Wrapped Around Your Finger

Good morning, Constant Reader, and welcome to Hump Day. I probably shouldn’t have been so excited about my sleep improving, as it hasn’t been that great the last two nights which has resulted in me feeling a bit tired this morning and not being quite awake. Ah, well. The revising on the WIP is going well; my goal is to do a chapter a day and before I know it, it will be finished. I’m actually starting to enjoy myself with this revision, which is also a good sign, which means I may even get on a roll and do more than one chapter a day at times.

On the other hand, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

I’ve started reading Dennis Lehane’s latest novel, Since We Fell, after finishing Ill Will, and am curious to see where he goes with his story. It’s the first time he is writing a book solely from the point of view of a woman, which is rare with male writers. I will report back.

I started writing a new short story this week; as I said the other day I have several ideas for new stories swirling around in my head, and finally, when I finished revising Monday I decided to go ahead and get the opening of a new story down. The story is called “Closing Time” (which may change), and it was actually not my idea originally; when I was on a panel at Bouchercon in Raleigh, I was talking about how after Katrina and the flood, for several months those of us who were in New Orleans were subject to a curfew–which was unusual, and as a result the bars closed at midnight, which was eventually moved back to 2 a.m, and then, at New Year’s, they went back to being open round the clock. Some bars simply locked their doors at closing time, and anyone who hadn’t left there was stuck there until the curfew was over, at six in the morning. The moderator, the amazing Katrina Niidas Holm, said “You should write a story about a murder that takes place when everyone is locked inside the bar overnight”–and since then, I’ve never gotten that suggestion out of my head–and for some reason I started really thinking about that lately.

We’ll see how it goes.

But I need to focus on the revisions, and getting “Quiet Desperation” finished.

And now, back to the spice mines. Here’s a Hump Day Hunk for you:


Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

I had a great workout this morning; the first time in a long time I can say that. Usually, I am so tired and brain-dead I just go through the motions, whining, but this morning, after some good sleep, I was wide awake and rarin’ to go, and also enjoyed it for the first time in a long time.  I didn’t sleep well Monday night; never fully going to sleep, spent most of the night in that horrible half-awake state, and was exhausted all day yesterday, which was a long work day for me culminating in a late night of bar testing. I also had trouble falling asleep last night, but I think I wound up with about five full hours of deep, restful sleep. I woke up before the alarm went off, but even that small amount of good sleep was what my body needed.

I don’t mind not getting eight hours, as long as I get some good sleep.

I was so tired yesterday I couldn’t focus, so of course, got nothing done that I needed to get done. That always sucks, of course, but I am hoping that with the rest, and the endorphin rush I have from working out, that I’ll be able to plough through a lot of things today. I want to finish reading Cleopatra’s Shadows, and then I am going to read Universal Harvester, by John Darnielle. I also am going to start restructuring the WIP, which is going to be probably an odious chore, but I am going to do that before I start the revision/editing process with it to get it ready. In an ideal world, it will be finished by the end of this month; in a realistic world more like the end of June. I also want to get the next draft of “Quiet Desperation” finished. (I have an idea for another story I’d like to get started, “In Lieu of Flowers”, so the sooner I can get the one finished, the sooner I can start working on the new one.)

I’m also thinking about the next book I want to write. I know, it’s crazy to start thinking about the next book I want to write while I am still working on the current WIP, but there are two I am toying with in my head–one would be called Girl X, the other You’re No Good–and I’ve had these ideas floating around in my head for quite some time now. (There are always lots of ideas percolating in my head at any time, in case you haven’t noticed by now.) So I am just going to brainstorm those whenever I get stuck on something else I am writing; both are, ironically, stories about the relationships between mothers and daughters–which is odd, since I am neither. But hey, what can I say?

Well, here’s a hump day hunk for you.

hump day hunk


Sweet Inspiration

Friday morning, and I finally slept like the dead last night. It was truly marvelous. I feel rested and like I can get a lot done today, but I really don’t want to go get groceries. I honestly feel like I could go the rest of my life without ever setting foot in another grocery store and wouldn’t miss it in the least. In fact, as I sit here, I am contemplating how I could conceivably put off going until tomorrow or Sunday. Paul’s visiting friends on the North Shore, and I am driving over there tomorrow to have lunch with them before driving home (Costco on the way home, too). But really, isn’t it best to get it over with now and be done with it completely? Not have it hanging over my head?

Heavy heaving sigh.

I’ve almost finished outlining the WIP, which is quite exciting. I intend to spend part of this weekend playing with it–fleshing out characters, getting deeper into the town itself, and its history, putting together all the back stories so that I can go into writing the next draft–which will include some rearranging and some shifting in structure, as well as polishing language and making it sparkle and shine–and I am actually looking forward to it, which is rather bizarre, considering how much I LOATHE revising/editing/rewriting. But there is something to having let the manuscript sit as long as I have; I’m not sick of it, I’m not tired of the characters, and I am bringing a fresh new perspective to it.

I’m also rediscovering my joy in writing. I hope to get the new draft of “Quiet Desperation” finished this weekend as well. We’ll see how it all goes, though, won’t we?

All right, I really need to get some things done this morning.

Here’s a hunk for Friday for you:



Never Give You Up

As I get deeper into the outlining of the manuscript I am working on–yes, I am outlining it after writing it, which only makes sense in Bizarro World, but welcome to Greg’s Wonderful World of Writing–I am very pleased with what I managed to accomplish in this first draft. I touched on a lot of issues and themes that are important to me, and it’s not nearly as repetitive as I feared it might be. The trick is going to be the winnowing down; it currently sits at 97,000 words and needs at least three more chapters to get to the resolution and be finished. Even if those are only three thousand words or so, a young adult manuscript of 106,000 is probably way too long. I also think I managed to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish with it, even though it’s technically not finished. There is, apparently, something to be said about writing a manuscript you are really passionate about without the pressure of a deadline. All in all, from the moment I started writing the first chapter to when I realized I’d written it too long and the original end I’d planned would require another three chapters–or I’d really have to rush it all to get it all done in one more–was a total of forty-five days, and I didn’t write every one of those forty-five days. I think the actual writing days were at most thirty, and may have been as few as twenty-five.

I am actually dreading getting to those last few chapters I’ve written, to be honest.

Another thing I am doing is making a list of every character named in the book as I go–I’ve already discovered multiple character name changes–and another thing I am going to do is really get into the characters’ lives and histories by writing biographies of them, putting all the things I know in my head about them down onto paper and filling in the gaps. I’m amazed at how many characters there are–some of them are really only seen or mentioned in passing–and there are some things I really want to hit harder that I just seemed to lightly pass over as I wrote the first draft. But there aren’t a lot of mistakes, no awkward sentences, no bad paragraphs, and most of the dialogue works.

If you couldn’t tell, Constant Reader, one Gregalicious is quite pleased with himself and this manuscript.

I’ve also decided to NOT take the detour on Chef Menteur Highway on my way to Montgomery, and think I might do that on my way to Oxford on Monday instead. The drive to Montgomery is more time sensitive–there’s an author party I should go to on Friday night, and the event in Oxford is on Tuesday, so it doesn’t really matter what time I get there, so why not do it when I am not going to be pressed for time? It only makes sense. And I am also really pleased with how “Quiet Desperation” is coming along in its rewrite.

Wow. Who am I, and what have I done with myself? I think the affirmations are helping, seriously.

We got through two more episodes of Thirteen Reasons Why last night, and I have to say, I am becoming rather a fan of Ross Butler. He was simply stellar in the episode about Zach’s tape, and I was already aware of him from playing Reggie Mantle on Riverdale, and that casting was pretty bad-ass: a role traditionally Caucasian being played by an Asian-American actor (yet another reason to love Riverdale is its diverse casting choices). Ross is also easy on the eyes:

ross butler tank

See what I mean? And now, back to the spice mines.

Love Child

One more day till the three day weekend!

I realize it probably sounds like I hate my job, the way I crave days off, weekends, holidays and vacations–but I don’t. I actually like my day job, and it’s certainly one of the best–if not the best–day job I’ve ever had. My days off, on the other hand, are lovely because I don’t have any stress–I don’t have to rush about, be anywhere at a particular time, do anything at any particular time, and I don’t have to get up until I feel like it. That’s kind of nice. Even if I didn’t have a day job, and still worked from home the way I used to, I still looked forward to the weekends because Paul didn’t have to go to the office on the weekends. I am not working next Friday either, as that is the day I’ll be driving over to Montgomery for the Alabama Book Festival, where I am making my first ever appearance. (I’ve done more book events in Alabama this year than I’ve done anywhere else in years, which is more than slightly odd.)

Which, more than likely, is why Alabama is so much on my mind lately.

Since finishing “Quiet Desperation”, I’ve not really been writing anything other than this blog. (I have, however, been thinking about the second draft of that story, and already know how to make it much better the second time around; I do consider that to be writing, even though no words have gone on the page. SHUT UP THAT DOES TOO COUNT.) I am hoping, though, to get “The Terrortorium” finished this week, and maybe make some headway on “The Scent of Lilacs in the Rain.” I’ve also been brainstorming some on the new Scotty, and I need to get back to work on that as it’s just sitting there, glaring at me. And I have a shit load of editing to do of my own stuff; unfortunately, I loathe editing my own stuff and would rather drink bleach to do it, which means it piles up and it piles up and it piles up…I also get really stubborn and don’t want to throw things out, trying to fix things and make what was written work rather than removing it and writing something different.

I have so many bad writing habits. It’s almost sad.

I am getting back to reading The Nest this week, and am not sure what to read next, if I am being honest. It’ll probably go the way it usually does; I’ll go through the stacks and the book shelves and find something that strikes my fancy at the moment. I got another shipment of books yesterday, all of which look good, and of course, there’s all the stuff I had on hand already that I haven’t read and need to get to. Heavy heaving sigh. I am going to need to do a purge again soon, and what I really need to do is purge the storage spaces. But what a pain in the ass that would be. Maybe I should  take a couple of vacation days from work and do it….ugh, just the thought is too much for me, really. Heavy heaving sigh.

And on that note, I am heading back to the spice mines.

Here’s a Hump Day hunk to get you through the rest of this shortened week.


I Wish It Would Rain

Saturday morning in the Lost Apartment and it looks lovely outside. I may clean the windows today. I have to get the mail, pick up some prescriptions, make a grocery run, and I also want to get the car washed, and of course, as always, there is laundry to do. I also want to spend some time reading today, and cleaning the kitchen and living room. Yes, I am feeling rather ambitious today; we shall see how it turns out.

I forgot my book (The Nest) at the office on Thursday night; I worked at the other office yesterday and it’s French Quarter Fest, so getting down to Frenchmen Street would be a nightmare and would make me tired and cranky, so I decided to just start reading another book–Ben H. Winters’ Underground Airlines, recently named a Thriller Award nominee for Best Novel. I’d always intended to read The Underground Railroad and Underground Airlines back-to-back for comparison sake; I forgot and started reading something else when I finished reading the Whitehead. The Winters book was controversial when it was released; it, like the Whitehead, is sort of magical realism/alternate history; Winters’ premise is that the Civil War was never fought as yet another slave-owner appeasement compromise was reached in 1860 that prevented secession and the war; and other compromises were reached over the years since. It’s an interesting concept, and at the time the book was released there was some controversy; the main character is a free man of color who works as a slave-catcher. I’m not very far into it, but it’s well-written and I’m enjoying it thus far.

I also got a lot of work done on “Quiet Desperation” this week; the story is now well over four thousand words. I stopped working on it the other day (Thursday, to be exact) because I felt that I was getting impatient and rushing the ending, so I decided to pull back from it for a few days and then get back to it over this weekend. I also think the story may have meandered a bit. The goal is to finish it and the chapter of the new Scotty I’ve been working on, so I can really get going on both the Scotty book and another short story next week. Ambitious goals, yes, but do-able.

And I want to get to the gym tomorrow morning.

A truly ambitious plan for the weekend, no?

We’ll see how it all works out, won’t we?

Here’s a hunk to see you through your Saturday.

Midnight Confessions

Friday morning, and another week done on my slow descent into the grave. Wacky Russian was thinking about turning forty during our training session the other day, and along with it came the horrifying realization that I will reach sixty before he reaches forty. YIKES, right?

But I really don’t mind getting older. I miss the energy and the way my body used to bounce right back from exertion (of any kind) but other than that, I don’t mind. I don’t even think about myself being the age I am; it’s always a bit of a shock to realize I think of myself as being younger that I really am. But other than that surprise, I’m fine with it. I’ve certainly lived longer than I ever thought I would–being of the generation of gay men that I belong to, I never thought I would live to see forty, let alone get so close to sixty and still be going.

I’d thought about going to Costco this morning but I think I am going to wait until tomorrow. I may change my mind–it’s not even ten yet and I don’t have to be at the office until two, so there’s a window–but right now I’m not feeling it.

I didn’t finish “Quiet Desperation” yesterday, but am hopeful for today. I had every intention of getting it done yesterday, but I just wasn’t there mentally. Maybe I was being lazy; it’s always possible. But I am most pleased about having survived the post-Festival week, quite frankly. That’s always tough; not just TWFest/S&S, but after any book event, readjusting to regular life again the next week, while trying to get rested and back to normality, it always difficult. The first few days you’re mournful, wishing you could spend every day in the company of writers and readers; then comes the adjustment period. But it usually only takes a week–and is there anything more pointedly ‘back to reality’ than going to Costco?

I think not.

I also want to finish reading The Underground Railroad this weekend.

And on that note, perhaps I should get back to the spice mines. There’s a load of laundry to fold and a dishwasher to empty.

The glamorous life.

Here’s a hunk to slide you into the weekend:

Hello I Love You

Ah, a lovely night’s sleep, only interrupted by having to get up at five to get Amie an Uber to the Amtrak station; after which I returned to bed for another few hours of sleep. During that second round of sleep last night (or rather, this morning) a major thunderstorm rolled into the city. The crepe myrtles are swaying outside my windows, it’s completely gray out there, lightning and thunder, a downpour of rain. Right now, the rain has ceased, but there was just another flash of lightning and some more thunder, so who knows? It’s supposed to rain until around two this afternoon, which will, of course, make getting to work a JOY.

Oh, well, I haven’t driven the new car anywhere in the rain yet (outside of Alabama; I was rained on almost all the way from Wetumpka to Mobile on that trip). So, we’ll see how it handles in the rain on the slick, uneven streets of New Orleans…

I feel rested and awake this morning, which is quite lovely. I don’t have to work a long day tomorrow, either (my day today is shorter than usual), and am planning on making a Costco run tomorrow before going into the office (must remember to make list). These next two days and the weekend are going to be spent getting caught up on everything that has been let slide in the madness of the last few months–I’ve really felt like I’ve had no grasp of everything lately, and I need to get back on top of everything–which includes cleaning the Lost Apartment, organizing, filing, you name it. I am delighted that I’ve gotten everything to my accountant so I don’t have the burden of the taxes hanging over my head again. But at least now we have some semblance of normality for awhile again (until my trip to Alabama and Mississippi in late April), and as far as I know there shouldn’t be any other trips on the horizon at any time soon–although I do have to go back to Kentucky at some point, and Paul and I really want to go spend a long weekend at the beach at some point).

I didn’t write yesterday because, of course, because my mind was bouncing all over the place and I was so physically tired and mentally sleepy. I hate those days, when I can’t focus and know I just have to somehow just get through the damned day. Paul is very excited about this weekend, as there’s a major tennis tournament, the LSU gymnastics team is competing at regionals, and the World Figure Skating championships are also this weekend–so I doubt very seriously if I am ever going to be able to get him off the couch, but that’s also fine. He deserves some rest, frankly.

I’m hoping to get a first draft of “Quiet Desperation” finished today. Here’s hoping.

Here’s a Thursday hunk for you: