Procrastination: A Synonym For My Life

Procrastination is a crippling disease. While I don’t like to resort to medication to treat all of my ailments, for this, I would gladly take a pill and rid myself of all the damn excuses.

My second novel, or more accurately, the rewrite of my first novel, has been nearly finished the last 2+ months, and for these 548 reasons give or take, I’ve yet to complete the last few chapters:

  1. I have other writing assignments due which take precedence because they’re paid gigs.
  2. My book store has been busier than an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day.
  3. My mirror tells me I need to spend more time at the gym.
  4. I have a book review due soon, so I should be reading that instead.
  5. Bejewelled Blitz + Audio Books + no interruptions = 3 hours gone in what felt like 10 minutes.
  6. Can’t work on Monday nights. That’s Bachelor night!
  7. I’ve sold so much jewelry lately that I need to spend all my spare time purchasing more.
  8. I’m tired.
  9. I need to clean/shelve/organize books.
  10. James Dashner’s new book just came out! Must read until 3:00am.
  11. Tuesday and Wednesday nights are out. Got to review AGT and SYTYCD!
  12. I’m getting these weird symptoms. I should spend a few hours scouring the internet for all the possible diseases I might have. *cough*hypochondriac*cough*
  13. My friend is singing in a talent show. I’ll have to take the night off and watch her.
  14. Headache.
  15. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were all about TV. I better catch up on my gym time on Thursday.
  16. Friends want to go out for drinks. Drop everything!
  17. I start making Scrabble tile pendants to sell at the store. Boy, are they time consuming.
  18. Beach!
  19. Text wars.
  20. Slow day at the store. I should use the time to write but I’m so depressed about there being no customers than I can’t find the inspiration.
  21. Twitter! (2 hours later…)
  22. Facebook! (2 hours later…)
  23. Humor Train! (2 hours later…)
  24. Pintrest! (2 hours later…) Zombified.
  25. I should probably learn how to cook…burnt omelettes won’t get me far in life.
  26. I’m going to a dinner party and I need to bring an appy. Google search: cheap, quick, easy, fat-free appetizers for dummies!
  27. End of the month. I should probably do my bookkeeping.
  28. Friday night. Can’t stay in because it’s…well, Friday!
  29. Saturday night (please see above for Friday’s excuse)
  30. I’m too hungover.
  31. It’s so beautiful outside. I just want to tan for a little while first.
  32. My mom wants to do a girls shopping day in the states this weekend.
  33. I’m sick.
  34. Sunday. My one day off and my only chance to write…I spend an hour in front of the computer editing what I’ve already written. Time for some lunch…
  35. I feel inspired to write today. So I write a blog post about all the many ways I like to procrastinate.

I won’t bore you with the other 513…


A Manuscript Transformed

Someone once told me that the first book any author writes will wind up at the bottom of his or her desk, never to see the light of day, or a least not the inside of professional bindings. I was determined to prove that theory wrong. I spent three and a half years after graduating from college writing, editing, editing, editing, editing and editing my first novel. In those years, I managed to cut the book down from 138,000 words to 88,000 words – that’s 50,000 extraneous, useless, absolutely unnecessary words. The story was tight, just the way I’d hoped it would be at the end. I even started sending out my query letter to about seven or eight different agents (no bites, but I’m glad). Then I started to rethink it. This wasn’t going to sell. It wasn’t “up with the times.” It wasn’t even the genre I liked to read any more. So I made a decision, one that would ultimately make or break me as an author, and one that would undoubtedly set my life back a couple of years. I decided to lock my first book in a drawer, figuratively speaking, of course.

I wasn’t quite ready to give up on the world I’d created, so I wound up making extensive alterations to the original book. I changed the genre from magical to dystopian, the audience from  middle grade to teen, the perspective from third person to first person, and I ripped the entire plot to shreds. Most of the characters are still the same, and the setting is only altered due to the new plot restrictions. But now it is a brand new, much much better book. I can’t wait to finish it, not just to publish it, but also to read it myself 🙂

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children :: Peculiar…in a Good Way

Ever since Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children first hit stores, I’ve been dying to read it. The book is based around a collection of creepy old photos, many of which depict children with preternatural abilities. I read a lot of reviews on this book prior to reading it, and they weren’t all positive. I’m a little confused about this because I thought the story was fantastic. The old photos were a nice touch, but  the story itself was solid and written well for a teen audience. I wouldn’t call the book scary. Creepy, perhaps, but more adventurous than anything.

The story follows Jacob, who’s been listening to his grandfather’s far-fetched stories for years – tales of his so-called “friends” who are a little more than human. He even has the photos to prove it. But Jacob and his parents have always assumed his stories were just that – stories – until he became more certain of their authenticity in his old age. Jacob’s parents chalked it down to senility and dementia.

One day, his grandfather calls Jacob, insisting that the monsters are coming for him. When Jacob shows up at his house and discovers his shredded corpse, he gains a new perspective on everything his grandfather told him. Maybe he was telling the truth all along.

While recovering from his grandfather’s death with rest and therapy, Jacob discovers an old letter written to his grandfather from Miss Peregrine. Jacob decides to follow the clues whispered to him during the last moments of his grandfather’s life. He and his dad travel halfway across the world to a remote island where Miss Peregrine and her children are rumoured to live.

Jacob investigates the island, only to come across an old, decrepit house, half of it bombed to bits, the other half fallen to ruin. While searching the rotting house, Jacob encounters the very kids from his grandfather’s photos – kids who haven’t grown a day in all these years. One girl unwittingly leads him into the loop – a day trapped in time like Groundhog Day. It’s an early September day in 1940, the day before the house would be bombed and the children killed. All of the miraculous kids, along with Miss Peregrine, are destined to repeat the same day for the rest of their lives.

Jacob connects with these kids better than anyone else in his life. He’s torn between the decision to stay with his new friends or go back to his normal friendless life. But when a mysterious stranger arrives on the island, threatening the lives of all the children and their caretaker, Jacob realizes that a normal life is no longer an option.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern :: Indescribably Different

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has been the talk of the town for the past few months. No surprise, with such a deliciously quirky cover. But it’s strange. Every time I ask somone who’s read it to describe the plot, I’m met with blank, dreamy stares. Not one person could get beyond, “well, it’s about a circus that only comes at night (wow, really?), and, I don’t know, it’s hard to describe. But you should definitely read it.” So finally, I amazoned a copy right to my door. And I must say, I get it now.
How do you describe this indescribable book? I’ve spent the last half hour writing summary after summary, but I can’t quite nail it down. Nothing I write can capture the magic, mystery and ellusiveness of this novel. It’s just something you have to read for yourself. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. Is it the best book I’ve ever read? No. But it’s the kind of book that you can’t compare to others. It doesn’t belong on the same rating scale. If you’ve read it, you probably understand where I’m coming from.

iBoy – Not Your Average Superhero

I realize that I haven’t posted a blog since the summer. It’s mostly because I haven’t read a book worth blogging about until last week, which was iBoy by Kevin Brooks. It’s about a teenage boy who suffers a head injury when an iPhone is thrown from a high-rise apartment building. Small pieces of the iPhone are lodged into sensitive parts of his brain tissue making it impossible for the doctors to remove all of it. These pieces somehow fuse with his brain, giving his mind the capabilities of an iPhone, along with a few superpowers. When I first read the synopsis of this book, I though Oh, great, more publicity for iPhones and all the other technology that’s taking over the world. But I gave it a chance anyway and was pleasantly surprised. Kevin Brooks is a great writer. (Click here for a full review)

I’ve noticed a pattern with the books I tend to enjoy; some are dystopian, others are modern day, none are vampires – but almost all of them are targeted at boys. I am not a boy. My boyfriend will attest to that. But for some reason, very few books with female protagonists excite me. I find the girls spend too much time in their heads, dreaming about a tall, dark and handsome vampire/werewolf/ghost/angel/immortal/demon/pixie/fairy/god, which is totally not my type anyway. So I tend to prefer male protagonists, who spend more time getting into and out of life-threatening situations. Any writer who can keep me at the edge of my seat, completely clueless as to how a character will get out of a deadly predicament is a good one in my books.

Zombies Bring Me To Life: Ending My 2-Month Book Drought

Phew. Finally, I feel alive again. All it took was a novel about corpses to rouse me from my book drought. In the Spring, I read three books – in a row, I might add – that knocked my stocks off. Books that were worthy of my Top 10 Favorites list. All from different authors. What are the odds of that? At the time, I felt invigorated, enthusiastic and just plain happy. (Yes, all it takes is a satisfying read to turn my frown upside down.) But the high I experienced from those three books quickly dissolved, leaving me with a foreign hollowness. Thus began the worst book drought of my life. Granted, it didn’t last very long. Only two months. But it was two months of sifting through page after painful page of lacklustre books with no foreseeable end.

Then I picked up a book about zombies that was receiving high praise online. It’s called Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I was tentative at the beginning. While I like almost anything post-apocalyptic and dystopian, a book that features a zombie protagonist wasn’t really my taste. Zombies have always been my boyfriends thing, not mine. Fortunately, Marion’s writing style compelled me to keep reading. I loved the way he humanized zombies, at least on the inside, giving them thoughts and urges and a greater likeness to humans as the story progressed.

The main character, R, hasn’t deteriorated like most of the zombies who live at the abandon airport terminal. He goes through the motions of standing and grunting and speaking a few words here and there, remembering nothing about who he was in his former life. And when hunger strikes, he and his zombie companions travel to the city to feed. During one particular outing, he eats a young man, Perry, whose brain gives him the most vivid flashes of human life. In Perry’s memories, R learns about his girlfriend Julie. R is instantly drawn to her, and when he finds her alive in the corner of the room, he does something no zombie has ever done before. He saves her.

R brings Julie back to the airport, where he keeps her safe in his home – a 747 boeing airplane. When Julie begins to relax around R, they form a bond. R helps Julie return to her home in a large stadium, where humans are trying to rebuild and protect their civilization. After she’s gone R realizes that something about Julie was humanizing him. He’s learned to speak many syllables at once, he’s losing his crave for human fresh, and he yearns to be with her. To protect her.

Disguised as a human, R infiltrates the stadium and finds Julie’s makeshift house. She tries to keep him concealed, but the security breach doesn’t go unnoticed for long. The human authorities know that a zombie is amongst them. Julie and R need to think fast. They need to prove that the zombies are changing. Not just R, but all of them. But in order to change that world, to truly restore it, the humans and zombies will have to work together.

Warm Bodies is a beautiful story of courage, growth, understanding and love reminiscent of Romeo & Juliet. You don’t need to be a zombie addict to enjoy this novel. And while I am still NOT a zombie addict myself, I do have a new appreciation for them. (But don’t tell my boyfriend or I’ll be stuck watching zombie movie marathons every weekend.)

Heavenly Writing Meets the Life From Hell in Escape From Furnace: Lockdown

I’ve noticed a pattern in my literature preferences lately. Each book that I read and love exceeds the one before in brutality and violence. And I just can’t get enough! First I read The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, which is a post-apocalypic and dystopian series for teens that is so clever and creepy and unique, I never could have come up with his ideas in a million years. Then I read The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness, a teen dystopian series about human life on a different planet. The corruption in this series, namely caused by the Mayor and his supporters, is just the most fascinating and frustrating thing you can imagine. And I love it.

Now, I’m reading the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. I read the first book, Lockdown, and I’m about halfway through the second, Solitary. This series isn’t so much a dystopian as it is a horror/thriller. But it has some of the most creepy creatures, brutal practices, and gruesome settings that I’ve ever seen in teen lit. My 18 year old cousin was never much of a reader. Nothing was ever fast-paced or well-written enough to capture his attention. But this series did. He called me up one night after finishing the first book hoping (with desperation in his voice) that I had the second. I didn’t at the time. But after hearing his eagerness, I knew this was something I would like. So I went out and bought both books, and I honestly can’t get enough.

Furnace Peneteniary is a prison for troubled youth, built in the depths of the Earth. It was created after the Summer of Slaughter, when teens went on a murderous rampage. After that horrible season, people were quick to get rid of the troubled youth, even if they were innocent.

Alex, the protagonist, fell into the wrong group of friends and began stealing from kids at school and breaking into houses. But one night, he and his friend Toby discovered that they weren’t alone in the house they were robbing. A handful of Blacksuits, massive men with bulgding muscles, along with a small man wearing a gas mask, showed up and framed Alex for murder. Despite his denial during his trail, Alex was sent to Furnace with no possibility of parole. His life might as well have been over.

They say “beneath Heaven is Hell and beneath Hell is Furnance” and I have no doubt that that’s true. Furnace makes regular prison look like a day at the spa. I don’t want to get into any of the gory, ruthless details, but I will say this. What goes on down there is horrifyingly brilliant: horrifying for the prisioners, brilliant for the readers! So if you like horror novels, or even if you like the first two series’ I mentioned above, you will love this series. Love, love, love.


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