Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Grey's Lady by Natasha Blackthorne - Book Review

Grey’s Lady (Wild, Wicked and Wanton – Book 1) by Natasha Blackthorne

1st Spoiler Alert – this novel is Book 1 in a series. While there is a Resolution, there is NOT a conclusion to the story or with these characters. But no grousing! Author Natasha Blackthorne has this as a current KindleUnlimited download, and has the book marked as a ‘Prequel’.

While historical, author Natasha Blackthorne offers readers a more unique setting as this story line takes place in Philadelphia, PA, spring 1812, where the Port of Philadelphia is blooming.

Attic-borne, Elizabeth (Beth) McConnell and wealthy merchant and shipping owner, Grey Sexton set the sheets on fire with their torrid meetings. If readers are searching for hot and heavy on page, then Grey’s Lady feeds that desire.

Beth, deserted by her first Gentlemen lover – and in her belief, her true love – finds herself trapped in a traditional woman’s role, and stifled under society’s expectations. Wanting, needing release, Beth embarks on a series of dangerous one-time encounters with other Gentlemen. To Beth it is about selectively choosing risks that will curb her sexual needs, then leaving those men after only ONE encounter. The men are left craving more, and Beth can never be ‘truly’ deserted, if she is the one who starts, ends, and controls the assignations.

Author, Natasha Blackthorne, deals with what is seldom considered during historical stories: were ‘ye olden women’ simply free of rampant sexual desire? Natasha Blackthorne takes on the task of answering that question as she weaves Beth’s character.

Grey, in his youth married a society belle, only to discover that name and rank were all that interested his wife. While a son is the result of their union, Grey finds himself in a cold, solitary bed. When his wife dies, Grey swears to keep his relationships to straight sex – a mistress – and not become entangled again.

Beth’s choice of Grey as her newest sexual conquest opens the story, and readers don’t wait long for the first carriage-bump-and-grind between these characters. Instead of Beth’s normal ONE AND DONE excursions, the two are drawn together again and again. Rather like the moth to the flame, but which is the moth and which is the flame is what keeps these sexual rendezvouses hot.

If wanton is a reader’s taste, then Grey’s Lady will satisfy the palate.

However – 2nd Spoiler Alert - readers need to be aware that these characters spend a great deal of their time ‘angry’ on page. Beth and Grey seemed trapped in this one predominate emotion and the characters miss an opportunity to develop more 3-dimensional attributes that could deepen the storyline.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Giving a Heart of Lace: Sweet and Clean Regency Romance - book review

Giving a Heart of Lace: Sweet and Clean Regency Romance is a lovely, sweet read.

How many times has a novel left you wanting to ‘thunk’ the historical heroine in the head, and say, “Take control of your life, girl. Stop waiting for the inevitable.”? Too many times for me. Giving a Heart of Lace: Sweet and Clean Regency Romance is a great change of pace from that normal historical and often, hysterical female character. While staying true to the period, Ms. Richmond has linked two characters—one confined to rank by constraints of birth and one a true victim of circumstances beyond financial control—who find themselves on the outside of the TON plate-glass window looking in. If the protagonists are guilty of a bit of bemoaning their fates, they don’t dwell on it, but rather find ways to survive and then thrive.

These are my favorite types of characters: the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootlaces characters.

Ms. Richmond also does a wonderful job of setting the scene for subsequent stories. Not to the degree where the reader is lamenting the fact that characters are introduced and then left hanging. No, it’s much more handily accomplished. Just a tease to know there’s more to come from this time period and this delightful author.

While some novels are meant to be deep and dark, full of plot twists, and crammed with villains, others are meant to provide a gentle respite from the world where heroes are obvious and the happy ending is guaranteed. Arietta Richmond has provided just such a delicate escape in Giving a Heart of Lace: Sweet and Clean Regency Romance.

Chasing Destiny - The Donovan Legacy, Book 2

As I'm currently working through edits -- CHASING DESTINY -- and always on the look-out for snippets to share during release, here are a few that caught my Tuesday morning muse.

My favorites for the day . . .

Garrick glanced toward the unopened bottle and glasses. She seemed far too at home, too at ease in his house. How long had this lovely stranger been living here—alone—with his father? “Enough of the cat and mouse game. Who are you?”

Some strange woman, with endless mahogany eyes, was making herself quite comfortable. He would have his answer, and now. Sultry voice and cooking skills included, she could be a dangerous distraction for any guy, and certainly for an older man who happened to be worth a large chunk of money.

“Your daddy warned me that you were the difficult type.” There was strain in her face now, the smile not quite as bright, the eyes more reserved. “Pit bull persistent with a touch of cynicism thrown in for good measure. Looks like he was right on both counts.”

“If you have nothing to hide, then there’s no reason not to tell me.”

A tiny worry frown creased her brow. Laying the plates on the table’s edge, she resettled the ball cap and studied Garrick for several minutes. “I’m the graphic designer who’s going to save your GQ fanny on the capitol’s restoration campaign.” She looked pointedly at the bottle. “Now, are you going to open the wine?”

Hot Texas summer storms marched across open prairie with less impact than an angry Garrick Shapiro.

The man quit the kitchen with a pivot turn that would do the military proud, only to return a short time later in his casual attire.

Without a word, he left the house and headed across the wide lawn.

Jaycee had known better than to follow.

If she learned anything with four brothers, it was that men needed their thinking space.

And God help the woman who infringed when their poor little brains needed room to expand.

“Does this mean,” Garrick patted the sagging office couch, apparently intending to ignore her sarcasm, “that you’ve decided I’m too difficult to live with?”

Jaycee rested against her desk and clarified, “I wasn’t living with you.”

“So, is that a yes or no to the difficult part?”

“Who are you?” Abandoning her casual lean, she rolled up to her knees on the office carpet and squared off with him. His eyes twinkled, and she’d bet her last Oreo he was funning her. “You’re certainly not the same guy who came home from London.”

“Jet lag. I get a little…”

“Cranky?” she finished.



He quirked an eyebrow at her, but answered, “Perhaps.”

“How about down-right scorpion-stinging, cactus-poking ornery?”

“You made your point.” He offered an olive branch. “Truce.”

Jaycee considered the tapered, but not pampered, extended hand. She was lousy at staying mad. It simply took too much energy, and at the moment she was desperately short of energy. Shrugging, she placed her palm against his then sucked in a fast breath when his fingers tightened, enclosing her in warmth.

Unfortunately, it's time to return to my other job . . . the one that pays most of the bills . . . so I must leave Jaycee & Garrick for later in the day.
But rest assured, they'll be jelling in my mind.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Teaching an Old Dog (writer) New Tricks.

The Donovan Legacy (HARM'S WAY - current release) actually started with a prequel.

CHASING DESTINY was written a year in front of HARM'S WAY and then promptly buried among all my floppy disks. Yep, that long ago.
Having recovered my earlier works, I realized the characters of CHASING DESTINY (Garrick & Jaycee) deserved their own release.
To that end, the rewrites began.

The process has been enlightening: good & bad. And that tenuous, often painful, process deserved to be shared as well.

New eyes on an old manuscript allowed my editor’s eagle eye to find:

1) Uh-oh, are all those TYPOs really mine? One editing pass or a dozen, some TYPOS are hard to spot because it’s often not about spelling. Becomes or becoming. Too or to. They’re or there. A new read will often find what’s actually written on page.

2) Wow! These characters are witty. How much more life can I breath into the page if I capitalize on that trait?

3) Grammar is an on-going learning process. The rules don’t change, but my ability to better utilize them evolves.

4) I will habitually overuse the same words. It’s as though my writing needle is stuck in the same vinyl groove.
This problem leads me to #5.

5) Use a word recognition program, which will highlight most commonly used or abused words in a chapter or scene. I use, but that’s my preference. There are other options – quite a few inside of Microsoft Word itself. See my blog: Turning actual words into ‘art’ never gets old for me. Writers are visual creatures; it’s how we bring black-n-white to full-life color. A program for generating ‘word clouds’ is a positive editing experience, and it’s just plain fun.

6) Older MS means newer, less experienced, writer = some written words are just drivel. My Southern editor says, “Just dump the dang drivel.” My professional editor says “Discard the dreaded drivel.” Whichever editor shows up for my proofing session, she is right. Don’t be afraid to eliminate writing that slows the pace, is redundant, or is sophomoric to your current style.

a. Don’t be afraid of ‘white’ page space. If the writing is awful: cut it/chop it/lop of its head – okay, almost a bit slasher movie language but the point is valid.
b. Read the older MS aloud. This is the quickest way to find trite dialogue or slow narrative. It also highlights redundancy. Your eyes might skip over the same phrase, but when read aloud, your editor’s ear will hear it.

7) Protect the white space! After I’ve exiled drivel to the junk folder, I’ll type the simple phrase – ‘something wonderful happens here’. I’m not required to know – in that one instantaneous instance – what the wonderful will be. Nope, I just need to give my MUSE time to think of what’s best to do with the white space. Maybe, it’s nothing. The deletion may lead to a better tightened scene or conversation. Or, maybe, there’s an actual point – an ‘Ah-ha’ moment – that needs to happen on page. On that page. Giving my MUSE time to consider the options can lead to effective writing.

8) Wordy internal dialogue. I talk to myself. Argue with myself. Sometimes silently. Sometimes . . . yep, aloud. When the house is empty, I’ll have detailed conversations. I’m brilliant with an argument after the fact. The point: most of us have an internal voice going on in our heads at any given moment. Characters will as well. But it’s not necessary to prooooooo-long the internal conversation.
*****Think it doesn't happen in big name, well-published authors' writing? Then think again. I have read more than one NYTimes Best Seller during the past year, who committed the same infraction. So, newbies & established indie authors take heart. Even the most experienced writer can commit this faux-pas. The point is to be aware of the tendency, find the offenses, then cut them out.*****
This sent me back to my own re-vitalized WIP with a figurative red pen.
1. Did my characters drone on for 10 sentences when 2 would do?
2. Did my characters ‘rehash’ the same point over and over again. Remember, we want our heroes and heroines to be SMART. (TSTL is never a good review)
Character emotions take time to develop; character attitudes – just like ours – will evolve over the course of the book; and character behaviors will adjust as he/she learns. But if my heroine is rambling on with the same internal argument on page 200 as she did on page 10, then I’ve committed the writing sin of prolonged internal dialogue.

I’m happy to report that my current hero & heroine are well on their way to becoming brilliantly succinct.

As my older MS is still a work in progress – very much so – I’m certain there will be more lessons learned from a new take on old work. I’ll share any tidbits of writing wisdom with you. We, as writers evolve; so, too, should our writing.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Book Review - Tempting Mr. Townsend by Anna Campbell

Suffering from historical fever? Burning to read about past-times filled with heroes & heroines?

Then an Anna Campbell romance is the perfect cure.

In TEMPTING MR. TOWNSEND, author, Anna Campbell once again captures the incurable romantic heart. In this dashing widow selection, Lady Deerham has known and lost true love. Comfortable in her widow’s shell, Fenella’s resolved to raise her son alone and spend her remaining years without the comfort of a man’s presence. That is . . . until a bear of a man burst into her quite proper drawing room, and conveys her cross country to find her son.

Anthony Townsend has never wanted a woman as he does Fenella, and he’s determined to storm her carefully shielded heart. Mr. Townsend will use all his remarkable negotiating tactics to convince, cajole, and even seduce the proper Lady Deerham into his life – forever.

Author: Anna Campbell

Book Review - Michael's Blood by SS Bazinet

Michael’s Blood by SS Bazinet, is a unique exploration of angels – amongst us – and re-incarnation.

Have you ever turned your head just right, cut your glance quickly to the side . . . and believed that there was another presence over your shoulder? Surrounding you? Then you have already stepped across the threshold of guardian angels.

How about those tingles along your spine when you simply knew something – no true explanation for that insight, that glimpse of fact or feelings, but in your deepest soul, you knew them to be accurate?

Author, SS Bazinet takes readers on a journey into the concept that past-lives are more than New Age language, and might easily explain the fabric of our everyday world. Carefully woven into Michael’s Blood is the presence – warm and comforting – that none of us are truly alone as guardian angels stand the test of our stubbornness and never forsake their ‘keeps’ through the ages.

Michael’s Blood – the Vampire Reclamation Project – is so much more than another simple fantasy story.

When vampire protagonist, Arel, is given the gift of angel’s blood, his troubled past filled with tortures, old fears, and years of horrific abuse must be cleansed. In the process of Arel’s journey, which takes him from present to past to present again, he begins to build a new family. SS Bazinet breathes life into hero, Arel, as a complicated, scarred, stubborn, and needy soul: all identifiable characteristics in today’s world.

If you are searching for a story that crosses genres and dimensions, then Michael’s Blood is a read for you.

Author: SS Bazinet

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Breathing new life into an older manuscript brought me back to


Do you want to know your most commonly used words in a chapter?
In a Blog post?
In a letter to your editor?


'WORDLE is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to your own desktop to use as you wish.' is a FREE Service that doesn't demand any Google Chrome EXT additions.

However - WORD ON INSTALLATION - you'll need Java RunTime in order to access Wordle, and you will need to download the 32bit version (actually, shows as X86 on the Java download site, which is old school for 32bit). My laptop is roughly a year old and the Win 10 version on my system is 64bit. Just be aware that you might need to handle this conversion depending on which version of Windows is loaded to your desktop/laptop, and which BIT size as well. If Java is currently downloaded to your system, Wordle should open. Also, there is a Wordle trouble-shooting help guide. I used Internet Explorer - not EDGE - just good ole Explorer to access Wordle, and it worked perfectly. Hopefully, these install tips will ease your Wordle path.

Pssst - any program that demands a Google Chrome EXT needs to be handled with extreme caution.
Check for reviews or malware alerts on these programs before you complete install and allow the EXT full access.
You might find your browser taken over by the EXT . . . never a good result.


Through the Wordle process, my nemesis of 'back' revealed its ugly redundancy,
and I dived into the chapter to obliterate its overuse.

The point of this exercise is to make certain - that you, the author - are fully aware of the most commonly used words, and phrases, in your writing.
Does the Wordle picture reflect the language that should float to the top like wonderful cream?
Or have you fallen into a vocabulary trap where the same tired words appear over and over?

Wordle is a bit of visual creativity to color our written world of black-and-white.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Book Review - Magic Harvest by Mary Karlik

Magic Harvest (Fairy Trafficking) by Mary Karlik

Want to push aside the FAIRYTALE veil,
and see what really happens between the pages of Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever-After?

Then Magic Harvest is a definite read for you.

Author, Mary Karlik, has woven a wonderful tale that intertwines magical creatures with the human world. The story is filled with elves, trolls, dragons, a band of law enforcement Investigators, and a host of fey people. And just like real-life, some of these folks are good, and some, not so much.

Magic Harvest is a dedication to a sister’s love, and the sheer determination of sibling to let nothing keep her from affecting a dangerous and dimension-spanning rescue.

Mary Karlik has breathed life into these fantasy beings until the pages flutter like so many faerie wings.

Think you have read the best of ‘quest’ books? Then think again, because Magic Harvest reminds readers that each of us is filled with self-doubt when facing our enemies, fear is universal, and bravery can be found no matter what your size.

This story kept me up until the ‘wee’ hours of the morning, and will bring me back to Mary Karlik’s author’s page again and again.

Fairytales do exists and sometimes the ending is even better than Happily Ever-After.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Perfect Phrase

Writers need to be voracious observers.
Listen carefully.
Read anything, everything.
Watch behaviors.
Stare at the sky, the landscape, even the cars in rush hour.
Nuggets of gold can be mined from the most unusual places.

I watch America’s Got Talent. Sometimes to prove how out-of-sync that I am with the rest of the population. More often, because I’m continually awed by the gifts of so many.

AGT comedians for the most part – entertain.

The ones that truly earn my out-loud guffaws are those who keep it every day simple, say grocery store adventures.
No, I’m not specifically referring to Wal-Mart shoppers. Those would be an article all of their own.
Remember your last grocery store trip.
Funny stuff happens.

Men, who are perfectly capable of driving on the right – correct side of the road – seem to become lane-confused when in the store. They’re always on the wrong side, or pass incorrectly, or block the aisle, and then are terribly confused when they receive death glares from their female counterparts.

Teenagers, who clearly believe in the grocery stork, are completely lost and will wander aimless – and always in your path – when searching for an item.

The woman on her phone – you’ve seen it too – who is so engrossed in her conversation that it’s impossible for her to shop.

AGT Comedians don’t find these encounters aggravating.
Well, maybe they do. But they turn said encounters into comedy.
Laugh-makers, I term them.
The real world with a twist.

As I DVR my select AGT favorites, I often watch these snippets again and again.
Who doesn’t need a laugh pick-me-up after a tough day?

I practice this same repetitive behavior with books.
A familiar book will feed my sanity-starved soul.

Most of us have ‘keeper’ shelves. Some of us are a bit obsessive and mark favorite pages . . . passages . . . the perfect turn of the phrase.

Use that behavior to your writing advantage.

Is the narrative in your current WIP detached? Guilty of telling rather than showing? Borderline boring?

Is your dialogue flat? Uninspired? Wasted page space?

Then start your own page of ‘keeper’ phrases, lines, and great passages.

When I began this exercise, it was with the thought I’d capture a couple of memorable one-liners and then share.

The more I read the talented, the more I find to KEEP.

I’ve listed a few here. If you haven’t read these books, I’d suggest a trip no further than your local Amazon store. Any of these titles in hardback or paperback, I own the permanent copies.

1) Because writers need to be voracious observers.
2) Because reading makes me happy.
3) Most importantly, great writing hones my craft.

I hope you enjoy my list.

‘It’s for his own good. Odd how the gods and humanity used that so often to justify brutality.’ Sherrilyn Kenyon, UPON THE MIDNIGHT CLEAR.

‘Howard Roark laughed.’ Ayn Rand, THE FOUNTAINHEAD.

'She was the dream he lost at dawn . . . his dream of everything . . .' Suzanne Elizabeth Phillips, THIS HEART OF MINE.

‘Caitlin mustered up all her courage – all one and a half ounces of it – and walked up the stairs. Stopping at the closed door, she risked a side-long glance at Mr. Mountain Man.’ (the bouncer of a BDSM club). Sayara St. Claire, HURT ME, HEAL ME.

‘ “Because when I pray, I say your name first, and I say your name last. When I breathe, I breathe for you. Every kind thing I say, every good thing I
do, I do because I know you’re in the world and I . . . I love you.” He smiled at her with his mouth, his eyes . . . his soul.’ Christina Dodd, DANGER IN A RED DRESS

‘People who wanted to challenge the status quo didn’t get to have temper tantrums. They had to be smarter, and calmer, and faster, and better. Beyond reproach, beyond critique. As perfect as a human being could be, because you could whine about fair and unfair all you wanted, but at the end of the day, you did the extra work or you failed.’ Kit Rocha, DEACON(Gideon’s Riders)

‘He’d wanted her. Out of all the women in the world, he’d wanted her. Wanted, hell, she thought, grinning now. Pursued, demanded. Taken. And while she could admit all of that was exciting, he’d gone one step further.
He cherished.’ JD Robb, BETRAYAL IN DEATH

‘ “An ‘usband should be plain enough to sit at his settle, and simple-minded enough to accept the stew on his plate, rather than looking round ev’ry corner for a more succulent chop,” she declares.
Maud nods in agreement. “She sounds very wise.”
Aye, she was full of wisdom; but mostly gin!” ‘Emmanuelle de Maupassant, THE GENTLEMEN'S CLUB

‘When he touched her, the sensation was like going over the tip-top of a roller coaster and speeding right toward the ground. It was scary, and awful, and grand all at once.’ Christina Dodd, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

‘His silence welcomed her as surely as another’s man greeting, for his eyes glowed and a smile flirted with the stern line of his mouth.’ Christina Dodd, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

‘Pride was how one behaved when others were watching. Honor was what a man did when there was no one else to see.’ Mary Jo Putney, THE RAKE

‘Her presence had been palpable since she first arrived and now he could feel only the ghost of her essence, echoes of her laugh.’ J.S. Scott, THE BILLIONAIRE'S OBSESSION

‘. . . real happiness and joy, those don’t tend to come without some risk. Those things are worth it.’ Lexi Blake, PERFECTLY PAIRED

Lexi Blake summed up my attitude. Good things don't come without risk. They also don't come without effort. In order to be a better writer, we need to observe, first-hand and in detail. We need to read great authors and pay careful attention to the turn of a phrase.

If 'due diligence' is given . . . then some day, it will be our words highlighted on blogs, with Post-it notes, and in literary discussions.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Parents Get to Have Fun, too!

Several years past, Disney spent their advertising dollars to entice the older age group back to their parks.

Scene: Daughter driving off in VW Bug, headed to college.
Voice-over: “My parents will be so sad when I’m gone. I don’t know what they’ll do.”
Scene: Mom & dad, in full Mickey Mouse regalia, riding the roller coasters at Disney World.

So, when the 19.9 million students (projected student starting figure for 2018) finally leave for college, do mom & dad mourn their leaving?

The wallet probably does. According to this year’s figures, 25.5 Billion – yep, that’s with a ‘B’ will be spent to put kids into university for the first-time, or send those returning students back to the world of academia.

Perhaps a trip to Disney would be a strain on college-shocked budgets, but there must be things Moms & Dads can do to celebrate their freedom.

Remember parents, you had a life before children.
The ‘empty nest’ realm is NOT a bad place to live.


Ooh, brings back memories, doesn’t it? This time, date night can be even better. No nervous Nelly or sweating Sam. You already like your date for the evening.

By this point, you know . . .
which movie genre makes your spouse nod off;
which restaurants serves their favorite dessert;
whether the clack of pool balls or the echo of toppling bowling pins is their idea of fun.

Plan an evening, or afternoon, that’s your ideal of adult fun.
Then spend the time talking about things beyond your kids.
This is a behavior to rediscover.


– between the thousand and three tasks to get your kid ready for college and the oodles of everyday ‘life’ chores, you and the spouse have more than likely neglected a day away adventure.

Even though my husband is a truck driver, and long road trips can turn into a busman’s holiday, a day jaunt is always a lovely mini-pleasure for him. When possible, I talk him into the navigator’s seat on these trips. It’s a completely different world view from the passenger seat. Try switching up driver/passenger. Listen to a different genre of music. Or a favorite audio book that you’ve both wanted to enjoy.

Keep the plan simple:
What city/destination/tourist spot is two hours from your home?
What’s within an hour’s drive?
What’s within thirty short minutes from your driveway?

Pick a destination a couple of hours away. Perhaps lunch in a small rural cafĂ©. Or brunch on the porch of winery. Perhaps a hiking trail that’s best explored in the morning hours.
Then chose another, or two, mini-stop(s) on the way back. It could be the museum on the other side of town. A gallery that’s always caught your attention, but just seems too far for a one-way visit. Maybe a tour of the local ballpark, or even an afternoon game.
The beauty of this plan is the several stop approach.
And if you start at the furthest distance and work back toward home, there’s no long drive at the end.
Day trips aren’t required to serve a grand purpose.
Don’t be afraid to pack a simple overnight bag for the two of you. Stopping at a hotel that’s just cross town can be a lovely way to spend an evening.
This is about exploring with your spouse and stepping into adulthood beyond children.


– it was several years after my first child had left for college before my husband and I perfected this art-form. It certainly helps if you have ready vacation days that can be spread out during the year. Many of our fondest ‘couple’ vacation memories have been the 4-day weekend trips. It’s long enough that the sorting & packing can be contained in a couple of suitcases. Destinations can be chosen at random. I mean, it’s only 4-days. After raising kids, you and your spouse both know how to survive four days – fun or not. Throw a dart at a map; pick one city in the state never before visited; listen to water cooler advice on the ‘coolest’ spot to ever vacation. The point is make this an easy get-away and then GET-AWAY.

Your young adult is off in walking the halls of academic greatness. At least, that’s what they’re supposed to be doing.

Have your own magical moments.

Don’t worry if Disney is a little beyond the budget.
From Date Night, to Day-Tripping, to the mini-Vacation, parents can find plenty to keep occupied.

Hey, you get to be the one to tell the kiddo to make certain they clear coming home against YOUR schedule.

Reality is a part of adulthood that is inescapable.
You and your spouse have earned a bit of down time, and your own moments in the sun.
Kids in college can be ‘freeing’ for all.

Parents get to have fun, too.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Texas Jewel Series: Book 1 by Melissa Alexia

Author, Melissa Alexia, sets her series: Texas Jewel, in the heart of West Texas.

Filled with snakes -- real and human-like -- Julia (Jewels) Starling navigates unknown terrain after returning to bury her grandfather.

A long estrangement between the two of them leaves Jewels with a whole heap of problems as she tries to determine why the old man left her the land.

Between her past history with the 'Big Douche', the local sheriff who wants to play hanky-spanky, the sleazy drug lord, and the current man who 'needs' her to say 'I do', Jewels has way too many men vying for her attention.

For a gal who just felt the need to show up for the reading of the will, life is suddenly filled with blistering complications.

Caught between the proverbial Texas rock and Hell's own hard place, Jewels needs to keep herself alive, figure out who ALL is lying to her, and escape the West Texas heat.

This fast-paced story leaves readers wanting to find out what happens next to Jewels and the men who want her.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Language Garden: The Apostrophe Hummingbird

I have been re-reading ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’ by Lynne Truss.

Glutton for punishment???


I, like the majority of authors, need to constantly hone and redefine my skills. There is no quick grow method to sound writing. No short-cut or easy season. Study time, butt-in-chair effort to learn basic and advance grammar is still the most effective method for a good crop of sentences.

As to ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves’, if you haven’t read Lynne’s witty take on grammar and its sad decline, you are in for a treat. She entertains and educates – no easy feat.

If you’re new to writing, then best advice: learn the grammar rules.

A past critique partner, albeit a brilliant woman, continually brought her week’s pages with numerous grammatical errors. When we groused, as writers are want to do, about the continued mistakes, she informed us that learning all those pesky rules slowed her creativity and she knew we’d correct her anyway.


**Your writing buddies, your critique partners, and heaven forbid, your readers don’t want to slog through your grammatical mistakes.**

The tiny apostrophe is actually quite a work-horse in grammar. Perhaps, I should liken it to a hummingbird. Always around, busy, and cheerful if used correctly.

Don't cross your eyes and click off this blog. I have no intention of sending you into doldrums of boredom with a list of apostrophe purposes.

There are many - not too many - but let us focus on one aspect: Plural Possessive

Very specifically –
A) men
B) women
C) children
D) oxen
E) brethren (general usage in today’s time to denote spiritual brothers. Depending on the religion or denomination, women can be brethren as well.)
F) neofen (newcomers to science fiction; fans who are extremely new and inexperienced with the genre.) Wiktionary
G) kneen (obsolete form of knees – plural) Your Dictionary
There is the school of thought that ‘chicken’ belongs in this list; that chicken is the plural for chick. However, Old English scholars believe that ‘. . . chicken, the –en ending isn’t a plural, but a diminutive, expressing small size or affection, which also turns up in kitten and maiden.’ World Wide Words

TO our lesson:

Is it Men’s Locker Room? Or Mens’ Locker Room?

As MEN is already plural, more than one man can go into that smelly, sock-infested locker room and hang out, doing whatever men do behind in that inner sanctum, and it’s all good. Therefore, Men’s Locker Room will nicely suffice.

Was it the Women’s Suffrage Movement? Or the Womens’ Suffrage Movement?

Again, WOMEN is already plural; no extra ‘s’ is required. Women’s history can be charted back to the early start of women’s rights when female abolitionist activists gathered and gave birth to the Women’s Suffrage Movement. See, no extra ‘s’ needed. Women stand quite nicely on their own.

Should we name the new play area: Children’s Playground or Childrens’ Playground?

By now, the pattern should be clear.

In your writing, if the word is already plural through the use of an ‘–en’ ending, then any possession must take place with an added apostrophe then s.

Some are blatantly common: MEN, WOMEN, and CHILDREN.

Some are dated, almost part of our quietly buried English language: KNEEN, BREATHEN, and OXEN.

Others are new to our language: NEOFEN.

In the garden of language, new words sprout and bud; their usages, and meanings offering color to a black and white landscape. Grammar rules are the raised beds, the lattice work, bits of string and twine that allow our ever-evolving language to blossom.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Phrase . . . the true meaning behind the catch phrase: A fool’s paradise.

Pick a genre and you’ve probably read this catch phrase.

‘John thinks he’ll finally get the promotion, but then he lives in a fool’s paradise.’

‘Her fool’s paradise ended the day she caught her cheating lover in bed with her best friend."

Writing a historical and worried about the inception of this phrase?

Unless, your characters are pre-1462, you’ll be safe. This phrase first found its way on page in the Paston Letters, 1462.

But what exactly does a fool’s paradise mean?

Shakespeare embraced its usage in Romeo and Juliet, and certainly that was one couple that lived in happiness based on false hope.

Writing current fiction . . . or non-fiction?

The phrase – a fool’s paradise – is still as potent today.

Artist, Shohei Otomo, debuted his work in September 2012, entitling his exhibition: Fool’s Paradise.

The phrase shows its relevance in modern newspapers, as shown in The New York Times Opinion Section, October 6, 2008, article by Bob Herbert, A Fool’s Paradise, “We’ve been living for years in a fool’s paradise atop a mountain of debt.” has even determined that some wish to celebrate the day. July 13th is listed in their registry as Fool’s Paradise Day. Perhaps, it is just a day to
believe that anything is possible. Perhaps, a day not to worry about detrimental truth. And perhaps, it’s simply a day to assume that no matter the worst . . . it will all be over in a single day.

Whatever your take on the day, be careful not to live in a fool’s paradise.

Someday the truth will win out . . .
But then that’s a phrase explanation for another day.

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