Sunday, January 20, 2008

Random Thoughts with Robin T. Popp

Give me a “P”. Give me an “R”. Give me an “O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N.” What’s that spell? PROCRASTINATION!!!

Have you ever felt like that should be your anthem cry? Boy, there are times when I really feel like it’s mine. In fact, there are days when the only thing I excel at is procrastination. I do it best when I’m under deadline to finish a novel that’s not coming easily. At first, I simply think I’m multi-tasking. You know, thinking about the plot of a book while taking care of something else that “needs” to be done.

What I need to be asking myself is - does the kitchen floor have to be mopped now? Can’t the laundry wait? Do I really have to read the fourteen new emails that came in from my friends and respond to each and every one this instant? Is it critical that I practice the song Possum Kingdom on Guitar Hero II during this quiet time while the rest of the family has left me alone to write? (Probably, because we’re a competitive family and right now, I really suck at the game.) Can’t all these chores be put off until later? (Don’t you love procrastination? It has so many layers.)

It’s all about priorities. My normal schedule is already tight. I work a fulltime day job with almost an hour commute between my office and home. Add in the time that it takes me to shower and dress in the morning, and that’s 12 of my 24 hours just for that. Subtract 2 hours to fix and eat dinner with the family and then another 2 hours to help with homework and/or exercise and I’m left with 7 hours to get in 2 hours of writing and 8 hours of sleep. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day - so clearly, there’s no time in my schedule for procrastination – and yet…it’s a skill, I argue, and must be honed daily to keep it sharp.

Because I’ve spent so much time “honing” that skill, I doubt I can just give it up. I mean, it’s practically an art form now. Therefore, I simply need to make it work to my advantage. Thinking about it today as I was checking the mail (because, you know, the mail had to be retrieved NOW!), I wondered if I could make procrastination a source of writing motivation. For instance, if I could find something I wanted to do less than work on a difficult story, then I should assign myself that task and procrastinate doing it by writing! Ah – the beauty of a carefully developed scheme.

Yeah, I know. I’ll let you know how it works for me. Mind if I get back to you later? Like after I practice Free Bird on Guitar Hero II a few thousand times. We’ve got a family competition coming up and I’d like to not go down in a burning flame of humiliation.

So what story am I working on that has spurred this waxing poetic on the subject of procrastination? It’s my second Immortals book (seventh book in the series I did with Jennifer Ashley and Joy Nash.) The first four books (The Calling by Jenn, The Darkening by me, The Awakening by Joy and The Gathering by Jenn) were apparently so well received that Dorchester commissioned us to do four more. My second one is called The Haunting and I really love the story but I’m trying to take my writing to a new level and it’s not a level that comes easily, so hence the procrastination.

This is the story of Mai Groves, the wood nymph investigative reporter friend of Lexi Corvin who was the heroine in The Darkening. She’s suffering from post traumatic shock syndrome following the big show down with an ancient demon in The Gathering. It’s left her suffering hallucinations. On top of that, she’s being threatened by a dream demon and has just unknowingly moved into a haunted apartment building. Mai doesn’t know what’s real and what’s her imagination and that’s a problem, because what’s real might just get her dead. When one of the other residents in her building mysteriously disappears, Mai turns to chameleon Nick Blackhawk, personal bodyguard and survival guide, for help. He’s the only one she knows who can enter the spiritual realm and follow the energy trail of the missing girl. Working together, what Mai and Nick discover is more then either bargained for. Immortals: The Haunting is out in Nov. 2008.

Just out – and also a survivor of my procrastination attempts – is my December 2007 release, Lord of the Night. This is the fourth in my Night Slayer series.

This is Erik’s book. He is one of the original four Winslow brothers who started the Winslow family tradition of vampire slaying.

Angus, Sean, Ewan and Erik Winslow were born and raised in Hocksley, England back in the 1600’s. They were raised to be warriors; defenders of family, home and country. One night, when the four brothers were in their early twenties, they went out hunting and came across an unfamiliar creature in the woods. Sensing danger, the eldest brother, Angus, advised them to leave the creature alone and return home. Ewan and Sean, the middle twins, agreed, but the youngest and most foolhardy, Erik, thought it would be great sport to hunt the creature. Pulling his sword, he attacked it – and died. Before the remaining three could react, the creature had run off.

Of course, the creature was a chupacabra and Erik rose two nights later as a vampire. Over time and with great effort, he learned to control his bloodlust and spent the next four hundred years living in the dungeons of his familial castle, training each successive generation of Winslows to be vampire slayers.

Since the moment of his inception, Erik intrigued me as a character. How had he survived four hundred years? What kind of life had he lived? How had it changed him? He lived with his brothers’ descendents, but it had to be lonely. Did he have any vampire friends?
If so, I didn’t see Erik as the type of man to let his family hunt his friends or vice versa. That meant he’d probably spent what felt like an eternity secretly manipulating both family and friends to keep them from killing one another. Such manipulations would, by its very nature, get complicated. As Sir Walter Scott wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

It was just a matter of time before something happened to upset the tenuous balance Erik worked so hard to keep. I decided that something should be Kacie Renault, the adopted daughter of Erik’s current living relative.

Because her natural parents had been slain by vampires, Kacie aspired to become one of the deadliest vampire slayers in Hocksley - and she succeeded. No vampire was safe from her and only out of respect for her adoptive father – and the fact that Erik was a better swordsman – kept Kacie from killing her vampire instructor.

When she went off to college, Erik thought his life would become less complicated.
Now three years later, Kaci is back, one of his closest friends is dead and the leader of the local vampire gang – the dead vampire’s brother and Erik’s best friend – wants Kacie dead. Though a part of him longs to avenge the death of his friend, Erik vows to protect Kacie. But it’s hard to protect someone who hates your guts and doesn’t want your help. And it certainly doesn’t help that the rebellious teenager who left home has returned as a contentious but incredibly attractive woman that is proving much too hard to resist.

Okay – time for me to get back to writing. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to blog with you. I will try to jump online throughout the day to respond to postings. I’m going to give away a signed copy of Lord of the Night as well as a signed copy of a debut book by a good friend of mine, Sharie Kohler (aka Sophie Jordan). She writes historicals, but I’ll be giving away a copy of her debut paranormal Marked by Midnight. Tell me your favorite ways to procrastinate and I’ll pick a winner (randomly selected) on Monday from all the postings.

Happy reading (also a good way to procrastinate – I call it doing research)!

- Robin T. Popp


Ellory said...

My favorite way to procrastinate these days is to surf the internet and not do my work. There must be one more blog to read or isn't this author due with a new book out.

A healthy way to waste time is to exercise which I should do more often. :)

The last is to find a good book and read instead of working.

Lily said...

Procrastinating... blogging to much and forgetting to study! Like now!!

Nathalie said...

Procrastination is a nice thing, but can become almost a part of who we are... I usually tend to read ebooks on my computer other than doing my work on it ;) But at least no one knows I am procrastinating.

Nathalie said...
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Wendy said...

I've been procrastinating for the pasts two days - spending a lot of time online reading blogs and blogging myself and also reading a lot.

I'm supposed to be doing my Care Plan for Tuesday AND studying for my exam but the internetz won't let me! It has ripped its ugly bloody paws into my stomach and won't let go! lol.

RT Popp said...

I think I'm seeing a theme emerge. That pesky ol' Internet gets us all at one time or another. I love jumping online and searching on various topics to see where it leads me. And you'll never hear me say that searching the Internet is a waste of time. When I was trying to come up with a twist to the vampire story - something that hadn't already been done to death (pardon the pun)- I went online and did a search on vampires. That's where I first learned about chupacabras, those legendary goatsuckers supposedly responsible for all the livestock killings in South America and Puerto Rico - and subsequently became the story "twist" I was looking for with my Night Slayer series.

Jane said...

I procrastinate by watching tv, reading and surfing the internet, emailing and shopping online. I'm always browsing to see if there are any good online sales.

anne said...

I enjoy relaxing with a hot cup of tea and a riveting book. That gives me an excuse to ignore everything else around me.

ruth said...

What can be more productive than to surf through websites, read blogs and peruse travel books. Just love doing this and reading all day long.

pearl said...

Procrastinating is a very intense process which involves shopping for hours, either on the web or at the stores as well as indulging in walks in the warm sunshine.

petite said...

Sometimes I do procrastinate. When this happens I exercise for a good 2 hours which tends to put me in the mood to accomplish and complete necessary and important jobs.

Michele L. said...

Hi there Robin,

I am not a procrastinator that much, but when I do, I do it in a big way! I love to go shopping! I think, aww...I will do it when I get home tonight. Yeah, right! After shopping all day, fun shopping that is, I am usually tired out by the time I get home. Which means, there is always tomorrow to do the task that I didn't want to do in the first place! Ha, ha!

Oh and to go shopping! How sublime! Grocery shopping, clothes shopping, bookstores, craftstores, Bath and Body works store, etc. Oh I can go crazy just looking at everything! I am not a big buyer but to go window shopping is so much fun! What a great way to procrastinate that awful task I have to do when I get home! UGH!

The thing I hate to do the most is bills! I not only do my own bills, my husband bills, but my mom's bills also! She is pretty old and can't do things like that anymore. Well, to do the bills is a daunting task anymore! Oh, and I shouldn't forget, but I do my boss's bills and received on accounts at where I work. ARgh!!! Paper overload!!!!

Well, sorry to bore you with my paper explosion life but that is my favorite way to procrastinate! Shopping!

Have a fun week!
Your books sound fabulash!
Michele L.

EllenToo said...

I don't have too much to procrastinate about not that I am retired and since I live alone there's not much housework but when I was teaching and a load of papers to grade or lesson plans to make I procrastinated by reading.

Unknown said...

I have a nasty habit of getting on my computer and checking my e-mail and surfing the internet right in the middle of house work or cooking on anything. The worse thing I procrastinate is folding the socks and underware. I will put them in a basket and never fold them until the next day. I do it every week. I will come up with some reaseon not to fold them right away.

Wolfy said...

I have a way of procastinating on things even though I am not working a job. If I have somethings that need to be done, that I don't feel like doing, I like to work on a jigsaw puzzle, or read a good book. I can lose myself for long periods of time doing this.

Maureen said...

I have been a procrastinator for many years, since I was in school. The internet is a great way to do it but not a necessary ingredient. I have found untold ways to put off doing things.

Estella said...

I pick up a book and read--really good time waster.

RT Popp said...

Hello all -

I really appreciate all the comments. It was fun reading how everyone spends their time.

After reading all the comments, I knew it would be impossible to pick a random winner myself so I asked a friend to pick a number between 0 and 18. She did and I have a winner.

The winner of a signed copy of my book Lord of the Night and Sharie Kohler's Marked by Moonlight is...drum roll please... Pearl!

Congratulations Pearl!

If you'll email me at with your address, I'll get those books in the mail to you.

Thanks Lee for inviting me to blog and I've enjoyed all the comments.