Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Guest Post! 20 Things I Wouldn't Know About Had I Not Become a Writer

[You guys! Today I'm so excited to bring you a guest post by fabulous writer Carol Brendler!! I learned SO MUCH from this list . . .]

Writers sometimes joke that if the FBI ever seized their computers to examine them for evidence, digging up their browser searches alone would suggest that we have very troubled minds and habits. It's true that our research sometimes leads us into strange territory, and we writers tend to have our own idiosyncrasies as well. Hence, I present to you the following:

Things I Wouldn't Know About Had I Not Become a Writer

1. Pangolins.

2. The song sparrow's spring song sounds kind of like "Madge, Madge, put on the teakettle-ettle." Listen here.

3. Googly eyes do not stick very well to a butternut squash.

4. Morse code for S.O.S. is  . . . - - - . . .  Please make a note of it.

5. Linsey-woolsey is a fabric woven from linen and wool. (Duh, right?)

6. The letter U in Cyrillic looks suspiciously similar to our letter Y. Hmm.

7. Egg creams contain neither eggs nor cream.

8. Kraken is pronounced KRAW-kn. Rhymes with walkin'. Can also be pronounced to rhyme with fakin'.

9. Pilot Precise ink pens are superior to all other writing implements on the market.

10. Actress Norma Shearer had a lazy eye.

11. There was once a menagerie worker in a certain circus who had the unfortunate job of having to manually stimulate the female tigers over and over again whenever they went into heat.

12. Saddle shoes were introduced in the early 1900s as athletic shoes to be used primarily for tennis.

13. Earthworms are edible and chock full of protein. There are recipes.

14. That phenomenon where people think they see the Virgin Mary or Jesus' image in a grilled cheese sandwich or a concrete stain under an overpass is called a simulacrum.

15. Steam engines are a little scary to drive. 

16. Lest you think dating ads are a recent development, please note this "want ad" I found from The EveningStar (Washington, D.C.) of  August 2, 1879:

17. Pink fairy armadillos can be found only in a small region of Argentina. Or more likely, they cannot be found, since the vole-sized creatures will disappear into their holes whenever they feel nervous. Also, they are nocturnal and their tunnels are quite well hidden. Because they are so elusive, their official threat status is currently listed as "data deficient."

18. Willie and Tad Lincoln once put on a circus/minstrel show in the attic of the White House and insisted that any available soldiers, gardeners, and servants attend. Admittance was five cents, and Willie wore one of his mother's satin gowns as a costume (without asking).

19. A baby llama is known as a criaAnother acceptable term would be baby llama.

20. Merkins. (Note, this is PG-13 and NSFW)

Good thing I became a writer. Now, you. What sorts of trivia have you uncovered whilst doing research?

Carol Brendler is the author of the young adult novel RADIO GIRL (Holiday House) September 5, 2013.
 Coming summer, 2014: A picture book, NOT VERY SCARY, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, from FSG.
 Also by Carol Brendler: WINNIE FINN, WORM FARMER (FSG, 2009) a picture book illustrated by Ard Hoyt.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blog Tour: The Writing Process

Greetings, Internearthlings. I just made that word up. It's a combination of "Internet" and "earthlings."


So this post is part of The Writing Process Blog Tour, which you know if you read the title. And if you didn't, you can go read it now before you either proceed to the next paragraph or lose interest and wander over to YouTube hoping to find something more glorious than John Houseman hawking Puritan Oil. SPOILER: YOU WON'T. [UPDATE: The YouTube video is gone. What are you afraid of, YouTube? John Houseman and his healthful oil will not be silenced! I found them here!]

The Writing Process Blog Tour is a Blog Tour in which Writers discuss The Writing Process. You get tagged by a writer and you then tag another writer, and soon we will all know about The Writing Process of every writer on Internearth.

I was tagged by: 

Alicia Potter! Alicia's newest picture book, Jubilee! One Man's Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace, illustrated by Matt Tavares, just came out from Candlewick Press and Publishers Weekly couldn't wait to throw a star at it because it is that fabulous. You can check out Alicia's other books here. And then you should buy them all because her books are amazeballs, and I don't pull out "amazeballs" very often.

There are four questions that are part of The Writing Process Blog Tour. Here they are.

What am I currently working on?
My next novel from St. Martin's Press! It's a kinda steampunky, kinda mythological fantasy called Redwing and it contains boiling water, ash, and extra-big ostriches. UPDATE: I have decided that its new title is Extra-Big Ostriches.

I also have a new cat, so I'm working on smoothing inter-cat relations in the context of a small studio apartment. The transition is taking lots of patience and love, but I'm happy to say all three cats are starting to become snuggle friends. Haha, I'm just kidding. It's Catpocalypse and we're all going to die.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Um. Well, I hop genres quite a bit, but in terms of this book that's just come out, which I'll refer to as SSS (pronounced "Sssssssss . . . "), I think I've got a bit of a different take on music in fantasy. I feel like when music has a biggish role in a fantasy/magical realism novel, there's often a literal magic associated with it.

art by danbrenus
Yes, Google images of "music and magic" . . . this exactly.

But in SSS, which takes place at a music conservatory, there isn't any actual magic associated with the music itself. It's all in other places, like the homicidal space cat.

My novel totally has one of these.

Why do I write what I write?
People who read this blog (you should probably mentally put at least two of those words in quotes) might suspect that my novels are full of shenanigans, but they actually have, like, feelings and stuff in them. And sometimes violence and gore. A relative of mine came to a reading last week, which was very nice of her, but didn't buy the book, which is totally fine. In fact, I didn't even notice she didn't buy the book, but she found my boyfriend at work the next day and she and her husband made a point of telling him they didn't buy the book because of "all the violence," and then they were like, "That's what's ruining the young people today and we just won't support that." So I guess I write what I write in order to ruin the young people.

How does my individual writing process work?
I'm very linear. I start with one sentence that turns into one paragraph that (usually) turns into one scene. That's the basis for the rest of the story, and it's usually the first scene. Then I write until I get to the end.

I have to write each sentence in order, and I revise compulsively as I go. So it has happened that I've stared at my laptop for literally like three hours trying to write one sentence, even though I should have been able to skip that sentence and write stuff after it.

This came up in my search for "stare," to illustrate me staring at my laptop for hours.
And, you know . . .  it's not wrong.

Sometimes it takes me a very long time to get to the end.

But at that point I have a thing that has a beginning, middle, and end, and that's when I can figure out how everything should fit together. Or if it fits together. It's really sad when it doesn't.

This is me in sad airplane form.

Who's Next: I'm tagging Erin E. Moulton! Her newest novel, Chasing the Milky Way, comes out in June. Erin is a fellow graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she likes raspberries and hound dogs, and she has published two other heartfelt novels -- Flutter and Tracing Stars --  and if I tell you one more awesome thing about her you will probably lose your mind. OK, she lives in New Hampshire, the greatest state evah!
It looks like this literally everywhere and all the time here.
We're not even allowed to have houses because we don't want to mess up our rainbow trees.

Hey, guys, I made some dragons & writers pictures to celebrate the launch of Talker 25 by Joshua McCune. You can see them here!

Also apparently there's a fractal called a Dragon Curve. YOU GUYS, REMEMBER FRACTALS??

Alexis Monnerot-Dumaine
I won the Science Fair with fractals one time.

OK, here's a real dragon, by Silverfox5213:


Saturday, January 18, 2014

What Could Have Been

Today I searched "Richard Burton" on Amazon TV.

It suggested "Charles in Charge."

Your shenanigans make him sad.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Holy cats, internet friends, I am now Officially Official on the MacMillan/St. Martin's Press site. No, really, look here.

Mindset has quickly gone from Woo-hoo! to PANIC! PANIC!

Like, what if people click the Officially Official links to find out what I'm like? And what if they then find out what I'm like?

This is literally the only thing I accomplished yesterday.

OK, OK. Here are some reasons why I am a Grown-Up, Professional person worthy of Note and not a pajama-clad cat whisperer worthy of scorn and contempt.

Exhibit A:

This recent holiday post over at EMUs Debuts, in which I discuss FREAKING ULYSSES. That's right. Me and Joyce's great modern novel, wobbling brains in unison. So scholarly.

You'll note I had to do extensive Wikipedia research in order to know what to put in the yellow box.
Exhibit B:

I have recently begun participating in blog interviews to promote my upcoming novel. I have answered questions in a measured and professional manner, and not one interview contains the phrase, "Mass Effect 3."

Come say hi! Because srsly, it makes me feel like rainbows and glitter ponies and marshmallow gumdrop potatoes when people leave comments. Even if the comment is, "You suck." Well, maybe not then. Unless there was, like, a funny picture with it or something. Like a glitter marshmallow pony wearing a t-shirt that says, "You suck." That would be okay, I guess.

Click below to see my rad interviews:

YA Reads -- 2014 Debut Author Intros

The Compulsive Reader -- Looking Ahead

OneFour KidLit -- Adi Rule: STRANGE SWEET SONG (Sh*t, this one totally mentions Mass Effect 3.)

Exhibit C:

I have a website! With pages and information and a contact form and pictures and a book trailer!

Exhibit D:

There is no longer an army of tiny spiders living in my bathroom. There are only a handful of very large spiders.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Arachnid Minions!

Oh, friends. I've been wrtigng. I'm not fixing that spelling because that's how it cmae out. Jeebers, maybe I should fix some of this spelling. Who says jeebers?? I've been working on my next novel.

Also I made this picture.

There were spiders born in my bathroom today. So . . . yay?