Tuesday! I have a long day of testing facing me, capped off with bar testing tonight at Good Friends. I have my morning free, at least before I have to run my errands, so I am going to try to get some writing done. I did finish Chapter 5 yesterday, and am trying to get the next five chapters outlined before I get moving on Chapter 6. I think I know what’s going to happen next; but everything’s kind of amorphous and I really want to sit and think it all through before I try writing. Some of the stuff in the first five chapters is going to need to be redone–there’s some stuff that I might have to cut out entirely–and I am going to seriously consider that before just trying to make it all work together.

I printed out another, trimmed copy of the WIP, which is now 276 pages instead of 340. That was some serious editing I did there. I am going to wait until this weekend to read it again; although I have lots of notes about what needs to be done with it.

I also started writing another short story yesterday, “The White Knuckler.” Not sure how it turns out, but right now in my head it’s just another variation on my theme of ‘running into someone from your past on a vehicle of mass transportation,” like my story “A Streetcar Named Death.” I do seem to return to the same themes, or variations on the same type of story, an awful lot. So, I am just going to rough draft it out, and then try to figure out how not to make it just another variation on a theme. I don’t want to be reductive.

Short stories are hard.

Lisa Unger’s In the Blood continues to enthrall. We are also watching a Netflix original series, Atypical, which is about a highly functional autistic teenager and his family. His parents are played by Michael Rappaport and Jennifer Jason Leigh (of whom I’ve been a fan since Fast Times at Ridgemont High); Sam the teen is played by Keir Gilchrist, who played the gay son on United States of Tara. It’s actually a very sweet show, with strong characters played by actors very good in the roles; its focus is that Sam is now ready to start dating, or rather, thinks he should start dating. The show is both funny and touching, and we are enjoying it quite a bit.

So, this morning I am going to sign out of here, do some filing, and basically figure out what I need to do (in other words, get organized), and perhaps curl up in the easy chair with some more Lisa Unger to get inspired, as I always am by brilliantly talented people.

Here’s a Tuesday hunk for you:



Ugh, my house is a mess. I kind of should go make groceries today, but I also kind of don’t want to leave the house. The cursor on the latest chapter of the book is blinking at me, but I am just not feeling any desire to do any writing today.

But I have to. There is no ‘don’t wanna’ allowed.

Heavy sigh.

What i really want to do is read more of Lisa Unger’s book, In the Blood, which really gets off to a terrific start. I was part of the way through Chapter Three when I realized I was getting too drowsy to focus last night, but didn’t really want to put it aside. I generally either don’t dream, or don’t remember my dreams in the morning, but the last week or so I’ve been dreaming odd things that I still remember when I wake up in the morning. They of course become more vague the more I wake, which is an interesting phenomenon and one I am sure everyone experiences and has been studied and writing up extensively in journals. Yet I still find it intriguing.

I often write about dreams, usually in my work that could considered to fall into supernatural/paranormal/borderline horror–I have a tendency to use dreams to amp up the tension as well as reveal things to the main character, which has become a crutch. In fact, a book idea I’ve been playing with–I wrote a short story years ago which kind of serves as a synopsis of the book–is all about dreams.

Yeah, that will need to go back in the drawer and only pulled out to bring back to the drawing board.

Heavy heaving sigh.

I don’t know why I procrastinate so much about writing, I really don’t. I always enjoy writing, and the feeling of satisfaction I get when I finish for the day is one of my favorite feelings in the world. And yet, here I sit, writing a blog entry while the Saints are getting stomped on the living room television (this is going to be such a long, horrible football season for Louisiana fans….) rather than working on the new Scotty book. I’ve already done some filing, made Paul breakfast, folded clothes…sheesh.

All right, I am going to go make groceries and come home to write.

Here’s a Sunday hunk for you, actor Justin Clynes:

justin clynes


Goody Two-Shoes

Friday! I made it through another week! Huzzah!

Have you ever wondered how my mind works? Let me give you an example from yesterday:

Before I started the car to run my errands on my way to the office, I saw a headline on my phone as I was stashing it in the center console. The headline had something to do with Melania Trump; I don’t remember what it was. And this is how my thought process went:

Melania is an interesting name, I’ve never heard that name before, but then Michelle Obama was the first First Lady named Michelle, and Laura Bush was the first Laura…they’ve all had unique names, really, Hillary and Barbara and Nancy and Betty and Pat and Ladybird and Jacqueline and Mamie…Mamie is an odd name, I wonder if it was a nickname…those awful bigots in Auntie Mame called her Mamie..gosh I love that movie and haven’t seen it in a long time…I wonder why no one has ever written a book or made a movie called Auntie Maim? It seems like such a natural.

And after I chuckled over the horror novel/movie Auntie Maim:

Rosalind Russell was so great in that movie, she was friends with Joan Crawford, they were in The Women together, it was that unflattering picture in the paper with Roz that convinced Joan to  never go out in public again…I should write an essay contrasting Baby Jane with Sweet Charlotte..Olivia de Havilland was terrific in that but what a movie it would have been with Crawford in that role, I always wanted to write something like Sweet Charlotte…I remember I had that idea twenty or so years ago, what was it called… oh yes, that, how could you write something like that today, oh maybe instead of having the Charlotte character be a woman she could be a gay man, which would have been equally scandalous to be having an affair with a married man but then how would you do the Miriam character they couldn’t both be gay men because that would be a stretch well maybe instead it could be that the lover was murdered and that outed the character and the character ran away and instead of being her cousin the other character is his sister and now Papa’s dying and the thrown away gay son is coming home to make peace with the dying homophobic father and the old crime was never solved…

And then as I pulled into the parking lot at work I wrote the opening in my head, and typed into the Notes app on my phone on my way into the office.

That’s how my mind works.

If you think that’s scary, imagine having to deal with that imagination all the time.

Heavy sigh.

I have maybe three chapters of line edits to input before this bitch of an edit is finished. Only. Three. More.

And I’ve been keeping notes on what and where to tweak.

And for the record, the last time I looked, I’d trimmed 101, 265 words down to around 78,000, give or take a few.

That was a serious line edit.

So, it will probably end up being around 80-85,000 when it gets queried to agents.

Fingers crossed.

And here’s your Friday hunk to slip you into the weekend:IMG_2769


Too Shy


I worked late last night, but also pulled within four or five chapters of being finished with inputting the line edit. Hip hip hurray! HUZZAH indeed! So, so close, and I know exactly how to finish polishing it; I know what needs to be added.

That’s such a lovely feeling, you have no idea.

The rest of this month is going to be a bit challenging; I have to do a lot of bar testing, going to the office on Saturdays, the NO/AIDS Walk is an upcoming Sunday, and just thinking about any and all of it makes me tired. But I will persist. I will persevere. Because I am Gregalicious!

I’m enjoying Louise Penny’s Still Life, which is a really charming read, to be honest, and I can’t think the last time I read a book about which I could use the word charming as a descriptor. Granted, I tend to read darker stuff, but I am enjoying this. I will keep you posted, Constant Reader, as I make my way through the rest of the book. I think I have copies of other Louise Penny novels scattered about the house in TBR piles; but I do think when I finish this I am going to tackle the reread of It. It’s so daunting though, I look at how enormous the trade paperback I recently bought on impulse is, and want to weep. How did I ever read a novel that large in such a short period of time? Will it still hold up after all this time? The suspense! Older Stephen King novels I’ve loved have stood the test of time; and I do think that perhaps I also might give The Shining a reread in October, when I am going to primarily focus on horror, as I always do in the month of Halloween.

I am going to pick up a prescription (I meant to do this yesterday and forgot) and some other errands–since I worked late last night I don’t have to be in until one. I am also going to do some other chores around the house before I leave for the office etc. I am hoping to get some more of the edits input this morning as well.

And here’s a Throwback Thursday hunk for you, Constant Reader, actor Doug McClure:


Tell Her About It

At halftime, LSU was ahead 28-3, and the score could have been even more lopsided.

A punt return for a touchdown was called back for a penalty, and the Tigers also missed two field goals. Chattanooga’s original possession–they got the ball first–was sustained by some sloppy defensive play and some penalties, but after having first-and-goal from the Tiger eight yard line, Chattanooga was forced to kick a field goal–and never led again. Four plays later LSU was ahead 7-3, and never really looked back. Outside of that sloppy play and the penalties, LSU looked very impressive last night, winning 45-10 (Chattanooga’s touchdown came in the fourth quarter when the game was pretty much over, and scored in three plays against the second-team defense.) LSU looked great; getting interceptions, recovering fumbles, completing exciting long passes, and Danny Etling looked calm and cool–sometimes running when he had no one open, sometimes throwing the ball away, never getting intercepted and never getting sacked. (He did get called one time for intentional grounding.) It was, over all, an impressive performance, and LSU could have easily scored over fifty points at the very least.

And it’s always fun to be in Tiger Stadium.


Today, I have to go make groceries, do some more cleaning, and do some more inputting of edits and I also hope to finish Chapter Five; and maybe tonight we can watch the first episodes of The Deuce and American Horror Story: Cult. I slept really well last night, and I also am planning on making it to the gym for the first time in weeks, and the first time in years without an appointment with my trainer. We’ll see how it goes.

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

Stand Back

I have to work today, so am spending this morning catching up on chores around the house. After I get off work, we are heading up to Baton Rouge for tonight’s LSU game, which I am quite naturally excited about. It’s also my first time taking the new car to an LSU game in Baton Rouge! Woo-hoo!


I also started reading Donna Andrews’ latest, Gone Gull, last night, and am enjoying it pretty thoroughly already. I’ve already laughed out loud a couple of times in the first few chapters, an excellent sign, and am looking forward to reading more of it. Since I am working today and going to the game tonight, I have to do other errands–get groceries, etc–tomorrow, but I am also hoping to be able to carve out some time tomorrow to do some writing/inputting edits. I am so far behind on the inputting of the edits–it’s such a tedious process–but maybe if I just devote myself to it tomorrow, I can power through it, and then spend next weekend making the necessary tweaks the manuscript needs to have made before I start querying agents.

Ah, the joyous sting of rejection to come. Woo-hoo. But I’m much better about that sort of thing now than I used to be. Now, as long as the rejection is handled professionally, I no longer mind. And by professionally, I mean that you are notified. There’s nothing more infuriating than writing something for a market–say, an anthology–and finding out you didn’t get into the anthology when the book is released. This has happened to me more than once, and I am really tired of it. I am also really tired of the people involved turning around and saying oh, I just don’t time to contact everyone. Um, it’s part of the fucking job. I notified every single person who submitted a story to Blood on the Bayou–in fact, for every anthology I’ve ever been involved with–to let them know I wasn’t able to use their story, and to encourage them to submit it elsewhere.

There’s no fucking excuse, otherwise.

Agents who say on their website that ‘if you don’t hear from us in two months’ or some other time period? That’s different, because they are letting you know right up front they will only contact you if interested, and are giving you a timeline. Personally, I still think you should thank someone for submitting, but I’m also old school, and maybe agencies nowadays simply don’t have the staff or the time to do that anymore. I’m not an agent, have never been one, and have never worked for an agency, so I give them the benefit of the doubt.

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

Here’s a Saturday hunk for you, actor Caspar Van Dien.


Stray Cat Strut


I have almost made it through this short week–I am working tomorrow before we head up to Baton Rouge for the LSU-UT Chattanooga game–and am pretty happy about it. It seemed off this week; I’m not sure what that’s about. We’ve had a chilly week here–for September, it’s been in the 70’s without humidity, which is November weather, really. I’ve slept fairly well, despite waking up a couple of times per night, and each morning have not wanted to get up. I may get up tomorrow morning so I can get the groceries and run errands prior to going to the office–get that out of the way so I can sleep late Sunday, since we’ll probably not get back from Baton Rouge until around midnight.

This week my short story “Keeper of the Flame” came out in Mystery Weekly magazine, and I am inordinately proud of this. Short stories are so hard for me to write, so each sale of one makes me feel like I’ve truly accomplished something.  I struggle so much with short stories…I have so many right now that aren’t finished, but I am trying to get the edits input and the first draft of the new Scotty written and … and…and…

I also got pretty deep into Margaret Millar’s sublime Do Evil in Return, and can’t wait to finish reading it so I can post about it. It’s so extraordinary!

Anyway, if you want to read “Keeper of the Flame”, you do have to pay for it, alas. This is the link to the preview of the story, to give you an idea of whether you want to read it or not:

You can buy the magazine in either print or e-form here:

And you can also buy or subscribe here:

Do support markets that pay–even in a small amount–for short crime fiction!

Here’s a hunk to get your weekend rolling, former Tarzan actor Gordon Scott: