Wed. Nov. 18, 2015: Not Ready to Say Goodbye

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold

Today is my colleague’s funeral. I still can’t wrap my head around him being gone. It’s incomprehensible to me. I dread going to the service because I’m not ready to say goodbye.

Last weekend was a blur — grocery shopping, errands, paying bills. Eversource should really be called “Neversource.” They keep raising rates at ridiculous levels, but heaven forbid they give customer service — especially when they screw up. They are a company that’s grown too big to serve its customers and should be broken up, just like Ma Bell was. Ma Bell was actually a good company and most companies that rose in their wake — Comcast, Verizon, etc. – -have sucked.

Most of the writing I got done was on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. The story’s taking some good twists and turns. I’m setting up some interesting over-reaching arcs that can play out over several books without taking away interest in the central mystery of each book. I wanted to work on it yesterday morning, but got in so few words (due to a stressful situation that needed to be dealt with immediately), that they weren’t even worth counting. I’m hoping to have better luck today.

At yesterday’s Come Write In! session at the library (we had a nice group), I wrote 2002 words (in longhand) on THE TIE-CUTTER. I felt good about it, and it was fun to write in company.

Looking back on it, however, I realize that I rushed a couple of scenes and put them in narrative when they would have worked better as active, dialogue scenes. In the next draft, I’ll have to rework them. Olivia’s in Iceland now, and I have to put up the photos from my trip and get a feel for the place again. I couldn’t even remember place names properly without looking them up. Of course, even if I remembered, I would have had to look them up in order to spell them correctly!

The historical mystery is pulling at me, but I’ve written enough notes on it so I won’t lose it, and I’ve got to finish the historical play first anyway, because I have to upload it in mid-December.

The next few days will be long — lots to do at work, plus it’s my Saturday “on.” Next week, we move into the Thanksgiving holidays, and then it’s full force into Spectacle of the Trees. Not to mention my own holiday decorating and baking.

The past two days were filled with unmitigated and unnecessary stress due to someone trying to play God with me. It didn’t work, but the whole thing was very unpleasant. When someone feels powerless in their own life and then deliberately sets out to harm someone else in order to feel better, that is not okay. Not only do I refuse to be the one harmed, I refuse to let that individual harm anyone else.

Back to preparing myself, both mentally and physically, for a difficult day.


Published in: on November 18, 2015 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fri. Nov. 13, 2015: Sad News and Rebel 2 Writing

Friday, Nov. 13, 2015
Waxing Moon
Sunny and windy

Busy day yesterday. We had computer issues at work, which put us in a muddle all day, and limited what we could do. We did a lot of work on the tree.

When the computers finally came back up, we were short-handed, I was trying to catch up, and it was a challenge. But we got a good bit done. I couldn’t get anything catalogued, though; even though the circ computers worked, I couldn’t get Sierra up on my computer to receive books. I couldn’t commandeer a circ computer, because it was busy and they needed them.

I got some sad news in the afternoon – a colleague at the Marine Life Center unexpectedly passed away overnight. He’d just been at the Board meeting on Monday. It’s a shock. We’re all reeling. He was committed, dedicated, funny, and kind, and will be very, very missed.

I was exhausted by the time I got home. Dinner, reading. A novel that was highly recommended, but didn’t do it for me, and another one where the heroine is supposed to be goofy and sweet, but is, in reality, an idiot. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a mystery, so I couldn’t even hope she’d be the next victim.

Overslept this morning, but managed a thousand words, on an outline for the piece that’s been niggling at me. Still, I wrote, so it’s going into Nano total as “Rebel 2”.

Weary and sad. The weekend will be busy, hopefully good busy. I need to run errands and do yard work and write.

I’m getting into my Nano Week 3 head a little early, where I resent anything that takes time from my writing. Oh, wait, I usually do that anyway. ;)

Have a great weekend.


Published in: on November 13, 2015 at 9:40 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Nov. 12, 2015: Why, Yes, Writers DO Write

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cool

The Energy Vampires are out. This always happens during Nano — those who like the idea of writing better than the actual writing. They love to talk about it, to pontificate about how one should or shouldn’t write, but they don’t actually get any words on paper. They’re always around, but during Nano, when hundreds of thousands of people are attempting to write in company — they can really feed.

I have very little to do on the forums this year because there are so many energy vampires. Hey, we all run into obstacles. I’m happy to help however I can. However, if you’re not going to show up to the page and do the work, there’s nothing I can do for you. Not only that, I’m not willing to spend time placating you when I could be putting that time and energy into my own writing. You want support? Earn it.

There’s also an article being passed around Facebook about what writers — I’m not sure if it’s “should” or “need” to stop saying, with the top one being “Writers write.” Well, of course “writers write” you dumbass, or nothing would ever GET WRITTEN. It’s another one of those pseudo-self-help pieces meant to placate wanna-bes, giving them a list of excuses for not writing.

In truth, there are no excuses. You choose to write. You choose not to write. If you choose not to write on enough successive days, weeks, months, years, you’re not a writer. I’m not an astronaut because I’d like to fly to the moon. I haven’t earned the right to call myself an astronaut. I don’t DO it. Writing is one of the few professions where wanna-bes can sit around with their thumbs up their asses making excuses for not doing it and still identify themselves as a member of the profession. Um, no.

I USED to work on Broadway. As a dresser. I no longer do that. Therefore, I am no longer a dresser. I WAS a dresser, I had a great career. But I am no longer a member of that profession.

Speaking of Broadway, that’s another one — people hear I worked on Broadway and say, “Oh, I want to work on Broadway one day.”

Actually, you don’t. If you did, if you even had any clue as to how much work it takes, you’d run screaming. Because if you REALLY WANTED it, you’d spend every free minute working in theatre. You would only accept part-time jobs with flexible hours that allow you to remain in theatre. You’d get enough regional credits under your belt and hone your craft so you could move to New York, start off-off Broadway, work your way up to off-Broadway, and maybe, just maybe, if you worked hard enough AND were good enough, you’d make it to Broadway.

You’re not willing to do that? You’re not willing to work nights, weekends, holidays, give up family events? You only want to work when it’s convenient? It won’t happen.

Same with writing. You need art. You need craft. You need work ethic. You need commitment.

I take tango lessons. I go to practicas and millings when I can. Tango is something I enjoy. It is a hobby. I am not a tango dancer. I dance when I can, and I’m learning — but I’m not a tango dancer. If and when I give up other things and commit to tango to the exclusion of other things and get my skills up to par, I will have the right to call myself a tango dancer. Right now, I don’t. It’s something I do on occasion, because I enjoy it. It’s not something I am.

We are more than our professions, of course. One hopes each of us is a unique, complex individual. But if we’re going to identify with a particular art or craft, we have to earn our way into it.

The ironic thing is that these articles to make wanna-be writers feel better about not writing is that SOMEONE WROTE THEM. If that someone is smart, that someone got paid. Right there it negates that we need to stop saying “writers write.” Obviously they do, or there wouldn’t be anything to read, not even a cereal box. Some of these writers even get paid for it. Some of these writers even participate in an entire, money-making industry to KEEP YOU FROM WRITING. They provide you lists of excuses and soothe you when you don’t wanna.

Can you think of any profession where you’d succeed if you only showed up and worked when you felt like it or it was convenient?

Show up and earn your way in, no matter what “it” is.

It’s also ridiculous that writers who write should even need to defend the fact that they participate in their profession, like professionals, to those who don’t.

Honestly, I can’t really remember last weekend. It seems very far away. I know I wrote a lot on Saturday and ran some errands. Sunday, I was up ridiculously early to pick up ornaments for the NMLC tree and finish putting the hardware on the gold starfish. I wrote a little, but not as much as I wanted to. Baked a lot.

I read a lot. Some of it was disappointing, mysteries where the protagonist is an idiot (not “goofily endearing”, but an idiot), and I kept hoping she’d be the next victim. Other pieces were very good.

Renee Rosen’s WHITE COLLAR GIRL is good. It takes place in Chicago in the 1950s. My parents lived there at that time — I had my mom read it, too, and she remembered some of the events in the book.

Board meeting early at NMLC, and then off to Plymouth to meet a friend from theatre days in New York who I haven’t seen since I left. It was great to catch up with her and maintain the friendship.

I’d gotten up at 4:30 that morning, to make sure I got some writing in.

Up early on Tuesday. Wrote on the classic project. Then went to the library for the Come Write In, but I was the only one there. Did about 1K on the rebel project, came home, and went to Spectacle of Trees meeting.

Came home and did some research.

Two more characters are yapping at me. Their story is interesting, so I might do a rough outline and see how I can fit it in.

I created a rough outline of deadlines, putting on paper what’s due when and what stage I need to be on various projects when. It’s realistic, but slower than I’d like. But that’s life. At least Nano’s gotten me into a better daily writing rhythm, although I still feel like I’m pushing too hard.

Woke up sick on Wednesday. Was going to take the entire day off writing, but by the afternoon, it hurt more not to write than to write, so I wrote, a whole chapter, just over 3K. On the classic.

I didn’t go to the Write In session, because I don’t want anyone to get sick.

I’m better this morning. I wrote just over 1200 words on the Classic this morning. Ideas are spinning in my head for the rebel, so I will try to do some tonight at home.

Will have a long day at work both today and tomorrow, and a busy weekend.

Two weeks from today is Thanksgiving. I can’t believe it!



Published in: on November 12, 2015 at 10:13 am  Comments (2)  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 11: Day Off

Today’s a good day to take a day off and play hard, especially if you’ve been keeping up with your word count.

In one of my previous Nano years, I planned Day 11 as a Day off, but I got nervous about getting behind (even though I was ahead), so I started a chapter the previous night, and did 1533 words, which counted to today’s word count. I hate stopping in the midst of a chapter, but I did. My two characters were tired and cranky and annoying each other and that’s where I left them. After all, I didn’t expect them to have this particular argument in this particular spot, but they did!

I love it when my characters surprise me. I love the joy of discovery inherent in writing. If I already knew every detail before I started, I couldn’t write the book. It would no longer interest me.

Don’t forget to back up your piece, or, if you’re writing in longhand, to start typing up chapters regularly. If I do the first draft longhand, I usually try to type up each chapter, or, at the most, every three chapters. That does become a bit of a “next draft” – make sure you don’t let it derail you.

I keep each chapter in a separate file, and each version of each chapter in a separate file, because in revisions, I rearrange sections. It’s much easier to do so when I can manipulate the chapters. I back up obsessively, and print out each day’s work as I write.

Come Write In! at Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St. Marstons Mills
Tuesdays 11-1 and Thursdays 2-4 during Nano.

Published in: on November 11, 2015 at 5:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. Nov. 3, 2015: Grief & Writing

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Waning Moon
Sunny and mild

Friday was a very sad day for us. Violet died in the afternoon. At least she died at home, where she was loved, and she wasn’t in pain. But we are all heartbroken. We took her body to an emergency care facility in Dennis, where they will take care of the remains.

She was a small, quiet cat, but the house feels empty without her. Iris and Tessa are looking for her. They miss her, too.

There was a lot of cleaning and scrubbing and disinfecting to do, of course. We were already exhausted from the last few days, and there was just nothing left in the tank.

Samhain was sad. It was difficult to pull it together, and I kept the ritual very simple.

On the plus side, the costumes the Trick-or-Treaters wore were delightful. Brought us some joy for a sad time.

Turned back the clocks to standard time. The cats, however, were still on their time, so I was up early anyway.

Sunday was the first day of Nano. I seriously considered quitting before it began. I wasn’t sure I have the heart to do it this month. I’m also tired of Nano and death being so closely associated, year after year. I’m going to be sad for awhile, and I don’t know how I can dig deep enough to work on the books.

But I did it, and felt better for it. I started DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, the cozy mystery set on a fictional island off the coast of Cape Cod. Yup, I stuck in another island near Martha’s Vineyard. Gave the steamship authority a couple of extra routes, too. I wrote the whole first chapter, 2833 words, and felt better.

I then did some work on TIE-CUTTER, getting ready to close out the section set in Hollywood. So my day’s total was 4269. Not a bad start.

The rest of the day was about taking down the Samhain decorations, but leaving up the Day of the Dead items. Again, I kept the ceremonies simple, because I’m just wiped out.

I also baked for the week: cranberry muffins for Monday’s meeting, double chocolate chunk for Tuesday’s Come Write In! session, and oatmeal cookies for Thursday’s session.

I’ve been reading Ted Hughes’s WINTER POLLEN. I know very little of his work. I’m of the generation that fetishized Sylvia Plath, put her on a pedestal, and demonized Ted Hughes. Unfair, but that’s how it was presented — he destroyed her genius, forcing her to have children and subsume her poetry to his, while he catted around. Reality was, of course, far more complicated. The older I got, the less patience I had with Sylvia. But I’d still read very little of Ted’s work.

His essays on Shakespeare are wonderful. I’m not sure I agree with his theories, but they’re interesting, and they certainly give me additional perspectives, next time I go back to the plays. It makes me eager to re-read the plays. I grow wary when I read his writing on Sylvia Plath’s work. He was in an impossible situation. Who knew her work better? Yet who had more reason to protect himself, and, supposedly, the rest of her family? Destroying her final journal — under that same guise of “protection”– is something I don’t think the world will ever forgive. I agree with that. Even if she lashed out at her children and he didn’t want them to read those moments of anger — and it would make sense to resent her children in the moment and write about it in her journal, using that to cure her — that anger or depression or whatever she poured into those final journals is vital to understanding her work. At the same time, I understand the desire to protect self and family (I don’t agree with it, but I understand it), and he’s got a point, that, at the time, she wasn’t the iconic figure she grew into. The sad part is, no matter how good her poetry was, or how much she was likely to improve as an artist, she probably wouldn’t have become the icon she is without her suicide. It’s an impossible, complex situation.

I think I would trust his writing about her work more if it wasn’t in the third person; if he didn’t refer to “her husband” when he meant himself. Again, I can understand the choice in the moment — to keep it sounding more objective. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come across that way. It comes across as cold, and as though the writer has something to hide.

The only one who knows the truth is Sylvia herself, and she only knows her own truth. His truth is different. The children’s truths are different. The rest of her family’s truths are different. They are all parts of the puzzle, and some of those parts are irrevocably missing.

From the outside, though, it remains fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.

Yesterday morning, I was up at five. I wrote Chapter Two of CHOLERIC, 2554 words. Difficult words, but words.

I left a little before eight to go to Buzzards Bay for a strategic planning meeting at the Marine Life Center. There’s too much “committee” and “subcommittee’ and yakking in my opinion. Work is not done in meetings; work is done in the space between meetings. I feel like we’re going around in circles, instead of moving forward.

Home, another stint on TIE-CUTTER. Brought my day’s total to 3990 and my full total to 8259, which is decent for two days’ work.

Took down the spider web curtains, put up the winter curtains, did four loads of laundry. Another simple ceremony (these are the days of the ceremonies for the dead). The sadness weighs me down and I can’t shake it. But I also have to give myself time.

We will adopt another cat, but not right away. We all have to adjust to life without Violet. After Thanksgiving, or maybe even after Christmas.

Of course, people keep offering cats now. ;)

Watching the DCI BANKS series. Very well done, although sometimes the second half of each episode feels rushed.

Up early this morning. Wrote Chapter Three of CHOLERIC, 3322 words. I was raring to continue into Chapter Four, but afraid I’d push too far. There’s a COME WRITE IN session at the library this morning, and I want to work on TIE CUTTER there, and have something left in the tank for CHOLERIC tomorrow. We’re getting to a big confrontation scene.

Once CWI is over, we’re doing a test run of the tree for Spectacle at the Library. So, yes, once again I’m going in on what’s supposed to be my day off. ;)

Busy day today. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be long days, and I imagine that my word count will drop drastically. That’s why I’ve been pushing so hard up front.


Published in: on November 3, 2015 at 10:53 am  Comments (4)  
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Thurs. Oct. 29, 2015: My Mother’s Birthday and Tandem Nano

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Raining and warm

First and foremost, happy 91st birthday to my mom! I’m lucky that she’s still so on top of things and independent.

It’s kind of a nasty day out there, but at least it’s not Hurricane Sandy, like it was a few years ago on her birthday!

Yesterday was busy at work. I wrote an article wrapping up the photography contest and tried to write a snappy press release for the upcoming craft fair. Books came in, but I didn’t have a chance to process them. I’m still getting things situated for Nano, and doing all the other things that come up in the job.

I’m not having as much fun on the Nano forums as I usually do. I used to love spending time on them. But I don’t have much that’s useful to say, and, frankly, most of the inexperienced writers come across as dis-interested in learning from experienced writers. They’d rather whine or give out lousy information (with no credits to back it up) or try to sound like something out of a chick lit novel, which often winds up sounding desperate rather than cute. Granted, I haven’t read every post in every thread, so the above is just what I’ve run into. But it makes me tired, and doesn’t help my own writing (I dis-engaged myself from a group recently just to avoid the same sorts of non-conversations that I found detrimental to my writing). I’m having fun with my region, and I just won’t spend much time on the forums. I’ll check in to post word counts, but that’s it.

I decided I’m going to do a Tandem Nano this year. Either it will work, or it won’t. 50-50 chance. As a “Nano Rebel” – I’m going to keep working on TIE-CUTTER, trying to write about 1K a day, which seems its natural pace.

I’m also going to give the mystery that popped into my head a chance as a “Classic Nano”. The tentative title is DEATH OF A CHOLERIC, and we’ll see where it takes us. I will need to do between 7 and 10 pages a day in order to achieve the full Nano with that. It means writing between 11 and 14 pages up until Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I’m going to give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, I’ll know better.

I also decided that, since I’m not sleeping well lately and waking up in the middle of the night, that, if I do so during Nano, I will get up and write a few pages. Hopefully, my own writing won’t put me to sleep!

I haven’t written much the last few days. There’s been a lot of percolating, but I’m letting the writing build, so it can break like a dam at the start of Nano. We’ll see if THAT works, too! ;)

Today will be a long day, and then I’m cooking a special birthday dinner for my mother, and she’s got her favorite cake: cheesecake!

The Nano Prep post for the day, about working from character or plot, is below this one.

I had to go out early this morning to pick up my mother’s cake, and it was like driving through a monsoon. But I managed.

Have a wonderful day, all!


Published in: on October 29, 2015 at 8:31 am  Comments (6)  
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Wed. Oct. 28, 2015: The Writing’s Natural Pace

Wednesday, October 29, 2015
Day After Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

Busy few days. I was tired by the time I got back home on Saturday, but the awards presentation for the photography contest was fun, and the winners were so delighted! That’s the kind of thing that’s fun to do.

Got some good writing done on Sunday and Monday. On Monday, the tree guys came to prune the big maple in the back, the one that was damaged in the bad weather last winter. Of course, I looked my absolute worst, because I didn’t expect anyone to come by the house! And, right after that, my Town Councilor stopped by to say hi. Oh, well, if you’re not going to call ahead . . .

Got the orange lights up in the yard for this weekend. They’re really cute. Also got most of the plants on the deck put away for the winter. The ones I’m overwintering are in the garage, on the side where they’ll get some sun and get watered every week. The annuals are out of the pots and the pots stacked on the far side of the garage, where I can use them next year. We had our first frost over the weekend. There are still a few plants who need some more outside time, including one tomato plant valiantly promising another handful of tomatoes. I couldn’t believe how many tomatoes we found on the plants we took out.

TIE-CUTTER is plugging along very well. I’m sure I’ll have to do some massive cuts in it, but that’s okay. Right now, I’m writing the first draft to see what I have. The pace is a slow, steady, 1000-15000 words a day, which is a good pace. There’s some fun stuff and it, and a few scenes where I think I can really push it.

As I look at the material for SONGBOUND SISTERS, the natural pace of that — the writing pace, not the pace of the story — is much slower. In other words, it would be detrimental to use that as a Nano project (apologies to the writers in the group where it was birthed who are eager to read the rest of it). I wouldn’t be able to meet my own goals with it, and pushing it faster than it wants to would hurt the piece, be frustrating, and cause it to be put aside until who-knows-when. It’s natural pace seems to be about 3-4 pages per day (750-1000 words) — still respectable, but I find I need to pace and mutter each scene to myself before I actually sit down and write it. It’s a very visceral, textural, aural piece (sound is important), and it requires me to adjust my so-called process to serve it properly. Which is fine; it’s just not something I can do for Nano.

Honoring a piece’s natural rhythm is very important in the writing of it. The writing rhythm is different from the actual pace of the story, but it order for character, plot, story, and themes to be properly served in the piece, I have to honor its natural rhythm.

So, for Nano, I’m going to work at TIE-CUTTER’s natural pace, being a “rebel”. I might or might not work on the first draft of the mystery that’s forming in my head — it’s kind of a comic, fun piece, one that I believe would serve its first draft written quickly. SONGBIRD SISTERS will need to wait, probably until January. Writing it in winter appeals to me.

And, somewhere in there, I have to finish the historical play and get BALTHAZAAR back on track.

While meeting my other commitments.

Not sure how to do that yet, so I’m just going to go day by day.

I keep trying to tell myself, “so, if you don’t hit 50K, so what?” Unfortunately, it would matter to me, because, to me, it would mean I was unable to meet my own expectation of myself, and do what I needed to do to meet the deadline. The fact that it’s my deadline and not someone else’s doesn’t matter — a deadline is a deadline. Whatever anyone else does or does not do is up to them, but for me, if I say I’m going to hit 50K –even if it’s spread across projects as a “rebel” — then I damn well do whatever needs to be done to hit 50K. Some days that may mean adding in late night writing sessions along with early morning ones. It won’t be the first time.

Showing up at the page, even on the days you don’t want to, is so important. I have to trust that if I keep showing up and work to meeting my daily goal, that the work will come.

Today’s Nano prep tip is in the post below. It gives some tips on whether to outline or blank page (because I really, REALLY hate the term “pantser”).



Published in: on October 28, 2015 at 9:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Fri. Oct. 23, 2015: Nano and Ultron

Friday, October 23, 2015
Waxing Moon
Sunny and pleasant

Yesterday was a busy day. On the plus side, I got a lot of books and DVDs processed, and got things moving for the awards presentation for the photography contest tomorrow. There were plenty of minuses, too, which I won’t get into.

The first Nano Prep tip is up on the blog in the post below this one – it’s about using blogs and journals in your work.

My further Nano dilemma as to whether I should stay with TIE-CUTTER or start something new was made even more complicated when I came up with a fun title for the piece, the backstories of the characters fell into place, and plot pieces fell into place. I have a fun, contemporary mystery set to go.

I want to make sure, if I try working on both in tandem, that it’s not about ego, but about actually flowing with good work.

I also can’t blow the deadline for the play that’s due.

Either I can manage my time to handle all the projects, or I have to put off the projects that aren’t due.

There’s some other stuff going on that I’m trying to juggle, and I’m trying to line up some interesting career ducks. We will see what happens.

Watched AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON last night. Spoiler alert. I was disappointed. I liked it better than I expected to like it, but it still didn’t hit where I felt it should hit. There some funny throwaway lines and good short scenes between actors. The action sequences are too long. The whole thing about Hawkeye suddenly having this wife and kids and bringing everyone home to his “safe house” didn’t ring true, and his wife’s role was underwritten and too much 1950s housewife. I understand they were going for contrast, but it would have made more sense, in their universe, if they’d arrived and she’d EITHER have been, “Oh, honey, by the way, while you were destroying Johannesburg, the kids and I saved Cleveland” OR, if you really wanted to go homestead, have them have handled some major farm crisis while he was gone – gotten in the entire harvest in spite of a storm or an earthquake or something. Just having them there wasn’t enough. I liked the way the Black Widow was an accepted part of the family as his friend, and that his wife and kids obviously adored her, too. I was worried the creators would negate the bond that was established between Hawkeye and Black Widow in the first film. I missed Tom Hiddleston’s Loki – his scenes with everyone are such a delight, and he was missed. I didn’t feel the foundation was enough in the science before going off into speculation, and I felt the editing cuts were too abrupt in the actors’ scenes – even with the throwaway lines, the cut was just a beat too soon – and lingered too much on the destruction. I also missed both Jane and Pepper, even with the one-line explanations given for their absences. It didn’t live up to its potential, in my opinion. And the “bonus features”? First of all, there’s only one, and all it is a short piece where they jabber that it’s cool to work in locations all over the world and that makes the movie bigger. And. . .?

Woke up tired and cranky. Had bad dreams, never a good sign. Dashed to the store first thing to get what I need so I can bake tonight for tomorrow’s presentation.

Will have a long day at work today, and then four hours tomorrow (including the ceremony), and then away from that work for three days, while I concentrate on writing. And reading. And research! ;)

Have a wonderful weekend!


Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 8:59 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 23, 2015: Nano and Ultron  
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Thurs. Oct. 15, 2015: Day Started Too Early

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. Was limited in what I could do at my desk because some of my software wasn’t working. But I managed to get a few things done, and then, in the afternoon, the woman who’s presenting a program today came so we could set up our Day of the Dead artifacts. I have some; she has some. The case looks pretty.

Came home exhausted. I’m watching the final season of SIX FEET UNDER. Had some work to do at home.

To bed far too late, and then woke up at 4 AM. Couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up and put in the final changes into the screenplay that’s going out today, and also did some work on TIE-CUTTER.

I was ready to go back to bed by the time I left for work!

Today will be a long, busy day – lots to do, plus a program tonight, plus setting up for the tango milonga (although I can’t go).

I hope tomorrow will be a quiet day at work. Saturday, I have to take my mom to get her driver’s license renewed.

And I need to get a lot of writing done.

I had another idea, this morning as I frosted cupcakes. Part of that pre-Nano energy – ideas start to spark!

Not that I’m complaining!


Published in: on October 15, 2015 at 8:21 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 15, 2015: Day Started Too Early  
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Wed. Oct. 14, 2015: Decorating and Cleaning and Writing

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend! I was exhausted by the time I got off work on Saturday, and chilled out. I scored a terrific chair on a curb alert that is almost a Captain’s Chair – it needs some TLC, but will be gorgeous when it’s done.

Sunday was about running around and doing errands. Picked up some stuff at K-mart, went to Home Goods and found new covers for the daybeds in the back bedroom. They look gorgeous! Got some stuff at Christmas Tree shops – my mom found some adorable bowls she fell in love with, so we got them!

More decorating done. I did a couple of coats of stain on the new chair Sunday and Monday. From being a rather non-descript brown, I’ve stained it with “ebony” — it’s not black, but it’s a lovely, very dark brown. It’ll be gorgeous when it’s done.

I worked on prototypes of ornaments for the Marine Life Center Tree. I liked what I came up with – hopefully my colleagues will, too!

I also had one of those lightning bolts of an idea and took some notes. A contemporary piece, and could be a lot of fun, if I can pull it off. Tempting to use that as my Nano piece and DO Nano instead of writing along WITH Nano. But I’m seriously worried about overextending myself, especially when TIE-CUTTER is chugging along so well, and I still have to f inish the historical play.

The landlord came over on Monday and we did some heavy-duty pruning. The Tree Frogs will come by soon and take down the big broken limb of the maple that’s too high for us to reach.

My mom and I did a quick once-over all the photos and documents from my late uncle. Fascinating stuff, and there will be a lot to research.

Got in some good writing on Saturday and Sunday. I chose to take Monday off from writing, although I percolated plenty. Tuesday, it was all about vacuuming and washing floors and cleaning the carpets in preparation for the inspection.

It was pouring down with rain, and he got caught in the weather, so he was late, but once he got here, it was quick and smooth. I even made it to the Spectacle of Trees meeting on time. It was a good, busy meeting.

Home, got a chicken into the oven, relaxed on the deck for a bit. There aren’t that many days we can still sit out!

Watching the final season of SIX FEET UNDER. It’s so interesting to see how the series grew.

Up early to bake spice cupcakes for tomorrow’s program. Had a good writing morning. It will be a long day at work today, but that’s okay.



Published in: on October 14, 2015 at 9:31 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 14, 2015: Decorating and Cleaning and Writing  
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Sat. Oct. 10, 2015: The Early Bird Gets the WorD

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Day Before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

We had thunderstorms and rain last night. We took in some of the decorations, worried they’d get ruined.

I was up at 5 this morning, feeding the cats, doing yoga and meditation, and then writing. I had to research a bunch of details for the current scenes – which is fine, but it slowed me down. I couldn’t put in placeholders and come back after research, because the rhythm of the scene was dictated by said details.

On top of that, I’d left my Kindle bag at work last night – which had the phone charger in it!

But it all worked out.

Managed to get the recycling to the dump and start painting the pumpkins with the mirror paint. It will be interesting to see how they turn out. I also got the decoration back out and up.

I know I’m going to keep having the internal debate about Nano up until Nano’s first day. Between now and then, I’m going to work steadily on my deadlined work and see where I am by the end of the month.

One of the weird things about writing a contemporary piece is that I’m sometimes so deep into the world of the piece that I forget which details belong in my character’s life and which belong in mine. My character bought something a few scenes back – and I was looking for it this morning, as though I’D bought it! ;) Not that I’m anywhere near as cool as my character – she’s got her challenges, but she’s also achieved some things I wish I had! However, those successes are part of what’s causing the dramatic conflict that drives this particular story.

Part of me is glad that tomorrow’s event is cancelled – mostly because I’d have an awful lot of work to do on it after work today and tomorrow would be a long day, and I’ve caught my colleague’s cold. I have plenty to do tomorrow, plenty of running around and stuff, but at least I’ll also be able to spend extra time in bed, have soup, and take care of myself.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!


Published in: on October 10, 2015 at 9:26 am  Comments Off on Sat. Oct. 10, 2015: The Early Bird Gets the WorD  
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Fri. Oct. 9, 2015: Nano Dilemma

Friday, October 9, 2015
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury goes DIRECT today
Rainy and cool

Busy day yesterday. Promotion for next week’s event, cataloging, putting together a book order, getting the schedule organized for the Nano Come Write in! sessions. I was the only staff person in the library for the last part of the day – and, of course, after a quiet day, patron-wise, it got nutty. But it was handled.

It’s awfully tempting to do the full Nano next month – it would be a good time to get the bulk of SONGBOUND SISTERS done or the aviation mystery. But I’m worried about juggling too many projects. TIE-CUTTER is going very well, at its steady pace. The historical play needs another big push, so that I can finish it and send it out (it also needs a title). I have proposal packets to get out. I’m worried that starting a new project will sabotage what’s going well.

I’m still in the Hollywood section of TIE-CUTTER. I might well have to cut some of this, but, for the moment, I’m writing all of it. I only expected to spend a couple of pages in LA before heading to Iceland and then to Scotland, where the bulk of the story will take place.

Today is a work colleague’s birthday, so we’re going to make it a special day for her. Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I have a lot of writing and garden stuff to do over the weekend. The landlord’s insurance company is coming to inspect the house on Tuesday, and then I have a Spectacle of the Trees meeting in the afternoon. Next week will be busy, too, with a state-wide meeting about working with local authors and a program on Day of the Dead customs.

Samhain is quickly approaching, and then we’re into the holiday season. We already had to put the heat on as of October 2. Even if it’s a cold winter, I hope we won’t have as much snow.

On the radio, they talked about this being one of the biggest travel weekends of the year. Glad I’m staying home!


Published in: on October 9, 2015 at 8:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 9, 2015: Nano Dilemma  
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Wed. Sept. 23, 2015: Writing Challenges and Solutions

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Autumn Equinox
Sunny and cool

Monday was a busy day, between writing and meetings, and trying to maintain a stronger yoga practice.

I did, however, work on THREE ROADS OF STRANGERS and also do a rough draft of a one-hour television pilot. Both need a good bit of work, but at least something is on paper. I had trouble finding Quentin’s character there for a bit — I didn’t have a handle on him, yet, but I think I’m getting there.

I also was doing work for the wine event, which culminated on Tuesday when I found the right chocolate vendor.

Tuesday was busy writing-wise. I’m doing a revision of a piece I’ve worked on for several years — love the characters, love the piece, but the point of view is all over the place, and I have to get specific. I have to go, scene by scene, and make sure it’s strongly from a point of view, even when it means losing other material. If the material is important, I’m finding a way to incorporate it into the scene, while still holding the chosen POV. It’s also interesting to see how the writing’s grown since I first started writing this particular book.

I’m still finding my way into SONGBOUND SISTERS, and I’m not happy with the last bit of work I’ve done on that.

Today, it’s back to work. We shall see what’s stacked up on my desk while I was gone, and what’s new.

I’m watching Season 3 of SIX FEET UNDER. While I still really like the cast, I feel the energy is lower and flatter this season. It doesn’t have the drive and momentum of the previous two.

Autumn Equinox — when day and night are balanced. Although the shorter days have been obvious the last few weeks, now it becomes really noticable.


Published in: on September 23, 2015 at 11:56 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 23, 2015: Writing Challenges and Solutions  
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