Friday, February 28, 2014

20 Very Cool Things from Harry Potter

Tyler-Rose and I have been talking lately about how we need more Cool Things in our fantasy novels.  As a fun exercise in contemplating cool stuff in novels, I bring you: 

20 Very Cool Things from Harry Potter

1.  Time-turners:  This is #1 because I WANT one. 

2.  Polyjuice potion:  Gross and miraculous at once. 

3.  The Sorting Hat:  It's like the Delphic Oracle and personality quizzes wrapped up in the same lovable, shabby, singing/talking hat. 

4.  The Whomping Willow. 

5.  Quidditch.  OMG QUIDDITCH. 

6.  The pensieve:  Definitely a Very Cool Thing, but as a writer I giggle because it is the most helpful backstory tool ever.  Teehee...  But really, did anyone ever object to getting backstory through the pensieve?  I didn't. 

7.  The Marauder's Map:  If this list were strictly in order of coolest to less cool, I might have to put this at the top.  All the coolness, PLUS it's connected to the backstory of some of the other characters, AND it insults Snape when he tries to read it. 

Guys.  Guys...  The Marauder's Map is so cool that someone made baby booties out of it.  Also everything else ever. 

8.  The invisibility cloak:  Do I really have to say anything about this one? 

9.  Patronuses. what????? 


Moving on. 

10.  Portkeys. 

11.  The Room of Requirement. 

12.  Howlers. 

13.  The Knight Bus. 

14.  Owl post.

15.  Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. 



16.  Parseltongue. 

17.  Wizard's Chess. 

18.  The moving staircases. 

19.  Horcruxes. 

I DO NOT KNOW why this picture is malfunctioning. 
But I think it's kind of interesting so I'm leaving it this way.

20.  A dining hall that magically fills and refills with really good food. 

As I'm thinking about other stories I could do this for, it's a decision between Top 20 and Top 10. 

But the thing about the Harry Potter books is that I could EASILY do Top 100.  The wealth of invention is spellbinding.  (Hah hah hah I'm so punny.  I blame reading so much Shakespeare.) 

So how does one do that?  Well, probably no one except J. K. Rowling does that.  But I think another answer is that it simply takes time.  When you read the HP books, you can tell she hadn't thought of everything she was going to come up with when she published the first one.  And she worked for a long time before she even got that far.  It's probably also important to acknowledge that this kind of world-building isn't for everyone.  But man, is it cool... 

So, here's to the wonderfulness of Harry Potter--and filling our own novels with more Very Cool Things.  Since this list is woefully incomplete, chime in with your favorite things from the HP series!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Questions from the Search Terms

I saw another blog I like do this recently and it seemed like an interesting idea since I'm always totally amused by the things that end up in there.

So, how this works is that if a Google (or Bing, or Yahoo, etc.) search brings you to our blog, the search terms are recorded in our blog stats. In this post I will respond personally to some of the search queries. I won't answer all of them (since not all of them are worth answering), but here are some that seemed worthy.

the feather and the rose
You found us! Yay!

gerard butler meme
As you wish.

Gerard Butler Phantom Hot

gerard butler young
Uhhh . . . See above?

young gerard butler
Really, guys?

does snow white marry the huntsman
Ah, finally a question I can answer.
NO. She bloody well does NOT marry the huntsman. Much to my eternal outrage. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING????? Snow White embracing her power and then sort of looking blankly at the unusually handsome and suddenly clean huntsman DOES NOT EQUAL A HAPPY ENDING. The rest of the rant can be found here.

gerard butler funny
Good heavens. You people are obsessed.

federalist papers
Written by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay in the late 1700s leading up to the signing of the American Constitution. They are some of the most influential documents in the formation of our country. Library of Congress has all of them online so you can read the complete collection and become a true American.

armitage destroyed my peace

Mine, too. Mine. Too.
If you want to see the best Richard Armitage themed get-well card ever click here.

Richard Armitage actor hot

I'm not entirely sure you've come to the right place, though I must admit, I am a fan. Walmart is this way.

cookies and cream dove chocolate
I can't recommend it personally, but I know Susan loves the stuff. She also finds them inspirational. Overall, I would say that any kind of chocolate is a good decision at any time. Go for it. As Dove would no doubt tell you, Indulge your senses.

gerard butler crying

But, sure. Because Gerard Butler.

Gerard Butler crying phantom

bad romance poems
I avoid them whenever possible. But they are also sort of my favorite thing.

This gem from the internet:

Baby I burned my hand on
The frying pan of our love
But still it feels better
Than the bubble gum that hold us together
Which you stepped on 

gerard butler long hair
I'm done. Seriously, we are more than a Gerard Butler picture factory. Mostly. Sometimes we are more than a Gerard Butler picture factory. Alright, I would love it if we were a Gerard Butler picture factory.


Mostly because I prefer him with short. So there.

susan francino
Yes, my epic brilliant blog partner also resides at this address. Follow her on Twitter for even more Susan awesomeness.   

Susan Francino writer epic

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WUW and Moving day, Reprise

Hosted by the lovely sisters Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk, What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme/blog hop in which writer-bloggers take a brief post to share what's going on in their lives, writing-related and otherwise.  Check it out here or here if you want the details! 


I'm rotating about seven fantasy novels right now.  Somehow reading a ton at once, a little at a time, makes me feel better about how little time I have to read.  Tyler-Rose thinks it's insane, and she's right.  But no matter how silly it is to think I could effectively read that many books at a time, the mind game is working!  I have been (somehow!) reading more non-school fiction this semester than any semester previously. 

I've settled on The Girl of Fire and Thorns for now.  I find it to be a comforting read. 


Still revising/rewriting/revamping my YA Fantasy.  Tyler-Rose and I had a re-drafting marathon last Saturday and I advanced A LOT in the revision of my trickiest, stickiest, most problem-child-ey plotline. 


My mother.  She's so great. 

The fact that it is sometimes a very good decision to take a day or a partial day off, which I am doing today, because.... 


So, remember how our suite flooded and we had to move out? 

Well, it's un-flooded and supposedly safe to inhabit again. 

Which is great, except that it's the middle of the semester and nobody's life packs itself in boxes.  (Okay, fine, that happens in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  ALAS, WE ARE MUGGLES.  But Tonks could come save me anyway, right?  Please????) 

So, we'll be around, but mostly we'll be moving our stuff around. 

Here, have a sad Scottish song about people drowning: 

.....Okay, fine.  Here's a happy song, too.  I LOVE this song: