Keep On Loving You

Sunday and I have a lot of work to get done today. My kitchen is an absolute mess; I have a load of laundry in the washing machine; and I have to get back to writing and revising. I was terrible yesterday; I took the day off from doing anything and everything. I was tired, and so thought relaxing was okay for me. I did wake up early this morning and feel somewhat refreshed and relaxed, which is quite nice, actually. I intend to get a lot done. Yesterday I intended to get a lot done, but got sidetracked by the LSU baseball game (GEAUX TIGERS!), and the Tigers defeated number one ranked Oregon State for the second day in a row to make it to the finals this week; a best of three series starting Monday night. It’s an all SEC final; the Tigers are taking on the Florida Gators, whom they defeated in the SEC tournament finals and will have vengeance on their minds. Should be a fun series, and of course we’ll have an SEC team as national champion again, regardless of who wins. Woo-hoo!

I read Carson McCullers’ Reflections in a Golden Eye yesterday. I enjoyed reading it, and McCullers has a really unique grasp of language. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s a really short novel, and I would have liked to see it go a little deeper. The book felt very emotionless and cold to me–not something I recall taking away from The Member of the Wedding all those years ago–and given the twisted personal dynamics of the characters and their interactions with each other; the adultery, the deeply closeted self-loathing,  the mental illness of Alison  and her strange relationship with her Filipino houseboy, the odd single-mindedness of the young private with whom the self-loathing closet case becomes attached to; there were just so many ways to tell this story more deeply rather than skimming over the surface the way McCullers chose to tell her story. And it’s such a fascinating story, too. I’d like to watch the film again–I saw it on television years ago and so much had been cut out it was barely understandable, but a great cast including Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, and Julie Harris.

My next read will be Daniel Woodrell’s Tomato Red.

We started watching Spike TV’s The Mist last night–I finally found the Spike app for my Apple TV, duh–and while the dialogue isn’t great and the acting is not good, the premise is great, and I’m hoping the show finds its voice and the actors find their characters; it’s great when a show starts out of the gate on fire, but some are more of a slow burn before they get their legs. Supernatural, for example, really got going in its second season. The Mist is one of my favorite King novellas, and I actually really enjoyed the film that was already made of it. I’m not sure why they decided to make a series out of it–there are so many great King stories and novels that haven’t been adapted, and some of the others seem much more series-friendly than The Mist…I would personally love to see The Talisman made into a series, for example, and The Eyes of the Dragon–hell, even Insomnia would make a great TV series. Or The Regulators/Desperation…oh, maybe someday when I am a television producer.

As if.

All right, I guess I should head back into the spice mines. Here’s a Sunday hunk to get your week off to a pleasant start.

631de2adca325c3afd2738b8f6f18ebf

 

Time for Me to Fly

Thursday. I guess the storm has passed, as all is calm and sunshiney outside this morning. It actually was last night as well; I wound up with the entire day off because all of our testing events were cancelled, so I got to watch Real Housewives of New York in real time, and then Paul and I started watching Claws, which we really like. I’d forgotten I have the TNT app on our AppleTV, so we can also watch Ellen Barkin’s new series, Animal Kingdom,  as well. Now if I could only find that Nick Jonas playing gay show, Kingdom, we’d be all set for a couple of weeks.

I wound up not working on the WIP yesterday; I needed a day off from it after working so hard to get caught up on it, and I’ll be diving into it again tonight after I get home from work. I am very excited about it–trying not to get that way; one cannot allow oneself to get TOO excited about anything in this business; that is the quickest way to madness–but I am happier with this manuscript than I have been with any other I’ve written in a very long time.

I also spent some time yesterday in my easy chair with a purring kitty sleeping in my lap while I read more of Lisa Unger’s stunning Ink and Bone, which is simply extraordinary. The great thing about discovering Lisa Unger last year with Crazy Love You is there is an extensive backlist; I have a lot of great  reading in my future thanks to Ms. Unger’s talents and work ethic. Huzzah!

And on that note, I am heading back into the spice mines. Here’s a Throwback Thursday for you, Peter Barton from his The Powers of Matthew Star days.

peter_barton_1_shirtless

Ridin’ the Storm Out

I can’t remember the last time we got this much rain in New Orleans. It seriously feels like it’s been raining non-stop every day for months. And I don’t mean the usual, around- three-every-afternoon-it’s-gotten-so-humid-it-turns-into-rain rain; I mean, nonstop, pretty much all day long every day rain, sometimes with thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure as well. Of course, yesterday, today,  and tomorrow it all has to do with a tropical weather system; which means endless rain until at the very least Thursday, and maybe even beyond.  Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel is in town, or at least was; that’s always unpleasant. The naming of this storm as Cindy also makes me uneasy; Cindy was a named storm in the summer of 2005 that came through New Orleans, something that most people have forgotten about that summer of storms. Katrina was actually the third storm system to hit New Orleans that year; in July, in back to back weeks, we were hit by Cindy and Dennis. I had a very visceral reaction when I heard what this storm would be named, quite frankly.

Heavy sigh.

The good news is I am back on schedule with the revisions! Yes, somehow I managed to pull it off, primarily because yesterday I was able to get through four chapters before I went to work. I’m now on Chapter Eleven, of nineteen; if I go back to one per day the whole thing will be finished by the 30th, in time for another going-over on my four-day holiday weekend. I need to rewrite the ending almost completely, though, so that won’t be as easy; there’s a twentieth chapter that needs to be appended onto the book that wraps everything up. As I get closer to the final chapters, there’s going to be a lot more work to be done. But I am enjoying myself, enjoying getting my ‘house’ in order. And that’s something.

I’ve also decided on what story I want to submit to a major anthology later this year; and I know exactly how I need to completely revise the story I’ve selected to make it better, to give it a better shot at getting accepted. It’s still a long shot, but I am determined to get into one of these anthologies one of these years.

I also need to run to the grocery store this morning, which could be horrifying–it depends on how people are reacting to this coming storm. I get the sense that most people aren’t too concerned about it–it’s not like work was cancelled today or anything–but I do need bread and milk, which are always amongst the first things to go with a storm coming. Heavy sigh.

Ah, well. Might as well get a move on; groceries aren’t going to just magically appear on my doorstep.

Here’s a hot guy in the rain:

8445daf527e1bca590d2839967f87af3

Roll With The Changes

Ah, Tuesday.

There’s a potential hurricane out there in the Gulf; yesterday the Gulf parishes and those adjacent went into hurricane watch status, with flash flood warnings and all that entails. Hurray! Only nineteen days into hurricane season…and we’re off to a good start. But I am very happy that this hurricane season I have a new car; which I still am in love with, I might add. I am still not used to the easy maneuverability; it catches me off guard sometimes with how easy it is to turn, or park, or get out of  parking spaces. All of which, of course, is lovely, as is the smooth ride.

Anyway, tropical storm conditions should be here sometimes this afternoon, which should make the drive home from work pleasant. It’s already gloomy and gray out there this morning; they’re saying this one might be named Cindy, and while I haven’t read everything on Weather.com thus far, it looks like Bret’s coming into the Caribbean Sea as well; although he looks to be more of a danger to South and Central America, Heavy heaving sigh. Looks like we’re going to have a highly active hurricane season this year.

Yay.

It looks like we might be giving up on Between; the third episode, which we watched last night, passed the campy enjoyability of overacting and bad writing to just bad. We may give it another episode–primarily because we don’t have anything else to watch as of yet, although we might go back to Turn, which we lost interest in during its second season (primarily because of a bad storyline that they seemed determined to drag out as much as possible) but was otherwise quite enjoyable; plus Jamie Bell, who plays the lead, was Billy in Billy Elliott when he was younger, so I am rather partial to him. I also love the time period, having a lifelong fascination with the Revolutionary War/colonial period (well, I love American history, and all history, really) but it was my fascination with the colonial period/Revolutionary War that initially triggered my interest in history.

I managed to rip through two chapters of the revision yesterday, and if I keep this pace going, I should be able to get the revision completely finished going into my long weekend of the 4th of July, which is when I intend to do all the polishing I need to get done. Paul will be off seeing his mother, which means I will get a lot of cleaning and reading done, and will probably be looking for old movies to watch–I’ll probably watch the live-action Beauty and the Beast while he’s gone, and of course there are a couple of shows we started watching that I can go back and finish–like MTV’s Scream–in order to keep myself entertained while he’s gone.

I also started writing a short story yesterday for a romance anthology I want to submit to; “Passin’ Time.” This is a story I’ve wanted to write for a long time; it’s kind of a sequel to “Everyone Says I’ll Forget in Time”, which was, I think, in the Foolish Hearts anthology (or was it Fool for Love?) about ten years or so ago. I’ve always wanted to write the sequel story, revisiting the burgeoning romance set up in the original story. (I very rarely want to revisit short story characters, so actually thinking about a sequel to a story I’ve written is in and of itself a curious enough occasion to make me want to do it.)

It’s now dark and raining outside; so I guess the outer, initial bands of  this storm i are starting to come ashore, or a storm front coming in ahead of the storm is here. (The bands weren’t supposed to be here until later this afternoon.)

So, I should probably head back into the spice mines before work.

Here’s your Tuesday morning hunk:

17553972_1306008136113914_7938802542690542212_n

 

De Do Do Do, Da Da Da Da

Ah, Monday.

I was shameless yesterday; I blew off not only going to make groceries, but didn’t revise or write a damned thing. But I also started reading Lisa Unger’s Ink and Bone, which is wonderful; I’ve quickly become a fan of la Unger. Like Dan Chaon, her work straddles the line between crime and horror; and also like Chaon, her use of language is exceptional and mind-blowing, which of course makes me feel like a rank amateur.

On the other hand, I don’t mind that feeling; it certainly keeps one humble.

But I am now further behind on the revision than I originally intended, and I have a lot of original writing/revising of short stories to do now; I found (while filing) my folder full of submission calls and so forth for short stories–this is how I miss deadlines; I print them out and make notes–even noting on the print out what story is right for that submission call–and then put them in that file and never look at it again for months.

Clearly, my system is flawed. And as I glanced through the folder yesterday, I noted what stories need revising for submission purposes: “Death and the Handmaidens,” “The Scent of Lilacs in the Rain”, “Fireflies”, “The Ditch”, and “The Terrortorium.”

Heavy heaving sigh. I also need to write a new one for another call–for romance short stories; although I won’t mind so much if I miss that one. I’m not very good at romance, as I have repeatedly proven over and over again. But I keep trying.

Last night, we officially gave up on The Magicians. I just didn’t care about any of the characters, nor did I care about the growing conflict between different types of magic that was clearly coming. We started watching a Netflix original called Between, which is set in a small town in Canada called Pretty Lake (how do I know it was Canada? The gang of bully-ish high school jocks are hockey players!), where some strange ailment strikes the town suddenly, and everyone over the age of twenty-two dies quickly and painfully, without showing any symptoms. The town is immediately quarantined by the government, fenced off and guarded by armed soldiers–no one in or out–and while some of the conflict between characters seems a bit forced, and some of the characters aren’t particularly likable..we’re hoping the series picks up as it goes, like that weird mishmash show that combined The Walking Dead and The Breakfast Club that we enjoyed and whose name I can’t think of right now. I will keep you posted, Constant Reader–although I keep forgetting that we also have Amazon Prime streaming on the television and never look for things there very often. #madness

So, that’s where I am on this fine Monday morning; reading Lisa Unger and worrying about how I am going to get all the writing and revising done that I need to.

And as I head back into the spice mines, here’s a hunk to get your week started off properly:

todd sanfield

 

King of Wishful Thinking

Friday!

Tomorrow, though, is going to be a little on the heinous side: I have Wacky Russian in the morning, then I have to go into the office for a few hours; meeting a friend who’s moving away for lunch after that; and then I have to come home and make macaroni-and-cheese for a party I am going to in the evening. In other words, I will barely have time to breathe all day. Hardly my idea of a peaceful, relaxing Saturday, but what can you do, right? I don’t usually have crazy Saturdays like this very often, so there is that. And then I have Sunday to get groceries, etc.

Meh, it happens.

The revision proceeds apace; I got more than one chapter–one and a half, say–done yesterday; I am still behind schedule slightly–a chapter a day pretty much adds up to finished right on June 30th. Then, I can spend the 4th weekend adding a coat of polish and then….time to start sending it out to agents. Keep your fingers crossed for me, Constant Reader!

I slept really well last night, which was all kinds of awesome. I’m not groggy or tired this morning, and I also slept late–I don’t have to be at the office until later today; I had thought about going to the grocery store this morning but I think I will wait until Sunday, simply because of the parking situation out on the street is easier to deal with Sunday mornings than it is on Fridays; and I can stop on my way home from work to get the stuff I need for the mac-and-cheese, and a few other things we need to have today. I am working late on Wednesday next week, so that’s when I’ll go to Costco, probably; although I am not entirely sure I need to go for any other reason than wanting to, really.

No, I need Pellegrino, and I also need laundry pods. We’ll see how I feel on Wednesday; i could always wait until the following weekend.

I haven’t had time to read any more on Since We Fell, because what spare time I’ve had the last couple of days has been spent on the revision.

And now, methinks I had best get back to the revision.

Here’s a Friday hunk to get your weekend going:

male-models-fitness-hunk-photography-21-1124x731

Voices Inside My Head

I was whining about hating to do my revisions recently to my friend Laura recently, and she gave me the best analogy: “I look at my manuscripts as a dirty house I need to clean up and organize.”

Best. Advice. Ever.

I know it’s disturbing and odd, but I love cleaning and organizing. It’s so satisfying to work on a mess and have it all be neat and tidy and sparkling when I’m done; I enjoy this so much that I even let things go for a while, rather than cleaning as I go, so that when I have time I can just go to town. Paul has decided to go visit his mom the week of the 4th of July, for example, and having already requested that Monday the 3rd off so I could have a four day weekend–when Paul told me this my immediate first thought was, oh my God, the cleaning I am going to be able to get done…

I do recognize that this is not normal.

Anyway, but approaching the revisions with this mindset had completely changed how I view doing them; my manuscript is my apartment, it’s filthy and disorganized, and I need to get it in order, cleaned up, and organized so that it reads more smoothly and makes more sense. It’s amazing to me, too, how changing the way I look at doing this has turned it into something I am actually enjoying doing–something I never thought I would say. I’m not sure when exactly I decided that I hated doing revisions–it’s probably a leftover from the old “should have gotten it right the first time” mentality that I used to have–but it’s always been something I don’t like doing, and it also plays into my laziness. Do I HAVE to? was what I always used to whine when my mother would make me do something when I was a kid–what an utterly horrible little shit I was; the more I remember my childhood the more sympathy I have for my parents–and do I HAVE to is the mentality I always seem to take into my revisions.

But looking at it as a cleaning/organizing project? Has opened a whole new world to me.

Another writer friend of mine also offered me this critique of the way I write–“you always step on the action.” She then went on to explain that I have a habit of starting a chapter after something has happened, and then have the character flashback to what happened; this kills the suspense and takes urgency out of the story. I had never really noticed this habit, but when she told me this over lunch one day last fall, I began thinking about it and thought, yes, I do that sometimes.

As I revise this manuscript, I realized I DO IT ALL THE TIME. At least, I do in this manuscript, and she’s right; it does slow the pacing, kills off some of the suspense, and cuts back on the urgency. So I am fixing that–reordering my chapters, moving scenes around and having to redirect the structure and flow; and who knew? It’s fun. I am also trying to clean up the language, focus on maintaining a mood, and so forth as I go along, but I think once I get this restructured, I am going to go through and edit for language only in the next draft. I am still hoping to get this all done by 4th of July weekend (another benefit to Paul being gone that weekend) so I can spend that weekend cleaning up the language.

Who knew?

And on that note, this chapter isn’t going to revise itself for me.

For Throwback Thursday, here’s another hunk from my youth, who helped me realize oh, yes, I like boys/men; the wonderful Christopher Reeve:

b58ba527f7467862653a9dca5f60aec4