Thurs. Nov. 14, 2019: Writing, Changes, Planning

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cold

We have a bit of snow Tuesday night. Just a dusting. Charlotte was fascinated by the snowflakes. Willa ran away. Tessa was unimpressed.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth, to see the latest in the garden.

Hop on over to the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site, where I’ve put up the questions for 2020. The approach is a little different this year. I hope you enjoy them, and that they are helpful as you figure out how to start the New Year — and the new decade. They will also live permanently on this page.

Impeachment hearings started yesterday. About damn time.

Had a good editing session in the morning yesterday. Then went on-site with a client. Remote Chat was fun, as it always is.

I’m trying to be smarter about using LinkedIn, but every time I sign in, I remember why I hate it so much. It wants to limit me.

I resent being forced to be on both LinkedIn and GoodReads. They don’t serve me. They get in my way.

I’m frustrated with A2 because they won’t fix a problem on the Fearless Ink site. Or do anything about the hacking and the threats I’ve been receiving. I need to move hosts. Which probably means rebuilding everything from scratch when I do so. SiteGround, so far, is the top contender. They’re pricier than A2, but it looks like they actually offer support when something goes wrong. And security. A2 used to offer both. Now, they just don’t give a damn.

Stopped at the store on my way home. Wednesday night has evolved into pizza night here, so that was fun.

Charlotte and Willa race to greet me when I come home. It’s so cute. Tessa was out and about a bit, but there’s still a lot of tension between her and the other two. We need to do some more work. I don’t believe that Feliway Diffuser has done a damn thing. Glad I got it on sale.

The landlord arranged for the septic tank to be pumped on Tuesday. Later in the week, he’s coming over with he heating guy to see about replacing the furnace. That means, this weekend, I have to do a serious purge of the basement around the bulkhead doors, because that’s how the new furnace will have to come in, and the old one will have to go out. That throws a monkey wrench in my weekend, but I’m grateful that he’s willing to replace it when the furnace people suggest it, rather than waiting until it breaks down in the middle of a blizzard.

Writing and editing sessions this morning, then off to the library for a bit. Back home for more writing, some raking, some basement purging. Writing session was okay; editing session was excellent.

I finished the book for review, and sent off the review to the editor. Told her I’m ready for the next one.

I plan to read my friend’s book this weekend, too. I finally feel I earned it!

 

Tues. Oct. 29, 2019: Happy 95th Birthday to My Mom!

cake-1776661_1920
image by Bernadette Wurzinger via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Today is my mother’s 95th birthday. She still does really well. Rides her exercise bicycle 20 minutes a day. Does her puzzles. Plays with the cats. Drives.

I am lucky to have her with me still.

Busy weekend, but, as usual lately, not in the way I expected.

The bulk of the weekend was spent on novel revisions. What wasn’t taken up in novel revisions was taken up working with the cats. Charlotte is the aggressor, most of the time. She’s picking on both Tessa and Willa. They don’t actually hit each other, but there’s lots of noise and raised paws and running. It’s much better than it was, and we go through long stretches of peaceful co-existence in the same room. Then Charlotte gets nasty, and we have to start again. The positive stretches are getting longer and longer.

It will take a few months.

On Saturday afternoon, when I got into the car to go to the yoga studio, the battery was dead. It’s close enough to I could walk down and still make it in time.

The sound bath was great, and I walked home to a good dinner of turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables. Then, kitty playtime and positive socializing, and watching the SNOOP SISTERS, which I’d seen years ago when I was a kid. I get many more of the jokes now.

Tessa was with me in the night, Willa with my mom, and Charlotte in the rest of the house, which meant Charlotte was cranky on Sunday morning. But we got them settled after breakfast.

Worked on the November posts for Upbeat Authors, novel revisions, the book for review.

I read a cozy mystery, the third in a series by this particular author. While I enjoy some of the interactions between the characters, the protagonist is such an idiot, and too often a nasty piece of work, that I’m done with the series. Her romantic interest should dump her. He’s great. She’s an idiot.

I gave the series three books. I was frustrated by all three. So I’m done. Moving on.

I still have to read my friend Arlene’s newest book. But I haven’t felt as though I earned a treat lately.

Now, why don’t I just call AAA, you ask? Remember, last time my battery died, I had AAA. They were supposed to come to the house (the battery died in the garage again, thank goodness). First of all, they gave me a hard time about sending someone, because I wasn’t on the road. They told me I had to push the car out of the garage, down the driveway, to the road. I refused. When the guy finally showed up, he insisted it wasn’t the battery, but something much more complicated. He refused to change the battery. He gave me a jump and I made it to Tracy VW, where, of course — it was the battery. And I had to pay more than the service AAA promised to give me.

When I complained to AAA about it — they STILL haven’t answered. And this was in January 2015. They ignore all the correspondence. Their rates kept going up exponentially. And they refuse to come to my house, even though everyone else I know who has AAA gets house calls without a hassle.

When I had the major car repair in spring, my insurance company told me I had Roadside Assistance. So I tried to make arrangements through them for someone to give me a jump on Monday morning. Only now they’re telling me I DON’T have roadside assistance.

So there I am. With no one to help. Typical around here.

I contacted the place close by where I got my car fixed a few months ago to ask them who they could suggest. They told me to call Buckler’s Towing. They were very nice, and got me started.

I made it to the mechanic. They drove me to my client’s.

I hear back from the mechanic. Not only is the battery more than double than it was the last time they put a new one in, they came up with another $1800 worth of work they want to do on the car.

No. This attitude that every time I come in, they find thousands of dollars’ of repairs to do, and that I have tens of thousands to throw into the car, needs to stop.

I told them to just do the battery.

It should have taken a half hour. They couldn’t get it done until after 2.

My mom had a doctor’s appointment. She’d called the ride service that’s supposed to take seniors to their appointments, for a $5 donation. No one ever got back to her.

My client lent me her car — a big Audi. So I could take my mom to her appointment. By the way, the doctor said those were some of the best lab results he’s ever seen. I am to be commended for making sure she eats right.

I returned the car to my client, with effusive thanks. The mechanic came and got me. I picked up the car. It drove better after the jump start than it does now with the new battery.

Yes, I know I have to work on putting the resources together for another car, but I’d hoped to get another year or two out of this one. I love this car. It’s the first new car I ever bought myself, and I’m very attached to it.

Picked up my mother’s birthday cake and fixings for her birthday dinner.

Barely made it to meditation, but I needed it.

Dinner, finished the book for review. I turned in the review this morning, and my invoice. I’m ready for the next one.

Tessa stayed with me last night. Charlotte was cranky and aggressive with both Tessa and Willa this morning. Lots of noise. By the end of each day, we achieve peaceful co-existence, but overnight, it all falls apart. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we have a lot more to make.

With a client all day today, and then to the library, to get the work done I didn’t get done yesterday.

And to figure out the way to put together money for a new car.

At least I had a great session this morning, working on THE BARD’S LAMENT (Coventina Circle #5), which releases next year.

Onward.

Fri. Oct. 25, 2019: Optimism

Friday, October 25, 2019
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

If you haven’t been over to Affairs of the Pen for the latest Ava Dunne post, please hop on over. It’s about how Sophie walks her talk.

Charlotte stayed in my room last night, just Charlotte, and was a little angel. She was even less aggressive this morning. Willa is still grumbly, and Tessa is avoiding both of them. So we have made progress, even though there’s a long way to go.

Had a great revision session at 5 AM this morning on a novel. It’s coming together, finally, and I’m so happy. Had to run errands, and everything took longer than it should have, so this post is late.

Dropped off a housewarming present for a friend.

More revisions this afternoon, reading a book for review, some writing. Tomorrow, I have writing and yard work, and then a sound bath session in the afternoon. Sunday will be about writing and yard work. The garden needs to be put to bed.

A friend is coming in next week. I hope she realizes just how much of her time will be spent working with the cats! 😉

We’ll have fun, no matter what.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on October 25, 2019 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Oct. 9, 2019: The Feline Adjustment Process

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on the business side of things.

I needed meditation group on Monday! Felt so much better when it was done. Came home. Cats were fine. They had a quiet day, mostly sleeping, which is good for them. They’ve had a rough few days.

Had fun opening the latest Goddess Provisions Box. It’s such a treat. My prize arrived from last week’s remote chat, which was fun, too.

New Kitty #1 came out and we even played a bit. She’s very sweet. I thought she was striped, but she’s not. She’s a gray-and-white tuxedo. She’s very pretty. After a few minutes, though, she had enough interaction. She took refuge in my reading chair in the writing room, and contemplated possible names. She did a few half-hearted hisses, but no one would engage.

Tessa got into the toy box that came with New Kitty #2. She took every single one out, marked them, played with them, and left them all over the living room. She feels it’s a job well done. When I put them back, she took them all out again. Now, we have LOTS of toys all over the house. She has her favorite toy, with which we play every day. But she had to show who is boss.

I was exhausted and went up early to read in bed. After awhile, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. To my surprise, it was New Kitty #2. She looked as shocked as I did. She growled, and I said, “Okay, I won’t look at you if you won’t look at me.” Well, Diva Princess that she is, that doesn’t work. I went back to my book. She explored the room, checking to look at me sometimes. I looked at her when she was busy. She finally sailed out of the room, tail high. First periscope tail since she moved in. Progress.

Quiet night. Up early yesterday. I spilled a cup of coffee on the light-colored carpet in my bedroom, so they got to hear me swear and watched as I scrubbed.

Good writing session. New Kitty #1 still has a fort in my office, but she likes to watch me at the computer. Tessa sits and keeps me company, as she always has.

Tessa feels secure because we are maintaining the routine. The other cats are learning it, and the fact that (in spite of freelancing and ME doing different things every day) THEIR routine is consistent helps. Tessa sets a few boundaries and makes it clear she is in charge. After being bossed for years by Iris & Violet, she likes being the boss.

They both are really nosy, now that they’re not terrified. They’re starting to seek engagement with us. That makes a smoother transition than if we tried to force it on them. Cats always prefer it when it’s their idea.

It makes us miss Lucy and Lucy’s sunny personality even more, though.

I think we have New Kitty #2’s name. One that suits the little diva princess, and to which she responds. New Kitty #1 is being more particular. There were several names I tried which she definitely does NOT like.

Got some good writing done in the morning. Onsite at the client’s. Only one in the office, which meant I got A LOT done. Set some appointments/meetings for later in the week. Got out some more LOIs.

New Kitties are venturing out more to explore, so I think we have some more hissy-spitty and growly days ahead of us as they work it out.

Today, I’m onsite with the client again. I’m looking forward to the Remote Chat (it’s become one of my favorite parts of the week). Thursday and Friday have the potential to be a good busy.

Hoping some other pieces fall into place, but I’m making Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. Having multiple plans works for me. That way, I can mix and match elements as I need, and have options while still being flexible.

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “too many options.” I have no time for people who whine about that. Fine. Too many options for your comfort. Get out of my way, because I intend to make full use of them.

And showing up at the page every day keeps things steady, and gives me tangible progress.

Have a great day!

Published in: on October 9, 2019 at 6:11 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 9, 2019: The Feline Adjustment Process  
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Tues. Oct. 8, 2019: New Additions to the Household

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

It’s been a stressful weekend, without enough writing getting done. I’m way behind where I need to be.

But it’s for a good reason.

We brought two new cats into the house. They’ve had a rough time, for the past year. The man who raised them since they were kittens had seriously worsening medical issues over the past year. The cats (littermates) started fighting. Then, the man got a service dog and couldn’t keep the cats. The cats have spent the last year being moved around between relatives, sometimes together (where they fought in the new environment, which is understandable), sometimes apart. A niece decided to put them up for adoption, we found each other, and I agreed to take both.

One arrived on Friday night. She’s very cute, but she was very upset, hissy spitty and growly. She threatened a lot, but didn’t attack. I set up her food and water dish in the kitchen. I let her out in the bathroom, with the door closed, so she knew where the litter box was.

She shot out of her carrier, checked out the litter box, and demanded I open the door. I did; she did a quick recon of the kitchen, then set up a fort in my office, amongst the books (but on the carpet, because she’s smart). She was unhappy all night.

We checked on her, but ignored her hissing, spitting, and growling. Humans did. Tessa growled back once, when New Kitty #1 advanced on me, growling, once. But Tessa’s handled it all calmly.

We simply let New Kitty #1 do her thing. We keep our usual routine. That makes Tessa feel safe, and it gives structure for New Kitty.

She came out to the living room while we watched TV to lodge a complaint before dashing back into the office. When we made the rounds before going to bed, she was in my Victorian wingback chair, and stuck her little head out to hiss. We laughed at her, which perplexed her. But it was kind of cute. I gave her a toy mouse, which she clutches like a teddy bear.

Tessa came up with me, as usual, and even slept on my bed.

Saturday morning, she was much calmer. She’d eaten and used the litter box in the night. She didn’t hiss or growl when we spoke to her. But we basically left her alone. She napped most of the day. Poor thing was exhausted.

I had gotten up at 5 AM and made raw apple muffins, but kitchen noise doesn’t bother her.

We had a quiet Saturday. I didn’t work in my office. I left it for her to feel safe. I read in the living room. Tessa stuck with me. We checked on her occasionally, to make sure she was okay. She watched us with a quiet, thoughtful gaze.

I put up most of the outdoor decorations for Halloween. I haven’t yet put up the lights.

I was up early again on Sunday. Usual routine. This time, I sat in my office to do some editing for a bit. I wanted to go in and write later in the day, but it didn’t happen.

I baked orange rye bread and my favorite chocolate walnut butter bread.

The second cat arrived mid-afternoon on Sunday. She came with lots of stuff, including Bliss Mist and her own pink fleece blanket, and an elaborate set up for her food dishes.

She, however, would not come out of her crate in the bathroom. I kept it near the litter box, so she’d know where it was, and left her there for a bit. She wouldn’t come out. I moved the crate to the living room, where she yowled her unhappiness. I moved her into the back bedroom, near her things, and let her be.

She took a nap for awhile, and then started yowling again. Hissing, growling, yowling. Diva Princess tantrum (I was warned she is the princess of the two). We let her alone. She had an even bigger tantrum when Tessa came downstairs (the stairs go into the back room). Tessa skirted around her and ignored her.

I sprayed her with Bliss Spray and she settled a bit.

New Kitty #1 came to tell her off. They hissed and spat and growled, but didn’t fight. They were saying some pretty nasty things, though, in feline.

Tessa stayed with us in the living room. Lately, she’s started sitting in the rocking chair (where Violet used to sit).

Then, New Kitty #1 decided since there were stairs, she might as well see where they led. She ventured upstairs. She hung out in my room for awhile.

New Kitty #2 was carrying on with a major tantrum still when we went to bed. We let her have her tantrum. Tessa was still downstairs. I didn’t realize New Kitty #1 was still in my room until I tripped over her. She fled back down the stairs.

At some point, Tessa sneaked up. She rummaged around upstairs and then settled on the bed.

I had insomnia for a bit, and then finally fell asleep. I woke up around 5 when Tessa was growling at someone. I guess one of the New Kitties was roaming around upstairs, but I don’t know which one.

I started the normal morning routine. Tessa came down to the kitchen with me. I put out fresh food and water for everyone.

New Kitty #2 finally came out of her crate and sat on one of the beds in the back bedroom, where she can see everyone. She started hissing. I said, “Good morning,” and kept going. Tessa ignored her.

New Kitty #1 was back to hanging out in my office in her fort. Again, calm. I went to my desk to work. Tessa came in and sat with me, as she always does. Tessa and New Kitty #1 can hang out in the same room and ignore each other.

I had a decent first writing session before I had to head off to my client’s.

I was tired and slow, but managed to get the work done. Headed to the library for a bit, then to meditation, which, believe me, I needed.

I’m scheduling this to post, so I have no idea what the night will be. I’m hoping it will be quiet and New Kitty #2 will get over herself. If we don’t engage in her tantrums, I hope she’ll calm down, the way New Kitty #1 does.

The cats were named with actresses that have a variation on the same first name and different middle names. No wonder they’re confused.

I had hoped to rename them Harriet and Louisa, after Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa May Alcott, but the names don’t suit them. I will let them settle in a bit more and reveal their personalities, and then we’ll work on names together. I have tried several on New Kitty #1, and she is not impressed. Nor does she like her original name.

New Kitty #1 calmed down pretty fast, so I hope New Kitty #2 will do the same. We are letting them initiate any interaction they want with us, other than basic greetings and giving them food. If and when they want to check us out or getting petted, they can come and ask. But giving the day basic structure, with freedom and quiet for them within it helps more than anything.

Lucy, in spite of her difficult history, was a much easier cat with a sunnier personality.

Tessa is already happier to have other cats in the house, although right now, they’re a pain in her butt.

Friday night, we finally heard from the landlord that he’s willing to extend the lease another year. We had asked in August, and have lived on tenterhooks ever since.

Of course, the rent is raised. More than is comfortable, but it’s still less than market rate. Which means a lot of other things have to change. And, in MA, the landlord can raise the rent however high they want. So, while this is uncomfortable, we’re still lucky, especially since there’s a housing shortage here.

Although about half of my town is up for sale.

On a happier note, when I was out doing my grocery shopping, I ran into a couple visiting from Marseilles. They were trying to get directions, and having trouble understanding the people who were trying to help. I intervened, apologizing for my bad French, and managed to make them understand, while showing them on the map, in French.

They invited me for coffee (not at Starbucks, which we all can’t stand, but at an independent place). We sat outside and talked, in a mixture of French (mostly) and English. I helped them plot out their next two weeks, with maps and recommendations. They think the Cape is beautiful, but are disappointed in how many people who support the Narcissistic Sociopath are here, and feel America, in general, has lost its sense of independence. I agree. It’s gotten worse in this area. I mean, really: Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, and now Hobby Lobby? Home Depot is my last resort, only if I can’t get something from one of the local hardware stores. But I refuse to set foot in Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby.

I’m exhausted, on so many levels.

But one word in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, one paw in front of the other.

Published in: on October 8, 2019 at 6:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. Oct. 2, 2019: The Daily-ness

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

The weather is all over the place this week. Warm, cold, humid, dry, rainy.

Monday afternoon was fun. Got some errands run in Bourne and Sandwich, took my mom along, because it was a nice day for a ride.

Up to season five of the MARY TYLER MOORE show. I was too young to understand a lot of the innuendo the first time around. So many of the guest actors went on to solid careers of their own. It’s fun to see them here.

Was awakened Tuesday morning a little after 4, because yet another of the carbon monoxide detectors hit “end of life.” So there’s something else to replace. Yes, technically the landlord should, but it’s easier if I do it.

Decent writing sessions in the morning. Onsite with a client most of yesterday and today. Yesterday afternoon, spent another work session at the library. Not sure if I’ll do that today or not. I don’t usually go to the library on Wednesdays. I’m too tired after being on site.

LOIs out, meetings, discussions on projects and potential projects. Got out some email blasts for a client and finishing up a roster of scheduled tweets for the month, for the same client.

We’re supposed to have some rain; I’m waiting until it passes through before putting up the exterior decorations. Yes, I’ll make sure to take photos! I’ll put them up on Instagram.

Still in search of a feline friend for Tessa.

Ordered a research book for a new series I’m developing. I won’t actually get to write it for a few years, probably not until the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries is done and Covetina Circle series is almost done. But I keep taking this particular book out of the library constantly, so I tracked down a used copy (it’s out of print) and ordered it for my personal library.

Putting one foot in front of the other.

Spinning some ideas, seeing where they go. Trying to stay on top of deadlines. I’m not doing enough marketing for my own work; I have to ramp that up, especially with the holidays coming.

And I’m on the hunt for a new webhost. A2 was great for breaking away from the horrible 1&1.com. However, A2 is incapable of making a simple fix and their security has gone downhill in the past few months. They’ll give me the runaround about getting into the sites for which I pay, but any random computer geek can hack in. That’s not okay. Their security is failing, and their customer service has gone downhill. And when there is a customer service issue, their solution is to send me into an endless loop of the same steps that didn’t work, through a variety of so-called tech support people. Which doesn’t solve anything, because all they do is pass it around the table instead of solving the issue. So it’s time to go elsewhere. It’s disappointing. I hate moving webhosts. It took me nearly a year to completely break free of 1&1. But I learned a lot since the move. Hopefully, I can apply it. Because I don’t upload FTP files, but build on the host, it’s going to be a pain to move things.

It means building everything from scratch again, the thought of which just makes me tired.

But if I have notes on all my specs and copies of all my copy, it shouldn’t be too bad. Famous last words.

Because of everything else going on, I’ll probably see out my term and make the switch in January.

Back to the page.

Published in: on October 2, 2019 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 2, 2019: The Daily-ness  
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Tues. Oct. 1, 2019: It’s The Frustrating Things

Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy, but then, we’re in autumn, and autumn is always busy! It’s unseasonably warm.

Friday, I ran some errands. I had to put gas into the car — I was all the way down to the bottom of the tank. Unusual for me — I usually refill it when I hit half. Of course, because I was so low, they were working on the street and had a detour so I couldn’t get to my usual gas station. I made it to another one, but I was not a happy camper.

One of the annoying things about Cape life is that you’re stuck in ridiculous traffic all summer on roads that can’t handle it. Then, during “shoulder season” — spring and summer — you’re stuck in one-lane only traffic because that’s when they work on the roads.

Only this year, they did roadwork all summer, too, so the summer traffic was even worse than usual, and now it’s no better. Plus, the damn tourists just aren’t going home. It’s gotten to the point where there’s about a week in mid-March where you can get where you need to go on time, where it’s not blocked by snow and too early for roadwork.

The very idea that they want to replace the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges with bridges doubling the current spans is not the solution. There’s no way for that traffic to feed into the current roads and no way to widen those roads. Just have one bridge for on-Cape traffic and one for off-Cape. It will still be a mess. The Cape is beyond capacity.

If you live on Cape, it’s harder and harder to get anywhere OFF Cape and get back to get anything done. And it’s getting harder and harder to get around on Cape. Not to mention that the mass transportation system is awful on Cape, and limited to get on and off. You can get to Boston, but not a whole lot of other places.

On top of that, all the tree-cutting is out of control. It has nothing to do with the health of trees, and everything to do with clear-cutting and leaving the Cape looking like a cross between a sandbar and a prairie. Personally? I like the oxygen trees provide. Breathing matters.

So Friday was annoying. I went to the library to do some work, but it was chaotic and noisy (not in a good way), so I wasn’t there very long.

I couldn’t get all my errands done on Friday because of the traffic. Plus, I hadn’t slept much — insomnia most of the night.

Crashed early on Friday because of Thursday night’s insomnia and slept for 10 hours, which is unusual for me.

So, Saturday, I had to finish what I couldn’t get done on Friday, which included taking the garbage to the dump, coming back and taking the recycling to the dump, and washing out the garbage bins. Also got some raking done, our first raking of the seasons.

In the afternoon, I switched out the lace panels on the first floor for the spiderweb curtains. Even though today is the first of October, and I don’t usually do it until now, I had the time on Saturday, so that’s when I did it. I put up most of the interior decorations. I’ll put up the exterior ones this week.

Roasted a chicken on Saturday night (served with sweet potatoes and spinach). We’ll have some good leftovers this week. I’ll do a curried chicken salad, and maybe a chicken potpie.

Made cinnamon buns on Sunday morning for breakfast. Wrote on Sunday, had a good writing day. Didn’t get everything I’d hope to finish done, but it was still a good writing day.

Tessa hates being an only cat, even though we’re giving her lots of extra attention. We went to the shelter down the street to meet some new arrivals. There are some sweethearts, but we had more questions before we can try to adopt. Let’s hope they can answer. It’s the same place where I adopted Tessa, but they’re made the adoption process more complicated since I adopted her.

Sunday night, made turkey meatloaf in mushroom gravy, served with mashed potatoes and steamed peas.

Read a mystery where the premise was good, but the execution poor. The protagonist annoyed me. She wasn’t cute and relatingly human –she was whiny and annoying. Read two more Travis McGree novels. Again, the female characters were awful. The way Travis tries to romanticize his promiscuity gets annoying. Just admit you’re a dog and be done with it. Stop trying to make us believe you’re different and somehow noble, because you’re not. He’s as damaged as the hot messes he’s always bedding.

Finished reading a couple of memoirs, one by someone with whom I’d worked in New York, another by someone involved in some of the same productions. It amazed me how differently the anecdotes were printed on the page than what was said backstage.

A few major things are up in the air right now, which is something I don’t do well with. But I have to be flexible and keep my ability to think on my feet. This will be a stressful month. And then we go back into Mercury Retrograde, which I dread on so many levels I can’t even start talking about it. There’s too much going on at the same time as not enough. It’s a weird kind of friction.

More insomnia Sunday night into Monday, which means I woke up cranky and out of sorts. Decent early morning writing sessions, time with a client. The necessity of yet more errands that I couldn’t finish over the weekend, piled on with end-of-month errands, meant I missed meditation.

Onsite with a client, and then some other appointments. Too much tension in my life right now.

But as long as I keep showing up at the page every day, at least there’s progress somewhere.

 

Published in: on October 1, 2019 at 6:51 am  Comments Off on Tues. Oct. 1, 2019: It’s The Frustrating Things  
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Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap

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

For some reason, yesterday seems far away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Published in: on September 6, 2019 at 9:57 am  Comments Off on Fri. Sept. 6, 2019: Battening Down the Hatches for a Dorian Slap  
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Thurs. Sept. 5, 2019: Running Out of Coping Skills

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Tropical Storm/Cyclone Warning

If you haven’t seen the latest chapter in the saga of “Fred Needs a Writer” over on Ink-Dipped Advice, hop on over and read it. And pop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Samples for Fall 2020 came in, and I spent most of the time there unpacking and hanging. The Spring/Summer collection is already being shown and orders written. We shipped a bunch of stuff, too.

Came straight back after the stint at the client’s. I was exhausted. It was hot and humid and icky.

Remote chat was great, as always.

Watched REAR WINDOW. It’s years since I saw it. I forgot how much humor was in it. Not a fan of Grace Kelly, though. I didn’t find a lot of depth to her performance. Thelma Ritter was much more interesting.

We’ve also started re-watched THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW since the start. I’m doing this in honor of Valerie Harper. It really is funny. What a great ensemble.

Didn’t sleep well. I’m under stresses that I can’t discuss publicly right now, and they’re affecting me in a bad way. I hope to find some solutions sooner rather than later, but the process is painful. I feel like I’ve run out of coping skills.

Writing work, LOIS, pitches, work on GRAVE REACH and “Pier-less Crime” on the schedule for today Also some work on websites, and scheduling some marketing posts. Maybe a couple of hours for another client. Not sure if I’ll go to yoga or not. I have to go grocery shopping first thing, and get supplies in ahead of the storm. We’re really supposed to get slapped on Friday/Saturday by the outskirts of Hurricane Dorian, but we already are under a tropical cyclone/tropical storm watch today.

Sent off my short review to my editor yesterday, and my next assignment is on its way. I’m trying to do one assignment a week for this editor.

Tomorrow morning, I have a very stressful meeting first thing, so this blog will be late. But I’m scheduling the post for Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, so it will go up early. The topic tomorrow is building the ensemble.

I want my life back from before the pre-Occupant insanity.

Back to the page.

Thurs. Aug. 29, 2019: Duty Served

Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Raining and warm

The remnants of Tropical Storm Aaron are here, so we’re having a lot of rain. We need it, but it’s still a lot.

Yesterday was jury duty. MA has “one day, one trial” which means that, when you get called, you either serve one day or for one trial.

I was up making h’ors d’oeurves at 6 AM, because my friend was stopping by on her way back from Nantucket to pick up the car she left in the garage, and I didn’t think I’d be back in time. So I wanted to make sure she had a snack before driving back to Connecticut.

I was out of the house a little before 8 AM. Traffic was awful, but I got there on time. The zippers in my boots set off the metal detector.

About two dozen of us were in the jury room. The woman from my yoga class wasn’t there; not sure if she got out of it, or if they decided they didn’t need everyone originally put on notice.

I managed to rough out an outline for a stand-alone suspense novel before we even started. I have to figure out specific clues and red herrings, but I have the backstory, the opening, and the end worked out.

We had our orientation, and watched a video, which wasn’t as cheesy as they usually are.

Then, we sat. For three hours. I read most of a novel. The author is highly regarded. I respect her writing, but dislike her as a human being. This novel? Well-written, but I loathe the protagonist: spoiled, weak, and not very bright.

After three hours, we were released. All the cases on the docket were settled, and they didn’t need us. I am now free for three years.

I was surprised that we were left alone in the jury room. In New York, there’s always a court officer with us. People pretty much ignored each other, and read or texted. There was water and a vending machine.

The one time I left the room to go to the Ladies’ room, the male lawyers in the hallway were checking me out like it was Saturday night at an upscale bar. Yeah, I was dressed more professionally than most of my fellow jurors, but still. . .I was torn between feeling flattered and exasperated.

Picked up a bottle of wine on my way home. My friend was there; she’d come over from Nantucket early to try to beat the storm. I made sure she was fed properly and off she went. Glad she ate, because she had a hellish trip back through the storm.

It gave me the gift of a half day. There was no point in going to my client’s; I’d worked ahead into next week. There was absolutely nothing I could do there. I should have worked on any of a number of writing projects; instead, I gave myself the afternoon off.

In the evening, we watched THE MALTESE FALCON. I can’t even count how often I’ve seen it, and I always find something new. I’d forgotten how good the pace was. It moves right along. I still don’t get how everyone thinks Brigid is so enticing. Manipulative, yes, but why fall for it? Anyway, it was research for a sequence I’m working on for ELLA BY THE BAY, where Ella, Simone, Rosalia, Olive, and Antigone sit around watching old movies and yakking, Ella’s attempt to make new friends on the island. I’m watching the other two movies in the scene, CASABLANCA and NORTH BY NORTHWEST this weekend.

I have a nod to a particular MALTESE FALCON scene in my radio play “Broken Links” and whenever I see the movie scene, it makes me laugh.

The less said about the conference with the potential client on Tuesday afternoon the better. It wasn’t the client on the conference, it was a recruiter. Which is ridiculous. Not only that, but nearly every question I asked was answered with, “I can’t answer that; I’m only the recruiter.” Waste of my fucking time. On top of that, now they want me to take a “timed assessment”? Twice? And then talk to a “hiring manager” and then, only MAYBE talk with the people with whom I’d actually work on the project? I don’t think so. Makes me wonder who they paid and how much to be listed as one of the top 100 companies to work for in Boston. Because my experience with them puts them firmly near the bottom of anywhere.

And they definitely need good content and a well-thought out marketing campaign. I went over their website more than once, and I still don’t know what they do.

Next!

Good morning session on ELLA. Worked ahead on some blog posts. Prepping some article pitches that will go out next week. Doing some research on more radio companies.

This afternoon, I will focus on GRAVE REACH for a few hours.

I’m going to write my way into the holiday weekend!

 

Published in: on August 29, 2019 at 8:52 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 29, 2019: Duty Served  
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Tues. Aug. 20, 2019: Trying to Get Better

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I’m doing on The Reader Expansion Challenge.

It took me a few days to adjust to the antibiotic. I’m coping. I think I’m healing.

I spent far too much time the past few days, gobbling down the first three books in Lauren Dane’s GODDESS WITH A BLADE series. Boy, are they good! I have two more to read, and then book 6 comes out in December. It’s a really, REALLY good series.

Read another book, by that author I mentioned last week, about whom I was on the fence. I’m definitely off the fence now, and it’s crossing her off the list. Her protagonist quit a job that was putting her on the path to an outstanding career because her boyfriend didn’t like that she was working with another man. Sorry, that’s not true love. That’s a toxic relationship. Add the character’s constant “tired” to miss major plot points, whining, crying, and relying on men all the time — not the series for me.

Read another book where the premise was good, but the book dripped with so much white woman Southern privilege & adherence to the status quo that it nauseated me. The author is trying to portray his protagonist as a “tolerant” Southern woman. Honey, she’s not. She has flashes of racism (which means she’s racist), she believes it’s not grafting if you cheat someone with less money than she has (but is horrified if someone wealthy gets cheated), and I got way, way, WAY ahead of the plot. Cross that author off my list.

Got the review off to my editor, worked on my article, worked on GRAVE REACH, ELLA, and a little on DEATH OF A BROKEN MAN.

I was not allowed to read Lauren Dane’s book on Saturday until I’d written my quota for the day!

I also got my first Sephora Play! box. I was surprised by the quality of the samples. They are stuff I actually want to try and use. The lipstick is a color I would have never chosen on my own, and it looks great on me (I love lipsticks). There are also some interesting skin care products that I’m trying.

Sunday, I had to hack away some invasive plants and feed the lawn. We were supposed to get storms and rain, but they were wrong. AGAIN. I went out while it was cloudy, and then the sun came out, and I had problems, in spite of slathering on the sunscreen, because of the antibiotic.

Good writing session Monday morning before I had to go onsite with a client. Which was what it was.

A quick trip to the library, then meditation group. Much-needed. Then some work on the article. It’s due next week, but I’d like to get it in a little early. Gmail was down at the library, so things I needed to get done there couldn’t happen. Plus a bunch of uniformed old white men talking politics and showing their ignorance.

This morning, work on ELLA and GRAVE REACH, then onsite with a client and other appointments.

Head down and back to the page.

Published in: on August 20, 2019 at 6:21 am  Comments Off on Tues. Aug. 20, 2019: Trying to Get Better  
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Tues. Aug. 13, 2019: Keep on Keeping On

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter DIRECT (As of Sunday)
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

Busy few days.

Got some stuff done at the library Friday morning, then went to the yoga studio. Class was packed (I usually can’t take that session). In fact, there was someone I hadn’t seen in about three years there.

I was a little too relaxed when I got out of yoga class. I still had a lot to do that day, and all I wanted to do was nap!

Friday afternoon was about housework and cooking. The downstairs is quite tidy now.

Saturday, I finished up some more food. We had company in the morning, from Greenwich, and a nice catch-up. I drove them to the ferry — they’re on their way to Nantucket. After years of summer rentals, they actually hope to buy something.

Read in the afternoon and evening, and percolated a bit on some stories that want to be told.

Heard about the Jeffrey Epstein “suicide.” Yeah, right. Just way too convenient, especially for the Narcissistic Sociopath. And Barr in charge of the investigation? What a joke. The whole thing is disgusting.

Finished reading a thriller trilogy. I absolutely loved the first book. I got ahead of the story a bit on the second book. It happened even more in the third book, and I anticipated the ending I hoped wouldn’t wind up the way it did. I was disappointed. I feel the author cheated his trio of protagonists (and his readers) from the ending they earned. While the first book was fantastic, the trilogy as a whole left me depressed and unsatisfied. It was a very male ending, meaning that it was what I expected from a male writer, and disappointed when it happened. It was what all those middle-aged male writers trying to be hip do to punish their characters (especially their female characters) and act like they’re creating great fiction. Would a female writer have made the same choices with that plot? Possibly, but most of the women writers in the genre I admire would have done it differently, I believe, and in a more satisfying way.

Also read a book by an author about whose work I have mixed feelings. I’ve read several of her books, and every one leaves me with mixed feelings. They’re a little too cutesy-wootsy for my taste. Her protagonists rely on being rescued by men too much, instead of saving themselves or the partners working together to survive . She’s a writer, but with such a limited vocabulary that she misuses words like “witch” — if you use “witch” to mean a nasty woman instead of a spell-caster, you’re knocked off my reading list. It’s insulting and careless. It’s bad writing. Also, in this particular book, she had characters who were supposedly involved in theatre. She might have gone to one community theatre production in her life, but she sure as hell didn’t do any research. She knows nothing about how theatre works and nothing about actors or tech people. Her tone in writing about them was condescending — along with not having done her research. I have one more book ordered via Commonwealth Catalog that I can’t cancel. I’ll try a few pages before I send it back. But I am DONE with her.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, but Saturday night into Sunday, I had a nightmare about a mass shooting. I’m not going to detail the dream here, but it unnerved me for the rest of the weekend. in my personal journal, I wrote about it in detail, and I intend to use bits of it in a new piece I’m developing. But I would have rather never had the dream in the first place. It was too vivid. Too many sensory details.

Worked on the article for Llewellyn. That will go out in a couple of days. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Worked on ELLA. It’s slowed down, and I have to figure out a few things to make this last third of the book work. Played with some ideas for DEATH OF A BROKEN MAN, which has a very broken (female) protagonist who relates to the dead body she trips over a little too much.

Getting some good work done on GRAVE REACH. I need to get this draft done this week and off to the editor, so we can go into galleys.

Playing with the first chapter of THE BARD’S LAMENT, which has to go into the back of GRAVE REACH.

Worked on the book I’m reviewing. I’m also reading the book for the #ReaderExpansionChallenge.

Need to spend more time on Ello this week.

Working on a couple more article pitches. They’re not quite where I want them in order to go out. But I hope to get them out this week.

I can’t seem to shake this lethargy and exhaustion. All I want to do is sleep, but I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up.

I had terrible allergy problems on Sunday with the ragweed and goldenrod coming into bloom. Constant sneezing, runny eyes. I finally broke down and took a Benedryl, which knocked me out and I slept for 11 hours. Felt a little better on Monday. Even non-drowsy anti-histamines knock me out.

Monday was fine onsite with a client, and I expect today and tomorrow will be challenging.

Monday afternoon’s meditation group was much-needed.

Back to the page.

 

Fri. Aug. 9, 2019: Just A Quick Post

Friday, August 9, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I was a bit blue yesterday, especially after an interaction with a potential new client that was a total waste of time. When you’re going to hire me for a marketing position, don’t expect me to fill out the form and answer the questions for a minimum wage customer facing position. They have nothing to do with each other. Not doing it. Not working for you.

Didn’t get enough writing done. Dashed around getting other stuff done.

But there are a few new ideas that are demanding attention and must be worked in and around the contracted stuff. Plus, the Llewellyn article needs to be finished this weekend.

Spent some time with a writer pal. He’s tired (back from Canada, headed to Japan, than the Yucatan, all on assignments AND prepping for the release of his new novel). But he’s doing well, and we always have fun together.

Did a Skype session with a playwright friend. Brainstormed some ideas with another friend. I’d hoped to lump them all into one piece, but, as my friend pointed out, there are two very distinctive sets of characters, and while some of the themes overlap, others don’t.

This morning, ran around doing errands. My mom got scared while I was out, because she heard a passel of police sirens and was sure there was a mass shooting at the grocery store. There wasn’t, but why are we agreeing to live in fear like that? We need to get all these corrupt politicians out, and then make sure this stops happening. It CAN be stopped. Every other civilized nation in the world manages.

Going to a late morning yoga class, then cleaning the house and preparing the food for our guests tomorrow morning.

Then, it’s back to the page.

Have a great weekend! Another inspiration post on Monday.

Namaste!

Published in: on August 9, 2019 at 8:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 9, 2019: Just A Quick Post  
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