Tag Archives: workinprogress

My TBR pile: September 2019

Why do I even bother picking up print books?! (I mean, I know why I bother picking them up. They’re pretttttty. But I never get round to reading them…)

I still have Moon’s Artifice, Jonathan Strange, The Prince Thief, Truthwitch, Dreamwalker, Stranger Tempest and Autodrome on there, but I have added The Bone Season and I’m a chapter into The Book Thief. Plus I did get a rather snazzy proof copy of Jessie Burton’s The Confession, which I plan to read… sometime…

On Kindle, I’ve mostly got a stack of submissions; however, I did get a copy of Distaff (a science fiction anthology that came highly recommended),  A Big Ship At The Edge of the Universe, and Any Way The Wind Blows, a short from Seanan McGuire (which actually I have read, so shouldn’t really be on the list; it’s short and cute.) I’m part-way through The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin, three chapters into The Poppy War by RF Kuang, 30% through Everless by Sara Holland (not getting on with it, so that may be a “not for me” one) and still attempting Sorcerer To The Crown and The Tethered Mage. I’ve still got Ben Galley’s The Written, Lucy Hounsom’s Starborn, The Ninth Rain, The Unwrapped Sky and Shattermoon that I haven’t yet started…

I need to finish some books!*


*Actually, I need to finish some home-reading books. In terms of work, I’m slowly getting through them!

Writing: Home #2

I was given a writing prompt – “home” – for a trip to Amsterdam a while back, and I’ve been musing over it since. This is the latest scribble on the subject!

Home is the sunlight golden glow, and the ripple of winds across the grasses.

Home is the gate where I leave a kiss waiting for you, if you’re not with me.

Home is the stack of books waiting to be shelved; the scribble of foreign tongue waiting to be learned; the scrabble of song waiting to be released.

Home is the spire that pinions the skyline; the pylons that march overhead; the gentle hill that tugs me on.

Home is a city of familiar potholes and unfamiliar tongues; of nooks and recommendations; of drizzle and traffic and smiles.

Home is the spiderweb of cracks that is slowly weaving into the word; here.

Random Norwegian Thoughts

Bein is “bone” and “leg”. How do you know what you broke?!

“Ikke” being added to make anything a negative. It’s such a fun word.

I love that “bart” is moustache, because I think of it as the French transport network. Not what you want on your face.

If “jern” is an iron, how is “rivjern” a grater…?

Fours. It’s the bloody fours that keep getting me!

“Jeg legger meg” – it’s translating it as “I go to bed” but I’m much preferring “I lay me down to sleep” because it’s a sorely under-used phrase.

The multitude of English words, pronounced in a uniquely Norwegian way: blind-date is probably my favourite so far!

The app was very insistent that I know how to say “hospital”, “sorry”, “soup”, “I am allergic to peanuts” and “umbrella”. I don’t really understand what it’s using for those choices, but I hope it thinks I’m ok…

I’m enjoying the imagery I’m using to remember some of the words: “korke trekker” is definitely someone climbing a wine bottle.

And for some WHAT THE HELL, NORWEGIAN? “Appelsinjuice.” It’s fucking orange juice. They even have a word for orange (“oransje”)!! And apparently that doesn’t apply to juice?

On the plus side: I’ve managed ten minutes (and often more) for the past month! I’m slowly getting there; I’m starting to learn phrases and be able to put more sentences together, and one of my aims for the next month is to start using more Norwegian in everyday life – which also has the bonus of making my partner speak it more, too.

Now: jeg lager og drikker kaffe, because I think I need it after so many words!

(Ps. I’m using an app called Drops, which has been great so far!)

Strong Princesses, Agency, and Show vs Tell

I got seriously grumpy on Twitter last week, and deleted a rant about Strong Women and Agency and writing female characters. So, I’m going to try to make more sense* here.


I was reading a nominal Strong-Princess novel. Ok, great. In the first few pages they were learning to fight, and the protagonist was wondering who she’d get married off to.


But they weren’t involved in politics…  despite wanting to get involved. One princess threw a tantrum when she learned that a brother (or possibly brother-in-law) hadn’t told her that he knew about a political event.


And all the rest of the supporting cast – aka. the political players – were men.

Men ruled. Men made the decisions. Men were the envoys, ambassadors, decision-makers. Even when a Princess was RIGHT THERE, her husband did the talking for her.

But these are Strong Independent Women! We know they are because we said so!

Fuck. That. Noise.

It feels like Strong Independent Woman is now its own set of cliches, and that’s almost as frustrating. I don’t need these princesses to go off on an Adventure to prove that they’re Independent. I don’t need them to learn to fight to prove that they’re Strong. I don’t need to be told that they Definitely Are Protagonists!

What I need is for them to have Agency.

If someone doesn’t give them information, they need to react to that. If they’re frustrated with their position in life but feel hemmed in, then react badly – show us the limits, show us the frustrations, show us the problems. If they’re fighting those bounds, then fight them. – go and GET the information! Talk to people! Go  OUTSIDE with whoever the damn man was to meet whoever the damn Ambassadors are. Elbow their way into the world they want to be in!

There are more than enough Queens, Princesses, Dowager Duchesses and women of power in history to show multiple different ways of grasping power. You’re telling me that  Heirs of a Kingdom are being brought up to be completely politically ignorant? Or are they hoping their husbands and advisors are going to be a good pick? And do they have no other resources around them?

And the “oh I wonder who I’m going to marry” – ok, I know it’s a trope in romances, but seriously? Is that IT for life? “All of my sisters are married off, so I wonder who I’m going to get?” I know some people are fixated on their love lives, but to have it shoved in when the rest of the narrative was  trying (and failing) to prove that “oh no, we’re not just wilting flowers”… BAH.

I’m still struggling to put my finger on what annoyed me so much, because it’s not a big annoy – it’s just a nagging little thing that built up even after I’d put the book down. It was just a… “No. This isn’t what it should be” feeling. But I can’t pin down why I’m quite so miffed, and what would have made it better.

But, my bottom line:

The princess shouldn’t have to go off on an adventure to prove that she’s a Strong Independent Heroine, but she damn well shouldn’t be passively moping around waiting for her love life to start, either.

Probably more thoughts on this as I keep pondering!


Fiiiiiiinished! It’s a map of the GreenSky Worlds by the astonishing Tom Parker, and I adore it.

Colour map of the Greensky Fantasy world

We’re planning on adding it to the current GreenSky books (six in total) plus having it in the remaining four!

Now, a quick tour…? If you want to see more of Meton and the mountains, try Green Sky & Sparks – which, incidentally, is 99p in the UK and $1.99 in the US! Aleric, the Plains and Meton are Grey Stone & Steel and High Flight & Flames.

Any of the following can be read as stand-alones, so if you want more of The Mage’s Centre, Derah and Aden (and the oceans) try Salt Winds & Wandering; Tao and a murder mystery is Empty Skies & Sunlight.  Huish and the desert is Desert Sands & Silence, and there will be more desert – and more exploring! – in the seventh book, Far Heights & Horizons.

The eighth will be the desert between Reyan and Torth; the ninth is the forest around the Mage’s Centre and Belmont; and the final is back to Meton, and some familiar faces.

So – thank you to Tom for doing the map: it’s been a ridiculously fun experience and I can’t recommend Tom’s skill and professionalism enough, along with his fantastic drawing style! I hope everyone who reads the new books is going to enjoy being able to see the places they’re reading about!