideas that are niggling at me. Getting back into the groove with GRAVE REACH. But the bulk of the focus will be honing the presentation and making sure I have the handouts.

I’m under intense pressure on several different fronts. All I can do is put my head down and do the work.

Have a great weekend, everyone. For those celebrating Easter and Passover, best wishes to you.

Published in: on April 19, 2019 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 19, 2019: Trying to Stay On Track  
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Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Day Before Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy & cool

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

It looks like I may be moving webhosts again, or at least when my current term nears expiration. Here I thought A2 hosting was so great. Their price point is perfect. I like their panel. Yet the fact that I can’t access my sites from anywhere I want means they cannot serve my needs. I work on different machines in different locations. That is the nature of my work. I need to be able to access my sites WHENEVER and from WHEREVER I need. But because I don’t do so from a “static IP” address, they claim I triggered a firewall and won’t let me sign in far too often.

Basically, I’m only “allowed” to sign in from a single computer they recognize. Which is not how my life works. Nor am I going to change it to suit them.

They claim this is for “security.” Yet my email accounts have been hacked multiple times by outside sources and they shrug and tell me there’s nothing they can do. But I cannot access the sites for which I’m paying far too often. And ALWAYS when I’m under time pressure.

Which means A2 Hosting cannot meet my needs, and I must look elsewhere. Which is a shame, because there are so many things I like about them. The plan has to be affordable, allow me to run unlimited websites and unlimited email accounts, and also allow me to sign in from whatever computer and wherever I am located in the world.

A2 Hosting was great for the transition away from the awful 1&1, and they are light years superior to 1&1. A2 is so much better than Green Geeks. You remember what I nightmare I went through with them when I was trying to transition my sites over a year ago. But A2 Hosting is still not what I need. I am not an IT person or a developer, nor can I afford to have one on-call. I understand most of WordPress and am always learning, but I can’t run my own server. I don’t have the skills. I need shared hosting.

Both InMotion and SiteGround have come highly recommended. They were under consideration for the last move. I may talk to them both again.

I’m really tired of the sales departments of these hosts writing checks the tech department won’t cash. I ask very specific questions when I’m interviewing hosts, and when I’m assured they can and will meet my needs, I expect them so to do. They need to stop lying and misleading in order to land the sale.

I checked out Blue Host and HostGator. They could not meet my needs.

So the search continues. I welcome recommendations. My registrations are now all with Name Silo and I love working with them. No drama. Great customer service. Great prices.

The event I attended the other night was not what I expected, and not for the better. It was presented as a speaker teaching us how to make best use of visuals on social media. Instead, in an hour and a half, the “speaker” — reading from notes she took at someone else’s social media basics workshops — never got beyond joining groups on Facebook. Well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Now I know.

Wednesday morning, I worked on GRAVE REACH and on my presentation for next week’s NECRWA workshop. Two people I really like have let me know they’ll be in the workshop. It will be great to see some friendly faces.

Had to send an email ending a situation where I feel I’ve been jerked around for a week. It should have been simple and straightforward, and the other person is making Big Drama. Sorry. I keep it on the page and out of my life. The person responded in the evening, wanting to string me along indefinitely. So I said no and ended the situation. It leaves me heart-sore on one level, but I’m tired of the demands in this area of constantly having to accommodate everyone else’s neuroses, and not getting ANY accommodation for ANYTHING ever in return. It’s non-reciprocal, and I’m not participating.

Waiting to hear back from another potential client who told me they’d make a decision at the end of last week. I’m assuming they’re still negotiating with their first choice. We’ll see what happens. On the fence about whether I’d even say yes at this point. If I’m not the first choice, it’s not the right situation for either of us.

Got a weird email back from one of my LOIs, trying to justify making an offer to someone else. Hey, doesn’t matter to me. He’s the one hiring. The email made me think he has hirer’s remorse already. I sent a gracious email back.

Got out some LOIs. Had to sent a follow up email to one of the radio producers, because it’s been nearly a month and no check yet. Professional protocol is that the check goes out the day of or the day after the final performance. Not whenever someone feels like getting around to it.

I’m weary and exhausted from all the crap.

It’s all cycles. I had a strong cycle a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s more difficult. I have to acknowledge the frustration, the anger, the pain instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. I have to sort through each situation logically and figure out the best way to respond, handle, extricate, or move forward. Then I have to take the actions so to do.

My life is mine. It is not to be lived for others’ convenience or agendas.

I’m invited to another event next week, and I doubt I’ll attend. Why bother? It’ll be same old, same old. Lots of meaningless chatter in the moment, no follow-through. Then, when I follow through, trying to get me to work for nothing. That’s the pattern here. I’m not playing the game anymore.

Working on contest entries, working on GRAVE REACH, working on “Aurora Nightingale.” I still can’t get those two scenes where I want them.

Tempted to work on GAMBIT COLONY, although I really shouldn’t. But working on that piece is a great stress reliever.

Working on the presentation. I think it will be a lot of fun next weekend. I’m not happy about being in the last slot of the day, when I’m at my lowest energy, but hey, someone had to be in it, so why not me? I’ll pace myself during the day and then pull up the energy and leave it all out in the room when it’s my turn.

I had hoped to have four solid days to do yard work, but it will be raining the entire time I have off. I need to get into better alignment with the weather, so I can get the yard done!

Going to do some policy work with a few people later today. That will make me feel better. Doing something that might actually make a positive difference somewhere.

So, yeah, going through a few tough days. It will even out eventually. In the meantime, I’m frustrated and exhausted and disheartened.

 

Published in: on April 18, 2019 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others  
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Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde

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

Busy weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Took yard waste to the dump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 5:03 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 16, 2019: Trying to Get It Done  
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Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Sleeting and cold

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post.

Had a decent writing day yesterday, and a good session onsite with a client.

Got out the comic ghost story radio play (numbered draft), along with some other paperwork for them. Waiting to hear back from that company on a few different things, including my contract.

The weather was turning, so I came home after the client session, and worked on contest entries.

SCRATCH, the book about writers and money, is really wonderful. And the experiences can be applied across disciplines in the arts. Someone on social media couldn’t understand how a book about writing could apply to any other art. If everything has to be spelled out directly in your own reference, how can you possibly create art? Art is about going beyond the expected, and knowing how to make connections beyond the obvious.

Also reading A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN, edited by Eleanor Brown, which is a wonderful anthology of writers and their experiences in Paris. It also lists their books. Some of them I’ve read; many I haven’t.

I’m also determined to track down a book by Jeannie Moon. She was disparaged by a person calling herself an author who said that a romance novel where the woman is ten years older than the man is “gross.” How sexist and ageist is that? So now I’m determined to read the book.

Between the lists of Parisian books and Jeannie Moon’s book and recommendations from the post on A Biblio Paradise’s Reader Expansion Challenge, I have a wealth of choices for the next challenge!

Did some work on Gambit Colony.

Watched HIDDEN FIGURES. What a beautiful, beautiful movie! Made me both laugh and cry. I can’t believe it took me so long to sit down and watch it.

Worked on the monologues.

I planned to test one or two of them last night, but decided not to because of the weather. Of course, then the weather didn’t get bad until later, but it would have been a challenge to get home.

Public reading is not something I can do off the cuff. I write for performers; I am not one. But, of course, a professional writer has to give readings. It’s even more layered when it’s from a stage piece that I have no intention of professionally performing — the actors cast will perform it.

However, the monologues from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE have served me well over the years — both in the professional productions where actors have performed the monologues, and in readings all over the world, both live and on radio. Those monologues have been around and performed since the mid 1990’s. The evergreen ones can be called up and spoken/read at the drop of a hat.

I need to test the monologues I’m creating for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. At some point, when I have a batch of them, I might call upon some local actors to come over for a session and read. Or hire a rehearsal studio for a few hours, where we can read. Maybe hire a space over at Cape Space.

But right now, it’s too early in the process. I need to speak them myself and gauge a reaction. I need to feel the rhythm in my body in order to revise properly.

When there’s a script with multiple parts, it works better for me to bring in actors and listen to them read. That way, I can feel how individual rhythms develop and make adjustments. (And yes, I’ve often paid actors to come in, sit around a table, and read an early draft of a script).

But with monologues, unless I’m developing a piece with a specific group of actors (which needs time, access to the talent pool, and money), I need to read aloud the initial drafts myself. I need to feel the rhythms in my own body.

After a few drafts of the monologues, then I’ll bring in some actresses, and we’ll work in the room. But I need to test the initial drafts with an audience, once I’ve read them aloud myself a few times. Whenever possible, I also tape the reading, and listen to it for objectivity. I do this when I rehearse readings from my books as well.

By listening, I can figure out rhythm. Where do I need to take a breath? Where can I speed up? Where should I slow down? Is there anything that needs to be cut, because it doesn’t work in the piece?

Anything that is spoken needs to be heard. Simply looking at words on the page isn’t enough. Even when I have enough experience to feel the beats as I write them, I also need to hear them. That’s true of radio, stage, or screenplay. Having actual actors (not just random people) read the words out loud during the development/drafting process makes a huge difference.

Obviously, it was easier to do that in NY than it is here. First, the talent pool is smaller here. Second, even though there are some wildly talented people here, theatre is a “side” not a “priority” and getting people to commit and fulfill that commitment — even for a one-shot reading — is not easy. Anything shiny dangled in front of them will take priority.

It gets frustrating. But it is also vital to the process.

But I can’t just decide at the last minute whether or not I’ll read. I have to feel confident that the draft I have is ready for comment. In other words, it will have gone through several drafts, and I will feel it’s solid enough to have feedback.

Then, I have to rehearse it, so it feels natural when I speak it, and I’ve found its innate rhythm and show it off as best as I, a non-performer, can.

Had I gone last night, I would have read “Smile!” and possible “Emotional Lifting.”
“My Life in Quicksand” is still an unfinished first draft; while I’m having fun with it, it’s nowhere near ready to be read yet. Most likely, I would have just read “Smile!”

I’d rehearsed, to the point where I felt as comfortable as I can feel when reading. Which is “never very.”

But then, I have to gear up myself emotionally. I need the focus of my emotional energy to be set aside for that reading. For several days leading up to a reading date, I pace myself differently, and I store up the necessary energy, so I can tap into it during the reading. I do this when I teach in person, too, or attend a conference.

Even though I wrote during the day. Even though I did client work during the day. I had to pace myself and save myself.

So add in a storm to the mix, snow and sleet, and bad road conditions at night, in an area where people are lousy drivers on a good day — I made the decision the night before, based on the weather forecast that said it would start getting nasty in the late afternoon, not to go.

In other words, that saved emotional energy was then released and dissipated into other projects.

I kept waiting for the storm to start. It didn’t.

Part of me was tempted to just drive to the open mic and read.

Only I’d used up the emotional energy I needed in order to read well on other projects during the day, because I’d made the decision not to read that night. Could I have read?

It would have been flat. It wouldn’t have given the audience something worthy of response, which meant I wouldn’t have gotten what I needed for the next draft.

It was snowing a little after eight, so it was a moot point anyway. I wouldn’t have gotten home until nearly ten (I don’t read and run — I stay for everyone’s work, and then we usually chat).

Have I ever just stepped in and stepped up to an unexpected opportunity? Or a request to fill in for someone who backed out at the last minute?

Of course I have. I’ve done well. Because I dig deeper, making like a hockey player, and use the adrenaline rush. I’m wiped out after, but I can do it.

I can do it not with new material, but because, after all these years, I have a wealth of material and experiences I can use to draw from in a spontaneous talk. It’s been hard-won, but it’s there.

So that was my Wednesday night.

Today, I have lots of admin and LOIs to do, then yoga, then, hopefully, a good afternoon writing and working on contest entries and the book I’m reviewing. I also am prepping for my client meeting tomorrow.

Which means that tomorrow’s post will go up late, probably in the early afternoon.

We have more storms this weekend, so I’ll tuck in to read and write.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues  
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Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way

Tuesday, February 5, 2018
Waxing Moon

The weather is milder, thank goodness. Some rain expected mid-week, but if it then clears up, I’ll be in the yard doing yard work next weekend. The squirrels are very happy with the massive amount of acorns that fell last fall, but I still have lots of leaves to rake.

The weekend was fine. It was cold and sunny. I didn’t do much. I gave myself some time off to recharge.

Got a little bit of work done on the radio play; I have two possible endings, and I have to figure out which one is funnier; I might have to rewrite the first half and introduce another character, but I’d rather not.

Did some work on the Gambit Colony books. They’re pulling at me, although I really have no time for them right now.

Read — finished Michelle Obama’s beautiful autobiography, BECOMING. Went through some research books for various projects. And finally read Theodora Goss’s THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER. I’d read TRAVEL FOR THE EUROPEAN GENTLEWOMAN, the second book in the series, first. Love them both.

Found the Super Bowl dull. I should be all in with the New England Patriots, since they’re the home state team, but their owner’s friendship with the Narcissistic Sociopath has dimmed that for me. Of course, the owner of the Rams is also a supporter, so neither team was really an option for me.

But, the Patriots pulled it out again, as they usually do. I’m surprised by how many people hate them because they’re a good team and get the job done. I respect Tom Brady’s work, although I’m not a particular fan (for numerous reasons), and I’m glad he rubbed it in the faces of all those that said he was washed up.

The Half time show was awful. Went back to doing other things rather than put myself through that. Really, at this stage in the process, the organizers should know better.

Some of the trash talking comments I saw on social media, even by people I usually respect, made me rethink how much regard to actually have for said individuals. Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t like. Don’t trash stuff other people like when it doesn’t cause harm. And don’t trash talk professionals who can do what you can’t. I don’t like football, but I respect good players and good teams on a professional level. When I see people whose only form of exercise is lifting their beers trash talk pros, I lose respect for them. If you disagree with something an individual does, or the league does, or whatever, state your case and put your money elsewhere. But demeaning people who had the guts to achieve their dreams and are good at their chosen professions — all that does is show what trash the speaker is.

Artists and athletes get that kind of derision all the time from people who don’t have the talent or the guts or the commitment to follow their own dreams and turn them into reality. And those people can fuck right off.

Up early on Monday, for the usual routine. I think I might have to start getting up at 5:30 again soon, not 6. Decent first writing session.

Worked with a client. Stressful time. Picked up a prescription for my mother. More stress, that particular pharmacy is always having a problem with something. Very poorly managed.Headed to the library for some other work. Then to the much-needed meditation group.

In the evening, I worked on the book I have to review.

Today, I’m with a client, and then off to the library to do some work, then work on the review.

Once I get in my words for the day, of course.

Published in: on February 5, 2019 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way  
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Thurs. Jan. 24, 2019: More Writing Opportunities

Thursday, January 24, 2019
Waning Moon
Rainy and milder

The fluctuating temperatures are rough on my body. I dress in layers, so I can adjust. But zooming back and forth between the 50s and the 20s every few hours is taking a toll.

Have had some steadily good writing sessions in the past few days, and I intend to keep that up, even though I have company coming in for the weekend.

Got another acceptance for a radio play last night, for one of my comic noir mysteries, by a company in the Midwest. They’ve also asked for more scripts. So that makes me happy.

I love writing for radio. It’s my favorite format.

Still sick; can’t seem to shake this. It’s been hanging on for most of January, and it’s slowing me down.

Working with my editor and publisher to recalibrate the release schedule for this year, because it’s more important for the books to be good than just spit them out. And, because of the problems the WH is causing with international trade deals, we’re having problems with the print editions. But it will all sort out. Patience, communication, and showing up to do the work will get it done.

I’ve been researching both Canaletto and the Algonquin Round Table for plays, and working on the monologues for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. So I’m juggling a lot. I have four plays to write this year, along with three-four novels for the end of this year into next year, and a couple of radio scripts. Plus adaptations. Plus getting some of my film and television scripts into contests.

So it’s a lot. It’s the good kind of busy, but it’s busy. At the same time, I have to keep up constantly pitching to clients and for article assignments. No wonder my brain is tired. I will have to build in some vacation time this year where I do absolutely NOTHING. Or my brain will break.

In the meantime, we have lousy weather, and I’m trying to get everything done before the worst of it. I will be alternating this afternoon between writing, reading, and cleaning the house in advance of company.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful, creative time.

Published in: on January 24, 2019 at 10:12 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 24, 2019: More Writing Opportunities  
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Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018: Enter the Holiday Stretch

IMG_0392

Thursday, December 20, 2018
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

I’m in the process of winding up year-end work with various clients. Some of it are permanent wraps on projects that are done, and I’ll be replacing them with new projects/clients in the coming weeks. Some are just getting things cleared up as much as possible before this holiday, and then I’ll be doing some work in between and then we start again in January.

By next year at this time, I want to arrange my life so I can completely take off from Solstice until right after the New Year. I need that time and space on multiple levels.

Got the exterior decorations up outside, including fixing some of the light strands. One is beyond help, but I had enough without it. Another, I had to make a quick trip to the hardware store to pick up a few things. The old white men were giving me sage, negative advice on what I “couldn’t” do, because, after all, I’m just a little woman, and couldn’t possibly know anything about electricity.

Honey, I started my career in lighting for rock ‘n roll. I can do things with a splicer, electrical tape, and pliers that you can only dream of.

Anyway, I got most of the lights working again. One set needs a bit more attention, but I was losing the light, and I need to be able to see.

Today, I’m running around finishing the cookie platter deliveries (even over the bridge). I did a big grocery shop, so I have the food for the Solstice, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. I’ll deal with the New Year’s meals next week.

I’m playing tomorrow by ear, because of the weather. We’re supposed to get a big storm (rain, not snow). I’m supposed to take in the car and do a few other things (like get in some more liquor), but I might hunker down, celebrate Solstice, and then get the car in over the weekend. I also have a few more stocking stuffers to get, but for the most part, I’m in decent shape. I have to wrap. Which means I also need more tape.

Next year, I’m going to buy fabric and either silk or velvet ribbon, use pinking shears to cut, and wrap everything in fabric.

I will sweep the fireplace and lay the fire for tomorrow night today, though. I want to make sure all I have to do when it goes dark is strike the match, and then it starts.

I have writing and cooking and reading and some friends coming in for the weekend and holiday, so we’ll be brainstorming the next three plays I plan to work on. I’ll need to hit the ground running on them after the first of the year – with at least three books on the roster for next year (more, if something that’s written is picked up and needs editing), and some travel and appearances and other life stuff, I’ll have to plan my time carefully to write three plays along with everything else.

But they’re good ideas, and they won’t leave me alone until I fulfill them. I just have to fix a few structural things in the rest of my life so to do.

Have a lovely holiday, and I’ll see you on the other side!

Published in: on December 20, 2018 at 11:33 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018: Enter the Holiday Stretch  
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Thurs. Sept. 27, 2018: Getting Out of Your Own Way

Thursday, September 27, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Hot, humid, rainy

It’s hot and humid and yucky again. Urgh. On the one hand, it’s good, because then the heat doesn’t kick on (although it did earlier this week), and I don’t have to worry about heating bills. But I’m tired of the heat and humidity.

I’m tired, in general, feeling exhausted from the last few weeks, but too bad for me. There’s still a lot to do.

And I wish the damn tourists would go home already. I’m glad people come and enjoy the beauty of Cape Cod, and spend money, but they’re rude, with false senses of entitlement, and trash the place. Go home already!

Even though I was exhausted, I got up early, put myself together, and got out (in the rain) to the Hearth and Kettle in Yarmouth for the CCWA Coffee Chat meeting. It was a lot of fun. There were about thirteen women there, all interesting and passionate about what they do. It was great to talk to them, learn about their different businesses, and exchange information.

I’m following up with everyone I met this morning; a couple of people wanted more information on my marketing writing services, so that will go out. We’ll see what happens. There’s a lack of follow through here on Cape, so I just do what I do, and see what happens.

I also got invited to a couple of events hosted by other members, and they sound cool, so if I can fit them in, I want to go. I talk about reciprocity a lot — part of that is also doing my bit to accept invitations and get out there.

Made it to my client’s office on time. I’d brought a weekend bag with a change of clothes, so I changed, got some marketing/promotional material posted, and then went out back to the warehouse to help with some inventory and get some samples out for a big sale on the West Coast.

Some of those pieces are great for auditions. I talked to an acquaintance of mine who’s a casting assistant and described the pieces. She’s going to tell me if they show up on actors auditioning! It will be fun to hear about it.

Dealt with some frustrations during the day that only reinforce the decisions I’m making. I still have things to put in place, puzzle pieces to set, but there’s a lot to get done in the coming months.

When I finally got home, I should have dug into the RELICS revisions, but I was just too damn tired. There’s a point where pushing through no longer works.

I also have to stop beating myself up about being tired. I am no longer in my twenties. I am in my mid-fifties. This is what it is. I still do more and get a lot more done than many people around me. I have the right to admit it when I’m tired, and to do what I need to in order to recharge, so that I can continue, instead of just pushing through until I collapse.

I have an appointment this morning, and then I have to head back; they’re cleaning the furnace for the upcoming winter. The afternoon MUST be spent in revisions and working on calendar articles.

I’m also going through material for my Idea Bazaar speech at the human rights conference. The flow seems like tangents, but when I really look at it, I can rearrange it so it builds and is of a piece. I’m starting to look forward to it.

When I was so nervous about speaking at the Provincetown Book Festival, an actor friend in the UK said, “Do you trust the work?”

I did. The monologue is part of a play that was produced twice, and the monologue has been performed internationally on stage and radio. The prose scene was from TRACKING MEDUSA, a book in which I have confidence. So my answer to the question was “yes.”

“Then get out of the way and let the work speak.”

Which is what I did. And it worked.

Even though I was nervous about giving the acceptance speech at the award ceremony on Tuesday, it wasn’t about me. It was about my client, who received the award. So by getting out of the way and speaking from the heart, I could honor her properly.

The speech for the human rights conference is again, not about me. It’s about a much larger issue that we must all be invested in, or we will ALL suffer.

Which is one of the things that drives me nuts about this area of the country. Unless it’s a personal threat, too few people around here give a damn. I am done with those people.

Digging in to DAVY JONES DHARMA again this morning, and then working on some articles to post. Somehow, it will all get done.

Back to the page.

 

Fri. Feb. 23, 2018: Positive Web Host Adventures (For a Change)

Friday, February 23, 2018
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

They told us it would be snowing and raining on Cape this morning, so I changed my off-Cape appointment, and now it’s beautiful. Cold, but beautiful. How annoying.

Yesterday was a lousy day, writing-wise. I could not make SPIRIT REPOSITORY work. The deadline looming doesn’t help, and I feel like I’m chasing my own tail. At the same time, POWER OF WORDS is singing its siren song to me. But I can’t do anything until I have the contracted work back on track.

On the positive side, I got a lot of work done on both the Devon Ellington Work site and the Coventina Circle site. I figured out WHY there’s a problem on the landing page of the DE site, but not how to fix it. At least I cleaned it up! I also realized I had to add an “anthology page” for the anthologies in which I’m included. I realized there’s quite a bit of my work out there — I’ve had a decent output. It’s nice to see it all set out.

As I finish building the subdomains, I’ll have to keep tweaking some of the information on the links, but, for the most part, the DE site is done.

The Coventina Circle site is almost done. I have to tweak and upload the media kit for PLAYING THE ANGLES, and then it can go live.

I plan to do that work on both sites today, and then move on to building the Nautical Namaste site.

I still have to go back and do an article on the goddess Coventina and create the playbill for the show within PLAYING THE ANGLES, but at least there’s enough content to give readers something to enjoy. I have a feeling I can’t call it “playbill”, but have to call lit “show program.”

I’ll do as much as I can today, and then, the weekend is about SPIRIT REPOSITORY, not the websites. I’ll go back to work next week on the websites. I’m hoping I can go live with all the series subdomains by next week and start building Cerridwen’s Cottage, get that moved, get Fearless Ink up and moved on so on. And then, breathe a huge sigh of relief!

I have house-and-home stuff to do this weekend, too. Some yard work, if the weather holds, some errands across the bridge.

But most of the weekend is about finishing THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY.

And then, the primary focus shifts to MYTH & INTERPREATION, but I have to work on RELICS & REQUIEM in tandem with that. My editor and I talked about stripping MYTHS down quite a bit, which I think is a good idea. I still might overwrite some of it, but she pointed out where the tangents are derailing the story. Since MYTHS was a derail of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE in the first place, I don’t want to wander too far afield.

It’s a good kind of busy, and I’m trying to push other frustrations out of the way and focus on the work that gives me the most satisfaction and is the most career-building.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 23, 2018: Positive Web Host Adventures (For a Change)  
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Wed. May 17, 2017: Prepping for Recalibration

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and warm

I couldn’t get the mower going yesterday, and I’m totally frustrated. I hope it’s as simple as cleaning the air filter and replacing the spark plug, because I can’t afford a new mower right now.

Gorgeous day yesterday, finally.

I finished the second draft of WINNER TAKE ALL. Now, it can marinate for a week before I tackle the third draft.

Found the next draft/adaptation of ANGEL HUNT, which had been a serial years ago. I’d done some massive restructuring when I started turning it from serial to novel, and then put it aside. It’s much funnier than I remembered. Some sloppy writing, and some bad habits that my wonderful editors in the interim trained me out of, but there are good bones there. I have to figure out how to get it back into the roster.

Worked on some notes for today’s Recalibration Meeting. I need to recalibrate certain things in my writing life, and that’s what today is all about. Going through things, project by project, and figuring out what needs to be retired, what needs renewed promotion, how to re-release some titles in the way that will serve the work best (not just “this is the way everyone does it”).

“Everyone” doesn’t work for my needs and how I want to construct my career. I need to explore other options, and then come up with actionable steps in a reasonable timeline.

With the way the industry is changing (the Big 5 dumbing down too many of their releases, too many POD “publishers” who don’t do enough to support their authors, lines constantly shutting down), it’s time for something new that appeals to readers while helping the writers build their careers in a professional manner. I can’t change the industry, but I can certainly try things that fit into my vision for what I want and need for my writing career, that is true to both my artistic sense and my ethical sense. Which looks pretentious on the screen, but I’ve always believed in walking my talk.

Today will be a long, difficult, in some ways potentially traumatic day, but I think, in the long run, it will be worth it.

I hate giving up a day of writing — I may try to sneak in a bit — but the business headspace is different from the creating headspace, and I need to focus on business today.

Published in: on May 17, 2017 at 8:45 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 17, 2017: Prepping for Recalibration  
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Tues. Feb. 14, 2017: We Vote So We’ll Be Left Alone

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold
Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. Please know that each of you is valued.

When you live on Cape Cod, your life revolves around the weather no matter what else is going on in the world.

So it was this weekend. We had some storms come through, although not as bad for us as predicted. The family in Maine got about two more feet of snow dumped on them, with more on the way.

But I stayed in, wrote A LOT (I think nearly 70 pages in total), researched the Italian Renaissance, studied Constitutional Law. On Sunday, I had to drive to a designated site to take the quiz. It was not a space conducive to concentration. I did reasonably well on the quiz — two questions wrong. But, for my own standards, getting any wrong is not okay, so I’m frustrated with myself. But when you’re on a timed site and people keep coming up and talking to you, demanding you drop what you’re doing to take care of them — even though it’s not your job, and you’re just there as a fellow patron — even if you say, “I can’t talk, I’m on a timed site”, it breaks the concentration needed to be successful on the material. However, there’s no room for excuses. It was what it was, and I’ll just have to do better next time, no matter what the distractions.

Add to that snow shoveling and power fluctuations, and I’m a little tired.

Add to that the work I’ve been doing with my elected officials, and I’m even more tired.

So, General Flynn apologized and resigned, and now we’re supposed to forget. Um, no. There’s no way he behaved in a vacuum. He knowingly took actions that sabotaged a sitting president and put the country at risk, and I believe he did so with the full knowledge and encouragement of the incoming president. That is not okay.

There needs to be a full and independent investigation, not just of this portion of it, but of the interconnections. Treason is going on. Not a mistake, not jumping the gun — treason.

Every Senator who agreed to the rushed confirmation and voted for this guy needs to apologize to the American people (with additional apologies to their own constituencies) and cooperate in the investigation. I believe that the investigation will find that some of them colluded and others were complicit in their silence. It needs to be untangled.

Supporters of the Narcissistic Sociopath now want David Patreus to take over. Someone who’d have to get permission from his parole officer to travel. Someone who shared confidential security information with his mistress. Just because she was also American doesn’t make it okay.

Anyone who is nominated must be thoroughly vetted BEFORE confirmation. No more of this rushing. The GOP needs to stop ramming both the unqualified and the corrupt down our throats.

Any Senator who continues so to do must be removed as soon as is possible, be it in the next election, or because that individual, too, is discovered to have committed treason.

Treason is not “disagreeing” with the government, or protesting. It is knowingly and willingly working to undermine it, which the GOP has been doing since 2008. It has to stop. Their oath is to Constitution (meaning “We the People”), not party. Anyone who does otherwise has to go.

That’s why, in all this discussion about flipping districts, I’m not blindly supporting someone just because there’s a “D” next to the name. The individual needs to be researched. If I don’t think a candidate is ethical or able to stand up for beliefs, that candidate is not getting my support, no matter what the letter next to the name. Blue Dog Dems need to go — there’s no reason to have someone in there with a “D” next to the name if they’re going to vote blindly Republican instead of Democrat, or at least standing as an individual. The party platforms are now far enough apart so that if you support one or the other, that’s the party you sign with. If you don’t believe in healthcare or Medicare or Social Security, then don’t run as a Democrat. Putting someone in to a slot just to get enough letters in a particular column doesn’t do any good if they disagree with the policies that got them into office in the first place. You can be bipartisan without betraying either party or country. It sounds contradictory — support your party, but don’t be afraid to stand up to them. Some would say that’s what Blue Dogs do. It’s the “why” that needs to be dissected.

It’s great when there are issues that can be bipartisan — let’s hope the Flynn/Russia interference with elections investigation is one of them, and that there can be more. The point of bipartisan is that you’ve reached a consensus that works IN A POSITIVE WAY for the largest number of people possible. You don’t diminish the greater good; you add to it. And yes, you put your constituency and country AND YOUR OATH TO THE CONSTITUTION before your party. But not out of a fear of not being re-elected; out of a belief that what you are doing is right FOR THE PEOPLE you represent. FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS. When you’re getting thousands of calls from your constituency telling you to vote against something and you vote for it because it’s the party line — you need to go. You don’t vote the way companies or special interests want, just because they bribed you, as our Secretary of Education did. Call it “donation” all you want — that chick bought her position and is woefully unqualified for it.

Again, I think we need more than two legitimate parties. Not fringe, foil-hatted parties. But genuine parties with clearly defined positions on a variety of issues. Right now, the bigoted racist misogynists have hijacked the GOP. Let them have their own party, and the GOP can go back to being the party of Lincoln. The Democrats are a hot mess, it’s worse than herding cats, because at least cats have common sense. The DNC is trying to appeal to everyone, and therefore only succeeds at pleasing no one. The party, in general, is just right of center, when it needs to break up to be slightly left of center and far left.

The far reaches of each party need to balance each other. Most of us vote because we want someone to represent our point of view so that we can live our lives and not bother with every bill and worry about every decision and every vote. We want to be left the hell alone to live our lives. There’s a need for extreme on both the left and the right, so there’s compromise in the middle that does the least damage. The most good is rarely done — the past couple of decades it’s been about the least damage. Most of us will live with that — win a few, lose a few, don’t take away my earned benefits or mess with my personal, bodily rights. Go do your jobs and leave me alone to live my life.

Unfortunately, that is not possible right now. The GOP is not only violating the Constitution and supporting the Narcissist in his daily dismantling of it, the GOP is actively interfering in my daily life.

The party that claims to want SMALLER government is determined to regulate women’s bodies, decide who one can love and marry, decide who is allowed to use a toilet, diminish education, force religion into schools and onto people who don’t believe in it, deny others rights because of their religion, take away food safety standards, allow polluters to destroy the earth, encourage the collapse of the ice shelves that will drown a good percentage of the population, sell off our natural resources to special interests who will build condos no one can afford anyway, force the elderly into poverty, force wages down so that people can never climb out of poverty (don’t you fucking say “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” when most people live paycheck to paycheck while the top executives WHO DO NOTHING line their pockets will millions). All of this is being LEGISLATED by the party who claims to want SMALLER government. The hypocrisy is astonishing.

My fellow artists and I want nothing more than to be able to go back to creating full time and not worrying about all the rest, but we take our responsibilities as citizens very seriously. We will keep working against corruption, and to move through the current dystopia to the best possible lives for people, where they have individual freedoms, while also respecting others. We will not shut up. We’re not stupid because we work in the arts. One of the things I’ve learned, since I moved away from an art-centric culture, is how much SMARTER people who make their living in the arts are, in most cases (reality show participants don’t count — they are not artists — they are paid spokespeople).

So, no, artists will not shut up. Art has always changed the world, since the time of papyrus and Greek ritual theatre and Shakespeare and Vaclav Havel. It will continue so to do.

Thurs. Jan. 19, 2012: Even the Cat is Busy


Tessa

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Waning Moon
Still dark out

It’s supposed to be pretty stormy tonight into tomorrow, some snow, but not a lot. I’ll know what today’s weather is like in a bit when I leave for yoga.

Owner came to work on the wall yesterday. I got as much done as I could — a lecture on the writer’s need to remember he is a business person AND an artist, and that the two don’t cancel each other out, plus critiquing the latest 5 in 10 stories. With 32 in the class, and the lengths now in the just over 1K range, that’s 32K minimum for me to read, twice a week, which takes awhile.

Worked on my short stories. Not happy with the progress on either novel these past two weeks.

Went to a library one town over. Got out a book I need as research for the current assignment for Confidential Job #1, and some books that just looked interesting. Happens when I’m around books. On the sale shelf was an enormous, brand-new Monet book. The sign said $1 for sale shelf items, but I figured this book must have been left there by mistake. Nope. It was for sale and it was $1. I bought it. When I got home, the flap was still on — original price $75. Now THAT’s a sale! I’d love to do a collection of short stories inspired by his paintings of women by the sea or walking through gardens. There’s an optional assignment for the class next month to do a short story based on a painting — I’m going to use Hopper’s painting of a woman in a theatre lobby — but the plates in these books give me more ideas. I’d love to do a collection of short stories based on the work of each painter. A few years ago, a poet put out a volume of poems inspired by Hopper’s work. I’ve got it here somewhere — not unpacked yet.

I’ve got two sets of interview questions to get out for future guests on the book blog.

Last night was the Writers’ Night Out dinner. It was at a nice restaurant in Yarmouth. Sat with a memoirist I’d met at an earlier event, and met some new-to-me people who were very interesting, too. I like that the conversations at these events is always wide-ranging. So often at these types of events, conversation focuses on desperation of not being published (and that’s usually because the ones who want to be published aren’t actually using the butt glue and getting any writing done). Here, writers are writing, but they’re also doing all kinds of interesting things and can talk about them. The balance is better and the attitude is healthier.

The speaker was interesting, and I got to toss a few ideas around with him after the event. I also got to talk to my friend, who wants to get together for our next meeting on the theatre piece, and the Center’s director, who’s interested in having me speak at one of the breakfast meetings, which I think would be tons of fun.

When I came back, I discovered that Miss Tessa Houdini, the kitten, had not only found a way to get the dishwasher door open, she’d filled up the dishwasher. And not with dishes, but with pieces of paper and cat toys. Well, she sees me filling it up, so she figured she should “help out”. It was hilarious. The papers were in the slots for dishes and the cat toys were in the cutlery holders. She is extremely organized. And she was very, very proud of herself. The other two cats were running around howling. Typical evening, in other words. Tessa has Stuff To Do, while the other two act like the sky is falling.

Trouble getting up this morning — wanted to stay in bed. But I hauled myself out, and I’m trying to get a bit of writing done before I head to yoga. More work on the wall later this morning, must push through the student work, get further on Confidential Job #1’s assignment, get some paperwork filed, mail a signed copy of a book for a friend, and then, tonight, I’m attending a women’s health lecture.

Holiday Hocus Pocus will be a fun class. Even though it only runs a week, students will have a year’s worth of resources by the end of it, and notes that will serve them, probably, for the next five to ten.

I gave some students advice yesterday about “batch outlining” — outlining several projects in the space of a few days, and then working one’s way through, project by project. I think I might need to take some of my own advice. I’m a little derailed in my own schedule of the projects that need to get done and out this year, and I need to get back on track.

You know the drill: 1000 words a day, at least 5 days a week. Such is the life of a working writer. And most of the time, you damn well better be doing more than 1K/day, and it better be on more than one project, if you expect to keep a roof over your head.

To the page, and then to yoga.

Devon

Dec. 12: Local Acknowledgement & Adventures in Holiday Baking

Monday, December 12, 2011
Waning Moon
Uranus DIRECT (as of Saturday)
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

It looks so pretty with the frost on the grass!

What a weekend!

The exciting news is that ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT was included in the CAPE COD TIMES’S column of “Books to keep you warm on Cold Cape Cod Nights”. I had no idea, and was thrilled to open the paper and see it. To be mentioned in the Sunday paper’s book section — with a cover photograph — I was thrilled!

Saturday morning was the holly walk — the first thing I did when I moved to the area last year, and still something I love to do. It was so much fun, and it’s fascinating to see how the Sanctuary evolved through the year. Got some holly boughs (yes, it’s part of the walk, I didn’t just take them) — will try to use some of the berries (well, the seeds in the berries) to start some hollies that are descended from these trees. They’d have special meaning.

Came back, baked 5 dozen tollhouse cookies. Tried the thumbprint recipe – which I’ve successfully used before — and it didn’t work. That’ll teach me. Instead of using my beloved Land O’Lakes butter, which I usually use for baking, I’d bought cheaper butter in bulk at Costco, knowing that I’d be doing hundreds of cookies this year. Well, the butter didn’t cream properly with the sugar. Didn’t matter the temperature, didn’t matter the type of utensil — wooden spoon, paddle attachment, regular mixer. I wound up with a streusel-like substance instead of creamed butter and sugar. It was fine with the tollhouse cookies, but the thumbprints couldn’t be imprinted — they simply shattered. Adding liquid just made them melt into puddles.

So the thumbprint cookies are not an option this year.

Prepped 5 dozen molasses spice cookies for the next day’s baking. The molasses took care of the streusel effect, and it was not a problem.

Sunday, after reading the papers, I baked the 5 dozen molasses spice. Perfection. I prepped the dough for the eggnog angels, the only rolled cookie I planned for this year. Again — streusel effect, even with the eggnog. I put the dough into the fridge to chill, hoping that would help. Then, I baked 3 dozen oatmeal raisin cookies (the replacement for the thumbprint) and 5 dozen banana-walnut-chocolate chip cookies. The oatmeal raisin cookies can be a little crumbly, and the mashed banana helped smooth out the butter.

When I tried to roll out the dough for the eggnog angels, no dice. You could roll it, but as soon as you used a cutter, they shattered. So I used the same method used for the molasses spice — rolled into balls, dusted with sugar, flattened with a glass dipped in sugar. It made a lot more than the cutouts would be, and they’re round instead of angels, but they taste good. Hopefully, the icing will still work on them. Without using the sugar to roll and flatten, they fell apart.

Okay, I’m convinced, Land O’Lakes forever more! 😉

Today, I have the mini-lemon bundt cakes and all the glazes/icing to do. Tomorrow, the platters are packed and go out the door. The rest of the packages also have to be wrapped and packed today, and go out the door tomorrow.

In the meantime, I had to spend time with students, read a friend’s manuscript, and then a client project came in for immediate turnaround. This is not the client’s usual MO, so, while there’s definitely the rush fee attached, I’m not refusing the job. I’m also working on my business plan for next year. I want to change a certain amount of things. This was the first year I had a chance to really see what it was like to work without the pressures of scumbag landlords and Broadway commute. What I learned from this year, I can apply moving forward, to shape my work like into what I want AND what meets the financial needs. In order to do that, I have to tweak some things and radically change others.

And then there was The Stroll. The Village Holiday Strolls are a HUGE deal on the Cape. Every village has on. If you live there, you damn well better get out there and STROLL, or you hear about it all year. I was too tired last year, having moved here a few weeks before, and I’m STILL getting flack about it! So I stopped everything, showered (dough in the hair is not a good look for me), dressed, and off we went.

Parking was a nightmare, because there isn’t any. They block off the streets that actually have parking lots, so you’re off trying to find a side street with no lights on and park on the edge of someone’s property. Everything dead-ends, but there’s no room to turn around, because the streets are narrow, filled with parked cars, and more cars are coming at you all the time, but there’s no exit. And everyone’s in dark colors, darting around the streets, so you’re worried you’re going to run someone over. Only the dogs have reflective collars on.

And there ARE dogs — tons of them. Which is very cute. The dogs stroll as seriously as the people. And they’re so well behaved, with all the chaos and the noise and the smells and the other dogs. They don’t even try to steal the hot dogs!

The historic houses and everything else are all decorated to the hilt, the streets are blocked off so people can wander, and tables are set up with hot chocolate and hot dogs and baked goods and all kinds of stuff. There are donation buckets set up — not quite sure for what. And teens running around with buckets asking for donations for the needy. I’m such a cynical Manhattanite that I assumed it was a scam, but I was told it’s actually true. It’s fun and festive, although there were too many teenagers who’d consumed too much sugar racing around, shrieking. But they weren’t doing any harm, and they were having fun. It’s not like they were wilding or anything. Teenage conversation here is so different than in Westchester, where all they did was whine about their parents not paying for enough. Here, they actually go out and do stuff and talk about what they’re doing and want to do, and make up actual adventures, and then go HAVE them. They’re much more aware of and engaged in the world, which is nice. I think they’re smarter, too — probably because their parents aren’t all over-medicated and aren’t over-medicating them.

It was lovely, but such hell getting in and out with the parking situation that I may just risk local wrath an NOT do it again next year! They could use the shopping center parking lots on Rt. 28 and then take those historic trolleys they’re so proud of and shuttle people back and forth. But they won’t change, because “this is the way it’s always been done.”

And then the microwave died. Billowed smoke, got very hot, smelled weird. Unplugged it, cooled it with ice, will have to get rid of it. No microwave popcorn for me for a bit! Well, I don’t use it that much anyway, so it’s not THAT big a deal, but, after the holidays, I’ll probably get a new one.

I’m behind where I’d like to be on the cards — I wanted to have them all out today — not happening. But I’ll get them out in the next few days. And then I have to worry about the party invitations! 😉

I’m doing a live chat tonight at 7 PM over at Savvy Authors, talking about short stories in general, and my 5 in 10 short story workshop that starts in January in particular.

This week, I also have the Writers’ Association Holiday Dinner and a yoga party. Busy, busy!

And I figure, if I’m lucky, I’ll finish decorating the house by Christmas Eve!

Back to the page, and onward.

Devon