That’s What Love Is For

Well, another week is in the books. I stopped on my way home from the office at the library to pick up my first-ever checked out book from the library (I even requested it on-line and they held it for me), picked up the mail, and stopped at the grocery store.

I don’t think I even have to leave the house now over the weekend. How awesome is that?

Pretty fucking awesome, if I do say so myself. The older I get, the less I want to leave the house. If I could possibly manage it, I would probably become a recluse. How I miss the days of working at home! Going to the gym whenever I felt like it, going to get the mail and grocery store when I was in the mood or stuck on whatever I was writing or editing; when the only pressing things were deadlines and the due-date of bills. I hope and I pray that someday, someday, I will be able to return to those halcyon days of yesteryear.

I am stuck with the book. This morning before I went into the office I opened a word document for Chapter 4, and literally just stared at it blankly. Nothing. Not a single word. I had no idea where I wanted to take the story and the characters next. And now that I’m home, I’m still in that same mindset. So…given that I’ve done about ten thousand words on it thus far, give or take, I think I am going to take the rest of the night off from writing. Maybe reread the first three chapters again, get an idea of where I was going, maybe jot down some notes in my journal…and hopefully will get kick-started again tomorrow when I wake up; hopefully well-rested and refreshed and raring to go.

One can hope, at any rate.

Well, I now have the groceries and a load of dishes put away; the second load of laundry is in the dryer, and I am making some sort of progress on getting everything straightened in the Lost Apartment; cleaning and filing and so forth, so I can spend the weekend relaxing and reading and writing. I also have a freelance editing job I should get out of the way this weekend. Huzzah!

And now ’tis back to the spice mines. A Gregalicious’ work is never done.

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Mr. Roboto

I finished the line edit yesterday, thanks be to the baby Jesus. Now I have to input it into the document, but the worst part–the actual line by line edit–is done done done. Huzzah! Huzzah!

I lived in Houston for two years, and of course, my parents lived there over ten. So, I feel connected to that city as well–not to mention all the friends I have there, and my favorite specialty bookstore, Murder by the Book, so my heart breaks every time I see the flooding pictures, videos, and the posts. Keep Houston in your hearts, everyone, and know they are going to need help. Twelve years ago it was New Orleans, and Houston opened its heart to us. Never forget. Rebuilding Houston is going to be a long and incredibly challenging process. We need to be there for our fellow Americans.

I spent the rest of Sunday–pre-Game of Thrones epic season finale, reading Jeff Abbott’s extraordinary Blame.

blame

What she would never remember: their broken screams starting with I love…and I hate…, the sudden wrenching pull, the oh-no-this-is happening-this-can’t be-happening feeling of falling as the SUV rocketed off the road, the horrifying downward slope of the hillside in the headlights, his hand tight over hers on the steering wheel, the smashing thunder of impact, the driver’s-side airbag exploding in her face, the rolling, the lights dying, the unforgiving rock, and then the blow to her head that undid her and wiped her clean and made her new.

The old Jane died; every version of David died. The new Jane, product of a dark night’s fury and tragedy, knew nothing more until she woke up four days later, remembering nothing, not her name, not her mother’s face, the crash, what had happened to her in that hospital bed, or any of her past seventeen years. Slowly the memories began to seep back: her birthdays when she was a child, cake sweet and soft on her lips; the smoky, rich aroma of her grandfather’s pipe matched with the woolly smell of his tweed jacket with leather elbow patches; her mother’s favorite lavender soap; the notebook she’d filled with short, dark adventure stories one summer and proudly read to her dad; the faces of her teachers; the smile of the librarian who’d give her stickers during the summer reading program; the feel of her hand in her father’s palm; the faces and the laughter of her friends when they were kids.

Sometimes the memories felt immediate; sometimes they felt like something she’d seen in a film, present but distant, nothing to do with the person she was now.

Except for the past three years.

Jane was seventeen, but as the memories surged back, she was stuck at fourteen. Those last three years were gone, all the joy and drama of her high school life, lost in the damage and the trauma. Including those mysterious, unexplained last few hours, when she was with a boy she wasn’t supposed to be with, when she was out doing God knows what. The girl lived and eventually limped back into the bright sunshine, and the boy died and went into the cold ground, a secret sleeping with him.

And so the world she knew turned against her.

Except someone watched, and waited, and wondered how much of that night Jane Norton really remembered.

Amnesia. While not nearly as common as soap operas make it seem, it’s an actual thing. I did a lot of research on amnesia when I was writing Sleeping Angel–most of which I’ve actually forgotten–but if done right, amnesia is an excellent foundation for a crime novel/thriller.

Jeff Abbott has done it right with Blame.

Two years have passed since the terrible accident that took Jane’s memory and killed her neighbor, David–one of the most popular boys in their high school in an affluent section of Houston. Jane’s early memories have come back, but she doesn’t remember high school before the accident, or the tragic accident that killed her father when she was a freshman. Hated and resented by many of her classmates, she’s now homeless, sometimes crashing in one of her few friend’s dorm rooms in a local college. Her mother is too much for her to handle–think Mildred Pierce on steroids–and of course, David’s parents also still live next door; his mother hates her and makes no bones about hating her. Her mother refuses to sell the house, and David’s parents are splitting up. On the anniversary of the accident Jane unfortunately encounters David’s mother Perri at David’s grave, which turns into an incredibly ugly altercation when Perri attacks her; Jane’s Uber driver records it all–and it goes viral.

At the same time, someone named “Liv Danger” is going after Perri on social media–Jane as well–and soon other people involved somehow, even peripherally, the night of the accident are under attack. Slowly but surely, Jane has to slowly start piecing together what happened that day as the Liv Danger’s behavior becomes more and more menacing and dangerous…and other dangerous characters are getting involved.

This book was, quite simply, an extraordinary read. The tension begins on Page One, and not only does it not let up, it builds. I literally took the book into the kitchen with me, reading while I was making dinner because I couldn’t stop, didn’t even want to take twenty minutes away from it because I had to know what happened that night! 

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, but along with that recommendation comes this warning: set aside a weekend to read it because you won’t want to put it down.

Easily one of my top reads of this year.

 

Waterloo

So, since I didn’t have to go into the office until later yesterday, I decided to take the morning/early afternoon and read (Lori Rader-Day’s Little Pretty Things is soooo good, Constant Reader), did some laundry and the dishes, and then began a new project: cleaning out and reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and drawers. This, as always, made me enormously happy, and now the two bottom cabinets on the right side of the stove are now organized, with plenty of room in there for more stuff–should that become necessary–and the cabinets under the sink are now nice and neat and not crammed full of stuff.

It is perhaps wrong how happy this makes me.

And now I am looking forward to doing MORE of this over the weekend. All of the cabinets are not organized properly; there are also undoubtedly many things that can be donated or discarded in all of them, including my kitchen drawers. There certainly must be a better, more efficient way to put the dishes/mugs/bowls/glasses in their cabinets, after all, and I will find it.

It’s weird, really weird, how not having a deadline hanging over my head has made me feel…I don’t know, more relaxed? My stress levels have gone way down, I’m sleeping so much better than I was, and I am so much more relaxed. I can also tell the difference with my mood; things that would have pushed me into a rage or fury or depression with a deadline over my head now get more of “meh, whatever” response from me, which is kind of great. But now, with two weeks of not really writing anything other than blogs and emails behind me, I’m kind of ready to get back to work on writing some things. As I said the other day, the weekend in Alabama helped shake loose some cobwebs about a cozy series idea I’ve had for years that I think I’ll be able to get going on at some point now; I was writing the series Bible the other day and it was coming fast and furious at me. I have two manuscripts to rewrite, of course, and then there are the edits hanging over my head for the last two I turned in, and short stories galore. I may spend this weekend writing nothing; it’s definitely possible, and I want to finish Lori’s book preparatory to reading a cozy or two before going back to King and Koryta; there are also some literary novels (!!!!) I want to read as well.

Not to mention I have literally dozens of comic books on my iPad I need to catch up on.

How I do love to read.

So, perhaps this will be another weekend of catching up around the house on all those things that slide while I am on deadline (i.e. since 2007) as well as maybe toying with some writing, and doing a lot of reading.

Woo-hoo!

And now, back to the spice mines…oh, wait! I have NO SPICE TO MINE. So, here’s a hunk for that.