Periphery to my reading

I just saw a review that made me so mad it gave me tinnitus. It was a favourable review for a good book. But it also cited reasons that the book in question was difficult to find. The American bent really disgusted me. It’s a British author, and the book is set in England. Yet this reviewer actually said that US readers would be confused by the treatment of the Irish at the time…as if that were a strike against the book.

Just to clarify, nowhere in the book is prejudice against the Irish condoned or encouraged–quite the opposite in fact. My problem is that anyone thinks that ignorance is a good thing. He compared it to how racial prejudice happens in America, simplifying it to a question of White and Not-White. Apparently while commenting that American students aren’t taught about Ireland’s political history, he should have also mentioned they are also not being taught about the horrible way Irish immigrants were treated in America. But I guess he hasn’t read Angela’s Ashes, or even Murphy’s Law.


I just started reading Accidental Prince today, and I got a little stuck in the beginning. It’s the fourth in a series, and I can’t find the first book (which may be a novella?) but it isn’t immediately confusing, so I probably won’t have trouble with that.

What I actually had trouble with was the princess’s abusive father. The guy is a king. Personally, I have always imagined royalty being too dignified to touch anyone even to embrace. So when I read scenes like this:

His fists struck the back of her head, and stars exploded in her vision. The king knew exactly where to punish her so that it would not leave a visible mark.


…As the king advanced toward her, Serena let out a broken supplication, ‘Please, Father.’

But her words meant nothing to him as he curled his fingers and raised his fists.

Most of the emotional impact was lost as I tried to stop picturing the king as a weird Chibi SD anime character pinwheeling his fists like cartoon Kermit-flail while she ducks and actual stars kind of pulse by her head.

I really need to get a new Wacom

I really hope that I can still try to take this book seriously.


First self portrait in a long while

I got a lot of things wrong, like making my hair not look terrible. I also didn’t bother to draw all the BILLIONS of little flowers on that dress. It’s a simple single layer lineart. I sketched it out first in MSPaint and then drew over that. It was such a simple pose that I actually ended up drawing this lineart from memory rather than actually looking at the initial sketch.

Hilaaaariously, the bump is about that big, (and so is my chest, I can hardly stand/sit up straight) but it feels a lot bigger.

self portrait 20 weeks pregnant

That’s the countdown according to the pregnancy app on my phone, anyway. Dither thinks Owen is going to be punctual as a CEO and hold that trend throughout his life, while the July 9-ers hope he’ll be a week early. Then we’d have four birthdays that day, (technically) across as many families. It’d make planning easy. But honestly, I’ll just be happy if he’s not three weeks late.


I really need to work on hands. And I need to stop cheating at heads and faces. Shame on me.

Currently, I’m deciding whether or not to give Manuscript for the iPad a try (and review, for those who have iPads and want to know if it’s worth the $3.99/£2.49 price tag), but I hedge constantly. I still haven’t bought Power Rangers Redux. I need to fix that.


Felt like drawing today

It’s been quite a while since I last pulled out my Wacom tablet for drawing instead of simply ergonomic mouse use. I didn’t have an idea in mind when I started. I just wanted to avoid a boring static pose. So after a little flipping around through magazines and comic books, I doodled a (particularly crappy) matchstick man and got started.

I had to pause for a significant amount of time to answer the door and then mop up the bathroom. I guess I should have noticed there was a water issue. Eheh. I’m too arthritic and pregnant to mop up floors. Somehow that happened, though. Anyway.

Technically, I could have done all of the lineart on one layer, but I didn’t see a reason to push myself. The colours are really, really super-lazy airbrushing and I nearly forgot to put in my signature thing.


I went back and lightened her hair so that the ridiculousness of the lineart would show up better. I’m not all that happy with the anatomy or even the pose, but I am glad that I made both hands visible rather than hiding one of them.

Yeah, the pose is kind of crap, but at least she’s not just standing there like a lemon.


Character description

This has been bugging me for ages.

Okay, pregnancy amnesia aside, I have been trying to stay positive so that I don’t stack mood swings with rant-y moods and give myself some kind of really stupid aneurysm. But this is seriously beginning to get on my tits. I will not make the obvious joke, I’m sure several people just did. ;)

Why is it, that when a writer is asked to give a quick character description, the only details they think to include are their hair and eyes? Maybe I have some kind of prosopagnosia offshoot or something, but the first thing I take in about a person (aside from THEIR FACE, ruining my mention of prosopagnosia) tends to be their build/height and probably the clothes they’re wearing. Hair is one of the last things I notice. I also am not rude enough to stick my face close enough to determine eye colour.

In fact, eyes are one of those funny things that writers treat like no other type of human being does. To this day, the surest way to make my mum giggle at a book is if a character has “intelligent eyes”. I get it, I know I’ve done it–both the colour and other attributes thing–but it’s still ridiculous.

Seriously, why do people do this? Let’s say that I’m talking about a short story I’m writing and the person I’m talking to asks just what Agent Black looks like. I’m pretty sure the answer they are looking for is not, “She has long, straight brown hair and green eyes.” That tells you bloody nothing. Far better to say, “She’s a tall, chubby woman in her late thirties who wears a lot of heavy makeup to hide acne scars.”

I mean, why not? Yes, as often happens, it takes longer and uses more words, but isn’t it worth it? What kind of mental picture do you get with the initial hair/eyes a;sdjflav–crap?


Yeah. That’s what I thought.

And this is just from me combing through a bunch of people’s notes and that sort of thing. It’s even worse when that’s literally the only description that readers get in a “proper” narrative. I don’t mean just in the case of a writer who describes their (often main!) character in this minimal fashion once. Sometimes, a character is only ever described by their hair and eye colour, even if he/she is described often throughout the story. I think I lose the most patience when things get purple…but the character is still just a floating wig and a pair of contacts.

Anyway. That was bothering me, and now it’s not.