I Wish to Go to the Festival

Do you know the musical Into The Woods? Or maybe you recognize Anna Kendrick above, in the movie version?

I love musicals. But you know what they love in Into the Woods?

A Festival!

And there’s one happening in Portland, OR this weekend:

Northwest Book Festival

I’ve already told the people on my list, but here are the details:

  • When: Saturday, July 30, 11 AM-5 PM
  • Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square
  • What: Over 75 local authors and writing organizations!

Bonus: Everyone who buys a book on July 30 and signs up for the email list will be entered into a drawing for a $30 gift card to Another Read Through Bookstore!

And now there are THREE to choose from! ūüôā

cover The Keening dulci's legacy book cover 


***Special Festival Prices In Effect!***

Also, I was invited to write a piece about writer identity for Marion Grace Woolley’s blog, Deckled-Edged. Let me know what you think?

Hope to see you Saturday!


Images via Disney Wikia, and Author

The Name Game, Then & Now

You know what onomatopoeia is, right?

“She galumphed her way to the door in the too-big galoshes.”

The breeze through the trees created a susurration that enveloped him.”

It is using a word that sounds like the thing it describes.

But what about when it’s a name? Isn’t that another form of onomatopoeia?

Bathsheba Everdene (Thomas Hardy)

Paul Sweedlepipe (Charles Dickens)

Holly Golightly (Truman Capote)

The last three books I read brought home the stark contrast of naming conventions. Do we use the name to elucidate the character? Do we simply avoid troublesome names with associations attached, such as Bobbit and Weiner?


The first of the three books I mentioned¬†is¬†The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma, a middle-grade mystery series about a group of special children working to stop a madman taking over the world. Here are some names:

Reynard Muldoon

Constance Contraire

Ledroptha Curtain

S. Q. Pedalian

Now those are really playful, right? Reynard for fox–he’s the intuitive problem-solver; Constance is the bratty but brilliant toddler; Ledroptha is the evil twin supervillain¬†wanting to rule the world from behind a curtain of superherohood; and S. Q. is the boy who’s been brainwashed into slow-wittedness and couldn’t hope to string any long words together without¬†laying down.


Then I read Middlemarch, a classic of the Victorian period, but more importantly, portraying the time period which I am focusing on for my current book, William IV’s time.

There are similar cues in George Eliot’s character names, but they are more subtle, perhaps because¬†modern readers don’t have the same immediate associations with words and sounds as the Victorians did.

Humphrey and Eleanor Cadwallader

Camden Farebrother

Nicholas Bulstrode

Cadwalladers are a well-to-do branch of the clergy; they look down on their neighbors. Farebrother is a more tolerant twig of the same tree, and he has an unusually pleasant manner that endears him to many. Bulstrode is the man who holds such strict moral standards that even he cannot hold up under them, after he has been judging everyone else.

Then, since one needs a break from a slow-burning tome like Middlemarch, I read Echo Park, a crime thriller from Michael Connelly. His character names fell a bit flat after the other two.

Harry Bosch

Rachel Walling

Except for the villain: Raynard Waits! There, Connelly made it a crucial part of the plot, as *SPOILER* it was a carefully crafted false identity, which led the detective ultimately to discover his past.

Reynard, Raynard, and Renard: Foxes for the win!


What is your favorite character name from literature, whether appropriate or ridiculous?


Images via Buzzle, Goodreads, Wikipedia, and Michael Connelly Book List

The Paradox of Choice and the Web of Shoulds

Perhaps because I just watched Made in Dagenham, my thoughts about working from home have coincided with those about differences for men and women in the workplace, to render this:

I bet men feel more at ease working from¬†home because they don’t feel the pull of the home tasks¬†as much as women do.

Granted, this popped into my head because I was thinking how much of a slob I was for leaving the flaxseeds I spilled on the floor.

But. Where was I? Yes: women perhaps preferring the siren call of the coffee shop workspace because it doesn’t nag at them about the dishes in the sink, the perfectly good lettuce wilting in the non-crisp crisper, or the plants calling for water, baking in the sun.

Like a home environment could. Hypothetically.

But there are even more conflicting strings at work¬†here; it’s a veritable tug-o-war (and not as attractive as this one).

Why Go Out to Work

  • less distraction (less anxiety/guilt)
  • less loneliness (sanity)
  • variety (‘a change is as good as a rest’)
  • specific time commitment (pomodoro-style)

Why Stay In to Work

  • less time taken (no travel and no need to be presentable)
  • less money spent (for skint freelancers &¬†to-be-discovered writers)
  • to prove you’re not dependent/ challenge yourself (it may sound absurd but it enters in)
  • you have everything you need there (so ‘should’ be productive)

Does this sound like a familiar head battle to anyone else? I should do this, but I should do that… competing shoulds, until you don’t really even know what you need anymore.

Do I go out to maintain my sanity and feel like a social animal amongst others?

On the other hand, what if I do, and I don’t get everything I want to get done on my list? I’ll come back home and have to keep working anyway!

On the other hand,¬†if I don’t go out, I might just end up stewing at home, getting sucked into internet searches and non-urgent laundry loads without getting a scrap of work done, and being a complete mope besides!

It gets to be a conversation with a lot of ‘other hands…’


All this to say, it can be hard, and you’re not alone. What can you do to calm the crazy-making?

Well, you could try the quick-fixes suggested here…

Or you could try a coworking space, which can help with motivation and isolation, if you’ve got the money to spend…

Or there’s this well-balanced approach to working at home with a family

But my favorite is my weekly GSD group. ¬†GSD stands for Get Shit Done. It’s an accountability group, as well as a support and focus group, for people doing not-the-same things.


These ladies keep me sane! Kinda like Playgroup does for some people. ūüėČ I recommend you get¬†your own small group together that you can cling to in times of madness.


Images via Just Something, Reel History, Cornel1801, & Margaret Pinard