I’m Your Man

It rained all night, and I was awakened a couple of times by the sounds of the deluge. The sun appears to be out, but there are still clouds. I think it’s supposed to rain all day; I’m not really sure. (In checking, we are in a Flash Flood Watch until midnight tomorrow night.) I stayed in bed far too late; I should have gotten up early. And no, I didn’t get up yesterday to go to the grocery store, either. I forgot to set my alarm and slept until ten again, just like I did this morning.


I basically took yesterday off; I was more than a little tipsy when we got back from our annual lunch at Commander’s Palace to see you the old year–I had a dirty vodka martini before eating and two Bloody Marys during the meal–and so the rest of the day was kind of a waste.

Dirty martini:

Shrimp and tasso appetizer:

Bloody Mary:

Beef tournedos, main course:

Strawberry shortcake, dessert:

As you can see, I was overloaded and definitely needed a day of rest afterwards.

We watched the LSU game before we went to Commanders, and then recorded it to watch when we got home, lackadaisically watched Alabama and Clemson win, and then finally watched the last two episodes of The Exorcist, which was a lot better than I thought it would be, and then went to bed. I have to write today, and all day tomorrow (plus go to the grocery store in the morning; I have already set the alarm for tomorrow morning so there won’t be any more of that oversleeping shit), but I do feel a bit out of it this morning. Definitely need some more coffee before I clean/organize the kitchen, start the laundry, and by then I should be awake enough to write.

Here’s hoping, any way.

2016 was a pretty shitty year, overall. Beyond everything awful that happened last year on a macro level, there was also a lot of shit I, and people I know and care about, had to deal with on a micro level. I don’t know if 2017 is going to be better, but you never know. But some good things definitely happened for me in 2016, so I am choosing to view those things.

Here are some of my highlights of 2016:

Publication of Garden District Gothic

Hard as it is to believe, I’ve now published seven books in the Scotty series. I hadn’t realized how long it had been since Baton Rouge Bingo, and I had kind of wanted to do a Scotty per year once I renewed and revived the series. That didn’t happen because time always seems to slip through my fingers, no matter how hard I try to stay on top of things. Retyping Bourbon Street Blues (I eventually had to hire someone to do it for me) also reconnected me to Scotty and how I originally envisioned him and his family; which made writing this one a joy, even as I groused and bitched about it while I was doing it. I want to do at least ten of this series in total; I am hoping to get Crescent City Charade finished in 2017 for a hopeful 2018 pub date. I know of at least two more books in the series I want to do, and there’s also the possibility of doing some spin-offs–a Colin stand-alone is definitely something I want to try–and maybe even a new adult with Taylor. We’ll see–but I am not ruling anything out for Scotty and the gang.

Editing Bouchercon anthology

I hadn’t edited an anthology in a while, and had also pretty much decided I wasn’t going to do anymore. My heart wasn’t really in them anymore, and while I was still producing some high quality anthologies, I wasn’t really interested in doing any more of them. The opportunity to do the Bouchercon anthology was something, though, I didn’t want to pass up–it was my first non-queer anthology, and it was a lot of fun to do, and different. I think Blood on the Bayou turned out really well, and I was quite pleased with it. Whether I will do another anthology remains to be seen.

Bouchercon in New Orleans

I served on the host committee for Bouchercon in New Orleans as well this past year, and as always, it was a pleasure to work with the incomparable Heather Graham and Connie Perry. The event itself was one of the best times I’ve had at a conference. It was so delightful to see so many people I absolutely adore in my home town, and it was also fun meeting other colleagues and making new friends. I also think I drank more those five days than I had the preceding five years.

Two short stories published, “Housecleaning” and “Survivor’s Guilt”

It was both a thrill and an honor to have two short stories published in mainstream anthologies: “Housecleaning” was in the wonderful Sunshine Noir, and “Survivor’s Guilt” was in Blood on the Bayou. The reception to both stories from readers after the books were published was also lovely. I am not confident about my short story writing, and this was a tremendous boost, as was another sale I made in the latter part of the year that I am not allowed to talk about publicly as of yet. Great Jones Street, a new phone app for short stories, also republished my story “The Email Always Pings Twice,” which was also lovely.

Getting my finances in order

My finances had kind of gotten out of control over the last few years; unexpected expenses combined with a very deliberate cutback in my writing/editing work (read: income) had made money worries a major hassle. This past year, I focused and made a plan, with the end result I wound up paying off over half my debt with a clear plan to finish the rest of it off this year. The good news is this has done wonders for my credit, and that, combined with an unexpected windfall and some other financial planning, has me prepping for new car purchase this month, which is terribly exciting.

Personal and professional growth

I feel that, over this past year, through some of the work I did and a lot of the reading I did, I grew as a writer. I figured out why I was having so much trouble with the writing of short stories, and also determined some steps I can take to make sure the novels I write are better.

So, I bid thee adieu, 2016, and promise to try to remember the good you provided as opposed to the bad.

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