Working Wednesday, September 15, 2021

This week I took apart Lavender’s Blue to figure out where I went wrong. I think, once again, it was failing to identify the main story line. The idea was that it would be part of a mystery series that taken together would be a massive romance, but that doesn’t work. Mystery with romance subplot or romance with mystery subplot, although it’s really women’s fiction, I think, so . . .

That’s what I’m working on.

What did you work on this week?

51 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, September 15, 2021

  1. We just finished a short lockdown here so my art class restarted. So I spent tonight painting abstract mountains and thoroughly enjoying myself.

    Other than that, work-work is flat out so I’ve done 50 hours plus of it in the last week. There’s another couple of weeks of this to go, then we’ll deliver the new version of our company website, breathe for a few minutes, and jump right back in to fix everything we haven’t got time to do in the next fortnight. There might be a glass of champagne in there somewhere too.

    I did find the time and energy to rip a few more noxious weeds out of the garden. You neglect a garden for a year and it’s amazing how many plants jam themselves in where they’re not wanted. It’s getting there and I’m very happy to see my progress.

    @Jenny, I’m almost afraid to ask, but how’s Nita? Not that I won’t be delighted to read about Liz too, but I really want to read Nita.

  2. Why doesn’t it work? There are plenty of mystery series that start out with a romantic entanglement that leads to marriage or a long-term relationship of some kind. As long as the series arc focuses as much or more on the partnership of solving mysteries rather than the sort of passion found in romances, shouldn’t it be OK? Not that sexual tension shouldn’t be there–it should–but not as the focus of the relationship. The meeting of minds matters more.

      1. Huh. I don’t really believe that, but you would know best. I’m in the middle of writing a mystery now that has become WAY too complicated. I think when writing mysteries it helps to be a plotter, which I’m not. I like being surprised by what comes next.

        I just finished reading the first in Gin Jones’s Crazy Cat Lady Chronicles. She had me guessing right up till the reveal. Go, Gin!

      2. So was Georgette Heyer apparently, she got her husband to give her a basic outline for the plot and put in all the character stuff. Her stories still came out pretty good

        1. I see Jenny’s point about a story focusing on either the romance or the mystery. I’m frustrated when an author tries to equally weight the two genres: usually, there’s an unresolved/undeveloped romance or a mystery that piddles away. Or both. And that becomes a bigger mess in a series.

          I agree with Hilda that Faking It and Fast Women are romances with a mystery element. What about other Jenny Crusie books? Most of the books that Jenny has written solo I think of as romances with mysteries (am I defining “mystery” too broadly?). Maybe This Time is the story of Andi’s self-discovery rather than a romance, right? Is her character growth more important than overcoming the ghosts’ control over the children?

  3. At my quilting retreat Labor Day weekend (just over a week ago!), I borrowed a friend’s machine and sewed up a bunch of half square triangles. I spent the next day trimming those bad boys. The girls teased me that I’d have the quilt top done in a week – so I had to do it. I don’t have a picture of the individual pieces – there were a lot – but here’s a series from a square made from 16 HSTs, to putting them all together, to putting on a border, etc. I’m very much done with trying to match up all those seams! I’m ready for something else.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CT15azVLkxv/

    Today I’m putting a quilt in the mail to my niece who moved from San Diego to Chicago for a job. I figured she might need something to snuggle under when the winds start howling. Pictures probably next week, since she sees my IG.

  4. We are down to 7 plastic tubs to be unpacked, thanks to the Ikea Billy bookcase that was delivered on Monday. It’s mostly books (big surprise, right?) so we’re awaiting our 2nd shipment, which has our other big bookcase. That ship is a couple of days out of Rotterdam, at which point our partial container will be unloaded and trucked to us. And then we get to unpack more stuff. 🙂 Here’s a picture, along with a cat who matches the floors: https://www.instagram.com/p/CT0qg8FI6r8/

  5. Past year I’ve spent many, many hours painting the little playhouse. Just need to paint touch ups today. The girls painted two rows of siding and the first coat inside. The blue tarp under the house saved the cement from a Jackson Pollack floor painting. Big guy installed a sturdy desk top over the “kitchen counter.” It’s a place to do homework and art now. They must talk their mother into moving it and embracing their vision of the house nestled in their treed backyard. Good luck, darlings.

    DH is away on a three day motorcycle trip. I’m not working. Reading, walking, buying books, window shopping and discovering stuff on YouTube. Three day holiday for me.

  6. I have to sign in to work early today because there’s a training starting at 9:00, so I’m here on the computer feeling grouchy and Disinclined. However, morning coffee + yoga produced some new thoughts about a story that’s been percolating. Technically I should be thinking about a different thing – a thing for which I already have 27000 words and a cover – so maybe during training when my mind inevitably wanders I can steer it toward that one instead. 🙂

    Carol’s cat picture made me happy. Was having a flashback to mornings with my dearly departed cat which made me sad, so that roguish little tuxedo was timely.

  7. I have just 2 weeks to get the house in order before a dear friend arrives. She isn’t staying with me, just visiting here, but I’ve not really cleaned since pandemic hit. I have a high tolerance for disorder. So that’s all moving closer to the front burner. Trying to wrangle cats at church in my [admittedly limited] roles there. Finally called the vet for the cat who’s miserable; he’s super sensitive to fleas. Wondering why I haven’t done anything new in meal prep for ages.

  8. Still have my questionable appendix, still sort of worn out from being so sick for more than a week, but antibiotics are wonderful things, and allowing me to work most of the day – which is important because boss leaves Sunday for a show that I was supposed to help her with. Obviously not traveling, so even more prep work than usual. I keep making stupid mistakes, but it’s better than not being here at all, so everyone is being patient, and checking my work. Then when she is gone, I can have an easy week, and a new scan to find out what is going on inside me – hopefully something definitive will result.

    1. Sorry to hear you’re still in limbo. That’s so hard to deal with — once there’s a plan, you know you can cope, but the not knowing is so crazymaking!

  9. I have been working on getting ahead of the term workload. Too but about my overly cluttered…well… EVERYTHING.

    I feel so happy about finally being someone who is efficient at work. I just wish I hadn’t had to learn it myself because I saw someone doing something. It would have been amazing if I’d actually been properly inducted and mentored.

    As a result, I’ve taken it upon myself to familiarise new people with what’s the what. So I guess some good came of having had my mental health fractured.

    I often say that if I know something, then I’m going to teach it to the people around me. Because if I’m moving forward, I’m going to drag everyone along with me. BUT I found something succinct and perfectly slightly passive aggressive:
    My new motto, “You can’t compete with me. I want you to win too.”

  10. I crocheted – reluctantly – when I was a child. But about a month ago I picked up my hook again. My in-laws are both in care and when we visit they often snooze while we are there, and I needed something I could pick up and put down easily. Pretty happy with my first project!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CT2hA0CveNC/

    On the writing side, I put up a Christmas novella for pre order, sent off another novella to my editor, and started book two in a series. I am so happy it is autumn – I get so much energy after the lazy days of summer!

  11. I’ve just finished my initial edit of the roses book, so feel brain-fried. Hoping it’s going to ease up from now on, although there are still gaps that need filling, plus lots of copy to fit, etc. I’ve also had to ask for more money again, being about twelve hours off earning out my increased fee. I looked up how they paid me when I last worked for them in 1989-90 (I have all my – still handwritten – accounts books), and it was by the hour. I’m starting to feel like Oliver Twist.

    I made a big batch of tomato sauce yesterday, so that’s good. Also managed to mow the lawn today – between it being covered with stuff while I’m painting the shed, and the rain, it’d got really long.

    Hoping to get on with the shed this weekend.

    1. Well you put it the work, it’s only fair they pay you what you’re worth. Also since it is your first garden book, it’s kind of a learning experience, next time you’ll know what to expect

      1. Not my first gardening book, Kay: I did the same job for them for two and a half years in the mid eighties, and then freelanced for another nine months in the early nineties. But back then, they paid freelancers by the hour, and didn’t have such crazy schedules. If I do more work for them, we’re going to have to come to a better agreement on pay.

  12. I had to use a few vacation days this week, so I have a few days where I am not super stressed, overloaded, being screamed at, and being forced to answer the phones “because we’re so short staffed.” Like I’m literally one of the few warm bodies at work this week level of “short staffed,” but I hit my vacation limit, so here I am not there! I’m literally missing half the work week this week, which is great.

    Then school starts next week and I wish for death. I’m furious at someone who quit right before school starts, lemme tell ya.

    Other than that, I am learning how to do the pre-programmed light boards for the next musical. I am literally supposed to hit the “next” button over and over again and got five minutes of training on this. This somehow has not gone well, as several cues are missing, the stage manager keeps asking for blackouts and somehow the guy programming this hasn’t done ’em yet, blah de blah. So…..I dunno yet. Still trying to figure this out. Hope I manage it before Friday.

  13. I’m mostly doing stuff on a massive To Do list to prepare for heart bypass surgery (cabbage!) in a couple (?) weeks, which is, of course, just making my heart symptoms worse from the activity. Adding to the stress is still not having an exact date for the surgery, so I can reserve a space at the vet to board my cat and arrange rides and all sorts of other stuff that require a date certain. I’m also stockpiling book recommendations (primarily audiobooks) and not letting myself read them yet (same for new releases of tv to stream), so I’ll have lots of entertainment while I’m recuperating.

  14. Just the usual-vet, workshops, meetings (online because my progessive group isn’t taking chances), cleaning, shopping and, always, reading.

    Reading Pratchett in publishing order; so far the Librarian’s been in all but ‘Pyramids”.

    1. Audrey S., Do you remember which book includes the Librarian’s metamorphosis from man to ape?

      My husband thinks the Librarian is always an ape, but I thought that Rincewind inadvertently changed him.

      1. No, the Librarian was changed into an orang-utan, due to his own covering up of the records no one except Rincewind remembers his name so the University can’t change him back to his human form. I haven’t read the books for a while, but it was probably The Light Fantastic as Rincewind ended up using powerful magic, despite not being any good at it.

  15. It wasn’t enough that I’d begun to make inroads on the to-be-read list, but then Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Press (I think that qualifies as a boutique publishing company) put out a half dozen books I wanted and acquired. I worked, but there’s nothing interesting about that.

  16. I am doing a lot of volunteering as a Master Gardener as it appears that more of my colleagues like planting than harvesting. I suppose it is the heat. We will have so much fresh produce for the food bank this week. I made some progress on my proposal to put in an experiential garden in a park for kids (mostly different kinds of herbs and maybe a runner bean teepee). We don’t want them eating the food for the food bank but they should get something.

    At my house I am trying to clear out the sunflower forest as the plants are mostly dead and the seeds are mostly gone. We know this because a huge flock of goldfinches live in our sunflowers from first to last seed. Once the seeds are gone, so too are the goldfinches. I probably have 200 sq ft of sunflowers this year though because the volunteered like crazy. They are so pretty until this time of year and then the hard work of getting rid of them comes. Still, the rest of my flower gardens are still going strong with zinnias, cosmos and a new flush of California poppies and larkspur.

    But what I should be working on is the painting I am determined to do for my brothers Christmas present. I haven’t painted in years and am intimidated. I need to get it done before Nov because I am having a knee replacement done. I am hoping you will have a slew of discovery drafts right about then. Hint hint.

    1. Kickie, the National Arboretum in my city has a sensory garden for kids with vision impairment. There are lambs ears and gently spiky shrubs for touch, a bed of chocolate mint and lavender for scent, and some long grasses and a small fountain for sound. A runner bean tee-pee or tunnel to crawl under would fit right in.

  17. Swamped as usual in the day job. Now one of my colleagues is on sick leave (for what looks like a couple of weeks at least) and all of us working part time have been asked if we could increase working hours. It’s the department where I started out and the team leader is one of the nicest guys I know, so I’m tempted to pitch in. They are horribly understaffed in any case.
    Otoh my workload is higher as my working hours allow for. And I’m already tired. Will have to ask the dean what the work would entail – the sick colleague works full time (more than the weekly 40 hours), so it would take a few of us to cover for him anyway.
    On a more creative side I’ve finally sewed the book covers I had promised my daughter. On the last day of school holidays with one of the nicest summer days I sat at the machine and worked instead of enjoying the great weather outside. I opted for the easiest method and got out the handicraft felt so one layer would suffice. I had a full package in rainbow colors, so one book now has a cover in red-pink-orange, one is in shades of green and for the largest one I used up shades of blue and one square of yellow (because that’s what I had left). The latter one rather has a Mondrian vibe to it. The daughter liked all of them, so I’m happy.
    The son also needed a few book covers but was okay for me to recycle gift wrapping paper into covers and re-using some of the daughter’s paper covers. Staying home for more what felt like the whole school year (crazy – they attended school on the premises for about 4 months only) meant that they had hardly any signs of wear and the daughter had even managed to get them off without damaging the paper. He was pleased, too, especially with one cover for which I repurposed wrapping paper with a cozy book shelves motif.

  18. My second covid test has come back negative, so I can leave my precautionary quarantine tomorrow and go back to work. And having gotten my first paycheque from the new job I will be very happy indeed to do so. After 18 months of misery and stand downs at my primary job, a real, substantial paycheque is a thing of great beauty. Plus, I’ve been inside for five days and I’m bored. It’s sunny out there.

  19. I had a conversation with my brother. He admitted Covid was a big problem and did not share miracle cures from fox. Babysteps. I’ve been a nurse since 1985 and in the ICU since 1998. I am so tired.

  20. My very bestest friend came down with COVID last week. Very scary although she’s vaccinated and recovered quickly. My tests came back negative thank goodness.

    And that’s the exciting news for this week.

    Other than that it’s work work, and getting the house ready for a new roommate. Oh and the school newsletter has started up again. I wonder how long I’ll deal with that hassle until I bow out.

  21. I’m soldiering on with the second draft of the witches garden. Still needs lots of work before it’s even readable. Mystery Romance.
    In other news, 10 years ago this month I signed a contract with Beach Lane Books a division of Simon and Shuster to publish my picture book log on log. They sent me 3,000 as pop art one of the advance. I never got the second part.
    Today I got a letter from Allyn Johnston saying they weren’t going to publish it and she was sorry. Since I have been begging an answer to this question for the past five years I was glad to get the answer. The other thing is I still have a joyful memories of her calling me to say I made her day when she first read the book. I had illustrated it myself since I figured nobody would understand it unless I did it’s only 65 words long. She bought the words but not the illustrations. Don’t blame her I’m not much of an illustrator. I also have the memory of her making an offer for the book, and of me signing the contract. Those were such incredibly joyful memories. I don’t plan to lose them
    I am not sure what to do next.
    Back to Witches garden.

  22. I’m dividing my time between the day job (running an artists’ cooperative shop with almost 50 artists, which was a bit like herding cats before Covid, and is more like herding cats through a tornado now) and madly trying to make progress on the next Llewellyn book which is due in early November (and I’ve already had one extension, the first time in my career I’ve ever had to ask for one). I’m way behind on all the things. Plus I need to finish harvesting the garden and put it to sleep for the winter.

    On the bright side, my current Llewellyn book, The Eclectic Witch’s Book of Shadows, which was supposed to be released on the 8th FINALLY made it the their warehouse yesterday after numerous delays due to the supply chain issues hitting publishing in a big way. The book hasn’t gone out to those who ordered it yet (and I’m still waiting for my author copies), but at least now we know it will happen relatively soon. And on the even brighter side, apparently there were so many pre-orders, they’ve already ordered another print run, this time from a US printer, so it may get there sooner. So I’m working on getting the word out, doing a “While We Wait” Giveaway, and trying not to have a nervous breakdown.

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