Finished during Mercury Retrograde

Confession: I am not an efficient mover of abodes. I can pack boxes and unpack them, too. I try to put things in the approximate spot they were in the other house. That works up to a point. Al and I mostly split chores but some things we had to work on together. We just hacked away until finally one day he was working in his office and I was writing in mine. Yes, writing!

I have been taking notes for Jane 2 and now I’m able to write scenes from the notes. Exciting! This is my favorite writing room ever. Maybe because it’s big. We wanted a bit more space and we managed to nab it. Everything in the room above is either from St. Pete or Detroit. About half and half. If you don’t count the books. I have 3 bookcases in here, 2 empty shelves and 4 boxes still full of books. I have a very high shelf I don’t use in my clothes closet where I can store any books I cannot fit in here or I can be a bit more ruthless and donate. We have a used bookstore in town.

So that’s what I mean by “finished” — still books to shelve (not many) and some art to hang. It’s been cold here, too, so I have plants to cut back and a lanai to make pretty. Everyone in the world has chores, stuff to do, and that doesn’t stop when you get your new house in order. For example, my MacBook Air has been acting up. Time for a new one. I had a decision–Mac or PC? Love my Mac, hate Word for Mac. This decision took me a long time but I’ve only got a few more crashes until this baby is burned.

It’s been a few years complaining but I wanted to finish the book on the same laptop. Instead I mailed the half-done manuscript to myself and then I’m buying an Inspiron (Dell) which is what Al is currently recommending. He also has suddenly developed a heart for the MacBook. New ones and the Dell are currently about the same cost. Still. I need WORD because I am too old to change. And not funky word as it really doesn’t work well these days on the Mac.

Also, Mercury is in Retrograde until February 2 or 3. I don’t let astrology run my life, but if I can put off buying electronics during that period, I do.

As Above, So Below

Important news from the stars for writers here on earth. Mercury will be retrograde from Halloween until November 20. I had to look at my calendar twice this morning because obstacles are already throwing themselves in my writing path. Luckily, I am in revision mode with the WIP, and Mercury Retrograde is an absolutely awesome time for revision.

Not such a great time for signing contracts or making new electronic purchases. Communication is a bit fraught during Mercury Retrograde, so watch your words, in manuscript and real life. That goes for delivery of mail electronically or through USPS, Amazon or any other kind of mail system.

Yesterday I was determined to get down to business on my WIP. I’ve been doing okay, more or less keeping up with my schedule despite some minor setbacks, but felt it was time to put all the pieces into one pile, read through everything I have, and see what needs to be cut and what still needs to be added.

Got all the various files into one master document and decided to print the whole damn thing out. I’m about halfway through my revisions, and know what still needs to be fixed and written. I even know how I’m going to do it. I have a plan plus notes and an outline. Not flying blind, here.

Was happily printing out my 62K words so far, when things started going !!!!! Literally. Laptop printer icon said !!!!! and printer flashed same !!!!! Also, the last twenty or so pages printed made it clear I needed to change the ink cartridge. Alas, my grand plan was foiled for the moment. And my tech guy (Al) was at the football game. He had recently ordered extra ink cartridges and so even though it was a new printer, and laser not ink jet, I figured I’d try to change the cartridge.

Things did not go well. I figured okay Al will eventually come home and when he gets time he will fix everything for me and I will be humming a happy tune once again. Also, I don’t use the printer on Mondays because I blog and everything is online. Then I remembered I was hosting my book group on Thursday and I needed to shop, clean, and cook before then. So…maybe I can finish what I started on Friday.

As long as things get sorted before Mercury appears to move backward in the sky, I’m good. For more on exactly what Mercury Retrograde is, see Susan’s post here.

Astrology for Writers

IMG_4660July is an active month in the stars this year. There are two retrogrades and two eclipses this month, and they affect everyone, some more than others. If you were born in July you’ll feel these heavenly upheavals the most. I had the good luck to be born in March, but Mars (who rules Aries, my sun sign) has been in retrograde since June and will continue there until August 27, so I am not exactly jumping for joy. Retrogrades, and there’s a double whammy this month, with Mercury retrograding July 26-August 18, tend to slow things down, mess with plans and throw communication glitches, for writers that means your electronic tools may misbehave. So, you know, that’s not perfect for someone (me) with a book releasing on August 15. Or let’s say you have a deadline but your computer crashes. Hope you backed up that manuscript on an external drive.

General advice for retrogrades is to not plan too much, be flexible, and expect the unexpected. So for writers, you don’t want to begin querying agents at this time. The caveat is that if you are already in talks with an agent, or you already started any project, you’re fine. It’s mostly NEW things that might hiccup now. I love retrogrades for revising a manuscript. I get quiet and go into my writing cave and work. However, I am working on a first draft, so my Mercury retrograde revising plan won’t work.

I’m distracted by my book release next month. Before June 26 (when Mars retrograded) I hired a publicist to help with local promotion and (also before June 26) I started conversations with my publisher and their marketing team. I wanted to make sure I got my ducks in a row early, setting things in motion now to roll out on and after August 15. Retrogrades are easier to get through if projects are not brand new and if you have already laid the groundwork. Which I have, so I feel pretty safe as far as my new release goes, with one possible dramatic upheaval due to the eclipses this month.

Two eclipses this month are thrown into the mix. Eclipses average four a year, so two in one month along with two retrogrades (there are also lesser retrogrades but Mars and Mercury are the big ones) is quite unusual. Everybody loves a solar eclipse, when the moon covers the sun and parts of the world go dark in broad daylight. The heavens have one scheduled for July 13 this year. The lunar eclipses are a bit less dramatic, although this month it is a blood moon eclipse. During a lunar eclipse the earth stands between the sun and full moon, making the moon invisible in the sky and, in a blood moon, gradually turning the moon red. We in the USA won’t see the blood moon, although the UK and Africa among other countries in their vicinity will.

Blood moons are very dramatic, and lunar eclipses affect many people, making a mark on their daily lives. Some folk will feel the effect of eclipses up to a week after. Eclipse events tend to be abrupt and out of the blue. The universe conspires to turn your world upside down or, best case scenario, point you in a brand new unexpected direction. Relationships end suddenly. Careers meet turning points. For writers it could be landing a book contract or moving into a new genre. It could also mean being dropped by your publisher. Whatever the change, it will give you a big push forward into the next stage of your life, whether you want to go there or not. Fallout from eclipses happen fast.

Things happen on the global stage, too, but for an individual, so much has to do with your personal astrological chart, because eclipse and retrograde periods have greater or lesser effect depending on exactly where and when you were born (down to the minute) and where the stars in the zodiac were at that time. It’s not that difficult to learn how to chart your own horoscope. I did it, and while it takes a bit of time, it’s vastly intriguing because it’s all about YOU. Typical Aries thinking. “OF course it is all about me!”

To learn more about myself, and my life path, I used The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Woolfolk. There are lots of places online that will cast  your chart (sometimes for free, but I think you pay for what you get.) My favorite astrologer is Susan Miller at Astrology Zone. Today (July 2) she’s still working on her free monthly horoscopes, and that’s because July forecasts are going to be huge.

I’m relieved these eclipses are in July and not in August. I’ll have time to absorb the news they bring by the time my book is released. As for the retrogrades, I just need to be patient and flexible. They’re coming to an end shortly after my book’s release and that is very good news.

 

 

Secrets & Passions

Scorpio Full Moon this weekend is complicated by several planet retrogrades, some already here, others moving into retrograde within the week. What this means to me, to everyone really, is that it is time to take the passionate engagement, even the fiery argument, inside. We would all do well to take a look at our unconscious motivations and deeper longings, the ones we keep hidden, even from ourselves.

This plays in several areas of my life right now, and of course, yours too. What did you start at the new moon? What ended, and for good? Well, I had one big ending, as I discussed last post. It was pretty public, well, I made it so, as did the rock band next door. Now, with the retrogrades, it’s time to focus that passion and energy inward. So you caused a ruckus with the new moon ending…it’s time to silently contemplate how those endings are helping you with new beginnings.

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I made inroads in several areas with the new moon energy. Most dramatically with writing. My creativity burst out in a totally different kind of novel, not something I’ve ever attempted before. I was shockingly pleased with the result. We’ll see what those New York editors think about it. Meanwhile, not just writing got a make over with the new moon. I ended my rigid diet program–it was just not working. Instead, I recommitted to meditation, determined to eat more mindfully, and promised myself I would actually pop that walking video in and even use it a few times a week.

All of that, and more, started out well, but when my inner and outer worlds collided in the most rude way (new moon energy isn’t always nice) everything took a nosedive, including my heath. Nothing serious just ongoing issues with my back–I need to walk!– and migraine–I need to meditate and not stress so much.

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I can make this Scorpio Full Moon with mega-retrograde work for me by taking a step inward. Not backward, but inward, recommitting to everything I’ve started with the Aries new moon. For writing that always means it’s a time to revise, and just as important, a time to back up the writing. I’m pulling out my external hard drive for the duration of the retrogrades.

And I’ll be keeping my secrets and passions to myself for a change. The whole world doesn’t need to know every bit of it all the time.

Lying Low in October

FrontCoverfinalMA14197642-0001Mercury retrograde almost all month. Hunters out stalking prey. Novel deadline looming. Papers and exams multiply, spilling from my book bag as if by evil magic. Homework! Mine AND theirs. Other stuff. One order of Quiet Reflection to go, please.

I have a plan for this month that involves nothing more than stillness and quiet as often as possible amid all the crazy. At one point, I almost went away to achieve it. Then I decided to find peace right where I’m at, in the middle of more stress than I can manage on my own. So I called in the troops.

Dinner? Maybe. It’s still harvest time here in Michigan and slicing fresh tomatoes is easy. Stirring up acorn squash soup soothes me. Roasting the last of the corn, slicing apples and eating them raw. No shortage of food in the fridge, but if dinner in the traditional sense doesn’t happen, I’m not stressing about it. I need to get over that forever and this month is the perfect time to begin. It’s not like I have children to feed anymore. More like an inner directive “Thou shall make dinner every night.” New memo to self: don’t sweat over stove duty.

Also booked a massage and a reflexology treatment. I’ll do that a couple of times this month. I crave the soothing touch of a person trained to ease every muscle in my body. Today, instead of hitting the yoga studio, I’m going to practice in the quiet of my own home. Morning meditation already met. Thoughtful reflection in diary instead of dashing off final chapters of novel. I’m seeing someone, a therapist. She’s given me a writing assignment to help sort out a personal mess.

If I can get things to slow down, find time to just be, I think what I will be is fine.

*Photo by Debra Bressman from a limited edition short story that eventually became Gypsy.