Rocks Off

That’s a rather charming title for a blog post, isn’t it? As you may have noticed, I generally pick a list of songs to use as titles for the blog, and I am currently (perhaps obviously) now working my way through the Rolling Stones’ extensive discography, which will occasionally provide something a little off-color (the best was the Pet Shop Boys; every song title sounds like a great essay title about gay life), like today. Today’s title just makes me think of sex and “getting your rocks off”; I don’t think I am familiar with the actual song, in all honesty, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the gist of the song.

Whatever gets your rocks off, man.

Ah, the 1970s were such a different time, weren’t they? I’ve been going down a lot of 1970s wormholes lately, not just for the sake of the nostalgia afforded (all those lovely memories of the Top Forty AM stations in Chicago, WLS and WCFL, that I grew up with; WGN before it became a nation-wide cable channel) but because it’s also a bit of research, you see. Yes, after I finish writing the book I am writing and editing the one I turned in last month and then editing the one I am turning in at the end of this month, I plan on writing Chlorine and a different book I’ve been planning for a while, but after that I am thinking about a 1970’s book–or a romance; I can’t decide which I would prefer to do next. Romance is a whole new ball game for me, which is part of the appeal, but then I look at Romancelandia on Twitter and think, yeah, not so sure I want to go swimming with those sharks. I’m not even sure what precisely is going on in that world anymore, either; I don’t know if RWA ever recovered from the “burn it all to the ground” December of 2019, and I think Romantic Times has also gone away? It’s funny, though, every time I dip my toes into the waters of another genre something inevitably will run me screaming back to crime fiction, my publishing safe space as it were. I do feel like doing something completely different from everything I’ve done already–it’s always fun and challenging to go in another direction than you usually do, and I think it helps me with my mystery writing, frankly–but I am not sure if a romance is the way to go. I have what I think is a great idea for one, but….it’s not like I haven’t thought that before, either.

Of course, writing what would be best for my career and my “brand” (whatever that may be) never enters my head. Which is probably why I am not a New York Times bestseller and a household name–yeah, that’s why, Greg.

But I went to my doctor’s appointment and am pleased to report that the arm was just a pulled muscle and lingering tendonitis (he added that I should keep it wrapped until the swelling goes does–yes, there is some weird swelling), got my prescriptions refilled, and started the process rolling that will hopefully result in my getting hearing aids at long last. My weight was high, but my blood pressure was also fine and all vitals were good, so…yay for that at any rate. And now I find myself home earlier than usual and more time to work on my writing than I ordinarily would, so hurray! I also got Art Taylor’s new short story collection The Adventures of the Castle Thief and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions, from Crippen and Landru (order direct from them! It’s better for everyone!), which is very exciting–Art is one of our best crime short story writers, period, and has won every possible award in crime fiction for short story writing at least once, and I love his work. I started reading Abby Collette’s Body and Soul Food while I waited for my appointment and it’s off to a really good start, which is very cool.

I am really excited about the hearing aids, Constant Reader, you have no idea. I’ve always had trouble hearing conversations in crowded restaurants and whenever there’s ambient noise, and it’s gotten progressively worse as I’ve gotten older. (I smile and nod a lot…) And since I’ve long since stopped caring how I look, who cares if people can see me with my hearing aids in? (I wish I’d stopped caring about that a lot sooner than I did, frankly.) So once I get this done and a load of dishes in the dishwasher and a load of clothes going in the washing machine, I am going to dive headfirst into my book and see what I can get finished today.

So, best to head into the spice mines else I’ll never get started.

Together Again

Wednesday and yet another episode of Pay-the-Bills Day; although it’s not going to be as horribly painful as it usually is. I am caught up already–a bit ahead, if you will–of the bills already, so my checking account and paycheck aren’t going to dwindle/disappear the way the usually do on Pay-the-Bills Day, which is a rather marvelous feeling.

It’s gray outside this morning–not sure if it’s rained or simply overcast, but it’s certainly gray out there this morning and there’s condensation all over my windows, so it’s definitely humid, if nothing else. Yay? This is, of course, my last in-office day of this week; and of course that exponentially means my last day to get up this early this week. The next two weeks are short weeks, and then of course is my Bouchercon/vacation week…which is going to be sad more than anything else, really; I’m debating whether or not to keep my hotel room or not. The organization is obviously going to take a massive financial hit with all the cancellations due to the variant outbreak here in New Orleans; but will using one room at the hotel help that much? I am not sure. I am not sure about a lot of things, other than some friends are definitely coming to town for the lengthy weekend for it still, and I do want to see them. It’s really a shame, too. I was really looking forward to it–and seeing everyone for the first time in years (last year’s went virtual; the year before i was sick and couldn’t travel, so I’ve not been since St. Petersburg three years ago)–only to have it literally snatched out of my grasp when I almost had it in my hands. It’s bitterly disappointing, and I feel bad for everyone–the organizers and all their hard work; the volunteers; and everyone who registered and is eating the cost of registration and plane fare. The majority of writers aren’t rich; some barely make enough from writing to cover their expenses for writing and promotion and all of the other things that are part of being a writer.

I also have concerns about what this means long term for the organization to take another such hit this year.

Yesterday was an interesting one to say the least; this entire week has been a strange one thus far. Romancelandia and RWA are on fire again–something about their awards I’ve not followed too closely, but surprise! It has to do with their Inspirational Romance category giving an award to a book that gives a romantic redemption arc to someone who commits genocide (seriously?), and then of course yesterday crime fiction caught on fire as well…it was unfortunate, it was terrible, it was ugly, and it was completely unnecessary. After watching all day between clients and after getting home–when it all seemed to finally die down–all I could think was was this even necessary? It really wasn’t, and a lot of people lashing out at each other and feelings being hurt–things at one point tragically dipped down into the cellar of racism, which was truly appalling–solved absolutely nothing, except exposing several individuals to the entire community as questionable people (in some cases, it wasn’t new information for me but it clearly was for a lot of other people) and all I could think last night, recounting it all to Paul, was what an incredible waste of energy and time and emotion that could have been better utilized organizing the community to try to solve a problem–and how completely unproductive this is.

People gotta people, though, I guess.

The galley proofs for Bury Me in Shadows arrived in my inbox over night, which is lovely; now I get to go over them and try to catch typos, missing or superfluous punctuation and words, etc. etc. etc. I have to admit I am relatively pleased with the book overall (if getting a little sick of it again) but I think I can stand to go through the book one more time–at least this time I don’t have to wince or be concerned about the writing aspects of the story itself. I do hope that people like and enjoy it when they do read it.

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Yesterday delayed me dramatically, and that cannot be yet another day’s story!

Have a lovely Wednesday, Constant Reader!