What a crazy, depressing, remarkable, surprising, and horrifying month. Between the US electing an fuming orange monkey as their President, the loss of Leonard Cohen, and the big fuck-off earthquake that’s destroyed roads and buildings, trapped residents in the town of Kaikoura, stranded cows, and killed two people right here in my own country, it’s enough to make you not want to leave the house. I’ve been taking things a bit slow these last couple of weeks, collecting my thoughts, trying to figure out how to make sense of all this, and get though the “Holy fuck, the world is screwed,” feelings to reach the “what can I personally do to help make the world marginally less screwed?” activism. So far, we’ve donated some money to Planned Parenthood in the US and the Red Cross here in NZ. Yesterday I started a project fuelled by some of the things I’ve been thinking about, a project I hope will to add to the voices of dissent who are speaking up against bigotry and racism and hatred. I don’t want to say too much about it yet, just that I’m excited about it and empowered by the idea of art as rebellion.
I don’t want to write too much about politics here, because this isn’t really what this blog is about. But this month feels too momentous and big and historical to let it pass without acknowledging it. Now, on to cheerier things. Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching and doing lately.
In my ears: I am still thrashing Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s Skeleton Tree. This album is just incredible. My cat’s been very sick and I had a couple of family deaths this year and every song on this album makes me calm and sad and angry and terrified. Here, Nick bleeds his grief into this music, not for himself, but for us. It’s a stunning gift, art that skins you raw and twists you in upon yourself. The Bad Seeds are coming back to New Zealand in January, and I got my ticket. Always.
Reading: Nabokov’s Lolita, which leaves me with a bit of a sickly taste in my mouth every time I put it down, but I love the way he uses word games and language. I think I’ll read one of his other books once I’m done. I’ve also been reading my way through Laine Moriaty’s entire catalogue. After I’m done with these I have some Russian dystopian horror to sink my teeth into … mmmm …
Writing: I am 30k into the second book in the wraith series, Ossified State, due for release in Jan/Feb. If you haven’t read the first, Petrified City, then get on it!
Watching: Holy shit you guys, I just got Netflix so we could watch the new Gilmore Girls series when it comes out this month. Previously, we only watched DVDs of series or movies we liked, and it was good because we didn’t watch much TV at all. But now we are addicted. Goodbye productivity. Hello Jessica Jones and Stranger Things and Penny Dreadful and …
On the farm: The cantankerous drummer husband has just finished putting in the insulation in our bedroom tower. He’s got about 1/2 the Great Hall to go. Plumber will be here next week. We bought a toilet. STUFF IS HAPPENING and I am very excited about that. We’re both feeling pretty burned out over the house. It’s going to be great to finally be FINISHED with it in a couple of months. We’re both looking forward to being able to move on to other projects.
We also took advantage of an end-of-season plant sale to put in a new row of hedges, including the feijoa hedge I’ve been wanting for years. These feijoas will provide the fruit for a yearly batch of feijoa wine. I can’t wait for them to grow and start fruiting.
Loving: Tomorrow I get on a plane for the South Island, where I am performing a goth wedding, going on a train, and visiting Christchurch before heading down to Queenstown to hike the Routeburn track with some awesome friends. So excited! \m/ last month we went to Melbourne, where we saw Symphony X (amazing), hung out with a friend, ate a lot of chocolate, and did a lot of shopping (more about this in a future blog). \m/ My cat, Socrates, has been very sick, and it looked like we were going to lose him. He’s only two years old, and my heart broke watching him lose half his bodyweight in a fortnight. But the vets worked hard to find a possible solution and it looks as though, although he does have some kidney damage, he’s going to live. He’s already gained most of his weight back, and he’s back and more silly than ever. \m/ We had some friends over the other week for food and board games. It was awesome. It’s so nice to see our house full of people and kids running around everywhere. \m/ I’ve decided to pull all my romance books from Kindle Unlimited, which means they’ll be available on other platforms (iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc). My fantasy books will stay for now, but that might change. \m/
So that’s what I’ve been up to. What about you?
When I’m not crooning along to Nick Cave or waving bits of insulation at my husband, I write dark urban fantasy novels. My latest book, Petrified City, first in the new Chronicles of the Wraith series, is out now. Grab your copy from Amazon, or join my mailing list to stay up-to-date with the series.