Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Author's Wardrobe, For Real

A couple weeks ago, there was a picture making the rounds on Twitter--a page from Elle magazine showing a wardrobe for "The Novelist." Here is is if you missed it:

See the original tweet here

I couldn't stop laughing.

Here are some closer shots, in case you need to get your pen and shopping list:

I just don't know how I get anything done without that key item, the long-sleeved silk blouse.

Just for fun, let's see what all this would cost...

$7,057. Not including the pants, since those are listed as "price on request" from Lacoste. So I'm sure they're reasonable. Sometimes I see items I want to buy and can't find the price, but then someone in a red shirt and khakis scans it for me. There, price on request.

And speaking of pants, since when are pants among the "Wardrobe Musts" for a writer?

Since I don't know any writer willing to hand over that big o' chunk of her advance for an outfit, I thought it would be fun to ask some author friends to show me what they actually wear when writing. (If you want to keep up the illusion that we all dress like the Elle model, you'll want to turn away now).

First up is Kristin Rae, modeling the timeless "Lumberjack Maternity Chic:"

Behind the silk shirts in Jennifer Mathieu's closet is a wide array of t-shirts:

I'm not saying Jennifer isn't wearing pants, but I'm not saying she is, either

Most of the replies to the original tweet were along the lines of "Where are the pajama pants?" Here they are, modeled by Kari Anne Holt and Samantha Clark:

Wearing a t-shirt from high school redefines "timeless."

Deadlines call for a more formal look, so Jo Whittemore adds a blanket to the pajamas:

Shelli Cornelison reminds us not to forget the yoga pants. But if you forget to do laundry for a few weeks, feel free to raid your husband's closet for t-shirts.

Menswear offers a tailored look

Here we see a writer in her natural habitat, a coffee shop. Cory Oakes stays productive in the polar-vortex-like temperatures with her fingerless gloves.

McCormick Templeman asked that this photo of Susan Sontag in a teddy bear suit be her model stand-in, since she's pretty sure she could write the Great American Novel if only she had a teddy bear suit. I don't think any of us can argue with that logic.

Here's a glimpse of the wardrobe of a gothic Victorian novelist, courtesy of Leanna Renee Hieber. Note that the middle shelf is full of corsets.

A few more corsets that the author average of zero.

Shannon Messenger won't be caught writing without this season's must-have accessory, the house cat:

A large bathrobe and fuzzy slippers complete the ensemble

Not to be outdone are Lenore Appelhans and Emily Hainsworth, effortlessly pulling off the "Covered by cat while writing" look:

Typewriter shirt from Modcloth, priced less than one Guess sandal

And let's not forget the dogs. (Because teeth marks are never in style). Doris Fisher often writes while wearing Princess Puppy, pictured here in her wardrobe of yarn:

Here's Colleen Conrad, staying fashionably productive in a swimsuit coverup and a dog:

This is usually what happens when I try to write from the comfort of my couch, because Holly knows that looking good is more important than being able to type:

Move, human, you're ruining my selfie

I was so impressed by all the writerly wardrobe photos, but I am surprised at the lack of Snuggies. Now that's the long-sleeved must-have. You can even get the electric version.

Just one of the collection

Not pictured are coffee, chocolate, and wine stains, but those accessories can be added easily. Prices upon request at the nearest gas station.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks to my Class of 2k12 sister Gina Rosati for inviting me to be part of the Writing Process Blog Tour.  Gina is a library volunteer and author of AURACLE, an awesome YA paranormal romance from Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan. Visit Gina's website, follow her on Twitter, and read about her writing process here.

As part of the blog tour, I've been asked to answer these four questions about my writing process:

What am I working on?
Something totally different from anything I've written before--a young adult novel called Crashing Woodstock, about a modern-day high school senior who time travels to the Woodstock festival and faces horrors such as naked hippies, paper maps, and no cell phone service.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmmm. Well, I don't know of any Woodstock time travel books, so there's that. It will start and end as a work of contemporary fiction, but the bulk of the novel will read like historical fiction. Also I think in most time travel books, the character travels back in time on purpose, and this will be accidental.

Why do I write what I do?
In everything I write, there are characters I want to follow so I can find out what happens to them. I write for children and young adults because I love those ages of discovery, when we're still figuring out who we are, who we want to be, and who we don't want to be. We can really connect to characters who are going through the same things. Plus, I love middle grade and young adult novels myself--the stories have to be compelling from start to finish to keep choosy readers hooked.

How does your writing process work?
Well, this is somewhat messy. I'm not much of a plotter; I wrote CHAINED one chapter at a time, oftenThe Hero's Journey in mind along the way, though, so I'd refer to that when trying to coming up with what should happen to the characters. It worked out in the end, but I would've had a lot less revising to do if I'd done some planning. But I enjoy discovering the story as I go, so I don't think I'll ever be a heavy outliner. Now I do some rough plotting, with at least a few turning points that will come up throughout the story. I do my best drafting when I'm freewriting with a pen and paper, then I pull some of those ideas into a list of scenes for the chapter I'm working on. I talk more about organized brainstorming and plotting for non-plotters here, and how I've met the plotting/pantsing needs in Writing Lessons From Dogs.
having no idea what was going to happen from one chapter to the next. I was keeping
Also, I'm easily distracted, so I work best if I lock myself out of the Internet for an hour at a time. I use MacFreedom so I won't be tempted to check on all my friends who live in my computer.

Here's a little about the authors I've tagged for the blog tour. Look for their writing process posts next Monday, April 14th.

Gretchen McNeil's YA horror POSSESS, about a teen exorcist, debuted with Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic Times Top Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth, and was nominated for "Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012" by Romantic Times. Gretchen's 2013 release was 3:59, and this year, Gretchen debuts her first series, Don't Get Mad. Check out Gretchen's blog, Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter.

Anne Greenwood Brown is the author of the Lies Beneath trilogy - a series about love, forgiveness, and murderous mermaids on Lake Superior. She is terrified of high places, deep places, falling from high places into deep places, and fish of all kinds. But other than that, she's up for anything. Visit Anne on her blog, Facebook page, or on Twitter.

Leanna Renee Hieber is the award-winning, bestselling author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels for adults and teens. Her Strangely Beautiful saga, beginning with The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, hit Barnes & Noble and Borders Bestseller lists and garnered numerous regional genre awards. Leanna's Magic Most Foul saga began with Darker Still, an American Bookseller's Association "Indie Next List" pick and a Scholastic Book Club "Highly Reccomended" title. Read more about Leanna on her blog, Facebook page, or on Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Elephant In the Room, Literally

Hey, guys, can I crash on your couch?
Well, wouldn't this make for an interesting day? A lost baby elephant wandered into a ranch house living room. Only ten
days old, she was hungry and dehydrated and had walked a long way--about thirty miles--before showing up in Francoise Malby-Anthony's home at the Thula Thula Private Game Reserve in Zululand, South Africa. See the full article and adorable photo in this article from The Telegraph.

After hanging around for a snack, the calf, called Tom by the ranch hand who found her, was reunited with her herd. Of course they were thrilled to see her, especially her mother, who'd been rescued by Francoise's husband Lawrence Anthony years ago.

That's not even the most interesting part--I knew I recognized Lawrence Anthony's name, so I did a search to find out why it was so familiar. There was a story I had in mind but had thought, "No way, that would be too weird." Yet there it was, the elephant "funeral procession" after Anthony's death in 2009.

Anthony was a conservationist was known as "The Elephant Whisperer" for his work with wild elephants in South Africa. After he died, two herds of elephants he'd worked with made an estimated twelve-hour journey to his house. They stayed around there for a couple of days before heading back to the wild. Before this event, these elephants hadn't been to the property for at least a year and a half.

There are plenty of examples of elephants mourning their dead, not only at the time the death occurs but when they come across bones of a former herd member. Making the long trek to pay respects after the passing of a human friend is even more fascinating. I mean, HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY KNOW???

In answering that question, Rabbi Leila Gal Berner said, “A good man died suddenly, and from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had lost a beloved human friend, moved in a solemn, almost ‘funereal’ procession to make a call on the bereaved family at the deceased man’s home. If there ever were a time, when we can truly sense the wondrous ‘interconnectedness of all beings,’ it is when we reflect on the elephants of Thula Thula. A man’s heart’s stops, and hundreds of elephants’ hearts are grieving. This man’s oh-so-abundantly loving heart offered healing to these elephants, and now, they came to pay loving homage to their friend.”

And somehow one of their babies knew where to go when she needed help.