In Search of Professor Borgia and Peace of Mind

You need to read Writers and Pellets by Tobias Buckell. It’s another quality article from Buckell about living the writing life.


Right now, I’m experiencing a time famine. I haven’t really done anything to my satisfaction this week. We are having a brutal beginning of the year this year, because we have more students than we can handle. If students come to me, say, in July, I can try to accommodate numbers by finding rooms and hiring teachers. If students come to me, say, this week, I can only turn them away.

So, this week has been spent saying no. A lot. That really wears you down.

It has also had my dean begin to consider the musical question of whether the ELA part of English should be its own department. I NEED to write a post in which I consider the pros and cons of that. The good news? Nothing happens this year or probably next, as we come up with THE PLAN.

I know that the college would like me to head up THE PLAN, whatever it is. Being the kind of person who is good at this sort of thing is both good and bad. And being a Gemini means part of you wants to not lead the PLAN and write books, and the other part of you finds THE PLAN seductive.

I have to talk to a lot of people, and I have to do a lot of thinking. Right now, though, I have to keep my head down and get some work off my desk. Just the day-to-day treading water is pretty crazy right now.


Instead of goofing off on the Internet at night, I have been engaging in what I call The Search for Professor Borgia. Borgia is an important mentor character in Substance of Shadows. I sat down to write about some magic he would use to test our main character, and low and behold, there was nothing there. So, this week I’ve been reading Italian folktales. Almost done with them.

Also, I had already ordered a book on herbology and two on poison. By the time I’ve done a bit with those, I’ll be more or less ready to fake my way through that character. It’ll be time well spent.

Okay. Well, time to do a bit of worky stuff. I am READY for a weekend.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

4 thoughts on “In Search of Professor Borgia and Peace of Mind”

  1. I love the glory that is a writer’s bookshelf. Poison, toxicology, staging the perfect murder, Jane’s firearms, every holy book known to man, field medicine, human anatomy, flora & fauna of North America, and esoteric history of the viking age. All these are subjects we’ll find ourselves dealing with at some point, no?

    Any normal person seeing this might be tempted to call the police. Until you say ‘Writer.’ Then they nod sagely and ask where the booze is.

  2. Cath, I think you’re doing everything humanly possible, given the 52 Pick-Up hand you’ve been dealt. Your ability to improvise, adapt and overcome has always been impressive. I’ve no doubt that you’ll find a way to get through and gain in the process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.