Joy to the World

Sunday morning after probably the best sleep I’ve had in quite some time; it felt lovely, and I am still a bit groggy as I sip my first coffee of the morning. Yesterday was a good day–not a great one–and so this morning I am going to work on some things I didn’t get around to yesterday; running errands, even as briefly as I did yesterday, always seems to throw me off my game for the rest of the day. I did get some cleaning done, did get some organizing done, and today I am going to have to finish those edits and maybe do some reading and cleaning and organizing. Tomorrow morning I am going to get up early and take the car in for an oil change–there’s no end to the excitement around here–and it’s also apparently the first day of spring today. Yay!

We finally were able to watch the latest Scream last night, and we really enjoyed it. I thought it was fairly clever–I also wasn’t really sure how they could do another one–but the meta humor was absolutely there (“it’s a requel! Not a reboot but not a sequel! THE RULES ARE DIFFERENT!”) as well as “I’m Sidney fucking Prescott, of course I have a gun.” Scream was the first slasher movie I saw that I really and truly enjoyed; I loved the addition of humor (that danced very close to the edge of camp but never quite crossed over) in addition to the tension and suspense. We also watched the first episode of The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window or whatever the hell the title is. It’s not bad, but it’s not great, either. Kristen Bell is so eminently likable that it’s easy to watch her (although I kept waiting for her to say that’s a secret I’ll never tell, xoxo Gossip Girl), but it seemed a bit slow. I was, however, impressed with the fact that it’s parody being played absolutely seriously; the title alone tells me it’s parody, but if you go in expecting something along the lines of Airplane! or Police Squad–which is what I thought it was–you’re going to be disappointed. I am not sure if we’ll keep watching–I might, Paul is moving into the hotel on Wednesday and I’ll be home alone until Sunday evening–which means lots of boredom and lots of free time to get things done, I suppose.

Heavy heaving sigh.

I did make my to-do list yesterday so I can start working my way through it this morning. Yay! Always a plus. There’s supposed to be bad weather today, but right now the sun is out and it’s definitely New Orleans spring out there somehow, which is lovely and nice. I should start trying to make it back to the gym more regularly now; definitely should head over there today after I get some things done around here before the afternoon–reading and editing, being worn from working out inevitably keeps me from being productive after I get home; although I suppose I could go later in the day. Decisions, decisions. But it will make me feel a lot better–always a plus–and it should also help me sleep better as well. I am not sure what my work-at-home day tomorrow is going to be like; I may end up having to take the day off depending on how the oil change and so forth goes. (Maybe I should wait until next week. I can’t decide. My oil life still has about 20% use before it becomes a problem; I just worry it will become a problem on a day of the week that I have to work and can’t take it in immediately.) Decisions, decisions….

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely Sunday, Constant Reader, and enjoy your first day of spring.

This Is The Story

Wednesday and pay the bills day. Yay? Yay. At least I can pay them. I remember the days when I had to juggle them, and I frankly do not miss that at all.

I had another poor night of sleep last night but I don’t feel terribly tired this morning, which makes no sense. I even got up out of bed earlier than usual. I woke up several times during the night–which is the worst, really–and yes, checking my Fitbit confirms that I am correct; last night was a shitty night’s sleep. I am sure I will be tired this afternoon, yay. Ah, well, at least I am coming straight home from work tonight and have no errands to run. Yesterday I wasn’t all that tired when I got home. I did some editing on a manuscript (not mine), and I also got my copy of Secret Identity by Alex Segura yesterday–a very good mail week, since Monday brought me the ARC of Chris Holm’s Child Zero; I know what the next two books I’ll be reading will be. Yay! I also have some chores to do around the Lost Apartment tonight when I get home. If I get home early enough I really should go to the gym, though. My body could use the exercise, and maybe that would help me sleep better tonight.

It’s supposedly going to be colder today than it was yesterday; I had to turn the air on when I got home from work because it was very stuffy in the Lost Apartment. You gotta love March in New Orleans! Although I suppose by May I’ll be longing for the bipolar March weather, won’t I?

But I am getting things done and making progress, which is always a lovely thing. I sent the most recent edit of my manuscript to my editor–there are still some issues, methinks, but nothing that I can’t eventually fix. I realized last night one of the problems–probably the primary problem–I have whenever I write a book is that I will think I wrote something when I actually just thought about it; I know things that I don’t share with the reader and that I need to share with them. I also never catch these things in the rereads and revisions, either, because I already know them. This is why I can’t ever not be edited, really.

I also realized last night while editing this other book that I am sort of between books now; this one is in its last stages and I’ve not really started even thinking much about the next Scotty (which I really need to start doing, actually; it even occurred to me last night that after I finish this edit and get my taxes together, I could start working on the Scotty Bible I’ve been meaning to pull together to make life easier for me going forward writing those books…). I know I wanted to work on Chlorine and possibly revise one of those longer novellas in April. There are four short stories I also need to work on for places I want to submit them–it’s been a hot minute since I sent a story out into the world–but I am also in this very strange place where the relaxation from the stress/worry about the manuscript hasn’t really sunk in to me just yet. I’m not sure what’s causing the insomnia, but I think maybe I need to mix up the sleeping assistance things that I take.

And on that note I am going to head into the spice mines. Have a lovely Wednesday, Constant Reader, and I will check in with you again tomorrow morning.

Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)

Another good night’s sleep here in the Lost Apartment, which was lovely. I woke up before six again this morning, but stayed in bed a while longer. It’s cold in New Orleans this morning; currently it’s thirty nine degrees with a predicted high in the low fifties, probably later this afternoon. It is also the day of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in uptown, so I am not leaving the house. Errands would be impossible with streets closed and blocked off anyway. I guess a horrible snowstorm is heading to the northeast, so I hope everyone up there is prepared and ready and stays safe. I have to say I do not miss living in that kind of weather. It may be cold here but at least the sun is out and we have a clear azure sky overhead.

Today I have a lot to do (surprise, right?). I didn’t get nearly as much done yesterday as I needed to as the day kind of blew up around me–it happens sometimes and can’t be helped–with the end result that I didn’t get everything finished, or worked on at least, the way I had planned. Which is fine–no sense crying over spilt milk, the only thing to do is clean it up and get on with it. We had a massive thunderstorm last night (poor Paul had to walk home through it) and then we watched the LSU Gymnastics meet against Utah (LSU triumphed, despite some absurd high-scoring of the Ute gymnasts), and then I kind of relaxed for a bit before going to bed. The latest Scream movie is now available to stream, so I am kind of hoping Paul comes home tonight early enough so we can watch it (yes, I know I could watch it without him and then watch it again, but…) I also managed to get a lot of my chores done last night while I waited for Paul to come home, so I don’t have as many to do today, which means hopefully I can do some new chores that I never get around to (those shutter doors to the laundry room! Those ceiling fan blades!) usually.

The mystery of the banning of The Postman Always Rings Twice continues. I reached out to another friend with a lot of knowledge of the history of crime fiction, with an emphasis on both hard-boiled and noir, and she didn’t think it had been banned in Boston; although it was banned in Canada. And yet, right there on it’s Amazon sales page is this:

First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic of the roman noir. It established James M. Cain as a major novelist with an unsparing vision of America’s bleak underside, and was acknowledged by Albert Camus as the model for The Stranger.”

It really would be interesting if that turned out to simply be a marketing gimmick with absolutely no basis in fact, wouldn’t it? I spend some more time skimming through the Hoopes biography and still have found nothing about the banning or an obscenity trial for the book; it does make me wonder somewhat if the banning of Serenade somehow became conflated with Postman over the years; Cain was banned in Boston, just for a different book. A bold claim, to be sure, but it’s beginning to look that way…and I do think it’s an interesting perspective for an article or an essay. As I become more and more obsessed with finding out about this, I also realize I bet this is how a lot of non-fiction writing gets started, isn’t it?

And anything I find on-line listing “books banned in Boston” does not include Postman. Like I said, interesting.

My heel feels better this morning, but I think it’s best to keep letting it rest before over-exerting it again. I am going to try to return to the gym on Monday, depending on how my foot feels, but I’m not even aware of it this morning as I walk back and forth between my desk and the coffee maker. (Okay I was paying attention just now as I got another cup, and there’s still a bit of discomfort but unnoticeable unless I am paying attention, so that means it’s getting better and I probably shouldn’t push my luck.)

And I think on that note I am going to head into the spice mines. Have a lovely Saturday, Constant Reader, and stay safe from inclement weather.

Happy (Is a Bumpy Road)

I always try to give back however I can.

One of the reasons I do so much volunteer work is because I don’t have money to donate to causes I believe in. So, instead I give my time. I never say no to a charity anthology that wants a story, and I have done a ridiculous amount of volunteer work over the years. I don’t think I can remember, if I wanted to, how many charities I’ve given my time to since I started doing volunteer work. I’ve only had one job since 1999 that wasn’t working for a non-profit, so I’ve logged in a lot of hours working for non-profits as well. But the older I get the less energy I have, and I am trying to cut back on the stress in my life. I’ve been pretty successful–the insomnia is a lot less chronic than it used to be, for one example–and lately, I’ve felt a lot better both physically and emotionally than I have for a long time. I am currently pulling together the Bouchercon anthology for this year–the third time I’ve done the Bouchercon anthology but the first time I’ve had a co-editor, which has lessened the burden significantly–and this will probably be the last time I am going to do a Bouchercon anthology. I am kind of anthology editor-ed out; I think this will be my twenty-fourth go around editing an anthology and I really don’t want to do it again. It’s not an unpleasant task, really…I’ve got the organizational side of things so down-pat I don’t even have to really put much thought into it anymore, either. (It’s actually eerie how well I have the organizing of an anthology down to a science–but one should when it’s the twenty-fourth time you’re doing one. If not, you shouldn’t be doing it.)

I am almost finished editing the manuscript, which is great. Holes and discrepancies are vanishing, language is getting cleaned up, clunky sentences are being unclunked, and I feel much better over all about the book in general. I have to do some anthology work this weekend and I also have to start editing another manuscript that is due by the end of the month. I have a short story to write as well, and then I am going to try to spend April working on Chlorine while I try to plot the new Scotty, which is also starting to come together inside my mind. Doing this revision has helped me with my confidence and my imposter syndrome; I really felt like I’d lost the ability to write when I turned this book in. I wasn’t wrong about it needing work, but I was definitely wrong about losing the ability to write. Usually I have what I call the malaise when I finish a book–burn out is another way of putting it; but I don’t like the way writing a book burns me out sounds, frankly, because that makes it sound like I don’t enjoy it. And I do enjoy writing my books and stories. Sure I complain, but the complaining usually is rooted in the stress of the deadline and compounded by everything else I have to do.

I slept well last night, so well that I have a bit of a sleep hangover this morning that I hope the coffee will help with (it usually does). I am working at home today (yay for work-at-home Fridays!) and it does seem a bit gray outside. I’ve not looked at the temperatures yet or the weather forecast for the day. I won’t be going to the gym today because somehow at work on Wednesday I did something to the heel of my right foot; not entirely sure what exactly it was, but my heel has felt bruised ever since Wednesday afternoon; I think my shoe insert might have shifted and my heel was stepping on its edge, but it hurts and the later it gets in the day, the more it hurts. Walking to the gym isn’t an option for me today and driving just seems silly–especially since I shouldn’t really do any kind of leg exercise that involves my feet. So I am going to see how it goes over the weekend and try to stay off it as much as I can so that whatever I did to it will heal (my heel needs to heal!).

You also never really appreciate how important your heel is to walking until it hurts.

I was correct yesterday about being tired when I got home last night. I did the dishes and ran a load in the dishwasher, then repaired to my chair and watched news, alternating with documentaries (I delved back into the pool of French royalty, or French royalty adjacent, videos on Youtube last night. I’ve also been discovering a lot of gay royals in history lately, too. I really need to read a biography of Frederick the Great, and I’ve long been fascinated by the last of the Medici, Gian Gastone). I did go to bed early last night and slept later–I stayed in bed until seven, scandalous–and so when the coffee kicks in today I should be in a good place as far as getting things done and being productive today. I just wish my heel didn’t still hurt, which is enormously disappointing. One of the great joys of getting older is being more brittle and fragile, apparently. Still have to consider myself lucky, though–I could be a lot worse off physically…and it still freaks me out a bit when I remember that I am, in fact, sixty years old.

I still can’t find any evidence on-line that The Postman Always Rings Twice was tried for obscenity and banned in Boston. I’ve not been able to find any mention of it yet in the Cain biography my friend Laura recommended to me, either.

And on that note, I am going to make another cup of coffee and head into the spice mines. There’s condoms to pack and data to enter and all kinds of chores around here to get done. Have a lovely Friday, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you again tomorrow morning.

Where Would I Be Without You Baby

Thursday morning at last, and the last day of the week in the office for Gregalicious. I didn’t have the greatest sleep last night–I seemed to wake up or be half-asleep a lot–but I don’t feel tired or sleepy this morning. I’m quite delighted by this, but we’ll see how I feel later this afternoon during that “day coming to an end” stretch. I also seem to have injured my foot yesterday. I don’t know how, and it doesn’t make any sense. Best I can figure I had my shoe insert not properly placed and walked on it till the heel bruised slightly, so I started limping yesterday afternoon. I reset the insert–I don’t understand how I didn’t notice that my heel was getting bruised until it was, it seems insane to me this morning–and that made it easier, but this morning it still hurts. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Now I have to stay off it as much as possible until it gets better, which means no walking to the gym in the meantime. Sure I could drive, but that just seems kind of silly, since the gym is actually so close: yes, my gym is about a ten minute walk from my house but I drive to work out instead.

Yeah, not a lot of sense there.

The editing continues to go rather smoothly and am still making progress. I hope to have the whole thing re-edited by Saturday at the latest, and it’s a much stronger book now I think than when I turned it in. I also managed to get a lot of other work done yesterday–this has been actually a very good week for productivity–and I think I am close to being back on track and back to my old self (which always seems to jinx it, doesn’t it?). Yesterday I came dangerously close to zero email in my inbox; I am hoping to make that a definite reality come this weekend.

I got a copy of Cain by Roy Hoopes, the definitive biography of James M. Cain (one of my writing idols) for a project I had in mind–with books being banned and laws being passed to get books removed from libraries or access from those under eighteen, I thought it might be a good time to do a little research into the obscenity trial (attempted banning) of Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, which is not only a great (if incredibly short) book, but incredibly influential for many modern day crime writers. Cain is one of my favorite writers, even if I don’t talk about him much, but I do; I love his work. Imagine my surprise to not be able to find out much information on the Internet about this banning; I believed it was “banned in Boston” (does anyone else remember that phrase? Just me? okay then). I found ONE link to a website discussing it, so naturally I reached out to my friends who are either aficionados or steeped in the history of our genre. The book arrived yesterday, and so I started looking through the index. Nothing. But there was a chapter about two court cases involving Cain that happened around the same time: an accusation of plagiarism from a woman who claimed he stole Mildred Pierce from her, and an obscenity trial for Serenade. And this morning I was able to find some things on line about the trial for Serenade…which also reminded me that I couldn’t believe Serenade hadn’t been controversial at the time it was published; I remember even thinking how did Postman get banned but this one didn’t? I just figured the failed attempt to ban the one resulted in the other getting a pass.

But I also have to say I am a lot more interested in researching the banning of Serenade than I ever was about the banning of Postman. Stay tuned!

So, today I get to come straight home from work (yay!) and I can do some chores around the house so I don’t to have to worry about that this weekend. The Lost Apartment is starting to look better–still messy and there’s still a lot of touching up to do–but if the more overall macro stuff gets done on the weekdays, on the weekends I can do the touching up. I really need to do the shutter doors to the laundry room and the ceiling fans (I hate to do this because I hate ladders and the fans hang so far down from the ceiling you can’t really use one of those long-reach blade cleaners because it inevitably makes them swing and I am afraid one of these days I will put the whole fucking thing down), and of course the windows around my desk need to be done again.

Heavy heaving sigh.

But on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely Thursday, Constant Reader! And I wil check in with you again tomorrow morning on my work-at-home Friday!

Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music

Tuesday morning and ready to start my three days in the office for the week. Or am I?

Hard to say, really.

Yesterday wasn’t a bad day per se; I did my working-at-home stuff, went to the gym, and came home to edit my manuscript–the deeper into it I go, the more I regret turning this mess in as it was, but to be fair, I was fried–and the edits I am making are making the story better, deepening the characters and cleaning up some sloppy-ass writing. I mean, seriously sloppy ass writing. Heavy heaving sigh. But I am actually enjoying editing it, slow as it is going, and at least I am not feeling sleepy tired this morning. I woke up before the alarm, and as always, have about a million miles to go before I can rest.

But that’s fine; better a busy Gregalicious than a bored one with nothing to do.

It’s also hard to believe all the festivals are in just a few weeks–Tennessee Williams and Saints and Sinners; which is why I’ve seen so little of Paul lately. Someone dropped out yesterday and so now I have to fill in teaching a workshop about writing erotica–which of course I’ve done before, but I think this is slightly different:

Friday, March 25

2:30 – 3:45 PM—SAS Master Class

GREG HERREN: WRITING THE EROTIC

Writing about sex is more challenging than it appears. This master class will help writers produce erotic writing grounded in character, setting, and voice, with an eye on how erotica can contribute to, build, and/or resolve story conflict. We’ll explore how the implicit is often more effective than the explicit, and how to make explicit scenes compelling and authentic. With a focus on finding fresh imagery and an original approach, we’ll also look at how humor, bad sex, or even problematic sex lend themselves to a fuller—and more erotic—interaction between two characters. Questions addressed include: How can we make use of the erotic to create more exciting fiction that better reflects the real life and aspects of a character? How can the erotic be the center of a story without being explicitly so? What do we do about hyperbole and how do we grapple with the often hyperbolic feelings around the erotic? How is erotica different from sex writing or porn? And, how can we ultimately make the erotic fit naturally, as an integral part, into the flow of a good story. This workshop will encourage participants to take chances and experiment with building eroticism into their work mindfully and seamlessly, and/or give them the tools for creating a story that is primarily driven by the erotic, but that has a freshness and originality often lacking in the genre.

Hotel Monteleone, Lobby Level, Royal C

Which, of course, means I am going to have to prepare and sound like I know what I am talking about. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written anything explicit, you know–I cannot even remember the last time I put together an anthology of erotica, it’s been at least ten years, minimum, and I also cannot remember the last time I wrote an erotic short story; probably at least not since Promises in Every Star and Other Stories. I used to have a nice sideline in erotica, writing stories and editing anthologies….oh! Wait! I wrote that erotic Todd Gregory novel Games Frat Boys Play, too…I wonder if that was before Promises? I don’t remember. But I think this workshop isn’t necessarily intended to be about writing erotic fiction but rather how to include erotica in your writing and integrate it so it’s not gratuitous….and of course, there’s always the joy of writing about bad sex….or bad writing about sex; always fun (note to self: visit the Twitter account “men writing women”).

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely Tuesday, Constant Reader, and I will talk to you again tomorrow morning.

You Gotta Have Love in Your Heart

A gray Monday morning and I am up early, which is terrific, serving as further confirmation that my body clock has definitely reset. Back in the olden days, before going back to work full time, I used to get up by seven every morning. It was a nice routine; I would write my blog while drinking coffee, read the news, and then start going through my email inbox. Usually by ten I would have all of that under control, and would start working around that time–writing or editing or whatever I had on the agenda at the time. Working full-time meant late nights testing in bars; the earliest I ever would get off work was eight. I kept getting up at seven despite getting home so late–I usually didn’t have to be at the office until eleven–and my mornings have always been the time I work on emails and my blog. I’m not sure exactly when that changed and i started sleeping later–but I am actually kind of glad that my body clock has reset itself again. I don’t mind going to bed at ten, or even earlier if I am falling asleep in my chair (which is what happened last night; I fell asleep in my chair around nine-ish, woke up at almost ten and moved upstairs). I worked on editing yesterday (as well as laundry, cleaning, and making groceries–and still forgot some things, despite trips to two different stores), which wore me out some, so I was trying to decide what movie to watch last night–there were several options, but none of them really appealed, and my brain was too fried from the editing to focus on reading anything, so instead I played around reading social media (the ever popular doom scroll) while I had the news on the television. (And yes, I am watching the news more than I have in quite some time. I don’t think I need to explain why, do I?)

But it’s another work-at-home Monday and I have condoms to pack and data to enter. I will be taking on the SIsyphean task of my emails as soon as I post this and have some more coffee; then I have some dishes to wash and some laundry to fold before getting into my work-at-home duties. It looks like it’s going to be gorgeous today–the temps lately have been sunny and in the high 70’s to low 80’s, which has been truly lovely–and I hope to get back to the gym this evening as well. Then I have my three in-the-office days, and I have to say getting up has been a lot easier on those days as well…which is nice. I still somehow don’t feel like I am as fully functional on those days as I could be; but that has probably more to do with having to leave the house instead of slowly rolling out the day the way I can when I am working at home. I do like my job, for the record–always have; I like helping people–even if sometimes it can be emotionally and mentally draining.

That doesn’t mean I am not looking forward to retiring, though.

The editing is going well, if a little slower than I would ordinarily prefer. I got through some chapters yesterday–ugh, the bad writing and sentence structure!–and plan to get some more done tonight. I’ve come up with a plan with how to juggle everything and still get it all done this week; it depends on how easily I am distracted by other things this week and how lazy I feel, really. It’s the lazy part that always gets me. My natural tendency is towards lazy; one of the things I always loved about John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee character was that he took his retirement “a piece at a time”–in other words, he’d take a job to make enough money so he wouldn’t need to work again for awhile. I always thought that was a smart way to approach life; why not take the time when you’re young enough to still enjoy it? I was thinking the other day–last night, actually–that if I was going to have trouble diving into another book, I should do what I did to get back into reading when the pandemic started: the Reread Project, and why not reread Travis McGee? I read the series back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and I would be curious to read the books with a modern eye toward gender and sexuality. McGee was such a male-romantic idealization of the perfect life, really–no wife, no kids, no job, no career, no responsibility, lots of pretty young things to seduce/sleep with, living on a houseboat in a marina in Fort Lauderdale (and now that I am thinking about it, isn’t it interesting that there were never any hurricanes in any of the McGee books? MacDonald certainly took on hurricanes in Condominium); the straight male fantasy life. MacDonald and McGee were a heavy influence on the Chanse MacLeod series; I’ve also read quite a bit of his stand-alones and really enjoyed them, even if they were a tad dated. MacDonald didn’t influence the Scotty books at all; I’m not sure what influenced those books in their creation of the series. I’d have to go back and look–and yes, part of the plan for writing the next Scotty book involves revisiting the series from start to finish, and possibly even creating the Scotty Bible I should have created back when I started writing the series.

Coulda woulda shoulda.

It doesn’t get you very far, does it?

LOL. Now that I’ve folded the clothes and now have some emails I need to get taken care of before starting day-job responsibilities–so yes, it’s time for the spice mines. Have a lovely Monday, Constant Reader, and will see you tomorrow morning.

Stoned Love

It’s Ash Wednesday and before dawn as New Orleans crawls out from under and returns to what passes as normal around here–which by the standards of everywhere else, ain’t normal.

I’m kind of glad to see it over this year. I’m sort of glad we had it–it felt like a return to normalcy of a kind, even if I didn’t feel excited about it or participated in it much–but I’m also happy it’s over. I feel very weird having been essentially trapped inside the house for the last six days or so, with small windows of opportunity here and there to run necessary errands and get things done. I spent a lot of the time tired–I’m not sure what that’s all about it, but “low energy” has been a thing around here for quite some time–and last night I went to bed at nine. I did submit a story to that magazine that asked for one–I finally gave up on “Parlor Tricks” yesterday morning–it literally was like pulling teeth–and instead edited what. I have on “Never Kiss a Stranger” down to about 4000 words, tacked on an ending, and turned it in as “To Kiss a Stranger (Summer of 94)”. I doubt they’ll use it–hell, I may never even hear back one way or the other; professionalism when it comes to short story submissions, with some exceptions, seems to have gone the way of the dodo over the years–but at least I tried. I now also am wondering if this story needs to be a novella or not; slicing all that extra stuff out of it felt really good, and while the ending wasn’t necessarily stuck (that can always be fixed, of course), the story itself wasn’t bad in its trimmed down state. Which naturally puts me on the horns of a dilemma: keep it as a short story and fix the ending, or leave it as a novella and finish revising/writing it?

Or…why not both?

We finished Toy Boy last night (I keep calling it Boy Toy, which is incorrect) and….not as good or as interesting as the first season, alas. By the time the final episode rolled around I realized I hadn’t been paying as close attention as I did during the first season and thus had literally no idea what was going on in the finale–which ended remarkably well, given how dull the season actually proved to be–and set up the next season quite well…which means we will probably watch the third season, if there is one. Paul’s late night schedule and Carnival has thrown me off on everything we watch; I don’t remember what series that are currently airing that we were watching–but it should show up on my up next on Apple TV.

At least I can hope.

I also have to pay the bills today–always a joy–and probably should go back to the gym tonight. I’ve not been since Wednesday night–Friday was one of those horrible low-energy days where everything was sore and achy; going to Muses Thursday night, even briefly, was undoubtedly a mistake. And I also need to start digging out from under because I am so far behind now I don’t even know what’s what. I know I have a story due sometime in April that I need to start writing; I need to get caught up on my MWA stuff and the anthology I am editing; and I need to start a significant final revision edit of my book coming out in December. So first things first: make a to-do list, go through my notebooks and look through my notes about pending things that need addressing, and try to get my energy levels high and stop allowing myself to feel defeated before I even try.

And on that note, tis off to the spice mines with me. Have a lovely Ash Wednesday, Constant Reader, and I will talk at you tomorrow.

I Second That Emotion

Wednesday and parades start again tonight. I did make a brief grocery run last night and picked up the mail on my way home from work–which was lovely and I am terribly glad I did, since it won’t be an option again until Friday morning. I don’t think I’ll be attending parades tonight–I will probably never attend a Nyx parade again, which is a shame, since they were becoming a favorite, until their descent into controversy; the last time they paraded they had 4000 riders, and are now down to 240, which is testament to the mass exodus from Nyx a few years back–but probably wouldn’t have even had there been no Nyx controversy; I have to get up early tomorrow morning and so standing out on the parade route (the low today is going to be 71, sob) until all hours simply isn’t in the cards for me this Carnival anyway. I will go to Muses tomorrow night, of course–don’t have to get up so early for Work-at-Home Friday, after all.

I slept extremely deeply and well last night, which was quite marvelous. I woke up before the alarm–why is it that those moments between hitting the snooze button and actually getting up are so magical and comfy in the bed?–and don’t feel tired this morning, physically or mentally. I have to leave the office early today–they close the streets early for the parades, plus the parking situation will probably already be out of control by the time I get home–and I am hoping to make a quick dash to the gym this evening as well. It feels good–I feel so much better physically overall–to be working out; my muscles feel stretched and worked, which is nice and I am sure that is also helping me sleep better as well. Yay! I’m not as concerned as getting ripped and lean as I used to obsess over; sure, weight loss would be great, but I am really more concerned about just feeling better physically more than anything else (the stretching alone! Tres magnifique!). And it would be nice to get my blood pressure and cholesterol down so I could stop taking medication for it….and the best way to do that is through diet and exercise. I can do the exercise part but the diet part will be a little rougher, obviously; I’ve always had issues with eating healthy. (I did for a number of years, but then got out of the habit and reverted to my old ways…but as long as I was regularly exercising, it didn’t matter. Once I stopped exercising…yes, well, I should have expected the weight gain, shouldn’t I?)

I have to say I have been in kind of a lull about writing lately. I’m not sure what it is–burnout, maybe–but I have struggled so much with this short story that I am giving up on that it triggers all kinds of other doubts in my head that I really don’t need to be having. I know I can resolve this by getting into writing something and getting some good stuff down on the page, but I am trying to figure out what story to tackle now for this deadline and it’s…not going well. Of course, I could just not submit anything–I certainly don’t have to–but the pay is nice if they take my story–really nice, and they did reach out to me rather than the other way around so…but I have some potentials, I suppose. I just need to take some time to sit down and go through the files and see what’s there, really there, rather than just skimming over the folders and wondering if this one might work or that one might work…after braving the grocery store yesterday, doing two loads of laundry, emptying the dishwasher and doing another load…I was a bit tired.

Of course, the plan is to go to the gym tonight. Maybe those endorphins will help me to decide on which story to focus on. I mean, I only have five or six days left…

Heavy heaving sigh.

It’s also weird adjusting to my new work week. I am delighted, of course, that I slept well last night and feel like I have energy today and can get things accomplished and finished and crossed off the list, but I keep forgetting that oh yeah I have to come in tomorrow this isn’t my Friday anymore and it’s always a disappointing jolt. But…since Mondays and Fridays are work-at-home days, and Fat Tuesday is a holiday…after tomorrow I don’t have to return to the office until Ash Wednesday, and only have to come into the office two days next week. This isn’t a bad thing. And I also have another story to write before the end of March, too.

So, I probably should head back into the spice mines. Have a lovely Mid-week Wednesday, Constant Reader, and I will be back tomorrow.

Uptight (Everything’s Alright)

Tuesday morning and we’re still in the brief respite we get in Parade Season, the second of the two day period where there are no parades. I will have to leave the office early both tomorrow and Thursday to get home before the streets are closed; Friday I will have to run errands in the morning. I am going to swing by the grocery store and the post office on my way home this evening, since I won’t be able to do either again until Friday morning, and of course I won’t be able to leave the neighborhood from Friday evening at five pm through Monday morning–because who knows what time Bacchus will be finished Sunday night? And it’s not likely I’ll be in the mood to make a grocery run then, anyway.

Heavy sigh.

The struggle living inside the parade route is real.

I am tired this morning but not sleepy tired; more that my muscles are tired from going to the gym yesterday. My mental acuity is there (I think) but it just depends. I have also decided this morning that this story I’ve been trying to finish for this March 1 deadline simply isn’t going to work. I think it can work, at some point; I just right now can’t wrap my mind around the concept of how to justify committing the murder gels in my main character’s head; the motivations just aren’t strong enough, and I need him to kill this guy just isn’t good enough to make the story work (of course, on March 2 it will come to me), So I am going to dig through the files today and tonight to see if I can find something else that I can finish or rewrite to make work for this call. I still have a week, and of course March 1 is a stay-at-home holiday for me (no Fat Tuesday partying for me this year, thank you very much), so I have that entire day to work on it–which is also incredibly helpful. Just going through the files this morning between answering emails and taking breaks from writing this has been enormously helpful already–also has reminded me of some really good ideas I’ve had but never saw all the way through to a completed draft (“To Sacrifice a Pawn” is a really nasty little story, and so is “The Flagellants”), which is also a good thing.

And I really need to make a new to-do list. I also need to get all my notes of things I need to get done together to create a master list of everything that I need to get done. Heavy heaving sigh.

But we did finish watching Reacher last night, and while it was disappointing to confirm that each season will indeed follow another book in the series and Reacher himself will most likely be the only carry-over character (I’d become attached to some of the other members of the cast, especially Willa Fitzgerald) it makes sense because Reacher is, by nature, a paladin or a knight errant; a man who wanders and whom trouble often finds. Therefore you can’t have any regular characters on the show other than the man himself…which means never get attached to any of the other characters (because they are also disposable and can be killed off at any moment) because they will not be carrying over into the next season. But I thought the show was incredibly well done and well cast and well written; it’s one of the better thriller series I’ve seen, and I am definitely going to keep watching when it returns.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely day, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you tomorrow.