Ever have one of those weeks that gets away from you? Like you wake up on Monday morning, and then you blink and it’s Saturday night and you feel like you’ve gotten pretty much nothing done?
That was my week. Fun.
I blame the heat for killing my focus. We have another hot week ahead. Great…
On the bright side, though, I have managed to keep my windowsill herb garden alive! I worried that I had accidentally (somehow) managed to kill my peppermint plant, but with some extra water and a bit of pruning, it’s making a comeback. The thyme plant was getting a little wild, so I trimmed it back. My first (tiny) thyme harvest is currently hanging up to dry.
Obligatory Mina Photo:
I borrowed a lighting kit to see if it would fit better with my new studio set-up (I rotated my drawing table 90°, and it works a lot better in the space this way). I put a bit of background paper over the drawing table and plopped Mina onto the table. She wasn’t completely thrilled about being a model, but once I grabbed a crinkle ball and crinkled it a bit to get her attention, she looked up and I was able to get a series of shots. As many photos as I take of her, you’d think she’d be used to the camera by now.
What I Finished Reading Last Week:
Nothing. I finished reading nothing last week. Who even am I?
What I’m Currently Reading:
- The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles #1) by Dorothy Dunnett (170/543)
- Amberlough (The Amberlough Dossier #1) by Lara Elena Donnelly (139/416)
- The Changeling by Victor LaValle, audiobook narrated by Victor LaValle (50%)
- Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, ARC provided by NetGalley (41%)
I’m starting to see the plot coalescing in The Game of Kings and beginning to pick out some favorite characters. Dunnett’s writing is so quick and light, but also incredibly dense. It really helps me to picture what’s going on as though it were a movie, rather than a straightforward narrative.
I’m not as far along in Amberlough as I hoped I would be, but the political machinations are coming to a boiling point, and while I can see what’s going to happen overall, the characters don’t so there is a lot of suspense ahead. I’m buddy reading it with Jackie @Death by Tsundoku, and it’s been fun to discuss the story as we go along, and speculate on what might happen and who we think the possible bad guys are.
The Changeling is such a fascinating book! It’s about Apollo Kagwa, a half-Black half-white rare book dealer in New York City. His father disappeared when Apollo was four. Apollo grew up with strange nightmares that eventually faded away. Now, as an adult, he and his wife Emma welcome a baby to their family. But Apollo’s bliss fades away when his nightmares return. Then Emma and the baby are gone, and Apollo will do everything he can to find out what happened. The Changeling won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 2018 (LaValle shared the award with Fonda Lee, who also won for Jade City). It has a peculiar blend of the banal and the horrific, and even when the story is dealing with the mundane aspects of the characters’ lives, it is still fascinating. I am looking forward to getting to the rest of this book.
I’ve been looking forward to Mexican Gothic since I first heard about it back in December or January, and was thrilled when I got an ARC through NetGalley. It reads like a classic Gothic novel, where the heroine, Noemi, travels to an aging mansion where her cousin has fallen ill. The English family that resides in the mansion is strange with rigid rules and a grand sense of their own superiority. Moreno-Garcia blends classic Gothic stories with the consequences of English colonialism on the people who were colonized to create a story that, so far, is genuinely unsettling. I am loving it so far.
What I Plan to Start Reading This Week:
Nothing! I plan to finish the books I’m in the middle of! I want to get something finished before I start on yet another book!
About That Writing Thing:
I did a bit of writing last week. I think I finished a whole three pages. Y’all, I hate hot weather. It zaps my brain and my will to do anything. I can write like mad when it’s cold or dreary, but give me lots of sunlight and (too) warm weather, and I wilt.
Let’s just call it: I’m a vampire. A winter vampire.
That said, I did get some research done. I had to look up what happens when someone overdoses on a particular herbal remedy (the story takes place in the Medieval era, so herbal remedies are what they have), so I have that all sorted out and am ready to continue on with this chapter. Assuming my brain doesn’t just wither away in the upcoming heatwave.
And on a useful note! I remembered a phenomenal resource for writers or people who are just weirdly curious about strange things: Wolfram Alpha. This is a computational database that covers dozens of topics from mathematics to health to history. So if, like me, you need to know what time sunrise was in a particular English town on April 16, AD 439, then you’re set.
(By the by, sunrise in that English town on April 16, AD 439 was at 5:01AM)
So…. That’s all for this week. I really hope I’ll have more of a brain this week, because trying to get anything accomplished when your focus is completely shot is a challenge at best, and I have so many things I want to get done.
But I’ll leave you with a pretty photo I took while on an evening walk the other day: