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Another year older, not a day wiser.

Funny how that works.

Now that the Olympics are finishing up, I am looking forward to getting back to reading, and trying to make a dent in my ever-growing TBR pile. Such a plethora of riches, such a bounty of wonder to behold. I have the new Rebecca Chance (Killer Diamonds), the new Michael Koryta (Rise the Dark), the new John Hart (Redemption Road), some wonderful histories of the Medici and Florence, some Charlotte Armstrongs (The Girl with a Secret, The Innocent Flower, The Dream Walker) and some Margaret Millars (The Cannibal Heart, Fire Will Freeze, Do Evil in Return). There are some short stories I want to write, I need to get the next Fratboy book finished, and I also want to make some headway on the next Scotty; as well as do some serious revision on a secret project of which I cannot speak. There's also marketing to do.

Heavy heaving sigh.

It never ends for one Gregalicious, does it?

But if it did, I wouldn't be Gregalicious.

I suppose I should make a list. My life has been measured in to-do lists; perhaps that should be the title of my memoir, should I ever choose to write one.

Speaking of lists, I recently posted a list of 15 books that influenced my writing; it was an off-shoot of the fifteen writers whose work influenced me the most. Of course, it was timed; you had to do it off the top of your head and you couldn't go back and edit, with a fifteen minute time limit. I of course raced through both lists; I always have done this. I used to always finish tests in school quickly; I either knew the answers or I didn't, and staring at the questions for a longer period of time wouldn't change that. I was looking at those lists this morning, thinking they would make for good blog topics; and realized that some of these authors and books I've talked about ad nauseum.

It also saddened me a bit to see that there were books and authors I'd left off the lists. How could I have forgotten Peyton Place? Yearbook? Go Ask Alice? The Other? Celebrity? Tracy and Hepburn? I even forgot the three Mc(Mac)donalds: John D, Ross, and Gregory. I forgot Ellery Queen and Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner, John Steinbeck and Arthur Hailey and Irving Wallace and so many others.

Madness, absolute madness.

I also left off contemporaries, even though they have impacted my writing and certainly my reading: Laura Lippman, Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin, Ace Atkins, Sara Paretsky, Donna Andrews, Michael Koryta, John Hart, Dennis Lehane, Christa Faust, Lee Child, and so many others.

But the truth is, at least in my case, that everything I read influences me. When I read something that I think isn't good, I think about why it isn't good and what I would have done to make it better. I still like to read for pleasure, but when I finish reading something I really enjoyed, rather than thinking wow I really liked that I tend to think, why did I enjoy that so much? What did the author do that I can try to make my own work better?

I think writing is always about evolving and growing and developing, trying to challenge yourself to be better. It may not seem like it, but that's certainly what I try to do with everything I write. if I ever think I can't do better, I don't know that I could keep going.

Interesting thoughts on a Sunday morning.

And now, to mine some spice.

Oh, here's today's Olympic athletes, for those of you who like them twinkish.

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