Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas "Break"

If I write a blog post about my own life right now, it's going to be one huge complaint about all the school work I find myself doing in the space between Christmas and New Year's.  I'm going to spare you (Whoever you are.  Who are you, blog reader?  Leave a comment and tell me.) and talk about other people and the things they're doing: 

First of all, my beloved sister (herself a lurker here at The Feather and the Rose) has opened an Etsy shop!  Right now she has her beautiful magic wands up for sale.  If you follow the link and check out the pictures, you can see that I finally got to follow my calling as a hand model. 

She also throws pots and weaves on a loom, so look for pottery and textiles in the future!!  I myself have ambitions to make something out of the many, many, manyyyyy Lindt truffle wrappers I have accumulated this season and have her sell it on there.  (Suggestions of what, exactly, I should make with these wrappers are welcome.  You could also leave that in the comments if you are in fact a human being and not a spambot.) 

These are not the highest quality pictures ever, but: 

A scarf  my sister wove and gave me for Christmas--a preview of PurplePeacockTongues weaving.

Also gifted to me, a preview of PurplePeacockTongues pottery!
The shop name, "PurplePeacockTongues," is tangentially related to my WiP, so that's obviously just another reason to go check it out and buy stuff. 

Second, some music I discovered recently:  She's called Eurielle, she has some cool stuff, and her album is coming out sometime in 2015!  Check it out at SoundCloud!  My favorite song is called "City of the Dead," but she has some cheerier songs, too. study break has expired!  Have a happy New Year, blogland!  Tyler-Rose and I will be here in 2015, writing, reading, writing, reading, and questing on after adventure, true love, book deals, and scones!  ;)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Excuses and Patricia McKillip

Life's been pretty crazy the last couple of weeks. This Hell Week* and Finals Week were probably the worse I've ever had just for the amount of work done and the number of hours of sleep lost throughout the experience. By the end of those two weeks, my eyes were completely bloodshot and weeping constantly. It hurt more to take my contacts out than to leave them in and I really didn't have any emotions left.

Basically, I was a weeping Photoshop zombie who spent her time eating her weight in candy and carbs in the few moments when she wasn't working.

Needless to say, it's taken me a bit longer than usual to get back to feeling normal. Having lost so much sleep isn't really helping me get over my jet lag any faster. I still don't feel normal.

I also just got a new computer, so I've spent the last several days getting that set up and now it's Christmas and I will be on my feet cooking for the next three days.

So, I haven't really had many thoughts about writing recently.

However, I've made up for that by reading some excellent books! I love Patricia McKillip and recommended her Winter Rose to Susan, but Susan was allergic to the copy she acquired** so I gave her my copy in exchange for her cat-tainted one, but then I had it in my hands so I read on the plane home.*** Then, when I got home I realized that I had two other Patricia McKillip books that I hadn't read yet. I am now happily enthralled by The Bell at Sealey Head which is turning out to be everything I want in a fairy story.

McKillip's books are always delightful intricate and twisting full of beautiful language like old rose vines. Things drawn in small beautiful detail so that her magical world comes alive in radiant color. But despite the intricacy and elegance of her word-smithing and the magic that infuses all her stories, her characters remain warmly human.

Kinuko Y. Craft is the illustrator who makes all my favorite book covers. She did both the covers of Winter Rose and The Bell at Sealey Head as well as some of Juliet Marillier's covers. She also illustrated my favorite version of Cinderella. 

Her illustrations are always stunningly beautiful and minutely detailed. They give up their secrets slowly. I've owned and admired both these books for years and yet noticed something new about Sealey Head only this morning. Craft's illustrations perfectly capture for me the feeling of McKillip's books. Beautiful. Finely detailed. Magical. Secretive.

That's how I want the books I write to be. I would love to be worthy of a Kinuko Craft cover.

In other news, I've acquired a Pinterest account and have started filling it with pretty things. Please, come follow me if you care to! Or just lurk. The more the merrier. So far, I've mostly pinned a bunch of braiding tutorials, a whole lot of quotes about writing, and a picture of a hot guy reading in the snow.

In fact, I think he's so special I'm going to include him here.

You can thank me later.


* This is what our school calls the week before Finals when you are called to account for everything you have done during the semester and are generally found lacking. All papers are due during this time and this is week when the most all-nighters get pulled.

** Apparently, the nice lady had cats.

*** For the third time.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Break TBR

I have enough school work to do over Christmas that I'm contemplating calling it "Winter Term" instead of "Christmas Break."  But I'm determined to make time for some reading (AND WRITING.) or else I will no longer have a soul after these four weeks.  So, here's what's on the TBR list:

Books that I am partway through and intend to finish:  

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini

Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Books I haven't started yet that I want to start and maybe finish:  

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin  (probably won't finish this one...)


Purgatorio by Dante Alighieri (probably just selections, unless I get on a roll)

*maybe* The Once and Future King by T. H. White

Books to read for college-related reasons:  

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

King Lear by the same

sections of Historia Regum Brittaniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth

sections of Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus

^all secondary sources related to the above four items^

the (utterly useless, btw) CLEP Chemistry study guide

selected sentences and passages in ancient Greek

I'll make it.  And I will make time for the lists at the top of this post as well as the one at the bottom. I promise. 

Thomas the flash drive owl, aka Thomas Archimedes Flashdrive, believes in me.

And now, I'm off to make myself a schedule! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Launch Party: The Sun's Rival

It was our first day of finals today, so we are arriving fashionably late to the party, but here we are at last!

So, let me introduce you to the newest addition to our beloved Danielle E. Shipley's wonderful Wilderhark Tales:

The Sun's Rival


Check out her fabulous blog at Ever On Word.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Time: Part III

We're always talking about this.  There isn't enough time.  We wish we had more time.  It takes a long time to write a novel.  We barely have time to write blog posts.  Time-turners are the coolest idea ever and I want one and I suspect Tyler-Rose wouldn't turn one down. 

That's how Susan's post last week started, and here--surprise, surprise*--is yet another blog post about time. In case you hadn't noticed, the Feather and the Rose are currently preoccupied by this topic. We've talked and blogged a lot about this lately. We've written about our struggles balancing our academic and writing lives, with distraction, and with excuses. We've reduced our blogging to one day a week, told you why we aren't doing NaNoWriMo, and asked you to kindly direct us to anyone with a time-turner.

And you've all been lovely and supportive and told us your secrets for balancing your time and made your own excuses down in the comments because all of our many, many explanations are perfectly legitimate. We all have busy lives and many demands on our time.

And while this is totally true, it also really isn't. None of us are busy every minute of every day. There are days when some of the clutter can be shoved out of the way to make a very small, clear space.

The Saturday before last,** Susan and I were able to do this.

I don't know how many weeks it had been since I'd actually sat down and written something. I'd even had a little free time, but had decided I was too exhausted to write, which then fed all the lovely amorphous fears about failure that writers (especially writers who aren't writing) are particularly prone to.

We decided that despite our hectic lives we could spare one hour on Saturday nights. No matter what. That one hour wasn't going to make much difference in our academic careers. We would likely have spent it settling slowly into some unpleasant work that doesn't really need to be slowly settled into.

When the time arrived, we got our laptops and . . . we actually wrote. And As I wrote I remembered all sorts of 'whys' about my life that I had forgotten while I wasn't writing. I got more done than I'd gotten done in the last month. In fact, I even finished a draft and gave it to Susan.

I was amazed by how accomplished I felt and how a lot of the fears about not writing melted away immediately.

I know it's best if you can write every day, but sometimes it just isn't possible. So, instead of putting it off until some mythical future time when you won't be busy anymore,*** set aside a little sacred time designated for writing and only for writing. Write. Stop for nothing short of the apocalypse.

That's all for today, my friends. As one of my professors says, "Have a good life. Be of good cheer. Sing 'hey nonny nonny.'"


* Or "Suprees" as Susan and Katie the Roommate now pronounce it.

** Last Saturday was part of Thanksgiving break and Susan and I were not together for accountability. I spent my time writing a paper I turned in an hour ago and hugging my family.

*** I'm not sure I'm old enough to be able to say for sure, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say that it probably won't.