Time after Time

Saturday morning! I have to work today, and then am going to make groceries on the way home from the office–and I am going to go to the gym before the LSU-Tennessee game tonight. Yes, I’m going to do it, and I am going to lift weights–easing myself into it, with one set of fifteen with low weights and doing a full body workout; just like I did when I first started back in 1994. I am actually looking forward to it. (Right? Who am I, and what have I done with Gregalicious?)

I have a lot to do over the next few weeks, but I am embracing it rather than fearing it. I have to get a short story finished this weekend, and maybe some chapters written; and I am also going to work on the Scotty Bible a bit. I also need to clean the house a bit, and I am going to play with the structure of the WIP yet again. I do have moments when I think that maybe, with all the revisions and problems I’m having with it, that maybe that means I should simply give up on it–but I am being stubborn, and I do think there’s a really amazing novel in there, and if I keep tinkering away at it I’ll eventually get to it. I’m not used to having to work so hard on a book, but I also think hard work and pushing myself isn’t a bad thing, either.

I also need to copy edit the hell out of the manuscripts for Bourbon Street Blues and Jackson Square Jazz.

So much to do. This is why, I think, I don’t get as much done as I should; I get overwhelmed simply thinking about everything I have to do. But I need to get past that, and of course, the best way to do that is to make a to-do list; which I am going to do as soon as I finish this. There’s also a city election today, so I need to walk to my polling place and take care of that as well before I head to to the office.

I got caught up on Riverdale last night–I was three episodes behind–and wow, did this show ever take a turn for the dark. I really do like the show; it started out as a kind of cross between your typical teen CW drama and Pretty Little Liars, only using the canon Archie Andrews/Riverdale characters, but this update is pretty incredible. The kids are dealing with serious issues that modern day teens have to deal with (although I doubt many of them have to deal with serial killers or murder or incest or….), and the young cast is incredibly appealing–and their character arcs actually make sense. I also love that Madchen Amick from Twin Peaks plays Betty’s mother Alice–ALICE COOPER (I giggle every time someone says it)–and that she’s kind of a villain. I also love that Molly Ringwald occasionally guest stars as Archie’s mother.

We also got caught up on The Exorcist last night, and I have to say, Season 2 is way better than Season 1. The episode we saw last night took the story down an even darker path than it was on originally, and the addition of Alicia Witt to the cast was a genius touch. Nice job, The Exorcist!

Okay, so it’s time for me to tackle the spice mines. Have a lovely Saturday, Constant Reader, and see you tomorrow.

Here’s your daily hunk:

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Dancing in the Dark

Well, I finished Alafair Burke’s The Wife last night, and wow. Just….wow.

That is three, count ’em, three, amazing novels by women I’ve read recently; all of whom–Alison Gaylin, Laura Lippman, Alafair Burke–were already writing fantastic novels, and yet somehow manage to get better with each new one.  As a writer myself, reading these fantastic novels is a bit daunting–it puts me in mind of why do I bother I will never be this good–but as a reader who loves books, they make me want to send off fireworks.

I also started reading Adam Sternbergh’s The Blinds last night, and it’s also exceptional. I’d read his Edgar Award nominated debut, Shovel Ready, which was amazing, but somehow had missed his second novel; but got a free copy of The Blinds at Bouchercon (thank you, Harper Collins author signing party!) and have heard raves about it, so I decided to tackle it next. And yes, wow. I am also still processing The Wife, and Lippman’s Sunburn, and Gaylin’s If I Die Tonight. I will of course discuss all of these books closer to their release dates, in great detail, on here. But if you love great books, Constant Reader, you need to go pre-order these right the fuck now. You will not be sorry.

You’ll only be sorry if you don’t.

I don’t have to go into the office until late; which is lovely as I have about a gazillion things to do around the house this morning. I also have several errands to run: I have to stop at Garden District Books to pick up a book about the New Orleans Jewish community (more on that later); CVS to pick up a prescription; and of course, as always, I have to get the mail. I need to spend the morning outlining some short stories–one is due at the end of the month, and I am going to have to really get moving if I intend to get it finished–and I also seriously need to get some Scotty stuff finished. I also need, this week, to tear apart the WIP so I can figure out how to restructure it and add in the things that need to be added. I’d like to get that finished by the end of the year, and I think going about doing all of this in an organized fashion makes the most sense. It’s weird how disorganized I am about writing, when I try–almost to the point of being obsessive–I am about everything else in my life. I also need to start restricting my access to social media; that doesn’t help me with my attention span, which seems to be getting shorter and shorter as I get older. I’ve always had trouble focussing and maintaining that focus; I’ve got to be more laser-like in my focus if I’m going to get all of this stuff done by the end of the year.

I know I can do it, and I am actually feeling a lot more confident than I should be. But the busier I am, the more I have to do–the more likely I am to get things done.

And on that note, tis off to the spice mines.

Here’s a Tuesday hunk for you, Constant Reader. Enjoy.

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Ghostbusters

Wednesday and a gray morning here in the Lost Apartment. For a brief moment I thought it was Thursday; I don’t know where the hell that came from, but it’s indeed Wednesday, and as I sip my second cup of coffee and look at cats sleeping on the scaffolding outside my window, I am girding my loins for an incredibly busy day at the office.

I’m enjoying thoroughly Alafair Burke’s The Wife, which I am reading about five to ten pages at a time at night before I turn off the light and go to sleep; I look forward to being able to dive into it a lot more thoroughly. I also managed another 1500 words or so on Scotty yesterday, and finished that darned essay. I don’t have to turn the essay in until this weekend, so I am going to let it sit for a few days before I reread it and tweak it. It’s about censorship, banning and sensitivity readers; my big fear is the points I make are going to be offensive.,.but maybe the fact that I’m worried about unintentionally giving offense is a good sign? I dunno.

We will have to see. It’s a very charged topic.

My kitchen is a mess this morning; and I have yet to decide what to take with me for lunch. Heavy sigh. I should clean up this mess so I don’t have to deal with it tonight; I should have dealt with it all last night. I hate when I do that.

I’m feeling good about my work again; which is something. Getting writing done is always the key to this; there’s an anthology I want to submit a story to whose deadline is the end of this month and I’ve only written a small part of the story. I’d hate to not submit, but the story also has to be really good. I could focus on it over the Thanksgiving break, of course, but I’d like to have a rough draft figured out and written before then. I hate when I do this to myself; and I have another that I’ve agreed to write by the end of December that I haven’t really started yet.

And on that note, this kitchen isn’t going to clean itself. For your Hump Day Hunk, here’s professional wrestler Ashton Vuitton:

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Jump

Sunday morning and the end of Daylight Savings Time. I woke up at the usual time, reset the clock to the correct time, and stayed in bed for another hour…but still got up early. It’s fine, I don’t mind, and I am actually awake rather than groggy. I need to get groceries–a minor run for some staples and a few things I need for dinner tonight–and I also need to get to the gym today. (I did not, in fact, go yesterday as planned.) I also managed to destroy my ancient iPod Nano. I took it out of my car (where it’s my music source) and put it in my jeans pocket Friday so I could take it with me to the gym, forgot about it, and yes, put it through both washer and dryer. Sigh. Now the screen is dead–the memory in it still works, if I connect it to my computer–but the controls don’t work, and they don’t make Nanos anymore, which totally sucks. I had that damned thing for almost seven years…so I guess I’ll have to use my iPod Touch, which is nine years old, for the gym instead until I can swing getting a new one, I suppose. So annoying. Then again, if it costs less than a new iPod Touch, it might be worth seeing if it can be fixed.

I suppose I could just use my phone, I suppose, but I hate how the music cuts off if you get an email or a text or something. It’s jarring.

First world problems, I know.

I am reading an advance copy of Laura Lippman’s Sunburn, and it’s really quite exceptional. It’s very different than anything she’s done before, and I have to say, it’s quite the ballsy move. It’s very easy to just write the same style and the same type of book over and over again, but Lippman has really stretched herself and grown in her stand alone novels; this, coming after the sublime Wilde Lake, is yet another gamble that is paying off big time. And as I said yesterday, reading amazing work by amazing writers is inspirational; I actually sat down at the computer yesterday and made myself write two thousand words; and they were good words. They took me longer to write than usual–my attention span is so shortened because of social media and everything else these days; I need to remember that the best thing for me to do when I get stuck is to get up and do something away from the computer; even if it is something as simple as rearranging a cabinet shelf; putting things in order and organizing, for some reason, always works as a writing trigger for me. But it’s more than I’ve written in a long time, and I am kind of excited about it, to be honest. I still have an essay to write, and there’s a short story I need to write, but I want to get some more of this Scotty done before I sidetrack myself again.

And on that note, ’tis back to the spice mines. Here’s a Sunday hunk for you, Constant Reader:

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Footloose

Friday! Huzzah!

I am very pleased to say that I think the malaise has passed. Yesterday I shook myself up a little bit and got organized. I’ve really been letting a lot of things slide–I’ve been blaming the post-Bouchercon blues, but truly, the malaise had set in well before that. I’m not sure what causes it; but it’s horrible when it strikes and I find myself getting depressed rather easily when it strikes…trying to work and/or get things done, but allowing myself to be easily overwhelmed, or if the work isn’t going well, letting the why do I bother mentality kick in.

But I’m back in my “I can conquer the world” mode again, and intend to ride that train as long as I can.

Before bed last night, after watching Riverdale and American Horror Story, I did two loads of laundry, the dishes, a shit-ton of filing, cleaned my kitchen counters, and started organizing the copies of my books I got from storage. (I still haven’t located the copies of Mardi Gras Mambo I’ve been looking for, which means I am going to have to go back again; but I am going to let that sit for a few weeks. There’s no urgency to find them, after all.)

I also, while cleaning and organizing, had some breakthroughs on projects I am working on; which is one of the reasons cleaning and organizing is such an important part of my process–when I am busy doing something that doesn’t require my full attention, my mind wanders and it always goes to places with book projects that need fixing. And am absolutely delighted this has happened. I made some decent progress on the Scotty book yesterday, and will be making some crucial notes on another project this morning, now that I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep.

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

Here’s a hunk for you, Rafael Nadal for Armani:

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Breaking Us in Two

Sunday. It’s one degree warmer than yesterday morning–wow, right? But you will undoubtedly be thrilled to know that I get everything on my list done yesterday other than go to the gym; and after spending two hours in the storage unit moving boxes of books around, I was pretty damned exhausted physically, and then braved Costco on a Saturday afternoon (it wasn’t bad at all, other than stupid people, which is every day). I also came across some books in the storage that I thought hey, these need to be reread and so I took them out. One of them was Richard Matheson’s Hell House, which seemed, at least to me, to be the proper reread after The Haunting of Hill House, in that they’re very similar; one could even go so far as to say Matheson basically took Jackson’s story structure and turned the dial up a notch. I am enjoying the reread very much; although I’m not very far into it thus far. I also found my copy of Michael Rowe’s groundbreaking anthology Queer Fear, which I reviewed in the Lambda Book Report many years ago when I worked there, and was to be my first encounter with Mr. Rowe; I remember he came up to me at the Lambda Awards the next year, introduced himself, and thanked me for the lovely review. We’ve crossed paths a few times since, and have become friends over the years. I do remember loving Queer Fear, and look forward to delving into it and rereading its short stories again.

I also found my high school scrapbook and my diaries from the 1990’s. I used to buy blank books and carry them around with me everywhere, so I could jot down story and/or book ideas, or write diary entries whenever I wanted to. I am always hesitant to reread my old diaries; I often wince from my immaturity and my over-dramatization of events in my life. Yet at the same time, the diaries also served as a very vital source of self-reflection and self-examination; I suppose this blog has served that purpose since I started it on Livejournal back in 2004 (the idea that I have been consistently blogging for thirteen years rather staggers the mind, doesn’t it? But I’ve been writing in a diary of some sort, off and on, since I was a teenager; this seems to be a natural continuation of that process).

I also found the three ring binder where I kept everything from the Virginia situation of 2005 and 2006; including the ACLU letter to the school board. I’d always intended to write a non-fiction book about it all, called Gay Porn Writer, in which I examined what happened to me in the context, not only of the times but extrapolating it out further into what was going on in publishing and the culture. My memory lies to me now, of course, so I am not certain that I’ll ever write such a book–I don’t know that I would remember things correctly, and even then, what is colored by my perceptions of things. I’ve since moved on, of course–I mentioned the incident in passing on my panel at Bouchercon and had to explain it a little, which was kind of crazy. It was so long ago, and I used to get invited to speak about it all the time. The memories are now hazy and unclear, but I am definitely going to keep all this information.

You never know.

I think I am probably just going to scan everything in the scrapbook, in order to preserve it electronically, and then throw it away. I don’t really need to keep programs from my high school football games, or from choir concerts, and scanning them will better preserve them anyway.

I have one errand to run today, and I also want to go to the gym for a little bit, start dipping my feet back into the water of working out regularly, and despite the cold, I am going to give that a try.

And hopefully, I’ll get some writing done, or at least something done that will move all projects forward.

Here’s a Sunday hunk for you:

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Don’t Cry

Saturday in New Orleans. I have a big to-do list to get through today, and I must get it all done so we can stream season 2 of both Stranger Things and Freakish this weekend, guilt-free. I also want to get some writing/editing/reading done on Sunday before launching into yet another week of work. I also slept late this morning; which felt wonderful–probably because it is a mere fifty two degrees here (AIEEE!) but I feel rested, which is truly the most important thing. I’d wanted to get up earlier, but hey–them are the breaks, kids. So, when I finish this cup of coffee I’ll probably make one to go and start running the errands, so as to get them over and done with. We were going to go see It tonight, but decided to wait and stream things tonight; we can always watch it when it’s available for streaming later.

I did finish my reread of The Haunting of Hill House last night before going to sleep, and as always, it was just a wonderful experience. That final sequence on the tower staircase terrifies me, as it always does; my fear of heights and my fear of spiral staircases no doubt stems from reading this book and seeing the original film, which was fantastic and remains, to this day, one of my top five horror films. (Do NOT under any circumstances watch the horrific, embarrassingly bad remake.) After I finish all my errands today, I am going to dive into End of Watch, which will probably bring my Halloween Horror reading to a close for this year. I am most anxious to dive into some of these books by authors I love (Laura Lippman, Alison Gaylin, Donna Andrews, Alafair Burke, Adam Sternbergh), and then of course there are the books collecting dust for far too long in the TBR pile. I also realized yesterday that I’ve not reread Rebecca this year, but that may wind up being something I tackle over the Thanksgiving holiday season. (I was also thinking last night of the similarities between The Haunting of Hill House and Rebecca last night; which might make for an interesting essay at some point…must make a note of that.)

Heavy heaving sigh.

So much to do, so little time in which to do it.

And on that note, tis off to the spice mines…since I overslept I can’t get more in depth on The Haunting of Hill House  as  I would like to; perhaps later, when the errands are finished.

Here’s a Saturday hunk for you, Constant Reader.

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