Hi lads and ladies! Did you know, the downside of a four month long embroidery project, where you spend all your evenings sitting on your backside (except Thursdays – I do line-dancing now) is that when it’s done and you think “yay, I can go for a run!”… really what you can do is go for a wheezy speedwalk and a bit of a shuffle. I have never been the consistent gym-bunny type. So I have never been in top running form, that’s why I’m trying to work on it. There’s no way I can make myself get up and go before work (I’ve tried) so I usually go on Wednesdays and at the weekends. Twice a week probably isn’t doing much, but as I said I’m also line-dancing on Thursdays and my job involves a fair bit of walking about. Hey, this “average woman in her late twenties who has never given birth but who kinda cares about herself just not obsessively, y’know, with vegetables and not eating takeaway every night, but without a gym membership or a fitbit” bod isn’t going to Instagram itself!
In the meantime, I’m drinking my first morning coffee out of a lovely TARDIS mug, which was a surprise present from some of the leavers at work this week. They know me so well… I’m also going in to work soon. Yup. I was planning to stay last night and do some stuff ready for Monday, but it turns out no one had told me my section was being used for important meetings yesterday (to which I was not invited) so I had to go home. So yay for Saturday trips to work! The sun is going to be out all day, so where’s the best place to be on a day off? Walking? Town? Outdoor activity of any kind? No for me! I love that sweet sweet stuffiness of my workspace, with its tiny opening windows and the lack of internal airflow! Gimme some of that!
Not to over-exaggerate. The sun might be out but it’s still only about fifteen degrees and I’m still using the winter-weight quilt and an extra blanket on my bed. Winter never blooming left North of the Wall.
Also on the go, I’ve been taking photos of the projects I’m working on, so that when they can be revealed I can show you the journey. We’ll see if I can keep up with that…
Finally (I saved the best for last) I’m now on the ARC list for Katie Cross! Her third full Network novel is coming this autumn! Super-excited. The series is about witches and politics and old family mysteries. The first (Miss Mabel’s School for Girls) …don’t let the title put you off. This isn’t a girl Harry Potter. There’s a school in the middle of the magical woods and Bianca Monroe is a new arrival. No one ever sees the beautiful headmistress, Miss Mabel, but they’re all in awe of her. The pupils are working towards skill specialisms, called Marks, which appear as tattoos on their wrists when they’re passed. That way, you can see a witch’s skills immediately. There’s this political underbelly though, in that the country is split into five provinces (Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Central) and there’s trouble brewing. Border raids, thefts, stockpiling resources… there’s a war (or at least a coup) coming.
It’s a bit like Howl’s Moving Castle in a way, in that the main characters are the focus and there’s stuff happening in the background that you don’t realise til later is actually driving the action. The characters make decisions and do things that are logical and seem normal, but then you realise that they’re because of something they don’t even know about. And as the reader you’re given the information they have, and the information they don’t know they have, because it doesn’t occur to them to think about it properly.
The second, Antebellum Awakening, carries on immediately where the first left off. It moves the action from the school to the centre of the government, and there’s a whole load of new and horrible turmoil to go through. The progression of the characters and the story works really well, you can tell it’s all planned, and not “well it was a school last time, now what do I do?”. There’s a lot of family drama, too, with Bianca and her father, and the problems they’ve always had. But it doesn’t feel contrived and like a moral lesson, it’s part of the plot and also shows the reader a lot about their society.
And there’s a strong, mainly female cast, if you care about that sort of thing.
So that’s all going on. Time to go and pretend to do my hair (can’t wait til it grows out! NEVER shave your head for charity. Get all your fingers broken instead) and think about all the stuff I need to do at work. It’s clear out day! And notice board change day! Wooo!!!!