This week I have taken my writing procrastination to new heights: I have gotten involved in boutique perfume making.

No, okay, it’s more reasonable than it sounds. I’m friends with the lovely ladies who run ZOMG Smells (“Fine nerdy scents for fine nerdy people!”), and one of them recently had to leave town for a few weeks on urgent family business. So I’m stopping by the lab a few days a week to help the left-behind partner stay up to date on filling orders. Verdict: making perfume is so cool. I feel like an alchemist, searching through the dozens of dark glass bottles to find just the right one to measure out twelve drops into the mixture I’m currently compounding. All that’s missing is the mercury poisoning, and frankly I’m fine with skipping that part.

Because I’m pretty much always thinking about my various imaginary friends, yesterday afternoon as I labeled tiny vials I started thinking about what scents would suit my characters. Keliel, the elf from my Love Has No Boundaries story, is probably Four Seasons in Mighty Contention on Trivial Matters. Tavren, his human mage counterpart, might be The Melancholy Death of Nikola Tesla, or perhaps Magnacephalopoda Aesthetica (they’re not kidding about the nerdy part!). The main character of the novel I have out on submission begins his character arc as Bosie, and ends it Wrestling Tigers While Calling Your Mum Long-Distance. (But only because their catalog somehow doesn’t contain Burning Cities Down to Flee the Authorities. Maybe I should suggest that for next month’s limited edition.)

It’s a fun way of shifting gears, and thinking about characters from a direction I don’t normally while doing a productive thing entirely unrelated to putting words in order. Maybe that’ll help me get past the writer’s block I’ve been having lately.

And even if it doesn’t, hey. Alchemy.

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