Strangest Browser Searches

medusa (Demo)

I got tagged by Jenelle Schmidt to join in this blogging challenge. At first, I really didn't think I'd be able to contribute enough interesting stuff to fill an entire blog post. I mean, I know we authors joke a lot about our strange browser searches, but surely I haven't actually googled anything that strange, right?


Well, a look back through my Google searches proved me wrong. When you write in the fairy tale genre like I do, you have to do a TON of research–usually to make sure you're not doing some “clever twist” on a fairy tale that's already been done a bazillion times by other people. So I have definitely given the NSA a lot of entertainment. They really should lower my taxes or something in exchange. It's only fair.

So, to start off, here are the rules:

  • Access your browser history
  • Pick at least 5 of your strangest searches you’ve had to look up as a writer
  • List them below with an explanation as to why you had to look them up
  • Tag 2-5 other bloggers

And here are a few of my more unique googlings:

how to make a golem

The frustrating thing is that most of the results for this search were related to Minecraft. Thank you, gaming community, but I want to know how to make an ACTUAL golem. This was partly for the character of Linus in The Tomb of the Sea Witch and partly for a short story that I ended up not even using golems for. Either way, the precise method of creating them didn't actually find its way into any of my writing…or at least, it hasn't yet. I may still need to draw on that useful bit of knowledge someday.

child-stealing magical creatures

I wasn't actually trying to summon one of these in real life. Though there have been many occasions when that would have been handy, particularly in restaurants and on airplanes. Sadly, I didn't stumble across any “bugbears for hire” websites in my searches. But a bugbear does make an appearance in a short story I'm working on. Despite the macabre Google search, it's probably the most light-hearted thing I've ever written.

mermaid clothes

All I got were pictures of mermaid-themed dresses. What I wanted was fantasy artwork depicting clothed merfolk of some kind. I ended up having to design these concepts on my own. (Someday I'll post drawings.) The mermaids in The Tomb of the Sea Witch don't run around in seashell bras, and the mer-guys aren't perpetually shirtless. They've all got armor-like clothing along the lines of the Roman/Greek themed costumes in Wonder Woman.

centaur gunslinger

I wanted to see if anybody had created a character like this before. Naturally, they had. Not that that really matters, but I still tweaked the concept a little.

centaur mountebank

Aha, that one was definitely original. Look for this character in an upcoming Wattpad story. (More news on that soon.)

are there any cool names that game of thrones hasn't already taken

Just something I googled in frustration after a long day of name-storming. In the end, I still used “Blackfire” as Malcolm's last name. Do your worst, George R.R. Martin.


Hooray, a word that nobody else has thought of yet! In this case, a fictional plant name.

how to fire a shotgun

I've actually done this, but I still wanted to make sure I was describing it properly. I used this for a scene in Tomb involving Cordelia (one of my favorite Cordelia moments, actually).

difference between a dryad and a hamadryad

I looked this up while I was researching to write the character of Sylvia in Tomb. I thought hamadryads were just male dryads. Wrong! While dryads are just spirits of trees in general, a hamadryad is bonded to a single, individual tree and dies if that tree is cut. Ain't mythology somethin'? (For the record, Sylvia is not a hamadryad, and can jump from tree to tree at will. Lucky for her.)

is cardiff stinky

Probably one of my goofiest searches in recent weeks. I was doing research for the city of Gwydiff, capital of Rhiannon. This is the Afterverse version of Cardiff, capital of Wales. I wanted Gwydiff to be smelly, and I was hoping the actual Cardiff was also smelly so that I wouldn't be offending any patriotic Welsh folk. I've never had an angry mob of Welsh people descend upon my house, but I'm guessing it wouldn't be fun. Anyhoo, I never really figured out what Cardiff smelled like. Oh well.

And that's all I can come up with for now, but as I continue to google wacky stuff all the time, I'd love to do this again someday.

Now to tag some other blog people:

E.B. Dawson

Nate Philbrick

R.G. Dole

Hannah Krynicki

Claerie Kavanaugh

Pretty sure I'm forgetting somebody awesome. If you are that person, feel free to join in this challenge! Or share your own crazy searches in the comments.

Comments (15)

(No offense, but don’t tag me, I usually have no time for such things, lol.)

Also, my searches would be pretty boring, hehe. Usually I just go to Wikipedia and type in very boring things like “British royal heraldry” and “fairies depicted in art”.

Just something you might want to keep in mind for golems — the Minecraft versions are in fact based on the ancient Jewish tradition/folklore — so, did you think to search up specifically Hebrew lore on the subject? (There was a “Supernatural” episode with a golem, and they referenced scrolls from the Temple/times of Solomon bearing the instructions. Not that “Supernatural” is completely historically accurate, but the showrunners at the time *are* Jewish, so trying that tactic might be more effective.)

And, sorry, but Cardiff has become rather sophisticated and cosmopolitan in recent years. 🙂 When I lived in England, I met a few Welsh boys who would definitely tell you it pretty much smells like any other city in the British Isles (a mix of traffic fumes, restaurants, and the rain — modern sewage systems are very much in use). 😀

No problem, I understand; although your searches *do* sound interesting to me. 😄 And that’s really cool about the golems! I have read some of the Hebrew stuff about them, which is fascinating. And while I’ve been catching up on Supernatural, I haven’t gotten to that episode yet. Still in the very early seasons. I just saw the one with the rabbit’s foot last week, which had me in stitches. 🤣😂 “I’m Batman.”

Good to know about Cardiff. Gwydiff is going to be slightly unsavory–Talesend’s shabbier cousin–but I don’t think it will rub too many people the wrong way, as it’s in another world and the 1920’s. I always think of the Ninth Doctor’s line: “I’m going to die in a dungeon. In *Cardiff*!!” 😂 (Gwydiff, BYW, is named after Gwydion, who’s sorta the Welsh equivalent of Merlin.)

Oh my gosh, yes, the rabbit’s foot episode is classic. Although the character of Bella was *lame* (in my view), the writing was really spot on for the boys and Bobby, and I really liked the way they were still maintaining connections to John Winchester in those days.

A while back, I saw a program about Merlin, and how basically Disney got him totally wrong. 😛 It is interesting to note that the Welsh have a very different legendary version of him.

I regularly remember 9’s apparent dislike of Cardiff, too. 😀 No one got upset over that, so I seriously doubt your idea would cause the Welsh to storm your house. 🙂

Yeah, Bella isn’t really working for me so far. Maybe if they’d found a way to make her a little more sympathetic, but she’s just so…mean. I prefer Ruby, though that’s partly because I like Katie Cassidy from Arrow. I already know that neither character survives for very long, so I’m trying not to get attached. 😂

I have something fun in mind for Merlin (which was already teased in “Tomb”). There’s a further twist besides the gender-swap; I think readers will enjoy it.

LOL, I think they make all those Cardiff jokes because the show is filmed there. I presume it’s interpreted as good-natured ribbing. 😂 Gwydiff is actually proving a fun contrast to Talesend. People actually know about magic there; they just don’t talk about it.

Yeah, the Welsh and English have a pretty good relationship these days — I honestly don’t think you need to worry about getting stalked by a bunch of angry Cardiff residents. 🙂

Ruby was an extremely interesting character! You’re never quite sure how to feel about her, which does create a good effect (from the show’s POV) in terms of audience reaction. (Some people absolutely hated her, though.) I thought Bella could’ve been done with one episode; she felt more like a plot device than a recurring character.

Ahh, a human town in the B&B world that knows about magic! This’ll be interesting! 🙂

Seems to me that the Supernatural fandom tends to auto-hate any potential long-term love interests for Sam and Dean. XD But Bella kinda deserved it. I think Ruby’s backstory and motivations are pretty intriguing. It helped that unlike Bella, she actually was decent and heroic from time to time. Bella was all “like me because I’m bad,” which gets old fast.

And thanks! The short will be released this week; I think people are going to like it. Especially when they find out who the POV character is. 😀

These are always fun. XD I… don’t seem to have any weird searches related to writing? At least in the history I looked in, it was all just random things. XD I did look up the Katskhi Pillar because I saw a picture of it and it made me think of a rock formation in a couple of my books, so I was like COOL and needed to know about it. (At first I thought it was in America, which would have been helpful, buuut it was actually in the European country of Georgia — who knew. :P) So… yeah. I think somebody may have tagged me for this one but I’ve got nothing. 😛 Love your search results! They are definitely amusing. XD (And honestly, I’ve had to work out Mer clothing for my own characters before… I settled on a kind of seaweed vest. XD OH, THE PROBLEMS THAT FACE US FANTASY WRITERS. Honestly, mermaids wearing shells must be really uncomfortable. -_-) And huh, interesting about the dryads and centaurs too. I laughed about the angry patriotic Welsh people. XD Anyways, fun post!

Ha ha, thanks! 😄 I’m always googling those interesting geological features for inspiration. There are some places on this planet that look so cool you can’t believe they’re not made up. You’re one of the people I forgot to tag for this one, but I did tag you in something I’m posting tomorrow. (I think you’ll like it.) 😊

You know what I do for names? https://www.behindthename.com/ you can search them by meaning, which I love to do so that my characters names match something important about them.

Love that site! I use it quite a bit, only sometimes I get sidetracked for way too long browsing names on it. 😂

awww I’m glad I’m not the only dork out there. lol. I like want to make characters sometimes just to use cool names. It’s really the only reason I want to have kids so I can name them 😉

Hmm, so technically C.S. Lewis’s dryads are actually hamadryads? Because that one in TLB definitely bit the dust when her tree got the chop.

I may have to inaugurate my fall blogging season with this tag 😀

That’s true! I know he mentioned both kinds on a number of occasions, but he didn’t specify that she was one. See, even C.S. Lewis wasn’t perfect. 😂😂

Awesome!! Looking forward to it! 😊

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