Five Things Friday With Pushpins Shaped Like Planets! 🌎🌌

Happy Friday! This week, I’m sharing:


  1. An 8-minute animation showing the destruction of Pompeii.
  2. Hand-painted planetary pushpins by Duncan Shotton.
  3. Giant Brahma chickens!
  4. Cult of Weird has some weird book recommendations.
  5. Argentine artist Marta Minujín is creating a Parthenon of banned books from all over the world.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


Five Things Friday With Glass Sea Creatures 🦐🐡🐚🦑

five things friday

Happy Friday! This week on 5TF:

  1.  Leopold Blaschka’s intricate glass sea creatures.
  2. What Garden of Earthly Delights abomination are you? Take Dirge Magazine’s quiz!
  3. Rainbow colored nests made by wasps when given colored construction paper to build with.
  4. Vantablack 2.0 is even darker than the first one.
  5. The year 1816 was the “Year Without a Summer“.

Thanks for reading! Have an awesome weekend.

The Card Catalog Taught Me Everything I Know 🗄


Or, How I Research.

Once upon a time, my mother began taking me to visit to our local library. It was fascinating place to my young self. There was a round room where they put the new releases. It was filled with old brown furniture on casters, and retirees reading the newspaper.

They had a section of vinyl records and a reference room with phone books from all over the United States.

And of course, they had card catalogs: once an iconic object in libraries, now replaced by computers (that’s not a bad thing). That’s how I learned how to research, using these quaint, yellowing, typewriter ink-smudged, alphabetically categorized units of information.

Nowadays I just use Google, like everybody else. I have not yet traveled to any particular location to do on-site research for my writing, mainly because much of my fiction is set in a fantasy world. 😜

Sometimes I incorporate some of my personal experiences in my writing, such as school or work. But usually, I read about the things I’m writing about. For The Brumal Star, I looked up:

  • the life cycle of acorns
  • month-by-month pregnancy symptoms
  • history of law enforcement
  • seasonal temperatures in a temperate zone
  • pipistrelle facts
  • spelunking
  • how to start a campfire
  • rooks, ravens, and other corvids
  • wild dog attacks
  • the history of crossbows

a bit how I write, part 2


  • How do you know when a book is finished?

Sometimes I don’t! Since I’ve only officially finished one book and a few short stories, and I’m in the process of writing five(!?) others, I’m not exactly well-versed in bringing a book to a meaningful close.

I really only know how I would like a book to end, or what I’d like to see happen to the story and the characters. For me everything’s a work in progress, including the conclusion sometimes.

  • Do you imagine movie stars in the film version of your books while you write.

Of course! That’s partly what I use Pinterest for. I have boards for almost every writing project I’m working on. I have world-building boards for setting, wardrobe, weapons, and characters.

You can see some of my boards here.

A bit on how I write, part 1


Taken from a questionnaire on How You Write.

  • Do you write in longhand or at a computer?

I usually write using my laptop. It’s where I keep the bulk of my writing files, but I do still have some of them on my desktop. I got the laptop so I could take it with me if things ever get too noisy in my building or if I feel like going to the library and working there.

I also have a bunch of notebooks I write in. The Brumal Star‘s outline and world building was done in a series of notebooks. Sometimes I like the feeling of writing in longhand with different colored Sharpies. I also like the smell of Sharpies, which is a topic for a totally different post.

  • Do you create a detailed outline, or just start writing?

I’ve tried outlining in a few different  ways. I’ve done the traditional setup, like this:

I. main idea

a. blah blah

  1. more blah blah
  2. even more blah blah

And I’ve tried doing it the “Twelve Sentences” method, which I had varying degrees of success with.

What work best for me is to write a humongous idea dump at the beginning of my document and break it into section within chapter headings.

I tend to edit as I go along, which “they” tell you not to do, but it works for me.