July 14, 2011

Writer Resource: Thesaurus Collections at The Bookshelf Muse

Dust Storm in Phoenix area July, 2011

Last year, I discovered the fantastic resources available for writers at The Bookshelf Muse blog.  Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have created valuable references for writers with their thesaurus collections.

The Emotion Thesaurus gives lists of all the different ways to show an emotion (including non-cliché ones!).  The Setting Thesaurus includes unique details to bring various settings to life.  Together with the entries for Character Traits, Symbolism, and Colors, Shapes, and Textures, The Bookshelf Muse is a great go-to blog for inspiration, revision help, and adding details.

I’m thrilled to be guest posting at their blog today with an entry for their newest thesaurus—Weather & Earthy Phenomena.  Writers usually guest post with them when they have a book release.  No, I have no such happy news to report yet.  However, my guest post shares details about a weather event we recently experienced here in the Phoenix area—a dust storm.  (See the picture above.)

Last week, a dust storm swallowed the entire Phoenix, Arizona valley.  To give this some perspective, Phoenix is one of the largest cities in the United States, both by population and by land area.  This storm was so large people have called it “historic.”

The winds were about 69 miles per hour (111 kph), and the dust cloud was almost 1 mile tall and 60 miles wide.  Luckily, other than trashed pools and some power outages, the Phoenix area escaped relatively unscathed.  But the unique event inspired me to write up a description for The Bookshelf Muse.

Check out some videos about last week’s storms below.  (These aren’t from YouTube, so the embedding is a bit wonky depending on your browser.  I’ve included direct links below each video in case the embedding doesn’t work for you.)  Then visit my guest post at The Bookshelf Muse to get the inside scoop on being in the path of a dust storm.

Arizona Channel 12 News Story

Arizona Channel 12 Weather Story

Time Lapse Video of Dust Storm (via

Have you used The Bookshelf Muse thesaurus collections before?  Which ones are your favorite and why?  What’s the biggest weather event you’ve ever experienced? How much do you mention weather conditions in your stories? Do you have any large weather events in your stories?  How does it affect your characters?

Photo Credit: Lucy Peterson (via

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Angela Ackerman

What incredible video–I can only imagine what this was like to experience, and the tumult of emotions you felt. And lucky us to have you guest write this entry using your first hand experience. What an event!

Thanks so much for the profile on our Descriptive Collections. I am so glad you found us, and now maybe a few others will too! Were all in this together, right?

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Melinda Collins

Great post over on The Bookshelf Muse, Jami! I’m so happy that Phoenix survived the dust storm with only power outages and some property damage.

I do use the thesaurus over at The Bookshelf Muse, especially now that I’m editing and re-writing. I really love the character and setting thesauruses. Those are coming in really handy! I’ve never actually included weather-related events in my stories, but it’s definitely something to consider adding if and when the plot allows. Have two characters be locked in due to a hurricane or tornado can definitely add a bit of needed tension. 🙂

Raelyn Barclay

I LOVE the Bookshelf Muse. Your post is a great addition to that awesome resource.

I saw photos Liz Fichera posted of the event but the video really brings it home.

Mother Nature has thrown a hurricane, numerous small earthquakes, and an erupting volcano at me. Yet compared to others who’ve survived the same my experiences were mild. I like to use the contrast of weather (good or bad) to a character’s mood (dark or bright) but to date the only ‘large’ event I’ve incorporated was a massive thunderstorm.

I’m working on a fantasy piece and now I’m thinking I might trap my characters in a dust storm 🙂


Wow, pretty wicked. I’m going over to see what you have to say there.


JA Paul

That historic Dust Storm and the Bookshelf Muse are equally awesome! Only if different ways 🙂 Great job once again!

Sarah Pearson

I love the Bookshelf Muse. Off to check out your post 🙂

Tamara LeBlanc
Tamara LeBlanc

HOLY GUACAMOLE!! The video on the dust storm was shocking. I didn’t know storms like that existed, not in real life anyway. I saw a great dust storm in the movie The Mummy…but, um, that was computer graphics. Your’s was real. Wow!
And, no Jami, I have never visited that blog site, nor have I ever heard of it. But leave it to you to pull the wool off my eyes. Awesome.
I can’t wait to check it out.
I’ll be there right after i finish here:)
Have a happy evening!!

M.E. Anders
M.E. Anders

I do enjoy the Bookshelf Muse site – excited to go read your post there now. 🙂


I’m always looking for great resources. Thanks for the tip!


Wow! Those videos are incredible!! It must have been so scary to have that blow through town!
I love the Bookshelf Muse! Your post is a great addition to their thesaurus for Weather & Earthy Phenomena. I take a look through their Emotion Thesaurus all the time when I’m doing edits.
Thanks for sharing. : )

Michelle Gregory

I found you through The Bookshelf Muse. That was quite a storm. It hit us down here in Mesa too. I walked out and couldn’t see the house across the street. Nice to meet a fellow Phoenix area writer, though I’m soon going to be a Montana writer. I’m hoping the dust storms don’t follow me there.

Laura Pauling

How scary! Those pictures are amazing. Nothing like first hand experience. I have used the emotion thes. and usually for the original ones of emotion and of settings!

Gene Lempp

Awesome video clips, Jami! I use the Bookshelf Muse all the time, especially for emotion listing but all of the listings have been useful to me at one point or another. They are one of the greatest writing resources I’ve found on the net.

I saw your guest post over there, fantastic job 🙂

Lynn Rush

Wow. Those are some fantastic pictures and clips. I live in Peoria (north of Phoenix) so I didn’t get this, heck, I didn’t even know it happened until I got an email from my mom–and she lives in MINNESOTA. I’m so bad. LOL!!

Julie Musil

Jami, The Bookshelf Muse has helped me many times. Like you, I love the emotion thesaurus. Sometimes I’m stumped for how to show a certain emotion (without being cliche) and this helps me. Angela and Becca totally rock!

Tiffany A White

I love the Bookshelf Muse’s posts – they are so very brilliant and helpful for writers. Thanks for giving them the much deserved love on your post!


hi miss jami! i hope youre ok from being in all that dust. yikes!!! i didnt ever see a dust storm in my life. i couldnt think so much dust could happen all at one time. im thinking it could be way hard to breath and could be pretty messy to get cleaned off of stuff. i been a follower for miss angela and miss becca for a pretty long time and for sure i been learning lots from those cool posts. im doing a story now thats got blizzards and wind and snow and those posts been a big help.
…hugs from lenny

Kerry Meacham
Kerry Meacham

Thanks for the link to The Bookshelf Muse Jami, I’m sure I’ll use it given the number of people that commented on currently using and loving it.

I’ve been through two major weather situtations. One was a straight line wind storm with 80-90 MPH winds that blew full grown trees down across 14 miles of interstate in southern Illinois two years ago. I was driving, and was three cars behind the state troopers and crane trucks as they cut a single lane through the trees so traffic could pass. I thought it was going to blow my SUV over a couple of times. The other time was living through a hurricane. I was in Florida when I was nine, and I can still remember the non-stop winds blowing around our blacked out house in the country. Scary stuff.

Great post over at The Bookshelf Muse BTW. I’m glad you came out unscathed.

Angela Ackerman

You guys, I have to say I am completely BLOWN AWAY by all the wonderful things said here about The Bookshelf Muse. It is so wonderful to know that an idea we had a s a way to help writers does in fact help so many. Happy writing everyone, and thanks so much for the kind words.

Thanks to you again Jami, for writing such a marvelous piece!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Sonia G Medeiros

I love, love, love The Bookshelf Muse! Such a great resource!

That dust storm was so freaky. *shudder*


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