Thieves, Queer Knights, And Libraries

Thieves, Queer Knights, And Libraries

I think the theme is all fixed. Which is to say, I gave up trying to mend the theme I’d used before, and found a new one that did approximately what I wanted it to do, then spent several hours narrowing ‘approximately’ to ‘almost exactly’. Let me know what you think — I particularly like the new fonts, but I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

This is a number of blog posts all smushed down into one. YAY. Because I’m a bit too disorganised and scatter-brained to write a proper one at the moment.

I’m around 68,000 words of the way through The Knight Shift. It’s technically a fifth draft, although there were some pretty drastic rewrites earlier along the way. This one isn’t such a big change — the plot is almost identical to the previous one, but a lot of the details have changed. Not least because it’s now in first person, not third.

It’s also about 80% gayer than the previous draft, which wasn’t intentional, but is again a side-effect of the first person narrative.

I was a bit worried, though — the fact that pretty much all the characters are somewhere among the alphabet soup that is the LGBTQ+ community plays a larger role in this book. And don’t get me wrong, I love that. I just never wanted it to be the main focus of the book, so I’m trying to strike the balance between making it realistic (there has to be a bit of angst as well as a lot of puns and joking around, right?) and making it something fun that people can read for escapism.

I recently joined NetGalley, as anyone who reads my book blog will know, and I was looking for fun new queer books to read. But the vast majority of them are either only about queerness (and that usually means they’re basically about sex), or they’re really depressing. So I’m wary of letting my book slip into either category. It’s meant to be a book about knights, who are also massive gay nerds in onesies. Not a book about queer people who are also knights. If that makes sense? I don’t want that to consume their personality.

I think it’s pretty unlikely that it’ll turn into a book about sex, going by, well, my entire personality, but I don’t want to go overboard on the angst — I’m prone to doing that. Definitely needs more puns to offset it.

Peter looked helplessly at me.
“It’s not a date,” he said.
“Hey, whatever. Your secrets are yours to keep. But there’s no need to look so mortified: you’re practically on the verge of yelling ‘no homo’ and running away in the other direction, and as an archaeologist, I’d be contractually obliged to make an obscene number of puns.”
“I wouldn’t…” he began, before trailing off. “It’s complicated, Ani,” he said eventually, and closed his door in my face.
I left him to it. It probably wasn’t a date, given how they’d reacted, but sometimes you couldn’t tell. It’d come out eventually.
No pun intended, I thought, and sniggered to myself as I went back into my room and closed the door.

Like I said. Puns. Ani likes them, which is one of the reasons I settled on The Knight Shift as a title.

Joining NetGalley has meant I’ve rediscovered the joys of my Kindle, which is much-neglected despite my chronically overstuffed bookshelves. Every flat surface in my room has been pressed into surface, and even some that are not flat, or possibly ones which are made up of other books. And yet I’ve had a Kindle since 2011 — so as a Kindle Keyboard, it’s practically retro in these days of the Paperwhite or whatever they’ve brought out now.

Not only have I read books for review (Mad About The Hatter; Demon Road), but I’ve also read books I’ve been meaning to get hold of from the library and hadn’t found: A Court Of Thorns And Roses (review coming on Monday to my book blog) and currently, The Republic of Thieves. I spent so long not buying any books that when I did, it was invariable a paperback that I chose, but I really don’t have shelf space any more.

Before, money was tight enough that libraries were the only real solution. Since I have slightly more leeway thanks to not overspending during my first year at uni, I figure a few pounds on books here and there is fine as long as they’re not taking up shelf space, which is definitely a rarer currency at the moment.

Also, the Gentlemen Bastards series to which The Republic Of Thieves belongs really is an excellent series. Shout out to Scott Lynch for writing it, and to Charley for recommending it about three years ago. I only now got around to it, but I think I’m in a good position to appreciate it right now, so it’s probably just as well.

I’ve been volunteering with my local library’s summer reading challenge — Record Breakers, it’s called this year. I used to take part in this every year as a kid. My first was The Reading Carnival, which Wikipedia informs me was in 2001, so that’s how long I’ve been doing this.

Some of the kids are adorable, and I love it when we have children who are genuinely enthusiastic about the books they’ve read. It’s a bit harder to coax that information out of others, though. A lot of them are very shy, and while I doubt my red hair and undercut helps, I find myself trying to reassure them without being patronising.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve always hated being patronised, but I’m acutely aware of that horrible tone that enters into my voice when I’m trying to coax a shy six-year-old into talking to me, and I have to stomp on it. This does mean that sometimes I sound a little less enthusiastic than someone who had fewer scruples about sounding condescending, but I feel like I’m being more honest.

I don’t have a lot of experience with children, though, so I’m not sure how much they even notice the difference unless they’re like I used to be. Any thoughts from those of you who know more about them?

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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