this and that

I’ve been trying to write the same blog post for a week. The goal was to be sweeping and inspirational, discussing opportunity and how to throw off the limits we place on ourselves. But this has been a tough week, and nothing I write seems right to me, and then sweeping and inspirational turns into angry typing and nobody needs that.

But I haven’t updated the blog since I got back from RWA, so I felt like I should put up something. So here are some updates/rambles:

It’s been a weird summer. There’s been a lot of uncertainty at my day job, starting with lay-offs at the beginning of the summer. I’m still employed but my role has changed a little. I started picking up more freelance work, which is taking time away from my writing, unfortunately, but I have an opportunity for more work in the event I get laid off this fall (which I’m anticipating), so after a month of stress, I’m starting to feel now like things will work out. (Freelancing full time has been my plan almost since I started working in offices. I love my work, I really do, but I hate being stuck at a desk for 9 hours a day.)

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in July, and I wrote about 52,000 words, most of which were the back 2/3 of the second book in the baseball series I’m working on. That went out to betas this week. I’m kicking around ideas for two historical novels (I actually literally just clicked “buy” on a couple of reference books for said historicals). I wrote a new adult book this spring that has already been to betas and back that has to be revised. I’m really excited about all the projects I have on deck, but there are a lot of them and I have to seriously get myself on some sort of schedule.

I have triumphed over the adversity of having a broken laptop, doing all my writing on 3 different devices until I can replace it (bless you, Dropbox). I’m finally almost able to replace the big white brick that used to be a MacBook, but if you see a crazy lady in the Apple Store petting laptops, it’s probably me.

It’s been a rough week, national news wise. I also read a couple of articles that really upset me. The context isn’t important, but I’ve been trying to write about some of these issues all week and getting nowhere productive. I finally sat my roommate down last night and said, “Okay, none of this is going to make sense to you, but I have to tell someone, so can you listen for a minute?” and she did because she is a good friend, and I feel a million times better today. I think it’s good to just talk sometimes.

And then I started reading a nonfiction book that, in retrospect, I think was a bad choice. It’s interesting but kind of depressing. This is a good Romance Novels to the Rescue! moment, but I have so many unread ones that I feel paralyzed looking at them. Which to choose next? Historical or contemporary? Favorite author or someone I’ve never read before? I mean, it’s a good problem to have, but my physical TBR pile is daunting.

The weather in New York the last couple of days has been beautiful. Sunny and warm. Usually in mid-August everyone is miserable. I’m going to revel in it.

Lastly, an administrative note: I emptied the comment spam without skimming the comments to see if anything legit got trapped in the filter. (So much spam!) If your comment got deleted, I apologize. If you do post a comment that doesn’t get approved within 24 hours, it’s cool to email me about it.

five things on friday

Weekly wrap-up!

1. Well, the big news this week was obviously the SCOTUS decisions. I normally stay out of politics when in my authorial persona, but I think the death of DOMA is something we can all celebrate. Especially here in New York! If I remember correctly, the New York legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage right before Pride weekend two years ago, and now all of those marriages that have formed as a result are legal in the eyes of the federal government, and that is such great, great news. It feels like tangible progress. I’m anticipating a lot of partying in New York this weekend.

(c) The Metropolitan Museum of Art

(c) The Metropolitan Museum of Art

2. I went to see the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit at the Met last weekend. It wasn’t my favorite Met fashion exhibit (and I’ve seen a lot of them) but it had its moments. The criticism I’ve heard from friends of mine who have seen it is that it’s too polished and/or it seems silly to look at ripped tee-shirts and jeans in a museum, but I think there’s something to be said for the absurdity of, say, an Alexander McQueen gown made of silk rendered to resemble bubble wrap. (I thought that was cool, anyway.)

The exhibit has a recreation of the bathroom at CBGB’s right near the entrance. I remarked out loud that it looked too clean. My sister-in-law, who was with me, commented that she had been to one of the last CBGB’s shows (her uncle was the drummer in a NYC-based punk band in the 70s that you’ve probably heard of if you follow punk music) and the bathroom was so gross no one would even go inside. This gay couple examining the display turned to us and one of them said, “Oh, honey, we were at one of the first shows at CBGBs. It always looked like that.” (Lots of photos here.)

3. I got galleys for What There Is this week, so I’m having some, “Wow, it feels like a real book!” feelings. Although, fair warning, this is really a 15,000-word short story. Everyone who has read it so far has basically been like, “Cute story, bro.” So while it’s not the meatiest story I’ve ever put out there, I’m thinking this will tide y’all over until my next novel comes out in the fall.

4. Speaking of, I got the cover spec sheet for The Stars that Tremble, so I will spend the weekend agonizing over that.

5. I made bookmarks, too. I was going to post proofs here, but one of them has an issue I have to fix when Photoshop and I have some time to spend together. It’s one of those things probably only I notice, but when I look at the bookmark back, it’s all I can see.

In other news, I cut my finger a couple of days ago, and while it’s not very deep, it bled A LOT, and I’m really squeamish, so I almost passed out, and that was fun. The injury is safely ensconced in a band-aid now, although having a band-aid on one’s dominant-hand ring finger is a pain-in-the-ass, let me tell you. At least the cut is on the side of my finger with the nail, because if it were on the side of the finger that has to touch a keyboard regularly, I’d have some issue.

It’s like the time I broke my pinkie toe, which is minor in the grand scheme of injuries, although it hurt like hell, and OF COURSE that was the week everything I had to do was really far from the subway. I spent a lot of money on cabs that week. At least a boo-boo on my finger just requires some band-aids. Although this was how I learned that the plastic box I call a “first-aid kit” in my apartment is basically just oddly shaped band-aids and an old tube of Neosporin. So if I ever really injure myself, I’m SOL.

I’m having some issues with my current WIP, so I figured I’d make another post about that. But in the meantime, have a great weekend, and if you are in a city with Pride celebrations going on now, Happy Pride!

a few random thoughts

white blossoms -- it is spring!Spring is for sure my favorite season. I like to take walks and I like flowers and I think the first couple of weekends of spring, when everyone is anxious to spend time outside, are like waking up from a long hibernation. This was an especially snowy, unpleasant winter, so it’s kind of nice to see lots of sunny days in the forecast. I took a long walk through the neighborhood this afternoon, admiring all the flowers blooming. I always forget how many cherry trees there are in Brooklyn until they start blooming in April.

I’m finishing up a novella that takes place during the winter, and it’s very hard to write about blizzards when it’s so sunny and warm out!

My Kindle might be developing an inferiority complex now that the iPad is out. I have some reservations about the iPad—I wish it ran OS X, I’m worried reading novels on a backlit screen will give me headaches, I’ve heard the iBooks store (or whatever they’re calling it) is still kind of clunky, though I imagine that will be improved—and have other more essential gadgets to buy first—my ancient iPod is about to kick it—but, golly, it’s pretty.

Speaking of the Kindle, I made a vow a couple of weeks ago that I would not buy any more books for it until I made a serious dent in the backlog of books on it. I did read a number of books that have been sitting on it for months, but ultimately, I’m weak, and I just bought two new books and am eying a third. It’s a disease, my need to buy books!

On the other hand, I’m finding that one of my favorite Sunday-afternoon leisure activities is to sit by the windows in my room and read as the sun sets.

I’m trying to turn my attention to a different work-in-progress right now, which is tough. I’m having trouble writing the end of the first chapter, but know pretty well how the later chapters shake out, so I can’t decide if it’s worth it to skip this and come back to it later, to write what I know will come easier, or to force myself to work out the problems with the first chapter before moving forward. Dilemma!

Well. I hope you all have a lovely spring week. I’ve still got a little bit of sunlight left tonight. I should make the most of it.

state of the kate

I called out sick from work today. I feel okay saying this on the internets because I am actually sick. The funny thing about sick days when you are actually sick is that, right after you get off the phone with your boss, you think, “Awesome, I’ve got this whole day off in front of me.” But then you realize you are actually sick and can’t do anything. I, for example, fell asleep in the middle of reading a book and lost the whole afternoon. I was thinking I’d get in some cold-medicine-fueled writing, but no. (Don’t pity me too much, though; I’m feeling a lot better now. And there are worse things than spending a day curled up in bed with a down quilt, a cat, and a Kindle.)

I’ve been reading a lot the last couple of days. I haven’t been reading much lately, mostly because of lack of time, but it turns out my shopping vice of late is ebooks, because I’ve bought, like, 15 of them in the last few weeks.

Here’s what I’ve read since I’ve been sick: After eying it for a couple of weeks, I finally broke down and read The Dark Tide. I knew the book would be good, and it was. I just couldn’t face the end of the Adrien English series. I guess I got a little sentimental. I mean, the series is fantastic, but also, Fatal Shadows has the distinction of being the first ebook I ever bought (and I think also the first m/m romance I ever read, although I’d read plenty of things with gay characters before). And it was a good intro to Loose Id, which, hey, is publishing my book in two weeks.

I also read LA Heat, a pretty solid procedural crime novel featuring a closeted cop who falls for the suspect in his murder investigation. It’s heavy on the police minutiae, but we’ve already talked about that, so you know it’s cool with me. And I’m a sucker for an old-fashioned page turner.

I’ve got a murder-mystery work-in-progress that I plan (hope) to finish this month, and all this cop stuff is making me want to get back to it. I’ve been working on this one for the last few months; I know whodunnit but can’t figure out how the characters figure it out, so I’ve been dragging my feet on the ending. It’s lighter in tone than In Hot Pursuit, though it has a higher body count. And I like these characters a lot, which makes it a joy to work on for the most part, except for the ending. (You appreciate mystery writers more when you try to write a mystery.) The one drawback is that one of the characters is a mystery writer, and after I was 20,000 words into the first draft, I had a conversation with a few members of my writers group who were all, “I hate characters who are writers.” Whoops! I’ll tell you, this character is not too prone to discussing his Craft. He’s more a pop writer, more opportunistic and arrogant than flighty and artistic. Plus, I thought it was funny to have a character who writes gritty crime novels with lots of gruesome details who then loses his shit when confronted with the real thing. It’s possible I have a warped sense of humor.

It occurred to me that my book comes out two days after Valentine’s Day, and it’s a romance, so there should be some celebrating? Stay tuned.

things wot are cool

I’m making a commitment to write something in this blog once a week at minimum, I suppose we’ll see how well I stick to that. I might also stick to writing fluffy things for a while; I have kind of a pathological fear of putting my foot in my mouth.

Speaking of fluff, I have a confession: I kind of love Tom Cruise pre-1995. I know this is not a popular opinion, but, two words: Top Gun. Gayest movie of all time, am I right? (Proof: volleyball scene. “Hrm, we are all shirtless and oiled up. Let me just flex my bicep while I check my watch.”) I also love Risky Business and Cocktail and… oh, hey, A Few Good Men is on my TV. This is one of those movies I almost always watch when I run into it on cable and it never gets old even though I’ve got large swaths of it memorized. I don’t know why. The cast is good, it’s an interesting story, Aaron Sorkin writes snappy dialogue, Tom Cruise does what he does best: playing a dude with assholish tendencies who makes good. Heck, I was still a Tom Cruise fan as late as 2001 or 2002 when he was on the cover of I think Vanity Fair, and I bought the magazine just for him, because, yeah. And Tom Cruise and I have the same birthday! I guess it turned on me around the same time he married Katie Holmes. He hasn’t done a movie I’ve liked in a while, he’s kind of crazy, it’s not cool to find him attractive. But, what can I say? It was like my stepmother said to me once after we’d seen Rain Man: That Tom Cruise is a hunk.

What about you? Any movies you always watch on TV? Secret celebrity crushes you’re kind of ashamed to admit to?

Other things that are cool: I agree with the Smart Bitches that these ads for an event put on my Lorelei James and MaryJanice Davidson are pretty cool. I also love that vintage art, like the covers of great pulp novels. (Incidentally, I’ve read and enjoyed most of Lorelei James’s McKay brothers series. I mean, what’s not to like? There are cowboys. Full stop. Cowboys, people. My favorite of the series, Rough, Raw, and Ready manages to accomplish both being a hot read and having a really interesting emotional arc. It’s a menage, which usually isn’t my thing, but it’s a great book.)