February 2015, eh? It has certainly been a month. A month of what? I’m struggling to keep track of it all myself!
Sad news in our house this week as we said goodbye to our eldest cat, Kitty (Yeah … we tried a few names on him in the early days, but that was the only one that gelled!). [su_spoiler title=”I’ve written the story, but it’s up to you if you’d like to read it (click here).”]He was only 13, but we had been watching his rather rapid decline since Christmas with a mix of concern and frustration. First, he stopped eating biscuits. Fine. We offered him more meat. But then he got picky about the meat. He was getting picky about how he drank his water, too (from a plastic container in the bath to from around the plugged bath drain to straight from the running bath tap …), so it was very much a “How can I keep you well fed if you won’t eat what I offer?” situation. I felt like I was spending large chunks of my days dishing out cat food in small, frequent meals. Until this last week when we realised he was refusing every meal, and not even making an attempt to eat. At the same time an infection set in (runny nose & eyes), so it was definitely time for the vet. Long story shorter, the conclusion was a cancerous lump in his gut. Surgery/chemo/radiation might give him a few (unpleasant) months. With him already not eating, we decided the kindest option was to peacefully send him to sleep and away out of this realm. Now, the plan was to discuss this with Mr 4, let him know why Kitty wouldn’t be coming home again and give him the opportunity to say goodbye and also the choice to see Kitty after the deed, if he was comfortable with that. Well, in true Mr 4 style, he wanted to stay. At first, I said it wasn’t a great idea (I’ve helped two pets along before; 1 (cat) very peaceful, and 1 (dog) also probably peaceful, but didn’t look that way to me as an observer). But, when the time came, his curiosity got the better of me, and I decided not to drag him from the room. We explained what was happening, and Mr 4 was far more interested in mum’s tears than having any of his own or any worries about the whole thing. It’s hard to know how much he understands, but it’s good to know we can have open dialogue and he knows he’s welcome to ask questions and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. Overall, I’m happy with how things played out. Just sad to see the little white/ginger fellow gone so soon.[/su_spoiler]
On with the show …
No luck in finding an alternative cover artist for WARRIOR’S TOUCH, but Matt is still in the loop and if we can handle the wait, I’m sure he’ll be worth waiting for. It just means there’ll be more build up to the cover!
So, I took a little break from forging ahead this month and took a few days to sit back and write out what I want to happen in the story. Outlining. After a discussion with Jaye in L.A. (acknowledged for her help with HT), I came away with more confidence in some of the ideas I already had, and a couple of new takes on what I was trying to achieve. Basically, the discussion helped me wrap my head around the story, something I’ve been struggling with as life just keeps getting busier and breaking up the time I get to spend on writing into smaller “chunks”. So, I spent a few days just writing about MAGICIAN’S TOUCH, rather than just writing it, and I found my enthusiasm again, because I know what I’m aiming for now. No more wandering aimlessly.
Still, it’s hard to say where the draft is at, at the moment. Scrivener has me at less than 13,000 words, and I’m doing a little re-writing already, but there’s also pages and pages of hand-written stuff in OneNote that I haven’t transferred to Scrivener yet. This past week I’ve been typing, too, and I can feel it affecting my creativity (as in, it’s reducing). So, I’m looking forward to getting myself in a position where I can get back to shaping the words with a pen/stylus.
I haven’t done any drawing this month. None.
I did finish watching the second season of Arrow. I mention this here because I find the progression of my interest in the show, well, interesting.
When we first began watching sometime last year (or maybe the year before) I found it difficult to watch. It was all about these super rich (billionaire), pretty people, and I just couldn’t dig in. We gave up after 3 or 4 episodes.
Then I saw others mentioning it on social media … and I decided to give it another go. And suddenly I was right hooked.
I look back now and I think I can pinpoint where the show got me: the episode in which Felicity joined the Arrow team.
So, Oli is the main character, right? And, yeah, Stephen Amell is very (very) pleasant to look at, I’ll give him that. But it’s not enough. While I can sympathise with him and his 5 years on the island, etc, etc, I can’t identify with him. But, Felicity I can.
This led to a rough ride during season 2. [su_spoiler title=” (skip if you don’t want spoilers … click here if you want my take)”]Basically, at first I had sympathy for Oli that he’s spent all these years being in love with Laurel (fine) and it’s hard to switch devotion when someone (clearly) better comes along … but not too hard, really. And then I get that you can care about someone so much that you don’t want them to get hurt. Fine. But, when you work with them every day and they’re going to have to watch you date others … you’re hurting them. And, I get it from a TV show POV, too … drag out the will-they-won’t-they to keep the audience watching. But, you know what? Arrow has enough going for it. It has enough story with bad guys and interesting backstory to be able to support a healthy, mature relationship between two of its main players. And, gosh, wouldn’t that be nice to see for a change? It could break ground. But, no. I found myself pissed off at Oli for dating Sara. Cheering when Sara broke it off with him. Joyous when he told Felicity he loved her. Then down right peeved when it turned out to be a ploy to trick the bad guy … He knows she likes him. And I know it was done to tease the viewers, but it also teased Felicity, and if I was her, I’d give up on him NOW. I really care about Felicity as a character, and I don’t want her to get messed around — or be dumb enough to keep moping over Oli — just for the sake of whatever plan the writers think they have. She’s a smart girl. Smart girls would get out now, even if they’d held out hope this long. So, I hope she withdraws in season 3 (haven’t watched that, yet). The show might be about Oli as Arrow. But Felicity is the emotional draw.[/su_spoiler] That’s my rant. And I guess we’ll see how much of Season 3 keeps my interest.
I mentioned at the end of last month’s post that I had work to do to prepare for my year as President of my writing group (or, few months if it turns out someone else wants to take over after the AGM in April). Well, that all went really well. If you’d like to see what we have planned for the year, you can check out our About page on the DWW blog. It’s nice (in all the chaos) to be feeling positive about something!
What I’ve Been Reading
So, I finished The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes. On the whole, I enjoyed it. Although, if I’m honest, the review I most agree with is the Publisher’s Weekly one on the B&N page. This may have been because it was my first read of Sykes’ work. Perhaps I needed to read the earlier volumes first, and hope to get to them in future. I really like Sykes’ personality on Twitter, so I am strongly tempted to give him another go some time.
After CSR, I turned to Fallen Angel: Redemption by Sean P Martin (a fellow Dunedin, NZ, writer — in fact, he’s in my writing group). I liked this one. The story was easy to follow (which is great in this busy life we lead) and Cassiel easy enough to like. And there were some nice little twists in there. Why didn’t I love it and go raving to everyone about it? Basically because it didn’t stir that kind of reaction in me. Still a worthy read, and I would happily recommend it to anyone. A good deal better written than many self-published efforts I have tried (Note: those efforts don’t get a mention here … so, if I mention it, I liked it enough to share).
Now I’ve picked up two books (because I couldn’t not read one once it arrived on my doorstep — besides, I had a migraine at the time, so looking at a screen felt all kinds of wrong).
One is Dollywagglers by Frances Kay (a fellow Grimbold author). This is not my usual kind of read. The story is based in our world, London to be (relatively) precise (I get the feeling “relatively precise” is a bit like “relatively unique” … but, oh well) after some deadly virus/bacteria (plague?) has swept through killing most, and leaving only those immune. The writing is wonderful: full of character. Which, unfortunately, means it’s taking me a while to settle into the voice. but I’m getting there (27% in).
The other is Half the World by Joe Abercrombie. I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read by JA. Some more than others. Often, I don’t “fall in love” with his tales like I seek whenever I pick up a book, but I do feel a certain comfort at putting my (scarce) reading time in the hands of an expert. Joe is highly competent at putting together a tale and I’m rarely disappointed (beyond wishing I could really fall in love with the book and/or the characters … and I don’t know what it is that stands between me and that outcome, either. In saying that, I’m quick to order all the signed copies I can get (as I did in this case), and I’m an eager beaver to read Joe’s stories. So, there’s definitely something there).
Gosh, I’m a harsh critic, eh? Ah, well … Soothe yourselves in the knowledge I’m just as harsh on myself. I’ll never be 100% happy with my own stories. Even the ones I’m fairly confident are “good”. And, heck … no matter how good they may be, someone’s not gonna like ’em.
Still looking forward to editing WT and working on the cover. No news on when either starts. Hopefully it’s not too painful!
Still busy with work, so that will continue, of course.
A reasonably settled calendar for March. Perhaps that will mean I will make really good story progress. Hope so!
I want to say it’s been a rollercoaster month emotionally, but, sadly, there’s been more down than up. Still, there’s plenty to look forward to this year! Bring it on.