Fri. April 15, 2022: Piling On

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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.

Thurs. March 24: Digging into the Creative Work

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Thursday, March 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Rain/sleet/snow

Wacky weather this morning. It keeps switching from rain to sleet to snow and circling back through. The grass and rooftops have a glaze of white, while the streets are shiny and wet.

There’s a longer than usual post up on Gratitude and Growth, because I was very busy with soil and seeds this week. And here is the corrected link for Ink-Dipped Advice.

After returning from the laundromat yesterday, I sat down and started the second draft of CAST IRON MURDER. I rewrote the first three chapters and printed them out. Of course, I found errors when I read them over to update the tracking sheets that will become the Series Bible. But it’s a good start.

I used that momentum to do a bit of work on THE KRINGLE CALAMITY. I thought I’d written 50 pages on it. I wrote 5. I guess what I remember is the outline I wrote. So I have to get back on the stick with that.

I did a little work on The Big Project, but nowhere near enough.

Still, it was a solid, creative morning, and for that I was grateful.

I did some admin in the afternoon. I was delighted that the cat grass seeds arrived. I think this time, I’ve ordered enough to get us through the summer.

Moved seedlings back and forth from the porch as needed. I took the laptop out on the porch and did script coverage out there, because it was so pleasant. Pleasant surroundings mean a higher quality of work.

I signed up for the Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event in April. The last thing I need is to add another deadline to my plate. However, this is when the opportunity came up, and I don’t want to pass on an opportunity to work in company with other playwrights via the Dramatists Guild. I have no idea what I will write yet; be it a stage play or a radio play. I could write the next Kate Warne play; If I read the research material on Squire and Marie Bancroft between now and April 1, I could write that play (which I’d hoped to write for 365 Women this year). Or I might write something completely different. I wasn’t planning any playwrighting in April, so I need to adjust my mindset.

Again, as with Nano, I already know I can write a play in a month. I do so regularly. But this broadens my network of colleagues, and makes me sit down and write it. Whatever “it” will turn out to be.

I still have to balance The Big Project, the rewrite of CAST IRON MURDER, the draft of THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, the research for the retro mystery, and the first draft of the anthology story. Along with the client and script work that’s paying the bills.

It should make for an interesting April. I will have to be ruthless and brutal about protecting my time. Fortunately, that’s easier as a remote worker.

I also have to get my initial grant materials out early next week. The grant application and my taxes need to be my primary focus this weekend.

I spent some time trying to learn a graphics program last night. I know how to create the visuals, but I have trouble understanding how to use the program. The way it’s set up doesn’t make any sense to me.

Tessa let me sleep until a quarter to six this morning, which is a luxury.

I wrote two sections on The Big Project this morning, and now have to update my tracking sheets.

Meditation was great. This morning, I will revise the next section of CAST IRON MURDER, write a book review, enter some contest scores, and work on some information for the shared world anthology. In the afternoon, script coverage and client work. I need to do a grocery run, but will probably leave it until tomorrow.

Have a lovely day!

Published in: on March 24, 2022 at 8:09 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 24: Digging into the Creative Work  
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Thurs. Feb. 24, 2022: Storms, Clocks, and Plots

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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cold

Yesterday, the temperature was in the mid-fifties. By evening, mid-thirties. This morning, sixteen. I wish the snow would come through today and be done by tomorrow, instead of the predicted all day tomorrow. I talk about the new shoots coming up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday, I wrote up some information on a topic I know a good bit about and sent it off as background information to another author I’d met via Twitter. I hope it’s helpful.

I sent email thank you notes to the presenters and organizations from Tuesday’s Zoom events. I finished up one script coverage and did another. I’m so far behind in where I should be, financially, this pay period. But I just haven’t had the mental energy to give the proper attention to two scripts per day. I’ll have to ramp it up again next week, but these past two weeks, I’ve just been tired.

The weather was all over the place, so I didn’t go out to run errands or do laundry. I did some brainstorming on the anthology. I did some work for the grant proposals.

I started thinking about what I want to do for next year’s International Women’s Day Project and then realized THIS year’s IWD is about two weeks away, and I haven’t done anything. I thought of a good project I can do in that time, and also made notes for a bigger project I want to do for next year. If I can get some funding for next year, I’ll open it up to contributors, but I want to make sure I can pay anyone who wants to participate.

I can put together my more personal one for this year within the time frame. And then I was stymied by the simplest of questions – whether to post the project here, on this blog, or make it a more permanent tribute on the main website.

I do not understand why, since the pandemic started, the most basic decisions I used to make without difficulty, have become overwhelming. I don’t like it. My “normal” is to be decisive, not waffle. But it’s as though I now only have the capacity to make a limited number of decisions across the board, and once I hit that number, I can’t make any more.

I have to figure out how to work past that.

I also haven’t figured out what to do for World Theatre Day.

The pendulum clock that I got in that funny little Treasure Hut store behaves as though it’s haunted. Which can be kind of fun, and I can build a good piece of fiction around it. But sometimes, it’s odd to live with. It keeps time just fine, but sometimes it gets chatty and noisy. Then it settles down. Then it gets chatty again. I need to name it.

My Llewellyn editor sent me the edits for the 2023 Spell A Day. It’s got a tight turnaround, so that will be the focus of today’s work, after meditation group. I was thinking of trying to do a library run up and back, but I don’t think I can make it before the storm starts.  The prediction is that it starts tonight, but the way the sky looks, and my head feels, it might start earlier.

I was sniffly yesterday, so there was also that layer of is this a seasonal cold, or did I catch The Plague? I feel okay today. If I feel bad a few days in a row, I’ll take the home COVID test, and, if necessary, get a more in-depth one. But I’m hoping it’s the seasonal change/housecleaning/unpacking.

But I felt well enough to dance around the kitchen listening to death metal while I cooked dinner, and figured out several plot points in the anthology story. Yes, I listen to everything from Mozart to Celtic rock to death metal, and most things in between. Except country.

The situation in Ukraine is heartbreaking and infuriating. The world better ally against Russia. Because Putin won’t stop at taking back former Soviet bloc countries. He’ll keep going into Europe. Stop him now. And remove those in Congress (and on Fox News) who support him.

I hope to get some work on The Big Project done. I think I have to break some sections down into smaller sections, in order for the rhythm to work.

Back to the page.

Fri. Feb. 18, 2022: Spiro Squirrel Is A Brat

image courtesy of Public Domain Pictures via pxabay.com

Friday, February 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Snowing

Yesterday was another somewhat scattered day. It was in the 50’s, mild, and raining all day. It was supposed to be mild today, then temperatures drop tonight with another storm coming in, but it was already snowing before 8 AM this morning.

Meditation was good. Charlotte sat in my lap the whole time.

Smoked salmon Benedict on brioche for breakfast, which was yummy.

Got the next section of The Big Project done, at just over 1600 words.

It was raining and windy, so I put off my errands.

Got some admin done, did some background research on some companies I want to pitch, participated in Freelance chat. Got an idea for a series of interlocked short stories, inspired by something I read in the book club book.

Spiro Squirrel knocked on the back window at lunchtime, as though he expected me to hand him my sandwich through the window, the little brat. It’s squirrel mating season, and they’ve decided the back balcony is their lovers’ lane, so there’s that going on.

The Chewy order arrived, with the treats and the new toys, including Robot Mouse. I want to give the cats some interactive toys to keep them busy. I figured Willa would like Robot Mouse, because she’s such a good mouser.

She does. She thinks Robot Mouse is excellent fun, and chases it, catches it, and plays with it. Since it’s a robot, she can’t tear it apart, the way she does with real mice.

Charlotte is curious, but cautious, and keeps a safe distance. Tessa Is Not Amused.

The afternoon was split between script coverage and collaborating on the anthology. I also got some reading snuck in for book club (I need to catch up online with everyone). I got some good ideas for my anthology story, based on our discussions. We’re doing detailed world building, amongst all of us, that I want to make sure that richness is part of the piece, not that the world is a backdrop. It needs to be integrated.

I rearranged a single shelf in my office. A baby step, but it makes me feel like I got something done.

Unpacking one of the boxes of books that wasn’t supposed to come up; it’s mixed books, rather than project books. However, some of them are relevant to new projects, so I’m sorting and shelving them, and it’s all working out.

Pasta with sausage and tomato for dinner. Yummy.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. The kids are excited for the winter break next week, so no sessions. Not that any of them are going anywhere, but there won’t be classes; it’ll be books read for fun and games and videos and puzzles, and stuff like that.

Today, I was supposed to do errands, but if it’s snowing, I’ll limit them. Tomorrow’s supposed to be bad out, so I’ll just have to cope with whatever. If I can’t do errands this weekend, I can’t do errands, and they just have to be pushed back until next week.

I have to clear off some script coverage, and I’m done for the week with that. I am way below what I’d hoped to earn there this week, but I’ve been burned out, and I’d rather do less coverage, but give each script the time and attention it deserves, then rush through it and not give each one a fair shot.

Work on the Big Project today and all weekend, plus working on contest entries. I need to catch up with some admin, and do housework this weekend, too. I hope I get some rest in there.

Charlotte woke me at 1:30, but I managed to fall asleep again, and then overslept until nearly 7, so it was a rocky start this morning. But bagels will make everything better, so I’m off to eat my bagel for breakfast, and then return to the page. Peace, friends, and see you on the other side of the weekend. Have a good one.

Published in: on February 18, 2022 at 8:14 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 18, 2022: Spiro Squirrel Is A Brat  
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Fri. Feb. 4, 2022: Let’s Hope Freezing Rain Doesn’t Freeze My Brain

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Friday, February 4, 2022

No Retrogrades!

Freezing rain, temperature dropping

Can you imagine? No retrogrades!

It rained all day yesterday, and now, as I type this (in the morning), it’s switching over to sleet/freezing rain and rather nasty out there. I need to dash to the mailbox at the end of the street (not going all the way to the post office) at some point to mail more bills, but that will be the extent of leaving the house today.

Yesterday was another mixed day. I finished one of the radio plays. I worked on, but didn’t finish the other, and I need to get that done, because the two have to be submitted together. And that damn well needs to happen today. As it is, I might have missed my window.

I spent too much time brainstorming on the anthology, and need to curb my time on that a bit, because it’s interfering with The Big Project and a couple of other things I have going. I need to write up my proposal, draw up a floorplan for a building that can be shared space in the anthology, and then not spend several hours every day on it until we have more parameters and deadlines.

I finished THE CHRISTIE AFFAIR. Very well-written, and gave me a lot to think about.

Worked on script coverage, but didn’t get as much done as I hoped, so I have to buckle down today, once I finish and submit the radio plays.

I also want to buy Scrivener today and get that installed. I had hoped to start learning how to use it (I think it will be helpful for The Big Project), but I’m not sure I can make the time, with everything else that needs attention.

There were a couple of communication snafus (typically as Mercury is retrograde and stationing direct). One of them is a big red flag, client-wise, and I’ll have to see if it straightens out appropriately, and make decisions from there. The other was just one of those things, and totally not about me, although, exhausted, after a 16-hour day, it was difficult not to take it that way. But it wasn’t, and I put my ego aside, and acted like a decent human being. Because we’re all stressed and struggling, and doing the best we can.

I had hoped to have a very productive week and take the weekend again, but I’m behind where I want to be on a few things, and need to use the weekend to make it up. I still had a productive week, especially when it came to my own work; now I just need to balance it with work that brings in money immediately, not a few months down the road.

Had a discussion with another writer on social media about serials. I love writing them and reading them. However, I’m not all that thrilled about a writer who simply releases chapters of a book over time and calls it a “serial.” No, you’re just charging per chapter, and I’ll wait for the damn book. Serials require a slightly different structure, within each episode, and also driving the overall narrative. Yes, they can be released as books once they’re complete (hopefully, quite a bit of time after they’re complete), but they usually need a little tweaking to smooth them out as novels.

So when a writer is on social media talking about how they’re releasing their novel as a serial, I’m not all that interested; but if they’re actually talking about writing and releasing a serial as a serial, I am.

That’s just me. Writers need to do what they want, but how it’s framed affects whether or not I’ll buy it. And if I feel lied to, I’ll just cross them off my purchase list for the future.

Anyway, the freezing rain is pounding against the windows, and I need to get as much done as possible in case the power goes out.

Have a great weekend!

Tues. Jan. 11, 2022: Bitterly Cold

image courtesy of Nicky Pe via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Bitterly cold

It is 1 degree F this morning.

There’s a post over on the GDR site about resolutions being the first step.

The weekend was kind of all over the place. Worked on coverages all the way through. Was honored to be requested by two writers (on two different scripts) to read revisions based on notes I gave them a few weeks ago.

Worked on packing decorations and figuring out where to put everything so we actually have living space for the year. I’m handwashing the holiday fabrics. Some of that is because I don’t want to put the glittery fabric in a commercial machine; also because there’s no way I’m humping it all down to the laundromat in this weather.

The library has cancelled all in-person programs for the month, which is a wise idea. There was a positive test at the co-op, and that staff member and two others who were in close contact are now in quarantine. I hope they are okay.

We’re having the weather we were warned about, so staying home is my only option (especially since the car doesn’t work). Snow and freezing rain all weekend, frigid temperatures today. I have a big stack of books to return to the library, but that will happen later this week. Since the virus numbers keep going up, and the entire country is back in “Die for Your Employer” mode, I’m happy to stay home.

Did some reading for pleasure, because I needed the break. Didn’t work on The Big Project until Monday, which threw off my rhythm for everything else. We’re eating leftovers, which is a good thing to clean out the fridge and not waste food, and because I just don’t have the energy to cook right now. Although I managed a chocolate mousse on Sunday, which was delicious.

Tessa is really angry at me for taking down the big tree that was in the doorway between the sewing room and the living room. She loved to glide under it to go from one room to the other, and also liked to sit under it.

As a joke, I put a small, 15” tree (that was on one of the bookcases) down in the same spot the big tree stood. Tessa glared at me like, “You think I’m stupid?”

Meanwhile, Charlotte walked around it, checking it from all angles, and then looked at me, puzzled, like, “I remember this being bigger last time I was here.”

Willa paid no attention, being her Willa self, and busy with other things.

The dog bed that was once Tessa’s and then became Willa’s is now Willa’s again. It is on top of my mom’s bed (instead of being on top of boxes near the window, where we thought Willa would like it), and she sleeps curled up in it during the day (and curled around my mom at night).

Saturday was sunny, but cold. I ran a few errands on foot, and then dug out the car, so that Friday’s snow wouldn’t freeze down when Sunday’s freezing rain hit. Definitely a good call, because Sunday was miserable. The plows were out all day, scraping down to pavement and then sanding, very conscientious, before Monday’s next snowstorm hit.

Sunday was nasty, freezing rain all day. I was glad to stay in, work on script coverages, and read. And keep working on packing up decorations. I’ve somehow misplaced two boxes – the decorations came OUT of them, so I don’t see how I could misplace them in this finite space.

After 10 years, I had the packing/unpacking down to a system, because of the way it fit into the Christmas Closet in the storage area over the garage. But I have to figure out how it works best here, so it’s a lot of geometry involved, finding out it doesn’t work, and starting over.

It snowed most of Monday. Again, the plows were conscientious about coming around to scrape down to pavement. Once the snow stopped, in the late afternoon, they put down a lot of sand, in preparation for today.

I didn’t get much done yesterday. I couldn’t concentrate. I did work up some notes on The Big Project, finding a way to integrate a new idea into the current outline, and giving it room to create another big arc (if I decide that’s what I want), or maybe even a spin-off.

I plowed through the email that had stacked up. Outlined some specialty blog posts. Spent some time on the acupressure mat. Worked on script coverage. Started on the print books in one of the categories I’m judging. I have to contact my book review editor; for some reason, I can’t find the links to upload the two reviews I just worked on. I also have to get back to the search for someone to fix the car today, so I can set that up for next week or so.

Made a black bean soup from the Moosewood recipe – very good, and easy. That recipe will become a staple recipe in my repertoire.

The Chewy order finally arrived; I felt sorry for the driver. The delay in delivery is not a problem at all – I’d rather the drivers stayed safe. The way Fed Ex lies about the delivery is not okay. Just tell me it’s delayed; don’t keep insisting it’s coming “today” as they did Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Target order – which is five small, but necessary items – is coming in three different boxes. And I’ll have to put in another order with Chewy this week for the cat litter (the one that arrived was for food – we’re good for the next nine weeks). The Goddess Provisions box arrived, filled with good stuff.

I’ve received so many oracle decks in the past few years, between Tamed Wild and Goddess Provisions, that I think, in spring, I’ll give away the ones with which I don’t connect strongly/don’t use. As I’m unpacking stuff and setting up the office/bookcases/ reading nooks, I will put aside the ones I want to give away, and then set it up in spring, when it’s easier to get to the post office.

Once I post here, I’m off to do some work on The Big Project, to try to get back on track with that. I’m way behind where I wanted to be at this point; however, I really like the quality of the writing. Then, I’ll write up the scoring sheets for the entries I read last night, and get back to the script coverage. I have to get a lot read this week if I want to make my nut this pay period (and I’m pretty sure I’ll fall short, but I’m so damn exhausted, and it’s not fair to the writers if I’m not in top form to write up the coverage).

I need to get back on track with THE KRINGLE CALAMITY, too, but that can happen this weekend. And I need to get some LOIs out.

Later this month, I need to get back to working on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, so they can start re-releasing. I was so thrilled with the new covers, and now I’m having second thoughts that they might be too busy, using photographs instead of line drawings. The original covers are too similar; these new covers are too different, and the tiny logo in the corner doesn’t really tie them together enough. I’ll have to mull that over. Although I’m not going to go for a re-design during a Venus retrograde because that’s simply not wise. But I can think about it and consider options and styles, and how I really want these workbooks to sit in the world. They are my steadiest sellers, so I want them to be both useful and easy on the eye.

Today is bitterly cold. It was supposed to snow all day, but it’s sunny right now. I’m just grateful the power is still on!

Charlotte woke me at 3:33 AM, wanting attention, and the minute Tessa heard her, Tessa started, in full voice. I grabbed the feather bed and moved to the couch, grumpy that I had to leave my cozy fleece sheets, but not wanting Tessa to wake the neighbors at that hour. I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew, it was 7 AM and more snow had fallen. Poor Willa got the short end of the stick this morning – no attention AND late breakfast. I had weird dreams on the couch – busy dreams, not stress dreams, at least. But I still felt like I’d already put in a full day by the time I woke up.

It’s supposed to be a little warmer tomorrow, and cloudy, so the plan (so far) tomorrow late morning is to pack up as many of the library books as I can carry and return them, and pick up the books that have come in. I’ll probably go across the street to the college library in the next few days. I have some digging I need to do in their shelves. Best to do it before classes start up again next week.

I hope the virus numbers go down enough in spring and summer that I can work IN these two libraries a couple of times a week. The spaces are so terrific, I want to utilize them. But not now. Now, I’m isolating as much as possible.

Stay safe and healthy. May you have the energy you need to both get through the day and create.

Tues. Nov. 16, 2021: Juggling Manuscripts

image courtesy of Mochammad Algi vis Pexels.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

I enjoyed the weekend, which is a good thing.

Friday was a bit of a slog. It started absolutely bucketing down rain, monsooning harder than it ever has since we lived here. I guess I should be grateful it wasn’t snow. But there was no way in hell I was going to go out in that.

Got through a bunch of emails, sent out some LOIs. Did my script coverage. Both read and wrote up the last script of the week (I was going to read Friday, write Saturday, but decided I needed a whole day off). So I worked until 8:30 at night, but at least I got it all cleared off my desk.

I was exhausted, and fell into bed early.

Charlotte started nuzzling me a little after 5 AM on Saturday, and then Tessa began singing the song of her people, so I got up to feed them.

2783 words on CAST IRON MURDER, and they went kind of well.

It was a lovely autumn day, so I grabbed the letters for the post office and the books that had to go back to the library, and headed out. As safe as I feel around here, most of the time, I’m still aware that it’s a city, and I still keep the awareness high of everything going on around me, and keep up with what I learned to survive living in NYC.

Such as: always carry a small compact with a mirror with you. You can “check your makeup” when you’re really checking to see who’s behind you. In a pinch, you can smash the mirror and use the shards as weapons (thereby putting the seven years’ bad luck of a smashed mirror onto your attacker, not keeping it).

Fortunately, I have yet to use that here, but I’m ready, if necessary.

I also feel often safer here than on Cape, because I’m not being harassed by that asshat Trump supporter with the tricked-up pickup and the American flags trying to run me off the road because I’m a woman driving on my own in a blue car, and must therefore be a femi-Nazi libtard and deserve to be driven into a ditch. Or a telephone pole. Nope. Don’t miss him at all.

Anyway, dropped off the mail at the post office. The clerks with whom I usually exchange information aren’t working on Saturdays, so I left without finding out the latest happenings.

Up the street to the library, to drop off and pick up books. One of the librarians suggested a book she really liked, so I added it to the stack, and got some books off the Free Discard table.

When I got home, it was so lovely that we headed to the car and drove up to Windsor Lake, to enjoy being outside while we still can. Explored some more of the lake. It’s a small lake, gouged into the side of a mountain in a residential area, but it’s lovely. I look forward to spending as much time as possible there.

By the time we got back, the clouds were moving in, and soon, it started raining again. So I’m glad we had the time outside.

Read for fun all afternoon. Finished one book and read another which had been recommended to me. They didn’t work for me, although the plotting is clever and well-thought out. I’m not fond of hapless protagonists, unless they grow and change, and this one didn’t, over the course of the two books I read. Also, “witch” was used as a derogatory more than once, by characters I’m supposed to like, without consequences, and that’s a non-negotiable line for me. Don’t pretend you’re an inclusive author when you refer to other women and an entire belief system in that derogatory way. You’re a fucking hypocrite. Any author publishing after 2000 can’t use the excuse that it’s a phrase “everybody uses.” No, hon, it’s a phrase those supporting white privilege status quo use. If a writer uses it in a book published after 2000, a line goes through the name, they are off my list. Writers can and should write whatever they want. But when they personally spit in my face, they can’t expect me to support their books, either by buying them or by praising them. There was a lot of maintaining the status quo white privilege in both books, which turned me off. When an author tries to create a protagonist that does that, while still pretending the protagonist is tolerant and accepting, it rarely works. While a lot of that comes from pressure from traditional publishers, editors, and agents, it’s rarely written with enough skill to work.

Done with that author.

As soon as Charlotte and I started drifting off to sleep on Saturday night, Tessa started wailing. I got up, sat with her while she had a snack, and we had a little chat about the human need to sleep through the night.

She started in again, for a few minutes around 5 on Sunday morning, but I didn’t get up until about six.

There was a brilliantly red sky for the sunrise, which made me figure we were in for some weather.

Baked biscuits in the morning. The American kind, not the British kind.

Wrote 2643 words on CAST IRON MURDER. Just over 100 were an insert on yesterday’s chapter; I realized I hadn’t planted the first part of a clue, so I had to go back and do that, or an upcoming scene won’t make sense.

In the outline for the second book in the series I’ve been working on, I originally planned to kill off the husband of this book’s murder victim, because he’s annoying. However, as I’ve been writing CAST IRON MURDER, he’s evolving into an interesting enough character, and I’ve invested enough in his development, that I’m thinking he might be fun to keep around as a character one can love to hate, who sometimes has redeemable moments. So now I have to come up with a new victim for the second book, and decide if that victim was the intended victim, or if the victim was killed by accident, because the murderer though it was this other character. For a while, I thought it would be the wrong person who initially got killed, and then the right person (because I can’t have a single body drop in the next book, I need at least two), but I’m rethinking the whole plot.

Something to ponder the next time I go to the laundromat and work on the outline.

If it makes more sense to kill this guy off, even though I’ve invested in him, that’s what I’ll do. But if it makes an interesting story to keep him around for a few more books before I kill him off, maybe I’ll do that.

I like having options.

I’m on page nine of my twelve-page outline for CAST IRON MURDER, and worried I’m running out of plot while only being a bit over a third of the way through my projected word count. Fortunately, the sequence in which my characters are currently engaged will take at least two, possibly three chapters.

CAST IRON MURDER definitely has passages that make it a “not quite cozy” rather than a cozy, because the book deals with race, and has references to sexuality and sexual choices in it, although I expect most of the sex will happen behind closed doors, once the protagonist falls for someone.

I find the terms “clean cozy” and “clean romance” rather vomit-inducing, because it suggests that all sex is somehow “dirty” and “unclean” and I disagree with that delineation. People can have all the different kinds of fun they want in their sex lives, and if they chose to call it “dirty” or “nasty” or whatever, that’s up to them. But to define books as “clean” meaning the characters are chaste and sexless not by choice but by publisher or reader demand is way too evangelical and censored for my taste. Also, I find a lot of those books unbelievable, because if people are in a healthy, romantic relationship, it often involves a healthy sex life, and to pretend that part of their lives doesn’t exist is unhealthy. There are plenty of stories where the tone makes more sense for the details of the sex lives not to be portrayed, but to deny the characters even have sex lives, unless a character has chosen celibacy or is ace (and let’s face it, dealing honestly with an ace character would make the readers who like to bully and  censor cozies take up arms, too) is a turnoff for me. Some writers can pull it off with great skill, but there are plenty of authors who, in my opinion, don’t. I’m also sick of militant reader groups trying to bully authors. Read whatever you want. Don’t bully authors into writing the way you want them to write. You can support or not support an author by where you place your money. But telling them how to write the books is not okay. You want to read a certain kind of book and can’t find it? Write it your damn self. Learn what it takes to actually write a book, instead of bullying those who already do.

So I keep trying different authors, and I keep crossing authors off my future TBR list when what they do does not work for me. And sometimes, an author’s books will work for multiple books until, suddenly, it takes a turn, and it doesn’t anymore.

Writers have the right to write whatever they want (or whatever they choose to write, because they’re being paid appropriately). I have the right not to read it. As anyone who finds my books and stories don’t work for them has the right not to read mine.

That doesn’t mean I’ll publicly trash them, unless they start a public fight with me. But I’ll stop reading them, or buying their books or recommending them in the various forms in which I recommend books.

At one point on Sunday afternoon, I was lying on the couch, with Tessa purring beside me. Charlotte jumped into my lap. For a minute, they considered fighting, but then they decided not to. Charlotte settled on my lap, Tessa stayed beside me. I figured 30 seconds to a minute of peace, but we stayed there nearly an hour, until Tessa decided she wanted her dinner. Progress.

Up early Monday, thanks to Tessa, but got a lot done. We were supposed to have snow flurries, so I planned not to leave the house. Didn’t see any; if they were around, they didn’t stick.

Wrote 2770 words on CAST IRON MURDER, and even liked a decent percentage of them.

Had to reformat some of my comic script samples, because somehow, they managed to wonk, in both .doc and PDF formats, and I needed to send those samples to a potential client. So that took up more time than I wanted.

Once those were fixed and out the door, I turned my attention back to “A Rare Medium. I had just one more scene to write on it, and it was taking some interesting turns.

I stopped long enough to make roasted parsnip and apple soup. It’s a Kripalu recipe, by Chef Jeremy Rock Smith. I had a difference of opinion with the immersion blender, and the blender won, leaving the kitchen a mess, so I didn’t take any photographs, but the soup tastes good.

After lunch, I went back to work on the script for a bit, took a quick break on the acupressure mat, and then got back to work. I finished the draft just after 4. Later than I’d hoped, but it felt so good to get it done. Now, it can sit for a week or two before I do revisions, and I’ll still get it in by deadline.

Finished the leftover meatloaf for dinner.

I took a basic astrology class from The Sisters Enchanted in the evening. I needed to brush up on basics, and see where I had gone off track in the layering of the houses with the birth chart with the planets, and then, of course, the transits/retrogrades go over the top. They didn’t add in the transits, but the rest was a good basic refresher of those first three layers.

I remember when I had a professional astrologer read my chart in NYC years ago, a one-hour session took three hours, because she found my chart so complex and interesting.

Another project for winter: untangling my birth chart for a better understanding.

Of course, the astrology books are in storage, and I can’t get at them until spring.

Anyway, TSE has a four-month astrology program that would be interesting, but it’s out of my budget right now. Not that I think they should lower their prices; they’re running a business, deserve to be paid, and charge a fair price. But that doesn’t keep it from being out of my budget at the moment. Which is fine, when the time is right, I’ll take it.

Why does astrology matter? Isn’t it just woo-woo b.s.? It’s often used that way. But it’s information that can help see patterns and make smarter choices. Too many people use astrology as an excuse for their bad behavior. Their chart says X, Y, Z, so they’re not responsible for their behavior, which is a load of crap. Others use it as a reason not to do anything, not to make decisions, because it’s all “fixed” which is also crap.

What it does is give information as to tendencies in behavior and reactive patterns, based on influences and stresses in the chart. If I keep having a response to a set of stressors (which are also affected by environmental and nurturance factors), I can look at my chart and see influences for those stressors. Then, when I feel them, I can stop, take a breath, realize that this is a reactive pattern that does not serve me, and make a smarter choice in my behavior and responses. And, in areas that support positive explorations and choices, I can lean into the support of those influences.

It’s information, to be used or ignored.

There’s also a lot of math involved, which makes me cringe, but hey, the stars and planets have a lot to do with math and science.

I wanted to bask in the afterglow of class, but because I’d spent so much time on the book and the play, I still had script coverage to write up. Got that done. I was about to sign off for the night when I got in an irritating email about something that I thought had been resolved.

Instead of reacting angrily in the moment, I closed out for the night. I will prepare a professional, considered response today and send it during business hours.

Because boundaries, and working to break negative patterns.

Had trouble falling asleep last night, even though tired, and then dreamed of hotels. I’m pretty sure this hotel complex has been in previous dreams. Whatever.

Up at 5, woke up on my own, just before Tessa began singing her morning opera scales.

2378 words on CAST IRON MURDER, and I even like some of them.

I’m dashing out to the grocery store soon, because it looks like we’re getting in some weather, and I want to be done before it hits. I’m taking a cooking class online tonight, via NYU Alumni, and I need to get the ingredients.

More script coverage when I get back, email, LOIs, and then on to the next play.

Peace, friends, and catch you tomorrow.

Wed. Nov. 10, 2021: Cats and Keyboards

photo by Ruca Souza via pexels.com. Tessa used to sit like this when I wrote, when she was a kitten.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and cool

We didn’t get the snow predicted for this week, but it is raining. Better than snow, right? At least until around Christmas/Yule. Then, I’ll be wanting snow!

People are moving through their day here in parkas and shorts. Go figure.

Did three script coverages yesterday afternoon and read two more scripts, which I will write up today.

Did some reading for fun.

Will find out today if my mother’s insurance/medication issues are really cleared up. I got a letter that I can keep my insurance, so I just have to find new doctors here. Health care in this country just sucks. Well, the actual care I got last year was excellent, most of the time, but the paperwork and hoop jumping surrounding it sucks.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. The kids under twelve are starting to get their shots. Hopefully, they will all get their first dose before Thanksgiving, and their second dose before Christmas. Then we’ll have to decide if they’re all going to be kept out of in-person learning until the school year ends, or if it makes sense for some of them to go back. But first, we’re getting them all vaccinated.

When I tried to schedule my booster late last week and early this week, I was told I’m too young and healthy to get one, but now it seems the FDA may allow anyone over 18 to get a booster soon. Since we can mix and match, I’m going to get the Pfizer booster, and hopefully not lose another week, like I did with both Moderna shots.

The crockpot pork chops were okay, but the vegetables I put in with them didn’t cook properly. Not sure why.

Planning to make a roasted parsnip and apple soup later on (another Kripalu recipe). I have to go to the library to switch out books, and then over to CVS, to see if I can actually pick up (and afford) my mother’s medication.

Remote Chat is today, and I’m looking forward to that. I’m hoping I can balance the coverages I have to write up with work on “A Rare Medium.” And I need to start the books for review.

The unpacking has fallen by the wayside lately. I need to get back on top of that, too.

Wrote 2290 words on CAST IRON MURDER this morning. Bit of a struggle. But I got them done. It sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Charlotte and Tessa fussed at each other last night, and I had to get out of bed to referee. Then, Charlotte threw up and tried to hide, so I took the time to comfort her. From her behavior whenever she throws up, I think she used to be punished for it, so I’m trying to teach her that she doesn’t get punished here (although I’d prefer if she didn’t throw up on the bed).

Charlotte woke me a little before 3, but I rolled over and went back to sleep. Tessa started in a little before 5. I can deal with getting up at 5. It gives me a chance to get some writing done in longhand before I start work on CAST IRON MURDER. How I start a draft is how I need to write a draft; if I start a first draft in longhand, I need to do the whole draft in longhand, not switch back and forth. If I start a draft on the computer, like I did for CAST IRON MURDER, I need to do the draft on the computer, not some of it in longhand and some on computer. Not logical, but hey, it works. Sort of.

Off to deal with the day. Have a good one!

I have to leave a Charlotte-sized space on the small table next to my computer desk, because Charlotte likes to sit there and look out of the window. Hey, if it makes her happy, I can make sure the space is there. However, now Charlotte tries sitting in my lap while I type, which we have to figure out so I can actually, you know, type.

Tessa has been impossible this morning. Zooming around the apartment, yelling her head off. She wants the porch door open (it’s still too cold). She wants to play – well, she wants to watch me dance toys around for her amusement). She wants company.

Willa, meanwhile, figures it’s a rainy day, and only good for staying in bed. Good for Willa.

Published in: on November 10, 2021 at 8:30 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 10, 2021: Cats and Keyboards  
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Tues. Nov. 9, 2021: Music, Cats, and Sleep Deprivation

image courtesy of cottonbro via pexels.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

Last week, the prediction was that we’d have our first snowfall by yesterday. Instead, we’re having gorgeous weather. Frosty nights and glorious days. I’ll enjoy every one we get.

Catch-up time from the weekend, huh? I’d miscalculated how much time I needed for the script coverages, and ended up reading/writing up coverage all weekend. I have a feeling I’ll be doing so until Thanksgiving, so that I can take a four-day break without worrying.

Work on CAST IRON MURDER for Nano was steady. Friday-2439; Saturday-2574; Sunday-3008; Monday-2121; this morning-2584. Part of Sunday’s was doing an insert to the previous day’s work, where I’d forgotten to write a rather important scene. Yesterday was a bit of a slog, but the second week of Nano is always the hardest for me. Today, I had a late start, but it went well.

Friday was an absolute debacle of a day. It was gorgeous weather, and we planned to go to Holyoke and South Hadley, about an hour and a half away to the east, to hit up some stores we don’t have around here. I’d printed out the directions, planned the route, all good, right?

Only it wasn’t.

The drive across to Northampton was lovely. They’re just hitting peak color there; we peaked Halloween weekend. Northampton is kind of an odd, funky city, and I hope I get to spend more time poking around at some point, when the pandemic is more under control.

But once we got to Holyoke, the directions had little to do with the map, and neither of them had anything remotely to do with the signage. We couldn’t find any of the stores, and there was no place to stop and ask for directions.

We found 91, and took it down to the Mass Pike, and back west to Lee. Lee was busy, and there was no parking, so we decided not to roam around Lee, but keep going.

To my delight, the Berkshire Atheneum in Pittsfield was having a book sale. The sale was gigantic (and everyone was masked and following protocols). I was overwhelmed, but not so overwhelmed I didn’t buy a stack of eight books, two cookbooks, and eight classical music CDs.

So the day wasn’t a total wash. Because, book sale.

Their next sale is my birthday weekend, which means I’m less upset about having to cancel the planned trip for That Big Birthday than I was a few weeks ago.

We stopped at a market in Adams we’d been wanting to try. They have some stuff I can’t get anywhere else, but no staff and few patrons masked, so I won’t be going in there often or for long. One of the few places around here that’s lax on masking.

We stopped at Burger King on the way home, because it was late, and we were hungry. Bad idea. We had the chicken sandwiches, which were basically carboard slabs on other cardboard slabs. And felt awful after. We know better.

The month’s Goddess Provisions box arrived, and it was a delight of crystals and a mug and a window hanging and all kinds of fun stuff. A bread cookbook I forgot I’d ordered also arrived.

Was up way too late doing script coverage.

Tessa let me sleep until 6:22 on Saturday, a real gift.

Wrote my quota on the novel, and then we headed to Job Lot, where we got a few things my mom wanted, and a draft blocker for the back door, and a snow shovel. Because if a plow pushed snow against the back of the car in the parking lot in winter, I’m going to have to dig it out, and I gave away the snow shovel we had on the Cape before we moved.

Since we were up that way anyway, we stopped at a favorite thrift store. I got another Santa for my collection (this one with little gray kittens who reminded me of my beloved Iris and Violet), some jingle bells, and another metal deer. For Five bucks, for all of it.

To CVS, where it turns out my mom’s new prescription insurance hadn’t come through as promised, so I’m back to working on that.

The library, which was busy, to pick up and drop off books. The Saturday librarian with whom I often talk books in detail was busy, so I just waved to let him know I saw him.

Script coverage in the afternoon and evening. Also finished reading THE LOLA QUARTET, which was interesting, but I got frustrated by the way the characters didn’t learn from their mistakes. The writing’s beautiful, though.

I’m enjoying Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen mysteries. They are light and fun.

Saturday was the last sunset after 5 PM until February 3, according to local weather people.

Turned the clocks back, and Tessa let me sleep until 6:30 on Sunday, which was a win, all the way around. However, we had a Serious Conversation. Tessa sat in front of me and told me that they elected her Spokes-Cat, and they would very much like it if I fed them BEFORE I started the coffee in the morning, not after.

Not happening.

Frost in the morning on the cars. I didn’t miss scraping the windshields when I had a garage, I’ll tell you that much. But it only takes a few minutes.

Wrote my Nano quota, more script coverage, some reading for fun.

Discovered I can’t have Bach’s harpsichord music on when I’m trying to do anything else. It’s definitely not background music, but listening music. I also enjoyed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which is one of my favorite pieces.

Sunday night into Monday, Charlotte was the one who was impossible. She woke me up every two hours, all purry and cuddly, wanting attention. By 3 AM, Tessa began singing her arias.

I grabbed the feather bed and moved into the bed in the sewing room. Tessa quieted down. Charlotte joined me for a few minutes. Charlotte’s catnip banana was under my back, so I pulled it out and threw it on the floor. Charlotte and Tessa fought over the banana, and then over Tessa’s catnip carrot.

I told them I didn’t care anymore; I just needed some sleep.

I dozed off again, and was woken up a little after 6 by a cold kitty nose. It was Willa, saying, “Please, could you get up and feed us? I am very hungry.”

Since she asked nicely, I did.

AFTER I started the coffee.

I was grumpy most of the day. I did my Nano words, and even came up with titles for the next two books in the series.

Wrote up a script coverage. Got out some LOIs.

I’m so behind on email, it’s not even funny.

Spent a good part of the day trying to sort out my mother’s insurance again. Elizabeth Warren’s office has been a big help. Hopefully, it’s done this time. I need to pick up her medications.

Big grocery shop over at Big Y, then over to Wild Oats for a few things, and Stop & Shop on the way back for stuff I couldn’t get at the other two places.

Read scripts in the afternoon and at night, which I will write up today.

Roasted chicken thighs with both sweet potatoes and Yukon golds, served with creamed spinach. It was yummy.

Up early this morning, even before the cats, and over to the laundromat by 6 AM, even with scraping off the car windows. My mom came along, wanting to know what it was like. We had a lot of laundry, because I procrastinated, and we had a houseguest, and we had all the fabric from Halloween. So it was two loads in the big industrial machines and two loads in the smaller commercial machines.

We were still washed, dried, folded, and home before 8. And I got a couple of pages done on the outline for the second book.

I made an egg, leek, chevre, and tarragon scramble for breakfast (Kripalu recipe), and put some potatoes, carrots, and pork chops in with barbecue sauce in the slow cooker for dinner. The house smells great.

Did my Nano words (went well today, unusual for week 2). Writing this, then catching up on email and doing script coverage. Oh, yeah, and putting all the damn laundry away.

I have two new review assignments, so I have to get started to those, too.

Maybe a nap in the afternoon, or at least 20 minutes or so on the acupressure mat.

We’re ready for winter (I think), but we’re enjoying every beautiful autumn day we can get. The front porch is still great in late morning well into the afternoons. Tessa has taken over the porch. Trying to get her in when it gets dark is getting more and more difficult. But it’s great to sit out there and read or write, while the cats watch the world go by.

Willa was excited by the birds having a meeting on the back balcony. I put up the blinds a bit in my mom’s room, so she could watch a squirrel dancing around in the tree out there. She is just fascinated.

Tessa always liked my bed to be smooth and clean (no lumps). Charlotte moves around the covers and blankets every day to build little nests.

No wonder Tessa spends most of her time on the porch.

Back to the page. I still have to finish “A Rare Medium” in the next few days, too.

Wed. Aug. 4, 2021: Appreciating the Neighborhood’s Architecture

image courtesy of hadijoyce via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Cloudy/hazy and cool

It’s cool in the early mornings and in the evenings. Not Autumn cool, but cool. It’s nice. It’s supposed to get warm and humid over the weekend and into next week, so I’m enjoying this while I can.

Got some work done in the early morning. Late morning, I took a stroll down to the post office. They are now requiring masks to enter, which is a good thing. I continued up the hill to the public library, where I dropped off books and took my time browsing to pick up new books (masked, of course). The staff has always been masked, and more patrons are now masked than even a couple of weeks ago.

I took my time walking home (“home” – what a wonderful word) along Church Street, basking in the wonderful architecture and plants. There’s a roof that’s all painted tile – I’ll have to go back and photograph it, it’s gorgeous. There’s so much detail in the trim on these houses, and carvings in the porticos. Really beautiful, even in the houses that need a little TLC. The architecture in the photo at the top of this post reflects what’s in this neighborhood, even though it’s a stock photo and not of this actual neighborhood.

Drove over to Wild Oats Market to drop off my membership paperwork. Discovered that they have a Little Free Library there, which makes me like them even more. Picked up a few things at Stop & Shop. I was planning to only get oat milk, eggs, butter – but I wound up buying four bags’ worth of stuff. We’ll use it all, so it’s not a problem. I have one eye on what we need immediately, and one eye on what we’ll need, should we need to isolate in a few weeks, be it from COVID, the weather, or a combination.

I keep honing and changing the slides for Friday’s class – all part of the process. Putting the images with them will be fun, but time-consuming, and that’s a big part of today’s work.

Read two scripts, which means I have three coverages to write, and I’ll have to get at least some of that done today.

Made pizza for dinner, because I was too tired to cook.

There’s more RWA chaos going on. Makes me glad I never joined the organization. It’s got to be heart wrenching for the people who’ve put so much time, energy, and affection into it.

I haven’t commented on the Olympics at all because I’m not watching any of it. I disagree with the choice to go forward with the games, and am therefore not watching it. Which also leads to me not engaging in any discussions about it, because the only information I have is second or third hand. So I am shutting the hell up.

Slept well. Was eager to get back to the writing, but the 1K wasn’t easy this morning. At the end of yesterday’s session, I thought I knew where I was going with the next scene – which, this morning, I decided to skip, because it really didn’t drive the story or reveal character in a way that I needed. So, while I had most of it in my head, none of it went on the page, and I went on to the next scene. 

Skipped my yoga this morning, which was a big mistake, so might do a longer session in the late afternoon, before dinner.

I found out that my public library card allows me access to the Williams College Library, which makes me so happy. Between the college library across the street and Williams College Library, I should be able to do all the research I need on Marie Collier for my play. I have most of what I need for the Dawn Powell/Dorothy Parker play, but I have to re-read the material in order to form the rest of the play. I have a strong opening for it, with a good tone, and now I need the details for the rest of it.

Remote Chat is today, which is always fun.

I’ve been spending far too much time on social media lately, mostly because of the general sense of burnout and malaise I still feel, and need to cut back. It doesn’t make me feel better, just more fatigued, even though there are a lot of people whose virtual company I enjoy.

But it’s getting in the way of the work, and the work is starting to feel better, finally. Protecting the work is important; therefore, I have to make choices to support that protection.

Back to the page – well, the class slides, anyway. Have a great day.

Published in: on August 4, 2021 at 7:55 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 4, 2021: Appreciating the Neighborhood’s Architecture  
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Tues. May 25, 2021: Drunk on Lilacs/Ray of Sunshine

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde

Sunny and pleasant

The weather is gorgeous, and I am absolutely drunk on lilacs. DRUNK ON LILACS is actually a title for a friend’s WIP. She’s been a good reader on my work, especially my Coventina Circle series; I’m excited to read her book, once she’s ready.

It was a bit of an overwhelming few days, especially on the house front. Looked at a lot of listings. Found a few that sounded decent, and one that sounds absolutely perfect. The guy’s description was great, and he had a couple of lines in the description with which I just connected.

Heard back from a question I’d sent through Zillow, and went back and forth with the agent, to the point of putting in an application (even though it wasn’t the one that was so absolutely perfect), only to then hear back from my due diligence work that the guy had no authority to rent the apartment, and, in fact, it had been rented for months.  I didn’t have my bank information or social security number on the application, but, in any event, I warned my references, warned the bank, and filed an IC3 with the FBI.

The due diligence on the place we really love is coming out clean – the guy is who he says he is, we had some good exchanges via email, and then a great phone conversation on Monday. So, fingers crossed that it all comes through. We plan on seeing it on Thursday.

On a happier note, I love, love, love the script coverage job. I’m already earning more than I did with my onsite client (it’s nice to have the overlap with two incomes coming in for a couple of weeks). In my first two weeks, I’ve received 5 “writer satisfaction” bonuses (where the writer liked my feedback and found it useful), and one tip. I’ve read 11 scripts, so it’s nearly half.

I’m on track to earn at least double from this job than what I earned from my onsite client; with other freelance work picking up, we should be okay. But landlords want guaranteed income, not estimated income, and what I made the last few years is irrelevant to what I’m making in the next few months. Although all of it is more than enough to cover rent and expenses.

At least, as of Saturday, I’m fully vaccinated.

Overwhelmed, but fully vaccinated.

Working on cleaning out the garage. Packing, Purging. Dump runs. Trying to keep up with earning money. House hunting.

I am one of those freaks that is very, very happy when I take recycling to the dump.

Then, Monday morning, I go outside to check the grass and make sure the wasps aren’t building a nest and chasing the woodpecker from the house – and there were giant ants coming out of the seam of the deck roof over the kitchen door.

I hate ants.

These were giant ants.

I hosed them off the deck and then sprayed the seam with ant killer. I looked up online what they were – carpenter ants. Bad news.

I called the landlord, he came over, and we figured out a plan of action. He wasn’t as upset as I was about it. I was picturing the back of the house coming down from the chomping. Because there are never just a few ants.

There aren’t any ants inside the house – we had sugar ants during the septic switch out and I scrubbed with vinegar every day, so once they were gone, they were gone. We’re keeping an eye out. I have permission to use chemicals as necessary (usually we use all organic).

He also mowed the front for us, which was very nice.

I got into the office later than usual for me, but was still the first one there. Had a decent workday. I’m setting everything up as clearly and as smoothly as I can for my replacement. Because I wish someone had done that for me in oh, so many jobs! Came home, had my phone meeting, sorted everything out for Thursday’s viewing.

More script coverage, more packing.

I hope Thursday works well. We love the pictures of the place, the sound of it, it’s in our budget, in an area we really like, and I really, really, REALLY liked talking with the landlord.

Fingers crossed. At this point, I’m almost afraid to hope, but it feels right. I want a place that feels right, where we can feel at home, and live our lives quietly.

Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?

 Friday, January 17, 2020
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

We’re finally getting the cold weather we need for the garden and to kill off the bugs. Supposedly, a storm coming in, too.

Hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk aboutSecond Book Syndrome.It was supposed to post this morning, but I think I inadvertently posted it yesterday.

I couldn’t get a parking spot at Centerville Library, so I went to the Sandwich Library first. Dropped off books. Used the computer there. Got out some LOIs. Found some great books about books and writers that I checked out and am eager to read.

Circled back to Centerville Library, where I dropped off and picked up.

Did some grocery shopping.

The wind was awful all afternoon. I didn’t dare work on the computer. I did some work in longhand and read, mostly.

We worked for a couple of hours socializing the cats in my room. Willa, Charlotte, and Tessa, all together, hanging out calmly. It worked for nearly two hours, until Charlotte tried to bully Tessa again. But it’s progress. Willa and Tessa are doing pretty well. Willa and Charlotte are doing well, most of the time, because Willa stands up to Charlotte.

Chicken pasta Alfredo with broccoli for dinner. It was good.

Started reading a book and it just didn’t do it for me, so I stopped. Since it wasn’t a contest entry or a book for review, I had that option! Started another book, which intrigues me, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. The writing is very good, the situation is interesting, but tying it to a well-known figure was unnecessary, in my opinion. I’m getting a little tired of that trope.

How did I do with my week of the intent of creativity? Honestly, I did better last week. This week, I was slow in the writing (although I plan to make up for it this weekend, with a writing immersion starting this afternoon). I wrote, but not as much or as well as I wanted. I was very creative when it came to client work and LOIs, but not as much as I wanted on my own work.

I did, however, pay attention to everything that was in front of me and give it my full attention. In that respect, I fulfilled my intent. I came up with some new approaches to several different topics, although I did not have the chance to implement them.

I felt tired, emotional, and off my game.

But the week isn’t over, yet, and I hope to steady on.

Today, I have to take my mother to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, go to the library, pick up my mother’s medication at the pharmacy, and then home before the storm.

For an immersed weekend of reading and writing, as the storm rages outside.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on January 17, 2020 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 17, 2020: But Was it A Creative Week?  
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Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I’ve got a very short post up on Gratitude and Growth, about the garden.

I started writing on Medium. I’m not using it as a daily blogging platform — I have this blog for that purpose, where I natter on about whatever is in my head at the moment. I’m using Medium to write essays on things that matter to me or bother me, where they don’t fit in traditional publications. Well, they would, if I were famous; there are similar essays in all kinds of magazines, such as VICTORIA and YANKEE, but they’re all by people who are Names. Medium gives me the chance to experiment. I’m not sure if it’s actual “essay” format — I don’t think I really stick to the essay formula. But I’m writing focused pieces about what I want to write.

The first one is “The Tree is My History”and went up earlier in the week. Publishing might be easy, but setting up the account was not.

I figure I’ll write something every 2-3 weeks there, as long as I have something to say. The curation/payment system has gotten complicated. There are people who are pounding content on the platform every day, and only 35 curators. So I’m not counting on that. But I signed up for the Partnership Program, which means if it’s chosen for something or read enough or something like that, I’m eligible for payment.

But I’m not counting on it for a source of income. I’ll be grateful for it, of course; but it will also allow me to expand some writing chops in a slightly different direction, with less pressure than I’d find in other venues.

We’ll see.

Yesterday, the overnight rain turned into snow by the time I got up, so it was not fun getting to my client’s. Honestly, I was dreading it. We’ve prepped everything for an event she’s doing at the end of next week, and she’s on a tear about a couple of other things. We’re ahead of where we need to be at this point, so there’s nothing to worry about.

I had a decent, but not brilliant, first writing session yesterday, and a slightly better one this morning. I’m still working on cards, and trying to get a few other things sorted out. There’s still plenty of decorating to do, and two books for review, and the play to finish.

The radio play, “Pier-less Crime” has been accepted for production down in Florida. I’m excited. That’s a good track record. They will have produced all three of the Frieda/Lazarus radio plays by next year.

I’m trying to sort out the writing projects for next year, to make sure everything stays on track. I want to get all the stage plays out on submission, so they’re earning their keep, and look at additional markets for the radio plays. I’d like to write a couple more radio plays, and at least two stage plays. (one of which is the one about the two female writers, which I couldn’t get done this year). And I have to stay on track with the novels, both for the series, and for the other novel ideas with which I’m playing. Honestly, I don’t know where short stories fit into next year.

So, I’ll have fixed deadlines, and then other pieces I’ll want to fit in as I can.

Plus, some new directions for the freelance/business/marketing writing, and solid financial points I HAVE to hit, because of the other changes and demands happening. So, it’s a lot to sort out, and I want to do it in a way that makes sense and is attainable, not do it in a way that overwhelms me and then I get frustrated.

I’m off to take my mom to a doctor’s appointment, then write more cards, work on THE QUALITY OF LIGHT, and do some more decorating. And maybe some more cookie deliveries.

Back to the page.

Published in: on December 12, 2019 at 9:43 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 12, 2019: Stretching, Weather, Writing  
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