POTD: Two shinies

Catching up from yesterday as well as today’s photo:

POTD: Shiny

Shininess in the mail from a very shiny person who I am going to miss dearly.

POTD: Scribe

One of my favourite necklaces, one of the Scribe series from Sihaya Designs.

I am having one of those horrible days when I just feel like I’ve forgotten to do something.  What that something is, I have no idea.  I have cleaned the house, I have written, I have done some admin type organisation of writing stuff.  I have no idea.

Routine will be getting interrupted tomorrow with a rheumatologist appointment.  Blah.  Still, it has to be done.  Hopefully I can still manage a decent writing day.  If not, I actually wrote on the weekend, so I have words banked, so to speak.

POTD: Foxy

POTD: Fox!

Fox from le animale.

This little foxy guy arrived in the mail this week.  And yes, I am quite addicted to le animale totems, in case no one has noticed 😉  They’re kind of like that.

Australia Day today, for which we did absolutely nothing.  I was mildly productive this morning, managing to write up and post a review here, and finish writing up my notes for a novel I betaed for a friend.  And then I kind of crashed out.  I had actually wanted to do some writing, but that didn’t happen.  Oh well, the weekend is actually supposed to be my time to refill the well.

AWW2013: After the Darkness by Honey Brown

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Trudy and Bruce Harrison have a happy marriage, a successful business, and three teenage children. One fateful day they take the winding coastal route home, and visit the Ocean View Gallery, perched on the cliff edge. It’s not listed in any tourist pamphlet. The artist runs the gallery alone. There are no other visitors. Within the maze of rooms the lone couple begin to feel uneasy – and with good reason.

Trudy and Bruce will be ripped from the safe, secure fabric of their life and will have their world turned upside down and shaken. Attacked, trapped and brutalised, they barely escape the gallery with their lives – only to find there’s no real getting away.

***Mild spoilers below***

I picked up this book based on reviews by people I follow (and generally have similar taste to) on GoodReads.  I read the kindle version – no problems with formatting in electronic version, though there were a few minor typos which may or may not be present in the print version.

This is primarily a psychological thriller, with some horror leanings.  The story is told from Trudy Harrison’s point of view, opening on Trudy and her husband on holiday.  Their marriage is happy, and while they have some problems, they are the normal problems of a couple raising three teenage children.  While driving, they stumble across a strange art gallery; when they enter, they encounter the artist and his strange work.  Here, everything changes.

The bulk of the book is concerned with the events that follow the drugging and assault of Trudy and Bruce, and the choices they make in how they deal with it.  It’s refreshing to see a book where the sexual assault happens to a man, and Brown does a good job of presenting how difficult it is for male victims of sexual assault to speak out and get the help they need.  Even when Bruce’s actions don’t quite ring true, they are always in the realm of the believable for someone who has suffered a brutal assault and is most likely suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The fact that the worst of the assault (and Bruce’s sexual assault) happen “off stage” is an effective technique to make the brutality of the events even more stark.  Trudy (and the reader) only gets to see the injuries and the fallout, and is left, along with the reader, to imagine the worst of it.

This book is a study of the darkness in all humans, and how even the best of people, when exposed to   traumatic events, can find that own darkness within themselves.  Even when Trudy and Bruce spiral down and down, their actions are always, in some way, rational.

The interesting thing about this book is that, finishing it, I felt as though there wasn’t a resolution, even though there was.  It took me a few days to realise that fiction, in general, teaches us that generally, if people perform evil acts, they should, at some stage, pay for those acts.  This doesn’t necessarily happen in After the Darkness, and of course, rarely happens in real life.  It’s a bold move of Brown’s, and will no doubt leave some readers cold.  But for others, it will make them think, and reflect on the fact that real life doesn’t always reflect fiction.

The prose in this book is effortlessly transparent, and all of the characterisation is believable. Brown writes characters who feel like anyone you’d know: their problems are everyday, their lives could be those of your neighbours.  Which makes you wonder – what secrets could those everyday neighbours be hiding?

After the Darkness is a taut psychological thriller which explores the darkness that lies in ordinary people.  Highly recommended.

POTD: Contributer copies

POTD: Contributer copies
My contributer copies of Bloodstones.

Shiny mail today, as you can see.  One of those copies has been gifted to my mother already (because without her helping out with kidlet sitting, this story would not exist).  I actually purchased a shiny hardback copy, and am tempted to do a giveaway of my other paperback copy now.  My only caveat is that I’d really like you to review it (so if you’re a seasoned reviewer, all the better).  It is a damn fine anthology.  And you can hate on my story all you like 😉  I’m a big girl, I can take criticism.

Good and productive day today, in which I have been the most well I’ve been in a week.  Managed a decent exercise session, got a good writing day in (2400 words), and finished betaing a novel for a friend.  Just need to sit down and write out some notes on said novel, and I’m done with that.

Now for the weekend.  Long weekend, too (for Australia Day, for those reading overseas).  Not that the long weekend affects me much.  I expect I’ll be writing Monday as usual.  Hope you all have a good one, though!

POTD: Cat TV

POTD: Cat TV

Jilly has a hard life.  Well, she would say she does, since she doesn’t get to get outside to get the birdies.

Kind of a rough day today.  Still recovering from the gastro, and I’m exhausted.  It took me all of my energy to just get the grocery shopping done.  I suspect that I’ll be sleeping hard tonight.  Hence the lack of imagination in the photo today.  But cats are always a good subject.

POTD: Totoro!

POTD: Totoro!

Collection of My Neighbour Totoro plushes.

Today I started rewriting Shaede.  A very new version, which has some of the bones of the old one, but a lot of new flesh.  And despite the fact that I am still in major recovery mode from the gastro, and my brain is a bit fuzzy, I managed a 2k writing session.  That’s pretty decent.  I’m hoping that having a really good outline will help me actually get this draft written quickly, rather than my usual meandering about.

POTD: Outline

No photo of the day for the last few days for a very good reason: gastro.  Or food poisoning, but really, when you’re sick as a very sick thing, you don’t really care.  On Sunday, in extreme amounts of pain, dehydrated and unable to get out of bed, I was very close to asking the husband to take me to the hospital so I could at least get put onto an I.V.  Thankfully, I managed to keep down some painkillers and water after that, and started to recover.

It came on Saturday night, and now, Tuesday evening, I’m just starting to feel normal again.  Even had something approximating a normal (albeit small) meal for dinner, so I’m calling that a win.

Somewhere in the middle of still being a bit dizzy and nauseated, I did manage this, though:
POTD: Outline

That would be the outline for the new, revamped version of Shaede.  All 33 pages of it.  Yeah, apparently I don’t write short outlines.  All going well, I will be starting with the actual writing tomorrow.