five things: all that jazz

You may have heard that the northeast is about to be covered in snow. If the weather reports are anything to go by, you’d think brimstone was about to rain from the sky. Well, here’s my weekly wrap-up post. Call me if you see locusts or whatever.

1. ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ll be reading from Show and Tell at Lady Jane’s Salon on Monday March 4. (7pm at Madame X, Houston b/t Thompson & LaGuardia, NYC.) It would be fabulous to see you there.

2. ANNOUNCEMENT 2: I’m helping to spread the word that the Rainbow Awards are looking for judges in all genres of LGBT books.

3. One of my many works in progress is an m/m novel set in the Jazz Age that I’ve decided to seriously try to finish soon. While Googling for something related to that, I learned that there’s an exhibit on Prohibition in Philadelphia (here’s a review), so I just booked a trip to Philly. You know, for research.

Actually, I’ve been wanting to do two things related to this for a very long time. First, the last time I was in Philly was for a convention in 2003. I spent three days stuck at my company’s booth in the exhibition hall and didn’t get to see much of the city. I’ve been wanting to go back ever since.

Second, I’ve been wanting to do a writer’s retreat weekend for myself, and it’s one of those things I keep saying I’m going to do without doing it. It means getting out of New York and away from my usual weekend obligations. I decided to book myself a room in a swanky hotel (at which I got a pretty good deal) and I’m going to relax and go to museums and be a history nerd for a couple of days. This is basically my treat for myself before everything gets nuts this spring. (My calendar looks terrifying starting the day after I get back from Philly.)

So. Anything I should do in Philly while I’m there? I’m staying in Center City and will only be there about 36 hours, so I may just have time to check into my hotel and go to museums.

Although, DID YOU KNOW, there is an iPhone App for Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Channel show The Layover. If you’ve never seen it, he basically gets a 30-something hours in a city and then eats and drinks his way across it. I happened to catch the episode on Atlanta a few weeks ago and filed that info away for later, since I’m going to Atlanta twice this year. Looks like he did an ep on Philly, too.

4. I’m having a writing dilemma, sort of. The aforementioned Jazz Age novel starts off gritty but I’m noticing the latter chapters are a little bit sugary. Like, once the main couple is Together, they’re so crazy in love that they get a little mushy. Now, I like this sort of thing, which is why it finds its way into my books, but I’m thinking some of this is too much. It’s a tricky thing to think about/compromise on. It’s a problem I’ve been having a lot lately, worrying my romance stuff is too saccharine. I think in the Jazz Age novel, I have to tone it down. (It’s funny, wondering if I have to balance what I like with reader expectations. In this case, I don’t think the sappy stuff is appropriate or thematically consistent, so that’s not a hard choice to make, but sometimes I write things and can hear reviewers saying, “This is silly,” and edit myself accordingly. It’s a fine line to walk, doing what you want vs. what you think people want.)

5. I had another one of those weeks wherein not a lot happened, but I did watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, so there’s that. I didn’t have a dog in that fight—I didn’t really follow football this year and I’m not a fan nor did I have much antipathy for either team—but it was fun to watch. (I root for the Giants or whoever is playing against the Patriots.) My brother and I switch off hosting duties every year, usually depending on who can make the better argument for who has the best space. I’ve actually hosted the last few years because I can fit more people in my living room than he can in his, but he just got a new surround-sound system, so he won hosting rights this year. I guess I have to up the ante. Or, you know, let him host, since then I don’t have to cook or clean up afterward.

And I guess the good news is that, after a brief bout of laryngitis earlier this week, I seem to be mostly healed from being sick. (I avoided the fate of a guy I know, at least; he was diagnosed with bronchitis and then had a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics his doctor put him on. He’s okay now, but that was scary.)