Break My Stride

The regular season came to an end for LSU last night with a 45-21 win over Texas A&M, and I am going to miss the seniors and the guys the team will lose to the NFL draft. It’s been a pleasure watching you all play for the last few years. I also want to shout out to Danny Etling, who has never really gotten the kind of respect he earned over the last two seasons. He’s not Eli Manning, but he was a cool, competent quarterback who made some big plays and only threw two interceptions this entire season. That’s pretty amazing. And considering where the team was at one point, it’s no disgrace to take pride in how they closed out the season, winning six of their last seven games–including a win over Auburn, who went on to win the West division spot in the conference championship game by beating Alabama yesterday–the second CFS Number One team they defeated in three weeks.

GEAUX TIGERS!

I also continued working on the Scotty Bible yesterday–found some discrepancies that may not be able to be corrected, at least maybe not right away–but the ones I can’t correct are easily explained away; and I can correct things like the fact that Storm apparently had children in the first two books that completely vanished from the series later. Oops. (I’m not sure if they disappeared or just were never mentioned again; I don’t think I ever said Storm didn’t have children; I just never mentioned them, and that is kind of weird, really; why wouldn’t Scotty or his parents ever talk about his nieces and nephews? Although it might be kind of fun to bring them into the story at some point….hmmmm. Also, I mentioned in one book that Frank’s parents lived in Chicago and then in a later one that they were dead. I think I can correct that in the earlier book; let’s hope.

Obviously, I should have done this years ago.

But I have only one more book to go through–Garden District Gothic–which is incredibly exciting, and then I can create the Scotty Bible, which….is not so incredibly exciting. Ah, well. I have a lot to do today, so it’s probably best to get to it.

Here’s how it looks so far:

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Somebody’s Watching Me

I actually finished the first draft of a short story yesterday. It’s very rough, but it’s still a draft, and it’s finished. I’ll take it, thank you very much, and it was only 1200 words or so when I started working on it and it’s now about 3700, so I’ll gladly take a 2500 word tally for the day. Huzzah! I also started writing another one that’s at about 500 words right now, and I sort of have an idea where it’s going to go and how I’m going to finish it, so I take that as a win. I also have to write another one this weekend, and do some Scotty work and some other things, but am very excited to be writing again.

I’m still afraid I’m not able to do it on a daily basis, and everything I am writing is garbage, but hey, what can I say? Even producing work makes me feel insecure.

Paul and I have been watching the Hulu original series, Future Man, and Constant Reader, it’s hilarious, especially if you catch all the 1980’s references. But no worries, it’s just as enjoyable if you don’t. It’s a science fiction/time travel mess, borrowing tropes openly from other scifi–everything from The Last Starfighter to The Terminator to The Abyss–but it’s done reverentially, and it is very much aware. It does start a bit slow, but once it gets going it is hilarious. We’ll probably finish watching it tonight after the LSU-Texas A&M game.

The best character in the show is Wolf, played absolutely straight by Derek Wilson, who is absolutely pitch-perfect in the role. The show’s premise–a combination of both The Last Starfighter and The Terminator–is that in a dystopic future, the ‘Resistance’ sent a video game designed to find someone who would be their ultimate savior back in time, so that they can come back and kill the person who is, in this time, ultimately responsible for the dystopian future they live in. That person turns out to be Josh Futturman, who works as a janitor at Kronish Labs and lives with his parents. Played perfectly by Josh Hutcherson from The Hunger Games, Josh is just an ordinary guy, a bit of a loser with no girlfriend and no future–until the characters from his favorite video game, Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wilson) suddenly show up in his bedroom and change everything, Eliza Coupe is also terrific as Tiger–but the show doesn’t really hit its stride until they start traveling through time to save humanity from its ultimate destruction in their future. And my God, is it ever funny. Derek Wilson steals the show right out from under the rest of the cast, though–and if he doesn’t at least get an Emmy nom for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, there needs to be investigation into Emmy voting.

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Here’s Derek Wilson as Wolf:

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And now, back to the spice mines. I want to finish that short story this morning before it’s time for the Iron Bowl.

And by the way, Ivy Pochoda’s Wonder Valley continues to enthrall.

 

Talking in Your Sleep

My God, that Saints game. My God. There I was, watching the game as I went about my business of the day–I’ve learned not to solely focus on the Saints games, as I can hardly handle the stress–and thinking, well, seven in a row is still pretty damned good, and this loss doesn’t mean the season will end prematurely because we can still regroup. Can I be blamed for moving into the “acceptance” phase? We were down by fifteen points with about three minutes left in the game. BLAM! The Saints move down the field and score, and it’s 31-23. Yeah, sure, but we have to kick-off and the defense hasn’t exactly played well all day, right? And we’d need a two-point conversion to force overtime, on top of that. But you know–that glimmer of hope was there. And then sure enough, there it was–a great stand on fourth down and the Saints get the ball back. Paul had fallen asleep on the couch somehow, and I woke up him up when I shrieked when the Saints got the ball down to about the fifteen yard line for a first down–so he was awake to see the next play; that insane juggling catch for Alvin Kamara that he took in for a touchdown. And sure enough, there it was–the two point conversion. Tied, 31-31, with about a minute left in the game. Still plenty of time though for the Redskins…but it was not to be. OVERTIME. The defense forced a three and out and the Saints marched right down the field and kicked the winning field goal.

I still can’t believe it. 8-2. Eight in a row.

I turned to Paul and said, “remember back in September when we wrote off this football season?”

At that point, the Saints were 1-2 and LSU had just lost to Troy. Troy. TROY. We were looking at probably the worse LSU season since 1999, and the Saints weren’t looking much better. “Oh, well, we had a good run,” I remember saying to Paul. “It’s been a long time since both the Saints and LSU were bad at the same time.” (I distinctly remember one weekend a while back being very excited because both LSU and the Saints had won on the same weekend.) Now, the Saints are 8-2, LSU is 8-3 and, with a win over Texas A&M next weekend and a possible bowl win, could have a 10 win season.

And people are talking Super Bowl for the Saints. I think that’s a tad premature, but it’s kind of exciting all the same. It’s been awhile since the Saints have won eight in a row–probably going back to the year we DID win the Super Bowl.

And…LSU is looking really good. The game this weekend, a 30-10 win over Tennessee, was sloppy; but the weather was insane and hey, a win is a win. It’s almost as though that loss to Troy woke LSU up; when we went to the season opener against BYU in the Dome I wasn’t impressed with this year’s Tigers. They seemed to sleepwalk through the game, and the same again the next week when we went to the home opener against Tennessee-Chattanooga. Then came the embarrassing loss at Mississippi State, the sluggish win over Syracuse–and the horrible embarrassment of losing to Troy. But that loss seemed to snap the Tigers out of their season malaise; as though they finally realized they couldn’t just show up and win. They’ve only lost once since then–to Alabama, and hey, they’re only undefeated and ranked number one in the country, and the Tigers weren’t humiliated; it was a much closer game than the 24-10 would indicate. The win over Florida at their stadium, 17-16, was the start of Florida’s slide that got their coach fired; and good Lord! That come from behind win over Auburn? We watched the first half and the first drive of the second in our hotel room in Toronto; we had to leave to go meet friends for drinks and then dinner. I followed the game on my phone and could not believe they came back. I shouted in the Sheraton club lounge when my phone told me the game ended. (And Auburn trounced Georgia, when Georgia was undefeated and ranked Number One, setting up their Iron Bowl showdown with Alabama next weekend with the SEC West and the play-offs on the line; kind of similar to that year of the Kick Six. Auburn lost to LSU that year, too.)

Next year could be an awesome year for LSU….and this season could be an awesome one for the Saints.

Lesson learned; never count out those Louisiana teams after September.

Oh, yes, I am also in Facebook jail for seven days. I probably waste too much time on there anyway, so without that distraction maybe I can get everything done that I want to get done this week. We shall see, shan’t we?

And now back to the spice mines.

Here’s Charlie Hunnam, flipping off Facebook and Zuckerberg.

 

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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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Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)

Saturday morning! I finished reading my advance copy of Alison Gaylin’s If I Die Tonight last evening, and was completely blown away by it–so much so that I tried to start reading something else and just had to put it aside for a while. I read my next book for a bit in bed before going to sleep–it’s an advance copy of Laura Lippman’s Sunburn, and it, too, is quite extraordinary–and this morning am still processing both. I’ll no doubt finish Sunburn this weekend as well–I am already itching to get back to it, although I have other things I simply must do this morning–but the kitchen is already cleaned up. I need to do the floors and put some finishing touches on things down here, and I might clean the windows. I have an essay to finish writing and I want to work on the Scotty book some; possibly some other things as well. It would be incredibly easy to sit in my easy chair and waste the day watching college football…but I’m not going to. Tonight is the LSU-Alabama game…sigh. Obviously, I want LSU to win, but it’s such a long shot, and Alabama just looks unstoppable this year. Sigh.

While work on the new Scotty has been incredibly slow going, part of that is attributable to the post-Bouchercon malaise, methinks. I feel very confident that I’m going to be able to get back to work on it today and make significant progress. I know what the underlying theme of the book is, and now it’s simply a question of being able to work the personal story and the crime story together and make it work. Rereading these old Scotty has helped; putting together the Scotty concordance/Bible is also going to help in ways I can’t even imagine right now.

Reading brilliantly written books also helps a lot. I can’t recommend reading great writers enough as a learning experience for writers. I always say that the best writers inspire me when I read their work; I think part of the reason I’m so fired up this morning to get to work is because I read a brilliant novel last night and started reading another one before bed…and have even more on deck that I know are going to be equally brilliant. This excites me to NO end, Constant Reader.

I also want to revise that old y/a manuscript and get it going. I know now, having both reread and outlined it, what was wrong with it and why it didn’t work. I am very excited about this, as well.

It’s been a while since I’ve been excited about writing, and it feels terrific.

And now, I should get  back to the spice mines. Here’s a Saturday hunk for you, Constant Reader.

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Tonight, I Celebrate My Love

Thursday. The weekend is nigh, and Paul and I are considering going to see It at long last, as there is no LSU game on Saturday. I also am going to Costco, and want to make it to the gym to do some detestable cardio. But I will also do some stretching, so there’s that. I really need to start getting into a regular habit of going again. I always feels so much better after I work out…you’d think that would be enough motivation to go, you know?

But you would be wrong.

I also am looking forward to getting back into my reread of The Haunting of Hill House, which blows me away on every reread. October is almost over, and so my concentration on just reading horror will come to an end with October 31st; I will go on to End of Watch by Stephen King when I finish this reread, and then I’m going to dig into all the ARCs and advance copies I got at Bouchercon, which is terribly exciting. Laura Lippman, Alison Gaylin, Ivy Pochoda, and Adam Sternburgh! My new Donna Andrews, The Finch Who Stole Christmas, also arrived yesterday, which is terribly exciting. I have a lot of great reading in store.

I worked on revising the new Scotty a bit yesterday, and was terribly pleased to discover that what I’d already written wasn’t, in fact, a steaming pile of crap like I thought it was. Distance does, in fact, help. So I am going to try to get those initial chapters all revised by Sunday before putting it aside again and diving back into the WIP, for it’s last tweaks. I’m feeling a lot better about all of this, to be honest…not sure where this burst of out of nowhere self-confidence has come from, but there you are.

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

For Throwback Thursday, here’s one of my sluttier Halloween costumes, Gay Beach Volleyball Player.

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I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart

I wish the time would change already. I don’t know why it was moved back another week or two, but seriously.

I didn’t get as much done yesterday as I needed to, but that’s okay, you know. Any progress is better than no progress, and I am inching closer to the finish line. Yesterday I started doing a line edit of Jackson Square Jazz, but decided that it would be easier now to just do an electronic edit–there’s a lot that needs to be fixed and changed (I cannot believe what a messy manuscript I turned into Kensington all those years ago!) and so instead I am rereading it and making an outline from it, as well as making notes on continuity errors that need to be checked against later volumes in the series…you so rarely get a chance to correct them from the beginning, you know? I really shouldn’t let this opportunity to correct the continuity mistakes in the Scotty series go by; plus I also see this as an excellent opportunity to finally get the Scotty concordance/Bible done, so as to avoid these problems in the future. But it’s a lot of work, seriously, and I do wonder if I am using all of this as an excuse not to work on the new one.

In fact, I am wondering if I am using this as an excuse to not work on many things, if I’m going to be completely honest.

In other exciting news, we’ve got tickets for LSU-Arkansas. Huzzah!

But I did start rereading the Scotty WIP last night and started making an outline for it. I’m also going to slowly start revising it, based on the notes I’ve made, and keep going forward. I’ve not heard back from any agents, but I am going to focus on Scotty this week and then spend the weekend and the next week to tweak the book I am submitting for representation. Another young adult novel that i wrote a while back and put in the drawer because I didn’t know how to fix what was wrong with it–of course, last night it came to me how to fix it, so I am now trying to figure out when to squeeze working on THAT into my already busy, hectic writing schedule.

Sigh, life as a Gregalicious is never easy or for the faint of heart.

And now back to the spice mines.

Here’s a hunk for your Tuesday:

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