Show Me the Way

Saturday morning and I slept in, as I always seem to do on Saturday mornings. But really, things have truly come to a sorry pass when getting out of bed at nine is considered sleeping in. But that’s when I got up and I feel good and rested this morning, which bodes well for the things I’d like to get done today.

I spent yesterday afternoon getting caught up on laundry (there’s a load going in the dryer now), and doing a surface clean of the apartment. After Paul got home last evening we finished watching Dead to Me, which is really fantastic–if Christina Applegate doesn’t at LEAST get an Emmy nomination, it’s a travesty. The show is fantastically written, has two amazingly great roles for the two lead actresses (Linda Cardellini, of Freaks and Geeks/Mad Men fame, is the secondary female lead and is heartbreakingly terrific as well; I’d be hard pressed as an Emmy voter to chose one over the other), and the writing is also award-worthy; the premise is in and of itself exceptional, thematically exploring the grief of two women who’ve suffered recent great losses; but it is ever so much more than that. It’s smart, angry, funny, and oh-so-twisted, oh-so-clever. Bravo to Netflix; this is up there with Ozark for dark comedy with a crime twist. I cannot recommend Dead to Me highly enough, Constant Reader.

I also, before Paul came home, rather than falling into a Youtube vortex of LSU or Saints highlights or Game of Thrones fan theory videos or whatever might strike my fancy at the moment (music videos or Dynasty clips or whatever), switched on Starz and started watching The Spanish Princess, which is the latest Starz mini-series based on a Philippa Gregory book. We’d watched and liked The White Queen, but gave up on The White Princess relatively quickly. I’ve not read Gregory, and I’ve seen all sorts of mockery of her on-line as to her changing history to fit the needs of her narrative, but that isn’t why I’ve not read her work; I’m just not that interested in fictional biographies of royalty anymore, certainly not the way I was as a teenager. As a teenager I would have read everything Gregory wrote, anxiously awaiting the next. But I’ve read Jean Plaidy and Norah Lofts, and of course others like Maurice Druon and Thomas B. Costain, so Gregory’s work has never held much appeal for me; I am more apt to read an actual biography now rather than fictionalized versions (although I do want to read Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell books). The Spanish Princess is, of course, about Catherine of Aragon, who has gotten mostly favorable press throughout history as Henry VIII’s poor, abandoned first wife; I’ve always viewed that with an arched eyebrow, primarily because she had a great PR machine in the Spanish ambassador, Chapuys, and of course she had the entire PR machine of the Hapsburg empire behind her as well–whereas Anne Boleyn, her replacement and the cause of her misery, soon enough had Henry’s PR machine blackening her name. At least this production had the wisdom and sense to ignore modern sensibilities; this is the first time I’ve ever seen Catherine portrayed on film (since the 1970s BBC The Six Wives of Henry VIII) to have the actual coloring she had in real life; she is usually shown as dark when she was actually fair; like her husband, she had reddish-gold hair; and she also had Plantagenet blood as a descendant of Edward III–her grandmother was Blanche of Lancaster, a daughter of John of Gaunt, and as such had her own legitimate but unrecognized claim to the English crown herself (since no illegitimacy was involved, she actually had a better claim than her own husband–his claim was based on his grandmother’s descent from John of Gaunt, but she was descended from his liaison with long-time mistress Katherine Swynford–whom he later married and legitimized their offspring–but Catherine’s descent was not marred by the bar sinister).

However, they did depict Catherine’s mother, Isabella, as being dark–which she wasn’t, either. Isabella of Castile was blonde and blue-eyed, but she’s a minor character we’ll never see again, so I will overlook it. (Isabella is one of my favorite historical queens; she was kind of a bad-ass but at the same time her bigotry planted the seeds for the eventual downfall of Spain from the great power she turned it into; but more on her at another time.) Anyway, I enjoyed the first episode; which also has laid the groundwork for Catherine as stubborn, proud, and arrogant–qualities that eventually led to the upheaval that changed world history forever. I’ll keep watching, of course–but at the same time, it’s not “must watch”; it was okay and can serve as a time-filler when I need to relax and when Paul’s not home and I don’t feel like actually wasting my time on Youtube.

I also want to watch the Zac Efron as Ted Bundy movie on Netflix.

So many riches, so many choices! It’s kind of like my TBR pile.

The plan for today and tomorrow is to work on the WIP and work on the article a bit, maybe even work on a short story. Given I have the attention span of a squirrel lately, I am not sure how much work I am actually going to get done today, but I have good intentions. I also have a Bouchercon subcommittee conference call later on this afternoon as well, so I should be able to bounce back and forth between cleaning, writing and reading until such time as the conference call; after which time I can call it a day and relax for the rest of the evening.

Ah, to have the energy and ambition I have in the morning after a good night’s sleep and two cups of coffee, right?

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

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Sexy Eyes

And it’s Monday, a holiday.

Which apparently my computer felt like it, too, deserved a holiday this morning. It only took forty-five minutes for it to successfully boot up; and while that was incredibly frustrating, it now is working just fine. Maybe it was the cold spell last night. Who knows? All know is that before the latest iOS update (Mojave sucks) my computer worked fine. Go figure.

I am not discussing the abomination that was the Saints game yesterday. All I will say is certain officiating teams shouldn’t be allowed to officiate flag football for an elementary school. You can’t tell me that they all missed that call. Bullshit, and fuck off.

My page proofs for Survivor’s Guilt and Other Stories arrived in my inbox overnight, so I guess I’ll be spending some time proofing those tonight. I am going to work on Scotty some today–Paul is going into the office, no holiday for him, alas–so I have the whole day to myself here at home. I do have some cleaning and organizing left to do, but I am certain I can get everything on the agenda finished today. Huzzah!

We also finished watching Sex Education last night, and I do recommend it. It’s very cute and sweet, if extremely graphic, show about the sex lives of teenagers. After we finished that, we started watching Dirty John, which started slow but began to pick up in the second episode. We’ll keep watching Dirty John, I think…at least for another episode. It’s also terrific to see the young actress from Ozark, who deserves an Emmy for her role as Ruthie. And you can really never go wrong with Eric Bana or Connie Britten.

I also started reading Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig, and am enjoying it thus far. Hope to carve out some time from my to-do list in order to finish it today.

And now I suppose I should read the page proofs. So tis back to the spice mines with me.

Have a great day!

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Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover

IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT IN DEATH VALLEY! CHANCE OF RAIN? NEVER!

Later today Paul and I will head up to Baton Rouge for the LSU game! HUZZAH! There’s nothing like a game in Tiger Stadium, and this marks the ninth straight season Paul and I have attended at least one game up there. Both campus and stadium are beautiful, and it’s always interesting to see the changes to the area and neighborhood since the catastrophic floods a few years ago. The Tigers are 3-0, but have a tough row to hoe yet–three future opponents are ranked in the Top 10 currently–and at least one more is ranked in the Top 25. This might be the last game we attend this season–if the Tigers continue to win, those late season games become more and more important, and I seriously doubt any of our friends with season tickets are going to surrender tickets to the games against Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, or Mississippi State.

And while it would be exciting as all hell to see LSU run the table…the schedule is just too difficult and honestly, after watching Alabama dismantle Ole Miss last weekend I don’t think the New England Patriots would be able to beat them. Even two or three losses on this schedule, though, can’t be disappointing.

We finished watching Ozark last night and now can’t wait for Season Three. The show is so dark, the writing so crisp and tight, the acting so understated yet real–it’s one of the best shows available to watch; Southern Gothic with a strong strain of noir running through it. I’m definitely sorry to have finished the season, and now am champing at the bit for the next one.

But despite the desert television became in the late summer, now shows are returning that we watch and entire seasons dropping on Hulu and Netflix to sink our teeth back into, which is lovely; now we don’t have the time to watch everything we want to see, which is a terrific problem to have.

I am going to spend the rest of this morning cleaning and getting organized; I left work early yesterday to get started on the weekend chores (knowing that today would be pretty much shot because of THE TRIP TO TIGER STADIUM) and then hopefully I’ll be able to get some reading done (Circe is calling my name) and some writing (I hope to get through at least three chapters of the Scotty revision this weekend).

Hope springs eternal.

And now back to the spice mines.

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Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg

I have to go to the doctor this morning; nothing serious, just the bi-annual check-up required for prescription renewals, which is very important.

I’ve been sleeping well this week, but waking up every morning around six. I stay in bed, of course–six is no time for anyone to be out of bed if you don’t have to be–but it’s been kind of lovely. I don’t know if my body adjusted in some way after the Bouchercon trip, or what, but it’s been really nice being able to get some good rest every night–hell, the last two nights I fell asleep in my easy chair, which never happens.

I am now well into the revision of the Scotty book; plugging my way through Chapter One. Rewriting/revising is hard work, I think, much harder than writing an original draft, which is saying something–given how much trouble I have committing to writing first drafts these days. But I am quite pleased with how Royal Street Reveillon is coming along, and I do think it’s going to wind up being one of the best Scotty books ever. If I can get through a chapter a day, the book will be done with this revision by mid-October, and then I can copy-edit and line-edit, and hopefully do major clean up and get it turned in for early November.

One can hope, at any rate.

I’m not quite sure how to understand this not enough hours in every day thing that I’ve been experiencing since getting back from Bouchercon, but there you have it. I haven’t been able to finish reading Circe, for one thing, and we’re watching a single episode of Ozark every night, and I suddenly find that I am falling asleep in my chair and it’s time for bed every night. This is making me panic more than a little bit, of course, because that means my progress on everything I need to get done is taking longer than it needs to, and I still can’t find time to go to the gym, either, which is maddening. I’m certainly not overly thrilled about having to go to the doctor this morning either–why does everything have to be so difficult, you know?

So maddening.

And now it’s back to the spice mines. Sigh.

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Smells Like Teen Spirit

Well, we got tickets for this Saturday’s LSU game: GEAUX TIGERS! It’ll be fun to watch them play live, and of course, a good time is always had in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers are playing Louisiana Tech, and coming off a big win at Auburn they have to be careful not to have a letdown; the secondary Louisiana universities, like so many secondary university football teams in the South, are a lot tougher than most people give them credit for. SO, it could be what’s called a trap game, a game that on paper the better-known team should win easily, but could be easily lulled into thinking it will be easy and therefore not be as prepared as they should be and be surprised and lose–kind of like Troy last year (Troy also knocked off Nebraska this year, so look out for Troy, people.)

Last night we watched another episode of Ozark that was incredibly tightly written, beautifully shot, and exceptionally acted; as it came to an end I said to Paul, “where on earth do they go from here?” We’re only about half-way through the second season, and this season has been crazily intense, and Laura Linney’s brilliance is really starting to shine through. Dark, Gothic and at times startlingly funny and scathingly witty, I absolutely love this show, and even though we haven’t finished season two, I am already starting to miss it, and hate the thought of it ending.

I worked two longish days this week already–but the rest of the week should slide into the weekend fairly easily. I have an eight-hour shift today, but tomorrow is only a half-day and I have to go see my doctor in the morning; Friday is another eight hour day and then it’s the weekend. Huzzah!

I haven’t had a chance to do much writing the last couple of days; I am still trying to get caught up on all the email that accumulated while I was gone–and this is my second week back at work. Bouchercon really knocked me off my game this year, but hopefully I’ll be able to get back to writing this morning or this evening. I really want to make some detailed progress on the Scotty book, and I thought about ways to improve my story “Never Kiss a Stranger” last night.

I feel disconnected from my writing; the Bouchercon break kind of did that, other than the Scotty. I feel like there’s something I’m not finishing, that I should be working on, but all I can remember is the Scotty…I kind of hate when that happens. OH! Yes, of course, how could I forget my story “A Little More Jazz for the Axeman”? I’ve really been enjoying my excursions into New Orleans history lately; I feel like there’s so much I don’t know about New Orleans and its rich and varied past that could be fodder for so many stories and/or novels. I really am thinking it might be a smart idea to write a series set in the past in New Orleans; I know so many experts on New Orleans and Louisiana history, as well as so many people who work in research collections and archives, that it should be fairly simple to actually connect with people and get their help to find the materials I need to write something new and spectacular and different.

It’s a thought, anyway.

And now, back to the spice mines.

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Come and Talk to Me

Well, that Saints game on Sunday was hideous, but I will take the W. Strange how both LSU and the Saints literally came down to the last second of the game to come away with the win this weekend.

In other exciting news, I started the revision of Royal Street Reveillon at long last, and while I know I am just getting started, it was all so easy and worked so well and flowed so nicely that I really have high hopes that this might actually go quickly and easily, provided I stay motivated and energized. Fingers crossed, people. I’m actually kind of excited; Scotty’s voice is very clear in my head, and I know exactly what I want this book to be about and how I want it all to happen. This could be, with all self-deprecation aside, the best of the Scottys.

At least I certainly hope so.

I’d hate to think I’d already peaked in the series….because if that’s true, then I should end the series.

And I don’t want to end the Scotty series yet, I don’t think.

The second season of Ozark is even darker than the first, which I didn’t think entirely possible. I love this show; the acting and writing are stellar, and you never can see what direction the show is going to go; things just seem to keep getting worse and worse for the characters in every episode. There was also some pretty amazing sleight-of-hand worked by the writers; the show and the main family were not what they seemed to be in the very beginning; as the layers continue to be peeled back, as we get to know them and see their faults and flaws, we know them better but at the same time they become more complicated and complex and harder to know.

Not an easy thing to do.

And now, back to the spice mines.

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Finally

Saturday morning, and my ten day vacation from work began last night at around eight thirty, when I got in my car to drive home from passing out condoms all evening. It was a rather long day– I had to work at the main office first for several hours before heading down to the Quarter–and I was physically sore and exhausted and sweaty and crabby as fuck when I got in the car to come home. Once home I took a shower, relaxed, had some wine, and watched the US Open until it was time to go to sleep. I slept deeply and well; clearly, the shower made a significant difference in how this all played out for this morning. I have some errands to run today–groceries, mail, getting the big suitcase out of storage for the trip to St. Petersburg–and I have to do some writing for a website. I want to clean the house–make some progress, at any rate; I like to leave the house very clean when I go on a trip so I don’t have to come home to a dirty house–and I think I am going to try to just read the Scotty manuscript and make notes while the US Open is on. The second season of Ozark also became available last night on Netflix, and I’m really looking forward to seeing if the show can maintain its high level of quality for a second season. I also want to finish reading James Ziskin’s Cast the First Stone so I can start reading Thomas Pluck’s Bad Boy Boogie, and then my Bouchercon homework is done.

Huzzah!

And the LSU game isn’t until tomorrow night, so I may watch some college football–toggling back and forth between college football and the US Open (I still can’t believe it’s football season) while reading in my easy chair. I probably won’t be posting much, if at all, while I am in St. Petersburg at Bouchercon. I do have the WordPress app on my iPad (I don’t bother with my MacBook Air anymore; while I do love my Apple products as a general rule,  I regret buying the Air. I really need to take it into the Apple Store and have them fix some nonsensical things that I don’t understand are wrong with it) but I am not a huge fan of writing on the iPad. Maybe that will change. I did buy the keyboard for it, but I’ve never really had to write on it very much. Who knows–maybe in St. Pete I’ll discover that I love writing on it. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Maybe I could try practicing on it here this weekend before I leave on Wednesday? You never know. It’s really about getting used to it because it’s very different from writing on a desktop.

And when I get back I can get back to the Short Story Project! HUZZAH!

I still would like to get the Scotty revision finished by the end of September; and I think if I can focus and buckle down and really stick to it, it’s a definite possibility. And then I can finally get back to the WIP to make the changes it needs before heading back out into the world in search of an agent. I also want to at least get started on Bury Me in Satin by the end of the year; I’d hoped to be finished with it at the end of the year but I really don’t think that’s going to be happening any time soon, either. It’s a great idea, and I think I can do some great things with it, and while I am doing all of this I am going to start researching New Orleans history as I continue to think about writing another, different series. (And once Bury Me in Satin is finished, I hope to start working on Muscles, my long-planned noir.)

And on that note, it’s time to get going on my day. Have a lovely Saturday, everybody

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