Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Paul leaves today for a week to visit his mother and family. I don’t mind being alone–well, alone except for an exceptionally needy cat–and so hopefully I will find the time to get things done. I managed almost three thousand words on the book last night, and I have some more work to do on the Scotty and the short story collection. If I focus–and I know I can–there should be no reason whatsoever that I can’t get all of this revising and editing and some writing done over the course of the week he’s going to be gone. I am hoping that my weird issue with the original back-up hard drive can be resolved by simply plugging it in to Paul’s computer this evening and then moving everything on it to the Cloud–and I will definitely need to spend some time cleaning up my iCloud drive. I tend to simply move stuff there and just leave it, so it isn’t very organized. I am really angry at myself for not being as anal this year about backing things up as I’ve been in the past, and while I know I’ve lost some things, I am hopeful that most everything that might be gone (the flash drive is gone forever, I fear) should be recovered from that backup hard drive.

Heavy heaving sigh. But must keep focused, must keep moving forward, must get things done.

I suppose one of the best things about not having published much (if at all) in the last few years is that there’s nothing lost permanently, at any rate. And I’ve printed most of everything out–people mock me for this, but you know what? It’s not as easy to lose a printed copy of something as it is apparently for electronic back-ups to disappear in the blink of an eye.

I was very pleased that I was able to log all those words last night while Paul packed. While it was a bit of a slog, and they aren’t good words by any means, I also realized last night before I went to bed that it’s a first draft and many times a first draft is just me vomiting up story and setting and characters; the real work begins with the second draft as I flesh the characters out and tie up the story and delete diversionary secondary stories that never go anywhere. I had wanted to have the first draft finished by the end of November–which plan turned out to be a complete and utter failure–but I would like to get the first draft finished by the end of December so I can get something else going after the first of the year. I’m hoping to be able to get back to the WIP, maybe get it all finished and tied up in a lovely loop by the end of February, and start getting it sent out to prospective agents in the new year.

Here’s hoping, at any rate.

And on that short note, I am heading back into the spice mines. I am hoping to get some of the next chapter done this morning before I take Paul to the airport on my way to work.

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Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

So, in addition to losing my jump drive over the course of the weekend–it wasn’t at the office–I came home last night after a twelve hour day and plugged my phone, as is my wont, into the computer to charge and to download any pictures that might in it. My computer didn’t recognize my phone; there was some kind of error, and after several attempts I finally had to take the phone back to factory settings and recover from the last back-up. When that recovery was finally done–the last back-up had been a week or so ago, so I lost text messages I’d received since–I then noticed there was something strange going on with my back-up hard drive; it no longer appeared on the screen on the desktop. Curious, I unplugged it and then plugged it back in. Nothing, other than a computer doesn’t recognize disk message. Terrific, I thought, and tried some other things to see if it would work again. Nothing. So, I got out my spare back-up hard drive and plugged it in. It worked. This morning, this one didn’t appear on screen. I restarted the computer and now it’s there.

Fucking Mercury retrograde. Seriously.

There’s no telling what all I’ve lost; my primary consolation in this latest kick-in-the-teeth from 2018 as it heads out the door this year is that at least I’ve not done anything new in the last month or so to have lost. There are some pictures on the back-up hard drive that might be gone forever, and maybe some files, but this is really a rather bittersweet reminder that I need to back everything up much more regularly than I do, and I need to do it to the cloud. The loss of the flash drive actually made me think yesterday I really need to back up the back-up hard drive to the cloud when I get home–which was something I had planned to start before going to bed so it would be finished by the time I got up this morning. I am going to eventually have to take it to the Apple store, I suppose, to see if they can recover any of the data.

How many times do I have to have this happen before I start backing shit up more regularly?

I am assuming that the problem isn’t systemic with my computer; the secondary back-up hard drive was an Apple product, and it works; the dead one was not from Apple but was an off-brand that supposedly works with Apple. My guess is, since it was at least eight years old, that it no longer plays nice with Apple’s constant upgrades and that’s why it no longer works. I am going to try and see if it will work on Paul’s computer (he never upgrades anything; he is probably still working on the iOS that came with his computer) and recover the files to the Cloud that way; which almost seems too good to be true. But that doesn’t solve the mystery of why the computer wouldn’t recognize my phone last night; I am hoping it caught something from the back-up hard drive not working, or it had something to do with that.

Here’s hoping.

And here’s hoping that the writing will go easier.

And on that note, it’s back to the spice mines with me.

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War

Monday morning, and all is quiet and calm in the Lost Apartment. We are finally working normal hours at the office this week, which means 12 hour days on Monday and Tuesday for me, my old normal on Wednesday and Thursday, and very short days on Fridays, which is absolutely lovely. Since Paul will be gone this Friday, I will probably run what errands need to be run when I get off work, come home and clean the house thoroughly, and perhaps watch season three of Versailles, which I am leaning toward buying just so I can finish it off. I do have a Christmas party to attend on Saturday night, but I’ll just be bouncing around the Lost Apartment for the most part, amazed at how empty and quiet it seems without Paul–as I always do.

I did manage to get chapter six of Bury Me in Satin finished, despite being so tired, and am hoping that I can get past the hump–or rather, that getting past that particular hump–will make the rest of the writing go even more smoothly. I can dream can I not?

We continue to enjoy Schitt’s Creek–Daniel Levy and Catherine O’Hara are fucking national treasures, and I do not understand why they both haven’t won Emmys, or even been nominated. I guess because it was Amazon Prime and it didn’t get that much attention? The show is hilarious, absolutely hilarious, even as it is nonsensical…and there is plenty of lovely male eye candy on the show; we are now up to Season 3, and a bisexual love interest has been introduced for Daniel Levy’s character and his female ex, Stevie, who runs the motel they are living at. (Stevie is also one of my favorites on the show, and she had the best line thus far–after being told something truly horrible: “Okay then, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to run a warm bath and plug in my hair dryer.” It still makes me laugh.)

And on that note, it’s time to get back to the spice mines.

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Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

I fell into an Internet wormhole the other day–history, of course, was involved–and now, with my scattered ADHD mind, I can’t stop thinking about the unintended research I was doing. An ad popped up on the evil Facebook (or the even more evil Twitter) about the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453; and yes, that triggered me going into a search about the fall of the city, why it happened, who was the last patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church at the time of the fall, what was the last Byzantine Emperor’s story, and so forth.

I’ve always had a Colin stand-alone adventure novel in the back of my head, going all the way back to Bourbon Street Blues when I first introduced the character. My original plan, as you know, Constant Reader, was to make Bourbon Street Blues a stand-alone as well; when I introduced Colin and came up with his backstory, I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to write a series about a gay undercover op for hire? I had always had this idea for a treasure hunt novel–yes, inspired by Indiana Jones, if you must know, go ahead and judge me–but it had to do with something smuggled out of Hagia Sophia before Constantinople fell to the Venetians and the Crusaders in 1204; but having researched that actual event, it doesn’t really work for the story. But the final fall of the city–turning it from the Christian capital of the East to the capital of an Islamic empire, and also ending the Roman Empire once and for all–actually would work for this story, based on what I read yesterday. The thing that was smuggled out was a document, or an original manuscript, of a secret book of the new Testament that challenged the very nature of Christianity as it was known then; Catholicism and Orthodoxy–which means the stakes in the current day would also be pretty high.

Will I ever write a Colin stand-alone novel? Probably not, but you never know. I have so many other things to write. I’ll never be able to write everything I want to write before i die, I fear.

Such is life. There’s never enough time, and of course, I am horrifically lazy, which doesn’t help on any level.

And of course, now that it’s around four in the afternoon I am getting tired. I woke up at six this morning, stayed in bed until seven, and then got started on my day. I drank coffee and cleared out my email inbox; I wrote a bunch of emails and saved them in the drafts folder to send first thing in the morning; and then I went to the grocery store. After putting the groceries away, I started making a birthday cake for a co-worked–a new red velvet cheesecake recipe I’d been wanting to try–and of course, while I was working on the cheesecake layer my hand mixer burned out. Complete with burning electrical smell and smoke coming out of the motor (three hours later the kitchen still smells like an electrical fire) and so, not wanting to go to Walmart on a Sunday, I walked over to the Walgreens on the corner, vaguely having seen that they sell kitchen appliances. I rarely go there–and usually only in case of an emergency, which this certainly was–and of course, they’ve rearranged the entire store since the last time I was there. And of course there are aisles of Christmas stuff where other things ought to be. But I persisted, because I really didn’t want to go to Wal-mart on a Sunday afternoon just to buy a hand mixer, and I found one. It seemed a bit pricey, but then I figured you bought the last one twelve years ago so prices may have gone up since then besides you’re paying a premium for convenience. 

So I bought it.

Constant Reader, that was the best money I could have spent on a hand mixer. It’s so much better than my old one it’s not even funny; on the slowest setting it mixes with more power than the old one–a BLACK AND DECKER–did on it’s highest setting. In other words, that cheesecake was beaten and ready to go in the oven in no time. And who knew whipped cream was so easy to make?

Well, it is with my new mixer, at any rate.

So the red velvet cheesecake is now chilling in my refrigerator. I tried working on the book but I am tired and my brain is tired too. I am even too tired to read, methinks. So, I am going to go try to find something to watch on the television while I relax in my easy chair.

And who knows? Maybe I’ll have the energy to write later.

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(They Long To Be) Close to You

Correction to yesterday’s new books announcement: I forgot to mention I also got a copy of Jeff Abbott’s The Three Beths.

My bad! Looking forward to it, Jeff!

If I ever get a chance to read again. Heavy heaving sigh.

My flashdrive has disappeared again; I’m hoping it’s either in my car or I left it at the office. It isn’t a big deal–some things, yes, but not as much as one might think. I’ve been trying to use the Cloud to move things around, and back things up to as I work on them, and it seems to be working. So, this wouldn’t be a complete and total and utter disaster–although I do believe the entire Scotty book is on it, and may not necessarily have backed up (but I already turned it in, so my publisher has an electronic version I can simply ask for; and for that matter its probably in my sent mail), but as parenthetically explained, I’m not overly concerned. Bury Me in Satin is safe, and I think I’ve backed up almost everything else at some point or another in the last month or so. Finding things might be a challenge, but they should be there somewhere.

Sigh.

I did work on Bury Me in Satin a little yesterday, around running errands and doing things around the house (I washed the bed linens, made white bean chicken chili in the slow cooker, re-organized some cabinets and drawers, did some filing, paid some bills) and then watched the Georgia-Alabama game, which was quite intense, and then Paul and I watched some more episodes of Schitt’s Creek, which is amazing.

Today, I have to make a grocery run and make a birthday cake for a co-worker, and I hope to do some more cleaning in the living room area. Of course, Paul is also leaving for a week on Wednesday, and so I’ll also be doing a lot of cleaning around that time as well. I need to buy his Christmas presents, so they’re here and wrapped by the time he gets back.

That would be smart. Maybe I’ll even get the holiday cards done while he’s gone.

A boy can dream, can’t he? Especially a fifty-seven year old one.

All right, perhaps I should get back to the spice mines. This stuff isn’t going to get done on its own, after all.

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Bridge over Troubled Water

Looks like we made it, Constant Reader; through another week of trials and tribulations and who knows what all, quite frankly. I woke up at six, but stayed in bed until just before eight, and feel obscenely well-rested, not tired at all; maybe a bit of a sleep hangover, but other than that, in tip-top shape for this lovely weekend. There’s condensation all over the windows around my workspace this morning; I suspect it rained over night and the air out there is probably warm and thick with water. It’s also not cold inside, which is a tip-off that it’s probably a lovely day outside. Paul is going to go into the office at some point today; I intend to go run some errands later as well as get some serious writing done. Conference championship football games are on television all day, but I really don’t care who wins any of them, if I’m going to be completely honest. The kitchen seems scattered and messy today, so does the living room, and of course, Paul is leaving for his winter visit to his family on this coming Wednesday, so I will have almost a full week of alone time.

I am, for December 1, disgustingly behind on everything; from Bury Me in Satin, stalled at Chapter Six, to finishing touches on both the Scotty book and the short story collection. I also need to proof read Jackson Square Jazz at some point so that can finally be available as an ebook; it never seems to end, does it? But I did somehow manage to tear through my to-do list this past week (other than anything writing/editing related that was on it) and I think now, finally, the day job is finally going to settle into a kind of routine schedule. I also picked up Bibliomysteries Volume I, edited by Otto Penzler, at the library yesterday, so I have a wealth of short stories to read. (I also still have all the volumes of anthologies and single author collections I was reading earlier in the year on the mantel in the living room; I should probably get back to those at some point as well.) I am probably going to keep The Short Story Project rolling into the new year; I do love short stories, and I keep finding more unread collections on my bookshelves.

I got some books in the mail yesterday; the two most recent Donna Andrews Meg Langslows, Toucan Keep a Secret and Lark! The Herald Angels Sing (which I wish I could read over the Christmas holidays; I love reading Donna’s Christmas books during the season but I doubt I’ll have time to read Toucan first; and yes, I have to read them in order DON’T JUDGE ME); two novels by Joan Didion, Democracy and The Last Thing He Wanted; two books by Robert Tallant, one fiction (The Voodoo Queen, an undoubtedly error-riddled and racist biographical novel about Marie Laveau) and one nonfiction (Ready to Hang: Seven Famous New Orleans Murders); the next volume of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, A Clash of Kings; and Hester Young’s follow-up to The Gates of Evangeline, The Shimmering Road. 

So, yes, my plate is rather full this weekend–but I shall also have plenty to do while Paul is gone. I am also thinking about buying the third and final season of Versailles on iTunes to watch. I will probably make an enormous list of all the things I want to get done while Paul is in Illinois and wind up doing none of them.

Heavy heaving sigh.

I also need to figure out his Christmas presents while he’s gone, so I can get them and have them all wrapped before he gets home.

And so now, ’tis back to the spice mines with me. Have a lovely day, Constant Reader.

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Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Well, Constant Reader, we did it. We made it to Friday, and a weekend looms with neither an LSU nor a Saints game on tap. This also means I have nothing to watch and no excuses to get all the things done that I need to, which include running a shit ton of errands today (it’s my short day), and doing a shit ton of writing and editing. I am way behind on the new manuscript–which I’d hoped to have a first draft of finished by tomorrow–and I need to do the final tweaks of the new Scotty and the short story collection by the end of December. It’s definitely do-able, but I’d also love to get it done and out of the way so I can focus on one thing, which is finishing this draft of the new manuscript.

But I don’t know how that’s going to happen, frankly. Working on this lately has been like pulling teeth, and as I struggled with Chapter Six last night, I decided that what I need to do this weekend is go back and revise the mess that is the first five chapters., and maybe that would do the trick of toggling my mind back into creativity.

Maybe. Maybe not. Heavy heaving sigh.

I’d also like to get some more stories out there to markets; maybe I can get that done this weekend as well.

And I need to clean. I always need to clean.

But the kitchen isn’t in that bad of shape. I did the floors last night and there’s a load of dishes to put away in the dishwasher, and a load of laundry to transfer from washing machine to dryer, but other than that–of course, I’ve not done anything thorough to the living room in quite some time. Maybe I can do that this weekend.

And if it’s nice, I could do the windows.

Or I can sit in my easy chair watching Schitt’s Creek all weekend while finishing reading Chariots of the Gods?, The Iron King, and ‘salem’s Lot.

We shall see how it goes, shan’t we?

And now back to the spice mines.

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