Motel Confessionals

I’m sure nobody noticed, but I’ve been largely out of sight over the last few months. Oh, to be sure, I popped in here and there, but not much. I’ve posted about an interview I did for the New Books Network, where I co-host a new podcast focusing on books by or about LGBTQ people with two of my University Press of Mississippi book-writing pals John Marszalek and Pip Gordon.

I posted about a nice review of Stone Motel in the Gay & Lesbian Review, and, on New Year’s Eve, about my family’s custom of Jabless, where a gnarled old hag brings toys and goodies for all the well-behaved little Coonass boys and girls.

I’d like to report that I also posted a new cake recipe or a recipe for one of the dishes of my Louisiana youth, but I did not, in fact, do that. And for that, I feel most guilty. I’m sure we’ll all rightfully get over it. As hard as that may be.

What I HAVE been doing during this recent hiatus from the world, is putting my focus and energy into a new book. (You are encouraged to drop whatever sad little piece of nothing you were doing before reading this and instead join me in a wee celebratory jig around the kitchen island.) This new book is a novel that is based, like my memoir was, on a childhood spent helping to run a roadside motel in Cajun Louisiana (still writing about what I know – go figure).

I’m not yet ready to publish a sample but I wanted you all to know that at more than 35,000 words I am now, as of this writing, about HALF WAY through the first draft this new book. So I am now at the point where I am confident about how to shape a narrative that, hopefully, will satisfy readers.

Even though I’m working with a similar motel setting, this book is quite different from Stone Motel. First, it’s a work of fiction. And I’ve had a blast building stories based on nuggets of truth I gleaned over the years from our motel customers. While the memoir included a couple of stories about customers, there were so many more customer stories I wanted to tell, but couldn’t, given the confines of word-limits. And because it is fiction, I am getting to play with reality, which is a hell of a lot more fun than writing reality. So these stories are embellished, embroidered, and then stripped bare again, and finally flung against the wall to see if they stick. And I have to say that it’s been a hoot writing them so far.

Working title for this novel? Motel Confessionals. (I’m not getting attached to that name. It is very likely to change because that’s just how these things go.)

Barring any substantial interruptions, I have another several months of work before I can start the harder work of polishing my new manuscript, and then the daunting, dehumanizing, and extremely demoralizing work of finding someone to publish it.

And now, my plump little mirlitons, you are in the loop.

Since I finally have some momentum, I will have time to do more blog posts about cake and food and life in New York. I promise. I also promise to stop in on occasion to let you know how Confessionals is going.

C’est tout!M

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