Human Nature

I slept well again last night–which keeps the streak of good sleep alive at five nights and counting. I don’t have to work today, which is lovely; I am hopefully having lunch with a friend and running a couple of errands before coming home to clean, edit, revise, and hopefully do some writing.

The Lost Apartment is also a mess, so part of my day will be taken up with cleaning. It really is tragic how messy this apartment can become over the course of a week, and I haven’t done the floors in forever. The windows are also pretty nasty; this lovely cool weather we are enjoying will be most helpful in that regard, since I know I won’t be drenched in sweat the moment I go outside. I need to make a grocery list, and I also want to read some more of Anna Dressed in Blood, which started kind of slow but is starting to pick up a little. I also want to start rereading The Haunting of Hill House this weekend, which means I need to finish reading Anna.

I got caught up on Riverdale last night, and I have to say the first two episodes of this season are pretty damned dark. There were three murders in the second episode of this season (SPOILER), and now that they’ve recast Reggie, he’s front and center–and a drug dealer. Wow, didn’t see that coming. The young cast continues to get better, and are incredibly appealing, and apparently the ratings are really up, which is terrific. Now we need to get caught up on The Exorcist, and maybe give the reboot of Dynasty a whirl. I’m not sure how I feel about Dynasty being rebooted; I guess they decided, since the Dallas sequel never really caught fire, to just start over with the tale of the Carringtons and the Colbys, which I guess I can understand…but I also don’t want them to follow the original storylines, either. From everything I’ve read so far, they aren’t doing that…and it looks like Steven’s homosexuality isn’t going to be so “is-he-or-isn’t-he” as it was back in the 80’s, when it was hugely controversial (and the show completely ignored HIV/AIDS) to have a gay character in the first place.

A story I’d sent out for submission was rejected yesterday, which I was expecting. My short story game isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be, and while I love this story, it doesn’t really fit in well with the theme of crime, you know? I also wasn’t pleased with how it ended, which means that the ending wasn’t set up properly, so I am going to let it sit for a while before rereading it and figuring out how to tweak that ending to make it work properly. It clearly didn’t work the way it’s currently written. But it’s a story I want to tell…and even last night, as I mourned in the usual way I do when rejected (even when I’m pretty sure the submission will be rejected) it did occur to me that I might know a way to make it better already. So I need to make that note and shove it into the folder.

Onward and upward, as they say.

And here’s a hunk to slide you into the weekend:

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The Long and Winding Road

Good morning, Monday, how are you? I am a bit rested and ready to face the challenges of the week ahead. I know, right? Who am I, and what have I done with Greg? Hey, it happens, you know.

I started reading Victor Gischler’s The Pistol Poets yesterday and am enjoying it so far. I also finished reading Royal Renegades, which was about the English Civil Wars and the children of Charles I, and how the wars and the exile affected them. Charles’ wife, Henrietta Maria, really comes across badly, but then from everything I’ve read she was pretty much an awful person. It was interesting and informative to read, but that was one royal family that was ill-fated; so few Stuarts died in their beds, or if they did, with their thrones intact, going back to when they were just the ruling family of Scotland. If you’re interested in English history, I can highly recommend this book; it’s well written and moves along at  quite a good pace. I have now moved on to Anne Somerset’s The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Satanism, and Infanticide at the Court of Louis XIV. This is a subject that has always fascinated me, but I’ve not read much about other than what appears in French histories or biographies of Louis XIV, and I am really looking forward to sinking my teeth into a book that focuses solely on this story–and I think my next non-fiction will be How to Ruin a Queen, about Marie Antoinette and the Affair of the Diamond Necklace.

I love this kind of stuff.

I have edits to do this week, so it looks like my free time is going to be spent doing rewrites and edits for the rest of the week, all through the weekend, which is fine. I am taking a new approach to rewrites and editing my own work; I am looking at it as an invigorating challenge that will make my work better rather than as an odious chore that I hate doing. I don’t know why that never occurred to me before, really; so much of life depends, as Obi-wan said to Luke, on your point of view. I want to be a better writer, and I want my books to be better, therefore, edits and rewrites are a part of that process to make the work better. I am a good writer, I will never claim not to be, but I am not necessarily as good as I would like to be, and I certainly don’t ever want to get to a point where I can’t improve what I do.

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

Here’s a Monday morning hunk for you to get your week started.

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You Light Up My Life

Last night I took the streetcar down to the Quarter to have drinks with two friends in from out of town at the Carousel Bar. It was a lovely day in New Orleans, with no humidity (any day without humidity is a beautiful day, frankly) and then the ride home after dark was equally lovely.

I didn’t get as much writing done this weekend as I had hoped, and I really need to get over this procrastination thing. A friend pointed out to me that I do this to myself all the time; that rather than sitting down and making myself write every day, I’ll just on any excuse not to–which results in stress and panic as the deadline looms. I did get some writing done yesterday; just not as much as I would have liked. I think I solved the problem I was having with one short story, and as I rode the streetcar yesterday I think I may have solved the problem I was having with the other.

Both of these are, of course, good things.

So, my plan is to continue working on the revision of Bourbon Street Blues, finish those two short stories this week, edit the other two for submission, and get about five thousand words written on the next book, while mapping out my ideas for the next Scotty. It may seem daunting–and it is; that’s a lot of work–but as long as I stay focused, I can get it all done; there’s no doubt in my mind. It is amazing what you can do when you focus on one thing at a time. If I get stuck on one of the stories, I’ll work on something else. This has been the problem I’ve been having lately; if I get stuck on something I just stop working, and that isn’t how I’ve managed to remain productive for so long; if something stalls I move on to something else and come back to the original piece of work the next day. Working on something else keeps my creativity working, and shakes out the cobwebs. And there are always cobwebs. Don’t ask me how it happens, but it does.

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

Here’s today’s hunk:

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