Tues. Nov. 28, 2017: Getting Back on Track

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Quite the busy holiday weekend. And yet, it feels like I got very little done.

We didn’t go to Maine for the holiday, like we usually do. Usually, the first few days of Thanksgiving week, I’m finishing my Nano word count, cooking up a storm of desserts and other things. Then, we usually drive up on Wednesday, making our favorite stops. I bring up the dinner and dessert for twelve I prepared at home, and that’s what I serve those who set up the Hall that’s always rented for Thanksgiving on Wednesday night. Thursday, I can usually get a bit of writing done in the morning, then help with the food prep at the hall (mashing vats of potatoes is my speciality), help with the clean-up, and preparing the snack for Thursday night. Because we have anywhere from 37 to 64 in the hall for the actual meal. And Friday, we head back while everyone else runs around shopping.

Not this year, because there’s too much post-op care after my mom’s surgery, and she still can’t fit into a shoe.

My mom had her doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning. He’s worried about her accelerated heart rate and is changing her medication. I took her home, got her settled, and spent a few hours on site with a client.

Then, home, and ready to dig in for the weekend.

Thursday morning, I was up early. The turkey was stuffed and in the oven by 7:30 in the morning. I read, and got some reading done, checking on the turkey and preparing the other dishes. We ate around 3. Maple-cranberry glazed turkey, my own stuffing recipe, mashed potatoes, my own carrot-parsnip in mushroom gravy, peas. Apple pie for dessert.

My mother wasn’t feeling well, with bouts of dizziness from her medication. So, all of the cooking, the set-up, and the clean-up was on me. I put away the leftovers, took apart the turkey. I’d gotten a bit overzealous with the turkey — over 22 pounds, and just for the two of us. We’ve got a good bit of leftovers. I then boiled down the bones to make stock. Once the stock was done, I added onion, celery, carrots, herbs, garlic, etc. and some turkey meat and made turkey soup. Once that cooled, I put everything in jars and labelled it.

Basically, I was in the kitchen for about 13 hours.

But it was an outstanding meal.

Friday, I was up early. I got a few things done around the house, and I emptied the Christmas closet and stacked the boxes by category in the back room.

I had to take my mom to get her blood pressure checked at the firehouse, and then we dumped a stack of books in the book drop at the library, and picked up her new medication. Then, we headed to Country Gardens, where I got the wreath I’ll decorate for the door, a small tree for the barrel in the front yard, and a cyclamen.

Home, and got the laundry going. Then, I ironed all the holiday fabric, took off the Thanksgiving fabric from all the surfaces that were covered, and replaced them with the Christmas/Yule fabric. Stripped the mantel and the hearth, wrapped the iron candle stands in gold ribbon, set up the Advent Table. Put up the musical fabric over the fireplace, set up the garland, the gold bells, and the caroler collection on the top, and the herd of deer on the bottom. Got some of the Advent table done.

That took all damn day.

Watched a rather pointless documentary on Stonehenge and did some reading.

Saturday morning, up early, outlined the next section of the Lavinia Fontana play. Changed the beds, vaccuumed, moved things. Hauled the big tree down. Got it into the stand (worst stand ever). Put the tree together. Got the lights on. Even though I tested them before I put them on, once they were on, half the strand at the top didn’t work. Took them off. Tested them again. They worked. Put them on. Now they didn’t. Went to the store to get a replacement strand. Got them home. Tested them. Three quarters of the strand worked; one quarter didn’t. Went back to the store. Swapped them out. This strand worked. Got them on the tree, and it all worked.

Lost two hours on the damn lights.

Unpacked a lot of the ornaments. Got some of the windows decorated. Finished the Advent Table (since Sunday was the First of Advent). But didn’t get the tree done. Didn’t even get the ornaments on it.

We’re rearranging things this year, and a lot of it is trying something, deciding that’s not what we want and changing it.

Honestly, it was easier in the small apartment where everything only fit one way!

But I do enjoy the decorating process.

I was tired that night, though. Too tired to do much. I did get the Norfolk pine planted in the barrel. But the neighbors are doing yard work and I am not. I am doing the inside first.

I couldn’t find the recipe I wanted, so I invented on. Hello, chocolate espresso spice cake. It turned out well, but I think I want to tweak some of the proportions and make it better.

We had power fluctuations on Saturday. Power kept going on and off in the evening and all night. Good thing it happened AFTER the cake was done!

Sunday, I gave myself the morning off to read and play with the cats.

Then, I had to do some work for one of my clients. I was behind, and we were meeting yesterday to finalize some photos for the rough of the media kit and the brochure.

We also did a photo shoot in the cemetery for the cover of “Miss Winston Apologizes”, since everything we’ve come up with so far isn’t quite right. Hopefully, what we came up with will now work.

Didn’t sleep well Sunday night into Monday. I’m dreading when Mercury goes retrograde next week.

Managed to get some good work done yesterday morning on SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Had to help my client untangle computer issues most of the day yesterday. How much do you want to bet there will be more today? Scary when I’m the most IT-savvy person in any room! 😉

Busy week – I feel like I’m falling behind, so I’ll have to add in extra writing sessions, probably late at night.

And so it goes . . .

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Wed. Nov. 22, 2017: In Prep for the Holiday

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Yesterday was busy. I managed to get some writing done in the morning, then worked on-site with a client for the bulk of the day, prepping samples for her 2018 collection (she’s a designer, and I’m learning the collection so that I can write about it).

Not much writing done on either day on SERENE AND DETERMINED, although I think I’ve got the rest of it plotted out in my head. But when I put it on paper, the characters keep surprising me in the best ways possible.

A bit of work done on the aging novel.

More questions to my webhost to see if we can resolve our issues; also wrote up a list of what I want and need that I’m sending to the web hosts I’m “auditioning.”

Got some work done for another client, that was sent off in the afternoon.

No raking — now there’s a surprise! If the weather holds, I’ll have to do it over the weekend.

This morning, my mom has a doctor’s appointment, so I’m taking her over. After I bring her back, I’m working onsite with a client for a few hours, and then I’m off for the weekend.

Not that I won’t be working! In and around the holiday, I have a book to read and review, the edits on TRACKING MEDUSA to finish, work on SERENE AND DETERMINED, and some client work for a Monday afternoon meeting. Plus, the polish on “Miss Winston Apologizes.” Which also means I have to write the teaser for the next Cornelia True and Roman Gray piece. Which is as yet untitled, although I’ve got a decent idea of the plot. It will be the last story for the moment set in this era. At the end of it, they leap into the future — and miss. Roman thinks they’re going to his time period — but they don’t quite get there.

I’m hoping to get TRACKING MEDUSA to my editor by mid-week next week.

I’m keeping track of the sales that are coming in tied to the promotion for SAVASANA last week. It’s interesting. All this tracking information helps me make decisions on future promotions. By not running multiple promotions at once, I can see how each one pays off in tangible terms, and then make the choice to use or not use them again. The spin of “we can’t guarantee sales, but your name gets out there” — um, sorry, if I’m paying you, I expect you to promote to people who actually buy books. I expect that to manifest in sales. If the promotion doesn’t pay for itself and a little extra — moving on. An unpopular stance to take, but there are too many companies soaking authors without aren’t getting results.

Charles Manson is finally dead. For those of us alive during that awful era of the murders and their aftermath, it is an enormous relief. There was always the fear he’d con the parole board into getting out, and then the atrocities would start again.

I’ve heard mixed stories about David Cassidy’s death or just that he’s near it. Either one makes me sad. And makes me feel old. I was never a particular fan of his music or had posters of him up or anything, but he was a part of my growing up years. And, later on, he was active in helping a horse racing charity in which I was involved.

I’m looking forward to this holiday weekend, and then we descend into the holiday madness. I’m determined to pace myself. I want this to be a happy and peaceful holiday, because next year presents a lot of challenges and transitions for me.

Have a great weekend! I’ll catch up with you again next week.

Tues. Nov. 21, 2017: So Much Going On!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and get to know my guest for the week, Patsy Collins.

Friday afternoon, I raked and bagged 180 gallons of leaves. And that was only half of the front yard! But I wouldn’t trade my trees for anything.

Also, Friday, I was irritated by trolls. At this point, one expects them regarding politics. But now there’s a cadre of people attacking writers who write regularly (every day or most days), claiming “most” writers don’t write every day, they’re living their lives, and people in the industry should stop talking about writing every day. Oh, and if you’re writing that much, you’re a hack and can’t possibly care about quality.

I have no idea if the attackers consider themselves writers or not. I sure as heck couldn’t find any published credits. But most professional writers I know write on most days. I couldn’t keep a roof over my head if I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it or that I don’t care about quality.

But it my job. It is my business, not my hobby. I don’t do it on the side. It’s how I pay the bills, how I keep a roof over my head. No matter how much I do write in any given day, there’s still more that needs to be written.

I don’t wait for inspiration. I hunt it down.

Some whiny wanna-be who wants to be praised for not writing isn’t going to get cut a break from me. Do it. Don’t do it. Your choice. But stay out of my way. And don’t attack me because I love my job, I’m good at it, and I earn a living at it.

And guess what? I have a pretty terrific life along WITH the writing.

Hey, if you’ve got a high-powered agent who gets you six figure advances and CAN take five years to write a book, more power to you. But I need to show up every day and do the work.

Speaking of inspiration, another conversation on Twitter about a powerful medieval woman, inspired an idea for a new play, which I will pitch to 365 Women in January. Here, I’d decided four plays in three years were enough with them, but I’ll pitch one more. The person who extolled this particular woman was shot down — she’d gotten her people mixed up — but there were enough sources for me to start my research. I will reveal the name of the woman and a bit about her if the pitch is accepted.

Saturday, I finished a guest blog article for someone kind enough to host me, and sent it off with various information. I went to the post office to find out what happened to the package that was supposedly delivered on Thursday. Turns out it was delivered in another state. When I went on the site to rate the seller, it turns out that five other people have had the same issue THIS WEEK. There were no such reviews when I placed the order. I contacted Amazon. They are opening and investigation, and the lovely customer service rep filed an A-Z refund request on my behalf. Hopefully, I’ll get my money back. I can’t just cancel the card before that happens, or I won’t get the refund. But, as soon as I have it, I need to cancel that bankcard and get it replaced. I’m worried. I don’t want this person to make false charges on my account.

In the interim, I’ve cancelled my outstanding orders on Amazon, and I don’t plan on doing any of my holiday shopping through them. I wasn’t planning to do much anyway — I prefer local businesses with unique items. But there were a few things where Amazon seemed like the best deal. But now, I don’t trust the transactions. If things are resolved quickly and to my satisfaction, I may re-order; at this point, I doubt it.

I raked another 240 gallons of leaves. The front yard is now done. It took two trips to the dump to get them out.

Read a little, wrote a little in the afternoon. Watched travel documentaries in the evening, and did some plotting on some outlines.

It looks like I’m going to have to move all my websites soon. Not to a different host, but because the host “upgraded,” I am basically fucked. Because heaven forbid THEY take care of it when they’re the ones who make changes. What am I paying for again? I really need to start auditioning new webhosts. I have to go back to the questionnaire I started a few months ago.

Sunday was a day to dig in and write. Worked on the aging novel. I’m rewriting what I’ve got so far in third person to first person. The protag is talking in first person, and I need to go with it.

It was pouring with rain, so I couldn’t do any yard work. I did some housework, but I’ll do the big scrub right before the holiday.

I wrote about 1K of new material on the aging novel and then went to type up he first handwritten chapter. When I rewrote it in first and actually got into what I was trying to say and how to say it, it wound up being two chapters. Massive rewrite — not the way I usually work, rewriting as I go. But every book needs its individual process, and you have to honor the work.

Anyway, I wound up writing 29 pages on the book.

Then, I switched over to the play, SERENE AND DETERMINED. It seemed like I’d done massive amounts of work on that, but it turned out to be only 12 pages. Frustrating, since that deadline looms. But those pages are good pages, so I should be happy. Even if I wish I’d managed 29 pages on the play and would have been content with only 12 pages on the novel.

It means I have to dig deeper this week, and will probably add late night writing sessions in, along with the early morning sessions.

I worked on site with one client for a few hours, got some work done at the library, and did some writing for another client, which I added to this morning, and which goes off this afternoon, in advance of our next meeting after the holiday.

Started raking the side front lawn, but didn’t get very far. In yesterday’s storm, a bunch of the leaves from the side blew back onto my newly-cleaned front. Of course, it doesn’t help that the neighbors use leaf blowers to blow their leaves into the street, which then blow into my yard. So I’m basically raking leaves for the entire neighborhood.

In addition to digging down on both the play and “Miss Winston Apologizes” over the holiday weekend, I have a book to read for review, and I need to finish the TRACKING MEDUSA edits, which have to go out next week.

Somewhere in there, I’ll be doing the cooking for Thanksgiving and starting to put up the holiday decorations. The tree will make it into the stand and the Advent Table will go up, if nothing else. Plus, the overseas cards need to be written — they have to go out next week if I want them to arrive before February. For some reason, from the Cape it takes for damn ever for an airmail card to actually take air.

We’re still changing the dressings on my mother’s foot regularly, adn she goes back to her regular doctor tomorrow morning.

Onward.

Wed. Nov. 15, 2017: Good Neighbors, Good Clients, Good Writing and SAVASANA AT SEA RELEASE!

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Release day for Savasana at Sea! Buy Links here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

SAVASANA AT SEA releases today!

I’m excited about this book, because I wrote the book I wanted to read and couldn’t find. It’s got a large, international cast, humor, mystery, romance, yoga, murder.

Busy days, but the right kind of busy.

Good work with two of my regular clients. Both in very different professions; both are lively, engaged, and have great products, stories, and information to share with the world. I’m delighted to be working with them.

Septic tank pumped out Monday morning, more complicated than expected, but it’s done and everything works. The truck blocked my neighbor’s drive, and he was having trouble getting past with his equipment. He was so thrilled that I came over and said I’d ask the truck to move. Sort of basic neighborliness, isn’t it? I’m glad I made him happy. The new puppy was also happy.

SERENE AND DETERMINED, the Lavinia Fontana play, is coming along. It’s funnier than I expected. I’m planning for it to be a full-length.

Working on both THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and the aging novel. Little bits here and there.

Working on the edits for TRACKING MEDUSA, and on “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which will probably drop at the end of the month. TRACKING MEDUSA is still on track (no pun intended) for mid-January release, but through a different digital publisher/distributor.

Books & the Bear is doing a promotion for SAVASANA tomorrow. I’ll be walking my talk, tracking results, to make sure I get bang for my buck, just like in the article I wrote for WOW-Women on Writing.

Yesterday was a lot about client work; some follow-up for one client, but the bulk of the day was spent on site with the other client. I’ll be there today as well — she’s a clothing designer, and the spring samples just came in. So we’re doing the prep work that needs to be done so that I can write about them, while I’m still trying to write about this year’s fall line.

I will be a guest on a fellow author’s blog soon, and I’m working on that post, which I’ve promised her by the end of the week. Also finishing up an article for another publication that is scheduled to go live in early January. And I’ve got another book to review.

Plus, I have to get organized for Thanksgiving, and do yard work on any day where it doesn’t rain.

Busy in the best possible way!

 

Tues. Nov. 14, 2017: Writing and Releases

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea release on November 15. Buy your copy here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read about tomorrow’s release, Savasana at Sea!

Quite the weekend.

Friday was frustrating, because I was tired. I managed to get some decent writing done for a client and sent off the materials. I got as much as I could done online, but there were a lot of distractions.

I worked bringing in the rest of the plants that need to overwinter. Some rearrangement had to happen in the house, in order for them to fit; the rest, which overwinter in the garage, are now settled. There’s a kalachoe that’s infested with some sort of bug that I’m leaving out, in the hopes of killing the bugs in the frost; but we may end up losing that one. Which is a shame, because it’s a beautiful plant. I’m letting the Datura die back naturally.

Did some research for a couple of upcoming projects, but, frankly, by Friday afternoon, my brain was too tired to be particularly productive.

I worried that the version of SAVASANA that’s dropping next week is the latest ARC, and not the final corrected draft. I was having difficulty making sure it was the correct version, and had to ask them for help. We’re going through enough as it is without the wrong version of the book releasing. But it’s all good.

Saturday, ran some errands early. Then did six loads of laundry, scrubbed the house from top to bottom, baked six dozen tollhouse cookies, and roasted a maple-cranberry glazed chicken. Which, by the way, is becoming one of our favorite recipes.

Started playing with a new idea. Not sure if it’s a single book, or if there will be several books, or if it will be a flat-out series. It has to do with aging gracefully and making different decisions at one age than at another. The working title is so awful I’m not even sharing it. I’m using it privately until I come up with something better. Wrote about 8 pages (2000 words). It starts slower than I expected, and I may wind up cutting some of the beginning, but that’s where I need to start it in order to make sense of its world. I’m also building my “ideal” small community in the book — which isn’t to say it’s perfect. There’s definitely a dark side.

Also did notes for another book that would become a series if I can pull it off, set shortly after WWII. I’ve set several things in that time period; this shares some of them, but also goes beyond it, because it moves into the period of rapid change in the fifties and sixties. We’ll see if it’s an idea that flares out, or if it has potential. I like the core characters. I think I can do some good things with them.

Sunday, wrote a bit on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I feel like I have to type up most of Willow’s section before I can effectively work on Doug’s. There’s a lot of cross-referencing and same-situation-from-different point-of-view stuff, and it’s too hard to navigate in longhand.

Wrote ten more pages on the aging novel.

Managed to get a little bit of yard work in before the rain started.

In the afternoon, I went to a healing sound meditation class at the yoga center down the street. As someone who is highly sensitive to sound (I have a condition called “hyperaccussis”, as well as “misophonia”), I thought it would be good to be around positive sound instead of the damn repetitive machine sounds that make me want to choke someone with the cord of the leaf blower.

The session was terrific, but intense. It took awhile to get back to normal after, and driving was definitely a challenge! But I sure as heck slept well on Sunday night!

Monday was cold and rainy. The septic tank was pumped out. I did some prep for my client meetings and some writing.

I also wrote the opening for SERENE AND DETERMINED, the Lavinia Fontana play, and I’m on a roll. Working out most of it in my head ahead of time works, for this particular project.

Today, I’ll spend the bulk of the day with one client, and then have another meeting in the afternoon.

Fri. Nov. 10, 2017: Problem-Solving, Weather Changes, Stitches

Friday, Nov. 10, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy yesterday. Some meetings in the morning. Then, I cleaned off deck furniture. Some of it got stashed in the basement; some is drying and will come in today.

Did some repotting and basic maintenance. After this morning’s meetings, I put the potted trees and shrubs near the window in the garage to overwinter, rearrange my bedrooms and some interior areas for the plants that have to come in, and then start on the front yard. I have to cut back, move the branches that have fallen in the wind, and rake. Working on the yard will probably take most of the weekend.

I had thought everything from Monday’s bad news was sorted out, but it’s not. And, because it’s not, I’m going to be majorly screwed next week. Not happy about that. But the catalysts are beyond my control; all I can do is come up with a solution that might still leave me temporarily screwed, but doesn’t hurt the other people affected by this.

It will work out in the long run; it just won’t be a pleasant process.

I won some yarn from one of Ashlyn Chase’s giveaways. I’m excited! 😉

My mom got out her stitches yesterday. Not pleasant. She has many more weeks of recovery — and doctor’s visits — before she can resume a normal schedule. Her foot’s got quite a hole in it, even with the skin graft.

My knees gave out yesterday. Both of them. Excruciating. I went to the health food store and got some salve, which did an amazing job. I’m not sure what that was all about. But I’m glad I’m not in constant pain today. I still feel it, a dull ache, but I can move the legs and do things like, you know, walk. And drive a car.

Working on some writing for a client, and sending off material in advance of our next meeting on Monday afternoon.

Over the weekend, along with yard work, I’ll also be baking cookies and roasting a chicken with the maple-cranberry glaze I learned how to make last week. I’ll also make a couscous salad for next week’s lunches.

The big writing pushes this weekend will be with THE FIX IT GIRL and the Lavinina Fontana play. The first three scenes are pretty clear in my head for the latter — it’s a case of getting them down on paper and moving things around, and then deciding how to build from there.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on November 10, 2017 at 11:31 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 10, 2017: Problem-Solving, Weather Changes, Stitches  
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Thurs. Oct. 19, 2017: Best Buy’s Third Strike — Detailed

Thursday, October 19, 2017
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Yesterday ran the gamut.

The morning sucked. My phone had pinged at me all night, and then, when I actually needed to check it in the morning — black screen of death.

The damn thing is four months old.

I don’t drop it or throw it. I don’t get it wet.

I went back to Best Buy, where I’d bought it, and where the woman who sold it to me had been so helpful. She was there, but her (male, white, condescending) manager “helped” me instead.

Help. Yeah, right.

He told me it was the operating system, and there was nothing they could do. I could either send it back under warranty and be without a phone for the WEEKS it would take, or I could buy another phone, only that one would be double what I paid for this one, plus an SD card for storage, which was double again. Oh, and I shouldn’t expect the phone to work for more than six months, and “you get what you pay for.” Then, he DARED me to find a better deal.

This was Best Buy’s third strike. This is the third phone in three years I’ve bought from them that’s lasted a year or less.

Actual customer service would have been to walk ten feet to the rack with these phones, swap it out, and send the defective phone in to the manufacturer, who would replace it with a fresh phone and balance out the inventory.

Customer service is working within the customer’s budget, not humiliating them because they ARE on a budget. Customer service is making things right, not smirking and saying that you don’t deserve a working device because you can’t afford the more expensive ones.

Also, if these phones have such a limited time span, it needs to be clearly marked ON THE BOX, and it needs to be made clear upon the sale. Anything less is fraud. Or, better yet, don’t sell the product, and leave it for the gas stations that sell burner phones.

Let me also point out that the other customer in the store with me got her phone replaced after she admitted it was broken because she threw it against the wall, and her service had been disconnected for non-payment. They just swapped it out and re-established her service.

I walked out.

I was practically in tears by then.

I was just going to leave and, I don’t know what. But then I figured, hell, my carrier is AT&T, I’ll go talk to them. So I walked a few hundred feet in the mall (I hate malls), to AT&T. I figured I’d look, price, clear my head.

The guy at AT&T was also male, young, African American, and not at all condescending. Great sense of humor, listened to me, responded to what I had to say, didn’t make me feel like I was less deserving of service because I wasn’t rich. I explained the situation and apologized for being so upset. He understood, and the first phone he picked up to show me was not only the next generation up from my phone, but was less expensive than the one that died. The SD card was less than half of what Best Buy had quoted me for the exact same size and make card.

I explained about being a freelancer on a budget. He said he totally understood, and he set me up WITHIN MY BUDGET (which was stretched tight anyway, since I hadn’t counted on having to shell out for yet another damn phone this month, with my mom’s medical costs and all). I told him as soon as I could afford it, I was going to suck it up and get an iPhone. He told me there are iPhones on my current plan, and the price is less than half of what I expected or I’d been quoted elsewhere. And it’s not just a deal for the week — I can come back in two, three months when I’ve got the cash put aside, and he’ll get me set up.

He couldn’t pull my information from one phone to the other because the phone wouldn’t turn on, but, other than about four photographs, I have everything else WRITTEN DOWN. It’ll take me awhile to put in my contacts again, but I’ll deal. I might even be able to transfer them from two phones back.

He gave me the information for the warranty — because I’m damn well going to demand satisfaction on a phone that died after four months.

I had contacted Best Buy and tweeted them before I left for the store. I got a response to the tweet stating they hoped everything was resolved. When I tweeted back that it wasn’t, with some of the details . . .no response. Not surprising at all.

Their nickname is “Worst Buy” for a reason. I have friends who work in management with them in Michigan who have high standards, and I doubt, had they been in charge of this store, I would have faced the same bad experience. But they are where they are, and I am where I am, so, sadly, buh-bye Best Buy for me.

I’m learning the new phone, and I don’t entirely trust it, but at least I have a working phone. Yes, I had to cough up some cash, but it was half of what Best Buy intended to part me from, and the guy at AT&T both gave me customer service and didn’t try to shame me into spending more than I could afford. It still puts me in a bad position for the rest of the month, with my mom’s surgery coming up, but I’ll deal.

So that was my morning. You better believe Best Buy corporate, AT&T corporate, and the consumer protection agencies (including AG Maura Healey) are going to hear about this. In addition to me not ever setting foot or spending another dime at Best Buy again (and yes, when I make these claims, I follow through).

I went home to calm down a bit, and then headed out for a meeting with a potential client. We hit it off, both as people, and because I like and respect what she does. She hired me on the spot, and we start working together next week.

So that was on the plus side.

I got very little writing or promotion or anything else done yesterday, since the time put aside for that was eaten by dealing with dolts.

Today is a lovely day. I’ve got some work to do at the library, and then yoga, and then, this afternoon, both writing and starting the next book for review. I’m putting together some information for another client, doing more promo on ANGLES. This weekend, I have to do another proofreading pass at SAVASANA, so it can go into pre-order, and next week, the media kit needs to be finished and the initial press releases go out.

I’d also like the redesign for BIBLIO PARADISE to happen today, if I can pull it off. I need to upload some author spotlights and schedule them for release.

While I’m both physically and emotionally exhausted, I’m excited to work with these new clients, and looking forward to settling in with my own writing. Next week will be difficult, with my mom’s pre-op appointment and then surgery; but we will get through it.

Enjoy the day!

Fri. Oct. 13, 2017: Lucky Friday & Trying to Make Sense of Things

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Playing the Angles available now!

Friday, October 13, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I love Friday the 13th!

Yesterday was difficult, but ultimately worked out. I realize yesterday’s blog was focused on the feigned outrage in the entertainment industry rather than on the writing life, but it affects my writing life, and affected my work life for decades.

Difficult few days; not happy with the writing progress. Plenty of pitching. Frustrated at the usual lack of professionalism here in this area.

Absolutely horrified by the wildfires in California. I spent a great deal of time in Santa Rosa and Calistoga and Sonoma when I lived in San Francisco. How can we help? Not just with the physical rebuilding, but how can we help the trauma of those who’ve lost everything? For the lives, both human and animal, that are being consumed?

And what’s this about giving Puerto Rico “loans” to rebuild while awarding “grants” to Florida and Texas? Oh, yeah, Puerto Rico isn’t white. I’m tired of this racist government.

The world is falling apart, and those in DC just laugh and grift more to line their own pockets. It’s disgusting.

Sold an article yesterday on the basis of its pitch. Wrote it, will give it a polish, and it goes out today. Waiting to hear back on a couple of other things.

Fighting with the insurance company again about my mother’s upcoming surgery. I sent a fax from the library. The machine at the library had the wrong date, so the insurance company THREW THE FAX AWAY. Didn’t look at the contents or the signature or the fact that it came out of their fax machine on the right date. Not only that, they couldn’t be bothered to let me know, so if I hadn’t nagged them about where the answer was, I wouldn’t have known, the paperwork wouldn’t have been done, and we would have been screwed when we showed up for the surgery.

The insurance industry is the biggest fucking scam in this country. Again, let me re-iterate that one of my first temp jobs, many years ago, was typing jewelry policies for an insurance company. They were delivered to my desk via handtruck, several hundred at a time. This was in the days before computers, when I used an IBM Selectric.

The agents who worked around me had, posted above each desk, the direction, “Always Say No the First Time.” They were instructed to refuse EVERY claim the first time it was sent in. They were told not even to read it, just to say no. The theory behind it was that 75% of the people refused wouldn’t fight it, and the company would save millions of dollars a year. Only if a claimant challenged the refusal would anyone bother to read it. How is that legal or ethical? It’s not. That’s yet another reason why all insurance companies should be non-profits. CEOs of insurance companies should not be making millions of dollars a year and bonuses off of other people’s misfortunes, especially when their sole purpose is to refuse claims.

The entire industry needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

That won’t happen in this corrupt administration.

Pleased that this next book I’m reading for review is very, very good. Probably the best I’ve had to review from this publication since I started working for them.

Got my next round of proofs back on SAVASANA AT SEA. Will have to go over them again this weekend. I’m so grateful to my copy editor!

Need to do more promo on PLAYING THE ANGLES and start the promo for SAVASANA. Have a very long list of other things that “have” to be done as well.

Playing with a story idea that’s more blowing off steam than anything else. But, if it releases stress, it’s worth taking some time over. I like the idea and the characters and situation — it makes me feel like there ARE solutions to all the horrible things happening in the world. Solutions that don’t just benefit the corrupt, racist grifters at the top.

I’m feeling a little more optimistic today than I have the past few days. Hope I can ride the wave and make some good things happen.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Tues. Oct. 10, 2017: Not Enough Weekend, Too Many Responsibilities

 

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Playing the Angles

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Finally, some sun, after a string of rainy, humid, icky days. Remnants of Hurricane Nate yesterday. Again, I’m grateful it was just a few hours of heavy rain and wind, and not worse.

Read through the SAVASANA galleys. I made notes — six pages’ worth of notes of copy editing errors that I caught. Now, I pull up the document (I proofread on the Kindle, I catch more), and I compare my notes to my copy editor’s notes. And then I make the fixes. I’d hoped to have it done by today, but it was just too much.

Picked up my next two reviewing assignments, but haven’t had a chance to start them yet. Hope to fix that today.

Managed to work my way through about twenty research books, pulling what I need, noting citations, etc. I have stacks of books and videos to return today.

Did some work on the outline of DAVY JONES DHARMA.

Most of my writing was on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN, although that was not the original intent for the weekend. But it was flowing, and I didn’t want to get in the way. I wrote about 10K on it. I’m already well in to the second notebook, and nearly finished with Willow’s first section This book is going to take at least three years before it’s submittable, maybe longer. But then, literary fiction often takes longer than genre fiction because it’s a different type of storytelling. It needs a different type of structure. The story and characters definitely affect me, differently than most of my other work. Hopefully, it will have the same effect on the reader.

Lots of cooking all weekend, making up some new recipes, plus old favorites like the raw apple muffins from THE BREAKFAST BOOK, and moussaka from THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL COOKBOOK. I’m baking my favorite chocolate walnut butter bread later today, and tonight is stuffed eggplant from a Moosewood recipe.

I have so much to do today and this week that I’m overwhelmed. All I can do is break it down and do one bit at a time. I’m waiting to hear if and when I have a project meeting tomorrow, I have to follow up on a few things, and I have some pitches to get out.

I didn’t work on the short stories or the essay this weekend, so I have to spread them over the next few days, in and around everything else, and get them done. Same with the next section of FIX IT GIRL.

My mom had one of her pre-op appointments this morning, so there’s that to juggle, too.

Somehow, it will all work out. I’m not sure how, yet, but somehow, I have to figure it out and MAKE it work.

Being off social media more than on it helped. I miss being on Twitter, especially, but I don’t miss the added stress.

I’m percolating a couple of pieces that are getting ready to be written, and I have to fact-check some names and dates in order to write the opening scene of the Lavinia Fontana play.

I couldn’t do any yard work this weekend, in the lousy weather, so that’s stacking up, too.

Onward, and back to the page.

 

Published in: on October 10, 2017 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 10, 2017: Not Enough Weekend, Too Many Responsibilities  
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Fri. Oct. 6, 2017: Busy Day Segues into Writing Weekend

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017
Last Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a good busy. Two short stories and some pitches out.

Yoga at the library. I liked the class a lot — I’ve studied with this teacher before. I had a chance to work on alignments. The alignments in my personal practice have gotten sloppy.

On the frustrating level, my FOUR MONTH OLD PHONE is already giving me grief. It’s all such a scam — forcing updates, then forcing one to buy more storage. Also, this phone won’t let me delete apps I don’t want. Not happy at all.

Came home, showered, changed, and went to my meeting. The person who set it up in response to my pitch did not give me information that was vital to this meeting, and then didn’t even meet with me. I don’t like bait-and-switch, so that put me on my guard. Talking with the person who DID speak with me opens some new possibilities. We’ll see. I’m delivering some requested information.

Read John Scalzi’s LOCK IN. So far, it’s my favorite of his, with OLD MAN’S WAR a close second.

This weekend is about finishing the SAVASANA galleys, working on FIX IT GIRL revisions, writing the first scene of the Lavinia Fontana play, and working on a short story and an essay. So much for a weekend!

Speaking of weekends, in a moment of shameless self-promotion, the weekend is the perfect time to read PLAYING THE ANGLES. Buy links here.

And have a good weekend, even if you don’t read my book! 😉
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Published in: on October 6, 2017 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 6, 2017: Busy Day Segues into Writing Weekend  
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Tues. Oct. 3, 2017: Releases, Writing, Worrying

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Plenty of links today. First, check out the piece about PLAYING THE ANGLES over on A Biblio Paradise. Don’t forget to order your copy in any of the various digital formats. Links here.

Second, my October To Do list is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’ll also post questions to think about between now and the end of the year shortly.

Yesterday, I did promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I also got some new material up on the Nautical Namaste website. I’ll be linking and promoting that site in a few weeks, when SAVASANA AT SEA becomes available for pre-order. Right now, I want to focus on PLAYING THE ANGLES.

Sent out some pitches, did some follow-up on pieces. Sent out two short stories, which had come back from other markets. It’s always a dance, finding the right partner for a piece.

Finished both books I have to review, and the reviews will go out today. My new editor told me I hadn’t acknowledged receipt of the books — but I had, weeks ago, when I received them. I always do. I HATE the “dashboard” system they have us working in.

Started working on the galleys for SAVASANA AT SEA. There are lots of little, fiddly things the copy editor and I have both caught. Also, although some grammatical choices are technically correct according to the style guide we’re using, they look awful on the Kindle. In some cases, the fix is as simple as using Chicago Manual of Style rather than Strunk; in other instances, I’d rather change how I communicate the material. There are a few places where the copy editor and I are working together to see what is correct and still looks and feels right.

I haven’t even had the chance to work on the galleys of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM.

Got a weird idea for what I hope will be a flash fiction piece and wrote about 400 words on it. It’s an odd little piece. It will take time and shaping, but I like the premise. Now I have to add in the craft.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is both heart-breaking and infuriating. It could have been prevented. Again, the GOP doesn’t care how many people die, as long as it’s those who don’t buy them off. The NRA isn’t about responsible gun ownership, it’s about profit. I have never heard the NRA or anyone who boasts about their association with them, talk about RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. There’s just a lot of chest thumping and “Me have right to own guns.” In fact, most of the people I have met who scream about their right to own guns lack the IQ, in my opinion, to be allowed such ownership.

Every member of Congress who votes against responsible, common-sense gun laws should be prosecuted AS AN INDIVIDUAL for every murder that results in their legislation. They can’t be allowed to hide behind their jobs or use tax payer dollars for defense or if and when they are convicted. The only way it will change is when it costs them more to vote against pro-gun legislation than for it. Because Congress, especially the members of the GOP, don’t care about individual lives. They care about personal profit. They demonstrate this over and over again, with every vote. So make it cost them.

John Scalzi wrote a beautiful piece on his blog about how difficult it is to work amidst all this chaos. You can find it here. I read it at 3:30 this morning, when I couldn’t sleep, and it helps.

Of course, the current administration is anti-art. They WANT us not to be able to create. Artists are the biggest threat to autocracy that there is, because good art makes people see and understand the world beyond themselves.

Keep making art.

Back to the page.

Thurs. Sept. 21, 2017: Jose Hangs Out, Draft Gets Finished

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy & blustery from Hurricane Jose

Busy time. Jose scratched us yesterday and is hanging out with winds and some rain, but not as bad as feared. I am grateful.

Most of the past couple of days has been about SAVASANA AT SEA. I found a major logic lapse, and have been working to fix it. That meant going back to my research and expanding on it, and then picking and choosing what best suits the story. It’s starting to feel like it’s meeting my overall vision again.

I worked hard these past two days, and finished the whole draft yesterday, just before 5 PM. This draft feels really good. I’ve gotten the energy and the spirit of the piece back. I chose where to stay within the cozy mystery formula and where I wanted to break it.

I need to write the first chapter of the second book and do the rest of the back matter, then put it all together and off it goes to the editor.

That was all I did yesterday — work on the book. It felt good.

I didn’t go out, because of the storm, although it didn’t hit as badly as they said, and it didn’t even get truly nasty until last night. We’d been told Tuesday into Wednesday would be the worst, but, as usual, they were wrong, and it’s Wednesday into today. Only I can’t put off today what needs to be done away from home. So I have to go out in this mess.

I also managed to get about 1000 words done on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN in the evening. I don’t want to lose that book’s rhythm, either.

Today will be busy, but busy is good. Hopefully, we won’t lose power, etc., but who knows?

Worried about those hit with Hurricane Maria. Worried about those who suffered in Mexico’s earthquake. Worried that the corrupt GOP is determined to take away healthcare and sign the death warrant for millions of people (which would include me and my family). Which is, of course, what they want: cull the herd of those who can’t afford to buy them off. Perform economic genocide.

I’m doing my bit with my elected officials and hoping for the best.

Onward.

 

Published in: on September 21, 2017 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Sept. 21, 2017: Jose Hangs Out, Draft Gets Finished  
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Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters

Friday, September 15, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy, hot, humid

I mis-dated Wednesday. All day Wednesday, I thought it was September 14, and it was only the 13th. I knew it was Wednesday, but I had the date wrong. Apologies.

I didn’t blog yesterday; worked at home and focused on other things.

I’ve been getting back into the FIX-IT GIRL revisions the past few days. These are the difficult chapters that require a great deal of restructuring. Lots of new material written, opening out certain storylines, having it make sense, pick up intensity, moving toward the climactic sequence. Mavis made a decision that could easily ruin her personal reputation, outside of work, but she’s owning it.

I’ve let SAVASANA AT SEA sit for a few days, so I can go back to it with fresh eyes. I don’t want to blur the tones of the two books, since they are both in revisions, by working on them in too close a tandem. I had some ideas on restructuring some of the marketing for the series, too, thanks to a conversation with Ilona Andrews. Ilona reinforced what I know in my gut, but have been advised to take a different route by the “experts”. As my intent is to guide the book and the series back to the original vision that feels right in my gut, it makes sense.

Speaking of “gut feeling” — I had an opportunity yesterday that, on a logical level, seemed good. But my gut told me otherwise. So I decided to go in a different direction. I declined gracefully, and well before the deadline for response. In the short-run, it may cause some difficulty, but in the long run, I believe it’s the right decision. Amazing how much stress was relieved once it was made.

I’ve been working on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. There are books within the book — the books the characters are working on during the course of the novel. I’m finding I have to do nearly as much research for those as I do for the novel itself. It’s a quiet book, which will have to be rewritten in certain sections to be more active, but I like stretching in this non-genre direction. My characters are trying to find their way back to each other, and not always succeeding. I don’t know how it will end. Either they will or they won’t. The events within the book will shape that.

The furnace was cleaned yesterday morning — this company is always prompt and very nice. So we’re set for the winter, which is great. The guy that used to come every year to take care of it — young guy, big, with brilliant tattoos, had said, a year or so ago, he was tired of winter and was thinking of selling up and leaving. Guess that’s what he did. The new guys (a pair of them ) were very nice, though.

Yesterday afternoon, we sorted out the yarn stash — bags and boxes and bits and bobs. It now makes more sense, and several projects have been planned/sketched out for the winter. I have a couple of pieces in progress that need to be finished. So, when I get the craft urge, there’s plenty to work on. Couldn’t believe we spent the entire afternoon on it, but it was well worth it.

I’ve joined Lissa Matthews in the #10KWeekendWriters challenge this weekend. Writing 10K from Thursday through Sunday. Yesterday’s total was 1500 words on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN and 900 new words within the revision of THE FIX-IT GIRL. Total: 2400 words (100 words shy of my goal). Remaining words to goal: 7600.

I’m wondering if I can count the words on the article I’m expanding/polishing/adding to the Coventina Circle website about working on Broadway? 😉 Yes, you can find that article here. Because I intend to post the article before I post this blog.

This needs to be a writing/reading/sorting weekend. Next week is Mabon, and a whole lot of other things. As usual, I’m waiting on a round of freelance payments so I can meet the bills. I also have to research some markets.

I have some pitches to get out this morning, websites to update, and PR to work on for PLAYING THE ANGLES. I haven’t been sleeping well, and have had migraines off and on this weekend, but taking time off today is not an option. I find, though, that when I push hard on the early part of Friday, I tend to take most of Friday afternoon off, and then am more productive on Saturday and Sunday. So, if I can get it all done this morning, that’s what I’ll do. Once I get in my 2500 words for the day (will try to get in 2600 to make up for yesterday’s shortfall).

The yard is fading in stages this year. Usually it hangs on and then everything goes at once and it’s overwhelming. This is much easier to deal with — doing a bit every few days. I wish I could get the mower working again, though. I’d like to do one more big mow. Well, I don’t WANT to do it, it’s not something I enjoy, but I think it’s necessary.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on September 15, 2017 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 15, 2017: Getting the Date Right, Working on Broadway, and #10KWeekendWriters  
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