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.

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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.

Come on Eileen

Saturday! I managed to finish Chapter One last night and started Chapter Two; huzzah! They are crap, of course, but I’ll worry about that later. I finally got a good night’s sleep today; I have Wacky Russian this morning, have to go to the office to work for a bit, and am going to make a Costco run on the way home. (Just a minor one.) It’s so nice to feel rested; I am hoping that tonight I’ll be so worn out I won’t have any choice but to sleep deeply and well.

I can dream, at any rate.

My weekend this weekend is actually, therefore, Sunday and Monday; it’s going to be strange to have Monday off–next weekend is my birthday, so I am taking a three day weekend to celebrate–so I am, of course, hoping to get some more Scotty written, some more of the line edit finished, and maybe revise a short story or two. Ambitious plans, to be sure, but I am nothing if not overly ambitious. We’re also trying to find a new show to watch; Orphan Black ends this weekend, Game of Thrones only has a few more episodes to run, and  I suspect Animal Kingdom is also approaching its season finale. We never did finish the final season of Bates Motel, though, and there have to be some other shows out there that we just haven’t discovered yet, or forgot we watched.

I want to finish reading Journey Into Fear this weekend so I can get started on my annual reread of The Haunting of Hill House. I think I might read something more noirish after that; not sure what, but there are plenty of things for me to read around the house, believe you me. Maybe I’ll do something I’ve really grown to love over the last year or so–a short story challenge, where I read a short story every day and then blog about it. I do love short stories, and I really would like to write more of them. I’d love to do a collection of my crime and horror short stories…perhaps by the end of the year I would have enough of them on hand to actually put a collection together. (I may already have enough; I’m not sure, but I’d love to have some new, unpublished material.) Maybe I’ll wait and do short-story September, which would be way fun.

And on that note, I think I shall head off to the spice mines. Here’s a Saturday hunk for you viewing pleasure, Constant Reader:

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Total Eclipse of the Heart

I love to read.

I am so enormously grateful to my sister for teaching me how to read before I started school. I’ve always enjoyed reading (maybe not textbooks; I’ve never enjoyed being forced to read, which is also why I have so much antipathy for classics I was forced to read for classes); reading, for me, has always been pleasurable. I like reading books and being surprised by the author; the creative part of my mind is always trying to figure out the plot, predict twists to come, etc. I love language, and how writers can piece words together into sentences and paragraphs that paint pictures in my head, create characters that are like people I know and care about and root for (or against, for that matter), that create stories and tales that explain incomprehensible behavior and make me understand it, even sympathize with them.

As I always say when I teach character workshops, “villains don’t think they’re villains.”

It’s been killing me not being able to carve out time for Lyndsay Faye’s The Gods Of Gotham, but Paul is going to a play this evening so I will be able to curl up in my easy chair with it tonight and go to town. I am loving this gloriously written story; and I intend to finish reading it this weekend if it kills me. I am also hoping to get to go see Dunkirk this weekend at some point; it’s playing at the Prytania Theater, which is incredibly easy for us to get to, or we could head out to the parish to see it in Harahan. I’ve not decided which is the better option. My back and hips are still sore this morning, sadly, and I’ve begrudgingly cancelled Wacky Russian for tomorrow morning. But I think letting everything rest is probably the best thing for me, even though I hate missing a workout.

Wasn’t this the year I’d intended to lose weight and get in better shape? Why, yes, as a matter of fact, it was. Heavy heaving sigh.

I started working on my short story “The Brady Kid” the other night; it’s not going well, less than a thousand words, all of which were like pulling teeth, so I’ve decided to put that aside. I also line edited some more of the WIP, which is taking forever, but I think I am doing an incredibly good job with it thus far. I intend to work on it some more this weekend, as well; also intend to get some work on the new Scotty done this weekend. We shall see, shan’t we?

I also need to get our plane tickets for Bouchercon in Toronto.

Sigh. It never ends.

Okay, here’s a Friday hunk to slide you into the weekend.

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Beat It

Throwback Thursday!

Exhausted this morning after a lengthy day yesterday of office testing and then bar testing last night. I slept really well; my back is still a bit sore as are my hips; I may have to preemptively cancel Wacky Russian this week because I don’t think it’s wise to push my muscles when they are still recovering from whatever it was I did to them in the first place. I only managed to get started on another short story yesterday, “The Brady Kid,” and maybe got about eight hundred words of it done; I was too sore and too tired to do anything else. I hate losing work days like that, but at least this morning I don’t have to be into the office until later, and I feel rested and not quite as sore this morning. SO maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to be productive.

A boy can dream, right?

It’s raining right now; a thunderstorm rolled in sometime around five this morning. Thunder woke me into a half-awake state, and I was able to fall back asleep for a few more hours–another sign I was really tired and in need, desperately, of rest. I am awake now, on my first cup of coffee, and could easily slip back beneath the covers and return to sleep; it is truly amazing to me how crucial sleep–something I never really even paid much attention to when I was younger–has become to me as I’ve gotten older.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to finish The Gods of Gotham by the end of the week. I haven’t decided on my next book–Blame by Jeff Abbott, or something by Eric Ambler (whom I’ve never read), or the new Donna Andrews, Gone Gull, are the most likely picks; I’ve also got an advance copy of Laura Lippman’s Sunburn; so many choices! My TBR pile is a veritable smorgasbord of good reading options.

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

Today’s Throwback Thursday hunk, male supermodel of the 90s Marcus Schenkenberg:

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Flashdance…What a Feeling

Tuesday! I finished the second draft of “For All Tomorrow’s Lies” yesterday; I think the ending still needs some work, so I am going to let it sit for a while longer; maybe look at it again next weekend. I also got started on the prologue for the next Scotty, Crescent City Charade, but I think that was merely procrastination to keep me away from line editing. This time, I am making the first paragraphs of the prologue a play on Nabokov’s opening for Lolita, but am not entirely sure that will not change; I was also thinking The Great Gatsby would be a good, maybe better, fit. I also spent some time reading Lyndsay Faye’s The Gods of Gotham, which is so fucking good I want to live inside its pages.

Which is pretty damned good, quite frankly.

I had severe back pain yesterday; last night I treated it with Ben-Gay and a heating pad, and that seemed to fix it. This morning there’s still some pain and tightness, so I am using the heating pad again as well as slathering my back with Ben-Gay. I’m not sure if I strained my back muscles during my Saturday workout, or if they’ve simply tightened up from being stretched before the workout; which is irritating. If they’ve simply tightened up, then I should stretch them again–but if they’re strained, I don’t want to make it worse.

Heavy heaving sigh.

Looks like I’ll be bringing the heating pad to the office with me. The only thing I truly hate about getting older is the aches and pains, along with the loss of energy. It is amazing what a difference heat can make to sore muscles, though. As I’ve sat here with the heating pad against my back while I type, my back feels better. So weird. So, so weird.

Which makes me tend to think it isn’t a strain…oy.

All right, I’m heading back into the spice mines.

Here’s a Tuesday hunk for you:

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Fading Fast

Good morning, Saturday! I have Wacky Russian this morning, and we are meeting friends for dinner later on, so I’ll probably spend the day reading, cleaning and doing laundry before that. I’m probably going to try to finish the revision of “For All Tomorrow’s Lies”, and maybe make some progress on the line edit as well. I am putting off making a grocery run until tomorrow; not sure if that’s wise or if I should just get it over with today, so I don’t have to leave the house tomorrow at all…decisions, decisions.

It seems a bit gray out there this morning; Paul is leaving shortly to go play tennis, which might (and most likely will be) rained out at some point. I don’t think it rained yesterday, which might be the first day since May it hasn’t rained here. I just hope it doesn’t rain on me on the way to the gym; that always sucks.

I could also spend some time organizing computer files, which always seems to get out of hand very quickly. I hate that. It comes from being lazy and stashing things quickly, always thinking I’ll straighten this up later. So, in the meantime, it drives me crazy and it builds up and builds up until it takes hours for me to reorganize everything.

Then again, it also helps me procrastinate and not write, so there’s that explained.

And as I glance around the kitchen this morning, it’s such  a mess. Heavy heaving sigh. Stacks of paper, stacks of books, the floor needs cleaning…ad my knives need sharpening, too. It never ends.

As I said yesterday, one of the things I find myself most interested in exploring in my writing now is damage, how people became damaged and how they cope with it, while contrasting their damage with mundanities of life. We all have our own damage; carry the signs of it with us internally all the time. My story “Housecleaning” was inspired by the smell of bleach, which reminded me one day of my mother–and that became the opening line: The scent of bleach always reminded him of his mother. Part of the genius of shows like Weeds and Ozark was the impact of their parents’ criminal behavior on their children; how do kids have a normal life when their parents are criminals and have thus lost their moral compass, as well as the morality of being a parent? “Housecleaning” was about such a kid, who grew up under the thumb of a con artist mother, who as he got older was required to assist in the cons. And when you’re assisting your mother in conning marks as a child, what kind of adult do you become?

I am also very far behind on my schedule for the summer. I’d hoped to have the noir novel’s first draft finished by the first of September, so I could spend the fall writing the next Scotty book while the noir rested. I’ve not even started the noir yet, still am not sure what the true plot is–it’s amorphous and keeps shifting in my head–but if I can get this line edit finished, and start sending that manuscript out to agents, I can buckle down and get the noir written, and still maybe get the Scotty finished by the end of the year.  Depending on how the scheduling works, I may end up having to put the noir aside until the Scotty is finished. And I am fairly certain of what I want to write after the Scotty and the noir are done. I just need to get them done.

Heavy heaving sigh.

All right, I am going to clean the kitchen before the gym.

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

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Cool Jerk

Our twenty-second anniversary was Thursday this week–where DID the time go? It was a lovely evening, spent getting caught up on Animal Kingdom and Orphan Black. We’ll probably get a pizza from That’s Amore tonight, and there you have it; living large in the lower Garden District. Woo-hoo!

I came to the painful decision to set aside “A Holler Full of Kudzu” last night while streaming Ozark (which is truly amazing; can’t wait to watch more) because there’s too much story there for it to be a short story; it might be a novella or a even a novel. I worried about that when I started writing it; and part of the reason I am having so much trouble with it is because I can’t figure out how to condense all the story there into a short story. If there’s a way to do it, putting the story aside and letting it percolate in the back of my mind is the right answer; today I am going to try to finish reading A Feast of Snakes before rereading the WIP and making the final polish before being officially finished with it and (gulp) starting to target agents for it. This is rather worrying for me, obviously; it’s not like I am obsessive or something. Ah, well.

Paul is heading into the office today, so after I get home from Wacky Russian I should have the house to myself to read and clean. I may work on revising one of the stories I’ve written recently; I reread one of them the other day and made voluminous notes on how to fix the story; still not sure I’d be able to sell it anywhere, but those are the risks when you write short stories. I think I have a handle on the story I want to submit to the MWA anthology this year, and I think I have figured out how to fix an old story that’s been collecting dust in the archives as well. So, my ambitious plan for this weekend is to finish reading a book; start revising the WIP, and rewrite two short stories. It’s very ambitious, I know, and I probably won’t even come remotely close to getting all of that done, but you know there’s always hope. And I let setting a high bar for myself, you know?

Christ, the house is a mess.

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

Here’s a hunk to get your Saturday off to a nice start.

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