What I'm Reading
Since last week I've read The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis, which is probably the weirdest thing I've read so far this year, and The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau. The beginning of the novel is a little slow - which you wouldn't expect considering the majority of the beginning takes place in the Tower of London! - but with a little patience things soon livened up. If you're interested in reading some female-led historical crime then I recommend giving this book a try.
On Monday I finally picked up Half Bad by Sally Green which I'm reading alongside Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!
What I'm Writing (+1 Writing Goal)
Right now I'm mainly working on short fiction. There are a few competitions and calls for submissions that are ending in a couple of weeks and I want to make sure I enter/submit as much as I can. A few of the competitions I'm aiming to enter are the Mslexia Short Story Competition, a competition for women writers, the BBC Opening Lines Competition, a chance to get your story read out on the radio, and The Winston Fletcher Fiction Prize, a competition for people who work in advertising, marketing and any related businesses.
Over the past few days I also had a little brainwave concerning a plot point in Bloodroot and Bracken that's been bothering me for a while, which is just what I need. I love it when solving a problem rekindles my passion for a project that's been around for a while.
I haven't forgotten my latest character, Mab, either; I'm hoping to use some of the notes I have to write something for one of the competitions I'm entering.
Writing Goal: Redraft 'Dead Beautiful', finish 'Crying Wolf' and draft something from my Mab notes.
What Works For Me
Deadlines. I wish I was one of those people who did work gradually and got everything done and dusted before the deadline, and once in a blue moon it does happen, but for the most part I have the tendency to leave things to the last minute. Most of the time I don't even do it on purpose, I'll try getting something done but I can't seem to be able to get into the zone unless there's a deadline hanging over my head that's slowly but surely helping me to develop a stomach ulcer.
This proved especially true for me at the end of last week when I discovered that, if I wanted the chance to apply for funding, I needed to have sent off my PhD application no later than the 23rd. So on the 22nd and the 23rd I worked my arse off until it was done and dusted.
(In my defense a) I'd never worked on a PhD proposal before so I was a little lost, b) pretty much the entire week before I was away at a friend's and didn't have time or access to my laptop, and c) I thought I had until the end of January. It's still no excuse, but it makes me feel better.)
What Else Is New
It's been a strange sort of week. On Friday I sent off my first PhD application - eek! - then my parents and I ate Chinese food and I introduced them to The Book Thief; I haven't watched the film since it came out in the cinema so it was nice to see it again.
Then over the weekend both my best friend and my nana ended up in hospital. My best friend is now appendixless after hers had the nerve to burst, and my poor nana, who in my eyes is invincible, has been poorly for a little while. My uncle took her to hospital after her leg swelled up and it turns out she has septicemia. She was very poorly, but now she's wide awake and she's regaining some of the weight she's lost recently and keeping her food down, so fingers crossed she'll be back to her usual self very soon.
I'm back at work this week after my week off, and you know you enjoy what you do when you're glad to get back. I'm very lucky to have a job that I enjoy. I've mentioned before that this year I'm working on the centenary of Alun Lewis, who was a Welsh English-language writer during WW2, and this week I got to proofread something very exciting: his unpublished novel. What could make that more exciting? Being able to read and hold the original manuscript. It's very cool.
So what's new with you?