Happy Leap Day! (Hah)
So I wanted to share a quick update – I have vanquished the dissertation beast. HUZZAH!
It was a long road, with so many (too many) hours of research and reading, translating and analysing, pounding my head on the desk and having multiple existential crises. Y’know, a typical PhD experience.
But four years and 300 pages later, I finished it! (Short version of my topic: I wrote the first book about a little-known sculptor in 17th-century Venice named Giusto Le Court. I argued that he was essentially the Bernini of Venice. Yay Baroque sculpture!)
For funsies, here is a detail of one of Le Court’s portraits:
(His name is Francesco Barbaro. Isn’t he fabulous? Side note: whatever happened to the lace cravat?)
So I can now triumphantly cross off one of my goals for 2016: “Finish the m@!#%*&-ing dissertation.”
Next on the list: Maybe, potentially, perhaps, start querying my novel HONOURS. It’s an Adult Historical Fiction set in the Scottish Civil Wars of the 17th-century, featuring lots of intrigue, swordplay, banter, bad luck, and a wee bit of slow-burning romance.
I took a little leap of faith this past week when I entered the online contest called #PitchMadness, run by Brenda Drake and a team of other amazing writers and editors and agents. The odds of winning are really low, but it’s exciting to get to know other writers who submitted and are waiting for the results (and who are stalking the hashtag like me…).
In the meantime, I’ve been working on the sequel to HONOURS, which I have tentatively titled SHIP OF FOOLS (mostly because it makes me giggle), and trying to cook up a few new book ideas. I haven’t kept to my reading goal – to finish two books a month – so I think I’ll be revising that to one book a month.
I did finish VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab, one of my favorite authors. I really liked it – it asked interesting questions about the line between villain and hero, and only answered a few of them, leaving open lots of intriguing possibilities for the ExtraOrdinary characters. And while I was reading it I learned that it’s being optioned for a TV series, so it was fun to imagine it in that format, and to picture actors for each of the roles. But I have to say, I didn’t like it as much as her slightly newer book A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. (I haven’t gotten the sequel to ADSOM yet, A GATHERING OF SHADOWS, but it is next on my list!)
I felt the structure of VICIOUS made it hard to get invested in the characters. That, and, most of them are on the spectrum of ‘kinda cruel’ to ‘cold, ruthless bastard,’ and while I love me a good anti-hero or prantagonist (I just made that up), I struggled to really care for the characters or their motives. I think some of it was on purpose, since the book is meant to question the idea of a hero or what a ‘good motive’ really means, and that theme was a strength of the story. But the characters felt distant, even by the end of the book. Maybe it’s just me, and maybe I need to re-read it. I’ve heard she’s working on the sequel, so perhaps there will be some deeper characterization/humanization there, and I am super excited for it. She’s on tour for AGOS now, and I really wish she was coming to the UK!
For TV, my chap and I are powering through Parks & Rec (he’s never seen it before, I’ve seen probably 75% of the episodes), and we are LOVING it. It’s so goofy and wonderfully optimistic.
I am also getting seriously hooked on Supernatural. I KNOW, I’m really late to the band wagon, but goddamn I am so happy I joined. It’s such a fantastic show. It’s also real heavy on the feels. So. Many. Feels… (And they have so many perfect GIFS!)
Well that’s all for now. I hope everyone has had a marvelous Leap Day. Thanks for reading!