Month: January 2013

The Procrastination Problem

Well said, cat, well said.

Well said, cat, well said.

Procrastination has always been a problem for me. In high school, homework was invariably completed the night before it was due. And as an IB student, I had a lot of homework. Suffice it to say, I pulled a lot of all-nighters as a teenager. I got a bit better in college, but not by much. I might start a term paper assigned at the beginning of the semester a week before it was due. And usually only if I was procrastinating on something else.

Now, as a writer, procrastination is something I struggle with on a daily basis. My chapters and stories and novels don’t have due dates, and there’s no professor or boss leaning over my shoulder and telling me to get a move on my work. There’s only me. Poor, distractible me.

Lots of writers–and other self-employed folks out there–have this problem. Hell, I’m sure even Shakespeare struggled with a bout or two of the procrasti-blues, and he didn’t even have Ye Olde Facebooke or Milord’s Bejeweled Plus to distract him. Laptops make it even harder, what with the constant barrage of readily available media and social networking working against us. So, I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks to outwit procrastination.

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My Life in Books

Books, books and more books!

Books, books and more books!

Kourtney Heintz’s post My Life in Books made me want to play the game! The way it works is I have to answer each of the questions using the titles of books I’ve read in the past year. Hopefully it won’t be too challenging….

Describe yourself:  Prisoner of Heaven (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)

How do you feel:  Divergent (Veronica Roth)

Describe where you currently live:  Carnival of Souls (Melissa Marr)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:  City of Fallen Angels (Cassandra Clare)

Your favorite form of transportation:  The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater)

Your best friend is:  White Cat (Holly Black)

You and your friends are: Beautiful Creatures (Garcia & Stohl)

What’s the weather like:  Winter’s Bone (Daniel Woodrell)

You fear:  Wither (Lauren DeStefano)

What is the best advice you have to give: The Wise Man’s Fear (Patrick Rothfuss)

Thought for the day:  Of Human Bondage (W. Somerset Maugham)

How I would like to die:  Wolfsbane (Andrea Cremer)

My mind’s present condition:  Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

Woof. That was actually way harder than I expected it to be! Not only remembering all the books I’ve read this past year, but making sure the titles made sense and fit as answers to the questions!

If you join in the My Life in Books game, let me know! I’d love to read other peoples’ answers!

Review: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss


The Name of the Wind,
by Patrick Rothfuss

*Author’s note: Minor spoilers follow. If you’re a purist, stop reading now.

I’d like to start this review out by saying that I’m not usually a huge fan of high fantasy. Oh, I’ve read many of the classics–J. R. R. Tolkien, the first few books of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, even some Terry Goodkind. But left to my own devices, I’m much more likely to gravitate towards urban fantasy or science fiction.

But when a good friend sang high praises of Rothfuss’ as-yet unfinished Kingkiller Chronicle, I decided to give the first book a whirl. And I am certainly glad I did.

The novel follows Kvothe, a young man who spends the early part of his life as a traveling trouper, following his actor and musician parents as they journeyed from town to town, performing plays and ballads at inns and town halls.

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The Royal We

Narration is one of the most powerful tools in writing. Used properly, the narrator (or narrators) of a story serves as a conduit between the author and the reader, doling out important information and sometimes even speaking directly to the reader. Narration can be omniscient or subjective; subtle or blatant; relatable or not. Skilful narration can truly make a reader see the world through someone else’s eyes. There are as many forms of narration as there are books.

I'd like to see the world through his eyes.

I’d like to see the world through his eyes.

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It has been a rare, snowy weekend here in London. Most years, snow is rare, even in the dead of winter. Last year, I don’t think we got more than a few snowflakes that failed to stick. But Friday and Sunday were both delightfully snowy, leaving quite a few inches on the ground.

Clapham Common, just before sunset.

Clapham Common, just before sunset.

Both children and adults were out in droves, making snow angels, snow men (and more adult-themed snow-sculptures, ahem), and generally having a blast.

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Review: The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races,
by Maggie Stiefvater

I discovered Maggie Stiefvater much later than everyone else. I would always see her first book Shiver while browsing at the library, but I’ve never been a huge fan of werewolves so I never checked it out. Boy, was I wrong. After reading this book, I believe that Stiefvater is one of the most talented YA writers out there at the moment, and I fully intend to add all of her books to my TBR pile.

The Scorpio Races takes place on a windblown island off the coast of Britain. Each year, throughout the month of October, vicious flesh-eating water-horses known as capaill uisce are drawn to the shores of the island. Those brave enough to catch and tame the horses compete in a race at the beginning of November, risking their lives for prize money and glory. Some live. Some die.

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Dinner Party: My Five Fictional Guests

So,  I’ve decided to host a dinner party, but none of my friends seem to be free! Dear me, what shall I do? I suppose I’ll have to invite five of my favorite characters from literature, instead. (This actually happens a lot….)

Who shall I invite? Only people from books shall do…

1. Jay Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby


Just don’t let him drive that thing
after he’s had a few to drink.

This guy has it all. Good looks, money, fast cars, mansions, a library full of (unread) books, swimming pools, lots and lots of money…you get the picture. Gatsby is also a man of hope and longing, forever pursuing the one woman he truly loved.  Honestly, his conversation might be a bit dull, but I’d mostly invite him to my dinner party because he’d make sure the champagne kept flowing. He’d probably encourage us all to go skinny-dipping in the moonlight and later, there might be dancing on the tabletops. Don’t worry, we’ll confiscate his phone before he can drunk-dial Daisy. Life of the party, this guy.

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Auld Lang Syne

I know it’s a bit late to be writing a New Year themed post, but I’m nothing if not an iconoclast.

This year, I had the distinct pleasure of spending New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, and taking part in the Hogmanay festival with my husband, my sister-in-law, and one of our good friends.

Edinburgh Castle, seen at sunset on the last day of the year.

Edinburgh Castle, seen at sunset on the last day of the year.

At the stroke of midnight, with fireworks filling the midnight sky with light, the familiar strains of Auld Lang Syne filled our ears, sung from a thousand nearby throats. We sang along, filling the lines we didn’t know by heart with ad-libbed gobbledegook.

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