Blatently stolen from Lynn Viehls's blog Paperback Writer: has a page of story starters and idea generators that can help with plot scenarios, character sketches, everyday problems and more.

Generate an extrasolar starchart over at Extrasolar Skies.

Have avatar but need a name? Get an interesting one from's Name Generator.

Want a first name for a weird, alien or fantasy character? Try out's First Name Generator.

You've got a business in your story; now name it with the Modern Company Names Generator.

Also from, for you ladies writing those NASCAR romances, The NASCAR driver name generator.

The text/visual generator Plot Shot generates a random plot with random Flickr shots.

Got a mage character who needs to beef up his library? Try the Random Books Generator.'s Random Word Generator takes whatever text or word lists you feed it and recombines them. If you ever needed to create some names limited to a certain set of letters or vowel sounds, coin new words or just play with keywords for title ideas, this is the generator for you.

Need the name of a random but real American town or city but can't find your atlas? The USA place name generator "selects a random named location from 1990 United States Census data. Because the smallest towns have the same likelihood of being chosen as the largest cities, there's a decidedly rural flavor to the selections." It's also hooked up to MapQuest if you want to see where the town is located.

Visit her blog here:

What do you do with a degree in English?

I'm a huge huge fan of graphjam. One of the graphs from today caught my eye:

song chart memes

And it got me thinking... A good number of readers here have an MA in Creative Writing, or at least a BA or BS in English. So what to you think? What do you do with a degree in English? (and ignore the Avenue Q song, ok?)

Here's my take on how much you make as an author:

funny pictures

(I know, I know, not a true diagram that actually makes sense, but it does make sense, so yeah.

We need a little cute around here!

Things have been busy at the Marshall/Brown house. Sandy had her pups on Sunday! Enjoy the cuteness!

Max Monroe Morgan Marilyn Mason Madison Marvin Monty Molly

Max is our resident horse-puppy. Seriously, he's huge. Optimus Prime huge. We affectionately call him Cow.

Monroe is second size-wize. He's pushy, too.

Morgan was the last born. His birth sister Mable didn't live.

Marilyn, Mason, and Madison are nearly identical. Mason has more white on his back, Marilyn has less of a white-tipped tail than Madison.

Marvin was born first, he's sooooo tiny!

Monty's a shover. He wants food and doesn't care who he has to knock over to get it.

I won't lie, Molly's my fav! She's second tiniest to Marvin. I always let the two of them take first dibs when they're hungry. At least until they get bigger. I wish I had a job so that in six weeks i'd be able to keep Molly. But honestly, we don't need another dog in this house. I still covet her though! In fact, I've written this entire post one-handed as Molly sleeps curled up in my other hand nice and warm!


Any good writer will have shelves and shelves of books that they don't know what to do with or can't bear to part from (or at least a well-used library card). If donating or selling your used books is not an option for you, you've got to have a place to put them. And who doesn't like a wall full of books, especially when they look like this?

While I like regular rectangle bookcases as much as the next person here are some other shelves that bring form to function.

Albero della Cuccagna
by Matteo Casarosa

This ironic shelf would be perfect for a child's room, or even an eclectic adult space. I absolutely love everything about it; the lines, the idea, the shape, the function... it's perfect.

The Bibliochaise: This “book chair" simply integrates a series of bookshelves around a place to sit, making it perhaps the perfect reading chair. The shelves come in a variety of colors, as do the cushions. You even have the option of upgrading to leather cushions if you feel a splurge coming on.

Another take on the book chair idea, the Bookinist by Nils Holger Moormann. I like the built in light and the wheel for easy maneuvering. It also looks like the seat back might fold down to create a table when not in use. Because you can't have too many tables.

This Rolling Shelf idea is pretty nifty. The shelf rolls up to allow for a tall object and then rolls back down flat when you decide you want to move the object, or, if like me, you kill you cacti.

This unique bookshelf expands when you get more books (Christmas? Birthdays? Book launches?) yet still has that element of style built right in. Plus, with the varying sizes of shelves, there is no wasted space for short and tall books. DVD's, CD's and other media could also be stored in the cubbies, providing a complete entertainment media storehouse.

The REK was created by Rotterdam-based designer Reinier de Jong.

There's a flat in London with a bookshelf with a built-in staircase that is simply stunning, if not a bit dizzying and hard to keep dust-free, especially so close to an outside door.

How awesome is this bookcase bedroomDesigned by Point Architects in Tokyo?! If I had a bigger room, I'd totally want one! But I like holes and dark places. (That's what she said).

the more avant garde side of us might like the Lovely Rita. Made in Italy by Kartell, this Lovely Rita Bookshelf ($285 USD) is available in four translucent color options, and adds an elegant and sophisticated accent to your living room, bedroom, or study.

While not very functional for large amounts of books, the Neverending Bookcase is really pretty. I think I'd spend hours and hours just staring at it and pondering life's questions.

Maybe you've only got a few books, but still want to display them in a creative way? How about the Floating Book Shelf then? The bottom book hooks onto the shelf using a clever little lip on the underside and then the rest of the books just stack on top! For about 10$ on Amazon, it's a steal.

Speaking of steals, how about bookcases that do double-duty? Using the bookcase coffin, you can have your books and... uh... be buried in the case, too. With the doom and gloom surround paper books these days (and the supposed AWESOMES! surrounding ebooks) this seems a bit too literal and ironic. Plus it's not pretty. And I want to be cremated.
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