On My Knees

Thursday morning in New Orleans, and it looks to have rained overnight–which might account for my deep and restful sleep last night. It’s been cold since I returned to New Orleans on Sunday evening–I wore not only a T-shirt under my sweaters to work this week but also tights under my jeans. When I got home from work late yesterday afternoon it was still bitterly cold; but the overnight rain was expected to warm things up a bit. It’s not as cold in the Lost Apartment as it was last night when I went to bed, but it’s still not balmy. Rain is forecast for most of the day today, but it’s not raining now, so we’ll just have to see how that all works out. I don’t get off work until late this evening–eight-ish–but Thursday are generally (knocks wood) slower than the other days of the week. Not sure why that is, but there you have it.

I’ve not written much this week. I’m still a bit overwhelmed by my new responsibilities and trying to get caught up on everything I need to get caught up on for Mystery Writers of America; I’ve been alternating between being excited and being terrified, off and on, for the last few days. I have made some notes, and the secret project I’ve been working on (and wanted to get finished this week) has been taking shape in my head. Now I just need to find some time to actually sit down and start committing it all to paper (a Word document, actually, but you know what I mean). I’ve also had another Scotty book taking shape in my head over the last week or so, and its not the one I thought I was going to write next. It’s a different one; an idea about the gentrification of the city post-Katrina that I’ve been calling Bywater Bohemia Bougie in my head all this time. It’s a bit of a mouthful–well aware of that–but it does fit the usual schematic of Scotty titles. I have several ideas about what the book should cover, and now I just have to figure out how to pull all those disparate thoughts and ideas all together in a cohesive story.

I am also still reading Bourbon Street, and am now to the 1960’s, and the monstrous Jim Garrison years as district attorney, as Bourbon Street began to shift from what it was before to what it is now, and as tourism slowly began to overtake everything else as the leading industry for the city. I can’t recommend this book enough, Constant Reader; Richard Campanella is fantastic, and his writing makes a terrific subject even more enjoyable.

We’re nearly finished watching Messiah, which we are still enjoying, and also started watching the second season of Sex Education, which is just as funny and entertaining and charming as the first season was–I do recommend it, and Gillian Anderson is fantastic as the main character Owen’s mother, a sex therapist. The entire first episode is about an outbreak of chlamydia at the high school–which isn’t nearly as bad as people think it actually is because none of them actually know how chlamydia is transferred. (when it is first mentioned as being airborne, I literally said out loud No it isn’t. The day job–no matter what, it’s always there in the back of my mind) We laughed out loud multiple times, and that of course means the show is a winner in our book.

It’s also going to be a little strange and weird this weekend to not have any football to watch–but at the same time, it frees up a lot of time for me to write, clean, plan and do all those things–including read–that I don’t get done during football season. Of course the US Figure Skating Championships are this weekend, so…yeah, there’s that, too. Heavy sigh.

I also took some time last night to read another fifty pages of Elizabeth Little’s fantastic new novel, Pretty as a Picture, and I am loving it. Like all the best writers, reading Liz makes me want to be a better writer and also inspires stories of my own that I want to write–which always is an indicator, to me, that the author is spectacular at what they do. If you’ve not read her first, Dear Daughter, do so–you won’t be sorry, and then you’ll then have the exquisite pleasure of reading Pretty as a Picture when it is finally released into the wild.

And on that note, it’s back to the spice mines with me. Have a lovely morning, Constant Reader.

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Blue Skies

And just like that, it’s back to reality.

It’s very cold in the Lost Apartment this morning; I have my space heater on as I sip my coffee and try very hard to control my shivering. It is actually only 37 degrees outside, with a high of fifty predicted for the day; #madness. Oddly, not only did I not mind the cold in New York, but it was actually snowing when we walked to dinner Saturday night; and it didn’t phase me in the least. But cold in New Orleans is something I can hardly take–particularly because it never feels warm inside.

Ever.

But today’s my long day at the office–I only have one long day this week, thanks to yesterday’s holiday–and I also need to hit the ground running. There’s no time for malaise anymore. I’ve got to get this new project wrapped up this week, so I can get back to work on finishing Bury Me in Shadows, and then on to the Kansas book, before I can finally get to work on Chlorine and either the next Scotty–maybe even another Chanse novel. The sky’s the limit, right now. Ha ha ha ha! As if.

I am also greatly enjoying my advance copy of Elizabeth Little’s Pretty as a Picture. It really is fantastic–if you’ve not read her debut novel, Dear Daughter, from a few years back, it really behooves you to go ahead and do so while you wait for this brilliance–and as I always say–reading great writers makes me want to do better and also always inspires me to create more. (I often say that’s how I can tell a truly great writer from a good one; when I”m reading a great one, I get ideas for books and stories of my own because my brain is being stimulated.)

We also watched another episode of Messiah, which is really quite compelling. I really do recommend this series, as it makes you think–a lot. I can also see why the show would be upsetting to people of any Abrahamic-descended faith; but at the same time I’ve always thoughts that things that upset those who are of faith, or makes them think about their faith, are rather important.

Then again, few things inflame a conversation more than talking about religion, so I should probably let that go, right? But as I’ve said before, I’ve always enjoyed books about the things that have been hidden for centuries–I recently saw a blurb for Steve Berry’s latest, which called him “the master of the religious-relic thriller” (which I didn’t realize was a thing), which is probably the best way to describe those kinds of books going forward. Watching Messiah makes me think about the Colin thriller I’ve always had in the back of my mind, and also makes me think I should perhaps write the Colin thriller before I do another Scotty, but then again, it doesn’t really matter because any Colin book could be set in the past rather than the present–running parallel to the books in the Scotty series, if that makes the slightest bit of sense?

In my own defense, it’s early and cold and I am still on my first cup of coffee.

But I just ate a small slice of king cake, am brewing my second cappuccino, and am about to jump into the shower to prepare for my day to start. I’m not going to lie–I didn’t want to get out of the comfortable warmth of my bed this morning–but it feels like I’ve not been to the office in forever, and it pays the bills, so I need to get my act together and get it on the road this morning.

May your day be ever lovely and bright, Constant Reader. I’m off to the spice mines.

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Storms

Ah, Thursday. And it’s December already. MADNESS.

Tonight is my late night, and so I have the day relatively free before I literally am testing all night (it’s also World AIDS Day–know your status, people!) so am debating on just which errands need to be run today and which ones can wait until the weekend. There are a few things I need to pick up and I may as well swing past the post office since it’s sort of near my CVS where I need to get my prescriptions…sigh. I also have some serious writing to do today. Busy day for one Gregalicious. I also have gotten some lovely news this week that I can’t share as of yet, either.

But I am chair dancing.

And I’m almost finished with the book. I hope to have it done today. Huzzah!

And then a free weekend and then it’s on to the next one.

I am currently reading Paul Tremblay’s Stoker Award winning A Head Full of Ghosts, which I started reading another time and had to put it aside for some reason; I don’t remember why, but when I finished reading Elizabeth Little’s superb Dear Daughter, and was looking for the next book to read I ran across it in the TBR bookcase (yes, I have a TBR bookcase, don’t judge me) and thought, I never finished this and picked it up again. It is riveting; I started from the beginning and now I can’t wait to get back to it again.

I also started writing another book yesterday; one that isn’t contracted anywhere, one that I don’t even know if anyone would want to publish–but it’s one that’s been dancing around in my head lately, and it’s actually the combination of several ideas I’ve had over the past few years that have come together cohesively and meshed into one book idea. The opening hit me the other day when I was finished working on the current work-in-progress, and so I wrote three paragraphs. It’s very different from anything I’ve ever done before–so is the current work-in-progress–which makes it very exciting for me; of course I have a multitude of other projects to work on and finish, but maybe it’s something I can work on around the others. I also have another couple of ideas I am toying with as well….I am never so creative as when I am on a deadline; but it’s never with the project ON deadline.

Heavy sigh.

And now, back to the spice mines.

Here’s a hunk for the day:

Think About Me

My vacation is over, and while I do regret that–a stay-at-home vacation gives you a taste of how my life could be; just doing errands and chores around the house and of course, writing without interruption, without an eye on the clock knowing I only have so much time to get so much done; the leisure to take my time on projects and not feel rushed, to not feel like I’m not doing the best I can because the clock is ticking and there are other things I have to do…

It’s kind of nice, although it makes me kind of sad to have to go back to the clock-watching and time-scheduling,

I did finish reading Elizabeth Little’s superb Dear Daughter last night.

As soon as they processed my release, Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.

Oh, I thought I was so clever.

But you probably already know that I’m not.

I mean, come on, you didn’t really think I was just going to disappear, did you? That I would skulk off and live in the shadows? That maybe I would find a distant land, a plastic surgeon, a ceramic half mask and a Punjab lasso? Get real.

But I never meant for it to come to this. There’s attention and then there’s attention, and sure, the latter gets you fame and money and free designer shoes, but I’m not Lindsay Lohan. I understand the concept of declining marginal returns. It was the not knowing–that’s what I couldn’t stand. That’s why I’m here.

It’s hard, really, to believe that Dear Daughter is a debut novel; Little writes with the punch and skill of a much more experienced writer. The main character’s voice is exceptional, strong, and even though she can read as vastly unsympathetic, she is always compelling.

A technicality has overturned Jane Jenkins’ murder conviction; when she was seventeen she was tried as an adult for murdering her socialite mother, with whom she had a rather combative relationship. Jane herself was what is called a ‘celebutante’, like Paris Hilton and others before her, famous really for being famous. (Imagine the circus a Paris Hilton murder trial would have been…) Now that she’s free, Jane wants to prove her innocence (she really doesn’t remember if she actually killer her mother or not) so, with the help of a trusted attorney, she takes on a false identity and disappears; even lying to the lawyer about where she is going. The night of her mother’s murder she heard her mother arguing with a man, and the only words she caught were ‘Tessa’ and ‘Adeline’; she has found a remote town in South Dakota named Adeline, and that’s where she is heading.

The twists and turns and surprises come fast in this novel, and once it kicks into high gear there’s no stopping. Jane herself is a strong, full-fledged character; smart yet vulnerable, lonely, yet the loneliness makes her stronger. She tries to sort out the complicated relationship she had with her mother while trying to find out the truth, not only about her mother’s murder but her mother’s past, as well as her own…very compelling reading.

And the writing itself is quite extraordinary, as well.

I highly recommend this! And can’t wait for her next novel.

And now back to the spice mines.

Gold Dust Woman

My windows are filthy.

Embarrassingly so. It’s always amazing to me how dirty the air in New Orleans must be; because I don’t think I’ve ever lived anywhere before in my life where dust accumulates so quickly.

Anyway. At some point this weekend I shall have to do something about it.

Thanksgiving was a lovely day; the pizza was amazing and we watched two movies, Absolutely Fabulous (which was so bad it was sad) and Neighbors 2, which was actually quite funny. If someone would have told me before watching that the movie I was really looking forward to would be terrible and the one I was watching because I thought it would be terrible would be enjoyable, I would have scoffed in utter disdain. But Rose Byrne is quickly becoming a favorite actress of mine, and this is the first thing I’ve ever seen Zac Efron in, and he played the role of douchey frat bro aging out much better than Rob Lowe did in St. Elmo’s Fire; in fact, I kept thinking as I watched that he would be perfect in the inevitable remake.

I also got further into Elizabeth Little’s wonderful Dear Daughter, which I am also really enjoying. I started off the day watching another documentary series, Secrets of English Castles, and was about halfway through the episode on Dover Castle when Lisa arrived with our pizza, and once I’m finished working today (Paul won’t be home until really late this evening yet again)I am diving back into it. I really am delighted to discover all the documentaries on all of my streaming apps; I see plenty of informational and enjoyable viewing in my future.

We also watched the LSU game last night; GEAUX TIGERS. It’s really quite a shame, as they lost four games by a total of twenty points. Yet another season so close, and yet so far. The coaching situation should be resolved soon; one thing for certain is that LSU football is never dull.

I also can’t believe my vacation is almost over. Where did the time go? I didn’t get nearly as much finished this week as I wanted to, and yet…I can’t really see where I wasted time or goofed off a lot. But the primary purpose of a vacation is to get rested, and I certainly have rested this week and gotten a lot of wonderful sleep. We shall see how that translates into next week when I return to work, won’t we?

And now I suppose I should return to the spice mines.

Here’s a hunk for the day:

Oh Daddy

work work work work work.

Can’t complain, though. I love my work, I really do–although I can always complain. Work on Wicked Frat Boy Ways is coming along swimmingly, if I do say so myself (and I do) and I project that I may be able to get it done by the (extended) deadline if things keep going as swimmingly as they are now. Of course, now that I’ve said that I will undoubtedly hit a snag. Heavy heaving sigh.

Ain’t that the way it always seems to go?

But I am very pleased with it so far; I am not having any of my usual doubts/fears/terrors about this one the way I usually do. I’m not sure if that’s progress on my part as far as confidence is concerned, or blithe unawareness. Perhaps both; we shall see.

After writing a significant chunk of the book yesterday–and cleaning–I settled in to watch some documentaries while waiting for Paul to come home; first I watched Trojan War, the ESPN documentary about the USC football program while Pete Carroll was coach, and then moved on to a three episode BBC documentary called Empire of the Tsars, about the Romanov dynasty of Russia. (It was also the first time I’d ever heard it pronounced ro-MAHN-off, which is probably correct.) As I had just finished watching the series Versailles earlier in the week and marveling at the magnificent beauty of that palace, I was also struck in this series about how incredibly beautiful and ornate St. Petersburg and the imperial palaces must be; both Moscow and St. Petersburg have always been places I wanted to visit–but it’s not like it’s particularly safe for a gay to go there. One never knows, of course–it may happen someday.

After Paul got home we also watched the most recent episode of Eyewitness, which is SUCH a good show.

I also finally started reading a book that’s been languishing in my TBR pile for far too long; Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daughter, and while I am only a couple of chapters in, it’s pretty terrific thus far.

Today, for Thanksgiving, I am probably not going to get as much writing done as I would like (I am not ruling it out, of course) but our friend Lisa is coming over and we are having our traditional That’s Amore Chicago-style deep-dish pizza meal while watching the Absolutely Fabulous movie and Neighbors 2.

So, Happy Thanksgiving, one and all.