Cary Grant, smoshes, and the velocity of swallows

P1030757I’ve been tagged a few times by the delightful Liebster awards (even though I have nearly 300 followers, and that’s breaking the rules) – and so I decided to answer all the questions at one go! According to the rules, you list eleven interesting (or at least true) tidbits about yourself, answer the questions that were asked you, then tag someone else with other questions. As I’m not really much one for tagging, I’ll just say anyone who wishes to be tagged, is. (And if tag was played like that in real life, nobody would ever get anywhere.) As I was tagged twice (three times, actually, but I lost the third somewhere) I’ll just give you a random amount of facts.

 Almost overnight, I lost my taste for most young adult books and moved on to adult novels – months after claiming I would probably never do just that/caramel is the best flavor in the world/my face either looks cheerful, or as though I’m mentally slaughtering my enemies. These are, apparently, the only two expressions I have/I find it hard not to begin a novel when inspiration strikes, but if it isn’t well thought-out it falls by the wayside and I feel bad/half the shirts I own are black or gray and have metal on them, so I’m excited when I find something brightly colored or more feminine that fits me/I recently watched ‘Kung Pow’ with my brother-in-law and am not ashamed to say I laughed the whole way through/hot, sunny days make me want to curl up and go to sleep/I don’t really enjoy swimming or playing in the water/I adore ear cuffs/I’ve never been attracted to Cary Grant/I can – and do – quote many things I’ve never seen/I never iron anything if I can possibly help it/hipster coffee shops are my favorite/My friendliness is often mistaken for flirting and yes, it’s irritating/I would much rather be a wizard than a jedi/

• What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? An African swallow, or a European swallow?

• How many licks to the center of a lollipop? It depends on your enthusiasm and the size of your tongue.

• Top five movie/tv show smoshes (not necessarily in order)? It’s impossible to have only five, so I’m just going to name a few names without guaranteeing I don’t have fifty more favorites. Finnick Odair (Catching Fire, Mockingjay) Bucky Barnes (Captain America, The Winter Soldier) Dustfinger (Inkheart) Madmartigan (Willow) Trip (Star Trek: Enterprise) – note that these are only the characters off the top of my head, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re higher in the pecking order than others.

• How many active books currently? Three, tentatively – This Mortal Coil is the book I’m working to finish before the others, but I also have Impossible Things and Natural Disasters (both are on the back burner, as TMC has taken over as first literary priority).

• Given the chance, would you go bungee-jumping? Oh, yes.

• Top five songs in your playlist? Which playlist? I have nine current playlists – some songs I’m really enjoying, however, would be  Bastille & Gabrielle Aplin’s rendition of ‘Dreams’; Creedence Clearwater’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’ (Mourning Ritual’s cover comes in frequently, too); Christine Aguilera’s ‘Fighter’; The Secret World of Arrietty maine theme; and the Pacific Rim main theme.

• Favorite Mario Kart character? Having never taken an interest in Mario Kart, I wouldn’t know.

• Favorite Disney film? It’s impossible to choose a favorite Disney film.

• How is a raven like a writing desk? This question has several answers, but I doubt any of them are the truth.

• Time-travel or space-travel? Time-travel. I’m up to be the next Doctor’s companion.

• If you had to pick another name for yourself, what would it be? This is an answer that changes depending on what mood I’m in, but I would probably take the name I was nearly given – Myfonwy – and add an ‘O’ to my last name. Myfonwy O’Neal. It sings.

• What nationality are you? ‘Murican, although I have a good deal of German and Celtic blood.

• Do you believe that the end justifies the means? More often than is probably healthy, but I tend to keep this for hypothetical life-or-death situations.

• Do you work well under pressure, or do you snap? I’ll procrastinate until a deadline is approaching, in which case I’ll buckle down just before the whistle blows. I’d say pressure helps, unfortunately; but I can’t stand being under pressure frequently.

• What is your favorite music genre/band?

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• Batman or Superman? Ironman.

• Do you like to bake? More than I like to cook, but no kitchen activities exactly spin my record.

• Would you rather get burned to a crispy chip of a human, or be skinned alive? I’d rather die peacefully, of old age, or in battle. Thank you just the same. (Although if I’m going to answer up-front, I’d have to say burned; I’ve read accounts of both and burning is quicker.)

• Honestly, how many friends do you have? Not acquaintances, but honest-to-goodness friends? It’s difficult to categorize this, as most of my honest-to-goodness friends I’ve not met in real-time. That being said, I have many friends and many honest-to-goodness friends, but only one friend who lives in my state. I’m blessed to know many people who would happily listen to me talk about my problems, pray for me, and care about what I’m going through; and I believe anyone who would do that is an honest-to-goodness friend.

• What was your best subject in school? Anything to do with reading or writing, I would say. It surely wasn’t anything math-related.

• Do you do your own thinking, or do you allow others to give you information? I do my own thinking. The problem is trying to stop thinking so I can focus on doing things.

• What’s your favorite ink color? If it’s inky black, I like that; but I love reddish-black ink.

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“Excuse me, sir…”

I was going back through some old posts. Comments usually range from five to fifteen per post, so the comment number on a few posts caught my eye. Fifty-seven? Are you serious? They were all for the Q-and-A with Eristor. I had forgotten how popular the Ask a Character a Question posts were, and I remembered having a blast hosting them.

So, with some positive feedback when I mentioned the idea, I thought I’d do it again – but let you pick who answers them! Let me know who you’d most like to hear from! Look over the four contestants and vote away!

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Hal (from Paper Crowns)

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Azrael (from Paper Hearts)

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Skata (from This Mortal Coil)

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Angel (from This Mortal Coil)

Note: I’ll be doing this again, so if someone you wanted to hear from isn’t picked, there will be more chances. 😉

In which I answer some questions

I’ve had a cold for the last few days and so my brain isn’t quite up to speed. Therefore, I figured it was a good time to answer some questions you’ve been asking, yes? Okay. Here we go.

The Paper Crowns books seem a lot different than what you usually write – what gave you the ideas for them? They are quite a bit different, but I never just get slammed with a complete idea for a book. I trip over various ideas and puzzle pieces, and so my ‘process’ goes something like this – “A shape-shifting cat is a cool idea.” “That paper crown is pretty, I wish I could fold those.” “I like the name Ginger, I think I’ll use it in a book.” “Hey, a guy with a scarf on his wrist, I could use that.” And then a few days or weeks later, I go “Hey, this would make a cool book!” The only constant in the way books come to me is that they drift to me in pieces over a period of time.

Are you going to self-publish Paper Crowns, or look for a traditional publisher? I’m working on the pitch (and by “working” I mean staring at the paper waiting for the right words to magically appear) in order to submit it to a traditional publisher. I think it will be accepted by a much broader range than Monster due to the non-offensive storyline. *wink*

Are you ever going to write a sequel to Monster? I’ve given it a lot of heavy thought and have come to the point where I can tell you I Have No Idea. Every time I think ‘probably not, it’s a standalone’ I get another idea, and every time I begin to seriously consider writing a sequel, I think ‘probably not, it’s a standalone’ again. We’ll just have to wait and see.

What are you going to write after NaNo? Good question, that. I have several ideas – I was hoping to finish Paper Hearts and This Mortal Coil before November but since I caught the cold and my brain has frozen, I don’t think it’s going to happen. So after I finish those two objects, I’m probably going to write This Curious Madness (an Alice in Wonderland spinoff), Painkiller (my modern Beauty and the Beast rewrite) and The Alphabet in Cell Seventeen (which is the working title for a book with an asylum, four boys, one girl, a twin, a curse, and a creepy alphabet. Happy ending optional. It’s probably part of a duo.)

You seem to collect a lot of quotes – What’s your favorite? Currently? “Being a hero means ignoring how silly you feel.” (Diana Wynne Jones, Fire and Hemlock)

What are you reading right now? Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman and The Archive by Victoria Schwab.

I wish you’d post more of your sketches! So this wasn’t really a /question/ but it gives me a good excuse to post my latest sketch of Theodora and her wysling, Asterope. I left her leg out on purpose. I totally did.

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Why are they looking so forlorn? Well, it’s because ————-. I know, sad, right?

Who is your favorite character to write in Paper Hearts? That question is both excellent and evil. I love writing Azrael (who also happens to be my mother’s favorite character) because he somehow manages to be both endearing and a total blaggard.

Can I get a signed copy of Monster? Sure; I have stacks of copies here, and all you have to do is send me a check for $22. Voila; you shall have a signed copy. (Curse shipping for being so expensive!) If you prefer a cheaper way to read it, it’s also available on Kindle. 😉

How do you make your characters witty? I try to make mine funny like that but it doesn’t work. Um…I was born in a family with the biggest sense of humor of any family I know. I had the good fortune of being raised in a funny, witty, sarcastic environment. So, if you haven’t had that opportunity, I suggest you read books with the sense of humor you want to portray or watch movies and tv shows with witty characters. Things like that DO rub off on you, I promise.

Will you critique my work? I’ll critique up to three pages of your work. Send it to mirriam.neal@hotmail.com if you’d like me to – I don’t bite. 😉

This is a weird question, but what are your favorite movies? It’s not weird. I ask people this question all the time. Since I have a LOT of favorite movies, I’ll just list a few of the special, less heard-of ones. My favorite movies tend to be a little cheesy, just so you know. They are: The Secret World of Arietty, Labyrinth, The Secret of Moonacre, The Road to El Dorado, Alice in Wonderland (the Tim Burton version), The Court Jester, Stardust, Galaxy Quest, and The Thin Man movies.

How do I find you on NaNoWriMo? Click the little button on the top right sidebar.

Any other questoins, feel free to ask and I’ll answer them in a while with another post like this.