Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Events, New Books & Her Grammarness

Book Events

December 01 to December 31 ALL GOOD CHILDREN BY CATHERINE AUSTEN appears HERE. If you want a free copy and are in the US or Canada check out this giveaway--10 free books. Lasts until November 30 only! Hurry.


New Books

Today I have three new ones that look yummy. 
Break From You, Rebecca Green Gasper

Outcast, Susan Oloier

Neverlove - For Abigail and Basil, there is a choice they both fear making.  Duty or love?  There can be only one.


Her Grammarness

The Prescriptive Hat

I promised I'd go into those dangling modifiers, so here goes. First, please don't dangle. It's horrible when you do. And the results are A) confusing B) downright comical. So if you're not aiming to confuse the heck out of your reader or to send them fits, ROFL, get those references as close to what they're modifying as possible. 

When Princess Stargazer smashed the bottle of champagne against the hull of the sailing ship, she slipped down the runway at high speed and splashed into the water. [That had to be quite a sight, don't you think?]

Vengeance and bitterness can be emotionally destructive to our kids. You must get rid of them. [This might appeal to some parents.]

"Don't ever park your sleigh at a taxi stand, Santa, or it will be towed away!" [And should Santa care?]

In addition to being fond of lobsters, like you, she's a connoisseur of oysters. [Oops. End of friendship.]

So here's how to NOT write a sentence with modifiers that are confused about what they're modifying. Put the modifier as close to the noun or pronoun as possible. Change the punctuation. When in doubt re-write that sentence.

How would you fix these? Found any sentences similar to these in books lately? I have. :-(


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monday Miscellany, Pardon My Burps

I don't know about anyone else, but during this Thanksgiving holiday I abandoned all thoughts of "good and sensible" when it came to eating. I stuffed myself fuller than any holiday turkey could ever imagine. I'm now on Alka Seltzer and Tums. If anyone mentions food or doing dishes this next week, they're toast.

I did get in some hiking on a couple of forest trails and I did two super beach walks.

Samuel B. Morse Trail

Carmel Beach

One treat I always enjoy is going to Spanish Bay and waiting for the Piper to pipe the sun down. Here he is on the day after T'day doing an excellent job of sending the sun into the Pacific.
The Piper at Spanish Bay

What was your holiday like? Family? Friends? Long break from work or regular routine? Ready to get back and dig in? I AM.  For me, it's back to sensible eating and writing and remembering the wonderful moments during this holiday.

Christmas Count Down: 30 days!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Miscellany, Mostly Thanksgiving!

November  19, 2012



Last week as I was driving into town, wild turkeys attacked my car with demands. "You can pass if you sign this petition," they said. A petition being shoved in your face would have riled most people so soon after this long, drawn out election process, but I needed to get to town. Long and short . . . I signed and here you see the beastly birds allowing me safe passage through the woods.

Safe from me!



I've heard that Amazon will not be allowing authors to write reviews anymore.  At first, I thought, "Rats!" Then I thought,  "Can they do that?" I mean a lot of writers buy their books from Amazon. Isn't there going to be a rebellion or a protest or some kind of Tea Party action?

I've check and so far my review are still up for books I've read and commented on. I still have all my writer reviews for my books. I did hear from one writer that two of her writer reviews for her book disappeared! Anyone else checking? What do you find?


Promotion: On getting more reviews

  • Who has heard of/used TweetAdder? What do you think? 
  • How about using the non-automated Twitter to ask for reviews? Have you tried that? Any results?
  • Ask David? It offers reviews. Any ideas about this site? 
  • Knights of the Round Table is on goodreads and offers its members reviews. Anyone in this group?
  • LinkedIn group called Book Reviewers is interesting. A PW reviewer is offering to review books for members. You might check this out.

If authors really are shut out of reviewing on Amazon, where would you go to ask for more reviews?




Friday, November 16, 2012

I Miss You Blogfest

The hosts for this one are Matthew MacNish, and Alex CavanaughAndrew Leon

I could have a list of hundreds of blogs that I would miss. There are so many great bloggers out there, sharing their thoughts and lending support as well as giving great information to all of us who write.

But I can't list hundreds, so I'm only going to acknowledge one. I don't visit her often, but when I do I linger and think before I comment. Many times I only read the posts so I can carry the message with me throughout the day, and I don't leave a comment. At her site, posts are about the essence of life: love, fear, loss, beauty, hope, triumph and, above all, finding a way to be at one with yourself and the life you live from day to day.

The SunnyRoomStudio is a refuge from all things frantic, from stress, from writing-slumps and fears.

Thank you, Daisy Hickman for creating a space that is perfect for me and all of your followers. I'd miss you if you weren't out there.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Events, New Books & Her Grammarness

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Events
(If you have a book event with pictures, send them to me and I'll post them on Thursdays. April is reserved for A-Z Challenge.)

Don't miss the YA Booktour Nov. 12- Dec. 7 for Break From You, Rebecca Green Gasper and Outcast, Susan Oloier. Their books will be featured here on Nov. 29.
Just got a few more snapshots of that wild ride at Mysterious Galaxy with authors signing and talking about their stories in Two and Twenty Dark Tales. Can you stand a couple?
Nancy Holder keeping me in stitches. She's a hoot!
I've lost my place. Suzanne Lazear & Nina Berry are being patient.


New Books

(If you have a new book out send me a cover, a short  2-3 sentence blurb and your buy links. I'll post them on Thursdays. April is reserved for A-Z Challenge.)
A.L. Jackson's Newest Book

 When We Collide 

From the bestselling author of Pulled and Take This Regret comes a gripping new tale of loss and love.    In a moment that will change his life forever, William comes face to face with the girl who, with one look, captured his heart. He is unable to ignore the buried desires and the hope for the future they’d once believed they’d have.   Now William is ready to fight to take back what had been stolen from him six years before.  But he never imagined what that fight might cost him.  A.L. Jackson gives you an intimate look into the lives of a family bound by an unseen connection in this contemporary romance with a supernatural twist. 
New Adult Urban Fantasy with a Contemporary Sci-Fi Twist
M. Pax The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear.  
Mature content.
The first book in a new series. And it’s now out! The main character, Hetty, is a twenty-two-year-old, stumbling about in an effort to become a full-fledged adult. She struggles with self-esteem, weight, relationships, and making the transition between college and the real world. 
Kindle US Amazon  Kindle UK Amazon  Smashwords  Kobo



The Prescriptive Hat
Here's a poem for language lovers by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams. . .
Yet we are the movers and shakers of the
world forever, it seems.

So if we're to move and shake this world, let's do it with beautiful language, shall we? Let's acknowledge the ever-changing conversational usage, but when we're writing narrative let's cling to standard written English. That doesn't mean overblown and pompous. It means clear.

Sit/set are two more verbs we confuse and again it's about what kind of verb each is as well as their distinct meanings. 
Come in and sit [NO OBJECT]a while, so we can figure out where to set [OBJECT ALERT/to put or place something ]the time, an hour ahead or an hour behind.
Okay, I'm bored with transitive/intransitive. Next time I'm going full tilt into things that dangle.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Miscellany

This is one of those pre-post posts because I'm in Southern California today enjoying some time on the beach. Nawt! I'm working . . .kind of.  Here's what happened today.

I got to hobnob with some wonderfully, talented writers at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in 
Redondo Beach 
Amazing day! Thank you, Georgia McBride for pulling us all together in this super anthology. 

L to R: Me, Nancy Holder, Gretchen McNeil, Nina Berry, Suzanne Lazear

We were told to look spooky. I think we failed.

Stuff about Books & Book Reviews


I've won so many books this year that I'm struggling to keep up with all the reading AND trying to find time to actually do some writing. Here are three that I really appreciated and enjoyed reading.

You know I loved Demon Keeper because I've said so, so many times. Thanks again, you wonderful bloggers at The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow.

Then Medeia Sharif sent me Narc, a young adult with some excellent and fresh writing.

I also won Plot and Structure. Thank you, Julie Musil. Very nice indeed. 

Also my policy on reviewing books I win is going through some major "re-thinking." I always said that I'd review any book that I could find at least *** worth to comment on, but that I wouldn't review those that I felt weren't up to that level of writing. Now I'm beginning to wonder about that policy. Is that an easy way out? Is that dishonest? I'm only one reader with one very subjective opinion, so what's the big deal if I opt out of giving a bad, but honest review? I'd love to hear your thoughts about this. What do you do when you read a book, but can't say it merits recommending to others? 


Stuff That's Writerly

Years ago I read this TIP in a magazine, and I kept it because it was wacky, but wonderful. The writer was Cindy Rieke (If you know her, tell her she's credited here and I loved her idea.) Here's what Cindy suggested: Keep one of those cardboard tubes that are at the center of a paper towel roll on your desk. 

So why? 

It's a reminder to zoom in on the details. Here's her example of how using this odd, but effective device helped her writing. She wrote these descriptive two sentences.

Mrs. Snead leaned against the doorjamb. She wore a flowered duster and faded blue scuffs. 

Then she picked up her cardboard roll and peered through. Vague was gone and specific was right there in that tiny circle. What can you do to bring that character to life? Where can you add the details to enliven her? Here's where!

Mrs. Snead settled against the doorjamb, straining even more the buttons that barely held the iris-covered duster together. She blocked the passage like some sun-bleached overgrown garden.

Thanks, Cindy. Loved the stronger verb, settled, and the image of the woman straining the buttons on her duster that's covered in irises so she resembles a "sun-bleached overgrown garden."

Do you have any TIPs that you find helpful for bringing your characters alive while you're writing descriptions of how they move and what they look like? ______________________________________________________________________________

Stuff I Found Interesting

“If you think teenagers aren’t having sex, I wish you’d been my parents.”  Laura Anne Giman when asked whether there was too much sex in YA.

“Horror is the literature of hopelessness; fantasy is the literature of hope.”  Patricia Briggs.  (Horror writer Sephira Giron disagreed!)

Any comments?
I've put Alligators Overhead up for grabs on Smashwords. Free. Free. Free. Grab an eBook. Hope you enjoy the adventure.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Events, New Books & Her Grammarness!

Book Events

(If you have a book event with pictures, send them to me and I'll post them on Thursdays. Sorry but April's reserved for A-Z only.)

I Miss You Blogfest is Friday, November 16.
Don't miss out on the tribute to the bloggers we miss and the ones we would miss if they were to vanish. Excellent time to show appreciation of your fellow blogger buddies. Co-hosted by Andrew Leon, Matthew MacNish, and Alex Cavanaugh

Mysterious Galaxy will host Two & Twenty Dark Tales authors November 11, Noon in Redondo Beach, CA. If you're in the area pop in to say hi and meet 8 of the authors. I'll be there and it would be fantastic to say in person.

It's that time of year to show THANKS and here's your chance. From November 18-25 participating bloggers will be showing a lot of gratitude. Don't miss out on the Indelibles great hop.

New Books 

(If you have a new book out, send me a link, and I'll be glad to post on Thursdays. Sorry, but April's reserved for A-Z only.)


Obsessed with revenge following the death of his pregnant wife, Tyler Karras pledges the
who killed her to sex-traffickers in the Russian Mafia. In exchange, they’ll finally let his brother leave the business for good—with his debt wiped clean and his heart still beating. But when Tylermistakenly targets the wrong woman and jeopardizes the deal to secure his brother’s freedom, he’s forced to protect them all from the very enemy he's unleashed. 

Get your copy at one of these convenient sites: Kindle    Barnes and Noble    Nook    Amazon    Kobo    iBooks

The Queen's Prescriptive Hat

Her Grammarness

Last week I we took a byte out of those buggers, lie/lay. I kept it simple-- present tense only, most common usage, no tricks or slight of my queenly hand. Like my friend Leslie Rose says, "Yes, this will be on the test." So don't forget. And the reason for not forgetting is . . . royal trumpets here, please . . . the first one who passes the test (TBA) with 100% wins a prize. (Probably something Smashwordish or Amazonish.)

So onward. This week's verb demons are rise/raise. They have exactly the same grammatical issue that lie/lay do. Only one of them is used when followed by an object. The first means "to get up as in, "Early to bed, early to RISE . . ."  Yadda. Yadda. Yadda." NO OBJECT. The second means "to lift or pick up." "Hinklebaum raises his (OBJECT ALERT) glass a little too often." 

Now excuse me while I RISE from my chair, pour a glass of wine and RAISE it to my parched lips.

Next week: sit/set--unless I get a special request to play a different tune. I love questions about grammar and none of my family ever asks me any of those. They say the answers are too long. Imagine that!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Back to Monday Miscellany

I used to post a bunch of stuff on Mondays, but then there was this book thing that happened, and then some friends who published books, and then my vacation and Halloween . . . well, I didn't have miscellany anymore. I had major themed posts. Today I'm back to a lot different stuff. I love that word, STUFF; it mean absolutely everything and nothing at all.

Stuff about Winning Books

Last week I featured Lynn Kelly's new book, Curse of the Double Digits and she had a great giveaway. Well, the winners are:

J.L. Campbell/eBook
Medeia Shariff/eBook
Rilla Jaggia/Signed Paperback

Congratulations you three. Hope you'll give Lynn a review on Amazon and Smashwords. 

Stuff about Alligators Overhead

I was biting my nails last month waiting on the reviews to come in, but I'm more relaxed now. The reviews are great. Even Kirkus came back with some good words for my book. Go Gators! You'd think I lived in Florida.

Excerpts: McKenzie pens a swampy middle-grade story full of humor, hauntings, quirky characters and a mystery that continues to develop to the very end.

A short, fun story that will excite both young and old imaginations.

Stuff about Writing

I know VOICE is always one of the major topics when it comes to writing, but I think we need to give more attention to TONE. It's how we define our characters, give them shape and bring them to life. Is your character sarcastic? His dialog, the way he reacts or thinks has to reflect that. If you break the tone of a piece it has the same effect as not carrying through with your voice. The problem with talking about TONE is that its not easy to pin it down and that's because not all of us perceive TONE (sarcasm for example) the same way. Still it's a factor in creating a story and I'd like more discussion about it. Do you have some good examples of TONE? How about examples of what happens when an author isn't consistent with it? 

Stuff about Promoting your Books

If you haven't already seen Mark Coker's Ebook Self Publishing Workshop, here it is. It's a great overview and worth the time to read. 

Stuff about Thursday Posts

Any events, or blogging promo you want me to mention? How about a book that's out this year or will be out soon? I'm starting a new Thursday blog post to feature both of these. Here's a sample from my first Thursday.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween with Two & Twenty Dark Tales at Keplers

Book Event

(If you have a book event with pictures, send them to me and I'll post them on Thursdays.)

Two and Twenty Dark Tales made a darkly interesting appearance at Kepler's Bookstore the day before Halloween. Each story is a "dark" retelling of a Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme. Here's some of the authors who have stories in that anthology and some who appeared with their own books.

L to R: Me, Heidi R. Kling, Ingrid Paulson, Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg, Corrine Jackson & Tamara Ireland Stone
Bookalicious Pam signs her story, A Pocket Full of Posey. (Ring Around the Roses) 

Heidi R. Kling signs her story, Life in a Shoe. (The Old Woman Who Live in a Shoe)

New Books 

(If you have a new book out, send me a link & I'll be glad to post on Thursdays.)

Her Grammarness 

I've been trying to stay out of the grammar issues ever since I started to blog, but I've decided to put my Prescriptive Hat back on (Look left.) I'm reading a lot of books that are driving me crazy with common grammar errors. Maybe it's me, but seeing a book published with poor English grammar rattles this linguistic heart something fierce . . . and I've always leaned to describing rather than prescribing. That's changed.  The "usage is king" has to move over and let the queen have her say. William Safire once wrote that as a linguistic activist he was "willing to struggle to conserve the clarity and color in the language." Me too! And let's start with that old lie/lay verb that means to recline or to put/place something. 
In the past month I've tried to read two books whose authors can't get those straight. What's so hard about them and where were their editors--lying down on the job?

People lie down to rest.
Hen lay eggs in their nests.

If you or the hen is putting or placing something, you use lay. If you or the hen are tired and want to take a nap, you use lie.

That's the simplest way to lay it out. Now I'm going to lie down. 

Next week: rise/raise